For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.–2 Corinthians 11:21
God’s intention for marriage is fidelity. This is clear in 1 Corinthians chapter 7, when it discussed the physical purpose for marriage, that is, that each spouse can enjoy intimacy within the context of marriage and not have to indulge in illicit sex. The Bible repetitively emphasizes the faithfulness of God, even when His people have been unfaithful to Him and forgot about Him.
God is a jealous God, and in one verse, it even calls His name Jealous. He wants to be at the center of our being. And when Israel was no longer faithful to Him, he indicates that He will establish a covenant with a people that were not His people in order to provoke Israel to jealousy. Now, this is not a game. I want to emphasize that there is no deceit in God or guile in Him. He is upfront and straightforward. Our God is a god of truth and not deceit, dishonesty.
Paul emphasizes this in the above verse when he says that there is a godly jealousy. Paul is saying that he desires that the people should love God with their whole hearts and not be deceived and led aside by the deceits of Satan to another gospel.
Likewise, a wife or husband should love their spouse with the whole heart and not be deceived into infidelity. Infidelity is the key word here. The reason for jealousy is infidelity. In the law, if a woman was suspected of being unfaithful to her spouse, she had to go through a special ritual to prove her faithfulness to him (Number 5:12-31).
If we take this back and put it within the context of 1 Corinthians 7, it says that couples should not refrain from having intimate relationships except for the purpose of praying and fasting, lest Satan should tempt the partner who is not receiving their spouse’s attentions to go aside to another. Let’s emphasize this. If your spouse does not receive your intimate love, they will be tempted of Satan to go aside to another. To let your spouse think that you would go aside to another then is being tempted of Satan. God would not intend that you should go aside to another, ever, unless the bond of marriage had been irretrievably broken, as was the case with God and Israel.
God was jealous over Israel because she was actually unfaithful to him, not simply because she forgot about him. If we become lax in our love for God, if we are not faithful to him with our whole heart, He isn’t going to forget about us. Rather, He will woo us back to Him. It was only when Israel broke its covenant with God by going aside to false gods that He said He would establish the new covenant, which Israel is actually at the core of.
Now, within the context of the red pill philosophy is a game called “dread”. In this game, a man whose partner is lackluster in her desire for him or even refrains from having intimacy with him, will use jealousy as a tool in order to drive her crazy with jealousy over the real or imagined possibility that he has other lovers. In fact, within psychology, the game of dread perfectly fits the description of narcissistic triangulation.
While it is certainly sinful for a spouse to withhold intimacy (Paul calls it fraud), Paul never indicates that a spouse should provoke their spouse to jealousy in order to overcome that. Jealousy is a tool for unfaithfulness, not laxity of duty. To introduce jealousy into one’s marriage is not a response of agape love which calls us to love our spouse as oneself. And God calls us to honesty, not deceitfulness and psychological games. Whether or not the game achieves the desired end is not important and it’s not even about the motivation. It’s the honesty with which one carries it out. As we can see both in the example of God and Israel, and with Paul, there is never a game-playing. Games impede true intimacy. God does not play games.
In Rollo Tomassi’s the Rational Male, the purpose isn’t even to achieve faithfulness or even to call a partner back to intimacy, but to enhance the passionate response of one’s partner. This game is deceitful, dishonest, keeps a woman uncertain about her partner’s faithfulness to her, and is completely contrary to the principles of agape love. God wants a man to treat his spouse as if she were his own flesh, and to cleave to her, not to be dishonest and play games of deceit with her to fulfill his own narcissistic ego or his desire to exploit her emotionally and physically for his own lusts.
A Christian who indulges in the game of dread is not being faithful to bible principles and is not relying on Christ to resolve the problem. Rather he is setting himself up as God (the alt-Christian “alpha male” flaw) and being deceitful and dishonest. Whether or not the game succeeds or not is not the issue.
Paul indicates the proper Christian response when we have been wronged by another Christian: take the issue first to the person, then to the church. If they will not hear the church, they are to be treated as an unbeliever (Matthew 18:17). Refraining from sex is a matter of duty and not of fidelity, which in the Bible is the only purpose for jealousy. Indeed, if we look to the Law, men who had a spirit of jealousy were to take their wives to a priest to prove her faithfulness. It would befit a Christian man then, rather than playing deceitful games, to take his wife to the preacher if he feels she has wronged him and will not listen to him.
Our relationship with our spouse should always be governed by agape love. What does love demand, and how does the Bible handle my problem? These should be the two questions any Christian spouse should ask when dealing with problems within their marriage. Not relying on pseudo-science and psychology.
Pamela Parizo © 2017