The Need to Expose Wives’ Sexual Defrauding Before the Church

Many Christians believe the only way a woman can be unfaithful to her husband is by having sex with men other than her husband.  Today we call this adultery. But in the Bible adultery was a two-sided coin.   In the book of Ezekiel the prophet writes the following concerning Israel’s unfaithfulness to her husband which was God:

“You adulteress wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband!”

Ezekiel 16:32 (KJV)

In the above passage we see there are two parts to adultery, or what we would call marital unfaithfulness on the part of a wife:

  1. When a wife takes men other than her husband.
  2. When a wife does not take her husband.

It is utterly ludicrous to say as so many Christian teachers have falsely taught – that if a woman does not take other men yet refuses to take her husband she is still being faithful to him.  If she does not take her husband she guilty of unfaithfulness to him.

In the church we are often taught that sexual immorality, otherwise known as fornication, has to do with sexual acts God does not allow like homosexual acts, premarital sex and adultery.  But the Bible clearly teaches that there is a type of sexual immorality that we can actually commit by NOT having sex.

We find this teaching in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian Church:

“2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 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. 5 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 7:2-5 (KJV)

So how does a man and woman “avoid fornication” according to God’s Word? In two ways:

  1. Have sexual relations with your spouse on a regular basis to avoid fornication OUTSIDE marriage.
  2. Do not deny sex to your spouse to avoid fornication both INSIDE marriage (by denying them their right) and also OUTSIDE marriage (by tempting them to have sex outside marriage by your denial).

The False “Mutual” Teaching of Sex

Today we have many Christian teachers who actually ask us to ignore the very words we have just read in I Corinthians chapter 7. While it is true that I Corinthians 7:2-5 teaches that both men and women need sexual relations it does not teach sexual relations between a man and woman are based upon mutual desire.  In fact, it teaches the very opposite.  This passage teaches that sex in marriage is both a right and a responsibility of both the husband and the wife.  The only decision which must be mutual regarding sex is the mutual decision by both the husband and wife to discontinue sex for a short period only.

Why I teach So Much on the Sexual Immorality of Sexual Defraudment

As a Christian I believe the Gospel of Christ, the reality of Heaven and Hell and the teaching that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God are perhaps the most important doctrines we as Christians must teach and affirm.  However, that does not mean these are the only important doctrines.  And while we do have a lot of false Gospels being spread today as there were in the early church era, thankfully there are still preachers and teachers who are faithful to the true Gospel of Christ and the inerrancy of his Word.

We even have a lot of Christian preachers and teachers today teaching that God does not want us to follow the evil ways of our culture.  To this I say Amen and Amen! The Apostle Paul gives us this very command not to conform to the sinful ways of our culture in his letter to the Christians at Rome:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

So, we will hear a Pastor teach from his pulpit that we should not have sex outside of marriage as our culture encourages.   Great! We say amen to that!  But then this same Pastor preach doctrines that conform to our American cultural values and at the same time directly contradict Biblical commands.  These Pastors will condemn men for not loving their wives while remaining sinfully silent on the wife’s call to submit to her husband in everything.  These Pastors will condemn men for having sexual thoughts while at the same time remaining sinfully silent on the sexual immorality of wives sexually defrauding their husbands.

The unfortunate truth is that today even among those who preach the true Gospel of Christ and the inerrancy of the Bible there is almost a complete and utter neglect or in many cases an explaining away of the Biblical doctrine of gender roles.  There is actually an ongoing war on masculinity, patriarchy and male sexuality.  All of this is being done to appease feminism which has infested even many conservative Bible preaching churches today.

This is why God lead me to create this blog back in April of 2014.  God lead me to stand in this gap and to call my fellow Christian brothers and teachers back to the true teachings of God’s Word regarding gender roles as well as sexuality from a Biblical perspective.  This is why many of my teachings on this site focus on a defense of masculinity, patriarchy, male sexuality and sexual rights from a Biblical perspective.

Empowering Christian Men with Steps to Confront their Wife’s Sexual Defraudment

In May of 2015, I published an article entitled “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”. In this article I detailed 8 steps that Christian men could take in confronting sexual defraudment on the part of their wives.  This article has since become one of the top 5 viewed pages on this blog and this page alone has had about 800,000 views since I first published it. I made some edits to this article over the last few years but essentially it has remained the same.  Here are the 8 steps I list for men in confronting their wife’s sexual refusal:

Step 1 – Rebuke her privately

Step 2 – Stop taking her on dates or trips

Step 3 – No unnecessary household upgrades

Step 4 – Stop doing the little extra things

Step 5 – Remove her funding

Step 6 – Rebuke her before witnesses

Step 7 – Bring her before the Church

And then I gave the 8th and final step for husbands if these 7 steps did not bring their wife to repentance:

“What if none of these 7 steps work?

If your wife remains willfully defiant, yet she has not left you, it could be for a variety of reasons. She may not want to lose how she lives with you and she knows that after a divorce her lifestyle will be severely affected, and she does not want to deal with the consequences of divorce. Perhaps she may have some genuine care for you left as well as your children but she simply cannot see the error of her ways and will hold out indefinitely with the hope that one day you will fold and give her back the money, the dates, the trips, the house hold upgrades and she will not have been forced to change her ways.

But you have a final step you may take, one that you need to pray long and hard about before you do.

You have the option to divorce her for her sexual immorality.

“But I tell you, everyone who divorces his wife, except in a case of sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” – Matthew 5:32(HCSB)”

A Real Story of a Man Exercising These 8 Steps

Not long after I published my article “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” I received many emails from men eager to exercise these steps to confront the sinful fraud going on in their marriages.  I have published some of those men’s stories on this site over the past few years.  One of those men wrote me calling himself “M’s Husband” and his story was the inspiration for my article entitled “Sometimes “Sexual Interventions” are needed in a Christian marriage”.  In this article I began with this excerpt from his email:

“Been married two years and we are both Christian. Our marriage is good, outside the bedroom. We have no children. My wife consented to sex once in the last year and that was six months ago. She refuses any kind of counseling. We abstained prior to marriage and from the first day of our marriage, she has always avoided sex and never enjoyed it.”

Throughout the rest of the article I encouraged and admonished M’s Husband to have a sexual intervention in his wife’s life.  Over the last three years he has updated me on his situation with his wife as he has exercised the first 7 steps I gave to confront his wife’s sexual defraudment.   Both in his letter that I published and as well as other letters he sent to me since anyone can see the love he had for his wife and his wish that their marriage could be made whole.

The sad reality is, just as Israel refused to repent and turn from her unfaithfulness to God as her husband so too after 5 years of sexual defraudment M’s Husband’s wife has refused to repent and turn from her unfaithfulness to her husband.

M’s Husband Letter to his Church Exposing His Wife’s Sin

What follows are excerpts from emails I have received over the last month from M’s Husband.

“Here is the sad update on my marriage. You know that I have been struggling with her rejection since we were married and started writing to you in early 2016.

I think this will be the final act in the drama/tragedy unless she repents and goes to therapy for sex aversion. I spoke for a while with my pastor and he is in agreement with my action.

Here is the letter that I wrote to those in my church and others whom I know. She was served with divorce papers today, so I have made this letter public.  I am still keeping the door open for repentance and reconciliation, but I have strong terms that she must fill.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

MY LETTER TO MY CHURCH REGARDING MY WIFE’S SEXUAL DEFRAUDMENT

My wife, M is guilty of willful, continuous and unrepentant sexual immorality. After being deprived for 107 days, she threatened divorce if I continued to pursue my marital right with her. M proclaimed that she will never grant me my marital right. She has informed me that her decision is final and will not change.  She has forsaken her duty and obligation to our marriage since the first day we were married by depriving me, rejecting me, defrauding me and forsaking me of my marital right. (Matthew 5:32)

She reluctantly went to Christian marriage counseling with me last year for four months.  She rejected all the advice and suggestions that were given to her about chastity in marriage. Our marriage counselor gave up on us because M has an aversion to sex and strongly refused any and all kinds of professional help for that. I subsequently tried to get her to go to therapy and she strongly and angrily refused therapy and denied that she has a psychological aversion to sex.

I have been advised since late 2015 that divorce is a Biblical option. I had resisted that because I love M.  M has not gone to her church for six months and she has hardened her heart toward me and has broken her marriage vow of being “one flesh” with me (Genesis 2:24).

Because I do not see any change in that attitude, because of her proclamation to never fulfill her marriage vow again, because of her willful disregard for the commands of God (1 Corinthians 7:2-5, Proverbs 5:19) and because she continues to rebel against God and against me (Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Peter 3:5-6, Titus 2:5) I see no alternative except divorce. M and I have been nothing more than roommates as she has continuously violated the Biblical law of chastity in marriage (Hebrews 13:4). M has proclaimed to never fulfill the vow of marriage again.”

A few weeks after that letter, about a week ago, I received this update from M’s Husband:

Larry,

As we continue through the process of separation and divorce, M has started reading Christian blogs and sends me some of them with comments. Too bad she started now, it would have been constructive for her to do that prior to our separation.

Yesterday she sent me one and stated how unloving I was and that she had “done it all” with the communication that she had really gone the extra mile and tried to love me with all her heart. Since submission to me (Eph 5:22) and allowing me to have sex more than once a month (with her acting as if she is being raped with anger and resentment) was forgotten by her, I became angry and wrote her an angry response. It is possible, that I write my best letters when I am angry. I try never to sin in my anger.

Here is the letter that I wrote to her yesterday.

MY LETTER TO MY WIFE M AFTER FILING FOR DIVORCE

M,

I know that you tried to love me. But you decided that one aspect of our marriage would be under your own rules and not under God’s commands.

As your husband and leader of the family, I tried to lovingly bring you to the place that God commands a wife to be in the family. Submissive to me in all things as to the Lord himself.  But you rebelled. Sarah submitted and obeyed her husband and called him “lord.”  You decided to lead your husband in certain aspects of our marriage. Sinfully, Eve lead Adam. Jezebel lead Ahab. There were others in Scripture who did that. All with disastrous results.

Above all, you made your own rules for sex and rejected the commands of God. Rejecting the command to be “one flesh.” Rejecting the command to not deprive each other. Rejecting the command to satisfy me with your breasts ALWAYS. Think about that word always. The verse in Proverbs does not say sometimes. It does not say, when you feel like it. It does not even say once a week. It says ALWAYS. You denied your breast to me always. I wanted to give you thrills and pleasures through your breasts, but they were off limits to me ALWAYS.  But that verse is not speaking only about breasts. “The wife does not have authority over her own body.” Considering that verse makes breasts an analogy for your whole body. You are to satisfy me with your WHOLE BODY ALWAYS. Always…all the time. Kisses always. Kisses on your forehead, your nose, your neck, your throat, your mouth, your tongue, your vagina and everywhere else always. I have authority over your whole body ALWAYS.  Not once a week. ALWAY!

You rejected that….always. You rebelled, even as I was patient. For years I was patient. Then after being a “gatekeeper” you shut me down completely. Then you decided that your body, which I have authority over….always, will be off limits to me and by your decision and your rebellion you have commanded to me that we are going to have a sexless marriage, for the rest of our lives. The anger and resentment from you, during attempts at sex, broke my heart.

I did not marry you to be a roommate and I did not take a vow of celibacy when I married you. I loved you and I love Jesus. Paul wrote that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. I thought that if I could be satisfied with you, whenever I want you (which is what always means to me in this context) then I would not give in to the temptation to be satisfied anywhere but in your arms.  But you rebelled. You stopped wearing clothes that appealed to me. (Remember, authority over your body gives me authority to dress you in what appeals to me). You would not wear lingerie that I liked, ever. You would not drive us to secluded places for wonderful sessions in the back seat. Not necessarily sex but just deep kissing and petting would have thrilled me. I liked watching you pee (authority over your body) but you refused. I wanted to shower with you, but you rebelled and refused that. You brought anger and resentment to our marriage bed. You let me know that you wanted to be anywhere else but in our marriage bed. I could not comprehend as someone could ever choose a television and computer game over sex with her husband.

I expected sex every day of our honeymoon, starting with the second night (first night on Maui). You refused every time except once in Maui and once in Las Vegas. I NEEDED sex at least twice a week at home, but you made yourself a gatekeeper and pulled your body away from me, so that we had sex four times, in the year after we returned from our honeymoon. Then you made me live as an involuntary celibate husband for sixteen months from May, 2014 until November,. 2015 with a total of one time. That time in the hotel room in Daly City. Not even sex in Memphis, when we were there for four nights and we were married less than a year.

Soon after I realized that you were a gatekeeper I tried to have sex with you but was rejected. “But since sexual immorality is occurring,” I was tempted. My urge and prayer was to be satisfied in your arms every time but you drove me away. I could have waited for you to finish your day’s work but your gate was closed all week, when I needed you every day. So…….I gave in to the temptation. It was only as far as my computer and the porn would not refuse me. You refused me over and over but the porn never refused me. It was there for, to take the place of the wife that God gifted me but who refused me, though I have authority over her body.

My marital right was refused as you did not keep your obligation and duty as a wife. I was more important than your work. Your husband is your top priority. You were great at cooking for me and keeping my stomach full. If I ate all that you gave me, I would have gained weight. But your top priority is sex with your husband. Your father is not your priority, your husband is. You kept the fourth commandment but broke many commandments that a wife has to keep for her marriage. Now look where our marriage is.  You were usually unloving in the marriage bed. You were often angry and resentful in the marriage bed.

You tried to love me but you fell short in keeping the commands of a wife. I was patient but ran out of patience, particularly when you shut the gate on sex totally, completely and permanently on May 20, 2018.”

Anger and Discipline Because of Sin is Not Sinful

There are many weak and feminized Christians who would read the letters M’s Husband wrote saying that his acts toward his wife were unloving and not what God wants in a husband toward his wife.  But those who says such things are completely and utterly ignorant of what actual love in marriage is by God’s standard and they are utterly ignorant concerning the character of God as a husband.

The Bible tells us the following in the book of Ephesians:

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath”

Ephesians 4:26 

So right there in the text we can see there is such a thing as godly anger.  It is not a sin to be angry at sinful behavior in others.  God exhibits this anger toward sinful behavior throughout the Scriptures.

God brought all kinds of travesty on his wife Israel because of her disobedience before he finally had to divorce her for her failure to repent:

“6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord. 7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. 8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”

Amos 4:6-8 (KJV)

In the book of Revelation Christ warns his churches that he will remove their candlesticks if they failed to repent.  At the end of his threats toward his disobedient churches he states:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

I do want to add one word of caution about anger that I have told to M’s Husband.  As Christians we may have righteous anger toward sin as M’s Husband has toward his wife’s sin.  But we must always guard against our righteous anger turning into bitterness which then becomes sin.

The False Use of the Hosea Example

Many Christian preachers and teachers teach a false doctrine based on the following passage from Hosea:

“The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.”

Hosea 1:2 (KJV)

In this story Hosea takes on a whorish wife who leaves him to commit adultery and then he goes and takes her back.  Many Christian teachers and preachers today teach that this is showing God wants Christian husbands to tolerate and continue to stay married to their unfaithful wives while trying to softly win them back.  They teach men that living in sexless marriages with defrauding wives actually is honoring to God!

Other Christians will use a passage I have used often on this site to admonish us a Christians to suffer for Christ:

20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”

1 Peter 2:20-22 (KJV)

They will say that this means God calls men to suffer sexual defraudment from their wives and “take it patiently”.  I have previously written that yes we has husbands are called to suffer many kinds of abuse from our wives.  Our wives may disrespect us and disobey us in many ways.  Our wives may shame us by their behavior.  Now when I say “suffer” this does not mean we as husbands cannot or should not discipline our wives for these things.  I have written extensively on the discipline of wives in my article “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife“.  But when I say “suffer” I mean we may have to accept the fact that we are going to have to live with these sinful tendencies in our wives and we cannot look to divorce them because of them.

However there are certain sins we are NOT called to suffer from our wives and to do so makes a mockery of the model of marriage.  In fact the final remedy God allows for sexual immorality on the part of one’s wife is divorce.

When a man simply stands by as his wife commits sexual immorality against him either by having sex with other men or by refusing to have sex with him he shames himself and he shames the God who made him to image him.

In the book of Hosea rather then presenting himself as a passive husband quietly suffering his wife’s sexual immorality God shows himself as tough husband who divorces his wife and then threatens to strip her and publicly expose her after the divorce!

“2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;

3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. 5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.”

Hosea 2:2-5 (KJV)

Does the above passage sound like a husband who tolerated his wife’s unfaithfulness to him? The answer is absolutely not!

God said he “put away” or in other words divorced his wife Israel because of her whoredoms and adulteries. He clearly says “she is not my wife, neither am I her husband” meaning the divorce is now final.  Yet he still loves his ex-wife and will still bring even more punishments on her to break her from her sin so that one day she may return to him again.

I want you to zero in on a key phrase God says when he states “Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born”.  That is a powerful statement! God is saying he is going to shame Israel and expose Israel for her unfaithfulness to him.

This is what M’s Husband is doing with his wife.  He is following God’s example with his unfaithful wife Israel.  Yet the vast majority of Christians today, so woefully ignorant of the God of the Bible and so poisoned by feminism which has weakened the minds and resolve of men would condemn M’s Husband for his actions.

Let us pray that God give M’s Husband the resolve he needs to see this through to its completion.  Let us pray that God will send a revival in the hearts of Christian men to see that God calls us to model him as husbands in our marriages.

A big part of modeling God as husbands in our marriages is to model his discipline toward his wives (both Israel and the Church).  Men who tolerate willful and blatant sexual immorality in the form of sexual defraudment on the part of their wives are not modeling God as a husband to his people.

I pray that if you see your own weakness as a husband to confront your wife’s sexual defraudment that you will do so today as M’s Husband has done with his wife.

Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?

Most Christians, and for that matter most Americans, are woefully ignorant of any history beyond the last 20 years.    It might surprise many modern Americans to know that for a man to physically discipline his wife was historically considered by societies and courts to be “within the matrimonial privileges of the husband” up until the mid-19th century with rise of Feminism.

Below is a late 18th century account of an Irish Judge ruling on the issue of a man beating his wife with a “switch”:

In the London Quarterly Review of Legal cases Vol 136, published in 1874, we read of a case that is referenced from a century earlier which established the right of husbands to spank their wives with switches:

“A Similar doctrine had been laid down by Dr. Marmaduke Coghill, judge of the Prerogative Court in Ireland, who in a suit by a wife for divorce on the ground that her husband had given her a sound beating, delivered a well-considered opinion that, with such a switch as the one he held in his hand, moderate chastisement was within the matrimonial privileges of the husband”.

In 1850, Tennessee became the first state to outlaw wife beating in the United States.    Other states would soon follow in passing laws outlawing wife beating.

In the infamous 1871 Alabama case of Fulgham V. State the court ruled as follows concerning all physical discipline of a husband toward his wife:

“Since then, however, learning, with its humanizing influences, has made great progress, and morals and religion have made some progress with it. Therefore, a rod which may be drawn through the wedding ring is not now deemed necessary to teach the wife her duty and subjection to the husband. The husband is therefore not justified or allowed by law to use such a weapon, or any other, for her moderate correction. The wife is not to be considered as the husband’s slave. And the privilege, ancient though it be, to beat her with a stick, to pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law

Even after these rulings the practice of wife spanking continued to be common practice in America well into the 1950s.  It was portrayed in old films and TV shows right up to the 1970s.  It was during the 1960s and 1970s with second wave feminism that the “Domestic Violence” movement attempted to eradicate wife spanking completely from American society.  Wife spanking would of course return as as sexual type of fun, but it was never to be used as actual discipline by a husband toward his wife.

So as we can see from the rulings above, the practice of a husband physically disciplining his wife was considered an “ancient” privilege until western society began rejecting it in the mid-19th century.   So the question is were they right to do so?

The Bible, not Culture, Should Determine Our Morality

Even though wife spanking was practiced in most cultures for most of human history that does not automatically make it right.   Culture, or the majority view on whether something is right or wrong, does not make it right or wrong.  For us as believers we must measure every thing we think, do or say by the God’s standard of right and wrong which is the Bible.

When we look at the Bible and not our feelings or what our culture believes as our starting point it will literally transform our view of this world.  We will see things we never saw before.

The Bible tells us:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

So, we are told that we are not to be conformed to what our world or our culture thinks is right but rather we are to renew our minds according to what God thinks is right.  But then how do we know what the will of God is? How do we know what is moral by God’s standards?

“10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17:10-12 (KJV)

“4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 4:4 (KJV)

The answer to the question of knowing what is the will of God is to look to his Word found in the Bible.  We need to be as the Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily for the truth of God’s Word and once we find that truth we need to apply it to our lives no matter if it conflicts with our cultural upbringing or not.

What does the Bible say about Wife Spanking?

The Bible does not specifically speak to the situation of wife spanking and some believe because this is the case then wife spanking is forbidden.

But we must be careful when we come to the Bible and it does not address a specific case of behavior with either a positive example or a command.  In these cases where we do not have a situation specifically addressed we must be careful of two extremes.  One is the extreme that we can do anything we want if it is not specifically addressed and the other is if it is not specifically addressed than we cannot do it. Both extremes are wrong.

Instead we must look for general principles the Bible does teach that we can then apply to specific situations the Bible may not speak to.

For instance, the Bible does not say anything about phone sex and web cam sex.  So, would we say it is ok for a man’s wife to have virtual sex through a web cam or phone with another man because the Bible does not address this specific situation? Of course not.

Instead we would look to this general truth taught in the book of Hebrews:

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:4(KJV)

God only honors and allows sexual relations between a man and woman within the covenant of marriage.  We don’t have to physically touch one another to sexually relate to one another.  We can sexually relate to one through things like web cams, phones, texting and emailing as well.  Any type of sexual relation that is not that of a man and woman within the covenant of marriage is not honored by God, but rather it is condemned.

Another area the Bible does not specifically speak to is physical abuse in the family.  We don’t see the Bible specifically condemning men punching their wives or children in the face but we have this condemnation of masters toward their male and female slaves:

“26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”

Exodus 21:26-27 (KJV)

How would a person get their tooth knocked out or their eye permanently damaged? In most cases it would be their master either punching them in the face or shoving them to the ground where they knocked their head on something causing the injuring.  This tells us God does not approve of punching and shoving as acts of discipline.

So, while this passage in Exodus 21:26-27 does not specifically speak to marriage we can apply this as a general truth to marriage and the family.  If God condemns masters doing these things to their slaves then he certainly condemns husbands and fathers doing these things to their wives and children who have more rights under God’s law than slaves.

Now we need to apply this same method of searching the Scriptures to this area of wife spanking.

Two Biblical Principles That Allow for Wife Spanking

While the Bible does not specifically speak to wife spanking (either specifically allowing it or specifically condemning it) we must ask the question “Are there general principles of the Scriptures that would speak to this issue?” The answer is YES.

Principle #1 – Husbands Have a Right and Responsibility to Discipline their Wives

The Bible tells us that husbands are the head of their wives “as Christ is the head of the Church”:

“23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

Not only are husbands the head of their wives as Christ is the head of the Church but God created marriage to model the relationship of Christ to his Church.  Husbands are to model Christ’s headship over his Church by loving their wives as Christ loves the Church.  One of the primary ways in which Christ loves his Church is in his spiritual washing of her:

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

This spiritual washing by Christ of the spots and wrinkles of his Church is discipline.  Christ alludes to this same concept in the book of Revelation after rebuking his seven Churches:

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

So, it is clear from the Scriptures that if a husband is modeling the relationship of Christ to his Church with his wife he has not only the right, but also the responsibility of spiritual disciplining his wife.

Principle #2 – God Allows Physical Punishment As A Form Of Discipline

The Bible tells us that God approves physical punishment as a form of discipline in the following passages:

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)

“13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.”

Proverbs 23:13-14 (KJV)

“If there be a controversy between men, and they come unto judgment, that the judges may judge them; then they shall justify the righteous, and condemn the wicked. 2 And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. 3 Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee.”

Deuteronomy 25:1-3 (KJV)

“Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.”

Proverbs 19:29 (KJV)

“A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.”

Proverbs 26:3 (KJV)

As we can see from these passages of the Scripture – not only is physical discipline approved by God for children but it is also approved by God for adults.

When we take these two Biblical principles together we see that God has given men both the right and responsibility to discipline their wives and God approves of physical discipline for adults.  Therefore, we can rightly conclude from these two Biblical truths that God allows men to spank their wives.

Objections to Wife Spanking

The primary objection to wife spanking is that such an action infantilizes women, or in other words it treats women as children.  I receive comments like this one I did today all the time:

“Women are no more sinful than men, no less intelligent and shouldn’t be treated like naughty children. If a husband has authority to discipline his wife than a wife should have authority to discipline her husband. They should treat each other with love and fairness. Both are adults; none is a lesser being. A marriage should be a loving partnership.”

There are several false presuppositions in the statement above.

Spanking no more infantilizes a woman than a speeding ticket from a police officer infantilizes a man. Adults can and do discipline other adults all the time.

But some will answer my police officer giving a ticket analogy with “a speeding ticket is a piece of paper and the officer is not bending you over his knee and spanking you”.  The reason for this kind of answer is because in our modern culture we look on any type of physical punishment with disdain.  We think physical punishment, especially toward adults is “uncivilized”.  But such thinking is at odds with the Bible.

Another problem we have is that we think wives are immune from discipline in the home because our culture teaches the false ideology of partnership marriage. Discipline in the home we are told is strictly reserved for children.  So it is easy to understand with these false beliefs about physical punishment and discipline how many people might think wife spanking infantilizes women.

However, the Bible makes it clear in passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 and I Peter 3:1-7 that marriage is not a “partnership” but rather a patriarchy.  It does not get any clearer than “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23).

The fact that “both are adults; none is a lesser being” or in other words that both husbands and wives are fully mature human beings is irrelevant.

Does it matter that at my job my boss is an adult and I am adult? The fact is the owner of my company who is an adult has put my boss whose is an adult in charge of me an adult.  It does not even mean that my boss is necessarily smarter than me.  It does not mean I am less of a human being than my boss but rather it means I have a lesser POSITION than my boss.

And the fact is that the Bible is clear that as Christ is the head of the Church so too God the owner of humanity has put male human beings in charge of female human beings in marriage.  It really is that simple.

I also agree that “Women are no more sinful than men” but that is not why God has placed men in charge of women.  Read I Corinthians 11:1-16 and Ephesians 5:22-33.  Really read it.  These passages show it was no accident and it was not because of sin or God just rolling some cosmic dice that he placed men over women in marriage.  These passages show that God created women and the institution of marriage to help men fully image God as husbands and fathers.

Conclusion

God made man to image him and by doing so bring him glory (I Corinthians 11:7).  In order to help man fully image God’s attributes as a husband and father he created woman and by extension marriage for man (I Corinthians 7:9).  God created marriage to create a model of the relationship of God to his people and in the New Testament era of Christ to his Church (Ephesians 5:22-33). Just as Christ loved his Church by giving himself up for her to wash her spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God so too husbands are called to wash their wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles, in others words they are called to discipline their wives (Ephesians 5:25-27 & Revelation 3:19).

No Scriptural principle or command forbids a man from using physical discipline as method of discipline with his wife. In fact, the Scriptures show God allows physical punishment of adults as a form of discipline in Deuteronomy 25:1-3, Proverbs 19:29 and Proverbs 26:3.

I have received many emails over the years from Christian women who willingly allow their husbands to use spanking as a form of discipline. What they have in common is that they have told me this is a humbling experience for them and reminds them of two things.  It reminds them of their position before their husband that God has placed them in.  It also reminds them that their husband truly loves them as Christ said of his Churches in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

I know a lot of other women who truly believe in Biblical gender roles and try very much to submit to their husband’s leadership and even non-physical discipline.  But they struggle with this concept of wife spanking because in our modern culture spanking is only associated with children so they believe it is a husband treating his wife as his child instead of his wife.

I would encourage such women to reconsider these thoughts and not conform their thinking to the culture they have been raised in.  I would encourage these Christian women to renew their minds according to the Word of God.

A Word of Caution to Christian Men Regarding Wife Spanking

But I want to close this with some words of caution on this subject of wife spanking.

Am I saying a man can do anything he wants to his wife and call it physical discipline? Absolutely not! See my article on “What Does The Bible Say About Abuse?” for more on that subject.

But even if wife spanking is not practiced in an abusive way we as Christian husbands need to exercise caution in this area. I have stated multiple times in this article that the Scriptures show that husbands have that right and responsibility to discipline their wives.  But as in many other areas in life there is more than one way to skin a cat.  The Bible does not command men that the only way they may discipline their wives is through spanking.

We as Christian husbands who are trying to being faithful to God by fully exercising Biblical gender roles need to realize there is a great persecution going on against God’s design of gender roles and those who would exercise them.  I believe that because of the “present distress” (1 Corinthians 7:26), in other words the persecution of those who would fully exercise all their rights under the doctrines of Biblical gender roles, that we should do as Paul did and forgo exercising some of those rights (1 Corinthians 9:1-15).

I am not in any way saying we as Christian husbands should forego exercising our spiritual headship over our wives including disciplining them. In fact, if we don’t discipline our wives in one way or the other we are failing to image Christ in his relationship with his Church.  Christ does not leave his church uncorrected or undisciplined and neither should we as husbands leave our wives uncorrected or undisciplined.  But there are non-physical ways that we can discipline our wives.  See my article “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” for non-physical ways that you can still exercise this right and responsibility as a Christian husband.

I think in this area of wife spanking that we as Christian husbands need to heed Christ’s admonition in Matthew 10:16 to be wise as serpents.  While we do not need our wife’s consent to spank her anymore than we need her consent to discipline in her in any other way we need to realize that the wicked culture we live in is completely hostile to the teachings and exercise of Biblical gender roles. If you were to try and physically force your wife to receive a spanking you may accidentally cause serious harm to her in the process of forcing her to receive a spanking. Even if you can physically force her to receive a spanking without bringing any harm to her the fact remains under our legal system you could be arrested and brought up on charges if she were to report you.

So, my final word on this subject is this.  Wife spanking is within the rights that God has granted to a husband as his wife’s spiritual head.  I would never condemn any man for engaging in wife spanking as long as he did not engage in truly abusive physical behavior toward her.  If wife spanking is done in a loving and controlled manner as all discipline should be done then this is holy and righteous before God.

Note: This article has been completely rewritten as of February 18, 2018 from it original posting on September 20, 2016.  Because of this I have removed the previous comments and invite new comments on this updated version of the article.

Do Christian wives have to submit to Bondage and Sadomasochism requests from their husbands?

“My husband has begun to practice your “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” plan on me because I will not participate in the BDSM activities that he desires. I want to have sex with him! Just not with BDSM.” – This is part of an email I received from a Christian wife who calls herself Olivia.

So is refusal to participate in BDSM activities as a form of sexual foreplay the same as sexually denying one’s spouse?

What is BDSM?

This is the definition of BDSM according to Wikipedia:

“The term BDSM is first recorded in a Usenet posting from 1991, and is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism).”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BDSM

This is another definition of Bondage from Wikipedia:

“Bondage is the practice of consentually tying, binding, or restraining a partner for erotic, aesthetic, and/or somatosensory stimulation. Rope, cuffs, bondage tape, self-adhering bandage, or other restraints may be used for this purpose.

Bondage itself does not necessarily imply sadomasochism. Bondage may be used as an end into itself, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage. It may also be used as a part of sex or in conjunction with other BDSM activities. The letter “B” in the acronym “BDSM” comes from the word “bondage”. Sexuality and erotica are an important aspect in bondage, but are often not the end in itself. Aesthetics also plays an important role in bondage.

A common reason for the active partner to tie up their partner is so both may gain pleasure from the restrained partner’s submission and the feeling of the temporary transfer of control and power. For sadomasochistic people, bondage is often used as a means to an end, where the restrained partner is more accessible to other sadomasochistic behaviour. However, bondage can also be used for its own sake. The restrained partner can derive tactile pleasure from the feeling of helplessness and immobility, and the active partner can derive visual pleasure and satisfaction from seeing their partner tied up.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondage_(BDSM)

So in summary BDSM is when one person consensually allows themselves to be tied up and possibly punished by another person and may even endure physical pain either for their own pleasure or for someone else’s pleasure. BDSM may or may not be used as foreplay for sex.

Before I give my response to Olivia’s dilemma here is her full statement to me.

Olivia’s Story

“BGR,

My husband has begun to practice your “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” plan on me because I will not participate in the BDSM activities that he desires. I want to have sex with him! Just not with BDSM. He says my unwillingness to submit to BDSM practices is a form of sexual denial and I’m not fulfilling my Christian duty if I don’t do this for him. We have been married for 18 years. I have followed his desires and tried to even initiate sex for all our 18 years of marriage. I even tried the BDSM stuff a few times to see if I could do it. I hate it! Every possible scenario. Sex doesn’t happen until he has finished “the game”. I’m done!

I want a normal (whatever that is) sex life. No more “games”. Just us in the bedroom with nothing but skin. Mad passionate sex! Yank each other’s clothes off, can’t wait to touch you, sex – which has never happened. I’m going through menopause, he says I don’t have any sexual desires right now. I do, it’s just not what he wants. I have prayed, cried out to God for wisdom, we went to marriage counseling, nothing has changed. And now he sends me links to your site and gives me the ultimatum.

He says his “needs” aren’t being met and I’m sexually unavailable for him. I’ve already gone through the steps you have given on what to do. Talked with our pastor (with him), counseling, confront him, pray. I’m not an outspoken kind of person, just someone who is trying to save” her marriage. He is a good man, he has some control issues, but most of his actions are from a Godly heart. Any help would be great.”

My Response to Olivia and the issue of BDSM as it relates to Christians

Requests for BDSM come not only from some husbands as is the case in Olivia’s story, but sometimes they actually come from Christian wives too.  I know of a Christian man whose wife left if him for another man because he refused to practice BDSM as sexual foreplay.  She wanted to be tied up and gagged with a ball in her mouth and she wanted to act out rape fantasies with him. She wanted him to be rough with her and choke her during sex.  He thought this was disgusting and refused to act out these fantasies with her.  So she found another man who would and eventually left her husband for that man.

So how should a Christian husband or wife respond to requests for BDSM from their spouse? I believe the answers are clear when we understand the Biblical associations of bondage and pain.

Christians should not seek pleasure through bondage and pain

The Bible associates bondage and pain with this world that has been corrupted with sin.

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Romans 8:21 (KJV)

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Galatians 4:9 (KJV)

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (NASB)

No Christian ought to take pleasure from being bound or binding someone else. No Christian out to take pleasure from causing themselves pain or causing pain to others.

Christians should embrace liberty and healing

Rather than seeking enjoyment through bondage and pain, Christians should seek freedom and healing both for themselves and those around them.

“18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)

 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:21 (KJV)

What about fluffy handcuffs and silk ties?

When I talk about Christians not submitting themselves to bondage for sexual pleasure I am not talking about a wife playfully taking some clothes and tying her own hands around the bedpost or using fluffy handcuffs that she can easily get out of it.  These are playful things.  Just check out those links above and you will see the disgusting types of bondage activities I am talking about (warning some images on Wikipedia regarding BDSM are graphic).

What if my spouse refuses to have sex with me without BDSM?

I am not sure but I believe this may be the case with Olivia. If your spouse refuses to have sex unless you engage in BDSM foreplay then it is they who are in fact sexually denying you.  If this is the case and you are a husband I suggest you follow the steps outlined in my article “8 Steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”.  If you are a wife and this is the case then I suggest you follow the steps outlined in my article “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal”.

Get counseling for people who have BDSM fetishes

If your spouse is willing to –encourage them to seek out a good Biblical Christian counselor who can help them overcome these sinful desires.  In many ways people who have BDSM desires are really no different than those who have homosexual or bisexual desires.  These desires are all sinful corruptions of the natures that God gave us.

“If you don’t think wife’s can refuse sex to their husbands you must be into BDSM!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have been accused in emails of being a person who enjoys BDSM with my wife because of my view that a wife cannot sexually refuse her husband. Let me be perfectly clear.  I have never nor will I ever engage in BDSM practices with my wife.

People write me on almost a daily basis with statements like “Why would any man want to have sex with a woman who does not want to have sex with him?” My answer to them is simple – no normal man wants his wife to be refusing him for sex.  No normal man enjoys sex with his wife when she does it grudgingly in the way he enjoys it when she gives herself freely to him. But he realizes that sex must occur in marriage for many reasons even when his wife may not be in the mood.  This is not the optimal situation and this is not what a loving husband wants.

But let me be clear that a husband accepting his wife’s grudging and reluctant consent to sex and then engaging in sex with her under those conditions is not the same as a man who takes pleasure in forcing BDSM activities on his wife. 

In the first case – the husband gets no pleasure from acting against his wife’s will, in the second case the majority of the husband’s pleasure actually comes from acting against his wife’s will.

And just for all the rape accusers out there.  When I say a husband “acting against his wife’s will” I am talking about her mood and desire for sex.  I have said it repeatedly on this site that while I do not believe that Biblically speaking there is such a thing as “marital rape” I do believe that a husband who physically forces himself sexually on his wife is engaging in physical abuse and he is abusing the authority God have given him over his wife.  When I say a husband is “acting against his wife’s will” in the first case – it is where she reluctantly or grudgingly gives CONSENT to sexual relations, but make no mistake consent is given.

And sorry rape accusers – consent does not have to be “enthusiastic consent” or its rape as you like to say.   Grownups realize that whether it is comes to sex, or going to our jobs or doing many other things in life – sometimes we consent do doing things unenthusiastically because we know we should even though we don’t feel like it.

Conclusion

If your spouse tries to do what Oliva’s husband has done and attempts to say you are sexually denying them because you refuse to participate in BDSM activities as foreplay to sex you need to let them know your conviction that these acts violate your conscious and you feel that God would not want you as a Christian participating in them. Be sure to be loving when you do this.  Especially if you are a wife you need to really do this with a great deal of respect and reference for your husband.

What Olivia so longs for with her husband – “Just us in the bedroom with nothing but skin. Mad passionate sex! Yank each other’s clothes off, can’t wait to touch you, sex” is a desire that has been given to her by God and she should feel no shame in that. Her husband on the other hand, needs to realize that his desires for BDSM foreplay with his wife are not desires that God gave him.  They are a corruption of the original nature God gave him and he needs to recognize them as such and repent.  He most likely needs to seek out a Biblical Christian counselor to help him to deal with these sinful desires to cultivate a natural sexual desire for his wife as she has natural sexual desire for him.

If her husband refuses to have sex with her until she agrees to BDSM as foreplay to sex then she practice the steps outlined in my article “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal”.

And just a closing note to husbands like Olivia’s. Never on this site have I ever told men they can divorce their wives for sexual performance issues – only sexual denial.  Those are completely different things.  I have men all the time writing me asking me things like “If my wife won’t perform oral sex on me can I divorce her for sexual refusal” and I always answer them with a resounding NO!

Many men and women may lack in the sexual performance area but just because your spouse won’t perform sexual acts (outside of intercourse) does not mean you can leave them.  You need to first examine if what you are asking for is Biblically acceptable sexual behavior. If it is then speak with them gently about it.  If they refuse then pray for them.

In other words as Christian husbands we should NOT punish our wives because they won’t do certain things like wear lingerie, act in sexy ways toward us or perform oral sex on us.  

However I do believe that we can use positive reinforcement to encourage our wives to act outside their comfort zones in the area of sexual performance.  Basically you let your wife see by your actions (not your words) that when she “steps it up” in the bedroom by doing things outside her comfort zone that in response you “step it up” outside the bedroom by doing extra nice things for her.

7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife

Biblically speaking all those who are under various authorities can and should be disciplined by those authorities. The husband wife relationship is no exception to this rule. So how should a Christian husband go about his duty of disciplining his wife whom God has placed under his authority? This is a question that we will seek to answer here.

When we hear the word discipline in the context of wives this can be a scary term for many. It invokes images of husbands beating their wives and knocking them around or locking them in closets. It might invoke images of husbands standing over their wives yelling and screaming at them and using all kinds of obscenities. This is not the type of discipline that we are talking about in a Biblical context. Men who behave in such ways will answer to God for this abusive treatment of their wives.

Arguments against the discipline of wives by their husbands

Before we can get into how to discipline your wife as a Christian husband we need to address the arguments against any form of discipline by husbands toward their wives.

Argument #1 A Partner cannot discipline their other partner

The first and most common argument against Christian husband’s disciplining their wives is the belief that a husband and wife are equal partners in marriage. The Bible does not show marriage as a partnership, but rather a Patriarchy (male lead hierarchy). See my post “Is Marriage a Partnership or a Patriarchy?” for all the Scriptures that present marriage as a Patriarchy and not a partnership.

Argument #2 Discipline infantilizes a wife

Some would argue that if a man disciplines his wife in any way that this is treating her (an adult) as a child. This could not be further from the truth. The discipline of a wife is certainly different than that of a child and we will discuss that later in this post.

But discipline is something that applies to adults as well as children. Governments have the power to discipline their adult citizens, military commanders have the ability to discipline adults under their command, Churches have the power to discipline their adult members, and employers have the right to discipline their adult employees. Discipline applies to all of us as adults – both men and women.

No one would argue against discipline in these other spheres of authority or say that it infantilizes these adults.   Certainly there is also the potential to abuse one’s authority and discipline in wrong ways, but the exercise of discipline itself is not wrong, only the abuse of it is.

Argument #3 A wife’s submission to her husband is voluntary, therefore he cannot discipline her

Even some Christian complementarians and others who believe in male headship in marriage reject the husband’s right and responsibility to discipline his wife. They do so based on their belief that while a wife is commanded by God to submit to her husband, this is a voluntary submission on her part and cannot be compelled from her husband.

So in their reasoning if a husband cannot compel his wife’s submission, he cannot discipline her for failure to submit to his leadership. I have shown how the Scriptures refute the idea that a wife’s submission is voluntary but rather they show that her submission is mandatory and synonymous with obedience. See my previous post “Should a Christian husband make his wife submit?” for more on this subject.

Argument #4 Christ does not discipline his bride

Some Christians, both complementarians and egalitarians, have attempted to argue that since we have no examples of Christ disciplining his bride (which is the Church) that husbands ought not to discipline their wives. This is actually not true.

Throughout the Scriptures God pictures his relationship with his people in two primary ways. The Bible pictures our relationship with God as individuals as that of a Father and his children. The Bible pictures God’s relationship with his people as a group as that of a husband and a wife with God being the husband and the people of God being his wife.

In the Old Testament God made a covenant with and married Israel as a nation (Ezekiel 16:1-14). Later he shows he had to divorce Israel because she failed to repent of her wicked ways and return to him (Jeremiah 3:8) despite the discipline that he had brought on Israel.

In the New Testament God has a new bride which is foretold in the Old Testament prophecies. But the Church (which a new body compromised of the remnant of Israel and Gentile believers) is pictured as bride that is betrothed to her husband which is Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 11:2). The marriage and consummation of the Church with Christ is seen in the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation 19:9.

Even as a betrothed bride, Christ disciplined his Church through his Apostles who acted as the protector and guides of his bride.

“I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.” – II Corinthians 11:2 (NIV)

“What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?” – I Corinthians 4:21 (NIV)

When speaking to his seven churches in Revelation (chapters 2 & 3) Christ rebukes and disciplines all but one because of their failings and Christ says this to his churches:

“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.” – Revelation 3:19 (NIV)

So my point in all this is – Those who say God does not discipline his bride are ignoring passages of Scripture that show both in his previous marriage to Israel as well as his current betrothal to the Church that he in fact does discipline his bride.

My position on wife spanking

While I do not support all the methods prescribed by Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD) movement (a group that advocates for wife spanking and other physical discipline toward wives) I do not think wife spanking by itself is sinful.  I do not practice this myself at this time with my wife.   But I do know some godly Christian couples that use this in their marriage with the wife’s consent.  I have written an entire article on this subject that you can read “Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?

Different Types of Discipline for Different Spheres of Authority

The discipline from each authority that God has established looks very different. The types of discipline that a government can bring on its citizens looks very different than the discipline that church authorities can bring on their members. The discipline of an employer toward his employees looks very different than the discipline of parents toward their children. In the same way a husband’s discipline toward his wife will look different that the discipline used in these other spheres of authority.

But what all these spheres of authority have in common is this:

In every sphere of authority God has established that the authority has not only the right, but the duty to discipline those under their authority.

Discipline makes us a better person

The Bible has a lot to say about discipline. These are just a few of those passages.

“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.” – Proverbs 10:17 (NIV)

“Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.” – Proverbs 13:18 (NIV)

“Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.” – Proverbs 15:32 (NIV)

Discipline should be measured

“I am with you and will save you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’” – Jeremiah 30:11 (NIV)

As husbands our discipline should always start off gently and then move toward harder forms of discipline. So for instance, if your wife rarely speaks in a disrespectful or demeaning tone to you then if she slips up gently let her know that her tone was demeaning or disrespectful. If she apologizes then no further action is needed.

But what if your wife is acting defiant or publicly speaks disrespectfully toward you as her husband? In this case a Christian husband may be compelled to use harder forms of discipline.

Discipline is about holiness

Christ did not sacrifice himself for his bride (the Church) in order for her to follow her own selfish ways, but rather he sacrificed himself to make her holy.

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

– Ephesians 5:25-27(KJV)

As we previously mentioned God says this to his churches in Revelation:

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

No man who truly loves his wife takes pleasure in disciplining her. We as Christian’s husbands naturally want to see our wives happy we don’t want to rock the boat needlessly. This is why discipline on the part of a husband toward his wife if he is truly acting in love is a sacrifice on his part. It saddens him to have to take these measures with his wife whom he loves.

Discipline is about maintaining Order

I think the comparison of the family structure to military ranks is both Biblical as hupotasso (the Biblical term for submission in marriage) is a military term and it helps us to understand the discipline in the home as well.

God is like our General (4 star). In the home the husband would be like a Lieutenant General (3 star), and the wife would be like a Major General (2 star). The children would be the enlisted men. Imagine that a 4 star General came along and saw a 2 star General publically degrading her 3 star General in front of other officers or the enlisted men. What do you think the response would be from that 4 star General?

That 4 star General would first scold the 2 star General for her disrespect and then he would probably scold the 3 star General for allowing the disrespect to go on. It is the same with God as he looks at the relationships of husbands and wives.

He has given us different positions and we are to exercise and play out those parts he has given us. As a Christian husband you cannot allow your wife’s demeaning or disrespectful behavior to go unchecked because it is an affront to God’s established order. You are responsible for teaching both your wife and your children the ways of God. You are equally responsible for disciplining your wife and children when they rebel against God’s ways.

So now that we have addressed the arguments against a Christian husband disciplining his wife as well as the intended purpose of a husband disciplining his wife we can now look at practical examples of how a Christian husband can discipline his wife.

7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife

Discipline toward your wife should always start with the gentlest approach first and only move toward harder forms of discipline if the gentle approach does not yield results. Warnings should always be given before harder types of discipline are implemented. You should always pray and seek the Lord’s guidance before bringing these types of discipline on his wife.

Here are 7 ways you can discipline your wife if a gentle rebuke does not work:

#1 For Disrespect

If your wife is speaking in disrespectful and demeaning ways in public in front of others (whether this is toward you or others) this might require a public rebuke of her tone and actions.

#2 For Overspending

If your wife is spending money against your wishes – this may require confiscation of her credit cards and ATM cards. Of course this can be done in measured amounts. Perhaps you might just take away one or two cards that she has abused and if her spending continues to get out of control you would move toward removing the ATM card as well. This does not necessarily mean she would have no money, but you could give her a cash allowance each week.

#3 For failing to care for your children or contradicting your authority with your children

If your wife is failing to do her duties as a mother toward your children or she is continuing to contradict your authority with the children then perhaps you might put off buying that new car for her and have her continue driving her older car for a while as long as it is safe for her to drive. If you have to purchase another car – you could downgrade the type of car she will be able to get or buy her a used one instead. Maybe you put off the purchase of that new dishwasher she has been wanting.

#4 For too much TV watching

If your wife is watching too much TV you could cancel the cable or satellite TV and just have antenna service.

#5 For too much online time

If your wife is spending too much time online (like Facebook or other social outlets or online shopping) then if she does not respond to your warnings about this you could change your internet code on your router so that her devices will not have access to the internet.

#6 For neglect of the home

Maybe your wife is not watching too much TV or spending too much time online but she is still neglectful toward her duties in your home. If your wife is being neglectful of her duties to care for your home then you might put off that new living room furniture set you have been talking about or those new window dressings she has been wanting.

#7 For sexual denial

If your wife is un-submissive in the sexual arena and chronically denies your sexual advances (without legitimate medical or psychological reasons for doing so) then perhaps that upcoming trip you were going to take her on gets canceled. Maybe that wardrobe upgrade your wife was looking forward to gets downsized or canceled. The Bible says a man has to supply his wife with clothing, but it does not say it has to be the expensive clothing she wants!

Some of these disciplinary procedures may affect the family as a whole, but sometimes it is necessary to do this in an attempt to bring your wife to repentance.

These are just some examples of non-abusive ways that a Christian husband can discipline his wife in a way that honors God and his design for the home.

Conclusion

God not only give husbands the power to discipline their wives, but he also gives them to the duty to do this. Men should not discipline their wives out some sort of power trip or prideful arrogance. Instead men should discipline their wives from a place of love in order to bring about holiness and order in their homes. Even if a wife rejects her husband’s discipline as Israel did God as her husband – he should still discipline her and pray that God will bring his wife to repentance.

Update 10/20/2015

Answers to readers questions

What if a wife works and makes her own money or even makes more money than her husband?

Many have emailed and asked me “What if a wife works and makes her own money or even makes more money than her husband – wouldn’t that take the teeth out of most of these types of discipline?”

Discipline is not about controlling someone and physically forcing a person to do a certain thing. Discipline is about trying to motivate someone to choose to do the right thing.  I have teenage sons and they are both bigger than me now. I gave up trying to physically make them do anything many years ago.

Now I discipline them through very similar discipline to that which I could use with my wife.  I take away their laptops sometimes for a few days, other times I take away their cell phones for a few days.  Now could my son’s physically refuse to hand over things, or work around any punishment I gave them? Absolutely.

But my sons submit to my discipline because as angry and rebellious as they can be at times, they know that God has placed me over them to look out for their spiritual and physical good and they know I love them.

I hear from women all the time – “well if you took this away, I would just do this…and so on”.  Yes whether they be young adults (teens) or older adults we all must decide if we will submit to and learn from discipline what the person in authority is trying to teach us.

Wives must choose to submit to discipline – there is no question.  I am not saying it is optional or voluntary, God requires women to submit to the discipline of their husbands. But a husband cannot physically control his wife or her actions.

However just because a husband cannot physically control his wife, he is still required to do as much as is in his power to do as her husband to bring discipline into her life that will show her the right path.  Now she can either rebel against that discipline and try and go around it, or she can learn the lesson that is meant to be learned by the discipline.

When a husband has done everything he can do as his wife’s immediate authority, then he leaves her in the hands of her higher authority which is God himself.

One last thing on the area of finances.  Yes your wife might work.  Yes she may make more money than you. But if she is mishandling the money you have an obligation to a least separate your money from hers so she will not be able to use it for sinful or reckless purposes.

But won’t discipline attempts by a husband toward his wife ultimately lead to divorce?

Other husbands have emailed in and asked “But won’t these types of discipline ultimately lead to divorce?”

Divorce is always a very real possibility in any marriage, whether discipline takes place or not.

But God does not call us as husbands to abdicate our role as the head of our wives in order to keep our marriage together at all costs. Christ did not sacrifice himself for his church to enable her sin, but to make her holy.

If you allow your wife to believe the threat of divorce will get you to let her continue in whatever sinful behavior she is doing she will use it every time.

In fact the two most powerful tools in the hands of most modern rebellious wives is that of the threat of divorce or the removal of sex.

There are many men in American and western cultures that have been brought to their knees in submission to their wives using one or a combination of these two evil weapons.

Now on the threat of divorce – threats of divorce are not always evil.  If a woman threatens to divorce her husband because he is physically abusing her or her children, or because he refuses to work or provide for his family she is Biblically justified in doing so (there are other valid reasons for divorce as well).

But if she threatens divorce because of unbiblical reasons this makes the threat of divorce a weapon of evil.

At the end of the day you as a husband must stand against sin in your home and your marriage regardless of what consequences may come.  Your wife will then be left with the choice of whether she will rebel against your discipline (and therefore against God’s authority) or she will submit to your discipline and learn from it and the fruit of it will be righteousness in her life.

“Can’t you just talk to your wife like an adult? What is all the need for this discipline stuff?”

I have received many variations of this question since I first posted this article. The answer to that question if you actually read this post is that a husband should always speak to his wife gently at first.

So for instance if a husband thinks his wife is mishandling the credit cards his first action is not to take away the cards.  It is to first speak with her gently.

With many Christian wives the gentle approach is all that is needed.

But are we so naïve to think that every wife will respond to these gently conversations and turn from her sinful behavior, whatever that may be? Is there no such thing as an unrepentant and rebellious sinful wife who tells her husband “where he can stick it” anytime he brings things to her attention?

Many Christians and even non-Christians would have us to believe that wives who do the things I mentioned above do not exist.  The existence of these wives is equivalent to big foot, it’s just a myth in their view.

Others will acknowledge the existence of these kinds of women. But many Christians will say that all a man can do is pray for his unrepentant wife, he is not allowed by God to bring any kind of discipline into her life.  I believe in the power of prayer, and a husband should always pray about discipline he is bringing into his wife’s life.

But if you asked these same Christians if they had a rebellious child or teen if they should do nothing and just pray about it – they would have a very different answer.  The reason is because many Christians have made this “carve out” this special class for wives where they are immune to discipline.

Even a husband is not immune to discipline. But rather his discipline comes from the Church or from civil authorities.  For instance if a wife is being physically abused by her husband she has every Biblical right to go to her husband’s authorities in the Church and in civil government to seek help and for them to discipline him.

Update 3/29/2016

What if finances are tight is there any other way a wife can disciplined?

As of today, this post by itself as received almost half a million views since I first published it back in October 2015. I have had countless emails from Christian men asking me to clarify things as well as address their specific situations.

One of the issues that has been raised is how can a man discipline his wife if the finances are tight? What if you are living on a shoe string budget and there is no money for the niceties she may be wanting or what if as I previously mentioned she works and has her own money to do what she wants?

The answer Christian husbands is TIME. Really this could be considered “the 8th way to discipline your wife”. Most women want three things from their husbands – money, time and tokens of affection.  Some women will go without the money, others may even go without the tokens of affection (flowers, jewelry, and other gifts). But few women except for those who married only for money will go without their husband’s time.

So no matter how poor you are Christian husband – in most cases you have a precious and costly item to your wife in the form of your time.  Certainly God wants you to spend time with your wife. In Deuteronomy 24:5 we read that newlywed men were not to go away to war or for any kind of business for the first year of their marriage in order to “cheer up” or as some translations render it “make happy” their wives. I Peter 3:7 tells men to “dwell with their wives according to knowledge” – You can do this without spending some time with her.

I say all this to say that in no way am I saying that you can completely ignore your wife as a form of discipline.  One wrong does not make another wrong right. But you can use discretion with your time.  If you give your wife 5 hours of your free time a week for just the two of you cut it back to 3 hours.  Perhaps there are some TV shows you watch with you wife that you have zero interest in but you just watch them to spend some time with her.  Stop doing this.  There may be upgrades around the house that require more of your time than your money. Perhaps it is repainting rooms.  Leave handy man tasks alone unless they are absolutely necessary.

My point is you know your wife best and where she wants your time – use those times to show her your displeasure in her wrong actions.  You would be surprised at how quickly just the removal of some of your time with her will get the gears in her brain running.