A marriage with domestic discipline (DD) is one in which one partner—typically the husband—has power over the other and is capable of enforcing that authority through physical punishment, such as spanking. When one or both spouses in a marriage use biblical justification to justify an unbiblical and un-Christian lifestyle, this is referred to as “Christian domestic discipline.”
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What is Christian domestic discipline?
Domestic discipline proponents base their arguments on a number of verses that have been drastically misinterpreted and taken out of context.
According to the interpretation of Ephesians 5:22–24, the wife is subject to her husband as if the Lord Himself were her spouse, and the husband is the head of the family.
Advocates of CDD use this scripture to support physical punishment and spanking of the wife as acceptable methods of discipline by the husband.
This reading, nonetheless, fails to capture the passage’s main point. This odd interpretation ignores the reality that the Lord never commands or even permits the physical punishment of wives by husbands in Scripture, despite the fact that wives are to submit to their husbands as they would the Lord.
Children should only be spanked because they cannot be reasoned with and because in many situations, physical punishment is the only method to shield kids from their own stupidity.
In fact, failing to do so would be extremely detrimental to children (Proverbs 13:24; 23:13-14). Contrarily, wives are not children and can most definitely comprehend biblical ideas without the need for coercion.
Facts about Christian domestic discipline
As Christ loves the Church, which is His body, so should husbands love their wives. The Lord Jesus never physically reprimanded His disciples, and Ephesians 5:25, which states that He “loved the church and gave himself up for her,” summarizes His relationship with His Church.
This is the model a husband should set for his wife, nurturing and cherishing her as Christ does the Church, even to the point of laying down his life for her. He should also teach and reason with her using the Scriptures.
In addition, Ephesians 5:28–29 instructs husbands to treat their wives as they would their own bodies. There is no need to use this verse to support applying corporal punishment to a wife unless a husband frequently administers it to himself.
Following the concept of church discipline found in Matthew 18:15–20, biblical counseling is the next move if a wife is genuinely acting in rebellion against her husband.
Wives are instructed to respect and love their husbands “in everything” (Ephesians 5:24). But it is obvious that wives should not comply with their husbands’ demands when those demands go against God’s desire.
Wives are instructed in Titus 2:5 to “be submissive to their husbands so that no one will slander the word of God,” which clarifies this further.
Women have more than enough reason to refuse to participate in something so humiliating, unloving, and dominating as spanking, which is against biblical teaching and is advocated by some who label it “Christian” discipline.
Domestic punishment is, at best, an odd, unbiblical custom and, at worst, a justification for violence. Couples have every right to engage in this behavior if they jointly choose to do so.
But to claim that the Bible supports it and to use it as justification for it is not only absurd and unsupported by the text, but also runs counter to all biblical teachings on love and respect for one another in awe of Christ (Ephesians 5:21).