Marriage Q & A


The following are the questions we had submitted during the 2011 Mid-Week Marriage Series at Calvary Chapel Oxnard. We were only had enough time to answer  a few in the time allotted for them at the conclusion of the last session.

So here are the all the questions with what we hope are helpful answers.

1)                  It is our understanding that as men and women age and their hormone production slows down to zero, their sex drive may also disappear.  We believe that is God’s design as they have long passed their ‘reproduction’ years.  Our question is this: should a senior married couple resort to medicine or medical device to prolong their sex life, or simply follow the rhythm of nature and live a loving and caring married life without sexual intimacy?   We think God wants us to follow his natural design, but we would appreciate your interpretation of His Word.

Two becoming one is a life-long process. As we age, we change; in body, soul & spirit. This is why we must keep communication going – checking in with each other to make sure we’re still knowing our mate. Talking about your sex-life is part of that intimacy. As the years pass, expect your sex-life to change. Don’t buy the world’s lie that only the young enjoy life.  And don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you’re “normal” you’re sexual encounters have to be so many times a week or month. Talk to each other as the years pass about what you enjoy & desire, then blend; Compromise. Move together.

I’m not a doctor so take this with a large disclaimer – but the idea of hormone supplements to artificially forestall the normal aging process seems to me to be capitulation to the worldly idea that exalts youth. Why would you take supplements & risk all the side-effects just so you can boost your libido & add a couple of days a month to your love-making?

There may be a legitimate problem with a low hormone level that requires supplementation. But be wary of such supplementation just to forestall the onset of aging.

2)                  How can single believers court the right way?

This question requires a long answer. We have done courtship seminars in the past. The whole issue of Christians & dating is something a lot of people are considering. Let me suggest a couple of books instead –
  • I Kissed Dating Goodbye – by Josh Harris. Then the sequel – Boy Meets Girl.  (These can both be idealistic but are still hold some good ideas.)
  • Passion & Purity by Elizabeth Elliot.
    • When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy

3)                  How are finances supposed to be managed? Are accounts supposed to be joint? Are funds to be managed by the husband?

Money & possessions ought to be managed by the principles we find in God’s Word. Compass & Crown are both excellent resources to use for that.

Since marriage is about two becoming one, in everything, that includes finances. This doesn’t mean a husband & wife  can’t agree to have minor accounts set up for things like vacations or special projects. But their main account ought to be one.

While the husband is called to be the head & so take responsibility for the marriage, what that means is that he realizes who is best positioned to manage the books. If the wife is better with a calculator, better at math, & savvier than he with numbers, as well as maybe she has more time to do it, then she manage the books. But the husband is still the one who’s charged with the responsibility for the financial health of the home. His being the head doesn’t mean he has to do everything in terms of execution.

4)                  How can the wife encourage her husband’s spiritual growth as well as the spiritual growth of the marriage in a positive way, without “pushing” too much?

Mostly through prayer & by being a good example. Read 1 Peter 3:1-6.

It is certainly proper for a wife to occasionally ask her husband to pray with her, if he doesn’t initiate. But this ought to be infrequent, so that he doesn’t see her as nagging. Here’s how this works – don’t say, “I wish you’d pray with me more. I wish you’d take the initiative & be the spiritual leader around here.” You’re communicating by saying this that he’s deficient. The word “more” implies dissatisfaction and is heard as critical.

Instead, ask, “There are a couple quick things I want to pray about, honey. Can I pray with you about them?”

Also, when you see him take ANY initiative in spiritual things, respond quickly & encouragingly. Don’t say, “Well it’s about time! I was wondering how long it was gonna’ take before you manned-up.”

5)                  How much spiritual leadership should a wife/mom take on if the husband/father is not—in an unequally yoked marriage?

None. No spiritual leadership. Be a believer & growth as a follower of Jesus. But a wife can’t “take” leadership because it isn’t hers; it’s her husband’s. If she assume leadership, it will back-fire. He’ll get resentful, shamed, and probably set himself in opposition to her. All of that won’t encourage him toward the Lord but away.

Read 1 Peter 3:1–4 • 1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it bethe hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

In an equally yoked marriage, where wife is stronger in faith or Word? Is there a point where she can be enabling his lack of leadership responsibility?

This is quite common but it changes nothing. The husband is still the head & the leader. The quickest, surest way to see the husband mature & step into an active role as the spiritual leader is for the wife to treat him with respect; treating him as if he already is what he ought to be. Most men when they are respected come around to wanting to become what that respect esteems then to be. It may take a while before he catches on, but he will.

6)                  Will we know our spouse in heaven and will we be married to each other in heaven?  At what age will be appear to each other?

Yes, we’ll know our spouse in heaven but we won’t be married.

Luke 20:34–35 • 34 Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage.

Remember – the purpose of marriage is to solve the problem of loneliness. And to that end, the goal of marriage is that two become one.  None of that applies in Heaven because we’re in a perfect relationship with God & with others. We won’t need marriage because even the most casual relationship I heaven will be way more intimate & full than the best marriage Earth’s ever known.

7)                  What happens if a spouse becomes seriously injured and no longer holds much mental capacity?  Is the healthy spouse granted the ability to divorce

The only basis for dissolving a marriage in God’s eyes are adultery & abandonment. Age, diminished mental capacity, Alzheimer’s, etc. are not grounds for divorce. What they are, are grounds for showing the love promised when years before they stood at the altar & said, “In sickness & in health., till death us do part.

In 1990, the president of the prestigious Columbia Bible College Robertson McQuilkin resigned so he could take care of his ailing wife Muriel. He had received all kinds of honors as the school president & was greatly respected in his field, but he walked away from fame & fortune to keep his vow to his wife. 3 years later, she no longer even recognized him, but he maintained his vigil at her side for the next 10 years. That’s what it means to be a man & a husband.

8)                  Does a woman, in marriage, have the right to withhold sex from her husband, not because of meanness, but because she does not feel like it?

1 Cor. 7 says specifically that a man or woman is not to do this.

In any marriage, a husband & wife will find one would like a greater frequency in physical intimacy while the other prefers less. Becoming one means finding a creative way to move toward each other so instead of “my way” & “your way” it’s “our way.”  This is an issue of compromise where they talk & agree to a plan that brings them to oneness.

For a man/woman who isn’t as interested in sex as their spouse, they must recognize that withholding physical intimacy is dangerous because it opens a door to temptation. This is precisely what Paul warns against in 1 Cor. 7.

9)                  According to the Sermon on the Mount, if a man looks at a woman to commit adultery, does the wife have basis to divorce on the basis of adultery?

No – because while a cultivated lust is something we can’t hide from God, that CAN’T be the basis of divorce because we can’t see into each other’s hearts. The act of adultery is a different matter – that is a behavior with definite content & consequence.

10)              The Bible says, “out of the abundance of your heart, the mouth speaks” & “the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked, who can know it?”  What do you say?

Both are true. We get a new heart when we are born again. Ezekiel 36:26: & 1 Cor. 5:7

11)              A friend, who is a new believer, doesn’t seem to understand the Biblical principle that sex is reserved for married couples only.  This person believes in not practicing adultery, but fornication doesn’t make sense to him.  Could you please address this?  

Sexual abstinence doesn’t make sense to this person for one reason – they want to have sex before marriage. Yet 1 Corinthians 6:9  says • Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites …

Galatians 5:19 • Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, …

Ephesians 5:3 • But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints

Ephesians 5:5 • For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Colossians 3:5 • Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Hebrews 13:4 • Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

So, there’s 6 passages which prohibit sex outside of marriage. If someone objects & tries to run to the Greek here & explain this away as anything other than extra-marital sex, they’re just grasping for straws. The word was used in classical Greek to refer to all sex outside the marriage bond.

12)              How do you deal with in-laws and husband’s family when they constantly call for issues they are having at home?  They expect husband to take care of all their problems.  They drop in unexpected, controlling my husband.  They are not believers.

Take a look at what we covered on this in the last session about leaving & cleaving.

13)              I believe in God, my husband does not.  We have 4 boys, 2 are his, the 2 that are not his, he does not get along with.  We are currently separated; he is trying to work it out. It is an unhealthy and unsafe relationship and he has been abusive to me and the children.  He is not willing to get marriage counseling (he laughs about it).  He talks down on me and the boys that are not his.  QUESTION:  Am I being punished for going back to him so many times when he was abusive?

If by punished, you mean by the Lord, I would have to say, that isn’t consistent with God’s character. Are you experiencing the result of some poor choices? Probably.

There’s a lot you’re asking here but let me try to cut to the core – if he’s being physically abusive toward you, that’s a crime, report him.

There are good men of God who’ll disagree with me on this, & others who also see things this way: that his neglect & abuse of you, is a form of abandonment. Remember in 1 Cor. 7 Paul allows divorce in the case of abandonment by an unbeliever. What if an unbeliever doesn’t physically remove him/herself, but makes it EVEN WORSE by staying, is abusive, dangerous by engaging in criminal behavior that imperils the spouse & kids, or neglects all his/her real duties toward their spouse? How is that really any different than abandonment? BY Abandonment, does Paul mean only a physical departure, or might he also mean abandonment of the covenantal requirements of the marriage? It’s my opinion that while we need to be cautious that we don’t over-extend ‘abandonment’ to mean anything we want it to (as some do with the term “abuse”)  it can mean this kind of neglect or endangerment. This is where asking trusted spiritual counsel can be helpful.