Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?

Many women ask this question “Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?” sometime after they get married. But you will never get the answers you seek until you first understand that you are asking the wrong question.

The question you are really asking is “Why doesn’t my husband show me affection anymore?”

You may be scratching your head now – maybe you are thinking something like “Affection and love are the same thing! – if you love someone you are affectionate towards them!”

But that is not actually true. There are many ways that a person can love someone and many ways that a person can show love toward someone.

The four types of Biblical love

Storge Love is the instinctual family love that a parent has for a child, a child has for a parent and a sibling has for their other siblings. You don’t choose to love your blood – it is hardwired into you by God.  Now that does not mean you are always fond of your blood, but deep down you love them and will do things for them because they are your blood.

Agape Love is a love based in choice.  It is when we choose to love someone not because of instinct or because of feelings that this person by their actions or their attributes generate in us.  We agape love someone because we have made a commitment to perform certain acts of love toward this person.

Phileo Love is a love based in friendship or affection depending on its context.

In the sense that it is commanded toward our brothers and sisters in Christ along with agape love it is a call to be friendly and kind toward our brethren.

But there is a second sense of phileo that is a conditional type of love.  Affection comes from this type of phileo love and it is feelings of affection in response to the actions or attributes of the person who is the object of affection.

Phileo love can actually be joined with family love – philostorgos to indicate a special fondness for a family member in response to the attributes or actions of that family member.

Eros Love is really a specific sexual type of phileo love and in Greek literature outside the Bible phileo love and eros love would be used interchangeably to talk about the feelings between two lovers.  It is a sexual love that is in direct response to sexual attraction.  While eros love is never mentioned in the New Testament, it is fully demonstrated throughout the entire book of the Song of Solomon.

The difference between Agape love and Phileo love demonstrated in God’s love

“For God so loved [agape] the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16 (KJV)

Before the foundation of the world God unconditionally committed to love his future creation in mankind.  He knew that man would fall into sin and need a savior and he planned to send his Son as the sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.  This is a demonstration of God’s agape love – his love based on his choice and in his will, not in his emotion.

But God’s phileo love (his affectionate love)is a love that is in direct response to our love and actions toward him.

“For the Father himself loveth[Phileo] you, because ye have loved[Phileo] me, and have believed that I came out from God.” – John 16:27 (KJV)

So we see here in John 16:27 that God the Father’s affectionate love toward his disciples was in response to their affection for Christ and the actions of belief toward him.

So it is absolutely Biblically correct to say that in one way God loves all mankind (agape) but in another way his love is only in response to our loving acts toward him (phileo).

Another way of stating this Biblical truth about love is that God loves all people but he is not affectionate toward all people because not everyone acts in love toward him.

So as a woman if you want your husband to be more affectionate or are wondering why he is not as affectionate as he once was you must first accept this simple truth:

The affectionate type of love you are seeking from your husband is a feelings based and conditional love that is directly in response to your actions toward him.

So the next question you might ask is “What did I do toward him before when he used to be affectionate toward me?”

Measuring WHY your husband shows affection now against WHY he did in the early relationship phase is a mistake

Often women try to look back at the conditions of their relationship when they were dating, engaged and or perhaps newlyweds.

“I didn’t have to do a thing to get his affection when we were dating.  He said affectionate things to me all the time.  He did affectionate things for me all the time. He loved me just for being me.”  – This or something like it is what you might be thinking.

Yes when you were dating, engaged or perhaps even newlyweds he made all these grand gestures and statements of affection for you.  He may have seemed to worship the very ground you walked on and you did not have to do a thing to get this affection – it seemed like unconditional love.

But this was not agape unconditional love as much as you want to believe it was.  It was phileo love – feelings based love.

Ladies since we know that phileo love in the context of a romantic relationship between a man and woman is a responsive love – what was your husband responding to? What generated his phileo love for you and the corresponding acts of affection that came with it?

For most men the initial spark of his phileo love was probably based in his eros love(a type of phileo love) when he initially saw you and was sexually attracted to you.

So literally you did not have to do a thing for him to fall in phileo love with you at first sight!

Then after he got to know you, liked your personality and he found things in common with you then his phileo love for you grew in anticipation of a future permanent relationship. Again you may have done little to nothing to fuel this love. It was simply your attributes (physical and personality) and the possibility of a future permanent relationship that fueled is his feelings of affection for you.

But these conditions no longer exist.

Whether you have been married 6 months, 6 years or 16 years you may never be able to get your husband to show you the kind of affection he did in your early relationship simply based on your physical attributes and your personality.

Measuring HOW your husband shows affection now against HOW he did in the early relationship phase is also a mistake

Not only do many women falsely measure the conditions for WHY their husband showed them affection in their early relationship but the next big mistake is in comparing HOW he showed affection in the newness phase of their relationship.

How your husband showed you affection in the early days of your relationship cannot be the measure by which you judge his affection after your relationship moved out of that newness phase.  In most relationships that was temporary insanity on the part of the man. Does the phrase “I am crazy for you!” ring any bells?

Many women live their whole lives in the past – longing for the days when their husbands first met them and adored them and lavished all kinds of affection on them. Basically they are living and longing for something that was temporary. Women also do this even with their bodies living in the past of what their body used to look like and never coming to an acceptance of the natural aging process.

As a woman you will never find happiness and contentment in your marriage until you accept that as relationships mature and as your body matures things change.

In fact is its because of this longing for the past that some women get drastic cosmetic surgeries as they age and they divorce their husbands longing for the thrills of adoration and affection they experienced during their early relationship with their husband.

But you know what they find? Not long after they are married again to a new man the affection and feelings of the relationship when it was brand new go away. This is one of the main reasons that almost 70 percent of divorces today are filed by women.  They continually seeking a type of affection that is temporary and does not last.

Your husband may still have phileo love for you but you don’t recognize it

The truth is that most men when they move out of the newness phase of a relationship and regain their sanity go back to normal male operations. Men are not as naturally affectionate as women are. Even the way that men show affection is often very different than women.

While many men verbally communicate their feelings of affection during the newness phase of a relationship this is NOT the norm of how men operate.

While women primarily communicate their feelings with words, men on the other hand primarily communicate their feelings with actions. This is something that for most women does not compute – but it is a fact.  The rare women who come to accept this fact in many cases end up having happier marriages and they typically don’t have the unmet expectations that other women do.

Let me just stop here and say I am not saying it is right for a man to never tell his wife that he loves her.  Men need to do that. Men need to tell their wives and children that they love them on a regular basis.  It takes intentionality and it takes men coming out of their comfort zone, but it needs to happen.

Ok back to you ladies. So perhaps your husband was showing you affection through his actions and you did not notice it.  Maybe it was those times he saw you were overwhelmed and went and did a couple loads of laundry.  Maybe it was when he stepped in the kitchen and did the dishes.  Maybe it was that night he came home from work and saw that you were overwhelmed and took you and the kids out to dinner.  There are so many things like this that men do each and every day that in their minds are acts of affection toward their wives but these things go unnoticed by many women.

He only touches me when he wants sex!

Most men are typically not physically affectionate unless they want sex.  It is hardwired into men. Are there exceptions where men are more emotional and/or touchy without it turning into sex? Yes.  But these men are rare.

For most men the equation goes like this:

Physical affection = Time to have sex

I realize as a woman you might hate this.  Many women complain about this. Some wives eventually figure out this equation and stop giving their husband physical affection because they know where it will lead (and this is very wrong by the way).

“Why can’t he touch me or I touch him without it every time having to turn into us having to have sex? I feel so used.” – This is a thought that may have crossed your mind as it has the minds of millions of women before you.

Let me try and convey this truth in a way that will make sense to you as a woman.

For you verbal communication, emotional connection and words of affection may or may NOT lead to you having a desire to have sex with your husband.  Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t.  Sometimes you just want to talk, cuddle up and then go to sleep together – no sex is needed.

But imagine on one of those occasions where your husband was talking with you and you were emotionally connecting with him and then that caused you to have a strong a desire to have sex with him. He massages your neck and shoulders which just turns you on more.  Then he just stops and moves on to something else or if you are in bed he kisses you goodnight and rolls over and goes to sleep.  How frustrated would you be at that point with your desire burning red hot?

Now take that feeling of frustration and realize that for a lot of men EVERY time there is any kind of physical affection (hugs, cuddling, kissing, you sit on his lap…etc.) he is instantly turned on and ready to go. What happens for you on occasion and takes time to build happens to him in EVERY intimate touch between the two of you.

In fact you may have done nothing at all and not even touched him but just from him having a sexual thought he might be hot for you so he comes over and starts touching you.

In either case, whether you initiated the physical affection or he did asking men to separate physical affection with their wife from sex is a very difficult thing for a man to do- it feels unnatural to a man to separate these two things when it comes to his wife.

I am not saying it is impossible for a man not to have sex with his wife every time they have an intimate touch or embrace.  Many men practice restraint in this way all the time. I am not even saying that men should not practice a little restraint in this area. But the key phrase is “a little”. A married man most of the time should be able to act on his desires to have sex with his wife.  If that is every day, or every other day then so be it.

And on those occasions when your husband does show you affection without going for sex as women you need to realize how much your husband is sacrificing when he does this. He is literally resisting every fiber of his being telling him to have sex. And no it is NOT selfishness on his part – it is by the design of God.

“Well just because it is hard for men to do, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do it!”

There are a great deal of people (even men who beat themselves up for the approval of women) that think men just need to be “civilized” and “reprogrammed”. Men need to be “more verbal and vulnerable with their emotions like women and they need to tone down the physical side of their sexual natures and embrace a more emotional sexual nature like that of a woman”. In short – men just need to be more like women and we would have better marriages.

There are a lot of marriage books, even Christian marriage books that are teaching this today.  Very few will come right out and say men need to be more like women in their approach to relationships, but most of them simply reword this and do it in a more subtle way.  But make no mistake this false teaching is being heavily propagated in marriage counseling books and sessions across America.

To that every man in this world should say “BOLGANA”! Especially Christian men who know that God created men and women with distinct and very different natures for his purposes and his design.

No my friends – what is called for is not for men to become more like women, but rather what God calls for is for us to UNDERSTAND and ACCEPT the differences in our male and female natures.

So if you realize that your husband does in fact show you signs of affection you were not seeing as signs of affection then this is what you must do. You must learn to accept the way he now shows you affection rather than longing for the days when your relationship was new and he was in crazy mode. People who are stuck in the past can never move forward.

But what if there are truly are no signs of affection that you can see? How do you go about creating the conditions that might lead to rekindling his affection for you?

5 Changes you can make that might rekindle your husband’s phileo love for you

You used to be able to win your husband’s affection based on your good looks and personality alone.  Basically you had do next nothing to get his affection but breathe and be his girlfriend.  But once a relationship moves past the new phase your actions toward him now become the basis for his phileo love for you rather than your physical attributes and personality alone.

Respect your husband

Do you find yourself constantly questioning and fighting with your husband? Do you speak disrespectfully to him especially in front of others? Do you find yourself criticizing him and telling him where you think he fails or could do better on a regular basis?  All of these behaviors can make a man feel disrespected and will definitely kill his phileo love and affection toward you.

If you have body acceptance issues – deal with them

Many women whether it is just a year or so, or several years after marriage begin to have body acceptance issues.  They may gain some weight before or after having children.  They may develop lose skin or cellulite.  They long for the days when they had smooth skin over 100 percent of their body and no rolls and no defects.

But let me tell you a secret ladies – most men do NOT care about these imperfections in their wife’s bodies.  That is why a famous song says that a man loves his woman’s “perfect imperfections”.  If you have body acceptance issues this will greatly affect every area of your marriage.  It will affect the next three things we will address regarding how you dress, how you undress and how you give your body to your husband.

Those next areas we will discuss are absolutely critical to instilling genuine affection in your husband toward you.

How you dress matters

As I said many times previously your physical attributes will not win his affection on their own.  However that does not mean they are not still a vital part of generating phileo love in your husband. Are you wearing sweats and big tee shirts all the time? Get clothes that flatter your figure. Get your hair done and if you need makeup then put it on. Dress to impress your husband!

How you undress matters

Has your lingerie been collecting dust for months or even years? Get it out, wash it and put it on for your man. Women don’t realize how important lingerie is to most men – when you present your body to your husband in lingerie it is like holding up a sign that says “I am yours”.

How you give your husband your body matters

Even if you don’t sexually deny your husband – are you enthusiastic about sex with him? Do you find yourself swatting his hands away on a regular basis? Do you have all kinds of restricted areas on your body? Like “you can touch here, but not there”. Do you make your husband have sex in the dark?

Putting all kinds of restrictions on how, where and when your husband can touch and see your body is a sure fire way to kill your husband’s phileo love and affection for you.

Ladies let me say one last thing here on freely and willingly giving your body to your husband which is a requirement by God (I Corinthians 7:4) of both men and women in a marriage. This is going to be a blunt statement but it must be said.

Just spreading your legs does not fulfill the requirement to give your husband your body.

Your entire body, from head to toe belongs to your husband.  That means if your husband wants to touch your butt he can touch your butt. If he wants to come up behind you in the kitchen and cup your breasts in his hands that is his right given to him by God. It is not right for you to limit sexual activity with your husband to his penis and your vagina.  I warned you that I was going to be blunt – and I was!

Now should men exercise sensitivity in this area toward their wives? Absolutely! Men should be sensitive to things like time and place.  A man cupping his wife’s breasts in the kitchen may be ok when no one is around but he should not be grabbing her breasts when they have company.  Also men should take into account that there are certain times of the month where areas of a woman’s body may be more sensitive. When trying out new sexual things in the bedroom this should also be approached with sensitivity and gentleness.

If you as a wife need to move your husbands hands away for legitimate reasons – this should always be done in gentleness and with kind words to him that let him know your body still belongs to him, but this is just not the time and place.

Conclusion

Maybe your husband loves you dearly but he is simply not showing it in ways he did when you were first dating.  If he never tells you he loves you then maybe gently and respectfully approach this with him.  Don’t condemn him, and acknowledge that you know how hard it is for him as a man to verbally express his feelings – but you need to hear those magic words “I love you” and so will your kids.  Maybe he never compliments you what you cook or what you wear and you need to hear that.  Just gently let him know that little compliments will go a long way in making you feel loved.

But if your husband does tell you that he loves and does give you compliments but you want grander acts and words of affection because you are living in the past when you were first dated then it might be you that needs to make a change and accept how you husband shows you affection now verses how he showed you affection then.

Perhaps you realize that yes you are getting zero signs of affection from him and you are not doing those 5 things I mentioned earlier to generate affectionate love in your husband. If you are not then you need to get on it.

It’s may take some hard mental changes for you to do those 5 things.  But in the end it will be worth it when reap the affection that you have sown in your husband’s heart by doing these things.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” – II Corinthians 9:6 (KJV)

Is wanting sex with your wife when she is not in the mood childish?

“Yes, God has given us the sex drive, but that doesn’t mean we must gratify it. We are not children any more…I can accept the sex drive to be almost impossible to resist when one is a teenager and the hormones are wild, but I cannot accept an adult man trying to excuse his adultery – or coerce his wife to have sex with him – by “I have a sex drive and my wife doesn’t!”.

This is an excerpt from a comment I received today from a Christian wife who calls herself ‘ketutar’. She was commenting on my post “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood?”.

This comment  is just another textbook example of the problem with the poisonous feminization of marriage that we see today throughout America and the Western world.

Here is her full comment.

Ketutar’s philosophy of sex in Marriage

“I’m OK with this, except for two things.

1) Your marriage doesn’t need sex. If it does, you’re doing it wrong. Due to my health, we have not had sex for several years now. Our marriage is not suffering in any way. We are very intimate, kissing, hugging, holding each other, petting each other – we give each other compliments and express our love in all kinds of manners, like doing small favors to each other, giving each other tokens of love, thinking about the other, sending each other messages and kisses and hugs. Marriage needs intimacy, not sex.

2) Yes, God has given us the sex drive, but that doesn’t mean we must gratify it. We are not children any more. We don’t use diapers, we wait until we can use the toilet. We don’t need snacks, we wait until the meal is served and eat by the table with the family at decided times. We don’t need a bedtime story, teddy and a glass of water before we can sleep. We get up in the morning even when it would be so nice to stay in bed. We don’t have a 2 mile present wish list, nor do we go and buy whatever we might want just because we could – no, we are adults, so we see if the thing fits our economy, home, family and plan. If it doesn’t, we forget the whim, not the family and plan. I can accept the sex drive to be almost impossible to resist when one is a teenager and the hormones are wild, but I cannot accept an adult man trying to excuse his adultery – or coerce his wife to have sex with him – by “I have a sex drive and my wife doesn’t!”.

Also, God gave your wife her sex drive, too… if she got less than you do, should she go against God’s will to adjust to yours? Or should you perhaps exercise not giving in to your animal instincts, bodily whims and yetzer hara?”

My response to Ketutar and other Christian wives who may think like this

You said – “Your marriage doesn’t need sex. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.”

No I am sorry Ketutar, but if your marriage does not need sex – you are in fact doing something wrong. The Bible shows sex as a need in marriage.

“If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish. And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.”  – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

God compares sex with food and clothing which are both needs as well. In a marriage – sex is a need.  While it is true that no person has ever died from not having sex, it is equally true that plenty of marriages have died from lack of sex.

Your husband is commanded by God to seek sexual pleasure in your body, and for you to give it to him.

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.” – Proverbs 5:18-19 (KJV)

A man wanting sex when his wife is not in the mood is NOT childish.

In fact I would argue that women are often the ones who are acting childish for the reasons they often turn down their husbands for sex.

A big part of what it means to be an adult and growing up is doing things when you don’t feel like it. It is getting up for work when you don’t feel like it.  It is talking to your spouse when you don’t feel like it.  And yes it is having sex with your spouse when you don’t feel like it.

That is what it means to be a Christian spouse and an adult in God’s eyes.

Sex is what separates marriage from friendship

It is one thing for a married couple to not be able to have sex for brief periods of time due to health issues, surgeries or being physically separated(like because of job situations). But if a couple simply chooses not to have sex anymore that is no longer marriage as God intended it.

Even if it is due to health reasons.  I am going to be frank here.  Unless it becomes a physical impossibly for a man to achieve an erection or for a woman to have vaginal penetration a couple ought to be having sex.  This goes to the core of marriage.  Even with ED issues or women having issues with vaginal penetration there are other ways for a couple to have physical sexual intimacy.

Ketutar – you and your husband have allowed the “one flesh” aspect of marriage to be neglected or basically removed.  You no longer have a fully functioning marriage as God designed it to be – instead you have at best a close friendship.

In fact I would take a guess and say that you have successfully converted your husband into your girlfriend.

The only way your husband is not suffering is because of one of these possibilities:

  1. He was and has always has been an asexual man. So when your health problems came along he was like “Yeah – I don’t have to have sex anymore”.
  2. He has homosexual tendencies. So when you were first married he had sex with you but he really did not like it – he just did it to please you. Then when your health problems came that burden was lifted off his shoulders. Now he just has to suppress his desires toward other men.
  3. He is simply doing a very good job of hiding his displeasure and frustration about not having sex with you. If this is the case he is probably relieving his sexual tension by looking at porn and masturbating. But this in no way can completely replace that physical sexual connection that he needs with you. He may also be hiding affairs or seeing prostitutes.

Adults don’t need snacks?

You said “We don’t need snacks, we wait until the meal is served and eat by the table with the family at decided times.”

Well I don’t know about you – but as an adult I still need a granola bar or other snacks in between meals.  In fact many studies have shown that eating 4 or 5 small meals a day is better than eating three big meals a day the way many of us do.

And yes as adults we need “sexual snacks” as well as “sexual meals”.

Sexual snacks are quickies. That is when you don’t have a lot of time and maybe only one of you is in the mood but the other needs it so you go have a quickie.  Every healthy marriage should have quickies as part of its sexual diet.

Sexual meals are the full treatment.  This is when both people are in the mood (or get themselves in the mood if one is not) and they take their time with foreplay and just enjoying one another’s bodies until they get to the actual act of intercourse. This is the kind of sex where you hold each other afterwards and just cuddle.

A Christian marriage needs both sexual snacks and sexual meals. Without sexual snacks and meals the marriage will starve to death and at best become a close friendship and nothing more – as your marriage has apparently become. At worst it will lead to sexual immorality and the marriage may end.

Is a woman going against God’s will if she has sex with her husband when she is not in the mood?

You said “Also, God gave your wife her sex drive, too… if she got less than you do, should she go against God’s will to adjust to yours? Or should you perhaps exercise not giving in to your animal instincts, bodily whims and yetzer hara?”

Ketutar – do you honestly tell yourself that you are going against God’s will if you have sex with your husband when you are not in the mood?

It is ABSOLUTELY God’s will that you give your body to your husband whenever he needs it!

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV)

I realize you may have some health problems.  But health problems are not an excuse to end sex in a marriage. They may be cause for brief delays and rainchecks, but they should never eradicate sex from the marriage.

Ketutar – you have defrauded your husband (I Corinthians 7:5) and he has sinned by not finding sexual satisfaction in your body (Proverbs 5:19).  It appears he has abandoned his leadership position at least in this sexual arena, if not others.  He has enabled your sin now for “years”.

I pray that you will both repent of this mockery you have made of marriage and that you will indeed become “one flesh” as God designed you to be.

Biblical Gender Roles featured on Daily Mail and the Huffington Post

While this is certainly not the first time Biblical Gender Roles has been featured on other blogs, it is probably the highest profile features that have been done on this blog.

I was contacted today by two reporters, one from the Huffington Post and one from Daily Mail regarding my post “How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife”.

I was pleased that both reporters fairly represented my views. Obviously they both did a negative spin on my views but I expected that.

Some might ask why I would be happy that my blog was featured based on an article I wrote telling men to not look at their wives faces if they are grudgingly giving sex.  The reason is because God’s Word was displayed on a very public stage.  I am not concerned with all those who will disagree, and the minions that disagree with me on a daily basis.  This ministry is for those few who will listen to what God’s Word says and will see their lives transformed as a result.

My critics ask all the time why I write about sex as if I am some sex obsessed person.  The truth is if you look over my blog carefully I talk about a lot more than sex here.  I talk about living as God designed us to and living according to his will and his purpose for our lives.

If I am able to spread the Word of God, especially as it relates to his distinct  plans for men and women that is all that matters to me.  I don’t care what vehicle God uses to do that.  As I have said here many times this is about way more than sex.  Sex is just the tip of the iceberg.  But once we realize what submission looks like in the area of sex in marriage, and accept our duty there – it then becomes easier for us to accept our duties to one another in many areas of marriage and life.

The two articles can be found here:

Christian website sparks fury for advising husbands to avoid wives’ faces during sex if their spouses don’t want intercourse – after saying there’s no such thing as marital rape

If Your Wife Hates Sex, Just Don’t Look At Her Face, Says Christian Blogger

Loving Through The Pain Episode 1

“To women who feel it is their right to refuse sex, I can only give my thought process. I can be quite the feminist when it comes to certain things, but I don’t think there’s any place for that in a marriage.” – This is a quote from a woman named Angel who recently started commenting on my blog.  I include her full story below that she emailed me and gave me permission to publish this.

I am hoping to make this a continuing series as I get testimonials from married couples who have continued to show physical and sexual love toward one another through various physical adversities they face.

The most amazing thing about her story is that she and her husband are not Christians.  But they instinctively knew what God put in their hearts(even if they did not know his word on the subject of marriage).

Their story reminds me of a passage from Romans:

“(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.  They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)  This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. – Romans 2:14-16 (NIV)

I am not saying that following God’s law regarding marriage gets you to heaven. The Scriptures are  clear For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. – James 2:10 (NIV)

None of us can keep God’s law perfectly and that is why despite her obedience to God’s laws in marriage(without even knowing it) Angel and her husband still need to trust Christ as their savior.  I hope they will see the wonderful savior we have in Christ as they explore his Word.

With that said here is Angel’s story.

Angel’s Story

Firstly let me just clarify that we are not a Christian couple. In fact, until I read your blog I was quite disparaging of the bible. It was only after reading your blog and seeing that Christian couples hold very similar views and morals to our own that this view is starting to change. I am now reading the bible as is my husband. I felt it important to let you know this from the start as I’m not sure if you are specifically interested in the religious aspect of our relationship.

I will tell you my story but will not be offended if, because we are not a Christian, you choose not to use it.

We have been married for 8 years, we always knew we wanted a traditional marriage, although I have to admit that the first year or two was quite difficult for me. It is one thing to say you want a leader and are happy to acquiesce to that leadership and another to put this into practice.

There are consequences for my behaviour as it is a reflection on his leadership. For instance, if I overspend one month, my budget with be cut the next. Again at first this was difficult to accept but, as we had both agreed before marriage that this is how we believed relationships work best, with a leader and a follower and we both felt the leadership role was the mans, it eventually worked out. I now enjoy the benefits of having a strong relationship and loving guidance. And get genuine pleasure from my husband’s praise, whether that be on how I look or having certain chores done when I’m having a difficult health day. I also feel genuinely sorry if I do something that makes him disappointed.

About a year into our relationship I found out I was pregnant, this ended in an ectopic pregnancy, the operation to remove the tube caused huge health complications which are ongoing. I will suffer severe pain for the rest of my life. Some days are better than others but at least once a month I will have a flare-up, this is the only time that I will ask him for a rain-check sexually, although I hardly ever have to as he is aware when flare-ups happen.

As the leader, he also leads in the bedroom and regularly brings up sexual discussions. How best to please him and how he can best please me. He needs sex or sexual release more often than I do, if we were to wait until I was sexually excited without any help from him, our sex life would be a lot slower.

Part of one of these discussions was me explaining to him that, for me, sexual arousal starts in the mind and so we regularly exchange naughty texts and he seems to delight in whispering naughty things in my ear to embarrass and excite me. He looks at me in a certain way sometimes and I know he wants me.  The upshot of these little things is that I am very regularly looking forward to bedtime without him ever having laid a finger on me.

However there are times when this doesn’t happen, where we get into bed and he makes his desires clear without having indulged in the mental foreplay beforehand. Sometimes I am aroused quickly and its not an issue but then there are times when I am tired or feel particularly sore.

It’s those times that I see it as putting in the effort to make my husband happy and make our marriage work. I could make him feel like I’m doing him a favour, but I don’t see it that way. It is my job as his wife and help-meet (I believe the term you used was help-meet and it resonated with me, that is how I see myself.) to do what I can to keep him satisfied.

In the first instance, if I am tired, I turn over and join in, completely. I’m lucky in that I have a husband who gets pleasure from giving me pleasure, he enjoys my orgasms (my face is red) immensely and very rarely just wants release. These times do happen obviously, sometimes he’s tired and just wants a quickie.  Again, I join in enthusiastically and make sure he goes to sleep satisfied.

When I am in more pain but am not having a flare-up, I make him aware that I am sore before we start. This used to stop him in his tracks until I explained that I only made him aware of it to make sure he treated me more gently. Sex is always painful at these times and so we have a certain position which allows penetration without adding to my pain and so that he cannot see in my face if it causes me more pain. This was my decision as I don’t want him to feel bad and stop.

I haven’t shared with him that I don’t get physical pleasure during these encounters as I would hate to make him feel guilty about something so natural. And again, I get pleasure from satisfying my husband. It may not be physical but it goes far deeper than physical. It can be difficult agreeing to sex during these times as I know it will hurt, but if I didn’t we would hardly ever have sex and I feel that would hurt our marriage far more than the physical discomfort I feel.

The longest he has had to go without sex is about 3 weeks, it was during a flare-up and I had asked for a rain-check but this flare-up just seemed to last so much longer than usual. He was good about it but I knew he was feeling frustrated. We discussed it and he finally allowed me to satisfy him in other ways. As soon as I was able to after everything had settled, I initiated sex and tried to make up for the length of time it had been. We have discussed it and he’s told me that he does get sexually frustrated during my flare-ups but that he doesn’t get cross with me because he knows that I would never refuse him without my pain being bad and that he would rather wait and be frustrated than to add to my pain.

I think it’s really important to have an active sex life. If I allowed my pain to get in the way of that it would change the way we are with each other. Sex is fun and makes you feel good (most of the time) but it’s also an intimate act, a way of strengthening your bond. We giggle during sex, usually about the funny noises our bodies make and the awkward positions we try out. Other people are not included in this, this is our time to be sexy and loving but also goofy and vulnerable. I think giving up sex would be giving up a huge part of the intimacy that keeps a couple strong.

To women who feel it is their right to refuse sex, I can only give my thought process. I can be quite the feminist when it comes to certain things, but I don’t think there’s any place for that in a marriage. You can say “we should only have sex when we both want it” but ultimately this can only damage a marriage. If you are regularly rejecting your husband it will affect his confidence, he will become insecure in himself and will think its because you don’t want him. That is a horrible thing to do to another person, especially the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. And it will lead to affairs and/or divorce.

Just like you have the right to not want sex, he has the same right to want it, why should he have to constantly go without?  If you don’t feel in the mood, do you just not bother to cook for your children? Or go to work? Sometimes in life as well as marriage we have to do things we don’t want to. But the consequences for not doing it make us grit our teeth and do it anyway. And 9 times out of 10 when I’m just not in the mood and he makes advances, it will only take a kiss in a certain place or a (excuse the graphics) well placed finger, for me to become aroused.

Perhaps the next time you aren’t in the mood, make the effort anyway, you may be surprised at how quickly you will start to enjoy yourself. And it will make your husband feel loved and wanted again.  I was in a previous relationship where my partner regularly refused me, he just wasn’t into sex, it might not have had anything to do with me but it totally destroyed my confidence in my looks, personality and sexual ability. I would hate to do that to another person, even accidentally.

Angel

The sacrificial love that Angel’s husband shows to her during her flare ups would put many Christian  husbands to shame. The sacrificial love that Angel shows to her husband by having sex with him even through the pain at times or when she is not in the mood would put many Christian wives to shame.

The way that Angel willingly submits to her husband’s discipline in the area of finances is another thing that would put many Christian wives to shame.

Angel’s story shows that even when non-believers practice God’s design in marriage they reap the benefits of following his design.  If only more believers in Christ who have this plainly set before them in God’s Word would follow their example in this regard.

Why Christians shouldn’t be ashamed of Slavery in the Bible

Many Christians wish this issue would just go away. Atheists and other Non-Christians often bring up the topic of slavery in the Bible as a way to discredit the Bible as the inspired Word of God. Even some who claim to profess faith in Jesus Christ use slavery in the Bible as a way to discredit Biblical commands regarding gender roles. How can we as Christians believe that slavery in America was immoral but at the same time defend slavery in the Bible? Isn’t this a huge a contradiction?

The typical response that most Christians give about slavery in the Bible

“Well God overlooked many sinful activities in ancient society like polygamy and slavery, but these were not his perfect will. Later in the New Testament he told Christians not to practice slavery and polygamy anymore.”

Even though this post is about slavery, I include polygamy in the above statement because usually these two issues are used together to attack the morality of Christianity. I won’t be dealing with Biblical polygamy here but I have written an entire series on it and I will provide a link to it at the end of this post .

The vast majority of Christians, and sadly even many Ministers of the Gospel of Christ simply concede the modern western world’s notion that slavery is ALWAYS immoral. The other concession they make which is even worse is that God tolerated or even regulated an activity (slavery) that he believed was sinful. What these believers are doing is actually accusing God of overlooking sin.

Whenever I hear Christians saying God overlooked the supposed sins of slavery and polygamy this passage of Scripture comes to mind:

“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.” – Deuteronomy 32:4 (NASB)

The God I worship who gave commands that allowed for the practices of slavery and polygamy is just and righteous in all he commands.

If we say that God’s commands allowing polygamy and slavery were anything less than just and right – then we open the door to say that anything other commands in Scripture can be dismissed “sins God chose to overlook”.

Some Christians who reject any type of inequality – be it social or economic and especially Biblical inequalities between men and women – will say things like this:

“God always hated the sin of inequality in any sphere it appeared in society, but he wanted to reveal his will on these issues slowly and not turn society upside down by trying to explicitly take on on the “sin of inequality” that existed in practices like marriage,polygamy,slavery and capitalism.”

In fact for many Christians who reject Biblical inerrancy, they will claim that Jesus was Socialist and Feminist. I wrote some posts a while back refuting the idea that Jesus was a Feminist.

If we as Bible believing Christians surrender on issues like slavery and polygamy, and concede that they were sins God just “overlooked”, then we are at the same time surrendering the inerrancy of the Scriptures and the justice and righteousness of God in everything he commands.

But I understand that as a believer – you may need a little more than my word on this. So we will look at what the Bible says about slavery and also compare and contrast that with slavery as it was practiced in the United States.

One type of slavery is still constitutional in the United States

Before we get into what the Bible says about slavery I wanted to point to an interesting fact that most Americans are completely unaware of. Believe it or not, the United States still allows slavery.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution passed in 1865 gives this exception to our prohibition of slavery:

“neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”

When a person is sentenced to life with hard labor for a crime they commit – that is a form of slavery. There are still some prisons that have forced labor, but it is not as widespread as it once was.

I actually believe this remaining form of slavery should be expanded in the United States. Imagine if every car thief, every drug dealer and especially those white collar criminals all knew they were going to have to do hard labor during their sentences instead of just being confined to a cell and given time in a yard with three meals a day?

This could bring down crime rates as well as help with the costs of prisons.

Does the Bible actually allow slavery or is it just silent on the issue?

The Bible not only allows the practice of slavery but it also regulates slavery in the laws that Moses gave to the nation of Israel. There are two primary passages in Mose’s Law that give us God’s regulations for how slavery could be morally practiced.

“If a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.  He shall be with you as a hired man, as if he were a sojourner; he shall serve with you until the year of jubilee.  He shall then go out from you, he and his sons with him, and shall go back to his family, that he may return to the property of his forefathers.  For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be sold in a slave sale.  You shall not rule over him with severity, but are to revere your God.  As for your male and female slaves whom you may have—you may acquire male and female slaves from the pagan nations that are around you.  Then, too, it is out of the sons of the sojourners who live as aliens among you that you may gain acquisition, and out of their families who are with you, whom they will have produced in your land; they also may become your possession.  You may even bequeath them to your sons after you, to receive as a possession; you can use them as permanent slaves. But in respect to your countrymen, the sons of Israel, you shall not rule with severity over one another. – Leviticus 25:39-46 (NASB)

“If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment.  If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.  If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone.  But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,’ then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters.  If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.” – Exodus 21:2-11 (NASB)

So it’s pretty clear in Moses’ Law that God not only allowed slavery, he regulated it. Slaves from pagan nations were automatically regarded as permanent property, and could actually be left as an inheritance to the children of their Hebrew slave owners.

But neither male or female Hebrew indentured servants could  be kept permanently.   We see that in this passage the following passage:

12 “If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free. 13 When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14 You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the Lord your God has blessed you.”

Deuteronomy 15:12-14 (NASB)

The difference between male and female Hebrew indentured servants was that the woman had to be “redeemed“(Exodus 21:8) which is a reference to either her parents, brother or other male relative buying her back or another man purchasing her as a wife for himself.  But it is clear that God did not want Hebrew women being permanently kept as indentured servants but wanted them to have the opportunity to become wives and mothers.  So if the man did not want her for himself or one of his sons he had to allow her to be redeemed.

If a man bought a woman and gave her to his son he had treat her with the full rights of a daughter, and his son had to give her the full rights of a wife.

Biblical Rules for proper treatment of human property

“but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.” – Exodus 20:10(NASB)

“If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property… “If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.” – Exodus 21:20 -21 & 26-27 (NASB)

“Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 4:1 (NASB)

Slaves were to be treated fairly and justly by their masters. They were to be given rest one day a week when the rest of the family rested and they were able to participate in the various festivals. They were not allowed to be physically abused or murdered.

Does the New Testament maintain slavery or get rid of it?

The New Testament maintains slavery as an acceptable practice before God, provided that slaves were treated justly and fairly.

Some Christians have tried to say that the Apostles and especially Paul wanted to abolish slavery because of an issue with a runaway slave. Paul wrote a letter to a Christian slave owner named Philemon.  Paul had mentored a man name Onesimus who became a believer in Christ. He did mission work with Paul and was “useful” to Paul .  But at some point Onesimus revealed that he was a runaway slave and Paul sent him back to Philemon with this exhortation:

I appeal to you for my child Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment,  who formerly was useless to you, but now is useful both to you and to me.  I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,  whom I wished to keep with me, so that on your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel;  but without your consent I did not want to do anything, so that your goodness would not be, in effect, by compulsion but of your own free will.  For perhaps he was for this reason separated from you for a while, that you would have him back forever,  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave, a beloved brother, especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

 If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account;” – Philemon 1:10-18(NASB)

Some Christians point to this phrase “that you would have him back forever,  no longer as a slave, but more than a slave” to say Paul was commanding Philemon to free this slave, and by extension was against slavery and wanted him and all other Christian slave masters to free their slaves. But again whenever we look at a topic in Scripture, we have to look at everything written on that topic and not just one passage before we can truly understand God’s position on an issue.

Paul addresses Christian slave owners in these passages:

“All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.” – I Timothy 6:1-3 (NASB)

“Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.” – Colossians 3:22 – 4:1 (NASB)

“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ;  not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.  With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men,  knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

 And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.” – Ephesians 6:5-9(NASB)

If Paul was against Christians owning slaves – he would have clearly said so.  He had every opportunity to tell at least Christian slave owners that they should free their slaves and stop using slavery in their businesses. Instead Paul exhorts Masters to treat their slaves with justice and fairness, and if they are believers to treat them as brothers in Christ even though they are still slaves. Some have said that Paul did not want to impede the Gospel by taking on slavery.  But this idea reduces the Pauline epistles to mere human letters – when in fact they were divinely inspired by God.  Remember what we said previously – every command of God is just and right and Paul was giving us God’s commands regarding slaves and their masters. If God had changed his mind about slavery from the law that he gave Moses, he would have said so through his Apostles, but he did not.

Paul tells slaves if they can be free, then be free but if they cannot they need to accept their condition as slaves:

“Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.” -1 Corinthians 7:21-22(NASB)

The Apostle Peter weighed in on slavery to when he told slaves they needed to submit even to Masters who were cruel.

Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.” I Peter 2:18 (HCSB)

It is interesting in each of Paul’s exhortations to slaves, he always starts off with the slave needing to respect and obey their masters and then he goes to telling the masters to treat their slaves fairly. He also does the same thing when he speaks to wives and husbands.  He starts off telling wives to submit to their husbands and then ends telling husbands to treat their wives kindly.  The principle Paul was giving us under the inspiration of God was – our respect and obedience to our authorities is not dependent on how they treat us, but rather our obedience is to our authorities is based on our obedience to God.

I believe the New Testament Scriptures are clear – God did not get rid of slavery but simply made sure that Masters treated theirs slaves fairly and that slaves knew they needed to obey their masters.

Based upon the passages cited above, as well as other passages and principles of the Bible the test of whether a particular practice of slavery is moral is answered by the two sets of questions:

The First morality test of Slavery – How did the slave come to be owned by their master?

Did they voluntarily give themselves as a slave in exchange for protection and economic security?

Were they born from slave parents?

Were they sold as a slave by their father?

Did they voluntarily sell themselves to pay off debtors?

Were they forced into servitude by governing authorities either because of debts they owed or because of a crime they committed?

Were they captured as a prisoner of a just war?

Were they kidnapped and forced to be a slave?

Biblically speaking, if a person were to answer yes to any of the first six questions, then the way that they became a slave was not wrong. If however the person was kidnapped and forced into slavery, then this type of slavery would be immoral and wrong.

The Second morality test of Slavery – How is the slave being treated by their master?

Are food, clothing and shelter being provided to the slave?

Is the slave being treated justly and fairly?

Is the slave being given proper rest?

Is the slave not being physically abused?

If the answer to all these questions is yes regarding the treatment of slaves in a particular situation then this instance of slavery would be moral – Biblically speaking.

Comparing American Slavery to Biblical Slavery

As Americans we see the practice of slavery through the eyes of African Americans and how their ancestors were treated here in America. But we need to understand that the practice of slavery here in America was nothing like the slavery that God allowed and regulated in the Bible.

Before the modern era, people often had to choose between personal liberty and economic security in most cultures around the world.

For instance in Biblical times it was not uncommon for a father to have to sell one or more his children as slaves to a wealthier family. This served two purposes – it would ensure that his children would be feed and cared for and often times it would help to pull his own family out of poverty because of the money he would receive in return.

Other times young men who had lost their entire families and lived in poverty on the street might sell themselves to wealthy man in order to have food, clothing and protection guaranteed.

Another thing is the image we have of slaves. We have in our mind men, women and children in chains and rags working their hands to the bone each day. The truth is that in many instances in ancient Israel you might have had trouble distinguishing who in the household was a slave and who were family members.

On the other hand, the slavery in practice in America was completely different than the slavery that was allowed by the Bible. Chains were a very a common occurrence with slavery in America. It was based on the false ideology that one race was less human than others and they could be enslaved if for no other reason than their race.

The Bible dispels such a notion about slaves being less human than their masters:

“If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves When they filed a complaint against me, What then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?

“Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb? – Job 31:13-15(NASB)

Job was clear that God made his slaves in their mother’s wombs just as he was made in his mother’s womb.

No person is less human than another, and no one deserves to be enslaved simply because of their race.

Besides American slavery being based on race – it massively failed the two tests of Biblical Slavery that I mentioned above. Africans were kidnapped from their homes. They were treated worse than animals and loaded on to ships without proper food, clothing and shelter. Many Africans died while on Ships coming to America. Many African women were raped by their owners, instead being given the full status of wives. They were often physically abused and even sometimes murdered. But because they were not considered fully human, no punishments were given.

Even in some American homes where slaves were treated more humanely – the origin of how they were brought here was tainted. Their parents did not nothing deserving to be enslaved, they were the product of kidnapping.

So here is the summary in regard to American slavery. The simple fact of one man enslaving another is not in and of itself an immoral act. The act of enslaving a person is not synonymous with treating that person as less than human if the enslavement occurs under just conditions as we noted earlier.

For instance prisoners being made into slave labors is not unjust and it is not treating them as a less than human by essentially turning them into a slave workforce.

But what the Bible did not allow in regard to slavery was simply kidnapping people and enslaving them based on their race. This was a violation of Biblical human rights and this was the first reason American slavery was evil and wrong.

The second reason American slavery was wrong was the treatment of blacks after they were enslaved. They were not just enslaved wrongly but in many cases they were treated more harshly than their owners treated their horses or their livestock.  This is why American slavery was evil and nothing like the slavery God allowed in the civil laws of Israel.

Was America wrong for outlawing slavery?

The Bible does not command that anyone must have slaves. It only allows slavery under certain conditions and then it stipulates what is considered fair and humane treatment for slaves.

I believe abolitionists were right in convincing Americans to end slavery (except for criminals as I mentioned previously) but as I have shown here in this post – I don’t believe all instances of slavery are immoral. However the slavery that was practiced here in America – both in how the slaves were acquired, and how they were treated as less than human was in fact immoral.

How should Christians respond to attacks on the Bible over the issue of slavery?

First know where the attacks on Biblical slavery will come.

Attack #1 against Slavery

“All instances of slavery abuses people and treats people as less than human, therefore slavery is immoral.”

Wrong – American slavery, and slavery practiced outside of Israel may have treated slaves as less than human and it was therefore immoral. But in Israel slaves were guaranteed certain human rights that God commanded.

Attack #2 against Slavery

“Even if Israel treated their slaves more kindly they still were treated as less than human because they did not have equal rights and were not free. All adult humans must have equal rights including full autonomy.”

Wrong – God is the one who grants our rights and while he has guaranteed certain human rights to all – he did not guarantee an equal amount of rights to all. It is not immoral, or treating someone as less than human to give some people more rights than others if we are following God’s Law in doing so.

I promised at the beginning of this post to give you the link to my series on Biblical Polygamy as this and slavery are often used together to attack Biblical morality.

Here is the series “Why Polygamy is not unBiblical part 1”

What does a successful Christian marriage look like?

Roofer Working On Exterior Of New Home

What does a successful Christian marriage look like?

Some people say any marriage that does not end in divorce is a successful marriage. Still others say it is more than just not divorcing. Some say it is when two different people come together, and over time they become as one. But even this “oneness” in marriage is defined in many different ways.

Some say it is when a couple become best friends, when they barely if ever fight anymore and they become the very picture of unity. Still others say that not only is longevity a sign of a successful marriage, but a successful marriage is one that has passion and romance throughout its time.

Before I get into what the Bible shows is a successful marriage, let me give an illustration.

Let’s imagine that you are a servant of a king. He asks you to go and build him a beautiful house off in a faraway land he has a purchased. He gives you detailed plans for this house, and tells you that after you build this house, he wants you to live in it and take care of it for him until he comes to take possession of it one day. He says if you build the house according to his plan, and maintain it and keep it up for him, he will reward you greatly when he comes.

You reach the land the King has given you to build on, and you find that some materials he has requested are much harder to find than others. You also find that some parts of his design, are just very difficult to build in the fashion he has requested.

So you decide to alter his design, you build with different materials than he requested and you alter the design where it seems too difficult to build it the way he has requested. But eventually – you build what you believe to be a stable house, what works for you, and you begin to live in it and take care of that house.

Twenty years go by before the King finally comes to see this home you have built for him. You hear he is approaching, and you quickly go around and clean the house – ready and proud to show him this house you have built. This house has stood strong for 20 years, what else could he ask for right?

The King comes to your home, but instead of a look of delight, he has a look of sorrow. He asks “why did you not follow my design?” You respond “because my King, some of the materials were hard to find, and some of your designs were too hard to build”. The King responds – “I did not ask you to take the easy way out, I asked you to do the hard work, and to build the house exactly as I requested it”. You respond “but lord, this house has stood strong for 20 years, is that not good enough?” The King responds “each part of the house, each material and design, was meant to symbolize different things that are important to me – you have broken those symbols”.

When it comes to marriage – God does not care if a marriage just “works”, or that a couple never gets divorced. God had a very specific design and purpose for marriage.

So what does God consider to be a Successful marriage?

Let me first say what God does not consider a successful marriage (based on his Word).

A marriage is not a success in God’s eyes, simply because it does not end in divorce.

A marriage is not a success in God’s eyes, because a couple love one another, act in unison and rarely fight.

A marriage is not a success in God’s eyes, because a couple have passion and romance in their marriage.

The primary (spiritual) purpose for which God design marriage is found in Ephesians 5:22-33.

“22 Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord, 23 for the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. 27 He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. 28 In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 since we are members of His body.”

31 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

32 This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church.

33 To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”

God meant for a husband and wife to model the relationship between God and his people, in the New Testament this represented as the relationship between Christ and his Church. But even in the Old Testament, God’s relationship with Israel was often pictured in prophesy as the relationship between a husband and wife.

Christian Feminists and Egalitarians say marriage is a “partnership of equals”. I don’t know how anyone could read Ephesians 5:22-33 and come away with such an absurd idea. In the model of Christ and the Church, are Christ and his Church equal partners? Or is Christ the head of his Church? It’s a very simple question, with a very simple answer.

God cares about how we build our marriages, he cares how we model the relationship between Christ and his Church. That is why God wants man to model his leadership, his protection and provision in his relationship with his wife. It is also why God wants woman to model the submission, and servant attitude that he asks of his people toward himself.

It is not enough to say “well this works for our marriage”. Is it modeling what God has purposed for marriage? Is your husband following God’s distinct model for him? Is your wife following God’s distinct model for her?

The Secondary purposes for marriage

A companion and helper for man

“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper as his complement.”

Genesis 2:18

There are definitely some secondary (temporal and physical) purposes for which God made marriage. God made woman as a companion and helper for man. Some have tried to make much to do about the “helper” “ezer kenegdo” saying it usually speaks of God helping.

The fact is God was not made for us, we were made for him. So in the context of Genesis 1, ezer kenegdo takes on a different meaning, because Eve was CLEARLY made for Adam, not Adam for Eve.

The New Testament confirms this interpretation when the Apostle Paul states “And man was not created for woman, but woman for man.”(I Corinthians 11:9).

A lover for man

“encourage the young women to love their husbands”

Titus 2:4

The phrase “to love their husbands” is a translation of the Greek word “Philandros” which literally means to be “lovers of their husbands”. This is not the Agape (love of the will, love of duty) that men are commanded toward their wives. This is a different kind of love, the Philandros love that women are commanded to have toward their husbands. This is an affectionate love, it pictures a woman showing affection, both physically and emotionally toward her husband.

A mother for man’s children, and caretaker for his home

“Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households”

I Timothy 5:14

In addition to creating a companion and lover for man, God also created in woman a mother and home manager for man. In very much the same way that we as believers go and make disciples for Christ, so to women make children for their husbands. In the same we follow Christ’s leadership in teaching young believers, so to a mother is meant to teach her children, as she is follows her husband’s leadership.

Woman – a person to be loved and cared for

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

I Peter 3:7(KJV)

God purposefully created woman as the “weaker vessel”, so that man would have someone who would need his leadership, his provision, his protection and his love. God knew that men need a purpose, something to strive for, and something upon which to exercise their gifts. So God gave women to men, and he purposefully made them to need a man’s leadership, provision and protection. In the same way that God wants to be our hero – each husband should want to be his wife and children’s hero.

But what about romance and friendship in marriage?

Romance and friendship are wonderful things in marriage. But romance and friendship in God’s view are to marriage what in-ground swimming pools and central air are to homes. They are nice to have, they definitely make our homes more enjoyable, require a lot of maintenance, but are not ultimately required.

Don’t get me wrong, romance and friendship are wonderful goals to pursue in marriage – but if we pursue them at the cost of the primary purpose for marriage, our marriage will not be a success in God’s eyes.

This is why we have such a huge amount of divorce today – even in the Christian community. Because Christians are being led by their feelings, and not by the Spirit of God.

And as far as romance and friendship goes, very often what women find is, if they model the wife that God calls them to be, if they are submit to their husbands, respect their husbands and are affectionate lovers to their husbands – they will get at least some of that romance they desire.

Conclusion

We as believers, in America and around the world, need to return to God’s purposes for marriage, both the primary, and the secondary reasons. We need to keep each in their order of importance.

So how will you build your marriage? Will you build it upon the foundation of the Word of God? Will you build you marriage based on the model that God has given us in Ephesians 5:22-33? Or will you do “what you feel is right” or “what works for us”?

Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, played the role that God gave him to play as the Savior of mankind. It was not easy, but he played his role just as his father willed him to do. Are we today so wrapped up in our modern American ideas about equality, that we are too proud and too arrogant to play the roles that God has given to us based on our gender?

I leave you with the Apostle Paul’s words in I Corinthians 3:11-15 to mediate upon:

“11 For no one can lay any other foundation than what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on that foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 each one’s work will become obvious, for the day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire; the fire will test the quality of each one’s work. 14 If anyone’s work that he has built survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, it will be lost, but he will be saved; yet it will be like an escape through fire.”

 

All Scripture passages unless otherwise stated are quoted from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

The 2 REAL reasons divorce and cohabitation rates are so high

DivorceCohabit

Divorce and cohabitation – what could they have in common? And how could anyone reduce the reasons for such complex things as divorce and cohabitation to just two sources? The answers are simpler than you think, and statistically they are staring you the face.

Look up any government or private surveys or stats on marriage, and while there may be many differences, they all agree that divorces rates are high, and so are cohabitation rates.

Divorces rates reached their peak in the 1980’s, and then declined a bit after that but they still hover around 50%. The dirty little secret is, the only reason divorce rates in the United States stabilized around 50% is because since the 1980’s cohabitation in the United States has dramatically increased.

“Three of four women in the U.S. have lived with a partner without being married by the age of 30, an increasing trend that suggests cohabitation is now a regular part of family life in the U.S., researchers said.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-04/unmarried-couples-living-together-is-new-u-s-norm.html

“The United States currently is witnessing a dramatic rise in the percentage of couples whose first union is not a marriage but cohabitation, a new federal government report confirms…

The report shows that while cohabiting couples often marry at some point, cohabitations frequently dissolve within five years or much less time. “Cohabitations typically are short-lived,” the report observes, though it stresses that cohabitations last somewhat longer now than 10 years ago.”

http://www.foryourmarriage.org/rising-cohabitation/

The reasons typically stated for high divorce and cohabitation in the United States

Many articles online and elsewhere will try and give various reasons for high divorce rates and high cohabitation rates. Often times high cohabitation rates are attributed to more economical reasons. Couples simple cannot afford to marry, or least no marriage before the age of 30.

Adultery and abuse account for only 10 to 20% of the reasons for divorce, while 80 to 90 percent of divorces today are for other reasons. Most divorces occur because of couples fighting over money or career issues, how to raise children, lack of intimacy and not spending time together.

The real 2 reasons for high cohabitation and divorce rates in the United States

The first reason that couples in the United States are increasing living together out of marriage, or married couples are divorcing at higher rates is because of one word – CHOICE.

I love freedom. Our American forefathers loved freedom. But the freedom they originally gave our new nation, enshrined in our original Constitution and Bill of Rights, was a limited freedom. It was difficult to divorce, and it was practically impossible to cohabitate in America as it was founded.

I love the freedom with which America was originally founded, not the perverted freedom (anarchy) that we have today.

Yes people still fornicated, as they always have since the beginning of mankind. But it was considered a shame, and it was kept secret, and the consequences could be dire to both parties if discovered.

It was rare for men to divorce their wives, and most women were never able to leave their husbands because of property laws and the fact if a woman divorced her husband, she would leave her children and everything behind.

CHOICE – People had no choice but to marry, and stay married, up until the mid-19th century with the rise of Feminism which then gave birth to the sexual revolution of the 1960’s.

The second reason we have such high divorce and cohabitation rates in the United States is actually the source for the first reason, the SECULARIZATION of our culture. We have given people the choice to cohabitate and divorce because we have left what used to form the basis for our moral values, and that was the Bible. Since we have no moral foundation, anything goes.

The nation of Israel in the Bible went through times like we see today when “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25(KJV)

Our founding fathers fought for religious liberty, not for removal of all religious influence on society.

“To the kindly influence of Christianity we owe that degree of civil freedom, and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. . . . Whenever the pillars of Christianity shall be overthrown, our present republican forms of government, and all blessings which flow from them, must fall with them.”

(Source: Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Exhibiting the Present Dangers and Consequent Duties of the Citizens of the United States of America (Hartford: Hudson and Goodwin, 1799), p. 9.)

It is no coincidence that as church attendance has declined in this country over the last century that divorce and cohabitation have spiked. We give people a choice to cohabitate and divorce because we have no moral center anymore – we can do whatever we want.

A man can go and impregnate as many women outside of marriage as he so chooses, as long as he pays the child support. Or if he is smart and uses a condom, he can sleep around with as many women as he wants with no worries, and no judgment from our society.

Women routinely place their education, careers and hobbies above the most important functions for which they were designed – being a wives and mothers. Because of modern birth control, women can freely sleep with as many men as they want as they pursue money and pleasure.

Conclusion

People are not cohabiting together because of economic reasons – the real reason is because we as a society have given people the CHOICE to live together outside of marriage.

Couples are not divorcing because of lack of intimacy, lack of romance, or disagreements over raising children or careers, the real reason people are divorcing is because we have given them a CHOICE to divorce for ANY reason(there are Biblical reasons for divorce, but they are few).

The reason we give people a CHOICE today to cohabitate and easily divorce is because we have allowed our nation to become SECULARIZED, we have pushed God completely out of our cultural and legislative institutions, and in our churches Pastors have so watered down the Word of God (because of fear of offending people or bucking cultural changes) that people no longer know right from wrong.

What can we do about this?

There is no question today that there has been a culture war going on within the United States for well over 100 years. There has been a war over what “freedom” means. Some choices that we used to have, that our nation was originally founded with, have been take away. Other choices that our founders never intended for us to have, and would have been considered immoral, have been granted and given the full protection of our local, state and Federal governments.

Some have fought for an idea of freedom that protects behavior that previous generations would have never have allowed. These same groups that have fought for these new found freedoms to commit immoral behavior, have in turn fought to restrict the freedoms that our for fathers originally fought for, especially in being able to publically call out immoral behavior exactly for what it is.

As individuals, it may seem that there is little we can do to change our culture back to the Godly culture it once was. What we can do is take responsibility for ourselves and our families. Men need to take a stand and teach their wives and children’s God’s Word. Then as we take back our families and marriages for Christ, we can then turn to taking back our Churches and encouraging our Pastors to preach the whole counsel of God, not just what they think will be politically correct.

Once our Churches and church leaders have been emboldened to stand for God, we can then begin taking back our neighborhoods, towns and eventually our State and Federal Government for Christ.

We used to have a government and culture that believed in freedom, but it was a freedom that was limited within the boundaries of a Biblical Christian worldview.

CHOICE is both the problem WITH and solution TO America’s cultural decline. We have to choose to follow a Biblical world view, no matter how socially or politically incorrect it may be. We need to influence our culture to remove the CHOICE to commit immoral behavior. But in order to do that, we need to agree on what immoral behavior is, and the only we can do that is by returning to a Biblical foundation as our standard for moral or immoral behavior.