The Husband’s Call to Love Is A Call to Rule

Are men never commanded to lead their wives in the Bible? This is the recent conclusion that Cane Caldo has come to.  Cane Caldo has been a warrior against Christian feminism for many years. But recently he has come to the belief that he fell into a trap in response to Christian feminist arguments on this subject and that he now realizes he was “fundamentally wrong” in telling men that the Bible calls them to lead their wives.

In his article entitled “CoE V: I Am Not Called to “Lead” in the Bible” Caldo states:

“Our age’s focus on a husband’s leadership is a clever redirect away from the Biblical command for wives to submit and obey. Every instance of Biblical instruction to husbands and wives say the same thing: Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives. That’s the instruction in 1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3; in every instance where the Christian home life is addressed

I’ve written many posts and comments about a husband leading his wife, and I was fundamentally wrong. Over the years it has come to be that the liberal progressives proclaim the right thing for the wrong reasons and the traditionalists fight back with nonsense, and I fell into it also. Christian Feminists (both overt and those undeclared and unwitting) are quick to point out that it is a wife’s duty to obey and not a husbands right to force her to submit. Traditionalists have tried to fight this by demanding husbands lead better, and by stealing the glory of obedient women for themselves; such as when a man says his wife follows him because of his good leadership.

And all of it–the progressive tactics and the traditionalist response–is meant to tangle us up so that a wife’s temptation to rebel and abandon is never the topic of discussion; so that no one says, “Wives, obey your husbands.”

 

Building on what Caldo said here, Darlock on his blog wrote in his article “Headship Sleight of Hand” the following comments:

“When I first read this it was obvious that Cane is right.  But I initially struggled to put all of the pieces together.  Scripture says the husband is the head of the wife.  We can then deduce from this that if he is the head, then he has an obligation to lead.  The Bible doesn’t state that husbands have this obligation, the husband’s stated obligation is to love his wife, and the wife’s stated obligation is to submit to her husband.  But leaders clearly have an obligation to lead.  The specific nature of this obligation is another question, but the basic deduction is solid.  However, modern Christians don’t stop there.  Next they turn the deduction around and run it backwards:

If the husband leads, he will be the head.

The reversed deduction is then substituted for the plain meaning of Scripture.  This is a masterful sleight of hand. From here, submission is likewise reworked:

If the husband leads well, the wife will submit.”

 

Darlock then displays a nice graphic which basically shows this progression:

The husband is the head; the wife is to submit to him becomes leaders have an obligation to lead.

Leaders have an obligation to lead becomes if the husband leads, he will be the head.

If the husbands leads he will be head becomes if the husband leads well, the wife will submit.

I Understand Where Caldo and Darlock Are Coming From

Let me first say that while Caldo, Darlock and I would have some disagreements in various areas we are all three would agree on the need to fight against the scourge of feminism and specifically Christian feminism in the churches.  In this regard I consider both these men brothers in arms and I have respect for their work.

And I can see where they are coming from on this topic.  Darlock painted the Christian feminist twisting of headship perfectly and showed how they arrive at their false conclusion that a wife only needs to submit to her husband if he leads well.

Caldo also was absolutely right when he about a husband’s call to love his wife being unconditional where he states “Likewise, a husband cannot be thwarted from loving his wife. Even if she does not obey him that is no bar to his God-given ability to love and care her despite her wickedness. If he loves and cares for her, and she refuses to obey he is clean. He did not fail to lead.”

Amen Caldo, Amen.

The Call to Love is a Call to Rule

Caldo points out that in every instance of the Scriptures where the husband wife relationship is addressed (1 Peter 3, Titus 2, Ephesians 5, and Colossians 3) that we find the formula of “Wives submit to and obey your husbands. Husbands love and care for your wives”.  And again, he is right in this regard.

But what he and Darlock are failing to see is what kind of love husbands are called to?

Each and every time the Bible calls husbands to love their wives it uses the word “Agape” in the Greek.  This is a love which originates in the will is not based on emotion or affection as “Phileo” love is.  Men are not supposed to base their love for their wife on their affection for her at any given moment, but on the basis that God has given them a duty to their love their wives.

But this agape love that a husband is called to have toward his wife is not just any agape love.  It is NOT the same type of agape love that we are to have toward our fellow church members, or even our children.  It is specifically defined for us in Ephesians chapter 5:25 when the Apostle Paul writes “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church…”.

The key word in that sentence is the tiny word “AS”.  This tells us what kind of agape love husbands are to have toward their wives.  The model for the love of a husband toward his wife is found in looking at how Christ loves his Church.

So, in this critical passage of the Scriptures Paul goes on to show us what is entailed in the agape love a husband toward his wife:

“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.

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 5:25-29 (KJV)

So here are key attributes of how Christ loves his Church that are given to husbands as a model in how God requires them to love their wives in Ephesians chapter 5:

  1. The call to love one’s wife is a call to sacrifice one’s self for one’s wife.
  2. The call to love one’s wife is a call to wash one’s wife, to wash her spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God.
  3. The call to love one’s wife is a call to provide for(nourish) her physical needs.
  4. The call to love one’s wife is a call to protect(cherish) her.

It must be pointed out that the first two attributes in this list are tightly coupled together as the last two items in this list are tightly coupled together.

Christian feminists love that husbands are called to “give themselves up” for their wives as Christ did his Church.  Myriads of Christian feminist books and blogs have built false doctrines around the phrase “and gave himself for it”.  Basically, they twist this phrase into saying Christian men should give up any desires or ambitions they have in a life long quest to make their wives happy.

But what they fail to do is realize that God describes WHY Christ gave himself up.  It was to wash the spiritual blemishes, spots and wrinkles of his wife, the Church, to make her holy, not happy.

In fact, in the book of Acts we find out more about why Christ “gave himself up” for the Church”:

“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

Acts 20:28 (KJV)

Christ did not “gave himself up” to appease or make happy his bride, the Church, but rather to purchase her with his own blood so he could then wash her and make her the glorious bride he intended her to be to him.

Now one of the mistakes that Caldeo makes that a lot of people make on both sides of this issue is that he confines the definition of the role a husband to “where the Christian home life is addressed”.  That is an exegetical mistake.  When Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives “as Christ also loved the church” this tells we can look to any part of the Scriptures where Christ is interacting with his church or churches to understand how a husband’s love and interactions are to be with his wife.

To that end let’s now look to the book of Revelation.  Here we find Christ rebuking and threatening to discipline(chasten) six of his seven churches for disobedience in various areas.  At the conclusion of his rebukes and threats to chasten his churches he makes the following statement:

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

This passage is directed to his churches.  This is a depiction of Christ’s love for his Bride.  Therefore, it is absolutely correct to say that the call for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved his Church is a call for husbands to rebuke and discipline their wives.  Christ was literally washing his wife with the Word of God in the previous passages in Revelation just as he implores men to love their wives by washing them with the Word in Ephesians 5:26-27.

This washing with the Word, this rebuking and chastening of one’s wife as Christ did is his Church is in fact a call to rule one’s wife.  Only a person in a ruler can discipline someone or attempt to modify their behavior by imposing punishments for bad behavior.

The Bible even says that a man is to be “one that ruleth well his own house”:

“4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)… 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.”

I Timothy 3:4-5 & 11 (KJV)

This passage above clearly states that God expects men to rule well their own homes and if a man cannot rule well his own house how can he rule the church of God?  The wives are mentioned separately below.  Some have wrongly inferred that only because the children are mentioned in the first part that wives are free of a husband’s rule and he has no responsibility to rule over them.  This would make absolutely no sense.  Are wives not part of a husband’s home? Are there people in the church that are not under the rulership of church elders? Such an interpretation is absurd to say the least.

Therefore, we can rightly conclude based on Ephesians 5:25-27, I Timothy 3:4-5 & 11 and Revelation 3:19 that the husband’s call to love his wife which is recognized by both Caldo and Darlock is also a call to rule one’s wife.

What is the Difference Between a Leader and A Ruler?

In my original version of this article I only used the word “leader” because I was trying to use the language Caledo and others were using.  But I have explained on this blog many times that there are different types of leaders.

There are leaders who people voluntarily follow who have no authority or disciplinary power over those they lead.   Then there are leaders who have authority over others and with that authority comes disciplinary powers.   A leader with authority and disciplinary powers over those under them is a ruler.

Another way to convey this truth is that while all rulers are leaders, not all leaders are rulers.

A ruler does not simply offer guidance, but they actually institute rules for those under their authority and use discipline for the breaking of those rules.  In some cases rulers actually own those under their authority as well and this is how the Bible presents the husband wife relationship where the husband is called the “baal” or master/owner of the wife throughout the Old Testament.   See my article “Is Christian marriage a master – servant relationship?” for more on this subject.

Conclusion

I want to return to Darlock’s process of where he thinks Christian feminism has added to God’s Word:

This first statement is absolutely Biblically true:

The husband is the head; the wife is to submit to him becomes leaders have an obligation to lead.

The husband is the head of the wife and the wife is to submit to him.  It is both IMPLIED in the husband being the head of his wife and EXPLICIT in a husband’s call to love his wife as Christ loves his Church, to wash her with the Word of God and chasten her that he is called to rule her.

But Darlock’s next statements is where feminism adds to the Word of God:

Leaders have an obligation to lead becomes if the husband leads, he will be the head.

If the husbands leads he will be head becomes if the husband leads well, the wife will submit.

Christian husbands absolutely have an obligation to lead their wives as Christ lead’s his Church.  However, those Christians who say a husband’s headship is contingent on his follow through of his duty to lead are in direct contradiction to what the Scriptures say about the basis for a husband’s headship.  The husband is the head of his wife whether he is rules as Christ does his church or utterly fails to model Christ’s leadership of his church.   This is the explicit teaching of the Word of 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)

So, unless a husband tells his wife to sin (Acts 5:29) she must obey him in ALL he commands her to do. The passage above leaves no gray area.  And no, it is not just talking about submission to non-Christian husbands who are disobedient. Later in this same conversation the Apostle Peter says the following of this kind of submission from wives toward 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)

Was Abraham a believer? You bet he was.  So, this means whether a woman’s husband is a believer or non-believer even if he is living a life that is disobedient to the Word of God and even if he utterly failing to love his wife and lead his wife as Christ does his church wives ARE TO SUBMIT.  Period.

7 Principles for Making Biblical Marriage Vows

It may surprise many Christians to know that while the Bible speaks a great deal on marriage it never actually gives any examples of marriage vows. But the Bible does give us principles and teachings about marriage that can help us to construct Biblically based marriage vows.

For many engaged couples writing marriage vows can be a very scary thing for a variety of reasons.  One is that it is hard for some people to express their feelings or put their feelings into words. Another might be that they are afraid they might say something that offends people at the wedding. Still another is that they may feel pressure to promise or say they something they know they can’t or won’t keep in the future.

My goal in this article is to help alleviate these concerns for you and help give you some Biblical principles to help you write your vows and also provide you with some real examples. I encourage you also to keep an open mind to what the Scriptures have to say on marriage.  There will probably be many things in this article that will challenge your preconceptions about marriage.  But as you read the Scriptures presented here I encourage you to remember what the Bible teaches us:

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

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

My prayer is that after you finish reading this article that you will come away with a renewed passion to not be conformed to our culture’s view of marriage, but rather to conform yourselves as a Christian couple to God’s view of marriage as presented in his Word.

Is it “marriage vows” or a “marriage covenant”?

First let’s clear up some confusion.  You may read Christian articles online or you may have even heard a pastor in your church say “Marriage is not based on vows, it is based on a covenant!” But what many Christian teachers fail to recognize is that while not all vows are covenants, all covenants are vows. The Scriptures prove this when God pictures his marriage to Israel:

“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 16:8 (KJV)

We can see here that when God entered in his covenant marriage with Israel – he swore unto her.  That he vowed unto her this covenant.

So then the answer to the question of “Is it “marriage vows” or a “marriage covenant”?” is that it is BOTH!

Some Christians try and teach that Christ outlawed the making vows but this is not the case.  I encourage you to read my article entitled “Is it wrong for Christians to make vows or oaths?” for more on this subject.

The conclusion I came to in that article regarding vows was that Christ was taking on the corrupt system the Jewish leaders setup allowing people to get out of their oaths based on what they swore the oath upon.  Christ was saying our word is our bond – if we make an oath then we must keep it. We should swear by nothing on this earth, but only by God as the Bible commands.  We should always consider our vows carefully and not easily enter into them.  And above all – we should never ever make a vow that we know up front we cannot or will not keep.

What type of love are Biblical marriage vows based on?

There are three types of Biblical love that may occur between a couple seeking marriage and then later these types of love should occur within marriage.

Phileo – Affectionate, feelings based loved – this is the love that is based on emotional attachment to another.  It is usually very strong in the beginning phases of a relationship especially during the engagement period and the first year or two of marriage.

Eros – Sexual love.  This is the love that has to do with physical attraction and desire toward one another.  Again as with Phileo love, this love is usually very strong at the beginning of a relationship and through the first year to two years of marriage.  And contrary to those Christian teachers who say this has no part in Christian marriage this type of love has an entire book of the Bible dedicated to it in the Song of Solomon.  But this love is one that must be contained and controlled until a couple enter into the covenant of marriage.  We see this warning in Song of Solomon 2:7:

“I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.”

Agape – Unconditional love of the will based in duty and commitment toward another.  Phileo and Eros love are often reactionary types of love to the attributes or actions of another. When Phileo love and Eros love fade because of changing circumstances, Agape love remains because it based in a choice.

Biblically based wedding vows should never be made with reference to Phileo or Eros love.  This is not because these two types of love are bad. Christian marriage can and should have both these types of love in it if it is to be everything God intended it to be. But the foundation of Christian marriage is Agape love because it will weather the storms of life and will remain in those times when Phileo love and Eros love may wane.

If you are a young Christian couple reading this – you may think your affection toward each other (Phileo love) and sexual attraction (Eros love) will never fade.  You are convinced of it! But don’t just take my word for it – ask five other Christian married couples that have been together at least 10 years or more.

The reason I ask you to ask five couples is because most likely you will get one or two that simply lie to themselves and others to put on a show.  But if you ask five married couples who have been married for a longer length of time most of them will admit to you that there have been many times in their marriage where their Phileo and Eros love toward each other has waned and the only thing that kept them going was their Agape love toward one another as Christians.  It was the commitment they made to each other before God when they entered into the covenant of marriage that helped them weather the storms of life.

One last part I want to add on this subject of love in marriage vows.  I am not saying a couple cannot say words of affection toward each other and express their Phileo love toward one another at their wedding ceremony. You certainly can do this.  But these words of affection should come before or after the marriage vows and should never be mixed into your vows.  Your vows should be based purely in Agape in love.

Do marriage vows have to include all the duties of marriage?

Nothing in the Scriptures say you have to reference all the various duties of husbands and wives toward one another when you enter into a covenant of marriage.

Your vows could be very concise and they need not be verbose.  In fact your vows could be as concise as the groom saying “I take you as my wife” and the bride saying “I take you as my husband”.

Nothing needs to be said about a covenant, the duration of marriage or the duties of husbands and wives to each other in marriage.  There does not need to be a priest or pastor present, nor does it have to be done in a church.  It does not even require a state marriage license.

On caveat I would add is that while the man needs no permission to enter into marriage from his parents if the woman is not a divorced or widowed woman and “being in her father’s house in her youth” then she and the man she wishes to marry must have her father’s blessing to marry.  In fact if they marry in secret and he finds out and disapproves a father has the spiritual authority to annul any of his daughter’s vows in including a vow of marriage – see Numbers chapter 30 for more on this.

However, just because marriage can be entered into so easily does not mean that it SHOULD be entered into easily.

The Scriptures tell us this regarding vows made to God (and vows of marriage would be included in this):

“2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.”

Ecclesiastes 5:2-5 (KJV)

It is foolish and wrong to hastily enter into any vow and to hastily enter into a vow of marriage is the perhaps the most foolish of all.

Let me mention something else on the “easiness” of entering into the marriage covenant.  In Biblical times not only was the father’s permission required for marriage, but a bride price was required.  For some men this was a half a year’s wages. Men were required to prepare a home for their bride to be able to demonstrate to her father he was ready to take her as his wife.

The idea today of two young people who just randomly decided to get married without the man being able to provide for his wife in one way or another was rare and not the normal practice.

Some might say “Well we are not compelled to live by examples in Biblical times of marriage customs”. That is true if the statement regarding marriage is descriptive, rather than prescriptive.  If a command is given that would impact marriage then this still stands. A father’s ability to override his daughter’s vows while she is in his house still stands.

Also Exodus 21:10-11 and Ephesians 5:29 show that a man is required to provide for the physical needs of his wife.  If a man seeks marriage to a woman but cannot yet provide for her then he must wait to enter into the covenant of marriage with her until he can provide for her.

One last thing on the subject of “concise vows”.  Make no mistake, even if the groom simply says  “I take you as my wife” and the bride simply says “I take you as my husband” you are still entering into a covenant of marriage together whether you say the word “covenant” or not.  It is God who defines the parameters of marriage not man.  Even though you are not mentioning any of the duties or purposes of marriage they still apply as much to you as if you had mentioned them in your vows.

Ignorance of God’s laws regarding marriage it is not an excuse for breaking God’s law regarding marriage.

That is yet another reason why couples should not hastily enter into marriage and should consider their vows carefully before making them.

We need to take great care with more verbose wedding vows

If you choose to have more verbose wedding vows that “I take you as my husband” or “I take you as my wife” then great care needs to be taken as you utter these words before God.

Verbose marriage vows should be an affirmation of what the Bible says are the distinct purposes, responsibilities and rights of the husband and wife in the marriage covenant. Nothing should be added or taken away from marriage as the Bible defines it. In fact not only is it sinful to add to or take away from what God has established regarding marriage, but any vow which adds or takes away what he allows or commands regarding marriage is null and void in God’s view. For example, to say “until death do us part” without quantifying that with God’s allowance for divorce in the case of certain sins is by definition taking away from marriage as God has defined it.

Now let just put a word in here on divorce.  I know there many good Bible believing Christians who disagree on God’s allowances for divorce.  If you are truly convinced before God that there is absolutely no allowance under any circumstances for divorce and with this conviction in mind you add “until death do us part” with no caveats then in my view this is not an intentional sin, but a sin of ignorance as I believe the Bible clearly does give allowances for divorce.

But if you see certain allowances for divorce in the Scripture as I demonstrate in my articles on that subject and then you add “until death do us part” without the Biblical allowances for divorce that is a greater sin in my view.  And this brings us to our next principle regarding the construction of Biblical marriage vows.

And now I want to share another crucially important principle in when it comes to making verbose marriage vows.

If you are going to write verbose marriage vows and you want them to be Biblically based you must account for sin in marriage just as God accounts for sin in marriage in the Bible.

If you are a woman – you must come to the realization that the man you so passionately love now is the same man you will sin against in the future.  There are going to be days when you do not submit to him as the Church submits to Christ. There are going to be days that you do not reverence him as you should and there will be days when you are contentious and angry with him.

If you are a man, you may not always have the passionate feelings of love that you do now toward your wife to be.  There are going to be days when you do not love her as Christ loves his Church. There may come a day when in a moment of cowardice you do not protect her from others or even protect her from herself.  There may come a day when you dishonor her and do not dwell with her according to knowledge as the Bible commands.

Please don’t fall for the lie that your heart tries to tell you that you will never fall short of your God given duties in marriage toward your spouse.  Because in one way or another you will.  The Bible tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).  Your vows need to take into account the very real possibility of sin on your part as well that of your future spouse.

This is why in the example vows I will give I mention the sin nature and the inability for us to perfectly love our spouse as God would have us to.  This why we need to avoid terms like “always” and “never” in our wedding vows but instead we can use words like “try” or “endeavor” as we submit ourselves to the Lord on the daily basis.

Another important point to make is if you are going to have verbose marriage vows you need to reference the Biblical teaching that marriage is to be a model of the relationship of Christ to his Church.  This is a foundational principle for Christian marriage.

Critical components of this model include the duties of men to be a head and the leader of their wives as Christ leads his Church. Not only should references be made to Christ loving his Church and giving himself for her, but also the reason he gave himself for her to wash her spots and wrinkles and present her to himself a glorious church.

It is a husband’s sacred duty to wash his wife with the Word of God as Christ washes his Church with it and that involved him teaching her the Word and correcting her with the Word.

But we must not forget that husbands are to show grace and mercy to their wives as Christ shows grace and mercy to his church.

The duties of a husband to love his wife as his own body and thus protect and provide for his wife as Christ does his Church should be referenced as well.

In regard to the wife – even though it is extremely politically incorrect to do so – a great emphasis needs to be placed on her submission to him as her head and her reverence for her husband. The Scriptures teach this time and time again toward women and any Christian marriage vows that omit the requirements of submission, obedience and reverence of wives toward their husbands while speaking to the duties of a husband to love his wife as Christ loves the Church are telling half truths about Biblical marriage.

If you will not speak to the duty of the wife to submit to her husband in marriage your vows, then you cannot speak to the husbands love for his wife as Christ loves the Church either.  These are two sides of the same coin.

And again as I said before regarding concise marriage vows even if you don’t mention it in your marriage vows – these things are all required by God in marriage.   And with that being said below are is summary of everything we have discussed up to this point in regard to making Biblically based marriage vows.

7 Principles for Making Biblical Marriage Vows

  1. While all vows are not covenants, all covenants are vows. Marriage is based upon a vow or set of vows which together forms the covenant of marriage.
  2. The marriage covenant, like all other vows, should not be easily entered into it. It should only be done with contemplation and consideration before God.
  3. The Bible does not command that verbose marriage vows be made, nor does it require clergy to officiate, church authority or state authority in the form of marriage licenses. The only authority that may be required for a man and woman to enter the covenant of marriage together is that of the father of the bride if she is still young and living in her father’s house.  However, even if only concise vows are made this does not free the couple from all the responsibilities, rights and purposes of marriage.
  4. If a couple chooses to make verbose vows, then these vows should only affirm the teachings of the Bible regarding the purposes and distinct duties of husbands and wives toward one another in marriage. Christian marriage vows cease to Biblical and binding when they add or take away from the rights, responsibilities and purposes of marriage as defined in the Bible.
  5. When making verbose marriage vows, the sin nature of both the groom and bride should be taken into account in the vows. That means words like “always” and “never” should be avoided.  Instead words like “endeavor” or “try” should use when referencing the couple’s commitment to perform the duties of marriage toward one another.
  6. When making verbose vows, if you are going to add a phrase like “until death do us part” then great care needs to go into this. Unless you truly deny the Biblical allowances for divorce both in the Old and New Testament you need to add this to any statement about remaining together until death.
  7. When making verbose vows you should reference marriage being a model of the relationship of Christ and his Church. It is critical to mention not only Christ loving his Church and giving himself for her but also the submission of wives to the headship of their husbands as the Church is subject to Christ.

Examples of Biblical Marriage vows

Below are three examples I put together based on the principles we have discussed.  The first example of concise vows we already mentioned but I will put it here again for reference.

Example Vows #1 – Concise Biblical Marriage Vows

Groom

I take you as my wife.

Bride

I take you as my husband.

Example Vows #2 – Moderately Verbose Biblical Marriage Vows

Below is what I would call a “moderately” verbose set of marriage vows that build on the principles we have discussed.   Each set of vows below (one for the groom and one for the bride) are just under 200 words. Not too long, but definitely more expressive than the concise vows I showed in the first example.

Groom

I, [insert groom’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert bride’s name] and by this covenant I take you as my wife.

I will endeavor to love you as Christ also loves his Church by leading you, giving myself up to wash you with the Word of God as well as showing grace and mercy towards you.

I will endeavor to love you as I love my own body by providing for you and protecting you and I will give my body to you in the marriage bed.

I will endeavor to dwell with you according to knowledge and honor you as my wife.

If you do not break our covenant of marriage I will remain by your side until death takes me.

On this day, I leave my father and my mother and cleave to you as my wife and we will no longer be two, but one flesh.

Bride

I, [insert bride’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert groom’s name] and by this covenant give myself to you as your wife.

I will endeavor to reverence you as my head as Christ is the head of his Church.

I will endeavor to submit to you and obey you and as the Church is subject to Christ so too I will endeavor to make myself subject to you in everything.

I will endeavor to look well to the needs of our house and be the help meet and homemaker you need and that God has called me to be.

I will endeavor to love you and ravish you with my body in the marriage bed.

If you do not break our covenant of marriage I will remain by your side until death takes me.

Today I leave behind my own people and my father’s house and will become one flesh with you as my husband.

Example Vows #3 – Very Verbose Biblical Marriage vows

Below is a very verbose example of vows I have written.  Again this is just an example and you could add or take away as you see fit as long as you are following the 7 principles we discussed.  Also in this example set of vows I have included Scripture references next to most of the statements so you can further study those passages to see the principles of marriage that I am referencing.

Each of these sets of vows (one for the groom and one for the bride) are about a one page if you print them out.  I have seen couples use one page vows they have written so I don’t think these are two long if you want to have more verbose vows.

Groom

I, [insert groom’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert bride’s name] and by this covenant I take you as my wife. (Ezekiel 16:8)

Even though at this moment it is my heart’s desire to perfectly love you as your husband I know that because I am a sinner, like my forefathers before me, I cannot make such a pledge because God forbids me from making vows that I cannot keep. (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5)

I can only pledge to endeavor, to try as I surrender myself daily to God’s will for my life and as I lean on him for his grace and power to love you in my own imperfect way. (Romans 7:18-25)

I will endeavor to love you as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (Ephesians 5:25)

I will endeavor to present you to Christ and myself as a glorious wife, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but to help you to be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:26)

I will endeavor to be gracious, compassionate and merciful toward you as God is gracious, compassionate and merciful toward his people. (Psalm 86:15)

I will endeavor to teach you the Word of God in our home and to be the spiritual interpreter of the Word to you that God calls me to be. (1 Corinthians 14:35)

In my endeavors to wash your spiritual spots, blemishes and wrinkles I will endeavor to rebuke and chasten you from a place of love for you. (Revelation 3:19)

I will endeavor to love you as I love my own body by providing for your physical needs and protecting you as I would my own body. (Ephesians 5:29)

I will endeavor to provide my body to you as a kindness that is due toward you.  (I Corinthians 7:3)

I will endeavor to dwell with you according to knowledge, giving honor unto you as my wife and remembering that you and I are joint heirs of the grace of life. (I Peter 3:7)

As I end my vows of marriage to you I must acknowledge the possibility that in the same way I may sin against you in the future, you too may sin against me as well.

And while it is true that love covers a multitude of sins there are some sins a wife can commit which can break her marriage covenant with her husband. (1 Peter 4:8, Isaiah 50:1, Ezekiel 16:59, Jeremiah 3:8, Revelation 2 & 3)

It is for this reason that I must give to you a solemn warning like God gave to both Israel and his Churches regarding his covenant of marriage to them.

I swear before God to remain in this covenant of marriage with you for the remainder my life as long as you remain faithful to me. If you break this covenant by committing any type of fornication including defrauding me of your body or giving yourself to another or if you abandon me or seek to bring physical harm or death to me I reserve my right before God to end this covenant. (Matthew 19:9, I Corinthians 7:15, Exodus 21:26-27)

But I am hopeful of better things for us and I believe that in you I have found a good thing and also favor with God.  I look forward to rejoicing with you and living joyfully with you for the remainder of our days together as the Lord wills. (Proverbs 5:18, Proverbs 18:22)

On this day, I leave my father and my mother and cleave to you as my wife and we will no longer be two, but one flesh. (Mark 10:7-8)

Bride

I, [insert bride’s name], swear before God to enter into a covenant of marriage with you, [insert groom’s name] and by this covenant give myself to you as your wife. (Ezekiel 16:8)

Even though at this moment it is my heart’s desire to perfectly submit to you and love you as your wife I know that because I am a sinner, like the women who came before me, I cannot make such a pledge because God forbids me from making vows that I cannot keep. (Ecclesiastes 5:2-5)

I can only pledge to endeavor, to try as I surrender myself daily to God’s will for my life and as I lean on him for his grace and power to submit to you and love you in my own imperfect way. (Romans 7:18-25)

I will endeavor to remember in my thoughts, words and actions that God made me for you and not you for me. (I Corinthians 11:9)

I will endeavor to remember that I am not my own, but that I belong to you as the Church belongs to Christ. (Acts 20:28)

I will endeavor to remember that I am not your equal any more than the Church is Christ’s equal but rather I will reverence you as my head in the same way the Church is to reverence Christ as its head. (Ephesians 5:23 & 33)

I will endeavor to submit to you as I do unto the Lord and make myself subject to you in everything as the Church is subject to Christ. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

I will endeavor to obey you as Sara obeyed Abraham calling him Lord. (I Peter 3:6)

I will endeavor to meet your desire for me to make myself beautiful as God desires the beauty of his people not only through my outward appearance but also by having a gentle and quiet spirit. (Psalm 45:11, I Peter 3:3-4)

I will endeavor to satisfy you with my body and ravish you with my love. (Proverbs 5:19, Titus 2:4)

I will endeavor to be the homemaker God has called me to be and look well to the ways of our household. (Proverbs 31:27, Titus 2:5, 1 Timothy 5:14)

I will endeavor to submit to and seek out your guidance as my spiritual head in all matters of life and living including marriage and family issues. (1 Corinthians 14:35)

I will endeavor to share my advice with you not in a contentious or angry way, but rather with discretion, kindness and reverence. (Proverbs 9:13, Proverbs 11:22, Proverbs 21:19, Proverbs 31:26, I Peter 3:1-2)

I will endeavor to not shame you either with my words or actions but rather I will endeavor to be your crown and glory. (Proverbs 12:4)

As I end my vows of marriage to you I must acknowledge the possibility that in the same way I may sin against you in the future, you too may sin against me as well.

And while it is true that love covers a multitude of sins there are some sins a husband can commit which can break his marriage covenant with his wife.

It is with these sins in mind that I swear before God to remain in this covenant of marriage with you for the remainder of my life as long as you do not break the covenant of marriage you make with me today.  As a wife I reserve the right given me by God to consider myself freed from our marriage covenant if you defraud me by willfully refusing to provide me with food, clothing and your body in the marriage bed or if you seek to bring physical harm or death to me.  Also, if you abandon me either by divorcing me or by some other means I will no longer consider myself bound to this marriage covenant I make today with you.  (Exodus 21:10-11 & 26-27, Deuteronomy 24:1-2, Romans 7:2-3, I Corinthians 7:15)

But I am hopeful of better things for us and I look forward to rejoicing with you and living joyfully with you for the remainder of our days together as the Lord wills. (Proverbs 5:18, Proverbs 18:22)

Today I leave behind my own people and my father’s house and will become one flesh with you as my husband. (Psalm 45:10, Mark 10:7-8)

I was never attracted to my husband does God want me to fake it?

I received a letter today from a woman who married a man she was never attracted to when both he and she were not believers. She said she married him for wrong reasons.   Now she has become a believer and he is still an unbeliever.

She has embraced the Bible’s teachings on the submission of wives to their husbands and wants to serve her husband and see him come to Christ if it is God’s will. But she greatly struggles with her lack of physical attraction to him. In fact she is so un-attracted to him that it makes having sex with him very difficult.

When she was an unbeliever she did not try to meet his sexual needs but now she has changed her behavior and given herself freely to her husband – a man she has absolutely no physical attraction to. She does her best to fake it, sometimes even holding back tears.

He has no idea that she has absolutely no physical attraction to him. In fact he is excited by her renewed interest in having sex with him and is very excited about how their relationship has changed and asking if it was good for her and what he can do better.

But if there is no physical attraction what can she do? Should she continue to fake it as she has been? Should she hide her lack of physical attraction to her husband? Is she being disingenuous to him and herself by carrying on like this? Should she tell him the truth that she has never been attracted to him and she just fakes enjoyment when having sex with him?

She also made it clear she knows God wants her to stay with him for life and she has no intention of leaving him as she once did when she was an unbeliever. But what should she do? This was her question to me. We will just call her “Amanda” even though that is not her real name.

This was the email I sent back to Amanda

Amanda – let me say first and foremost that I am so happy you came to Christ and accepted him as your savior.

I am also so happy that you accepted God’s will and plan for your life that marriage is for life and that God means for you to honor, obey and unconditionally love your husband despite your lack of attraction to him.

Now I will answer your questions with a story.

There was a young man from Kentucky who heard from a missionary to Japan speaking in his church one Sunday.  The missionary spoke of the need for Christian missionaries in the country of Japan. The young country boy immediately felt the calling of God on his life to be a missionary to Japan.  He graduated high school went to Bible college and learned the skills he needed to be a missionary. He learned the language. But one thing that he was always scared of was the food!

He was a fried chicken and steak man.  Japan is seafood country and he hated seafood with a passion! The smell of it disgusted him.  The texture of it disgusted him.  The taste of it disgusted him. He told himself that God would work it out – after all they still have hamburgers in Japan right?

Well the years went by and that man married a wonderful woman and had his first child and was on his way to Japan as a missionary. Once he was there in Japan the first thing he looked for were restaurants that would sell beef and chicken!   He was so happy to find them.  But as he began his ministry to the people of Japan he found himself constantly being offered various seafood dishes by people who came to his ministries and he would politely turn him down.  A fellow missionary took him aside and told him that his constant turning down of the Japanese food was hindering his ministry and was offensive to many people.

He prayed and ask God to help him to do two things.

“Lord the first thing I am asking you for is to help me cultivate a desire for seafood even though I am disgusted by it so that I can serve your people here in Japan better.   The second thing I am asking for is for you to help me fake that I like it until I actually do.”

Amanda – this applies to you.  The most important mission God has given you is serving your husband.  You may actually be able to help bring him to Christ by continuing to submit to him as you have been doing.  You need to pray that same prayer that missionary to Japan did.  Your lack of attraction and your repulsion to your husband is hindering your ministry to him.  I would suggest you pray this prayer and pray it often:

“Lord the first thing I am asking you for is to help me cultivate a desire and attraction to my husband even though I have no attraction to him so that I can serve this man you have given me to serve and perhaps he will come to you because of my respectful behavior toward him.   The second thing I am asking for is for you to help me fake that I like it until I actually do.”

Amanda – I believe these two passages of Scripture speak to what you need to do with your husband:

“1 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.

3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

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.

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 3:1-6 (KJV)

“And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him…

For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” – I Corinthians 7:13 & 16 (KJV)

Conclusion

I believe many Christian men and women can learn from Amanda’s story and her courage to do what is right despite their feelings.  Some may have married a spouse who they were never attracted to.  Maybe they were attracted at one point and lost their physical attraction over many years.

But I think that we need to do our best to cultivate an attraction toward our spouse – the person we have made a life long commitment to before God. We need to ask God for help in this area.  Maybe we will never be fully attracted to them but God can help us fake it when we need to.

As I have said many times on this site “faking it” whether it be in things our spouses likes to do, attraction to our spouse or even in the bedroom is all part of being an adult. It is part of what it means to be a Christian.  We need to put a smile on and do what God has called us to do even when we don’t feel like it.

Now does this let spouses off the hook who totally let themselves go and don’t have good hygiene? No.  We have an obligation to keep ourselves as clean an attractive as we reasonably can for our spouses.  There are times where we may need to delicately speak about things like excessive weight gain and lack of basic hygiene. But I don’t think God wants us to just tell our spouse there is no physical attraction and there never will be.  There is no way that this would build a relationship and make it better.

If a Kentucky man who loves chicken and hamburgers can learn to enjoy eating octopus in Japan a woman can over time learn to enjoy sex with her husband to whom she currently has no physical attraction.

 

 

Why doesn’t my husband love me anymore?

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

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

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

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

The four types of Biblical love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But these conditions no longer exist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He only touches me when he wants sex!

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

For most men the equation goes like this:

Physical affection = Time to have sex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Respect your husband

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

If you have body acceptance issues – deal with them

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

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

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

How you dress matters

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

How you undress matters

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

How you give your husband your body matters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

The undated wife

Recently I received an anonymous comment from a Christian wife. For the sake of this post we will just refer to her as “the undated wife”.

The undated wife writes:

“I have read many of the posts on your site and I agree with some things you say. I agree that women should not deny sex to their husbands and I do not deny sex to my husband, although there are many times I don’t feel like having sex with him.

But I think you miss the fact that women have an equal right to be dated by their husbands. Why do men think that dating is just before marriage? Why do men stop dating their wives after they get married?

Let me give you a little bit of background to my situation. I married my husband about 8 years ago, we were both divorced. I had no children from my previous marriage (I am unable to have children). He had three kids from a previous marriage that he has joint custody of. Now they are all teenagers. I love his kids and they love me.

I am a stay at home wife.

My husband says he loves me. He is a good provider. He is a good father to our children. But he works all the time. Even when he comes home from the office, he takes his laptop out many times and continues to read and answer emails all evening long. The only time he seems to carve out anytime is when his kids come to our house. Then he spends time with them. In fact sometimes I feel like the minute his kids arrive I am not even there.

There are times when he realizes he has not been paying enough attention to me and purposefully does not take out his laptop. We just sit and talk or watch some TV together. But I have told him I feel he needs to make more of an effort to date me. He needs to take me out to dinner more, he needs to take me to the movies. He should be taking me on weekend getaways several times a year like he did many years ago. He has turned into a “homebody” – he is fine with just being home with me and the kids.

I said he is a good provider and good father. I don’t feel he is a good husband to me. I always feel like his kids and his job come first, and I am always last on his “to do list”. Sure when I say something to him about feeling neglected – he will try for a while to talk with me more, and he might even take me out once in a great while. But I want more! Don’t I deserve to be his number priority? Why do I always have to feel like I am second to his job or the kids?

I got him to go to counseling with our Pastor whom he respects. Our pastor told him he needed to date me, he needed to take me out once a week. He need to take me on a weekend getaway at least twice a year. My husband MAYBE might take me out once a month on date. He has not taken me on a weekend getaway in a year and half. He says we don’t have enough money for trips right now and I just have to be patient (we had to cancel our family vacation this summer because of finances). He tells me things will get better financially in a couple years after we pay off the debt. A couple years!!!!! If something is important to you – you make it happen. But again I am not as important to him as his job or his kids. God says a wife is to be her husband’s number one priority right? That means I come before everything – his kids, his job.

I read your post on how a man is to know his wife – I almost cried when I read it because I want that from my husband. I want to feel like his number one priority.

I just feel like all I am here for is to do his and his kids laundry, cook for them and drive them places, and of course have sex with him.

I feel more like a maid and a sex slave than his wife!

Can you maybe write a post about husbands loving their wives before everything else? Can you write about how God wants men to date their wives? Isn’t that what loving your wife is? To date her, to make her feel like she is your number one priority?”

Now normally this is the part where I start offering what I believe to be Biblical advice to this wife.  But I am going to do something different this time.  I have a lot of Christian women that read and comment on my blog and I would like to hear back from you on this.  Of course if you start getting nasty toward me on other positions I take then your comment won’t make it through.  But if you stick to this post, and what this women says in a respectful way your comment just might make it through.

I look forward to the discussion.  I will post my own thoughts on this later.

Is my husband raping me?

“Is my husband raping me?” This is a question that was asked of me recently by a Christian wife.  She sent me her story as an anonymous comment on my article “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood?”. I have made some grammar and spelling fixes to the comment but it remains true to what this Christian wife stated about problems in her marriage.

“My husband and I have been married for 9 years. When I was pregnant with our first child we sat down and had a discussion about sex. I told him while I was pregnant there would be times when I probably would not want to have sex and if he did I understood and I would be willing to fulfill my duty and his desires………well it all went downhill from there.

I understand what the Bible states. I am a Christian however he is not. That being said when sex began to be painful because of pregnancy he did not care. I would receive the comment “It will only take a few minutes, and I’ll be quick.” Whatever, I took it. Did not hold a grudge. Got past it. The problem is, it has never stopped.

My husband has sex with me whether I want it or not, all of the time. It has tainted our marriage and our sex life to the point of disgust. Even when I would cry, he would still have sex with me. I can read a book and he will still have sex with me. I have tried to tell him how this makes me feel, I have begged and pleaded with him, not to do this to our marriage, that I feel like his whore, or his piece of trash, he does not care.

I have told him this is not love, this is not biblical love, I do not feel loved and he does not care. I hate when he touches me. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. I became so deep in depression because of it. I will be so sad and heartbroken after we have sex sometimes and he actually will ask, “What is your problem?”

I even went as far as to get drunk so I could have sex with him. Guess what….he thought that was the best idea ever, so he would make sure I would have enough alcohol in me to have sex. Even when I said I wanted to stop drinking, he would always make sure the fridge is full.

When I would beg to see a counselor, I would get a guilt trip of 100 reasons why I shouldn’t or cannot. Now I am so numb to it all, I put a pillow over my face, and say just get it over with. And still I am trying to be a Godly wife.

So please tell me how this is not sin. How this is not rape, or abuse of some sort. Because in my mind I feel like I am living with my molester every day. Yes he says he is sorry, he does try to get me in the mood. You can definitely tell when he want wants it, it is the only time he comes up behind me and holds me, and the nonstop sexual comments like “Why don’t you come sit on my lap?” Gross. And If I don’t have sex with him the sighing and whining is sooo overwhelming. It becomes a punishment.

When I’m upset after we have had sex, I get “You told me to do it, I don’t know why you are so upset”. I can go on and on. So as a Christian women do I just keep taking it and keep the smile on my face pretending everything is ok when it is killing me inside? And just a side note, I am not a feminist, I am very biblical when it comes to God’s way, and not being in this world but of this world. So I do get what you are saying about not denying your husband of sex.

But what do you do when it has turned into what yes I would call rape?”

My response to this wife and other Christian wives who face similar situations

I am going to take what I see in her story, and try and break it up into various questions that are raised both by her husband’s behavior as well as hers.

Question 1 – Was the husband wrong for having sex with his wife while she was pregnant and in pain?

It depends. Had he just had sex with her in the last few days? Then perhaps he should have put her need to not experience more pain and discomfort ahead of his need for sex. But if she had been in pain for weeks or a month and he finally came to her and said “Babe I need this, I promise I will make it quick” – then she should have put his need for sex above her need to not experience additional discomfort.

Sometimes though a woman cannot have vaginal intercourse for medical reasons beyond just discomfort. For instance most doctors advice women not to have vaginal intercourse for 6 to 8 weeks after giving birth. If a man were to try and have vaginal sex with his wife during this period it would be highly painful for her and it might cause complications with her healing process. But that does not mean a woman cannot meet her husband’s sexual needs in other ways during this time. God has given her the ability to manually or orally satisfy her husband in order to meet his sexual needs. Christian wives ought to do this for their husband’s during this post birth period, and for that matter any other period when they may not be able to physically have sexual intercourse with their husbands.

Question 2 – Was the husband wrong for having sex with his wife even when he knew she did not want to?

As I have said before, I have never advocated for a Christian husband to force himself upon his wife. But contrary to what feminists and other marital rape accusers say – there is difference between a husband convincing his wife to let him have sex with her and him physically forcing himself upon her.

Rather than hash this out again here – I have answered this entire issue from a Biblical perspective in the my article “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood”. But the short answer is no he is not being selfish for having sex with his wife simply because she is not in the mood. The Bible is clear that for the purposes of sex “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 7:4.

Question 3 – Was her husband treating her like a whore?

“He treats me like a whore”, “He treats me like a prostitute” and “He only wants me for sex”. These are three common statements that we hear from wives (Christian and otherwise) about their husbands frequently online and elsewhere. What wives who make these statements are actually saying is “He does not romance me anymore, he does not talk to me enough and spend time with me outside the bedroom enough”. When wives express these sentiments it comes from a place of them feeling like their husbands have not earned the right to have sex with them. Only when their husband makes them feel the way he once did, then and only then will they be able to have sex with him without feeling like “a whore”, “a prostitute” or “just plain used”.

A husband should know his wife, and part of knowing one’s wife is talking to one’s wife. I wrote an entire post on this subject entitled “10 ways to know your wife”. So if this woman’s husband was failing to talk to his wife(outside of when he wanted sex), but rather on a daily basis – getting to know what was going on in her life a daily basis – then he was in the wrong. Also as part “knowing one’s wife” he would know if he listened to her that she needs to be touched on a regular basis, and not only in a sexual manner when he wants sex.

But where this point of “I feel like my husband’s whore” falls woefully short is two wrongs never make a right. Her husband doing the right thing – talking to her on a daily basis and knowing her better is NOT a prerequisite to sex in marriage. She seems to have been very grudgingly yielding to her husband, and while a Christian husband can accept grudgingly yielded sex – it does not make it right on the part of the wife to have such a horrible attitude.

The two greatest lies Satan tells women regarding sex and marriage

The Scriptures state:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12

We are in a battle with Satan – who uses our sin nature to try and deceive us each and every day. The devil wants to destroy marriage because marriage represents the relationship between God and his people. He wants to make a mockery of it.

The first lie Satan tells to unmarried women:

“If he makes you feel loved, then by all means give your body to him, enjoy great sex based on your passion for one another. You don’t need to be married, follow you feelings wherever they lead you. The minute he stops making you feel loved, dump him and move on to another new romance. This does not make you a whore. Whores have sex with men just to have sex, you are having sex based on your feelings of love and that is noble and right. But remember my golden rule – don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing. ”

The second lie Satan tells to married women:

“Remember what I told you when you were single. That applies when you are married too. If he makes you feel loved and is passionate and romantic and you feel like having sex with him, then by all means have sex. But if he does not make you feel loved, or if the passion fades stop having sex with him and make it clear he has to make you feel loved and romanced like he did when you first together.  If a long time goes by and the feelings of love don’t come back, dump him (divorce him) and move on to the next guy. Even if your husband does make you feel loved, you never should have sex with him if you don’t feel like it, never forget my golden rule – don’t do anything you don’t feel like doing.

Remember you were wondering if you were being a whore by sleeping with men when you were single? Well you know what a real whore is? It is a wife who has sex with her husband when she does not feel like it, and especially when she does not feel loved or romanced.”

These two lies of Satan play out in almost every TV show and drama movie that we see today. I pray to God that the Christian women of this world will repent of believing these lies of Satan. A woman who has sex with her husband, even when she does not feel like it, even when her husband is not doing everything he should, is doing EXACTLY what God wants her to do. She is living according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh.

Was her husband wrong for getting her drunk for sex?

This is an easy answer – yes he was wrong. It is never right to encourage drunkenness in someone as that is sinful. Does this wrong rise to the level of allowing for divorce? No. In this case she needed to exercise restraint and not engage in getting drunk.

Is her husband raping her or abusing her by having sex with her when she is not in the mood?

Aside from his physically harming her by forcing himself upon her no he is NOT abusing his wife from a Biblical perspective. Even if he did physically force himself upon her – it is IMPOSSIBLE Biblically speaking for a man to rape his wife. Abuse? Yes. Rape? No.  For a larger discussion of the Biblical impossibility of marital rape I refer you again to my post “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood”.

If he convinces her to yield her body to him, then no sin has been committed on his part. But it is very possible that even if she yields to him – there is still sin on her part. If she acts disgusted by him and acts like he has no right to have sex with her – then the sin lies squarely in her court. She needs to eliminate the terms “rape” and “molester” from her vocabulary regarding her husband’s sexual advances toward her.

Should her husband go to counseling with her?

Yes I believe he should, but they should see a Christian marriage counselor that will exhort her to do what she should as Christian wife and perhaps they can lead her husband to Christ in the process. This is her best bet to having her husband change some of his selfish ways. But she will not be able to even have a chance of convincing him to go to counseling until she does what God commands wives to do toward their unbelieving husbands.

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

Perhaps if Christian wives in the situation described in this story would go to God and ask him to remove all bitterness in their hearts, submit themselves spiritually, mentally and sexually to their husband’s with a right heart they may have a chance of bringing their husband’s to Christ and as a result of that God can do wonderful things with their marriage.

Conclusion

I have shown here that Biblically speaking this woman’s husband was not raping her. Did he sin in other ways? Yes. Is it possible for a husband to abuse his wife? Yes. Is it possible for him to rape and molest his wife? From a Biblical perspective the answer is NO. Christian wives must eliminate the terms “rape” and “molester” from their vocabulary were it references their relationship with their husband.

Stories of Sexual Denial in Marriage – Episode 2

Our next story of sexual denial is from a man named Mike.   He sent me this comment in response to a follow up post I did called “The Frustrated Feminist wife”. As you will see from his post, he disagreed with what I wrote.

Before Mike begins his story he makes a comment about my posts about sexual refusal:

“There is no need to tell your wife “it is written in the Bible, you owe me”. If you are reduced to referring to Holy texts, your couple is in great communication trouble. I am married under God’s law and I will never consider that my wife owes me sex whenever I feel like it. Like many couples, we faced some challenges on the matter. Let me share two of them…”

A Christian husband should routinely be teaching his wife the Word of God. Why did Christ give himself up for his Church? To make her holy and blameless (Ephesians 5:25-27). He did this to conform her to his will and his Word.

Mike admits he was “married under God’s law” yet he says he would “never consider that my wife owes me sex whenever I feel like it”. But the same “God’s law” that calls marriage good and honorable, states this:

“The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5 (NASB)

The Bible says you owe your wife sex, and your wife owes you sex. God calls sex “a duty” in marriage, as opposed to a “privilege” which is how many modern marriage counselors falsely refer to it. I realize that Mike’s motives may have been pure, in thinking that it would be selfish for him to consider that his wife actually owed sex to him as a marital duty. But God defines what selfishness is, we don’t. It is not selfish for us to desire something that God designed us to desire, or to ask our spouse (husband or wife) to fulfill their marital duty.

I agree that couples need to communicate, and I have written on how the Scriptures say a husband has a Biblical duty to “know his wife”, and part of knowing his wife is him having regular and open dialog with her. But open dialog does not solve all issues. If a husband or wife has in their heart, an attitude or belief that directly contradicts God’s design and will for the roles of a husband and wife in marriage, all the dialog in the world will not solve such a problem.

Mike now begins the story of him and his wife:

“Three years ago, she had experienced lot of stress (deaths of relatives, job difficulties, etc.) which made her so tired and so sad that I could not even touch her. I was getting very frustrated. So I told her. I did NOT demand. I just explained that this situation was not ok for me, that I loved her and consequently I desired her. And that she could not expect me to say nothing after a whole month of frustration. So we talked about it. No bargain, no manipulation, no coercion. We just talked and we were equals in this discussion, both our needs were equals. She told me that she understood my feelings, that she wished she could do something about it, but that her body and her mind were dealing with pain and sorrow, so she could not give me what I wanted. So we discussed about what WE could do to make her feel better. What worked was not to offer her things and please her. What worked was to accept she was not me, to listen and to assist her in this difficult period of time. Eventually, she recovered from this. It took 3 months during which we had sex 2 or 3 times. Very very frustrating for me. But we came out of this stronger: I proved that I was far stronger than my flesh and that I valued her more than my personal needs. And she valued my efforts very deeply, she told me that she was thankful for what I did for her and that she felt even more in love with me (all this with big hearts in her eyes… I just melt!)”

First and foremost let me say that I understand when a wife loses loved ones, or perhaps has job difficulties that these things could cause her great emotional pain to the point that she may have ZERO desire for sex. As I have stated on many occasions in this series, if a man sees that his wife is experiencing psychological issues due to temporary things (like the loss of loved ones, or job issues) he ought to be graceful towards her. Her emotional hurt and needs may temporarily outweigh his need to sexually connect with his wife.

This might last for a month, or several months, and I think Mike was right in bringing his frustrations to his wife but I would not have suggested in this situation that he use the disciplinary steps that I outlined in my previous post, at least not at this early juncture.

But what about if his story had been different. What if his wife continued to use the emotional stresses in her life to deny sex to him not for months? But for years? For decades? What if after the death of some relatives his wife decided he and she were only going to have a sex 5 times a year? I have received several emails from men who have experienced such things.

If his wife had continued having emotional problems to the point that it continued to be a detriment to his sex life, then it would have been right for him to seek counseling for her. If his wife refused counseling, or said she felt he did not need to have sex as much anymore then it would not just be his right, but his Biblical duty to confront her sinful attitude.

Now I want to zoom in on a particular statement he said that really caught my eye and I think it will be very helpful for the many Christian men and women who visit this site to see why this statement is wrong:

“But we came out of this stronger: I proved that I was far stronger than my flesh and that I valued her more than my personal needs.”

Even though he said that he and his wife regarded their needs as “equal”, in the end he came to believe their needs were unequal. His wife caused him to believe that his need to sexually connect with her was a fleshly desire, and her inhibitions towards sex were more noble and worthy of respect.

In fact I believe based on the rest of his story as we will see below, that his marriage actually became weaker after this crisis his wife faced. Why? Because he setup the pattern that it is was OK for her to deny him. Mike fell hook line and sinker for what our world teaches today – that sex is NOT about duty (contrary to God’s law) and that sex is all about feelings. “If you feel like doing it, then do it, if you don’t feel like it then you don’t have to”.   This is not God’s will or design for marriage or for sex.

Mike dives deeper into his wife’s thought process

“From a general perspective, my wife is not very fond of intercourse. She is completely fine with 3 or 4 times a month, I am completely NOT fine with this. 3 or 4 times a week, yes. A month, no. Don’t misunderstand me (or her): she likes it. But, as she explained to me, if she were the only one to start the game, she would come to me only 3 or 4 times a month. At the beginning of our marriage, I would get angry, even sometimes yell at her. She would get mad, and reply: “Am I supposed to force myself? Am I supposed to pretend? Because I can, but then, each time we will make love, you will never know if it was a true shared love or a fake love to contempt your own selfishness”

So here Mike reveals some deeper issues in his wife’s thinking. I don’t know what Mike’s “getting angry” looked like and perhaps he sinned and needed to confess his behavior to his wife. But as believers, we can get angry at sin, even the sinful behavior of our spouse, and it is not wrong for us to do so. Ephesians 4:26 says “Be ye angry, and sin not”.

The answer to his wife’s questions about “Am I supposed to force myself?” is YES Biblically speaking, she should have forced herself. God tells women to submit to their husbands in EVERYTHING. He tells both men and women they do not have the power or right to sexually deny their spouse.

There are many times we don’t “feel” like doing things.

As parents we may not feel like getting up in the middle of the night to take care of a sick child, but we must “force ourselves” to do so.

As employees, we may not want to go to work some days, but each day we must “force ourselves” to go to work.

While we are at work, our boss may ask us to do jobs that we do not like, but unless that job is morally wrong, we must “force ourselves” to do whatever our boss asks us to do.

In school, we may have classes we like, and classes we hate. But we must “force ourselves” to do the work for even the classes we hate.

Here Mike’s wife was mentally training her husband to see his sexual needs as “selfishness”, while her refusal to submit herself sexually to him was out of a noble desire for them to only have sex when it was a “true shared love”.  According to God’s Word “The wife does not have authority over her own body” and therefore it was his wife actions of sexual denial toward her husband that were truly selfish, not his being upset when she turned him down.

Mike’s wife convinces him that she is not the one in sin

“As we both consider that sex is a way to be one flesh [“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh”. (Genesis 2:21-24)], I hated the idea that we could not be together in this. Even worst: I hated the idea that she could pretend to have great time with me when she was not. So I refused this option. But I was very very angry and frustrated: I wanted her to be like me, to want sex as much as I did. I realized she was right about being selfish. She was only telling me the truth, I was resenting her for this.”

Yes sex is a beautiful way to become “one flesh”, and in its most literal sense when the Bible says “they become one flesh” it means “they shall have sex”. This is why God commands that sex is to be a regular part of marriage, and never denied – because it the symbol of the union of a man and woman, very much in the same way that communion is symbol of our union with Christ and the Church.

This raises another important issue. What Mike points out here is what every man wants from his wife. He wanted her to desire him and to want sex as much as he did. But the truth is that women are very different than men. Some women may want sex as much or more than their husbands, but most women want sex less often like Mike’s wife.

As men we must accept that our wife may not always want sex as much as us, and that needs to be OK.

But here is a truth that every Christian wife needs to hear and take to heart:

You as a wife are capable of taking the right action, with the right attitude, even if you don’t have the same desire. You are capable of having sex with your husband, and not showing him “contempt” while meeting his sexual needs – you have only to choose to do what is right.

Mikes wife goes in for the kill

“She realized that she could not shut me out like this, that I was right to be frustrated. So we talked. A lot. We discussed about what was really important for each one of us, what would be fine, what would be great, what would be not acceptable, etc. I asked her to never force herself, so that it would always be true love between us. Though, I asked her what she would be willing to do to lower my frustration. She asked me to accept she did not want as much as me and not get mad about this. Though, she asked me if I would be willing to keep asking her, even if “no” was a probable answer (getting a “no” is hard! So keep asking? Harsh! ) We tried several “recipe” and finally found out a suitable compromise for both of us. The key? Always let room for a “no”. Always let our beloved one feel secure. And never blame her (him) for being honest. This is, from my humble point of view, what a genuine marriage relation should be.”

This conversion Mike had with wife shows her final transformation of his thinking. He states his wife knew it was wrong for her to shut him out and he was right to be frustrated. But by the end of their conversation she had convinced him that he was wrong for being frustrated by her “no’s”.

Mike’s wife might be unselfish in many ways. Perhaps she gives her time to her church to help feed the poor, or maybe she does other charitable work. She might be the most giving and caring mom. Maybe she does a great job of caring for the needs of Mike’s home and his children. But it is possible for a person to giving in many of areas of their life, and still utterly selfish in their marriage. Mike’s wife seems to be very selfish when it comes to her marriage and her husband’s needs.

Remember, Biblically speaking a person is not selfish for wanting sex when their spouse does not. A person is selfish for denying their spouse sex when they don’t feel like having sex.

So here is what Mike’s wife was really saying:

“I actually do want sex a few times a month. But during those few times when I want sex, I don’t want to have to come to you and ask for it. I want to be pursued. So what I want you to do is ask me for sex every time you want it and eventually you will ask for it on a day when I want it and I will say yes. But all those other times you ask and I don’t want it – I will say no. I want you to be ok with that, and not be frustrated or upset.”

THIS IS UTTER SEXUAL SELFISHNESS!

I wish I could say this is the first time I have heard of this scenario of sexual denial but it is not the first time. I have received many emails from men in a very similar scenario, and I even faced this with my own wife until I was willing to confront her sinful behavior in this area of sexual selfishness on her part. I use to experience this in my second marriage not long after we were married. I then confronted my wife’s sinful attitude about sexual denial and it got better. But it is a continual process as my wife’s thinking is highly steeped in feminist thinking (since her mother and grandmother are feminists).

Mike’s confusion over “The Frustrated feminist wife”

“I don’t understand the title of your article “the frustrated feminist wife”. You are dealing with wives refusing to have sex with their husband. When these wives tell you that there is no way they will force themselves into sex interaction, you call them “frustrated feminist”. I really don’t get it but this is a common place I often read from males (sorry, I really cannot say “husbands” here) that are the ones frustrated. I do agree though with the term “feminist” : feminist are people (and not only women…) that consider that men and women are equal in rights (i insist: “in rights”, not physically, strength, etc.). I am a man, I believe in God and I believe men and women are equal in rights. If you are teaching men that their wives owed them sex and their body because they are married, then I don’t think we understand God’s message the same way.”

Mike did not understand why I entitled my article “The frustrated feminist wife”.   He is thinking of men being frustrated sexually as he was (until his wife trained him that his frustration was selfishness on his part).   What I was showing in “The frustrated feminist wife” was how a feminist who sexually denies her husband (as Mike’s wife does him) can experience her own frustration when her husband stands against her sinful behavior. Her frustration is in the fact that when a man leads his home, and confronts his wife’s sin she may lose the things she cares about. She can’t have her sin without consequences from her husband. This is her frustration.

Mike also demonstrates the typical beliefs of a Christian egalitarian, that marriage is a partnership rather than a patriarchy and that sex is not a duty in marriage. But unfortunately for Mike, the Bible does not support his feelings in this matter. “God’s message” could not be clearer – “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband.”(I Corinthians 7:3)

Conclusion

I believe Christian husbands can learn from Mike’s mistake. Mike allowed his wife to convince him that her sexual denial was not sin – in spite of what God’s Word says. She even convinced him that his sexual frustration was actually based in selfishness on his part and she trained him to pursue her on a regular basis in which she would say no often – so on the few times she wants sex in a month she can say yes.

Christian husband, if you see yourself in this scenario – you have to accept the fact that you have been enabling you wife’s sinful behavior of sexual denial.

An important truth to understand is that this is about a lot more than sex, this is about rebellion on your wife’s part toward God and toward you.

God wants you confront sin in your home, whether it be with your children or with your wife. You cannot be afraid of her threats, or even of divorce. You must do what is right.

If you as a Christian husband see yourself in this post, I suggest that you read my post “8 Steps to confronting your wife’s sexual refusal”. I also suggest that you read my post “10 ways to know if you are sacrificing your faith for your wife”.

If you have a story of sexual denial that you would like to share – feel free to comment on this post or send me an email at biblicalgenderroles@gmail.com and just let me know if I can share part of or all of your story. Your name does not need to be mentioned or we can just make a fake name for you.

Many people in this situation feel alone as they have the Church on one side that seems to ignore this issue entirely, and on the other side they have non-Christians telling them there is no right to sex in marriage and they are being selfish for wanting sex more than their spouse.  When you share your story, you show others that they are not alone.