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Marital rape is taken lightly by governments all over the world, from first world states to the worst of the third world. In an attempt to wrap my head around this controversial topic I decided to do a little research of my own and something in a blog post I read caught my attention particularly. It addresses a major problem that is often not considered a problem at all. A woman is often considered "owned" by the man who marries her and hence she is expected to give in to his desires anytime he demands it often resulting in "force" being used.

Some men are in the habit of forcing themselves on their wives, believing that they have a right to sex at anytime, whether the wives like it or not. Is this right or wrong?

Rape » is the act of having unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl without her consent or with her consent but obtained by using force, threat or intimidation.

This kind of rape also happens among married people. Victims of such acts have been reported to live with stress, fear, anxiety, and guilt for ‘provoking’ the abuse and are frequently subjected to intense criticism.

For most men, sex with their wives is their rights and the woman should not give any excuse whenever her husband is in the mood, no mater how tired or weak she is. Some of these men feel that since they are the ones who married the women, then sex is one of the main reasons they got married in the first place.

Sadly, some cultures give credence to the fact that a woman has no right over her body and
should never say 'no' to her husband. This has led to many men sexually abusing their wives and they do not see this as an offence because they are lords of the homes.

The society we live in also does not seem to believe that a man can actually rape his wife
nor see anything bad in marital rape. Some women too cannot even complain that they were raped by their husbands as no one would take them serious.

It's wrong!.If consenting to marriage, included consenting to sex whenever the husband wants, it would make the wife a sex slave . So no, it doesn't go that way. A wife gets to decide whether she wants to have sex with her husband any time, and she can say no every time. There's only one argument that even needs to be considered, "No" means "no!!!", regardless of how the man will feel.

(Questions Concerning Marriage)

It is important how we study the Bible. A proper understanding and application of 1 Corinthians 7 will result as we rely, not on the wisdom of men, but on the wisdom of God revealed to us in His word. The interpretative methods we have consistently applied in ascertaining truth and rejecting error will help us accomplish this task (2 Tim. 2:15). Allowing the Bible to interpret itself is a time-honored and entirely scriptural approach to understanding truth. We are determined to not deviate from this course. "What saith the Scripture" must continue to be our appeal (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 4:30).

The Propriety Of Marriage: 1 Corinthians 7:1-7

Beginning in verse 1 the apostle addresses several subjects submitted to him in writing by the Corinthian Christians. Chapter 7 deals with a variety of their concerns about marriage. In verses 1-7 the suitability of marriage is set forth by the apostle Paul. Some have used the statement of verse 2 ("let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband") to establish the right of all second marriages to exist (and third, fourth, etc.). As with any other Bible topic, we must always be careful not to accept a position which makes one scripture contradict another. Should we embrace those who, in their misunderstanding of the Bible misapply this passage, thereby encouraging unlawful marriages to occur? If not, what criteria prevents such acceptance?

For instance, could 1 Corinthians 7:2 be used by those who practice polygamy in cultures which allow such relationships? Furthermore, should faithful brethren in those cultures accept into their fellowship those who preach and practice such a concept? Or, would brethren be scripturally obligated, as a result of using standard interpretive methods of study, to which reject polygamy and decline from their fellowship those who defend and practice it? (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:21-22) The answer should be apparent. Our application of the text must be consistent whether we are discussing polygamy or other forms of adultery, such as unlawful remarriages (Matt. 19:9).

To The Unmarried: 1 Corinthians 7:8-9

The expediency of remaining single is now set forth by Paul. Some assert that celibacy is the only state in which one can properly serve God. Why do we reject this teaching (1 Tim. 4:3)? Is it not because God's word teaches that marriage is proper (Heb. 13:4)? Certainly it is. For instance, Paul had the right to have a wife, but did not use his right (1 Cor. 9:5; 7:6-7). Now, if we cannot accept into fellowship those who demand celibacy, why not? Is it not because such a teaching opposes revealed truth? Yes, it is. All who are free to marry in the sight of God may exercise their freedom to do so.

To The Married: 1 Corinthians 7:10-11

Paul now speaks to the married Christians, and applies the words of Jesus (where He had already made a general application, Matthew 19:5-6). The fact that an application is here made to one specific group of married people (namely, Christians) does not limit Matthew 19 to only Christians (as some brethren say) anymore than Paul application of Matthew 26:26-28 in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 limits who can partake of the Lord's Supper to only Corinthian Christians (1 Cor. 11:20). Yet, some brethren are teaching that either (1) Matthew 19 applies only to Christians, or (2) Matthew 19 applies only to Jews (an explanation of OT law). Why do we reject both of these conclusions as false? Because God has revealed His truth about the universal nature of marriage (Gen. 2:23-24; Heb. 13:4). We can understand, and God expects us to understand, that marriage is for all mankind and is regulated by His revelation concerning it.

Anyone who enters the relationship of marriage comes under the divine regulation of it (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Heb. 13:4). Should we accept as faithful those brethren who are teaching a perverted gospel regarding to whom the Bible law of marriage applies? What scripture allows us to have fellowship with men who teach this destructive doctrine?

The Legitimacy Of Marriage Between A Christian And An Unbeliever: 1 Corinthians 7:12-16

To “the rest” Paul (as an inspired apostle whom the Lord counted trustworthy and who had the Spirit of God, v. 25, 40) applies Matthew 19:6, 9 and explains that marriage between a Christian and an unbeliever is indeed a legitimate marriage. At no time in this passage does the inspired apostle urge the Christian who is married to an unbeliever to depart (divorce) because his or her mate is an unbeliever. Indeed, the Lord's will is that they remain together as Matthew 19:5-6 instructs.

So, if the unbeliever is content or willing to live with a Christian, the Christian is commanded not to depart, for the Christian brings a sanctifying influence and life into the home (v. 14; cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-2).

However, if the unbeliever departs (we necessarily infer that under such a condition the unbeliever is not content to dwell with the Christian), the Christian is “not under bondage” to the unbeliever (the Christian is to let the unbeliever depart). Can we know with confidence what “not under bondage” means? Yes we can, by applying the same type of hermeneutics we apply to other Bible passages (including those already mentioned in this study).

These principles include, for instance:
1) The meaning given the passage will not contradict other passages of scripture (Jno. 17:17).
2) All God says on the subject must be consulted (Psa. 119:160).
3) The context (both immediate and general) must be observed and harmonized.
4) The proper definition of terms is vital in coming to a correct understanding of the text. (We cannot assume definitions - we must verify their legitimate meaning and usage in scripture).
5) The grammar used by the Holy Spirit must be considered and respected (cf. Matt. 22:31-32).

Now, when we correctly apply these principles of interpretation to 1 Corinthians 7:15, it will not be men's scholarship on the passage or men's division over the passage which determines our understanding and our application of it. It will be because we have “rightly divided” the word of truth and come to “understand what the will of the Lord is” (2 Tim. 2:15; Eph. 3:3-4; 5:17).

No Contradiction

“Not under bondage” will not contradict Matthew 19:6, 9. Since marriage between a Christian and an unbeliever is legitimate (7:12-14), any severing of it falls under the Lord's regulation of marriage. Therefore, when a believer and an unbeliever divorce, Matthew 19:9 fully applies. Any understanding and application of “not under bondage” which causes a contradiction with Matthew 19:6, 9 is inaccurate and not the truth of Christ. There is no “Pauline exception” in 1 Corinthians 7:15 which allows for scriptural remarriage to a new mate. If so, Paul contradicts what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:9.

If Paul is giving another cause for divorce and remarriage, then one can be put away for a reason other than fornication and remarry with God's approval. This construction necessarily contradicts Matthew 19:9 and 5:32. Therefore, the remarriage to a new mate explanation of “not under bondage” must be rejected.

All God Says On The Subject

When all of what God says on the subject of marriage is consulted, we understand that every marriage (regardless of the faith or faithlessness of the participants) is before God and judged by God (Gen. 2:23-24; Heb. 13:4). God joins together the man and woman regardless of their faith or lack of faith in Christ (Matt. 19:6). That joining together (a bond of obligation) lasts for a lifetime (1 Cor. 7:39; Rom. 7:2). Only one exception gives one party the right to divorce and marry a new mate with God's approval (Matt. 19:9). We can agree on this because we can understand this teaching of Christ. All other teaching is false and moves us away from the grace of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9).

We know that when a Christian marries someone (whether a Christian or an unbeliever), the Christian's first allegiance remains with Christ (1 Cor. 7:23; Lk. 14:26). By “keeping the commandments of God” the Christian remains “with God” regardless of his external conditions (1 Cor. 7:19, 24). Thus, we can remain in every non-sinful condition in which we are called since upon our conversion we become slaves of Christ and not men (1 Cor. 7:17, 20, 23-24). The marriage of a Christian to an unbeliever is one such non-sinful condition or “calling” (1 Cor. 7:12-14).

Definition Of Words

The definition of the words used in 1 Corinthians 7:15 preclude a remarriage to a new mate explanation of “not under bondage.” The word translated “bondage” is dedoulootai, “perfect passive indicative of |douloo|, to enslave, has been enslaved, does not remain a slave.” (Robertson's NT Word Pictures) Thayer is representative of lexical definitions when he observes that douloo means “1) to make a slave of, reduce to bondage 2) metaph. give myself wholly to one's needs and service, make myself a bondman to him.” “Bondage” thus denotes one who sustains a permanent servile relation to another. In this context (1 Cor. 7:15) the reference is to an unbelieving mate. Paul teaches that the Christian does NOT sustain a permanent servile relation to a mate in marriage (or for that matter, in any other relation). Remember, “we must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

Every other use of douloo in the NT carries with it the meaning of enslavement (Titus 2:3, “enslaved” - ASV), servitude or bondage (Acts 7:6). Never is it used to denote the “bound by law” concept of marriage to which deo is applied by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 7:27, 39; Rom. 7:2; cf. Matt. 19:5-6). Here is the entire list of NT passages which use douloo so that the accuracy of the above statement may be reviewed: Acts 7:6; Rom. 6:18, 22; 1 Cor. 7:15, 9:19; Gal. 4:3; Titus 2:3; 2 Pet. 2:19.


The simple statement of fact in 1 Corinthians 7:15 is that the Christian has never been reduced to a servile position to the unbeliever. The grammar so indicates (dedoulootai - perfect passive indicative of douloo):

Perfect tense: “The perfect tense in Greek corresponds to the perfect tense in English, and describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated.”

Passive voice: “The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action.”

Indicative mood: “The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood.” (Online Bible)

Since the negative (ou) is employed, the phrase “not under bondage” effectively means that bondage was NOT completed in the past and is NOT occurring at the present time. Thus, the “you are not now, nor have you ever been under bondage” interpretation is entirely consistent with the grammar of the phrase and not a forced interpretation of it. In 1 Corinthians 7:15, that which was completed in the past and continues to be the case in the present is that Christians are “called” (perfect tense) to peace. The one has never been true while the other has always been true.


The immediate context of 1 Corinthians 7:15 is that of legitimate marriage, one of several non-sinful conditions in which one might be when called by God through the gospel to become a Christian. Other non-sinful conditions used by Paul to illustrate his point are circumcision and slavery (1 Cor. 7:18-24). We know he only refers to non-sinful conditions here because they are conditions in which one may continue to walk (after becoming a Christian), remaining in fellowship with God and keeping the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:17, 19, 20, 24). One cannot continue to live in sin after his conversion with God’s blessing (Rom. 6:1-4).

Paul's point is this: “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves (doulos) of men” (1 Cor. 7:23). Verse 15 is a specific application of this principle. We are confident the slavery of 7:23 means something other than physical slavery (for Paul had just said to remain in that form of slavery, 7:21-22). Verse 23 speaks of the bondage of enslavement. Even the slave who served an earthly master had a prior allegiance to Christ. Likewise in marriage, we are not enslaved to men, we are slaves of Christ (1 Cor. 7:15, 22).

So, having told the Christian who is married to an unbeliever to remain in that marriage because it is legitimate, he then counsels the Christian whose unbelieving mate departs because the Christian has a primary allegiance to Christ. Paul’s counsel is: Let him go, because you are not enslaved to the unbeliever -- you are enslaved to Christ (7:23). 1 Corinthians 7:15 teaches Christians who are married to unbelievers that their first allegiance is always to Christ and not man.

If Christians continue to make allowance for and have fellowship with brethren who teach or practice what is not taught in 1 Corinthians 7:15, we can only conclude that either (1) they do not believe the preceding hermeneutical treatment of the passage is correct, (2) they hold to another hermeneutical treatment which they accept as correct (and believe the foregoing to be faulty), or (3) that such a treatment of the text cannot be correctly accomplished. Whatever the case, I fear that more and more brethren are adopting a view of 1 Corinthians 7:15 which implies that revealed truth cannot be correctly understood and obeyed. We must continue to deny that proposition whenever it shows itself (Jno. 8:31-32; Eph. 3:3-4; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 3:16-18; Jude 3-4).

Walk As God Has Called You: 1 Corinthians 7:17-24

I have addressed this passage in the above discussion concerning the context of 1 Corinthians 7:15. Suffice it to say that this passage certainly does not authorize someone to remain in a remarriage which God defines as adultery (even though some sincere, well-meaning brethren have reached that conclusion, the God’s word reveals their error, 2 Jno. 9-11; Eph. 5:3-11). Must we let the false explanations and applications of brethren go unchallenged (indeed, should we have fellowship with them) in spite of their error? It is troubling to witness brethren teaching and defending positions which lead to this conclusion and practice.

Concerning Virgins: 1 Corinthians 7:25-38

Paul now applies what he has already said about marriage and remaining single (7:7-8) to those who have never been married. The “present distress” bears directly upon the advice he gives to remain single (v. 26, 28, 32, 35).

“Bound” in verse 27 is translated from deo (to be under obligation to) and conveys a “bound by law” concept (cf. 1 Cor. 7:39; Rom. 7:2, where the idea of divine law is noted). It is not synonymous with douloo (1 Cor. 7:15; 9:19).

Paul does not advise divorce to those who are obligated by God's law to a mate. Nor does he counsel the Christian who is not under obligation to a mate (not bound) to seek a mate. In fact, he says “do not seek a mate” (7:27). If, however, the one who is not bound (loosed, not obligated by divine law to a mate) does in fact marry, he has not sinned in doing so.

Although some brethren try to define “loosed” as “divorced,” its clear contrast is to “bound.” Hence, the contrast being made by the apostle is between one who is not obligated by God's law to another and one who is obligated by God's law to another.

Summary: 1 Corinthians 7:39-40

The life-enduring nature of marriage is here emphatically stated by the apostle, and that liberty from this obligation comes only upon the death of one's mate (7:39) or the appropriate application of Matthew 19:9.

Paul's teaching in 1 Corinthians 7 has been in full harmony with and by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. Therefore, we can only consider 1 Corinthians 7 as authoritative instruction and counsel from the mind of God (1 Cor. 14:37).


Brethren, shall we agree to disagree with men who teach and practice error regarding 1 Corinthians 7 because they are men of sincerity, honesty, integrity and scholarship? Or shall we try to rescue them from the clutches of error which devours souls by keeping the truth of the gospel ever before them? (2 Tim. 2:24-26)

Are we able to say with certainty what the truth is which is taught in 1 Corinthians 7? Are we able to say with certainty that many are now teaching error on 1 Corinthians 7 rather than truth? (Sadly, many are choosing to remain silent instead of speaking the truth.) Are we able to say with certainty that false teaching, when taught and practiced, causes the soul to be lost? (Gal. 1:6-9)

If not, then what scriptural teaching is being followed which allows Christians to have fellowship with the sin of adultery (through sinful remarriages) and the false teachings which give false comfort to those who are committing adultery in those remarriages (Matt. 19:9)?

There was a long period during which many states had exceptions that decriminalized marital rape, but by 1993 sexual assault on a spouse had become a crime in all 50 states. Until 2005, Tennessee law stipulated that people could only be found guilty of rape of a spouse with whom they lived if the perpetrator was armed or caused serious bodily injury to the victim. 

While Washington state lifted its bans on spouses being prosecuted for first- and second-degree rape in 1983, its ban on prosecution for third-degree rape only occurred in 2013. According to Washington state law, third-degree rape is classified as sexual intercourse that occurs with the perpetrator without the consent of the victim or that occurs with the perpetrator despite the victim’s lack of consent as expressed through words or conduct.

A perpetrator can have any relationship to a victim, and that includes the role of an intimate partner. There are many different terms to refer to sexual assault committed by a person in a relationship with the victim, including: intimate partner sexual violence, domestic violence, intimate partner rape, marital rape, and spousal rape. No matter what term is used or how the relationship is defined, it is never okay to engage in sexual activity without someone’s consent.

“Criminalizing marital rape is a no brainer. There’s no need for even the phrase “marital rape” to exist. We don’t have “marital murder” after all. It’s just murder. The relationship of the victim to the perpetrator is completely irrelevant”. While I do understand the concern with trying to accuse a husband of raping his wife, I do have to agree with the sentiment above, that rape is rape no matter who the perpetrator may be. It’s easy for people to dismiss this issue. Often, people and even women I’ve spoken with cite that there’s nothing wrong with a husband wanting to sleep with his wife, while the wife may be unwilling to for reasons revolving around laziness and pure lethargy. This is true and I agree fully. However, what these people fail to recognize is an implicit notion of consent despite the woman being tired.

Therefore, under any circumstance the above-mentioned example wouldn’t amount to rape anyway. Why? Because in order for someone to be raped or sexually assaulted, there cannot have been consent from the victim in the first place. Of course, consent is not considered real consent if it is obtained by force, intimidation or by deception. Women often choose not to resist a rape in order to survive. This does not mean however that she consented to what happened.

Having said that, let me just put it plainly: marital rape is wrong and there should be legal repercussions for the perpetrator. Not only can marital rape occur in relationships but, the scars left on marital rape victims are often more traumatizing than other rape victims, not that I’m keeping score, because any situation involving rape is devastating. However, according to the Rape, Abuse, Incest & National Network’s research, women who are victims of marital rape are more likely to experience repeated assaults than other rape victims. In fact, among battered women, sexual assault may be a routine part of the pattern of the abuse.

For example, a Spokane Valley Woman Name Of Stephanie Doe was a victim of routine physical, verbal and sexual abuse – that is too brutal to even put into writing – by her mother for years, all because she exerted her right to say no to her mother.

There is also an underlying pressure to stay with the perpetrator. A victim with children who lacks outside employment may be financially dependent on her spouse and feel there is no way to leave the situation.

Lastly, and most significantly, a victim may have difficulty identifying what has happened to them as ‘rape’ or as a crime for that matter. For many cultures, defining the other spouse’s conduct as rape or identifying someone she married and loves as a “rapist” can have negative repercussions that the victim may not have the capacity to deal with. This has resulted in cases of marital rape being one of the most rarely reported crimes, even today.

Having said that, I hope I have convinced you that marital rape is a serious issue and crime. The fact that countries like Singapore, marital rape is not a legal offense is rather disheartening to me. Not only does it send the message that women’s rights are not valued but it sends the more offensive message that women’s rights are valued less than a man’s rights.

What are your views? Do you guys believe that marital rape is a crime? If so, how can we change mindsets of governments to  ensure proper legislation for women around the world?

How does sexual assault relate to domestic violence?
Sexual assault in a relationship rarely exists in a vacuum. It often occurs alongside other forms of abusive behavior. The majority of women who were physically assaulted by an intimate partner had been sexually assaulted by that same partner1. To learn more about dating and domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website.

Why should I reach out?
If you have experienced sexual assault by an intimate partner, it can be challenging to come forward for many reasons. You may be concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, still have strong feelings for your partner, or aren’t convinced that what’s happening to you is really sexual assault. It’s understandable to feel this way.

Ending an abusive relationship is not something that you have to do alone. Reaching out for help from friends, loved ones, local organizations or law enforcement can help you through this process.

Help is available
You can find support from a confidential, non-judgmental source.

To speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233) any time, 24/7, or chat online.

Learn more about safety planning to brainstorm ideas for safety or escape.

For many people who have been affected by sexual assault, current and long-term safety can be an ongoing concern. Safety planning is about brainstorming ways to stay safe that may also help reduce the risk of future harm. It can include planning for a future crisis, considering your options, and making decisions about your next steps. Finding ways to stay and feel safer can be an important step towards healing, and these plans and actions should not increase the risk of being hurt.

Safety planning when someone is hurting you: Lean on a support network. Having someone you can reach out to for support can be an important part of staying safe and recovering. Find someone you trust who could respond to a crisis if you needed their help.

Become familiar with safe places. Learn more about safe places near you such as a local domestic violence shelter or a family member’s house. Learn the routes and commit them to memory. Find out more about sexual assault service providers in your area that can offer support.

Stay safe at home. If the person hurting you is in your home, you can take steps to feel safer. Try hanging bells or a noise maker on your door to scare the person hurting you away, or sleep in public spaces like the living room. If possible, keep the doors inside your house locked or put something heavy in front of them. If you’re protecting yourself from someone who does not live with you, keep all the doors locked when you’re not using them, and install an outside lighting system with motion detectors. Change the locks if possible.

Keep computer safety in mind. If you think someone might be monitoring your computer use, consider regularly clearing your cache, history, and cookies. You could also use a different computer at a friend’s house or a public library.

Create a code word. It might be a code between you and your children that means “get out,” or with your support network that means “I need help.”

Prepare an excuse. Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times or for existing situation that might become dangerous. Have these on hand in case you need to get away quickly.

Safety planning when someone is stalking you: Tell someone you trust. Stalking shouldn’t be kept a secret. Tell your parents, loved ones, a trusted adult, or the local police to determine if a report can be made.

Be prepared to reach out. If possible, keep your cell phone charged and have emergency contact numbers programmed ahead of time. You may want to save these contacts under a different name. Memorize a few numbers in case you don’t have cell phone access in the future.Change your routine. Be aware of your daily routine and begin to alter it overtime. Switch up the way you commute more often, taking different routes or different modes of transportation.
Visit the Stalking Resource Center for more ways to stay safe.

Safety planning when leaving the person hurting you: Make an escape bag. Pack a bag that includes all important papers and documents, such as your birth certificate, license, passport, social security card, bills, prescription drugs, and medical records. Include cash, keys, and credit cards. Hide the bag well. If it’s discovered, call it a “hurricane bag” or “fire bag.” If you are escaping with children, include their identifying information as well.

Prepare your support network. Keep your support network in the loop. Let them know how to respond if the perpetrator contacts them. Plan a destination. If you’re not going to stay with someone you know, locate the nearest domestic violence shelter or homeless shelter.

Plan a route. Then plan a backup route. If you are driving, have a tank of gas filled at all times. If you rely on public transportation, know the routes departure times. Many public transportation systems have mobile apps that update their schedules and arrival times.

Important Safety Note: If the dangerous situation involves a partner, go to the police or a shelter first.

If you are in a domestic violence situation and need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE(7233). You can also visit their website to learn more about safety planning.

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