Your statement that a husband can’t rape his wife really bothered me


I am a 40-year-old Christian woman who was looking for specific discussion on sleeveless shirts and modesty to present to my 17-year-old daughter. She wants to wear sleeveless shirts. I'm having a hard time phrasing my language strong enough to be accurate about the male perspective. Thanks to Google, I found your book for teenage boys via the page on attire and a mention of sleeveless shirts. I will send her a link to that page.

Since I don't know you, nor what else you may have written in this book and my daughter may begin browsing, I began to read the book. As a mom of an 11-year-old boy with an uninvolved father, I may also use your book in the future for my son.

As I read, I ran across one comment that really bothered me.

On page "Rape," at the very bottom of the page you state:

"From the Bible's perspective, it is not possible for a husband to rape his own wife."

While I'm among the first to loudly proclaim that God's Word is the final authority and that situational ethics are garbage, I wonder if there's some context that should be added to this blunt statement. Are there other Bible passages that may speak to this point in another way?

I'm looking at your statement from a perspective of a woman who has been married for 20 years to a sexual addict (he kept his addiction totally secret for 14 years), who in recent years has begun to hate me outright and the verbal abuse has escalated. (I'm reading your discussion on Absolom and Tamar in a new light.) In fact, my husband's former mentor a year ago called it verbal abuse (a term new to me), tried to take my husband through an anger management course and a discipleship program and recommended that I attend a domestic violence support group at the local YWCA. (Said mentor is now "former" because my husband wouldn't act on the instructions and advice and after 9 months of time and effort the fellow gave up.)

In the context of domestic violence (though primarily verbal) with a sexual addict, isn't rape or attempted rape a possibility, even in marriage? Even from a biblical perspective?

Your statement didn't 'bother' me in the manner I usually receive conviction from the Lord, but instead, it hit me like a gut-punch of unkindness.

But back to my question, is there an additional Bible context that could be brought up to indicate that even from a Biblical perspective, it's possible for a man to rape his wife?

Thanks for reading. I do hope to receive a reply.


I'm glad you found some useful material on our web site. However, for your daughter, I would recommend using the book that is geared toward teenage girls rather than the one for boys. In the girl's version, under the question and answer section for the chapter on "Proper Attire" is the result of a survey done about proper dress and its impact on boys. It should generate some fruitful discussion.

The statement you quoted is incomplete. In context, I said,

Recently, some women have tried to redefine rape as any time a woman has sex and the woman did not want it at that time. This is an inaccurate definition by God's standard. In a marriage, a woman is never to withhold sexual privileges from her husband; just as a man must always be ready to satisfy his wife's desire for sex (I Corinthians 7:2-5). From the Bible's perspective, it is not possible for a husband to rape his own wife.

When a husband forces himself upon his wife, legally it is called "physical abuse." However, it technically cannot be called "rape" because the word implies a lack of consent -- not consent at the moment, but consent in general, which is what feminists choose to ignore in their desire to redesign how society operates. The act of marriage includes a general consent for sex to take place. See: "When was the spousal rape law passed?" for documentation of this redefinition of "rape."

Since I don't know your domestic situation, it would not be proper to make comment on it. In general though, if you wish to claim that your husband raped you, then you are also stating that you have withdrawn your consent that he may have sex with you -- not a temporary "can we wait until tomorrow", but a permanent withdrawal of consent. Such is in violation of what Paul taught in I Corinthians 7 because one purpose of marriage is to allow two people to have sex in a legitimate fashion. "But, because of sexual immoralities, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection owed her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife doesn't have authority over her own body, but the husband. Likewise also the husband doesn't have authority over his own body, but the wife. Don't deprive one another, unless it is by consent for a season, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and may be together again, that Satan doesn't tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (I Corinthians 7:2-5).

Too often this issue is only discussed from the woman's viewpoint. Marriage is a partnership. Either spouse denying sexual opportunities for the other spouse without that spouse's temporary consent is contributing toward the other spouse being tempted to sin. Causing someone else to sin is a sin as well.

The term "sexual addict" is also a misnomer. Sex, as an act, is a choice. Sexual desire is a normal part of the human make up. Sexual desire can be used by Satan to tempt a person into a variety of sins, but it would be easier to deal with the problem if the sin is discussed accurately. "Addiction" is defined as "uncontrollable craving, seeking, and use of a substance such as a drug or alcohol." Unless you are saying that your husband was mentally deranged, it is not proper to call a strong desire for sex an addiction.

A husband who forces his wife to have sex when she is not ready is physically abusing her. It shows an attitude of self-interest and a lack of concern for the well-being of another. But the word "rape" carries heavy connotations that technically don't exist in a marriage. It distracts from the actual problem or problems which are occurring in the marriage; thus preventing those problems from being resolved.

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