Why God cares who does the dishes

“God does not care who does the dishes, the laundry, the cooking, or the changing of diapers and husbands and wives should share equally in these tasks of the home “– this is what is commonly taught in Christian circles.  Another thing we hear today is that “gender roles” are simply a cultural phenomenon and that the gender roles in the Bible were “temporary” and “for those cultures and times only”.   But a closer examination of the Scriptures reveals a very different answer to the question of whether or not gender roles are “cultural” or “Biblical”.

“This has been an issue since we have been married. I believe he works hard while at his job, but his work at home is inconsistent… I don’t resent the hard work, I just struggle with resenting him being OK with me racing around while he just sits there. I feel angry, and I feel hurt. I want to feel like we’re on the same team, working together.”

The previous statement is part of a story I received as a comment from a Christian wife who calls herself ‘M’.

M’s feelings are extremely common among many women today.  Whether they work full time outside the home or are stay at home mom’s many women bear the majority of the load in carrying for the affairs of the home (cooking, cleaning, laundry) and the care of the children.

In her full story below you will read that M has determined that her husband is lazy from the very beginning. This is not in question for her.  You will also read that she feels the domestic affairs of the home (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry) and caring for the children should be a “team” effort between a husband and wife.

So how should M deal with her husband’s laziness and his lack of a team effort in tackling the affairs of their home? Before we answer M’s dilemma let’s look at her full story in it’s entirety.

M’s Story

“Do you have any advice for a wife with a lazy husband? Obviously since I am not the spiritual head of my household my response should be different. My husband works full time (36 hrs/wk as a nurse). I worked full time also for years but now stay at home with our 1 yr old son. This has been an issue since we have been married. I believe he works hard while at his job, but his work at home is inconsistent. He has been taking classes on and off while working, and he has done some renovations over the years as well, and he does do most of our financial management.

There are times where he has worked hard. But there are also large stretches of time where there is nothing other than his 36 hr/wk job, as well as a period of time between nursing school graduation and his first nursing job, and he contributes very little to the home. This includes the time before I was a stay-at-home-mom. When I was working full time, I was also doing all of the laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning, including basic picking up after him (dishes and trash and clothing left lying around).

Now, as a stay at home mom, I expect to do a majority of the housework, but I often feel alone and abandoned and like we’re not a team. I love a clean house, I love making meals from scratch, and I love to be organized, I love to be frugal, and I love to work hard.

But I do feel hurt when I wake up early in the morning on his days off to try to exercise and spend time with the Lord, and then try to wrangle the kid while I cook breakfast and clean up my husband’s messes from the night before and try to get laundry going, etc, while he just sleeps in. Sometimes I’ll have breakfast on the table and he won’t even get up out of bed to eat it with me (this isn’t unreasonably early, this is between 8 and 9 am), wasting the food that I just went through the effort to make.

Sometimes we’ll make plans to go to the park before the baby’s naptime on his day off, and I’ll be ready to go, and he won’t get out of bed to actually go with me. I feel like he is content to sit and watch movies or surf the internet while I am out of breath racing up and down the stairs juggling many different plates at once.

He does help some with the kid (he will change diapers and bath him sometimes, kind of resists if I ask him to read to the baby before bed). This afternoon, he came home from class and fell asleep on the couch and didn’t want to get up, I took the baby to small group by myself, he’s still on the couch now and has been sleeping for almost 6 hours.

We recently went on vacation, and I did the meal planning, all of the cooking, most of the dishes (he actually did help once or twice when I asked but this is very atypical), all of the cleaning and organizing, packing stuff for us and the baby when we’d go out on hikes and such, as well as being the one to wake up early with the child and during the night with the child.

He just sat on the couch watching TV the majority of the time we were in the cabin. After we got back from vacation, we invited some friends over last minute for dinner who were moving out of the country so that we could see them one last time. An hour before they were supposed to arrive, he laid down to take a nap while I cooked, cleaned, and took care of the kid. I said something so he ended up helping.

I don’t resent the hard work, I just struggle with resenting him being OK with me racing around while he just sits there. I feel angry, and I feel hurt. I want to feel like we’re on the same team, working together. My heart is to be a good helper to him, to be a hard worker for the Lord, and I am happy to serve him and take a load off of him, especially during times where he is taking a class or doing some project in addition to working, however, I feel like even when his load is light (such as between graduation and getting a job, or while on vacation, or when we were both working full-time), he’s content to just let me do it all while he relaxes. He loves to relax.

I wonder if I’m enabling him, but I want to be submissive and respectful, too. I’ve considered getting pastoral counsel on this, but, again, I don’t want to make him look bad, although I genuinely want the counsel as to how I should best respond. I don’t think I’ve ignored his headship and wandered out on some crazy limb away from his authority either and taken on some kind of heavy work load that he didn’t want me to take in the first place. For example, it’s not like I’m running some ministry he didn’t want me to take on in the first place and then complaining about how tired I am. I believe I’m operating in the vision that he has for our home. And my heart is not to nag him.

I’ve talked to him multiple, multiple times, but I feel like it doesn’t end well. He doesn’t get angry, but seems indifferent. He doesn’t seem very repentant, and if he apologizes, it’s the sort of forced-sounding, awkward apology that a young child would give. He tells me he’ll try to do better, and a few small things have changed over the years but largely things are the same. I feel nervous about having more children although we both want more. I don’t want to live in bitterness, but I fight bitterness almost every day over this issue.

What do I do? Should I just silently press on and fight to keep my heart in check and be a servant like Jesus? Set boundaries? Be vocal and ask for help? Talk to my pastor? We’ve gone to marriage counseling once with one of our pastors, and I’ve brought it up multiple times, but he seems indifferent and I finally gave up asking because I felt like I’d be taking the reins in our marriage if I pressed the issue. Should I just go alone to seek help on how I should personally deal with this (that feels weird to me)? I would really love some help. Thank you.”

My Response to M and other wives who feel their husbands should chip in more at home

M, I think it is wonderful that you love to work hard and take care of your home.  I think it is great that you love to make food from scratch which is a forgotten art in many homes today. I am sure you love caring for your child as well.

I know first-hand as a husband who has worked from home for almost a decade how difficult caring for all the affairs of the home can be including having to care for a child while you do other things.  I have watched my first wife and then my second wife have to deal with the affairs of the home sometimes under difficult circumstances.

I can also see in what you wrote a genuine desire to serve your husband and submit to his authority but I also see you struggling with frustration and bitterness toward him in this area of helping out at home and working more together as a “team” in tackling on the affairs of the home.

Before I continue I want to be clear on your husband’s schedule as a nurse. My wife was a nurse for about 15 years before she became disabled after a car accident.  During that time, she sometimes did the 36-hour schedule.  That meant she had to work 12 hours a day for three days in a row and then she was off work for 4 days. The hospital then pays nurses what they would normally make for a 40-hour work week because they worked three twelve hour shifts in a row.  Working that many hours a day for 3 days is very stressful and is much harder than working 8 hours or over 5 days.  Being a nurse is a very mentally and physically challenging job.  I just wanted to clarify that for my audience.

The heart of the matter

I think this statement from you below illustrates the core issue for you:

“I don’t resent the hard work, I just struggle with resenting him being OK with me racing around while he just sits there. I feel angry, and I feel hurt. I want to feel like we’re on the same team, working together. My heart is to be a good helper to him, to be a hard worker for the Lord, and I am happy to serve him and take a load off of him, especially during times where he is taking a class or doing some project in addition to working, however, I feel like even when his load is light (such as between graduation and getting a job, or while on vacation, or when we were both working full-time), he’s content to just let me do it all while he relaxes. He loves to relax.”

You are a hard worker.  You don’t mind doing it all when you see that your husband is busy with classes or projects around the house.  As long as you and he are both working everything is fine for you.  But it bothers you when he has a lighter load going on and he is just sitting there doing other things like surfing the web, watching TV or napping. That is what bugs you.

Before I directly address your feelings on this let me share a couple of stories to try and help put things in perspective.

The hard-working woman

A woman straps her child to her back and goes to the market to buy wool and cloth to make clothing for her family. She gets up early in the morning to prepare made from scratch meals for her family for the day. She goes and buys a field and plants it all while carrying for this child while she works. She then comes home and prepares dinner with the food she had prepared early that morning. Sometimes she stays up half the night working on her spindle making blankets or clothing. The extra blankets and clothing she makes she takes to the markets and sells. She takes the extra food she makes and gives to the poor around her.

You know what her husband is doing during all this? He is sitting as he leads their town and leads her home. When he comes home he has nothing to worry about because she has dinner hot and ready and their home in order.  It is her pride and joy to make sure he never has to worry about anything at home.

The story I have just described is based on the virtuous wife of Proverbs 31.

Does God care who does the dishes?

I remember several years ago, the Pastor of our church was talking to us as men about helping our wives around the house.  He made a comment about a mission trip he had been on to a foreign country.  He said something like this:

“Guys – I went to this foreign country [I can’t remember the country] on a mission trip.  I got up from the table to take my dishes into the kitchen and scrape my plate as I would at home with my wife.  The wife in this home literally stopped me and took my plate from me.  Now that might not seem strange except for the fact that her husband explained this was not just because I was guest in their home.  It was because in their culture men did not do house work – women would find it insulting for men to do anything in the house.

In his culture, men work outside the house and women work inside the house.  He said when he comes home he just puts his feet up and relaxes.  Gentlemen – you might wish your wife was like those women but you need to wake up! We live in a different culture here in America and our wives expect us to help them around the house. God does not care who does the dishes!

You know what that means?  It means when you get home from your job outside the home your job inside the home is just starting! In the same way, it is insulting to that woman in that foreign country for her husband to clean or help around the house – it is insulting to American women if a man comes home from work and just puts his feet up and does not help her around the house.  You are not done working until your wife is.

Christ was a servant leader who washed the feet of his disciples and admonished them to do likewise to their brethren.  If Christ washed his disciple’s feet, the least you can do as a husband is to wash the dishes and serve your wife in helping her to care for the affairs of your home.”

There are three things that are Biblically wrong with this Pastor’s philosophy.

Rebuttal #1 – The Bible trumps culture

There are many different types of cultures in the world.  Each nation, each state, each city or town and each family have their own cultures.  There are also religious and ethnic cultures that transcend all these boundaries.

As Christians, it is not wrong for us blend in with our culture where our cultural values do not conflict with the Bible. The Apostle Paul told us this regarding Christians working within their cultures:

“20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.”

1 Corinthians 9:20-21 (KJV)

However, the same Apostle Paul gave Christians this admonition:

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

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Culture does not always determine what is right.  In fact, sometimes we may have to live as Christians in ways that are counter to our culture.

Rebuttal #2 – Women keeping the home is not just cultural – it is Biblical

So, that brings us to this question – Was this Pastor and the myriads of Christians who agree with him right that “God does not care who does the dishes”?

The Bible answers this question for us several passages of the Scriptures.

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil…27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 & 27(KJV)

“4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

Titus 2:5 (KJV)

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

I Timothy 5:14 (KJV)

Who has God given the responsibility for caring for the domestic affairs of the home? The answer as we can see from these passages is the wife.  Now I understand to our modern world this seems petty – and we think roles mean nothing.

But there are certain things God calls us to do as men and women that mean so much more than what we see on the surface.

When a man leads his family in following God’s Word, sets boundaries and limits and corrects them when they don’t live up to God’s Word he is symbolizing the leadership role that God has with his people. When a man provides for his family by working each day and providing the resources for his wife to buy food, clothing and shelter he is symbolizing God’s provision for his people. When he stands up for and protects his wife and children again is he symbolizing God’s protection of his people.

When a woman submits to her husband’s leadership – even when she does not agree or does not understand his positions she is symbolizing the way God’s people are to follow him. When a woman serves her husband by caring for the needs of his children, his home and his body she is symbolizing the service that God’s people are to give to him.

So, the Biblical answer to the question “Does God care who does the dishes?” is a resounding “YES”!

He wants the wife to do this as part of her service to her husband and this service to her husband is symbolic of the Church’s service to God. These women in “old fashioned” cultures around the world that insist on caring for the affairs of the home are not just following tradition – but they are following Biblical command and example toward women even if they don’t realize it.

Rebuttal #3 – Jesus washed his disciple’s feet but his disciples did not EXPECT him to do it

Many Pastors, teachers and other Christians attempt to use the “servant leadership” of Christ to cancel out a large portion of the Scriptures in regard to the duties God has given to wives. In fact, most Christian teaching today makes marriage into a “wife-centric” institution.

If we look at the life of Christ – did he spend the majority of his time cleaning people’s homes, serving people food and washing people’s feet? The answer is no.  It is interesting that even in the story of the feeding of the 5000 – Christ simply provided the food (as men do for their families) but he passed the serving of that food to others. Christ spent the vast majority of his time pursing his mission.

God has given each man a mission.  Some men are called to full time Christian service as Pastors, missionaries, Christian school teachers or other Christian ministries. But many other men are called by God into secular fields such as science, military, engineer, construction or other labors.  While a man’s home (the loving, leading, providing and teaching of his family) is a PART of his mission from God – it does not make up the entirety of his mission.

A man’s career is to do two things. It is to provide for his family and it is to make an impact on his world for God.  The Scriptures exhort us that “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10a) and “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”(1 Corinthians 10:31).

So if a man is a carpenter – then God has called him to be the absolute best carpenter he can be. If he is an engineer – then God has called him to be the best engineer he can be. In his pursuit to do his job to the best of his ability this will sometimes require a man to work more hours or get more education in his off work time. If a man talks with his wife and children and spends time with them yet he fails to provide for his home or make an impact on the world outside his home then he has failed the primary mission that God has given to men in this life.

But for a Christian woman her primary mission from God is very different.  Unless God calls a woman to a celibate life in his service – her primary focus is to be on serving the needs of her husband, her children and her home.  If she becomes distracted by activities outside her home to the neglect of the needs of her husband, her children and her home then she has failed the primary mission God has given to wives.

This is not to say that Christian wives cannot have an impact outside their home for God.  But it can never come at the expense of their first duty to their home.  For instance if a woman has a great ministry at church teaching a woman’s Sunday school class but this causes her to neglect her husband or her children or her home she should step down from such a ministry.

Let’s now return to the topic of Christ washing his Apostle’s feet. You know what another very interesting part of Christ’s washing of his Apostles feet was? Did his Apostles expect him to do this? No.  In fact, they were shocked at him doing this and initially refused until they understood that he was trying to teach them a lesson.

So, what was the real lesson from Christ washing his Apostle’s feet? The lesson was twofold.  The first lesson is that those who are in authority should be willing to help those under their authority. The second lesson is that those under authority should ALLOW, but not EXPECT those in authority to help them with tasks that rightly belong to them.

The Bible tells us this regarding helping one another:

“2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. 5 For every man shall bear his own burden.”

Galatians 6:2-5 (KJV)

While the word “burden” appears in both verse 2 and verse 5 the Greek words behind these English translations are different. The First “burden” in verse 2 is a translation of the Greek word “Baros” which is a “heaviness” or “trouble” and the context indicates a burden that is beyond what someone could reasonably be expected to bear on their own. The second burden in verse 5 is a translation of the Greek word “Phortion” which in this context means a “load” as in the load that might be put on a ship or a cart.

So, when we combine Christ’s washing of his Apostle’s feet (John 13:14) with Paul’s admonition to bear each other’s burdens but also to carry our own load (Galatians 6:2-5) the truth of the Scriptures becomes clearer.

In the context of marriage, husbands should be willing to help their wives when they believe their wife is truly overburdened and in need of assistance. Every good leader should be willing to step in and help those under him when he sees a true need for help.  But those under authority should never EXPECT for their authority to step in and help them – especially when it is something that falls within their sphere of responsibility.  But if their authority wants to help – they should graciously accept this help.

Expectations verses Allowances

My father has said to me many times over the years that “expectations are marriage killers” and he is absolutely right. But let me clarify something.  It is not wrong for us to expect our spouse to do tasks which are part of the primary roles God has given to husbands and wives.

A wife is not having some unreasonable expectation when she is upset that her husband has been sitting on the couch and out of work for 6 months playing video games.  It is reasonable and Biblically backed for a woman to expect that her husband will do his best to provide for their family.

Can a wife have a reasonable expectation that her husband will give her leadership and guidance as to how to handle things in the home? For instance can she expect him to help set policies for their budget or how to discipline their children? Of course she can. Because that is a primary responsibility that God has given to husbands.

But on the flip side – can a wife expect that her husband will just come home from work and that he will just jump in and help with the dishes and making dinner? No she should not because that is not part of the primary responsibilities that God has given to a husband.  Now if he volunteers to help than by all means she should allow him to help.

Wives need to change their perspective and their expectations

M really it is all about perspective.  By your own admission when you feel your husband has worked hard and is busy with classes and other projects around the house besides his job you don’t feel bad about working hard because you know he has worked hard.  But where you feel resentful is when you feel that you are working harder than him and he should be helping you out.

You need to let go of this expectation.

M, earlier I described for my readers what a typical 36 hour week for a nurse looks like working three 12 hour shifts in a row.  I was not saying that your husband is not capable of helping you around the house and with the kids those other four days he does not work.  In fact, I know of many of my wife’s nurse friends who do the 36 hour work week and then during their other four days off they are taking care of all the needs of their home and caring for their children.

So the question is not whether or not your husband would be capable of jumping in and helping you on his days off. The question is do you have a right as his wife to expect this?

When you feel more like a maid than a wife

Let try and frame this another way. There is a popular Christian female blogger named Sheila Wray who runs a blog called “To Love Honor And Vacuum”.  The theme of Sheila Wray’s blog is “when you feel more like a maid than a wife and mother”.

How often do we hear women say things like “I feel more like a maid than wife and mom” or “I feel more like a nanny than a wife” or “I feel more like a sex slave than a wife”?

To her credit Sheila Wray does encourage women to care for the needs of their husbands, their children and their home. She often offers good advice to women in helping them to organize their days better. But there is also some feminist tendencies that poison her teachings. I disagree with her on the basis of Christian marriage, submission and her take on male sexuality (but that is for a whole other series of articles).  But now let’s examine these three common complaints from wives.

What is a maid?

It is a woman who cares for the domestic affairs of the home.  Sometimes maids cook, clean and do laundry. We have previously shown from the Scriptures (Proverbs 31:10-31, Titus 2:5, I Timothy 5:14) that God in fact does expect wives to do the very same things that maids typically do.

What is nanny?

A nanny is a person who cares for the needs of children.  She feeds them, bathes them and weens them.  Again the Scriptures show us that this is part of the primary responsibility that God has given to wives.

What is sex slave?

A sex slave is a woman who is purchased by a man for the sole purpose of having sex.  They is no intimate relationship between the two beyond the act of sex. There is no commitment by this man be a husband to this woman or to be a father to the children this woman might have as a result of their sexual relations.

Contrary to popular belief – the Bible never allowed men to have sex slaves. I wrote an entire article on this subject entitled “Did the Bible allow men to have sex slaves?” where I debunk the common belief today that concubines in the Bible were sex slaves.  If a man wants to have an intimate sexual relationship with a woman then he must take on the full responsibilities of the marriage covenant with that woman.  There are no half measures allowed by God when it comes to sexual relations between men and women.

Concubines were “slave wives”, not “sex slaves”.  In the Bible there were two kinds of wives. “free” wives and “slave” wives.

A “free” wife was a woman who was the daughter of a free man and another man would give her father the Bride price to purchase her as his wife.  Any children they had together would be legally entitled to certain inheritance rights and would bear his family name.  Sometimes a “free” wife was a widow or divorced woman. If a man had to marry his brother’s widow then their first child would carry his brother’s name and not his so that his brother’s line would not die out.

A “slave” wife was acquired in one of two ways.  Either she was purchased as a slave(simply to do domestic work) and the man then decided to take her as a wife or she was captured as a prisoner of war and brought back to be a man’s wife.  Husbands could elevate their “slave” wives to the status of a “free wife” in granting her children his family name and giving them full inheritance rights but they were not required to do so unless the woman was an Israelite servant girl whom they chose to make a wife.  They had to treat Israelite female slaves differently that foreign slaves in this regard.

But you know what both “slave” wives and “free” wives had in common? They were both required to have sex with their husbands whenever their husbands asked for it. He did not have to earn it by doing romantic things for them. It was his right. One of the primary responsibilities of a wife is to submit her body fully to her husband for his sexual pleasure.

So while husbands should never treat their wives as sex slaves – wives should realize that part of the primary duty as a wife is to fully submit themselves sexually to their husbands.

My point in covering these three categories of “maid”, “nanny” and “sex slave” is this:

A wife is called by God to perform the very same services that a maid, a nanny and a sex slave would be expected to do toward a man.

This does not mean she is a maid, a nanny or a sex slave – because a wife is so much more than these things.

Are maids and nannies called by God to submit to her master as unto God himself (Ephesians 5:22)?

No, but wives are.

Are maids and nannies called by God to give their bodies sexually to their masters and do they have the right to sexual access to their master’s bodies (I Corinthians 7:3-5)?

No, but wives have these responsibilities and rights.

Does God call on masters to know their maids and nannies and honor them as they would their wives (I Peter 3:7)?

No, but husbands have these responsibilities toward their wives.

What it really means when a woman says “I feel more like a ____ than a wife?”

When you as a wife allow this thought to go through your head – “I feel more like a [fill in the blank] than a wife” you really need to examine your thoughts closely. If you feel more like a maid than a wife this shows resentment toward the domestic affairs of the home to which God has called you. If you feel more like a nanny than a wife this shows resentment toward your duties to care for the needs of your children.  If you feel more like a sex slave than a wife this shows resentment toward your sexual duties to your husband.

Why do women often feel resentment in these areas? There are two answers to this question:

  1. Lack of praise and gratitude (in whatever form they like praise and gratitude) from their husband for their performance in these areas.
  2. The feeling that he is not doing what they expect is his part in these areas.

Should a husband praise his wife in her various roles as the keeper of his home, the mother of his children and his lover in the bedroom? Absolutely. The Bible gives us this example in Proverbs 31:28 where the husband praises his wife and I Peter 3:7 where the husband honors his wife.

But lack of praise from a husband does not grant a wife the right to harbor resentment in these areas.  Two wrongs never make a right. A woman should always remember that ultimately her service to her husband is her service to God.  While praise makes it easier and gives her energy to do even more – a woman should never use lack of praise from her husband as an excuse to allow bitterness and resentment to grow toward him.

In the same way perhaps a woman feels her husband could do more around the house or more to help the children.  Maybe she feels he could do more in the bedroom to sexually please her.  Again his real or perceived failures in these areas does not grant a wife the right to become bitter and resentful toward her husband.

Conclusion

Yes God does care who does the dishes, the laundry, the cooking and other cleaning around the house.  He cares about which gender is the primary caretaker of the children. He cares about who leads the home.  He cares about who provides for the home.

All of these gender specific responsibilities are symbolic of the relationship of God and his people.  They represent so much more than what we see on the surface.

Are there reasonable expectations that husbands and wives can have toward one another based on the roles God has given husbands and wives? Yes.

A woman can reasonably expect that when she goes to the grocery store to buy food that money will be in the account because her husband has provided it for her.  In the same way a man can reasonably expect that when he comes home from providing for his family that his wife will have dinner on the table and his house and children in order.

But in the context of this discussion of husbands helping with the domestic affairs of the home – wives should NEVER EVER expect this from their husbands. If their husbands want to help (without being nagged to do so) then they should allow them to help. But never should this be expected.

This expectation toward men in regard to the domestic affairs of the home has sown the seeds of resentment and bitterness in the hearts of many wives in culture today.

M – As exhausting as being a stay at home mom can be sometimes you will find that when you let go of these unbiblical expectations toward your husband and leave him to God you will have more energy to do these things.  When you realize these things are your task – and your task alone and any help you get from your husband in these areas is a BONUS and not a right you will feel like a weight has been lifted.

Image sources:

Hand washing fork – free image from pixabay.com

Woman with child on back in market -By Peter van der Sluijs – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Woman washing dishes in sink – Villalobos, Horacio, Photographer

How to train your wife not to be jealous

Do you have a Christian wife whose jealous behaviors drive you nuts as a Christian husband? Does she want to know your every move? Does she need to know about every phone call you make? Does she need to know the password for your computer or the electronic devices? Is she jealous of any time you spend with your guy friends or perhaps she is even jealous of time you spend with your children?

If this is the case with your wife, then you may have the first type of jealous wife which is a possessive jealous wife.

But then there is a second type of jealous wife. This the wife who constantly compares how you treat her with how her friends are treated by their husbands.  Perhaps she even compares you to couples on TV and how the husband’s treat their wives. Her comparisons may be about words of affection, or gifts or going places together.

If this is the case with your wife, then you have the second type of jealous wife which is an envious jealous wife.

But aren’t some kinds of jealousy from a wife a good thing?

Jealousy is a bit like anger.  It is often what we do with these feelings that makes them sin or not sin.  However, there are some things we have no right to be angry over and there are some things we have no right to be jealous over.  The Bible tells us that we must compare every thought and feeling we have against the knowledge of God and make it obedient unto Christ.

“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”

2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)

There is actually only one type of jealousy felt by wives toward their husbands that we see is accepted by God and actually can be a force to motivate a wife to be a better wife and that is the envious type of jealousy.  But before you get confused and think I am saying the behavior of the envious jealous wife in my example above is acceptable before God please know I am not saying that at all.

“But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.”

Romans 10:19 (KJV)

God actually took a new bride, the church, in order to make his first wife Israel jealous. God had warned his first wife, he rebuked her and called her to come back to him, he disciplined her and finally had to divorce her (Jeremiah 3:8).  But he still loved her.

The type of jealousy that God was trying to provoke in Israel was not a possessive jealousy because in God’s design of marriage a wife never possesses her husband, but rather he possesses her.  Rather God was trying to prove an envious jealousy in his former wife Israel when she witnessed the affection that God lavished on his new bride – the Church. The Bible tell us that in the future this final act of God to provoke his first wife to jealousy will work and the nation of Israel will return to him (Romans 11:26).

If a wife uses her envious jealousy to make herself a better wife so that she may earn more affection from her husband, then there is no sin in that.  But if she allows her envious jealousy to make her bitter toward her husband for him not showing her certain types of affection or giving her certain things she desires then she has allowed her jealousy to cause sin in her life rather than good.

Wives are forbidden from having possessive jealousy toward their husbands

In the last couple sections, I talked about the fact that the only type of jealousy God allows from wives and even sometimes encourages from wives toward their husbands is the envious type of jealousy.  If only envious jealousy is allowed for wives and even then it must be channeled for self-improvement, not bitterness this then leaves out possessive jealousy.

God actually prescribed a test for husbands when they felt jealous toward their wives in Numbers 5:12-31.  There are many non-believers and even some Christians today who mock this passage as some sort of “Biblical voodoo” but make no mistake those who do so attack the very integrity of the Word of God. While it is impossible for Christian husbands to practice this today as the Old Testament priesthood has been done away with and Christ is now our new high priest and the law has been changed (Hebrews 7:12), it does prove the point that God allows for men to be possessively jealous of their wives.  Can men sometimes be too possessive of their wives? Yes but that is a topic for another post.

But while God prescribed a test for husbands who felt jealous toward their wives if they felt they were being unfaithful to them – God prescribed no such test for wives who felt jealous toward their husbands.  Why? Because in God’s design a wife does not possess or own her husband but rather the husband exclusively owns and possesses his wife.

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

Exodus 20:17 (KJV)

The English translation of Proverbs 31 masks the ownership of the husband over the wife.  The word that is translated as “husband” in Proverbs 31 is not the normal Hebrew word for husband but rather it is the same word used for owners of slaves and livestock:

“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband (lit. Owner) doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

Proverbs 31:10-11 (KJV)

For more on the topic of husband’s owning their wives and children and the treatment of human property in the Bible see my article “Does the Bible teach the concept of human property?

The reason that a husband owns his wife as well as the reason for the Bible calling for the subjection of women to their husbands is because the husband/wife relationship was designed by God as a symbol of the relationship between himself and his people.

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

Ephesians 5:23-24 (KJV)

Does the Church own Christ or does Christ own the Church? The answer to that question is the same answer as to if a husband owns his wife. This is why we see a bride price being paid for women to their father’s throughout the Bible.  The transfer of a daughter from her father to her husband was a property exchange.   Is this entire concept of men owning their wives and children offensive to our modern egalitarian views? Of course it is. But it is the God’s design according the Word of God.

But it is for the reasons I have just shown that a wife is absolutely forbidden from having or acting on a possessive jealousy toward her husband.  Her husband does not belong to her but rather she belongs to him and he belongs to God.  When a wife allows herself or is allowed by her husband to act in a possessively jealous way toward her husband this breaks the symbolism and roles in marriage which God designed.

Ways to train your wife in regard to her jealousy

Step #1 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your thoughts

Women are usually far worse about this than men although there are some overly possessive men that are bad in this area.  But many wives want to know or possess every thought in their husband’s head.  They do not have a right to possess these thoughts of their husband.

If you want to share your thoughts with your wife, then you can.  If you don’t wish to then tell her you do not wish to.  She has no right to your thoughts.  Even with husbands I have mentioned that while the husband role has the most power of any human authority God did not give husbands the ability to read their wives’ minds or the power to compel their thoughts.

As Christians we are required to be “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”, rather than making our every thought captive to our spouse, parent or other human authority. Husbands have authority over their wives’ words and actions, not their thoughts. God is the only one who knows our thoughts and can command our thoughts.

Step #2 – Correct her possessive jealousy toward your time

The Bible requires husbands in regard to their wives to “dwell with them according to knowledge” (I Peter 3:7) and this certainly would require a husband spending some time with his wife and talking to his wife. You can’t know your wife’s heart, her needs, her concerns without spending some time with her.

However, you as her husband and the head of your home are the determiner of when you spend time with your wife.  You might have to travel for work or even if you don’t travel you may have to work a lot of hours locally. You need to spend time with your children and you should set aside some alone time for yourself as this is a healthy thing to do.

But what you need to emphasize to your wife is that yes you recognize that you need to set aside some time to spend with her, but she does not possess your time and it is your discretion as to when you will spend your time with her.

Step #3 – Correct her possessive jealousy regarding other women

The position I take based on my understanding of the Scriptures on this particular type of jealousy is going to be the most controversial and it where I will spend the most time on this topic.  Most Christian preachers and teachers today will teach that wives have a God given right to be possessively jealous toward their husbands regarding other women.  They teach this based on these beliefs:

  1. Polygamy was a corruption of God’s design for marriage. So if a woman’s husband has any sexual thoughts about other women, or enjoys visually taking in the view of other women or if he desires to marry a woman as an additional wife this is not based on a God given desire but it comes from his sin nature.
  2. Because they believe man’s polygamous nature is a corruption and not by design they believe all his sexual thoughts and energy must be solely directed at one woman – his one and only wife.
  3. While many Christian teachers believe the first two points I have just given on this third point they will disagree. If a man’s desire toward a variety of women (polygamous desire) is a corruption of God’s design of his sexual nature, then does his wife have the right to confront him and force him to focus all this sexual thoughts and energy on her? Those who believe a wife has the power to confront and rebuke her husband’s sin will say yes.  Those who believe a wife has no such power will say she must pray for her husband and leave him to the Lord.

But regardless of whether they embrace all three beliefs most Christian teachers will maintain that a wife’s possessive jealousy toward her husband is justified because she is simply reacting to her husband’s violation of God’s design of marriage.  They just disagree on what she can do based on that jealousy.

But these beliefs in the justification for wife’s possessive jealousy toward their husbands in regard to other women do so in defiance of the Scriptures.

To reject the polygamous design of man is to reject the weight of the Scriptures

The three most common arguments that anti-polygamy advocates attempt to use to support their belief that polygamy is a corruption of God’s design of marriage and sexuality are:

“God only gave Adam one wife in the garden of Eden, not many” (Genesis 2:21-24)

“God says a pastor must be the husband of one wife” (I Timothy 3:2)

“Look at all the jealousy that was caused between wives because of polygamy” (Genesis 29 & 30)

The first argument is faulty based on rules of Scriptural interpretation.

Whenever we are trying under God’s will on any subject we need to follow certain rules.  The New Testament interprets the Old Testament, commands outweigh examples and the weight of Scripture interprets Scripture. The anti-polygamy stance of the modern Christian church is a violation of the last two rules.

Anti-polygamists give us the example of God only making one wife for Adam as proof that polygamy is against his design yet they ignore examples of God saying he gave David his Saul’s wives (2 Samuel 12:8) and the example of God picturing himself as a polygamist husband to two wives two passages of Scripture (Ezekiel 23:2-4 & Romans 10:19).

So right there we have examples that God does in fact allow polygamy.  But the evidence does not stop there. Rather than just example we actually have a direct command from God allowing men to take other wives as long as they care for their first wives (Exodus 21:10-11).

The second argument regarding the qualifications for bishops is faulty as well. God’s restriction on pastor’s having one wife is not worded as a condemnation of polygamy or a change in God’s position on polygamy. If it is referring to a restriction against polygamy, then it is a restriction for pastor’s only just as priests in the Old testament had stricter marriage rules than other men (Leviticus 21:14).  It could just as easily be referring to the fact that a Pastor must not have divorced any of his wives as there is similar wording for widows serving in the church that they had to have “been the wife of one man” and this was referring to divorce.

The third argument regarding jealousy is perhaps the weakest of the three arguments against polygamy. It assumes that the jealousy of these wives toward each other and their husband lay at the feet of the practice of polygamy. Often the story of Rachel and Leah from Genesis 29 & 30 is one example of jealous wives that anti-polygamists use.

The funny thing is this story if you examine it closely actually works against anti-polygamists.  In this story we have Jacob who is madly in love with Rachel yet he tricked into marrying her older sister Leah who is less attractive first. God sees after he marries Rachel that Jacob is not showing the love for Leah that he should so makes her fertile and he makes Rachel barren. Leah has an envious jealousy toward Rachel and she tries to have as many children as she can for Jacob so that maybe he will show her the affection she so desires.

Eventually Leah does something that would make modern women today cringe.  She actually gives her husband her servant girl as a wife and God actually rewards her for it by giving her another son.

“And Leah said, God hath given me my hire[or reward], because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar.”

Genesis 30:18 (KJV)

But anti-polygamists would have us to dismiss all these Biblical examples of God condoning polygamy and his express command allowing it based on their arguments from the creation example, the qualifications for a pastor and the fact of jealous wives.

The fact is God designed men with the capacity and desire to have multiple wives in the same way he designed women with the capacity and desire to have multiple children.  Until the Roman empire outlawed polygamy after the time of Christ society did not condemn men desiring multiple wives. And until the dawn of the feminist movement over a century ago society did not condemn women for desiring multiple children.   Now society condemns both.  But God’s design has not changed.

For more on the discussion of polygamy see my series “Why polygamy is not unbiblical” as well as my article “Was polygamy a sin God overlooked in the Old Testament?”.

So how do you as husband confront this type of possessive jealousy in your wife?

First you need to teach your wife the Word of God.  Take her through the Scriptures I have mentioned here regarding the polygamous nature of man. Let’s face it – most men in our culture will never be able to actually marry multiple wives both because of economic reasons and the societal taboos against it.  And yes, polygamy has been made illegal but the governments of man have no business in an institution that God created.  Laws against having multiple wives are about as valid as laws against having multiple children(China). Yes, we are to obey man’s laws as long as his law does go into areas God did not give the government power over (examples would be marriage, family and the church).

But regardless of whether or not your wife accepts the evidence from Scripture that God created you as a man with a polygamous capacity and nature she must accept that she is not your head and you are not accountable to her but to God.  If she disagrees she must accept the disagreement and agree not to hound, you about enjoying the beauty of other women.  Now as anyone who has read my posts on polygamy and sexuality knows I am not talking about men gawking at women everywhere they go.  That is rude. I am talking about me taking tasteful glances of beautiful women.

Step #4– Help your wife channel her jealousy into a positive force for change

Previously I had mentioned that a woman’s jealousy can actually be a positive force.  In this last step I want to elaborate on that with examples. Now I purposefully had to hold this step for last because I needed to discuss the polygamous nature of men in step 3 first.

This last step I am going to write in a way that you could present it directly to your wife.  Even if your wife rejects the Scriptures I have shown proving the polygamous nature of man I believe she still could channel her jealous energy into these steps and she may find that you look at other women less if she is constantly getting your attention in other positive ways. So with that being said here is a list you can give your wife with ways for her to channel her jealous energy into positive actions.

  1. If you see that your husband seems to be looking at red heads the perhaps dye your hair red.
  2. If you see that your husband seems to like a certain type of blouse or skirt on a woman, then go and buy a blouse and skirt similar to that.
  3. If you see your husband looking at women that are thinner than you then you have to ask this question – “Am I way overweight compared to when he met me?” Now obviously with having children and age women gain weight and some of it is almost impossible to lose and you have to recognize your limitations. Maybe you will never be the weight you once were but have you given up? Have you lost as much weight as you can for your age and body type? So instead of being angry at your husband for looking at women that are less overweight perhaps you can channel that jealous energy into losing weight.
  4. If you are walking through the mall and you see your husband glance at a couple of women in their early 20’s and you are mom of 4 in your mid 30’s how do you compete with that? The answer is you don’t. You will never be that young again. But you have something those women do not have. You have experience. You have a history with your husband and that counts for something. I believe Christian wives should have sexy selfies standing by.  Maybe your husband glances at a few young women and instead of getting mad you send him a selfie from your personal library with a sexy note about what he has to look forward to when he gets home.
  5. And here is the toughest and most controversial one of all. According to a survey taken in 2014 as reported on in the Washington Times “79 percent between the ages of 18 and 30 said they watch pornography at least monthly, while 29 percent of them said they view it daily.” So if you are married to man 30 or under there is almost an 80 percent chance that he is looking at some kind of porn (whether softcore or hardcore) on a monthly basis. So the question is whether you agree or disagree with this practice will you grow bitter and angry toward him and allow your pride to make you feel justified as so many women do today? Or will you channel your jealousy into more positive actions? If you catch your husband looking at porn why don’t you show him the real thing right there and then if possible? Or perhaps you might look at some porn yourself just to get an idea of different things you could do to spice things up in the bedroom.

Every one of these steps requires a woman to humble herself and realize that she does not possess her husband but instead he possesses her. God did not make him for her, but rather he made her for him (1 Corinthians 11:9).  It calls on her to put all of her pride and insecurities to death and for her to instead channel her jealous energy into positive things that will strengthen her husband’s affection for her rather than diminishing his affection for her.

Your wife can look at this list and even listen to all the other principles I have put here and choose one of two paths.

The path of pride

Your wife can choose the path of pride and allow her jealousy to grow into bitterness toward you as her husband.  She can comfort herself with this thought:

“I don’t have to change; I don’t have to compete for my husband’s affection.  He owes it to me no matter what I do! The way I look is the way I look – I am not changing a thing whether it is how I dress, how much I weigh or what I do for him sexually. He is supposed to be completely satisfied in whatever I do or don’t do.  He is supposed to be a one-woman man and that one woman is me!”

The path of humility

Your wife can choose the path of humility with this simple thought:

“My husband was not made for me, but I was made for him (1 Corinthians 11:9). God made his nature different than mine and I will accept it even if I don’t completely understand it. Whether I agree or disagree with all his actions my duty is to be the best wife to my husband that I can be according to I Peter 3:1-6. That means if I see my husband looking at other women whether it be as we go shopping in a store or him looking at images of women on his computer I am going to strive to channel my jealous energy into a positive force to bless my husband and I will do everything I can do to draw him closer to me and not push him away.”

Conclusion

There is good jealousy in wives and bad jealousy in wives.  Often times it comes down to how they channel their jealousy.   Will she channel her jealousy into being a better wife or will she allow it to cause bitterness in her heart? The choice is hers.

But this leaves us with the question of “What if my wife refuses to see that her actions based on her jealousy are not a positive force for change but a negative force that will tear the marriage apart?” This is a very real possibility. I am going to leave that question for my next article that this article is a prelude too.

I have mentioned porn in this article as well as some previous articles over the last year or so.  I have had many Christian men and women email me over the last year asking for a detailed answer to the question of porn use by believers.  I have been working on this article on and off for the past year writing it and rewriting it many times. I am hoping to publish it within the next week or so.

Is it wrong for my Christian husband to make me wear a chastity belt?

chastity_belt

“What are your feelings about a husband placing a chastity belt on a wife to prevent masturbation or fondling?” This a question I received in an email from a woman named Mary.

As I told her in my emails to her this is the first time anyone has ever written me about this.  I knew what a chastity belt is but usually we think of this as some medieval device long since gone out of use.

There is a great debate amongst historians as to if chastity belts were ever actually used in ancient times or if they were simply urban myths meant to scare women into guarding their sexual purity.

But there was an actual incident this year where an Italian woman had to call the fire fighters to cut her out of her own chastity belt because she lost the keys:

“Chastity belts might sounds as though they belong in the Middle Ages, but this week an Italian woman was forced to enlist the help of local firefighters after she became stuck in her own iron number.

The middle-aged woman, who can’t be named for privacy reasons, had lost the keys to her belt and asked firefighters to help cut her out. They investigated whether she’d been forced into wearing it – but it turned out she’d had chosen to wear the belt to prevent herself from embarking on a sexual relationship.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/chastity-belts-the-odd-truth-about-locking-up-womens-genitalia/

So with all that being said as a background here is Mary’s full story and then I will respond.

Mary’s Story

“What are your feelings about a husband placing a chastity belt on a wife to prevent masturbation or fondling?  Does he have that authority?  He believes that if I self-gratify myself, that I am taking away from our mutual pleasure.  The device is a belt, from which a shield covers my private parts and is locked on…allowing for urination, but not for fingers.  So, it works, but I always worry someone will find out, which would be highly embarrassing.

And I am grateful he cares so much for our intimacy.  But, it does have that medieval bondage aspect to it.  As I already stand out in my manner of dress, I feel like it is just another distinction I have from my friends and fellow Christians.  Then, I wonder if there are other Christian wives out there who have to follow rules like me, and I will never know because of their secrecy.  Make sense?

I am sure the issue of consent will be raised by commenters.  I do consent (even though I cannot remove it, if I wanted) but the question is do I have to consent to such a request by husband as a Christian wife?”

An update from Mary

A couple weeks after Mary sent me the original email you see above she then sent me this update:

“I wanted to give you an update.  I have not been a fan of wearing the belt and shield, but I see the wisdom in it.  Since early July, Jim has had me wear it each day.  It is amazing to me how much I had been sinning by consciously or unconsciously gratifying myself.  Obviously, the belt prevents me from using my fingers or an object.

But, I found out that I had been sitting and leaning against things to evoke that same stimulus without realizing it—but the shield prevents that.  For example, when in the kitchen waiting on something to bake, I would stand on one leg and draping my other leg over a bar stool in the kitchen.  With the belt/shield on, I suddenly realized that I was, passively, doing this to give some light pleasure to myself.   Because, the belt/shield prevents this, I realized that I had formerly been doing this as a way of comfort, and that this posture made no other sense.

Make sense?

Our intimacy has been greatly increased when he unlocks the belt.  I still have mixed emotions about why I was so weak to necessitate him doing this.  However, I love that he jealously wants to protect our intimacy and relationship.”

I respond to Mary’s seeming acceptance of this practice of wearing a chastity belt asking her why she thought she had “been sinning by consciously or unconsciously gratifying myself.” This was her response:

“My thoughts were that gratifying myself can be wrong under the following circumstances:

  1. Hurts our spouse: Like you said, if I gratify myself often enough, then I do have much less sexual desire for my husband.  This did get to be a problem for us (not proud to admit it)

  2. Gratifying myself retrained my brain away from my husband: When I gratify myself, I have a couple or routine fantasies I dwell upon.  Well, those fantasies do not involve my husband, but other scenarios or people.  So, when I have sex with my husband, my body was not reacting to him like my body was reacting in my fantasies.  I guess I was training it to respond to a certain stimulus in my fantasy, and my husband is just not able to provide that same stimulus in real life.

  3. By dwelling on circumstances or people outside my marriage bed to feed my fantasies, would that not be considered mental adultery, and thus make it a sin?”

My Response to Mary and other Women who are forced to wear chastity belts

I think we really have two issues here.  The first is the issue of whether masturbation is Biblically right or wrong and the second is if chastity belts are an appropriate response to masturbation if in fact it is Biblically wrong.

Now what percentage of chastity belts are worn by women trying to guard themselves from sexual temptation and what percentage are from husbands who make their wives wear them? Who knows?  But in either case it is apparent there is some subculture no matter how small that is employing the use of these devices.

The first question we need to answer is about the morality of masturbation.

Is Masturbation wrong for a Christian?

This is a huge subject that could take a whole article by itself which is why I wrote an entire article dedicated to answering this question from a Biblical perspective entitled “Is Masturbation a sin” a while back.

The short answer is that masturbation is not a sin in and of itself and the Bible never condemns it.

Rather than repeat everything in the article I wrote on masturbation here I will just address the most popular argument that has been used to say God does not approve of masturbation.

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

Genesis 38:9-10 (KJV)

This story in Genesis 38 is about a man named Onan who was called upon to fulfill his duty to enter into levirate marriage with his sister-in-law after his brother had died and not left her a son to be an heir for his estate.  Instead of fulfilling his duty to give his dead brother’s wife an heir, he had sex with her and then pulled out at the end.

God did not kill Onan for masturbating.  God did not even kill Onan for pulling out.

Neither are sinful activities. Onan could have refused to take his brother’s wife as his wife. Yes it would have been a shame on him but this would not have been worthy of death.  What was worthy of death was the fact that he enjoyed his brother’s wife sexually “he went in unto his brother’s wife” but his intent was fraudulent and that is why he pulled out (“spilled it on the ground”).  This is the wickedness for which God killed Onan.

Can masturbation become sinful?

I have shown from the Bible that masturbation in and of itself is never condemned in the Scriptures.  However there are many things that are not sinful in and of themselves but they can become sinful if they become the central focus of our lives or if they cause us to sin by neglecting our duties.

For instance I play video games with my kids on Friday nights – that is family night for us.  There is no sin in playing video games during our fun time together on the weekend.  However if I were to play video games during the week to the neglect of my job or spending time with my wife and children in other ways it could become an obsession and sinful.

We need to eat.  There is no sin in us desiring food and eating on a daily basis.  However, if we live for food and constantly over-eat simply for the pleasure of eating we commit the sin of gluttony.

Masturbation is actually much closer to us eating food than to us playing video games.  There is no biological imperative to play a video game.  There is however a biological imperative to seek sexual release.

Some say masturbation, sexual thoughts and sexual intercourse are not needs but simply wants.  After all – no one ever died from not masturbating or not having sex right?

What these same people miss is that while not having sex will not kill an individual – it will however kill a marriage and lack of sex if done on a consistent level worldwide would kill off the human race.

So in the same way that we are compelled as individuals to eat so we will not die, we are also compelled as spouses and as a human race to have sex so as to build intimacy in our marriages an ultimately to preserve the human race.

But can masturbation become sinful? Absolutely.  If we do it too often to the neglect of our other responsibilities then it becomes a sin to the extent that we overdue it. If we come to the point where as a married people we would rather masturbate than have sex with our spouse then we need to look at how often we are masturbating.

But as I have often argued on this site in other places I believe that as Christians our sexual fantasies, the use of SOME types of porn (not all porn) and masturbation can in fact be used in positive ways to increase our desire for our spouse or help us to understand our bodies better.  Masturbation can also help teens, college students and other singles to stay sexually pure and not seek sexual relations outside of marriage. Masturbation can also make up for differences in sexual desire between spouses.

So up to this point we have established three very important truths.

Masturbation in and of itself is never condemned in the Bible.

Masturbation when done in moderation can have positive benefits.

Masturbation can become sinful if it is overdone causing the neglect of our other responsibilities and especially if it causes us to neglect our spouse sexually.

Mary’s case is a prime example of masturbation impeding a person’s sexual desire toward their spouse.  She admits here that her masturbation was interfering with her desire for her husband.  Mental fantasies, the use of porn and masturbation can all become wrong if those things decrease our desire for our spouse.

But how should Mary and her husband handle her masturbating too much? Is a chastity belt the right answer to this problem?

Is the use of chastity belts by Christians wrong?

I believe the use of chastity belts by Christian women whether the use is voluntary by the woman or compulsory by the husband is in fact wrong and sinful.

It is sinful for two reasons.

Chasity belts are wrong because they remove free will and place people in bondage

“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

II Corinthians 3:17 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:1 (KJV)

Bondage is the complete opposite of freedom and a chastity belt is a form of bondage. God wants us to freely choose to do what is right. Bondage takes away that choice.

Now are there consequences for wrong choices with God? Yes!

God gave Adam a choice regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2:16-17.

God gave the Israelites a choice in Deuteronomy 30:15-18 to serve him or disobey him and he told them what would happen based on their choice.

Christ presents us with a choice to believe in him or not we are told the consequences of that decision in John 3:18 as well as many other New Testament passages.

There are few and rare times where the Bible allows for bondage or slavery.  In the case of prisoners who have committed crimes or in war captives may be taken.  If a person was born a slave, or sold themselves as a slave in order to pay their debts this would be allowed. Parents could sell their children as slaves and often times this was to bring their families out of poverty.

But nowhere does the Bible say that husbands can treat their wives as prisoners which is in essence what this practice of a man forcing his wife to wear a chastity devise does.

The practice of using chastity belts is a harsh and cruel treatment of the body

Here are several passages of Scripture which forbid us from being cruel to or harshly treating our bodies:

“Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 19:28 (KJV)

“For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church”

Ephesians 5:29 (KJV)

“20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

Colossians 2:20-23 (NASB)

What Mary and her husband are doing with her wearing a chastity is direct violation of Colossians 2:20-23.  It is textbook “self-abasement and severe treatment of the body”.

What should Mary do?

I have shown here why I believe Mary’s practice of wearing a chastity belt is wrong whether she does it by choice or is compelled by her husband to do so. Mary is not to submit herself this type of bondage and cruel treatment toward her body.

But Mary does have a problem with masturbating too much and allow her fantasies to get out of hand to the point that she cannot have good normal relations with her husband.

Instead of placing herself in bondage – Mary needs to exercise self-control and discipline.  She needs to choose do the right thing without having a chastity device to compel her choice.

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”

I Corinthians 6:12 (KJV)

Photo Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fomfr_chastity_belt.jpg

Do Christian wives have to submit to Bondage and Sadomasochism requests from their husbands?

“My husband has begun to practice your “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” plan on me because I will not participate in the BDSM activities that he desires. I want to have sex with him! Just not with BDSM.” – This is part of an email I received from a Christian wife who calls herself Olivia.

So is refusal to participate in BDSM activities as a form of sexual foreplay the same as sexually denying one’s spouse?

What is BDSM?

This is the definition of BDSM according to Wikipedia:

“The term BDSM is first recorded in a Usenet posting from 1991, and is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism).”

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

This is another definition of Bondage from Wikipedia:

“Bondage is the practice of consentually tying, binding, or restraining a partner for erotic, aesthetic, and/or somatosensory stimulation. Rope, cuffs, bondage tape, self-adhering bandage, or other restraints may be used for this purpose.

Bondage itself does not necessarily imply sadomasochism. Bondage may be used as an end into itself, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage. It may also be used as a part of sex or in conjunction with other BDSM activities. The letter “B” in the acronym “BDSM” comes from the word “bondage”. Sexuality and erotica are an important aspect in bondage, but are often not the end in itself. Aesthetics also plays an important role in bondage.

A common reason for the active partner to tie up their partner is so both may gain pleasure from the restrained partner’s submission and the feeling of the temporary transfer of control and power. For sadomasochistic people, bondage is often used as a means to an end, where the restrained partner is more accessible to other sadomasochistic behaviour. However, bondage can also be used for its own sake. The restrained partner can derive tactile pleasure from the feeling of helplessness and immobility, and the active partner can derive visual pleasure and satisfaction from seeing their partner tied up.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondage_(BDSM)

So in summary BDSM is when one person consensually allows themselves to be tied up and possibly punished by another person and may even endure physical pain either for their own pleasure or for someone else’s pleasure. BDSM may or may not be used as foreplay for sex.

Before I give my response to Olivia’s dilemma here is her full statement to me.

Olivia’s Story

“BGR,

My husband has begun to practice your “7 Ways to Discipline Your Wife” plan on me because I will not participate in the BDSM activities that he desires. I want to have sex with him! Just not with BDSM. He says my unwillingness to submit to BDSM practices is a form of sexual denial and I’m not fulfilling my Christian duty if I don’t do this for him. We have been married for 18 years. I have followed his desires and tried to even initiate sex for all our 18 years of marriage. I even tried the BDSM stuff a few times to see if I could do it. I hate it! Every possible scenario. Sex doesn’t happen until he has finished “the game”. I’m done!

I want a normal (whatever that is) sex life. No more “games”. Just us in the bedroom with nothing but skin. Mad passionate sex! Yank each other’s clothes off, can’t wait to touch you, sex – which has never happened. I’m going through menopause, he says I don’t have any sexual desires right now. I do, it’s just not what he wants. I have prayed, cried out to God for wisdom, we went to marriage counseling, nothing has changed. And now he sends me links to your site and gives me the ultimatum.

He says his “needs” aren’t being met and I’m sexually unavailable for him. I’ve already gone through the steps you have given on what to do. Talked with our pastor (with him), counseling, confront him, pray. I’m not an outspoken kind of person, just someone who is trying to save” her marriage. He is a good man, he has some control issues, but most of his actions are from a Godly heart. Any help would be great.”

My Response to Olivia and the issue of BDSM as it relates to Christians

Requests for BDSM come not only from some husbands as is the case in Olivia’s story, but sometimes they actually come from Christian wives too.  I know of a Christian man whose wife left if him for another man because he refused to practice BDSM as sexual foreplay.  She wanted to be tied up and gagged with a ball in her mouth and she wanted to act out rape fantasies with him. She wanted him to be rough with her and choke her during sex.  He thought this was disgusting and refused to act out these fantasies with her.  So she found another man who would and eventually left her husband for that man.

So how should a Christian husband or wife respond to requests for BDSM from their spouse? I believe the answers are clear when we understand the Biblical associations of bondage and pain.

Christians should not seek pleasure through bondage and pain

The Bible associates bondage and pain with this world that has been corrupted with sin.

“Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

Romans 8:21 (KJV)

“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?”

Galatians 4:9 (KJV)

“To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Genesis 3:16 (NASB)

No Christian ought to take pleasure from being bound or binding someone else. No Christian out to take pleasure from causing themselves pain or causing pain to others.

Christians should embrace liberty and healing

Rather than seeking enjoyment through bondage and pain, Christians should seek freedom and healing both for themselves and those around them.

“18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Luke 4:18-19 (KJV)

 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

Revelation 21:4 (KJV)

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Galatians 5:21 (KJV)

What about fluffy handcuffs and silk ties?

When I talk about Christians not submitting themselves to bondage for sexual pleasure I am not talking about a wife playfully taking some clothes and tying her own hands around the bedpost or using fluffy handcuffs that she can easily get out of it.  These are playful things.  Just check out those links above and you will see the disgusting types of bondage activities I am talking about (warning some images on Wikipedia regarding BDSM are graphic).

What if my spouse refuses to have sex with me without BDSM?

I am not sure but I believe this may be the case with Olivia. If your spouse refuses to have sex unless you engage in BDSM foreplay then it is they who are in fact sexually denying you.  If this is the case and you are a husband I suggest you follow the steps outlined in my article “8 Steps to confront your wife’s sexual refusal”.  If you are a wife and this is the case then I suggest you follow the steps outlined in my article “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal”.

Get counseling for people who have BDSM fetishes

If your spouse is willing to –encourage them to seek out a good Biblical Christian counselor who can help them overcome these sinful desires.  In many ways people who have BDSM desires are really no different than those who have homosexual or bisexual desires.  These desires are all sinful corruptions of the natures that God gave us.

“If you don’t think wife’s can refuse sex to their husbands you must be into BDSM!”

I can’t tell you how many times I have been accused in emails of being a person who enjoys BDSM with my wife because of my view that a wife cannot sexually refuse her husband. Let me be perfectly clear.  I have never nor will I ever engage in BDSM practices with my wife.

People write me on almost a daily basis with statements like “Why would any man want to have sex with a woman who does not want to have sex with him?” My answer to them is simple – no normal man wants his wife to be refusing him for sex.  No normal man enjoys sex with his wife when she does it grudgingly in the way he enjoys it when she gives herself freely to him. But he realizes that sex must occur in marriage for many reasons even when his wife may not be in the mood.  This is not the optimal situation and this is not what a loving husband wants.

But let me be clear that a husband accepting his wife’s grudging and reluctant consent to sex and then engaging in sex with her under those conditions is not the same as a man who takes pleasure in forcing BDSM activities on his wife. 

In the first case – the husband gets no pleasure from acting against his wife’s will, in the second case the majority of the husband’s pleasure actually comes from acting against his wife’s will.

And just for all the rape accusers out there.  When I say a husband “acting against his wife’s will” I am talking about her mood and desire for sex.  I have said it repeatedly on this site that while I do not believe that Biblically speaking there is such a thing as “marital rape” I do believe that a husband who physically forces himself sexually on his wife is engaging in physical abuse and he is abusing the authority God have given him over his wife.  When I say a husband is “acting against his wife’s will” in the first case – it is where she reluctantly or grudgingly gives CONSENT to sexual relations, but make no mistake consent is given.

And sorry rape accusers – consent does not have to be “enthusiastic consent” or its rape as you like to say.   Grownups realize that whether it is comes to sex, or going to our jobs or doing many other things in life – sometimes we consent do doing things unenthusiastically because we know we should even though we don’t feel like it.

Conclusion

If your spouse tries to do what Oliva’s husband has done and attempts to say you are sexually denying them because you refuse to participate in BDSM activities as foreplay to sex you need to let them know your conviction that these acts violate your conscious and you feel that God would not want you as a Christian participating in them. Be sure to be loving when you do this.  Especially if you are a wife you need to really do this with a great deal of respect and reference for your husband.

What Olivia so longs for with her husband – “Just us in the bedroom with nothing but skin. Mad passionate sex! Yank each other’s clothes off, can’t wait to touch you, sex” is a desire that has been given to her by God and she should feel no shame in that. Her husband on the other hand, needs to realize that his desires for BDSM foreplay with his wife are not desires that God gave him.  They are a corruption of the original nature God gave him and he needs to recognize them as such and repent.  He most likely needs to seek out a Biblical Christian counselor to help him to deal with these sinful desires to cultivate a natural sexual desire for his wife as she has natural sexual desire for him.

If her husband refuses to have sex with her until she agrees to BDSM as foreplay to sex then she practice the steps outlined in my article “4 Steps to confronting your husband’s sexual refusal”.

And just a closing note to husbands like Olivia’s. Never on this site have I ever told men they can divorce their wives for sexual performance issues – only sexual denial.  Those are completely different things.  I have men all the time writing me asking me things like “If my wife won’t perform oral sex on me can I divorce her for sexual refusal” and I always answer them with a resounding NO!

Many men and women may lack in the sexual performance area but just because your spouse won’t perform sexual acts (outside of intercourse) does not mean you can leave them.  You need to first examine if what you are asking for is Biblically acceptable sexual behavior. If it is then speak with them gently about it.  If they refuse then pray for them.

In other words as Christian husbands we should NOT punish our wives because they won’t do certain things like wear lingerie, act in sexy ways toward us or perform oral sex on us.  

However I do believe that we can use positive reinforcement to encourage our wives to act outside their comfort zones in the area of sexual performance.  Basically you let your wife see by your actions (not your words) that when she “steps it up” in the bedroom by doing things outside her comfort zone that in response you “step it up” outside the bedroom by doing extra nice things for her.

Should a Christian Wife Worship her Husband?

 

The Bible tells us that Ruth laid at the feet of Boaz(Ruth 3:7-8) and it calls on women to follow Sarah’s example who called her husband ‘lord'(I Peter :6).  There are still parts of the world today where women bow before their husbands and even kneel before their husbands each day to put his shoes on before he goes out to work.  The Bible tells wives to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord” in Ephesians 5:22.

All of the Biblical passages on a wife’s submission to her husband leads us to this very question that was recently asked by one of my readers:

“Is it wrong to worship my husband? I love him and want to please him in a way that worship is the only way I can describe it.”

I can’t tell you how many emails I have received from people over the years saying that I am telling women they must worship their husbands.  In this article I will give what I believe the Biblical answer to this question is.

What does “worship” mean?

Here are three definitions of “worship”:

“: the act of showing respect and love for a god especially by praying with other people who believe in the same god : the act of worshipping God or a god

: excessive admiration for someone”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/worship

“  1. reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred.

2. formal or ceremonious rendering of such honor and homage:

They attended worship this morning.

3. adoring reverence or regard:

excessive worship of business success.

4. the object of adoring reverence or regard.

5.(initial capital letter) British. a title of honor used in addressing or mentioning certain magistrates and others of high rank or station (usually preceded by Your, His, or Her).”

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/worship

“the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.”

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=definition+of+worship

So we can see in these definitions from three dictionary sources that worship has to do with reverence, adoration, and deities.  I personally believe Google’s summary definition of “the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity.” most accurately reflects the correct understanding or our English word “worship”.

Does the Bible command wives to reverence their husbands?

“reverence” is defined as:

“: honor or respect that is felt for or shown to (someone or something)”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reverence

1. a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe; veneration.

2. the outward manifestation of this feeling:

to pay reverence.

3. a gesture indicative of deep respect; an obeisance, bow, or curtsy.

4. the state of being revered, or treated with respect tinged with awe.

5, (initial capital letter) a title used in addressing or mentioning a member of the clergy (usually preceded by your or his).

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/reverence

“1.deep respect for someone or something.”

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=reverence+

As we can see our English word “reverence” has to do with “deep respect”, “awe” and “veneration”.  It is pictured by someone bowing down to another.  You would show reverence when you meet the President or a governor.  People coming before a King would do so in reverence.

So the answer to the question “Does God call women to demonstrate reverence as we have just seen it defined toward their husbands?” is YES.

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

Ephesians 5:33 (KJV)

God tells wives to reverence their husbands in Ephesians 5 where he has just finished explaining that marriage symbolizes the relationship between God and his people, between Christ and his Church. In the beginning of his discussion on marriage he told wives this:

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

Paul tells wives they are to submit to their husbands “as unto the Lord”.  While the Greek word is “kurios’ in the original text of the Scriptures is “lord” the reference here is not to “a lord” as in an earthly master.  The reference is to “THE Lord” as in God himself. So it is would be entirely correct to say Biblically speaking wives are to submit to their husbands as they would to God himself.

There is no other human relationship, whether it be the parent/child relationship, servant/master or citizen/governor that calls for this type of submission. The submission of a wife to her husband is the most powerful and all-encompassing submission of any human relationship God designed.

The casualness of marriage today

Reverence and respect are foreign words today in marriages and in homes in general.  Children no longer respect their parents and wives no longer respect their husbands.  We have very casual way in which we now approach one another – whether it be in how children approach their parents or in how wives approach their husbands.

The result of this is that children often talk to their parents in very disrespectful manners and wives often talk to their husbands in disrespectful manners.  To put it bluntly – both women and children have forgotten their place.

People in favor of a more casual approach to God as well as to marriage will often point to passages like these from the Bible showing that God calls us his friends:

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”

John 15:14 (KJV)

“And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

James 2:23 (KJV)

What they do not realize is the concept that there are friends that are equals, and friends that are not equals.

“He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.”

Proverbs 22:11 (KJV)

If you are friends with a coworker or fellow student at school then it is a friendship of equals.  In this type of relationship you can be more casual because of your equal positions. But if you are on friendly terms with your boss at work, your teacher, or even your governor, President or King this is not an equal friendship and this must always be kept in mind by those under authority.

This is the continual balance that must be kept between those in authority over others and those under authority.

Today when people say “I want to marry my best friend” – most often what they are really saying is they do not want a patriarchy style of marriage but rather a partnership style of marriage which is a violation of God’s design for marriage.

Am I saying it is wrong for a wife to call her husband her best friend or husband to call his wife his best friend? No.

I think it is possible for a Christian couple to fully practice the Biblical Patriarchal form of marriage and also consider each other to be friends.  The Bible calls us friends of God so I see no reason why a wife could not be a friend of her husband.

But in that friendship it must never be lost on a wife that her husband is more than her friend – he is her superior and her authority. That means sometimes he will have to correct her, discipline her and do things that she will not like or agree with.

What this means in practice is that a wife should treat her husband as her king. 

Can she be friends with her king? Of course.  Can she respectfully give advice to her king? Certainly.  Can she respectfully bring her grievances before her king? Definitely.  But in her relationship with him she never forgets her position or his.

So now that we have established that the Bible does teach that wives are to reverence their husbands we will now move on to the subject of wives adoring their husbands.

Does the Bible command wives to have adoration toward their husbands?

“adoration” is defined as:

“: strong feelings of love or admiration”

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/adoration

“1. the act of paying honor, as to a divine being; worship.

2. reverent homage.

3.fervent and devoted love.”

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/adoration

“deep love and respect.”

https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=adoration+definition

I think Webster’s dictionary definition of “strong feelings of love or admiration” for adoration best describes it.

So does the Bible say a wife should have deep feelings of love and admiration for her husband? YES.

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

Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

The English phrase “to love their husbands” could also be translated as “lovers of their husbands”.  This is deep and passionate love that a wife has toward her husband.

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

Proverbs 12:14 (KJV)

A wife is not only called by God to passionately love her husband, but she is also called to be his crown.  A crown brings a king glory as it adorns his head.  A wife is called to do the same for her husband.  This is why God says “the woman is the glory of the man.”(I Corinthians 11:7).

So we can see clearly from the Scriptures that God commands women to have adoration for their husbands.

So if women are to have reverence and adoration toward their husbands then should they worship their husbands?

Now we come to the answer to this question of wives worshiping husbands.  As we have seen from the definition of worship in most cases it involves three things – reverence, adoration and a deity.  Yes wives are to reverence and adore their husbands.  But the Bible is clear that we are to worship God and God alone:

“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.”

Revelation 19:10 (KJV)

The context of Revelation 19 is that an angel of God had shown John all these wonderful things and I am sure the angel was a glorious sight so he bowed to worship him.  But he was forbidden from doing this and reminded that worship is reserved for God and God alone.

It is Biblically accurate to say that a husband’s position and authority over his wife is in fact the closest human authority to God’s authority over all mankind.  But while a husband’s position may closely resemble God’s authority – it is not identical to God’s authority.   God’s authority has no limits while every sphere of human authority does have it is limits – including the authority of a husband.

Should a wife submit unto her as unto God as the Scriptures exhort her? YES.

Should a wife show reverence toward her husband? YES.

Should a wife show adoration toward her husband? YES.

Should a wife worship her husband? NO.

God and God alone deserves our worship.

Is it wrong for a woman to bow to her husband as shown in the picture?

Now that I shown from the Scriptures that women are not to worship their husbands do I believe what the woman in the picture at top of my article was doing is wrong? NO.

Women should have that kind of respect and adoration for their husbands that they could bow before him and not feel like this is wrong.  Bowing before an authority, whether it be a king of a country, or the king of your home is not an act of worship. It is a deep sign of respect.

When women in some countries kneel before their husbands each day to put his shoes on before he goes to work this is a sign of deep respect.

But doesn’t a wife bowing before her husband dishonor her?

No it does not.  The Bible does call on husbands to honor their wives, but this honor is given relevant to her subordinate position.

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

There is an interesting contrast in Scripture that most Christian teachers and preachers miss today.

Wives are called to submit themselves unto their husbands in this way:

“as unto the Lord”

Husband are called to give honor unto their wives in this way:

“as unto the weaker vessel”

Now I want you to stop and think about that contrast. Literally what the Bible is saying is a woman should give her husband the same type of submission as it would be appropriate to give to God.  Where a husband is called to give his wife honor that is appropriate to her subordinate position as the weaker vessel.

So yes husbands should honor their wives as the husband of Proverbs 31 did that praised his wife for her accomplishments in his home.  But a husband ought not to give his wife honor that is above her position as some men do today.

Today the biggest problem we face is not women wanting to worship their husbands as this reader’s question might suggest. The biggest problem we face in our modern culture is very much the opposite.

Today instead of husbands giving honor unto their as wives “as unto the weaker vessel” they now give honor unto their wives “as unto the Lord”.  

Just look at a random selection of romantic cards for women in a card shop and tell me I am wrong. Look at the lyrics to most romance songs today and tell me I am wrong. Watch a typical romance movie today and tell me I am wrong.

So yes women ought not to worship their husbands. But it is equally true that husbands ought not to worship their wives and this is by far the greater problem we face in our world today.

How should a Christian wife deal with her higher sex drive?

“How do I get my husband’s sex drive to increase…We’ve been married for five years now, and he still doesn’t want to have sex more than twice a week… Is there anything wrong with pleasing myself every day until he wants something?”  – This is part of a comment I received from a woman who calls herself Kat in response to my post “The benefits of being a sexually obedient wife”.

Christian women are often embarrassed to admit that they have higher sex drives than their husbands for the simple fact that in most cases husbands usually have higher sex drives than their wives.  But there are some situations in which a wife may actually have a higher sex drive than her husband and this is nothing to be ashamed about.

For some couples the man had a higher sex drive in their younger years but as they age it actually reverses and when the woman is older she actually wants it more than him. For some men stress in their jobs may decrease their drive while for others they have lost their sex drive due to years of sexual denial by their wife in the earlier years of their marriage. But it does not seem to appear that any of these things I have mentioned are factors in Kat’s story.  Below is her full comment.

Kat’s Story

“How do I get my husband’s sex drive to increase? I’m really horny all day, but my husband only wants to have sex once a week, if that. It’s disappointing, because I thought marriage came with that added benefit. We’ve been married for five years now, and he still doesn’t want to have sex more than twice a week. I get that a lot of couples go through this, but I don’t know how to cure it myself. Is it okay to go out and buy toys? He’s not cheating on me (he works from home, it would be pretty obvious), he’s definitely heterosexual, he doesn’t even have a laptop to be sneaking porn, is loving and wonderful to me, and doesn’t have a very stressful job. It’s just a low sex drive, which he readily admits to. Is there anything wrong with pleasing myself every day until he wants something?”

My response to Kat

As I said in my introduction you have nothing to be ashamed of for having a higher sex drive than your husband. Also it does not necessarily mean that your husband has any less love or attraction to you because he wants to have sex less than you.

Some men simply have lower drives – it is rare but it does happen. It might also be a situation of low testosterone but contrary to all the commercials out there a man getting testosterone treatments does not mean he will automatically want more sex. Also they are now discovering there are health risks to artificially increasing a man’s testosterone level.

“How do I get my husband’s sex drive to increase?”

Kat you are demonstrating a very important difference between men and women when it comes to sexual desire.  It is true that both men and women both what their spouses to truly desire to have sex with them as much as they do. Mutually strong desire – that is what we would all love to see every time we have sex as a married couple.

The difference between men and women is that for most women their husband must 100% desire to have sex with them.  If it is 90%, 80%, 50% and so on most women would say no to such a sexual encounter with their husbands.

But most men would take 90%, 80%, 50% and even some would take 0% even though they would prefer it to be at least be 50%. The reason is because for men sex is first a physical activity and then only secondarily an emotional activity. Men have a physical need to not only release their semen on a regular basis but they also have a physical need to visually take in their wife’s body, the taste of her skin and the scent of her body.

Just a note on mutual sexual desire before I continue. What I just described about men being able to have sex when they know their wife is not 100% wanting it is something that simply does not compute for a lot of women.  If I had a dime for every email and comment I got from women (and some men) where the phrase “sex should only happen when both the man and woman mutually desire it” I could retire.  This is because these women and some men are only looking at sex from the perspective of women and dismissing entirely the sexual perspective and different needs of men.

Ok In am off my soap box – back to your situation.

It sounds to me that you are like most women that if your husband does not 100% mutually desire to have sex you would not want to have sex and that is ok.

So then we come to your question about how to increase your husband’s sex drive.  While it is possible that you are right and it is just low libido I recommend you look at my post “12 Reasons your husband may not want to have sex with you” and see if there could be any other causes or contributors to his low libido.  There may not be – but it does not hurt to look.

If you determine that it really is just low libido and you could stand in front of your husband naked or in lingerie and some days he just would not care to have sex that day then you may need to handle your higher libido in a different way which leads us to your other question.

“Is there anything wrong with pleasing myself every day until he wants something?”

The answer to your question is No – there is nothing wrong with you “pleasing” yourself (i.e. masturbating) as a way to make up for the difference in sexual desire between your husband and yourself.

And there is nothing wrong with you using sex toys by yourself either.

Masturbation can be healthy way to not only make up for differences in libido but it can also help you to discover how your body works so you can have better sex with your husband.

Some might say “As Christians we are not please ourselves but only others and God”. While that may sound holy and sanctimonious that is not what the Bible teaches. We are called to deny the corrupt desires of our sinful nature. We are called to put God’s will before our own which may SOMETIMES requires us to forgo some things that are not sinful but at the time we may not be able to do.

We are not however called to deny certain natural hungers that God has designed us with.  Instead we must channel those desires and exercise them within the bounds of God’s law.

Most of us as human beings have three great hungers that are built into us by the design of God.  We hunger for food, for human contact and sex. Now some don’t have a great need for human contact where they would be perfectly happy living out in the woods in a cabin and never seeing another living soul. Others have little to no hunger for sex.  But the majority of us as human beings have a hunger to a greater or lesser degree for all three of these things I have mentioned.

Some Christians would try and tell you that God meant for all sexual activities to occur only in the marriage bed between a man and a woman.  They base this belief on passages like one from Hebrews:

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)

But they fail to see that Hebrews as well as the rest of the Scriptures restrict sexual RELATIONS to be only between a man and a woman in marriage.

The Scriptures do NOT restrict all sexual thoughts or sexual activities to marriage.

So as long as you masturbate in a way that does not take away your desire for sex with your husband to the point that you are still trying to have regular relations with him then there is no sin in this and I think it will help with your frustration at the difference in your sexual desires.

How should a Christian wife handle a deadbeat husband Episode 1

“My husband only works when he feels like it. For six to seven months out of the year he refuses to work on his business… he does nothing but play video games. This leaves me with the majority of the financial burden when he is in no mood to work for months on end. He asks his brother for money when I have used all my resources to pay the rent and there are utilities and groceries needed…

So my question is this: If my husband continues to refuse to provide for his family, to habitually deny me sex for no legitimate reason, to refuse to make provision for the possibility of children of our own, and continues to be emotionally abusive, do I have a right to, One: Divorce him on biblical grounds, and Two: Remarry without being presumed an “adulteress” someday?”

This is part of an email I received from a Christian wife who wants to go by the name of “Aria”.

A lot of my posts deal with the evils of feminism and in truth I believe it is a much larger problem in our society than the issue with men that we will discuss here.  But just as God hates rebellion in women he also hates laziness in men. So while the problem of deadbeat husbands may not be as great as the problem of unsubmissive wives in our modern culture it is still a problem that we as Christians must address.

I have received several emails like this from women over the last year and I feel it is time to start to share more of their stories so that other women will know that that God does not expect women to be trapped with deadbeat husbands.

But before we continue with Aria’s story though we need to define what I mean by a “deadbeat husband”.

A deadbeat husband is a man who refuses to fulfill any one of these 3 minimal requirements of marriage that God requires of all husbands toward their wives:

“10 If he take him another wife; her food, her raiment, and her duty of marriage, shall he not diminish.

11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out free without money.” – Exodus 21:10-11 (KJV)

The new testament also reinforces this principle of these requirements of husband toward his wife when the Apostle Paul states:

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:” – Ephesians 5:28-29 (KJV)

The word “nourisheth” has the idea of feeding or providing for and “cherisheth” is not a romantic term as we now think of it but has the idea of protection.

So if a husband refuses to provide food, clothing (also shelter) and sex to his wife she may be free of such a man in divorce.

Now that we have defined what a deadbeat husband is from a Biblical perspective now we will look at Aria’s story.

Aria’s Story

“Hello,

I have come across your blog recently in a search for answers to my biggest questions concerning wanting to divorce my husband. I will be as straightforward and matter of fact as possible as to my circumstances and my reasons for wanting out of the marriage.

A little background:

I grew up as the daughter of a minister who, despite leaving the ministry in a professional capacity, still taught and studied, abundantly, the Bible, and the works of Spurgeon, Sproul, MacArthur, Calvin, Luther, etc. I lived with my parents until I was 27. My mother was/is an extremely domineering, psychologically abusive woman, who ruled our home and my father with an iron fist. I lived in fear of her for thirty years. I was always taught that a woman should remain under her father’s authority until he gave her away in marriage, however, I saw the situation as being flipped on its head; my father being ruled by an unruly and unstable woman, and allowing it to happen. I did not feel safe nor did I feel my father had any real authority. I left that home at 27 and continued to date my husband-to-be. My family disowned me.

I married my husband 6 years ago when I was 28 and he was 39. We dated for about little over a year. We are both professing Christians. We had a Christian wedding. My husband was divorced. His wife cheated for two years, he refused to divorce her, and she, in turn, finally, divorced him – that is what I know of the story from his side only. I have, since being married, heard, second hand, that he was impossible to live with and lazy. They were 7 and 9 (boy and girl, respectively) when we married.

My husband promised to have his vasectomy reversed and for us to begin having children one year into the marriage, which he soon declared after that I had agreed to 3 years (which I did not).

These are the issues I am dealing with currently:

  • My husband only works when he feels like it. For six to seven months out of the year he refuses to work on his business blaming it on it being “the slow season” – so he does nothing but play video games. This leaves me with the majority of the financial burden when he is in no mood to work for months on end. He asks his brother for money when I have used all my resources to pay the rent and there are utilities and groceries needed.
  • My husband is irresponsible with money. He spends money on games for his PlayStation 4 and XBOX ONE (and yes he has both) before/instead of paying the bills. I have tried to be his help meet in this area going out and getting a full time job of my own. I have no issues with the income he brings in, however, it is gone by mid fall, and I am left with supporting the family from October to March or April of every year. He even got angry with me for getting us each life insurance policies, both of which I pay for myself.
  • My husband refuses to have his vasectomy reversed, and I am now 33 and am losing my childbearing years at an alarming rate. I am being denied the ability to be a mother. He has not kept his word about getting the reversal after the first year that we both agreed on before marriage. He promises me every year that he will get it done. We are now halfway into our sixth year of marriage.
  • My husband refuses to lead spiritually. I have expressed that I would like him to, but we don’t attend church together, and he only does a devotion with me if I ask him to. He has no desire to attend church or lead his family in a biblical way. He attended church regularly in his first marriage and while we were dating, so I did not see this coming.
  • My husband habitually denies me sexual relations for no legitimate reason whatsoever. (I am well within a healthy BMI, I have been a model, and am frequently asked to model. I have very good hygiene, am regularly groomed and shaved, dress well every day, and do my best to present well – this is not a brag, it is to say that there are no physical obstacles as to why I should not be pursued. In fact, he told me early on that I was his ideal woman, but that he would not tell me how beautiful I am so that I would not get a big head.)
  • I don’t know what you believe about psychological abuse, but I constantly feel manipulated, and am lied to regularly about everything from finances to when we are going to have children to what he may have told me two minutes prior. I feel the withholding of sex is just another way to try to create an insecurity and doubt within myself about whether I am worthy or not.

I moved out nearly five months ago, leaving him with the understanding that I would file for divorce by the end of this year if he did not have his finances in order, continued to refuse to get a vasectomy reversal, he continued to deny me sex, and refused to get counseling with me. I am completely self-sustaining, and he is in no way financially responsible for me at this time – but I have gone without many things I am in need of for it.

I have done my part caring for his children, being sexually available (and pursuant, despite continual rejection and verbal shaming for wanting sex), being a partner to him, keeping the house in order, respecting him and his decision-making to the best of my ability, and taking care of myself while he remains overweight, etc.

So, apart from how all of this causes me to feel worthless in his eyes, I am more concerned with what is the right thing to do under these circumstances. I believe he has not been a husband to me in any sense of the word. And, honestly, I waver, as I was taught, my entire life, that you only divorce when your husband has physically “cheated” on you, or if he is beating you and will not get help and repent. I was also taught, if you do divorce for any reason other than physical infidelity, you cannot remarry and will be considered an adulteress.

So my question is this: If my husband continues to refuse to provide for his family, to habitually deny me sex for no legitimate reason, to refuse to make provision for the possibility of children of our own, and continues to be emotionally abusive, do I have a right to, One: Divorce him on biblical grounds, and Two: Remarry without being presumed an “adulteress” someday?

On a different topic; have you ever delved into psychological and emotional abuse? I feel this is a subject that the world does not shy away from, but is prevalent, even in the church. It is an invisible, yet terribly scarring type of abuse. It goes against everything the bible says about “living with your wife in an understanding way,” caring for her as “the weaker vessel”, and loving her, giving oneself up for her “as Christ gave himself up for the Church.” To crush ones spirit, and to use emotionally manipulative tactics to do so, is abominable, and not uncommon. My own mother was this way. My own father was not obedient to God in disciplining my mother to keep her from wreaking havoc on her own family, which is scattered and broken, and has spread throughout both sides of the extended families.

Any light you can shed on the divorce and remarriage issue would be taken into careful consideration. As I feel very much like a slave in bondage needing to be loosed. I am just wrestling with the rights and wrongs and what is biblically allowed for someone in my situation.

Thanks for your time and consideration,

Aria”

My Response to Aria

I have actually known men personally who have done what your husband has done staying home playing video games while they send their wives out to work or they depend on other relatives to financially support their laziness.  It infuriates me when I see this.  I believe it also infuriates God when men do this. While laziness is sin when it happens with men or women – I believe it is especially heinous when it happens in men. God created men to be ambitious and work and make their mark on the world.

A man who has no drive to work is like a woman who has no drive to have children.  It completely goes against the gender directives that God designed in men and women.

All husbands have failings in different areas just as all wives have failings in different areas. You are right that Christian husbands have a responsibility to discipline their wives for their sinful behaviors as your father should have done with your mother.

But while husbands and wives may sin against each other in countless ways God does not allow divorce for just any sin.

The story you describe is painful to imagine any Christian wife going through. But things like a husband lying to his wife, not fulfilling his promises (even denying you a child) or not spiritually leading as he should does not give a woman the right to divorce her husband.

There are many tough marriage situations where a wife is called to practice the I Peter 3:1-2 principle toward her husband who is being disobedient to God:

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

So sometimes as tough as an ungodly husband may make things on his wife – she is still called to continue to serve him, reverence him and love him.  In some cases women can even win their husbands to obedience to God by their continued submission and service to their husbands.

However God does allow a woman to divorce her husband for these reasons:

  1. If he fails to provide her with food and clothing (shelter is implied with clothing).
  2. If he refuses to have regular sexual relations with her (sexual defraudment).
  3. If he physically abuses her or makes attempts on her life.
  4. If he abandons her.

See my article “For what reasons does God allow Divorce?” where I discuss all the Scriptures relating to each of these four points.

What about “adulterous marriages”?

The only marriage in Scripture that could be considered an ‘adulterous affair’ or ‘adulterous marriage’ is when a woman unjustly divorces her husband and then marries another man. In this case she would be considered an adulterous and the man who married her would be considered an adulterer.

Please see my article “Is there such a thing as an adulterous marriage?” for my discussion about all the Scriptures related to this topic.

What about psychological and emotional abuse?

I do not disagree that husbands and wives can treat each other in uncaring ways.  They can say hurtful and spiteful things to one another. They can sometimes do as you have said and crush one another’s spirits with their actions.

When a husband or wife do this they are not living up to the way that God expects husbands and wives to treat one another.

But I don’t think we need a special carve out for “physiological or emotional abuse” any more than we need special “hate crime” carves outs for crime as we have made today.  Murder is murder. Assault is assault. Not honoring your wife is not honoring your wife.  Not reverencing your husband is not reverencing your husband.  Provoking your children to wrath is provoking your children to wrath.

We just need to call sin what is – sin.

We don’t need new categories for sin – God has given us all the types of sin in his Word.

So can you divorce you husband?

While your husband may have committed a litany list of sins against you there are two that stand out as sins that God considers grievous enough for you to end your marriage.  The fact that he does not work consistently and makes you have to support his laziness is enough by itself to allow you to divorce him.  His sin of sexual denial by itself would be enough for you to end your marriage. These two sins together make for an air tight case for Biblical divorce.

I applaud you though for giving your husband time to repent. I don’t think anyone should enter divorce lightly without giving the offending spouse a certain amount of time to repent.

But if he fails to repent by the end of this year I believe that you can be free of your marital bonds to him as Exodus 21:10-11 clearly says.

While God can do anything it sounds like your husband has been a lazy man for most of his life and it is highly doubtful he will change.  When this year ends if God gives you peace about this I think it would be right for you to end your marriage.  And you are free to marry another man and it will not be an adulterous marriage to do so since you have divorced your husband with for just causes.

Update 5/1/2016

For those who read this story when I originally published it she has asked me to change her code name to “Aria” and remove a few details from the story that she feels may make it too specific if her husband or family were to ever read it. So if you remember her previous code name or those details please  don’t reference them in comments. Thank you.