- She Has A
Right to Know
- By Barrington Brennen, July 4, 2006
Question: Dear Sir: my husband often comes home very
late at nights or during the early morning hours and refuses to say where he
has been. He often wakes me up wanting to make love. He feels I am insulting
him when I ask where he has been. Is that right? Should I know where he was?
When I ask him why is he coming home so late, he yells out: "I am the man
around here." "Who pays the bills?" "This is my house." "Who is taking care
Should I put up with this kind of behavior? Should he come home
those hours of the morning? Should I make love with him if he refuses to let
me know where he was? Signed, Frustrated Wife.
Answer: Dear Frustrated Wife: You do have a right to
know where your husband goes and why he comes home at such odd hours. It
sounds as though you do not have a marriage. You and your husband are just
cohabiting mates. You are the maid and he is the master. You do have a right
to know where he is all the time. In reality, if he respects and loves you,
he will not go out to places without your knowledge and come home long after
you have fallen asleep. He will voluntarily inform you where he was. He
would not choose to go places that he knows would devalue you as his wife.
Any husband who feels he can do whatever he wants in marriage and does not
feel accountable to his wife is acting foolishly. Any wife who does the same
is acting foolishly.
- MALE CHAUVINISTS
This kind of behavior is usually comes from male chauvinists who
have many false concepts about marriage. Here are a few of them: 1)
The wife belongs to the husband, not the husband to the wife. 2) God
gave the husband power over his wife. 3) The husband has veto power
over any decision his wife makes. 4) Men are more intelligent than
women. 5) Husbands should make more money than their wives. 6) Wives
should obey their husbands. 7) A womanís place is in the home. She
must never leave it unless the husband allows her to do so. 8) A
wife must please her husband sexually at all times, even when she is
not in the mood. 9) God created wives to be their husbandsí helpers
and not the other way around. These false and erroneous beliefs
about marriage and the role of husbands and wives have and are still
destroying relationships today. Hundreds of years ago, women in most
countries had virtually no social or family status. They had to rely
on their husbands to raise money for the family. They had less
ability, education, rights, freedom, and respect from their husbands
- WHERE DID IT ALL COME FROM?
- Too many men in our society have been taught very well by their
forefathers and foremothers that women are nothing more than sexual
property, maids, and child bearers and rearers. This belief goes
back to the early centuries. Dr. John Bristow, in his book "What the
Bible Really Says About Love, Marriage and Family," states that in
the "Hebrew society and other neighboring cultures, girls were
regarded as the property of their fathers and wives as property of
their husbands. This is reflected in the law found in Numbers
"When a young woman still living in her father's
house makes a vow to the LORD or obligates herself by a pledge and
her father hears about her vow or pledge but says nothing to her,
then all her vows and every pledge by which she obligated herself
will stand. But if her father forbids her when he hears about it,
none of her vows or the pledges by which she obligated herself will
stand; the LORD will release her because her father has forbidden
Rape: Dr. Bristow points out that "The law then
states that a womanís husband shall have the same right of veto for any vow
his wife might make." In the ancient Hebrew world, Bristow expounds that
"The Mosaic laws regarding both seduction and rape bring the concept of
women as sexual property into especially clear focus." According to Exodus
22:16-17, a man who seduces (rapes) a maiden, the law stated, must pay the
father of the victim the amount normally given as a bride price for a
virgin, and marrying her or not depended entirely on the fatherís decision.
In. Deuteronomy 22:28-29 we have another shocking revelation of the value of
women in those days. "A man who rapes a maiden, however, (but only if the
commission of his crime is witnessed), will pay the victimís father fifty
shekels or silver and then marry her, and never be allowed to divorce her."
The shock is that the woman herself is not given a choice over whether or
not to marry her attacker (the rapist). It is the fatherís decision. Her
emotional well-being is not taken in consideration. Why? Because she is only
property, no more valuable than the goats, the slave living outside, and the
Incest: In todayís culture, incest is generally
based on genetic proximity. "In the Old Testament, however," Dr. Bristow
points out that "incest was defined according to the principle of sexual
property." Thus we have numerous marriages that in our own society would be
forbidden. Here are a few examples: Nahor married his niece Milcah (Gen
11:29), Abraham married his sister Sarah (Gen 20:12), Isaac married his
cousin Rebekah Gen 24:15, Jacob married two of his cousins, Rachel and Leah
(Gen 29:12). Esau married his cousin Malhalath (Gen 28:9), Amram, Mosesí
father married his aunt (Num 26:59. Tamar was sexually accosted by her
brother Amnon. She tried to talk him into marrying her instead of raping
her. (2 Sam 13:13).
Eventually Mosesí laws forbad such behavior. Leviticus
18:6-18: brings that out:
"You must never have sexual intercourse with a
close relative, for I am the LORD. Do not violate your father by
having sexual intercourse with your mother. She is your mother; you
must never have intercourse with her. Do not have sexual intercourse
with any of your father's wives, for this would violate your father.
Do not have sexual intercourse with your sister or half sister,
whether she is your father's daughter or your mother's daughter,
whether she was brought up in the same family or somewhere else. Do
not have sexual intercourse with your granddaughter, whether she is
your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would violate
you. Do not have sexual intercourse with the daughter of any of your
father's wives; she is your half sister.
Note very carefully that although these laws protect
women, yet these very laws were based on the concept of women as sexual
property. To uncover a womanís nakedness is regarded in the law as
uncovering her husbandís nakedness. In other words, a wifeís own body
belongs to her husband, so that to misuse it is to trespass against his
property. No wonder we are having so many problems today!
Learning from the ancient Hebrews, the ancient Greek
philosophers laid the foundation for the modern devaluing of women. In the
Ancient Greek world, women could not sue or be sued. They did not appear in
public with their husbands. A manís list of assets included his wife. The
Greek philosopher, Plato taught "Being born a woman is a divine punishment,
since a woman is halfway between a man and an animal." Aristotle taught "a
female is a deformed male." These teachings and many more, impacted the
making of modern laws and practices around the world.
- WOMEN CREATED WITH A VOICE
The Apostle Paul made it his mission to nullify the teachings of
the Greek philosophers which were so prevalent in his day. He
clearly states in Galatians 3:38 that "Male and female are one in
Christ." He strengthened the concept of equality and that women had
equal voice, vote, and power when he said in 1 Corinthians 11:4
women as well as men are to lead in worship. He disqualified the
idea that women did not have intelligence equal to men when he
stated in 1 Timothy 2:11 that women are to learn. Contrary to
teachings in his day, Paul also taught in 1 Corinthians 11:11 about
the inter-dependent relationship of a husband and wife when he
states :"Nevertheless, in the Lord, woman is not independent of man
or man independent of woman." He shocked the men of his day when he
elevated women from the pits of being sexual property with these
words: "The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her
husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him
alone but also to his wife." 1 Corinthians 7:4.
LOVE YOUR WIVES
Now we can clearly understand when the Apostle Paul
emphasized in Ephesians 5:21-26, "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves
the Church." He needed men to elevate women who
were by law valueless to the
priceless state in which God created them. They were not to be influenced by
the negative, degrading philosophies of the day. We must do the same today.
- TELL HIM
Married men who feel they can do whatever they want to do are
making a big mistake. I encourage women not to tolerate such
behavior. They should gently and firmly inform their power hungry
husbands that although they truly love them, they will no longer be
disrespected and devalued. Do not scream and shout at your husbands.
Do not threaten them or use demeaning words. You will be lowering
yourselves to their behavior.
Dear Frustrated Wife, if you are certain your husband is
having sex with other women, you have a right to protect yourself from
diseases by not having sex with him. Stand firm in a loving way. Be
consistent. Many men continue to do what they do because too many wives
enable their behavior by not saying a word or by not being consistent with
their concerns. Therefore, the husbands think the wives are only bluffing.
Insist that both of you seek counseling. Remember that you are not property.
Women, you are children of God created to be equal with
men. God gave you were equal authority. Genesis 1:26 confirms this equality
in power and authority. The New Living Translation presents it this way:
"Then God said, "Let us make people (male and female) in our image, to be
like ourselves. They (man and woman) will be masters over all life--the fish
in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and
small animals. . . ." Adam and Eve together were given "dominion" or to be
masters over everything, but not over each other. They were to walk side by
side in companionship. One author puts it this way: "The woman came out of a
man's rib, not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be
superior; but from the side to be equal, and next to the heart to be loved."
It was sin that changed the picture. It was sin that
corrupted the husband-wife relationship. The good news is that God gave his
life on Calvary to remove the curse of sin and to bring humans on one level
at the foot of the cross.
Wives, God did not make you to be sexual property. He made both women and
men complete, unique, special, and with a purpose. You were created in His
Believe it. Act it.
Barrington H. Brennen is a marriage and family
therapist, a nationally certified psychologist. Send your question and comments to P.O. Box
CB-13019, Nassau, The
Bahamas, or email
Or call 242-327-1980, or visit the web site