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Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
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Our readers asked:

Does the Bible Say Men Should Love Wives More than Their Mothers?

Ann Naffziger Answers:

Question: In spiritual law, men leave their mothers for their wife, when they marry. But if a man chooses to love and cherish the mother OVER the wife, isn’t this a conflict that God would not encourage?

There is nothing in scripture that declares that a man should love or cherish his wife more than his mother, but it simply points to a change in the relationship that marriage occasions for the man (Genesis 2:24). A man is called to a different manner of loving his mother than his wife, and these different kinds of loving can’t be compared quantitatively. Once a man marries, his relationship with his mother will necessarily need to be reoriented, not lessened. If he discovers that he can’t find it in himself to love another woman as deeply (though differently) as he loves his mother, or he consistently finds himself deeming his partner less worthy of consideration and respect than his mother, this gives reason for pause before entering into marriage.

If a man is looking for a hard and fast rule of “Who should I listen to? My mom or my wife?” the Bible doesn’t offer an answer. A mother and wife aren’t meant to be set against each other in a competition for the man’s loyalty or love. If there is a conflict between the two, there is no spiritual law stating that the man must “take sides” with one or the other. After all, loving and cherishing isn’t about taking sides at all, but respecting and accepting two different ways of being, and moving forward in both relationships with as much integrity and authenticity as possible.

The Author : Ann Naffziger
Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.
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  • Thuso

    I am very sorry, I totally differ with the statement. A man should not love a woman more than his mother but husbands should love their wives more than anybody else. That is why God commanded the man to leave his mother and father after he has take a wife. Husbands love to their wives is compared to Christ love to the church. Husbands SHOULD and MUST love their wives more than anybody else. This is biblical. Ephesians 5:28. Biblical when the man takes a wife, there is no connection between him and the his parents either than honouring them. Once you become a husband your love, care and responsibility is your wife. As a husband you have a responsibility to love your wife and treat her with dignity, honor and understanding as she is a weaker vessel. Read 1 Peter 3:7

  • jimnjoy

    Genesis 2:24 says ” …a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” They become a new family. We are to honor our parents and this does not cease with the leaving and the union of husband with wife. However, the word “leave” indicates a transfer of priority to the new family.

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