No one really likes to talk about discipline. I mean, even though the one BEING discipline suffers the most, the one administering the discipline suffers a little as well, whether its a parent/child or a criminal/society (through the proxy of a officer of the law). The suffering, however, does not exempt the one with the authority from delivery discipline where it is needed, and this is the problem with many Christian men.
As a Christian man God has given me authority over those in my home, both wife and children. With that authority comes the responsibility of disciplining those in my home, both wife and children. Most Christian men will work hard to discipline their children with the full understanding that discipline helps to shape them into adults who understand respect and consequences. Most Christian men, however, will not discipline their wives where it is required. Now calm down and refrain from striking your computer screen. Yes, I did say that husbands should discipline their wives as well as their children, though the form of discipline should be very different. Why should we discipline our wives, you ask? Well because there is a little curse in the bible that says that women will desire to rule over their husbands, but their husbands will rule over them (Genesis 3:16). According to the word of God wives will act rebelliously at some point (attempting to rule over their husbands). Though the extent of that rebellion will vary from woman to woman, it WILL happen. When it finally does, we, as men, have one of two choices: “Deal with it” or “Don’t deal with it”.
The modern church and society will tell you to pick the second choice and feed you story after story about why you shouldn’t deal with it. The church will tell you that, as a husband, you don’t have the authority to deal with a wayward wife, while society will tell you that your sexist and probably call you an abuser. Not dealing with it can seem like a good solution for a moment but you will end up paying dearly in the end. Women, like children, will test the waters of authority to see what they can get away with, what it takes to make a man cave. She will test every weapon in her arsenal from a wry, sexy smile to rivers of tears. The ones that work she will continue to use where applicable while the ones that don’t will be shelved for the time being, but will be tested again for effectiveness. I know this sounds horrible, and indeed it is, but it DOES happen. Many men are blind to it, fully aware of their wives behavior, but unable to come to terms that she could consciously do this. Other women, sure, but not MY wife! Failure to recognize and stop these tests can be disastrous, as they will only lead to a degradation of your God given authority. Recognizing these tests and failing to acknowledge and stop them is even worse, as you are consciously allowing your wife to usurp your authority with your full knowledge! Read the last post in this series for a reminder of what God things of those who shirk their authority and responsibility.
A quick note: Some church goers will admit to a mans authority in marriage, yet deny that he has the authority to discipline his wife. In every authority God has created on this earth He has given the ability to discipline those underneath it. Why would they think that the authority of a husband over his wife is exempt from this? There is nothing in the bible indicating that, in this case, marriage is exempt. Marriage is held out as something different than any other relationship on earth, but the authority of a husband over his wife is not questioned or denied.
Going with the first option can, and probably will, have equally devastating effects on your marriage, with the only saving grace being that you will be fulfilling Gods will by properly maintaining your authority. Again, discipline for ones wife is not the same as discipline for ones child. The bible says
“Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.”
This pretty much clears the way for corporal punishment, but nowhere does it say anything about “beating your wife”. Biblical Gender Roles has a great post on what disciplining your wife should (or could) look like, so I will refer you there rather than write anything about it here. I will say, however, that before taking on this endeavor, if it becomes necessary, spend some time in prayer for wisdom and strength.
The best thing that can happen is your wife will see the error of her ways and change her attitude. The worst that can happen is she will hate and divorce you – a very real possibility in this modern age of no-fault divorce. Even if she is a ‘christian’ woman don’t doubt for a moment that the possibility is real. There are plenty of ‘christian’ women who have already divorced for unbiblical reasons and your wife undoubtedly knows at least one or two. Add that to the already poisoning effect of modern Christo-feminism and you could be looking at a lot of trouble. Be prepared, mentally, but most of all, spiritually.
It has taken me forever to get this article posted, and even now I don’t know if I have fully explained this issue very well, as I know what I think in my head, but have trouble putting it down in written form. I may revise this post some time later.
I don’t think I will have a whole lot of posts left in this series, but I know I have at least one more: Love and Affection. Keep an eye out.