Is there such a thing as “rape” in a Christian marriage?
JA note: Thanks to Kathi for putting this post together this week as I’m finding my groove with a new term back at college.
Robert posts on his blog, A Man, His Wife, and the Bible and is married to Amanda. That is all that we know about Robert, although I do think that his Doctrines and Beliefs tab tells us quite a bit.
With regard to physical abuse, Robert believes that it is not grounds for divorce. Robert also believes that emotional abuse is overused and overblown by women today. He does think that both sexes are capable of emotional abuse, but it is more “culturally acceptable” for women to be emotionally abusive.
Adultery is the only Biblical grounds for divorce, and adultery is defined as “physical intercourse with someone not your spouse.” Forget that emotional stuff because everyone does it.
When children enter the picture, a wife is to teach them to honor the Lord and her husband. And, let’s not forget that a wife is to submit to her husband in all things – including his sexual desires – which does not surprise me in the least about Robert’s view of sexual abuse considering the following (added spaces for easier reading):
Biblically, we do not believe marital rape is possible. Scripture clearly teaches in 1 Corinthians 7 that a wife’s body is her husbands and a husband’s body is his wife’s.
We believe consent is given at marriage.
We believe the teaching on marital rape is a poison in the well of women’s hearts and minds towards their husbands and marriage & does much damage. However, we also do not condone a husband taking his wife against her will and strongly state that a man should not do so. In situations of repeated and enduring refusal, professional help and Matthew 18 need to be worked through & not force to be used.
We also believe that denying a spouse sex is just as much abuse as forcing sex upon a spouse.
Lastly, we do not believe sex where a man and woman engage in sex while intoxicated is rape.
In closing, we put equal responsibility on each party in such a situation. Any marriage where sexual abuse is taking place needs to get help from a pastor, or in some situations law enforcement. (Source)
Let’s pause there for a moment and look at the definition of marital rape:
Marital rape can be defined as any unwanted intercourse or penetration (vaginal, anal, or oral) obtained by force, threat of force, or when the wife is unable to consent. (Source)
Back to Robert…
How in the world can he honestly say that he does not believe that marital rape is possible when he states that he does not condone a husband taking his wife against her will? Taking a wife against her will is the definition of marital rape, therefore you must believe that marital rape is possible.
Robert doesn’t go so far as to say that sexual assault is a woman’s fault, but when I read this, I think he comes pretty close. He almost makes it sound that sexual assault is a result of a woman denying sex to her husband. And then to say each party has equal responsibility, but if raped while intoxicated is null and void? In the end, I think Robert’s belief that marital rape is not possible is because there are enough loopholes to get a man out of being accused of raping his wife.
Oh, by the way, when Robert says, “We do believe,” he is referring to himself and his wife, Amanda. He makes it very clear in the Doctrines and Beliefs that they both believe these things. This makes me sad for Amanda and I want to know if that is what she really believes. I certainly hope that this man is not a pastor. I can’t imagine that any woman who comes to them with problems in an abusive marriage will receive any help.
photo credit: Klardrommar via photopin cc
607 thoughts on “Marital Rape: Is it Even a Possibility in Christian Marriage?”
May I ask anyone here, if you have found any helpful books about marital rape and healing from it? Years ago, I read a book I found at the library, “The sexual healing journey”. It had some good stuff, though it wasn’t christian. It’s by Wendy Maltz, I think. Recently, I got the book, “Not Marked” by Mary Demuth. She has some good stuff in it, but I was discouraged to read that intimacy is still a struggle and likely may always be. I found a book on Amazon that I’m curious about… “Real Rape, Real Pain: Help for women sexually assaulted by male partners” by Patricia Esteal, and Louise McOrmond-Plummer. Have you read any of these books, or do you recommend others you like better?
What about counseling? Does counseling help? I have a problem with sticking with counseling, for a variety of reason…I keep running.