What’s written below is a response to both an article and some comments that I saw posted on Facebook today. In order to understand why I felt compelled to write this response, please read what this short article says is acceptable “Christian” behavior from men in order to get what they want from their wives:
Understand that this is a secular site posting a secular article about two “Christian” men who advise controlling women through fear and intimidation. As for the two “men” quoted in the article, where did they get their ideas on how to subjugate women so that men can have all the sex that they want? Not from any of the writings of the Bible.
The tiny snippet about wives being in submission… *sigh* … is always taken out of context (or deliberately PUT out of context) in order to either make the Bible look harsh and unworthy of being read, let alone being followed, or to push an ungodly agenda, as is the case with these two “marriage advisors.” Everything in the Bible needs to be read IN CONTEXT.
In today’s “progressive” world of “do whatever you want that feels good, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else,” is a belief system that DOES hurt other people, including those who practice it. An example is today’s LGBT movement that is encouraging young people to seek out their own sexual identities without guidance about the harms that can come from it. Did you know that 41% of all Transgenders have attempted suicide? That’s what one gets from seeking one’s own identity—one’s own pleasure—without listening to what God has to say about how we were designed and created.
While LGBT is not the subject of the article, the message is still the same; that men should seek out what brings them the most pleasure without proper guidance from God. I say “proper,” because these “men” are telling other males that God said that using fear is a good way to get sex from their wives. Again, it’s about reading things in context, not the twisting of what the Bible actually says.
Here is the full passage in Ephesians chapter 5:
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.
25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Verse 21 sets the framework for everything that follows. It’s an instruction to both men and women: “… submit TO ONE ANOTHER out of reverence for Christ.”
There are, then, two references on how this works; one to wives, one to husbands.
In the 1960s there was a HUGE cultural shift that began because of two movements, both of them counter-biblical: the “Free Love” and the Feminist or “Women’s Rights” movements. Both phrases sound wonderful, don’t they? On the surface, both sound quite satisfying.
The “Free Love” movement didn’t want any boundaries on what could be done sexually, or with whom they could be done. Multiple partners, orgies (including swingers parties), etc. They did not want anyone telling them that they needed to be married or that they needed to have their “love” constrained to only one person. The whole “do whatever you want that feels good, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else” thing was hurting people all over the place. Women getting pregnant, men and women getting diseased, broken relationships, women feeling used because men didn’t want to make commitments to them.
Women, at their core, are about wanting to be cherished, to be protected, to be found beautiful. Their hearts are desirous of pouring out love to those who treat their hearts properly. I don’t care how the minority of women with loud voices want to contradict these facts. Women were created to become united with their men. And men were designed to need that union.
Men dropped the ball (without realizing it) following World War II. There was a horrible time of readjustment to American family life. Men’s hearts came back from the war hardened (if the men came back at all), and a lack of emotional stability was brought back with them into the families.
The sons of these men were not properly mentored—trained through example—on how to properly show love and be proper spiritual leaders for the women in their lives. These sons are the ones who ushered in the “Free Love” movement.
Two back-to-back world wars, followed in rapid succession with the Korean and Viet Nam wars, tore men out of their proper roles while also damaging their hearts. The end result was that of men inadvertently damaging the hearts of women. No wonder women felt that they needed to pick up the ball and run with it. No wonder women demanded “Women’s Rights.” Their hearts were being neglected and downplayed. But, as with all non-biblical approaches to fixing the problems, it was just the start of other problems.
Women began pushing men away. Of course, this is a generalization, because it wasn’t the majority of women. But they were a loud minority, and even the majority of women who didn’t like the message of the women’s rights crowd were affected.
Women’s hearts got harder. Men became weaker, and even timid (especially when it came to approaching women). Men had to approach women differently. Men began to believe that they had to approach carefully, less confidently. The leadership role of men began to diminish. Women wanted a 50/50 role in all things, including in relationships. The threat of “leaving” became the all-the-time option in relationships. The divorce rate began to skyrocket. Why? Lots of reasons: abandonment of God, abandonment of marital tradition (traditional relationship roles), the idea of “what I bring into the marriage is still mine, not yours,” and on and on and on it went.
Marriage was (is) no longer 100% dedication of one person to the other. It has become selfish and self-protective. Everything became, “If he (she) steps out of line of what makes me happy, I’m outta here.”
Another mischaracterized phrase from the Bible (I’ll get back to the passage that I posted above in a minute) is the one that says that women are supposed to be a man’s “helpmate” from the Hebrew ezer kenegdo (Genesis 2:18).
Author John Eldredge states:
“Eve is given to Adam as his ezer kenegdo—or as many translations have it, his ‘help meet’ or ‘helper.’ Doesn’t sound like much, does it? It makes me think of Hamburger Helper. But Robert Alter says this is ‘a notoriously difficult word to translate.’ It means something far more powerful than just ‘helper’; it means ‘lifesaver.’ The phrase is only used elsewhere of God, when you need Him to come through for you desperately. ‘There is no one like the God of Jeshurun, who rides on the heavens to help you’ (Deut. 33:26). Eve is a life giver; she is Adam’s ally. It is to both of them that the charter for adventure is given. It will take both of them to sustain life. And they will both need to fight together.”
Partners in this life. Partners and lovers. Partners who love one another sacrificially; love God individually and corporately. THIS is what was given to us by God.
Let’s get back to the original passage I posted.
22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife AS Christ is the head of the church. [Jesus] is the Savior of His body, the church. 24 As the church submits [humbles itself with a heart of giving] to Christ, so you wives should submit [do the same for] your husbands in everything.
What is offensive in those words? The word submit has been made out to be an attack word. But, biblically, it is something that is nearly automatic in the heart and mind of a woman IF—IF—a man follows through with his responsibilities to her (as we’ll see below). The order in which these are written MIGHT cause someone to think that a woman needs to submit first. But that’s not true! Both the man and the woman submit at the same time. AND a woman is also inclined to lean her hear toward her husband (boyfriend, fiancé) if he is living up to his responsibilities toward hear and toward God.
25 For husbands, this means LOVE YOUR WIVES, JUST AS—[in the SAME WAY]—Christ loved the church. HE GAVE UP HIS LIFE FOR HER 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 IN THE SAME WAY, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For A MAN WHO LOVES HIS WIFE actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and CARES for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body.
31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, EACH MAN MUST LOVE HIS WIFE AS HE LOVES HIMSELF, and the wife must respect her husband.
Men are REQUIRED by God to LOVE their wives. This isn’t the same kind of love as “I love chocolate” or “I love sex.” This demand of God is for a man to love sacrificially; giving of himself to the point of laying his life and his heart on the line for his wife’s benefit. There is no benefit for a woman to be living in fear of abandonment. There is no benefit for a woman to be toyed with so that a man can have all the “rough” make-up sex that he wants.
What these men teach in the article is abhorrent to God! It stinks like rotting flesh, because it abandons EVERYTHING that God wants for His creation. In fact, Scripture also says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” If God isn’t going to give us a spirit of fear, do you suppose that God wants husbands to put into their wives a spirit of fear? No!
God isn’t a “God of love.” God IS love! He desires that we have relationships with Him, not just so that we can be saved from Hell, but so that He can heal our hearts—our brokenness—and infuse within each of us love; love that is willing to sacrifice for the wellbeing of the other. Nothing about this life is supposed to be about “what I can get.” It’s about caring for one another’s hearts and souls. It’s about REAL love.