Appeasement is Never an Option for Christian Husbands

What follows is an email I received from a man named Mark.

“BGR- I have been reading your articles for about two years now. Been married to my wife over 16 years and we have children together, our oldest of which is a teenager.  My background includes being raised in the church and my father was a pastor. For the first 14 years of our marriage I pretty much went along with whatever my wife wanted with a few times where I went against what she wanted.  And now let me share what my wife did on the occasions when I did something she was opposed to.

She fought me over career moves that I deemed were necessary; she didn’t work at all and so I was the main and only provider. When we did move away every day, she would just complain about being there and tell me to take her home. Every. Day.  After a year and a half of hearing it I finally did. It cost me tens of thousands of dollars in moving fees and lost wages.

I have tried to reason with her in several different ways but she simply would not hear it.  It was her way or no way.  At times I even withdrew myself and gave her the silent treatment which you have recently wrote on.  She was not having that either.  Her response to my silent treatment toward her was to literally go nuts and start throwing things around the house.

On one specific occasion when I refused to speak to her, she literally (and I mean literally as in the sense it is supposed to be used, not metaphorically) destroyed the house. Pulled shelves down. Ripped up books. When that didn’t work, she attacked me. I mean physically. I ended up calling the police after I couldn’t take it and could feel that I was starting to get angry. She got in her car and drove away before they got there and they did nothing but laugh at me. If it was the other way around, I’d have been hauled off in handcuffs. That isn’t the only time but the time I called the police which only taught me not to since they’ll do nothing.

And then of course there are the problems we have had with sex over most of our 16-year marriage.  At one point we had sex only 8 times over 15 MONTHS. She has told me on several occasions that she has to “feel” connected before having sex and I don’t just get to “use her body for sex” for sex when I feel like it. I have responded to her opposition to me wanting “use her body for sex” with the fact that she has no problem at all “using my body to provide food, housing, shelter, clothes, entertainment etc.”

She complains that I’m not verbal enough or I don’t leave notes telling her how great she is enough and not meeting her “love language” and I point to the other things I do – like never miss a payment on a bill, don’t cheat, drink, do drugs, beat on her, protect her from any threats and it still isn’t good enough.

My wife has told me that I just need to change my communication style and how I hear her. She says that “God intends for marriage to be consensual and loving and that we should want to please each other and do things not from duty but because we want to do them”. And course when she says “loving” she does not mean the Biblical definition of love, but rather love that comes from feelings and emotions.  So, in other words she is saying that God intends for marriage to be based on feelings and consent and not on duty.  I tried in vain to find a verse in the Bible that states what she has said to me about marriage.

So, over many years I had just accepted that his would be my life with her.  For the most part, aside from completely changing my personality for her, I would do whatever she wanted.  I worked where she wanted me to, did what she wanted with the kids, let her buy what she wanted and of course had sex when she wanted which was far less than what I wanted.

Then about two years ago my wife had said she wanted to be more “devout”. I took that as a sign that she wanted to you know, actually obey what the Bible said.  So, I started to actually read what the text of scripture says in regard to marriage and husbands and wives and I really dug deeper into it I found that there were indeed specific roles given and there are reasons for those roles.

I had Googled “biblical gender roles” in the sense of what does the Bible say about gender roles because I was looking for more information when it sent me to your site which I would read alone or away from my wife. It clarified and articulated what I was trying to tell her. Eventually she found out that I was reading your site and it caused nothing but a conflict about how disgusting and horrible the material is…. which is straight from the Bible.

This is when it all went south then all hell broke loose.

We went and sometimes still go to the same pastor and his wife for counseling. This is a really sweet couple that really does care about people. Yet the pastor’s wife once told me that I was unloving and gave an example from I Corinthians 13. I told her that those were beautiful words indeed…and the guy who wrote them 6 chapters earlier said that the wife’s body doesn’t belong to her but to her husband. I have tried telling them over and over – my wife included – and quoted scripture VERBATIM but they will not hear it.

Another guy who’s training for the ministry told me flatly that I was “not wrong” regarding what the Bible says about gender roles and the way marriage should be and then he followed that up with “But would you rather be in a relationship or be right?”

I’ve caught her with credit cards that she opened without my knowledge and confronted her on those. She refused to even tell me what she spent the money on and continues to refuse to this day. The pastor advised that I just forgive and let it go. And then I wrote a check for the credit card account. I don’t know if that was the best option but in trying to “work on the relationship” I did it to try and move forward.

You see, it isn’t just people on the political Left that don’t believe. It is the so-called Christians – who I call CHINO – Christians In Name Only, that don’t believe. They swear up and down that they love Jesus and the Bible is God’s word…and then when I point out what it says it’s like I am the heretic speaking blasphemy and was the Devil himself. This includes the pastor, who I am friends with and care about. I once heard the pastor tell a group I was in that he was his wife’s “helpmate”…I literally spoke up and said that it does not say that; it says it in the reverse and I can read it to you in the Hebrew if you have any questions. It was not well received.

The pastor – a conservative evangelical pastor who if you asked him he would swear up and down the Bible is THE word of God – won’t stand up for what their very own scripture actually says. They allow women to preach and teach; why would they even bother to tell a wife she has to “submit to her husband” in ANYTHING?

These are people who are “devout” Evangelicals. These aren’t leftist socialists or liberals. They aren’t rabid atheists or raging feminists. They say they believe in the Bible. They are liars. But that changes nothing.  And the Bible, my wife doesn’t believe a word of it based on her actions to the contrary of everything it says about marriage.

I sought out a divorce attorney to see what my options were.  We did the math together.  I would literally end up homeless sleeping in my work vehicle. I couldn’t afford even to rent a studio apartment after the state has taken everything.

See, in the state I live in they will give her half of everything. I have worked our whole marriage and provided for her. I have protected her, loved her, given her children. She only started working in the last year and a half. I would lose my children because the state would automatically award her custody for no other reason than she is a female. She would be entitled to alimony payments, child support, and she would get the house.

So, I have gone back to the way things were before I tried to actually apply the Bible to our marriage two years ago because I’m left with no other recourse and there is no help coming.

I grind my teeth, curse her false shepherds, and pray that Ragnarok come and wipe all of this out. Then I smile and do whatever she asks. If she wants to go on a vacation – we go. If she wants something – she gets it. If she wants sex – it happens when she allows it.

It’s all backwards and reverse.

Recently she told me that “we wasted the last couple years fighting” to which I thought, but dare not say, “uh, YOU wasted the last couple years rebelling”. She once told me “F*$k off; I will NEVER submit to you.” This is from a woman who has a bible degree, went to bible college, attended evangelical “bible believing” churches almost all her life.  And yes, I still go to our church only because if I don’t, she will rage and it will adversely affect our children.

And believe it or not, despite all of these things I have just told you about, I still do love her. We have really great kids together.

So, I’m not sure what the answer is. I’ve only seen a society that favors women. I have long thought of writing you on these points and finally brought myself to do so. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for others and for other husbands and wives and the state of the conservative church.

Mark”

Why Publish Such a Sad Story?

Lately I have been absolutely flooded with emails from MGTOWs. Stories like this one from Mark feed right into their beliefs of why the modern feminized form of marriage is so bad for men.  It would have been easier not to publish this man’s story knowing the MGTOW reactions it would get.

I am sure I will get many MGTOWs writing me saying “yeah there’s a lesson there and the lesson is men should not get married”.

The Christian feminists reading Mark’s story will come away with another lesson.   In their view Mark just needs to go back to where he was before he discovered what the Bible says about the roles of husbands and wives.  He needs to just do what his wife said and work on his “communication style” and “hear her” better.  And of course, his wife mentioned the Christian feminist and humanists’ favorite word which is CONSENT.   And when all else fails, Mark should just fall back into the appeasement mode with his wife, because after all “Happy Wife” = “Happy Life” right?

But despite the predictable reactions I knew would come from the Christian feminists on my left flank and the MGTOWs on my right flank I really felt the Lord leading me to publish this man’s story and he is right that there are lessons that can be learned from his story not just for other men, but for Mark himself.

Before I get into the lessons that can be learned as well as advice in dealing with this kind of marital situation Mark faces, I just want to make a few things crystal clear.

The philosophies of MGTOW on the right and Christian Feminism on the left are unbiblical philosophies.   See my previous articles “Was Jesus Christ a Feminist?” and “Why MGTOW Is an Unbiblical Philosophy”.

Also, in regard to the false humanist philosophy of “consent” please see my previous article “It is Not a Woman’s Consent That Matters, It is God’s”.

With that being said lets first tackle some lessons that can be learned from Mark’s story and then I will give some advice based on Biblical principles for a husband dealing with a contentious and angry wife.

Lesson #1 – We Must Continue to Speak Out Against Error in Our Churches and Our Homes

What Mark did in challenging his Pastors and teachers at his church as well as his wife in his home is exactly what we as Christian husbands are called to do as seen in the Scripture below:

“2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”

2 Timothy 4:2-4 (KJV)

I know that Mark is feeling discouraged after doing just what this passage commands and not seeing the results he expected.  But it is not the results that matter, but only our obedience to God’s commands.  God is the only one who can truly change the hearts of men and women, we are only his messengers.

Lesson #2 – While Preaching Against Error We Must Not Add to the Gospel

We who still believe in, practice and defend the doctrines of Biblical gender roles must remember how the Gospel is presented in the Scriptures:

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Romans 10:9-10 (KJV)

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”  

I Corinthians 15:1-4 (KJV)

The Gospel is clear in the Bible.  If we believe that Jesus Christ is Lord, that he was the sinless Son of God in human flesh and that he died for our sins and rose again we will ARE saved.  We have passed from death to life.  The following Scripture passage actually describes the process by which we come to trust in Christ and are saved:

“12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.  13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Ephesians 1:12-14 (KJV)

We heard the Gospel, believed the Gospel and then we were sealed with the Holy Spirit which is our guarantee that one day we will see our Savior face to face.   And our belief in the Gospel and the subsequent indwelling of the Holy Spirit has a transforming effect on our lives as the Scriptures state below:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”

2 Corinthians 5:17

But the Apostle Paul tells us of the sad reality that there will always be divisions in the church, whether it be on a local level or on a universal church level:

“18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.”

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (KJV)

And this is why God gave us the various church offices and spiritual gifts:

“11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”

Ephesians 4:11-13 (KJV)

This is why we have different Christian denominations.  This is why even within each Christian denomination we have opposing schools of thought on many different doctrines whether it is the interpretation or application of such doctrines.

So, there are two extremes.  One is to say “Unless you agree with me on every doctrinal interpretation and application of the Bible then you are not saved and you have no business calling yourself a Christian”.  The other extreme is to say “No one knows what is right or wrong and no Christian should ever teach that another Christian’s behavior or interpretation or application of the Bible is wrong”.  We as Bible believing Christians can and should call out unchristian behavior and false interpretations of the Bible by other people who call themselves Christians.  And we can do so without questioning their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

So, we can rightly and vehemently condemn the false philosophies of Christian feminism and MGTOW without saying Christians who believe in these philosophies could not possibly be Christians.  This is a very important distinction that must be made.

To say that a Christian must have no blind spots and have the correct interpretation of every passage and doctrine of the Bible is to add to the Gospel and we have no right to do that.

The next logical question that could be asked in this would be “How then can we know that we are correctly understanding and applying all the Scriptures relating to gender roles? Or in other words how can we know that the traditional understanding of Christian gender roles was right?”

The answer can be found in one Scripture passage we already mentioned and another passage we have not mentioned:

“For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

1 Corinthians 11:19 (KJV)

“The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”

Matthew 11:19 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that their must be false interpretations of doctrines in the Bible so that the true interpretations of the Bible can be clearly seen as right and approved by God.   And Jesus said “Wisdom is justified by her children” or in other words our correct interpretation and application of the Bible can often be proven by the results that it yields.

And what has abandoning the traditional gender roles based on the Biblical passages regarding gender roles produced? Has it been shown to be something that God approves of? The fact that divorce rates shot up from about 3 percent to almost 50 percent, sex outside of marriage became common place, and millions of babies have been slaughtered under the banner of “women’s rights” shows us God does not approve of the modern liberal and feminist interpretation that there are no more gender roles for Christians.  And truly Feminism has not been justified by her children.

Lesson #3 – The Seeker Sensitive Church Philosophy is not Approved by God

And this brings us to the third lesson we can take from Mark’s story.   The seeker sensitive church is not approved by God nor has the children that this movement has produced proven it to be wise.  The seeker sensitive church movement is based on false interpretation of Scripture passages like the one below:

“21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

1 Corinthians 9:21-22 (KJV)

Basically, what churches are doing is they are setting up their churches to be as “non-offensive” to non-believers and even professing believers as they can so that they can “by all means save some”.  Many of these churches have completely stopped preaching against homosexuality or even sex outside of marriage.  Many of them don’t even preach against sin at all.  A lot of them just basically preach “self-help” messages that you could find outside of church.   And they have lots of fun activities for children, teens and adults.

Now some of these seeker-sensitive churches don’t completely abandon all the doctrines of the Bible.  They might even say like Mark’s church that the Bible is the Word of God and they may even preach that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

But what all these seeker-sensitive churches have in common is that they all have completely and utterly abandoned the doctrines of Biblical gender roles.  Every single one of them.  You show me a church that has abandoned the doctrine of Biblical gender roles and I will show you a seeker-sensitive church.

And Mark is absolutely right that many of these churches claim to be “Bible believing” and they even proudly wear the label “Conservative” while still utterly abandoning all teaching on Biblical gender roles in an effort to please both unbelievers and professing Christians that come to their churches.

And what have these churches produced? They have produced a lot of people who are not even true believers and of those that are true believers they remain babes in Christ.  They remain this way because they are never given the meat of God’s Word.

And what else has this seeker sensitive church movement produced? It has produced wide scale divorce within the churches.  It is a shame before God that Christians in America have the same divorce rate as non-believers and in some surveys it shows higher.  Now for those secularists who say “see the traditionalist Christian philosophy of marriage does not work” let me help you out.  First secularists don’t marry at the same rate that Christians or religious people in general do.  There is a lot more long-term cohabitation amongst secularists than Christians.   So, since Christians marry younger and at higher rates the chance of divorce would higher because the incidence of marriage is higher.

But what is the reason for the higher divorce rate amongst Christians? It is for the very fact that the Christians who divorce were NOT following Biblical gender roles.  If a man is loving his wife by leading her, providing for her needs, protecting her, correcting and teaching her as Christ does his church and the wife loves her husband, submits to her husband in everything and reverences her husband and she takes care of the needs of the home they won’t get divorced.   You show me a Christian couple that got divorced and I will show you a Christian couple that may have started doing these things, but one or both of them began to fail in doing these things God has commanded.

And even when failings occur, God has not granted the concept of no-fault divorce.  There are limited reasons for which God allows divorce and the vast majority of Christian divorces do not take place for reasons God allows.

Again, I will refer the reader back to what the Apostle Paul told Timothy.  We are called to preach God’s Word, all of God’s Word even if some parts are not popular in our culture.

Now we will move from the “lessons learned” to speaking to how Mark and other Christians should deal with a contentious and angry wife.

How Should Mark Deal with his Contentious and Angry Wife?

First and foremost, this is not just a contentious and angry wife that Mark is dealing with.  This is a wife who sexually denies her husband.  Now in many cases a contentious and angry wife is also a wife who sexually denies her husband.  But this is not always the case.  I know of many a Christian man whose wife will give him her body, even if it is grudgingly given, in order to keep him in the marriage while still maintaining her contentious and angry spirit.

So, I will say from the beginning that sexual denial, on either the part of the woman or the man, is one of the few reasons for which God allows divorce.  See my previous articles “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” and “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal” for more on those subjects.

Here is the truth of the matter though, even if a wife is sexually denying her husband there are some men who just do not feel that God wants them to divorce their wife.  Others feel they must stay with their wife for the benefit of their children.  And still others are afraid to leave for fear of the financial devastation it will cause them.  We can see in Mark’s story that he seriously considered divorce from his wife but he saw the damage it would cause to himself personally as well as his children.

We can also see in the story of Mark’s 16-year marriage and especially the last 2 years that he has tried the following four approaches:

  1. Directly confronting his wife by showing her from the Bible she was wrong.
  2. Counseling sessions with church Leaders who told him he was wrong in his interpretation of the Bible.
  3. The silent treatment.
  4.  Appeasement.

And from this email we have shown here, as well as other subsequent emails I have received from Mark none of these approaches have worked to change his wife’s behavior nor helped her to recognize the error of her ways.

So lets talk about his approach that he has settled back into and that is appeasement.

Appeasement on the part of a husband toward his contentious and angry wife may bring peace, but it is peace at the expense of obedience to God.

God calls husbands in Ephesians 5:25-27 to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and we see that Christ’s love for his church is seen in his washing his wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God.  This concept again is seen in Christ speaking to his churches when he states in Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”.

So, we can rightly say that a husband who does not rebuke and discipline his wife is a husband who is in disobedience to God’s command to husbands to love their wives as Christ loves his Church.  And a husband like Mark who is dealing with this kind of wife is a perfect example of how a man must sometimes sacrifice his own happiness to do spiritual battle in his home.  The easier and the less painful approach in many cases is to take the path of appeasement.  But this is not an option for a Christian husband.

My recommendation in these cases is to use the same approach God used with his wife Israel in the Old Testament.  First, he confronted her sin and rebuked her for it calling her to repentance. After she utterly refused to repent (as your wife has done) then he engaged in the silent treatment toward Israel as I recently wrote about.  Mark might say “I tried that but she went nuts”.

Let me ask you a question.  If your child threw a temper fit whenever they did not get what they wanted would it be ok for you to appease them so they would not throw a fit? The answer is no.  And the same answer goes for your wife when she throws a temper fit.  When she starts doing that leave the house.  Get your keys, get in the car and leave.  Go some place and park for a couple hours and just take a nice nap in the car.  Or go to a park and enjoy the peace. Sometimes it might be so bad that you just need to find a friend or relatives house to stay at for the night.

Remember how the Bible advises men to deal with contentious and angry women?

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

In other words, it is better to live out of your car than in a house with contentious and angry wife.

And one other thing I would like to add. You need to be VERY consistent in your disciplinary approach with your wife just as you need to be very consistent in your disciplinary approach with your children.  So, the approach is, you rebuke her and she fails to repent and just keeps arguing with you then you walk away and engage in the silent treatment.  If she becomes violent you leave the home for a few hours or even for the evening.

This consistent behavior toward her will result in one of three actions on her part:

  1. She will completely change her behavior.
  2. She will file for divorce.
  3. She will at least stop the raging so you won’t leave.

And if she does file for divorce – I would highly recommend that you speak to multiple attorneys.  There are a lot of bad divorce attorneys out there.  You need to find a good attorney that specializes in divorce from a man’s perspective.  You also need to get recordings of her raging as that will not play well in divorce court for her.

Silly Simple Foolish Women

In 2019 America, the only people you can call foolish, stupid or any other host of “negative labels” is white men.  If you call a woman “foolish” you are a misogynist and if you call an immigrant “illegal” you are a racist and xenophobe.

But the fact is labeling someone based on their behavior is not hatred of an entire class of people.  It is simply calling out wrong behavior.

Just about every time I hear Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speak on television the following Scripture passage comes to mind:

 “A foolish woman is clamorous: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.”

Proverbs 9:13 (KJV)

And I am willing to bet that even many of AOC’s fellow democrats are having a very similar thought every time she speaks.

But Christians Should Not Call People Fools!

Some Christians may challenge me and say something like “We should  never call anyone foolish.”  Some might even point to the following statement by Jesus Christ to condemn me for calling anyone foolish:

“But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Matthew 5:22 (KJV)

Christ seems to be saying if we calling anyone a fool, we are in danger of going to hell.  But when we study the Bible, we must look at the entirety of the Bible to fully understand the truth of God’s Word.

In the same Gospel of Matthew Jesus called the Pharisees “fools”:

15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!

17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?”

Matthew 23:15-17 (KJV)

And now lets look at what Job said to his wife in the Old Testament:

“9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

Job told his wife she was acting as a foolish woman. And the Scriptures tell us he did not sin with his lips in saying this or anything he said before this.

So, when we tie these passages together with what Christ said what was he actually saying? He was saying that we should never call someone a fool unjustly.  There are certain things that are necessary because we live in a sin cursed world.  One of those things is killing.  Sometimes when we kill it is justified because it is self-defense.   Other times when it is not justified it can be man-slaughter or murder.  And in the same way because of sin, we have sinful foolishness in this world exhibited by both men and women.  And when people act foolish by God’s standards – we are right in calling them out as such.

A Silly Simple Foolish Wife

In a recent podcast I made for BGRLearning.com that goes by this same title “Silly Simple Foolish Women” I take on another foolish woman much like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. But unlike AOC this woman is not a politician and the foolishness she is spouting is not about the political realm, but rather about what she believes is important and not so important in marriage.  You can listen to the first part of this podcast for free here.

The title of the article is “I Didn’t Have Sex With My Husband for Five Months and He Had an Affair”.

The summary of the article is basically this – she continued to push her husband away for months due to stress and just not feeling like having sex.  And then SHOCKER! Her husband admits he had an affair after this denial by his wife because in his words “you hadn’t touched me for almost six months”.

This woman, much like the simpleton AOC, was perplexed by this.  How could the man that loved her do this to her? And she saw no wrong in her denying her husband sex for almost 6 months.

She then makes the following keen observations about her husband:

“If we were having sex, he didn’t give me a hard time about buying myself a new shirt.

If we were having sex, he did things around the house willingly.

If we were having sex, he acted like he liked me more.

If we were having sex, he complimented me, the way I looked and how I mothered.

If we weren’t having sex, that all went away. He said it was because he felt neglected, unhappy and ignored.

It didn’t matter that I did his laundry, put it away for him, made him dinner every night and baked his favorite pie or cookies.

It didn’t matter that I kept the house clean, and took care of all the kids’ appointments and schedules, so he didn’t have to worry about it.

He once told me that he’d rather have the house a mess and no food in the house and a disorganized life, if we were having more sex. Twice a month wasn’t enough for him.

He’d told me that I’d “tricked” him, since I was more sexual when we first started dating and falling in love.

I realized after some time, having sex made him feel more like a man. My “withholding” made him feel less like a man, so he had to go get it from someone else…

He just wanted to feel like a man. But it wasn’t my job to make him feel like a man.

If he couldn’t look at me and see a wife who loved him, birthed his three kids, cared for him, and felt fulfilled and thankful, but who just needed to not feel pressured to give him an orgasm every other night, then I couldn’t make him see all he had.

A woman’s worth goes way beyond how much sex she’s having with her husband. Whether he sees that or not is up to him.”

Can you not feel the condescension toward her husband’s sexual needs dripping from her statements? If you read the entire article you can see that this woman placed very little value on sex in marriage and specifically meeting her husband’s sexual needs.

In fact, it is very clear from her statements that she like many other women does not see sex as a need in marriage.  To her sex is just something you do once in a while when she, the wife, feels like it.

You can very much see that this woman like many women today saw her marriage as revolving around her in direct contradiction to the what the Bible says is the wife’s position in regard to her husband:

 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:9 (KJV)

She was the one who set what made her valuable as a wife, not her husband and not any other man.

Oh, what a foolish woman.

I can just imagine the next relationship she went into.   Did she tell the guy up front “We will just have sex when I feel like it.  Most of the time I will feel like it once or twice a month and sometimes I may not feel like it for several months.”  Wow I am sure she had a line of men waiting to marry her after divorcing her husband! Now that is a valuable wife!

While it is true that a woman’s worth goes beyond how much sex she is having with husband – how much sex she has with her husband is absolutely a critical factor in in her worth to him.

It is great that she birthed and cared for his three children and cooked and care for the needs of his home.  The Bible tells us that this is something God wants women to do and we as men should value our wives for these things:

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

1 Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

“Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.”

Psalm 128:3 (KJV)

So yes, dear woman, giving birth to your children, caring for them, cooking for your husband and doing his laundry all have value in God’s eyes and these things should have value in your husband’s eyes.   But these things do not represent all that gives you value to him as a wife. God created you to meet these needs of your husband but he needs these things and something else as well.  He needs sex with you.

But Sex Is NOT a Need!

I can’t tell you how many emails and comments I receive from mostly women (and a few men) with them claiming that sex is not a need for a man and it is just a want.  Their logic usually goes like this “A need is something that you will die from if you don’t get”.   So, in their view, only things like water, food, clothing and shelter are true needs while sex is just a fun thing to do for man.

But the truth is that while no man ever died from not having sex, many marriages have in fact died from lack of regular sexual relations.   This woman’s story with her ex-husband is a perfect illustration of this truth.

And speaking of human needs like food and water, the Bible compares a man’s need for sex to the human desire for water:

 “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.”

Proverbs 5:15 (KJV)

Ladies – would you want to wait to have a drink only once or twice a month?

“18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 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)

We can see from the above passage that God meant for man to drink his fill of his wife’s body.  This is not a “nice to have” once or twice a month thing, but rather a husband is to have full access to wife’s body “at all times”.

Conclusion

From a Christian perspective both this husband and wife were wrong.  The wife’s sin occurred first.  The Scriptures tells us that sex in marriage is a duty that is owed by both the husband and wife toward one another as seen in the following passage:

“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)

This passage from I Corinthians tells us that sex is both a right and responsibility in marriage and that the only thing “mutual” about when you have sex is when you DO NOT have sex.  You as a couple must agree to short times for prayer and fasting or other such things.  Or perhaps one of you is having surgery or the wife is having a child.  These are all reasonable reasons that couples can mutually agree to forgo relations for a short period. But even then, there are many ways besides vaginal intercourse that a wife can help her husband during these times.

So, the wife in this story sinned against God and her husband by denying him her body.  She acted foolishly and she did not heed God’s warning that regular sexual relations should occur to avoid the temptation to fall into the sin of fornication.

And that is exactly what her husband did.  Her sin placed him in a very tempting position and he gave into that temptation and sinned.  I am not justifying his sin any more than I am justifying her sin.  But the fact is that often one sin can directly lead to another as is seen in this story.

This woman, like many wives today ignorantly saw sex for her husband as just giving her husband “an orgasm every other night”.  But the truth was right in front of her in her own observations of her husband’s behavior toward her when she was giving him regular sexual relations:

“If we were having sex, he didn’t give me a hard time about buying myself a new shirt.

If we were having sex, he did things around the house willingly.

If we were having sex, he acted like he liked me more.

If we were having sex, he complimented me, the way I looked and how I mothered.”

Wow – so you as a wife notice that when you do a certain thing that this certain thing results in your husband letting you buy nice things you want, him helping around the house more, him acting like he likes you more and him complimenting you more.

So instead of doing this certain thing which you saw evoked all these positive behaviors in your husband, you instead held it back.  And you foolishly thought to yourself that you if you denied him this certain thing but baked him his favorite cookies that you should still get the same result?

This behavior on the part of this wife and so many women is well summed up in a famous quote from the movie “As Good as it Gets” staring Jack Nicholson.  In the movie Nicholson’s character is a writer and a woman comes up to him and asks him how he writes women so well.  His response is not only golden but it is utterly true of the vast majority of women today:

“I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.”

And this is exactly what the wife in this story has demonstrated about herself.   She has taken zero accountability for her actions in sexually denying her husband and has placed all the blame at his feet.  And she fails to show any ability to reason that in order to have her husband’s affection regular sexual relations would be required.  Instead she irrationally thought to herself that he should have done all these things for her and valued her apart from her giving him regular sexual relations.

What a SILLY, SIMPLE FOOLISH WOMAN.

So, wives here is your challenge from the Word of God:

“Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

Proverbs 14:1 (KJV)

Will you be the wise woman who actually sees the importance of regularly giving your body to your husband whenever he desires it and thus reap the rewards that this woman saw when she did? Or will you foolishly and naively think you should be able to have all those things and also never worry about your husband being sexually tempted all the while you are sexually denying him?

Will you be a wise woman or a foolish woman? The choice is yours.

Can Christian Man Marry A Woman Intending to Tame Her?

Can a Christian man marry a feminist Christian woman with the intent of taming her like Petruchio did with Katherine in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”? Or must a Christian husband always seek a woman who is submissive and believes in and follows Biblical gender roles?

Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”

Here are some excerpts from synopsis of Taming of the Shrew by www.sparknotes.com:

“In the Italian city of Padua, a rich young man named Lucentio arrives with his servants, Tranio and Biondello, to attend the local university. Lucentio is excited to begin his studies, but his priorities change when he sees Bianca, a beautiful, mild young woman with whom Lucentio instantly falls in love. There are two problems: first, Bianca already has two suitors, Gremio and Hortensio; second, Bianca’s father, a wealthy old man named Baptista Minola, has declared that no one may court Bianca until first her older sister, the vicious, ill-tempered Katherine, is married…

The Katherine problem is solved for Bianca’s suitors when Hortensio’s friend Petruchio, a brash young man from Verona, arrives in Padua to find a wife. He intends to marry a rich woman, and does not care what she is like as long as she will bring him a fortune. He agrees to marry Katherine sight unseen. The next day, he goes to Baptista’s house to meet her, and they have a tremendous duel of words. As Katherine insults Petruchio repeatedly, Petruchio tells her that he will marry her whether she agrees or not. He tells Baptista, falsely, that Katherine has consented to marry him on Sunday. Hearing this claim, Katherine is strangely silent, and the wedding is set.

On Sunday, Petruchio is late to his own wedding, leaving Katherine to fear she will become an old maid. When Petruchio arrives, he is dressed in a ridiculous outfit and rides on a broken-down horse. After the wedding, Petruchio forces Katherine to leave for his country house before the feast, telling all in earshot that she is now his property and that he may do with her as he pleases. Once they reach his country house, Petruchio continues the process of “taming” Katherine by keeping her from eating or sleeping for several days—he pretends that he loves her so much he cannot allow her to eat his inferior food or to sleep in his poorly made bed

Katherine and Petruchio soon return to Padua to visit Baptista. On the way, Petruchio forces Katherine to say that the sun is the moon and that an old man is really a beautiful young maiden. Since Katherine’s willfulness is dissipating, she agrees that all is as her husband says

At the banquet following Hortensio’s wedding to the widow, the other characters are shocked to see that Katherine seems to have been “tamed”—she obeys everything that Petruchio says and gives a long speech advocating the loyalty of wives to their husbands. When the three new husbands stage a contest to see which of their wives will obey first when summoned, everyone expects Lucentio to win. Bianca, however, sends a message back refusing to obey, while Katherine comes immediately. The others acknowledge that Petruchio has won an astonishing victory, and the happy Katherine and Petruchio leave the banquet to go to bed.”

A lot of Christians who are ignorant of history and even the Bible would say a person is wrong for marrying for economic reasons. If you believe that, I would invite you to read the story of Ruth in the Bible.  She married Boaz to redeem her mother-in-law’s husband’s family land.  We falsely have been taught today that a person must marry because they first “fall in love with a person” – that command is found nowhere in the Bible. It is wishful thinking, mostly on the part of women.   Some will say – what about Jacob? He loved Rachel so much he served seven years for her.  But again, this is not a command, it is an example. And why did he love her? Check the story – it was because of how beautiful she was.

And let’s not forget Jacob’s mother and father. What a whirlwind romance they had right? They just met each other and went into his mother’s tent had sex and became man and wife.  No long courtship, no discussion.   Isaac followed his father’s advice for him in finding a wife and Rebekah followed her father’s command for her to go back and marry Isaac.  It was that simple.

But the most important question the Taming of the Shrew presents us with is whether or not it is sinful or immoral for a Christian man to marry a rebellious woman with the intention of taming her into submission?

However, before we can answer this question, we must first answer another very important question for Christians.

Can a Christian Marry an Unbeliever?

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 the Apostle Paul gives the following command regarding Christians entering into relationships with non-believers:

“14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

As we can see from the above Scriptures, it is clear that believers are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

This is why a Christian church has no business having an inter-faith conference with the Muslim church down the street. And it is also why a Christian man or woman can never enter into the most intimate of human relationships God ever designed which is marriage, with a non-believer.

Some Christians have falsely used 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 to say that the Apostle Paul was ok with Christians marrying non-Christians:

“13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”

However, such an interpretation betrays the entire context of the passage which Paul states in verse 20 of this same chapter:

“Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.”

Paul is saying that if you become a believer and your spouses does not come to the faith as you have that you are to remain with them if they want to stay.  He is not saying it is ok for a Christian to purposefully marry a non-believer which would then conflict with what he said in 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.

Now that we have established this important principle of the Scriptures, we can go on to answer the question at the center of this article.

Can a Christian Man Marry a Christian Feminist Woman with the Intent to Tame Her?

Throughout the Bible God’s relationship with humanity is pictured in two different ways.  As individuals our relationship with God is pictured as a father and child relationship.  But God’s relationship with his people in the collective sense is always pictured as that of a husband to his wife.

We can see this concept shown where God pictures the nation of Israel as a treacherous wife in Jeremiah 3:20:

“Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.”

Notice how he refers to his wife – “O house of Israel”.

Now let’s look further in this book to Jeremiah 18:1-6:

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.

3 Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”

What do we see here? God presents the picture of a potter who had a marred, meaning it had defects.  So, he reshaped it against as a whole new vessel.  God tells Israel, his wife, that she is like that clay.  He saw defects in her and wanted to reshape her in another vessel but she would not allow him to do so.

Now let’s look to the New Testament in Ephesians 5:25-27:

“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.”

There is an important parallel here between God as a husband to Israel and Christ as a husband to the Church.  How does a potter shape his clay into the form he wishes it to be? He uses water.  In the same way we as Christian husbands are told to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her so he could wash her with “water by the word”, so she would not have “spot, or wrinkle”, so he could present her to “himself a glorious church”.

Why did God want to reshape Israel as his wife? Because she was “marred” which parallels the “spot or wrinkle” shown to us here with Christ and his wife, the Church, in the New Testament.

The point is that God is a consistent husband.  Christ is not a different kind of husband to the Church than God was to Israel.  We as Christian husbands can learn just a much from God’s example as a husband to Israel as we can learn from Christ’s example as a husband to the Church.  This is a fundamental truth that all Christian husbands must embrace.

With that being said can a Christian man marry a Christian woman whom he perceives is marred by feminist tendencies with the intention that he is going to attempt to wash her of those tendencies?

The answer based on God’s own example with both Israel and the Church is a resounding YES!

Am I recommending Men Marry Feminist Women with the Intent to Tame Them?

I have proven the case from the Scriptures that nothing in the Scriptures stops a man from marrying a woman whom he genuinely believes to be a Christian but is marred by feminism.

I made the following statement about my second wife in a post I wrote a few years ago that include my story about how I met my second wife and married her:

“While we were dating, I detected feminist tendencies in her that she had from her upbringing (her mom was a career woman as well).  Her mom even told me on one occasion that she taught her daughters to “be independent and not need a man”.  So even though my wife had become a Christian a few years before she met me, the feminism ran deep in her.  I also detected that her job as a manager might cause some friction in her commitment to our marriage and our home.

But she was so different from my first wife, and such a good Christian woman with great character that I chose to overlook some of these areas that would later come back to haunt me, naively thinking I could help her to see what God says a Christian woman’s priorities should be in regard to her husband, her children and her home.

I mentioned in that same post that my wife displayed many marks of a true believer in Christ.  She was so dedicated to seeing people saved.  She witnessed to her friends at work and relatives and she was concerned for her lost loved ones.  She went on missions’ trips with her church.  I spoke with her Pastor and some deacons at her church and saw in her a woman that had many great character traits and a passion for God.  But she was a new Christian, saved only few years before I met her.

So, I believed when I saw the feminist tendencies in her that I could just teach her and help her to learn those ways were not right.  She told me she believed the passages about submission that I showed her. But she also believed that men and women were equal and she was trying to square that with what the Bible said about submission.

I thought I could wash this feminism from her, but alas after almost 9 years of marriage much of it remains.  There has been some progress and some change but not nearly as much as I had hoped.

The question though is this – does my failure to be able to wash away my wife’s feminism with the Word of God mean that no man could do this with another woman?

The answer is no.  It is in fact possible.

In the three years since I wrote about my story with my failure to completely wash away my wife’s feminism, I have had many men write me telling they had success with their wives in this.  I have actually even had many young women write me telling me that my writings helped to convince them that feminism was wrong and they came out of it on their own before marriage.

So, what is the variable that makes for success in the taming of a feminist Christian wife?  The answer is it comes down to whether the woman will recognize this sinful thought process in her own life and then allow her husband in conjunction with the Holy Spirit to wash it from her.

In James 1:23-24 the Bible tells us about a man looking in a glass seeing his reflection:

“23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

Now let’s apply what James is saying to a feminist Christian wife.  A man can take his wife to the spiritual mirror which is the Word of God.  He can show her the reflection of herself.  He can show her the sin of feminism all over her face.  But she must choose to humble herself before God and accept what she sees right there in the mirror.  She must then submit herself to her husband’s washing and see him as a God given instrument for sanctification in her life.

Some may argue “Well I am fine with trying to tame her before marriage, but you should not marry her until she is completely tamed of feminism”.  And I understand where that thinking comes from.   But just because something presents a lot more risk does not make it wrong.  Marriage itself is a risk.  Even marriage to a woman who seems to be a good Christian and one who fully embraces Biblical gender roles. It is simply a matter of how much risk is involved.

Is This a Change in My Position on Christian Men Marrying Feminist Women?

The answer is Yes. Throughout this ministry over the last four years I have made changes on several positions.  Really – over my entire Christian life I have made changes in my beliefs as the Lord has led me to do so.  We must never be so rigid or get to the point where God cannot change our position on something and teach us new things.

Up until now I have taught people on this blog as well as my own sons that I made a grave mistake in marrying their step mother with the intent to help her understand the errors of her feminist thinking.  I have taught young men on this blog and elsewhere that they should avoid interactions with feminist Christian women and at the first sign of feminist tendencies when dating or courting they should abandon such a woman.

If you or my sons want to follow the advice I have previously given there is no sin in following it still.  If you decide that the potential costs in this spiritual warfare to attempt to tame a feminist Christian wife is too much I completely understand and there is no sin in avoiding feminist women like the plague.

So here is my change. 

I have thought back to when I met my second wife and after I talked to all the people that knew her from her church as well as her family.  My intentions were noble.  I saw the potential in her for change.  I went into this marriage fully intent on washing her feminism away and believing she would allow me over time to do it. I believed her passion to see souls saved would result in a similar passion to conform herself as a wife to the will of God for her life. The problem was not in my intent, but in her continued unwillingness to fully yield to the Holy Spirit on this issue, so in turn she could not fully yield to me either.

If you find a woman who has the markings of a true believer in Christ as my second wife had, but this appears to be a blind spot in her life and you are intent on doing spiritual battle, even if takes the rest of your life married to her, to wash the spiritual wrinkles and spots of feminism from her then this is a noble cause. But be forewarned, this is not for the faint of heart. It could greatly affect your future children and in some cases the battle could even lead to divorce.

However, if you are marrying a feminist Christian woman with the intent that you are going to tolerate her feminism and will just give up your headship role over her then you are wrong.  As a Christian God does not allow you to surrender your position as head to your wife. So, if you know you are not willing to do battle to attempt to wash the feminism from a woman then you should not marry her.  You should only marry a woman who fully embraces Biblical gender roles before you marry her.

So here is the conclusion of the matter.  Is it a sin before God for a man to marry a Christian woman with the intent of taming her of her feminist tendencies and beliefs? The answer is no it is not a sin.

But I would leave any Christian man who intends to go into such a spiritual battle with this admonition from Christ found in Luke 14:31:

“Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” 

Be sure before you go to war, that you count the costs that may be incurred on you in the process of that war.

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.

If We Treated Divorce Like Killing

If we treated divorce like we do killing there would be far less occurrences of it.  But on the other hand, if we treated divorce like we do killing we would be far more understanding of legitimate reasons when it is justified.

The Left and Right Ditches on the Issue of Divorce

Often times on moral issues the truth of God’s Word lies in the middle of two extreme camps and there is certainly no exception to this principle on the morality of divorce.  On the left side we have Christians who teach and believe that a Christian couple may divorce for any reason.  If they have simply “fallen out love” or don’t have anything in common anymore they are told they can divorce.  But on the right side we have those Christians who condemn all cases of divorce as a sin against God no matter how grave the circumstances may be.

But if both sides of this debate were to treat divorce as they do killing I believe they would both realize the truth of what the Bible says about divorce falls in the middle of these two extremes.  Both sides are wrong.

Three Things That Divorce and Killing Have in Common

The first thing that divorce and killing have in common is that they both end something. Killing ends a human life and divorce ends the one flesh relationship that is marriage between a man and a woman.

The second thing divorce and killing both have in common is that God allows both under certain circumstances because of the entrance of sin into his creation.  In this way we can rightly say that there is such a thing as justified killing and justified divorce.

Biblical allowances for divorce simultaneously allow for divorce while placing restrictions on when it may occur.

Interestingly those who fall into the left and right ditches on the issue of divorce both have a common fatal flaw in their positions in that they BOTH ignore the Biblical allowances for divorce.  On the left side of the ditch we Christians saying the allowances in the Bible for divorce are not restrictive but simply examples of reasons.  On the right side of the ditch we have Christians feverishly trying to explain away any allowances for divorce so as to condemn all cases of divorce.

The third thing that divorce and killing have in common is that in the Bible both are spoken of using general statements with no exceptions and then exceptions are given in other passages.

General Statements on Divorce and Killing

The Bible makes both absolute and general statements about various moral issues.

An example of an absolute moral statement is found here:

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”

1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)

There is no exception to the fact that there is one God and one mediator between God and man – the man Christ Jesus. Muhammad was not another mediator between God and man and neither was Buddha – only Christ is.

But then we have general statements of moral truth in regard to killing and divorce.

A lot of people think that the 6th commandment “Thou shalt not kill” in Exodus 20:13 is a general or absolute condemnation of all killing.  Christian pacifists have generally viewed it as an absolute command while most other Christians have seen it as a general condemnation of killing.

But actually again on this passage both sides are wrong and unfortunately this is one of the few places where the KJV actually gets this translation wrong as well.  The Hebrew word in Exodus 20:13 that is translated as “kill” is the word “Ratsach”.  “Ratsach” specifically refers to a wrongful killing.  In most cases it refers to murders, but in some cases it refers to man slayers. In either case though – the death was not justified whether it was intentional or un-intentional.

So the newer translations today like the NASB and others are correct in translating the 6th commandment as “You shall not murder.”

But the Bible uses another word for that is for killing in general and this encompasses all killing whether justified or unjustified this is the word “Nakah”.  Below is a general statement condemning “Nakah”:

“And he that killeth[Nakah] any man shall surely be put to death.”

Leviticus 24:17 (KJV)

So while it is absolutely true that the 6th commandment only condemns wrongfully killing someone, God’s command Leviticus 24:17 is a more general condemnation of killing and does not place any qualifications on the type of killing it is condemning.

This then brings us to a critical point that many Christian scholars and teachers and even laypersons have made on the moral issue of divorce.  There have been over the centuries and there still are many Christians today who say that Christ’s statement on divorce below was absolute statement regarding divorce and not a general statement:

“Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”

Luke 16:18 (KJV)

John Piper is an example of a popular evangelical teacher who teaches that Luke 16:18 was an absolute statement by Christ on divorce rather than a general statement condemning divorce. In his article entitled “Divorce & Remarriage: A Position Paper” Piper writes:

“All of my adult life, until I was faced with the necessity of dealing with divorce and remarriage in the pastoral context, I held the prevailing Protestant view that remarriage after divorce was Biblically sanctioned in cases where divorce had resulted from desertion or persistent adultery. Only when I was compelled, some years ago, in teaching through the gospel of Luke, to deal with Jesus’ absolute statement in Luke 16:18 did I begin to question that inherited position…

Luke 16:18 calls all remarriage after divorce adultery… This verse shows that Jesus does not recognize divorce as terminating a marriage in God’s sight.”

But Piper and all other Christians who regard Luke 16:18 as an absolute condemnation of divorce and/or remarriage are inconsistent when we know in 95% percent of cases they would regard Leviticus 24:17 as only a general condemnation of killing even though it lacks any qualifiers.

In other words – if you are going to say the based on Luke 16:18 that Christ is condemning all instances of divorce and remarriage then you must rightly say Leviticus 24:17 is condemning all instances of killing. The fact is it just as absurd to say that all instance of divorce and remarriage are condemned by God as it is to say that all instances of killing are condemned by God.  The Bible clearly shows allowances for both divorce and remarriage as well as killing.

First let us quickly look at God’s allowance justified killing:

“2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten[Nakah] that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. 3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”

Exodus 22:2-3 (KJV)

In the passage above we see that a man rightly justified in defending himself and his family.  This passage has been almost universally recognized by Jewish and Christian scholars as a Biblical right to self-defense even to the point of killing another person.

“Now go and smite[Nakah] Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.”

1 Samuel 15:3 (KJV)

The passage above was God’s command to King Saul through the Prophet Samuel. This is a very difficult passage that many Christian Pastors and teachers run from today because it offends our modern western sense of morality – specifically the killing of women and children.  It is absolutely clear that God order the genocide of the Amalekite people.

But these were evil and wicked nations and God wanted the evil wiped from land.  That is why he commanded even the animals to be killed. He wanted nothing left of the Amalekites.

There was another reason that God ordered genocide in many cases. The reason is rebellion.  If the Israelites were to leave alive even children of the Amalekites they may one day grow up to find out that their parents and people were the original owners of that land and they may form new Amalekite ethnic groups that would one day rebel against Israel from within their own borders.

So while it might seem like the nice thing to do to allow an Amalekite child to live, it would not seem so nice when that child became a man and had a knife to your throat.

It is interesting to note that because King Saul allowed some of the Amalekites to live one of their descendants, a man named Haman in the book of Esther, would later plot the genocide of the Jewish people through tricking King Xerxes into ordering their death.

But the topic of justified genocide (and there is such a topic) is a larger and more complicated one that we will leave for another article. Even if most people have a problem with justified genocide, most Christians do not have a problem with justified self-defense either of an individual or of a nation.  In other words Christians recognize that Leviticus 24:17 was only a general condemnation of killing and not an absolute condemnation of killing.

So for the same reasons that we as Christians recognize killing is only generally condemned in the Scriptures and not absolutely condemned in the Scriptures  we must also recognize that divorce and remarriage are only generally condemned in the Scriptures and not absolutely condemned.

In other words there is such a thing as just and righteous killing and there is such a thing as just and righteous divorce and remarriage.

Did Christ Reject Moses’s Commands on Divorce?

The foundational flaw of those who believe there is no allowance for divorce or remarriage is that they take Christ’s words on divorce and then utterly throw out Moses words on divorce and then they explain away Paul’s words on the subject after Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension.

In other words they see what looks to be allowances for divorce in Moses’s law and also in the writings of the Apostle Paul but since they have decided that Christ wiped out all allowances for divorce they must set out to cancel out these “supposed allowances”.

In the following two statements from John Piper he actually contends that Jesus Christ nullified the moral law of God given through Moses on divorce.

In his article “Tragically Widening the Grounds of Legitimate Divorce” Piper writes:

“…Jesus did in fact reject, for his disciples, what Moses commanded (Mark 10:5) or permitted (Matthew 19:8) in Deuteronomy 24:1.”

And again in his article “Divorce & Remarriage: A Position Paper” Piper writes:

“In both Matthew and Mark the Pharisees come to Jesus and test him by asking him whether it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife. They evidently have in mind the passage in Deuteronomy 24:1 which simply describes divorce as a fact rather than giving any legislation in favor of it. They wonder how Jesus will take a position with regard to this passage.”

Jesus rejected what Moses commanded? Such an assertion is an affront to the entire concept of Biblical inerrancy which I know Piper states he believes in on multiple occasions.  The Bible tells us that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). This means the commands Moses wrote were given to him directly by God – by Jesus Christ himself.

Christ could no more reject Moses moral law than he could reject his own teachings.

It is true that God can change his laws and set aside certain laws as he did in the New Testament era.  We know that God set aside the ceremonial and civil laws he gave to Israel as a theocracy because he had divorced Israel and put an end to the theocracy of Israel (Hebrews 7:12, Hebrews 8:13, Hebrews 9:1-15).  But God’s moral law given to Moses is upheld for the Church and parts of it are restated several times in the New Testament.

Christ gave a warning that should send chills up the spine of Christian teachers like John Piper who say Jesus rejected Moses moral law on divorce:

“17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:17-19 (KJV)

What “law” was Jesus speaking to? He was speaking to the moral laws found in the Old Testament (including but not limited to Moses’s moral laws).

And notice something else that John Piper snuck in when he said “Deuteronomy 24:1 which simply describes divorce as a fact rather than giving any legislation in favor of it”. No Pastor Piper, Deuteronomy 24:1 is not simply a recognition of the reality of divorce occurring, but it is in fact commands from God regulating the process of divorce.  Jesus himself called Moses words on divorce a “command” and “precept” (law).

So modern translations that attempt to translate Deuteronomy 24:1 as simply a recognition of the fact of divorce rather than commands on divorce have utterly ignored Christ’s divine commentary on Deuteronomy 24:1 which unequivocally calls it a command regarding divorce.

My point in this section of “How to find out for what reasons God allows divorce” is that in looking at the subject of divorce we cannot throw out the Old Testament and only look at the New.  To do so is to be in direct violation of Christ’s warning in Matthew 5:17-19 against setting aside the moral laws of the Old Testament.

With this principle in mind, we will look at what the entire Bible has to say on the subject of divorce. We will look at what Christ said through his prophets before his incarnation, what he said during his earthly time here, and what Christ said through his Apostles after his ascension.

The Progressive Revelation of God on the Subject of Divorce

When we talk about the “progressive revelation” of the Scriptures we mean that God slowly over many centuries revealed his truths and his plans for mankind. In modern times we are privileged to have the final and complete revelation of God as found in the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament.

There are many subjects in the Bible where God progressively revealed his truths.  Often times when we think of progressive revelation we think of prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah or the sacrifices which pictured Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to pay for the sins of mankind.

But another area of progressive revelation in the Scriptures that I often talk about on this blog is in the doctrine of Biblical gender roles.  In Genesis chapters 1 and 2 we see parts of the reasons that God created male and female human beings but later through the Old Testament and especially into the New Testament we see the full purposes for which God designed man, woman and marriage.

I have written on divorce several times before and at the end of this article I will supply references to my earlier writings on the topic.  In this article I want take a different approach.  I am going to approach this using a “commentary” method where I will simply list the Biblical reference and then comment on the key teachings about divorce that are found in it.

However, for those who have already read my other articles on divorce there will be some new material here that I have not previously talked about in other divorce articles I have written.

So with that being said below is a table with Biblical references in the order in which they are given in the Bible.  Alongside each reference I note key teachings on divorce as it progressively unfolds in the Bible.

Scripture Passage Progressive Truth of God that is Taught Regarding Divorce
Exodus 21:10-11 The first allowance for divorce in the Bible.

It is specifically given to women.  A man could take a second wife but he still had to provide his first wife with food, clothing and sex.  If he failed to provide these three things she was allowed to be divorced from him (freed from him).

Leviticus 21:10-13 High Priests are forbidden from marrying divorced women.
Leviticus 22:13 Divorced women are allowed back into their father’s house and to be provided for by their father.
Numbers 30:9 The vows of divorced women our binding on them.  No man can cancel them out (as is the case with young women still living with their fathers or women who had husbands).
Deuteronomy 22:13-19 First mention of a prohibition of divorce in the Bible.

A man who falsely accuses his new wife of not having been a virgin on their wedding day is forbidden from ever divorcing her.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Second prohibition of divorce in the Bible.

A man who rapes a woman is required to pay her father the bride price for her and marry her and he may not divorce her for the remainder of her days. When we understand this passage in light of Exodus 22:17 we can see that the father has the right to take the bride price and yet utterly refuse to give his daughter to the man that wrongfully takes her.

While it may seem cruel to our modern sensibilities to even entertain the idea that a woman could be forced to marry her rapist if her father consents the fact is she would be ruined for all other men.  She would never have children unless she married this man and for most women that thought alone would be worse than marrying their rapist.

Deuteronomy 24:1 The first allowance and regulation regarding men divorcing their wives.

This passage first alludes to the fact of a husband taking and marrying a woman.  The word for “married” in the Hebrew literally means “to own” so he becomes her owner by marrying her. It says that if he as her owner finds some uncleanliness (literally indecent behavior) in her he may write her a letter of divorce and send her out of his house.

Deuteronomy 24:2 This verse allows for a divorced woman sent out of her husband’s house to go and be another man’s wife. Some of have tried to say this is just a statement of fact and not an allowance for a divorced woman to remarry.  But the fact is neither in this passage nor in any part of the Law of Moses do we find a prohibition toward men marrying divorced woman(except for the High Priest) so Moses’s mentioning of it without a hint of condemnation is an allowance for the remarriage of women sent away by their former husbands in divorce.
Deuteronomy 24:3-4 Once his divorced wife has remarried another man – the former husband may never again take his divorced wife to be his wife again.  It is interesting to note that in the Hebrew it is literally rendered as “her first owner” or “her former owner”. This means he was no longer her owner.  This also confirms that when a man divorces his wife he relinquishes all ownership over her thus terminating their marriage in the eyes of God.

Some have tried to take the word “defiled” to mean that the divorced woman did something wrong in remarrying.  But the word “defiled” in this context simply means once she remarries she is “off limits” to her former husband.  Again there is absolutely no indication here from Moses’s words that either the divorced woman sinned or the man that married her sinned by their marriage to one another.

Isaiah 50:1 The Prophet Isaiah says that God divorced Israel for her “transgressions” against him.
Jeremiah 3:8 The Prophet Jeremiah says God divorced Israel for her adultery against their marriage thus specifying the “transgressions” formerly alluded to by Isaiah.
Jeremiah 3:20 The first condemnation of wrongful separation of a wife from her husband.

Under Biblical law and by Jewish custom women could not initiate divorce with their husbands. While in Exodus 21:10-11 God allowed women to be free from husbands who failed to provide them with food, clothing and sex some women even though they could not have lawful divorce would leave their husbands for reasons other than what God allows.

Hosea 2:2 Through the Prophet Hosea, God again references the adultery that Israel had committed against him for which he divorced her but here he says after his divorce of Israel that he is no longer her husband nor is she is wife. This passage deals a fatal blow to the false teaching that if a man divorces his wife she is still married to him in the eyes of God.
Hosea 2:19-20 God will betroth Israel again one day and that marriage will be an everlasting one that will never end. Again this indicates that when a husband sends his wife away in divorce the marriage is in fact terminated in the eyes of God.  The only way it can be restored is for the husband to once against enter into a new covenant of marriage with his wife whom he formerly divorced.
Malachi 2:11-16 The first condemnation of husbands divorcing their wives in the Bible.

God says he hates divorce. But if you look in the verses before he says he hates divorce he speaks to what kind of divorce he hates. He describes Israelite men who so desired to marry pagan women that they “treacherously” divorced their first Jewish wives in order to take their new pagan wives.

Since we know that previously in Exodus 21:10-11 as well other Old Testament passages that God allowed men to take more than one wife we know that these men did not have to divorce their first wives to take a second wife.  They could have taken a second Jewish wife while still providing for their first wife and there would have been no sin.  Their sins were twofold.  Number one they were taking pagan wives which was forbidden.  Secondly they were compounding their sin of taking pagan wives by divorcing their Jewish wives to make their pagan wives happy.

Matthew 5:31-32 First mention of divorce in the New Testament.

Christ applies the designation of adultery to situations that it had never previously been applied to.  In the Old Testament adultery had only been spoken of in one of two ways.  The first and most literal sense of adultery in the Old Testament referred to married women having sex with men not their husbands. Ezekiel 16:38 uses the most literal translation of the Hebrew word for adultery with the phrase “women that break wedlock”.  Ezekiel 16:38 is also a good example of the second use of adultery in the Old Testament referring to Israel’s spiritual adultery against God by worshiping false gods.

How does a man cause his wife to commit adultery by wrongly divorcing her?

he causeth her to commit adultery – Christ is building on Malachi chapter 2’s discussion of men treacherously divorcing their wives.  He is saying when a man wrongly divorces his wife in order to make a second wife happy he causes his first to break her wedlock with him when she should not have had to.  She has not sinned – he is the one that send her away but regardless her wedlock with him is now broken.

How does a man commit adultery by marrying a divorced woman?

whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery – Christ builds on Jeremiah 3:20.  The divorced woman here is not the same woman that has been wrongly divorced by her husband in the first part of verse 32. Under Roman law and custom women could divorce their husbands so Christ expands Jeremiah’s condemnation of treacherous separation by a woman from her husband to treacherous divorce by a woman from her husband.

We know that a wife who departs from (or divorces her husband) is called unmarried later in I Corinthians 7:10-11.  So the man who marries the woman who has wrongly divorced her husband is not committing adultery with her because she is still married to her first husband but rather he is committing adultery with her because God has placed her off limits to all men but her former husband.

So at this point in the Scriptures we see adultery used to describe several situations:

1. Ezekiel 16:32 – When a woman takes strangers instead of her husband this is a form of adultery and it is the most literal and original meaning of the word.

2. Ezekiel 16:32 – Also applies adultery to Israel in the spiritual sense of her idolatry.  So adultery is given an even wider definition of unfaithfulness.

3. Mathew 5:32a – Applies adultery to a situation where a husband wrongly divorces his wife forcing his innocent wife to break wedlock with him.

4. Mathew 5:32b – Applies adultery to a situation where a man marries a woman that has treacherously(Jeremiah 3:20) divorced her husband.  While she is no longer married to her first husband, she is declared off limits to all other men but him because she wrongly left him.

In a way this putting a wife who has divorced her husband wrongly off limits to all men but him is similar to the concept of Deuteronomy 24:2-4 placing a wife sent away in divorce off limits to her first husband if she remarries.

These two situations are the only two types of remarriage forbidden in the Bible.

What does the the exception clause mean?

The exception clause refers to this phrase “saving for the cause of fornication”. Fornication refers to all forms of sexual immorality including premarital sex, prostitution and adultery and sexual defrauding of one’s spouse.  So God was saying if a man’s wife committed a sexual sin against him most likely in the form of adultery or sexual defraudment he could justly divorce her.  This is a gender specific command as most commands in marriage are and it only applies to men.  He was not allowing women to divorce their husbands for fornication.

In conclusion Christ is simply amplifying the teachings of Jeremiah and Malachi on the topic of treacherous divorce. Nowhere in his wording does he set aside the law he gave through Moses allowing divorce by both men and women for certain reasons.

Matthew 19:3-9 The largest discussion of divorce by Christ.

The key to understanding the enter passage is found in question by the Pharisees that started it – Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

Here Christ is being asked to answer the question of what is uncleanliness from Deuteronomy 24:1. Some Jews thought it meant “for every cause” while others thought it was only for serious sexually related sins.  Christ settles the argument in verse 9 where he says “except it be for fornication”.  So Christ was opposing “every cause” divorce for men.  He was saying a wife had to commit some type of sexual immorality for her husband to lawfully divorce her.

Again nowhere in this passage does Christ set aside or nullify the commands he gave Moses regarding divorce but rather he clarifies why God allowed divorce through Moses and that was because of the sinful hardness of hearts that are in both men and women.

An interesting difference between this passage and Christ’s previous statement on divorce from Matthew 5:31-32 is that this time he says the man commits adultery by divorcing his wife and marrying another woman.

In my note on Matthew 5:31-32 I described 4 different scenarios that are described as adultery.  Matthew 19:9’s declaration that the husband who wrongly divorces his wife is committing adultery is the 5th definition of adultery.

As we previously explained this was not an absolute condemnation of all divorce and remarriage by men toward their wives but was simply addressing the Malachi 2 scenario of men treacherously divorcing their wives. When a man does this he commits the new form of adultery Christ first mention in Matthew 5 and which is to wrongly break wedlock.

Again we see the reference to the man marrying the divorced woman committing adultery.  See my discussion of what that is referring to back in my notes on Matthew 5:31-32.

Mark 10:2-12 Pretty much a smaller rehash of Matthew 19:3-9.

It leaves out details that Matthew gives for the most part but adds a few he does not.  Matthew calls Moses’s law on divorce an allowance while Mark calls it a “command” and “precept”.  None of these are contradictory because Moses’s words on divorce are in fact all these things – a command, a precept (law) and an allowance by God.

Another interesting part is it refers directly to a woman divorcing her husband.  Again this is not a condemnation of all divorce for women because Exodus 21:10-11 clearly allows women to be divorced from husbands who fail to provide them food, clothing and sex.  Instead it is pointing back to Jeremiah 3:20’s condemnation of women who treacherously depart from their husbands. It is talking about wrongful divorce and remarriage for women – not all divorce and remarriage for women.

Luke 16:18 The shortest statement by Christ in all the Gospels on the subject of divorce.

Surprisingly this shortest statement is the one that John Piper and many Christian teachers have built their entire theology of divorce on.  Then they have to cram in or explain away the rest of the Bible that does not fit with their beliefs based on this passage.

Luke 16:18 is no more an absolute statement on divorce than Leviticus 24:17 is an absolute statement on killing.

Instead based on the entirety of the Scriptures, we understand Luke 16:18 is a general statement on divorce and remarriage in the same way that Leviticus 24:17 is a general statement on the subject of killing.  We know from looking at the entirety of the Bible that not all killing is sinful and in the same way we know from looking at the entirety of the Bible that not all divorce and remarriage is sinful either.

Romans 7:2-3 A general statement of truth regarding the fact that under normal circumstances a wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives and she can only marry another man after he dies. If she treacherously departs from him (Jeremiah 3:20) and marries another man she is rightly called an adulteress.

But some wrongly take this statement to cancel out Exodus 21:10-11 which frees a woman from a man who fails to provide for her. They also ignore the fact that passages like Deuteronomy 24:2-4, Hosea 2:2 and I Corinthians 7:10-11 show that divorce does in fact terminate a marriage in God’s eyes whether it was done for lawful or unlawful reasons.

This means in the case of divorce a woman is no longer consider in the eyes of God to be her former husbands wife.  Remarriage for her is only considered adultery if she treacherously(unlawfully) departed from her first husband.

I Corinthians 7:10-11 Paul begins by building on what Christ said in the Gospels on divorce but he states it in a slight different way adding some detail that Christ did not. Contrary to what many have thought of this passage it is NOT speaking of separation.  It is speaking of divorce.

The way we know this is by Paul’s use of the word “unmarried” in referring to the woman who departs from her husband.  This literally is the same word used for single women and it literally means “unmarried” in the original language of the New Testament.

The term “unmarried” here is also another fatal blow to those who hold the position that wrongly divorced persons are still married to their previous spouses.  The Biblical witness directly contradicts this false teaching.

We know from Exodus 21:10-11 that this is not an absolute restriction on wives’ divorcing their husbands but only a general statement.   Only if a wife treacherously divorces her husband for reasons God does not all then  she must remain unmarried and she is off limits to every other man except her former husband and she may reconcile to him if he will have her back.

I Corinthians 7:12-15 This section starts off with a very important statement that has been twisted and maligned by some and totally misunderstood by others.  Paul says But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.  Was he saying everything that came after this was his opinion? Of course not. His only opinion in this entire chapter was his opinion that celibacy was better than marriage if one had the gift of celibacy.  Nothing else in this chapter was his opinion but it was in fact the divine word of God. But even his opinion on celibacy was allowed and authorized by God to be in the Bible.

What is also important about Paul’s introductory statement in verse 12 is that he entering into progressive revelation.  He is revealing more truths from God on marriage and divorce that neither the prophets nor Christ before him spoke on.

This is why our understanding of divorce will be incomplete if we think Christ had the final word on the subject when he walked this earth.  Christ did have the final word on the subject but through his servant Paul after his ascension.This passage tells us that if we become a Christian and our unbelieving spouse wants to stay then we should stay with them and not divorce them simply because they are not a believer.  We should try to win them to Christ if they want to stay.  But if they want to depart then let them depart and the Christian man or woman are not bound to their unbelieving spouse who has left them.  The marriage can justly be terminated under such circumstances.

It is interesting to note that the English word “depart” which occurs twice in I Corinthians 7:15 is a translation of the Greek word Chorizo which is the same word that Christ uses as a synonym for divorce when he says “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder[Chorizo]”(Matthew 19:6). This word in most cases does literally mean “to depart” and is used that way in other Biblical passages.  But it can be speaking to divorce as well.

Also there is no Biblical reason to believe this does not apply to all marriage situations where one spouse leaves the other even if both are professing Christians.

So in summary the Apostle Paul is saying under the divine inspiration of God that if your spouse abandons and or divorces you then you are not bound to them anymore.  Whether they have divorced you, or you divorce them for abandonment you are no longer bound to them in marriage.  And this is one area that equally applies to both men and women in marriage.

1 Timothy 3:2 Pastors must be the husband of one wife – this is a reference to divorce and not polygamy. It literally can be rendered “the husband of his first wife”.  See note on I Timothy 5:9 that proves this.
1 Timothy 3:12 Deacons must also not be divorced (see note on I Timothy 3:2 and I Timothy 5:9).
1 Timothy 5:9 In the same way that Pastor was to be “the husband of one wife” in I Timothy 3:2, as widows who is comes into the service and provision of the church must have been “the wife of one man”.
Titus 1:6 A restatement of I Timothy 3:2 on Pastors not being divorced.

 

Summary of Biblical Reasons for Divorce

Based on all the passages Scripture passages listed above we can see that God does not allow divorce form just any reason and that he places specific restrictions on divorce.  These restrictions are in fact gender specific – something that is often overlooked.  Below are the specific reasons that a man and then a woman can get divorced under God’s law.

God allows a man to divorce his wife for these reasons

If she claims to be a virgin before marriage and he finds out she has in fact had sex with other men before marriage (she has engaged in pre-marital sex with other men).

If she has sex with other men after they are married (adultery)

If she refuses to have regular sexual relations with her husband (sexual defraudment).

If she abandons him.

God allows a woman to divorce her husband for these reasons

If he fails to provide her with food and clothing (shelter is implied with clothing).

If he refuses to have regular sexual relations with her (sexual defraudment).

If he abandons her.

Are All Remarriages Forbidden According to the Bible?

God gives us this very important command:

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.”

Deuteronomy 4:2 (KJV)

Those on the far left side of the divorce issue are diminishing or taking away the restrictions God places on divorce in teaching they can divorce “for every cause” as some of the Jewish leaders taught.  But those on the far right side of divorce either add to God’s word by saying all remarriage is forbidden or some restrict all remarriage only for women.

Contrary to the teachings of John Piper and others Biblical divorce is not just a permanent form of separation where the couple remain married in God’s eyes for the remainder of their lives and they are forbidden from remarriage.

Exodus 21:10-11 simultaneously proves two important points.  First it proves that the concept of “remarriage” does not apply to men (except in one instance) because men are allowed to marry additional wives.

Remarriage primarily applies to women because as Deuteronomy 24:1 states when a man takes a woman and marries her he owns her.  Marriage in the Hebrew was a man taking ownership of a woman as his wife.  So whether her husband divorces her or he dies the next marriage she enters into is a “remarriage” because she was formerly owned by another man.

Deuteronomy 24:2 says of a divorced woman that “she may go and be another man’s wife”.  Moses could have taken this opportunity to condemn this action but he did not. Instead he gave regulations working with this situation if the divorced woman did indeed choose to be another man’s wife.

But even without Deuteronomy 24:2, the burden is not on us to prove that God allows remarriage.  The burden is to prove that God does NOT allow remarriage.

The Bible is clear from Deuteronomy 24:4, Hosea 2:2 and I Corinthians 7:10-11 that divorce does in fact terminate a marriage in God’s eyes whether it was done for lawful or unlawful reasons.

There are only two types of “remarriage” that are forbidden in the Bible.  The first is found in Deuteronomy 24:3-4 where God forbids men from remarrying their wives whom they have divorced if they marry another man. The second type of remarriage that is forbidden is if a woman treacherously departs from her husband (leaves or divorces him for reasons other than Exodus 21:10-11 allows) she is forbidden from remarriage to any other man except her former husband whom she wrongly left.

She is off limits to all other men even though she is unmarried and if another man marries this unmarried woman who wrongly left her first husband then he is guilty of another form of adultery Christ describes in the Gospels.

The False “Innocent Spouse” Doctrine of Divorce

The entire teaching of an “innocent spouse” being confined to a life of celibacy because of the sin of their former spouse finds no basis whatsoever in the teachings of the Bible.

This false teaching is based on a failure to understand that the Bible teaches divorce DOES in fact terminate marriage in God’s eyes (whether it is for just reasons or sinful reasons) and it is also a failure to understand that Christ gave us another definition of adultery when it is used in the context of divorce and remarriage which is the wrongful breaking of wedlock either by a husband or a wife.  He equated adultery to the treacherous act of a man divorcing his wife for unjust reasons to marry another wife and a wife divorcing her husband for unjust reasons to marry another man.

Confining a person who has justly divorced their spouse or who has been wrongly divorced by their spouse to a life a celibacy is like throwing someone in prison because they killed someone in self-defense.

What About Divorce for Physical Abuse?

While the Bible does not speak specifically to the issue of divorce for physical abuse I cannot imagine that God views a woman who has had her jaw broken and teeth knocked out by her husband and divorces him as a wife who “treacherously departeth from her husband”(Jeremiah 3:20).

But the truth is the Bible does not speak specifically to every issue of life – sometimes we must look to broader principles of the Scriptures when the Bible is silent on a specific case.  I believe this passage below gives us such a principle that could relate to physical abuse in marriage:

“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)

If a man was required to free his slave or indentured servant if he caused serious physical harm by knocking out their tooth how can we think that a wife had less rights than a slave or indentured servant? The fact is in the Scriptures basic human rights are demonstrated in the rights of slaves and indentured servants.  All of these rights bubble up to those who had more rights like wives and free men.

So I don’t think it is a stretch or adding to the Scriptures to say a woman could divorce her husband for causing her great physical bodily harm.

Conclusion

Generally speaking most occurrences of divorce and killing are done for sinful reasons that God does not allow and these are the divorces and killings that God hates.  But we can see when we examine the Scriptures as a whole understanding the principle of progressive revelation that God no more condemns all divorce than he condemns all killing.

God does not hate it when a man justly divorces his wife for adultery any more than he hates it when a man kills to defend his family.  He hates that they were put in those positions to have to do those things – but he holds no ill will against the victims in these cases.

God only condemns two types of remarriage – the first is that a man may not remarry his wife whom he divorced if she marries another man.  The second is a woman who unjustly divorces her husband for reasons God does not allow is forbidden from remarriage to any other man but the husband she wrongly left.

Finally, the teaching that those who have been the innocent victims of wrongful divorce by their spouse or have been forced to divorce their spouse for just cause are relegated to a life of celibacy by God finds no basis in the Word of God.

Below are previous articles I wrote on divorce.

Why Does God Allow Divorce?
Does God Allow Divorce for Adultery?
Does God Allow a Woman to Divorce Her Husband for Failure to Provide?
Does God Allow Divorce for Abuse?
Does God allow divorce for spousal abandonment?
Martin Luther on Divorce for Sexual Denial
8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal
4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal

How should a Christian wife handle a deadbeat husband Episode 1

“My husband only works when he feels like it. For six to seven months out of the year he refuses to work on his business… he does nothing but play video games. This leaves me with the majority of the financial burden when he is in no mood to work for months on end. He asks his brother for money when I have used all my resources to pay the rent and there are utilities and groceries needed…

So my question is this: If my husband continues to refuse to provide for his family, to habitually deny me sex for no legitimate reason, to refuse to make provision for the possibility of children of our own, and continues to be emotionally abusive, do I have a right to, One: Divorce him on biblical grounds, and Two: Remarry without being presumed an “adulteress” someday?”

This is part of an email I received from a Christian wife who wants to go by the name of “Aria”.

A lot of my posts deal with the evils of feminism and in truth I believe it is a much larger problem in our society than the issue with men that we will discuss here.  But just as God hates rebellion in women he also hates laziness in men. So while the problem of deadbeat husbands may not be as great as the problem of unsubmissive wives in our modern culture it is still a problem that we as Christians must address.

I have received several emails like this from women over the last year and I feel it is time to start to share more of their stories so that other women will know that that God does not expect women to be trapped with deadbeat husbands.

But before we continue with Aria’s story though we need to define what I mean by a “deadbeat husband”.

A deadbeat husband is a man who refuses to fulfill any one of these 3 minimal requirements of marriage that God requires of all husbands toward their wives:

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

The new testament also reinforces this principle of these requirements of husband toward his wife when the Apostle Paul states:

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” – Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

The word “nourisheth” has the idea of feeding or providing for and “cherisheth” is not a romantic term as we now think of it but has the idea of protection.

So if a husband refuses to provide food, clothing (also shelter) and sex to his wife she may be free of such a man in divorce.

Now that we have defined what a deadbeat husband is from a Biblical perspective now we will look at Aria’s story.

Aria’s Story

“Hello,

I have come across your blog recently in a search for answers to my biggest questions concerning wanting to divorce my husband. I will be as straightforward and matter of fact as possible as to my circumstances and my reasons for wanting out of the marriage.

A little background:

I grew up as the daughter of a minister who, despite leaving the ministry in a professional capacity, still taught and studied, abundantly, the Bible, and the works of Spurgeon, Sproul, MacArthur, Calvin, Luther, etc. I lived with my parents until I was 27. My mother was/is an extremely domineering, psychologically abusive woman, who ruled our home and my father with an iron fist. I lived in fear of her for thirty years. I was always taught that a woman should remain under her father’s authority until he gave her away in marriage, however, I saw the situation as being flipped on its head; my father being ruled by an unruly and unstable woman, and allowing it to happen. I did not feel safe nor did I feel my father had any real authority. I left that home at 27 and continued to date my husband-to-be. My family disowned me.

I married my husband 6 years ago when I was 28 and he was 39. We dated for about little over a year. We are both professing Christians. We had a Christian wedding. My husband was divorced. His wife cheated for two years, he refused to divorce her, and she, in turn, finally, divorced him – that is what I know of the story from his side only. I have, since being married, heard, second hand, that he was impossible to live with and lazy. They were 7 and 9 (boy and girl, respectively) when we married.

My husband promised to have his vasectomy reversed and for us to begin having children one year into the marriage, which he soon declared after that I had agreed to 3 years (which I did not).

These are the issues I am dealing with currently:

  • My husband only works when he feels like it. For six to seven months out of the year he refuses to work on his business blaming it on it being “the slow season” – so he does nothing but play video games. This leaves me with the majority of the financial burden when he is in no mood to work for months on end. He asks his brother for money when I have used all my resources to pay the rent and there are utilities and groceries needed.
  • My husband is irresponsible with money. He spends money on games for his PlayStation 4 and XBOX ONE (and yes he has both) before/instead of paying the bills. I have tried to be his help meet in this area going out and getting a full time job of my own. I have no issues with the income he brings in, however, it is gone by mid fall, and I am left with supporting the family from October to March or April of every year. He even got angry with me for getting us each life insurance policies, both of which I pay for myself.
  • My husband refuses to have his vasectomy reversed, and I am now 33 and am losing my childbearing years at an alarming rate. I am being denied the ability to be a mother. He has not kept his word about getting the reversal after the first year that we both agreed on before marriage. He promises me every year that he will get it done. We are now halfway into our sixth year of marriage.
  • My husband refuses to lead spiritually. I have expressed that I would like him to, but we don’t attend church together, and he only does a devotion with me if I ask him to. He has no desire to attend church or lead his family in a biblical way. He attended church regularly in his first marriage and while we were dating, so I did not see this coming.
  • My husband habitually denies me sexual relations for no legitimate reason whatsoever. (I am well within a healthy BMI, I have been a model, and am frequently asked to model. I have very good hygiene, am regularly groomed and shaved, dress well every day, and do my best to present well – this is not a brag, it is to say that there are no physical obstacles as to why I should not be pursued. In fact, he told me early on that I was his ideal woman, but that he would not tell me how beautiful I am so that I would not get a big head.)
  • I don’t know what you believe about psychological abuse, but I constantly feel manipulated, and am lied to regularly about everything from finances to when we are going to have children to what he may have told me two minutes prior. I feel the withholding of sex is just another way to try to create an insecurity and doubt within myself about whether I am worthy or not.

I moved out nearly five months ago, leaving him with the understanding that I would file for divorce by the end of this year if he did not have his finances in order, continued to refuse to get a vasectomy reversal, he continued to deny me sex, and refused to get counseling with me. I am completely self-sustaining, and he is in no way financially responsible for me at this time – but I have gone without many things I am in need of for it.

I have done my part caring for his children, being sexually available (and pursuant, despite continual rejection and verbal shaming for wanting sex), being a partner to him, keeping the house in order, respecting him and his decision-making to the best of my ability, and taking care of myself while he remains overweight, etc.

So, apart from how all of this causes me to feel worthless in his eyes, I am more concerned with what is the right thing to do under these circumstances. I believe he has not been a husband to me in any sense of the word. And, honestly, I waver, as I was taught, my entire life, that you only divorce when your husband has physically “cheated” on you, or if he is beating you and will not get help and repent. I was also taught, if you do divorce for any reason other than physical infidelity, you cannot remarry and will be considered an adulteress.

So my question is this: If my husband continues to refuse to provide for his family, to habitually deny me sex for no legitimate reason, to refuse to make provision for the possibility of children of our own, and continues to be emotionally abusive, do I have a right to, One: Divorce him on biblical grounds, and Two: Remarry without being presumed an “adulteress” someday?

On a different topic; have you ever delved into psychological and emotional abuse? I feel this is a subject that the world does not shy away from, but is prevalent, even in the church. It is an invisible, yet terribly scarring type of abuse. It goes against everything the bible says about “living with your wife in an understanding way,” caring for her as “the weaker vessel”, and loving her, giving oneself up for her “as Christ gave himself up for the Church.” To crush ones spirit, and to use emotionally manipulative tactics to do so, is abominable, and not uncommon. My own mother was this way. My own father was not obedient to God in disciplining my mother to keep her from wreaking havoc on her own family, which is scattered and broken, and has spread throughout both sides of the extended families.

Any light you can shed on the divorce and remarriage issue would be taken into careful consideration. As I feel very much like a slave in bondage needing to be loosed. I am just wrestling with the rights and wrongs and what is biblically allowed for someone in my situation.

Thanks for your time and consideration,

Aria”

My Response to Aria

I have actually known men personally who have done what your husband has done staying home playing video games while they send their wives out to work or they depend on other relatives to financially support their laziness.  It infuriates me when I see this.  I believe it also infuriates God when men do this. While laziness is sin when it happens with men or women – I believe it is especially heinous when it happens in men. God created men to be ambitious and work and make their mark on the world.

A man who has no drive to work is like a woman who has no drive to have children.  It completely goes against the gender directives that God designed in men and women.

All husbands have failings in different areas just as all wives have failings in different areas. You are right that Christian husbands have a responsibility to discipline their wives for their sinful behaviors as your father should have done with your mother.

But while husbands and wives may sin against each other in countless ways God does not allow divorce for just any sin.

The story you describe is painful to imagine any Christian wife going through. But things like a husband lying to his wife, not fulfilling his promises (even denying you a child) or not spiritually leading as he should does not give a woman the right to divorce her husband.

There are many tough marriage situations where a wife is called to practice the I Peter 3:1-2 principle toward her husband who is being disobedient to God:

“1Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” – I Peter 3:1-2 (NASB)

So sometimes as tough as an ungodly husband may make things on his wife – she is still called to continue to serve him, reverence him and love him.  In some cases women can even win their husbands to obedience to God by their continued submission and service to their husbands.

However God does allow a woman to divorce her husband for these reasons:

  1. If he fails to provide her with food and clothing (shelter is implied with clothing).
  2. If he refuses to have regular sexual relations with her (sexual defraudment).
  3. If he physically abuses her or makes attempts on her life.
  4. If he abandons her.

See my article “For what reasons does God allow Divorce?” where I discuss all the Scriptures relating to each of these four points.

What about “adulterous marriages”?

The only marriage in Scripture that could be considered an ‘adulterous affair’ or ‘adulterous marriage’ is when a woman unjustly divorces her husband and then marries another man. In this case she would be considered an adulterous and the man who married her would be considered an adulterer.

Please see my article “Is there such a thing as an adulterous marriage?” for my discussion about all the Scriptures related to this topic.

What about psychological and emotional abuse?

I do not disagree that husbands and wives can treat each other in uncaring ways.  They can say hurtful and spiteful things to one another. They can sometimes do as you have said and crush one another’s spirits with their actions.

When a husband or wife do this they are not living up to the way that God expects husbands and wives to treat one another.

But I don’t think we need a special carve out for “physiological or emotional abuse” any more than we need special “hate crime” carves outs for crime as we have made today.  Murder is murder. Assault is assault. Not honoring your wife is not honoring your wife.  Not reverencing your husband is not reverencing your husband.  Provoking your children to wrath is provoking your children to wrath.

We just need to call sin what is – sin.

We don’t need new categories for sin – God has given us all the types of sin in his Word.

So can you divorce you husband?

While your husband may have committed a litany list of sins against you there are two that stand out as sins that God considers grievous enough for you to end your marriage.  The fact that he does not work consistently and makes you have to support his laziness is enough by itself to allow you to divorce him.  His sin of sexual denial by itself would be enough for you to end your marriage. These two sins together make for an air tight case for Biblical divorce.

I applaud you though for giving your husband time to repent. I don’t think anyone should enter divorce lightly without giving the offending spouse a certain amount of time to repent.

But if he fails to repent by the end of this year I believe that you can be free of your marital bonds to him as Exodus 21:10-11 clearly says.

While God can do anything it sounds like your husband has been a lazy man for most of his life and it is highly doubtful he will change.  When this year ends if God gives you peace about this I think it would be right for you to end your marriage.  And you are free to marry another man and it will not be an adulterous marriage to do so since you have divorced your husband with for just causes.

Update 5/1/2016

For those who read this story when I originally published it she has asked me to change her code name to “Aria” and remove a few details from the story that she feels may make it too specific if her husband or family were to ever read it. So if you remember her previous code name or those details please  don’t reference them in comments. Thank you.

 

Why the movie “Fireproof” offers unbiblical and BAD marriage advice

One of the biggest of problems with the Fireproof movie is that it turns marriage into an idol. People are exhorted to do just about anything to save their marriage. Fireproof was released in September of 2008 and it became an instant hit in churches around the country. The “love dare” and many other books and marriage teaching materials spawned from this movie and some churches to this day still use this movie to teach advice about marriage.

Movie Synopsis

Fireproof features Kirk Cameron in the lead role as a firefighter named Caleb Holt. The movies shows right from the beginning a strained relationship between Caleb and his wife Catherine. He is short with her and she is disrespectful with him.  Eventually Catherine says she wants a divorce and they go through the divorce process during the movie. Caleb talks to his father who had become a Christian in recent years and his father tells him of marriage troubles his mother and he had.  He offers to send his son something that he wants him to try before he gives up on his marriage.

It must be pointed out that neither Caleb nor his wife Catherine are Christians at the beginning of this film.

Caleb receives a handwritten journal that is later referred to as “The Love Dare” and it gives Caleb 40 days where each day he must working on his marriage with most days asking him to do something kind for his wife.  In the middle of the movie when Caleb feels his efforts with the love dare are not working his father uses his failed efforts to bring him to Christ.  Then after becoming a Christian he redoubles his efforts despite his wife basically spitting in his face the entire movie only for her to accept him back at the end of the movie.  She becomes a Christian because of the change she saw in him and they renew their wedding vows as Christians.

So now we will dive into the problems that make “Fireproof” a movie that Bible believing Christians should reject.

The chain of events that lead to the breakdown of Caleb and Catherine’s marriage

Most Christian reviewers of the movie as well as the people who produced the movie itself want your primary focus to be on Caleb’s wrong behavior and not Catherine’s. There is only one small scene in the movie where a Christian nurse confronts Catherine’s sinful emotional affair with a doctor at the hospital. Catherine’s behavior is seen simply as a wife’s natural reaction to a mean and self-centered husband and we are supposed to believe Caleb’s behavior came out of thin air.

Caleb says the problems started about a year earlier. So now I will present what I think were several problems that lead up to breakdown of their marriage based on several key statements made in the first two arguments of the movie.

Here is the chain of events that eventually lead Catherine to seek divorce from Caleb:

  1. A year earlier Catherine comes to Caleb asking for him to use part of his savings for his boat to pay for a new hospital bed and wheel chair for her disabled mother who is living in a nursing home and Caleb refuses to part with any money from his savings feeling that he works hard as a firefighter and after saving for years deserves to get his boat.
  2. Catherine reacts to his refusal by going to work full time as an administrator in a local hospital. Caleb tells her that if she is going to work full time then she will need to help pay the bills in the house while he will continue to pay the house payment and their two car payments.
  3. Catherine begins spending much more time with her mother on the weekends in addition to working full time and Caleb becomes frustrated by his wife’s neglect of him and her home.
  4. Caleb begins looking at porn at some point and Catherine starts sexually denying him and tells him that she won’t give him sex while he looks at that “smut” and she would not compete with it. She later tells him that he has lost all honor in her eyes because he looks at porn.
  5. Catherine’s bitterness toward Caleb over her feelings about him being selfish with his savings, his looking at porn and his not doing enough in helping with the affairs of the home leads to a very disrespectful attitude toward Caleb.
  6. As could be expected in any marriage that has experienced these types of issues there is also a complete breakdown of even the most basic communications between the couple.
  7. Caleb gets frustrated with Catherine’s disrespectful attitude and he finally let’s her have it. He yells at her in frustration and gets in her face telling her how ungrateful and disrespectful she has been after she has spent several minutes smarting off to him.   She goes from being a defiant and disrespectful wife all of sudden to a fearful victim who begins to cry in fear.  She tells him “I want out” and thus begins Caleb’s and Catherine’s journey into divorce.

It must be noted that beside Catherine’s neglect of her home, her sexual denial of her husband and her highly disrespectful attitude toward him she compounds her sinful behavior by beginning an emotional affair with a doctor at the hospital where she works.

The sins that Caleb and Catherine each committed

Caleb acted selfishly in not wanting to part with any of his savings for his boat to care for the legitimate needs of Catherine’s mother for a hospital bed and wheel chair.

Catherine began to grow bitter at Caleb for his selfishness with his savings and at the same time decides to put her mother’s care ahead of her duties to her home and her husband.

Catherine’s comment acknowledging she has been sexually denying her husband and that she would not “compete with that smut” (the porn he had been looking at) also reveals a sinful heart of pride on her part.  While much our current culture (including Christian Churches) teach that a man must have eyes only for his wife this concept is not supported by the Scriptures (see my post “10 Hard Truths Christian Wives must accept about their husbands and porn”).  Even if it were sinful for him to be looking at porn and it was required by God for him to focus all his sexual thoughts and energy on her it still would not be right for her to sexually deny him.

Could Caleb have helped more around the house with his wife working full time and helping to care for her mother on the weekends? Probably.  But there is an argument to be made that unless a husband asks his wife to work to help support the family and if she decides on her own that she needs/wants to work then he has no obligation to help her with the duties of the home.  In essence she as decided to pull “double duty” – to work outside the home while fully keeping up with her duties to the affairs of her home.

In either case it appears that Catherine has also been woefully neglectful of her home.   There is also another question regarding whether or not she should have been spending all those weekends with her mother at the nursing home.  Did they not have nurses to care for her mother?

Even though Caleb was not a Christian man he worked many hours as a firefighter and expected and had grown accustomed to his wife being the keeper of the affairs of the home. This is a natural instinctive expectation for any man in regard to his wife even without knowing anything about the Biblical commands for wives to occupy this role. Our society has tried to reprogram men to be “joint keepers of the home” with their wives but this reprogramming has still not taken affect with a lot of men. The refrigerator and cupboards being stocked, meals being made and his laundry being done were all things Caleb had come to expect from Catherine.  Then when she went to work that began to change.

I believe this change in Catherine’s neglect of her home was due to several factors.  She believed that since she had to work due to her husband’s selfishness with his money that she was no longer going to take care of all the affairs of the home.  He was going to have fend for himself – he deserved that for how he had been treating her.  She also decided that her mother’s needs were more important than her husband’s wishes. Even if she was right about all the wrong things he had done – her wrong behavior in reaction to her husband’s behavior caused a destructive spiral of sinful behavior in their marriage that eventually lead to their divorce proceedings.

Right behaviors that could have prevented the collapse of Caleb and Catherine’s marriage

First Caleb could have realized the true need of Catherine’s mother for a hospital bed and wheel chair and sacrificed his dream of a boat to help her mother’s real need. This would have strengthen her love for him. But rather than do what was right Caleb acted selfishly and refused to help her mother.

However, Catherine could have chosen to act to both preserve her marriage and at the same time help her mother at the same time.  She could have taken the difficult road of fully taking care of the needs of her home and working full time at the same time.  Would this be tiring for her? Absolutely.  But then she would have been fulfilling her duty to her home while at the same time helping her mother. Another thing to remember is Catherine and Caleb had no children so really Catherine’s duties to her home would not have been as burdensome as if they had children.

Caleb could have chosen to be more discreet about his porn use and least given his wife the perception that he was not looking at it anymore after she caught him the first time knowing how much it hurt her feelings.  He seems to be have had little regard for being discreet about his porn habit.

Catherine felt great emotional pain regarding her husband’s porn use as she felt she was to be center of all his sexual thoughts and that she should not have to compete with images or thoughts of any other women on the part of her husband. But even with her hurt she could have decided to act in a right way and not drive him to look at porn further and also increase his frustration toward her by sexually denying him.

Caleb tries to save his marriage

At first both Caleb and Catherine just want to pull the eject level because of hurts they each feel they have suffered at the hands of the other.  But then Caleb’s Dad convinces him to fight for 40 days to save his marriage using the love dare journal.

Caleb while not being a Christian yet out of respect for his father decides to give it a try. In the beginning he is doing these things expecting his wife to notice and then apologize for her behavior and they could make up and cancel the planned divorce.  But as he does each kind thing toward her she becomes more and more hostile instead believing his actions are not based on genuine changes she would like to see.

This is where we get into some unbiblical concepts and misapplied biblical concepts that are introduced by the love dare and Caleb’s father.

Fireproof confuses God’s unconditional love with God’s conditional affection

Many Christian men and women do not know that God has two kinds of love for us. There are certain actions God performs toward us that are completely based on God’s unconditional love for us. His salvation for us is chief among these actions and this passage is used in the movie to refer to God’s unconditional love:

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (NIV)

This passage is used as central theme in teaching Caleb to unconditionally love his wife.  Now should a man unconditionally love his wife? Absolutely.  That is what all men vow to do when they take a woman as their wife.

However when a man vows to unconditionally love his wife he is vowing to unconditionally provide for her, protect her, care for her when she sick, lead her, forgive her when she sins against him, show her kindness, teach her, discipline her and sacrifice himself for her.

When Caleb refused to take money out of his savings he was not sacrificing himself for his wife’s true needs as he should have.  When he became a Christian he realized what that meant to sacrifice himself for his wife and took the money out of his account and paid for her mother’s hospital bed and wheel chair.

But the Bible shows that God’s affection for us is in fact based upon our affection toward him:

“No, the Father himself loves you BECAUSE you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” – John 16:27 (NIV)

The word here in the original language for “love” is different than the word used in Romans 5:8 in regard to love.  This word could be translated as “affection” so it could read as this:

“No, the Father himself shows affection for you BECAUSE you have shown affection me and have believed that I came from God.”

See my post “Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?” for more on this subject of unconditional love and conditional affection in regard to both God’s love for us as individuals, his love for Israel and a husband’s love for his wife.

Getting back to Fireproof – they teach that God only has one kind love and it is always unconditional. In the view of fireproof a husband is not only to unconditionally love his wife by providing her, protecting her and sacrificing himself for her but is also called to perform unconditional acts of affection toward her.

The message we get from Fireproof is that a man should do things like buy his wife flowers, make her romantic dinners, clean the house and a host of other acts of affection despite his wife’s continued sinful behavior including complete and utter disrespect, a generally critical and hostile spirit, neglect of her duties to the home, sexual denial and even an emotional affair.

The Biblical truth is that while God calls husbands to unconditionally love their wives he does not call them to unconditionally perform acts of affection toward them in spite of their rebellious and sinful behavior or to cause them to turn from their sinful behavior.

What did God do in the Old Testament when his wife acted in rebellion against him, disrespected him and she became unfaithful like Catherine did here in this story?

“41 They will burn your houses with fire and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women. Then I will stop you from playing the harlot, and you will also no longer pay your lovers. 42 So I will calm My fury against you and My jealousy will depart from you, and I will be pacified and angry no more. 43 Because you have not remembered the days of your youth but have enraged Me by all these things, behold, I in turn will bring your conduct down on your own head,” declares the Lord God, “so that you will not commit this lewdness on top of all your other abominations.” – Ezekial 16:41-43 (NASB)

From Ezekiel and many other Old Testament passages we can see just how God handles a rebellious wife.  He brings her conduct on her head. He disciplines his wife.

Notice in this next passage from the book of Isaiah how God removes his blessing from Israel because of her rebellion:

““What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?

Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?

5 “So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard:

I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed;

I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.

6 “I will lay it waste;

It will not be pruned or hoed,

But briars and thorns will come up.

I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.” – Isaiah 5:4-8 (NASB)

God did not continue to bless Israel and do even more for her and perform unconditional acts of affection toward her while she was in her rebellion. God’s example as a husband to his wife Israel is in DIRECT contradiction to what Fireproof advices husband’s to do with a rebellious and unfaithful wife.

But didn’t God show that he would “allure” Israel back to him?

Often times Hosea and the prostitute God called him to marry are brought up to bolster Fireproof’s approach to the rebellious and unfaithful wife. But if you closely examine the story of Hosea you will see that God had Hosea take a prostitute as his wife who was later unfaithful to him and he took her back to show that AFTER Israel repents and turns from her wickedness God would remove his discipline and restore her blessings and her rightful place as his wife.

For more on the subject of a husband disciplining his wife see my post “7 Ways to Discipline your wife”.

Fireproof does get it right about a husband confessing his sin to his wife

God calls husbands to confront sin both in themselves, their wives and their children. But before a husband can confront his wife’s sin he must confess his own and make it right.

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Luke 6:42 (NIV)

Caleb did do this with his wife in the movie after he became a Christian. This is something the movie actually gets right.

I do though think it was silly in the movie that he paid for her mother’s hospital bed and wheel chair and he did not tell her about it. He could have used that as a powerful moment to let her know how sorry he was for being selfish with his money and that he had paid for her mother’s hospital bed and wheel chair to demonstrate his repentance.  It could have avoided prolonging their problems and if she would have never thought to ask who actually paid for it they may have continued with the divorce.

Fireproof teaches the false doctrine of “Happy Wife Happy Life”

During an exchange early in the movie before Caleb’s conversion he is talking about how is respected everywhere he goes except in his own home.  His fellow firefighter tells him that he has been there before his wife not feeling respected and it was a rough place to be. His friend tells Caleb that ultimately his marriage problems were not about his wife’s disrespectful attitude toward him but rather it was because of his mistreatment of her.

He offers this advice that he learned in marriage counseling “Your wife is like rose, if you treat her right she will bloom but if you don’t she wither and die”. This is the essence of “Happy Wife Happy Life” that is taught in both secular marriage counseling and sadly in most Christian marriage counseling in our society.

Today marriage counselors often say that most marriage problems come down to the husband’s treatment of his wife. If the husband would just love his wife as she desires to be loved and do whatever she wants their marriage will be great and in return she will love him and be the best wife to him.

But this is blatantly false.

God calls Christian husband’s to make their first concern to honor God with their lives and to model the relationship of God to his people in their marriages. In keeping with that primary goal of marriage husbands are called to sacrifice themselves not for their wife’s happiness – but rather for her holiness:

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” – Ephesians 5:25-27 (NIV)

In most Christian churches when they teach on the sacrificial love that God calls Christian husband’s to emulate with their wives they stop abruptly at “gave himself up” but they never explain for what purpose a husband is to give himself up for his wife. The primary purpose of a husband’s sacrificial love for his wife is to make her holy not to make her happy.  In fact often times a husband will be called to make leadership decisions that his wife disagrees with but he believes are in the will of God.  This might make her unhappy. He might have to confront his wife for some sinful behavior she is doing and this will definitely make her unhappy.  But the goal is his wife’s holiness, not her happiness.

Now is it wrong for a husband to try and make his wife happy where he can? Of course not.  If what his wife is asking for would not conflict with what he believes God would have him do then by all means he should do it.  If a husband were presented with the same scenario with saving for some boat or other unnecessary thing and a true need arose for a close family member he should sacrifice his wants in these kinds of cases.

Now there is also the case of a selfish wife where is she is very demanding of her husband’s time and money on a regular basis and not for legitimate needs like a hospital bed and wheel chair for her mother.  Men need to be careful in these cases to not spoil their wives.

See my previous post entitled “Does the Bible teach “happy wife happy life”?” for more on this subject.

I have personally seen the damage that the Fireproof movie has caused in marriages

When Fireproof was released in September of 2008 I was in the midst of my divorce from my first wife. My story in many ways mirrored the story of Caleb but in some ways it was different.

First let me state the biggest difference is that my wife and I were both professing Christians and we both had attended church for most of our lives. When I say “professing” I don’t mean that I did not truly believe because I have truly believed in God since I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior at the age of seven years old.  But by “professing” I mean in my opinion I am not sure that my ex-wife was ever truly a genuine believer.  I cannot say for sure that she is not a Christian as only God knows that.  But the fact that she has rarely graced the door step of a church in years and the way she has lived her life since our divorce has not given me any cause to think her faith is genuine.

But the reasons for the breakdown in our marriage were similar in some ways to Caleb and Catherine and different in many other ways.

My first wife thought I worked two much – I worked a full time job and a part time job to support our big family with five children. Unlike Caleb though I was not tight with the money and pretty much anything my wife wanted she got if we had the funds. In fact in many ways I was too soft on her as she was an extremely lazy woman with a princess mentality.

Like Caleb I also had a habit of viewing pornography although it did not affect my desire for my wife in the least bit and for all of our marriage until the last year of it we had sex several times a week. At the time though and for most of my life I condemned myself on a regular basis for viewing porn and I ask God’s forgiveness and her forgiveness on a regular basis. After my divorce from my first wife God finally revealed to me that my self-condemnation for viewing porn was misplaced and that I could view some type’s porn guilt free as long as it did not lead to obsessive behavior or affect my desire for my future wife.

Now the reason that our sex life decreased rapidly in the last year of our marriage was not due to my porn habit or any decrease in desire on my part for my wife.  The decrease came because for the first time in our marriage she began to sexually deny me.  At first it was only a decrease in our relations and then eventually she started to flat out deny me.

What I eventually came to learn is that she had been having an affair with another man for the past year (which completely explained the change in our sex life). She cited my working too much and my history of viewing porn as her primary reasons for the affair. She felt that she should have been the only woman that I desired to see naked and she should have been the center of all my sexual focus and really my life’s focus.  She wanted to be number one in all areas of my life and she felt she did not occupy that position based on me putting so much into my job and my viewing porn.

I started attending a support group at a church for people facing the possibility of divorce or actually going through divorce. The director of that group was a huge fan of what was at the time new “Fireproof” approach to handling the wayward wife.

He actually told me that I needed to do what Caleb did in the movie and compete for my unfaithful wife. He convinced me for a time that my porn use was just as unfaithful to my wife as he being unfaithful to me with this man she had been sleeping with for the past year.  Many good Christian men have fallen for this false comparison as I once did.

I did what Caleb did and I apologized to my ex-wife in tears on my hands and knees.  I begged her to return to me and that I would treat her like the “jewel” she was if she would just give me another chance while I knew she was still seeing this other man.

For a time following this horrible Fireproof advice I was given I convinced myself that my ex-wife was not truly the lazy and the self-centered princess that she truly was.

But then I realized very quickly what this man from this church support group was saying was wrong and that I was trying to convince myself of a lie. Was I the perfect husband? Certainly not. Did I work too much at times and was I neglectful of her at times? Yes. But what I did certainly did not justify what she did.

Did God win back his unfaithful wife by performing acts of affection? No way! He brought down the house on Israel because of her sin. My ex-wife and other Christian men who had unfaithful wives saw their wives emboldened in their unfaithfulness by the example of the Fireproof movie.

It was their husband’s fault not theirs and their husband’s needed to win them back.  What heresy! What an utter and complete false teaching this is!

Yes the story of my first marriage did tragically end in divorce and with her quickly marrying the man whom she had the affair with.  It was interesting that not long after our divorce before I married my first wife she realized the mistake she made and this guy was not all he acted like he was and she wanted me to consider taking her back but of course there was no real repentance for what she had done. I told her NO WAY and even if I remained a single Dad for the rest of my life that would have been better than being with a wife like her that I could not trust.  About two months after that I met the women who would later become my future wife.

As I have written on this site in other places my second wife is a good Christian woman and she certainly has more character and is a far more trust worthy person than my first wife ever was. She truly loves my children and has been a great step mother to them.

But I came to realize that she was indeed a “rebound relationship” not long after we were married and I realized all the differences between us we had overlooked even while both being Christians with her feminist upbringing being a big red flag I overlooked.  But I have learned a lot from my first marriage and this second marriage has taught me a great deal as well.  We have our rough days and she and I both struggle with certain sins.  I still struggle with working too much at times as my wife will attest to. I have tried to carve out some time together and we try and schedule date nights (something I did not do in my first marriage).

But we do love one another and care for one another and we try to do our best to make it work despite there still being many conflicts of marriage philosophy in our marriage. And to answer the question everyone will ask in the comments – is my wife still a feminist? Yes but not as much as she was when were first married.  Over the years through our many discussions (some more gentle and others more heated) God has worked through me trying to teach her God’s Word on this subject and she is not the same person she was when we were first married.  But we still have a ways to go and sometimes my wife will have relapses and revert back to her old feminist attitudes and it gets tough during those days.

In my first marriage I never disciplined my wife and I did not confront her sinful behavior until the end of the marriage when it was too late. I provided for my family but I did not lead in all areas the way I should have. But in this marriage I have learned to stand up and lead and sometimes do the difficult task of confronting my wife’s sinful attitudes and behaviors while admitting I have some sinful habits and behaviors myself too.   It’s not that I don’t still struggle with disciplining my wife and my kids – because I certainly do – but at least now it’s happening.

Conclusion

We have demonstrated that one of the biggest of problems with the Fireproof movie is that it turns marriage into an idol. People are exhorted to do just about anything to save their marriage.  God does NOT call us to enable sin to save our marriage.  Our faithfulness to God and his will and design for our life is the most important thing.  Some marriages cannot be saved due to unrepentant behavior on the part of one or both spouses.

Do I think Kirk Cameron and those who produced this movie had good intentions toward helping couples to save their marriages and stem the tied of divorce? Yes I do. I think Kirk Cameron is truly a man of faith and so are the people who produced this movie and they were sincere in the beliefs about what they thought love in Biblical marriage looks like. But sometimes Christians can be sincerely wrong.  Egalitarianism is evident even in the movies theme phrase “Never leave your partner behind”.  Despite modern misconceptions about what Christian marriage looks like the Bible never ever refers to marriage as a partnership.  It calls a wife a husband’s companion but never his partner.  Instead the Bible refers to marriage as a patriarchy.

Contrary to Fireproof’s motto “Never leave your partner behind” – God did in fact leave his wife Israel behind after he disciplined her and  she failed to repent of her rebellion and unfaithfulness toward him and then he divorced her.  He tells us in the New Testament that he has taken on a new wife in the form of the Church to make his first wife Israel jealous and one day Israel will repent and be restored as his wife in addition to the church.

I am surprised it took me so many years to write my feelings about this movie but now I am glad that I have.  I hope that Christians will realize that while there is some good in Fireproof the good DOES NOT outweigh the bad.  It completely distorts how God’s unconditional love works and neglects the discipline of God and his conditional affection.