The choices are His way to Headship or the highway to ħɘll.
Readership: Married Men
Theme: Feminine Submission
Author’s Note: This post is based on a comment I left at Christianity and Masculinity. It also compiles a few reader’s comments and a couple comments of my own. Links to the original comments are embedded in the initial words.
Length: 1,800 words
Reading Time: 10 minutes
Withholding Sex is a very Destructive Form of Wifely Rebellion
Sexual withholding is a problem that all too many men suffer from that has been discussed at length before on this blog. Christianity and Masculinity offered some insights to this problem in The goal for Christian husbands whose wives deny them should not be sex but their wife’s repentance (2019-10-29). The main point of this post was that husbands should stay focused on their mission, do their best to love their wives as the bible commands, and not let their need for sex make them subservient to their wives. Commenters Joe and Jonadab added some noteworthy points.
In itself, this is sound Christian advice. However, there are a couple major hang-ups with this approach.
- A wife who is sexually disinterested or “sexually lazy” (to coin a new word: slazy) is actually weaving a subtle rebellion that works through attrition. As such, it is very difficult for a husband to persevere in this condition because it’s much MUCH easier for an uninterested wife to refuse sex than it is for a husband to go long periods without.
- GreyGhost and Sharkly emphasized the valid point that a husband’s godly leadership (however you want to interpret that) doesn’t always lead to the wife’s repentance (in the form of creating attraction and/or increasing her interest in performing her sexual duties to her husband).
All this is to say that if a man’s wife is frigid for any length of time, for any reason, then the marriage has become a snare. The relationship will slowly drift off to hades, and take him along with it. Instead of “fighting the good fight of faith”, the husband’s battle degenerates into the grinding daily task of just trying to keep his faith intact. Blue balled bitterness, frenzied frustration, and lecherous lust become the abiding battle for these husbands, such that the very idea of being obedient to God and loving a wife unconditionally becomes little more than an abstract ideal that cannot even be hoped for. Being reminded of this by others only adds to the sting. If this is a recalcitrant and recurring problem, and the wife has no interest in repenting of her neglect, then what hope is there to improve the union?
Sexual Withholding is only one example of Wifely Rebellion
All that said, I want to look beyond the issue of sexual defrauding for a moment and look at the larger picture. Sexual defrauding is just one way a wife can be disobedient to God. There are many other ways that wives regularly participate in active or passive rebellion. But it is easy for married men to focus on the lack of sexual affection because that is a form of rebellion that affects them most sorely. It’s easy for men to make it about sex (or the lack thereof), because that is what men want and need out of marriage. But the real problem is not about sex at all. It’s only about sex from the perspective of a sexually defrauded husband. The deeper problem is an issue of the wife having a heart that has been corrupted by the things of this world (e.g. feminism, FOMO, liberalized sexual values and habits, etc.), and has given herself over to her inner Eve.
The Wrong Way to Respond to Wifely Rebellion
When we look around, we see many men who are living in a tedious marital situation of daily discord, tension, and wifely rebellion, and running on Autopilot for years on end. The reason why wifely noncompliance continues indefinitely is because husbands buckle and revert to pedestalization and the “Happy wife” approach, which is a kind of feedback that places her in a position of authority, and this gives her enough control to value the relationship for what she can get out of it, and not for the blessings of having a Headship covering.
RedPillBoomer and Red Pill Apostle noted that some hopelessly Blue Pilled men tolerate their wives intolerable behaviors simply because they crave female companionship and are afraid to be alone, and they don’t have the courage to pursue their desires and/or follow God.
Of course, all these stances are a denial of masculine identity and an inversion of God’s created order. There’s no way anything can work out. The marriage becomes the Devil’s playground — an agit-prop theater of suffering and shame with no redemption in sight.
How should a Husband Respond to Wifely Rebellion?
It seems that the most important piece of information that is missing in the post at Christianity and Masculinity is not how to deal with the problem of wifely rebellion (because the Bible is clear on this), but how to deal with it effectively.
Trey emphasized the importance of discipline, and I agree. There is a severe drought of information about how to administer discipline, and this is why I’ve studied this extensively and written many posts on the subject.
Of course, it’s better if discipline can be imposed in an encouraging way. These positive reinforcements include things like Agree and Amplify, Command Presence, objectifying her in a playful way, pleasant surprises, and so on. But a man has to be on top of his Game to pull that off, and she needs to be at least somewhat willing and pliable.
OTOH, often times people won’t learn until it begins to cost them and bring hurt and pain. In this case, a husband can do things that ramp up the tension and press her into a decision, which basically amounts to a host of different approaches for which the appropriateness and effectiveness sharply hinges on the context. Some of these negative reinforcements might include married Dread Game (e.g. spending less time with her), withdrawing emotionally (e.g. ignoring her, not taking her seriously), or humbling her (e.g. mocking her, giving her the dreaded smirk, etc.). Snapper had some good comments about this approach that could be compiled into an essay.
Employing a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement will increase the drama which is known to hook women quite effectively. Most women will get the message if the husband exerts Frame, employs a little Game, and sticks with it for a while.
The bottom line is that she has to respond, and she’ll do so either by submitting, or else she’ll have an affair, or start planning for a divorce. But she’ll make a decision sooner or later because women cannot bear the stress, tension, guilt, and shame of living in rebellion forever. If she can, then a man is probably better off to let that termagant go.
So if you have an immature or unbelieving wife who insists on being degenerate and feral, then you have to be kind of the same. So play up the Game. Otherwise, the marriage is doomed, and depending on how much you’ve got invested in your marriage, possibly your life and your children’s lives will be lost as well. If she is particularly fractious and unruly, and a man is no good at Game, then a man may have to take deti’s nuclear approach.
It’s her choice whether or not to submit. But you have to give her that choice.
The unpleasant truth here is that it takes work to improve a marriage, and all of the burden is placed on the man and none on the wife. But even if a man does the work, there’s very little likelihood and no guarantee of actual improvement — unless the wife can somehow come around to a broken hearted repentance.
If you’re a Christian man intent on achieving sanctification, then her non-repentance is totally unacceptable. As important as it might be, the main problem with the husband attempting to solve this problem by being obedient (through cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit) is that it doesn’t guarantee the wife’s repentance, which is taken to be a necessary condition for sanctification to occur. If the wife is unresponsive to the Holy Spirit, and she really doesn’t care about spiritual growth, or the health of the marriage, then what can a Christian man do? In this case, a marriage to such a woman is little more than an open door allowing Satan into the man’s life. The neglect of adopting appropriate gender roles and a wife’s lack of submission is exactly why the Bible warns us “Do not be yoked to an unbeliever”, and not so much because of a presumed difficulty in deciding whether to attend church as a family or not, as many have been led to believe.
Ultimately, as much as husbands would like their wives to be obedient to God and affectionate, respectful, and submissive to husband, God has granted women the free will to do as they please. It all depends on how much she values the relationship, or more specifically, how much the feedback assuages her ego and self-image, and how secure she feels under his Headship covering. Her decision on this is mostly out of his hands, really. If she has already made up her mind to underprioritize or ditch the relationship, then any obedience to God on his part only postpones the inevitable and drags out the suffering.
As Thedeti wrote,
“At the end of the day, your Game, your charisma, and your efforts don’t matter unless the woman responds to them in some way. There needs to be a change in her. There needs to be a heart change from the inside out. Yes, you can help influence that, you can express your desires, preferences and expectations; but none of that matters without her willingness, from the inside out, to at least try to respond to your influence and to meet your expectations. In the final analysis it’s about whether she wants to stay with you or at least is willing to do what it takes to stay with you.”
“If she’s not willing to change, to be molded, nothing else will matter, and you’ll need to cut your losses and move on, no matter what that looks like.”
I know this may not sound like encouragement, but actually, it is. And it all points back to what Deep Strength was saying in his post: Be obedient to God and follow your mission… whether or not the wife tags along or not!
But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.1 Corinthians 7:15 (NKJV)
It’s her choice whether or not to submit. Trust God and don’t be afraid of giving her that choice.
- Σ Frame (Jack): Redemption and Sexual Healing (2020-12-15)
- Σ Frame (Jack): Women Rely on a Man’s Frame for Redemptive Introspection (2021-06-28)
- Σ Frame (Jack): Why challenge the character of your wife? (2021-07-07)
- Σ Frame (Jack): Moral Guidance Based Feedback vs. Sexual Attention (2021-11-24)
- Σ Frame (Thedeti): What can a husband do in response to a rebellious wife? (2022-1-31)
- Σ Frame (Jack): Harnessing the Motivations of Others (2022-4-20)
- Σ Frame (Jack): Pursuing Flow to develop Confidence and Trust (2022-4-22)