Toxic masculinity is a myth?

New article called Toxic Masculinity is a Myth, but Insecure Men Lash Out at Women. The behavior is real, but the way we’ve come to talk about men who lash out obscures the problem.

Seemed like an “ok” premise, so I took a look.

But what does it mean to be guilty of toxic masculinity? Hard to say. For how much the term is bandied around, it remains poorly defined. The toxic bit is simple enough, but masculinity has always been difficult to pin down.

Whereas feminine ideals are fairly consistent over the course of western history, masculine ideals are not. Anthropologists claim that three Ps — providing, protecting, and procreating — define modern American manhood, but that’s a localized phenomenon. The only consistent truth about masculinity has been this: Men have always feared having it taken away. This is why serious gender researchers are increasingly dismissive of the idea of toxic masculinity, which suggests that manhood itself has some form of congenital defect. What seems to be more plausible is that toxic behaviors are a reaction to perceived threats to the masculinity of a subset of men with poor self-esteem. Put a different way, what’s toxic isn’t masculinity — there’s nothing ultimately wrong with masculine behavior — but the creeping suspicion that it can be taken away and the juvenile actions that this suspicion triggers.

So far, not a bad analysis. Most of everything up ’til the last sentence is true.

“The idea that manhood is something that has to be earned is fairly widespread,” says social psychologist Joseph Vandello, who, along with his colleague at University of South Florida Jennifer Bosson, proposed an alternative to toxic masculinity in 2008: Precarious Manhood Theory.

Bosson and Vandello concluded that many men view masculinity as a sort of currency that can be earned and stolen rather than as a fixed trait. They found most young boys working hard to earn manhood and a smaller population of men preoccupied with protecting this valuable social status. These men, the ones who worried about their masculine status being taken away, demonstrated a tendency to lash out if not externally validated. By contrast, girls tended to view the transition to womanhood as physical rather than social. Questioning their femininity was unlikely to trigger much more than a laugh.

Highlighting the difference between the sexes is a good. Manhood for men is indeed seen as more earned in respect to what women are attracted to whereas women are typically born with their beauty and have to do things to mess it up (cake on make up, get obese, cut off their hair, etc.).

Bosson and Vandello posited that men are quite a bit more anxious about gender than women. But why? The answer seems to be more cultural than biological. In almost every culture, boys begin to police each other as they approach manhood, deeming only specific behaviors acceptable and demanding, in many cases, that aspirants to masculinity perform feats of social and physical strength.

“Basically being a man is ultimately more valued in society and being a woman is more devalued,” Maxine Craig, a sociologist at the University of California, Davis, explains. “Because men are more valued in society they have to watch their step in order not to lose that position.”

Gender is performative in general and women experience social pressures and have hierarchies. That said, there’s less status attached to being female than male, which may be why women are granted more freedom to be fluid than men. Feminists lampooned by their enemies for being too masculine — Lady Gaga has, for instance, been accused of hiding a secret penis — tend to shrug off the jokes while the men who make them struggle to grant the premise that gender roles are oppressive. Understanding that they have more to lose, men flee the conversation or prepare to fight.

And they lost me.

The apex fallacy rears it’s ugly head. No matter the fact that primary through high school is biased against boys, women represent a 60:40 majority in college and also a majority in graduate school, and other things like these.

The reality now is that no one gives a crap about men, unless they have made themselves into a person of power or high status.

If the precariousness of the male identity is more potentially destructive than masculine behaviors, one would expect the most toxic behavior to occur in the most precarious groups. And that’s exactly what is happening. Roughly three-quarters of violent crimes in America are committed by men and the peak age for every form of criminal activity surveilled by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program is under 25. (The exception is gambling.) The median age for most crimes is under 30.

Who engages in dangerously toxic behavior? Young men, the people that worry most about their gender status.

Although a young man in a privileged position may have the resources to assert his manhood in constructive ways (excelling academically, professionally, or even athletically) more marginalized young men who don’t have healthy outlets and are less likely to receive external validation. Communities with a high density of underprivileged young men without access to validation tend to be high crime communities in which manhood is expressed through substance abuse, homophobia, sexism, harassment, extreme risk-taking, and violence. This is toxicity and the problem does not seem to be masculine ideals. Kids in America’s toughest neighborhoods and Afghanistan’s toughest provinces all have positive male role models. What they don’t have is a sense of gendered stability.

Now the ignorance is showing. Kids in high crime communities do not “all have positive male role models.” In fact, most of the time, they don’t have a father in the home at all because of the rampant single motherhood! Even the male role models they have aren’t the best; single moms with live-in boyfriends who are overwhelmingly more prone to domestic violence than biological fathers.

Testosterone tends to shoulder the blame for poor male behavior and it is true that higher testosterone levels are linked to low-risk aversion, aggression, and violent tendencies. Men with higher sex hormone levels are also more sensitive to masculinity threats. But Vandello is reluctant to blame biology for men lashing out when their manhood is threatened. Social rules, consequences, and the policing of masculinity reinforce the idea that men have to perform and defend it. Men must be convinced that their manhood is suspect. This is not an innate anxiety.

“The construction of gender identity for men is more fragile than for women. In many cultures, one is born a woman — and one becomes a man,” psychotherapist, podcaster, and author Esther Perel recently wrote on her well-trafficked personal site. Perel, the mother of two boys, was teasing a conference dubbed “The Paradox of Masculinity” at which she spoke to a packed room of therapists in Midtown Manhattan and an international audience of interested parties via a video link about the need for a better understanding of what makes men tick. One of the five pillars of male identity she discussed in her keynote was trauma. She explained to her majority female audience that most men experience rejection tied to masculinity at some point in their life and that this often leaves a profound mark. To illustrate this point, she shared a clip of the documentary The Work about men in group therapy in a prison. In the clip, a man describes being sent away by his engineer father for not understanding knowing how to help work on a car. Decades after he was told to go find his mother, the wound is still clearly fresh. He cries.

Perel’s audience respectfully scribbled notes. But not all of her colleagues have been so pleased to have a woman looking under the hood of maleness.

“A handful of men that I respected professionally went straight into attack mode,” Perel recently told Psychotherapy Networker. “They immediately went into diatribes that implied they thought this couldn’t be anything other than an organized attack on men or a misguided woman’s attempt at feminizing their gender.”

This was predictable.

Talk about confirmation bias.

Shades of Kavanaugh being angry at the false accusations against him are used to prove that he was indeed guilty of what they were claiming.

Precarious masculinity seems to show up everywhere. But the most obvious place most people encounter it is in humor. Research indicates that men do not typically prefer sexist and homophobic humor. But psychologist Thomas Ford has found that men who believe masculinity can be taken away are more likely to respond positively to sexist and homophobic jokes. Interestingly, this group of insecure men do not seem to have acquired a taste for racist jokes. Why not? Presumably because sexist and homophobic humor has a uniquely gender-affirming quality. Jokes allow men to reassert their masculinity by distancing themselves from perceived femininity.

Men regularly communicate with each other with teasing and mocking and joking. That’s just male camaraderie.

While I don’t necessarily agree with racist or sexist jokes (depending on the sexist joke at least), it’s interesting to see an article say that masculinity shouldn’t be pathologized but still pathologizes some aspects of male behavior.

That’s the low stakes stuff. The high stakes stuff is much more disturbing. Perceived threats to masculinity lead to higher incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. Despite having some of the highest rates of gender equity in Europe, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden have the highest rates of intimate partner violence and sexual assault in the EU. Dubbed as the “Nordic Paradox,” this troubling phenomenon may also be occurring in the United States. One study of over 4,000 families found that women who were the primary breadwinners were more likely to be victims of domestic violence when their partners held more traditional beliefs about gender roles.

“Some men see that as a zero-sum game. That women’s advancement must come at a cost for men. That’s not the reality, but it’s the perception,” Vandello says.

The data indicates that men have a problem with the precariousness of masculinity over the toxicity of it, but the core is that too many boys and men deeply struggle for self-worth without the help of outside sources.

“Toxic masculinity is more of a sign of lack of self-worth and self-respect,” psychotherapist Hanalei Vierra, who’s counseled men for over three decades, told Fatherly. “Underneath all that instability and anger is a wounded little boy who was never taught to value his authentic and genuine experience of himself.”

The Nordic paradox seems alike the “paradox of declining female happiness.” The more you try to push away from the fact that men and women are different, the more problems you have.

Color me not surprised that when you raise a culture of feminist men that these men are insecure and act out more when threatened. The irony is not lost on them. When you destroy the structure of the family and discourage fathers teaching their sons how to be men, you’re going to raise boys who are insecure. See: single motherhood.

Clinical psychologist Daniel Sher echoes those sentiments, adding that there are some men who see masculinity as stable, biological, a relatively arbitrary construct, or some combination of the three, which reflects more psychological maturity and likely a higher quality of life. “This reflects a different psychological makeup and the potential for ambiguity is denied,” Sher adds. “If we’re talking psychoanalytically, the people who acknowledge the constructed and performative nature of masculinity are further along the psychic developmental trajectory.”

Vandello acknowledges that some men are able to reject the notion that manhood is unstable and needs to be regularly proven, especially as they get older. But many of these men who privately reject this still buckle when subjected to the social consequences of nonconformity.

“It matters less what you believe and more what the cultural rewards and punishments are,” Vandello says.

The culture rewards women for being women and punishes men for being men. Why do you think men are more insecure?

So much cognitive dissonance.

Aside from the uncertainties of masculinity, what clinicians and social scientists overwhelmingly agree on is that making manhood the enemy may not be a constructive way to push for change. The floating of the term “toxic masculinity” has a tendency to start vicious cycles rolling downhill. Why? It is itself an affront to masculinity and, as such, a pretty lousy means of striking up a constructive conversation. Proving this is not hard. One only needs to try to participate in a discussion about gender on Twitter.

The second good though in the article.

One example: In August, author Rollo Tomassi tweeted “Children from single-parent households (overwhelmingly single mothers) account for 80% of rapists motivated by displaced anger. Congratulations feminism, you’ve literally bred and raised the ‘rape culture’ you claim to fear.” To this provocation, a user named Miss Stirr replied that “43% of boys are raised by single mothers. 78% of teachers are female. So almost 50% of boys have 100% feminine influence while at home & an 8/10ish chance of 100% influence at school. Toxic masculinity isn’t the problem. Lack of masculinity is.”

The discourse devolved from there, divided between people supporting, insulting, and questioning Stirr and Tomassi. “So what are you saying, boys, are being neutered?” Bruce Schwab asked. “Toxic femininity is a problem,” David Hunt added. William Dickson was more critical, tweeting “If your understanding of simple math is so poor, you may not have a strong grasp of complex social issues.”

Other responses were just strange, like one from a “HipGnosis” who claimed being raised by a single mother taught him that “even approaching a woman is harassment” (naturally, his bio reads: “Retweets mean we’re engaged”). Finally, a man named Nick derailed the thread entirely with “Canadian public school is child abuse.” No one learned anything.

The manosphere is referenced!

It’s honestly both. Lack of positive masculine role models is a big thing. There is also the surrounding culture that says women = good and men = bad and regularly craps on men for pointing the facts out.

Still, coddling or talking past problematically insecure men is not a viable solution to the problem presented by gender insecurity. So what is? Strangely, the answer may be demanding more. Each expert interviewed for this article independently noted positive aspects of performed masculinityheroism, action-based empathy like protecting others, expertise, amassing resources, and work ethic. Demanding men meet these standards and celebrating those who do might positively refocus the energies of men afraid of having their masculinity stripped from them. The good news is we’ve already seen this work: Arguably one of the healthiest forms of modern masculinity is engaged fatherhood, a fairly new masculine ideal. Caregiving demands a lot of men but can be ennobling and, if positioned correctly, masculinizing. There’s a reason that the heavily branded movement towards male parental involvement has been largely fronted by athletes who pose fatherhood as a challenge. There’s a reason the initial and rather unsubtle tagline for this publication was “Win Parenting.”

“A lot of men look back at their own fathers and think, I don’t want to be this way,” Vandello says, “I want to deal with my problems in a more constructive way.”

Instead of rejecting masculinity as toxic, it’s possible to use its ambiguity to ask more of men. It’s possible that this may encourage more generational progress among men who cling to and defend their manhood the most fiercely. Masculinity will not likely cease to be important to these men, but if the values attached to it become healthier so might the men plagued by it. Perhaps the ultimate twist in the myth of the toxic man is that an evolved and intrinsic form of masculinity might be the solution. Vandello admits that it’s entirely possible for manhood to become less elusive, more attainable, and healthier. It’s even possible that having a strong sense of self-worth regardless of what others think could be considered manlier over time. If masculinity is a construct that needs to be reinforced for some men over and over again, make it bear repeating.

Ah, yes. The ideal that men were supposed to strive for before feminism, divorce, and the sexual revolution wanted to destroy it and claim men and women are the same.

Not sure why they called ‘fatherhood’ a new masculine ideal. It was one of the reasons why men wanted marriage and family. They were respected by their wife and children and society. Now they’re a laughingstock everywhere. Incentives people, incentives.

Except they could not make the connection. Oh well. At least they tried?

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Divorce Part 7 Final

This post is the final consolidation and simplified explanation of the Scriptures on divorce. Previous discussions include several conversations and much of the same material from On divorce and On divorce Part 2 and On divorce Part 3 and On divorce Part 4 and On divorce Part 5 and On divorce Part 6.

Also related: polygyny and the Lysa divorce fiasco (which they are currently reconciling which is good). This is one of the original research articles that got me started on analyzing the Scriptures on divorce and also evidence by Leslie McFall.

The “Betrothal position” has the most evidence to support it given the context from Matthew 1 (in the same book) and pointing toward the difference between putting away and divorce (putting away + writ of divorce). John Piper gives a good summary of it here. That’s my official position on the topic after having done more research from the past post.

I took a lot of the info from previous posts and condensed it a bit. I also added substantially more points in sections 6-10 the summary of all evidence section.


Table of contents

  1. Deuteronomy 24 — What is legal divorce according to the Scriptures?
  2. Deuteronomy 22 — What constitutes marital fraud?
  3. Jeremiah 3 and Isaiah 50 — The adulterous cases of Israel and Judah
  4. Malachi 2 — the background from the Old Testament to the New Testament
  5. Deuteronomy 24 and Matthew 5 and 19 — The synonymous terms of legal divorce in the OT and NT
  6. Matthew 19:3 — the Pharisees’ multi layered trap
  7. Matthew 19:4-6 — Jesus goes back to the creation
  8. Matthew 19:7 — The Pharisees’ confusion
  9. Matthew 19:8 — Jesus’ response on hardness of heart
  10. Matthew 19:9 — The heavily misinterpreted passage of Scripture
  11. Matthew 19:10-12 — the disciples actually understand the gravity of marriage
  12. Matthew 1:18-19 — the case of Joseph and Mary
  13. Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:13-18 — the unification of Matthew with Mark and Luke
  14. Romans 7 — understanding the context of Jewish divorce
  15. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 — the Lord’s command to husbands and wives
  16. 1 Corinthians 7:12-15 — Paul, not the Lord, says to live with unbelieving spouses
  17. Summary of all evidence
  18. Conclusion

1. Deuteronomy 24 — What is legal divorce according to the Scriptures?

Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and give it in her hand, and send (shâlach) her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth (shâlach) her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Legal divorce is composed of two parts in Mosiac law. This will be important later.

  1. Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
  2. Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.

2. Deuteronomy 22 — What constitutes marital fraud?

Marital fraud is found in Deuteronomy 22.

Deuteronomy 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid:

15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16 And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away (shâlach) all his days.

20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

From a historical perspective, at the time of Jesus no women who were caught in marital fraud were actually stoned. Women caught in marital fraud were simply put away without being legally divorced (put away + writ of divorce) as the couple was not considered legally married.

Distinguishing legal divorce from marital fraud is important because it shows how a woman could be put away (without being legally divorced).


3. Jeremiah 3 and Isaiah 50 — The adulterous cases of Israel and Judah

The Lord acquiesces laws he outlined in Deuteronomy 24 for legal divorce in the cases of Israel and Judah.

Jeremiah 3:6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away (shâlach), and given her a bill of divorce (sêpher kerı̂ythûth); yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.

Israel was not brought back out of Assyrian captivity. By the NT, they were no longer “Jews” but “Samaritans” because they have been divorced by God and intermixed with the surrounding nations. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews because they were no longer part of the God’s chosen people.

Note: The Lord still wants repentance in Jeremiah 3:14 even though He legally divorced Israel. Since they are part of the ‘Gentiles’ now, they can now be redeemed by Christ.

On the other hand, the Lord speaking to Judah does not divorce her even though He puts her away.

Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the Lord [to Judah], Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement (sêpher ‘êm kerı̂ythûth), whom I have put away (shâlach)? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away (shâlach). 2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.

In the case of Judah, we know that Jesus comes from the lineage of Judah and David. The Lord allows Judah to be put away into captivity for their transgressions. Afterward, He redeems and delivers Judah out of captivity as read in Nehemiah and Ezra and upholds  His covenant with them through the rebuilding of His temple. Then He brings full redemption to them through sending His Son Jesus to die bring forth the New Covenant.


4. Malachi 2 — The background from the Old Testament to the New Testament

Malachi is the last prophet for 400 years before Jesus. Malachi points out Israelite backsliding due to assimilation of the surrounding cultures much like today.

Malachi 2:14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.

16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away (shâlach): for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 17 Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?

The passage only talks about putting away and not legal divorce under the Law of Moses. The background is that “divorce” in surrounding cultures was simply putting away (without a writ of divorce). Husbands sent their wives out of the house and that was a divorce. Husbands mimicked the surrounding culture because of two reasons:

  1. Selfish gain. If a wife was legally divorced — put away with a writ of divorce — she would receive back the dowry that the bride’s father paid. However, if she was put away without a writ of divorce she would not receive back the dowry.
  2. Marginalized wives. A legal divorce — put away with a writ of divorce — would allow the divorced wife to remarry. However, if a wife was put away she would still be legally married to her husband, which allowed her unable to remarry without committing adultery.

This is why putting away is termed treacherous by the Lord. This assimilation of the surrounding culture sets the stage for Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees in the New Testament.


5. Deuteronomy 24 and Matthew 5 and 19 — The synonymous terms of legal divorce in the OT and NT

The OT was written in Hebrew and the NT was written primarily in Greek.  There are synonymous terms in the Hebrew and Greek.

Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and give it in her hand, and send (shâlach) her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement (sêpher kerı̂ythûth), and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth (shâlach) her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

  1. Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
  2. Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos)? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away (apoluō) your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another,commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

G630 — ἀπολύω — apoluō — ap-ol-oo’-o
From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: – (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

G647 — ἀποστάσιον — apostasion — ap-os-tas’-ee-on
Neuter of a (presumed) adjective from a derivative of G868; properly something separative, that is, (specifically) divorce: – (writing of) divorcement.

  1. GREEK Apostasion and HEBREW Sepher keriythth — Writing and giving the wife a bill of divorcement.
  2. GREEK Apoluo and HEBREW Shalach — Sending her out of the house or away.

Note: I crossed out the two instances of “divorce” within Strong’s definition of apoluo because apoluo does not denote a legal divorce according to the Law of Moses. Hence, Jesus would not have used apoluo to mean “divorce” in Matthew because He does not abolish the law but fulfills the law.


6. Matthew 19:3 — the Pharisees’ multi layered trap

Line by line analysis, given our solid background:

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause?

Your spider senses should be tingling with the tricky wording of “lawful” with “putting away” (without writ of divorce) and “every cause.”

The main trap is the Pharisees are pitting Roman law versus a specific interpretation of Jewish law. In Roman law you could “divorce” your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo) much like the surrounding cultures in Malachi 2. However, Jewish law in Deuteronomy 24 you could divorce your wife by “putting her away” (apoluo or shalach) AND giving her a bill of divorcement (Apostasion or Sepher keriythth).

The secondary trap of the Pharisees, specifically the Hillelites, claimed you could legally divorce for “every cause” due to an interpretation of uncleanness in Deuteronomy 24 meaning any form of displeasure. (The article gets the conclusion wrong, but the background is important). Roman husbands could just send a wife away to divorce her whereas Jewish Law required broad or narrow cause.

The trap: If Jesus answers that you can “put away a wife without a bill of divorcement” the Pharisees can call Jesus a blasphemer as He is not following Jewish law. If Jesus says that you “need a bill of divorcement” or “a narrow range of causes” to put away then the Pharisees accuse Jesus to the Romans and say that He is subverting Roman law (like they eventually did before Pontius Pilate as they claimed Jesus was a ‘King’ which was antithetical to Roman rule).

Other similar Pharisee traps:

  • ‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to God or Caesar’ (Matt 22, Mark 12) which would pit Jewish law against Roman law.
  • ‘In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?’ (John 8) with the woman caught in adultery. The Law required stoning, but Romans did not allow the Jews to execute anyone.

There is a pattern of Jewish vs Roman law interpretation.


7. Matthew 19:4-6 — Jesus goes back to the creation

Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Jesus knows that it’s a no-win question. He sidesteps the Pharisees’ trap by avoiding talking about Roman and Jewish law and causes. Instead, Jesus discusses the creation of man and what God intended. He would know because He was there in the beginning (see: John 1:1-4).

This is Jesus’ answer on divorce: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

No (man initiated) divorce.


8. Matthew 19:7 — The Pharisees’ confusion

Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos)?

The Pharisees see that Jesus has cleverly sidestepped their trap and are confused. If God did not intended for any divorce then why divorce in the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy 24?

The Pharisees acknowledgement that the Law of Moses declared that a divorce is composed of putting away AND bill of divorcement reveals their trap that we saw earlier. The Pharisees knew that a divorce was putting away and a bill of divorcement, but they only tested Jesus on putting away only.


9. Matthew 19:8 — Jesus’ response of hardness of heart

Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away (apoluō) your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Jesus responds that this part of the law was created by Moses because human hearts are hard.

Jesus agrees with God: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

Note that the Law is equated to be equitable, not the standard of holiness that all Christians should strive toward. Any who think divorce applies to them have hardness of heart.


10. Matthew 19:9 — The heavily misinterpreted passage of Scripture

Jesus answers the original question that the Pharisees posed: “what lawful instances can a man put away?” You can see the mirror of the verses which confirms this:

Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife for every cause?

Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Jesus is answering the Pharisees original question. Next, read the verse without the “exception clause” to understand why it makes sense.

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Simplified:

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, […], and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

In plain English:

If you put away your wife and marry another you commit adultery and whoever marries her commits adultery.

The meaning is obvious. If you put away your wife without legally divorcing her — give her a writ of divorcement before sending her away — you’re still married to her. If you’re still married to her, both you and her commit adultery if you marry another.

Now to add in back the exception:

Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia), and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

What is the only case you can “put away” a “wife” without legal divorce? In the Law of Moses that would be Deuteronomy 22 where the marriage was invalid because of fraud. Since the marriage was invalid because of fraud, you can put her away without giving her a writ of divorce.

Porneia, in this case, refers specifically to invalid marriages because of marital fraud.

There is additional evidence why porneia does not refer to adultery here.

  • First, Jesus specifically says “except it be for fornication (porneia). “Fornication” is any illicit sexual union including incest (1 Cor 5) and adultery. If Jesus was referring specifically to adultery here then “moichao” is a much more accurate term than “porneia.” Moichao is used later in the verse, yet it is not used here. You would have to admit that Jesus doesn’t know to use the term “adultery” if he is permitting divorce.
  • Second, if Jesus was talking specifically about a legitimate divorce for adultery, according to the Law of Moses, He would have said (in reference to Deut 24):

“Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) with a writ of divorce (apostasion) his wife, “except it be for adultery (moichiao),

Instead, He says in reference to Deut 22:

“Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, “except it be for fornication (porneia),

The Greek wording is important because it tells us what passages Jesus is referencing in Mosaic Law. The answer is Deuteronomy 22 and illegitimate marriages as opposed to Deuteronomy 24 and rules on divorce.

  • Third, this also explains exactly happening in Malachi 2 and Roman times. Husbands were defaulting to the culture and putting away their wives without a writ of divorce contrary to the Law of Moses. The wives could not marry again because they were still married to their original husbands. If they did they were committing adultery.
  • Fourth, Jesus continues to avoid the Pharisees’ trap. Remember, “putting away” in Roman culture is synonymous for divorce. Jesus references the only part of the Law where “putting away” is valid, which would not conflict with Roman divorce laws.
  • Fifth, sacraments/covenants like marriage cannot be formed if there is deception by any party. They require that the full Truth is disclosed. This is similar to contract law and why there are annulments for invalid marriages.
  • Sixth, the nail in the coffin. If Jesus was saying you could divorce for adultery, then He would simply be repeating Deuteronomy 24 verbatim as it says a husband could legitimately divorce for adultery. Given the disciples response in the next section, we know that is not what Jesus is saying.

A preponderance of logical evidence backs the “exception clause” referring directly to the Deuteronomy 22. The man could put the wife away (without a writ of divorce) because the marriage was a sham. Thus,

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia) [illicit/fraudulent sexual deception which forms an invalid marriage], and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

Therefore, Jesus makes two distinct statements in this entire passage:

On marriage and divorce:

Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

On putting away in regard to fraudulent marriages (referencing Deut 22):

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, except it be for fornication (porneia) [illicit/fraudulent sexual deception which forms an invalid marriage], and shall marry another, commit adultery (moichaō): and whoso marrieth her which is put away (apoluō) doth committeth adultery (moichaō).

In conclusion, Jesus says there is no divorce. You can only put away if there is marriage fraud.

For example, in the case of fraud, a wife that lies about her past sexual history can be put away because it’s a fraudulent marriage. Interestingly, though we often negatively critique him, Mark Driscoll experienced this. You can see the devastation, which is why God makes an exception for this.


11. Matthew 19:10-12 — the disciples actually understand the gravity of marriage

Matthew 19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

The disciples, despite how they are often mocked at not understanding things, readily understand that Jesus is saying that there is no divorce. The only exception is that you can put away a wife if she fraudulently married by deception.

Additional evidence supports this. As mentioned prior, if Jesus was saying you could divorce for adultery (like in Deut 24), the disciples would not have responded like this.

When Jesus fulfills the Law, it is always vastly more difficult than the former Law. For example, “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22) is transformed to “a new command I give to you: that you love one another, just as I have loved you, that you love one another” (John 13, John 15).

The standards of the the New Testament always supersede that of the Old Testament.

No divorce period except for fraudulent marriages is a hard word. A really hard word.


12. Matthew 1:18-19 — the case of Joseph and Mary

Additional evidence is the case where Joseph was going to put Mary away.

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus [r]Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [s]betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away (apoluō autos) privily.

Joseph engagement and marriage with Mary would have been fraudulent because he was supposed to be marrying a virgin. To him Mary was not a virgin because she was with child. It took an angel of God to convince him otherwise.


13. Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:13-18 — the unification of Matthew with Mark and Luke

 In Mark 10:

Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (apoluō) his wife? tempting him. 3 And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement (apostasion), and to put her away (apoluō autos). 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away (apoluō) his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery (moichaō) against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away (apoluō) her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery (moichaō).

And also in Luke 16:

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 14 And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. 15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 16 The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. 17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

18 Whosoever putteth away (apoluō) his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery (moichaō): and whosoever marrieth her that is put away (apoluō) from her husband committeth adultery (moichaō).

First, there is no “exception clause” in both Mark and Luke. This would conflict with the passages in Matthew passages if it referred to adultery. As we now know, Mark and Luke do not conflict with Matthew because the “exception clause” refers to fraudulent marriages and not divorce for adultery.

Second, the background behind these passages is that Mark and Luke were mainly written to the Gentiles while Matthew was written to the Hebrews. The reason for this is that “putting away” was “divorce” for the Gentiles. The instruction is that they should not do that at all. As they were not under the Law of Moses, this goes back to Jesus statement of original intention: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” There is no divorce for Gentile believers.

Third, the Mark passage is particular instructive. The disciples asked him in the house later about Jesus’ true thoughts in private: no divorce (which goes along with “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”).

If Jesus had said this out in public, the Pharisees could have had him stoned as divorce was lawful for Romans.


14. Romans 7 — understanding the context of Jewish divorce

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

In Romans 7, Paul is speaking that the covenant of marriage is unbound by death.


15. 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 — the Lord’s command to husbands and wives

The Lord speaks through Paul:

1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart (chōrizō) from her husband: 11 But and if she depart (chōrizō), let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away (aphiēmi) his wife.

G5563 — χωρίζω — chōrizō — kho-rid’-zo
From G5561; to place room between, that is, part; reflexively to go away: – depart, put asunder, separate.

G863 — ἀφίημι — aphiēmi — af-ee’-ay-mee
From G575 and ἵημι hiēmi (to send; an intensive form of εἶμι eimi (to go)); to send forth, in various applications: – cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

G630 — ἀπολύω — apoluō — ap-ol-oo’-o
From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release, dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically) divorce: – (let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away, release, set at liberty.

The Lord speaks through Paul that any type of separation (legal divorce or not) that those in the marriage are to stay single or reconcile. In other words, do not divorce. If you separate, you must stay single or reconcile. There is no remarriage.

This agrees with Jesus’ original statements on divorce: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Jesus and the Father are one, and they are in agreement.


16. 1 Corinthians 7:12-15 — Paul, not the Lord, says to live with unbelieving spouses

1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put away (aphiēmi autos). 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him (aphiēmi autos). 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart (chōrizō), let him depart (chōrizō). A brother or a sister is not under bondage (douloo) in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

This passage is also used as a so-called exception clause for remarriage. “If I’m not under bondage anymore because my unbelieving wife or husband left me then I can remarry.” This interpretation is incorrect.

If you examine the wording closely, the passage only says that if they depart then you’re not under the bondage (douloo) anymore. Greek douloo is from doulos which means servant/slave and is the verb form of slave which means enslavement. This is bondage is our duty to God for the marital roles and responsibilities.

This verse must also be taken in context with the other verses in the Bible and passage. As Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 show, the Christian must stay single or reconcile and that the marriage covenant is only broken by death.

1 Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart (chōrizō) from her husband: 11 But and if she depart (chōrizō), let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away (aphiēmi) his wife.

Notice the same wording of an unbeliever departing (chorizo) and a wife departing (chorizo). They are still under the marriage covenant and must stay single or reconcile.

Likewise, the end of the 1 Corinthians affirms this too:

1 Corinthians 7:39 A wife is bound (deo) as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. 40 But in my opinion she is happier if she remains as she is; and I think that I also have the Spirit of God.

This is affirmed again at the end of 1 Corinthians 7. Notice the difference in the Greek word deo versus douloo used in the other verse. Deo means to bind. This is the same language that is used for the marital covenant as oneness/binding. and is only broken by death.

There is no divorce or remarriage for Christians with unbelieving spouses either.


17. Summary of all available evidence against divorce and remarriage

  1. Jesus notes the standard is “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
  2. Divorce from the Law of Moses is for those hard of heart.
  3. Putting away is not divorce according to the Law of Moses, which both Jesus and the Pharisees knew.
  4. Jesus was answering the original question the Pharisees were asking about “putting away.”
  5. Textual analysis points to “except for porneia” pointing to Deuteronomy 22 instead of Deuteronomy 24, especially in context of Matthew 1 Joseph and Mary and the trap the Pharisees were trying to trick Him.
  6. Moichao = act of adultery specifically. Jesus doesn’t use that word in the “exception”
  7. Disciples response (“it is better not to marry”) indicates that it does not refer to Deuteronomy 24 where you can already divorce for adultery.
  8. Why would Jesus repeat and agree to with the Pharisees that you can divorce for adultery. Hint: He wouldn’t.
  9. Precedent of Joseph and Mary where “putting away” is the righteous option for marital fraud (not killing her according to Deut 22).
  10. Agreement of Mark and Luke with no exceptions. If Jesus made an exception Matthew, then Mark and Luke would not agree with Matthew and the Bible would contradict itself. It is not an ‘addition’ to Jesus’ statements in Mark and Luke.
  11. In Mark, the disciples ask Jesus again privately, and He clarifies any putting away = adultery. If he had done this publicly, the Pharisees could have had him stoned as Roman Law said you could put away to divorce which would make Jesus deny Roman Law.
  12. Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7 showing that death breaks marital covenants with no other exceptions.
  13. 1 Corinthians 7, the Lord says that a wife and husband should not separate, but if they do, they should stay single or reconcile. This agrees with “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” and does not agree with an ‘exception’ for divorce.
  14. The whole book of Hosea is about God commanding Hosea to marry a prostitute and how that symbolizes God and His people who are adulterous. God still wants them to come back to Him. We are to emulate God.

Other evidence:

  • A husband who runs off with another woman is still married to his former wife, and he will be held accountable for judgment to God for that.
  • You (and most others) took vows in marriage, which God takes very seriously. Story of Jephthah sacrificing his daughter because of his vow. Vows in Numbers 30, God on vows, Jesus affirms the seriousness of vows. Your vows are not null and void because someone else did something wrong.
  • All the Biblical marital roles and responsibilities are unconditional (Eph 5, Col 3, Titus 3, 1 Peter 3, 1 Corinthians 7). You don’t get a “get out of marriage free” card or “I can act mean to my wife if she treats me poorly” card if the other person is sinning. The Bible still commands husbands to love their wives and treat them with honor and calls wives to submit and respect their husbands…. no matter how bad the other spouse acts.
  • Our ministry as Christians is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5) which also includes marriages that have had crazy sins happen in them.

Piper has some additional points based on hypothetical scenarios that support the no divorce position.

Overall, I can’t think of one piece of evidence in combination with looking at both the Old and New Testament that indicates one can divorce for adultery. The only circumstantial evidence that those who support divorce for adultery keep trying to stand on is that “porneia” can refer to adultery in some instances according to Strong’s. Ironically, it is never used to refer to adultery in the NT, especially when there is a more suitable word which is moichao.

There are also no Christian traditions that support divorce for adultery. The only exception is in the past century or so with the rise of feminism.


18. Conclusions

Jesus talks about marriage, divorce, and putting away. Understanding which passages Jesus refers to is critical to unifying all of Scripture on the topic of divorce.

  1. Putting away is NOT divorce in the context of Mosaic Law and in the gospel of Matthew. It is a two part process of putting away and a bill of divorcement. – Deut 22, 24; Mal 2; Jer 3; Isa 50; Matt 5, 19
  2. Putting away is synonymous with divorce for the Gentiles. — Mark 10; Luke 16; 1 Corinthians 7
  3. God and Jesus’ plan for marriage is that “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” – Gen 2, Matt 19; Mark 10
  4. There is no get-out-of-marriage adultery clause. Who you are married to you should stay married to regardless of any sins they commit. This is a hard word as even the disciples said it was better not to marry. Separation seems to be an option if you can’t live with them. Reconciliation is ideal. – Matt; 19, Mark 10, Luke 16, 1 Cor 7
  5. Under the Law of Moses and according to Jesus, a marriage is illegitimate if your wife committed sexual fraud prior to marriage. Example: Claiming she was a virgin when she was not (Deut 22). Hence, you can put her away without divorcing her since it was a sham. – Deut 22, Matthew 5, 19; Mark 10; Luke 16,
  6. If a spouse leaves stay single or be reconciled. – 1 Cor 7
  7. If an unbelieving spouse leaves you are not under bondage of marital roles and responsibilities. You are still under the marriage covenant, and you cannot remarry. – 1 Cor 7
  8. Those already remarried in their second and third marriages are NOT to divorce and reconcile with their first spouse if they come to Christ (See: Note 1 for more details). The heretical interpretation is perpetual adultery with the new spouse. In this line of thought, divorce and reconcile and remarry with the first spouse. This view goes against what Deuteronomy 24 says in that if a first husband divorces a wife and another marries her even if she is divorced or her husband dies then she is not to remarry him again otherwise is it an abomination. – Deut 24, Matthew 19

Note 1: Divorce, remarriage, and perpetual adultery:

1. There is perpetual adultery if the participants are made completely aware of the roles and responsibilities and the everlasting nature of marriage. In other words, “sacramental marriage” affirmed by the Church.

2. However, those who were not made aware sinned in their ignorance. Those that don’t undergo the rites of the Church in the marriage ceremonies in both (?) Catholic and Orthodox tradition means that the marriage formed is potentially invalid. Hence, since the marriage wasn’t valid they are free to marry another. A marriage can be affirmed sacramental in which case divorce and remarriage is a sin.

3. This would also go along with the position that those in their 2nd or 3rd marriages and then come to Christ would not have to divorce and go back to their first spouse. They can get their current marriage affirmed by the Church with all of the details of the Covenant.


Final Conclusion, according to Scriptures, for Christians

  1. No divorce period. “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
  2. Stay single or reconcile. No remarriage. This includes marriage to unbelievers who leave.
  3. Your recourse is separation if you absolutely can’t live with them (though not ideal).
  4. Fraudulent marriages are not marriages. Covenants require truth from all parties to be established.
  5. If you have a “Christian marriage” (or sacramental marriage) — both of you know that marriage is forever on earth and the accompanying roles and responsibilities — then any divorce and remarriage is perpetual adultery.
  6. 2nd or 3rd marriages that come to Christ can be affirmed as Christian marriages. They would not have to go back to their first spouse and are not in perpetual adultery. Prior marriages are effectively “annulled” as you did not understand Christian marriage.

This is why I believe (as a Protestant) that the Catholic method of sacramental marriage is probably the best method to deal with marriage and divorce in a broken world. Orthodox I can see the reasoning on, but it is not as strictly faithful. Protestant views on marriage are trash, and it is no surprise that they have the highest divorce rates of any denomination of Christianity and divorce rates almost as high as secular culture.

I’ll probably get a zillion comments on this from pro-divorce proponents as most of my other posts on this. Unless someone addresses all of the evidence in section 17, I probably won’t participate. Most of the pro-divorce proponents only argue that porniea includes adultery and that putting away = divorce and ignore every other available evidence because it doesn’t support their point. No one ever refutes: “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”  and divorce = hardness of heart.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 48 Comments

Pharisees and Weasels

Playing off of Dalrock’s Does romantic love sanctify sex? and Scott’s The extremist nature of being human, the pharisee and weasel are the two categories that people trend toward.

  • Pharisees like building extra rules and laws on top of the Law of Moses and Jesus’ commands. There is a right and wrong way to have sex in marriage. There is a right and wrong way to be the head in marriage.
  • Weasels are the ones that rationalize if something is a sin or not. They try to toe the line instead of head in the right direction. For instance, “is [holding hands, kissing, french kissing, groping each other, oral sex, or sex] before marriage a sin” is the wrong attitude and frame of mind: chastity is a direction not a line you cross.

At the core root, this is how our sin nature manifests at extremes of the works-based mentality instead of grace and freedom.

The Pharisaical nature is easier to spot as it is largely rooted in the pride of ones own convictions overlaid onto others.

The weasel mentality is harder to spot in certain circumstances. This is in part due the root of the problem of ‘wanting to get away with something’ despite the cost of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. In other words, cheap grace. Shall we sin more so that grace may abound? Surely not!

Grace has afforded us peace and freedom in Christ. The freedom to do good. To love our neighbor. To love our wives. To honor God.

It is, however, easy to fall back into that works based mentality even as a Christian. We do it all the time. Pastors do it all the time. We need to constantly remind ourselves that we shouldn’t be Pharisees or Weasels with our faith.

edit: Chad makes some important points that may be misinterpreted about this post.

Calling such aid pharisaical seems… illogical, at best. The reason being that number one criticism of them was hypocrisy, the second putting human tradition above the inward disposition that God desired with His law. He never voices issues with the extra rules other than when they run contrary to His will.
Meanwhile, the original quotes were speaking of the basic foundation of the family and how it knits together – the relationship between husband and wife – and trying to aid people on how to achieve the correct inward disposition along with objectively meeting the exterior acts as well. While, again, some get it wrong these days, the post as written seems to foster the idea that there is no correct course to take and certainly no correct way to correct wayward souls on the subject
This post is mainly about different patterns that humans can usually fall into traps. Not about any of the particular scenarios in the other posts. There obvious is right and wrong, according to God and the Scriptures, usually within the context of Loving God and Loving your Neighbor.
Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 11 Comments

Authority and obedience are not necessarily two sides of the same coin

In Dalrock’s marriage isn’t a military unit, Oscar brings up a good question:

Here’s the conundrum. The definition of the word “authority” is: the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience (synonyms: power, jurisdiction, command, control, charge, dominance, rule, sovereignty, supremacy).

If a husband has authority over his wife, how does he enforce her obedience? And if he’s not allowed to enforce her obedience, how, exactly, does he have authority over her?

Obviously, Warthog’s answer of “beat her into submission” is wrong. But, what’s right?

Gary Eden gets the closest, from what I’ve seen, but then veers off in the wrong direction.

“force her to obey” is always a distraction. You can’t force anyone to do anything; as the early Christian martyr’s proved with their life. But you can influence. You can set consequences for disobedience.

Withholding attention and dread game can work to influence a wife. But they are at best, indirect means and at worst, passive aggressive.These are popular in the Red Pill community because they are about the only tools a man has when the wife is firmly in control and he is trying to regain power by stealth. I’m not saying they’re bad or wrong, I’m just pointing out the context of those. That is not the full extent of what a husband can do.

Ultimately, it’s going to come down to setting consequences for disobedience. That can come in many many different forms. The cold shoulder is exactly that, a consequence of bad behavior.

This is incredibly unpopular in church circles. But if a man cannot establish consequences for bad behavior he has no real authority in the relationship (de facto).

The ironic thing is that while the church, society and law will do everything to makes sure you have no de facto power in their effort to cancel God’s de jure establishment of husband as had, they can’t outdo the God’s creation…

“Your Desire Will Be For Your Husband, And He Will Rule Over You”

Often all that is required is for you to have the brass balls to just seize control. They’ll squawk and complain and bluff ahead of time but in the end, they want to be ruled. All the bitter feminist talking heads in the world can’t stop a woman who is thrilled to be ruled by her husband. Maybe you’ll have to do it slowly. Certainly you’ll have to do it with understanding. But no one is going to just hand it to you; least of all an American Christian woman.

To correctly understand the situation, you must understand all of the underlying dynamics first.

  1. The husband has usually abdicated the head position or never been in it in the first place
  2. The wife has usually been acting as the de facto head (via abdication) or constantly been in it
  3. It could be the case that the husband has always been the head and the wife rebels, but this tends to be rare.

Next, it is important to understand Scriptural marital obligations and vows.

  1. It is the obligation of the wife to submit to her husband, as to the Lord (e.g. Eph 5, Col 3, Tit 2, 1 Pet 3, 1 Tim 3, etc.) and respect her husband (Eph 5, 1 Pet 3).
  2. It is the obligation of the husband to love his wife sacrificially toward sanctification (e.g. Eph 5), treat the wife as he would himself three different times (Eph 5), nourish and cherish (Eph 5), not be embittered toward his wife (Col 3), and live toward her with understanding that she is a weaker vessel and co-heir in Christ (1 Pet 3).
  3. Vows — whatever VOWS you took, the Lord counts as binding:

Example: “I, ___, take thee, ___, to be my wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I pledge thee my faith [or] pledge myself to you.”

Let’s work out the rest of this out.

  • Your primary goal is to obey God rather than men

This should go without saying, but we should be more concerned with how we are viewed in God’s eyes than in our spouses/wives. This will change how we act toward them because we know that God does not tolerate our excuses, foolish behavior, and justifications.

“I forced my wife to obey because that’s what you said she should do in the Bible” ain’t gonna fly.

  • To the commands to each spouse are unconditional.

They don’t say that wives should only submit to their husbands if they are acting loving and kind. They don’t say that husbands should only love their wives if she is respectful and obedient.

Unconditional commands help break negative behavior cycles where the wife acts bad, then the husband respond poorly, the wife responds poorly to that, and so on.

  • The exception temptation

As I have noted before, whenever wifely obligations get brought up in Bible studies, there is always the exceptions that get brought up such as “what if he tells me to sin.” These exceptions are distractions from the commands–it is the exception temptation. Submit to your husband in all things, as to the Lord.

Gary Eden rightly identifies that “force her to obey” is a distraction from the commands of God. This is somewhat on the mark in terms of the influence paragraph, but then goes off on the tangent.


Putting it together

Your goal as a husband is not to “force her to obey” but to:

  1. Love your wife sacrificially toward sanctification (e.g. Eph 5),
  2. Treat your wife as you would yourself three different times (Eph 5),
  3. Nourish and cherish her (Eph 5),
  4. Not be embittered toward your wife (Col 3),
  5. Live toward her with understanding that she is a weaker vessel and co-heir in Christ (1 Pet 3).

Husbands in the situation of abdication or never led their marriage with wives who are de facto leaders are in a place of role reversal or rebellion. How does God treat us when we are rebellious and disobedient?

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He makes the first move, to lead by example by sending Christ to die for us.

God’s marital commands are not here so that a wife will obey her husband (even though that is the optimal outcome), but so that a husband can show a rebellious wife how God loves us and how Christ loves His Church. This is how we reflect the Christ-Church image as the husband and wife.

Christ does not force us to obey, He shows us by His example and then asks (not demands) us to follow Him.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Discipline (in the form of punishment, chastisement, rebuke, or reproving) only works when those under authority accept the authority (even when they are under it but don’t accept it). A good example of this is parents and children. Children do not like it when you give them a time out or punishment for wrongdoing, but they accept it because they know your word is law. Wives who are fully submissive to their husbands like Abraham and Sarah show this.

One who is already rebellious or continues to be rebellious is acting as an unbeliever. Usually you don’t even need to “punish them” or “enforce consequences” as usually the negative behavior will have its own consequences. What you don’t want to do is to cover for those consequences. Let the wife deal with them by herself.

This is similar to what God does with Israel when turning away from him and invaded by surrounding nations. He allows them to suffer the consequences of their disobedience and idol worship. It is only when they repent and call out that he delivers them.


So what is a husband to do…

  • Be the head. Act as the leader, even when she doesn’t follow. Complaining and demanding don’t work. Leading may not work at first, but may eventually.
  • Love your wife sacrificially toward sanctification. Don’t be a hypocrite (Matthew 7:1-2). Make sure you point out your faults first and work on them. When you have a pattern of consistent behavior start to kindly point out some of hers to help her become more sanctified.
  • Love himself and love his wife as he loves himself. This is counterintuitive to most Christians, but it is Scriptural: “love your neighbor as yourself” and “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.”

A man who is running himself ragged to please his wife is putting her on a pedestal and idolizing her. A man must make sure he is holding himself to the standard of Christ through excellence in all that he does (heart, soul, mind, and strength or spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally) to be able to lead by example.

This is why “self improvement” such as gaining leadership skills, working out, losing weight, gaining muscle, dressing well, and things like that helps. It’s akin to holding himself to a higher standard (which starts to satisfy her hypergamy) and makes her want to do it too.

  • Nourish and Cherish her. Meet her needs. Be kind and considerate. This shows her she is valued and important, which is important to leading by example to gain your follower’s/wife’s trust back.
  • Do not be embittered. Self explanatory, especially for husbands where their wife is not obedient. Not only does this not work, but it increases the divide between the husband and wife.
  • Live toward her with understanding that she is a weaker vessel and co-heir in Christ (1 Pet 3). She is not a man and therefore not as tough and resilient. You don’t have to treat her like fine China, but understand that men and women are different from each other and respond differently to different things.

Overall, Authority starts with that which Authority is derived: God and Jesus. They are the ones who you are accountable with the Authority first. Then yourself by holding yourself accountable to the standard of authority through godliness and excellence yourself. Then your wife. The Scriptures outline this fairly clearly.

Demanding obedience and forcing obedience are temptations like wives are tempted to use exceptions to get out of submission free. Each will be held accountable by God for what they have done to disobey Him.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 13 Comments

No interest for an attractive Christian woman… or something else? Redux

Funny enough, this popped up on Wintery Knight’s Stop telling women that God will give them husbands later if they delay marriage now too.

Re-farmer comments:

I see what you’re saying. I really do. But, as others have pointed out, there are… gaps in your argument, shall we say.

One of the things you keep stressing is that women should be marriage minded when they are young and fertile (fair enough), but also while they are “prettier.” So… what about the ugly women? Or the not-conventionally attractive women? I guess they don’t count? 😉

And then I think of the experiences of my own daughters, both of whom are in their early 20’s now. Neither has been asked out on an actual date in their entire lives. One of them hasn’t had a male show interest in her since she was 13 (the guy thought she was his own age; 19). AT work, she was frequently mistaken for a male. How, I’m not sure, considering her generous… assets, shall we say… but there it is. The other worked as a cashier and would get hit on by customers all the time. She was 19-21 at the time. They were 50+ yr old contractors. A co-worker got hit on by much older customers so often, she started wearing an engagement ring, hoping it would dissuade them. It didn’t. And she looks a good 5 years younger than my daughter, which puts it in the creepy as heck category.

I realize you are posting from a guy’s point of view, but there is an entire world young women are living in that you know nothing about. Not saying there aren’t women as you describe, but perhaps there is more to the issue then you are seeing.

I respond:

It’s very rare for women to get mistaken as a man. There’s usually several reasons involved in this:

1. She is wearing androgynous clothing like jeans and t-shirts instead of feminine oriented clothing like skirts and dresses
2. Her hair is cut short
3. She has masculine facial features
4. She has masculine mannerisms or speech
5. She doesn’t wear feminine accessories like earrings
6. Tasteful feminine makeup

All these are changeable, except masculine facial features.

You need to encourage her to dress and be more feminine.

She responds:

Or people just assume that an employee in a hardware store is male, even when most of the employees are female. Every time it happened, it was always a male customer, and they always apologized immediately. She was never offended and just laughed it off.

Why should I encourage her to dress more “feminine”? She dresses appropriately for the need. We’re getting back to blaming women for men’s responses to them.

I respond:

Paragraph 1: Hard to do with feminine clothing, long hair, female accessories, etc.

Paragraph 2: This is hilarious, honestly.

You’re the one complaining that your daughters are recognized like men, not me. You’re the one complaining that your daughters haven’t been asked out on dates, not me.

Perhaps you try something different if the same old same old isn’t working, instead of complaining that we’re now blaming women for men’s responses.

Her response:

Actually, no. I wasn’t complaining. I simply made a comment. You’re the one who is making all sorts of assumptions with absolutely zero information about my daughters, instead of addressing the actual point of my comment. Did you even catch what that was?

My girls are adults now – did you miss the part where I mentioned they are in their 20s? They are not 2 yr olds that need me to tell them how to dress. They do just fine, regardless of what conclusions you have drawn about them out of your own imagination.

There’s really no need to deign the last comment with a response, so I stopped.

In the old days, parents actually gave you useful dating advice. Now they actively sabotage your chances for relationships by giving you bad advice and doubling down on it when they’re called out.

Also, the old ‘victim blaming’ complex, lack of common sense, and combative attitude has made it into rural areas now too it seems.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 14 Comments

No interest for an attractive Christian woman… or something else?

On Dalrock’s Incentives Matter, Jean comments:

We have a 22- year-old daughter who’s basically out of luck when it comes to getting married. There are just not enough suitable men to go around. Most worthwhile men in her age range are already married or engaged, and the rest who aren’t can command absolute perfection in the woman they choose. As parents, we really didn’t see that coming.

Our daughter is a debt-free virgin with no tattoos (haha), an 8/10 in appearance according to objective observers, fit and active, firm in her faith, kind and loyal, and would love to be a wife and SAHM more than anything else. Very not a feminist. She has a great sense of humor, but she’s reserved when she just meets people. She loves to cook and clean and decorate and make ordinary things special for the people she loves. On the downside, I guess for some, she has a degree and a career (that she’s very willing to give up for a family), lives on her own with her own money (too independent for some), she’s never dated anyone (which to some people is a red flag), and sometimes she has some acne (we’ve tried everything). She’s capable of driving a manual transmission and of doing manual labor (on missions trips or helping her dad around here), which I guess some people interpret as unfeminine (although the farm ladies at our church can do all that and more without becoming unfeminine). So she’s not terrible. Just not excellent enough to be chosen.

She’s constantly approached by the über-handsome PUA type who are quickly uninterested when they realize she’s not looking for one of them. But the men she’s attracted to—quiet Christian guys, handsome to her, productive, with good morals—never reciprocate her interest. I don’t know if they’re holding out for someone better or what. I keep hoping that eventually someone will realize he’s not going to get the ultimate dream girl and will settle for my daughter, but quite possibly not.

She’s starting to realize that she’s probably going to be left out of marriage and motherhood. It makes her sad, but she’s not willing to just grab someone to have someone and then make a train wreck of things. Her list of must-haves, as I outlined above, is short and pretty open, but there just isn’t anyone like that who’s interested in her, even though she’s done things “right” as a young woman.

Deti answers:

This makes no sense at all. If your daughter really is what you say she is, she should have no trouble at all finding men who are interested. None whatsoever. There should be at least 5 men interested in her, and who have shown interest. I simply do not believe this. The only way this makes any sense is

–you live in a very small town and are isolated from most other people
–you live in an isolated, closed, cloistered religious group
–your daughter is sending signals of disinterest to men

I suspect this because you say she is reserved when just meeting people. Well, if your daughter really is attracted to “quiet Christian guys” with “good morals”, she’s going to have to step out a little and make that interest VERY VERY clear.

But the men she’s attracted to—quiet Christian guys, handsome to her, productive, with good morals—never reciprocate her interest. I don’t know if they’re holding out for someone better or what.

I don’t believe this either. She isn’t showing interest in them. If she really were showing interest in them, they’d notice and reciprocate. Your daughter could very, very easily get every single one of these men interested in her. Very easily.

Jean, there could be many things going on here. I don’t know. It could be any one or a combination of:

–Your daughter is not anywhere close to as physically attractive as you say she is.
–She isn’t really interested in these Christian men.
–If she is interested in these Christian men, she’s not showing it clearly enough.
–she’s sending signals to these Christian men that they are interpreting as disinterest, whether right or wrong.
–She isn’t as kind and nice as you think she is.
–You, and she, are isolated and cloistered.
–Her standards are too high.
–She isn’t really making herself available to men wanting to date her.

One of the things I’ve noticed more when talking to my wife is the differences in the way men and women rate attractiveness. I’ve somewhat explored this before, but women don’t really understand male attraction.

Women that my wife may rate an “8” I would only rate as a “6” in attractiveness and vice versa. The difference between an 8 and a 6 is pretty huge. The majority of men would be likely fall over themselves trying to date an 8, but many men would simply be interested in dating a 6. Of course, the same can be said for women to men, so you can see how there is also a bottleneck when the average is in the 4-6 range. The people who are more attractive have a big advantage in getting married. But that was always the case. You can see above in the comments where there was a lot of misunderstanding until I explained how curves played into that.

In any case, a woman with obvious acne is generally not an 8 to begin with, so we can see the cracks in the story there. It’s likely that these objective observers are biased.

One thing I would add to Deti’s list is that if she is physically attractive but her style could suck. If she’s wearing more form fitting dresses and skirts that bring out her attractiveness or attractive body, that would make men more inclined to initiate or at the very least tell her she’s beautiful (if she was objectively an 8).

Contrary to many of Dalrock’s commenters, most Christian men actually want to see that their wife is living by herself and can support herself.

Of course, none of these women or parents actually want their daughter to play the Ruth role. Ruth update. That means going out of your way to make it obvious to a man that you’re interested.

Ruth 3:1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. 7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down.

8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet! 9 “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

The funny part about this story was that Naomi told Ruth to show up at Boaz’s “house” unannounced, invite herself in, lay down near him until he wakes up, and then confess to him. This would literally be called ‘stalking’ nowadays. There is one thing about human nature then and now: if you’re attractive it’s not stalking but romantic.

Yet Christian woman today don’t even want to try to flirt with men or start up conversations with men they like or show interest in him or his hobbies and things like that. I just don’t get it.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 12 Comments

Kavanaugh is innocent, as many “innocent until proven guilty” supporters expected

I actually went and read through the main parts of the 414 page Senate Committee report.

Ford allegations:

Committee investigators found no verifiable evidence that supported Dr. Ford’s allegations against Justice Kavanaugh. The witnesses that Dr. Ford identified as individuals who could corroborate her allegations failed to do so, and in fact, contradicted her.

Ramirez allegations:

Committee investigators found no verifiable evidence to support Ramirez’s allegations.

Swetnick allegations:

The Committee found no verifiable evidence to support Swetnick’s allegations. Indeed, the evidence appears to support the position that Julie Swetnick and Mr. Avenatti criminally conspired to make materially false statements to the Committee and obstruct the Committee’s investigation. Accordingly, the Committee referred both to the Department of Justice and FBI for investigation and potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 371, § 1001, and § 1505 on October 25, 2018. In addition, on October 26, 2018, the Committee made a second criminal referral against Michael Avenatti to the Justice Department and FBI for investigation of potential violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 (knowingly providing materially false statements) and 1505 (obstruction of a congressional investigation), based upon the NBC story that evidenced that Mr. Avenatti may have fabricated allegations by a second declarant.

Rhode Island allegation:

The Committee found no verifiable evidence to support the allegations. Indeed, the evidence appears to support the position that [blacked out] provided false information. Accordingly, the Committee referred both to the Department of Justice and FBI for investigation and potential violations of 18 U.S.C. § 1001 (knowingly providing materially false statements), and § 1505 (obstruction of a congressional investigation).

Colorado allegations:

The Committee found no evidence to support the allegations in the anonymous Colorado letter. The alleged victim of the incident—the woman Justice Kavanaugh was dating when he authored parts of the Starr Report—denied the event ever took place. Justice Kavanaugh similarly denied engaging in the alleged conduct. The letter is anonymous, and the Committee has no way to identify the sender for further investigation. The Committee found no verifiable evidence to support the allegations.

California allegations:

The Committee found no credible evidence to support the allegations in the Jane Doe letter. Justice Kavanaugh denied engaging in the alleged conduct. The letter is anonymous, and the Committee has no way to identify the sender for further investigation. Although Judy MunroLeighton emailed several Senate offices to claim responsibility for the letter, she later admitted that she was not the author of it and merely used it as a “ploy” to “get attention” and had never met Justice Kavanaugh.

Basically, Kavanaugh was enraged for good reason. Lots of people were falsely accusing him of terrible things. Not just 1 or 2 or 3 but 6 different allegations have come up that have all proved immaterial. Many in fact were simply made up for attention or ulterior motives.

I don’t doubt that Ford believes it was Kavanaugh who groped raped her, but it’s likely someone who looks like Kavanaugh and/or a false memory.

For the former, in a Senate report there were two interesting entries that are eerily like Ford’s allegations:

(Sept. 24, Sept. 25): [Blacked out] stated that after graduating from high school in Hampton, Virginia in 1982, he made several trips to D.C. that summer. During one of the trips, he attended a house party where he kissed and made out with a woman he met who he believes could have been Dr. Ford. said that based on old photographs of Justice Kavanaugh he has seen on the news, he believes the two of them share a similar appearance.

(Sept. 26): [Blacked out] stated that when he was a 19 year-old college student, he visited D.C. over spring break and kissed a girl he believes was Dr. Ford. He said that the kiss happened in the bedroom of a house which was about a 15-to-20 minute walk from the Van Ness Metro, that Dr. Ford was wearing a swimsuit under her clothing, and that the kissing ended when a friend jumped on them as a joke. said that the woman initiated the kissing and that he did not force himself on her.

In particular, the 2nd one is almost word for word on her accusations of Kavanaugh and Judge.

For the latter, Ben Sharipo notes that in this Newsweek article:

One report from the U.S. National Research Council explains that eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable: “Unknown to the individual, memories are forgotten, reconstructed, updated, and distorted.” Elizabeth Loftus of the University of Washington points out that memories can easily be distorted by misinformation; in her words, memories are “more easily modified, for instance, when the passage of time allows the original memory to fade.” False memories “are constructed by combining actual memories with the content of suggestions received from others.” In a small-scale study performed by Loftus, fully 25 percent of respondents remembered false events constructed for them, and insisted that those events were real memories.

Whatever the case, Ford was likely not assaulted by Kavanaugh, and the smear campaign was a smear campaign.

Of course, you’ll not hear a peep of this in the mainstream media that Kavanaugh is innocent. I did a search for it and only saw it in Fox News and a couple other small time papers.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 13 Comments

Your future wife should be happy to take your last name

Another interesting topic has come out of reddit: I didn’t know that a Biblical view on a wife taking her husband’s last name would get downvoted or even opposed in the RPChristians reddit.

This means that this is probably another one of the cultural blindspots for Christians. Most Christians stated that name-taking was merely a “cultural phenomena” and one made the argument that it appears to be an “abuse of authority” that a wife should take your last name.

Overall, I disagree with the people who say there are no Biblical arguments for this.

Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

A woman leaving her name behind signifies she is becoming a new family unit with her husband. It is the husband who separates from his father and mother and becomes the head of the family, and the wife who joins him. They become one flesh, as a new family.

This is also practiced in almost all cultures. There are only a few exceptions.

John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

The reason we take on the name of “Christian” is because we are followers of Christ and adhere to His teachings.

Likewise, as Christ is the head of man (1 Cor 11) and Christ is the head of the Church (Eph 5), the husband is also the head of the wife (Eph 5) and the wife is a helper to her husband (Gen 2). There is a clear parallel of headship/authority where the one under authority also assumes the identity of the one that is leading.

Some other evidence pointed out in the post:

  • Genealogies in Scriptures track sons and fathers
  • God renames Abram/Abraham, Sarai/Sarah, Saul/Paul, Jacob/Israel, etc.
  • Christ renames Christians (Rev 2)
  • Adam names Eve

So yes, a wife should take her husband’s last name for Scriptural reasons. There are also good secular and cultural reasons such as in eye of the law for family management (healthcare, finances, etc.).

I do not see any good reason not to except to follow the “trends” of today’s culture, and we all know how “Christian” those are.

A future wife should be HAPPY to take your last name. This can be a yellow or red flag that you run into with a potential wife candidate if she is opposed to refuses to take your last name. This can be covert feminism coming to the surface.

The funny part for those who disagree a wife should take their husband’s last name is that by keeping a wife’s last name you get double the Patriarchy: your last name from your father and her father’s last name. Have a good laugh at that.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 12 Comments

Honor the Sabbath

A Christian writes on reddit:

Currently I am in a dilemma. I want to keep the sabbath holy and honor the word of God, however I also unfortunately have sporting events/showcases that take place on the day of the sabbath, and I personally have a great chance to play at a very high level for my respective sport. If anyone has had anything similar occur with them, or just wants to give advice, any help is appreciated. Thank you and God bless you all!

My response. Look at the intent behind the Sabbath.

Exodus 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

The Jews keep it on Saturday. Christians moved it to Sunday (even though God “rested” from raising Jesus on Saturday).

Jesus notes the intent of the Sabbath is that it is made for man not man for the Sabbath.

Mark 2:25 He answered, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? 26 In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.”

27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

Here’s a simple question: Is there a difference between Saturday or Sunday? Not really. The intent is to honor God and to rest just as God rested.

Thus, move your Sabbath to Saturday or another day of the week.


What I am curious about is if my readers agree/disagree with this.

I think there is an adequate case to be made that the intent of the command is that we are to honor God and rest. It doesn’t matter which day it is done. There is freedom in Christ for this.

I think it is probably best done Sunday if possible, so we can worship and fellowship with other believers. But it does not always have to be that way.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 12 Comments

Christian men’s blogs

Like Cane is doing, if you have a Christian men’s blog that focuses on Christian men’s issues, mentorship, and discipleship that you think are good, post them in the comments.

Here is the current list, which was parsed down several years ago to active ones only.

I haven’t updated my blogroll in several years either, so comment away. Also, make sure you add why you think it should be added if you can.

Also, I know I removed a bunch of the inactive ones, but if there is an inactive one that you think is important I will be adding an “inactive but important” section so that people can go back through the archives.

I’m going to eventually post a list over to the RPChristians reddit, as many of those men have been entrenched in the secular manosphere. It has made/makes them exceedingly bitter against God, women, and others. A good list will help to give them things to read to disciple them out from the darkness and into the light.

Posted in Godly mindset & lifestyle | Tagged | 14 Comments