Husbands, love your wives

I received this comment on one of my blogs. I appreciate that Jon took the time to write, as it gives me an opportunity to draw a distinction between two different religions – modern patriarchy and Christianity. They are not the same, as we will see.

Here is the comment:

It surprised me that this conversation went straight to divorce. I realized many years ago that my happiness does not depend on my wife and that the happiness of my wife does not depend upon me. Once I realized this I made decisions for the family without asking permission, but with giving guidance. As the leader I realized all that was needed was guidance and conviction that I was operating under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. I made decisions, informed my wife of those decisions and did not stop until the task was done. I protected my family as best I could from any tough repercussions from that decision and when the task was complete my family reaped the rewards and were happy.
This all meant that I had to be in lock step with the Spirit and I had to follow through with all my decisions to the end. The worst was having to deal with a wife who was against me for the decision I was making. Previously I would have surrendered my will to what my wife desired which was perceived safety and security. I fought through those issues and was prepared to face the challenges of the task at hand whether it be a business decision or a move or a remodel. Anything I chose to do brought initial kickback from my wife, but follow through and determination brought success and more willingness by my family to trust my decision making.
It is the man’s job in the family to lead. If he allows the fears of the wife to stop any progress, the the family will be stuck. There will be resentment towards the wife and then the man can do very hurtful things.
I am not blaming women. I am blaming men for not being leaders and following through, ignoring in many cases the fears of the wife. Weak men cannot lead a family to victory. Until I became strong I was resentful and hurtful. Now I lead and my family has never been happier and so very successful. My wife and children are honored in the church and community. They are blessed. It is because I quit blaming them and took responsibility for my own actions.
If I have any suggestions for wives, it is to submit to your husband and honor his decisions and hold him accountable to follow through and support him throughout the process. To be patient with the process because everything takes time to complete. Often longer than expected. Do not kill his spirit because once that happens, often to weak men, it will end up in an irreparable relationship.

Dear Jon. The essence of being human is being an image-bearer of God. We are created with the ability to discern between good and evil, to make decisions, to interpret the world, to think and feel and shine God’s beauty and love to the world around us.

We were created to have dominion over all creation and be the voice of praise to the creator, to rest in his presence and join our voices to his in saying, “Behold, it is very good.”

This image-bearing was gifted equally to the male as well as to the female (Genesis 1:27).

God’s beauty and wisdom and love and justice are infinite. Humans are not. But God shows his wisdom by the remarkable diversity in all of creation, including the wonderful different gifts and personalities in each human that he created, male or female.

Of course, when the fall entered, mankind lusted after dominating each other, rather than having dominion over creation and disharmony entered. Men and women became slaves to sin, and there was nothing they could do about it.

So instead of marvelous freedom and diverse gifts and beautiful harmony, there entered domination, slavery, control, and pride. Men and women became slaves to sin.

This was pictured beautifully in Egypt. The whole story of our redemption is painted on the background of the Exodus, where the nation of Israel was redeemed from their hard bondage in Egypt to be the people of God in liberty and joy. Their slavery was so strong that the strength of men could not deliver them. Men could not work up enough will power to deliver them. The husbands could not bring about deliverence through their manliness. They were enslaved and powerless. But God delivered them with his outstretched arm. Both Moses and Miriam sing at the destruction of Pharaoh’s army.

But that was just a picture. As you know from the story, the slavery in Egypt was broken, but the slavery to sin was as powerful as ever. God gave the law from Sinai, and within a few days, Israel was worshiping golden calves. With a golden calf, they believed that they could control Jehovah. A God who speaks, who enters covenants freely, who loves, is actually terrifying because of the bondage of sin. The God who is cannot be controlled. All we can do is rest in his love.

But in order to rest in Jehovah’s love, we have to give up control and believe in the name of the One who Saves.

You can worship control, or you can worship The God Who Saves. But you can’t do both.

On the cross, Jesus broke the bonds of sin and death and misery. The law couldn’t do it. Authority and submission couldn’t do it. If man could have been made righteous by the law, Christ died in vain.

The problem was slavery and powerlessness. We are all subject to death.

Christ delivered us from the fear of death and the power of sin that we might serve him without fear, with our full restored image of God, reflecting his tremendous beauty and wisdom as we were created to do.

When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church (Acts 2), it was poured out on men and women, old men and maidens. And later that included rich and poor, Greek and Jew, bond and free.

Satan hates God and hates his image. He seeks to silence the voice, crush the will, destroy the spirit. But Jesus died to set his people free. He governs his church by his word and spirit, NOT by tables of stone. He writes the law on the heart.

This means that your wife has equal access to the spirit that you have. The spirit was not poured out on you alone. Throughout scripture, God spoke through holy men AND women and held his people accountable for listening to them.

God could have spoken directly to Barak. But he spoke to him through Deborah. Barak could listen to her and live. Or hold on to his masculine pride and die. Sisera wasn’t defeated by testosterone, but by the power of God.

The two central doctrines of Christianity, the virgin birth and the resurrection, were witnessed by the women. The men could listen to them and live. Or they could ignore them and die. By God’s grace, the apostle’s repented of their hardness of heart and listened to the women.

So one question to answer is this – how certain are you that YOU are the one being led by the spirit and not your wife?

It is not the Spirit of Christ that silences the voices of his people. I fear that you are unaware of the spirit that you are operating under. But Christ came to restore us to his image, not silence us and keep us in bondage.

You are treating your wife like Pharaoh treated the Israelites. This is NOT Christianity. Peter commanded YOU to treat your wife as a co-heir of eternal life, not like one who is still in bondage to sin and misery. You are taking one verse out of context and deriving a whole new religion.

Your religion is a religion of control, not peace. A religion of authority and submission, not rest. A religion of bondage, not freedom of conscience. A religion where YOU are the golden calf, seeking to control the power of God.

This is paganism, not Christianity. If the Holy Spirit is poured out on you, it is also poured out upon your wife, and you will answer to him about how you treated his sheep.

I pray fervently that you will either repent of your cruelty, or that God will provide freedom for you wife. Treating her like this is oppressive and wicked. You are not loving her as Christ loved the church and set her free.

The scripture does not say, “Love your wife as Ahasuerus loved Vashti.”

Nor does it say, “Love your wife and Nabal loved Abigail”.

Nor, “Love your wife and Pharaoh loved Israel”.

All of those examples are examples of wicked men seeking to control people, rather than watching them thrive in freedom.

Love your wife as Christ loved the church. And how did he love his church? Read Philippians 2 carefully. He took the lowest place. He became a slave to all. He gave himself that she might be free.

Assume that your wife is an image-bearer of God and perfectly capable of making her own decisions. Set her free. If you belong to Christ, it is what he has done for you. So how dare you use that liberty as an excuse to enslave your wife and crush her voice?


Filed under Abuse, Marriage

12 responses to “Husbands, love your wives

  1. I’ve been in the same position as Jon’s wife, both as a child/teenager and as a wife. It’s so difficult to get out from under that dictatorship, and walk away from the people involved. But, I hope Jon’s wife sees that she is more than he is allowing her to be. I hope that she sees how weak he really is, because it shows weakness to exert dominance over someone and actually shows strength and confidence to let someone walk in the freedom that truly knowing and following God brings. Jon is a little man. I call my abusive ex “Shorty” because he is/was short in more ways than one. Jon very much reminds me of that ex. 😜😝🤣🤪

  2. Kim

    It will not take Jon’s wife long to start looking for a way out, if she hasn’t already. He may reply about how happy she is or some other nonsense. It is a rare wife that continues under such control for her whole life. I’ve seen this far too often where around year 20-30 she has enough and leaves, with or without the children (usually depending on what her mental health has been reduced to at that point).

  3. Alex

    What a wonderful post. Thank you.

  4. Good post, Sam.

    I genuinely don’t understand this need to be, “the one who makes the decisions,” always implying that the decisions are going to be contrary to the wife and cause her fear and distress? Sheesh! Hubby and I are both pretty obstinate people, and very different, but we are almost always in complete agreement about things. If something seems logical, reasonable, and the right course of action, why in the world would either of us object?

    I’m really annoyed with the NLT and the ESV for changing that wording to, “against your husband” or “contrary to your husband.” (It originally said, “your desire shall be for your husband..”) Never, not once, have I ever felt against my husband on anything.

    Also, some charity, some generosity of spirit, some maturity should come into play somewhere. If I wanted to paint the house purple, hubby might think that was nuts, but he would accept that it was important to me and therefore something he wants to support. And vice versa!

  5. MaryAnn Daly

    I really appreciate this Bible lesson, Pastor Sam.
    Thank you.

  6. Amy

    Reading the man’s comment made me bristle as this could have been my ex writing it! He used to comment to others how marriage was like a business…there could only be one boss. And of course, guess who that was?

    I highly doubt his wife is happy, how could anyone be happy in a relationship where you have no voice.

    Your reply was spot on!

  7. Anu Riley

    There should have been a trigger warning before reading this post because YIKES a lot of the commentator’s words hit all the right places that have caused so many all the wrong pains.

    Sam, your response was wonderful, outlining the Lord’s plans and purposes for humanity, how humanity is solely to blame for how we became, leading up to how He redeemed humanity as individuals, and tying that all up into how marriage should and should not be defined.

    I’ll be honest, I am FAR more interested in discussing how we should live as individual believers when we talk about how we should live as married believers, because the former automatically feeds into the latter. It works both ways, of course, but being born again is all about first and foremost becoming His child. That translates into eternity. None of that changes if and when you get married; it is imperative that none of that SHOULD budge a bit.

    Just last night I was getting very worked up with my spouse because there are just too many people who profess Christ, who treat kindness as a weakness. Such people are most likely to be taken advantage of, treated as inferior, innocently drawn to avoidable dangers, wholly ignorant as to how to successfully function in this big, bad world.

    They think that being a bully is a show of strength, a sign of capable leadership. They come across as so confident and knowledgeable, so sure that they know exactly what they are doing (not to mention what others should be doing), that people gravitate to them and willingly surrender to their will to them.

    And most of all, it is the “strong” bullies who need to lead and guide the “weak” babies, right? This is empowering one at the expense of disempowering another, but it is all supposedly done “for their own good.”

    As with so many things about Christ, there is so much confusion, which, if left unresolved, leads to deception. And deception is a state of existing in darkness. I say existing, because no one can truly be “living” in darkness. You are only truly living once you are truly living in His Light.

    I would actually define kindness as being child-like, and define a bully as being childish. One is lauded in the Word, the other is loathed in the Word.

    Christ was once directly asked who is the greatest in kingdom of Heaven. I once read a profound insight: why didn’t He point to Himself? No, He pointed to a child: “And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    This means that Christ Himself is a like a child, and being child-like should be treated as being Christ-like. It should NOT defined as inferior and unintelligent and immature.

    I define bullies are “childish” because in a nutshell, they live in a nonstop state of entitlement; fully justified to mercilessly empower themselves and disempower everyone around them. They are unreasonable, unruly, and unapproachable. They live to command, have no time to converse. They use any and all emotions on the spectrum in order to tear down the dignity of others. From tearful pleas to avert punishment, to prideful promises to inflict punishment, they only engage with humanity in order to exploit humanity.

    Bullies are alive and kicking in this world; WELL past in childhood and WELL placed in adulthood. They are to be found in every age, gender and socioeconomic status. Sometimes they hide behind hypocrisy, but many times they hide in plain sight.

    There are TWO things this commentator put their finger on, that are the WORST ways to both bully a victim, yet treat a victim like a baby: treat her fears as a sign of weakness for her, and treat her silence as a sign of strength for you.

    I refuse to speak for his wife; it’s all too easy to assume we know what she is really going through. So I will use myself as an example: times when I was feeling my MOST oppressed, I was also feeling the LEAST challenged. If I am not supposed to speak (more precisely, NOT speak my mind) in the name of being a Christian woman (especially as a Christian WIFE), I am what you say, “freed” by Christ to not live as if I am “freed” in Christ.

    I get to willingly sit on my hands, but claim that my hands are unwillingly tied. He bought me with a price, but in doing so, He also “bought” my silence. I am owned by Him, but as a result, He is owed my silence.

    I wouldn’t say I was 100% discontent with this false gospel, because when women try to speak His truths, there is too much likelihood that we will be shunned and shamed. And I did and do get tired of daring to believe that I am an equal co-heir in Christ, which is not co-dependent on a fellow co-heir in Christ.

    I’ll say this, however. you become born again in order form a deep and powerful and personalized bond that well, requires a LOT of interaction with Him, and Him with you. You cannot avoid Him AND abide in Him. The point of marriage is similar (but also quite different), but creating that bond requires a LOT of interacting with each other, communing and conversing and connecting. If you cannot form an equal yoke with her as a an equal co-heir in Christ, you should have hired her as a woman to work for you, not married her as a wife who works for you.

  8. What I gathered from Jon’s initial comment:

    Woman, shut up. Woman, obey men. Woman, men don’t care about your thoughts.

    I felt a heavy weight and I’m not Jon’s wife.

  9. Susan

    thank you for calling patriarchy what it is….!!!!

    this religion of patrirachy is now endorsing that men spank those “disobedient ” wives and othe punishment when she does wrong… unchristlike in fact it is evil and those who say it is of god base it on god punishing israel when she went astry….. if those husbands really want to follow god they would take the punishment for their wives just like christ took our punishment upon himself.

    one only has to read the stories of those abused in patriarchy to see that it is not of god.

    and please send this to the very misinformed man who write biblical gender roles. he goes so far as to say only men, not women, were made in the image of god !!!!! poor lost soul

  10. Kristen

    Wow, our faithful Father has landed this in my path just 3 hours after a conversation with my husband (who moved out of the home 6 months ago due to 26 years of abuse & control and God giving me the strength to do it).

    The conversation was that of him claiming God made him the leader of the family and he has to make the decisions, why real estate and money are in his name only, etc. Looking into his behaviors lately, I’m seeing a new angle of abuse that he’s implementing because physical, emotional, mental, and financial abuse have all run their courses. He’s a so called new believer but I praise God for all the resources He’s given me to disprove it’s just a charade. My husband believes as long as he reads enough background information and the bible, he can sound like a Christian. He’s unaware of the fruits of the spirit (which have turned up nothing but grubs). Things he claims he’s read out of the bible are verses about our roles in marriage and how I’m not being a godly wife and how I’ve ‘forsaken’ him. Yet he contacted a woman in 2020 and had an emotional affair with her for over a year and is living in a house that he wanted to acquire but she bought!

    I’m praying for more strength to finally break free via a divorce but his narcissistic/pyschopathic mind keeps pursuing me as if I’m a game he must win, as well as withholds all my basic needs so he can be my provider and I must go to him for them. All I can say is that I’m so grateful for content like this that reveals the truth of our Heavenly Father. It blesses me and gives me the courage to break free from the bondage I’ve lived in for far too long. I humbly desire prayers regarding this as I’ve been a stay at home mom for the duration of our marriage with no college degree or real skills but trying to learn real estate development/affordable housing since that was my passion and still have a 14 yo to raise. Praying that she’ll grow up to serve the Lord despite what she’s being subjected to. Thank you again for the content! 🙏🏼✝️

    • I’m so sorry for what you have endured! What a trial, but so, so common. I am glad that the Holy
      Spirit has begun his work of deliverance for you and your daughter. May he continue to bless you!

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