Does the Bible condemn premarital sex and pre-wedding sex?

I know you might be scratching your head right now asking “Isn’t premarital sex and pre-wedding sex the same thing?” Biblically speaking the answer is no they are not the same.  These are two separate and distinct things.

This topic is crucial for young Christian couples who are dating or engaged to consider in this age where sex before marriage has become so common that a couple is considered weird if they do not have sex before marriage.

Does sex automatically make a couple married in God’s eyes?

Some Christians have tried to argue that there is no such thing as “premarital sex” because they believe the act of sex automatically makes a couple married.  They reason based on this logic that the Bible does not condemn something that is impossible to happen.

But the Bible does not support this notion.

We will show here from the Scriptures that there really is such a thing as “premarital sex” and the act of sex itself does not automatically constitute marriage.  Later in this article we will distinguish “premarital sex” from “pre-wedding sex”.

So if sex does not automatically constitute marriage what does?

Biblical marriage may be constituted in one of four ways.

Marriage Method #1 – A man seduces a woman into sex and her father consents to marriage

“16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.

17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.” – Exodus 22:16-17 (KJV)

One key word in this passage as it relates to the “does premarital sex exist” debate is the word “endow”.  This occurs AFTER the man has seduced the woman into having sex with him and BEFORE she actually becomes his wife (is married to her).

The word Hebrew word that “endow” is translating is Mahar which means “to obtain or acquire by paying purchase price, give a dowry” – http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/hebrew/kjv/mahar-2.html

So we have just proven from Exodus 22:16-17 beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is indeed such a thing as premarital sex in God’s view of sex.

In this passage God was saying that if a man seduced a virgin who was not betrothed to another man and he had sex with her that he had to pay her father the bride price and her father would decide if he would allow the man to marry his daughter.  The father had the power to refuse him even after the man seduced his daughter but he still had to pay the bride price because he violated the father’s property rights regarding his daughter.

But then the question must be asked – what is the lasting moral law here in Exodus 22:16-17 and what is the temporary civil law that applied only to Israel as a theocracy? There are two moral law parts in this passage and one civil law part in this passage.

The first part of God’s unchanging moral law in Exodus 22:16-17 is found here in this phrase:

“And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her”

Whether the woman is a virgin or not – God only honors sex AFTER the covenant of marriage has been established between a man and a woman:

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

All other sexual relations between a man and woman outside of marriage are either whoremongering or adultery.

The second part about of God’s unchanging moral law in Exodus 22:16-17 is found in this next phrase:

“If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him”

In Numbers 30:3-16 we see that the only way a woman had the power to make vows of her own (which would include marriage) that could not be overridden by her father or her husband were if she was a widow or divorced:

“But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.” – Numbers 30:9 (KJV)

A father’s authority over his daughter is further reinforced by the general principle of the headship of man over woman (not just a husband’s headship over his wife):

“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” – I Corinthians 11:3 (KJV)

This passage above was not talking about  marriage but rather that general authority of men over women and why women should wear head coverings in worship as a sign of women being under men. The marital status of the woman was irrelevant.

Under God’s moral law, a father transfers his ownership and authority over his daughter to her husband in marriage.  If the woman’s husband dies or he sends her away in divorce then the chain of authority is broken and she is free to marry whom she will.

What is no longer required is that a man be forced to marry a virgin he has sex with. This was a civil punishment as part of the law given to Israel a theocracy and the New Testament tells us that God’s Old covenant law with Israel a theocracy has been replaced by the new covenant that God has made with the Church(Hebrews 8:13)

This leads us to the second Biblical method of a man and woman entering into marriage.

Marriage Method #2 – A widow or divorced woman could consent to or seek marriage on her own

“And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.” – Ruth 3:9 (KJV)

We see this situation occurring with Ruth who approached Boaz to see if he wished to marry her in Ruth 3:9.  Since Ruth was a widow she had to the power to enter into marriage without seeking the consent of her father.

In the story of Ruth we see Levirate marriage being played out.  Deuteronomy 25:5-10 describes the process of Levirate marriage where a brother or near kinsman was required to marry the wife of the dead relative to raise up an heir for his dead relative’s estate.  Ruth had every right as the widow of a relative of Boaz to propose marriage to Boaz.

The only consent she needed was Boaz and then he confirmed with a nearer relative that he could in fact marry her.

Marriage Method #3 – A man rapes a woman and her father forces him to marry her

“28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found;

29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.” – Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (KJV)

This is a very controversial passage of the Scriptures that atheists and others who hate the Bible, hate the Jews and hate the Christian faith love to use to try say the Bible promotes immoral activity.  The argument basically goes “How could a loving God force a woman to marry her rapist?”

The problem is those who want to accuse the God of the Bible of issuing immoral commands are not looking at this from the perspective of the culture in which the command was given.  In the time period this was given a woman’s virginity was her most prized position.  Once that was taken she would have had a very difficult time getting married.  In a Biblical world view the greatest crime the rapist committed was not in forcing himself upon her against her will – but rather in taking her most prized possession. In a way rape was form of theft.

Remember this same woman who had been raped could have been forced to marry this SAME man before he raped her by her father.  Then she would have been compelled to have sex with whether she wanted to or not.

Some say there is no mention of the father’s consenting to marriage and that it must automatically happen.  But we must remember that no passage of Scripture stands on its own.  This passage does in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 must be understood in light of Exodus 22:16-17 which clearly shows a father must always consent to any marriage his daughter enters into (unless she is a widow or divorced).

So a father forcing the man to marry his daughter whom the man raped was a punishment against him and restitution for his daughter.  The man had to care for her the rest of her life and he could not divorce her for ANY reason.

Now this does not mean a father HAD to have his daughter marry her rapist – it was his discretion.

The real problem people have with this passage is NOT that a woman might have to potentially marry her rapist.  The real problem people have is the fact that God gives such power of a father over his daughter that he could force her to marry her rapist.

But again considering the culture of the time a father could be looking out for his daughter’s best interests.  In their culture the worst thing that could happen to a woman was not being raped, but instead not being able to get married.  If we understand this then we understand this is not something immoral that God is commanding.

Marriage Method #4 – Men could take women as captives of war and force them to be their wife

10 “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive, 11 and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife, 12 and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails. 13 And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife. 14 But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.” – Deuteronomy 21:10-14 (KJV)

This is another favorite passage of atheists and people who hate the Bible. God allows men to take women as captives of war and force them to be their wife.

A few things to mention about this.  It was actually a mercy that these men would take back some of these women as wives considering all the men and their families had been wiped out in war. They had nothing and they would probably have died on their own.

Can we guess again what the atheist’s biggest problem was? It was men forcing women to be their wives against their consent.  But God does not give people (including women) the same rights we do in our modern civilization.  And God is ALWAYS right.

Does this mean we have to take captives when we go to war and force them to be our wives? Of course not. This passage allows the taking of captive wives – it does not mandate it.

5 principles we learn from Biblical methods of entering into marriage

  1. A man may not marry a woman without seeking her father’s consent if he is still alive unless the woman is a widow or divorced.
  2. A woman may not consent to marriage without her father’s approval unless her father is dead, she is a widow or she is divorced.
  3. Based upon the 2 previously proven principles of God’s moral law sex by itself DOES NOT constitute marriage. So it is possible to have premarital sex which is a clear violation of Hebrews 13:4 where God says the only sexual relations he honors is between a man and woman in marriage.
  4. A father may force his daughter to marry a man without her consent based on his headship over her.
  5. Men may force women to marry them when they are captured during war. Again this is not something we are required to do by the Scriptures – it is only an allowance to do so.

What we don’t see in the Bible about entering into marriage is also very important

Some very important things we don’t see are any requirements to have clergy or judges conduct marriage ceremonies, requirements for marriages to occur before witnesses, or for couples to seek the approval of the government or a church.

Contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church and laws of the United States or most western countries neither the church nor the government have any authority over marriage God created the intuition of marriage long before the formation of governments or the church.

The authority to enter into marriage has always fallen under the authority of the family – and specifically that of the father, then the husband and only a woman if she is divorced or widowed and not a captive of war.

So is pre-wedding sex a violation of the Scriptures?

We have shown here conclusively from the Scriptures that premarital sex is a violation of God’s moral law. But what about “pre-wedding sex”?

Most of the time people enter in marriage at their wedding so we often confuse the too.  But a couple’s covenant of marriage and a couple’s wedding may be two separate events.  In fact a couple may enter into a marriage covenant without a state marriage license and without a wedding and the marriage may be considered binding and valid before God.

The only way such a “spiritual marriage” would not be valid is if the woman was not windowed or divorced and her father was still alive with her being under his authority.

So what this means is it would be perfectly Biblical if a man sought and received the consent of a woman’s father for marriage if the couple felt they could not wait for the wedding for them to enter into a covenant of marriage before God privately and then have sex BEFORE THE WEDDING.

Once the father has agreed to his daughter marrying a man the wedding date is only a formality.  At the moment of betrothal the woman is free to enter in a marriage covenant with her husband in private – just between them and God and then they may freely have sex.  The wedding at this point is only a formality to show the world their commitment to one another.  But the couple could choose not even to have a formal wedding.

Are there dangers in pre-wedding sex even if it is not unbiblical?

Yes but only if the man and woman do not see their vows made in private as just as binding as those that would be taken before witnesses.   But if a man and woman don’t see their marriage vows made in private as binding what makes us think they would take their vows made in public any more serious?

Conclusion

Premarital sex even amongst Christians today is at an all-time epidemic level. I believe we should look for all ways possible to take away temptations to premarital sex.  Previously I have talked about Biblical courtship and couples not allowing themselves to be alone together before marriage as a major method of preventing premarital sex.

But because our culture balks at courtship and limitations of being alone together I think that this option of “pre-wedding sex” which is made right before God by a couple entering into their covenant of marriage privately after they are engaged is a valid option that Christian couples should consider to avoid the sin of premarital sex.

Why should a couple put themselves under this pressure once they are engaged? A wedding is simply a date and a celebration of marriage.  It is not something that should hang over a couple’s head and possibly tempt them to sin because they think they have to wait to exchange vows until that day.

12 Ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating

What does the Bible say about dating? How can you as a young Christian man or woman date in a way that pleases God? Are their Biblical principles that can help young people find the right spouse?

Before we seek to answer these questions we need to look at how young men and women used to enter into relationships.

“Dating” as we know it today did not exist before the last century. Men did not have to romance women to get women to marry them. Men did not need pickup lines or any of the other tricks of getting women to show interest in them. Women did not need to “put out” before marriage to give the man a “taste of the goods”.

The two ways men acquired wives in pre-modern times

First let me address the word “acquired” which is a word usually associated with getting property. It is a well-known fact of history that women were considered the property of their fathers (or other male relative if the father was dead) and these property rights were transferred to husbands in marriage.

So it is historically correct to say that in the vast majority of cases men did not “win” their wives (by romancing them) but rather they acquired them by purchasing them from their male relatives.

The first way was the marriage was arranged by the parents when the man and woman were children and they were betrothed but the marriage was not consummated until the man had the ability to support the woman and had a home established for her.   Sometimes the arranged marriage was not from the time of the man and woman being children but was a quick arrangement when two sets of parents realized they had two adult children who were not yet married and they would have them to marry.

The second way was if a man found a woman attractive he would NOT approach the woman directly – instead he would approach her father, her brother or other male relative who was responsible for her. He would then demonstrate his ability to provide for the woman and then these two men would agree upon a bride price.

While a woman’s male relative might take her opinion into account of whether she wanted to marry a man often time’s women had little say in whom they married.

A third but rare way that men acquired wives

A third and very rare case would be if a woman had no male relatives in charge of her (no father, grandfather, brother or uncles). Only in this rare condition would a man have to deal directly with the woman herself to see if she would be interested in marrying him.

Even in this last rare case – the idea of dating did not typically happen because it was socially unacceptable for single women to entertain men who were not their husbands. If they did they might be seen as a prostitute or a whore.

There often was little to no romance involved even in the case of a man approaching a woman directly who had no male relatives in charge of her. He simply demonstrated his ability to provide for her and she would decide if she wanted to marry him.

My point in all this is, before the last century the vast majority of marriages were formed because of economic and political necessity – they were not formed based on men romantically pursing women as we see is the case today.

For these reasons you won’t find any reference to anything close to what we call dating in the Bible – it simply did not exist in pre-modern times.

The randomness and chaos of modern dating

As I have previously shown, in times past marriage was a very ordered ordeal. Parents or others elders that were looked up to often helped young people to find suitable spouses that would benefit one another economically or politically.

Today however, instead of marriages coming together on the grounds of spiritual, economic or political reasons – most marriages in the Western world come together because of pre-marital romantic feelings that a man and a woman share for one another.

Most young people enter what we now call “the dating world” without a clue of how to find a prospective spouse. They wonder aimlessly at school, college, work, church or other social functions hoping to bump into that right person.

Even when a person does “bump into the right person” or so they think – dating itself today is far from how God’s Word would have it to be.

Men pursue women by buying them gifts and make all kinds of romantic gestures to show their affection for the women they are with.  They continually have to come up with romantic words to flatter the women they are with.

Women often feel pressured to give sex not long after dating to “keep him hooked” on them.

In many ways modern dating and romance has become a form of idolatry. Listen to romance songs on the radio or watch romance movies. Are the things that these people say to each other often times not a form of worship and idolatry toward one another?

Even if a Christian couple has committed to not having sex before marriage often times our ideas of modern dating put Christian couples in very tempting positions with little to no safe guards against sex before marriage.

But there is a way to bring order to the chaos of modern dating and the answer is found in God’s Word.

12 ways to transform modern dating into Biblical dating

Here are several ways to apply Biblical principles to the modern concept of dating to bring it into line with God’s Word and it may also help you to find the right spouse that God has for you.

Dating is for marriage – not for sex or fun

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” – Psalm 25:7 (KJV)

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

“Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.” – I Corinthians 7:2 (KJV)

It is not wrong for a young person to desire to find a spouse and be married one day. In fact this is a noble and right desire and should be encouraged by all parents. When you as a young person desire to be with someone whom you know you would never marry – that is by definition a “youthful lust”. When you desire to possess something that God did not intend for you to have that is lust.

So unless you see someone as a potential spouse – you have no business seeking an intimate (emotional or physical) relationship with them.

Follow your spirit not your heart

The world will tell you the very opposite thing – “listen to your heart” is the theme of many romance songs and movies. But it has no basis in Bible.

Yes – God tell us to love him with all our heart:

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” – Matthew 22:37 (KJV)

But God also tells us that our hearts can deceive us:

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV)

So instead of going with your heart which can lead you astray, instead you need to follow the spirit of God in your dating.

Test the Spirit by the Word

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit of God will lead us in “all the truth” and that includes who we should date.

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…” – John 16:13a (KJV)

But just as we can be lead astray by our hearts, we can also be lead astray by false spirits.

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world…We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” – I John 4:1 & 6 (KJV)

When the Bible refers to “false spirits” it is not restricted only to evil and demonic spirits. It is also referring to false teachers and those who would give us bad advice or advice that does not line up with God’s Word.

So how do we know if it the Holy Spirit leading us or some other false spirit or bad influence? It is by listening to the Word of God. The Holy Spirit of God will never lead us in a direction that is contrary to God’s Word.

It is amazing to me how many people, whether it is in dating or even religious practices who are doing things that are completely contrary to the Word of God and then claim “but the Spirit of God lead me to do this and gave me peace about it so it must be right”.

My response to these folks is – “Yes you were led by “A spririt”, but not “THE Spirit”.”

Young people you need the follow THE Spirit of God as you seek the spouse God would have for you.

Only date Christians

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” – II Corinthians 6:14-16 (KJV)

Contrary to popular belief – the Bible does NOT teach the concept of evangelistic dating. We are not to date or marry unbelievers.

This goes back to the previous points about not following your heart and testing the spirits. You heart and other false spirits will tell you – “It’s ok if they are not a believer in Christ, you can help them to be one”. Other false feelings you may have are “but they are such a good and kind person, surely God wants me to be such a good person”.

But the truth is the Bible says “what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

Prove that they are indeed a Christian

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25 (KJV)

I tell my children the first two things they should ask about a person before they would ever consider dating them should be – “Are you a Christian?” and “Where do you go to Church?”.

Obviously each one of those questions needs more detail.

Does the person really understand what it means to be a believer?

Do you sense the Spirit of God upon their life?

Are they a faithful member of their church or do they only attend a few times a year around the holidays?

Guard your heart

So up to this point you if you have followed the previous steps you placed boundaries on yourself and made yourself accountable to your parents or other godly Christians in this dating process. You have determined that dating is for marriage, not for fun. You have sought to be led by the Spirit and not by your sinful heart. You have a found a person who claims Christ and faithfully attends Church.

But it is not yet time to let yourself “fall” for this person, or let your guard down.

“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 (KJV)

The phrase “keep thy heart” could also be translated as “guard your heart” as the NIV translates it. We need to be careful of whom we allow into our hearts. When we open our hearts to someone we can make rash decisions that we later come to regret.

The young woman who gives her virginity away to the man with flattering lips who promised to marry her but later leaves her after he gets what he wants will have many sorrows.

The young man who overlooked the fact that a young lady did not believe in God’s roles for Christian women but was simply captivated by her beauty will one day come to regret his decision.

Once a person passes the initial screening processes you need to truly investigate them. There is an old saying that “A man is known by the company he keeps” and the Bible has a similar statement to this:

“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” – Proverbs 13:20 (KJV)

Does he or she have wise and godly friends? When you talk to their friends what do they reveal about the character of this person you are dating?

Guard your body

Ok the cat is really out of the bag now. When I say “dating”, I am referring to a relationship between a man and woman that could potentially lead to marriage and I am referring to what is known as courtship. Now this is one even my teens have a very hard time swallowing because of the culture we live in.

Those who have read any of my posts on Biblical sexuality know that I do NOT believe we must suppress our sexuality even before marriage. Our sexuality is a gift from God meant to be experienced and enjoyed before marriage and after marriage.

I just read on another Christian site that young Christian men should avoid learning too many details about sex until just a few days before they are married for fear that they might have sexual fantasies about their wives to be.

What a ludicrous statement to make!

Yet many Churches all across America and the world teach this unbiblical philosophy of about sexual fantasy and sexual imagination.

HOWEVER – while we might be able to enjoy our sexuality before marriage through sexual imagination and even masturbation (which the Bible does NOT condemn) we are forbidden from pursing any kind of sexual relationship with a person before we have entered into a covenant of marriage with them. That includes cybersex, phone sex or any other kind of sexual activity.

People such as myself and others that embrace the idea of courtship believe that young people should not be allowed by their parents or themselves to be put in a position where they might sin sexually with one another.

I can hear all the teens and young college students yelling at me at this point.

But the Bible says we should not put ourselves in a position where we know we could possibly be tempted to sin:

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” – Romans 13:14 (KJV)

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” – I Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)

I think the best policy is for parents and young people to agree that they will always be in a group setting, whether it is with a church youth group or college and career group or a least around a larger group of Christian friends or relatives at all times.

Agree on Biblical marriage roles

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

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

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:22-27 (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)

There are many people who truly believe in Jesus Christ and are saved and regularly attend their churches but reject all the Bible’s teachings on God design of gender roles. They believe these teachings are outdated and were not meant for all time.

Listen to me young man. Listen to me young lady.

You can find the nicest person in the world, even a Christian who regularly attends church.

But if you do not agree on the doctrines of Gender roles as taught in Scripture you will be in for a lot of heart ache!

Seek your parents blessing

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22 (KJV)

If your parents are believers – you should have their blessing before proceeding in marriage. Even if they are not believers – they may still have some helpful advice.

In most cases your parents are the ones who know you better than anyone else in this world. Even if everything seems to match up – your father and mother may see some incapability between the two of you that you did not notice.

In fact because Samson did not listen to his parents advice about a woman it ended up costing him his life in the end (Judges 14:3).

Now there are some cases where parents are wicked and unbelieving people. So please don’t think I am saying parents ALWAYS have to give their blessing. But I do think in most cases you should have your parents blessing before marrying someone.

Seek other Godly counsel

Before agreeing to marriage with this person seek wise and spiritual advice from those around you.

“Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” – Proverbs 11:14 (KJV)

Bring the person you are dating around your Christian friends and then ask them afterwards privately what they thought of the person.

Pray and ask God to show you the right spouse

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)

Last but certainly not least you need to pray! This should be the first thing you do before you set out to date and it should be the last thing you to do before you open your heart to a person and let them in.

Even if you apply all these other Biblical principles there are so many variables when it comes to choosing the right spouse that God has for you. There are different types of personalities and differences in preferences. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you to that right person.

Premarital counseling with a Pastor is CRITICAL!

I know this is really tough – but even up this point you must still continue to guard your heart. I know of many Christian men and women who discovered things about their soon to be spouse in pre-marital counseling but they felt they were too invested with a wedding planned and the time they had spent with this person.

Please listen to me young person. It is NEVER too late to back out of an engagement. You may find in pre-marital counseling that your spouse does not really believe in Biblical gender roles. You may find out that they do not have a Biblical philosophy of sex in marriage. These are critical things that will affect you for the rest of your life.

Conclusion

So after reading all these 12 ways to transform the chaos of modern dating into Biblical dating the question you are probably asking is “When can I stop guarding my heart?” I believe the answer to that question is after you have completed premarital counseling and have determined that this person is a spiritual match for you in all the important ways I have mentioned here then you can begin to let your guard down.

But really I think until the day you are married and have entered in the covenant of marriage with this person – you need to be careful with your heart.

Even after marriage – do you realize how many people have allowed their spouses to lead their hearts astray from God? We must never allow that.

But after we are married that is when we can fully give our hearts and bodies to our spouses while still remembering that God must always be first in our marriage.

Please don’t misunderstand me. There is no perfect person out there. There is no person with whom you will agree on all things. There is no such thing as your “soul mate” – sorry to burst your bubble. But there are good Christian people out there who love the Lord more than anything including you and that is why they will always love you because of their commitment to God.

There are no perfect people, but there are men and women who truly believe in Christ and his Word and they embrace Biblical gender roles and want to live their life by the God’s Word. If you can find a person like that – this is the person you want to marry.

In some upcoming articles I will give some more gender specific things to look for in Biblical dating. But everything I have said here I think Biblically speaking applies to both men and women.

 

 

 

How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband?

How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband? What if you could not consummate your wedding vows on your wedding night? If you are having painful intercourse should you tell your husband?

In some previous posts on stories of sexual denial where I have shared reader’s stories – the subject of painful intercourse has arisen several times whether in public comments or private emails.  This is a topic that many Christian engaged couples who are trying remain pure for marriage never consider might happen to them. This issue affects wives across the spectrum from newlyweds to elderly wives.

I recently received this email from a woman named Anna, and she asked me to make her story public.  Just a heads up – this conversation will get a little more “graphic” than I usually get when talking about sex but I think as you read Anna’s story you will understand the need to speak frankly and openly about these issues.

Anna’s Story

“I’ve been reading your blog for a couple months now and have taken special interest in your posts about a husband/wife’s sexual duties to each other. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything else you post, I think you are right on the money here.  I wanted to send you my story because I think it might be an encouragement to women, but of course whatever you choose to put on your blog is up to you.

My husband and I were married a little over a month ago, and I had assured him multiple times prior to marriage that he didn’t need to worry about my freezing him out in the bedroom later on in our marriage. He appreciated that, but i had no idea at the time what wall would be required to keep that promise. When we arrived at our apartment on our wedding night, I was ready to start, and he definitely was. However, it didn’t exactly go according to plan as my body was way too tight for him to enter. I was in tears from the massive pain but kept telling him to try again. My sweet husband prioritized my needs over his and nixed that idea.

However, there are other things a woman can do and I was able to give him one orgasm right then, and another later that evening. We left for our honeymoon later with me fighting (more like losing to) guilt and depression. On our honeymoon, we tried pain medications, alcohol (neither of us were remotely drunk but I still do acknowledge that this idea is not for everyone), and about 5 different kinds of lube, and nothing worked. He knows that I normally hate going to doctors, so I assured him that as soon as we got back home, I’d book an appointment with a gynecologist to see what was wrong. He wasn’t particularly interested in trying intercourse until then as each session resulted in me breaking down in tears at the slightest attempt.

I got back to work (i’m a nurse with a particularly open group of co-workers!) and shared my plight with a few of my closer nurses and my manager as well.  I told them that i was going to see a gynecologist and was hoping to have a ‘snip surgery’ done that would help open me up. Every single one of them (most of whom are also professing Christians) recoiled in horror and told me how much that would hurt and asked why in the world I would ever do that. My answer was simple: he was my husband, I had made marital vows to him (to have and to hold???), and I had no intention of backing down.

Thankfully the gynecologist said nothing was physically wrong and encouraged me to try a vaginal dilator set. We also booked an appointment with a sex therapist who encouraged the same thing. The dilator set was the worst pain I have ever experienced. I tried them each night after work and would send my husband out of the room because I didn’t want him to see me crying and feel guilty (the therapist encouraged me to let him stay so I did after that).

It took over a month of trying, but yesterday we were able to have sex for the first time. Our marriage is definitely stronger for the initial struggles,and I have so much respect for my husband who was always so sweet, supportive, and patient through the whole thing.  It never occurred to me that i had an option other than trying all these things because as a married person, I had responsibilities…simple as that. My husband and I have a lot of work left to do on our sexual relationship (although i’m not sure if a couple ever stops learning in that area!), but we are both very happy to be past that initial hurdle. God is good!”

What a powerful story of faith and commitment to marriage! It is often said that our faith is revealed not in the good times, but in the bad times and this story is no exception to that rule.

This story starts off with a young newlywed couple unable to consummate their marriage on their wedding night. How frustrating that must have been for both of them!

This young bride was an example for all Christian wives

First she recognized that even though they could not have intercourse, she needed to take care of her husband’s sexual needs in other ways. Bravo! So many Christian women would have quit there and told their new husband he would just have to wait – or he could go take care of himself. Her compassion for husband’s needs – despite her own frustrations is to be commended.

Secondly is the fact that she recognized that this was HER problem, not his. So many women jump to blaming their husbands when they have any type of difficulty in the bedroom. While sometimes it may be an issue of foreplay on the husband’s part, often times it may be physical or mental conditions on the part of the wife and she has a duty as wife to seek out medical or psychological help for herself. This young bride did just that. She saw a doctor and a therapist and fought through the pain to get herself to the point where she could have vaginal intercourse with her husband.

This young husband was an example for all Christian husbands

The young husband in this case is also a model for us as believing husbands. Contrary to all the slanderous statements that have been thrown my way – I do not believe a husband should ever force himself upon his wife. A loving husband who sees his wife is in pain will not want to cause her more pain.

This husband demonstrated love and compassion for his wife and waited until she was ready – a very admirable thing to do in this scenario. Yes I am sure his wife continued to help him out using manual or oral methods (as she should have). But as any man or woman can attest to, there is no sex like sexual intercourse. It is the most intimate and physical joining of a man and woman in marriage. When the Bible speaks of a husband and wife becoming “one flesh” in marriage, while it has spiritual and emotional implications – it’s most literal meaning is their bodies merging as one during the act of sexual intercourse.

Vaginismus – the cause of Anna’s pain

The condition that caused Anna not to be able to have sexual intercourse with her husband is called “Vaginismus” and this is what healthyplace.com says about it:

“Vaginismus is an involuntary spasm of the muscles surrounding the vaginal opening which occurs whenever an attempt is made to penetrate the vagina…

What causes this to occur? In most cases, this is not due to a physical deformity or disorder. Instead, it is an emotional condition that occurs because of psychological reasons but manifests itself in a physical response. The majority of women with vaginismus believe that intercourse will be very painful; often thinking that their vagina is too small to accommodate the penis and therefore, their vagina will be ripped or stretched too far. Consequently, they develop a phobic response to the penis; associating it with pain. Other women have indeed experienced some type of trauma to the vagina or genital region, such as rape, sexual abuse, or surgery, which then leads to a fear of intercourse. And, unfortunately, for some women, it is their first pelvic examination that causes them to be fearful. Lack of sensitivity on the physician’s part, or neglecting to adequately inform the patient what she can expect, has sometimes contributed to the pelvic exam being a negative experience for women; causing them to fear sexual intercourse….

However, in a small number of cases, physical factors (such as the presence of a rigid hymen, or deformities of the vagina) can make penetration of the vagina impossible. Additionally, although physical conditions, such as endometriosis, vaginal infections, or an episiotomy are not directly responsible for a woman experiencing vaginismus, they may, through association, contribute to vaginismus indirectly through conditioning. What this means is if a woman experiences pain upon intercourse, or with a pelvic exam, this may lead to a self-protecting tightening of the vaginal muscles the next time she attempts to have intercourse…

Treatment for vaginismus consists of a combination of relaxation training and various behavioral exercises in helping the woman overcome her fear of intercourse. The husband or partner’s participation in treatment and his emotional support are considered very important to the success of treatment. Sometimes, in addition to the above treatments, individual and/or couples therapy is recommended as well.”

http://www.healthyplace.com/sex/female-sexual-dysfunction/vaginismus-women-who-cant-have-intercourse/

Another site dealing with Vaginal Dilators (which helped Anna) states this:

“Together with appropriate exercises, as women consciously and consistently squeeze and relax the PC muscles with dilator insertions, they learn how to override the involuntary muscle contractions that had previously caused tightness or closed the entrance to the vagina to sex. The process helps create new ‘muscle memories’. Through the proper use of dilators, women can more easily develop control over involuntary tightness and simultaneously desensitize their vaginal muscles, body and mind to the sensation of having something in their vagina. This is all done as transition preparation for inserting the “real thing” (i.e. the man’s penis) without pain or tightness. Together with appropriate exercises, they help women retrain their bodies to respond correctly to penetration and to transition to fully pain-free intercourse.”

https://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/dilator-questions/vaginal-dilators-treating-vaginismus

A National Institutes of Health study revealed there is no clinical difference between dyspareunia and vaginismus.

Vaginismus and dyspareunia: is there a difference in clinical presentation?

The purpose of this exploratory study was to identify clinical similarities and differences in patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia. Thirty patients who were referred to an outpatient clinic for psychosomatic gynecology and sexology, with either of these two diagnoses, were investigated by means of a standardized interview, physical examination and self-rating questionnaires. Based on the interview, no significant differences were demonstrated between patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia, in the ability to insert a finger into the vagina or to have a gynecological examination. No differences were found in the reported level of pain during coitus (or attempted coitus), inserting one finger into the vagina, or during gynecological examination. Patients with vaginismus, however, more often reported that coitus was impossible. The physical examination and self-rating questionnaires showed no differences at all between patients with vaginismus and dyspareunia in palpated vaginal muscular tension and reported anxiety or tension during the examination. Moreover, in both groups redness and painful areas on the vulva were equally common. Redness and pain on the same location were more frequently present in the dyspareunia group. Patients with dyspareunia reported higher levels of pain during the examination. In conclusion, neither the interview nor the physical examination produced useful criteria to distinguish vaginismus from dyspareunia. A multi-axial description of these syndromes is suggested, rather than viewing them as two separate disorders.”

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11076336

Beyond the above basic classifications, physicians and specialists may use other medical terms referring to vaginismus such as:

Apareunia

Apareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where one is unable to have sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is one type of apareunia (if it is completely preventing penetrative intercourse).

Dyspareunia

Dyspareunia is a general term that refers to a condition where there is pain during sexual intercourse. Vaginismus is considered to be one type of dyspareunia, but is closely associated with all types of sexual pain.

https://www.vaginismus.com/faqs/vaginismus-questions/primary-and-secondary-vaginismus-differences

How Anna cured her Vaginismus(Apareunia)

Anna rightly gave all the praise to God for curing her Vaginismus. But in truth she does deserve some credit for taking aggressive action and enduring the mental and physical pain and discomfort to get herself to the place where she could finally have vaginal sex with her husband. God can miraculously heal people – he does it all the time without a doctor touching a person. But God directed Anna to see a doctor and a sex therapist and I think that as we can see that was his will for her and he worked through these people to help Anna. We need to realize as believers that God has gifted medical professionals and counselors to be able to help us if we will seek the help.

There are many other posts online and in medical journals about Vaginismus. But from these and many others we can see that more often than not Vaginismus is not usually caused by a physical deformity of the vagina.

What is most often the case is a woman’s fear based upon bad memories of doctor’s exams, her upbringing about sex, sexual abuse or just a phobia of anything being inserted into her vagina. So her body reacts in what seems to be an involuntary way with muscle contractions that close off the vagina and protect it from penetration.

This is why often it takes a combination of counseling and perhaps a vaginal dilator as Anna used to help train her mind and muscles to allow things – including the most important thing of all – her husband’s penis – to be inserted into her vagina.

Vaginismus reveals major differences between men and women in regard to sex

But what I think this reveals about women that is so different from men is – for a woman her mind, even her unconscious mind and her unconscious fears have a huge impact not only her ability to enjoy sex, but even on her ability to have sexual intercourse at all!

I am sure that on a conscious level Anna wanted nothing more than have sex with her husband on her wedding night. She may have had NO conscious fears about doing this. But on some unconscious level her mind and her body were fearful of penetration. She had to train her mind and body to think differently about sex.

How many women today who do not face Vaginismus still need to have their mind and body conditioned to think differently about sex? How many women would enjoy sex better with their husbands if they could only let go of what is holding them back? How many women would benefit from the counseling Anna sought?

Men can learn from this story too

Just because this story is from the perspective of wife having a sexual dysfunction does not mean we as men cannot learn from this as well. For men ED (erectile dysfunction) would be closest equivalent to a woman having Vaginismus except for the pain. Men certainly experience emotional pain from ED, but not the physical pain women experience from Vaginismus.

But for us as men – ED is usually more physically based than emotionally based. While it is true that some men cannot achieve erections due to issues in the marriage, or issues from their childhood most of the time it is a physical issue and matter of blood flow. Thankfully today there are kinds of treatments for ED and we as Christian husbands have the same obligation to our wives as Anna felt to her husband to seek treatment to help our ED. We can’t just give up and throw in the towel.

What if the pain could not be stopped?

But let’s face it – not every story of Vaginismus has a happy ending like this one did.   What if the cause was a physical issue that could not be repaired or changed? What if we were living a century ago without the help of modern medicine and counseling?

So these are the questions I leave for Christian wives reading this:

What if you had this kind of painful intercourse and there was nothing there was not medical or psychological help for you – Would you still have intercourse with you husband?

If sex is not mutually pleasurable for both the man and the woman should it sex cease in a marriage?

Maybe you don’t have Vaginismus – but would you stop having sex with your husband over other kinds of pain?

Should a wife always tell her husband when she has painful intercourse or are there times a wife should not reveal this to her husband?

And finally the question that is title of the article – How much pain would you endure to have sex with your husband?

I look forward to your answers and comments.

Photo Source: Rachel Titiriga https://www.flickr.com/photos/pocait/3589329865/in/photolist-qwXWfH-7P8Fkm-de5gm-cq89q3-8xbjPZ-H6k7k-cUqief-tbeUF-hgPux-gJ4e-gHZV-i2mh-66njL4-7PwRd2-8DkJho-gHYr-gNo1-gJ3N-pZDMzS-4LLfEM-6tbfHF-gJ4D-gKBM-gJ1j-gHYu-gJ4o-oxurem-52mEJW-4NcLTb-eqQG7N-mpALdt-gNjE-gHYL-6MRpy2-gNmH-gNkZ-epUmSR-epUhFa-rq2jDu-brKSri-gNnK-gHZw-gHZr-865s9A-5oRUGd-atspmj-hwymEm-4QYU4k-4VrBru-tvHqxb
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Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!

cow in front of a white background

As Christians who embrace God’s Word as the guide for our lives, we know that the Bible condones sex ONLY within the bounds of marriage. But unfortunately, since the sexual revolution of the 1960’s our culture has embraced the idea that pre-marital sex is the norm, and that we actually need to try out the person sexually before we are married to make sure that we are sexually compatible.

Our culture’s acceptance of pre-marital sex has been one of the major contributing factors to the decline in marriage, and the rise in cohabitation rates.

Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?

This phrase was coined to reflect the reality that when you make sex outside of marriage culturally acceptable, less people will marry, and the statistics today prove it. The most literal and historical meaning of this phrase meant “why marry a girl, when she will give you sex without marriage?”

I remember growing up in my Church youth group, hearing speakers sometimes say this phrase about the milk and the cow. Obviously they would always start with the Scriptures that forbid fornication – which includes (but is not limited to) sex outside of marriage. But then they would follow up the Scriptural commands, with some practical reasoning, especially to the young ladies, exhorting them to “make these crazy hormone driven boys to wait for marriage” before giving up “the milk”.

I can hear it now – “What about those boys! This is not fair that all the pressure is on the women”. Yes the Scriptures command BOTH men and women to not engage in sex before marriage, and yes they did speak to us as young men about being godly men of integrity, about being gentlemen. However, if you examine the Scriptures closely, you will see that God places the greater burden on the woman to refuse the man. In the Old Testament law, a woman could be executed for not being a virgin when she was married, whereas there was no such punishment for a man that was not a virgin. I realize this goes against our modern “gender equality” ideas, but the Bible supports no such notion.

But once you have bought the cow, you ARE supposed to get the milk for free

One of the problems we face today in the Christian community (but it certainly is not limited to Christians) is that often times, even after we have waited, and “bought the cow” (married our wives), our wives expect us to “buy the milk” as well. I recently wrote a post responding to a Christian teacher’s false belief, that in marriage men do in fact have to “buy the milk”(earn sex), even after “buying the cow”(marrying a woman).

A quick word on the “cow analogy” before we continue – in no way am I meaning disrespect toward women, or saying that cows are somehow equal to women, or that women are less human than men. But Biblically speaking, a wife does belong to her husband (men paid a “bride price” and one the terms for husband in the original languages of the Bible is “baal” which means “owner or master” (e.g. Proverbs 31). I Peter 3 says Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord[master].

The fact is, in marriage, neither the husband, nor the wife, should have to earn sex. While husband’s denying their wives sexually is a problem sometimes, the vast majority of the time it is the wife denying her husband. Ask any pastor (and I have many pastor friends) and they will confirm this. Ask any marriage counselor, and they will confirm this as well.

But there is a difference between flat out denial, which some wives are guilty of, and a woman making her husband earn sex (but both are equally wrong). I once knew a Christian couple, where the only way the man got sex from his wife was when he did the dishes and picked up the house. For other men, it might be buying flowers for your wife, or taking her out to dinner. Please don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think it wrong for a husband to do these kinds of  things for his wife, but these things should NEVER be a prerequisite to sex.

The sinful sexual pattern of modern women

Husbands listen to me, engaged men please hear me. There is a pattern that takes place in a lot of Christian marriages (and non-Christian marriages). At the beginning of the sexual relationship between a man and woman (which should begin after marriage, but sometimes it sinfully starts before marriage), women will give their husbands all the “free milk” they want. She lets him “taste the goods” so to speak.

But not long into the marriage, the milk is no longer free of charge, it now comes at a cost. That cost looks very different from woman to woman, but there is a cost of some sort. For some Christian men, it might simply be household chores, for others it is buying jewelry or other gifts. For other husbands, it is making a decision the way their wife wants it, but they do not think is best.

What all these different prerequisites have in common is, they require a man to transfer his God given authority over his home, his children, and his wife and yes even his wife’s body to his wife. Only if they do the bidding of their wife, will she give them “the goods”.

How to stop this wicked pattern

For you engaged men, or newlywed husbands it will be much easier if you spot this change in your wife and nip it in the bud right away. If you allow this pattern to go on for years of marriage, it only becomes harder (but not impossible) to break. Whether you have been married 6 months, or 6 years, the fix is still the same.

When your wife tells you “If you do ___________ for me, then I will do that for you”, you need to sit down and take out the Word of God. You must see this as God sees it, as an act of rebellion against your authority over her (and her body), and by extension as an act of rebellion against God himself, because he has given her to you. You need to rebuke your wife’s sinful behavior.

Take her to I Corinthians and read the Word of God to her:

“Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.

The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.

Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” – I Corinthians 7:3-5(KJV)

The Bible places absolutely NO preconditions on sex between a husband and wife within the bounds of marriage (contrary to what many Christian books and teachers teach today). In fact the only mutual agreement a couple is called to is, when they STOP having sex for a given period.

As the head of your home, and the authority of not only your children, but also your wife, you will be called from time to time to confront a sinful attitude or behavior in your wife, just as Job confronted his wife’s sinful behavior.

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

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” – Job 2:9-10(KJV)

I remember one time in Church my Pastor referenced this passage, and he said “Sometimes we as husbands need to call out our wives sinful behavior, but it might be a good idea to back up a bit before you do, I think Job might have.”

What about the aftermath?

This is a form of discipline, and discipline is never pleasant, but all authority figures must discipline those who are under their authority from time to time. Before anyone goes nuts here, I am not talking about physical discipline here, but there are other forms of discipline that are not physical.

After you confront your wife’s rebellion (not only towards God’s command to her, but by extension the authority he has given you) – she is not exactly going to be in the mood, if you know what I mean. It may feel as though you have been unloving to her, but you are in fact loving your wife when you call out her sin, and call her to repentance, just as God calls to all of us.

In what is often called “the love chapter” of Scripture, where love is defined by God’s standards it says this:

“Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth.” – I Corinthians 13:6(HCSB)

Your wife’s rebellion against your sexual authority over her body is by definition “unrighteousness”. You would in essence, be “unloving” to your wife, from God’s perspective, if you allowed her sinful attitude to go unchecked.

But should you still have relations with your wife after such a confrontation?

I believe the answer is yes, if she yields to you (even with the wrong attitude). When I first had to confront my wife with these types of issues, I would confront her, and then just leave the sex to happen another night, because after all, I like most men don’t prefer to have sex with my wife when she acts grumpy about it.

But I realized that the sex still needs to occur, that sex is not about being in the mood, and it is not about feelings, it is about doing what is right. I agree whole heartedly that the best sex a Christian couple can have is when they are spiritually, emotionally and physically connected all at once. But the truth is there will be many times when we don’t have all that in place, but we must still have sex. God wants us to do the right thing, even when we don’t feel like it.

This probably won’t be a onetime thing

As a Christian husband, and really just as a Christian, we must realize that we all from time to time slip back into patterns of sinful behavior. Please don’t think that if your wife seems to submit to your sexual authority over her body after confronting her with the truth of God’s Word, that this rebellion will never seep back up again in her life. This has definitely not been a onetime thing with my wife, and I have also talked with other Christian men who have told me it is the same with their wives as well.

Whenever we see sinful behavior crop backup, whether in ourselves, or wives or children we need to address it.

We as husbands must also realize that, there will be less of a chance of re-occurrences of rebellious behavior by our wives and children when they see that we ourselves are submitting to God’s authority over us. If we are keeping our families in the Word, and in Church this can greatly help to keep the “flare ups” from happening as often.

But if you are husband trying to submit to and follow God’s will for your family, don’t think everything should just fall in place. Your wife may have had a very different upbringing, and there may be some very bad habits and attitudes that are deeply ingrained in your wife’s person, that she has to battle with the help of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis.

Can my Christian wife ever say no to my sexual advances?

This is the logical question you as a Christian husband (or engaged man) might ask after everything we have just looked at. The answer to this question is a Christian wife should never give her husband a flat no, BUT she can humbly and gently ask for a delay. There may be legitimate physical or other issues that might prompt your wife to ask you for a delay.  But this must be done humbly and respectfully, and always with the attitude in mind that her body does belong to her husband. But a Christian wife should ALWAYS make good on her “rainchecks” with her husband. Also these “delay requests” from wives should be the exception, and not the normal response to a husband’s sexual advances.

This has been part 3 of our series “How to be a godly husband”. In the next parts of this series we will address the topics of “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” and “How to handle your wife’s sexual refusal”.

Previous Posts in this series:

Does the Bible teach ‘Happy wife, Happy life’?

7 ways to let your wife manage your home

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7 ways to let your wife manage your home

Portrait of pretty female cooking salad with her husband near by

Christian husband – the Bible clearly states that you are the head of your wife and your home. But did you know that the Bible calls your wife the “manager” of your home? These roles do not conflict, but instead they complement one another.

For those who don’t know the Bible’s teaching on male headship over women here is a small primer:

God has established the headship of man over woman

“But I want you to know that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of the woman, and God is the head of Christ.” – I Corinthians 11:3(HCSB)

“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:23-34(HCSB)

“One who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity.” – I Timothy 3:4(HCSB)

The Scriptures are clear here, as well as in multiple other passages (both Old and New Testaments), that a husband has authority over his wife and his family (contrary to popular teachings of our Egalitarian and Christian Feminist friends).

You are to be the head of your home, but your wife is to be the manager of your home

“Therefore, I want younger women to marry, have children, manage their households, and give the adversary no opportunity to accuse us.” – I Timothy 5:14(HCSB)

“Encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, homemakers, kind, and submissive to their husbands, so that God’s message will not be slandered.” – Titus 2:4-5(HCSB)

The phrase “manage their households” in I Timothy 5:14, is an English translation of the Greek word “Oikodespoteo”, which comes from two Greek words “oikos” (house) and “despoteo” (to rule). This literally means to “to occupy one’s self in the management of a household”. The King James Version translates this as “a guide to house”, which is also an accurate translation.

Titus 2:4, a companion passage to this subject of women and the home, calls women to be “homemakers” (translated as “keepers at home” by the KJV). This is a translation of the Greek word “Oikouros” which literally means “watcher or keeper of the house” or “caring for the affairs of the house”.

Proverbs 31 shows a wife taking care of all the affairs of the home while her husband Is away.

7 Ways to let your wife manage your home

So up to this point we have established two foundational truths about the home that are taught in Scripture. The husband is the head of the home, but the wife is the manager of the home. The wife being manager of the home, is a delegated authority from her husband, but it is an authority that God wants men to give to their wives. Below are ways that you, as a Christian husband can encourage, and delegate the management of your home to your wife.

  1. Your wife picks the appliances, you fund them and have them delivered.
  2. Your wife picks the paint color for the house, you fund it, and put it on the walls where she wants it.
  3. Your wife picks how the walls of your home are decorated, again you fund it, and hang it till she thinks it looks straight on the wall.
  4. Your wife decides the style of all furniture, your job is to fund it and get it in the house where she wants it.
  5. You can make dinner requests, but don’t ever tell her how to cook – that’s her domain.
  6. Your wife picks out the clothing for the members of her house, you are simply there to fund said clothing, and hold the bags as she shops.
  7. While you are the ultimate decider of the discipline policies and other things regarding the teaching of your children, a wise man will always hear what the mother(and manager) of his children has to say before making any determinations.

I will just say one thing about “funding”. Husband, as the head of your home, it is your job, and it is a moral responsibility for you to set the funding policies of your home. Your wife comes to you with a need in the home, you discuss the need, and determine the appropriate level of funding. Many men have spent themselves and their homes into financial ruin by not setting any spending limits on themselves, or their wives, and this ought not to be the case in a Christian home.

But having said all that – if you as a Christian husband will simply stand back and let your wife manage your home(without trying to interfere and micro manage her as she does this) you will find that God has naturally equipped your wife to make your home the best it can be. The concept that “a home is not truly a home without a woman’s touch” is not only a true statement, it is also a Biblical one.

This has been the second part of our series “How to be a godly husband”. Check back for more updates to this series.