Question:

In the chapter on Rape in your Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Girls you stated:

“Recently, some women have tried to redefine rape as any time a woman has sex and the woman did not want it at that time. This is an inaccurate definition by God's standard. In a marriage, a woman is never to withhold sexual privileges from her husband; just as a man must always be ready to satisfy his wife's desire for sex (I Corinthians 7:2-5). From the Bible's perspective, it is not possible for a husband to rape his own wife.”

Please get a second opinion, from someone you trust outside your circle on the meaning of this passage. It is a gross misrepresentation, possible of causing a lot of damage, to claim the Bible says it is not possible for a husband to rape his own wife. Sexuality is a gift to be given, not one that can be taken without being offered (consent), married or not. It is not hard to imagine situations in which for whatever legitimate reason (illness, exhaustion, etc) the wife is not open to the sexual act on that occasion—if the husband forces himself on her, regardless of his marital status, it is at best, acquaintance rape. It is also against the understanding that in marriage the two become one flesh, and that Christ is the third person in any marriage. Respect, honor an love for one another “trump” any claim to the sexual satisfaction due—which by the way is better interpreted as an overall teaching, that sex is not to be denied as a tool for manipulation, but it doesn’t mean that sexuality is owed to your spouse, regardless of personal consideration.  

Or to give a disgusting example to test your view, for a husband to force sodomy on a wife would be clearly rape, marriage non-withstanding.

“In the Theology of the Body, John Paul II spoke extensively about the Sermon on the Mount.   You may recall that Jesus, in that discourse, said “You have heard it said, thou shalt not commit adultery.  But I tell you, any man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  The Holy Father pointed out that Jesus didn’t say “Any man who looks at a woman who isn’t his wife lustfully . . .” He said any man.  The American media, making the same mistake 90% of you are probably making right now, responded with great indignation about the crazy Catholic pope who said husbands shouldn’t be sexually attracted to their wives.

That’s not at all what he was saying. 

Lust doesn’t mean “sexual attraction.”  (Repeat: lust does not mean sexual attraction!)  Lust is “the will to use another person for my own personal satisfaction, without regard for what is best for her.”  Lust is using, not loving.  And that sort of attitude is particularly inappropriate in marriage.  Marital sexual union is total self-donation in love.  It’s other-focused, not self-focused.”

[From Real Love, Inc.]


Answer:

The majority of your arguments have been already addressed on this web site. I decided to post your particular one for two reasons: 1) It illustrates how people without a leg to stand on will seek to redefine words to give the appearance of proof, and 2) To show how people will twist the words of men to make support appear where none exists.

In your note you redefine the words rape, consent, and lust to suit your goals. "Spousal Rape" is a very recent claim. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime:

"Until the late 1970's, most states did not consider spousal rape a crime. Typically, spouses were exempted from the sexual assault laws. For example, until 1993 North Carolina law stated that "a person may not be prosecuted under this article if the victim is the person's legal spouse at the time of the commission of the alleged rape or sexual offense unless the parties are living separate and apart." These laws are traceable to a pronouncement by Michael Hale, who was Chief Justice in England in the 17th century, that a husband cannot be guilty of rape of his wife "for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract the wife hath given up herself in this kind unto the husband which she cannot retract." In the late 1970's, feminists began efforts to change these laws. Currently, rape of a spouse is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia."

[Click here to see the original article.]

The claim that sex is a gift which can be given or withheld on a moment by moment basis was addressed in: "Is sex within marriage a privilege to be earned?"

Neither of these implies that husband or wife cannot use sex as a means to abuse their spouse. Abuse can occur through a wide variety of mediums. However, people like you prefer to use hysteria to gain goals to which morally they have no rights. The use of the word "rape" for sexual abuse in a marriage was carefully chosen because the word produces horror in the hearer -- to the point where logic is ignored.

The quote from "Real Love" claims that John Paul II stated that a husband looking at his wife in a lustful manner was committing adultery. In reality, John Paul II has made statements to exact opposite in his comments on Matthew 5:27-28:

Going on to the second part of Christ's enunciation (that is, the one in which the new ethos begins to take shape), it would be necessary to understand the expression, "Everyone who looks at a woman lustfully," in exclusive reference to persons according to their civil status. This is their status recognized by society, whether or not they are husband and wife. Here the questions begin to multiply. There can be no doubt about the fact that Christ indicated the sinfulness of the interior act of lust expressed through a way of looking at every woman who is not the wife of the one who so looks at her. Therefore we can and even must ask ourselves if, with the same expression, Christ admitted and approved such a look, such an interior act of lust, directed toward the woman who is the wife of the man who so looks at her.

The following logical premise seems to favor the affirmative answer to such a question. In the case in question, only the man who is the potential subject of adultery in the flesh can commit adultery in the heart. Since this subject cannot be the husband with regard to his own legitimate wife, therefore adultery in the heart cannot refer to him, but any other man can be considered guilty of it. If he is the husband, he cannot commit it with regard to his own wife. He alone has the exclusive right to desire, to look lustfully at the woman who is his wife. It can never be said that due to such an interior act he deserves to be accused of adultery committed in the heart. If by virtue of marriage he has the right to unite with his wife, so that the two become one flesh, this act can never be called adultery. Similarly the interior act of desire, dealt with in the Sermon on the Mount, cannot be defined as adultery committed in the heart.

[From Establishing the Ethical Sense by Pope John Paul II, October 1, 1980]

Not that John Paul II is authoritative on this matter, but this does establish that the author of Real Love and you have ulterior motives and are willing to distort the words of others to make it appear that you have some type of foundation for your words.

The quote from Real Love also redefines, without authority, the meaning of the word lust. The word "lust" in English means a very strong desire, generally of a sexual nature. It generally has a negative connotation, but it can be used positively, such as "He had a lust for life." More importantly, in Greek, the word translated as "lust" is epithumeo.

In the New Testament epthumeo rarely retains its suggestion of sexual desire. Jesus cautioned against looking at a woman in lust (Matthew 5:28). Also negatively Paul recalled the Old Testament commands not to covet (Romans 7:7; 13:9). Negatively epithumeo describes the (evil) desire for wealth (Acts 20:33; cf. James 4:2).

The word can refer to the simple "desire" for food and drink common to all humanity (Luke 15:16; 16:21), or it can depict a "longing" for some event or thing. Implicitly this longing is often not satisfied (e.g. matthew 13:17; Luke 17:22; James 4:2; I Peter 1:12; Revelation 9:6). Neutrally epithumeo is used of Jesus' desire to eat the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22:15) and the desire of the author of Hebrews that his readers remain diligent to the end (Hebrews 6:11).

[From The Complete Biblical Library: Greek - English Dictionary]

Yet the author of Real Love wants to redefine the word to add an element of selfishness to it. The motivation is clear, but modifying the definition it gives her a way to condemn the normal sexual desire of a husband for his wife. Add to this the insistence that "consent" cannot not be generally given, but is only given on a moment by moment basis leads her to "prove" that any act of sex within a marriage may be condemned if one partner decides they would rather not have it at the moment. This turns Paul's clear statement its head that in marriage each partner is to voluntarily give of themselves to the other. "Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control" (I Corinthians 7:3-5). Instead, you and the author of Real Love want to encourage married couples to be selfish and withhold themselves from their partner until the partner "earns" the privilege. This leads to unstable marriages -- but then feminists, as yourself, think marriage is a degradation anyway.

Thank you for taking the time to reply to my email.  

You do not need to post my comments, I went and looked and what you had written and see your arguments. I have no place in this discussion and withdraw.  

Peace to you