Recently a commenter left a remark aimed at one of my own comments in which I stated that if I had a friend who was experiencing marital issues and had informed me that he was not spending time with his wife that the first thing I would recommend to him would be to take the initiative and do just that – spend time with his wife. This amazingly simple (sometimes) act can actually clear up a lot of problems, real or perceived, in a marriage relationship and really only takes a little effort on the part of a husband.
However, I would not in any way, shape or form, tell him that he was in sin by not spending time with or “dating” his wife. The concept of sinning against God for not spending time with your wife or taking her out on dates is a Christo-feminist scary story meant to control men into giving their wives control over their time and money. Nowhere in the bible does it say that lack of interaction with your wife is a sin and to say so is to add to the bible that which is not there.
Now, that is not to say that there isn’t WISDOM in spending time with and getting to know your wife. In fact the bible says it is beneficial to us husbands:
1 Peter 3:7
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Not only does it keep our prayers from being hindered but it also has the simple effect of making for a more mellow wife.
1 Peter 3:7 tells us to live with our wives “with understanding” and though some take that to mean sitting down and talking and getting to know our wives I would argue that it simply means that husbands should understand that their wives are WOMEN, and therefore NOT MEN. They get emotional and cry at silly things, they get angry sometimes over what appears to be nothing, they are (typically) weaker physically and mentally and thus require different tact than when you are dealing with your guy friends. Again I point out that there can be much wisdom in sitting down and spending time with your wife, but I don’t see where it could be accounted to sin, and that is the heart of this post.
Indeed if this were the case then the men of biblical times were hosed! Working in days not to long ago might require a man to be gone for long periods of time – years even! I will again point out the film In the Heart of the Sea in which the main character informs his wife, who is pregnant, that he wont be back for two years. Two. Years. Was he in sin? Were all men in sin who had to live such lives? The movie portrayed him as someone who had a good relationship with his wife (he was based on an actual, living person), was he required to do more to avoid condemnation?
King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, yet his sin was not that he didn’t know them or that he didn’t date them. I would have little to no doubt that he likely didn’t know many of their names except for when he was interested in spending time with them (if you catch my drift), yet his sin was that he let the women in his life turn him away from the one true God, not that he didn’t set aside time to spend with them to get to know them.
Nothing in scripture indicates that not getting to know your wife more intimately is a sin and men should not be burdened by it as such. This doesn’t mean to cast your wife aside and ignore her though. You got to know her well enough that you wanted to marry her and she wanted to marry you – there should be minimal excuses as to why you cannot spend SOME kind of time with her. Indeed if your marriage is having issues one of the first things you should look at inwardly is “Does my wife even feel like I care about her?”. This should be an intelligent assessment. If you already spend tons of time with your wife and she complains about wanting more, or if you find that you cant do ANYTHING alone and that she has to be involved in every aspect of your time then you can probably rule out “spend more time with her” or “get to know her” as an issue. If you find that you go a few days without even really saying anything beyond “hey” or “hi” or if you have to see if you can squeeze your wife into an empty spot on your schedule for the month then you may want to consider taking the steps to spend some quality time with her.
After all, a good relationship with your wife can be a great joy without being a great burden. I recently read a post on Reddit in which the poster outlined all the ways he invited his wife to participate in his adventures. By doing this he would not only get to spend time with her but he would be generating excitement and fun while maintaining his leadership in the relationship. If she didn’t want to participate then oh well, he would go do what he wanted to do, but the invitation was there. And it wasn’t all expensive trips and dates either, some of it was just goofy fun stuff like throwing a ton of glow sticks in the bathroom and inviting her to shower with the lights off. Nothing incredible, but something fun and memorable.
Be smart. You married her, make your wife a part of your life. Invite her along on your adventure, but don’t sweat if you go through periods of time when you can’t. Your marriage may go through some stress (welcome to marriage!), but you are not in sin.