Was Roy Moore violating Biblical commands in dating teenage girls?

Does the Bible condemn the practice of older men dating teenage girls? With the revelations in the news about Alabama Republican senate candidate Roy Moore having dated teenage girls decades ago when he is was in thirties this question has been raised amongst Christians.

Now let me be clear as a Bible believing Christian in regard to the sexual molestation accusations against Judge Moore.  If it can be proven that Judge Moore engaged in any type of sexual touching or sexual relations with these woman outside of marriage that would be by definition fornication and something that the Bible clearly condemns.

But that is not the question I am discussing here.  The fact is, even if Judge Moore did not engage in any extramarital sexual relations with any of these women there are many in our culture, including Christians, who would condemn him simply for dating teenage girls while he was in his early thirties and this is the question we will tackle in the article.

What is the minimum age for women to marry in the Bible?

There are two factors for determining a woman’s minimal age for marriage.

A woman must reach puberty first before she can marry

Two Bible passages, one from the Old Testament and one from the New indicate that the minimal age for marriage of woman is when she reaches puberty.

“7 I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.

8 Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.”

Ezekiel 16:7-8 (KJV)

In the passage above from Ezekiel we read of God’s love story with Israel.  He presents himself as a wealthy man who finds an infant girl who had just been born and is left for dead in a field.  He takes her as ward in his home and when she reaches puberty (grows breasts and pubic hair) he declares that “thy time was the time of love” and he takes her as his wife.

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells of a similar story of a man with a young woman who is his ward whom he has an attraction to:

“36 But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.”

I Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)

When it says “pass the flower of her age” it literally means “ripe” as when a fruit is ready to be plucked and eaten.  Like Ezekiel 16:7-8 it refers to the fact that she has reached puberty and is now ready for marital love.

So according to both the Old and New Testaments a girl must first reach puberty before she can marry and when a girl reached puberty she was no longer considered a child but was now considered a woman.

A father determines at what age his daughter marries

There was a second factor in determining a woman’s age at the time of her marriage and we find this in the book of Exodus:

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.”

Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)

Today our culture treats a father’s blessing for his daughter to marry as a cute tradition and nothing more. Fathers are expected to rubber stamp any man their daughter says she wants to marry because after all it is her life, her body and her choice right?  Fathers have had their authority over whom their daughters marry completely removed.  However, we can see in the Scriptures that this was not just some tradition but we see that God grants fathers the authority over whom their daughters may marry.

Now a word caution on this.  A father’s authority over his daughter while being similar to that of a husband over his wife is different in some key aspects. A father’s authority is temporary.  He is there to raise her and prepare her for her future husband.  His authority and ownership over his daughter is not meant to be for life as a husband’s authority is meant to be for life.   So if a father is inhibiting his daughter from marrying well into her adult life in order to keep her in his home he has failed in the role God has given him.  He is sinning against God and his daughter by inhibiting his daughter from following God’s first command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28).

The State has no authority over marriage

Many Christians mistakenly think that God has given civil government nearly unlimited authority.  Most Christians think unless the government literally tells us to sin that they can pass any laws they want.  They site passages like this to bolster their belief:

“13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

1 Peter 2:13-14 (KJV)

But they neglect the fact that Christ recognizes the concept of limited authority for civil government:

“They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

Matthew 22:21 (KJV)

 

Christ said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”.  That means “Obey the civil government in the areas that God has given to civil government”.

Romans 13:1-5 and 1 Peter 2:13-14 teach us that the role of government is to protect the people and punish evil doers according to God’s law. Search the Scriptures and you will find that the only authority God gives in marriage is to the family and specifically to the father.  Of course we know that the father is still under God’s authority in regard to marriage and he must regard his ownership of his daughter as a temporary stewardship in preparing her for her future husband.

What this means in practical terms is state marriage licenses are not required by God.  A marriage is valid in God’s eyes if a man has the permission of a woman’s father or if her father is gone and she is living on her own she consents to marriage.  He can enter into a covenant of marriage with her in private and that marriage is just as binding in God’s eyes as if they had a public ceremony with a pastor or priest and state marriage license.

This also means whether states outlaw all marriage under the age of 18 or even 21 Christians may disregard such laws as the usurping of authority over the family by the civil government.  Christians can and may practice civil disobedience against such laws.

How our culture mocks God’s laws

Julie Zauzmer, writing for the Washington Post recently published an article entitled “Roy Moore allegations prompt reflections on fundamentalist culture in which some Christian men date teens”.  In this article she assembles a chorus of opponents of the practice of older men dating teenage girls.

Here are some excerpts from that article with people mocking God’s laws:

“That courtship of underage girls is especially common in conservative religious communities.

“We should probably talk about how there is a segment of evangelicalism and home-school culture where the only thing Roy Moore did wrong was initiating sexual contact outside of marriage. 14 year old girls courting adult men isn’t entirely uncommon,” Kathryn Brightbill, who works for the Coalition for Responsible Home Education, tweeted Friday, prompting a flurry of responses from other people who also had watched teenagers date much older Christian men…

Ashley Easter, who grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church where courting was the norm for teenagers, said, “That was the first thing I thought of with Roy Moore.” In her church community in Lynchburg, Va., Easter said, fathers had complete control over whom their daughters were allowed to date, and she could see how a father might set his teen daughter up with a much older man.

A woman’s role is to be a wife, a homemaker and someone who births children. The man’s role is generally to be established and someone who provides the full income,” said Easter, who runs the Courage Conference for survivors of church sexual abuse. “It may take longer for a man to reach stability. While a woman of 15 or 16, if she’s been trained for a long time looking after her younger siblings, in their eyes she might be ready for marriage.” [1]

While regrettably I was not able to have my children homeschooled for a variety of reasons I do consider myself a part of that “segment of evangelicalism and home-school culture where the only thing Roy Moore did wrong was initiating sexual contact outside of marriage”.

Many of my friends growing up were homeschooled before they came to the Christian School I attended in high school. My parents homeschooled my niece and nephew who they adopted and I have cousins that have homeschooled their children as well.  And yes I grew up in Bible believing fundamental Baptist churches that while being imperfect did teach that “fathers had complete control over whom their daughters were allowed to date” according to the Word of God.  The sad thing is that many of these Baptist churches that formerly stood on the doctrines of Biblical gender roles have in recent decades abandoned these doctrines to appease feminists both inside and outside their churches.

What has been the result of the abandonment of courtship and the authority of the father over his daughter in regard to marriage? A massive increase in promiscuity among our young people who favor dating for fun instead of courtship for marriage. In many cases a huge delay of the marriage of young women well into their middle or late 20’s and a decrease in the size of Christian families. Young women are often more interested in their education and careers than in performing the main function God created them for which was to be wives and mothers.

Ashley Easter mock’s the fact that she was taught that “A woman’s role is to be a wife, a homemaker and someone who births children. The man’s role is generally to be established and someone who provides the full income”.

The sad part is Mrs. Easter growing up in a fundamental Baptist church knows the Scriptures actually support that very definition of a woman’s role that she mocks:

“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)

The false “Child Marriage” narrative

I and other Christians who do not oppose marriage for women under the age of 18 are opposed to child marriage.  But we are opposed to child marriage as God defines it in the Scriptures and not how our culture defines child marriage.

My readers know I am no stranger to writing on controversial topics especially as they relate to the Bible and marriage and I know on this subject I may have some disagreement from even some of my strongest supporters.  But I would like you to truly consider something.

In the Scriptures we read:

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)

What the Bible calls “child marriage” and what our culture calls “child marriage” are two different things.  God says a girl is a child before she reaches puberty and that after she reaches puberty it “was the time of love” (Ezekiel 16:8) – in other words time for marriage. She was no longer considered a child, but was now considered a woman.  God forbids men from marrying a young girl who has not “passed the flower of her age” (I Corinthians 7:36) or in other words a girl who has not reached puberty.  She is still considered a child and is not eligible for marriage.

So yes if a man wants to marry some prepubescent girl he is in fact in violation of God’s law and that is “child marriage” we can all agree is wrong.

But our feminist and egalitarian culture has expanded the definition of how long girls remain children.  Our culture has expanded childhood for girls past the onset of puberty all the way to age 18.

In an article entitled “Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States?”, Fraidy Reiss writing for the Washington Post states:

“Unchained At Last, a nonprofit I founded to help women resist or escape forced marriage in the United States, spent the past year collecting marriage license data from 2000 to 2010, the most recent year for which most states were able to provide information. We learned that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children — almost all of them girls, some as young 12 — were married during that period, mostly to men 18 or older. Twelve states and the District of Columbia were unable to provide information on how many children had married there in that decade. Based on the correlation we identified between state population and child marriage, we estimated that the total number of children wed in America between 2000 and 2010 was nearly 248,000.

Despite these alarming numbers, and despite the documented consequences of early marriages, including negative effects on health and education and an increased likelihood of domestic violence, some state lawmakers have resisted passing legislation to end child marriage — because they wrongly fear that such measures might unlawfully stifle religious freedom or because they cling to the notion that marriage is the best solution for a teen pregnancy…

Regardless of whether the union was the child’s or the parents’ idea, marriage before 18 has catastrophic, lifelong effects on a girl, undermining her health, education and economic opportunities while increasing her risk of experiencing violence.” [2]

Reiss throws in marriages as young as 12(even though the majority were age 15 or higher) to really get the hairs on the back of people’s necks up.

If you were to tell people in Biblical times that a girl did not become a woman until she was 18 they would have laughed so hard at you they would have fallen over. Let me give you a little bit of historical backdrop on this before we condemn twelve year olds marrying:

Rev. Dr. Eugene Weitzel stated this about the Jewish view of early marriage:

    “As we noted above, the Jews clearly understood that the first command that God gave to Adam and Eve was “increase and multiply” (Gen 1:28). In fact one rabbi firmly believed that “A bachelor is not truly a man at all.” Furthermore, celibacy was looked upon as an anomaly, almost a disgrace.  Now keep in mind that Jesus Christ, a devout, practicing Jew who dearly loved his Jewish faith, grew up with this view of celibacy.  He also knew that his people believed in early marriage.  Many rabbis, even during Jesus’s time, taught that eighteen was the ideal age for marriage for a man but certainly not later than twenty-four. He knew too that girls were ready for marriage as soon as they were physically ready to conceive and bear children, which according to the law was twelve and one-half years. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably no more than fourteen years old when she gave birth to the Son of God.” [3]

Lucien Deiss in his book “Joseph, Mary, Jesus” writes:

    “How old could Mary have been? Young girls usually were betrothed as soon as they became a woman.  It was believed they reached puberty at about twelve or twelve and a half. Boys it was believed reached the age if puberty a year later. Marriage could take place one year after puberty a year later. In general, it was held that men could wait until the age of eighteen or twenty before marrying so that they could have time to build a house and plant a vineyard.”[4]

My point is that is highly likely from a historical perspective that Mary was betrothed to Joseph at 12 years old and most likely gave birth to Jesus by the age of 14. Now we know in the case of Mary that Jesus’s conception was of the Holy Spirit.  But under normal circumstances young women were commonly giving birth to their first child by age 13 or 14.

So are we willing to condemn Joseph the father of Jesus for child marriage because he most likely betrothed Mary at such a young age?  Worse yet are we as Christians willing to condemn God the Holy Spirit for conceiving a child in Mary at such a young age? Is God guilty of child abuse?

Reiss laments about the lack of nationwide state bans on marriage under the age of 18 “because they wrongly fear that such measures might unlawfully stifle religious freedom”.  Sorry mam – but that is exactly what such restrictions on marriage would be – a stifling of religious freedom.  But sadly I fear that Reiss and her allies may someday get such legislation passed.  We have seen in the last 20 years an onslaught of legislation that assaults religious liberty whether in the form of taking parental rights or giving new rights to the homosexual and transgender movements.

Another Christian blogger who goes by the name “nickducote” wrote the following in an article entitled “Jonathan Lindvall and Child Marriage: The Maranatha Story”:

“Marrying girls off so early does several things. For one thing, it precludes them having other options. They have not finished their academic education and are not qualified for anything besides homemaking. And even then, what fifteen-year-old is truly ready to run a home in today’s world? For another thing, such early marriage means a girl marries before she has time to completely mature and form her own outlook on life. But then, sadly, that’s rather part of the point. This sort of arrangement, after all, functions not as an independent adult making her own decisions but rather as a property transfer—and it is explicitly stated as such.” [5]

While I disagree with his positions and his values I think this blogger has actually done a very good job of concisely saying what those who oppose marriage of young women really have a problem with.  They have a problem with girls not having “other options”.  They have a problem with women not being “qualified for anything besides homemaking”. They have a problem with a woman not having “her own outlook on life”. They have a problem with marriage being “a property transfer”.

I am not against women having an education nor do I think the Bible is. But our society has turned education – especially higher education and college into a human right.  We have turned education into a false god that our culture worships.  It is not a human right according to the Word of God.

Education is fine as long as it is a help and not a hindrance to the primary tasks God has given us to do.  In the case of men education is often a help in one of their primary God given duties which is to provide for their families.  Education can be a help to women as well in being able to homeschool their children in the future.  But far too often education for women because more of a hindrance than a help to them pursuing their primary mission that God has given them.

A lot of women delay marriage for many years in the pursuit of higher education and often they are tempted to pursue careers before marriage.  The result is a large amount of women marrying well into their mid to late 20’s past their prime fertility years.  I wrote an article a few years back on this issue of women’s fertility entitled “Women’s ovaries don’t agree with Feminism” and I encourage you to read that article if you have not already.

It is not a crime against humanity if a woman does not receive a higher education or for that matter does not even finish high school and is only “qualified” for homemaking. This is one of the primary purposes for which God designed woman.  A lot of Christians misuse Proverbs 31 to try and teach that God approves of the modern concept of a career woman while ignoring this key verse in that passage:

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:27 (KJV)

How many career women actually look well to the ways of their household? How many career women instead barely cook for their families and leave their houses in disarray? How many are too tired to care for their children because they have dedicated all their energy to strangers outside the home? How many career women look at their husbands as their help meet instead of looking at themselves as their husband’s help meet?

The Proverbs 31 wife did go outside the home and buy and sell things but her focus was always on serving her home and her husband.  That was the center of her life – that was what gave her life meaning and fulfillment.  That is how she brought glory to both God and her husband.

Do women really need to form their “own outlook on life” before they marry?

God is portrayed as the potter to the clay in three different ways in the Bible.

In the New Testament God is portrayed in his sovereign creator role as the potter and individuals humans are the clay:

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

Romans 9:20-21 (KJV)

We also see the children of Israel regard God as their father being their potter:

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”

Isaiah 64:8 (KJV)

But there is a third role in which God pictures himself as the potter of the clay.  It is as a husband to his wife Israel:

“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.”

Jeremiah 18:1-6 (KJV)

And for those that wish to challenge that this is God talking to Israel as his wife I challenge with this other passage from earlier in the book of Jeremiah:

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

Jeremiah 3:20 (KJV)

God literally equates “O house of Israel” with a wife who treacherously departs from her husband.   If you look at how the phrase “O house of Israel” is used in other Old Testament prophecy books it is always used in the sense of Israel as a nation – the wife of God.

So if a Christian rejects the idea of a husband being able to mold his wife as the potter molds the clay from this analogy of God and Israel they do so only from a position of pride and a rejection of the husband/wife relationship as it is pictured in the Bible.

When Christians bloggers like nickducote say women need to form their own outlooks on life before marrying he is saying they should be firm in who they are and what they believe before they marry.  The problem with this is that just as God wanted his wife Israel to be moldable to the way he wanted her to be – so too young women should be moldable to the way their husbands want them to be.

In a previous article I wrote entitled “Why unity in marriage has more to do with the wife than the husband” I dove into this concept that unity in marriage primarily has to do with the wife being moldable to her husband.

This does not mean a woman can never have her own opinions or even that young women cannot and should not have strong faiths even as young ladies before they marry.  My daughter who will be turning 16 in a few months has a strong Christian faith.  But I have taught her to keep herself moldable for her future husband and be prepared for the fact that he may see some things differently than I do as her father.  I only have a temporary stewardship over my daughter and one day I will give her to the man that will be her husband for life. It is to that man, and not me that she must mold herself.  It is with that man that she must become one flesh.

For decades Christians have done just as this blogger has recommended and encouraged women to have higher educations, form their own outlooks on life and ultimately marry much later.  And what has the result been? We have produced generations of contentious and brawling wives as the Bible warns against:

“9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house…

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

Proverbs 21:9 & 19 (KJV)

Christian marriages now have the same divorce rates that non-Christian marriages have because we have rejected Biblical gender roles as taught in the Scriptures and Churches in mass have fully embraced modern feminist ideologies.

Is it wrong to view marriage as “a property transfer”?

Ever since Roe vs Wade and Second wave feminism the entire concept of a women belonging to men whether it be their fathers or their husbands was thrown out the window.  Women for decades have chanted “it’s my body and I can do with it as I want” whether in reference to abortion or even in sexually denying their husbands.

While it may seem appalling to our feminist and egalitarian culture marriage is in fact classified as a transfer of property in the Bible.  The Hebrew word used to speak of a woman getting married or being married or a man marrying a woman was the verb form the Hebrew “baal” which was literally “to be owned”.  The noun form of the Hebrew word “baal” was used to describe a husband which was literally “owner”.  See below this passage which described adultery and the penalty for it:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married[baal – verb] to an husband[baal-noun], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”
Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)

So we could literally take the first part of Deuteronomy 22:22 and translate it as “If a man be found lying with a woman owned by an OWNER/MASTER…”

In Deuteronomy 24:1 where we read about divorce and the first part references marriage where it states “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her” this again uses the verb form of baal for marriage.  It literally could be translated as “When a man hath taken a wife and owned her…”

Even Proverbs 31 which Christian feminists like to use to falsely teach that women can have careers and abandon their duties to the home to others shows the ownership of a husband over his wife.

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband[baal – noun] doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 (KJV)

So verse 11 of Proverbs 31 literally says “The heart of her OWNER/MASTER doth safely trust in her”.

My point is this blogger and many other Christians and non-Christians alike may not like it – but the Word of God frames marriage itself as an owner/owned relationship.  When a man marries a woman he takes ownership of her.  He becomes her master.  Biblically speaking, marriage under normal circumstances is absolutely a transfer of property in the sense of a father giving away his daughter in marriage to her husband.

Now we know as Christians that a husband is not to abuse his position as his wife’s master but that he is to love her as Christ loves the Church and washes her spots and wrinkles as Ephesians 5:25-27 states.  But husbands are the masters, the owners and the heads of their wives just as Christ is the master, owner and head of his church.

That’s just the Old Testament!

A lot of Christians and non-Christians alike will criticize any use of the Old Testament as a found for moral teachings especially as it relates to marriage.  This is huge topic but I will just give you a few pointers that defuse the false argument that there is no more binding moral law in the Old Testament.

Jesus Christ said of the Old Testament:

“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)

That Apostle Paul wrote:

“Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

Romans 3:31(KJV)

Later in the New Testament we are told in Hebrews 7:12 “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law” and this in in reference to the fact that under the new priesthood of Christ the ceremonial and civil laws given to Israel as a nation are removed for the Church.  The Church unlike Israel is not a physical nation but rather a spiritual nation made up all peoples from all nations.

So for those who want to say “well if you belief daughters are owned by their fathers and wives are owned by their husbands then why are we not stoning kids for being rebellious or wives committing adultery?”  Great question and the answer is a very easy answer.  The answer is that adultery and rebellion of children toward their parents are still just as much sins against God as when he stated this thousands of years ago.  It is the penalty for these sins that has changed in the New Testament since the Church is not a nation it cannot exercise these types of punishments.

I will end with this passage from the Scriptures for those who find the Old Testament or the Bible repugnant to their modern American values. For you Christians who put more faith in studies conducted by man that say women should not do what God created them to do because it is “unhealthy” or “catastrophic” for them.

“Let God be true, but every man a liar”

Romans 3:4 (KJV)

References:

[1] Zauzmer, Julie. (2017). Roy Moore allegations prompt reflections on fundamentalist culture in which some Christian men date teens. The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/11/13/roy-moore-allegations-prompt-reflections-on-fundamentalist-culture-in-which-some-christian-men-date-teens/

[2] Reiss, Fraidy. (2017). Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/02/10/why-does-the-united-states-still-let-12-year-old-girls-get-married/?utm_term=.fd7b3878c31f&tid=a_inl

[3] Weitzel, Eugene. J. (2010). I Want to Be a Husband and Father for Life and a Catholic Priest Forever. U.S.: Xilbris Corporation. p. 113

[4] Deiss, Lucien (1996), Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Liturgical Press, p. 25, ISBN 978-0814622551

[5] nickducote. (2017). Jonathan Lindvall and Child Marriage: The Maranatha Story. Jonathan Homeschoolersanonymous.org. https://homeschoolersanonymous.org/2013/12/02/jonathan-lindvall-and-child-marriage-the-maranatha-story/

Why you should teach your daughter NOT to be independent

This famous cartoon created by Laura Foster in 1912, an opponent of women’s suffrage, has proven to be absolutely true a century after the passage of woman’s suffrage. A new study released this week confirms “women’s greater economic independence” as a contributing factor of rising cohabitation rates and declining marriage rates in the United States.

Here is more of the story from Reuters:

“More Americans 50 years and older are copying younger generations and eschewing marriage, opting instead to live with their partners, according to new research.

In 2016 about 18 million Americans were cohabiting, defined as living with an unmarried partner, and nearly a quarter of them were people over 50, an increase of 75 percent since 2007, data released on Thursday from Pew Research Center showed…

Government figures show that so-called “gray divorce,” or splits among adults 50 and over, has about doubled since the 1990s and could partly account for the increase in cohabitation.

Fewer marriages, changing social norms and women’s greater economic independence are other explanations for the rise, Stepler added.

As cohabiting has gone up, the marriage rate in the United States has dropped, from 8.2 per 1,000 population in 2000 to 6.9 in 2014, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Stepler also pointed to an increase in the number of older Americans who have never married. Pew found that 27 percent of people 50 years and older who are cohabiting have never married, while more than half are divorced and 13 percent are widowed.”

Whenever reports like this come up about declining marriage rates and rising cohabitations rates you have to look very closely to see the actual cause buried in the fine print that no one wants to address.

Newtons third law of physics states:

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”

And this law of physics actually applies to changes in society as well.  If you take social “action” there will always be “an equal and opposite reaction” in society for the betterment or worsening of society.

While this report tries to show “fewer marriages, changing social norms and women’s greater economic independence” as factors in the rise of cohabitation rates and decline of marriage they are not really three different causes.  Fewer marriages and changing social norms (the acceptability of cohabiting outside of marriage) are a direct result of women’s greater economic independence and what gave women greater economic independence? The women’s rights movement, the movement to make women be social equals with men that started in the mid 1800’s.

The Driving forces of Marriage before Feminism

For the history of mankind women had fewer rights than men. Women were for the most part owned by men.  Few women owned property and still fewer women held positions of power.  The result was that women were compelled to seek out marriage to men for their economic prosperity.

In fact, in many cases women did not even chose whom they would marry but rather their fathers did.  Often men would literally purchase their wives from the woman’s father.

This was the simple formula that served as the foundation of the human family for all of human civilization:

Man seeks out woman for her beauty, sexual pleasure, bearing his children, caring for them and caring for the affairs of his home. 

Woman seeks man for his protection and provision.

America and other westernized nations have neutralized both of these primary historical drivers of marriage for women and replaced it with something that was rarely if ever a driver for marriage before the modern times – romantic feelings.

Governments have now granted rights to women to be socially and economically equal with men and for those women who still cannot support themselves the government will step in and help through welfare benefits.  Modern police forces provide all the protection women need so again in this area women do not need a husband anymore.

So now romance is the only driver for marriage If a man sufficiently worships a woman telling her how wonderful she is and agreeing to support her as her equal companion in whatever she chooses whether it is a career or having children she will grant him the privilege of marrying her.

And since she has no need from him other than his emotional support of her and constant worshiping of her if either of these things diminishes there is no need for the marriage to continue.

This change in the foundation for marriage has directly lead to a decline in marriage itself.  Because after all if marriage is just based on feelings – why does anyone need a paper? Why make a commitment that will just cause more complications? Live on feelings and when the feelings are gone each person can go their separate ways.

This is not just about economics but about spirituality

As Christians, we know there is much more going on here than just the destabilization of marriage because of the economic independence of women.  We know that marriage is about more than just a mutually beneficial economic relationship (although God did intend for it to be a mutually beneficial relationship as well).

The Bible shows that God designed marriage as a spiritual symbol of the relationship between himself and his people:

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

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 5:23-24 & 28-29(KJV)

The Biblical model of marriage is simple.

Man loves his wife by leading her, protecting her and providing for her as Christ does the Church.  Woman submits to and serves her husband as the Church submits to and serves Christ.

The Bible show us specifically how a wife serves her husband in this world:

She serves him by making herself affectionate, beautiful and sexually pleasing him

“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 5:19 (KJV)

She serves him by bearing his children and caring for the domestic needs of his home

“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)

This is the model of marriage that our creator designed.  While human beings imperfectly followed this model for thousands of years it served human civilization well.

But then we thought we knew better than God.  We overturned thousands of years of civilization for an experiment with women’s rights and women’s independence. We broke God’s model for not only marriage but society at large – that model was patriarchy. And now we are reaping the consequences of that decision.

As a direct result of feminism, marriage as an institution is crumbling and women are having so few children that western nations can only keep their populations growing by importing people from less developed nations. Third world nations from Central and South America and Africa are overrunning Europe and America as a direct result of our failed experiment with equal rights for women.

What can we do in the face of this disaster?

The Scriptures tell us “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3).

It can be very disheartening to those of us who recognize the collapse of our culture and soon as a result the collapse of our nation.

We must restore the foundation for our society one family at a time and that foundation begins with Jesus Christ himself:

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 3:11 (KJV)

But then what is next? We must build upon his Word as given by his Apostles and Prophets in the Bible:

“19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone

Ephesians 2:19-20 (KJV)

In keeping with the Word of God as our foundation we must teach women NOT to be independent of men but rather we should teach our daughters to depend on us as their fathers as we all should depend on our heavenly father.

We should teach them what God’s word says a young woman’s primary goals should be:

“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)

There is not one passage in all the Bible that encourages women’s independence from men.  Not one.  And we as Christian parents continue to do a disservice to our society when we encourage our daughter’s independence but more importantly we sin against God’s design for men and women in this world when we do this.

It is up to Christian fathers and mothers to encourage our daughters to play the part that God has given them to play.  When we return to doing things God’s way – we will reap the benefits not only in our families and churches but in our societies and nations as well.

Should we discourage our daughters from being educated?

This question will certainly be asked in the face of my advocating for parents not to teach their daughters to be independent of men.  In fact , women not being educated was one of the ways in which society for thousands of years discouraged women’s independence.

However, I don’t think as Christians we need to completely discourage our daughters from being educated.  The Bible tells us in Proverbs 31:26 of the virtuous wife that she “She openeth her mouth with wisdom” and in the New Testament elder women are encouraged to teach younger women in the Lord:

“3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

But we should teach our daughters that their education should be channeled toward the primary directives God has for them to marry, bear children and keep their future home in order. If they are pursuing education fields that are not supportive of those goals then that may be questioned.

I am not saying women can’t learn history or science or other such subjects even though they don’t directly relate to her home making duties.  Especially when we know that if she is going to home school or even help her children with their homework as mothers should she needs to have some knowledge of these subjects.

But we as parents should always be cognizant of the direction our daughters are taking.   We must ask a simple question in any activity our daughter undertakes:

Will this be a help or a hindrance to her following God’s directive for her to eventually marry, bear children and guide the domestic affairs of her home?

If we feel the answer is that it will be a hindrance  – then we should discourage whatever it is.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage Episode 7

Imagine if your Christian wife did not want to have sex on your wedding night? What if for the next 20 years she only let you have sex with her 8 times a year? This next story of sexual denial in marriage comes to us from a man named Mark. He has been married for 22 years. He sent me several emails detailing different aspects of his story. I am including relevant parts of his emails to show a picture of what was happening and he very much wanted me to share his story to help other men who are facing this situation know they are not alone.

Mark’s Story

“I am so thankful for your advice regarding how a Christian man can biblically handle a situation where his wife is perpetually sinning against God and the husband, by refusing sex to her husband.  I have that situation and am about to file for divorce.  I have lived with it for 22 years and never knew how to handle it.  Once I did finally follow the same advice that you have given, my problem was that when I got to the step of taking my wife to the pastor, the pastor, like our society, was afraid of my wife.  He got on me pretty hard about being a Christian husband, but never held her accountable to being a Christian wife.  In other words, he never said that she needed to have sex with me.  So, I have now gone a year without sex.

I have done everything that I know of to provide a loving peaceful home environment, but she will not repent.  I say this because I believe that there are many pastors, and churches that have embraced feminism.  So, they always see the man as the villain and the wife as basically sinless, and always right.  I am not claiming innocence in some of my marital problems because I am a sinner, but my wife is convinced that she is justified in her behavior and I received absolutely no help from the church.

I ended up going to a different church by myself.  I met with the pastor there and he referred me/us to a trained marriage counselor.  That marriage counselor is, at least, non-biased in evaluating our marital situation.  This feminism problem IN THE CHURCH is something that you might want to make your readers aware of.  It is a sad thing that is destroying homes.  Sadly, it looks like my home is one of the victims….”

In another email Mark supplied some more background and context to his situation:

“My wife has only had sex with me approximately 8 times per year. This is absolutely horrible. I’m getting older (47), but would still like to have sex at least twice per week. It also makes it difficult to want to stay faithful to her when all she does is turn me down.

Whenever I have confronted my wife about this, she clams up. She just won’t talk about it and usually walks away to avoid addressing it. She knows the scriptural command because I’ve shown it to her several times, but doesn’t really seem to care, and she faithfully attends church once or twice per week.

My wife has had a history of being unsubmissive toward me. She was raised in a home from age 5 until adulthood without a dad or brothers. Her dad left her mom when she was 5 (I strongly suspect because her mom did the same thing to her dad as my wife has done to me.). So, she was very independent growing up and never had a model for a Christian home life.

My wife has been a stay-at-home home school mother. By the way, tell any of your readers to not home school if the parents do not have a solid marriage. It is sad to say, but as a friend told me, it seems like many home school mothers have an entitlement attitude. I think that he is right.

I have six kids. Two of those six are daughters. I am most concerned about their future marriages as they have not had a good example in my wife…

The church needs to be the final step in the process of discipline, but if the church is not there to give support, we’re kind of out there on our own. That has been my case. The church that my wife now attends by herself but with my 2 youngest kids seems to be a very doctrinally solid church with plural elders and wise men leading. However, the lead/teaching pastor, the one that counseled us, does not even see that he is blind to the feminism that he has embraced…

Here is an excerpt from an email that I received from my wife’s pastor:

I do not think it right to pursue discipline toward your wife for not having sex with you as you have previously suggested. Sex is the physical expression of intimacy that is to exist in a marriage relationship where the two are one – not just physically. I have never heard of or read of anyone being disciplined by a church for such a reason. And, I am not alone in that position. I have sought counsel from other pastors and elders on it without divulging your identities to those outside our church.”

Mark gives more detail on the sexual denial and its impact on their marriage

“The entire 22 years has been a perpetual rejection sexually on my wife’s part….

I would say that I did try to do whatever it took to make/keep her happy so that she would be willing to have sex. But a majority of the time, it still resulted in rejection. We have only had sex, on average, 8 times per year for the past 10 years. Recently, she has withheld sex from me for a year as I stated in my first email. I moved out of the bedroom 12 months ago. I could not take the continual, perpetual rejection. At least I have not had to see her walking around the bedroom in her underwear knowing that I wasn’t getting any of that.

I would say that she pretty much has always been rejecting of me. She didn’t even want to have sex our wedding night. Not only that, we probably only had sex, maybe 3 times, our entire honeymoon week and I remember being upset about that.

For the most part, sex rejection on her part has always been a problem. I wish I would have had this advice years ago. Some people might wrongly think “Wow, you have 6 kids. Your marriage’s sex life must be great.” Not true. It has been horrible. What is sad is that she was much more affectionate before marriage. I assumed that I was marrying someone that would enjoy sex. That has not been the case.

She wanted all of the kids and was more willing to have sex when she wanted to get pregnant. But, as stated before, it never has been good as far as a willingness on her part – mostly rejection. And that has been another problem where she has elevated the kids way above the marriage. I love my kids, but not more than my wife.

I really want a companion that is a friend and lover and have never had that…

Mark’s experience with marriage counselors

“I put up with it (the perpetual sexual rejection), just praying away and hoping that God would intervene. But after 17 years, I threw in the towel. I was extremely frustrated. I said hurtful things to my wife and began to just do my own thing. I was never unfaithful but did not care about hurting her feelings. After about 2 years of that, realizing that that was not the way to go, I sought marriage counseling for us. The pastor (now her pastor, not mine) stated something like “Well, you can’t expect your wife to want to have sex with you if there is no relationship.”

I now realize how bad this advice was/is. This was just what my wife wanted to hear. This really angered me, because my wife has never wanted a relationship. She is just so different from probably most women. I actually have been the one that has wanted a relationship (even outside of sex). Over the past 5 years we have been through 5 different marriage counselors. We are about to have another session tonight with our 5th counselor. However, at our last session with the marriage counselor (who has been good at seeing both sides, not just the woman’s) I stated that this is it. I am drawing a line in the sand. If my wife (with her present to hear me) wasn’t willing to make any effort at reconciliation, that I was through and would be looking for a lawyer. I finally manned up…

By the way, we were sent to an expensive 3 day weekend ($1500) “Counseling Ministry” in Brown County, Indiana called Twelve Stones. It was absolutely terrible. Again, I tried to explain that my reaction to my frustrations of not getting any sex with my wife had caused my bad behavior toward my wife. I explained to them that the root problem was my wife’s perpetual rejection of sex. Well, they basically swept it under the rug and wanted to almost exclusively focus on me and my sinful reactions, etc. Upon my return home, I talked with 3 other men that had been to Twelve Stones and they all stated basically the same thing of how the focus was on the man, and very little on the woman. Tell your readers to avoid that place if their church, pastor, or elders recommends it…

My wife has stated that she clams up and does not want a relationship (of any kind) because she thinks that I am overly controlling (this was true some times in the past). I have repented of that. She also stated that is “isn’t safe” to talk to me about anything. She does see me as a male chauvinist, even though my view of husband leadership is based upon the scriptures, which she should certainly know because we have been in bible teaching churches our entire married life.

However, she does not like me to be a strong leader. I have really become a subdued wimp over the past couple of years in order to appease her. My oldest son, who does not live at home any longer and is well aware of the marital problems stated that he could not believe how subdued and wimpy I am these days. He said that one of the things that made him proud of me is how I was a good leader and strong in my convictions and how I taught him how to be a man’s man…

Mark recently sent me this update to what was previously stated:

“Last night’s counseling session was our last. Even the counselor sees the futility in continuing when my wife wants nothing to do with reconciliation or repentance. It is really hurtful to me that she does not see any need on her part to repent of such deep seated bitterness and also disobedience regarding the sexual rejection – in particular. I have gone to every possible effort to demonstrate my repentance and desire to save our marriage. It is really sad…

I believe that most, if not all, of this has happened because of feminism which has infected my wife’s thinking. She struggled for years with submission, but then the wrongful counseling is what cemented the wrong thinking. It is sad…

Thank you very much. I just don’t think most people, even Christians, realize what good you are doing. You will have the feminists after you for sure…

I do want my story out there though. Maybe it can help someone else and save their marriage or prevent some marriages for men that are planning to marry the wrong woman.”

My response to Mark and other men who face similar situations

Mark sent me this in as a response to my post “8 steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal” which I am thankful to say is making an impact for Christ against the scourge of feminism that has infected our culture over the last century.

While I have seen many emails and stories from men about long term sexual denial from their wives I think Mark’s story highlights the problem of feminism in the church.

Thankfully the Pastor of the church I attend would not have such a cavalier attitude toward sexual denial and there are still Bible practicing churches that will call women to account for this. But Mark raises a great point which leads us to this question – “What if your Church is infected with feminism and false modern views of marriage as opposed the Biblical model of marriage?”

As I pointed out in a previous post, our Church leaders do not always follow the Scriptures and often times they will bow to cultural pressures and not preach and teach the entire counsel of God. This is why we need to be as the Bereans were when they received the Word of God from the Apostle Paul and they compared it to the Old Testament Scriptures to verify it was true before they accepted it.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:10-11 (KJV)

Mark did the right thing and searched the Scriptures and found in fact that what his Pastor was saying and how his Pastor was advising his wife was in fact “not so” from a Biblical perspective. His Pastor was flat wrong on this issue and was blinded to his own feminist view of marriage.

The husband is always the villain in modern marriage counseling

This is one of the biggest problems with marital counseling in modern times. It all about feelings and nothing about sacred duties to one another. The man is not making his wife “feel such and such” therefore she cannot be blamed for her actions.

You can see the complete and utter deafness to his concerns in his first Pastor’s response to their marital issues. Mark explains that after 17 years of denial, he threw in the towel and said some things toward his wife that were not right. Then after 2 years of just being angry and speaking wrongly to her he realized they needed counseling. So he goes to their Pastor and after explaining that his wife had been sexually denying him for 17 years before he threw in the towel for the last 2 years this is what his Pastor came away with:

“Well, you can’t expect your wife to want to have sex with you if there is no relationship.”

If I were Mark – my head would have exploded. He admits he was wrong for his behavior for the past two years, but the Pastor completely failed to see how he had put in all the effort of praying for his wife and trying to please her for the previous 17 years while she continued to deny him sexually!

“The Quiet Man” (1952) has always been one of my favorite movies since I was a child. In that movie a newlywed wife (played by Maureen O’Hara) goes to talk to her local town priest about her marriage troubles to her new husband (played by John Wayne). The priest’s reaction is the complete opposite of what most Christian Pastors and counselors would have toward sexual denial. She whispers in his ear that she has been denying her husband because she was upset at him for some things he was not doing and the priest went NUTS! He was yelling and screaming at this young wife.

The point is there was a time in our culture before the last 70 years or so that if a man and woman came into a priest or pastor and he heard sexual denial was going on he would hear nothing more and tell that woman to go home and do her duty with her husband.

Today unfortunately we have a lot of Pastors who may be brave in speaking out against many social wrongs but are cowards when it comes to preaching on the duties of husbands and wives toward each other in the bedroom and also confronting women in counseling for lack of submission in the bedroom.

The roots of Mark’s wife’s problems

Mark has admitted here as well as in other emails to me that he was not the perfect husband nor would he claim to be. I always ask men who email me when their wife’s sexual issues began and if it was from the very beginning of their marriage. I often ask “how was sex on your honeymoon?” as this can indicate where issues began.

In some marriages the sex is great in the beginning, including the honeymoon and into the first few years of marriage. Then after those first few years is when issues sometimes arise. Now sometimes the man does have some blame in the sense that he becomes neglectful of his wife and never wants to talk with her (know her) and spend time with her outside the bedroom.

Now this is not to say that a wife is justified in withholding sex from her husband, even under those conditions. Two wrongs never make a right. A husband must know his wife (talk to her) and a wife must have sex with her husband. Neither are prerequisites for the other – they stand independently from each other.

But in our sinful natures as men we will often clam up and not talk to our wives when they deny us sexually. And in the same way wives in their sinful natures will often deny their husband’s sexually when their husbands don’t make an effort to talk with them or spend time with them outside the bedroom.

But from what we can see in Mark’s account – his wife had problems in the sexual arena on day one of their marriage. She didn’t want to have sex on their wedding night! Now I know I will hear from some people and I have in the past heard of couples who did not have sex on their wedding night because she was too stressed out and tired from the wedding. But the next day and the following days she made it up to her groom.

I am not saying your marriage is cursed if your wife says no on your wedding night, but that is certainly never a good start to a marriage. There are going to be a lot more tiring and stressful days throughout the rest of your marriage and if she starts the trend on your wedding night – watch out! You might be in for some trouble.

And from a Biblical perspective, the marriage is not consummated until the husband and wife have sex. So technically speaking you were not husband and wife on your wedding night – vows don’t mean squat without the act of marriage sealing the deal.

It seems from Mark’s account the only time his wife wanted to have sex was when she wanted to get pregnant. How many men have heard this tune before? And she wanted all six kids!

It appears unfortunately for Mark, that like so many men (Christian and non-Christian alike) he was simply an accessory she needed to complete her life’s dream of having a big family and home schooling them.

Mark’s wife needed the man to bring home a paycheck for her and make sure she had everything she needed for her home. He was the sperm donor to supply her with the raw material for having the six kids she wanted. He was the father to pose for family pictures, help take care of the kids and fix things around the house and supply whatever the family needed.

In return for his services to her causes, she determined that she would gracious supply him with her body 8 times a year for sexual relief that had nothing to do with producing children.

But what she did not need was a husband. What she did not need was lover. She did not need someone trying to lead her or tell her what to do. Oh no, she would have none of that. And if Mark did not appease his wife and do what she said, he would get sex even less than the eight times a year!

The common thread in this story with every other story I have received from men facing sexual denial is a lack of submission on the wife’s part. It started on day one of their marriage. Yes Mark did act sinfully at some points down the road by his own admission, and he repented of it and tried to restore the marriage.

If a wife is truly submitted to God’s design for marriage then she will submit to her husband “as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22). The first act of submission a wife makes to her husband in accordance with her submission to God is to submit her body in the act of marriage (sex). This forms the foundation for all other types of submission in marriage.

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

I pray that if you are husband reading this you will have the courage to do as Mark did and search the Scriptures on this issue. I pray that you will see that this is about so much more than sexual denial, but rather it is about confronting sin and rebellion against God’s design and model in marriage. Do not be lead astray even to capitulate to this sinful behavior even by well-meaning Pastors, counselors and even relatives.

Counseling can be good, but only if it is Biblically based. When you see out counseling go and vet the counselor first to see they believe in the Biblical model of marriage. If you do not, then a counselor who rejects the Biblical models of love and marriage could actually do more harm than good.

If you are a wife reading this and you recognize any part of yourself here in denying your husband sexually you need to repent and ask God and then your husband to forgive you. You need to humble yourself before God, and then accept that God has placed husband over you as your head just as Christ is the head of the Church. God wants you to submit to your husband in “every thing”.

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” – Ephesians 5:23-34(KJV)

One you have repented and humbled yourself before God as well as your husband make every effort to be as the wife of Proverbs 5:18-19 and ravish your husband with your body. This will transform your marriage and give it a new life like you have never experienced.

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