Forgiveness is absolutely necessary, but sometimes it’s not enough. Communication is vital, but it doesn’t always change things. Sometimes your spouse’s bad behavior continues, and there’s no evidence it’s changing anytime soon. Setting boundaries in your marriage at such times is never easy, but sometimes it’s the best thing for your relationship.
Hear the word “submission” and “marriage” in the same sentence and you probably feel something visceral rising up inside your soul. Your heart may explode with anger, terror, or guilt, or collapse in hopelessness and resignation. Surely that’s not what God meant when He used those words together in the New Testament. So what should submission in Christian marriage look like?
Gretchen Carlson. Alyssa Milano. Angelina Jolie. Katie Couric. Lady Gaga. Beth Moore. Kay Warren. Thousands of women from every walk of life have responded #MeToo, identifying their sad and painful history of sexual harassment, sexual trauma, sexual violation. The use and abuse of women is not a new problem, and being a Christian is no protection. #MeToo is more than a hashtag; it’s about real people.
Women have in many ways born more than their fair share of trauma and violation ever since Eve listened to the serpent. Perhaps that’s because the enemy knew then, and knows now, that it was through a woman that the Savior would come. And it is through women today that God is bringing and nurturing new life in every corner of God’s world. We’re not talking about simply babies, but life in every sense of the word. Life in the Spirit. Fully Alive.
The current groundswell of #MeToo raises questions about healthy marriage, or any healthy relationships between men and women. Are there any? Are men just raw brutes, and women’s only recourse is to get nasty? Can godly marriages function where so much trauma, violation, and depravity thrive? Are the millions of #MeToo women ever to be free from the wounds caused by such violation?
Yes, it is possible. But only by the grace of God.
Jesus offers redemption to all – to the woman wounded and violated and feeling unprotected, to the man immobilized by fear as a result of #MeToo culture, to the woman locked inside a hard shell of violent feminism as a response, to the man broken and ashamed after being a vehicle of intimidation or violation.
Here are a few things to understand and ways to respond as Christians who believe in redemption and marriage even in a #MeToo culture.
Your husband berates you when you turn down his requests for sex, or when you don’t want to do the sexual acts he would like. Perhaps he even lobs Scripture at you, criticizing you for not meeting his sexual needs as the Bible says you should. Your husband calls you frigid. (Is that still a word the “younger generation” knows and uses? I could be dating myself.)
Your heart is crushed. You feel embarrassed or ashamed, or perhaps angry. Is there something wrong with you?
There are couples where the wife has a stronger sexual desire than her husband, and some husbands have learned wonderful ways to help their wives enjoy physical intimacy. But some Christian wives carry a boatload of guilt and/or shame about their sexual response or lack thereof.
Let me help unburden your heart. Here are 5 things to know as a Christian wife.
You have the right to say NO.
Your husband does not own you. Your body is not his property. You are not sinning when you say NO to your husband’s request for sex. God gave you the responsibility of caring for your mind, body, and soul in a way that first and foremost honors Him, and that allows you to offer your best self to your husband, your family, and others He places in your life.
That means if you’re used up, exploited, and empty, part of your responsibility is to find godly healthy ways to get filled up again. You don’t sit back and wait for someone else to fill you; you proactively go after the nourishment your soul needs.
God made your husband to desire sex.
Your husband is not a brute because he wants sex frequently.