Can a woman be RAPED by her mate?
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Question: Can a woman be RAPED by her own husband?
Answer: The general definition of rape is that it is the forcing of one person (usually a woman), against their will, to have sexual intercourse or commit sex acts with another person. Does this definition also apply to those who are MARRIED? What does the Bible teach about the proper sexual relationship between a husband and a wife? Does God give men CONTROL over the bodies of the women they marry? Let us look at what the Apostle Paul has to say on the subject.
"Rather, to avoid sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render his conjugal dues to his wife, and in the same way also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have power over her own body, but the husband; and in the same way also, the husband does not have power over his own body, but the wife.
Do not deprive one another of conjugal dues, except it be by consent for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to fasting and prayer; and then come together again as one, so that Satan will not tempt you through your lack of self-control. (1Corinthians 7:2-5, Holy Bible in Its Original Order - A Faithful Version (HBFV))
It is clear from the above verses that sex within marriage involves a concern for the needs of the OTHER person. Each person in a marriage transfers the right to use their body as they wish to the other person. In marriage, each one loses the sole authority they had over their bodies as when they were single. The duty to fulfill the other person's sexual needs does not stop unless by MUTUAL (not one-sided, as when sex is used like a weapon to get one's way) consent. Once the reason for refraining is fulfilled, the duty of providing for the other's needs goes immediately back in effect and for not any time longer.
A very good example for women to follow regarding their duties and responsibilities in marriage is the story of the righteous or virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.
In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul offers additional vital information on the relationship between a married man and women.
"Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord; For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. For even as the church is subject to Christ, in the same way also let wives be subject to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your own wives, in the same way that Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; So that He might sanctify it, having cleansed it with the washing of water by the Word; That He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it might be holy and without blame.
"In the same way, husbands are duty bound to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself; For no man has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord does the church.
"Nevertheless, let each one of you love his wife even as himself; and let each wife see that she reverence her husband." (Ephesians 5:22-29, 33, HBFV)
The relationship between husband and wife transcends the physical. Paul repeats his teaching of mutual submission in marriage but also offers a standard or template by which each person can gauge themselves. The husband is the head of the wife and should serve her selflessly as Christ, the head of the church, gave himself totally for it. A husband's example of love and concern should lead his wife to a godlier life. On the other side, the wife should reverence her husband and take her responsibilities within marriage with the same attitude of submission as she has to God.
Given the definitions above and the teachings of Paul, can a married man RAPE his wife? Yes. A godly relationship is one that has mutual submission, respect and love. A man who physically forces any woman, whether or not he is married to her, to have sex against her will, is committing an act of rape. A man who forces his wife to have sex is violating the Biblical principles regarding the marriage covenant.