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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Deuteronomy 29:29 the Bible states the following:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7 Steps to Grooming Your Young Christian Wife

“I have read your site for some time, but this is my first time writing you.  My wife and I have been married a year.  She is 18 and I am 24. Now I am trying to get my wife to follow her role as I begin to assume my role as leader.   I am six years older than her, but that seems to just make it worse.  She keeps saying “You are not my father!”  She was raised in a strict family and I guess she thinks now that she is married, she is free from all authority.   I have recently put both of us on a budget.  I have created a budget and I keep my side, but she keeps overspending on hers. 

I read your article on 7 ways to discipline your wife and you recommend taking away her debit card.  I know I could do this, but in my view, that should be the last option.   I am considering starting spanking her.  I have mentioned it to her, not on the budget, but in general and she is against it.  She thinks spanking is treating her like a child. 

I read your warning about a wife reporting a husband for spanking her and my wife would not do that.  She was taught to resolve family issues inside the family.   She complained to her mom about something in our marriage a few months into our marriage and her mom told her she did not want to hear about it; “You and your husband need to work that out” is what her mom told her. 

My question to you is, do you think I am making a mistake trying to incorporate spanking as a form of discipline in our marriage?  Should I just take away her debit card and give her some limited cash?

We are very early in our marriage and I know this is the time when we will set the pattern for the rest of our marriage and I really would appreciate your guidance in how to do that.”

What you just read was an email I received from a young Christian husband calling himself Robert.

Whether or not he realizes it, what Robert is really asking is “How can I as Christian husband groom my young wife?”

Grooming is Sinful in Humanism but Sacred in the Bible

Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines the verb definition of groom as “to clean and maintain the appearance of (an animal), to make neat or attractive, to get into readiness for a specific objective” and this fits with the traditional understanding of this word.

But humanists see grooming as one person conditioning another person to allow them or someone else to abuse them.  The term is often associated with pedophiles preying on children, sex traffickers conditioning women for prostitution or husbands conditioning their wives to allow them to abuse them.

According to SecularHumanism.org, a core tenant of humanism is the freeing of “the individual from traditional controls by family, church, and state, increasingly empowering each of us to set the terms of his or her own life”.   This is why the concept of one person exerting control over another is heresy to a humanist while conversely consent is sacred. 

And this is why “grooming” is a trigger word for humanists. 

But from a Biblical perspective, grooming when used in the sense of a husband conditioning his wife to be in complete subjection to him and molding her behavior to his preferences is not evil or immoral.  But rather, these actions are righteous, holy and required of husbands by God.

Remember that Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary definition of grooming was “to clean and maintain the appearance of (an animal), to make neat or attractive, to get into readiness for a specific objective” and now let’s compare that definition to what the Bible calls husbands to do toward their wives in Ephesians 5:25-27:

“Husbands, love your wives, even 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, 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.”

Look at the striking parallels between the way God requires husbands to love their wives as Christ loves his church and what grooming actually is.  So, we can rightly say as Christians that the Biblical call for husbands to wash their wives with the Word of God to present their wives to themselves in a glorious fashion is a call for husbands to groom their wives.

And one thing I want to mention for my humanist friends out there that are in major trigger mode right now.  Some of them may be hung up on the word “animal” in the definition of grooming.  If you look at the definition here you will see these examples of grooming “an impeccably groomed woman, was being groomed as a presidential candidate”. So no, this term is not exclusively used of animals.

Important Prerequisites to Grooming Your Young Bride

Now that we have established that it is not wrong, but actually a man’s God given duty to groom his bride as Christ grooms his Church we need to talk about the prerequisites that should be met before a Christian husband attempts this grooming process with his wife.

Prerequisite #1 – You and Your Young Bride Must Both Be Believers

While there are certainly unbiblical and worldly ways to groom a young bride for her husband, the steps given in this guide are based upon the Biblical view of marriage as God designed it.  They will only work for a Christian husband and a Christian wife.  See my article “What is the Gospel” for more on what it means to be a believer in Christ.

Prerequisite #2 – You and Your Wife Need to Be Biblicist Christians

There are two kinds of Christians today.  Humanist Christians and Biblicist Christians.  Humanist Christians only believe the parts the Bible that do not conflict with the morals and values of humanism.  They rationalize this by saying they believe many parts of the Bible are “cultural” and were not meant for all peoples and all times.  Other humanists attempt to play the words of Christ in the Gospels against the words of the Apostle Paul not realizing that these words are equally the Word of God.

But for this grooming guide to work you must be Biblicist Christians. You and your young bride must believe what 2 Timothy 3:16 states that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”.  And you both must believe that God commands you to live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Prerequisite #3 – Your Wife Needs to Be Young

Even if you are both Biblicist Christians, age is a major factor in a man grooming his wife. I have consistently heard from mentoring couples I have spoken with that the grooming of a bride has the most success in women under the age of 25.  After that the chances of success radically fall, even with believing wives.  I was given examples of Christian wives in their 30s and 40s trying to get into these mentoring programs.  At the beginning of the program they really seemed like they wanted to change, but in the vast majority of the cases they exit the programs not long after entering them when they cannot make the changes necessary.

If you and your wife meet these three prerequisites you will have a great chance of success in grooming your young bride.

7 Steps to Groom Your Young Bride

Now that we have discussed the prerequisites to being able to groom your young bride, we can now discuss the steps you as a Christian husband need to take.

Step #1 – Un-learn What Your Culture Has Taught You

“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)

God calls us to un-learn the false teachings of this world that we have been conditioned with our entire lives.  This will require a radical world view change for both you and your wife.  One of the hardest changes to make for many couples is the rejection of the “adult/child” paradigm.  Our modern culture teaches us that there are only two primary social classes, adults and children.  Children have limited rights until they reach adulthood and then they have full autonomy.   The Bible does not recognize the adult/child paradigm but rather it specifies three primary classes of people within society and those are men, women and children.  Under God’s law, the social class of men are the only ones who have full autonomy.  Women are to be under the authority of men in the home, the church and society at large.  And children are to honor and obey their fathers and mothers. 

It is impossible to fully embrace the teachings of the Bible concerning gender roles without a husband and wife first being willing to fully reject the modern teaching of the adult/child paradigm.  When a Christian wife comes to reject the adult/child paradigm, the whole “you are not my father” and “you are treating me like a child” will quickly disappear.

For more on this subject see my article “John Locke’s Invention of the “Adult” Social Class”.

Step #2 – You Must Learn and Embrace Biblical Gender Roles

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

An understanding and full acceptance of the doctrines of the Bible concerning gender roles is a critical first step for you as a husband to begin the grooming process with your wife.   You can find the Scripture references for all these doctrines on my main “Biblical Gender Roles” page.

Step #3 – Seek out a Male Spiritual Mentor

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

Proverbs 27:17 (KJV)

Finding a wise and godly man to mentor you will be crucial to helping you as you seek to groom your young bride.

Step #4 – You must teach your wife Biblical Gender Roles

“And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home…”

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

God calls you to be your wife’s primary spiritual teacher.  Once you have fully absorbed and embraced the teachings of the Bible concerning gender roles, you must then teach each of these doctrines to your wife.  I would suggest you use the order I give on my Biblical gender roles page, as each doctrine builds on the previous one given.  You should also seek advice from your mentor as to how to approach each of these important doctrines with your wife.

Step #5 – Get Your Wife A Female Spiritual Mentor

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

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

The Bible does not just support the concept of female mentorship, but it actually commands it.  You may hear some horror stories from older men whose wives were actually led astray by ungodly advice from their girlfriends at church or elsewhere.  But mentoring by good and godly women who fully embrace and live out Biblical gender roles can have life changing effects on women.  I have heard this from mentoring couples I have spoken with and seen it firsthand with younger Christian couples that I know.

Step #6 Mold Your Wife into the Glorious Wife You Want Her to Be

“Husbands, love your wives, even 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, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

Christ did not give up his life for his wife’s happiness.  He gave up his life to purchase his wife (Acts 20:28) so that he could groom her into the wife he wanted her to be.  And this is what God has called you as a Christian husband to do.  In 1 Corinthians 11:7 the Bible tells us that “…the woman is the glory of the man” and in Proverbs 12:4 we read “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband…”.  In 1 Corinthians 11:9 the Bible says “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”.  These Scriptures teach that God created your wife for you, to bring you glory and when your wife brings you glory this brings God glory.  So, you as a man bring glory to God by your submission and service to him and your wife brings glory to God by her submission and service to you.

What this means practically speaking is that you need to begin to mold your wife to your preferences for her behavior.  You should never feel guilting in desiring your wife’s submission and service to you, but rather you should enjoy this as God enjoys our submission and service to him.

So, what are some practical ways that you can groom your wife into the glorious wife you want her to be?

You can make her modify her clothing style to the styles you prefer.  You can make her learn to cook the foods you enjoy.  You can make her watch the TV shows you like to watch.  And in Proverbs 5:18-19 we read one of the greatest ways a husband is actually commanded to groom his wife:

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”

While husbands are commanded not to deny sexual relations to their wives in Exodus 21:10-11 in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5, the Bible never commands wives to make their husbands satisfy them sexually.  It does however command men to do just that in the passage above.

A Christian wife’s grooming, her God ordained subjection to her husband, is never complete until she has been groomed to be loving, pleasant and completely sexually satisfying to her husband.

Step #7 – Discipline Your Wife

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

Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

The verse above is Christ speaking to his churches after having just rebuked them and threatening to discipline them if they did not repent.  Christ associates his rebuke and chastening with his love for his churches.  In Ephesians 5:25 the Scriptures tell us “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”.  So, if a husband is loving his wife as Christ loves his church, then he will rebuke and discipline his wife.  Otherwise he is not loving her as Christ loves his church.  Discipline from you toward your wife is crucial for the grooming process to work in the life of your wife.

There are many ways to discipline your wife. 

Ten years ago, I would have been against wife spanking as the concept was so foreign to me.  I did not know any Christians who engaged in it.  But since I started this blog back in 2014, I have had the opportunity to interact with many Christian couples who engage in wife spanking which is commonly referred to as Christian domestic discipline or CDD for short. 

I have also had the opportunity to interact with some Christian husband/wife mentor teams who help teach husbands how to spank their wives and also teach the wives how to accept and embrace this kind of physical discipline from their husbands.

Based upon what I have learned and seen over these last few years I can now say the following. 

I used to be against wife spanking, then I was neutral to it as I could see no condemnation of it in the Bible and now over the last couple of years I come to see it as the most effective tool a husband can use in his role as a human instrument of sanctification in the life of his wife.  And this is not a newly invented disciplinary tool of husbands, but rather wife spanking was fairly common throughout history before the last 50 years or so.

Whenever I speak on wife spanking, I must issue the following cautionary note. 

While it is a husband’s God given right to use spanking as a form of discipline on his wife (with or without her consent), a husband should be wise in regard to the hostile culture we live in.  We live in culture which denies almost all the rights that God has given to a husband including his right to discipline his wife.   That means that if you do not have your wife’s consent to spank her and she calls the police on you, you may go to prison for domestic abuse. 

Some of the women who have contacted me over the years were raised in homes where their father spanked their mother and they expected it and even embraced the concept as they entered into their marriages.  Others learned of the benefits of CDD for their marriage from other wives and embraced this practice later in life.

But then there are wives who are conditioned to accept and receive spankings from their husbands through mentoring programs.  These are programs where the husband and wife work together with a husband/wife mentoring team and over time a couple learns to incorporate wife spanking into their marriage.

One of the most important things I have learned from these wife spanking mentoring couples is that it is very difficult and rare to get a wife to accept wife spanking if she is past her mid-20’s and especially into her 30’s.   So, it is important to reach women with these mentoring programs while they are still young and moldable.

For more on the subject of wife spanking see my article “Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?

And whenever I teach on wife spanking, I always get asked if I spank my wife.  The answer is no.  And the reason is because my wife comes from a moderate feminist background and she is in her mid-40s which makes her a far less moldable wife.  She would never submit to wife spanking or even a mentoring program with another couple.   Again, this is not to say that we as Christian husbands cannot or should not engage in discipline toward our wives even if they are older and far less moldable than younger wives.  It just means we have to use a different set of non-physical disciplinary tools with our wives.  I outline some of these tools in my article “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife”.

Conclusion

Robert’s question of how to handle his wife’s statement “You are not my father!” will go away quickly once she begins to understand based upon the Bible that she must reject the entire adult/child paradigm that our culture has taught her.  When she replaces that with that knowledge that her husband’s authority over her is actually greater, not less than what her father’s authority was things will fall nicely into place.

And Robert’s concern of the six-year age difference is also a result of modern cultural conditioning.  Before our post-feminist society, a man being older than his wife was considered an asset, not a liability.  It made it easier for him to exercise his authority over her and it made it easier for her to submit to him and respect him.

Another great asset for Robert is his wife’s parents.  Too many parents today undermine the authority of their daughter’s husband.  But thankfully this is not something Robert will have to worry about.

On the question of whether to pull her debtor card or spank her.  I have recently had this question come up from another husband and my answer to him was “both”.  While I think that spanking is the most effective disciplinary tool husbands can use with their wives, that does not mean husbands should dismiss other disciplinary tools.  Especially when the infractions are financially related, taking away the debtor card is a punishment that truly does fit the sin the wife has committed.

Finally, any husband reading this needs to accept the possibility that his grooming attempts will be met with complete rejection by his wife. Even if she claims to be a Biblicist Christian and even if she is young. This is because sin corrupts us all in different ways.

The feminine human nature that God designed was a submissive one, one which desired to be dominated by the masculine human nature. But sin corrupted both the masculine and feminine human natures that God designed. And sin corrupts these natures in many different ways. Sin can sometimes corrupt the feminine nature making it more dominant than submissive while at the same time it can corrupt the masculine nature making it more passive or submissive rather than dominant as God designed it to be.

All women have their God given submissive natures corrupted to one degree or another. But some have their natures so corrupted that there is little to nothing left of the sweet and submissive nature God meant for women to have.

So, if you find after years of attempting to groom your wife that you are running int a brick wall with her should you just give up on trying to incorporate Biblical gender roles in your marriage? The answer is NO.

You as the man are responsible before God to do everything you can do on your end. If your wife will not submit to spankings as a form of discipline then you move to non-physical forms of discipline like removing the debit card and credit cards while still providing for all her basic needs. You call her out when she disrespects you even she does not receive this. You limit her access to your free time. You lead even if your wife will not follow.

But one thing you never do is surrender to her desire to control your marriage.

And do not fall for the lie of partnership marriage. No marriage is ever a true partnership. Marriage is always a patriarchy or a matriarchy. It might be a soft patriarchy or soft matriarchy where no one explicitly acknowledges being in charge, and the one in charge might actually allow great freedom to the other. But make no mistake, someone is ALWAYS in charge in a marriage. Power vacuums are never left unfilled.

And if you have to dig in for a real spiritual battle with your wife, you must be prepared for the weapons she may attempt to you use against you. You can find out more about that in my article entitled “3 Ways Wives Try to Control Their Husbands“.

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

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

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

But the Bible presents a very different view of marriage.

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

1 Peter 3:1 (KJV)

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

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Ephesians 5:23 (KJV)

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

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

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

Genesis 3:17 (KJV)

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

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.  But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.”

Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

My Husband Has Left the Faith, What Should I do?

How should a Christian wife handle it when her husband abandons his Christian faith? How should she deal with her children in regard to their father? Recently one of my regular commenters, a woman who goes by the handle livinginblurredlines, wrote the following about her husband who once professed faith in Christ:

“hubby has decided to become a philosophical Odinist….meaning he doesn’t believe Odin and all the other Norse gods actually exist, but that there is an All-Father that encompasses all faiths that believe in a high deity, and he follows modern Odinism philosophies that embrace strength of self, traditional families, helping your fellow, and nationalism. So, he has no desire to find or attend a church, anymore. So, what shall I do concerning this and our children? When I married him 20 years ago I never thought I’d be faced with this issue!”

What follows are answers to several important questions that Christian wives who find themselves in this situation may be asking.

Can I leave My Unbelieving Husband?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16:
“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 the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”

So, as you can see from the Scripture above, if your unbelieving husband wants to stay in the marriage with you, God wants you to stay with him. And the Bible tells us that in staying with him, you may actually win him to Christ.

Regarding the case of a woman whose husband has left the faith he once professed. We must realize that a true believer can never leave the faith as they are kept by the power of God. In 1 John 2:19 we read the following of those who made professions of faith and then abandoned them:
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

So, in this way as a Christian wife, you must forget your husband’s past participation in church or other Christian activities. Do not dwell on it. Wipe the slate clean in your mind and deal with him as you would someone who has never dawned the doorstep of a church.

Does God Still Want to Me to Submit to My Unbelieving Husband?

The answer to this question is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2:
“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; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

So, the answer to this question is yes, God absolutely wants you as a Christian wife to submit to your husband who is disobedient to the Word. You win a husband, whether he be an unbelieving husband or a Christian husband who has some areas where he is disobedient to God in some way. You win him without a word, without preaching at him, nagging at him or complaining at him. You win him with your actions and your life before him. You win him with your submission, your pure life and your reverent attitude toward him.

My mother is a living example of 1 Peter 3:1-2. My mother became a Christian while married to my father. She completely changed her ways toward him. She submitted to him, lived a different life in front of him and reverenced him. And these actions by my mother brought him to Christ and this enabled me to be raised by both a Christian father and a Christian mother. My father would go on to study the Word of God and become my mother’s teacher. This can work ladies!

Can I still teach my Children the Gospel?

In Acts 5:26-29 we read the following story about the Apostles:
“Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

We can see from the story above that even if your husband forbids you from teaching your children the Gospel you can and should still do that. I would suggest you do this in private settings with your children. But you can show them you love and respect their father, but that this is something that goes beyond your relationship with their father and that having a relationship with God is the most important relationship we can have in this life.

What If My Husband Forbids Me from Taking the Kids to Church?

If your husband forbids you from going to church, you can privately seek the teaching of God. While he is at work, watch sermons from Bible teachers online. And you should privately read your Bible and pray. Let your children watch Bible teaching when Dad is not around. Have them watch Christian movies and shows that teach them about God.

But Isn’t It Wrong to Keep Secrets From My Husband?

A tenant of humanism is “complete transparency in any relationship”. No secrets. None at all. But this is not how God sees things. God keeps secrets from us, and sometimes it is necessary for us to keep secrets from each other.

In Proverbs 28:13 the Bible says He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. But then in Proverbs 27:12 we read “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished”.

And then in Matthew 6:1-6 Jesus made the follow statements:
“Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

Jesus reveals that it is not wrong to do good things in secret. Whether it is doing good for others or even good in obedience to God. It is only wrong to do evil things in secret or to try and cover something that is a sin against God.

Conclusion

The humanist atheist and the humanist Christian would both find the advice given here to be absurd because they hold individualism as the highest ideal. Nothing is more important than each individual being able to live their lives out in the open, exactly as they want to live it (as long as that life style does not violate humanist principles in any way of course).

Humanists love the word “transparency” and regularly apply it to relationships. They don’t like secrets. Whether it is the government keeping secrets from its citizens, husbands keeping secrets from wives or wives keeping secrets from husbands.

Of course, humanists always have some exceptions to their rules. For instance, humanists have no problem with women not being transparent with their husbands about murdering their unborn children. But I digress.

So, the humanist would say “If the husband and wife cannot find a way to openly live out their beliefs with one another and tolerate their differences then they should just divorce. But by no means should the wife have to live a secret life as a Christian or keep these kinds of secrets from her husband”.

But for us a Biblicist Christians, we know that there are more important things than our individual wishes and desires. We know that the institution of marriage is more important than the individual happiness of either the husband or wife. We know that marriage is based on a covenant, not total transparency. And we know that we can also find joy in the midst of less than ideal circumstances.

In Matthew 6:1-6, Jesus tells us that being totally transparent in regard to our thoughts or actions is not always the best thing. In fact, he tells us that doing good things toward God, for God or for others in secret can be virtuous. And in Proverbs 27:12 we read that it is “prudent” to sometimes hide ourselves or our actions.

It is utterly disappointing for any Christian wife to hear from her husband that he has left the faith and he is not the believer she thought he was. But God can still greatly use such a Christian wife in the life of her unbelieving husband. And she can still have a vibrant personal faith and have an impact for Christ on her children and on others.

God tells Christian wives in 1 Corinthians 7:13-16 that they must remain with their unbelieving husbands if the husband is willing to stay.

And yes, it will be more challenging in the area of submission. But God makes it clear in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that wives still have to obey unbelieving husbands and he says that wives may win their husbands by their submission, pure lives and reverent behavior.

Christian wives who find themselves married to unbelieving husbands may have to practice their faith in secret. But Jesus shows us in Matthew 6:1-6 that not only is it not a sin to do good toward God and others in secret, but that such actions can be virtuous.

Some Christian wives abuse the Acts 5:29 principle that “We ought to obey God rather man” in order to openly defy their husbands at every turn. But as a Christian wife married to an unbelieving husband, you should make every effort to not have to openly defy your husband.

Wives Forget Your Father’s House

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

Psalm 45:10-11 is widely recognized as a prophecy concerning Christ and his church.  But it is also very practical and applicable to marriage between men and women.  Ephesians 5:23 tells us “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Ways Wives Try to Control Their Husbands

Sexual denial, threats of divorce and threats of suicide. These are the three primary ways that wives use to manipulate and gain complete power over their husbands and their homes.  The first way which works with the majority of men is sexual denial.  Women use sex as a reward system.  If the husband follows his wife’s wishes in whatever she wants to do in the home she will give him sex as a reward for his submission to her.  At the slightest resistance of the husband to anything the wife wishes, she will turn off the sexual tap.

But for some men, the attempts of their wives to manipulate them with sex does not work.  But rather it reinforces their resolve with their wives.  These men might even engage in disciplinary tactics like taking away credit cards, access to the bank or canceling date nights or other things the wife wants.  So, then the wife moves on to her next method of control.  The threat of divorce. And for many women, it is not just a threat, but indeed it is a promise.

And this willingness of women to so easily divorce their husbands because of their own selfish ambitions should not surprise us.  Millions of women each year murder their unborn children because of their selfish ambitions.    And it is with this same self-centered attitude, that millions of women each year subject their children to disunity, fighting and ultimately the divorce of their parents.   These women only care about one person and one person alone – themselves.

But some women are unwilling to deal with the prospect of their husband marrying another woman or having to share joint custody with him where his new wife raises their children.  They want their husband; they want their children and they also want to retain their power over the decisions of the family.  So, after sexual denial and threats of divorce don’t work to bring their husbands into submission to their will, they turn to the ultimate weapon.  They threaten suicide.

Recently I received an email from a man calling himself Alex.  Alex has gone through all three of these attempts at manipulation that wives use to take power in their homes and bring their husbands into subjection.  Below are excerpts from that email.

Alex’s Story

My wife recently threatened that she may commit suicide if I do not back down from exercising my spiritual authority over her as her husband.  This was her last-ditch effort to get me to retreat.  And that is exactly what I did – I retreated.

I met my wife in a good Bible believing and Bible preaching church.  My church is actually one of those five percent of churches you talk about that still preach gender roles and male headship.  My wife is a stay at home mom who homeschools our children while I am the sole provider for our home.

We have been married about 10 years now.  When we were dating my wife seemed to be a good, submissive and Christian woman.  But after we married her true nature began to reveal itself.  Her stubbornness and her unwillingness to listen to me on even the smallest matters was evident.  And if I mounted even the slightest challenge to what she wanted to do in our home she would deny me sex and that combined with a very cold shoulder for days would get me to bend and apologize to her every time.

In order to maintain the peace in our home and have any chance at sex I completely caved.  I never confronted her about anything anymore.  What she wanted to spend we spent.  What she wanted to teach the kids we taught them.  What she allowed them to do or not do that is what we did.

About 2 months ago, after my Pastor taught a series on the duty of husbands to lead their homes and properly exercise their spiritual authority over their wives God convicted me in my heart that I had been a coward all these years.  I had been a coward for the sake of peace and for the sake of sex.

I came and had a private meeting with my Pastor.   I described what had been going on in my marriage for years.  He told me I was involved in a spiritual battle.  And I need to take back the spiritual leadership in my home and challenge my wife’s sinful rebellion and stubbornness.

So, I implemented his advice.  I opened a new bank account and changed my paycheck to deposit into that new account.  I called all of our credit cards of which I am the primary and she is only secondary and had her name removed from the accounts.  I reported all our cards missing so her cards would be useless.  I shredded my cards and ordered new ones.

She went to use one our credit cards to purchase something online as she does often and it was declined.  She called the credit card company and they told her she was no longer active on the account and then I was the next phone call she made.  I told her we would talk when I got home.

When I got home from work that evening, I sat her down and explained what I was doing and why I was doing it.  That it was because she was in complete rebellion against my spiritual authority as the head of our home.  That she spent money she should not spend.  That she did not listen to me regarding the teaching and discipline of our children.  That she denied her body to me in our marriage bed.

Then she threatened divorce. 

My pastor had prepared me for that threat.  I told her “Go ahead.  If you want to see me married to another woman and raising your children with her and only seeing them every other week go for it.  Because trust me, I will mortgage this house and burn through every savings and investment we have to make sure I get full joint custody of our kids with equal parenting time.”  She stormed out without saying another word.

Days went by and then it turned into weeks.  We basically were in a cold war footing.  I did my thing and she did hers.  I slept in our bed and she slept in our guest room.  Barely any words were spoken except those which were absolutely necessary.

Finally, when sexual denial and threats of divorce did not work, she moved to her final weapon against me which was threats of suicide.  She claimed she would rather die than witness her children being raised by another woman and she would rather die than live under my “tyrannical rule”.  My Pastor had not prepared me for that. And that weapon worked.  I caved.  I retreated.  I gave her back access to our bank and credit cards and ultimately the reigns of our home.

Was my pastor’s advice wrong? It did not seem to work.  If it was not wrong, how do I deal with her threats of suicide?  Can I really start this battle all over again?  Is it worth her possibly losing her life?”

What follows is my response to Alex and other men on how to deal with these kinds of manipulation tactics from wives who resist the authority which God gives to their husbands and commands them to exercise over their wives.

How to Deal with Your Wife Using Suicide as a Weapon to Keep or Seize Power

I agree with your Pastor that you need to break her will, or I would say more accurately, break the stubborn spirit your wife has. But at the same time, you need to speak truth into her life.  Your attempts at exercising your spiritual headship over her in these areas where you see problems is not an act of tyranny.

Today our humanist dominated culture defines tyranny in marriage as a husband trying to exercise any control whatsoever over his wife . But Biblically speaking, tyranny is the cruel, unreasonable, or arbitrary use of power or control, not control itself.

A man exercising control over his wife is one of the greatest sins to a humanist, whether they be a Christian humanist or an atheist humanist.  While a woman exercising control over a man is seen more as a minor transgression in the world of humanism.

For us as Biblicist Christians, a man exercising control over his wife is one of the greatest virtues a man can exhibit in his life.  And likewise a man who allows his woman to “usurp authority” (1 Timothy 2:12) over him sins against God and denies part of the core purpose for which he was created, which was to image God with his life.

A man who does not exercise control over his wife is not a man in God’s eyes.  God created woman to be in subjection to man, to be controlled by man.  He created her to give man someone upon whom he could exercise all the attributes of God that are within his masculine human nature.

So, no this not about you as a husband acting in a tyrannical manner toward your wife.  It is about doing what God has commanded you to do. And it is all about framing the narrative, that is so important.   Constantly refocusing her thoughts and redirecting them toward a proper perspective.

Now to your wife’s threat of suicide.

Make no mistake that is what is going on.  It is a power struggle. And it is not just a power struggle, but it is a spiritual war going on your family.

The Bible says the following in Ephesians 6:12-18:

“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.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”

You need to realize that the real battle you are in is not with your wife, but with the sin that is in your wife’s heart.  Satan is using your wife as an instrument of sin and spiritual oppression against you.  He is using your wife as an instrument to launch his fiery darts at you.

Being firm is not being harsh.  It is being firm.  Being harsh is being cruel.  Sometimes when as men we are firm with our wives it may appear that we are being harsh and they may try and frame it that way saying things like “Why do you have to be so mean and so harsh?” but again that is just the wife trying to twist the narrative.  Remember having the right perspective and constantly re-framing the narrative for both yourself and your wife is critical.

The Bible commands men to be firm when it states in 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB) “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong”.  There is a spiritual war going on in your home and this was simply one battle in that war.  You fired the first salvos to begin to wage war on your wife’s lack of submissiveness and her spirit of stubbornness.  She first tried firing the divorce darts at you.  It did not work as you were prepared for that.  So  she opened fire with threats of suicide.  You were not prepared for that and you buckled under her fire and retreated.  You lost your resolve and you are no longer standing firm in the faith, acting like a man and being strong in the face of your wife’s threats and rebellion.

So, the question is will you continue to give way to fear? Will you allow her to continue to manipulate you with fears of suicide or divorce?  Or will you reorganize and get back into this spiritual warfare God has called you to?

Jesus talked about the cost of following him and the cost of obedience to God.  He asked in Luke 14:31 “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?”  You must know and fully accept the consequences of waging spiritual warfare in obedience to God.  You must be fully prepared for the onslaught of threats or even the consequences of if your wife carries through with those threats and you must have firm resolve in the face of those threats.

So here is my advice for dealing with your wife’s threats of suicide whenever you attempt to exercise your God given and God commanded authority over her.   You do the same thing as if she had a true mental health disorder and had suicidal tendencies.   You take her to the ER of a hospital in your area where they have a mental ward.  You explain to the nurses that your wife is threatening suicide.

I know of many Christian husbands who have done this with great success. And there is one particular instance that comes to mind that I think will give encouragement to men who find themselves with these kinds of manipulative wives.

I heard this story from a pastor friend of mine. A member of his church took his wife to the local ER after she threatened to commit suicide if he would not surrender to her wishes in the home.   She wanted an egalitarian marriage and he would not give it to her.  He told her they were going to have a patriarchal marriage or no marriage at all.  He showed her the door and said she was free to leave at any time.   At this point she threatened suicide if he would not bow to her wishes and this was when he took her to the ER.  And he made sure the hospital he took her too had a mental ward.

His wife told him how she was going to tell the ER people how horrible of a husband he was.  So, when he got to the ER, she did just that.  She railed on and on to the nurses about horrible of a husband he was.  Then they asked him to leave the room.  This was probably the time they asked her if she was being physically abused by him or if she felt trapped in her home.  Eventually they had a psychiatrist come down from the mental ward of that hospital who interviewed her and then recommend that she be committed.  He even persuaded the wife it would be good for her and she agreed and signed the papers.  He said it would be for just one week.

So, the husband gets a call in the middle of the week to come down for session with the psychiatrist and his wife.  He went over all the discussions he had with his wife.   The psychiatrist told the husband all of his wife’s concerns and asked him if he would be willing to go to marriage counseling and modify their marriage so it would be more pleasing for his wife.  The husband gave the psychiatrist a flat answer of “NO”.  He was unwilling to see any counselor.  His beliefs as to how marriage was to be conducted were firmly based upon his Biblical beliefs and would not change.

The psychiatrist asked him if he was holding her at home against her will or if he had ever physically abused her. The husband’s response was “No sir.  Never laid a finger on her. I have told my wife she is free to leave our home and our marriage at any time.  But if she wants to stay, I will not change my beliefs on how marriage is to be conducted”.

At this point the psychiatrist turned to his wife and said the following.  “You have told me in our private sessions that your husband has never raised a hand to you.  That he has never made you feel trapped in your home.  You just want him to change right?” And her answer was “Yes.”  At this point the psychiatrist turned to the wife and said “You and your husband are clearly incompatible.   He will not change and neither will you.  It is unhealthy for you to continue in this relationship if you cannot agree to a common framework of marriage.  But threats of suicide are never the answer.  Divorce may be an answer, but suicide is not.”

His wife was released from the mental ward a few days later.  She hated being in that mental ward.  And she never threatened suicide again.  So, when his wife saw that threats of sexual denial, divorce and suicide did not work she eventually came to an acceptance of her husband and the way he conducted their marriage.  She did not always agree and still gave him much grief at times.  But she realized her husband was a man who was immune to her tactics of manipulation.

Conclusion

If you are a husband dealing with a situation like this with your wife you need to think on and answer the following questions for yourself.

Are you willing to see that you retreated from a spiritual battle with your wife, but also that the war is not over with? You can reorganize, you can steel your resolve and you can disarm her tactics of trying to manipulate you through fear.

Will you put on the whole armor of God? Will you realize that what you are fighting for is righteous in the sight of God and your wife’s resistance to your authority is an act of sinful rebellion against God?

Will you take the shield of faith and hold it up when she fires darts at you like threats of sexual denial, divorce or suicide? Will you take the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, and cut through your wife’s evil thought patterns?

Will you use God’s Word to speak truth in your wife’s life?  And will you resolve that obedience to God is more important than temporary peace in your home? That it is so important you are willing to risk losing your marriage or your wife?

The Bible tells us in 1 Timothy 2:12 “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”.    How long will you continue to allow your wife to usurp authority over you as the man of your house in direct contradiction to God’s commands?

These are the decisions you must face.

Will you be the man God has called you to be?  Or will you cower in fear for the remainder of your days?  The choice is yours.  But I pray you will make the right one.

You Are One Flesh, So Be One Flesh

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

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

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

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

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

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

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

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

5 Steps to Becoming One Flesh in Marriage

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

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

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

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

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

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

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

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

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

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

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

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

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

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

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

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

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

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Husbands Wash Your Dirty Wives

When we think of a woman being “dirty” outside the literal meaning we will usually think of a woman acting in a sexually inappropriate manner.    And while there certainly are whorish women who do act in whorish ways there is another type of dirtiness in women that has nothing to do with a woman acting whorish.

When a woman speaks disrespectfully to her husband or does not show proper deference to her husband, that is her acting in a dirty way toward her husband.   When a wife refuses to submit any part of her life to her husband’s spiritual leadership that is her acting in a dirty way.   Sometimes it may not be her actions, but it may in fact be her attitudes and beliefs that are dirty.

Christian husbands, to love your wife as Christ loves his church requires that you wash her spiritual spots, wrinkles and blemishes with the Word of God.  You are to wash her dirty attitudes, beliefs and actions with the Word of God.

You could liken this to how you might wash your car.  You look over that car and make sure every dirt spot and blemish are gone and that it shines so good you can see your reflection in it.  It is the same idea with your wife spiritually.  After you wash her, her views and behaviors should be a reflection of the things you have taught her from God’s Word.

The washing of your wife requires a combination of knowing her, listening to her, teaching her, correcting her and yes disciplining her.   The washing of your wife will sometimes require great sacrifice on your part as the washing of his wife required great sacrifice on the part of Christ.  Sometimes it means temporarily sacrificing the peace in your home to rebuke your wife.  It might mean sacrificing time you might have spent doing things that were more enjoyable.  But it is a sacrifice that is necessary on the part of every Christian husband.

1 Peter 3:7 Why Are a Husband’s Prayers Hindered?

After addressing the submission of wives to their husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-6 the Apostle turns his discussion toward husbands and the treatment of their wives in verse 7 when he states “Likewise, ye husbands”.  He then caps the commands toward husbands with a warning to them of what will happen if they do not treat their wives as he has just stated when he says “that your prayers be not hindered”.

Before we discuss how the Apostle Peter, writing under the inspiration of God, tells husbands to treat their wives, we must first address whose prayers are being hindered.

Whose Prayers Will be Hindered?

Mathew Henry in his famous commentary stated the following about verse 7 of 1 Peter 3:

“The reasons are, Because she is the weaker vessel by nature and constitution, and so ought to be defended: but then the wife is, in other and higher respects, equal to her husband; they are heirs together of the grace of life, of all the blessings of this life and another, and therefore should live peaceably and quietly one with another, and, if they do not, their prayers one with another and one for another will be hindered, so that often “you will not pray at all, or, if you do, you will pray with a discomposed ruffled mind, and so without success.”

The key phrase in Matthew Henry’s statement above is “if they do not, their prayers one with another and one for another will be hindered”.    The “they” and “their” he is referring to is both the husband and wife.

Matthew Henry was taking the position that this phrase “and as being heirs together of the grace of life” was addressing both the husband and wife and therefore the warning “that your prayers be not hindered” was addressed to both husbands and wives.

But this is where we must remind ourselves that no commentator, no matter how famous or respected, is inerrant in their interpretation or application of the Scriptures.

I have read writings of many of the great men of the reformation like Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Knox.  I loved reading the commentaries of Spurgeon as a young man.  But a realization I had to come to was, none of these men were more inerrant than any Christians before them or after them except for those men who spoke and wrote the very Word of God.  Only the Old Testament Prophets, Jesus Christ and his Apostles after him were inerrant in their writings and understanding of God’s will.

This blog is in essence an online commentary, not unlike that of Matthew Henry or Charles Spurgeon.  I could be wrong in my interpretation and applications of the Scriptures just as Matthew Henry or Charles Spurgeon could be wrong in theirs.   Each of us must look at the Scriptures, and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, use our knowledge of the original language of the Scriptures as well the historical and grammatical context in which various passages are written to come to what we believe is the correct interpretation and application of the Scriptures.

Some have argued that Matthew Henry’s interpretation is correct because of the Greek word “hymōn” or “Humon” (transliterated) that is in the phrase “that your [Humon] prayers be not hindered”.    They argue that since humon is always used in a plural sense to speak to a group, that it is talking to both the husband and the wife.

While it true that humon is always speaking to a group, we must look to the context to know what group it is speaking to. In the same passage we are discussing, the apostle Peter begins his conversation on marriage by first speaking to wives in 1 Peter 3:1-2:

“Likewise, ye wives [gynaikes], 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 [humon] chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

The English word “wives”, is a translation of the Greek word used to address women in the plural sense which is “gynaikes”.  From the passage above, whose “chaste conversation couple with fear” is the Apostle addressing? It is clear from the context that it is that of the wives.

Peter uses the Greek word which refers to men in the plural sense “andres” to refer to husbands, when he writes the passage we are looking at:

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

There is nothing in the language of 1 Peter 3:7 which would indicate the prayers being hindered are anyone other than that of a husband’s prayers in the same way that the chaste and fearful behavior of verse 2 is referring strictly to wives in reference to their husbands.

Therefore, we can rightly conclude that 1 Peter 3:7 in its entirety is speaking to husbands and not both husbands and wives.

So, Peter is saying that if husbands don’t do the things, he commanded them toward their wives, their prayers will be hindered.  Now let’s look at how husbands are commanded to treat their wives.

Three Things God Commands of Husbands Toward their Wives

“dwell [sunoikeo ] with them according to knowledge[Gnosis],”

Sunoikeo refers to domestic association, people living together but it also was commonly used as euphemism for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.  And the Greek word gnosis means exactly what is translated as – knowledge.  It is to know about something or to know someone intimately depending on the context.    So, we can see the Apostle is saying “Husbands as you live together with your wives in this intimate and sexual relationship, do so according to knowledge”.  So, the question is what knowledge is he talking about?  Is it just a general knowledge of God and His Word? Is it also knowing your wife’s strengths and weaknesses and where she needs spiritual instruction? And could it also be knowing her fears, her concerns and her requests?  I will give the answer after we finish looking at the last two parts of this verse.

Peter then moves on to tell men two ways in which they must give proper honor their wives.  The first way is mentioned below:

“giving honour unto the wife [gune], as unto the weaker [Asthenes] vessel [Skeuos],”

The Greek word Asthenes means “weak, infirm or feeble” and Skeuos literally refers to vessels like household utensils including bowls or pitchers.  Skeuos is a common euphemism for the human body in the New Testament and our souls are seen as indwelling our vessels.

What this means is that husbands are to give honor to their wives as is appropriate for their station as the weaker vessel. But why would we honor someone for being weaker?

The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9:

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

If we remember that God created men to image his attributes, including his strength, and woman to image mankind and our weakness and dependence upon God then this makes perfect sense.  In the same way that we should glory in our weakness and need of God’s strength, so too women should glory in their weakness and dependence upon man’s strength.  And thus, we as men should not demean women who demonstrate their need of our strength, but instead we honor women for doing this.

The honoring of the weaker vessel also means we honor women for fulfilling the complete role that God designed the weaker vessel to play.  In Proverbs 31:28 after showing all the wonderful ways in which the virtuous wife serves her husband, his children and his home the Bible tells us the following:

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

Now that we have covered the first way men are commanded to honor their wives, we can now move on to the second way men are commanded to honor their wives.

“and as being heirs together of the grace of life”

Wives are to be accorded the honor that is due to fellow believers and husbands should never forget that their wives are not only their wives, but sisters in Christ. In Romans 12:10 we read the following of how we are to treat our brethren in Christ:

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another”.

So, we see three things men are commanded to do toward their wives:

  1. Live with them in an intimate and sexual relationship according to knowledge.
  2. Honor them for the part in God’s master design that he has designed them to play as the weaker vessel.
  3. Honor them as fellow believers and sisters in Christ.

What knowledge do men need to have with their wives?

In 2 Peter 3:18 we read “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen”.  There is no doubt that first and foremost the goal of every Christian should be to grow in the knowledge of Christ and then apply that knowledge to everything we do in this life including how we conduct our marriages.

But 1 Peter 3:7 does not say “dwell with them according to the knowledge of God” or “dwell with them according to the knowledge of Christ”.  It simply says dwell with them according to knowledge. And since the treatment of wives by their husbands is the subject Peter is addressing it strongly suggests that knowledge is indeed a husband’s knowledge of his wife.

And this idea of a man needing to know his wife on a spiritual level is seen in Ephesians 5:25-27:

“Husbands, love your wives, even 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,  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.”

How can a man wash his wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles if he does not know his wife’s mind? Again, in Ephesians 5:28-29, we read the following of husbands toward their wives:

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

How can a man know his wife’s needs without knowing her mind? Without talking to her?

And finally, our greatest indicator of what “knowledge” husbands are supposed to have as they live with their wives is found in the warning given to husbands:

“that your prayers be not hindered”

In 1 Peter 5:7 the Bible tells us “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”.  We are called to cast our cares, our concerns and our fears upon God because he cares for us.  Is that not a huge part of our prayers to God?

So as husbands if we want God to hear our cares and concerns why would we think we can do so while turning a deaf ear to our wife’s cares and concerns?

God Sometimes Will Not Hear Our Prayers and so Too Husbands Will Not Hear Their Wives

Now the principles I have just laid out from the Scriptures about men needing to hear their wife’s concerns in the same way that they want God to hear their concerns could certainly be abused.  In fact, it has been abused by the modern church today which has been infested with feminism.

If we remember that man images God in the life of his wife then we must also remember that God sometimes will not hear our prayers because of our sin.  In Isaiah 1:15, God says to his wife Israel, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood”.  Because Israel was in open sin against God, her husband, he hid himself from seeing her needs and he would not hear her requests.  In the same way, when a wife is acting in unrepentant sin against her husband, she cannot expect that he will hear her requests.

In James 4:3 we read “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”.  So, when we ask God with wrong motives or ask with selfish ambition, he will not hear such requests and in the same way if a husband sees his wife asking for something with wrong motives or from a position of selfishness, he has every right to turn down such sinful requests.

Finally, in John 5:14 the Bible states “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us”.   Just as husband should know his wife’s mind, so too a wife should know her husband’s mind.  And a wife should never ask her husband for something she knows goes against his will on a matter just as we should never pray to God for something we know goes against his will especially as recorded in the Bible.

Conclusion

1 Peter 3:7 is written to husbands, not husbands and wives.  The prayers that will be hindered are not the prayers of both the husband and wife, but of the husband alone.  God tells men they must dwell with their wives according to knowledge, honor them in their station as the weaker vessel, and honor them as fellow believers and sisters in Christ.  If a husband fails to do these three things, God will not hear his prayers.

When we look at God’s command of husbands in Ephesians 5:25-27 to wash their wife’s spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word, we know that part of the knowledge Peter alludes to in 1 Peter 3:7 is of a man knowing his wife’s spiritual character.  He cannot wash what he does not know.

When we look at God’s command of husbands in Ephesians 5:28-29 for them to love and care for the needs of their wife’s body and protect her as they would their own body then we also know that part of the knowledge Peter alludes to in 1 Peter 3:7 is a man knowing his wife’s requests for her physical needs.

In 1 Peter 3:5-6, which directly proceeds the passage we have been studying, the Apostle Peter writes “For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement”.   A woman, if she is following the example given to us by God of the women of old is to regard her husband as her lord.

The Greek word kurios translated as “lord” in 1 Peter 3:6 can also be translated as “master” as it is in Colossians 4:1 where the Bible states “Masters [Kurios], give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master [Kurios] in heaven”.  In many ways 1 Peter 3:7 repeats this same concept of Colossians 4:1 with husbands toward their wives.   We as husbands must remember that just as we are a master to our wives, we also have a master in heaven who watches how we treat her.

This does not mean that if a man’s wife is divorcing him or other bad things are happening that it automatically means he is not living with his wife according to knowledge or not honoring her as the weaker vessel and as a fellow sister in Christ.  We must remember that wife’s can and do act in evil ways against their husbands just as Israel acted in evil ways against her husband who was God.  In Isaiah 1:15 God hid his eyes from Israel and closed his ears to her prayers because she was in sinful rebellion against him.

No wife can expect to have her husband’s ear while she stands in rebellion against him.

Also, God makes it clear in John 5:14 that we don’t get everything we request from him, but only what is in accordance with his will.  And this is no different with a husband and wife situation.   A husband hearing his wife’s requests and granting them are two very different things.  And once a woman knows her husband’s mind on something, she ought not to continue asking for that same thing knowing it goes against his will.

The Scriptures warn us in Proverbs 4:27 “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil”.  And on this matter of the treatment of wives, like most other moral subjects, there is a far left and a far right position that are both wrong and the Bible stands in the middle of the two.

On the one hand, a man knowing his wife’s spiritual mindset, her cares and her concerns is not the same as him having to run all family decisions through his wife first.  Nothing in the Scriptures gives this requirement of men.  Marriage is not a partnership, but rather a patriarchy.  When the Scriptures refer to a man dwelling with his wife according to knowledge, it is in regard to him knowing her personal spiritual and physical needs, not him getting her vote on family decisions.

On the other hand, A man knowing his wife’s spiritual condition, knowing her mind, knowing what her physical needs are, hearing her cares and concerns, honoring her station as the weaker vessel and honoring her as a fellow sister is not him putting his wife on a pedestal.  It is him obeying the Word of God.  And if he does not obey the Word of God on these matters God will not hear his prayers.  This is the express teaching of 1 Peter 3:7.

If You Love Your Wife, You Will Discipline Her

We are told in Ephesians 5:25 that husbands are to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church” and in Revelation 3:19 Christ after rebuking his churches says “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”.  This shows us as Christian husbands that an indispensable part of us loving our wives as Christ loves his church is that we rebuke and discipline our wives.

A husband who will not rebuke or discipline his wife for sinful behavior is no better than a parent who will not rebuke and discipline their child for sinful behavior. 

And no, a husband disciplining his wife is not him treating his wife as a child, it is him treating his wife as a woman and women are under the authority of men in God’s order.   And no, God does not recognize the modern invention of the “adult” social class.  So, the notion we hear so often in churches that “he is an “adult” and responsible for himself before God and she is an “adult” and responsible for herself before God” is completely unbiblical.  The humanist invention of the “adult” social class is a perversion and attempt to give women the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as men, something God never did.

For more details on the how a husband can go about disciplining his wife in a way which follows Biblical principles for discipline see my article “7 Ways To Discipline Your Wife“.