Why Is A Wife Blamed for
|“Girls begin to talk and to stand
on their feet sooner than boys because weeds always grow up more
quickly than good crops.” - Martin Luther
“As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence."
- Thomas Aquinas
So the "historical norm" that we received from Adam is that woman is hopelessly flawed, so whatever goes wrong is her fault at least in part. This is a very common heresy/belief and has been vocalized from a large variety of ancient and modern men. Men as diverse as Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther and William Marion Branham have found fault with God's creation - woman.
I wonder how many feminists realize that it is men that have accused God of doing a bad day's work when He created women? If you remember the Genesis account, God wasn't impressed with Adam's accusation and He didn't let him off the hook.
|When Dr. Bob
Gray the noted IFB pastor of Jacksonville, Florida was being
interviewed regarding his molestation of girls in his church
over several decades, he told an interviewer that "...he did it
because he was having problems with his first wife..." [Source:
Usual disclaimers apply to all links. Also some explicit details
in this one.] (Note: The implication that a man would
"need" to molest 6-12 year old girls because he was having
"trouble with his wife" is loathsome beyond degree! That
is a sick mind.)
Jeff Hannah, former youth pastor at Crossroads Church, convicted for having sex with underage girls in his youth group was interviewed some years later: "In talking to the Sun-Times last week, Hannah, 42, was unapologetic about his crimes, saying his first marriage had been troubled and he'd had 'urges.'" [Source]
I think this partly stems from the weird notion that women don't like intimacy. The problem is that there are women who are uncomfortable with it (and sometimes that may be the man's fault). There are also women who will use the withholding of sexual relations with their husband as leverage to get their way in other areas. There are even reports of foolish older women "advising" young married women to do this in order to keep the upper hand in the marriage. Combine this with other natural hindrances that occur in relation to childbearing, women's cycles and so forth, and now it is "obvious" that women must automatically be guilty of failing if their husbands "look elsewhere".
The other side of that coin is that a wife is supposed to somehow be the magic factor that will keep a man from sexual perversions of any sort. Is a man a pedophile? Let's marry him off to a nice young lady. That'll cure him. [See Doug Wilson for details. Usual disclaimers apply.] While having a wife should be a help to a man in fulfilling lawful desires, it will not cure a man from sinful ones. He has to decide for himself what he is going to do to control those. He may ask his wife's help in some way, but she is not a "cure" for sin. Only Jesus Christ can "cure" sin.
Hypocritically enough, when a wife is handicapped or chronically ill, her husband is not automatically excused from being faithful to her. If the former assumptions are true, why do "we" hold men in such a situation to a higher standard? It doesn't make sense. Either a husband ought always to be faithful regardless of his wife's behavior or ability, or he is excused in any case where the wife fails to "perform".
Other reasons are also sometimes perhaps included which may be that she was somehow making herself "undesirable". Perhaps she is "too fat" or doesn't dress nice enough, or she lets the baby cry at night, or nags, or doesn't keep the house pleasant enough, or was too distracted, or wasn't interested in his work, etc. ad nauseam. Once you start making up reasons why the wife should share the blame with her unfaithful husband it's practically impossible not to come up with some reason for her to "repent" and therefore be obligated to "forgive" her husband because she was naughty too.
In Malachi 2:13-17 we read, And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 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. 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. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. 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?
Again, Jeremiah 5:7-9 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife. Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
|Some people try to claim that under "the umbrella" of "God-given authority" the women are not held responsible for their own sins as much, but rather the men get the brunt of it. That also is a fallacy disproved by scripture, both with the women in the Major and Minor Prophets who received their own judgment for their wrongdoing and in the case of Annanias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) Sapphira died for choosing to lie along with her husband. She received her own judgment for her own sin.|
I'm in no way trying to make excuses for women who are ornery to their husbands. The point is that the wife's failings are no excuse for a husband's unfaithfulness, no matter "how bad he had it." Her failures do not give him license. If this were so, God would not even ask faithfulness of the men because no woman is ever perfect!
As a side thought, I'd like you to note in that last bit from Malachi 2 that the Lord was wearied by their words because they were saying that those who did evil were good in God's sight. This has been graphically illustrated for us in recent times by men like Doug Phillips who recently declared in an interview about his sin that God was doing something so much bigger than just what happened to his family and made it sound like wonderful things had transpired because of his unfaithfulness to his wife. R. C. Sproul Jr. in his confession regarding his suspension from Ligonier Ministries chattered a good deal about various kinds of grace that had been extended to him through his "weakness" of leaving his email address at the Ashley Madison web site. I believe that this is one thing God is talking about. Men who excuse themselves, or glory in their evil doings because "something wonderful came of it" so it must have been OK with God. This, friends, is wicked.
Based on the two previous points, we can see that one reason women are blamed for man's unfaithfulness, is because scripture has been misconstrued and misinterpreted in favor of the man. Because women are weaker vessels (1 Peter 3:7), more easily deceived (2 Cor. 11:3, 1 Tim. 2:14, 2 Tim. 3:6), are seductresses (see Prv. regarding whores and adulteresses), and are contentious (Prv. 21:19, 27:15); therefore, they must be partly to blame when their husbands step out on them. This all "stands to reason", not because that is what those verses mean, taken together or separately. It "makes sense" because of the presupposition already discussed. Women are too faulty and they don't satisfy their husbands' needs properly, so "of course" these verses establish those "facts". Bah.
I'm not going to go into a deep study of these various verses, but here are some thoughts on some of them.
1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1) The onus falls on the husband. He needs to know his wife and how to dwell with her in a godly manner. 2) He is to honor her, and it doesn't say just when she's being a "good girl". 3) He's to do this because she's the weaker vessel. Notice that he is weak vessel too, she's just "weaker". 2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. Obviously this is speaking about the physical body, not the soul, spirit, or mind. Since scripture is the best commentary on scripture, it's safe to say that what God means is that in general women have weaker bodies than men. This isn't about who is smartest, wisest, or resistant to sin or bad doctrine. 4) They are heirs together of the grace of life! As brother and sister spiritually in Christ, they have a responsibility to each other to edify and encourage each other to walk worthy of Christ. 5) Men who don't follow this pattern will find their prayers hindered. This is addressed to the men, by the way, not the wives.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
This is being said to the believers at Corinth as a group - men and women alike. So, we can all be beguiled as Eve was, not just the women.
1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Eve was deceived in the garden of Eden. She ate of the fruit because she actually believed that God had withheld something good from them and that by eating she could attain that. Adam knew better and he ate anyway. I've thought for a long time that the latter is worse than the first. Certainly the woman has suffered for her mistake, but if we apply Eve's deception as a blanket over all women, then let's apply Adam's too. Let's say that men are more likely to do wrong on purpose, knowing full well what they are doing and that there "will be hell to pay". Oh...maybe that's a little rough? Well, hello.
2 Timothy 3:6-7 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
This seems pretty obviously to be speaking of a certain type of woman. She is silly, laden with sins, led by various kinds of lust, an eager learner who never comes to any truthful conclusion. I've known women like this. However, it would be a lie to say that all women tend to be this way.
It is better to
dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
Proverbs 27:15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
I remember hearing a man talking once about how Proverbs speaks of a contentious woman. He pointed out that women have hormone fluctuations that affect them and they go through PMS, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause and that maybe this is a reason why they are contentious sometimes. Some people would take offence at that and say it isn't fair to blame women's contention on that just because they're women. Well, I'm a woman and I've known a lot of women, and I'll speak for some of us and say that it's a fact. We do get contentious at times because of the crazy things our bodies do. If men had to put with the nastiness we do, we'd probably hear a lot more complaining than the women make. Just sayin'... Not that that's an excuse for us to be crabby. But, as that pastor pointed out, when men are contentious, they don't have these excuses, which makes it worse. Hmmm.
I don't know if it's the mothering instinct or something else, but women seem to have a natural tendency to take the blame for other people's mistakes and choices. Whether it be an unfaithful husband, a wayward child, a crabby sibling, a friendship turned bad, or a lost boyfriend/suitor we tend to look at ourselves to see if there was something we could have done differently. We tend to ask, "What is wrong with me?" Too often, we find some source of self-blame even when there isn't anything significant there. I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't take blame where it is legitimate. I'm saying that we blame ourselves even when it isn't appropriate or logical, even when the other person's bad choice or sin had no reflection upon our own shortcoming. I won't say this is strictly a female problem, because it isn't, but my observation is that women often have a strong streak of this.
Obviously, this can be used to the men's advantage. In Christendom this manipulation can become a form of spiritual abuse when the three previous points are invoked by the male offenders or those defending them. When women are taught by their teachers, pastors and husbands to believe that they are "almost always" partly to blame if their husband cheats on them, you have a toxic mix that produces results that favor the men every time. As we saw in point 2, this is not the mind of Christ.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
God will judge the guilty parties, not the innocent. And by the way, this covers all the bases. The marriage bed is to be undefiled by any other woman - prostitute, married woman or unmarried woman.
Women don't make as much income as men so it's a financial advantage to keep the men. 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Women are not biblically qualified to hold leadership in specific roles, so they aren't needed for solidarity and power by the other (male) leaders.
Women are "more troublesome" (see points 1-3), so they will cause problems "anyway".
In most churches, if the first wife leaves or is run off, she can easily be replaced.
My family knew a young lady who came from a Dutch Reformed background. Her father had been unfaithful to his wife (her mother) and it had resulted in divorce. Instead of dealing with the man, they shouldered the ex-wife out of the church and the man stayed, even keeping his position in the hierarchy of that assembly. This is sadly not uncommon - that the man should be spared (even if he "confesses" and "gets right") while the "faulty female" is pushed out or sent away somewhere to "be restored" (or have the baby).
In some cases, the other men support these points because they themselves have their own dirty secret. We have seen this graphically illustrated most recently by the Patriarchy Movement where teachings on the "duties of the wife" and sexuality in general have tended to put women under a cloud when their "man" falls into sexual sin. Now, as the skeletons come tumbling out of the closets left and right, we can see one large reason for this teaching and behavior. Of course, Bill Gothard and R. C. Sproul Jr. don't have wives to share the blame with them, but the principle of "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" still applies. They may hope for some leniency from their fellow men because they have provided teaching that makes the men in general not totally to blame for their unfaithfulness either. (Also, since these two didn't have wives to blame-share, they may get off on the excuse that they needed one. Sproul's wife died some years ago.)
I am not going to say that all the men who teach the previously mentioned errors are automatically guilty by association, because that would be an unjust measure as well. But, suffice to say that it doesn't look good. With so many of their demagogues falling around them, if there are any more leading men in the Patriarchy Movement who are hiding a dirty little secret, they would do well to leave their position and go do something else with their lives at this point. They would do better to step forward and admit it and confess it before God pushes it into the limelight. It appears that the Lord has some kind of agenda with the Patriarchy leaders right now. They and their followers need to consider that the weakness is not with the men, but rather with their unbiblical teachings and belief system.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
[Please see links at the bottom of the page for further reading on this issue.]
To some degree, because of points 1-3, women have been brainwashed, so we can hardly blame ourselves (point 4) for accepting unjust accusations. I know there are men who put up with abuse in some situations, but I think and hope that we've seen here that women have been victimized in this area and have been taught to just accept it.
If Anna Duggar decides to share her husband's blame for his unfaithfulness, I think these reasons will be involved. She is in a belief system that is much inclined to push her toward that conclusion, so it seems unlikely that she won't blame herself in some way.
How about you? Do you automatically assume that a wife "probably" wasn't "meeting her husband's needs" when he is unfaithful to her? Do you encourage others to think this way as well? Do you lighten the blame on the husband by "reminding" the wife (and others) that "not submitting" is "just as bad"?
To have "diverse weights" comes from the old days when things were measured in the markets. An unjust merchant would have two different weights; both were supposed to be a "shekel", or whatever weight they were using, but in reality they were not equal. One measure would be used in some situations and another measure would be used to cheat people. Having one measure for men and another for women is having divers weights, which the Lord calls an abomination! This is not a light matter. We need to be very careful and restrained in these situations about where blame is laid. We ought not to encourage women to blame themselves unjustly either. They may not realize that they have been sold a false measure whereby they are judging themselves.
Proverbs 20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.
Perhaps you are a lady who has been made to share the guilt for your husband's sin, improprieties, and/or unfaithfulness. This can happen in many ways. Manipulative men can make women feel guilty for their sins in many areas besides sexual sins. These reasons hold true over a variety of blame-sharing situations. But, we are specifically thinking of the unfaithfulness aspect here.
If you have made an honest effort to be of service to your husband in this, you are not to blame. If he has a problem with understanding and practicing mutual love and service and faithfulness in the intimate relationship, that is not your fault. It is his. You are going to need to be really honest with yourself, and with him and his defenders. This may, and likely will, mean that you need to stop taking blame for things that are not your fault. The first step for anyone to ever get victory is to acknowledge and own their sins without pulling anyone else into responsibility with themselves. Allowing blame-sharing, even when "you have sinned too", will actually hinder him from getting the victory. Remember Sapphira (see box above). God killed her for agreeing to lie with her husband. God will hold you accountable as well if you allow yourself to be unjustly blamed and if you help the guilty party cover his sin. I'm not saying He will kill you, mind. I'm just saying that you will answer to God for accepting blame in a situation where your husband needs to take the blame.
By the way, this applies to daughters or any female who is being molested, abused or raped by a man. It is not your fault that he is wicked. It is his fault. Please don't accept the blame-sharing. Furthermore, please seek help from a group that specializes in that kind of thing. Sadly, some of the people that should be there to help you in the church will only accuse you or disbelieve you for the same reasons given above.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
People like to quote this verse, and I'm pretty
sure they use it, and others, to remind victims that they
"are sinners too" and "need to think about their own sin". This is a grievous ploy. Yes, we are all sinners. Yes, we do all need to remember that we need forgiveness. Yes, we need to be just in our dealings with those who have sinned against us. HOWEVER, those men who sin against their wives by being unfaithful NEED to take responsibility for their OWN actions without reference to what anyone else was doing or not doing. They made a choice. Their attitude of excusing themselves or justifying their sin because of "what she did" shows that their attitude about marriage, about its sanctity and about their responsibility toward their wives was WRONG TO BEGIN WITH. Saying, "Well, I nagged my husband, or maybe could've been more sexy for him, so I'm partly to blame," is in reality only making a sin problem MORE sinful, not less. You should own your own sin and confess that and try to keep short accounts with God and man; but that doesn't mean you let your husband off the hook for HIS sin or submit to blame-sharing.
Say you are visiting a friend and one of her sons goes and smashes his sister's violin to bits, and the mother asks the son, "Why did you do that?" He answers, "She was taking too long in the bathroom," and his mother replies, "Well, you shouldn't have done that, but I guess it's really her fault." What would you think? I surely hope that you would realize that the mother is being incredibly unjust. The boy has just done something irreparable and really awful, and he is blaming his sister for some petty thing that may not even be her fault. And yet, isn't this what many are doing to the offended wives of unfaithful husbands?
Furthermore, in some situations where the husband is being abusive, manipulative and accusatory, it may be appropriate for the wife to separate from him for her own mental and emotional well-being, as well as for the children. I'm not saying, divorce, but separate. There is a time for that. The best case scenario would be if she could seek help from their pastor/elders and these men would go and deal with the husband directly in the way he needs to be dealt with (assuming that he has not committed any criminal act in his unfaithfulness; if he has then the authorities should be notified). The object would be along these lines: repentance, accountability (to both the wife and other men), re-establishment of trust, and ultimately restoration of the home.
Tragically, there are too many cases in which the leadership of the church participates in the abuse and manipulations by taking the man's side against his wife. This is a great evil in the Lord's church. If you are in such a case and can't get help from those who should help you, you need to seek help elsewhere.
Again, please remember that the separation is not a first move toward divorce. It should be a means to find healing for both parties' particular needs and then reconciliation if at all possible. (Also, it is not an excuse to gossip with your friends and family about your horrible husband. Just sayin'...) I have to admit, though, that in some cases the husband may not even be truly born again, and he may resist all efforts to bring true responsibility and repentance for his sins. If he rejects the reality of his own need and goes on in his manipulating ways and sin, at least he has been given the opportunity to confront the depth of his own need, which is important. But, a totally hardened heart and refusal to take his just responsibility, pretty much puts him into the category of a heathen according to Matt. 18:17. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:15, But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
For better or for worse, you still have a choice as to how you respond to your husband's sin, and to his abusive manipulation if such exists. If you didn't know that before, you do now if you are reading this. Please choose God's way of peace. It may be a hard way, and it may not be the way that you expected, but it is meant to bring peace for you and your family.
All this is not to say that we shouldn't show compassion. Compassion is a different thing entirely from blame-sharing. Compassion can be shown by the sinless for the sinner, as Jesus Christ so beautifully showed us. Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Compassion can also be shown by sinners for sinners. We read in Hebrews 5:1-3, For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
The high priests of the O.T. could have compassion on sinners because they were sinners also. They understood the weakness of being a sinner. But, they did not share in the blame for other's sins. They offered sacrifice for their own sins, and because it was their job they offered the people's sacrifices for them. Now, we each go to the throne of grace ourselves through our high priest Jesus Christ who offered Himself once for all.
Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mark 12:29-31 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
It is not loving your husband to allow him to evade his sin. Suffering sin upon him is not truly helping him. It falls more into the category of enabling sin.
It is not loving a man to excuse his sin by saying his wife wasn't perfect. No one is perfect. If men are excused based on their wives' imperfections then faithfulness wouldn't be necessary in any case! And we know that to be false! We can't earn God's mercy or kindness, so why do we think that wives should earn their husband's?
Furthermore, loving God will make us want to keep His commandments, which includes loving our neighbor. Loving our neighbor means using a just measure for both husbands and wives. It means putting fault where fault is due, and not excusing the wicked. It also means not forcing the one who is sinned against to share blame with the sinner.
I know, "love covereth all sins" (Prv. 10:12). But, it is one thing to cover sin with compassion; it is quite another to cover it by blame-sharing and an unjust balance! Helping someone cover their sin instead of helping them confess and forsake it isn't going to work out well for anyone involved.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Exodus 34:6-7 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty...
It is neither showing love nor seeking mercy to allow the guilty to excuse themselves by blaming others. To allow a man to clear himself even partially for his sin by blaming his wife cannot produce good fruit and it is an unjust measure.
Disclaimer: Bible versions other than the King James Version
and probably some content.
A Theory: Many Abuser Allies are Not Duped, but are Abusers Themselves - This is a really useful read for any abuse victim who has had church leaders or members shame them for her (or his) stories. This is an example of one way that No. 6 can come out, but in this case their "dirty secret" is that they also are manipulators and spiritual abusers.
Signs Your Husband May Be Addicted to Pornography - A useful article by a man who was addicted to pornography explaining the red flags that may indicate a problem. Added to this article here is a question: Would your husband make the effort to give up his pornography without you issuing an ultimatum? If not, any repentance he professes is suspect. By the way, this is a good web site to visit if you are looking for help or are in a dangerous situation.
and photography by Mary Stephens
vintage artwork, unknown
updated May 2016; CA