Spoiler alert – ladies, I am going to be talking about godly husbands in the last half of this post. Please don’t read this post if that is a trigger for you.
My blog is written for women. It is my desire to fulfill my calling in Titus 2:3-5 to point other wives to Christ and His Word and His design for us as wives in our marriages. Of course, lots of men read my blog, too. I welcome them here. Many of them have found hope and healing in Christ. And many husbands use my site to “reverse engineer” things that are helpful to them or to better understand the challenges their wives face. I have seen God heal quite a few marriages and work miracles when a number of husbands focused on walking in obedience and submission to Christ themselves and on loving their wives in a godly way – and I am so thankful for that!
However, there is a small percentage of men who twist my blog and my words to attempt to force and demand respect and submission from their wives and to justify marital rape, violence and corporal punishment of their wives. And there are some women who think that is what I am saying, as well. How anyone could read what I write and deduce this, I truly cannot imagine. I know that it is only a small minority of people that I am addressing here, but, this issue is too important for me to ignore. I have addressed it before. I am sure I will need to address it every so often again, unfortunately.
This upsets me GREATLY.
Let me be as clear as I possibly can about this.
- I NEVER condone violence, abuse, screaming, cussing, throwing things, insults, hatred, threats of divorce, threats of violence, unforgiveness, resentment, disrespect, manipulation, control, deception, addictions of any kind, bitterness, cruelty, self-righteousness, pride, idolatry, apathy, passivity, greed, pornography use, self loathing, arrogance, malice, slander, gossip, infidelity or any sin of any kind being committed against any husband or wife.
- God hates all sin. I hate all sin. I don’t want anyone to be sinned against. Sin always hurts the sinner, the one being sinned against and grieves God’s heart. Any sin is destructive.
- I don’t condone one spouse trying to force or coerce the other spouse to do anything against his/her will.
- I don’t condone any spouse withholding sex to punish, using sex as a weapon, demanding money or things in exchange for sex, or using sex to manipulate his/her spouse.
- I NEVER condone marital rape.
- I do NOT give permission to anyone to use my words to support these selfish, destructive, abusive and sinful acts.
My prayer and desire is that every husband and wife would give and receive love, honor and respect to and from each other.
I want everyone to have healthy, joyful, vibrant marriages! And I want everyone to grow and flourish in their walk with Christ. That is why I do this ministry. We are ALL wretched sinners, desperately in need of Jesus in our lives. He is able to give us victory over sin as we fully submit to Him as Lord and yield control of our lives to Him!
I write for women, primarily for women with a tendency toward being Type-A, controlling, outspoken, take-charge, dominant and assertive. I have never been abused by my husband. In fact, he doesn’t even raise his voice at me. And he didn’t raise his voice, even when I was at the height of my disrespect.
I am not writing for women whose husbands are abusive, violent, mentally ill, addicted to drugs/alcohol or involved in active infidelity. I know that God’s Word always applies to all of us. But I don’t have the experience or the training to handle severe situations and I know that my blog is not a good fit for many wives in such situations. These precious women are going to need very specialized, experienced counseling that I just cannot give.
HOW GOD REQUIRES AND COMMANDS ALL BELIEVERS TO TREAT OUR SPOUSES AND EVERYONE ELSE:
Every husband and wife could put his or her name in the place of love in the passage below. That is how God wants us to treat our spouse.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. I Corinthians 13:4-8
This is the “agape” love of God with which God commands us all to love every other human being. And this is the word for “love” that is used in the commands God gives to husbands in Ephesians 5 to love their wives as Christ loved His church and gave Himself up for her.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, Ephesians 5:25-33a
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST (So that I present a balanced view of marriage for any wife who may have missed this, husbands have responsibilities, too. Many more responsibilities and much more accountability to God than wives have)
- A husband is to imitate the very example of Christ’s selfless, humble, powerful, sacrificial love for His church in Ephesians 5:22-33.
- Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. I Peter 3:7
- Jesus is always a Gentleman. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Rev. 3:20
Jesus doesn’t force Himself on us spiritually. He does not force spiritual oneness and intimacy on anyone. He waits for us to invite Him in.
A godly husband never forces himself on his wife physically. He treats her with honor and gentleness because of His love for Christ, his willing submission to Jesus as Lord and out of obedience to God’s commands for him as a husband.
BEING A GODLY WIFE HAS TO BE A VOLUNTARY DECISION JUST LIKE BEING A GODLY HUSBAND HAS TO BE A VOLUNTARY DECISION – WE EACH ONLY CONTROL OURSELVES!
We don’t get to force our decisions on other people! Each person has his/her own free will given to him/her by God. Each person has the right to make his/her own choices.
I do write about women joyfully and voluntarily respecting and honoring their husbands’ leadership. But that is not something that a husband can force his wife to do. He can ask her. But he is not free in Christ to beat her, sin against her, abuse her or rape her to make her do what he wants. Her respect and biblical submission are an act of her free will and these are to be based on her love and reverence for Christ, not because she is being threatened with violence or some kind of awful punishment.
Please note that in Ephesians 5:22-33, wives are given commands to do certain things of their own accord in the marriage. Husbands are given commands to do certain things themselves in the marriage. There is no command for “husbands to force their wives to respect and submit.” And there is no command for “wives to force their husbands to love them as Christ loves the church.”
A wife who is forced by violence into “respect and submission” is being mistreated, not like a woman with equal dignity, value and worth. That is very wrong! That is NOT God’s design for marriage. A wife in a situation like this needs to seek godly, experienced help. If anyone, a husband or a wife, is actually being abused, please seek safety and appropriate counsel ASAP!
I do write about wives seeking to be available sexually to their husbands, in accordance with I Corinthians 7:1-5. But…
There is a world of difference between a wife voluntarily making herself available sexually to her husband and a husband forcing himself on his wife.
A GODLY HUSBAND’S TESTIMONY:
Here is an email from a husband who has had an amazing marriage with his wife that spans many decades (40+ years). He and his wife got the love and respect stuff right from the beginning. This is how marriage is supposed to be. They are such a beautiful example for us to emulate. Thank you to this husband for sharing this story of a healthy, vibrant marriage!
April — Your article on keeping the marriage bed pure is sooooo very on target.
I wanted to just share with you personally that after the words “I love you,” spoken to me by my wife, one other statement stands out as supremely important.
On one occasion after we had been married a couple of months I asked her if she might be available that night. Then the wonderful words:
“I’m always available for you.”
What a joy to my soul! (And she has always, always been true to those words!)
Now, that works perfectly for us because I try to be very sensitive to her, to her emotional and physical state, etc., and to avoid “wearing out my welcome.” Yet the confidence, and I took it as a matter of respect also, that those words instilled in me have been a solid and much appreciated rock in my relationship with my dear wife. Just wanted you to know.
PS — I don’t believe that most wives have a clue as to how much their willing availability to their husbands would mean to the quality of their relationship. It is HUGE.
AN EXCERPT FROM REV. WEAVER’S CLASS NOTES ON SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY – THIS PART IS FOR HUSBANDS
There are at least three requirements for an individual to properly operate as a delegated authority.
1. He must remember that all authority comes from God. They are therefore only a representative of God.
2. As God’s representative, the person must deny himself.
3. The person must constantly keep in fellowship and communion with God.
We should always remember that since we are only representing God and not ourselves, that all individuals in authority will be held to a higher standard of accountability for the proper conduct of their responsibilities in leading others.
The most comprehensive statement defining the basis of the levels of authority is stated in the I Corinthians 11:3 passage quoted above. This is a principle of Scripture that transcends time and culture. This delegated authority by God is based on His sovereignty, His glory, and for our good. It is not based on the value or merit of any individual over another individual or one gender over the other.
A godly man will respond to being in a position of delegated God-given authority with great humility.
Please note how gentle, kind, thoughtful, loving, soft-spoken and humble my husband is in his post.
Gary Thomas – Enough Is Enough about how we should look at abuse in marriage. God hates abuse and He loves people, even those who are being abused. Let’s seek to get people to help and safety. No one should be unsafe in his/her own home.