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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Deuteronomy 29:29 the Bible states the following:

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the Bible presents a very different view of marriage.

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

1 Peter 3:1 (KJV)

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

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

Ephesians 5:23 (KJV)

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

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

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

Genesis 3:17 (KJV)

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

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

Job 2:9-10 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can I leave My Unbelieving Husband?

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

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

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

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

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

The answer to this question is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”

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

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

Can I still teach my Children the Gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wives Forget Your Father’s House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You Are One Flesh, So Be One Flesh

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

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

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

“And they twain SHALL be one flesh”

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

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

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

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

5 Steps to Becoming One Flesh in Marriage

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

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

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

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

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

Step 2 – A husband is to know his wife

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

I Peter 3:7 (KJV)

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

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

Deuteronomy 24:5 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

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

Step 4 – A wife is to submit to her husband

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

Ephesians 5:22-24 (KJV)

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

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

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

Proverbs 31:26 (KJV)

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

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

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

Proverbs 21:19 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Proverbs 12:4 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you still hold the “I am not comfortable with that” card?

Christ wife do you still hold the “I am not comfortable with that” card in your Christian marriage? If you do you need to get rid of it.  Let me explain what I mean.

You might consider yourself to be a wife who believes in submission to your husband.  You may even be able to show proof of your belief by showing times where you and your husband have disagreed on financial decisions or decisions regarding his career where you have simply followed him.

But then you hold on to the “I am not comfortable with that” card especially when it comes to you being asked to do things by him you are not comfortable with.  And we are not talking about things that are clearly outlined as sinful in the Bible like him asking you to commit adultery with another man or to murder someone or steal from someone.  We are talking about things he is asking you to do that are outside your comfort zone.

For instance, what if he decided it was ok for your young teens to watch a TV show or movie you did not think they should watch? What if he allowed them to play a game you think they should not play? And he wanted you to allow them to do these things even when he is away.

On a more personal level, what if he asked you to wear certain clothing in the bed room? What if he asked you to wear certain clothing in public (think going on a date or going to the beach)?  What if he asked you to change your makeup?  What if he asked you to do something uncomfortable in bed?

Do you pull out the “I am not comfortable with that” card as an exception to God’s command to submit to your husband “in everything”? Or have you convinced yourself that you not feeling comfortable with something equals that thing being sinful?  If you have done this you need to remember that God has made your husband your spiritual authority and instructor in his Word.  The Scriptures say to wives in 1 Corinthians 14:35 that “if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home”.

Christian wives, Ephesians 5:24’s command for you to submit to your husband “in every thing” means throwing out your “I am not comfortable with that” card.

Husbands Be Angry, But Don’t Be Bitter

be angry and sin not

In Ephesians 4:26 the Bible tells us “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath” but in Colossians 3:19 the Bible also states “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them”.  As husbands it should anger us when our wives’ disrespect or disobey us or when they shame us in front our children or others. It should anger us when our wives’ habitually and consistently sexually deny us.   Our masculine natures were designed by God to desire respect and submission from our wives as he desires respect and submission from his people.  Our anger at these sorts of behaviors in our wives is not only righteous, but it is an expression of the masculine image of God within us.

However, our flesh wants to convert that righteous anger into bitterness which is sin.   Bitterness is holding a grudge and being resentful.

Thankfully the Bible tell us how to stop righteous anger from turning into sinful bitterness and that is to “let not the sun go down upon your wrath”.  Don’t hold on to it.  If your anger truly is righteous based on your wife’s sinful behavior, then confront that behavior there and then. Do as Christ does with his church in Revelation 3:19 and “rebuke and chasten” your wife.  Then let go of your anger.

8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves

Webster’s dictionary defines a slave as “a person held in servitude as the chattel of another”.   The word ‘chattle’ refers to a human being that is owned by another human being.  By our modern definition of slavery, we cannot comprehend the concept of a person being owned by another person without that owned person not being a slave.

On one side of this debate about the Biblical treatment of wives we have Christians who claim that there is absolutely no similarity at all between the husband/wife relationship and that of a slave owner to his slave while on the other side we have atheists and other humanists who claim that the Bible makes women into slaves.  What do both of these sides have in common? Jesus said it best in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”

Matthew 22:29 (KJV)

The truth is that the Scriptures teach us that is possible for one person to own another person without that owned person being considered a slave.  In other words, from a Biblical perspective while all slaves are owned by other people, not all people who are owned by other people are to be considered slaves.

Wives and Children Designated by God as Property and Slaves Allowed as Property

The Bible shows us that God designed two social classes of human beings that were to be considered the property of men.  He allowed a third social class of human being that could also be taken as property as well under certain circumstances.

In the 10th commandment God mentions a man’s wife, along with his male and female slaves amongst those things which are his property:

“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)

In the following passage we see that God gives children to their fathers as property:

“3 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

Psalm 127:3-5 (KJV)

The English word “heritage” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Nachala” which literally means “inherited property”.

God authorized Israelite fathers to sell their daughters as indentured servants for a period of no longer than six years.  This is shown in the following passages:

“7And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do. 8 If she please not her master, who hath betrothed her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.”

Exodus 21:7-8 (KJV)

“And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.”

Deuteronomy 15:12 (KJV)

The passages above show that neither male nor female Hebrew indentured servants could be kept indefinitely unless the male Hebrew willingly wanted to stay and serve (see Exodus 21:5-6) or the woman was taken as a wife by the man who purchased her either for himself or one of his sons.   Otherwise after 6 years male Hebrew indentured servants had to be freed and female Hebrew indentured servants had to be allowed to be purchased back by their male relatives or by another man wishing to take them as a wife.

And for those who think these daughters sold as maidservants could be used for sex outside a covenant of marriage, I would refer the reader to the following prohibition against fathers selling their daughters for this purpose:

“Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.”

Leviticus 19:29 (KJV)

So, it is clear that God did not allow Hebrews to sell or buy their fellow Hebrews as slaves.  They could only could only purchases the services of fellow Hebrews as indentured servants for a limited window of time.  However, it is equally clear that God did in fact allow the Hebrews to purchase the children of foreigners within their land as slaves or they could purchase slaves from the nations around them.

“44 Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. 45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. 46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.”

Leviticus 25:44-46 (KJV)

And in the New Testament Paul gives the following command to slaves:

Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;

Colossians 3:22 (KJV)

The word “servants” in the KJV passage above is a translation of the Greek word “Doulos” which actually means “slaves” and this is how most of the modern translations translate this verse.

This brings us back to wives.  We have already shown from the 10th commandment that it includes wives with male and female slaves as the property of men.  But the ownership of a husband over his wife is seen even clearer in the original Hebrew language of the Scriptures. The noun form of the Hebrew word ‘baal’ which means ‘owner/master’ is used eleven times in the Old Testament to speak of a husband’s relationship to his wife.    The word ‘baal’ is used an additional 11 times in verb form to refer to a woman coming to be ‘owned’, or married, to a husband.

The passage below from the book of Deuteronomy uses both the noun and verb form of the Hebrew word baal to illustrate a husband’s ownership over his wife:

“If a man be found lying with a woman married to an [verb ‘baal’ ‘owned by’]  husband [noun ‘baal’ ‘owner’], then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.”

Deuteronomy 22:22 (KJV)

In the New Testament the Apostle Peter refers back to this concept of a woman being owned by her husband when he admonishes wives to follow the example of the women of past generations like Sarah who “obeyed” her husband calling him “lord”:

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

I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

Now having proven from the Bible that wives are actually considered by God to be property just as slaves are, we will go on to show that the responsibilities of owners toward these two types of human properties are very different.

8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves

As we have previously shown from Exodus 20:17 and Leviticus 25:44-46,  wives and slaves are both considered by God to be the property of men.  And both wives and slaves are commanded by God to obey their masters in everything as Colossians 3:22, Ephesians 5:24, 1 Peter 3:5-6 tells them to do.

But this is where the similarity between wives and slaves ends and the differences begin. Below are eight Biblical distinctions between wives and slaves.

1.  Slave owners don’t have to sacrifice themselves for their property – husbands do.

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

Ephesians 5:25 (KJV)

2.  Slave owners don’t have to teach God’s Word to their property  – husbands do.

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

1 Corinthians 14:35 (KJV)

3. Slave owners don’t have to act as human instruments of God’s sanctification in the lives of their property –  husbands do.

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

Ephesians 5:26-27 (KJV)

4. Slave owners don’t have to love and care for their property as they do their own bodies – husbands do.

“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)

5. Slave owners don’t have to give their bodies to meet the sexual needs of their property (nor should they) – husbands do.

“3 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.”

I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

6. Slave owners don’t have to honor their property – husbands do.

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)

7. Slave owners don’t have to give their property the fruit of their labors – husbands do.

Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Proverbs 31:31 (KJV)

8. God did not design men to be the property of other men.  God did design women to be the property of their husbands.

For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman: but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. 10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

1 Corinthians 11:7-10 (KJV)

Conclusion

We have shown conclusively from the Bible that contrary to modern humanist notions of equality, God has actually designated wives and children as the property of their husbands and fathers. And again, contrary to modern egalitarian views of what marriage should be, God commands wives to regard their husbands as their masters and like slaves to be obedient to their masters in everything. The obvious exception for both wives and slaves in their obedience is if their masters command them to sin against God.  It is only in this case that they can and must disobey their masters as Acts 5:29 tells us.

The truth from the Scriptures is that there are indeed some similarities between wives and slaves but there are also significant differences between wives and slaves.

God created the relationship between a husband and wife to mirror the loving relationship between himself and his people.  A wife is to be regarded as her husband’s most precious possession, one that he cares for and would protect with his very life.

Another significant difference between wives and slaves is husbands as their wife’s owner and master are required by God to give their wife the fruit of her labors as Proverbs 31:31 states.   A slave is not entitled to enjoy any fruits from his labors.

Now this principle must be taken into account with the entire witness of the Scriptures.  In Ephesians 5:24 wives are commanded to submit to their husbands in “everything”. And yes, that would most certainly include finances.  Every dollar that comes into their home comes under the spiritual authority of the husband whether that is income from his work, his wife’s work or inheritances that either of them may acquire.  Even if the wife does not work outside the home but instead is a keeper in the home her work there has great value.

What this means is that whether a wife works outside the home or is a keeper of the home the husband should allow his wife to have fruits from her labor.  Practically speaking that means allowing her some discretionary use of money to buy things for the house or herself personally that she would like to buy.

Finally, on the topic of slavery. It is only because of the effects of sin in the world that God allowed for the practice of slavery but he commanded it to be done under humane conditions.  For a more in-depth look at the reasons and conditions under which God allowed for the practice of slavery see my article “Why Christians Should Not Be Ashamed of Slavery in The Bible”.

Oral Sex – A sin, An Option or a Requirement in Christian Marriage?

Is oral sex in Christian marriage a sin? If it is not a sin is it optional or is it a requirement for Christian husbands and wives in marriage?

Recently on another article I wrote, totally unrelated to the topic of oral sex, I had a commenter named Trey make the following statement about how a man should require that his wife demonstrate her submission and respect toward him after she has denied him sex simply because she was “not in the mood”.  He said she should be required to do this before she would be allowed back in the marriage bed:

“Denial of sex by a wife is the ultimate form of disrespect and control of her husband. If she has denied you sex (for no good reason), sex should be required before she is allowed back into your marriage bed. Oral sex while on her knees before you seems very appropriate and swallowing is a must. Spitting you out is also a form of disrespect.”

I then had these comments come in.

Lost&Found wrote in response to Trey:

“You say, “Oral sex while on her knees before you seems very appropriate and swallowing is a must. Spitting you out is also a form of disrespect.”

Why would swallowing be a “must,” and spitting be “disrespect”? How is it you have come to that conclusion? And how is a husband going to force his wife not to spit?

To me, the fact that sperm are a man’s seed and when combined with a woman’s egg will create a baby, makes the thought of a woman swallowing it absolutely repugnant.”

Bruce went even further than Lost&Found in his response to Trey:

“Don’t know about 1,2, &4 but 3 is totally wrong. Lisa should not allow her husband to put his penis in her mouth (or anus for that matter). This is sodomy or, at best, sodomitic mimicry. Her husband’s penis and semen belongs in her vagina not her digestive tract. If Lisa is reading this: you are NOT to obey your husband in this – obey God first.”

So, we can definitely see some strong views on the matter of a woman giving her husband oral sex in the three comments I have just mentioned.

With Trey we see the view that a woman a should not only give her husband oral sex, but that she should swallow and not spit out his semen when he finishes.

With Lost&Found we see the view that perhaps oral sex is ok for a woman to do for her husband, but that swallowing should not be required.

With Bruce we see a complete rejection of oral sex and his lumping it in with anal sex and categorizing oral sex and anal sex as Sodomy.  He maintains that both a husband’s penis and his semen belong in his wife’s vagina and not “in her digestive tract”.  Bruce even went as far as to tell the woman who I was responding to that she should not obey her husband regarding oral sex, but rather obey God first.

So, which of these commenters is right? As always, to find the answer to all moral questions we must first look to the Scriptures.

Do the Scriptures teach that the Penis and Semen May Only Go in the Vagina?

I am willing to bet that Bruce is most likely Catholic as his view of oral sex is more common among Catholics than any other Christian denomination.  The teaching of the Catholic Church is that all sex must be “procreative” or “open to life” or the orgasm must be “genital to genital”.  In other words, all sexual relations between a man and his wife must end with his penis ejaculating in her vagina.

Now Catholics differ on whether a woman can orally pleasure her husband and the rule is only that he must finish in her vagina.

The problem is that the Bible never teaches this doctrine. It is a completely man-made doctrine.

Some have wrongly attempted to teach that the story of Onan in the Bible confirms that God only allows sex that is penile-vaginal intercourse and that the man must finish in his wife’s vagina each and every time:

“8 And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.  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 38:8-10 (KJV)

Onan was not killed simply for spilling his semen on the ground – i.e. “pulling out”. He was killed by God because of WHY he pulled out.  He pulled out to avoid impregnating his dead brother’s wife which was his duty before God.  So, Genesis 38:8-10 proves nothing in regard to God requiring men to always have penile-vaginal intercourse that ends with an ejaculation in the woman’s vagina.

Are oral sex and anal sex for that matter called out as “Sodomy” in the Bible? The answer is no. If you look at the story of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis chapter 19 you will find no mention of oral or anal sex.  What you will find mentioned is men wanting to have sex with men – homosexuality.

Later in the Old Testament you will find the term “sodomite” used like in the following passage:

“There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.”

Deuteronomy 23:17(KJV)

The English word “sodomite” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Qadesh” which literally means “male prostitute”.  So, when we take together the story of Sodom and Gomorrah along with the use of Qadesh what can we say that Sodomy is from a Biblical perspective? It is when men engage in homosexual behavior or prostitute themselves out.

Oral sex is not wrong because Sodomites engage in it anymore than penile-vaginal sex is wrong because unmarried men and women engage in it.  It is the context which makes sexual acts, including oral sex, right or wrong.

I will briefly address anal sex near the end of this article after I have fully covered oral sex from a Biblical perspective.

We must then ask the question, is there any passage of the Bible which looks negatively upon oral sex? And the answer is no.  But the answer to the next question I will pose may surprise many Christians. Does the Bible ever speak positively of oral sex? And the answer is YES.

The Bible Speaks in a Positive Manner Regarding Oral Sex

After I show you this next passage of the Bible, you will never look at a tree, especially an apple tree, the same again.

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

Song of Solomon 2:3 (KJV)

In ancient middle eastern poetry, the apple tree was a euphemism for a man’s genitals.  Consider the parts of the tree in the image below and how they correlate to a man’s genitals.

The image that the woman “sitting under his shadow” portrays is that of a man standing over top of his wife with his shadow over her and her down below him performing Fellatio which is oral sex performed on a man and is commonly referred to today as a “blow job“.  The Scriptures tell us she did this “with great delight” or in other words with enthusiasm and desire.  What is the fruit of his tree? It is his semen. The woman says of her husband’s semen that it was “sweet to my taste”.

But what about oral sex on a woman? Again, the Bible speaks to this as well.  And just as I warned you with the apple tree, you will no longer look at a cluster of grapes or a pomegranate the same ever again after reading the next few Scripture passages.

“7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes

12 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.”

Song of Solomon 7:7 &12 (KJV)

This picture being presented above is that of a man wanting to see his wife’s breasts and genitals becoming aroused with grapes representing her breasts and pomegranates representing her genitals.

See the image below of a pomegranate and you can definitely see the resemblance to a woman’s genitals:

Now look below at what the wife asks her husband do with her “pomegranate”:

“I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother’s house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.”

Song of Solomon 8:2 (KJV)

Drinking of the juice of her pomegranate is a euphemism for Cunnilingus which is oral sex performed on a woman.

Another reference to the wife requesting oral sex from her husband is found below:

“Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

Song of Solomon 4:16 (KJV)

If you ever wondered where “going south” on a woman or “eating out” a woman came from – you can find it right there in there in Song of Solomon 4:16. The imagery of this passage is unmistakably referring to cunnilingus with the “spices” that “may flow out” referring to the natural secretions that come from a woman’s genitals when she is aroused or stimulated.

So yes, we can say beyond a doubt that the Bible speaks positively, not negatively, of oral sex as long as it occurs as all sexual acts should – within the proper context of marriage.  We can now at this point completely dismiss as totally unbiblical Bruce’s position that oral sex is a sin and that women should disobey their husbands if this is requested.

So Oral Sex is an Option for Christian Spouses, But Is It Also Required?

Up to this point we have proven that oral sex is definitely an option for men and women within the covenant of marriage.  The next question we must ask though is this.  Is oral required in marriage in according to the Bible?

None of the references to oral sex in the Song of Solomon are written in the form of a command, but rather they are written in the form of a positive example.  Examples of various behaviors and actions in the Bible when presented in a positive light show us that God allows us to do that particular thing, but examples do not require us to do a certain thing.

In other words, positive Biblical examples allow while Biblical commands compel.

But while Song of Solomon contains no commands about oral sex, there are other passages which do give us commands about sex in general.

“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 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.”

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 (KJV)

The passage above from 1 Corinthians teaches us several important Biblical principles about sex:

  1. Sex is both a right and duty in marriage of both the husband and the wife.
  2. The husband does not have the power to deny his body to his wife for sex nor does the wife have the power to deny her body to her husband for sex.
  3. The only thing that requires “consent” in the Biblical world view of sex is consent by both of them to stop having sex for a brief period of time.

The Biblical principles above fly in the face of our modern individualist and secular humanist view of human autonomy today.  But we as Christians are commanded to reject whatever values our culture has which conflict with the Word of God:

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)

So now let’s apply the principles of I Corinthians 7:3-5 to the topic of oral sex.

If a man wants his wife to perform oral sex on him – does she have the right to refuse? According to 1 Corinthians 7:4 the answer is no she does not have such a right.  But the same goes for woman.  If a woman wants her husband to perform oral sex on her, does he have the right to refuse? Again, the answer according to I Corinthians 7:4 is no, he does not have such a right.

So, the answer to our question is that oral sex can be both optional and required. 

It is optional in the sense that if neither spouse wants to engage in oral sex than it is not required.  Is required in the sense that if either spouse wants to engage in it, then the other spouse must cooperate and render themselves accordingly.

Now of course we must balance the right to have sex with one’s spouse and the responsibility to have sex with one’s spouse with other Scriptural principles.

For instance, the Bible teaches the following to husbands regarding their wife’s body:

“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)

A man must care for the needs of his wife’s body as he would his own. In the sexual arena, that means he should never do anything to his wife that would misuse or cause harm to his wife’s body.

Sometimes vaginal sex may be need to cease for a time if the woman is having medical conditions that warrant such a ceasing, a good example of which would be right after she has had a child.  There may also be times when oral sex may need to cease because the man or woman has had some type of dental work or oral surgery.  There may be other times when it would not be conducive for a man to perform oral sex on his wife, for instance when she has her period or when she has some type of infection in her genital area.

Is it Healthy for A Woman to Swallow Her Husband’s Semen?

Under normal circumstances oral sex between a husband and wife within the confines of marriage presents no health risks whatsoever.  What do I mean by normal? If a man and woman follow God’s design for marriage and they both wait for all sexual activity (including oral sex) until marriage there is no chance of them contracting any STDs from one another due to oral sex.

On the subject of a man’s semen.  Many women are grossed out by a man’s semen while others absolutely love it.  So, what is in this mystery fluid that is ejected from a man’s body when he has an orgasm?

On average men ejaculate about a teaspoon of semen.

Sperm makes up only about 2 to 5 percent of a man’s semen.

The overwhelming majority of a man’s semen is fructose(sugar), along with vitamin C, zinc, protein, lactic acid, magnesium, calcium chlorine, citric acid, creatine, potassium, vitamin B12, sodium, nitrogen, and phosphorus.

Basically what that means is your husband’s sperm has about the same ingredients as the breakfast plate pictured below.

So, no it absolutely not unhealthy for a woman to swallow her husband’s semen.  In fact, it is very healthy both for her physically and for him psychologically. And we will tackle the male psychological side of oral sex next.

How Fellatio Affects a Man’s Psyche

There are two ways that a woman can approach oral sex with her husband.  The one is to “well I do this because I know he likes it but this is gross and he better not finish in my mouth!” In other words, the idea of her husband’s penis and especially his semen in her mouth utterly grosses her out.

Even outside of oral sex, some women just find their husband’s semen gross and immediately after sex they are running to the bathroom to do this extensive cleaning process or even taking a bath in some cases.

Other women crave their husband’s semen.  These women perform oral sex to actually be able to taste their husband’s semen.  This is the type of wife that is pictured in Song of Solomon 2:3.

For most men who have not been conditioned to be ashamed of their sexual desires, they want their wife to be like the wife of Song of Solomon 2:3.  They want their wife to crave their semen.  Whether it be wanting it on their face, in their mouth, on their breasts and certainly in their vagina.  Why? Because a man’s semen is an extension of himself.  Semen, unlike other bodily biproducts from a man, represents life.  It represents the man’s life and who he is.

So yes, many men find it disrespectful and unloving when their wife finds their semen to be gross whether inside or outside her body or she refuses to swallow.  But most men have been conditioned by our society (including the churches) to remain silent about this and to tell women what they want to hear that it is “not important” to them.

A wife shows her submission to her husband when she kneels before him and takes his “apple tree” in her mouth.

A wife shows her full acceptance of her husband when she does this act with “great delight” showing her husband that she craves the “sweet” taste of his fruit.

A wife shows her sacrificial spirit when after performing fellatio on her husband to its natural completion she asks for nothing in return.

Why Cunnilingus is Important for Women

Multiple studies have confirmed that many women cannot have orgasms from penile-vaginal intercourse alone.

Consider these numbers from an article on Psychology Today entitled “Why So Many Women Don’t Have Orgasms”:

“For men, rates of orgasm varied only slightly based on how many of these three actions they’d reported:

One (just intercourse): 96 percent of the men had orgasms.

Two (hand massage and intercourse): 95 percent.

Three (hand massage, fellatio, and intercourse): 98 percent.

But for women, rates of orgasm varied considerably based on the number of actions:

One (just intercourse): 50 percent of the women reported orgasms.

Two (hand massage and intercourse): 71 percent.

Three (hand massage, cunnilingus, and intercourse): 86 percent.

In summary, the number above show that 96 percent of men can have an orgasm through penile-vaginal intercourse without any manual stimulation of their genitals or oral sex.

But only 50 percent of women can have an orgasm from penile-vaginal intercourse alone.  For many women they must have their genitals massaged along with receiving oral sex in order to have an orgasm.

So why is cunnilingus important for women? Because there is a large chunk of women that cannot have an orgasm without it.

The Importance of Allowing Oral Sex

It is rare but I do sometimes hear from both men and women that they do not really want to allow their spouse to perform oral sex on them but their spouse really wants to.

What these men and women need to understand is that giving oral sex can be a huge turn on for many men and women and it is a crucial part of foreplay for them even if orgasm is not reached through it.

From the emails I have received, it is more often women that are opposed to their husbands performing oral sex on them then men opposing their wives performing oral sex on them.

Sometimes it is because they just always feel dirty in their genital area, even after they wash.  Some women just don’t want their husband’s mouth on their genitals simply because they think it is gross.  For some women it might be because their husband performed oral sex once and he was too rough.

If it is just a matter of the husband changing his technique, this can be accomplished through communication between the wife and her husband.

But in either case, a man or woman opposed to having oral sex performed on them by their spouse needs to address whatever issues are hindering them in this area.  Because they are holding back a portion of themselves that they ought not to be from their spouse.

What About Anal Sex?

Earlier we talked about how some Christians like Bruce link oral sex with anal sex and associate both these practices with the Biblical condemnation of Sodomites.  I have a written an entire article on the subject of Anal sex entitled “Do Christian wives have to submit to requests for anal sex by their husbands?”.   I won’t go into all the details here as you can just read that article but I will just summarize my position on it here.

The anus, unlike the vagina and the mouth, is not designed for penetration.  It is designed as an “exit-only” orifice.

WebMD states this about anal sex:

“The anus lacks the natural lubrication the vagina has. Penetration can tear the tissue inside the anus, allowing bacteria and viruses to enter the bloodstream… Using lubricants can help some, but doesn’t completely prevent tearing.

The tissue inside the anus is not as well protected as the skin outside the anus. Our external tissue has layers of dead cells that serve as a protective barrier against infection. The tissue inside the anus does not have this natural protection, which leaves it vulnerable to tearing and the spread of infection

Even if both partners do not have a sexually-transmitted infection or disease, bacteria normally in the anus can potentially infect the giving partner. Practicing vaginal sex after anal sex can also lead to vaginal and urinary tract infections

Now some have argued that “God has designed many parts of the body with a primary function and many secondary as well” and that is absolutely true.  The mouth has the primary purpose of acting as the intake for food and drink for the body but it has a secondary purpose of allowing for kissing and oral sex.  In the same way the vagina has the purpose of being able to give birth to a child, but it has another purpose of being able to receive a man’s penis for penile-vaginal intercourse.

Some have tried to argue that the anus in women, like the vagina is created by God for a dual purpose as well. They argue that a woman’s anus is designed by God for evacuating waste from the body but also receiving a man’s penis for anal intercourse.

The problem with this dual-purpose theory for a woman’s anus is that we know that it is a medical fact that the anus is NOT designed for penetration.  It does not have the thick elastic lining of either the mouth or the vagina.  It has much thinner skin that is very easily torn and can easily become infected.

Another thing which separates oral sex from anal sex is cross contamination.   There are no medical issues with a man receiving oral sex from his wife and then him placing his penis in her vagina.  There are however great risks of spreading harmful bacteria from man having anal sex with his wife and then putting his penis in her vagina afterwards as this can cause infections in the vagina.

It is for all these reasons that I believe anal sex is in fact a misuse of a woman’s body and it stands apart from oral sex.  Oral sex does not have any health risks under normal circumstances while anal sex is considered by health practitioners to be the “riskiest form of sexual activity” that there is.

Again, you can read my full article on anal sex by reading my article “Do Christian wives have to submit to requests for anal sex by their husbands?”.

Conclusion

From a Biblical perspective, oral sex is not equivalent to Sodomy any more that penile-vaginal intercourse is equivalent to fornication.  Just as penile-vaginal intercourse is only fornication if it occurs outside a marriage covenant between a man and woman, so too oral sex is only sodomy if it occurs in the context of two men having sex.

The Bible never restricts sexual relations between husbands and wives to only penile-vaginal intercourse. It actually presents oral sex, both fellatio and cunnilingus in a positive light.

We have also shown that oral sex is more than just an option for Christian husbands and wives.  The 1 Corinthians 7:4 principle that husbands and wives must fully surrender their bodies to one another for sex can make oral sex a requirement and not just an option in marriage if either spouse wants it.

Men should not be repulsed by the thought of performing oral sex on their wives and women should not be repulsed by the thought of performing oral sex on their husbands.

Women should understand that it is not gross or unhealthy in anyway for a them to swallow their husband’s semen.  It is actually very healthy and it is a powerful bonding tool for a wife to use with her husband.

When a woman has wrongfully denied her husband sex the idea of her kneeling before him, performing fellatio and then swallowing his semen is probably the best apology a wife could ever give her husband for such a sin.

But a wife must realize that her performing fellatio as well as her swallowing is not simply something she should do as an apology for sexual denial.  It is something that should be done regularly to show her love, full acceptance and submission to her husband.

Finally, for those who might be concerned that I am promoting oral sex over penile-vaginal sex.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   While I think fellatio and cunnilingus should be utilized by couples on a regular basis for foreplay or with cunnilingus to help a wife have an orgasm, I do believe that the vast majority of sexual encounters between a husband and wife should end in penile-vaginal intercourse with him ejaculating in his wife’s vagina.

You don’t have to be a doctor or a biologist to see that a man’s penis and a woman’s vagina are perfectly designed to come together.  When a man and woman come together in penile-vaginal intercourse this is them becoming “one flesh” in the most literal sense of the Biblical phase.

But what we have known since creation simply by common observation has also been proven scientifically in that penile-vaginal intercourse results in a release of 400% percent more prolactin  in men and women than any other form of sexual activity (like oral sex or masturbation). Prolactin is what give us the sense of satisfaction from having sex.

However, it is one thing to say that penile-vaginal sex is the best form of sexual relations a husband and wife can have and another to say it is the only kind of sexual relations a husband and wife can have.

Is the Silent Treatment Always Wrong?

“Dear BGR, my husband sometimes goes to sleep on the couch in his man-cave-office when he is angry at me for something I have done toward him. Even the next day he will speak very little if any to me basically giving me the silent treatment.
Sometimes we may have had a heated discussion or argument which we could not resolve but other times it is just that he felt I was disrespectful to him in something I said or did. Sometimes it is because I turned him down for sex when I am not in the mood.
If I apologize to him then he will return to our bed and our relationship will return to normal. If I do not apologize, this (him sleeping in his man-cave-office) can go on for several days, even sometimes a week before he will finally stop his silent treatment and return to our bed without me apologizing.

I must admit that in most cases this does work and gets me to the point of apologizing to him for whatever wrong he thinks I committed. There are some times I don’t think I did anything wrong and I think he is just being too sensitive so I let him stay in his man-cave-office until he finally comes back to our bed a few days or even a week later.

Either way, I don’t think this is a healthy thing for our relationship. I think it is childish and manipulative. Does the Bible approve of husbands giving their wives the silent treatment to get them to admit fault and ask forgiveness?

Lisa”

There are some in Christianity and even outside of Christianity that believe to give someone the silent treatment is always wrong, no matter the circumstances under which it occurs.

However, there are many things in life that can be right or wrong depending on the circumstances under which they occur. Some of my fellow conservative Christian brothers reject this concept calling it “situational ethics”. But the truth of the Scriptures is that the same action can be right or wrong depending on the circumstances under which that action occurs.

Consider the following rule in the Old Testament regarding a man killing a thief:
“1 If a man shall steal an ox, or a sheep, and kill it, or sell it; he shall restore five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep. 2 If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him. 3 If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.”
Exodus 22:1-3 (KJV)

The passage above tells us if a man breaks in at night to a person’s home and the home owner kills him at night this is not a crime and is considered a justified killing. But if a person kills a thief in their home by day, then it is considered murder.

The reason a person could justly kill a thief breaking in at night is because under the cover of darkness you cannot tell what a person’s intentions are. They could be there to harm you or your family, or simply to steal. But in the day light you can see exactly why they are there for and if they are just there to steal – they can be apprehended, but not killed. And it tells us the thief must make restitution for what he was trying to steal which could be 4 to 5 times the value of whatever he was going to steal. If he could not pay this penalty, then he would be sold as an indentured servant for 6 years and in the 7th year he would have to be freed (Deuteronomy 15:12).

The point is, whether an action is right or wrong often depends on the situation under which it occurs.

Now we will tackle a word often associated with the silent treatment and that is one Lisa mentioned which is “manipulative”. Can the silent treatment be a form of manipulation? Yes. If it is a person under authority trying to change their authority’s behavior by doing something that makes life difficult for their authority then yes it can very much be a form of manipulation and a wrong behavior.

For example, think of the child who holds their breath until their parent gives them what they want? Or what if the child refuses to eat until they get what they want? Or they cry until they get what they want?

And of course, if a child engages in the silent treatment toward their parents until the parents give in and give them what they want this would be a classic form of manipulation and is absolutely wrong from a Biblical perspective as children are commanded to obey their parents.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
Ephesians 6:1 (KJV)

In the same way if a wife were to give her husband the silent treatment until he gave her what she wanted, whether it is agreeing to her position from an argument they had or just giving her an apology such behavior toward her husband would also be a form of manipulation toward her husband and is condemned by the Scriptures. The Bible also commands wives to obey their husbands:
“5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
I Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)

The same Greek word is used for both children and wives in regard to their relationship with their fathers and husbands. The Greek word “Hupakouo” is translated “obey” in Ephesians 6:1 for children toward their parents and “obeyed” in I Peter 3:6 referring to a wife’s behavior toward her husband.

God wants women to be obedient to their husbands just as he wants children to be obedient to their parents.

Does this mean husbands are always right in what they say or do? Of course not. They are sinners just as women are. And there are some extreme conditions where a wife may have to choose between obeying God and obeying her husband and in such cases Acts 5:9 tells us that women should “obey God rather than men.”

But a wife does not have the right to disobey her husband simply because he acts in any sinful way toward her or he sins against God. In fact, the beginning of I Peter chapter 3 teaches that wives are to have submissive spirits toward their husbands who sin against God:
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.”
I Peter 3:1-2 (KJV)

In other words, just because a woman’s husband sins against her or against this does not invalidate his God given position of authority over her as her husband.

Now someone might say “What about I Peter 3:4?”:
“4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”

There is a difference between a woman having a “meek and quiet spirit” toward her husband and her giving him the silent treatment. One type of quietness comes from a woman’s spirit of reverence, submission and love toward her husband and the other comes from spite.

Here is the point we have clearly established from the Bible. There is stark contrast between a woman using the silent treatment toward her husband to control him and thus control their relationship and a woman winning her husband to God without a word by her pure and reverent behavior.

And now we come to the question at the center of Lisa’s email to me.

Is it Wrong for a Husband to Use the Silent Treatment with His Wife?

As I said in the beginning of this article, the silent treatment can be wrong or right depending on the circumstances under which it occurs. The Bible gives husbands the following command toward their wives:
“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.”
Colossians 3:19 (KJV)

If a husband’s silent treatment toward his wife comes from a place of bitterness toward her then his silent treatment toward her is wrong.

However, the Bible show us that God as a husband to Israel used the silent treatment as one of his methods of discipline toward his wife:
“1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:1-2 (KJV)
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
II Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)

And we as husbands are called to follow Christ’s example toward his church in washing our wives with the Word as he does his Church:
“25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 (KJV)

Also, we as husbands are called to rebuke and discipline our wives as Christ does his churches:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Revelation 3:19 (KJV)

But we must also remember as husbands that God forgives sin and shows mercy:
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.”
Micah 7:18 (KJV)

We as Christian husbands must follow God’s example in not holding on to our anger forever, no matter how righteous that anger might be. The Scriptures tell us the following regarding righteous anger:
Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath
Ephesians 4:26 (KJV)

So even if our wife does not apologize, we need to let our anger go. However that does not mean our wife is free from the consequences of her actions. We as husbands can continue disciplinary action whatever that may be long after our anger has subsided.

But we must also show our wives that while we may sleep in another room for a few nights that we will never forsake them just as Christ will never forsake his church:
“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

Conclusion

Let’s review a key statement from Lisa’s email to me that cannot be overlooked:

“Sometimes we may have had a heated discussion or argument which we could not resolve but other times it is just that he felt I was disrespectful to him in something I said or did.”

This statement by Lisa makes it clear that her husband is not unwilling to have a basic conversation with her. But when the argument goes on and on and they cannot agree or she begins to start acting disrespectful toward him during the discussion this is when he shuts the discussion down and exits the discussion.

This is actually good as in most cases it is counterproductive to keep a discussion going when it gets too heated and keeps going around and around.

Of course, we will also have people saying “So you think a wife can never tell her husband what she thinks?” and I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth.

The Bible tells us of the virtuous wife in Proverbs 31:26 that “in her tongue is the law of kindness” and it also tells us in Proverbs 12:4 that she is never one to “maketh ashamed” her husband. The Bible also tells us in Proverbs 19:14 that “a prudent wife is from the Lord” and then it tells us in Proverbs 21:19 that “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman”.

My point is that there is nothing wrong with a wife sharing a different point of view with her husband as long as it done with kindness and respect. But there is a big difference between a wife kindly sharing a different point of view with her husband and her entering into a contentious argument with him. The first type of behavior is to be commended; the second type of behavior should be condemned.

And now we come to a husband’s use of the silent treatment in response to his wife’s contentious spirit with him.

The Scriptures tell us in Proverbs 21:9 that “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.” We can directly relate this to our discussion and say based on the Scriptures it is better for a husband to go to his “man-cave-office” then to dwell with his brawling wife elsewhere in the house.

And the silent treatment can be a very effective tool especially with women. Why? Because most women are “Empathizers” (as confirmed by a recent Cambridge study of over 671,000 men and women ) meaning that they are driven to know the thoughts and feelings of those around them and especially the thoughts and feelings of their husbands.

In other words, in most cases, it will drive a wife nuts when she does not know what her husband is thinking. And in a lot of cases she will do anything it takes to remedy the situation to restore communications with her husband.

But then again sometimes a wife will remain in her stubborn sinful state, and sometimes we as husbands may be called to show mercy after some time apart or perhaps switch to a different disciplinary technique.

And finally, I just want to quickly address this other key statement by Lisa:

“Sometimes it is because I turned him down for sex when I am not in the mood.”

A woman turning her husband down for sex simply because she is “not in the mood” as opposed to having some serious medical condition is a serious violation of her marriage covenant:
“3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.”
I Corinthians 7:3-4 (KJV)

Men primarily give and receive love in marriage through sex. It is what bonds them to their wife. Where as women primarily give and receive love by talking and sharing feelings and this is how women feel bonded to their husbands. This is not to say that men cannot feel bonded to their wives by talking and sharing feelings nor is this to say women don’t feel bonded to their husbands through sex. But we are talking about primary means of bonding verses secondary means of bonding which are different in men and women.

Ladies, let me translate this for you. Imagine you had a rough day with the kids and lots of other things going on at home. You can’t wait to put the kids to bed and just talk and share your day with your husband and also find out about his day. So, you get the kids to bed and slip into bed with your husband. You start talking to him about your day and he stops you “Babe, I am really not in the mood tonight” and then he rolls over and goes to sleep.

That frustration you would feel as a woman if your husband did this to you is exactly what a man feels when his wife tells him she is not in the mood for sex.

So, Lisa – yes God absolutely approves of your husband using the silent treatment with you as long as he does not let a root of bitterness grow in his heart. And by your own admission, it often works to bring you to repentance as you seek to restore your fellowship with your husband.