Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Danni Moss tells a tragic story:

… in one of his screaming rages, Gary swore he would never come near me in an intimate way again. And he proceeded to denigrate me so horribly that I could certainly not initiate anything and retain a shred of self respect…Throughout the next couple years I regularly let him know he was welcome back when he changed his mind. He didn’t change his mind. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. … we knew getting pregnant could kill me and would be at best, extremely difficult…

…one of the many side-effects of chemo and the steroids that go with it, is insomnia. Like everyone else who takes chemo, I was prescribed a sleep aid…

…there were three times when I woke in the night to find Gary having his way with me. Due to the medication I was unable to remain awake (I was in and out of wakefulness throughout), participate deliberately, tell him to stop, or refuse to do anything he told me to do as long as it didn’t require any coordinated action on my part. One time he did something I had repeatedly asked him not to do throughout our marriage, but he had done a few times anyway. One time he “forgot” to use a condom. And once he did something I had always refused to let him do because I felt it was derogatory within the nature of our relationship. He crowed about it for days afterwards and I felt completely ashamed.

…I knew if I said anything about any of these events three things would happen. One, he would fly into a rage. He was already doing that on an almost daily basis…

…For the next 8 months I had terroristic nightmares every single night, even after I left him, which was 2 months after the last time it happened. I was afraid to go to sleep at night because I didn’t know what would happen. Every night I dreamed he was either trying to rape me, kill me, or had lost our daughter and blamed me (because that sort of thing actually happened). Frequently I woke up sobbing out loud or shaking so hard the whole bed rattled…

Despite stories like this, some people are completely unsympathetic towards the idea of marital rape. Danni also saw the church taking her husband’s side. Some even misuse the Bible passage below to make wives think they are not allowed to say no  to anything her husband wants to do, at any time:

1Co 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife her [due benevolence/ due goodwill] : and likewise also the wife unto the husband. :4 The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife. :5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be by consent for a season, that ye may give yourselves unto prayer, and may be together again, that Satan tempt you not

If people don’t know the Greek word there has the first meaning of benevolence, (many translations even leave out the word, just saying to render her “due”) they could even try justifying marital rape from the passage. But what Danni describe is her husband acting from malevolence. “Defraud ye not one the other (of benevolence)” is not a reason for her to accept this behavior, but a reason for him not to do what he did.

This passage say Christian husbands and wives should be equals in the bedroom, with equal authority. Both have equal right to ask bodily benevolence from one another. (The wife hath not power over her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power over his own body, but the wife.)

Benevolence, in the context there, would apply to loving intimacy, but probably also to other good physical things: To hugs, kisses and holding that do not necessarily leads to the bedroom, to foreplay… It may even also refer to good things couples give to each other that have nothing to do with the bedroom.

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Comments on: "Benevolence in the Christian bedroom- It’s not all about sex" (3)

  1. KR Wordgazer said:

    Yes, and if each has “authority” over the other’s body, then each has authority to tell the other, “stop.” “Do not deny one another” implies that each party has the right and power to deny the other– but that they should not wilfully or capriciously use this power. This passage should never be used to tell one partner that she (or he) has no right to say “no, not today.”

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  2. I had a dear friend whose husband would badger his wife with that verse. He would insist that there was no Biblical reason for not being available whenever he wanted it, and totally ignore how he treated her in between times. The more he shoved that verse up her nose, the more she felt guilty as well as repulsed. She would share it with us at the women’s bible studies, but never knew how to solve it. I myself was confused as to what she should do, as I had never heard of marital rape, and certainly not heard of it in church circles.

    If I had my time over again, I would share the word “benevolence”. It makes so much sense. A loving God would not command husbands and wives to have “authority” over each other’s bodies that way. It’s just so out of character with the rest of the Bible. Why can’t churches see that?

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    • Annie, it so sad that scripture translation went against common sense for your friend. But thank you for your comment. I was discouraged the past few days, and you reminded me that I never know what message will make a difference, so I should keep on teaching what I learn.

      Here is praying that others may be spared the same bondage to rules God did not give in such a way.

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