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Caitlin Kennell Kim
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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.

 
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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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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • JuliePurple

    Love cannot be mandated. Behaviour can. An individual has a responsibility to care for family; if married, the spouse should come first, generally speaking. That doesn’t mean that other family should be ignored, though. Really, it’s common sense.. You don’t need a book to tell you that. But Elishia, unless your fiance’s mother is in some way incapacitated or otherwise lacking the ability to care for herself, it sounds like the apron strings are just a wee bit tight there, eh? And he has a responsibility to you now, since he has affected your health by making you pregnant. And of course, if a child is born, he is responsible for that, too. It probably wouldn’t hurt if you were to consult someone more used to dealing with this kind of thing… maybe your doctor could refer you to a family or relationship counselor? Because having a kid is a hugs responsibility, as you know! This isn’t the time to just sort of hope it all works out and get all philosophical. You don’t have a lot of time to muck about. I sure do wish you very good luck with it all.

  • http://batman-news.com Elishia Welsh

    my fiance always picks spending time with his mother of his family he eats meals with her buys everything she wants or needs he takes care of her. if she goes on vacation when she comes home its all about mommy he calls her. its weird and ruining our relationship.i dont agree with it becuase it is way too much like he obsesses with her.i still yet to have met her but we live next door and i am currently having a baby by him.i dont knoow what to do im almost ready to say im done is this selfish of me?

  • 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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