Complementary Roles in Marriage
Series: Glorifying God in Marriage & Singleness (Part 2)
Let’s open again to Genesis 2. Last Sunday we started a short series on marriage and singleness. We traced marriage from creation to consummation. We saw that God created marriage to image Christ’s union with his people.[i] Today we get more specific. We’re looking at the complementary roles of husband and wife. Specifically, the husband’s role in headship and the wife’s role in submission.
Some of you enjoy dancing with your spouse. When couples dance, the man leads—a slight nod with the head, a gentle nudge with the hand, a lift of the arm to spin his partner—he leads, she follows, the two delighting in each other. Yes, sometimes they step on each other’s feet. But the dance goes on. The two must simply learn the other more. Headship and submission is about learning our role in the marriage dance.
For those of you who are married, the only time you’re permitted to elbow your spouse this morning is if they’re sleeping. If you’re married and your spouse isn’t here because your spouse doesn’t want to be here, listen carefully not only for yourself but also for your spouse. As we’ll see, God may use your actions to save your spouse.
If you’re single, listen to the Bible’s vision for a husband and a wife not only to uphold sound doctrine, but also as a way to serve us married folk. Pray these things for our marriages. When we’re out of step with Scripture, admonish us. Paul was single, but he still admonished married people. God can use you to speak into our lives as well.
If you’re among the youth, you’re likely not all that concerned right now with whether to marry. But please capture the Bible’s vision for manhood and womanhood now. The world is feeding you a destructive vision of manhood and womanhood. TV shows, movies, advertisements distort true masculinity and femininity. The entertainment industry takes advantage of women to make money. Don’t be led astray. Build your life around God’s vision for men and women.
To be clear, we’re not covering all male and female relationships. We’re only covering headship and submission within marriage. So don’t take what I say today and apply it to all male and female relationships. We’re staying inside marriage today.
A Biblical Foundation for Headship & Submission
But first things first, let’s lay a biblical foundation for headship and submission. We’ll start with creation. God establishes the man and the woman’s equal worth and dignity in Genesis 1:27—“God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” When we talk about headship and submission we’re not talking about a distinction in worth, as if the man is superior. We’re talking about a distinction in role or responsibility.
That becomes clearer with Genesis 2. Genesis 2 details how God created the man and the woman. It’s from this way God created them that we understand an order and distinction in role for the husband and wife. The husband leads in the dance; the wife follows his lead in the dance. Look first at Genesis 2:7, “…the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Now verse 18,
18Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him…20The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. 21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
Notice that the man is created first and then the woman (Gen 2:7). And when God creates the woman, he does so not from the dust but from the man himself (Gen 2:21-22). It’s also clear that God created the woman for the man to be his suitable helper (Gen 2:18).[ii] In the Bible, both of these observations become the basis for headship in marriage. You can see this very clearly in 1 Corinthians 11.
In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul is dealing with how a wife should conduct herself in corporate worship. But it’s here that we find some of the Bible’s clearest teaching on headship. Verse 3, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God…[verse 7] For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man…”
So the head—or authority, the one with primary responsibility in leadership—the head of a wife is her husband. That conviction comes from two things he observes in Genesis 2: the woman was made from the man, and the woman was made for the man. Some people will argue that headship is the result of the Fall; that it was not part of God’s original design. But the clear meaning of 1 Corinthians 11 is that it was part of God’s original-creation design, rooted in the way he made them.[iii]
Another significant passage is Ephesians 5:22-24. It says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.”
So again we’re seeing that the husband is the head of the wife. But what’s added by Ephesians 5 is this. Headship is not only consistent with God’s original-creation design; it’s also consistent with the way a marriage should image Christ’s relationship to the church. Which means that when the husband serves rightly as head and the wife submits to his authority—they do so to display the goodness of God’s creation and to display the glory of God’s redemption. Once we didn’t live our lives in submission to Jesus and now, by God’s grace, we do.
Titus 2:5 gives us an even further purpose. Older women are to train the young women in multiple areas, but one is for them to be “submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.” So proper headship and submission really display three things: God’s goodness in creation, God’s glory in redemption, and God’s authority in revelation—what he speaks to us in his word.
Now that’s all wonderful and glorious, but we know how difficult it is follow through on this side of Adam’s sin. As we noted last week, sin turns the created order upside down. As a result, headship and submission get seriously distorted. In Genesis 3:16, we find that part of the curse is a strained relationship between the husband and wife. It says, “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
The best way to make sense of this “desire” is to read a bit further in Genesis 4:7. Before Cain murders Abel, God says to Cain, “sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you [i.e., to control you], but you must rule over it.” So also with the woman after the Fall. She will attempt to control her husband, to rule over him.[iv] That could be for various reasons. A lack of trust—instead of leading with gentleness, he rules with a heavy hand. She’s suspicious of what he’ll do next. Maybe a desire to protect herself from further disappointment. Maybe an outright desire just to do whatever she wants.
The harmony once present in headship and submission now suffers. The relationship suffers as both the husband and wife compete with each other. Instead of living for God’s kingdom together, they now compete to live for their own kingdoms. They’re not enjoying the dance as God designed.
Perhaps you have felt the effects of the Fall in your own marriage. Something he did shattered your trust? Maybe you feel like “putting her in her place,” so to speak. Maybe you feel ripped apart by competing agendas for life, and how long to be in school, and where you’re going to live, and when to have kids, and how much to spend, and whose side of the family gets priority this year at Thanksgiving. There’s disagreement that lingers for days instead of close intimacy. Instead of resting in your identity in Christ, you feel like your worth is threatened by the slightest critique or alternative counsel from your spouse. You respond with words that send daggers to the heart.
Brothers and sisters, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all need to be made new. And that’s exactly what God does for his people in the gospel. Through a relationship with Jesus, he can and does make us new. He loved us and sent his Son to die for us, that we might have new life. That we might become new creations. Apart from having a new heart, headship and submission that honor Jesus are impossible. We need forgiveness and grace to live in these roles rightly and humbly.
That’s why Paul’s instructions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5 come to us in the context of the gospel. Don’t read Paul’s instructions to married people without reading what comes before it. What comes before are things like this: “in Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph 1:7); “God put all things under Jesus’ feet and gave him as head over all things to the church” (Eph 1:22); “God raised us up and seated us with Christ in the heavenly places” (Eph 2:6); and on he goes.
We even see in 4:24 that we can put off the old self and “put on the new self created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Proper headship and submission are possible because God has made us new creations. He clothes us with Jesus, so that we can bear Jesus’ image to one another. Or Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” And part of his work is to help us understand how to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. God hasn’t left us alone in our role as husband or wife; he is present to give us every grace we need.
The Husband’s Role as Head of the Wife
If that’s true—that this is the way he wants husbands and wives to dance together as they image Christ’s union with the church, if we get every grace to do so—then what does this headship and submission actually look like?
Let’s concentrate first on the husband’s role as head of the wife. To be sure, it’s a disgrace to Jesus Christ and to the church and to women everywhere, when men abuse authority and oppress women, and do it under the guise of biblical headship. So let’s be sure we have a healthy perspective of biblical headship.
Biblical headship is not domineering but servant-hearted. Never does the Bible command husbands, “Be the head of your wife!” Rather, it commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. The Bible explains headship with the servant-hearted, sacrificial love of Jesus. Jesus Christ loved his bride with such abandon that he willingly gave himself up for her. Headship follows in the footsteps of Jesus love.
Biblical headship is also not passive but proactive. Passivity has roots in self-centeredness and leads to satanic consequences. Adam watched the Serpent lead Eve into sin. Instead of crushing the Serpent’s head, he let it keep hissing lies. This is not what we observe in Jesus. Jesus takes initiative in rescuing and protecting his bride. He comes. He crushes the Serpent’s head. He speaks truth. He works till his sweat becomes like drops of blood. He endures the cross to win her. We bear his image, brothers!
Biblical headship is also not harsh but honoring. Colossians 3:19, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” Then 1 Peter 3:7, “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” True headship is not dismissive and insensitive to the needs of your wife. Headship honors the woman as a fellow heir to everything in Christ.
Moral & spiritual leadership
In sum, headship means carrying the primary responsibility to lead the marriage with Christ-like character. That kind of leadership plays out in at least four ways. First, it includes moral and spiritual leadership. The Lord commanded the man not to eat from the tree, while the woman had yet to be created. After the man and the woman sinned, the Lord then holds the man accountable first. Ephesians 5:25 implies that the husband wash his wife with the word, for this is the way Christ washes the church.
Brothers, this will especially include pursuing God in his word. You will not fulfill your calling to lead your wife, if Christ isn’t leading you. Christ must be your head before you are hers (1 Cor 11:3). What’s best for your marriage-dance is that you’re leading your wife to imitate Jesus’ steps, not just your own steps.
Once you’ve learned from Jesus, give courageous counsel that moves the marriage in a Godward direction. We cannot yield to our own sinful passions or to the sinful passions of our wife. Our role is to lead in such a manner that more and more over time the marriage better images Christ’s union with his church.
That means leading your wife in godly choices. It includes taking initiative in planning. Is the schedule healthy for your marriage? What’s it really worth if you get you a degree or an extra paycheck, but you did it all as if you were still single? If you have children, the burden of their spiritual growth is on you.
Your wife’s spiritual growth becomes your priority too. Plan times to read the word and pray with her. Every night we try to shut things down thirty minutes before bedtime—turn off the screens, brush teeth, whatever. The point is to give ourselves time to read the word together and pray. Right now, it’s just one Psalm per night. Sometimes we discuss it. Sometimes we pray it. Occasionally, one of us might fall asleep in the middle of it. We have those kinds of evenings. It doesn’t have to be polished, but is there leadership? A motivating influence to treasure Christ more together.
We must also lead in reconciliation. Brothers, we can’t let separation remain. Maybe you’ve been there. You have a little argument. You think that you’re right; she thinks that she’s right. You get short and sharp; and she leaves the room hurt. Husbands, we must take the first step toward reconciliation. We can’t sit there and insist on our rights and attempt to justify our sinful reactions. We must look to Christ, go take her hand, and with gentleness acknowledge that she’s not the enemy—our own sin is the enemy. My lack of humility in being willing to listen to her is the enemy.
Physical & spiritual protection
A second aspect to our leadership: physical and spiritual protection. Adam failed to protect Eve from the Serpent. But Christ gave himself up to disarm the rulers and authorities against us (Col 2:13-15). Husbands reflect Christ’s protection of the church, when we protect our wives. They weren’t married yet, but Boaz is pictured as the ideal man who protects and provides for Ruth. He allows Ruth to glean in his fields, while at the same time charging the young men not to touch her (Ruth 2:9).
So whether spiritually or physically headship includes protection. We must take the initiative in protecting our wives. Even if she’s a black-belt in Karate; you get out of bed and take the robber out. It means providing care when she’s sick or weak. It means removing potential temptations when she’s had a long and hard day—we give her times of rest. Most importantly, we must pray against the enemy’s attacks. The Serpent is crafty, brothers. He will go after your wife like he went after Eve. Be watchful of his tactics. Speak gospel truth, keep yourself pure, and pray for her.
Third, leadership will also include provision. In Genesis 2:15, the Lord put the man in the Garden to work it and keep it. This was before he created Eve. In Genesis 3:19, the Lord says to the man, “…by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground…” In light of what the Lord also says to the woman, this indicates that the primary responsibility of breadwinner belongs to the husband. Ephesians 5:29 implies the same thing when it says that the husband must nourish and cherish his wife.[v]
That doesn’t mean that the wife can’t work to earn income. The woman in Proverbs 31 does exactly that for her family. Priscilla was also a tentmaker alongside her husband Aquila in Acts 18:3. All I’m saying is that under normal circumstances, the man shouldn’t put his wife in a situation where she feels like the weight of the physical provision rests solely on her. That if she wasn’t doing it, they wouldn’t eat. The husband does everything he can to provide for her. We work hard to put bread on the table.
Enjoying & gladdening your wife
Lastly, our leadership includes enjoying and gladdening our wives. Adam uses poetry, brothers, to describe his spouse (Gen 2:23-25). Deuteronomy 24:5 states, “When a man takes a new wife, he shall not go out with the army nor be charged with any duty; he shall be free at home one year and shall gladden his wife whom he has taken.” A whole year to gladden his wife! Now, that law applies differently under the new covenant, of course, but it reveals God’s own concern for our joy and provides wisdom concerning a husband’s devotion to his wife, and, in this case, her gladness.
Proverbs 5:18-19 encourages the husband to delight himself in the wife of his youth (Prov 5:18-19). Song of Songs provides an intimate portrayal of the husband enchanting his wife with beautiful words (e.g., Song 4:1-15; 6:4-10).[vi] Ephesians 5:29 says that husbands are to nourish and also cherish their wives. Brothers, you can get really creative here. Notes on the mirror, holding her hand regularly, a date-night, a surprise phone call from work, affirming her in Christ, setting aside funds in the budget just for her to spend on things she enjoys—enjoy and gladden your wife.
A professor of mine named Bob Bernard—he’s with Jesus now; he died of cancer a few years ago. But I remember when Dr. Bernard would walk around campus with his wife. He would just hold her hand and talk to her. One time I saw her kiss him goodbye as he was coming to teach class, and he did a double heel click. She just made him so happy. His delight in her imaged God’s delight in us who are in Christ. That’s what marriage is about. In Christ, God delights in us. They danced well, and their dance was a brilliant pointer to Christ and his church.
There’s grace for this brothers. Christ is in you, the hope of glory. Let’s seek to imitate his selfless and sacrificial love. Let’s lead the dance well. Let’s make submission a joy for them as it is a joy for us to submit to Christ.
The Wife’s Role as Submissive Helper
What about the wife’s role as submissive helper? What does the wife’s role look like in the marriage-dance? According to Ephesians 5, the wife’s submission to her husband paints a picture of the church’s submission to Christ. God designed the wife’s calling to image the beautiful reality of what happens to all of us when God saves us, namely, we submit to Jesus. When a godly woman submits to her husband, her life becomes a beautiful portrait that reminds us that Jesus is worthy of all our obedience.
But just like headship, we should clarify a few things. For instance, biblical submission is not ultimate submission, but submission always in relation to Christ. The husband’s authority over the wife is a derived authority from Christ. Wherever his authority fails to faithfully represent Christ, the wife should not submit to him. Sisters, do not obey your husband if he’s asking you to follow him into sin.
Nor should you feel like you can’t say anything when his leadership is out of sync with God’s word. There are ways to patiently share your perspective. Proverbs 31:26 says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” There’s a way to speak while also affirming a desire to follow his lead, but only as his lead doesn’t compromise your obedience to Jesus (cf. Luke 14:26). It’s good for your husband to hear that Jesus is Lord, not him.
And let me just say here that if you’re in an abusive situation, you must expose his sin and get help. The church submits to Christ, but Christ is never abusive to her. And Christ has put other authority structures in place to also help you if you’re in that situation. The elders and the church are here to listen and to help you.
Biblical submission is also not merely an outward action but an inward disposition. 1 Peter 3:3-5, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” Submission isn’t just outward conformity while still seething inside against her husband. It goes much deeper.
That heart-attitude is born from hoping in God. So biblical submission is also not fearful but hopes in God. 1 Peter 3:5 says “this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves.” Submission doesn’t mean blind trust in a mere man, but great faith in your Sovereign Lord. By submitting to your husband, you’re ultimately submitting to Christ, who knows what’s best for you, who never takes his gaze off you, and who will love you till the end. Even the poor decisions that your husband will make—you must remember that they’re not outside God’s control, nor will they come to you apart from God’s love and God’s care for you through those times. Like the woman in Proverbs 31:25, you can smile at the future because your soul rests in God’s sovereign orchestration of all things for your good and his glory.
So submission is always in relation to Christ, it’s inward, and full of hope in God. And the goal through it all is to mirror the church’s submission to Christ. Wives, what a remarkable calling you have! It’s a window through which we’re reminded of how the church follows Christ in the marriage dance. But let’s get even more specific. What are some things the wife’s role includes?
Following your husband's lead
First, it includes following your husband’s lead. 1 Peter 3:6 uses Sarah as an example, saying that she obeyed Abraham. Ephesians 5:24 says, “as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Of course, we’ve already seen that this excludes situations where the husband would be leading his wife into sin. But where that’s not the case, the wife defers to his lead in the dance.
That may mean you must give up certain goals and life-preferences that you would’ve preferred to keep. But the husband you have is the man you agreed to follow as God’s word transforms him. Now, we know that not all believing wives have believing husbands. And instructions like this certainly present challenges and often great grief—“How does a wife follow a husband’s lead at all if he doesn’t know Jesus?”
God knows your situation, dear sisters. He inspired 1 Peter 3 for you. Yes, there may be times when your allegiance to Jesus will conflict with what your husband desires for you. But Peter’s point is that where you can follow his lead and not sin against Christ, do so. And do so with the hope that he might be won over to Christ. That’s what he says, “wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”
Sister, your respectful and pure conduct can be an instrument in God’s hand to lead your husband to obey Jesus. Isn’t that what your calling is about? Imaging to others the church’s submission to Jesus. Let your submission become a theatre wherein your husband sees that Jesus is worthy of his obedience too! You’re playing your part in the Great Commission. You want to treat him in such a way that causes him to ask, “What is this hope you have? What’s in this Bible you’re reading?”
Helping your husband
Second, a wife’s role includes helping your husband. Going back to Genesis 2, remember that God created the woman for the man, to be his suitable helper. And this is a glorious role. The term “helper” is even used several places to describe God as a helper. This is one way the wife can image God in her calling alongside her husband. In her book Helper By Design, Elyse Fitzpatrick offers some questions to help wives take steps toward helping their husbands. She writes,
In what specific ways has God called my husband to rule? How can I help him fulfill that calling?
With whom has he been called to relate? What would helping him in these relationships look like?
How has God’s calling to reproduce been answered in our family? How can I help him with mentoring or nurturing children (physical or spiritual)?
What does my husband spend time thinking about or reflecting on? How could my help sharpen his thinking or cause it to be more productive?
What can I do to bring godly joy into our relationship?...
What influences could I bring to bear upon him that would help him glorify God and reflect him more fully?
What I appreciate about these questions is that they don’t squelch the wife’s gifts and personality; they give them a context. God has designed every woman in a unique and beautiful way, to bear God’s image and to use her gifts to make much of God. When she marries, though, those gifts are now especially used to help her husband, not just for her husband’s sake but for the marriage’s sake. It’s not just about the husband; it’s about the marriage imaging Christ and the church.
Respect & affirmation
Lastly, the wife’s role also includes respect and affirmation. Ephesians 5:33, “let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” We communicate respect with words, tone of voice, and countenance.
Let’s say you disagree with your husband on how to spend Thanksgiving. Perhaps it’s not an issue of sin necessarily, but you really wish he’d consider some other factors before making a decision. He’s not considering them though. How do you respond? Do you utter under your breath, “How could he do this to me?” It then progresses to several eye rolls, strategic sighs, maybe the silent treatment, until finally, “Would’ve been nice if you’d thought about this! Do you even care?”
Not only have you not shown respect, but that attitude isn’t one that affirms his role as the head. Cut two. Same situation. But what if you first committed the situation to Christ in prayer. What if you then thought of how your role as helper could help him be a better husband by considering the other factors? And then, with contentment in Christ, you say, “Hey dear, I’m struggling to follow your lead about Thanksgiving. There’s some other factors that you may not have considered. Can we find some time to talk about them tonight?” Very different and beautiful.
Not only has she affirmed his leadership and her desire to follow his lead, but she is fulfilling her role as helper and making the marriage dance an even better portrayal of Christ and the church. To sum up, a wife’s submission means following, affirming, and helping her husband in ways that help the marriage image the church’s submission to Christ. In a perfect marriage, the wife’s role is fairly easy.
Return to the Gospel Often!
Surely submission would come easy when a man loves his wife just as Christ loves the church. But we all know that the perfect is yet to come. We still live in a broken world. As a husband, I know how often I’m faced with my own sin in marriage. But the same sinful flesh that wages war in husbands against the glory of Christ, lives in wives also. How then can we actually make it? How will we keep our vows? How will we shine the gospel light among a people so darkened by convenience and divorce?
Enter God’s rescue plan, the gospel. The gospel is the good news about God acting in the person of Jesus Christ to reconcile sinners to himself. God’s grace didn’t leave us in our sinful state. While we were still sinners, he loved us and sent his only Son to rescue us. Even though we walked away from him, Jesus still came to us. Even though we deserved punishment, Jesus suffered under God’s wrath in our place.
And God’s grace went further still. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, so that just as he lives to God in his resurrection body, we too might live to God. In other words, God’s grace is greater than all our sin. The gospel is the greatest love story of all time; and the Bible calls it the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
If you’re here today without Christ, please consider your desperate need for a Savior. Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. But the gospel isn’t just for the unbeliever, it’s for the believer. Husbands, we need to see our Great High Priest, who opened the way for us to approach the throne of grace in times of need. Wives, you need to be strengthened by the true Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus himself, who never fails and who always stands to protect you and fulfill his word to you.
So, let me encourage all of us to draw strength from the gospel often. Or better, draw strength from the person of Jesus often. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion, and so much so that eternity will echo with celebrations over the grace he showed you again and again and again.
[i]Definitions are always tricky since there’s so much to consider. But I’ve attempted to distill last week’s message into a definition for marriage. It goes like this: marriage is a sacred institution in which God joins one man to one woman in an exclusive covenant relationship with complementary roles, so that as partners in grace they might glorify their Redeemer’s love and image his union with his people. That’s a mouthful but it reflects what the Bible teaches that marriage is.
[ii]Additional observations that point to the husband’s role as head over his wife: God gives the spiritual responsibility to Adam by commanding him not to eat from the tree before Eve was created (Gen 2:15); God presents the woman to the man (Gen 2:22); Adam not only recognizes their equality in that Eve is “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” but also gives her the name, Woman (Gen 2:23).
[iii]Though dealing with a separate issue of women teaching in the assembly, Paul uses the same argument in 1 Timothy 2:13—“For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”
[iv]Susan T. Foh, “What is the Woman’s Desire?” Westminster Theological Journal 37 (1975): 376-83; Raymond C. Ortlund, Jr., “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship,” in Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, eds. John Piper and Wayne Grudem (Wheaton: Crossway, 1991), 108-09.
[v]See also Exodus 21:10. The law is speaking about “another wife” a husband may have taken, but not in a manner that promotes polygamy. The law was given to protect the woman and presumably her children, when the situation arose that a man even wrongly took another wife. Still, it goes without saying that if the law expected such provision for “another wife,” then it certainly assumes the same (if not greater) for the man’s first wife.
[vi]Also, Paul instructs the husband not to deprive his wife of sexual intimacy, but to selflessly offer his body for her satisfaction (1 Cor 7:1-4).
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