Christian Counseling: Marital Sexual Conflict and Divorce

The Doctor Is In Question:  

My daughter called me distraught about her husband of 2 years who is trying to coerce her into sexual acts that she considers perverse and told him before she married him that she would never consent to. He tells her his old girlfriend would do anything and tries to make her feel guilty. I know she has high moral standards and was a virgin when they married. They are now talking separation and divorce and I think he may be trying to contact his old girlfriend. He saw someone who looked like her and commented that she did remind him of her and that he missed her! My husband and I tried to discourage her from marrying this guy. He didn't "act" like a Christian but we are a close family and homeschooled our children. He has made comments that she is naive. Should he really expect this from her sexually? Is this Biblical grounds for divorce??


Love does not coerce, but self-centeredness does, as one who is sexually addicted. According to your description of the your son-in-law, the former may well apply to him, while the latter is a possibility.

There are differences among what is considered perverted by an individual, culture, government and the Bible. There are cultures that believe vaginal intercourse is the only appropriate sexual act, any other is a perversion. In our American culture often sadism and masochism is considered taboo, along with what the Bible says or can be easily interpreted to mean wrong or perverted-- pedophilia, voyeurism, and the like, or, said differently, any sexual activity outside of a marital relationship or in a marriage that is not consensual.  One partner does not have the right to demand, manipulate or force the other into his or her way of thinking. It is a matter of mutual, respectful discussion and decision. Biblically, what sexual acts are acceptable in a marriage relationship is primarily left up to a couple to decide.

Regarding your question about the couple's sexual conflict (and perhaps his romantic/sexual feelings for a lost love) being grounds for divorce, the liberal law of the land would say yes, but God's written word would not agree. Clear reasons for the end of a marriage in God's eyes are: death, adultery, a non-Christian who wants to leave the marriage, the failure to provide for the necessities of life (food and clothing) and sexual abandonment, meaning refusal to have any sexual relations. The latter two can be found in Exodus 21:10, which I believe carry over into the N.T (1 Corinthians 7:3).

Your daughter may likely benefit from counseling that could help clarify who her husband is, how to deal with him, how to protect herself and her options for the future.

I am praying for all concerned. 

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