Why it is NOT a Sin for Husbands to Keep Secrets from Their Wives

“Dear BGR, can you tell me if the Bible says it is a sin for a man to keep secrets from his wife? My wife thinks so and so does the pastor of our church.  Let me give you some more context so you can understand better.  My wife and I are born again, Bible believing Christians and have been married for 8 years and we have three children who are 6 and under.  We met in the church we continue to attend to this same day.

My wife wanted to be a homemaker and I wanted to be a sole provider and we were both Christians and relatively conservative so it seemed to be a good match.   My wife even said she believed in male headship in marriage while we were dating.  But not long after we were married, I discovered that we defined “male headship” in very different ways.  My definition of male headship came right of Ephesians 5:23-24 which says the husband is the head his wife as Christ is the head of his church and the wife is to submit to her husband in everything.  Her definition of male headship was that a man leads his wife by his example but he is never a dictator.  All decisions are made jointly with both compromising with one another and only in rare situations where the couple cannot agree then the husband will break the tie. 

She says that is “male headship” but I see “equal partnership with only a slightly senior partner”.

Ever since we were married, I have found out that my wife is absolutely horrible with money.  We would talk each week about the budget and it was very open and transparent.  We would see my check, deduct the bills to be paid, and I would allot a certain amount each week for savings for emergencies and for vacations. We would discuss her allotted amount for shopping for food as well as clothing and incidentals for myself, my wife and the kids.

But time after time she would go over the budget with her ATM card. Each week she would eat up what I had tried to set aside for savings for emergencies and vacations.  She always had excuses but the reality was she was spending money she did not need to spend.  What I realized was she really did not respect or believe in what I was trying to do with budgeting for emergencies or vacations.

So, what would happen when emergencies, unforeseen expenses or vacation times came? We had to go into credit card debt.

About two months ago I finally had enough of what has been going on our entire marriage.  I took my wife to our bank where we had a joint account and had her sign forms with me to close that account.  I told her I was setting up a new bank account that would work better for us.  She signed the forms with me and we closed our old joint account. When we got home, we cut up our old ATM cards together and threw them in the trash.   She assumed she would be on the new account I would setup.  She assumed wrong.

The next day during my lunch break at work I setup a new bank account that does not have my wife’s name on it and I redirected my direct deposit to that bank.  When I got home from work my wife asked me when we were going to setup the new bank account.  I said “I already did today”.  She then asked “don’t I need to come down to sign to be on the account?” and I said “No, you are not going to be on the account”.  You could have seen fireballs coming out of her eyes at me.

She said “This is not right! We are married! What is yours is mine and what is mine is yours! I have a right to see what is going on in our bank and to be on our bank account with you!   You can’t do this!”.  And my response was “I have tried for years to reason with you regarding the money and time and time again you have ignored my attempts.   We have accumulated debt for vacations and other unforeseeable things over the years because you would not let me build any savings account.  Now I am going to fix our finances, pay the debt off and build a savings.  You do not need to see the bank, you need only trust that I am paying our bills and doing what is in our best financial interest as a family.  I will give you a cash allotment each week for groceries and incidentals.  If you need clothing for yourself or the kids, we can talk about that and I will get you more”.

I am happy to say that over the last 6 weeks I have been paying down on our debts and actually built a small savings for the first time in our 8-year marriage!

That is the good news.  The bad news is that my wife has made my life a living hell for the past two months.  She refuses to have sex with me and last week she called the pastor of our church and then he called me to have us come counsel with him.

I explained to him the situation, but he said I was wrong to deceive her into shutting our old joint account and then setting up a new one without her name on it.  The pastor said we are “one flesh” so that means nothing should be separate and she should have equal access to see what is in the account and be able to have an ATM card just like me.   He said we are “mutually accountable to each other”.  He made a brief mention of her overspending like she could just fix that.  I have given her a chance to fix it for 8 years! It was not going to be fixed.

He said my having a separate account that she could not see activity on and had no access to was me “having a part of your life that is secret from your wife.  And God does not allow any secrets in marriage. What you are doing is sinning against your wife.  You need to add her on your new account, give her full access to see its activity and get her an ATM card”.

When I asked him for scriptural support for what he said he arrogantly said “I already gave it to you.  You are not two people; you are one flesh.  That means one bank account. Equal access to all assets.  And absolutely no secrets of any kind from each other, whether they are bank accounts or anything else”.

I googled “biblical gender roles” last week and found your site on the first page. I did a search on your search bar for “finances” and found your post “Can a Christian husband deny his wife equal access to his income?”.  This was exactly what I needed and confirmed from the Bible what I was thinking was right.  I went on to read your 20 doctrines of Biblical gender roles and many other posts.  Thank you so much for all you are doing here for the cause of Christ.  Your site must be a massive trigger for egalitarian Christians and non-Christians alike.  I am sure you must get a lot of hate mail.

One last thing.  I searched your blog for the larger issue our pastor brought up about husbands keeping secrets.  I could not find anything on that.  Have you written on that? If so, can you please send me the link?”

What you just read was emailed to me last week from a man named Travis.

Travis, the answer to your question is no, I have not previously written directly on the subject of husbands keeping secrets from their wives.  I think I may have mentioned it in passing, but no dedicated articles for it.  So, I guess will remedy that here.   

Why it is NOT a Sin for Husbands to Keep Secrets from Their Wives

We are living in a “total transparency” culture where it seems everyone must know everything about everybody.  Think of all the big brother type shows where people allow cameras into their homes and private lives.  Tabloid journalism is built on this entire precept of everyone needing to know everything about everybody.    

When it comes to intimate relationships, whether in dating or in marriage, we are told “there can be no secrets”.

And more often than not, in most intimate relationships it is the woman who is trying to pry every thought, feeling and action out of her man’s head under the guise that he is not allowed to keep anything back from her.  In fact, if you watch TV shows you will often see that one of the biggest reasons women break up with men is because the men were not totally transparent with them in all areas of their life. 

Keeping anything secret from the woman you are in a relationship with, whether you are dating or married, is considered a violation of the 11th commandment – “Thou shalt not keep any secrets from thy woman”.

The problem is that there is no 11th commandment that says any such thing.  So those who believe men can hold nothing back from their women whether in thought or deed must try and find something the Bible does teach, and twist it to say that it means men cannot hold anything back from their women.

To accomplish this goal of convincing men that they can have no secrets from their women, some Christian teachers turn to the “one flesh” concept of marriage that is taught in the Bible.  In Matthew 19:6 Christ said of husbands and wives in marriage “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh”. So, the argument goes, since man and woman are one in marriage, there can be no secrets between them and no thought or deed can be held back from the other.  And if marriage were an equal partnership, that might make sense. 

But in Ephesians 5:23-24 we read “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church”  and 1 Peter 3:5-6 the Scriptures state that women are to be in “subjection unto their own husbands:  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord”.   This reveals that marriage in God’s design is not an equal partnership, but rather it is a patriarchy designed to model the relationship of God to his people with the husband symbolizing God and the wife symbolizing the people of God.

In Deuteronomy 29:29 the Bible states the following:

“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law”. 

In God’s relationship with his people he holds many things back from them.  But it is the duty of his people to live by what he has revealed and leave to God what he has not revealed.

The application of this to marriage is clear.  Women are to abide by and follow those things which their husband reveals to them realizing their husband’s secrets belong to him, not to them.  It is not their business to spy on their husbands or try to find out his every thought and deed.

This tendency in women to want to know their husband’s every thought and deed is actually a core corruption of the feminine human nature that started with the first woman, Eve.  In Genesis 3:6 the Bible says “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…”.  She wanted to know everything God knew, she wanted to know the secrets God was keeping from her.  And women to this very day commit this same sin with their husbands trying to learn his secrets and being offended when he holds anything back from them.

Conclusion

Yes, the Bible teaches in multiple places that husbands and wives are indeed “one flesh” in marriage.  And one of those passages is Ephesians 5:31 which states “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh”.  And the “cause” for which a husband and wife are called by God to come together as one flesh in marriage is given to us in the preceding verses – Ephesians 5:22-30.  Men and women are to come together in marriage as one flesh for the cause of modeling the relationship of Christ to his church.  Are Christ and his church equal partners? Does the Bible tell us Christ and his church submit to one another? The answers to both these questions are a resounding NO.

Does Christ keep secrets from his church? You bet he does!  In Acts 1:7 Christ said to his wife “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power”.

God calls men to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to wash her spiritual spots and wrinkles and to make her the glorious church, he wanted her to be.   And wives are called to submit to their husbands in everything as the church is to submit to Christ in everything. 

Travis is learning what it means to give himself up for his wife as Christ gave himself up for his church.  Travis gave up the peace in his home knowing his wife would probably deny him sex and make his life miserable.  But he knew it was the right thing to do for his family.  Now he needs to get into that washing phase with his wife and correct her sinful lack of submission to him, not just in the area of finances but also in the area of denying him her body and using sexual denial as a weapon to manipulate him.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:36 “And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household”.  Because we live in a sin cursed world, sometimes the person God meant to be our greatest spiritual ally as men becomes our greatest spiritual foe.  In preparation for this spiritual battle with his wife, Travis should read my article “3 Ways Wives Try to Control Their Husbands”.

Finally, to Christian wives reading this.  Do you get upset if your husband holds back his thoughts or feelings on anything? Do you have to track his every movement from work to home? If he were to lock down the finances where you could not see what is going on would that bother you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then your heart is not in keeping with God’s law and his design for marriage.   You need to go to the Lord in prayer and pray what King David did in Psalm 119:36 “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness”.  When you spy on your husband or get angry if he keeps anything from you, you are acting in covetousness just as Eve did when she coveted that forbidden fruit because she wanted to know the knowledge God was keeping back from her. 

A question that I am sure many wives will bring up is “Are you saying husbands are not accountable for their actions?”  And the answer to that question is no, that is not what I am saying at all.  Husbands certainly are accountable to civil and church authorities in areas that God grants these authorities power.  But husbands are not accountable to their wives anymore than their wives are accountable to their children.  There is a clear line of spiritual authority declared by God.   For more on this subject of accountability and husbands see my article “Why Husbands Are NOT Accountable to Their Wives”.

As a Christian wife, once you have totally surrendered your heart to God in this area of having to know everything your husband thinks or does, you will find peace in your marriage as the Scriptures say in Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them”.

Why Compromise in Marriage is Sacred in Humanism and Sinful in the Bible

If you study the Bible and look at Biblical principles of marriage there is one word that is noticeably absent regarding how to have unity in marriage.   And that word is compromise.

In humanism, compromise is a sacred tenet of any relationship, especially in marriage.   The reason it is sacred is because of humanism’s beliefs in individualism and equality.  For individualism and equality to flourish, compromises must constantly be made.  A marriage where one person calls all the shots on moral issues and big decisions of the family is considered “toxic” in the humanist view. This is because they believe marriage is an equal partnership.

But the Bible presents a very different view of marriage.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives”

1 Peter 3:1 (KJV)

The Bible shows in the passage above from 1 Peter 3:1 that God did not design marriage as a partnership, but rather as a patriarchy.  And in the passage below from Ephesians 5:23 we can see that not only is marriage a patriarchy, but it was intended by God to be a direct reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church.

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.

Ephesians 5:23 (KJV)

So the question is does Christ compromise with his church on his will, his plans and his moral decisions? The answer is absolutely not.  And neither should husband’s compromise with their wives in these areas.

The first recorded sin of a male human being, Adam, was when he compromised his moral beliefs and listen to wife.

 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life”

Genesis 3:17 (KJV)

Adam’s compromise of his morality to please his wife brought sin into the world.  Job shows us what Adam should have done when his wife asked him to compromise his morality:

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

When a man compromises his moral beliefs to please his wife he breaks the picture of Christ and his church and he exposes his family to possible consequences of that decision.

Now don’t get me wrong – when it comes to things that have nothing to do with morality compromise in marriage is a good thing.  Like when we choose where we go to dinner that is not necessarily a moral decision.  How much is spent on dinner is a moral decision, but whether we have a hamburger or pizza is not.

But I think in most cases what we call compromise on these non moral things is just us being selfless and putting the other person first and that is a good thing.

But when it comes to moral decisions, including financial decisions, career decisions, what church is attended, religious beliefs, discipline and teaching of the children, decisions about sex and other things like this there can be no compromise. A husband is always called by God to do what is he believes is right before God.

Wives Forget Your Father’s House

While the Bible tells men to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage it uses a different word for women when they enter marriage.  In Psalm 45:10-11 we read “Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him”.

Psalm 45:10-11 is widely recognized as a prophecy concerning Christ and his church.  But it is also very practical and applicable to marriage between men and women.  Ephesians 5:23 tells us “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.

I can’t tell you how many times I have had haters of the Bible’s teachings on gender roles say “You think men are gods and that is wrong!”.   Each time I hear a variation of that statement I chuckle a bit to myself and remember 1 Corinthians 2:14 which states “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”.

The Bible does not teach that men are gods.  There is only one God.  Men are not God, but God did create men to represent him in this world.  This is the clear teaching of the Bible found in passages like Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16. So, when we understand this concept as Christians, we understand that women are not to worship their husbands or regard their husbands as their savior.  We have one God and one savior whose name is Jesus Christ.

But after we set aside the last part from Psalm 45:10-11 concerning worship, what comes before that is very applicable to women in marriage.

The call to the young woman to regard her new husband as her lord is mirrored in 1 Peter 3:5-6 where the Bible states “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”.

Now we can zero on what is different in the call to women when they enter marriage.  While men, in multiple Bible passages like Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:7 and Ephesians 5:31, are commanded to “leave” their father and mother when they enter marriage women are told in Psalm 45:10-11 to “forget” their people and their father’s house.

A woman’s forgetting of her father’s house is a critical part of the process of her becoming one with her husband.  Her father may have taught her differently and conducted his home differently than the way her husband will conduct his home.  And if she clings to the way her father conducted his home and constantly compares that to her how her husband leads his home there will be problems in the marriage.

How many women today refuse to follow this Scriptural admonition to forget their father’s house? How many women today even refuse to give up their father’s last name or hyphenate their last name? How many women respect their fathers more than their husbands?  A woman who refuses to forget her father’s house, to clear the slate and let her husband redefine for her how their home will be conducted will never have the kind of unity in marriage that God calls for.

A final note to fathers.  As Christian fathers, we should want our daughters to marry godly men and it is our God given right according to Exodus 22:17, to “utterly refuse to give” our daughters in marriage to men whom we do not approve of.   But our culture no longer respects the rights of fathers and has given young women freedom to ignore the spiritual authority of their fathers in this regard.   This is why it is so important for us as Christian fathers in this post-feminist culture to cultivate close spiritual relationships with our daughters to the point that they would never want to disappoint us.

My daughter is within 2 years of the time we have agreed she will begin courting, not long after she graduates high school.  I am excited to see what God will do in her life.  She is not perfect and has her flaws like we all do, but I am happy that God has blessed her with a meek and submissive spirit when it comes to the men in her life whether it be me or her grandfathers.  But when it comes to other women, she is a warrior for God and stands on the front lines fighting against abortion and feminism.

I would never bless her marriage to a man who was not a Christian, a Biblicist and a firm believer in Biblical gender roles. However, I realize the man she marries may have many differences with me outside of these areas.  And I have told her as much throughout the years.  I have told her when she marries, she needs to forget my interpretations and applications of the Bible and how I conducted our house and instead fully embrace her husband’s leading in these areas.

You Are One Flesh, So Be One Flesh

In Mark 10:7-9 we find a familiar passage that is often read at weddings.  In that passage Christ states “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

When a husband and wife come together in marriage – this new relationship takes precedent over all other earthly relationships.  Before they were married their greatest earthly relationship was with their parents and now it is with each other.

There are three important concepts about this unity in marriage that Christ talks about:

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

 “so then they ARE no more twain, but one flesh”

“What therefore God hath joined together, let NOT man put asunder.”

Biblically speaking in marriage, a husband and wife are one flesh from the moment of their marriage covenant, yet they are to be becoming one flesh more and more the longer they are married and they are not to stop being one flesh as long as they both live.

In a way, this concept of being one flesh in marriage mirrors our salvation.  From the moment, we are saved we receive Christ’s righteousness and are declared justified by God.  But the Bible tells us “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25) exhorting us to progressive sanctification.  In essence the Bible is telling us “You are holy, so be holy”.  In the same way, the Bible tells couples in marriage “You are one flesh, so be one flesh”.

5 Steps to Becoming One Flesh in Marriage

Step 1 – A husband and wife are to have sexual relations on a regular basis

“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.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

The act of marriage or the consummation of marriage is sexual union.  This is the most literal meaning of the Biblical phrase “one flesh”.  Sex is to occur regularly in marriage.  An interesting biological fact of sex is that it releases two bonding hormones (oxytocin and vasopressin) which God designed to draw a couple closer together.

On this subject of sexual relations in marriage Christian and non-Christian counselors are usually in fully agreement.  The regularity of sexual relations is the first indicator of how healthy a relationship is. While it is possible to have regular sexual relations but still have disunity in a marriage – it is impossible to have full unity in a marriage without regular relations.

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

For husbands this is the first step in cultivating oneness with their wife. A husband cannot love his wife as God intended without knowing her and this involves him talking with her and spending time with her.  God thought it was so important for a man to get to know his wife that in the law he gave to Moses for Israel he gave this rule for newlywed couples:

“When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.”

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

God literally forbade men from going off to war or going away on business trips for the first year of their marriage.  Couples literally had a one year honey moon in Israel!

So, this leads us to another question – why does a husband need to know his wife? The answer is found for us in the last part of I Peter 3:7 “that your prayers be not hindered.” What God is basically saying is “Husbands if you do not hear the concerns, needs and requests of your wife God will not hear your concerns, needs and requests”.

God wants all authorities whether they be Kings, governors, parents, masters, or employers to hear the concerns, needs and requests of those under them. This does not mean that a husband must give his wife whatever she wants or makes the decisions the way she wants him to.  Sometimes God answers our prayers with a “yes”, sometimes he answers them with a “no” and sometimes he answers them with a “wait”. It is the same with a man and his wife.

When a man hears the concerns and requests of his wife and truly knows how she thinks, even if he does not act as she would like after hearing her this helps to build unity in the marriage.

Also, when a husband knows his wife he knows her passions and her interests.  As long as those her interests do not conflict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home he should encourage her in these things.  For example, maybe his wife likes to paint or to sing in church. Maybe she has desire to write for a woman’s blog, maybe she likes to write poetry.  Perhaps she has a desire to run in home daycare.  None of these things would automatically contradict with her primary duties as a wife, mother and keeper of the home.

However if a woman has a passion to be a mega news giant superstar and wants her husband to stay at home and take care of the home and kids(like Fox News star Meghan Kelly for example) her passions and ambitions are at direct odds with the role for which God designed her.  This is by definition an example of selfish ambition on the part of a woman.

See “I wanted a wife and so did she – Ex-husband of Megyn Kelly speaks out about his marriage to the FOX News star” for more on this feminist superstar.

Step 3 – A wife is to learn how her husband thinks

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.”

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

Not only in spiritual matters, but in all matters of life a wife is to learn how her husband thinks and what makes him tick. A wife knowing how her husband thinks is critical to building the unity God desires for marriage between a man and his wife.

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

The inevitable result of a woman getting to know how her husband thinks is that she will discover ways that he thinks that she disagrees with.  Now a woman has two choices when she realizes these differences.  One is to try and correct or change her husband’s thinking and the other is to submit.  God calls women to do the latter and submit even when they disagree with their husbands.  As long as a husband does not directly ask his wife to sin she must submit to him everything.

A wife should offer her advice in a kind way, not in a contentious way

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.”

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

In the previous step, we discussed that in order to maintain the unity in marriage that God desires for couples to have a wife must submit to her husband especially when she disagrees with him. But this does not mean that wives are forbidden from sharing any wisdom they have with their husbands.

But the attitude and method in which a woman shares her wisdom with her husband is very important. The Bible warns against wives being contentious with their husbands:

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

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

Even if the words of a wife to her husband are wise, if they are delivered in a contentious or angry manner to her husband they will lose their intended effect and will cause the unity in the marriage to decline rapidly.

Also, a woman should always understand the position from which she offers advice.  She is not her husband’s mother, his teacher or his authority. He is her authority and Biblically speaking his authority over her is even greater than that of her father’s.

A woman should view herself as a subject which gives counsel to her King and remember the Scriptures exhortation to wives to be “in subjection unto their own husbands”(I Peter 3:5).

Step 5 – A wife is to be her husband’s crown

“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

The Bible tells us that a wife should be a crown to her husband.  What is a crown? A crown brings glory and honor to its recipient. So, what the Bible is saying is that a wife by being her husband’s crown is one who should bring him glory and honor.  She is to be his greatest cheerleader and supporter. The unfortunate truth is that many wives today are more of a dunce cap than a crown to their husband.  Just as a wife being contentious with her husband breaks the unity of the marriage so too a wife failing to honor her husband for the man that he is will quickly break the unity of the marriage.

But there is another interesting aspect of a crown – especially that of a king. It was very common in ancient times that when a King conquered another land he would take the crown of the conquered King and put it on his head to show his ownership and authority over his newly conquered lands.

But what if a King liked the crown of another ruler and wanted to wear it more often but it did not fit his head well? Perhaps it was two small and would almost fall off his head or maybe it was too large for the diameter of his head and it would slide down in front of his face.  So, what would the King do? He would give the crown to his craftsman and have them resize the crown to fit his head perfectly.  Perhaps he would have them add some additional gems and take some gems away that he did not like.  The point is that the crown would be molded to the King’s liking and made to fit his head perfectly.

In the same way wives need to move beyond mere submission to their husbands in their quest to truly be one flesh with their husbands.

Wives need to mold themselves over time more and more to their husbands likes and dislikes and to his various positions on the issues of life.  They need to support and understand his passions whether it is his passion for his job, his ministries at church or his hobbies. This even more just mere submission – will bring the true unity that God desires to the marriage.

This does not mean that a wife may ever come to love everything her husband loves or hate everything her husband hates.  There are some passions he may have that she will never be able to bring herself to share.

But a wife should pray hard each and every day that God would help her to mold herself and fit herself so that in the same way a crown needs to fit the head of the King who wears it – so to a wife needs to fit herself to her husband.

Do you still hold the “I am not comfortable with that” card?

Christ wife do you still hold the “I am not comfortable with that” card in your Christian marriage? If you do you need to get rid of it.  Let me explain what I mean.

You might consider yourself to be a wife who believes in submission to your husband.  You may even be able to show proof of your belief by showing times where you and your husband have disagreed on financial decisions or decisions regarding his career where you have simply followed him.

But then you hold on to the “I am not comfortable with that” card especially when it comes to you being asked to do things by him you are not comfortable with.  And we are not talking about things that are clearly outlined as sinful in the Bible like him asking you to commit adultery with another man or to murder someone or steal from someone.  We are talking about things he is asking you to do that are outside your comfort zone.

For instance, what if he decided it was ok for your young teens to watch a TV show or movie you did not think they should watch? What if he allowed them to play a game you think they should not play? And he wanted you to allow them to do these things even when he is away.

On a more personal level, what if he asked you to wear certain clothing in the bed room? What if he asked you to wear certain clothing in public (think going on a date or going to the beach)?  What if he asked you to change your makeup?  What if he asked you to do something uncomfortable in bed?

Do you pull out the “I am not comfortable with that” card as an exception to God’s command to submit to your husband “in everything”? Or have you convinced yourself that you not feeling comfortable with something equals that thing being sinful?  If you have done this you need to remember that God has made your husband your spiritual authority and instructor in his Word.  The Scriptures say to wives in 1 Corinthians 14:35 that “if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home”.

Christian wives, Ephesians 5:24’s command for you to submit to your husband “in every thing” means throwing out your “I am not comfortable with that” card.

Husbands Be Angry, But Don’t Be Bitter

be angry and sin not

In Ephesians 4:26 the Bible tells us “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” but in Colossians 3:19 the Bible also states “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them”.  As husbands it should anger us when our wives’ disrespect or disobey us or when they shame us in front our children or others. It should anger us when our wives’ habitually and consistently sexually deny us.   Our masculine natures were designed by God to desire respect and submission from our wives as he desires respect and submission from his people.  Our anger at these sorts of behaviors in our wives is not only righteous, but it is an expression of the masculine image of God within us.

However, our flesh wants to convert that righteous anger into bitterness which is sin.   Bitterness is holding a grudge and being resentful.

Thankfully the Bible tell us how to stop righteous anger from turning into sinful bitterness and that is to “let not the sun go down upon your wrath”.  Don’t hold on to it.  If your anger truly is righteous based on your wife’s sinful behavior, then confront that behavior there and then. Do as Christ does with his church in Revelation 3:19 and “rebuke and chasten” your wife.  Then let go of your anger.

8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves

Webster’s dictionary defines a slave as “a person held in servitude as the chattel of another”.   The word ‘chattle’ refers to a human being that is owned by another human being.  By our modern definition of slavery, we cannot comprehend the concept of a person being owned by another person without that owned person not being a slave.

On one side of this debate about the Biblical treatment of wives we have Christians who claim that there is absolutely no similarity at all between the husband/wife relationship and that of a slave owner to his slave while on the other side we have atheists and other humanists who claim that the Bible makes women into slaves.  What do both of these sides have in common? Jesus said it best in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Matthew 22:29 (KJV)

The truth is that the Scriptures teach us that is possible for one person to own another person without that owned person being considered a slave.  In other words, from a Biblical perspective while all slaves are owned by other people, not all people who are owned by other people are to be considered slaves.

Wives and Children Designated by God as Property and Slaves Allowed as Property

The Bible shows us that God designed two social classes of human beings that were to be considered the property of men.  He allowed a third social class of human being that could also be taken as property as well under certain circumstances.

In the 10th commandment God mentions a man’s wife, along with his male and female slaves amongst those things which are his property:

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

In the following passage we see that God gives children to their fathers as property:

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

The English word “heritage” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Nachala” which literally means “inherited property”.

God authorized Israelite fathers to sell their daughters as indentured servants for a period of no longer than six years.  This is shown in the following passages:

“7And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. 8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.”

Exodus 21:7-8 (KJV)

“And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.”

Deuteronomy 15:12 (KJV)

The passages above show that neither male nor female Hebrew indentured servants could be kept indefinitely unless the male Hebrew willingly wanted to stay and serve (see Exodus 21:5-6) or the woman was taken as a wife by the man who purchased her either for himself or one of his sons.   Otherwise after 6 years male Hebrew indentured servants had to be freed and female Hebrew indentured servants had to be allowed to be purchased back by their male relatives or by another man wishing to take them as a wife.

And for those who think these daughters sold as maidservants could be used for sex outside a covenant of marriage, I would refer the reader to the following prohibition against fathers selling their daughters for this purpose:

“Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.”

Leviticus 19:29 (KJV)

So, it is clear that God did not allow Hebrews to sell or buy their fellow Hebrews as slaves.  They could only could only purchases the services of fellow Hebrews as indentured servants for a limited window of time.  However, it is equally clear that God did in fact allow the Hebrews to purchase the children of foreigners within their land as slaves or they could purchase slaves from the nations around them.

“44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. 46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.”

Leviticus 25:44-46 (KJV)

And in the New Testament Paul gives the following command to slaves:

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

Colossians 3:22 (KJV)

The word “servants” in the KJV passage above is a translation of the Greek word “Doulos” which actually means “slaves” and this is how most of the modern translations translate this verse.

This brings us back to wives.  We have already shown from the 10th commandment that it includes wives with male and female slaves as the property of men.  But the ownership of a husband over his wife is seen even clearer in the original Hebrew language of the Scriptures. The noun form of the Hebrew word ‘baal’ which means ‘owner/master’ is used eleven times in the Old Testament to speak of a husband’s relationship to his wife.    The word ‘baal’ is used an additional 11 times in verb form to refer to a woman coming to be ‘owned’, or married, to a husband.

The passage below from the book of Deuteronomy uses both the noun and verb form of the Hebrew word baal to illustrate a husband’s ownership over his wife:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an [verb ‘baal’ ‘owned by’]  husband [noun ‘baal’ ‘owner’], 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)

In the New Testament the Apostle Peter refers back to this concept of a woman being owned by her husband when he admonishes wives to follow the example of the women of past generations like Sarah who “obeyed” her husband calling him “lord”:

“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

Now having proven from the Bible that wives are actually considered by God to be property just as slaves are, we will go on to show that the responsibilities of owners toward these two types of human properties are very different.

8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves

As we have previously shown from Exodus 20:17 and Leviticus 25:44-46,  wives and slaves are both considered by God to be the property of men.  And both wives and slaves are commanded by God to obey their masters in everything as Colossians 3:22, Ephesians 5:24, 1 Peter 3:5-6 tells them to do.

But this is where the similarity between wives and slaves ends and the differences begin. Below are eight Biblical distinctions between wives and slaves.

1.  Slave owners don’t have to sacrifice themselves for their property – husbands do.

“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it

Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)

2.  Slave owners don’t have to teach God’s Word to their property  – husbands do.

And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

3. Slave owners don’t have to act as human instruments of God’s sanctification in the lives of their property –  husbands do.

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:26-27 (KJV)

4. Slave owners don’t have to love and care for their property as they do their own bodies – husbands do.

“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)

5. Slave owners don’t have to give their bodies to meet the sexual needs of their property (nor should they) – husbands do.

“3 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.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

6. Slave owners don’t have to honor their property – husbands do.

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

7. Slave owners don’t have to give their property the fruit of their labors – husbands do.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:31 (KJV)

8. God did not design men to be the property of other men.  God did design women to be the property of their husbands.

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

1 Corinthians 11:7-10 (KJV)

Conclusion

We have shown conclusively from the Bible that contrary to modern humanist notions of equality, God has actually designated wives and children as the property of their husbands and fathers. And again, contrary to modern egalitarian views of what marriage should be, God commands wives to regard their husbands as their masters and like slaves to be obedient to their masters in everything. The obvious exception for both wives and slaves in their obedience is if their masters command them to sin against God.  It is only in this case that they can and must disobey their masters as Acts 5:29 tells us.

The truth from the Scriptures is that there are indeed some similarities between wives and slaves but there are also significant differences between wives and slaves.

God created the relationship between a husband and wife to mirror the loving relationship between himself and his people.  A wife is to be regarded as her husband’s most precious possession, one that he cares for and would protect with his very life.

Another significant difference between wives and slaves is husbands as their wife’s owner and master are required by God to give their wife the fruit of her labors as Proverbs 31:31 states.   A slave is not entitled to enjoy any fruits from his labors.

Now this principle must be taken into account with the entire witness of the Scriptures.  In Ephesians 5:24 wives are commanded to submit to their husbands in “everything”. And yes, that would most certainly include finances.  Every dollar that comes into their home comes under the spiritual authority of the husband whether that is income from his work, his wife’s work or inheritances that either of them may acquire.  Even if the wife does not work outside the home but instead is a keeper in the home her work there has great value.

What this means is that whether a wife works outside the home or is a keeper of the home the husband should allow his wife to have fruits from her labor.  Practically speaking that means allowing her some discretionary use of money to buy things for the house or herself personally that she would like to buy.

Finally, on the topic of slavery. It is only because of the effects of sin in the world that God allowed for the practice of slavery but he commanded it to be done under humane conditions.  For a more in-depth look at the reasons and conditions under which God allowed for the practice of slavery see my article “Why Christians Should Not Be Ashamed of Slavery in The Bible”.

Oral Sex – A sin, An Option or a Requirement in Christian Marriage?

Is oral sex in Christian marriage a sin? If it is not a sin is it optional or is it a requirement for Christian husbands and wives in marriage?

Recently on another article I wrote, totally unrelated to the topic of oral sex, I had a commenter named Trey make the following statement about how a man should require that his wife demonstrate her submission and respect toward him after she has denied him sex simply because she was “not in the mood”.  He said she should be required to do this before she would be allowed back in the marriage bed:

“Denial of sex by a wife is the ultimate form of disrespect and control of her husband. If she has denied you sex (for no good reason), sex should be required before she is allowed back into your marriage bed. Oral sex while on her knees before you seems very appropriate and swallowing is a must. Spitting you out is also a form of disrespect.”

I then had these comments come in.

Lost&Found wrote in response to Trey:

“You say, “Oral sex while on her knees before you seems very appropriate and swallowing is a must. Spitting you out is also a form of disrespect.”

Why would swallowing be a “must,” and spitting be “disrespect”? How is it you have come to that conclusion? And how is a husband going to force his wife not to spit?

To me, the fact that sperm are a man’s seed and when combined with a woman’s egg will create a baby, makes the thought of a woman swallowing it absolutely repugnant.”

Bruce went even further than Lost&Found in his response to Trey:

“Don’t know about 1,2, &4 but 3 is totally wrong. Lisa should not allow her husband to put his penis in her mouth (or anus for that matter). This is sodomy or, at best, sodomitic mimicry. Her husband’s penis and semen belongs in her vagina not her digestive tract. If Lisa is reading this: you are NOT to obey your husband in this – obey God first.”

So, we can definitely see some strong views on the matter of a woman giving her husband oral sex in the three comments I have just mentioned.

With Trey we see the view that a woman a should not only give her husband oral sex, but that she should swallow and not spit out his semen when he finishes.

With Lost&Found we see the view that perhaps oral sex is ok for a woman to do for her husband, but that swallowing should not be required.

With Bruce we see a complete rejection of oral sex and his lumping it in with anal sex and categorizing oral sex and anal sex as Sodomy.  He maintains that both a husband’s penis and his semen belong in his wife’s vagina and not “in her digestive tract”.  Bruce even went as far as to tell the woman who I was responding to that she should not obey her husband regarding oral sex, but rather obey God first.

So, which of these commenters is right? As always, to find the answer to all moral questions we must first look to the Scriptures.

Do the Scriptures teach that the Penis and Semen May Only Go in the Vagina?

I am willing to bet that Bruce is most likely Catholic as his view of oral sex is more common among Catholics than any other Christian denomination.  The teaching of the Catholic Church is that all sex must be “procreative” or “open to life” or the orgasm must be “genital to genital”.  In other words, all sexual relations between a man and his wife must end with his penis ejaculating in her vagina.

Now Catholics differ on whether a woman can orally pleasure her husband and the rule is only that he must finish in her vagina.

The problem is that the Bible never teaches this doctrine. It is a completely man-made doctrine.

Some have wrongly attempted to teach that the story of Onan in the Bible confirms that God only allows sex that is penile-vaginal intercourse and that the man must finish in his wife’s vagina each and every time:

“8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.  9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.”

Genesis 38:8-10 (KJV)

Onan was not killed simply for spilling his semen on the ground – i.e. “pulling out”. He was killed by God because of WHY he pulled out.  He pulled out to avoid impregnating his dead brother’s wife which was his duty before God.  So, Genesis 38:8-10 proves nothing in regard to God requiring men to always have penile-vaginal intercourse that ends with an ejaculation in the woman’s vagina.

Are oral sex and anal sex for that matter called out as “Sodomy” in the Bible? The answer is no. If you look at the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapter 19 you will find no mention of oral or anal sex.  What you will find mentioned is men wanting to have sex with men – homosexuality.

Later in the Old Testament you will find the term “sodomite” used like in the following passage:

“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 23:17(KJV)

The English word “sodomite” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Qadesh” which literally means “male prostitute”.  So, when we take together the story of Sodom and Gomorrah along with the use of Qadesh what can we say that Sodomy is from a Biblical perspective? It is when men engage in homosexual behavior or prostitute themselves out.

Oral sex is not wrong because Sodomites engage in it anymore than penile-vaginal sex is wrong because unmarried men and women engage in it.  It is the context which makes sexual acts, including oral sex, right or wrong.

I will briefly address anal sex near the end of this article after I have fully covered oral sex from a Biblical perspective.

We must then ask the question, is there any passage of the Bible which looks negatively upon oral sex? And the answer is no.  But the answer to the next question I will pose may surprise many Christians. Does the Bible ever speak positively of oral sex? And the answer is YES.

The Bible Speaks in a Positive Manner Regarding Oral Sex

After I show you this next passage of the Bible, you will never look at a tree, especially an apple tree, the same again.

“As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.”

Song of Solomon 2:3 (KJV)

In ancient middle eastern poetry, the apple tree was a euphemism for a man’s genitals.  Consider the parts of the tree in the image below and how they correlate to a man’s genitals.

The image that the woman “sitting under his shadow” portrays is that of a man standing over top of his wife with his shadow over her and her down below him performing Fellatio which is oral sex performed on a man and is commonly referred to today as a “blow job“.  The Scriptures tell us she did this “with great delight” or in other words with enthusiasm and desire.  What is the fruit of his tree? It is his semen. The woman says of her husband’s semen that it was “sweet to my taste”.

But what about oral sex on a woman? Again, the Bible speaks to this as well.  And just as I warned you with the apple tree, you will no longer look at a cluster of grapes or a pomegranate the same ever again after reading the next few Scripture passages.

“7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes

12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.”

Song of Solomon 7:7 &12 (KJV)

This picture being presented above is that of a man wanting to see his wife’s breasts and genitals becoming aroused with grapes representing her breasts and pomegranates representing her genitals.

See the image below of a pomegranate and you can definitely see the resemblance to a woman’s genitals:

Now look below at what the wife asks her husband do with her “pomegranate”:

“I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.”

Song of Solomon 8:2 (KJV)

Drinking of the juice of her pomegranate is a euphemism for Cunnilingus which is oral sex performed on a woman.

Another reference to the wife requesting oral sex from her husband is found below:

“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

Song of Solomon 4:16 (KJV)

If you ever wondered where “going south” on a woman or “eating out” a woman came from – you can find it right there in there in Song of Solomon 4:16. The imagery of this passage is unmistakably referring to cunnilingus with the “spices” that “may flow out” referring to the natural secretions that come from a woman’s genitals when she is aroused or stimulated.

So yes, we can say beyond a doubt that the Bible speaks positively, not negatively, of oral sex as long as it occurs as all sexual acts should – within the proper context of marriage.  We can now at this point completely dismiss as totally unbiblical Bruce’s position that oral sex is a sin and that women should disobey their husbands if this is requested.

So Oral Sex is an Option for Christian Spouses, But Is It Also Required?

Up to this point we have proven that oral sex is definitely an option for men and women within the covenant of marriage.  The next question we must ask though is this.  Is oral required in marriage in according to the Bible?

None of the references to oral sex in the Song of Solomon are written in the form of a command, but rather they are written in the form of a positive example.  Examples of various behaviors and actions in the Bible when presented in a positive light show us that God allows us to do that particular thing, but examples do not require us to do a certain thing.

In other words, positive Biblical examples allow while Biblical commands compel.

But while Song of Solomon contains no commands about oral sex, there are other passages which do give us commands about sex in general.

“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.”

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV)

The passage above from 1 Corinthians teaches us several important Biblical principles about sex:

  1. Sex is both a right and duty in marriage of both the husband and the wife.
  2. The husband does not have the power to deny his body to his wife for sex nor does the wife have the power to deny her body to her husband for sex.
  3. The only thing that requires “consent” in the Biblical world view of sex is consent by both of them to stop having sex for a brief period of time.

The Biblical principles above fly in the face of our modern individualist and secular humanist view of human autonomy today.  But we as Christians are commanded to reject whatever values our culture has which conflict with the Word of God:

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 now let’s apply the principles of I Corinthians 7:3-5 to the topic of oral sex.

If a man wants his wife to perform oral sex on him – does she have the right to refuse? According to 1 Corinthians 7:4 the answer is no she does not have such a right.  But the same goes for woman.  If a woman wants her husband to perform oral sex on her, does he have the right to refuse? Again, the answer according to I Corinthians 7:4 is no, he does not have such a right.

So, the answer to our question is that oral sex can be both optional and required. 

It is optional in the sense that if neither spouse wants to engage in oral sex than it is not required.  Is required in the sense that if either spouse wants to engage in it, then the other spouse must cooperate and render themselves accordingly.

Now of course we must balance the right to have sex with one’s spouse and the responsibility to have sex with one’s spouse with other Scriptural principles.

For instance, the Bible teaches the following to husbands regarding their wife’s body:

“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)

A man must care for the needs of his wife’s body as he would his own. In the sexual arena, that means he should never do anything to his wife that would misuse or cause harm to his wife’s body.

Sometimes vaginal sex may be need to cease for a time if the woman is having medical conditions that warrant such a ceasing, a good example of which would be right after she has had a child.  There may also be times when oral sex may need to cease because the man or woman has had some type of dental work or oral surgery.  There may be other times when it would not be conducive for a man to perform oral sex on his wife, for instance when she has her period or when she has some type of infection in her genital area.

Is it Healthy for A Woman to Swallow Her Husband’s Semen?

Under normal circumstances oral sex between a husband and wife within the confines of marriage presents no health risks whatsoever.  What do I mean by normal? If a man and woman follow God’s design for marriage and they both wait for all sexual activity (including oral sex) until marriage there is no chance of them contracting any STDs from one another due to oral sex.

On the subject of a man’s semen.  Many women are grossed out by a man’s semen while others absolutely love it.  So, what is in this mystery fluid that is ejected from a man’s body when he has an orgasm?

On average men ejaculate about a teaspoon of semen.

Sperm makes up only about 2 to 5 percent of a man’s semen.

The overwhelming majority of a man’s semen is fructose(sugar), along with vitamin C, zinc, protein, lactic acid, magnesium, calcium chlorine, citric acid, creatine, potassium, vitamin B12, sodium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

Basically what that means is your husband’s sperm has about the same ingredients as the breakfast plate pictured below.

So, no it absolutely not unhealthy for a woman to swallow her husband’s semen.  In fact, it is very healthy both for her physically and for him psychologically. And we will tackle the male psychological side of oral sex next.

How Fellatio Affects a Man’s Psyche

There are two ways that a woman can approach oral sex with her husband.  The one is to “well I do this because I know he likes it but this is gross and he better not finish in my mouth!” In other words, the idea of her husband’s penis and especially his semen in her mouth utterly grosses her out.

Even outside of oral sex, some women just find their husband’s semen gross and immediately after sex they are running to the bathroom to do this extensive cleaning process or even taking a bath in some cases.

Other women crave their husband’s semen.  These women perform oral sex to actually be able to taste their husband’s semen.  This is the type of wife that is pictured in Song of Solomon 2:3.

For most men who have not been conditioned to be ashamed of their sexual desires, they want their wife to be like the wife of Song of Solomon 2:3.  They want their wife to crave their semen.  Whether it be wanting it on their face, in their mouth, on their breasts and certainly in their vagina.  Why? Because a man’s semen is an extension of himself.  Semen, unlike other bodily biproducts from a man, represents life.  It represents the man’s life and who he is.

So yes, many men find it disrespectful and unloving when their wife finds their semen to be gross whether inside or outside her body or she refuses to swallow.  But most men have been conditioned by our society (including the churches) to remain silent about this and to tell women what they want to hear that it is “not important” to them.

A wife shows her submission to her husband when she kneels before him and takes his “apple tree” in her mouth.

A wife shows her full acceptance of her husband when she does this act with “great delight” showing her husband that she craves the “sweet” taste of his fruit.

A wife shows her sacrificial spirit when after performing fellatio on her husband to its natural completion she asks for nothing in return.

Why Cunnilingus is Important for Women

Multiple studies have confirmed that many women cannot have orgasms from penile-vaginal intercourse alone.

Consider these numbers from an article on Psychology Today entitled “Why So Many Women Don’t Have Orgasms”:

“For men, rates of orgasm varied only slightly based on how many of these three actions they’d reported:

One (just intercourse): 96 percent of the men had orgasms.

Two (hand massage and intercourse): 95 percent.

Three (hand massage, fellatio, and intercourse): 98 percent.

But for women, rates of orgasm varied considerably based on the number of actions:

One (just intercourse): 50 percent of the women reported orgasms.

Two (hand massage and intercourse): 71 percent.

Three (hand massage, cunnilingus, and intercourse): 86 percent.

In summary, the number above show that 96 percent of men can have an orgasm through penile-vaginal intercourse without any manual stimulation of their genitals or oral sex.

But only 50 percent of women can have an orgasm from penile-vaginal intercourse alone.  For many women they must have their genitals massaged along with receiving oral sex in order to have an orgasm.

So why is cunnilingus important for women? Because there is a large chunk of women that cannot have an orgasm without it.

The Importance of Allowing Oral Sex

It is rare but I do sometimes hear from both men and women that they do not really want to allow their spouse to perform oral sex on them but their spouse really wants to.

What these men and women need to understand is that giving oral sex can be a huge turn on for many men and women and it is a crucial part of foreplay for them even if orgasm is not reached through it.

From the emails I have received, it is more often women that are opposed to their husbands performing oral sex on them then men opposing their wives performing oral sex on them.

Sometimes it is because they just always feel dirty in their genital area, even after they wash.  Some women just don’t want their husband’s mouth on their genitals simply because they think it is gross.  For some women it might be because their husband performed oral sex once and he was too rough.

If it is just a matter of the husband changing his technique, this can be accomplished through communication between the wife and her husband.

But in either case, a man or woman opposed to having oral sex performed on them by their spouse needs to address whatever issues are hindering them in this area.  Because they are holding back a portion of themselves that they ought not to be from their spouse.

What About Anal Sex?

Earlier we talked about how some Christians like Bruce link oral sex with anal sex and associate both these practices with the Biblical condemnation of Sodomites.  I have a written an entire article on the subject of Anal sex entitled “Do Christian wives have to submit to requests for anal sex by their husbands?”.   I won’t go into all the details here as you can just read that article but I will just summarize my position on it here.

The anus, unlike the vagina and the mouth, is not designed for penetration.  It is designed as an “exit-only” orifice.

WebMD states this about anal sex:

“The anus lacks the natural lubrication the vagina has. Penetration can tear the tissue inside the anus, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream… Using lubricants can help some, but doesn’t completely prevent tearing.

The tissue inside the anus is not as well protected as the skin outside the anus. Our external tissue has layers of dead cells that serve as a protective barrier against infection. The tissue inside the anus does not have this natural protection, which leaves it vulnerable to tearing and the spread of infection

Even if both partners do not have a sexually-transmitted infection or disease, bacteria normally in the anus can potentially infect the giving partner. Practicing vaginal sex after anal sex can also lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections

Now some have argued that “God has designed many parts of the body with a primary function and many secondary as well” and that is absolutely true.  The mouth has the primary purpose of acting as the intake for food and drink for the body but it has a secondary purpose of allowing for kissing and oral sex.  In the same way the vagina has the purpose of being able to give birth to a child, but it has another purpose of being able to receive a man’s penis for penile-vaginal intercourse.

Some have tried to argue that the anus in women, like the vagina is created by God for a dual purpose as well. They argue that a woman’s anus is designed by God for evacuating waste from the body but also receiving a man’s penis for anal intercourse.

The problem with this dual-purpose theory for a woman’s anus is that we know that it is a medical fact that the anus is NOT designed for penetration.  It does not have the thick elastic lining of either the mouth or the vagina.  It has much thinner skin that is very easily torn and can easily become infected.

Another thing which separates oral sex from anal sex is cross contamination.   There are no medical issues with a man receiving oral sex from his wife and then him placing his penis in her vagina.  There are however great risks of spreading harmful bacteria from man having anal sex with his wife and then putting his penis in her vagina afterwards as this can cause infections in the vagina.

It is for all these reasons that I believe anal sex is in fact a misuse of a woman’s body and it stands apart from oral sex.  Oral sex does not have any health risks under normal circumstances while anal sex is considered by health practitioners to be the “riskiest form of sexual activity” that there is.

Again, you can read my full article on anal sex by reading my article “Do Christian wives have to submit to requests for anal sex by their husbands?”.

Conclusion

From a Biblical perspective, oral sex is not equivalent to Sodomy any more that penile-vaginal intercourse is equivalent to fornication.  Just as penile-vaginal intercourse is only fornication if it occurs outside a marriage covenant between a man and woman, so too oral sex is only sodomy if it occurs in the context of two men having sex.

The Bible never restricts sexual relations between husbands and wives to only penile-vaginal intercourse. It actually presents oral sex, both fellatio and cunnilingus in a positive light.

We have also shown that oral sex is more than just an option for Christian husbands and wives.  The 1 Corinthians 7:4 principle that husbands and wives must fully surrender their bodies to one another for sex can make oral sex a requirement and not just an option in marriage if either spouse wants it.

Men should not be repulsed by the thought of performing oral sex on their wives and women should not be repulsed by the thought of performing oral sex on their husbands.

Women should understand that it is not gross or unhealthy in anyway for a them to swallow their husband’s semen.  It is actually very healthy and it is a powerful bonding tool for a wife to use with her husband.

When a woman has wrongfully denied her husband sex the idea of her kneeling before him, performing fellatio and then swallowing his semen is probably the best apology a wife could ever give her husband for such a sin.

But a wife must realize that her performing fellatio as well as her swallowing is not simply something she should do as an apology for sexual denial.  It is something that should be done regularly to show her love, full acceptance and submission to her husband.

Finally, for those who might be concerned that I am promoting oral sex over penile-vaginal sex.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   While I think fellatio and cunnilingus should be utilized by couples on a regular basis for foreplay or with cunnilingus to help a wife have an orgasm, I do believe that the vast majority of sexual encounters between a husband and wife should end in penile-vaginal intercourse with him ejaculating in his wife’s vagina.

You don’t have to be a doctor or a biologist to see that a man’s penis and a woman’s vagina are perfectly designed to come together.  When a man and woman come together in penile-vaginal intercourse this is them becoming “one flesh” in the most literal sense of the Biblical phase.

But what we have known since creation simply by common observation has also been proven scientifically in that penile-vaginal intercourse results in a release of 400% percent more prolactin  in men and women than any other form of sexual activity (like oral sex or masturbation). Prolactin is what give us the sense of satisfaction from having sex.

However, it is one thing to say that penile-vaginal sex is the best form of sexual relations a husband and wife can have and another to say it is the only kind of sexual relations a husband and wife can have.

Is the Silent Treatment Always Wrong?

“Dear BGR, my husband sometimes goes to sleep on the couch in his man-cave-office when he is angry at me for something I have done toward him. Even the next day he will speak very little if any to me basically giving me the silent treatment.
Sometimes we may have had a heated discussion or argument which we could not resolve but other times it is just that he felt I was disrespectful to him in something I said or did. Sometimes it is because I turned him down for sex when I am not in the mood.
If I apologize to him then he will return to our bed and our relationship will return to normal. If I do not apologize, this (him sleeping in his man-cave-office) can go on for several days, even sometimes a week before he will finally stop his silent treatment and return to our bed without me apologizing.

I must admit that in most cases this does work and gets me to the point of apologizing to him for whatever wrong he thinks I committed. There are some times I don’t think I did anything wrong and I think he is just being too sensitive so I let him stay in his man-cave-office until he finally comes back to our bed a few days or even a week later.

Either way, I don’t think this is a healthy thing for our relationship. I think it is childish and manipulative. Does the Bible approve of husbands giving their wives the silent treatment to get them to admit fault and ask forgiveness?

Lisa”

There are some in Christianity and even outside of Christianity that believe to give someone the silent treatment is always wrong, no matter the circumstances under which it occurs.

However, there are many things in life that can be right or wrong depending on the circumstances under which they occur. Some of my fellow conservative Christian brothers reject this concept calling it “situational ethics”. But the truth of the Scriptures is that the same action can be right or wrong depending on the circumstances under which that action occurs.

Consider the following rule in the Old Testament regarding a man killing a thief:
“1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. 2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten 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 22:1-3 (KJV)

The passage above tells us if a man breaks in at night to a person’s home and the home owner kills him at night this is not a crime and is considered a justified killing. But if a person kills a thief in their home by day, then it is considered murder.

The reason a person could justly kill a thief breaking in at night is because under the cover of darkness you cannot tell what a person’s intentions are. They could be there to harm you or your family, or simply to steal. But in the day light you can see exactly why they are there for and if they are just there to steal – they can be apprehended, but not killed. And it tells us the thief must make restitution for what he was trying to steal which could be 4 to 5 times the value of whatever he was going to steal. If he could not pay this penalty, then he would be sold as an indentured servant for 6 years and in the 7th year he would have to be freed (Deuteronomy 15:12).

The point is, whether an action is right or wrong often depends on the situation under which it occurs.

Now we will tackle a word often associated with the silent treatment and that is one Lisa mentioned which is “manipulative”. Can the silent treatment be a form of manipulation? Yes. If it is a person under authority trying to change their authority’s behavior by doing something that makes life difficult for their authority then yes it can very much be a form of manipulation and a wrong behavior.

For example, think of the child who holds their breath until their parent gives them what they want? Or what if the child refuses to eat until they get what they want? Or they cry until they get what they want?

And of course, if a child engages in the silent treatment toward their parents until the parents give in and give them what they want this would be a classic form of manipulation and is absolutely wrong from a Biblical perspective as children are commanded to obey their parents.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
Ephesians 6:1 (KJV)

In the same way if a wife were to give her husband the silent treatment until he gave her what she wanted, whether it is agreeing to her position from an argument they had or just giving her an apology such behavior toward her husband would also be a form of manipulation toward her husband and is condemned by the Scriptures. The Bible also commands wives to obey their husbands:
“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

The same Greek word is used for both children and wives in regard to their relationship with their fathers and husbands. The Greek word “Hupakouo” is translated “obey” in Ephesians 6:1 for children toward their parents and “obeyed” in I Peter 3:6 referring to a wife’s behavior toward her husband.

God wants women to be obedient to their husbands just as he wants children to be obedient to their parents.

Does this mean husbands are always right in what they say or do? Of course not. They are sinners just as women are. And there are some extreme conditions where a wife may have to choose between obeying God and obeying her husband and in such cases Acts 5:9 tells us that women should “obey God rather than men.”

But a wife does not have the right to disobey her husband simply because he acts in any sinful way toward her or he sins against God. In fact, the beginning of I Peter chapter 3 teaches that wives are to have submissive spirits toward their husbands who sin against God:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

In other words, just because a woman’s husband sins against her or against this does not invalidate his God given position of authority over her as her husband.

Now someone might say “What about I Peter 3:4?”:
“4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

There is a difference between a woman having a “meek and quiet spirit” toward her husband and her giving him the silent treatment. One type of quietness comes from a woman’s spirit of reverence, submission and love toward her husband and the other comes from spite.

Here is the point we have clearly established from the Bible. There is stark contrast between a woman using the silent treatment toward her husband to control him and thus control their relationship and a woman winning her husband to God without a word by her pure and reverent behavior.

And now we come to the question at the center of Lisa’s email to me.

Is it Wrong for a Husband to Use the Silent Treatment with His Wife?

As I said in the beginning of this article, the silent treatment can be wrong or right depending on the circumstances under which it occurs. The Bible gives husbands the following command toward their wives:
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
Colossians 3:19 (KJV)

If a husband’s silent treatment toward his wife comes from a place of bitterness toward her then his silent treatment toward her is wrong.

However, the Bible show us that God as a husband to Israel used the silent treatment as one of his methods of discipline toward his wife:
“1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:1-2 (KJV)
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

And we as husbands are called to follow Christ’s example toward his church in washing our wives with the Word as he does his Church:
“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

Also, we as husbands are called to rebuke and discipline our wives as Christ does his churches:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

But we must also remember as husbands that God forgives sin and shows mercy:
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
Micah 7:18 (KJV)

We as Christian husbands must follow God’s example in not holding on to our anger forever, no matter how righteous that anger might be. The Scriptures tell us the following regarding righteous anger:
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath
Ephesians 4:26 (KJV)

So even if our wife does not apologize, we need to let our anger go. However that does not mean our wife is free from the consequences of her actions. We as husbands can continue disciplinary action whatever that may be long after our anger has subsided.

But we must also show our wives that while we may sleep in another room for a few nights that we will never forsake them just as Christ will never forsake his church:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

Conclusion

Let’s review a key statement from Lisa’s email to me that cannot be overlooked:

“Sometimes we may have had a heated discussion or argument which we could not resolve but other times it is just that he felt I was disrespectful to him in something I said or did.”

This statement by Lisa makes it clear that her husband is not unwilling to have a basic conversation with her. But when the argument goes on and on and they cannot agree or she begins to start acting disrespectful toward him during the discussion this is when he shuts the discussion down and exits the discussion.

This is actually good as in most cases it is counterproductive to keep a discussion going when it gets too heated and keeps going around and around.

Of course, we will also have people saying “So you think a wife can never tell her husband what she thinks?” and I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible tells us of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31:26 that “in her tongue is the law of kindness” and it also tells us in Proverbs 12:4 that she is never one to “maketh ashamed” her husband. The Bible also tells us in Proverbs 19:14 that “a prudent wife is from the Lord” and then it tells us in Proverbs 21:19 that “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman”.

My point is that there is nothing wrong with a wife sharing a different point of view with her husband as long as it done with kindness and respect. But there is a big difference between a wife kindly sharing a different point of view with her husband and her entering into a contentious argument with him. The first type of behavior is to be commended; the second type of behavior should be condemned.

And now we come to a husband’s use of the silent treatment in response to his wife’s contentious spirit with him.

The Scriptures tell us in Proverbs 21:9 that “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” We can directly relate this to our discussion and say based on the Scriptures it is better for a husband to go to his “man-cave-office” then to dwell with his brawling wife elsewhere in the house.

And the silent treatment can be a very effective tool especially with women. Why? Because most women are “Empathizers” (as confirmed by a recent Cambridge study of over 671,000 men and women ) meaning that they are driven to know the thoughts and feelings of those around them and especially the thoughts and feelings of their husbands.

In other words, in most cases, it will drive a wife nuts when she does not know what her husband is thinking. And in a lot of cases she will do anything it takes to remedy the situation to restore communications with her husband.

But then again sometimes a wife will remain in her stubborn sinful state, and sometimes we as husbands may be called to show mercy after some time apart or perhaps switch to a different disciplinary technique.

And finally, I just want to quickly address this other key statement by Lisa:

“Sometimes it is because I turned him down for sex when I am not in the mood.”

A woman turning her husband down for sex simply because she is “not in the mood” as opposed to having some serious medical condition is a serious violation of her marriage covenant:
“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.”
I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

Men primarily give and receive love in marriage through sex. It is what bonds them to their wife. Where as women primarily give and receive love by talking and sharing feelings and this is how women feel bonded to their husbands. This is not to say that men cannot feel bonded to their wives by talking and sharing feelings nor is this to say women don’t feel bonded to their husbands through sex. But we are talking about primary means of bonding verses secondary means of bonding which are different in men and women.

Ladies, let me translate this for you. Imagine you had a rough day with the kids and lots of other things going on at home. You can’t wait to put the kids to bed and just talk and share your day with your husband and also find out about his day. So, you get the kids to bed and slip into bed with your husband. You start talking to him about your day and he stops you “Babe, I am really not in the mood tonight” and then he rolls over and goes to sleep.

That frustration you would feel as a woman if your husband did this to you is exactly what a man feels when his wife tells him she is not in the mood for sex.

So, Lisa – yes God absolutely approves of your husband using the silent treatment with you as long as he does not let a root of bitterness grow in his heart. And by your own admission, it often works to bring you to repentance as you seek to restore your fellowship with your husband.

Would Society Be Better If Girls Married as Soon as They Menstruated?

A Christian mother and regular reader of my blog asked “Would society be better if we returned to the standard that girls could marry as soon as they menstruated and were capable of having kids?” To ask such a question in America in the year 2019 seems patently absurd. Of course, society would NOT be better off if girls could marry as soon as they menstruated! Before we go further to address the obvious absurdity of this woman’s question here is the full email from her below.

Here is the complete email I received from a woman calling herself Rebekah:

“Long time reader, first time writer. First, I want to thank you for your trenchant insights, observations, and monologues. It’s great to find a man with such a passion for Christ and a traditional way of life. I’m a married mother with 3 daughters (12, 13, and 16) and (15) one son and my hubby and I are raising them to be good Christians and to abide by traditional gender roles.

I recently had a discussion with my husband about the expectation for marriage and we wondered, would society be better if we returned to the standard that girls could marry as soon as they menstruated and were capable of having kids? My two eldest daughters are certainly capable, and they are very motherly already.

What is your opinion?”

Why do such statements as the ones above evoke such a sense of righteous indignation from most of us in modern America and Western culture?  We will discuss these reasons next.

Why Modern Society Disapproves of the Pubescent Marriage of Women

Ancient and medieval historical records can attest to the following statement that was made in an article entitled “Child Marriage – Rationale, Historical Views, And Consequences” :

 “Child marriages involving only one marriage partner below the age of 18, usually the female, are also quite common. Throughout history till the 20th century, child marriages were the norm in most parts of the world. With the average life expectancy during such times being only 40 to 45 years of age, child marriages were the faster way to reproduce. Girls were usually married off as soon as they reached puberty or sometimes even prior to that.”

In the same article they mention in addition to shorter life expectancies that there were often economic reasons as well:

“Over the years, a large number of reasons have been suggested as triggers behind the practice of child marriage. Economic problems have been one of the primary factors that have forced parents to marry off their young girls. The system of dowry prevailing in many countries where parents of girls have to bestow hefty sums of money or expensive goods and ornaments to the in-laws’ families of their daughters have led to the consideration of the girl child as a burden in such households. However, the high demand of young girls in the marriage market have helped parents marry off their girl child to an older man, often receiving money in return, allowing them to overcome the burdens of dowry and even economically benefiting from the process.”

But in the same article we then find the reasons for our modern Western society’s disapproval of marriage for women of pubescent age:

“Child marriage is associated with scientifically established adverse effects to the young female child’s health. Pregnant girls below the age of 15 have a 5 to 7 times higher chance of dying during childbirth as compared to pregnant women in their twenties. Child mothers are also more susceptible to develop obstetric fistula, cervical cancer, sexually transmitted diseases and other health problems. Infant mortality rates are also 60% higher in case of children born of mothers who are below the age of 18 years. Child marriage usually deprives the female child of educational rights, leading to the loss of financial independence of the child in her future. Child brides are also susceptible to domestic violence, marital rapes and sexual abuse as they are not mature enough to protest and not independent enough to escape adverse situations in their conjugal life.”

So young mothers under 15 having 5 to 7 times higher of a chance of dying from their pregnancy should be enough for all us to oppose pubescent marriage for young girls, right?

And then what about the fact these poor young girls may be deprived of education rights which will lead to a loss of financial independence from their future husbands? And their higher susceptibility to tolerate future abuse from their future husbands?

Is this not an open and shut case against the marriage of pubescent age women?

Well before we can totally wrap up our conclusion, we need to tie up a few “loose ends”.

Putting Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates in Perspective

Two of the “loose ends” we need to tie up are maternal and infant mortality rates. Previously we were told one of the reasons we should oppose the marriage of pubescent age women is because women in this age group have higher chances of dying from child birth and their infants have a higher chance of dying after birth within the first year.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) is the number of women who die each year at any stage of pregnancy.  According to the World Health Organization(WHO) 211 million women get pregnant each year.

The sad news for us as Christians and those who value human life is that 46 million of those pregnancies are ended by the murderous act of abortion.  That means 165 million women continue with their pregnancies.  Of those 165 million pregnancies, 123 million will be “successful”, meaning that the mother gives birth and the child survives.

Of the children that survive in these 123 million births, 2.51 million, or 2 percent, will die before reaching their first birthday (this is the global infant mortality rate).

About 302,950 women die each year worldwide from pregnancy.  That means women worldwide have a 0.2 percent chance dying from pregnancy related health problems or on the other hand they have a 99.8 percent chance of dying from pregnancy.

To put these numbers further in perspective, of those 302,950 women who die from pregnancy each year 99 percent of pregnancy related deaths occur in the developing world.  And even in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest MMR in the world, only 500 women out of 100,000 died from pregnancy related complications.

The key numbers to take away from this section on maternal and infant mortality rates are that in total 0.2 percent of women who get pregnant and do not murder their unborn children later die as a result of their pregnancies.  A total of 2 percent of infants worldwide will die before they reach their first birthday.   And statistically speaking the vast majority of these deaths that occur in both these categories occur in Africa. The saddest number of all these numbers is of course the worldwide purposeful murder of 22 percent of children in their mother’s womb by the act that modern civilization calls abortion.

The Societal Impact of Economic and Social Independence for Women

Another “loose end” we need to tie up has to do with women’s social and economic independence from men.  After all that is good thing, right?

For most of the history of mankind, with few exceptions, women were economically and socially tied to their fathers or their husbands and were considered the property of their fathers or husbands.  Women could not own property and if they did inherit property it would come under their husband’s authority upon marriage.  In divorce fathers retained full custody of the children.

The fact that women could not own property, could not easily divorce their husbands and when they did divorce, they had to leave without their children and without any property or income was a strong incentive for women to stay with their husbands.

This all changed in the mid-19th century with the rise of feminism.  It began with women suing in the courts for the right to own property as men did.  Then in the late 19th century the historic custom of fathers retaining full custody of their children was reversed and full custody was given to the mother.  Fathers did not gain back at least joint custody rights until almost a century later in 1960s.

Now the incentives that brought women to marriage to men, and kept women in marriage to men had been all but destroyed.

It was also during this time that women began to throw of the authority of their fathers in courting and began the new practice of “dating”.  Men and women entering marriage based on the historic principles of faith, duty, honor and economics gradually was replaced with men and women entering marriage simply for “love” – which was really just infatuation.

And since women had come to gain alimony, child support, and property rights there was little incentive for them to stay in marriage to a man once the infatuation wore off.   This caused divorce rates to sky rocket from 3 percent before the rise of feminism in the mid-19th century to 13 percent by the time woman’s suffrage was ratified in 1920 in the United States.

Anna Howard Shaw, one of the champions of first wave feminism made the following statement in the February 25th, 1915 edition of the New York Evening Post:

“I believe in woman suffrage, whether all women vote or no women vote; whether all women vote right or all women vote wrong; whether women will love their husbands after they vote or forsake them; whether they will neglect their children or never have any children at all.”

Anna Howard Shaw summed up the goals of the political feminists’ movements of the 19th and early 20th century.  The total liberation and independence of women from men no matter what the costs to society.  Country, marriage and motherhood and children could all be destroyed to meet their goals.  The only thing that mattered was women having complete and utter control of their lives.

And what cost did we pay as a nation? Well Anna Howard Shaw’s words came true.  Women gained the right to vote and even gained the right to force men to hire them for any positions they wanted.  And in 1973 they gained the right to murder their unborn children under the guise of total bodily autonomy.

The social and economic independence of women in America has directly led to rampant sexual immorality, the decline of marriage, over 60 million divorces and over 60 million abortions.

The Arguments Against the Marriage of Pubescent Women Are Faulty

Well it seems that in our effort to tie up loose ends regarding opposition to pubescent women marrying we have instead unraveled the entire ball of yarn.

Before I show how the arguments against pubescent women marrying are faulty, I want to explain some terminology I have been using.  The way we label something or someone can very much affect how we view that something or someone.  For instance, those of us who oppose abortion as a right for women call ourselves “prolife” while those who believe abortion is a right for women call themselves “prochoice”.   Prolife advocates such as myself call the child a “baby” from the moment it is conceived while Prochoice advocates will refer to the child based on his or her biological stages of development with such words as “zigote” or “embryo”  or “fetus” in an attempt to dehumanize the human being growing inside his or her mother’s womb.

In the same way when having this argument about the age of marriage for women those who oppose marriage for women before the age of 18 will call all marriage before the age of 18 “Child Marriage”.  But is 16 or 17-year-old female or male human being for that matter, a child? The answer biologically speaking is no.

Human beings go through a transition phase from child to adult and this transition phase is called puberty.  Children are human beings in the prepubescent stage of development.  Adolescents are human beings that are at some stage of puberty. When the changes of puberty are complete the human adolescent becomes a human adult.  Girls typically start puberty around the age of 11 while some start as early as 9 or 10 and they typically complete puberty by the age of 14. Boys start a little later than girls typically around the age of 12 and they finish puberty around the age of 16 or 17.

Those who say a female human being who has experienced the major changes of puberty which are the development of breasts, pubic hair and the start of menstruation is a child are stating a biological falsehood.  Such a female human being is no longer a child (prepubescent human being), but rather she is either an adolescent (pubescent human being) or an adult (postpubescent human being).

This is why I have consistently referred to this argument as one being about the “the marriage of pubescent women” because a female human being who has experienced the changes of puberty is no longer a child.

When we acknowledge the fact that worldwide a total of 0.2 percent of women die from pregnancy related deaths, and that includes pubescent mothers, then the even if they represent a higher proportion of that 0.2 percent it does not make a strong case against pubescent women marrying.  Instead we can respond with that fact that at least 99.8 percent of pubescent women worldwide will survive their pregnancies.

When we acknowledge the fact that only 2 percent of all infants worldwide die in the first year of their life and even if children from pubescent mothers make up more of that 2 percent than children from postpubescent women, we can rightly say pubescent mothers have at least a 98 percent chance of their children surviving their first year of life.  A difference somewhere within the 2 percent range between two groups of women having their children survive is not a strong argument against pubescent women marrying.

Some may respond that these are numbers that mix the developed world and undeveloped worlds.  But let me remind you of the WHO numbers which stated even in sub-Saharan Africa, which has the highest MMR in the world, only 500 women out of 100,000 died from pregnancy related complications in a given year over the last decade.

Then we come to other social reasons for opposition to marriage for pubescent women.

One of those reasons is that these pubescent women will have a “the loss of financial independence” from their husbands most likely because they do not finish high school and the college and get careers before marrying.

But based on the stats I just showed which correlate the granting of economic rights to women with the destruction of marriage by disincentivizing women to seek and stay in marriage to men is “the loss of financial independence” for women a bad thing? The answer if we believe that lasting marriages form the bedrock of a stable civilization must be NO.

And finally, what about the assertion that pubescent brides are more “susceptible to domestic violence, marital rapes and sexual abuse as they are not mature enough to protest and not independent enough to escape adverse situations in their conjugal life”? Is this a strong enough argument on its own for us to oppose pubescent women marrying?

Are there some men that truly do abuse their wives, whether they enter marriage as pubescent women or as postpubescent women? Absolutely.  But again, we must put things in perspective.  Just as we cannot toss out women getting pregnant because a tiny fraction of women may die from pregnancy so to, we cannot throw out marriage for pubescent women because of the sad fact that a higher fraction of a tiny percentage of pubescent women will be truly abused.

Now that I have shown the arguments against pubescent women marrying to be faulty and weak, we will now present strong arguments for the marriage of pubescent women.

Why We Should Support the Practice of Pubescent Marriage

I have previously shown from a biological perspective it is incorrect to refer to a human being that is going through puberty or one that has finished puberty as a child.  Therefore, it is utterly wrong to label it as “Child marriage” when a pubescent woman enters marriage.

Before the last century human societies recognized three primary social classes of human beings.  Men, Women and Children. Once children entered puberty, they were basically considered either men or women.  The concept of a “teenager” is a more recent invention over the last century.

Boys were considered men around the ages of 12 to 13 and this is why it was the norm for these young men to begin their trade in their early teen years so they could save their money, buy their own land and build a home.  Once they did this, usually by their late teens or early 20s, they would seek out a wife for marriage. For girls, as soon as they developed breasts and began menstruating, they were considered women and ready for marriage and child bearing.

Many will argue that just because a young woman is biologically ready for marriage and child bearing, does not mean she is mature enough mentally for marriage and child bearing.

So how do we answer the question of when a person is ready for marriage? Is it by looking to how civilizations have done things in the past? Is it by looking to current studies?

The answer, first and foremost for us as Christians, is to look to the Word of God.

“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.”

1 Corinthians 7:36 (KJV)

The phrase “the flower of her age” refers to when a woman has her period.  The Apostle Paul is telling us here that the minimum of age of marriage is when a woman has her first period.

However, we must take the complete witness of the Scriptures together to determine when is the acceptable “time of love” for a young woman – as in marriage and sex.

“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)

So, it is not until a young girl demonstrates all the signs of puberty, the growth of breasts, pubic hair and having a period that she is ready for marriage.  With most young women, their first period comes after the development of their breasts and pubic hair while in some rare cases the period may come first.  But the Scriptures show us that all three of these elements are required.

In fact, in another Scripture we read that if a woman was completely flat chested and had no breasts, she would have a difficult time marrying (even if she had her first period):

“We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?”

Song of Solomon 8:8 (KJV)

The point here is that God tells us when a woman develops breasts, grows pubic hair and has her period she is ready for marriage by God’s law.

But we must also recognize that God gives a father discretion as to when his daughter is ready for marriage:

“Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.”

Jeremiah 29:6 (KJV)

“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)

The passages above show us that fathers have the responsibility to prepare their daughters for marriage and be looking for suitable husbands for their daughters while at the same time they have the right of refusal for their daughter for marriage as well.

Early Teen Women Are Very Fertile

Carolyn Butler wrote an article entitled “Ovaries have not adjusted to many women’s decision to delay having children” for the Washington Post back in 2010.  In that article she stated the following inconvenient biological facts for women:

The biological reality that female fertility peaks in the teens and early 20s can be difficult for many American women to swallow, as they delay childbirth further every year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In the District, the average age of initial childbirth was 26.5 years in 2006, up 5.5 years since 1970, the highest jump in the country…

While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we, that is still when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby,” says Claire Whelan, program director of the American Fertility Association. “Our biological clock has not kept pace with our ability to prolong our life spans.” Stillman agrees, pointing out that research about advanced maternal age and motherhood today is clear: The older you get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant and the higher the chance of miscarriage, pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, among other concerns…

“Society has changed, ” says Stillman, “but the ovaries will take another million years or two to catch up to that.””

Notice how she has to preface her acknowledgement of the biological reality of when women are “most adept at conception and carrying a baby” with her value judgment that “While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we”.

As Christians we know that the Bible says in Genesis 1:27 that “male and female created he them”.  And we know God is not going to change a woman’s ovaries to match our societal changes.

Instead our society must turn back to God so that our society matches the way he designed us as males and females both physiologically and psychologically. And the way we begin that change is in one Christian home at time.

Early Teen Women Are More Moldable

In the Scriptures we read the following passage from the Book of Jeremiah:

“1 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)

In the above passage God is speaking to Israel as his wife.  The phrase “O house of Israel” is used in other passages like this one below when God refers to Israel as his wife and he as her husband:

“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)

Just as God sought to mold his wife Israel to be the person, he wanted her to be, so to for a marriage to be successful a woman must be very moldable just like clay in the hands of a potter.

When women are in their early teens, they typically are more moldable but as they get older into their late teens and especially early 20s, they become much harder to mold or change in their person and habits.

And make no mistake this is EXACTLY why most people today oppose women marrying very young because they know they are so impressionable or moldable at that age.  They don’t want men being able to mold young women so they want to delay marriage as a long as possible pushing it into the early and mid-20s.

Christians who follow this false philosophy that young women need “find themselves” and “be their own person” before marriage are going against God’s design.

Remember that God says marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church.  Does Christ mold his church? You bet he does.  And he tells men to love their wives as he does:

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

Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

We are often told today that if a man attempts to mold or change his wife’s behavior at all that he is “controlling” and this bad.  We are told that if a man truly loves his wife, he won’t try to change anything about her.

Well I can tell you based on the authority of the Scriptures above that if a man does not attempt to mold and shape his wife to present her to himself and to God as a glorious wife in the same way Christ does his church then he is not loving his wife as Christ loves the church.

And yes, it takes a sacrifice on our part as men and courage on our part as men to “rebuke and chasten” (Revelation 3:19) our wives as Christ does his churches. But when done in the correct spirit, such rebuke and chastening by husbands is called “love”.

Conclusion

Rebekah so here is the answer to your question – “Would society be better if we returned to the standard that girls could marry as soon as they menstruated and were capable of having kids?”

The answer first from the Bible is “YES”.  But the like many other times we can see how God’s design plays out when we follow it and also when we disobey it.  No one can argue with the cold hard facts that giving women independence from men in general and their fathers and husbands in particular has been good for the institution of marriage which God designed.

By taking away women’s dependence on men we have allowed women to dominate marriage and our society.  Society is now ordered around how people feel rather than duty to God, family and country.

And the invention of the “teenager” as an extension of childhood has not been good for our society.  It has led to rampant immorality and a complete lack of responsibility among our young people today.

I don’t think you were actually asking if your husband could do this but just if society would be better if we all turned back to this custom of marriage for young women.

However, if your daughters have demonstrated the signs God says that mark “the time of love” for a woman in that they have developed breasts, pubic hair and have begun menstruating and if your husband feels they are mature enough and ready for marriage there would be no sin in allowing them to marry.

Believe it or not there are still 15 states that allow marriage below the age of 14:

 California
 Colorado
 Idaho
 Louisiana
 Maine
 Massachusetts
 Michigan
 Mississippi
 Nevada
 New Mexico
 Oklahoma
 Pennsylvania
 Washington
 West Virginia
 Wyoming

Also, several states allow 14, and 15-year old people to marry as well.

You can find the complete list of marriage by age by state here:

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

Answering the Scoffers

One of my favorite scoffers, Suzanne Titkemeyer, wrote a piece the other day about my review of the Handmaids Tale.   I always chuckle a little when I read her stuff.

I will cover just a few areas that I think apply to this article in regards to the age of marriage.

Suzanne wrote:

“Why is it always these creeps, like Vaughn Ohlman,imaging young burgeoning breasts and periods as a marker for readiness? Notice that none of them view young boys of that age as ready for marriage. When they talk of men marrying it’s always men over the age of 21, while saddling them with a much too young girl.”

Suzanne, it is not me imaging breasts and periods as a marker for readiness, but rather the word of God which clearly states it as I showed above from Ezekiel 16:7-8 and 1 Corinthians 7:36.  You may reject the Bible but it is my basis for truth.

And before I knew and understood these Scriptures and studied the history of the world, biology and marriage I probably would have agreed with you that early teens is too young for marriage for women.  But back then I would have been going by what you are – my feelings and my culture. Instead of looking at marriage first through the lenses of the Bible, then history and biology.  All of which support young marriage for women.

Also, on your view of boys.  I don’t think they have to be over 21, although I think in most cases it would be wiser for them to wait.  Why? Because they have to lead a woman and their family and they have to be able to provide for and protect their family.  Especially on the provision front, for most young men it takes well into their early or mid-20s until they are ready to provide for a family.   My 19-year-old son who is plumber is an exception.  He makes over 60 K a year and could support a family.  But he has to get some other things in line first.

I know you struggle with this concept, but young men and young women are different. They are designed by God for different roles.  A young woman does not have to lead a home or provide for one.  She simply has to manage it, therefore she can marry much younger than a man.  Besides it is a biological fact as I showed above the early teens to the early 20s are “when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby”.  I also showed that studies arguing for higher pregnancy related deaths or other health problems are using statistically insignificant differences between pubescent mothers and postpubescent  mothers.

Suzanne wrote:

“In the United States this age can come at a very young time in a girl’s life. Menstruation ages have dropped, meaning what Larry is proposing here is that girls as young as 9 could be married.”

No not really.  I have said on multiple occasions that I like the Jewish rule of minimum age of 12.  The truth is that is extremely rare for a 9-year-old to have a period but then you are leaving out several other key factors in order to build your straw-man argument.  I said the minimum age of marriage requires ALL of the following things – not just a girl having her period. She must have developed breasts, pubic hair, had a period AND her father must determine she is ready.

Suzanne wrote:

“My own cycle started at 11 years old, and I can tell you I was nowhere near ready to marry. I was still playing with my Barbies, riding my horse, going to Camp Fire Girls meetings, and giggling over how cute Donny Osmond was. My only adult actions and responsibilities revolved around caring for my horse.

Little girls should be free to ride their horses, or play with their dolls and coloring books, not forced into lifetime relationships and sex.  We’ve talked about this so much here that I’m not even going to cite the statistics again that show how early marriage harms girls in every way, physically, emotionally, financially.”

Do you know why you were no nowhere near ready to marry at age 11 including manage a home and take care of children? Because you were raised in a culture that has vastly extended childhood far beyond what cultures in the past did.  If you were raised in pre-modern times, especially medieval or ancient times you absolutely would have been preparing for marriage at 11 and most likely be married by 12 or 13.

You see that is one of the many differences between your world view and mine.  You believe the purpose of little girls and by extension women is to live for themselves.  Have fun and do whatever makes you happy (at a particular moment, because we know that changes every five minutes).

But other people who believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, such as myself, believe we were put here for more than riding horses and playing with toys.  We believe life is about duty and honor and serving God.  Sure, we can have happiness along the way, but if that is our central focus, we will not serve God.

And speaking of happiness.  We understand a truth that utterly escapes most secularists and you as well.  We understand that happiness is not simply a feeling, but it is also a choice.  We can choose to be happy in whatever circumstances life brings us.  This is special kind of joy that few people know or understand. We can choose to let God and his Word lead our hearts, instead of letting our hearts lead us.

I pray one day you will come to know these truths and accept Christ and his Word as they are and not as you would have them be.