Is it Fair for A Fat Christian Man to Expect His Wife to Remain Fit?

There are few things that Egalitarians hate more than an old man married to a young woman or a fat man married to a fit woman.  But when it comes to men exercising their power over their wives, complementarians and even some patriarchists will join egalitarians in condemning the fat husband for expecting his wife to remain fit. But what does the Bible say about this situation?

 I have already given principles of what should guide a man’s weight in previous posts in this series on fitism as well as general principles that guide a woman’s weight. In this final post on this topic of fitism, we will apply principles I have previously established to this issue.

And for all my critics of my view of fitism – no my wife is not fit, neither do I expect her to be – she has big breasts and a big rear end just the way I like it.   We are both nearing our 50s and are overweight by government standards (CDC/NIH) standards.   My point is – no I am not the fat guy expecting my wife to remain fit.  My wife has never been fit since I met her and I like her fuller figure just fine.

Also, just for those who are wondering, I am pretty active physically despite having a sedentary job as a software developer.  I take walking breaks during my work day and I also walk at night after work.

So now let’s get to the million-dollar question.  And its actually a pretty quick and easy answer from a biblical perspective.

Is it fair for a fat man to expect his wife to remain fit?

It has always seemed strange to me that many traditional Christians reject egalitarianism in so many areas yet in this area of body fat percentage they lock arms with egalitarians.

A common statement we hear on the matter of weight and body appearance is that “Spouses need to keep their bodies sexually appealing for each other”.

Egalitarians, complementarians and even some patriarchists point to 1 Corinthians 7:4 to support an egalitarian view of sexual appeal – “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.”

The claim is that 1 Corinthians 7:4 gives husbands and wives equal power over each other’s bodily appearance.  But this is false.  1 Corinthians 7:4 is condemning sexual denial in marriage.  It does not give a woman ownership over her husband’s body, it gives her access.

Another egalitarian argument which is also borrowed by complementarians and some patriarchists is “How can a fat man expect his wife to be fit? If he is fat then she should be able to be fat as well”.

All of these arguments show a denial of a crucial Biblical principle taught in 1 Corinthians 11:9 “Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man”.

Man was not created to be woman’s companion, to support her in her career goals, to care for her children while she works or keep the house.  But rather, woman was created to do all these things for man.     

Man was not created to be beautiful for woman or to bring her sexual pleasure.  But rather, woman was created to do these things for man.

Some will ask “Why then does the Bible tell men not to deny sex to their wives?” The answer is that woman was created with a desire for sex and the ability to enjoy sex FOR man.   And God expects men to make full use of his design of sex in marriage.

Click here to go back to the beginning of this series on fitism

A Biblical Perspective on Tomassi vs Tate’s Red Pill

One of my followers going by the handle “verycuriousreader” wrote the following questions:

“Hey BGR, just curious if your thoughts on the red-pill have change with the evolution AWAY from Tomassi’s manifesto? Because of podcasts like Fresh N Fit, men like Andrew Tate, and even long-time speakers such as Rich Cooper; the narrative of the red-pill has changed largely from the Tomassi’s “men need game to get chicks, that’s all that matters.” Instead we now have a red-pill that aligns with the Tate brother’s principles of: Men MUST amass wealth to create power and influence in a 100% status driven society. Just curious if you had any evolving thoughts on it?”

What I have previously written about Rollo Tomassi’s particular flavor of Red Pill still applies to Andrew Tate’s flavor of Red Pill even if they are coming at it from different vantage points.  There is some truth in what Tomassi says about male and female “intersexual dynamics” and in Tate’s view on men working to achieve status and thereby attract high quality women.

It is absolutely true that men are judged, respected and desired by women primarily based on what they can do, what they have achieved and how much power they have in the business, entertainment or political realms.  While women are simply desired by men primarily based on their beauty – (what they are, not who they are).

However, the Bible shines a great light on all of this.   Just because a behavior is natural does not make it right before God.

I have said it many times on this blog, there is nothing wrong with the fact that the first thing men notice about women, the first thing that draws them to them, is their feminine beauty.  A man being drawn to a woman first by her beauty is the very design of God within him.  And that is why it is important for godly women to try and keep themselves as beautiful as a possible out of respect of God’s design in men to desire female beauty.

A man desiring a woman’s beauty images God’s desire for beauty as seen in Psalm 45:10-11 (KJV) which pictures Christ as king desiring the beauty of his bride, the church:

“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.”

But the Bible also tells men they must look deeper at a woman than her superficial beauty, that they should look to see if a woman’s spirit on the inside is as beautiful as her outward body.  The Bible says in Proverbs 31:30 (KJV) “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised”. 

Proverbs 31:30 is not saying that beauty is meaningless as God has designed women to be beautiful for men and for men to desire the beauty of women.  But what God is saying is that a man should value a woman’s godly character, her submissiveness, her quietness, her meekness and her desire to serve God by serving her husband, her children and her home even more than he values her beauty.

Many men have throughout the years have tried Tomassi’s “game” short cuts without actually having any real accomplishments in life.  Maybe they even worked out and buffed themselves up a bit to add to their game, but besides that they have really done nothing with their lives.  And I would agree with those who say just gaming women and having sex with as many random women as possible would be a very empty and meaningless life.

But now let’s zoom in on Tate’s “Men MUST amass wealth to create power and influence” flavor of Red Pill. 

Yes, men absolutely are called to be workers and to be diligent in their life’s work.  The Bible says in Proverbs 10:4 (KJV) “He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich” and in Proverbs 22:29 (KJV) the Bible says “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men”. 

But there are men who have done great things in this life for God, yet they really never had much for themselves and their families.  For example, George Mueller (1805-1898) helped over 10,000 orphans in his life time and is still remembered to this day.  Yet he and his family lived a very simple life.

And there are many men in ministry fields who have had little to offer women from a financial perspective, but these men were able to attract women who were seeking men based on their godly character and not these things that Tomassi or Tate talk about.

My point is that while there are some truths in Red Pill, both in Tomassi’s teachings and in Tate’s, they are still approaching male/female relationships from a naturalistic world view without the very important spiritual aspect of male/female relationships.

Both Tomassi and Tate miss the fact that if a woman is raised in a godly home, by a godly father and mother who practice Biblical patriarchy before her – that woman is not going to care about the things Tomassi and Tate say women are looking for.

If she is strong in her faith and knows the kind of man she is looking for – no man will be able to game such a woman.  And to this godly woman, all the money and power a man has will not matter.  What will matter to her is if a man has godly character and that he has a clear vision of his mission that God has given him. 

A man that sees his calling from God, whether it be in full time ministry or something in the secular world in business, politics or other areas.  A man who understands that God has given him a multifaceted mission to make his mark on the world outside his home, but also to make his mark in his home as a husband and father.  This is the kind of man that will be very attractive to a godly woman no matter what he looks like, how funny he is or how much money he has in the bank.

A Biblical Guide To Implementing Sexual Role Play In Christian Marriage

In this new 3 part series from BGRLearning.com I discuss why sexual role play is not only acceptable, but also beneficial in Christian marriage in addition to discussing Biblical boundaries on sexual role play as well as giving ideas husbands can try out with their wives.

In Part 1 of this series, I lay the Biblical foundation for sexual role play in marriage and show how it can strengthen a woman’s appreciation and respect for her husband’s masculine sexual nature which is very different from her own.

In Part 2 of this series, I give Biblically based boundaries for husbands when they are designing role play scenarios for themselves and their wives.

In Part 3 of this series, I give 9 Biblically based role playing scenario ideas for husbands which can lay the groundwork for unlimited variations on these scenarios to be enjoyed in Christian marriage.

Go to BGRLearning.com and subscribe today to listen to this series.

Why Women Should Eat The Fruit of Their Husband’s Apple Tree

In Song of Solomon 2:3 the Bible says “As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste”.  These euphemisms in Song of Solomon 2:3 refer to a woman performing fellatio (oral sex) on her husband.

The Bible refers to sex as “the natural use of the woman” in Romans 1:27.   And while many Christians throughout the centuries have claimed that fellatio is an “unnatural act” for a woman to do on her husband – both the Bible and biology show it not an unnatural act.  In fact, God has specially designed woman to reap direct health benefits as a result of performing oral sex on her husband.

In my latest podcast for BGRLearning.com, I not only explain from the Bible why God wants women to perform fellatio on their husbands, but I also explain the relational and biological benefits of this for women as well as detailed techniques for doing this (and yes there are many ways this can be done).

Whether you are engaged, a newlywed or have been married many years this podcast will help women to better understand the significance of fellatio in marriage and the benefits not only to their husbands, but to them as well.

And if you already perform oral sex on your husband, but your struggle with feelings of shame while doing it this podcast can help you with that as well.

Go to BGRLearning.com to listen to this podcast as well as hundreds of other podcasts on gender roles, courtship, marriage and sex in marriage.

Why Women Should Eat the Fruit of Their Husband’s Apple Tree – BGRLearning

Why Christian Women Should Bow to Their Husbands

The custom of women bowing to their husbands, otherwise known in older times as “obeisance”, goes back to the beginnings of human civilization.  This custom is still regularly practiced throughout many African nations today as well as other parts of the world.

As Christians we know that not all cultural customs are Biblical.   And we also know that the commands of the Bible transcend all cultures and times.  In this post, I will prove that the ancient custom of wives doing obeisance toward their husbands is not simply a relic of ages past, but that it is indeed a command to wives found in the Bible.

But before we can present the Biblical command for wives to bow to their husbands, we must first present some other commands that form the foundation upon which this command is built.

The Bible Says Marriage Is to Picture the Relationship of Christ to his Church

In Ephesians 5:22-24(KJV) the Bible says the following:

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 teaches us the important Biblical principle that God designed marriage to be a picture of the relationship of Christ and his church.  This tells us that we can and should look, not just at Ephesians 5:22-33, but also at all other references to how Christ and his church interact with one another throughout the Old and New Testaments to understand how marriage should operate.

A marriage built only on the principles of Ephesians 5:22-33 will be missing key and important attributes of Christ’s marriage to his church mentioned elsewhere in the Bible.  In other words, a marriage modeled exclusively after the attributes described in Ephesians 5:22-33 will not fully and completely picture the relationship of Christ to his Church.

For example, Ephesians 5:25-29 commands men to love their wives a Christ loves his church and lists several attributes of Christ’s love for his church including him sacrificing himself for her, him washing her spiritual spots and wrinkles with the Word of God and him providing for and protecting his wife as he would his own body.

But Revelation 3:19 mentions some other attributes of Christ’s love for his church not found in Ephesians 5:25-29.  In Revelation 3:19 (KJV) the Christ said the following to his seven churches:

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

A husband’s love for his wife includes not his spiritual washing of her, his provision for her and his protection of her – but it also includes his rebuking her and chastening her.

The Biblical truth that the wife is to picture the church in relationship to Christ and the husband represents Christs means that a wife is to obey all the commands of God to the church relating to Christ, with the notable exceptions of worshipping her husband or seeing him as her savior from sin.  Those qualities belong to Christ alone and not earthly husbands.  I will address the worship issue more as this post progresses.

And now that we have firmly established the Biblical principle that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church – we will explore another passage which shows other aspects of the relationship of Christ and the church which also apply to marriage.

Psalm 45 – A Picture of the Relationship of Christ to His Church

Psalm 45 is unmistakably a prophecy of Christ and his bride, the church. 

The noble attributes of the king are mentioned first in verses 1-5:

“1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. “

And then in verses 6 and 7 we see that this is clearly a reference to God the father appointing Christ as King:

“6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

And then in Psalm 45:10-11 the perspective changes from addressing the King to now addressing the bride who is about to marry the King:

“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; 11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.”

These two verses are filled with rich theology.  While Ephesians 5:33 commands women to reverence their husbands – it is these two verses from Psalm 45:10-11 which help to show what the reverence of a wife toward her husband should look like.

But before we can apply what these verses are saying, we need to address a translation issue.

Is Psalm 45:11 Saying that Wives Should Worship Their Husbands?

At the latter end of Psalm 45:11 the KJV renders the verse as “for he is thy Lord, worship thou him”.  Since this passage is a prophecy of Christ and his church and Ephesians 5:23 tells us the husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his church – is God commanding the wives should worship their husbands?

The answer to that question is found in many passages of the Bible but Revelation 19:10 gives us an extremely clear answer where John fell at the feet of angel to worship him:

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

We worship God and God alone.  So, we know that Psalm 45:11 is not teaching women to worship their husbands.  Does that mean we dismiss the latter part of Psalm 45:11 as not applying to human marriage at all? The answer to that is no as well. 

To better understand how Psalm 45:11 applies not just to the spiritual marriage of Christ and his church, but also to human marriage we will look at this same passage in the English Standard Version of the Bible:

“Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:

  forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow to him.”

Notice the big difference? In the KJV it tells the woman to worship the king who will be her husband.  In the ESV it tells her to bow to him.  And if you were to see the wording of this you would also notice that the KJV capitalizes the word “Lord” while the ESV uses a lower case “lord”.

Why is the KJV translation of Psalm 45:11 different than the ESV translation?

The reason for the difference in translation has to do with the Hebrew word “Shachah”.  The most literal meaning of Shachah is “to bow down”.  But sometimes when someone bows down, they are not just showing reverence, but they are also engaging in worship.  In other words, worship usually involves bowing of some sort, but not all bowing is worship.  Sometimes bowing is just reverence.

The easiest way to illustrate this is when Moses did Shachah in two different occasions.  In Exodus 18:7, Moses did Shachah toward his father-in-law so it is simply translated as “obeisance” which a synonym for reverence.  However, in Exodus 34:8, when Moses did Shachah toward God – it was more than just reverence – it was an act of worship and it was translated as such.

Psalm 45 presents a dilemma for translators when it comes to translating Shachah.  In this story, we see a King being married to the royal daughter of another king.  But the story here is a prophecy of Christ being wedded to his church. 

So, while the KJV would not normally translate someone bowing to a king as “worship” they decided to translate it here as worship and to capitalize the “L” in Lord to indicate it is a prophecy of Christ.  

The ESV translated it as “bow down” instead of “worship” because while they agreed that this is a prophecy of Christ and his church that it is using a human story of a King marrying a royal daughter and therefore her bowing down would not be an act of worship, but rather an act of reverence.

I can see reasons for both translations.  But in the end if we remember that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church than any reference to Christ and his bride has application to human marriage as well. 

So, when applying this to human marriage and not the spiritual marriage of Christ and the church – Shachah must be understood in its most literal sense of bowing down in reverence.

Women Picture the Church Bowing to Christ When They Bow to Their Husbands

The full Biblical picture of the marriage of Christ and his church reveals much than his sacrificial provision for and protection of his wife, the church.   It reveals more than his headship over the church.  A full Biblical picture of the marriage of Christ and his church also demonstrates his lordship over his church and his discipline of his church. 

A full Biblical picture of the marriage of Christ and his church shows us that women are not just commanded to submit to their husbands or even just respect them – but rather they are commanded to reverence their husbands as Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:2 command.

Who is being commanded to acknowledge her husband as her lord and to bow to him in Psalm 45:11? It is the church.

When we tie together the principle that marriage is to picture the relationship of Christ to his church (Ephesians 5:22-33) and that the Bible commands women to acknowledge their husbands as their earthly lords (1 Peter 3:6) and to reverence them (Ephesians 5:33) then we can see beyond a shadow of a doubt that the command of Psalm 45:11 is given to wives just as it given to the church whom wives are to represent.

But Aren’t Women Worshipping Their Husbands If They Bow to Them?

Many Christians, even conservative Christians who believe in male headship and wives submitting to their husbands will object to this calling it a form of “husband worship” or a wife making her husband an idol.

But this objection to women bowing to their husbands is frankly rooted in cultural ignorance.  In 21st century America when we think of the word “lord” or someone bowing to another we exclusively think of God and worship.

But if we were to go to Britain – they would not associate the word “lord” exclusively with God nor would they associate bowing exclusively with worship.  Because in their society they have many lords who are of a nobility class and they bow to their Queen.

In Africa, it is an ancient custom still practiced today for women to kneel before their men when being proposed to:

And traditional African brides kneel before their husbands as part of the wedding ceremony and feed their husbands:

America was founded on the rejection of nobility classes and monarchies so our ancestors came to reject all forms of bowing to people or calling people lords.

However, the Bible does not reject calling people “lord”, which means master, nor does it reject the concept of people bowing to others as a form of reverence.  In fact, in the case of a wife toward her husband it actually commands a woman to call her husband lord and bow to him.

As I mentioned previously the Bible shows Moses doing obeisance in Exodus 18:7 toward his father-in-law.  In 2 Samuel 9:6 the Bible shows Mephibosheth kneeling with his face to the ground before King David:

“Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant!”

The word translated as ‘reverence’ here is the same as that translated as obeisance and means to bow. 

This American rejection of calling anyone lord but God and bowing to no one but “King Jesus” goes directly contrary to the teaching of the Word of God in 1 Peter 3:5-6 and Psalm 45:11.   And this American value, as old as it is, must be rejected by Christian husbands and wives.

Christian women must regard their husbands as their earthly lords and bow to them and Christian husbands must accept this from their wives.

The Difference Between Bowing in Reverence and Bowing in Worship

If bowing is not automatically a form of worship, which the Bible shows it is not, then what is the difference between a woman bowing in reverence to her husband and a woman bowing in worship to God?

The answer is found in the intent in the wife’s heart and how she sees her husband verses how she sees God. 

Is the woman bowing to her husband in obedience to God’s command that she affirm her husband’s earthly lordship over her by bowing to him? If so, then her bowing to him is not worship which is reserved for God alone.

However, if a woman sees her husband as perfect, sinless and all powerful like God and that is why she is bowing to him – then she is engaging in an act of worship which is sin.

In other words, when we bow to God, we are and should be acknowledging his perfection, his sinlessness and his being the all-powerful sovereign of the universe. 

I am often falsely accused by my detractors, whether they be Christians or non-Christians alike, of teaching that I think women should regard their husbands as gods.  And nothing could be further from the truth. 

Instead, I teach what the Bible says that God has placed sinful and imperfect men as the heads of sinful and imperfect women.  God does not call women to submit to, reverence and bow to their husbands because these men are perfect and all-powerful beings.  God calls women to submit to and bow to their husbands in spite of their imperfections and weaknesses because of the position God as ordained men to over women.

A woman’s acknowledgement of her husband’s earthly lordship over her by bowing to him is an acknowledgement of Christ’s lordship over all creation and his authority to appoint her husband as her lord.

Practical Ways That Wives Can Incorporate Bowing into Their Marriages

Now that we have established the Biblical command that wives should bow to their husbands – how can wives practically incorporate this in their marriages on a regular basis? This is the question we will address next.

The images below illustrate several ways in which a woman can bow in her husband’s presence.

The first would be her greeting him as comes home from work as seen below:

This image below from a vintage ad is routinely mocked as “sexist” yet this is very biblical behavior for women to do toward their husbands.

In many African countries today, it is still common for women to bow to their husbands when they bring them their daily meals as pictured below:

Last but certainly not least, is another way women can bow before their husbands regularly as an act of reverence and affirmation of his lordship over them.

The picture above is of an actual bride and groom on their wedding day “simulating” her performing oral sex on him as part of a series of otherwise normal wedding pictures.   It is actually becoming a fad for couples to simulate this very pose as part of their wedding pictures.

I know I have extremely conservative readers and I hope you will have a sense of humor with the image above even if you don’t think a bride and groom should share such a picture.  It shows absolutely nothing of what she is doing and leaves everything to the imagination.  

I know many conservative Christians believe all intimate sexual acts, even if only simulated, must never be shown.  But I disagree.  I hope most of my readers can appreciate the humor in this image above even if you would never take such a photo at your wedding.

An interesting side note.  While they did not see the actual act, it was the custom in Biblical times for two witnesses, one from the bride’s family and one from the groom’s family to stand directly outside the tent or room to hear the couple have sex. 

The reason two witnesses would be just outside the door or the tent and could hear sex happening was because unlike today, sex was part of the wedding ceremony in ancient times.  Sex actually occurred before the wedding vows were made to assure the woman’s virginity was intact.  Then after having sex the couple would present a bloody cloth which would prove the woman’s virginity and it was kept by the bride’s family as a proof of her virginity and a memento from the wedding.  This practice is alluded to in Deuteronomy 22:13-21.

And on the topic of a woman performing fellatio on her husband – yes this is mentioned in the Bible in Song of Solomon 2:3 (KJV):

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

The apple tree was used as a euphemism for a man’s genitals in middle eastern erotic poems.  The top of the tree with branches and fruit represented the man’s testicles and the trunk of the tree represented his penis.   This Biblical author is presenting a picture of a woman sitting in her husband’s shadow (so this her being beneath him) and her performing oral sex on him.  She knelt before him and performed oral sex to completion with “great delight” and his fruit (his semen) was sweet to her taste.

And for those women who say “Song of Solomon 2:3 is simply descriptive, but it is not prescriptive (commanded) for women” and I would refer you to Proverbs 5:18-19 which states the following:

“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.”

The Bible commands that husbands are to ravished (the Hebrew her literally means to be sexually intoxicated) by their wives.   The English word “satisfy” is a translation of the Hebrew which literally means “drink your fill”.  To fulfill the command for husbands to be drink their fill of their wives’ bodies and to be ravished by their wives requires the participation of BOTH the husband and the wife.  It requires the husband to seek to be ravished by his wife and the wife to act in ravishing ways toward her husband.

My point here is that Proverbs 5:18-19 commands wives to ravish their husbands and the entire book of the Song of Solomon shows women how to ravish their husbands.  It is absolutely true that Song of Solomon 2:3 is written in a descriptive form rather than prescriptive form. However, Song of Solomon 2:3 is part of a larger description of what it means for a wife to ravish her husband which is commanded in Proverbs 5:18-19. Therefore, Song of Solomon 2:3 is both descriptive and prescriptive for wives in marriage.

And even if one argued that they don’t see it as commanded – a husband can simply command his wife to do it and it becomes a command from God.  It really is that simple.

And finally, on this topic of wives performing fellatio on their husbands, let me address the “selfishness” argument wives use to get out of performing oral sex or really having sex at all when they don’t feel like it.   It is not selfish for a man to do what God commands of him.  In Proverbs 5:19, God tells him to drink his fill of his wife’s body “at all times” and he commands that his wife is to ravish him. 

Therefore, from a Biblical perspective it is not a man who is acting selfishly for desiring that his wife ravish him by performing fellatio on him, but rather it is the wife who acts selfishly by denying him his privilege to receive this from her as her husband.

To learn more about how you as a wife can fulfill the command to ravish your husband go to my podcast site BGRLearning.com and listen to my 3-part, 3-hour podcast series entitled “A Biblical Guide To Ravishing Your Husband”.  In that series I do an extensive exposition of several passages of the Song of Solomon explaining the ancient sexual metaphors and helping wives apply them to ravishing their husbands.

Conclusion

God commands wives to imitate the behavior that he commands of the church toward Christ in Ephesians 5:22-33.  And God commands the church to bow to Christ as her lord in Psalm 45:11. Therefore, wives in following God’s command to imitate the behavior of the church, must bow to their husbands as an affirmation of their husband’s earthly lordship which is also commanded in 1 Peter 3:5-6.

The act of a woman bowing is not simply a cultural relic of ages past, but rather it is a Biblical command as part of the wife picturing the church in reverence toward her husband. 

And as long as a wife does not see her husband as a god, but rather she bows to her husband in obedience to the one true God, then this is not an act of worship nor is it making her husband into an idol, but instead it is simply an act of reverence.

And yes, this act of a wife bowing to her husband is extremely anti-American and goes against America’s long opposition to lords and kings.  And it is extremely triggering to humanists worldwide.   But it is Biblical.  Therefore, Christian wives must learn to regularly do this and Christian husbands must learn to accept this from their wives.

This simple act of a wife bowing to her husband and him accepting this is a very tangible and visible way that we can bring reverence back into marriages.  A woman bowing to her husband is something her children should see their mother do as well (except of course for her performing oral sex!).

And to learn more about other ways (besides bowing to him) in which you can and should reverence your husband go to BGRLearning.com and listen to my 2-part podcast series entitled “5 Biblical Ways To Reverence Your Husband”.

5 Ways to Show Your Husband Reverence

The Bible commands in Ephesians 5:33 that “the wife see that she reverence her husband”.  But how does God want a wife to show reverence to her husband?  In this article, we will show Christian wives five biblically based ways that they should show reverence for their husbands.

In my previous article, “A Biblical View of Respect and Reverence”, I showed that while respect and honor are synonymous in the Bible – that reverence is much more than just respect or honor

As Christians we should value (respect and honor) the institutions God has created.  God has instituted civil authority, church authority, parental authority and the authority of husbands over their wives.  To respect these positions is to show that we value them by our words and actions toward these authorities.

1 Peter 2:17 shows that respect (which is the same as honor) is owed to all people.  Why does God want us to show by our words and actions that we value all people? The answer is found in Genesis 9:6 where God commanded that “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man”.  Mankind, both men and women, are made in God’s image. That makes human life special and more valuable than all other life on earth.

Anytime I say men and women are made in the image of God – I must always add this note for people who get confused on this issue.  The Bible shows us in 1 Corinthians 11:7-8 that while woman was taken from man (and thus she is also made in God’s image because of that) that it is only the male who “is the image and glory of God”.  This is why God has masculine like “Father”, “Son” and “King” and not “Mother”, “Daughter” and “Queen”.  It is why Jesus chose 12 male apostles and no female apostles.  It is why priests in the OId Testament had to be male and why pastors in the New Testament must be male.   And it why God has commanded that families are to be led by men.

I also talked about respect for the person verses respect for the position.  We can honor and respect the position of king or president without having respect for his actions in his personal life or his policy positions.  The same goes for children with their parents.

But God calls wives to do much more than just respect, honor and value their husband’s position.

Wives are called to reverence their husbands.

In Ephesians 5:33 the Bible states:

““Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

And in 1 Peter 3:1-2 the Bible states

“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.”

The Greek words being translated as “reverence” and “fear” in Ephesians 5:33 and 1 Peter 3:1-2 are Phobeo and Phobos.  These two Greek synonyms in their most literal sense mean “fear” or “to be afraid” and they can also mean “to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience”.

But while Ephesians 5 richly describes the relationship of the husband and wife as God designed it to be, it is not exhaustive in all aspects of how marriage should operate.   And while Ephesians 5:33 commands wives to reverence their husbands – it does not really describe how that reverence should look. 

This is where Psalm 45 comes in to help us learn how wives can show reverence toward their husbands.

Psalm 45 – A Picture of the Relationship of Christ to His Church

Psalm 45 is unmistakably a prophecy of Christ and his bride, the church.  The Psalm is written from the perspective of one of the King’s subjects writing a song about his King’s upcoming wedding.  He spends verses 1 to 5 talking about the noble character of his great King:

“1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. “

And then in verses 6 and 7 we see that this is clearly a reference to God the father appointing Christ as King:

“6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

Then in Psalm 45:10-11 the songwriter changes his perspective from speaking to the King to now speaking to the bride who is about to marry the King:

“10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; 11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.”

These two verses are filled with rich theology.  While Ephesians 5:33 commands women to reverence their husbands – it is these two verses from Psalm 45:10-11 which help to show what the reverence of a wife toward her husband should look like.

But before we can apply what these verses are saying to the command for women to reverence their husbands, we need to address a translation issue.

Is Psalm 45:11 Saying that Wives Should Worship Their Husbands?

At the latter end of Psalm 45:11 the KJV renders the verse as “for he is thy Lord, worship thou him”.  Since this passage is a prophecy of Christ and his church and Ephesians 5:23 tells us the husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of his church is God commanding that wives should worship their husbands?

The answer to that question is found in many passages of the Bible but Revelation 19:10 gives us an extremely clear answer where John fell at the feet of angel to worship him:

“And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

We worship God and God alone.  So, we know that Psalm 45:11 is not teaching women to worship their husbands.  So, does that mean we dismiss the latter part of Psalm 45:11 as not applying to human marriage at all? The answer to that is no as well. 

To better understand how Psalm 45:11 applies not just to the spiritual marriage of Christ and his church, but also to human marriage we will look at this same passage in the English Standard Version of the Bible:

“Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:

  forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow to him.”

Notice the big difference? In the KJV it tells the woman to “worship” the king who will be her husband.  In the ESV it tells her to “bow to him”.  And if you were to see the wording of this you would also notice that the KJV capitalizes the word “Lord” while the ESV uses a lower case “lord”.

Why is the KJV translation of Psalm 45:11 different than the ESV translation?

The reason for the difference in translation has to do with the Hebrew word “Shachah”.  The most literal meaning of Shachah is “to bow down”.  But sometimes when someone bows down, they are not just showing reverence, but they are also engaging in worship. 

In other words, all worship involves bowing of some sort, but not all bowing is worship.  Sometimes bowing is just reverence.

The easiest way to illustrate this is when Moses did Shachah in two different occasions.  In Exodus 18:7, Moses did Shachah toward his father-in-law so it simply translated as “obeisance” which a synonym for reverence.  However, in Exodus 34:8, when Moses did Shachah toward God – it was more than just reverence – it was an act of worship and it was translated as such.

Psalm 45 presents a dilemma for translators when it comes to translating Shachah.  In this story, we see a King being married to the royal daughter of another king.  But the story here is a prophecy of Christ being wedded to his church. 

So, while the KJV would not normally translate someone bowing to a king as “worship” they decided to translate it here as worship and to capitalize the “L” in Lord to indicate it is a prophecy of Christ.  

The ESV translated it as “bow down” instead of “worship” because while they agreed that this is a prophecy of Christ and his church that it is using a human story of a King marrying a royal daughter and therefore her bowing down would not be an act of worship, but rather an act of reverence.

I can see reasons for both translations.  But in the end if we remember that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church than any reference to Christ and his bride has application to human marriage as well.  

So, when applying this to human marriage and not the spiritual marriage of Christ and the church – Shachah must be understood in its most literal sense of bowing down in reverence.

And now that we have shown how Psalm 45 presents a picture of the marriage between Christ and his church, we will now show four principles of reverence found in this passage that can help wives fulfill God’s command for them to reverence their husbands. And we will end with a 5th principle of reverence for wives found in Proverbs 12.

Principle #1 – A Reverent Wife Makes Her Husband Her Standard of Masculinity

Psalm 45:10 tells women “forget your people and your father’s house”.

For most young women (if they had a good relationship with him) their father is their standard of masculinity.  For other women they may have other men in mind as to their standard of masculinity.  But once a woman marries – her husband becomes her standard of masculinity and she should never compare him to any other man in her mind or in her words toward her husband.

One of the biggest destroyers of reverence that a woman might otherwise have for her husband is when she compares him to other men.  Whether it be her father, her grandfather, her brothers or her sisters’ husbands. 

The Bible shows us that there are two major variations of masculinity and your husband will most likely be more like one or the other.   Those two variations could be classified as the “Warrior” and the “Wiseman”.  In modern terms think of this as the “jock” and the “nerd”.

King David was a “warrior” type man while his son, King Solomon, was a “wiseman” type man.  Another way to view the “wiseman” would be as a scholar.  The wiseman is more cerebral in his activities and the warrior is more physical in his activities.

So maybe your father and brothers are avid hunters while you the man you married likes to read books and play strategy games.  You cannot shame your husband because is he not like these other men you know.  Or maybe it’s the opposite.  Maybe your husband is not the reader your father was, but he is an avid hunter and sportsman.  Again, you must respect him for the man he is.

Principle #2 – A Reverent Wife Addresses Her Husband as Her Earthly lord

Psalm 45:11 says “Since he is your lord…”.

There are two Hebrew words in the Old Testament used to refer to a woman’s husband beside “ish” which means “man”.  Those two words are “baal” and “adown”.  When baal is used it emphasizes the ownership of the husband and when “adown” is used it emphasizes the husband being ruler over his wife.

Psalm 45:11’s command to women to regard their husbands as their earthy lords perfectly connects with 1 Peter 3:5-6 which tells women to do the same thing:

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

The most practical way a woman can verbally show her husband she regards him as her lord is by frequently say “Yes sir”.  In our culture the word “sir” can take on many meanings.  Sometimes it simply a polite way to address a man.  Men will call each other sir all the time and women will call other men sir as well.  But when a woman looks at her man and says “Yes sir” (and she does in a respectful way) he feels her reverence in that moment.

Some husbands might want their wives to use the word “lord” as it is in the Bible so their wives should say “Yes, my lord”, rather than “Yes sir”.  But in either case – a woman should use what her husband deems shows him the most reverence in how she addresses him.

A husband and wife can work out the particulars of this and there is nothing wrong with a woman calling her husband “honey” or “my love” in various contexts just as the Song of Solomon shows.  But especially when husbands and wives are having serious discussions and the husband has given his wife commands this is when “yes sir” or “yes, my lord” would absolutely be appropriate and a way wives can show reverence to their husbands.

Principle #3 – A Reverent Wife Kneels Before Her Husband

Psalm 45:11 says “Since he is your lord, bow to him”.  

A minimalist view of bowing would look like the Japanese who routinely bow to one another out of respect.  But I don’t think this is the kind of bowing that Psalm 45:11 has in mind for the wife with her husband when it calls her to bow to her husband as her earthly lord. 

Instead, I believe the kind of Shachah, or bowing down, being pictured in Psalm 45:11 is closer to what Mephibosheth did in the presence of King David in 2 Samuel 9:6 where he “he fell on his face, and did reverence”.  That is the kind of humility a wife should be having with her husband.

More evidence that God wants a woman to be comfortable being on her knees before her husband is found in Song of Solomon 2:3 where the wife states the following about her husband:

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

A godly woman finds “great delight” in in sitting down in the shadow of her husband.  And one of the most reverent acts a woman can do as she sits in her husband’s shadow is to perform oral sex to completion on him which is what is being pictured in Song of Solomon 2:3.

Don’t misunderstand me – I am not saying every time a woman sits down below her husband she needs to try and do oral sex on him.  Should she sometimes? Yes.  Should she always if he wants it? Yes.  But also, there may be times when she just delights to sit his shadow and look up to him as they converse. 

Principle #4 – A Reverent Wife Appreciates Her Husband’s Desire For Feminine Beauty

Psalm 45:11 says So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty”.

Why does the King desire her beauty? Because men are designed by God to be drawn to feminine beauty.  A woman should never shame her husband for desiring to see her show off her beauty.  How many conservative Christian women do this very thing to their husbands?  This behavior is the very opposite of reverencing your husband.

Practically speaking, this means surprising your husband with some sexy lingerie is a form of reverence because you are affirming his desire for your beauty.  It means if he so desires, wearing a sexy dress for date night with him.  It could mean wearing a particular bathing suit he wants you to wear as you go to the beach.  It means dressing the way he wants you to, and keeping your hair and makeup the way, he likes it.  And it also means doing your best to keep your figure as it was when you first met.

And in a broader sense, when a woman shames her husband for noticing other beautiful women this is by definition an irreverent act on her part.  Her actions shows that she despises her husband’s God given polygynous nature.

Principle #5 – A Reverent Wife Is Her Husband’s Greatest Fan

The final way that a wife should show her husband reverence does not come from this passage in Psalm 45 that we have been looking at – but rather it comes from Proverbs 12:4 which states the following:

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

A woman should always be her husband’s greatest fan and cheerleader, whether it is in private just with him and especially when others are around. 

Women who argue with their husbands in private or in public are being irreverent toward them.  Correcting him or contradicting him is being irreverent toward him.

A woman being critical of her husband is the very definition of an irreverent wife.

Listen to the Two-Hour Podcast Series Based on This Article to Learn More

I have produced a two-part podcast series, with each part being about an hour long, where I give more detail on these principles. In these podcasts I show other ways women can reverence their husbands and combat their own pride and insecurities as they do this.

Verbal Consent Not Required In Biblical Marriage

Nowhere does the Bible condemn by explicit command or even by general principle a man using force to make his wife have sex in marriage.  In other words, the Bible does not recognize the 19th century feminist invention of “marital rape”.

A woman going by the handle @_DearSister_ has an Instagram page where she teaches a conservative and Christian patriarchal view of marriage to women.

On that page she recently had a discussion about marital rape, and specifically the idea of some feminists saying that if a wife does not give verbal consent to her husband with each sexual encounter that the sex that follows is to be considered rape. 

In other words, what they are saying is, if the husband just starts trying to have sex with his wife and she allows it but did not say yes – this is rape.

I came on her page and went further than she did.  I said the Bible does not recognize that rape can occur within marriage.  In other words, Biblically speaking – “marital  rape” is an oxymoron.

What follows is a discussion I had with another woman on @_DearSister_ page who goes by handle @chellechristiansen.   We had some discussion before this point. But it was these comments from her that drove my more detailed response. I will show a screen shot her comment and then give my response that I have to her below it (of course for Instagram I had break up my response into a lot of small pieces).  And if you are not following me on Instagram (@biblicalgenderroles) – I highly recommend you do as the vast majority of my new content is there or on my podcast site (BGRLearning.com) and I slowly work it back here to my blog.

I have had this discussion with liberal women for years and they always go to the same tired humanist and feminist arguments. But the discussion I had with chellechristiansen was interesting because it was with a very conservative Christian woman who believes in submission and actually thinks Christian wives saying no to sex is sinful (a breath of fresh air). She just thinks it is wrong for a husband to force his wife to have sex even though she is sinfully refusing.

So my conversation with her was intended to reach other Christian women like her who are actually much closer to the truth on this issue of how sex should happen in a Biblical marriage.

My Response to chellechristiansen

I realize in my last comment I said I was done and would give you the final word in our discussion. I did not want to go round and round about the same arguments.  But as I have pondered your last comment here the for a few days – I realize there are some different questions from you here and a slightly different argument that you are making against a husband forcing his wife to have sex in marriage. 

I know what I showed you before and the new facts I will show you now may not change your mind.  10 years ago, I would have agreed with every word you are saying here because I did know about the history of humanism, feminism and the invention of “marital rape” by feminists in 19th century. I did know the history of how the early church fathers and later medieval chivalry codes changed our views on the acceptable treatment of wives by their husbands. 

I did know that up even into the 19th century that courts including English and American upheld the Biblical principal that husbands were masters and owners of their wives in keeping with 1 Peter 3:5-6 and that they upheld the husband’s right to use force and discipline to compel his wife’s obedience “in everything” (Ephesians 5:24) just as Christ compels the obedience of his church through discipline in Revelation 3:19.  They even referred to these rights as ancient rights of men practiced in all cultures.

I don’t even need Deuteronomy 21:10-14 where God expressly allows men to take captive women and force them to be their wives to defend the position I am taking here.  There is a larger position I am taking which goes beyond forced sex in marriage.  And that is that husbands have not only right, but the responsibility to use all means at their disposal to compel their wives’ obedience just as Christ uses discipline to compel their obedience of his church.

Now as someone else pointed out here in this thread, men no longer have these “ancient rights” as one court referred to them.  Feminists have won many court battles over the last century and convinced legislatures to strip men of their mastery over their wives and their ability compel their wives to obey by use of force. 

In other words, a man in our modern age who simply attempts to follow the Biblical example of God in disciplining his wife (as God did Israel and Christ did the church) could land himself in jail.   This is why I do NOT recommend that most Christian men use physical force of any kind in our day in age with their wives. However, there are a small minority of Christian wives still raised with these ancient Biblical truths and if they are then their husbands can exercise these rights in marriage.

You asked about me saying there is no such thing as marital rape and yet saying marital rape is expressly condoned in the Bible in Deuteronomy 21:10-14.  I apologize for not being precise in my language.  Before the 19th century, the English term “rape” did mean “forced sex”, but rather it was a more precise term that meant “forced sex outside of marriage”.  Then 19th century feminists invented the concept of “marital rape” and eventually just the word “rape” meant all forced sex whether in marriage or outside of marriage.   

A good way to understand the difference between forced sex and rape is to compare it with beating someone.  Are all incidents of one person beating someone immoral according the Bible? The answer is no.  In fact, the Bible expressly condones both adults and children being beaten as chastisement in these passages (Deut 25:3, Prov 26:3). 

And lest you think this only Old Testament, Christ condoned physical chastisement of adults in Luke 12:46-48 and so does the Apostle Peter in 1 Peter 2:18-20.  And in for course the Bible expressly prescribes physical discipline for children as well in Proverbs 23:13 and Hebrews 12:5-11.   

As I have shown from the previous Scripture references, the Bible expressly allows and even condones the beating of adults and children by their authorities.  As Christians then we should call beating someone unlawfully “assault” while biblically we must call a God ordained authority beating someone as discipline – “chastisement”.   It is the same with forced sex.  Forced sex Biblically speaking should be called “rape”, only if that forced sex was of a man who was not a woman’s husband.   

So, to be clear, what I am saying is the Bible expressly condones forced sex within marriage in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and it also implicitly condones forced sex by making the husband responsible for compelling his wife’s obedience as her ruler and master and as Christ compels his wife, the church.  (See Gen 3:16, 1 Peter 3:5-6 and Rev 3:19).

You argued that a husband forcing his wife to have sex, even when she sinfully has said no, is a violation of the fruits of the spirit.  But is it really? First and foremost, Galatians 5:22-23 listing of the fruits of the spirit is not exhaustive.  Jesus Christ exhibited another fruit of the spirit – righteous anger when he fashioned cords to make a whip and beat the money changers, turned over their tables and drove them from the temple in John 2:13–17.  Paul also exhibited this righteous anger when he asked the disobedient church at Corinth if he needed to bring a rod to discipline them in 1 Corinthians 4:21.

Could a man be violating the fruits of the spirit in some cases of forcing his wife to have sex? Yes.  If his wife is ill, just had surgery, has just given birth or has some other condition like this then yes this would be a lack of self-control, seeking his own at the expense of her need (selfishness).  If a man always forces sex on his wife (as some men actually sinfully prefer) and is never gentle with her – this too would be a violation of the fruits of the spirit.

Should there be some room also for mercy for the wife? That even at times when she sinfully says no (as opposed to graciously asking for a rain check when she is ill) that even in this sinful situation he shows mercy and does not force her? Yes.

But if a husband allows a pattern of willful sin on the part of his wife, where she can say “no” to sex with no fear of any consequences – such a man is derelict in his duty before God to discipline his wife as Christ does his church (Rev 3:19).  And yes, forced sex by a husband can absolutely be a form of discipline in marriage. 

You said at the end of your comment “Let her be in sin and guide her to repentance”.  This is utterly unbiblical.  God did not let his wife Israel remain in sin, but rather he disciplined her to try and bring her out it.  Christ does not allow his wife (his church), to remain in sin, but rather he disciplines her to try and bring her out of it.

And it is this false philosophy of “Let her be in sin and guide her to repentance”, which originates in faulty think of Christians from the medieval chivalrous period, which actually laid the foundations for 19th century feminism.  And now we have as Western civilization reaped the consequences of two centuries of undisciplined wives.  Men are expected to wash their wives as Christ does his church (Ephesians 5:25-27) as well as rebuke and chasten them as Christ does his church (Revelation 3:19).

Chastisement is to be Welcomed by Wives and Practiced By Husbands

The concept of wife spanking or really a man disciplining his wife even using non-physical means is abhorrent to our modern culture. The reason for this is because we in our modern culture have been conditioned to believe that discipline is only for children and that a man spanking his wife is him treating her like a child.

The truth however, both from a Biblical as well as a historic perspective is very different. The Bible teaches us that chastisement both in the form of corporal punishment as well as taking away various things is ordained by God for both civil government and especially the sphere of the home with the husband and father as its patriarch.  And for thousands of years the practice of corporal discipline by husbands and fathers within the home and the marriage was an accepted behavior.

It was not until the rise of feminism in mid-19th century that the historic practice of what American courts called “domestic discipline” came into question. 

I first started writing on the need for husbands to return to the Biblical and historic practice of disciplining their wives back in 2015 with my article entitled “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife”.  And in recent years I made a podcast series on my podcast site BGRLearning.com where expound more on that article.

In the last couple years, I have been expanding my writings on the Biblical and historic practice of wife spanking.  Some of those articles include “The Biblical Case for Domestic Discipline”, “A 19th Century Suffragette View of Domestic Discipline”, “19th Century Judicial Precedents Regarding Domestic Discipline” and early articles like “Does the Bible allow a husband to spank his wife?

In addition, I wrote “A Christian Husband’s Guide to Grooming His Young Wife” for newlywed husbands which includes discipline as part of a larger Biblically based grooming process that Christian husbands should practice with their wives.

As you can imagine, I get a lot of angry emails and comments related to my writings on domestic discipline.  I also get the occasional catfishing emails where people send me outlandish discipline tactics which they are using to get my take and those emails go straight to my trash bin.  But I also get emails which I believe to be genuine like one I received recently.  And it always encourages me to see how God awakens men to the truth of his Word regarding discipline in general and the need for chastisement of wives in particular. 

Recently I received such an email from a man calling himself Edward.  Below his email that I hope you will also find encouraging.

Edward’s Email to BGR

“Dear Sir,

I would like to share with you what the Lord showed me in the last couple of months, regarding disciplining one’s wife. You might already know all of this, but I thought you might find it interesting.

Firstly, I came to learn that discipline is a huge thing for the whole body of Christ – it’s so big that the very word the Lord chose for his followers (disciples) is even based on discipline! In fact, as one meditates on it, one find that just about the whole Bible deals with a lack of discipline, the consequences thereof and the Lord’s dealings with it – from the garden of Eden through to Revelations.

Here are some things I learned, before I share some additional scriptures.

1. Your point is correct: God rebukes and chastises those He loves. Man is obliged to do the same.

2. There is a great reward in accepting discipline. We should embrace it and actually ask for it.

3. It’s not really optional. As His children, He disciplines us because of His great love for us. In this world, we WILL be disciplined – either by His loving hand, or by consequencial circumstances. Of course, there is also the terrible alternative to be “handed over to satan” as Paul writes to the Corinthians.

The above is just a summary of my own observations. Following are some additional scriptures that you and others might find interesting – starting with general guidance and ending with an absolute clincher! I must just add that the Lord showed me these scriptures when I sought Him for council in this matter.

1. He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ ”

Luke 13:6-9

This was a general scripture the Lord gave me that emphasised our responsibility as men to maintain discipline.

2. “…I am consumed by the blow of Your hand. When with rebukes You correct man for iniquity, You make his beauty melt away like a moth…

Psalms 39:10-11

3. And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few.  Luke 12:47-48

I laughed when the Lord showed me this scripture in relation to a good spanking. He even tells us when a long, hard spanking is required: When the offence was committed “knowingly”…

4. This was a major eye-opener for me! The whole of Ezekiel 23 is the story of the rebellious sins and judgements of the two sisters Oholah and Oholibah. The chapter draws to a conclusion with this curious verse: “Thus I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be taught not to practice your lewdness.” Ezekiel 23:48

Here is the (summarized) meaning and an explanation of the original Hebrew word for “taught” in this verse. It’s exactly the same word that is used for chastisement.

H3256

Original: יסר

Transliteration: yâsar

Phonetic: yaw-sar’

a) to chasten, discipline, instruct, admonish

b) to let oneself be chastened or corrected or admonished

c) to discipline, correct, to chasten, chastise

Strong’s Definition: A primitive root; to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words); hence to instruct: – bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.

The chapter refers to Samaria and Jerusalem as the two sisters, so the common teaching is that the reference to “all women” in the concluding verses should also be interpreted figuratively (as all tribes/nations). In my opinion, the Lord would not have stated it as such if it was not commonplace already to apply chastisement in order to teach women this/a lesson.

Hope you found this as interesting as I did.

Thank you for your obedience to the Lord in maintaining your site/blog. A great reward awaits you.”

A Biblical Guide to The Divorce Process for Christian Men

Many books and articles have been written on various Christian views about the biblically allowable reasons for divorce.   But few books and articles have been written on how to navigate the divorce process once you as a man find yourself in the thick of it.  And even amongst the small amount of literature written for Christians on navigating the divorce process – there are none that approach this subject from a truly biblical viewpoint.   And that is the problem this guide is meant to remedy.

I went through the process of divorce as a Christian man more than a decade ago.  And I received a lot of conflicting advice as well as advice that did not match up with the Bible.  I wish I would have had a Biblical guide like this then.

If you as a Christian man want to navigate the process of divorce using Biblical principles then you must first be willing to throw out all your modern cultural conditioning.    And when I say “modern” I don’t just mean the last few decades.  I mean cultural conditioning that was set in motion in Western civilization more than five centuries ago. 

In this guide I will give you a brief history lesson on societal views of divorce starting with Biblical times, then moving to the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods and finally bringing us through the 19th and 20th centuries.   I will show you how the seeds for all the changes in marriage and divorce were planted more than five centuries ago.   And I will demonstrate how all these changes deviated from God’s design of gender roles, marriage and even his allowance for divorce.  

Rest assured though that this guide will not just supply you with knowledge of how the divorce process used to work and how wrong it is today.  This guide will also help you to deal with the range of emotions you will experience as a man and how to deal with your hurt and anger in positive ways.  And I will supply you with real world advice on how to navigate each step of the divorce process and all of this will be backed by Biblical principles.

Before I get into this guide, I just want to say something about divorce in general.  In Malachi 2:16, the Bible says “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away”.  God hates divorce and so should we as Christians.  But we must realize that the same God who said he hated divorce also prescribed a process for divorce and he himself divorced his wife (the nation of Israel). 

The fact is that God shows in the Scriptures that because we live in a sin cursed world there are some sins which God says can be grounds for breaking a marriage covenant.  And because a marriage covenant can be broken by certain sins, there must be a process for how divorce may occur.

The sad reality is that the vast majority of divorces that are initiated in 21st Western civilization are not initiated for Biblical reasons that God allows.  Not only that, but most divorces that are filed today are filed by women (they initiate divorce 70 percent of the time).   And regardless of the reasons for initiating divorce, the modern divorce process itself has become completely unbiblical.  

This is what I will tackle in this guide.  I will show you as a Christian man how to biblically navigate an unbiblical divorce process which has been established by our civil governments.

With all that said as an introduction I will now give a brief history of divorce from Biblical times to our present day.

The Divorce Process in Pre-modern Times

For 7000 years of human history, divorce was typically a rare thing in societies around the world.  God allowed men to give their wives “a bill of divorcement” and “send her out of his house” in Deuteronomy 24:1. And there were of course small spikes in divorce amongst various cultures. The prophet Malachi addressed one of these spikes that occurred in Israel.

In Malachi 2:14-16 we see that God says that men act “treacherously” if they break their marriage covenant with their wives and divorce them for unjust reasons.  Later in Matthew 19:9 Christ would clarify what God was saying about men treacherously divorcing their wives. Christ said if men divorced their wives “except it be for fornication” (sexual sin) then that they were committing adultery against their wives.  The Apostle Paul would later state in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that men were “not under bondage” to wives who left them and therefore men could divorce their wives for abandonment as well.

It also important to point out that even in cases of biblically justifiable divorce, the Bible never prescribes a method for a woman to initiate divorce from her husband.  Instead, the Bible uses the language of the woman being freed from her husband if he does not provide her with three things required by his marriage covenant. Exodus 21:10-11 says that if a man does not provide his wife with food, clothing and sex “then shall she go out free”.  

So how would a wife be freed from her marriage even under these justifiable circumstances? The Bible is silent on this.  In Mark 10:12, Christ recognized that Roman culture, which dominated the world at that time, did sometimes allow a woman to “put away her husband” but Christ made no allowance for this.

From Jewish historical accounts outside the Bible, we know that in Israel if a woman was not being provided with food, clothing or sex from her husband that she could approach a male relative (her father, grandfather, uncle, brother or cousin) and then that male relative would act on her behalf to compel her husband to give her a bill of divorce freeing her from the marriage.

But this goes to a larger issue – why does the Bible describe justifiable divorce for a woman as her being freed from her husband?  The answer is that under Biblical law a man’s wife is considered his property.  One of the clearest representations of this Biblical concept is found in Deuteronomy 22:22 which states the following:

 “If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

The words “married” and “husband” are a translation of the Hebrew word ‘baal’ used as both an adjective (of the woman) and noun (in reference to the husband).  The word ‘baal’ means master/owner and it can also mean someone who is owned by a master when used as an adjective.  In Hebrew this phrase from Deuteronomy 22:22 literally means “a woman owned by a master”.

The New Testament encourages women to continue to regard their husbands as their masters in 1 Peter 3:5-6 and in Israel today traditional Jewish women still call their husbands baal.

Even before the law of Moses was penned it was commonly recognized that men owned both their wives and children throughout human history.   And this is why in most cases even when divorce did occur (which was rare) it was usually initiated by the man because women had no power to do so.

And when divorce did occur, either because the man voluntarily sent away his wife or he was compelled to do so by her male relatives, she usually left with just the clothes on her back.  The man typically retained control of the home and the children.  

This is one of the strongest reasons that women rarely petitioned their male relatives to help them get a divorce – no matter how much they disliked their husbands.  Because to do so would mean leaving their children behind with their husband and unless they had relatives willing to take them in it meant living in poverty.

Now that you have read God’s design for marriage and his allowance for divorce some of the feelings you have been having are starting to make sense.  These are feelings you may not want to admit to anyone because they conflict so much with how you have been conditioned by modern western values.   You may even be condemning yourself for having them.  And these feelings are “She is mine, those are my children and this is my home – this is wrong.  She can’t take herself and my children away and she can’t take my home!”  Biblically speaking, these feelings which are common in men match exactly with God’s design for how things should be.  It is our modern system that has deviated from his design.

How the Renaissance and the Enlightenment Planted Seeds for Changes in Divorce

Before the Renaissance, marriage was seen as a sacred religious and societal institution.   Marriage did not come about the way it does today.  It was rare for a man to romance a young woman and then have her fall in love with him followed by him asking her to marry him.   Instead, parents often arranged the marriages of their children to better their social or economic standing.  And if anyone was being asked about marriage – it was a man asking a woman’s father for her hand in marriage often without saying a word to the woman first.  It did not matter if she was attracted to the man or not.  The father would make the decision based on the character, social and economic status of the man asking for his daughter’s hand in marriage.

What this meant was – it was extremely common for couples to marry and not “be in love” – meaning they did not at first have strong affection for another.  Often the man would have strong physical attraction for the woman – but typically the emotional and romantic affection for one another would come long after the wedding.  And sadly, some married couples never came to have affection for one another.

But humanist thinking in the Renaissance began to question how marriage was entered into and why people stayed in marriage.  The entire concept of parents arranging marriage for their children came into question.  And the radical idea was born that marriage should be entered into based on a man romancing a woman first and then her choosing him based on her feelings.

Plays like Romeo and Juliet (1597) and a lot of other literature of the years to follow would firmly plant in the minds of young people the idea of marriage being based on romance instead of it being based in duty to one’s faith, their family and the good of society.

Near the birth of the Enlightenment in 1689, the humanist English philosopher John Locke would pen a work entitled “Two Treatises of Government”.  Even though John Locke was not the first philosopher to write on individualism (Thomas Hobbes did that in 1651) it would be Locke’s treatises on how governments should operate that would lay the foundation for American thinking and modern democracies.

  In this work, Locke would propose the radical idea that the husband has “no more power over her life [the wife] than she has over his”.  He believed that once human beings reach full maturity (adulthood) that both men and women should have full autonomy.   In other words, when we say today of a woman that “She is an adult, she can make her own life decisions” we owe that thinking to John Locke.   The idea that women should have full autonomy and control over their lives was a foreign concept to previous generations of humanity.

And it was this thinking – that women should have full control over their lives just as men do which planted the seeds for modern feminism which would then push for changes in divorce laws.

How Early Feminists Fought for Changes in Divorce

The first woman’s rights conference occurred in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.  In their “Declaration of Sentiments”, the women of the conference stated the following:

“In the covenant of marriage, she is compelled to promise obedience to her husband, he becoming, to all intents and purposes, her master – the law giving him power to deprive her of her liberty, and to administer chastisement.

He has so framed the laws of divorce, as to what shall be the proper causes of divorce, in case of separation, to whom the guardianship of the children shall be given; as to be wholly regardless of the happiness of the women – the law, in all cases, going upon a false supposition of the supremacy of man, and giving all power into his hands.”

The statement above was a declaration of war on patriarchy in society and the Biblical view of marriage found in 1 Peter 3:5-6:

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

Most Americans at first rejected the radical proposals of the first woman’s rights conference. But over the coming years, they would wear down societal opposition to these changes.  And the way they did it was in appealing to American ideals of individualism which originated in the writings of John Locke.

While the women desperately wanted suffrage (voting rights for women), they knew there was not enough national support for that yet.  So, they targeted the next best thing – divorce laws.   Under the guise of fairness to women and doing what was “in the best interests of the children” the “Tender years doctrine” was proposed and adopted by courts in the United States starting in the late 1800s. 

The Tender Years Doctrine

The Tender years doctrine was actually an ingenious ploy to get women more power in marriage and in divorce.   It played on the beliefs of patriarchal society that women are better suited than men to care for the daily needs of the children and the home.

The Tender years doctrine was accompanied by child support laws and a new expansive reading of “domestic cruelty”.  Depending on the judge, all some women had to do was cry on the stand in court regarding their husband’s cruelty and they would be granted a divorce and awarded with full custody of their children, child support and alimony payments. With all these historic changes to the divorce process, a woman could now for the first time in human history be able to tell a man “If you don’t make me happy in this marriage – I will take our children and you will be paying me support for decades”

It should come then as no surprise that divorce rates surged from 3 percent in the mid-19th century to more than 13 percent by the time of women’s suffrage in the early 20th century.  Divorces again jumped as women incrementally gained more and more economic rights during World War 1 and World II and by the end of the 1970s the divorce rate had climbed to near 50 percent.   It was only in the 1980s that divorce rates began to drop into the mid 40 percent range because of the rise in cohabitation and the subsequent drop in marriage rates.

There is some good news for men on the Tender years’ doctrine front.  Starting back in the 1980s when divorce was at its peak, lawyers for men in divorce began to directly challenge the Tender years doctrine on the grounds that it violated the Equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.   And the courts began to gradually accept this argument.  But it would be naive for anyone to think the Tender Years doctrine has been completely eradicated from our family courts.  It is still very much present even if it must be hidden by court representatives.  However, at least now men have a chance of getting joint custody of their children.

Now that we have looked at the history of divorce and societal changes which changed the divorce process, we will look at how the modern divorce process violates God allowance for divorce.

The Modern Divorce Process Violates God’s Allowance for Divorce

The Scriptural truth is that God designed marriage to be a union of a man and woman together for life.  But sin corrupted that design so God allowed for divorce.  He did not allow for divorce for any reason like modern no-fault divorce laws allow.  But even in the case of divorce for reasons God allowed, God prescribed a process for how divorce would occur.

In Deuteronomy 24:1-2 God prescribed the following process for divorce through Moses:

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”

The process of divorce that God allowed was simple.  If a man found “some uncleanness” in his wife he was to “write her a bill of divorcement”.  This bill of divorcement would let the community know and other potential husbands for her know that she was no longer his wife.   He no longer had the obligations of a husband toward her and she did not have any obligations to him as his wife.  Her marriage to another man under these conditions would not be considered adultery – but would be approved by God.

Over time some Jewish men abused the “some uncleanness” clause and began to divorce their wives for any reason. It could be that she was a bad cook, she was argumentative or perhaps bad in bed. 

In Matthew 19:3 the Bible says “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”.    So, Jesus answers a very specific question and that was does God allow a man to divorce his wife for any reason?  We need to be clear on the gender here as many modern Pastors and Christian teachers wrongly apply Christ’s answer to both men and women. It is specifically given to men.

Christ’s answer is found in Matthew 19:9 where he states the following:

“And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery”.

So, Christ answered what God meant in Deuteronomy 24:1 by the phrase “some uncleanness”.  God was saying that a man could divorce his wife for sexual immorality.  He could not divorce her simply because she was a bad cook, not a great lover or even if she was contentious and unsubmissive.

But notice that nowhere in the Gospels does Christ modify God’s process for divorce – that a man must write his wife a bill of divorce.  Christ only clarified when divorce was allowed, not how divorce would happen.

Previously we mentioned God’s allowance in Exodus 21:10-11 for women to be freed from their husbands if the husbands did not provide them with food, clothing and sex.  But the Bible is silent on how women would be freed from husbands who violated their marriage covenants in this way. 

The reason the Bible does not prescribe a way for a woman to write her husband a bill of divorce is because she is the property of her husband.  So, the only Biblically allowable way for a woman to be freed from her husband (divorced from him) is for him to give her a bill of divorce freeing her from the marriage.

Men Are Always to Lead the Process of Divorce

The Bible shows that men are to lead women in all aspects of marriage.  Fathers have the responsibility to give their daughters in marriage (Jeremiah 29:6) and to refuse their daughters in marriage to men they deem unworthy (Exodus 22:17).  And husbands are to rule over their wives (Genesis 3:16, 1 Peter 3:5-6) and oversee all aspects of the marriage (Ephesians 5:24) and they are also called to oversee divorce if it is necessary – whether they are the ones at fault or the wife is at fault.

As I mentioned earlier, we know from Jewish history outside the Bible that if husbands were neglectful of their duty to provide for their wives that the male relatives of those women would pressure the man to divorce their female relative.    And no Biblical principle would prevent male relatives of wives from forcing husbands to fulfill their Exodus 21:10-11 obligation to free their wives in the case of their neglect to provide food, clothing and sex.

The principle that men are to oversee and lead the process of divorce is clearly established in the Old Testament and remains unchanged in the New Testament.  And it is the widescale abandonment of this crucial principle that has led to the explosion of divorce rates in Western society over the past two centuries. Allowing women to take charge in the divorce process has proved to be one of the worse societal decisions in the history of mankind.  When men were completely in charge of whether divorce occurred or not divorce was almost non-existent. 

Even in the case of a woman who was truly wronged by her husband and had allowable reasons for divorce, her male relatives (father, brother, uncle…) would have to agree to pressure her husband to give her a divorce.  This process provided a failsafe against the emotional whims of women. It protected marriage as a crucial societal institution rather than just a “relationship” for the sole purpose of the mutual happiness of two people as it is seen today.

The Bible Does Not Cancel a Man’s Ownership of His Property in Divorce

In Deuteronomy 24:1-2 God prescribed the following process for divorce through Moses:

“When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife.”

When God prescribes the process for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-2 he says that he shall “send her out of his house”.  Notice the husband does not send his wife out of “their house” but rather it is “HIS house”.  The entire idea of splitting all the assets of a husband with his wife upon divorce is a completely foreign concept in the Bible.

The Bible Does Not Cancel a Man’s Ownership of His Children in Divorce

And speaking of a man’s property.  Besides his wife what is a man’s most precious property? That would of course be his children.  And it is in this area of child custody that our modern divorce process yet again go contrary to the principles and teachings of the Bible.

In Exodus 21:7 the Bible says “And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do”.  You cannot sell that which is not your property to sell.  God allowed Hebrew fathers to sell their sons and daughters as indentured servants.   And while our modern society may look on such a custom today with disgust – this ancient custom allowed for many families to escape poverty by selling the services of one or more of their children.   The period of service could be no longer than six years and the difference was between how sons or daughters went free.  Sons automatically went free but daughters had to be redeemed because women were to remain the property of men if possible.  So, the daughter could be sold back to her father or bought by another man to be his wife.

The point here is that biblically speaking children are the property of their father, just as the wife is the property of her husband.  And just because a woman is freed from her husband in divorce does not mean she gets to take her children with her.   This is why until the invention of the modern Tender Years doctrine, men maintained full custody of their children in divorce.

But Shouldn’t the Best Interests of the Children Guide the Divorce Process?

This whole “best interests of the children” philosophy is what lead to the creation of the Tender Years doctrine as we previously mentioned.  The “best interests of the children” approach to divorce is an application of the humanist doctrine of individualism. 

Here is a brief reminder of what secular humanism is according to secularhumanism.org:

“As a secular lifestance, secular humanism incorporates the Enlightenment principle of individualism, which celebrates emancipating 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.”

The main difference between Humanism and Biblical Christianity could be summed as follows.   

Biblical Christianity places God and the interests of his institutions of marriage (the family), the church and the nation above the interests of the individual.   On the other hand, Humanism places the interests of the individual above the institutions of marriage, the church and the nation.

For 7000 years of human history, why did men stay with mean and cruel wives and why did wives stay with mean and cruel husbands? The answer was they put the interests of the institution of marriage and family above their own happiness as individuals.  And when families sacrificed to support the pastors of their churches and missionaries what were they doing? They were putting the interests of the institution of the church above their own interests as individuals.   And when men went off to war in defense of their nations, they were putting the interests of God’s institution of the nation state above their own interests as individuals.

Humanists are more than willing to see marriages and families destroyed, churches closed or even nations destroyed in their pursuit of the best interests of the individual.   This is why humanists had no problem shuttering churches during Covid – because for them the supposed interests of individual health come above that of the institution of the church.  And this is why humanists have no problem at all with allowing unregulated and illegal immigration because they do not care about the wellbeing of nation states.  In fact, for most humanists, they would love to see all nations go away and instead go to a one world government.

The Bible shows us that God cares more about the preservation of marriages and families than he does about the interests of individuals within those families.

This is why God only allows men to divorce their wives for sexual sin or abandonment and it is why he only allows wives to divorce their husbands for failure to provide the food, clothing or sex.   While husbands and wives can sin against each other in many other ways, it is clear that God considers a woman’s sexual faithfulness to her husband to be core to the institution of marriage and he considers a man’s provision for his wife to be core to the institution of marriage.

And now let’s return to the best interests of children.  There is no argument that women are best equipped to care for children.  God has specially equipped women to be able to nurture and care for children.  The Bible says in Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb?”.  Women are equipped by God with natural instincts for caring for children.  Now does that mean there are no bad or neglectful moms? Of course not.  There are some women whose natures are so corrupted by sin that they neglect and abuse their children.  But the fact remains that women are usually better suited to caring for children than men are.

However, we must also consider that while women are better suited to caring for children, that children still need fathers in their lives even at young ages.   And divorce will impede this involvement.  What that means is that the best interests of the children doctrine in divorce is really just trying to choose the better of two bad choices when it comes to the children. 

What is actually best for children is to have a loving father and mother whose marriage pictures the relationship of Christ to his church. 

But we need to remember as Christians that this entire paradigm that we must do whatever we think is in the best interests of children (ask best interests of individuals) at the expense of the institution of marriage is wrong.   

In Isaiah 3:12 the Bible says “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths”.  Does that not describe the society we find ourselves in today?

As Bible believing Christians, instead of looking out for the best interests of children and women as individuals, we should be looking out for what is best for rebuilding and preserving God’s institutions of marriage and patriarchy. 

The Bible declares God’s institution of patriarchy in 1 Corinthians 11:3 when he says “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God”.  God has ordained male headship for all areas of society including but limited to the home and church.   We need to return to this order.

How much do you think the divorce rate would drop if women knew their husbands would automatically get fully custody of the children? If we were to return to the policy of civilizations before the 19th century Tender Years doctrine, we would return the rights of men and given women a strong incentive not to seek divorce from their husbands.  In other words, returning to a policy of men retaining full custody of their children in divorce would rebuild and strengthen God’s institution of patriarchy and at the same time help preserve his institution of marriage.

What About Situations Where the Man Is Physically Abusing His Family?

While the Bible does not specifically address physical abuse in the home between husbands and wives or parents and children it does supply principles about how to address physical abuse which would absolutely apply to the home as well.

In many ways Exodus chapter 21 is the basic human rights chapter of the Bible.   It speaks of private property rights, including the concept of human beings as private property. It speaks of children being the sellable property of their fathers (vs 7) and wives being the property of their husbands (vs 8).  And it speaks of slaves being the property of their masters (vs 21). 

And yes, contrary to American values that we fought a civil war over, the Bible actually explicitly allows slavery.  The Southern preachers were absolutely right on that theological point.  What they were wrong on was that the Bible does not prescribe slavery based on race.  It does not teach that Whites had a natural right to enslave Blacks.  On that point the Southern preachers were absolutely wrong.  And the South was absolutely wrong in its abhorrent treatment of its slaves.

And it is the humane treatment of slaves which provides the basis for the humane treatment of all human beings and especially those who have owners. 

The concept of human property is an idea that humanists simply cannot comprehend. For them the starting basis for human rights is that all people must be completely free and have the same rights.  They grant a little less rights for children based on their lack of maturity.  But as for adults, in the humanist mind, they must all be social equals.  For any human being to have less rights than another human being, regardless of their gender, religious beliefs, ethnicity, immigration status or any other social status is blasphemous to the religion of humanism. 

Secular humanism claims to be nonreligious because they don’t believe in supernatural gods (or anything supernatural for that matter).  But make no mistake, they have a god and that god – the thing they center their lives on – is humanity.  And they have formed doctrines, just like that of other religions, around the worship of their god.

Now we will return to the subject of the humane treatment of slaves as prescribed by the Bible.  In Exodus 21: 20-21 & 26-27 the Bible states:

“20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. 21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money…26 And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. 27 And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake.”

Exodus 21: 20-21 & 26-27 teaches us that it is not inhumane for a person to own a slave or even to use corporal punishment on their slave.  But these Scriptures also reveal that corporal punishment can be taken too far and that masters can held liable for doing so.  In other words, the passage above recognizes the concept of physical abuse by masters of their human property.

And when we realize that the Bible explicitly calls the husband the master of his wife (1 Peter 3:5-6) and it implicitly makes the father the master of his children by giving him the power to sell them (Exodus 21:7) then we understand that these rules for the humane treatment of slaves also apply to a man’s wife and children.  Therefore, we can rightly say that the Bible does actually condemn a husband physically abusing his wife and children.

And as side note, no a man’s wife and children are not slaves.  They are owned, but have different rights and a different social status than slaves.  This is another concept that utterly confuses our humanist friends.  In their view, for a person to be owned is for them to be a slave.  They cannot fathom how someone can be owned, yet not a slave.   But I digress.

And now we must be clear on what actually constitutes physical abuse according to Bible.  Physical abuse Biblically speaking is when someone causes a serious injury (such as the loss of any eye, a tooth, a broken bone, internal bleeding…ect).   It is not simply causing someone a bruise.  In fact, the Bible says the following about causing bruises during corporal punishment in Proverbs 20:30:

“The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.”

So, bringing this back to our subject of divorce the Scriptural principle we can derive from Exodus 21: 20-21 & 26-27 is as follows.  

If a man as the master of his wife and children physically abuses them according to Biblical standards of physical abuse, then the wife and children can and should be freed from his ownership.  In other words, a man who physically abuses his wife and children forfeits his ownership rights of his wife and children.  This issue of physical abuse would be a perfect example of when male relatives from either side of the family should be stepping in to protect the wife and children and force the man to give them up.

And now that we have presented God’s process for divorce and how our modern divorce process deviates from his process – we will get into how you should approach the divorce process as a Christian man.

8 Biblical Principles for Men Going Through Divorce

What follows are eight biblically based principles along with real world situations that will help Christian men to navigate the modern divorce process.

Principle #1 – Modern Divorce Is a War

Christ said in Matthew 10:36 that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household”.

The first principle that you need to grasp is that you must regard your wife, the woman whom you once loved and perhaps still have feelings for, as your spiritual and legal foe during this divorce process.

You need to see divorce as a war in the defense of your family and that your wife is no longer a part of your family.   

On one side of this war is your wife backed by state laws and a family court system that is heavily slanted toward women.  And on the other side is you trying to fight both her and an unbiblical legal system which gives women rights and power that God never meant for them to have.

You might ask “What if I don’t have children? Should I fight just as hard?” And the answer is absolutely YES!  The decisions you make here could financially cripple you for years to come and impact your future wife and children.

Also, because this divorce process is not just a spiritual war, but a legal war – you definitely should seek out an attorney to assist you.  But as you get an attorney and listen to his advice on what to ask for remember that it is just that – advice.  You get to choose whether you will listen and act on each part of their advice or if you want them to do something different. Some attorneys are great and others are lazy and will just try and get you to settle as quickly as possible.  And still other attorneys will purposefully pursue actions they know you will loose simply to run up your tab.  So yes, get an attorney – but also be careful with your attorney.

Thankfully I had a great Christian attorney during my divorce.  And he did everything he could to keep my bill to a minimum.  In fact, out of all the men in my divorce support group, I had by far the smallest bill at the end of my divorce.   One of the things he had me do was to think of questions I had for him all week long and write them down on a pad of paper.   So, I would only call him once a week after I had organized all my thoughts and questions.  And if I remembered another question, I would just write it down for the following week’s call.

And now I have one final thing I want to say on this principle of divorce being a war and me saying your wife must be regarded as your foe.

Notice I said spiritual and legal foe.  Don’t take this as an actual physical battle and go looking to get into a physical altercation with your wife.  In fact, that is the very worst thing you could ever do during the divorce process and will not only land you in jail, but if you have children, it will most likely result in your wife getting full custody of them. 

Principle #2 -A Christian Man Must Fight for What is His

In Nehemiah 4:14 the Bible says:

“And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”

God calls men to fight for their children, their wives and their houses. 

Fight for Your Wife

First let me address fighting for your wife.  Should you as a Christian man fight to save your marriage? Absolutely!

And biblically speaking there are two ways you can fight for your marriage as a man.

If your wife is divorcing you for Biblical reasons – for things you have done which God says allows her to be freed from your marriage, then you definitely should try to fix these issues and reconcile your marriage.    

And this is the first way you can fight for your marriage. If you have been a lazy husband who refused to work to provide for your family or if you were systematically sexually denying her or were physically abusing her (by the Biblical definition of physical abuse) then you should fight for her by repenting of these sinful things you have done toward her.   Confess your sins to her and to God and turn from these wrong behaviors.

But what if your wife is divorcing you for reasons that the Bible does not allow? For example, what if she is divorcing you because she has “fallen out of love for you”?  Or maybe she is divorcing you out of rebellion against you because you started to exercise your God given dominion over her?  

Or perhaps you are the one filing for divorce against her because she committed adultery with another man or has systematically sexually denied you throughout the marriage.

Should you seek to appease her in her sinful behavior to get her to come back to you? 

Some Christian preachers and teachers wrongfully teach that the answer is yes – that you should appease your wife and do whatever it takes to get her to come back to the marriage.  I received this wrong counseling in the early stages of my divorce before I recognized that it was wrong.

 And some will falsely point to this passage where God says the following in Hosea 2:14 to his wayward wife, the nation of Israel:

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.”

But what these pastors and teachers are missing is that in the first part of the chapter before this verse God speaks of his punishment of his wife Israel.   He says he divorced her for her unfaithfulness to him (vs 2) and says he will punish her more even after putting her away.  That he would strip her naked and humiliate her before all and take away what food and other things she had left (vs 3-4 & 9-13).  It was only after this because she would seek to return to him because of her misery (vs 7) that he would allure her and speak comfortably to her after she repented.

And this is the second way you can fight for your wife and your marriage while you are going through separation and divorce.  If your wife is in sinful rebellion against you and by extension God who has placed you over her – you fight by making her life miserable just as God did with his wife Israel. 

What was God doing by removing his wife’s food, clothing, silver and gold in Hosea chapter 2?  He was reminding her of what he had provided her in their marriage.  And this is one of the reasons she said it would be better for her to return to her husband (God) because she had all these things when she was with him.

One final note on fighting for your wife and your marriage.  If your wife has committed sexual sin (either by having sex with another man and/or by systematically sexually denying you), you can choose to take her back and restore your marriage but you are not biblically obligated to do so.  Yes – this is what God was offering to Israel, to take her back after her unfaithfulness.  But Christ allows men to exercise their right to divorce their wives for unfaithfulness in Matthew 19:9.

Fight For Your Children

Our post-feminist society is completely stacked against men and one of the areas this is most clearly seen is in our family court systems.

I can tell you both from my firsthand experience dealing with this (I divorced my wife for adultery) and from countless men I have spoken to in person and online over the years that this is the case.  The court arbiters and even sometimes a man’s own lawyer will try and get him to settle on various issues when he should not.

More often than not it comes down to the Judge overseeing the case.  Many judges are heavily slanted toward women no matter what they did in the marriage.  A few rare judges actually treat men fairly. 

When I was getting divorced, my divorce attorney who was a Christian as well, told me to pray for a particular judge in our county to be assigned to our case.  That he was not slanted toward women and fairly judged between men and women.   And thanks be to God – we got the judge we were looking for assigned to our case.  And he was more than fair with me. 

It cannot be overstated that the fairness of the judge is crucial and very much affects custody arrangements, alimony and distribution of marital assets.

I have a friend who is currently going through divorce in the same county I got divorced – and he unfortunately ended up getting a horribly feminist judge.   This judge gives women every benefit of the doubt, yet does not do the same for men.   The court ordered a psych eval of both my friend and his wife and the court appointed psychologist confirmed his wife’s diagnosis of schizophrenia and her horrible paranoid delusional episodes and the fact she does not faithfully take her medicine that she had been prescribed.  She had record of false police reports and a host of other bad behaviors.

Yet my friend had to fight tooth and nail just to get 50/50 custody with his mentally ill wife who says delusional things based on her paranoia to her children all the time.  They were trying to give get him to agree to a 70/30 split with his wife having their children 70 percent of the time.  This is how slanted the system is toward women when it comes to child custody.  Now if a psychologist had confirmed that my friend (the husband) had paranoid delusional episodes and he was not faithfully taking his medicine you can rest assured that judge would have granted his wife full custody.

But throughout his divorce process I have encouraged my friend to fight for his children.  I have made it clear to him that he does not have to settle just because the court arbiter or even his attorney has said he should.    And on several issues after fighting his way through, even with a very slanted judge, he has won one on some issues.  Other things he did not.  But I told him “At least you fought and did all you could”.

In the beginning he was seeking full custody of his children because of his wife’s mental issues and her not faithfully taking her medicine.  His own lawyer and the court arbiter tried to pressure him into 70/30 custody telling him it was most realistic because he was the sole provider for the family while the mother was full time at home.  He sought full custody, but settled for 50/50 which was still better than the 70/30 that was originally proposed to him. 

My point here men is this – do everything you can to fight for your children.  Maybe your wife is not mentally ill.  Ok.  Then go for 50/50 custody.  That is a reasonable request in most divorce situations even though the system tries to get men to accept less.

On this issue of child custody for men another issue needs to be addressed. There are times when men do not fight for 50/50 custody and they actually want 70/30 or even 80/20 arrangements where the mother will have the children the majority of the time. Why do men do this? Most of the time it is out of fear. They don’t know how they will manage so much time taking care of their children on their own, especially if they had a stay at home wife.

I was in this situation where I was in a divorce with a stay at home wife (she had been having an affair with an ex-boyfriend so I filed for divorced). But at first it was scary to me that I would have to be taking care of my kids on my own with no help from her so many days a week. But with God strengthening me I never showed that fear to either my ex-wife or my children. And I fought hard and won the custody of my children that I thought was right.

Men you can do this. Don’t give into fear about how you will manage caring for your children. You can do this. And you will come to regret it one day if you let fear win instead of fighting for as much custody of your children as you can get.

Principle #3 – A Christian Man Must Provide for His Children

Jesus said the following about fathers providing for their children in Luke 11:11-13:

“11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

The Bible says in 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”.

One of the most important ways that a man images God in the lives of his children is in his provision for them.  This crucial aspect of fatherhood cannot be interrupted during the divorce process or after the divorce is final.  This is a man’s sacred duty toward his children.

Ways You Can Look to Provide for Your Children During and After Divorce

The first way is through child support (which is required).   You must present earnings statements to the family court (and if your wife works, she must provide these same statements as well) after which the court then inputs your incomes with the number of overnights you will each have your children and then they have a formula which calculates who owes child support to whom and how much is owed.  In most cases the man is the higher bread winner and the mother has more overnights than the father. And that is why in most cases the father will be paying child support to the mother.

The second way you provide for your children is also required.  In most divorces it is the husband who is forced to get another place while the mother stays in the marital home with the children.    This means you get another place, most likely an apartment, and then need to get clothing and furniture for your children.

While it is true that the wife must buy out her husband’s half of the equity, courts are very lenient with women as to the timing of when this must occur.

For instance, with one of my friends from my divorce support group, the judge allowed three years for the wife to refinance their marital home to buy out his equity share.  I remained friends with him after our divorces were final and even three years later, she got additional extensions from the court and did not pay him his equity share until more than 5 years after the divorce was final.  And she was not a stay-at-home mom when they divorced – they both worked and made similar incomes.

This is of one of the hardest things for men to deal with – the concept that that they must literally provide a home, food and clothing for their children in two separate homes.  I and many of the men in my support group went through this mental frustration.   If both the husband and wife worked before the divorce and her income was not much less than his, than the hit will be less to the husband.  But in the case where the man makes substantially more than the wife and especially if the wife was a stay-at-home mom – the financial hit to the man can be devasting.

But there is also a third way that a man can provide for his children that is not required – but I fully recommend.

At that is helping them with things their mother should be paying for but is not. This happened to me and many of my friends over the years.  The mom does not buy them a new coat or shoes when they need it or equipment for their sports they will play in.  She will tell them she can’t afford it and send them to you – their father. 

Now at this point you may be thinking “Isn’t that what I pay that massive child support check for?” and you would be right in thinking that.  And besides that, the court requires that the mother also contribute to providing for the children out of her own means apart from your support check. 

But it is in these times of need that you have a unique opportunity to show your children that you love them and that you are the one they can come to for provision and help in their life. I can’t tell you how many times throughout the years after my divorce that I was presented with this situation and I paid for things for my kids that their mother should have paid for.  But it paid huge dividends with my children later as they got older. 

Does a Man Still Have to Provide for His Wife During Divorce?

Providing for your kids is one thing.  But do you still have to provide for your wife during and after divorce?  Biblically speaking the answer is that there is no requirement for a man to provide for his wife whom he is divorcing.  Really in the Bible divorce was very simple and happened in one day.  The man gave his wife a bill of divorce and sent her out of his house.  Case closed.

However, in our modern months long divorce process (takes at least six months or more in most cases) the answer to this question from a legal perspective will depend on several factors.

In previous decades when women were forced to be economically dependent on men, child support and alimony awards from family courts were far more generous and women were not forced to work as often as they are today.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics as of 2021, only 25 percent of wives are unemployed and completely financially dependent on their husbands.  But with the 75 percent of wives who do work, only about 30 percent of them earn more than their husbands.

This means for women who already work and make less than their husbands, that even with your child support and alimony she is going to have to find additional sources of income.

And if you married a wife who wanted to be a stay-at-home mom but then wants to pull the divorce card you – she is in for a really rude awakening.   The judge is going to force her to go out and get some skills and work.  Staying home and just collecting alimony and child support payments won’t be enough in most cases. 

Some family courts have adopted a policy where one party in the divorce cannot be impoverished in order to support the other.  However, this policy is not consistently implemented and it very much depends on the fairness of the judge involved.  The sad fact is many men still today are impoverished by court ordered support and divorce settlements that they must pay to their ex-wives.

And speaking of alimony.  In the 1960s alimony was awarded in about 25 percent of divorces to women.  Now courts award alimony in less than 10 percent of divorces and in many cases and they put limits on the amount of years alimony must be paid out.  Also, the policy of not impoverishing one spouse to support the other comes into play here and sometimes men who are not wealthy but have good lawyers can get alimony payments significantly reduced or dismissed altogether.

So here is the bottom line when it comes to financial support to your wife during and after divorce.  If you are the only breadwinner or even if she works and you make significantly more than her – expect to be ordered to support her at least through the divorce process.   But definitely fight alimony.  The divorce process usually takes at least six months and that is plenty of time for your soon to be ex-wife to get a job.  However, when she does get a job, you may actually be ordered to help pay part of her child care expenses if she will still make significantly less than you.

Should A Man Report All His Income to the Family Court?

This has always been a topic of big importance in the men’s divorce support groups I have participated in over the years whether they were in-person groups or online groups.

Obviously if you have a normal hourly or salary job and or even a regular contracting job you will get a W2 or 1099 which clearly shows your income.   We are not talking about men not disclosing these forms of income as they are easy for courts to get records of.  What we are talking about is cash income or other types of income (such as bartering) where there is no paper trail of such income.

The 9th commandment in Exodus 20:16 states “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” and in Colossians 3:9 the Bible says “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds”.  And in Numbers 23:19 the Scriptures state that “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

It is passages like the ones above and many others in the Bible about the need for Christians to be truthful in their lives that have led many Christians since the early church to believe that all forms of deception are sinful.

And it is these same passages which have led many Christian men to believe that they must disclose every form of income they have to family courts during divorce proceedings.

But Christians who believe lying and deception are always wrong for a Christian make the same mistake that those who say divorce is always wrong for a Christian.  

Let me demonstrate by putting the following two passages together:

“Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” – Colossians 3:9

“And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.  And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”  – Mark 10:11-12

What do both these passages have in common? By themselves they appear to teach that it is always wrong for someone to lie and it is always wrong for someone to divorce their spouse.

But when we examine the Scriptures as a whole, we find that this is not the case for either lying or divorce.

For instance, with divorce, we see that Christ made an exception for men divorcing their wives when he said “except it be for fornication”.  And we also see later in 1 Corinthians 7:15 that Paul makes an exception for divorce when he states if a Christian man or woman’s spouse abandons them, they are “not under bondage in such cases”.  And there are several other exceptions for divorce given throughout the Bible.  So, biblically speaking it would be correct to say that divorce is a sin in most circumstances, but in some circumstances it is not.   And this is not moral relativism to say this.

It is absolutely morally wrong for someone to divorce their spouse for reasons that God does not allow.  But if they divorce for reasons that God allows, then there is no sin. And in the same way, it is absolutely morally wrong for someone to lie or practice deception in a situation in which God does not allow lying.  But if someone lies in a situation in which God allows deception to practiced, then there is no sin.

In other words, in most cases the actions of lying or divorce are sinful in the eyes of God, but in some cases these actions are not sinful.  In fact, in the case of lying, it is sometimes holy and right to practice deception. 

In Exodus 1:15-21 we see the story of the Hebrew midwives.  In this story the Pharoah orders the Hebrew midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys as soon as they are born.  It says in verse 17 “But the midwives feared God” and saved the baby boys.  When they were confronted by the Pharoah, they could have told him the truth that they refused to follow his order because it would have been a sin against God for them to do what he said.  In fact, they could have refused at the moment he ordered them to perform this wicked act.  But what did they do instead? They lied about what they did saying the Hebrew women delivered before the midwives could arrive to help. 

The truth was that the Hebrew women, just like the Egyptian women, needed midwives to help them deliver and without midwives the children and the mothers faced a much greater chance of death during delivery.   So, if the Hebrew midwives would not have practiced this great deception and had refused and been killed for doing so, many Hebrew women and Hebrew babies would have died during child birth without the help of the midwives.

And the Bible tells us in Exodus 1:20 that “God dealt well with the midwives” for their deception which saved many innocent Hebrew lives.

In Joshua 2:1-20 we see the story of Rahab the Harlot who lived in Jericho.  Rahab not only hid the Israelite spies from being found out by her government, but she also lied about them leaving and sent them in the opposite direction.  In addition to this she continued to keep the coming invasion of Israel a secret which stopped Jericho from preparing for the siege of the Israelites.

For this act of deception on her part, the Bible enshrines in her name alongside other heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11:31 and in James 2:25 the Bible says “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?”

It is clear from the stories of both the Hebrew midwives who saved innocent children with their deception and Rahab who saved Israelite spies with her deception that God does not consider lying to be wrong in all situations.

The principle that we learn from story of Rahab and the Israelite spies is that deception in war and lying to protect your family from harm is not a sin in the Bible.  

Rahab took sides with the Israelites and lied to protect both the spies and her own family from harm from the soldiers of Jericho.  And you must do the same with your family.   Remember that divorce is a spiritual and legal war with your wife on one side trying to form her own new family and you on the other side trying to protect your family.

I have personally seen men I knew from support groups who were forced to live in poverty for years because of property and alimony agreements they made during their divorces.  Their wives were wicked and while they may have had boyfriends, they purposefully never married them so they could keep their large alimony checks.

And I have seen Christian men hampered from being able to court other women and being able to start new families because they are paralyzed by the financial devastation of their divorce arrangements. 

It is for these reasons that I absolutely encourage Christian men going through divorce to practice deception when it comes to their assets and income wherever they can while they are in this spiritual and legal war otherwise known as divorce.

Practically speaking this means you need to find ways to lower your reported income in every way possible.   But please don’t think you think you can quit your job as a mechanical engineer and go work at McDonalds. The family court when looking at your income will look at your education and work experience to determine what they think the range of your income should be.

So, if you are a mechanical engineer, you may want to move to another engineering company to make less money.  But when you make the move – you have to show the necessity of the move.   So, one of the reasons you could give for the move might be because you now have to pick up your kids from school and have to be closer to the school or work less hours.   Or perhaps you could even arrange it with your current employer that you need to be laid off which forced you to get another job.  And then that job “just happened to be making less money”.

And you can do the same things with collections and other assets you have besides your home.  You might have tens of thousands of dollars in various collectibles.  Can you sell all of them and just hide the money? No.  The family court will catch that.  But can you syphon off some collectables and other assets that your wife may not know about or just a small enough amount that she would not be able to verify? Yes. 

So yes, as man involved in the war that is divorce you need to practice deception.  But you need to do it in a wise way that cannot be easily detected by either your wife or the family court.

And one final word on this topic of men employing the art of deception during divorce.  Some may say “Even if deception is Biblically allowable in some cases, God always wants us to obey our governing authorities and the family court is a governing authority”. 

The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:13 to “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake”.  But Jesus said in Matthew 22:21 “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.  Notice the language Christ used.  He did not say render to God the things that are God’s and everything else belongs to Caesar (the government). 

In Micah 2:1-2 God says this about governing authorities using their power to violate the property rights of their citizens:

“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the power of their hand.  And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.”

The government has God given obligations to protect property rights as God has assigned them.  And God never allowed the government to take away a man’s property or income to give to his wife in divorce.

What this means is as a Christian man you should fight to preserve your heritage (your income and property) as much as possible during the divorce process.  Even if that means using deception to do so.

And one final thing I want to say on this subject of income for men during divorce.  Seek out additional cash income sources otherwise known as “work under table”.  This serves two purposes.  First it will help to offset the financial devastation you will most likely experience during divorce and as long as you are careful that your wife does not find out – you won’t have to report it.  But there is a second added benefit – keeping yourself busy will help to take your mind off the troubles of your divorce. 

Principle #4 – A Christian Man Must Discipline His Children

Proverbs 13:24 says “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

It is not uncommon for men to waver with disciplining their children during a divorce.  Often times the fathers have the children for less time than mothers and they want to make the most of the short time they have.  But children need the discipline of their fathers even in divorce situation.

Now may the discipline have to be modified? Yes.  If a man has a wife that is looking for any reason to lower his custody time or if she is looking for an excuse to get full custody then he may want to alter his discipline methods.  Specifically, if he was engaging in corporal chastisement as the Bible allows and recommends, he may have to switch to non-physical discipline.

The last four principles that Christian men who are going through divorce need to follow come from one of the simplest yet most powerful passages of the Bible:

In 1 Corinthians 16:13 (NASB) the Bible states:

“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 

Principle #5 – A Christian Man Must Be on Guard Against Threats to Himself or His Children

You must be on guard to threats against yourself or your children which may come from your wife.  The following are some things you need to be on guard against:

  1. Your wife may try to clean out your joint bank account and move the money to a new account she has by herself.
  2. Your wife may bring in a boyfriend after you leave the home during the separation and divorce process – what kind of man is he and how is he with your children?
  3. Your wife might make up abuse allegations against you to try and get full custody of the children.
  4. In a fit of rage, she may destroy your personal belongs she knows you hold dear.
  5. She may try to poison your children against you telling them things she made up or even if some things are true, they are inappropriate things for children to hear about their parents.
  6. She may try to seduce you to get a better divorce settlement and then turn around and threaten to say you raped her if you don’t give her what she wants. Be very careful of this one.  Even if she does not use the false accusation of rape threat, sex can be a powerful tool for a woman during the divorce process.   Many men because they were desperate for physical connection during the divorce have actually signed on to horrible divorce settlements because their soon to be ex-wives kept using sex during the process to manipulate them.

And here are ways you can protect yourself during the divorce process:

  1. Never be alone with her during the divorce process.  Make sure at least the children are present and try not to go into her house where she can accuse you of doing things in her home.  Have her bring the children out of the house to the car when exchanging them for parenting times.  Also never let her in your apartment or home for the same reasons.
  2. Make sure all communications are via email.  Many family courts today have special communications systems for husbands and wives to discuss all issues.  If you talk on the phone -she can say you said anything she wants.  Reserve phone calls only for emergencies with the children and even then, ask for them to follow up the phone call with official communication via email as proof of the event for the court.
  3. If you have a wife who will not follow the rules of communicating via email and insists on calling you or coming to your apartment or house – record the conversation.   Consider investing in cameras for the outside of your home as videos of her going nuts on the porch may be golden.  One word of warning on this – the majority of states allow “one party consent” recording between private persons meaning if you are taking part in the conversation, you can record it without the other person’s knowledge.  But some states require the knowledge of both people to record conversations so you may actually be breaking the law by recording your wife.  Check your state laws first.
  4. Make a preemptive strike on the bank account by opening a new bank account and moving the money there along with your direct deposits from your job.  Continuing paying the bills as you normally would and giving your wife money for normal things like groceries and other household needs.  Make sure you have a record of the money you give her – maybe take a cell phone picture and have her sign a receipt for the money.   When it comes time to come before the family court judge, he will most likely order that you place your wife on the new account.  And at that point you can explain to the judge why you did this and now that your bank statements will be monitored by the court – you feel safe in adding your wife to this account.

Principle #6 – A Christian Man Must Be Strong

The strength mentioned in 1 Corinthians 16:13 is not speaking of physical strength nor is it saying that all men must be body builders. But rather it is speaking of a man’s spiritual and emotional fortitude.  Even in the face of the destruction of your family in divorce, you must lean on God and other men to maintain your spiritual and emotional strength. 

These are the stages of grief that most people go through when getting divorced:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Since 70 percent of divorces are filed by women it is the men who usually experience these stages the hardest.  Most women have gone through at least some of these stages for many months or even years before they finally pull the trigger and file for divorce. 

But for the men in most cases – divorce hits them like a freight train they never saw coming.  And when you also add to this the fact that most men compartmentalize and suppress their emotions – it makes it that much harder on them.   This is why suicide rates during divorce or just after divorce are much higher for men than for women.

So, what do we mean when we say men must remain strong? Do we mean that a man cannot express any emotion during divorce? No.  In fact, it is good and healthy for men to express their emotions – but this needs to be done in the right place and setting.

The men in my divorce support group were an invaluable resource to me during my divorce.  I highly recommend to any man that is going through divorce that he finds some kind of church sponsored men’s group.  You might have to find one at a different church or even a different Christian denomination than the one you attend and that is ok as well.

But it is here in these men’s groups that you can and should pour your heart out as a man.  Some weeks you might just want to listen to other men and hearing their struggles helps to validate yours.  Then other weeks it will be you that needs to speak and you talking will help other men as well. Sometimes you just need to vent.  And this is a great place to do that.  These groups will help you as a man get through the stages of grief much faster than you would have without being in them.

Being strong sometimes means being strong enough to face your emotions and to express them in the proper setting (like a men’s group).  But at other times, being strong means being in control of your emotions and not expressing them.

For instance, while it is perfectly good and healthy for you as a man to express your emotions in private settings with other men whether it be one on one or in a group – it is not good for you do this in other settings.  It is not appropriate for you to be breaking down crying or going into a fit of rage in front of your wife, your children or especially in arbiter meetings or court hearings.  This is where strength means controlling and holding in your emotions.

Your children need to see strength from you.  They look to their father for safety and security and you breaking down crying all the time in front of them or going into fits of rage in front of them will not make them feel safe or secure.

And the reason you don’t do these things in front of your soon to be ex is a little different.  You don’t break down in front of your wife because you don’t want to let her see you sweat.  A man losing control of his emotions in front a woman demonstrates weakness to her – whether she realizes it consciously or not.  And throughout the divorce process you to project nothing but strength with her.

One final note on remaining strong.  You will have failures in this regard.  Very few men go through divorce without their children ever catching them crying.  It’s going to happen.  And very few men go through divorce without overhearing their father losing about the divorce – either with a friend on the phone or talking to their mother.

But just realize it when you do this and determine to do better next time.  Act like a man and be strong.

Principle #7 – Flee Sexual Temptation

In 1 Corinthians 6:18 the Bible states:

“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

And in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 the Bible says:

“Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”

You may have remained sexually pure before you married your wife and you may have never been with another woman while being married to your wife.  But when you are going through the emotional roller coaster of divorce you will be sexually tempted.  And you need to be on guard against this.

The obvious sexual temptation spots for Christian men to steer clear from would be strip clubs, massage parlors, bars and night clubs.    But there are other areas of sexual temptation as well during divorce.  You need to be very careful of pouring your heart out to single women you know, whether they are at your job or at your church as you may easily fall into sexual immorality in these situations as well.

Also even if you are taking steps not to be alone with a woman, you need to avoid getting into any relationships with women during the divorce process. Biblically it is not sin to do so as men are allowed by God to practice polygamy. But it is not wise to do so. While it may bring a lot of emotional comfort during the divorce progress it could also bring problems. You may not think as clearly as you would otherwise and simply give your wife whatever she wants be it money or child custody because you want to move on to your new life with a new woman. Leave this for after the divorce.

Principle #8 – A Christian Man Must Be Firm in His Faith

1 Corinthians 16:13 tells that a man must “stand fast in the faith”.  To “stand fast” means to plant one’s feet and not be moved.  It is means to hold the line. 

As you are going through this divorce there is no more important principle to remember that to stand firm in your faith and to be unwavering no matter what comes your way during the process.  It is your firm faith which will help you to fight for what is yours, to continue disciplining your children, to keep your guard up and to be strong.

You need to be in the Scriptures daily – especially the Psalms to look for daily encouragement.  Remember that God is sovereign and he knows the end from the beginning.  And know that he can bring you through this trial and make you stronger on the other of it – if you will only let him.

And please do not forget to pray daily.  Pour your heart out to God often during this process.

Conclusion

Modern divorce is part of a larger war on Biblical patriarchy.   The modern divorce process utterly denies men the rights which God has bestowed upon them.  On one side of this war is your wife who is backed by the state which has bestowed power and rights upon her not given to her by God.  And on the other side is you who stand alone against the state and your wife (ok not completely alone if you have a lawyer – which you absolutely should!).

This war will have many battles.  Some you will win; others you may lose. 

Someday, long after the divorce is final, you and your wife may be able to be cordial and you may even be somewhat on friendly terms.  And if you can get to this point it will be helpful with parenting your children.  

But the divorce process is not the time for civility.  You must accept that during the divorce process that you and your wife are in a spiritual and legal battle against one another.  You are no longer team mates.  You are opponents. 

You need to realize that God does not just expect you to roll over and give your wife whatever she wants in the divorce.  God says a man is one who fights for what is his and he is one who is strong and stands firm in his faith.  A godly man must always be on guard against physical, spiritual and legal threats against himself.  And very importantly a man must realize that during the divorce process his wife is his spiritual and legal foe.  He must protect himself from possible threats from her at all times.

During your divorce you will face battles on many fronts.  You will face many battles in your own mind.   You may face dark thoughts of suicide or sometimes even dark thoughts of hurting your wife.  You may feel depressed and feel that you will never marry again.   And this is why it is good for you to seek out a men’s support group to work out these feelings.  We men can often be loners.  But divorce is no time for a man to be alone.  We need the brotherhood of good Christian men around us to lift us up during this difficult time.

And while it is not wise to engage in any new relationships with women during your divorce process – there is nothing wrong with holding on to the hope that you will have another wife in the future after the divorce is over. Just make sure you don’t rush into a marriage to another woman without fully vetting her.

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7 Things That May be Stopping You from Getting Married

Young people are having a harder time getting married today than at any point in human history. In a new 3 part podcast series on BGRLearning.com, I take the Bible and show how our modern society’s rejection of patriarchy has caused finding a spouse to be much more difficult. But I also show from a Biblical perspective how young Christians can be putting obstacles in their way and keeping themselves from getting married.

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