The world and sadly many churches today tell women to leave their cheating husbands. But is this what the Bible tells women to do? How can a woman possibly stay with a cheating husband? How could she cope with this on a daily basis and have any kind of a relationship with her husband knowing what he is doing?
In my new podcast series on BGRLearning.com entitled “Four Biblical Ways a Christian Wife Can Cope with a Cheating Husband”, I first start out with an email from a Christian wife named Beth. She has been married 8 years and has three children. She recently discovered that her husband has been engaging in sexual sin while he is away on business trips.
I help her and other wives to navigate the range of emotions they are experiencing and point them to the Bible to put their husbands’ sin in a right Biblical perspective. It is only when a woman sees her husband’s sin from God’s perspective and that she can fully accept how God wants her to cope with her husband’s sin.
Whoremongering husbands are nothing new in the history of the world. Both men and women have been engaging in sexual sin since the beginning of mankind. And as with many things in the Bible, his instructions to wives in how to deal with and cope with their husband’s sin is different than his instructions for men.
It is possible for a Christian wife to have a good relationship, a loving relationship, with her whoremongering husband if she follows the commands and principles of the Word of God that I talk about in this series.
Many Christian women today may find this impossible to believe, but with God all things are possible.
Even if you are not married or are married and don’t have a whoremongering husband, the Biblical principles in this series will help to strengthen your marriage.
Click here to go to BGRLearning.com today and subscribe to listen to this series as well as hundreds of other podcasts on masculinity, femininity courtship, marriage and sex all from a Biblical perspective.
There are four habits that every newlywed Christian wife needs to form in her marriage beginning on her wedding day. And these are the habits of submissiveness, reverence, trustworthiness and sexiness. In this new podcast I have produced for BGRLearning.com, I supply newlywed wives with biblically based, detailed and practical ways to help them establish these habits.
And on the term “sexiness”. A lot of traditional women would have no issue with the habits of submissiveness, reverence and trustworthiness be required for wives but they would immediately raise their eyes at the thought that they must be sexy for their husbands. Some think it is “un-lady like” or immodest for a wife to act in sexually arousing ways toward her husband. Other women might say “I know I have to be submissive to my husband’s sexual desires – but where does the Bible say I have to be sexy toward him?”
In this podcast I show the answers to these questions and concerns from the Bible and practically apply these truths for newlywed Christian wives. And while this podcast is primarily directed at newlywed Christian wives, it is never too late for Christian women who have been married many years to learn to incorporate these habits in their marriages as well.
Click here to go to BGRLearning.com and subscribe to listen to this podcast as well as gain access to hundreds of podcasts on the topics of masculinity, femininity, courtship, marriage and sex all from a Biblical perspective.
“A wife being submissive does not mean her being a doormat”. This phrase is commonly used even within traditional and conservative Christian circles which promote the submission of wives to their husbands and male headship. But this teaching, that wives should not allow themselves to be doormats for their husbands is totally unbiblical and instead finds its basis in modern humanist teachings.
“A doormat is a small rug placed just inside a doorway where people can wipe their dirty shoes before entering the house. The term doormat is also used figuratively to describe people who allow themselves to be (figuratively) walked on by others; that is, a doormat allows himself or herself to be abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of without mounting a defense. Since Jesus taught us to “turn the other cheek” (Matthew 5:39) and to “do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27), was He telling us to be doormats?
Jesus was not teaching His disciples to be doormats. Rather, He was teaching that, to glorify God and show ourselves to be His true children, we need to be pure inside and out and to be as accommodating as possible for the sake of a lost world. To “turn the other cheek” does not mean we place ourselves or others in danger or that we ignore injustice…
It may appear noble and Christlike when someone allows himself or herself to be used as a doormat, but there could also be a selfish reason behind it. For example, some people allow themselves to be doormats because of their own insecurities and low self-worth. They fear rejection, so they allow their personal boundaries to be violated by others in hopes they will be appreciated and loved. They are trying to gain validation by purchasing it with their compliance, in effect, expecting fallible people to tell them who they are instead of relying on God to do that….
Third, Christians can seek wise counsel about boundary-setting. The Bible is a book of boundaries and consequences. Healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships. The word no is powerful. We need to learn that enabling the sins or irresponsibility of others is not loving; it is self-indulgent. Selfish fear, rooted in a desire for others to love, appreciate, or need us, propels us to rescue those who should experience their own consequences.”
So, what is the synopsis of this false doctrine?
The modern doormat doctrine teaches that no Christian man or woman should allow themselves “to be abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of without mounting a defense” and to tolerate such mistreatment makes one guilty of the sin of being a “doormat”.
According to the Doormat doctrine, in order to avoid the sin of becoming a doormat, a Christian must learn to set boundaries with others and learn the concept that “The word no is powerful”. When one commits the sin of being a doormat, they are “enabling the sins or irresponsibility of others” and engaging in “selfish fear”.
And let’s not kid ourselves. The Doormat doctrine was invented as a result of the influence of feminism in modern churches. It was invented to give power to women that God never meant for them to have. And that is why in most cases, you will see this Doormat doctrine applied to wives in regard to their husbands.
A Little Truth Mixed in With the False Doormat Doctrine
Many false doctrines have at least a little bit of truth in them. This is what gets people to fall for false doctrines. And this is the case with the Doormat doctrine.
First, it is true that is not always wrong for Christians to say no, in fact sometimes it absolutely right to say no and resist wrong doing that is being done against us or others.
In Deuteronomy 22:23-27 God requires that a young woman say no and cry out and resist if a man who is not her husband tries to make her have sex with him. And the Apostles, when told not to preach the Gospel, said in Acts 5:29 “We ought to obey God rather than men”.
In Nehemiah 4:14 the God given right and responsibility of men to fight to defend their wives, their children and their homes is firmly established where it states “fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses”.
Even within the Christian church among the Apostles, we see that the Apostle Paul took a strong stand against injustice when he saw the Apostle Peter discriminating against the new Gentile Christians in Galatians 2:11-12:
“11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”
The point is that sometimes we must absolutely say no and take a stand against certain sinful behaviors that are committed against us or against others.
And certainly, we all must set the boundary with others that we will never allow someone to make us do something which God forbids in his law.
The Errors of the False Doormat Doctrine
One of the foundational errors of the modern church’s false Doormat doctrine is that it utterly ignores the relational context of when someone is being “abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of”. But in the Bible, the relational context of when someone is being “abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of” is crucial to understanding what God wants our response to be in that situation.
For instance, if someone is threatening or committing harm against a man, his wife, his children or his property he has the God given right of self-defense (Nehemiah 4:14).
But what about someone who has a master? If they are being “abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of” what does God say they should do in that situation? Should they mount a defense? The answer is given to us in the following passage from 1 Peter 2:18-21:
“18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”
So, what is God’s answer to those who have masters who are froward (cruel and unjust) toward them? Does he tell them to mount a defense? No, but rather he tells them that it is “thankworthy” and “acceptable with God” for them to endure such unjust treatment by their masters and that in doing so they emulate Christ who also suffered unjustly.
And then, immediately after saying this to slaves regarding their masters, he says the following to wives regarding their husbands in 1 Peter 3:1-2 & 5-6:
“1 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…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”
When taken together – 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 teaches that those who have masters, whether they be wives or slaves, are commanded to endure cruel and unjust treatment from their masters. And in doing so, those who endure mistreatment at the hands of their masters emulate Christ in his sufferings.
Why 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 Is So Hard for Americans to Accept
1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 is a very difficult passage of the Bible for modern westerners, and especially Americans, to swallow. This passage really takes a sledge hammer to the individualist and humanist ideals which form the foundation for modern American values.
Below is a list of modern American values which 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 contradicts:
No person may be owned by another – to do so makes them a slave and slavery is always immoral under any circumstances.
No person may be controlled or coerced against their will to do something they do not wish to do. (Of course, the humanists make exceptions for parents with children and the government making people do certain things like paying taxes, giving up guns or taking vaccines).
Men and women have equal rights and should have equal opportunities in all areas of society.
No person should ever tolerate abuse from another person, they should always defend themselves against any unjust treatment by others.
The fact is that the Bible does not hold to any of these modern core American beliefs. The Bible explicitly allows the taking of slaves and the concept of human property in Leviticus 25:44-46. The Bible does not condemn slavery, but rather it condemns the unjust taking of slaves in Deuteronomy 24:7 (someone taking one of his fellow citizens and selling them). The Bible also condemns the physical abuse of slaves in Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27. For more on the subject of slavery from a Biblical perspective see my article “Why Christians Shouldn’t Be Ashamed of slavery in the Bible”.
The Bible also teaches that a person can have a master (be owned) and yet not be slave. This concept is a real head-scratcher for modern Americans but it is very Biblical.
In the passage above from 1 Peter 3:6, God exhorts women to follow the example of Sarah who called her husband “lord”. The Greek word there is ‘Kurios’ which means “master/lord/owner” and throughout the Old Testament it was common for the Hebrew word ‘baal’ meaning “master/lord/owner” to be used in regard to a woman’s husband.
So, both wives and slaves have masters, yet wives are not slaves.
The primary difference in the relationship between masters and their wives and masters and their slaves is that the master of a wife has a much greater set of responsibilities toward his wife than that of a master of a slave. The master of a wife is to love her as Christ does his church and to provide for her and protect her as he does his own body. A master of a wife is to give his body to his wife in the bed. He is to be willing to lay down his life to save hers. He has a responsibility to mold her and teach her how to emulate the church and to be the glorious wife she needs to be. A master of a slave has none of these responsibilities toward his slave. For more on this subject of the Biblical comparison of wives to slaves see my article “8 Biblical Differences Between Wives and Slaves”.
And this is why passages like 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6 is almost impossible for modern Christians to fully comprehend without first understanding that some of our core American values are in fact unbiblical.
But Aren’t Wives Enabling Sin If They Don’t Confront Their Husbands?
This is a very popular aspect of the modern false Doormat doctrine. It teaches that if wives allow their husbands to sin against them by mistreating them that they are enabling their husband’s sin and thus sinning against God themselves in doing so.
But I encourage you to look throughout the Scriptures to find God calling a woman to go to her husband and rebuke him to his face about his sin. You won’t find one passage. Yes, we have Pilot’s wife warning him about a vision she had about Christ in Matthew 27:19 – but that was not a rebuke – it was a plea. And even with Abigail in 1 Samuel 25 when she acted to save her family from her husband’s evil deeds, she did not rebuke her husband to his face.
So, what is so different about the husband/wife relationship which forbids a wife from rebuking her husband? The answer is found in Ephesians 5:22-24:
“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.”
The husband/wife relationship is different than any other human relationship. It is a sacred institution created by God. The husband represents God and the wife represents the people of God. For the wife to rebuke her husband would symbolize the church rebuking Christ.
Now some would argue that husbands are not perfect like Christ and that is true. Christ was the only sinless man to ever walk this earth – amen.
But the Biblical prescription for how women should handle sin in their lives of their husbands shows us that even though husbands are sinners, God has not given wives the right to rebuke or chastise their husbands for their sin.
The prescription for how a wife is to handle sin in the life of her husband, whether it is toward her or others, is found in 1 Peter 3:1-2. The wife is to win her husband without a word, by her behavior (that is what conversation means in the KJV translation of 1 Peter 3:1).
However, the situation is very different with a husband in regard to his wife. The Bible tells husbands to love their wives as Christ does his church in Ephesians 5:25 and in Revelation 3:19 Christ says to his churches “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent”. Therefore, we can rightly say that is a sin for a wife to rebuke her husband but on the other hand it is a sin for a husband not to rebuke his wife because the husband and wife have different positions and responsibilities.
The Doormat doctrine, the doctrine that wives should never allow themselves “to be abused, disparaged, or taken advantage of without mounting a defense” is completely contradictory to the Biblical teachings of 1 Peter 2:18 through 1 Peter 3:6.
The Bible says it is “acceptable with God” (1 Peter 2:20) for those with masters, which includes wives, to “endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19). In other words, it is acceptable and honoring to God for wives to be doormats when it comes to their husbands. And in doing so, wives emulate Christ when he suffered unjust treatment.
Rather than rebuking their husbands for each and every offense, 1 Peter 3:1-2 teaches wives to win their husbands without a word by their behavior which includes their pure actions, their submission and their reverence toward their husbands.
Can and should Christian wives have any boundaries with their husbands? Yes.
Not all forms of abuse must be taken by Christian wives. The prohibition against masters abusing their slaves from Exodus 21:20-21 & 26-27 absolutely applies to masters (husbands) of wives. And women can be freed from their husbands if their husbands do anything that risks serious bodily harm to them. Women can also take actions to defend themselves and their children against imminent harm that their husband’s actions pose against them or their children as Abigail did in 1 Samuel 25.
Women can and should establish the boundary with their husbands that they will never do anything which God forbids in his Word. That means if a husband asks his wife to engage in a threesome with their neighbor or asks her to help him rob a bank, she must respectfully decline in obedience to God which is her higher authority.
This really is the big difference between the Doormat doctrine and what the Bible teaches. The Doormat doctrine teaches that wives should not tolerate any abusive behavior from their husbands, while the Bible teaches that women should tolerate most kinds of abuse but not all abuse from their husbands.
And a final note on husbands and their sin. Many will ask – “If a wife cannot confront her husband on his sin than who can?” And then answer is other men. Whether it be fellow male church members, his brothers, his wife’s brothers, his father or his wife’s father other men absolutely have a right and responsibility to confront one another about their sinful treatment of their wives.
There are three habits that every newlywed Christian husband needs to form in his marriage beginning on his wedding day. And these are the habits of dominance, dialogue and delegation. In this new podcast I have produced for BGRLearning.com, I supply newlywed husbands with biblically based, practical ways to help them establish the regular habits of dominance, dialogue and delegation with their new wives.
Click here to go to BGRLearning.com and subscribe to listen to this podcast and hundreds of other podcasts on the topics of masculinity, femininity, marriage, sex and discipline from all from a Biblical perspective.
Sadomasochism is a word used to represent two corruptions of the human nature by sin, sadism and masochism. In this article I wrote for Biblicalsexology.com, I show how sadism and masochism are actually a perversion of the God given desires of man to dominate his wife and the woman to be dominated by her husband.
The sad truth is that there are many Christian marriages, marriages built on the principles of Biblical patriarchy as well as the Biblical principles of Christian Domestic Discipline (CDD), that have fallen prey to this perversion of sadomasochism.
I have read articles elsewhere online about sadomasochism from a Christian perspective, but none of them compare and contrast the biblical practices of CDD and dominant sex with sadomasochism. In my article I clearly articulate the two styles of sex which God allows in marriage which are affectionate sex (i.e. making love) as well as dominant sex with the sinful practice of sadomasochistic sex.
Previously I have shown Domestic Discipline to be both a Biblical concept as well as a historical practice amongst husbands for thousands of years on my Instagram page @biblicalsexandiscipline and on my blog Biblicalgenderroles.com as well as podcasts series on BGRLearning.com.
This new 3-part podcast series is not a like any of my previous writings on the subject of Domestic Discipline. It is not a defense of Domestic Discipline. I have already done that in my previous posts like “The Biblical Case for Domestic Discipline” . This podcast series is about the practical application of Domestic Discipline. It is based on my real-world experiences doing personalized mentoring programs with more than 20 husbands over the past 4 years. Most of these husbands never believed their wives would ever accept CDD, but today the majority of their wives do.
How does a Christian man go about introducing Domestic Discipline into his marriage and what techniques actually work? What kinds of reactions can he expect from his wife as he introduces this into his marriage and how should he respond to his wife’s reactions? All of these questions and more are answered in this podcast series.
Not only do their wives accept the particular program of domestic discipline that I teach – but through this particular domestic discipline program these husbands have achieved 100 percent submission from their wives. In other words, they have achieved complete dominion over their wives as God commanded of Adam and all husbands in Genesis 3:16.
And let me be clear what I mean by “100 percent” submission. I don’t mean their wives are perfect and sinless. What 100% submission means is these wives have eliminated the phrase “I am not comfortable with that” from their speech to their husbands. And if they fail to submit or they fail in other duties as wives – they willingly accept Domestic Discipline.
Click on the image at the top or you can click here to go BGRLearning.com to subscribe and listen to this series as well as hundreds of other biblical gender roles related podcasts.
It is very common in post-feminist Christendom to hear pastors and other Christian teachers teach that men should make themselves fully accountable to their wives. Men are told they should share all their passwords for their phones, laptops, other devices, social media accounts and bank accounts. Of course women are told to do the same with their husbands as well.
The rationale for this recommendation is that it helps husbands and wives to to defend their marriage against infidelity and other sins that either the husband or wife may be tempted by. And this is not just about sexual fidelity, it is also about things like diet, finances and parenting issues.
While I have a lot of respect for Dennis and Barbara Rainey from Family Life Ministries, this is one area where he follows the modern Christian crowd which has been poisoned by femininist ideology. On his website under an article entitled “Accountability With Your Spouse” Mr. Rainey writes:
“The wise preacher declared, “Two are better than one because … if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up” (Ecclesiastes. 4:9–10). That Scripture shouts the value of mutual support or accountability in marriage.”
Sorry Mr. Rainey, but no – that Scripture does not “shout .. accountability in marriage”. Ecclesiastes 4:9–10, while being widely read at weddings, is not a Bible passage specifically talking about marriage. It is talking about friendship. Now someone might respond to what I just said with the question “Do you think friendship is not part of marriage?” and I would answer that yes I believe friendship is a part of marriage. But there are different kinds of friendship – there is friendship between equals, like two men or two women being friends. And then there are friendships between authorities and those under them. The Bible speaks of this kind of friendship between those who are not equals in James 2:23 where the Bible says “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”.
God refers to a woman as the companion of her husband (Malachi 2:14), but it never refers to her as his equal. Instead, the Bible makes clear that the husband is head (Ephesians 5:23) and master (1 Peter 3:6) of his wife. Therefore the friendship between a husband and wife will be and should be very different than a friendship between say two men or two women.
The Bible does encourage Christians to keep themselves accountable to other Christians in James 5:16 where the it says “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”.
So, the question is not whether husbands should keep themselves accountable, because they absolutely should. The question is whether husbands should keep themselves accountable to their wives. And the answer to this question is absolutely NOT.
Christian husbands should find other godly Christian men to keep themselves accountable with but certainly not their wives.
The reason husbands should not allow their wives to be their accountability partners is because such an arrangement breaks the model of marriage that God has designed. God did not design marriage as a partnership, but rather he designed it as a patriarchy. God designed marriage to model the relationship between God and his people and Christ and his church. Is Christ subject to his church or his church subject to Christ? We know the answer from the Scriptures (See Ephesians 5:24).
Wives however, are accountable to their husbands as the church is accountable to Christ and it is also good for women to find other godly women to keep themselves accountable with as well (see Titus 2:3-5).
Am I Saying Husbands and Wives Should Not Communicate At All?
Affirming the Biblical the truth that a husband making himself morally accountable to his wife breaks the model of the headship of Christ over his church does not mean that husbands should not communicate with their wives about their daily lives. Husbands should try to communicate their work schedules with their wives so that their wives can plan meals and other family events around the husband’s work. And while a husband does not have to reveal the complete family financial picture to his wife, he should communicate on a regular basis how much money the wife has to work with as she manages the domestic needs of the home. Husbands and wives also need to talk about things going on with their children.
And a husband must remember that while he is not morally accountable to his wife, she is in fact morally accountable to him. And that requires him to communicate with her on a regular basis to hear what she has been doing in her daily life.
Am I Saying Husbands Should Not Ask Their Wives For Forgiveness When They Sin Against Them?
If I had a dime for every time a woman wrote me with the comment “You know husbands are sinners too!” I would be a rich man. Of course husbands are sinners. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and that “all” includes both men and women. The only person to ever walk this earth and be sinless was Jesus Christ.
But to you ladies who always write me that husbands are sinners too, do you not realize that God knew that when he told women in Ephesians 5:23-24 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”.
God was saying to wives – “I know your husband is sinner just like you, but I want you to submit to him anyway. I want you to model the submission of the Church to Christ toward your husband, even though your husband is not sinless like Christ”.
I say all that to acknowledge the fact that yes husbands will sometimes sin against their wives. And when they sin against their wife, they need to ask God and their wife for forgiveness. A husband does not ask his wife for forgiveness of a sin against her because he is morally accountable to her, but rather he asks her for forgiveness because he is morally accountable to God and God wants him to seek the forgiveness of those he has sinned against.
In 1 Peter 3:7 the Bible says a man’s prayers may be hindered because of his mistreatment his wife and in Luke 17:3-4, Christ encouraged Christians to repent of their sins toward one another and for the offended party to receive that repentance and forgive the person for their offense.
Your Husband Does Not Have To Ask Your Forgiveness For Sins Not Directly Against You
Many Christian wives today see themselves as their husband’s priestess whom he must come to and confess his daily transgressions. Ladies you are not your husband’s confessor! Your husband must confess all his sins to God and only those sins to you which are directly against you. And yes if he has a male accountability partner, he may confess his sins to them, but he is not asking them for forgiveness but rather keeping them informed so they can pray for him and so he can receive encouragement to do better.
Just Because You Think It Is Sin, Does Not Make It Sin
A lot of wives today try to turn everything they think their husband does wrong into a sin against them. Whether it be things he does that they think she shouldn’t do, or things he does not do that they think he should – wives have a bad habit of assembling lists of sins in their minds that they think their husbands are committing.
Ladies listen up and listen good. You are not the spiritual authority of your home. You do not determine what is and is not sin. But rather it is God and the human spiritual head God has appointed over you, your husband, that determine what is sin in your home. Let me clarify that last part so it cannot be twisted. I am not saying that if your husband commands you to murder someone or have a threesome of with one of his guy friends from work that he can say those things are not sin and you must do it. Nor am I saying he may not actually be committing sin when you think he is.
But when I say that your husband does determine what is and is not sin in your home I mean that God has appointed him the spiritual interpreter and applier of the Scriptures for you as his wife. In 1 Corinthians 14:35 the Bible says of wives “And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home”.
That means if the Bible does not directly speak to something, but your husband applies Scriptural principles and determines a rule against or allowance for an activity – his rule for you is law. And if you break the law of your husband, you break the law of God.
Wives the conclusion of the matter is this – butt of his business and leave your husband to God.
In Hebrew and Greek, the original languages of the Bible, there is no word for husband. Instead, the Bible uses two words to refer to husbands and these words can refer to men that are not husbands as well.
In the Hebrew of the Old Testament husbands are often referred to as “ish” which means “a male human being” and the New Testament also uses the Greek equivalent word for male which is “aner” to refer to husbands. In other words, one of the ways to refer to a woman’s husband in ancient times was simply to refer to him as “her man”.
The second word which the Bible uses to refer to a woman’s husband is very offensive to modern ears. The Hebrew word “baal” is used 15 times in the Old Testament to refer to a woman’s husband. The Hebrew word “baal” means “master/owner”. There is also an adverb use of “baal” which means “owned”. The word is used to refer to masters, home owners, a pagan deity and to husbands.
The following passage from the book of Exodus illustrates the use of baal where it is not a referring to a woman’s husband.
“7 If a man shall deliver unto his neighbour money or stuff to keep, and it be stolen out of the man’s house; if the thief be found, let him pay double.8 If the thief be not found, then the master [BAAL] of the house shall be brought unto the judges, to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.
9 For all manner of trespass, whether it be for ox, for ass, for sheep, for raiment, or for any manner of lost thing which another challengeth to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbour.
10 If a man deliver unto his neighbour an ass, or an ox, or a sheep, or any beast, to keep; and it die, or be hurt, or driven away, no man seeing it:11 Then shall an oath of the Lord be between them both, that he hath not put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods; and the owner [BAAL] of it shall accept thereof, and he shall not make it good.
12 And if it be stolen from him, he shall make restitution unto the owner [BAAL] thereof.”
Exodus 22:7-12 (KJV)
Notice in the passage above that baal is translated as “master” in verse 8, then as “owner” in verses 11 and 12. The reason for this that baal in the context of a house meant the head of household or literally the master of the house. But in the context of goods being held or exchanged, baal referred to the owner of the goods.
Now let’s look at the following passage refers to a husband’s mastery and ownership over his wife:
“If a man be found lying with a woman married [BAAL used as verb] to an husband [BAAL used as noun], 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)
The phrase “a woman married to an husband” is most literally translated from the Hebrew as “a woman owned by an owner”.
In the Proverbs 31 regarding the virtuous wife, the Bible refers to her husband not as her “ish” (her man), but rather as her “baal” (her master):
“10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
11 The heart of her husband [BAAL – master] doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil…
23 Her husband [BAAL – master] is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land…
28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband [BAAL – master] also, and he praiseth her.“
Some Christians, unwilling to accept the Biblical teaching that a husband is the master and owner of his wife, have tried to claim that since “ish”(meaning man) is used more often than “baal” to refer to a woman’s husband that this is how God wants a wife to see her husband, as her man and not as her master. These Christian’s see a husband’s mastery over his wife as a result of sin and something God only temporarily allowed.
Some have even tried to point to the following Old Testament passage to say God’s preference is for women to see their husbands as their “man” and not “master”:
“And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.”
Hosea 2:16 (KJV)
In the passage above God was not giving up his mastery over his wife, Israel. But rather he saying he wanted her to see him as BOTH her man and her master. Ishi was the tender and affectionate way that women sometimes referred to their husbands. In essence, God wanted his wife Israel to say to him “You are not just my master, but you are my man”.
The passage below from the New Testament, settles once and for all whether or not a husband’s mastery over his wife was a result of sin or his design from the beginning of creation:
“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 [Greek KURIOS – “master”]: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”
1 Peter 3:5-6 (KJV)
The fact that the Apostle Peter commands women, Christian women, to follow the examples of Old Testament women like Sarah who called their husband’s “lord” (master) confirms for us that a husband’s mastery over his wife was God’s design from the very beginning of creation.
How Masters of Wives Became Husbands
Many centuries after the New Testament was finished, English, like other languages came up with a new word to refer specifically to the master and owner of a wife. Originally husband meant “master of the house”. So the early English translations of the Bible translated “baal” as “husband” instead of master as they believed it helped refer to a specific kind of master, the master of a wife.
In no way was the translation of a master of a wife as “husband” meant to weaken a man’s authority over his wife. English common law, following Biblical law, recognized a husband’s full ownership over his wife and children. When it came to his wife, a man could override any of his wife’s decisions and had complete control over her life, again in keeping with Biblical law (see Numbers 30, Ephesians 5:22-24:).
American Society Rejects the Mastery of Husband Over His Wife
The term “master” in our American society is seen as a very negative term and evokes images of slave masters acting cruelly toward their slaves. But in the Bible, the term master was not automatically associated with slavery or cruelty. It recognizes that there were just slave masters and cruel slave masters.
The Bible also recognizes a concept that we as 21st century Americans cannot understand. That to be owned and master by someone does not automatically make you a slave. In other words, while a husband is his wife’s master, meaning that he does own her and control her life, that does not make her his slave.
The Bible shows that husbands as masters of their wives have far greater responsibilities toward their wives than masters of slaves. In Ephesians 5:25-29, the Bible commands that husbands are to be willing to give their lives to protect their wives, they are to lead, teach, provide for and care for their wives as Christ does his church.
The Bible is clear that God wants Christian women to recognize their husband’s as more than their “life partners” or “friends” and even more than their leaders. God wants wives to recognize their husband’s as their earthly masters who have full control over their lives.
Full acceptance of the Biblical teaching of a husband’s mastery over his wife requires both a Christian husband and a Christian wife to reject the belief in the full autonomy of women. This modern belief that women have the same rights and freedom as men is enshrined in our American laws. But these laws giving women the same rights and freedom as men are null and void in the eyes of God and we as Christian husbands and wives must consider these laws null and void as well if we are to have marriages that are faithful to God’s design.
It will require great courage for Christian men to reclaim their birthright and responsibility of mastery over their wives in this post feminist era. And it will require great humility on the part of Christian women to fully embrace their husband’s mastery over them.
Let us pray for a courageous generation of Christian men and a humble generation of Christian women to return our society back to God’s design for marriage.
In this third article in our series on domestic discipline, we will be looking at a few 19th century judicial decisions on the lawfulness of husbands practicing domestic discipline toward their wives. We will start with two cases which upheld the right of a husband to practice corporal chastisement on his wife and then move to a decision which overturned these precedents.
1834 – Calvin Bradley vs The State of Mississippi
In this case of a husband being charged with battery against his wife the Supreme Court of Mississippi referenced the ancient common law to affirm the right of “domestic discipline” by husbands:
“It is true, according to the old law, the husband might give his wife moderate correction, because he is answerable for her misbehaviour; hence it was thought reasonable, to intrust him, with a power, necessary to restrain the indiscretions of one, for whose conduct he was to be made responsible
I believe it was a case before Mr. Justice Raymond, when the same doctrine was recognised, with proper limitations and restrictions, well suited to the condition and feelings of those, who might think proper to use a whip or rattan, no bigger than my thumb, in order to inforce the salutary restraints of domestic discipline.
Family broils and dissentions cannot be investigated before the tribunals of the country… let the husband be permitted to exercise the right of moderate chastisement… without being subjected to vexatious prosecutions, resulting in the mutual discredit and shame of all parties concerned. Judgment affirmed.”
In the case of Calvin Bradley vs The State, the court affirmed what it called “the ancient common law” right of a husband to use “moderate chastisement” with his wife referring to this practice as “domestic discipline”. It also respected the limits of civil government interfering in the affairs of the family and stated husbands should not be subjected to prosecutions for exercising their right to domestic discipline as long as they did so in moderation.
1864 – State Of North Carolina vs Jesse Black
In this case the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled as follows:
“A husband is responsible for the acts of his wife, and he is required to govern his household, and for that purpose the law permits him to use towards his wife such a degree of force as is necessary to control an unruly temper and make her behave herself; and unless some permanent injury be inflicted, or there be an excess of violence, or such a degree of cruelty as shows that it is inflicted to gratify his own bad passions, the law will not invade the domestic forum or go behind the curtain.”
As in previous cases, the court affirmed that the husband’s right to chastise his wife flows from his responsibility to govern all in his household and his wife is part of his household. The court affirmed that it is improper for the civil government to “invade the domestic forum”.
In this decision, the court did recognize limits on the husband’s power to use corporal punishment to chastise his wife. They said that a husband’s chastisement of his wife should not cause any “permanent injury” or be excessively violent and that he should not discipline his wife for his own sadistic pleasure. The court’s view in this case aligns with the Scriptural command to husbands in Ephesians 5:28-29 that they are to care for and protect their wife’s bodies as they would their own.
1871 – The Year American Courts Invaded the Domestic Forum
It was in 1871, that a state court did what others had warned against decades earlier. The court invaded the domestic forum, the sphere of authority given to men as the heads of their households. It not only overturned decades of American court precedent, but invalidated ancient common law rights of husbands upon which those precedents were built.
In 1871 the case of Fulgham V. State, the Alabama Supreme court ruled as follows:
“Since then, however, learning, with its humanizing influences, has made great progress, and morals and religion have made some progress with it. Therefore, a rod which may be drawn through the wedding ring is not now deemed necessary to teach the wife her duty and subjection to the husband. The husband is therefore not justified or allowed by law to use such a weapon, or any other, for her moderate correction. The wife is not to be considered as the husband’s slave. And the privilege, ancient though it be, to beat her with a stick, to pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor, or to inflict upon her like indignities, is not now acknowledged by our law”
Two key words stand out in the first sentence and those words are “humanizing” and “progress”.
What does it mean to “humanize” someone? And to what “progress” were they referring? To understand these concepts, we have to compare and contrast the social classes of the post enlightenment age with those that came before it.
When God created mankind, he ordained three core social classes and those were men, women and children. After sin entered the world, he allowed for a fourth social class of slaves (both male and female) because of poverty and war.
Humanists rejected these four social class structures and instead sought to bring about a new model of society that had only two social classes which we know today as “adults” and “children”. The abolitionist humanists first targeted the slave class for elimination. Then some female abolitionists broke off and organized the first womens rights conference in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.
When they talked about “humanizing” people, they were talking about making women and slaves equal with free men. In other words, they were seeking to eliminate the social classes of men, women and slaves and replace those classes with one new social class, that of a “human” or “adult” while leaving the child class intact.
This is why today if any adult is seen has having less rights than another adult, it is said that the person with less rights is being “dehumanized”.
The ultimate goal of humanists of the late 19th century was to build an “internationalist” or what we call today “globalist” society. No men, no women, no slaves, no rich, no poor, no Christians, no Muslims, no Jews, no Americans, no Mexicans, no British.
And it is this march toward a one world society with no nations, no religions, no genders, no rich and no poor that humanists refer to as “progress”. And this is why leftists today refer to themselves as “progressives”.
Humanists knew that their master plan would take decades and perhaps more than a century to bring about. And they knew they had to do it in small incremental pieces. This is why if you notice in this ruling, the court still acknowledged that a wife had a duty to be in subjection to her husband. It would have been too much for American society to accept all at once that a husband could not use corporal punishment on his wife and that a wife did not have a duty to obey her husband.
The court was simply taking away a primary means of him enforcing that subjection, his ability to use corporal chastisement on his wife. And by reducing the ability of husbands to enforce their rule over their wives, women were given more power.
In other words, taking away a husband’s right to use corporal discipline upon his wife was one of the first steps in dismantling patriarchy.
The court falsely equated a man using moderate correction with a rod to him having a right “to pull her hair, choke her, spit in her face or kick her about the floor”. This is what leftists do, they use extremes and abuses of authority, or this case chastisement, to get rid of all chastisement and in essence to get rid of an authority’s ability to chastise.
While Tennessee was the first state to outlaw “wife beating” in 1850, the vast majority of states did not do so until after this ruling in the 1870s.
But even though the courts and state legislatures had invaded the domestic forum by the late 19th century, local law enforcement officials rarely enforced these laws. In other words, most local police did not feel right about invading the domestic forum even though state laws and court decisions would allow it.
It would not be until more than a century after the first laws denying husbands’ rights to use corporal punishment on their wives, that a new “Domestic Violence” movement would arise in the early 1970s. It was then that new domestic violence laws were passed and edicts came down from state and local governments forcing police to invade the domestic forum.
We have shown here that early 19th century jurisprudence respected ancient common laws giving husbands the right to use corporal punishment as part of domestic discipline with their wives.
The courts showed great deference to the domestic forum, recognizing it was not right for civil authorities to intervene in domestic affairs, except under the gravest of circumstances, as husbands were to have supremacy in the affairs of their homes.
Later courts, following humanist philosophies, broke this sacred rule and launched a full-scale government invasion of the domestic forum with the attack on corporal punishment of wives being only one of the first battles in this invasion.