The husband wife relationship is no exception to this rule. So how should a Christian husband go about his duty of disciplining his wife whom God has placed under his authority? This is a question that we will seek to answer here. When we hear the word discipline in the context of wives this can be a scary term for many. It invokes images of husbands beating their wives and knocking them around or locking them in closets. It might invoke images of husbands standing over their wives yelling and screaming at them and using all kinds of obscenities.
This is not the type of discipline that we are talking about in a Biblical context. Men who behave in such ways will answer to God for this abusive treatment of their wives. Arguments against the discipline of wives by their husbands Before we can get into how to discipline your wife as a Christian husband we need to address the arguments against any form of discipline by husbands toward their wives.
The Bible does not show marriage as a partnership, but rather a Patriarchy male lead hierarchy. Argument 2 Discipline infantilizes a wife Some would argue that if a man disciplines his wife in any way that this is treating her an adult as a child. This could not be further from the truth. The discipline of a wife is certainly different than that of a child and we will discuss that later in this post. But discipline is something that applies to adults as well as children. Governments have the power to discipline their adult citizens, military commanders have the ability to discipline adults under their command, Churches have the power to discipline their adult members, and employers have the right to discipline their adult employees.
Discipline applies to all of us as adults — both men and women. No one would argue against discipline in these other spheres of authority or say that it infantilizes these adults.
They do so based on their belief that while a wife is commanded by God to submit to her husband, this is a voluntary submission on her part and cannot be compelled from her husband. Argument 4 Christ does not discipline his bride Some Christians, both complementarians and egalitarians, have attempted to argue that since we have no examples of Christ disciplining his bride which is the Church that husbands ought not to discipline their wives.
This is actually not true. Throughout the Scriptures God pictures his relationship with his people in two primary ways. The Bible pictures our relationship with God as individuals as that of a Father and his children. Later he shows he had to divorce Israel because she failed to repent of her wicked ways and return to him Jeremiah 3: But the Church which a new body compromised of the remnant of Israel and Gentile believers is pictured as bride that is betrothed to her husband which is Jesus Christ II Corinthians The marriage and consummation of the Church with Christ is seen in the marriage supper of the lamb in Revelation Even as a betrothed bride, Christ disciplined his Church through his Apostles who acted as the protector and guides of his bride.
I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit? So be earnest and repent. My position on wife spanking While I do not support all the methods prescribed by Christian Domestic Discipline CDD movement a group that advocates for wife spanking and other physical discipline toward wives I do not think wife spanking by itself is sinful.
I believe it requires the consent of the wife though to use that type of discipline. I do not practice this myself and no it is not because my wife did not consent. I never asked to do this and I never would — this is my preference. The types of discipline that a government can bring on its citizens looks very different than the discipline that church authorities can bring on their members. The discipline of an employer toward his employees looks very different than the discipline of parents toward their children.
But what all these spheres of authority have in common is this: In every sphere of authority God has established that the authority has not only the right, but the duty to discipline those under their authority.
Discipline makes us a better person The Bible has a lot to say about discipline. These are just a few of those passages. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished. So for instance, if your wife rarely speaks in a disrespectful or demeaning tone to you then if she slips up gently let her know that her tone was demeaning or disrespectful. If she apologizes then no further action is needed. But what if your wife is acting defiant or publicly speaks disrespectfully toward you as her husband?
In this case a Christian husband may be compelled to use harder forms of discipline. Discipline is about holiness Christ did not sacrifice himself for his bride the Church in order for her to follow her own selfish ways, but rather he sacrificed himself to make her holy.
This is why discipline on the part of a husband toward his wife if he is truly acting in love is a sacrifice on his part. It saddens him to have to take these measures with his wife whom he loves. Discipline is about maintaining Order I think the comparison of the family structure to military ranks is both Biblical as hupotasso the Biblical term for submission in marriage is a military term and it helps us to understand the discipline in the home as well. God is like our General 4 star.
In the home the husband would be like a Lieutenant General 3 star , and the wife would be like a Major General 2 star. The children would be the enlisted men. Imagine that a 4 star General came along and saw a 2 star General publically degrading her 3 star General in front of other officers or the enlisted men. What do you think the response would be from that 4 star General? That 4 star General would first scold the 2 star General for her disrespect and then he would probably scold the 3 star General for allowing the disrespect to go on.
It is the same with God as he looks at the relationships of husbands and wives. He has given us different positions and we are to exercise and play out those parts he has given us. You are responsible for teaching both your wife and your children the ways of God. So now that we have addressed the arguments against a Christian husband disciplining his wife as well as the intended purpose of a husband disciplining his wife we can now look at practical examples of how a Christian husband can discipline his wife.
Warnings should always be given before harder types of discipline are implemented. Here are 7 ways you can discipline your wife if a gentle rebuke does not work: Of course this can be done in measured amounts.
Perhaps you might just take away one or two cards that she has abused and if her spending continues to get out of control you would move toward removing the ATM card as well. This does not necessarily mean she would have no money, but you could give her a cash allowance each week. If you have to purchase another car — you could downgrade the type of car she will be able to get or buy her a used one instead. Maybe you put off the purchase of that new dishwasher she has been wanting.
If your wife is being neglectful of her duties to care for your home then you might put off that new living room furniture set you have been talking about or those new window dressings she has been wanting. Maybe that wardrobe upgrade your wife was looking forward to gets downsized or canceled.
The Bible says a man has to supply his wife with clothing, but it does not say it has to be the expensive clothing she wants! Some of these disciplinary procedures may affect the family as a whole, but sometimes it is necessary to do this in an attempt to bring your wife to repentance. These are just some examples of non-abusive ways that a Christian husband can discipline his wife in a way that honors God and his design for the home.
Conclusion God not only give husbands the power to discipline their wives, but he also gives them to the duty to do this. Men should not discipline their wives out some sort of power trip or prideful arrogance. Instead men should discipline their wives from a place of love in order to bring about holiness and order in their homes. Discipline is about trying to motivate someone to choose to do the right thing. I have teenage sons and they are both bigger than me now.
I gave up trying to physically make them do anything many years ago. Now I discipline them through very similar discipline to that which I could use with my wife. I take away their laptops sometimes for a few days, other times I take away their cell phones for a few days. But my sons submit to my discipline because as angry and rebellious as they can be at times, they know that God has placed me over them to look out for their spiritual and physical good and they know I love them.
Yes whether they be young adults teens or older adults we all must decide if we will submit to and learn from discipline what the person in authority is trying to teach us. Wives must choose to submit to discipline — there is no question. I am not saying it is optional or voluntary, God requires women to submit to the discipline of their husbands.
But a husband cannot physically control his wife or her actions. However just because a husband cannot physically control his wife, he is still required to do as much as is in his power to do as her husband to bring discipline into her life that will show her the right path. Now she can either rebel against that discipline and try and go around it, or she can learn the lesson that is meant to be learned by the discipline. One last thing on the area of finances. Yes your wife might work.
Yes she may make more money than you. But if she is mishandling the money you have an obligation to a least separate your money from hers so she will not be able to use it for sinful or reckless purposes.
But God does not call us as husbands to abdicate our role as the head of our wives in order to keep our marriage together at all costs. Christ did not sacrifice himself for his church to enable her sin, but to make her holy.
If you allow your wife to believe the threat of divorce will get you to let her continue in whatever sinful behavior she is doing she will use it every time. In fact the two most powerful tools in the hands of most modern rebellious wives is that of the threat of divorce or the removal of sex. There are many men in American and western cultures that have been brought to their knees in submission to their wives using one or a combination of these two evil weapons.
Now on the threat of divorce — threats of divorce are not always evil. If a woman threatens to divorce her husband because he is physically abusing her or her children, or because he refuses to work or provide for his family she is Biblically justified in doing so there are other valid reasons for divorce as well.
But if she threatens divorce because of unbiblical reasons this makes the threat of divorce a weapon of evil. At the end of the day you as a husband must stand against sin in your home and your marriage regardless of what consequences may come. What is all the need for this discipline stuff?