A Word to the Wives

The Tainting of Torah, Part 2

Q: Kevin, I so want to obey our Adonai and be faithful to Torah and the rest of His Word, but I feel singly married because my husband, who loves God so much, still wants to go to our church on Sunday (he works on Saturday – Aargh!). Thank you.

A: It’s clear that you feel conflicted between your desire to be faithful to the Torah and your husband’s desire to continue in traditional Christianity. Obviously, it has reached a critical level if you are having feelings of being “singly married.” I empathize with your inner struggle—it is not easy to feel like you are being led by the Master in a way that is contrary to your spouse. That said, may I please make a suggestion that could not only help heal this growing rift in your marriage, but might draw you both closer to the ways of the Master? Trust your husband—who, in your own words, “loves God so much”—to lead you and care for you in this regard.

Believe me when I say that I understand your desire to be faithful to God’s Word. All the more reason why Paul’s exhortation to wives should be taken to heart: “…to your own husbands submit yourselves, as to the Master, because the husband is head of the wife, as also the Messiah is head of the Called-Forth [community], and He is savior of the body…” (Ephesians 5:22-23). It would be a deeply unfortunate irony to so vigorously pursue the Torah while forgetting that the Torah itself also asserts a husband’s authority over his wife (Genesis 3:16, Numbers 30:6-8). Moreover, I have no doubt that if you will honor and follow your husband in this—and do so wholeheartedly—then your husband will not be hindered in his covenantal obligation and responsibility to “love [you], as also the Messiah loved the Called-Forth [community], and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) I have seen women repeatedly bring new life to their marriages through genuine love for and submission to their husbands, causing the men to care for and protect their wives like never before.

Regrettably, your situation is not unique. This is often the fruit that some so-called “Torah teachers” bear, bringing destruction upon “whole households” (Titus 1:11)—ripping them apart by convincing one spouse that Torah-keeping (or a version of it) is more important than the integrity of marriage. This should not be! When the Master said He did not come to bring peace, but a sword (Mt. 10:34), I am pretty sure that aborting marriages is not what He meant.

Let’s say, for sake of argument, that a husband was being rebellious against God by not going along with his wife in her Torah observance. Even if that were so (and it does not seem to be the case here), it would still not release the woman from her wifely obligation to her husband. As Keifa says, “Likewise, the wives, be submitted to your own husbands, that even if certain [ones] are disobedient to the word, through the behavior of the wives, without the word, they may be won, having seen your pure behavior in fear” (1Keifa 3:1-2). Keifa’s instructions are plain: even if a husband is “disobedient to the word,” the wife is to submit to him and win him over through the way she treats him—not by trying to make him obedient to the word.

Please hear my heart—I am not judging you, or your marriage. On the contrary, it is entirely possible you may have fallen victim to some very bad teaching, and the distance you feel from your husband is the result of it. Please prayerfully consider that the desire in you for Torah has been tainted, and may be leading you in an unhealthy direction, especially as far as your husband is concerned. Please consider tempering your zeal with submission to and respect for the man you love (and who loves you)! Paul says that “the Torah is good, provided one uses it lawfully” (1Timothy 1:8). Ask yourself if you really think Yeshua wants you to be the cause of tension in (or worse, ruin of) your marriage just for the sake of “Torah.”

The Master tells us not to “neglect the weightier things of the Torah—the judgment, and the kindness, and the faithfulness” while obsessing about the lesser things (Matthew 23:23). He teaches us that all the Torah and the Prophets hang on our attitude of love (Matthew 22:36-40)—that we cannot rightly keep a single command without it. Please let me encourage you: as first order of business, be a blessing and a helper to your husband—submitting to him as your loving and self-sacrificial leader (even if he doesn’t act like it!). Then, watch how the Master will grow you together—as you follow His lead and His Word… as one.

What do you think? Weigh in with your comments below.

This “Gentile Chronicles” article was originally published in condensed form in Messianic Jewish Issues. The Gentile Chronicles is a recurring feature in Messianic Jewish Issues, and is part of Perfect Word’s developing “Gentile Initiative” designed to explicitly build up Gentile believers in Yeshua.

11 replies
  1. Dorothy
    Dorothy says:

    Thank you Kevin, A very timely answer for me as I am sure for many wives. The burden of what/who to follow as been lifted. Ahhh HIS yoke is light. I should have known this myself, but didn’t.

  2. Cheryl
    Cheryl says:

    Thank you so much for this insight…truly, the honoring of our husbands and of resting in the promise of His care and order will bring strength to this family. Thank you for encouraging the ‘walking out of Torah’, in our heart as the stronger walk. For as we loving face our Abba with His design, He IS able to establish each household. Thank you, Kevin, for God-honoring counsel!

  3. Andi
    Andi says:

    Thank you for the advice. I myself am not married, but having just read Paul’s letters over the past few weeks, I am reminded how yes we now through our Messiah Yashua, we are not under Torah and have freedom to obey it. Our Father does however take covenants seriously, as He took His seriously that He gave us, both on Mount Sinai and through His death. Love is the most serious commandment with the strongest impact on others. Obeying your husband, you are obeying your Father, so don’t worry about yourself but for your husband. Pray for your husband, for he bears both himself and you on him – he will have much to account for. Love him and pray for his mercy, that with his love for our Father that he’ll be led on the right path: for only He knows your husband’s heart. Don’t be disheartened, but as our brother said, just love. If you fall weak, call out and let Dad be your strength 🙂 Shalom!

  4. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    You have NO idea how timely this message is for me……I am in tears as the truth of this matter is finally falling on ears that hear and eyes that see. Blessed be His Name! The more I learn about what it means to be a ‘disciple’ of Yeshua, the more I understand what it means to ‘submit’ to my husband and allow him to lead…..even if his leading is not perfect or according to the Word. But what I discover is that….this releases me and makes the yoke I carry so much lighter and I can testify to the ‘fruit’ that this submission bears! I have never been more in love with my husband as I am today……as we celebrate our 28th Anniversary!

  5. Donna Miller
    Donna Miller says:

    As a wife who did not do in this manner and virtually ripped the roll of Spiritual head of the household away from my darling, God-loving, man after God’s own heart – husband just to be more ‘Torah observant’….I know now the difficulties in repairing this usurping of authority.

    We are still married and closer every day to the restoration of the rolls that the Master intended….but the one twist that the enemy puts into this movement is wives becoming spiritually arrogant and misplacing our husband’s authority as if we know more. It shuts doors that he may have gone through and seen for himself.

    Even if the wife wants to follow Torah….and the husband does not yet see….handled correctly, submissively and humbly, he is likely to SEE sooner rather than be resistant because we stole a roll and position that God intended for the husband to have in the home.

    Don’t make this costly mistake, since the union of two as man and wife was prior to the written Torah, it is most sacred, a picture of the Bride and Bridegroom.

  6. kim
    kim says:

    This is so timely. the Holy Spirit has been trying to teach me this same truth. I get so fearful at times when I think about him not obeying the Word like tithes and offerings. and not really studing the Word. I believe it leaves open doors to the enemy and thus causing me more pain and suffering. Yet if I just put him in God’s hands and trust God that he will teach him and convict him while I pray and humbly submit that this is where the protection is cause I will be obeying his”God’s” word and yes he knows the hearts of all mankind. I believe this is a time for all women to humble themselves and pray and “stand by their man” and they will one day thank us and we will be made better though it all. I have come to believe that the enemy is the one here putting the fear into us women to get us t o rebel against our husbands and God. Women need to feel secure and we feel secure in the fact of obeying the Word and yet we forget that submitting to our husbands is obeying the Word. Right Kevin?

  7. Nancy Santiago
    Nancy Santiago says:

    Wonderful word! In our pursuit of God, we sometimes forget that God is Love and that His goal for our lives is that we might grow in self-sacrificial love as we deny ourselves daily, pick up the stake, and follow Him. Even Paul, a Jew among Torah observant Jews said in I Cor. 9:19-21

    “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Messiah’s law), so as to win those not having the law.”

  8. Linda Underwood-Willis
    Linda Underwood-Willis says:

    Thank you Kevin for a fine and timeless article.
    In my own marriage,as I submitted to Dan in our marriage,
    He(being led by the Holy Spirit )began to follow in the old
    path,and found something precious in theMessianic Jewish
    Halacha,something His Heart longed for…….Love never fails.!
    Tod ay we senve in Shomair Yesrael,and in prison ministry
    where we attend Sunday services,and love everyone both
    Jew and Gentile…….We cant throw away one Law to forfill
    another!Our Messiath taught Love was the major laws,not
    the minors….Do not surrender but submit!Baruchatah

  9. Kay
    Kay says:

    Whilst this teaching is indisputable, does being a husbands helper mean that the wife is chief cook and bottle washer and that the husband is exempt from household contributions . In other words the house work is her job. There is no doubt that this teaching has produced exactly this, chauvinists. It would be great to have clarification.Even when both are working full-time out of necessity, the man sits back and expects her alone to do the cooking and housework. Should not equal contribution be done?Is her life meant to be on hold so that he does what he likes?Surely that is not fair. How ever as an after thought, serve the L-rd with gladness. Whatever you do do it for the glory of G-d.
    It doesn’t help to go around brassed off , angry and resentful. Yes in the end there is no choice but to trust that G-d will issue in the balance, adjustments and the necessary change, and that does require faith and patience, persevering in doing right. Anger does not bring about the righteousness.

    • Kevin
      Kevin says:

      Shalom Kay!

      I would not say that equal contribution necessarily means equal household chores — but it could. However, what you are describing here is not a situation that results when the Scriptures are correctly applied, but when the husband violates the command to love his wife as Messiah loves us.

      Paul’s teaching should not result in chauvinism. That said, it should also not result in husbands and wives sharing all the responsibilities of marriage evenly. It’s not about what’s fair — that’s a worldly value. It’s about doing what’s right, and fulfilling our God-given roles.

      The responsibility for the husband/father to lead is his alone; the wife’s honor to bring forth children into the world is hers alone, etc. As manager of the house, the husband is responsible to manage it well — that may mean he shares the chores, it may mean he does none of them… or all of them! Whatever the case, it should be loving, and it should be what’s best for his family — not to be self-serving.

      The point of the above article, however, is that the wife has the unique responsibility to submit — whether the husband is worthy of that submission or not. The wife’s submission does not excuse him from being a man, nor justify his being a lazy jerk. We each have our responsibilities, and the failure of others does not release us from fulfilling them.


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