5 Reasons Why I Ask for My Husband’s Permission

5 Reasons Why I Ask for My Husband’s Permission December 3, 2015


A friend once asked me if we could get together for a girls night out, and I naturally replied as I always do to these invitations, “I’d love to!  Let me ask Dave first, and I will let you know…”  My friend rolled her eyes and laughed under her breath as she replied, “Really?  You need your husband’s permission?  Gah.  My husband and I never ask for permission.  I just do my thing.  And, he does his thing.”

I couldn’t believe she said that.  Why would this even be an issue?

Sure.  There are times I honestly don’t want to ask Dave’s permission, but I do it anyway because HE IS MY HUSBAND.  I love him.  We are one.  Our individual lives are interdependent.  Therefore, every personal decision we make automatically brings joint consequences.


We don’t always seek permission about minor things like what to wear or what to eat, but we have always consulted each other on most everything else.  And, I like it.  It works for us.


In spite of my own feelings about the matter, my friend’s response got me thinking.

Am I the NORM or is asking your spouse’s permission before making scheduling decisions or major lifestyle changes a RARE thing?


Honestly, I don’t know.  But, I do know that my husband, Dave, and I have a better marriage because of it, and here’s why:


1.  Asking permission is a sign of RESPECT.

Whenever Dave asks me if he can go somewhere and do something, I feel loved and respected.  We are married after all.  Why wouldn’t we consult each other first before placing something on the calendar, applying for a new job, or moving?  These things affect BOTH of us, so we need to discuss it first out of respect for one another.

For more on this, check out, “5 Signs that We are Too Critical of Our Spouse and How to Turn it Around”, by clicking here.


2.  It ensures LESS CONFLICT.

The phrase “just do it and ask for forgiveness later” doesn’t work in marriage.  We need to ask each other first, so it will be less likely for us to fight about a decision later.  When we make a decision TOGETHER beforehand…no matter what the outcome may be…we can stay unified and resist pointing fingers at one another later.

For more on how to handle conflict in your marriage, please read, “4 BIG DOs and DON’Ts When Arguing with Your Spouse”, by clicking here.


3.  We both feel EMPOWERED.

Some may argue that asking for permission creates a marriage that is more like a parent-child relationship, but that isn’t true when BOTH ask for it.  Please let me be clear here…it is NOT healthy or acceptable for one partner to constantly have to ask the other for permission when the partner being asked goes off and does whatever he/she pleases.  This is manipulative and unloving and can lead to abusive behavior.

For more on this, read “3 Ways How Asking for Your Spouse’s Permission Can Go Wrong”, by clicking here.

Whenever we go to our spouse to consult with him/her on a decision, we both walk away empowered.  It doesn’t mean that we couldn’t make that particular decision on our own; it just means that we don’t want to.  We love and respect our spouse enough to seek his/her guidance and desire to make a collective decision.

For more on this, check out my blog, “My husband doesn’t complete me, and I will tell you why.”, by clicking here.

There will certainly be times when the husband and wife will be at a standstill when making a certain decision.  In this case, the Bible tells us that the husband should make the call (Ephesians 5:22-33).  Read my husband’s blog, “The Truth about Submission in Marriage” , for more on this.



When we ask for our partner’s permission before deciding to do things like have a girls’ night out, go to the game with the guys, take on another job, change jobs, choosing when to go to the gym, switch daycares, go back to school, serve on the PTA, etc., we get more perspective and insight from each other and make a more informed decision.  We help each other weigh the pros and cons to decide if something is a good fit or at the right time.  Sure, some of the scenarios I listed are bigger decisions than others, but all are important enough to discuss as a couple.


5.  It keeps us ENGAGED in each other’s lives.

Sadly, I hear from too many married couples who are stuck in a lonely, unengaged existence.  Some are nothing more than roommates living separate lives like passing ships in the night.  They wake up, say “hello”, go to work without a call or text to one another all day, come home, run the kids to where they need to go, eat dinner without a word or in separate places, maybe meet up with a friend or focus all their attention on the kids at night, say “goodnight”, and go to bed…in two different worlds…a million miles apart.

What happened?  They stopped engaging in the “everyday moments”.  They stopped talking.  They stopped trying.  They assumed they could do it all on their own, and they did.

Why be married if you want to go it alone?

Read,  “The BIG Lie that Leads to a Lonely Marriage”, for more on this.

We need to know and be a part of everything going on in each others’ lives.  This keeps the flame blazing.  It’s no mistake that we call our pre-marital season our “engagement”.  When we were engaged, we planned our wedding, dreamt about our future, spent every moment we had together, and were excited about what God had in store for us.

The engagement should NEVER stop.  Marriage calls for deeper engagement between husband and wife, and asking for permission and insight from one another is a big part of staying connected with one another.

Looking for a FUN, easy, and practical way to enhance your marriage?  Check out our NEW Marriage App, by clicking here.

I’d love to connect with you on my NEW author page on Facebook and on Pinterest.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read and share this blog.  Be blessed!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Priscilla Lynn Lusk

    I wouldn’t really call it “asking permission” though. There’s no problem in running plans by the other whenever possible. What if he had wanted to surprise you with a romantic date?

  • Jessica Waters

    I cant and wont comment or even have an opinion on most of the article, as I am happily single and have no desire to change that, but I did want to thank you profusely for adding this note to your article… it is an IMPORTANT note…

    Please let me be clear here…it is NOT healthy or acceptable for
    one partner to constantly have to ask the other for permission when the
    partner being asked goes off and does whatever he/she pleases. This is
    manipulative and unloving and can lead to abusive behavior.

  • Dawn

    Most ridiculuos rule ever.

  • Ashleigh

    I love this article. My partner and I are engaged, soon to be married, and we always talk to each other about plans before committing to something. Ive often had people roll their eyes and say that its silly, we should be able to go out whenever we like etc…. So Im very glad other people in healthy relationships can vouch for the fact that what my partner and I do works. And its not a bad, or abnormal thing.

  • BrandyS

    I don’t “ask permission” However with that being said, if I want to do something or buy something I will talk to my husband about it or tell him my plans to make sure that he knows what I want or am doing. He has never once told me I couldn’t do something or go somewhere and I have never told him he couldn’t. Yes we are one but we also have to be ourselves so we do not lose ourselves in our relationship. I love my husband and we have been married for 11 years. But I think its ridiculous when someone says let me ask permission to see if I can go.

  • James

    She isn’t asking permission, she is consulting with her partner to see if there are any other plans as of yet unknown to her that she needs to be aware of to avoid causing issues.

    It is called being a responsible adult in a relationship.

  • ashleywillis4

    Hi Dawn,
    We don’t consider it a “rule” in our marriage. it’s just something we have always done out of respect of one another and it simply works for us. Thanks for reading. Blessings to you and your family!

  • ashleywillis4

    Yes!! Thank you for reiterating this point. It is very important that couples understand this. Thanks so much for reading the blog. Blessings to you!!

  • ashleywillis4

    I ALWAYS welcome a romantic surprise!! Thanks for reading.

  • ashleywillis4

    Thanks so much for your input. I agree with you, but I think that the word “permission” is sometimes understood as being something negative depending on our past experience with it. Other words I might use instead of permission is consent, blessing, or even empowerment.

  • James

    She states “let me ask my husband” her friend frames it as permission. She continues on with that train of thought. She then follows up explaining what they are doing which is clearly not asking for permission but rather coordinating schedules.

  • James

    Really? Because I certainly ask my wife for permission before I start having sex with her.

  • James

    Is there a reading comprehension issue here?

  • Pablo Sologaistoa

    I appreciate your article on this… And I think you make a good point however it’s not really about asking permission but rather having communication between an equal partner. After all, isn’t that what a good relationship is based on?? Marriage is a deeper and a more intimate level of friendship.

  • James

    So it’s great when a partner asks for permission or it’s not for two adults in a relationship? You can’t seem to make up your mind.

  • James

    Do you often contribute only 3 or 4 words to a conversation in the hopes that your lack of ability to hold a conversation will be ignored?

    I already explained what was clearly happening in the article which is something you obviously did not pick up on.

    You then proceed to respond with practically useless commentary which in no way addresses anything which was said.

  • James

    I am not trying to have an argument, I am trying to have you clarify your statement which seems to be contradictory.

  • HJB

    This is just about healthy communication. Which is great. “Permission” implies authority and unbalanced hierarchy. If both parties “ask permission” – it honestly is just both parties consulting one another for input. Your friend saying that you have to ask for ‘permission’ was just shady and misdirected. She intentionally chose that word to imply uneven standing. But what you’ve indicated is that having discussions is not about authority but equal and often deference and mindfulness of your partner. Good read

  • HJB


  • James

    Less upset, more annoyed with folks who cannot seem to grasp simple reading concepts. And then those same folks following up with useless commentary when called on it. It gets annoying quickly.

    She states in various places she is asking permission for the reason I already outlined, she is framing the article based on the way her friend stated it, this where where your lack of reading comprehension is coming into play. This is what is so aggravating, it has been explained to you already and you still fail to grasp it.

    It again wasn’t her term, her friend chose the term specifically I am sure due to its subservient sounding nature. She continued on with it as part of the article to keep the reader following her prompts to come to the same conclusions. It is a literary style choice.

    Your final statement is EXACTLY what she is conveying, her friend framed it as asking for permission (as if that’s a bad thing) and so she stepped through what it is they actually do and why it is not a bad thing but is rather a sign of mutual respect and care in a healthy and loving relationship.

    Asking permission is not in and of itself a bad thing, it is not a negative thing, my wife asks me for permission all the time and I ask her as well. We are making sure the other has no plans and that we are coordinating our scheduled without screwing the other up.

    This is exactly what I stated in my first post to you but in a much less verbose form.

  • Raylyn Hilliard Ramsgard

    I agree that this is is about communication rather than permission. I do have a problem with the statement that when the couple are unable to come to an agreement, the wife should let the husband decide. How is that empowering to the wife? How is that an equal partnership?

  • Gangle

    I never ask permission and I don’t expect my husband to either. If I want to go go out with friends I CHECK with my husband to make sure we have no prexisting plans and that he is able to watch the baby, and of course to inform him of my plans, but that is it. On bigger decisions we discuss them like adults and come to an agreement. I think it comes down to communication and respect, not asking permission.

  • Virgil Brister Sr.

    i and married for 22 years we have always consulted each other on this sort if issue its part of a healthy marriage.

  • Adam Hunsicker

    Great article! There is a subtle difference between asking for permission and simply consulting with your partner that seems to be lost on a lot of the commenters here.

    When consulting, you’re asking for your partners opinion, but ultimately the decision rests with you. There is a certain level of respect insinuated by this, but no submission.

    Asking for permission (and thereby giving your partner the ability to veto your decision) displays not only the same respect but also shows your willingness to submit to your partners will. If such submission is one-sided the effects are incredibly toxic. However, when BOTH husband and wife agree to submit to one another it builds a level of trust not seen when you simply look to each other for advice.

    If you’re not willing to give your partner the ability to tell you “no, don’t do that” (or put prerequisites on that power such as they need to have a “good reason”) then you’re showing that you don’t trust them to have your best interests at heart. Whether they truly don’t have your best interests in mind or it’s just you believing that doesn’t matter, the end result is just as toxic as one-sided submission.

  • ashleywillis4

    Hi Raylyn,
    My husband’s blog that I shared within the article explains the concept of “submission” more extensively. This is a biblical practice that simply states that when husband and wife cannot compromise on something…which is hopefully a rare occurrence…the husband should be the one who makes the call. The Bible also says that the responsibility and weight of the decision falls on him when he does this as well. I hope that explanation makes sense. Thank you so much for your response.

  • ashleywillis4

    HJB, I love your input!! Thanks so much for reading and responding.

  • ashleywillis4

    We are BOTH asking for permission…hence coordination. As I stated in the blog, one-sided asking of permission is unhealthy and sometimes abusive. I appreciate your input. Take care.

  • ohayayay

    “We are married after all. Why wouldn’t we consult each other first before placing something on the calendar, applying for a new job, or moving? ”

    Well–because one of these things is not like the other. If I consulted or actually “asked permission” of my husband every time I put something on my calendar, and he to me, we would never be able to do our jobs. It’s really bizarre to me to equate the decision of how to spend one evening with deciding to change jobs or move. I’m not spending every night away from my spouse, and if that starts to happen for some reason, we will intervene with each other to create more time together. If my spouse applied for a new job or MOVED (as in…houses) without consulting me, that’s another matter.

  • ronjnail

    I check with my wife before committing to things, too. It’s not “asking permission”, it’s checking to make sure what I want to do isn’t in conflict with something we have planned otherwise, etc. I do it for all the reasons outlined in the article. I love my wife and we are equal PARTNERS in the relationship.

  • ronjnail

    I think the moving or taking a new job are extreme examples in this case. Anybody would be crazy to do those things without checking with their spouse. But checking with them before scheduling a night out with other is really nothing more than courtesy.

  • Mandie

    I do love the respect you show in your marriage. That is most certainly lacking in today’s marriages. Initially I found your post silly. My husband and I got married pretty young and are coming up on our 15th anniversary. Sadly we have watched many of our friends marriages come and go due to many factors but they all start with losing respect for your spouse and your marriage. We make certain “rules” out of respect for each other as well and others find them silly, but they work for us. I do not feel the need to ask “permission” or even run all of my daily activities by my husband(he most certainly wouldn’t want me to), but it is not out of disrespect or lack of concern for his feelings and opinions. He respects and has faith in my ability to make the right decisions for our family. We do, obviously, discuss bigger things, but I don’t even think to run it by him if I decide to go to lunch with my sisters or parents while he is at work. That works for us though. I do love that the Bible is a part of your marriage! Keep doing what works for your marriage since that is the one you made vows to. ☺

  • 1233fire

    For me, it is more than courtesy. It is respect for the other’s feelings. I never know how my wife is feeling unless I ask? Also, I trust her discernment (intuition if you like). I really appreciate the comment in the article about every decision having a consequence for both…That is really true!

  • Taylor Grace

    “Am I the NORM or is asking your spouse’s permission before making scheduling decisions or major lifestyle changes a RARE thing?”

    That’s a stretch. I thought you were talking about just one evening, not a “major lifestyle change”. Plus, you also have to remember you are also your own individual person too, you should be able to go out with a friend without having to “ask permission”. Communication, and asking permission are different things. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill Ashley.

  • Caryn LeMur

    HJB: love what you wrote! I think you are insightful on this exchange… the friend selected a wording ‘that implied uneven standing’.

    I see from some of the other thoughts that ‘permission’ as used by Ashley may have been a semantically loaded word. I like their suggestions: communication, coordination, and yours – mindfulness.

  • Caryn LeMur

    I don’t know about that approach Ashley. My wife and I tried that approach off and on for 30 years, and it simply did not work for us. The last 10 years of our marriage have allowed extensive delay of decision, modification of plans, searching for win/win situations, role changes to the ‘best qualified partner’… and this has made our marriage much less ‘evangelical biblical’ but much more loving.

  • James

    Yup, you laid it out perfectly, some folks just didn’t understand it, they got hung up on a single word and missed the forest for the trees.

  • Jem

    Discussing and deciding together is NOT permission. You can’t use one in the title for clickbait and then talk about something entirely different in your post – not and be taken seriously. Permission is asked and granted, not decided together. That is just called communicating. There are actually a lot of other ways to do things than either permission or “I just do my thing”. We have 4 kids. I have to coordinate “my thing” with 5 other schedules. I still do not ask permission, neither of my husband nor of my kids.

  • Tangela Linn Cameron

    Based on your article it does not sound like you are actually asking his permission. It doesn’t sound so much like you are seeking APPROVAL to go out with your friend as much as you are making sure he did not have any other plans. Over matters of large decisions and scheduling I check with my husband out of respect, because he may have plans or something else in mind. I don’t feel like that is asking permission though. That is plain old communication.

  • Don

    If her husband is not there to protect her and she gets raped and pregnant, they’re raising that baby together so you’re damn right she needs his permission!

  • Kevin

    Love your comment! I was thinking the same thing. Too many people are so tied up discussing which “word” was used that they lose sight of the main point. In my opinion, the word “permission” is not being used in its “normal” every day format. It is like you say, “giving your partner the ability to veto your decision”. That is a very powerful statement. When I inform my wife that I set an appointment to do something, and not give her a chance to have input, she is left “powerless” in the entire process. Perhaps she had an idea for that time slot, but didn’t have time to talk to me about it yet. I just took her “equality” in the decision away from her. That is a lack of respect. For us personally, I have “permission” to schedule appointments at certain times (we have a business), but I am also informed very early about times I CANNOT schedule things too. Or if an opportunity to do something shows up, we discuss it to see if it suits us both, or if we need to work out other things to make it happen. It is FAR more than just communicating, but more about participating in each other’s lives.

  • Melinda Todd

    Some of the most miserable couples I’ve ever been around are the ones doing their own thing with no regard for each other. The lack of respect alone would drive me mad. It’s loving to check in with the person you have promised your LIFE to. They should matter more than any other person. I’m not sure “permission” is the right word here. It’s a mutual respect to check in with each other and make sure it works for you as a couple and family. Some of my friends are the ones who get dumped on. Husbands who make plans w/o any regard for the wife and she is always left alone with the kids and never gets to go out with her own friends or go anywhere. Or the selfish ones who spend all their home time on computer games. Marriage is a partnership. I’m so grateful my husband doesn’t make plans w/o talking to me first and I know he feels the same about me. I feel bad for friends who don’t have a marriage full of mutual respect and caring of one another.

  • Melinda Todd

    The more I think about it, the less I think permission should have been used as the title.
    Permission definition: consent; authorization.

    Communication: the imparting or exchanging of information or news.

  • Terri

    The Bible does not say that. It does have plenty of verses directed to wives (those are the wives’ business) and plenty of verses directed to husbands (those are the husbands’ business). Not one of the verses directed to husbands in the entire Bible instructs husbands to take charge of their wives in any way, or to make decisions for them. What those verses *do* say is: love, cherish, nourish, live with her in an understanding way, be faithful lest your prayers be hindered, love your wife as Christ loved the church and *gave Himself* for her.

    This emphasis on males making decisions is not biblical. The Bible is not its source, although it is widely accepted and is widespread church tradition in many churches. Wishing to study and follow the Bible’s instructions on marriage will require married people to sometimes go against secular culture when it is wrong, and sometimes to go against church tradition when that is wrong.

    Verses directed to wives to submit to their husbands are highly relevant for wives; just be very careful there in what we assume “submission” is. “Your wife has to do what you say” is not it. Check the rest of the Bible for clarification on that. Not many people know that Ephesians 5:22 (the infamous verse) does not even contain the word “submission” in the original language.

    Why not? Because wives weren’t supposed to submit? No, because the word “submission” was introduced in verse 21 as applying to *everyone,* so as it was originally written, the verses after 21 were meant to explain how husbands and wives were to submit to one another — the word applied to both spouses.

    This is entirely in harmony with the rest of Scripture. We are always to love one another, serve one another, and submit to one another in love as fellow disciples of Christ.

    It’s worth noting that what is asked of wives (submit to your husbands as unto the Lord) is what they were already doing in that culture. They were not being asked to do anything but what secular culture already expected them to do (and what secular law already upheld).

    But husbands in this passage were given instructions that in that culture, at that time, were extraordinary. They were to treat their wives in a way that secular culture did not require — with love, respect, kindness, knowledge, patience, and yes, submission. (Verse 21 can’t be made to go away just because church tradition has only assigned it to one partner and it’s not convenient to assign to the other partner also.)

    The comments here about mutuality are entirely in keeping with Bible teaching, which is really the most important thing.

  • Ann

    I don’t ask my husbands permission, but we each ask each others permission. We both do it and have for 30 years.

  • FoxTS


  • texassa


  • Josue Mercado

    It is called permission. She asks and if he says no then it’s a no. There is something called compromise and that is a product of asking for permission.

  • squiddy20

    1. To your first point: “asking permission” to “place something on the calendar” to go out with your friends is on a whole different level than “asking permission” to “apply for a new job, or move”. If you don’t at least talk about the possibility of getting a new job, you quite frankly have a messed up relationship. But asking to go out with your friends? You shouldn’t need “permission” to do that. You’re a grown lady. Act like one. Does that mean you don’t tell your husband you’re going out with friends? No. But you don’t need to ask permission for that.

    2. As others have pointed out, what you’re talking about in your second point (and your entire article really) is what’s called “having a discussion”, not “asking for permission”. You even specifically say in your third point “Whenever we go to our spouse to consult with him/her on a decision”. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound anything like “asking for permission”. It sounds more like “having a discussion”. Try looking up the words you’re using before you post them to the Internet next time.

    3. Please, enlighten us all as to how asking for permission from your husband to go out with your friends gives you “more perspective and insight from each other and make a more informed decision.” Again, what you are describing is a discussion. Learn the difference.

    4. In your entire 5th point, you don’t even hint about anything having to do with “permission”. What you described is entirely about having a discussion, a conversation, a talk, and just generally being involved in your husband’s life. Get a thesaurus/dictionary next time, and learn to stay on topic.

  • Heather

    I think it’s fine to consult one another or solicit the other’s opinion on major decisions, but asking for “permission” is a totally different thing. I think a wife submitting to a man and giving him final authority is an abominable and completely ridiculous notion, however. Women need to stop participating in this antiquated and absurd practice and insist on being treated as equals. The best relationships are those in which the couple are peers and equal partners. Submission? No thanks! I’d rather spend the rest of my life single……

  • squiddy20

    Except, what she was talking about almost throughout her entire “article” wasn’t actually permission. From the first point: “Why wouldn’t we consult each other first” What’s another word for consult? Discuss. From the second point: “When we make a decision TOGETHER beforehand” What does that involve? Discussion. From the third point: “Whenever we go to our spouse to consult with him/her on a decision” What is the 6th synonym for “consult” as listed here: http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/consult?s=t ? That’s right, discuss. From the fourth point: “We help each other weigh the pros and cons to decide if something is a good fit or at the right time.” AKA, that mysterious thing called “discussion”. And to her fifth point, none of what she said could even remotely infer asking for permission.

    No, what she’s actually talking about throughout her entire article is having a discussion, but she apparently doesn’t know how to use a dictionary or thesaurus.

  • squiddy20

    “the husband should be the one who makes the call.” In that case, the woman would absolutely never be right/correct when confronted with an uncompromisable situation. Which is totally not the definition of compromise. Seriously, have you looked in a dictionary recently?

    Edit: to make my point clearer, your “biblical practice” is not compromise at all, it is subservience. This is the complete opposite of “mak[ing] a decision TOGETHER” as you claim you do in your second point. Compromise is one person getting more-or-less half of what they want, and the other getting the same. Your “biblical practice” is not even remotely in the realm of compromise, and whether you look at it this way or not, is actually quite demeaning toward the woman. This coming from a man. Maybe it’s just me, but I want a woman who’s strong, independent, and has a will of her own.
    Also, your source on the concept of submission is your husband’s blog? Call me crazy, but that sounds pretty biased. In fact, every single one of your “sources” is from either your or your husband’s blog/website. Did you ever write a research paper in your life?
    /end edit

  • squiddy20

    You seem to confuse “asking for permission” with “having a discussion”. Every single one of your points involves having a discussion. Your 5th point doesn’t even hint at anything to do with “permission”, but rather, just talking to your partner and being involved in their life.
    From your first point: You can tell your partner you’re going out with friends, without asking for permission. When you talk about getting a new job, choosing when to go to the gym, moving, or the litany of other things you mention in your 4th point; you’re having a discussion, a conversation, a dialogue. Not asking for permission. Unless you actually ask “can I get a new/different job?” or “may I go to the gym at 6:30?”, or “may I change our child’s daycare provider?”, my bet is you’re having a discussion about those topics, not asking for permission. If you are asking those kinds of questions, then, and only then, are you asking for permission.

    From your second point: “making a decision together” involves discussion, not permission.

    From your third point, what’s another way to say “Whenever we go to our spouse to consult with him/her on a decision”? That’s called having a discussion, not asking for permission.

    From your fourth point: “We help each other weigh the pros and cons to decide if something is a good fit or at the right time.” What is that the direct result of? A discussion. Nothing about that involves permission.

    You got wrapped up in the word your friend used, “permission”, (and how she used it) and falsely applied it to this article. Likewise, she also misinterpreted you saying you needed to ask your husband (I assume to see if he had plans, also called a discussion or “coordination” as you put it) as permission. You can coordinate schedules without asking for permission.

  • Heather

    This is a practice that has no place in modern society and should be done away with. I would rather be single than to have to play that role for the rest of my life. Women and men are equals in EVERY way – neither should hold the trump card or final word. Women should refuse to engage in this practice. Bible or not – it is an absolutely demeaning practice…..

  • AD

    I disagree. If this works for people that is fine but to me and not having kids thats too much. I can’t be friends with people that do this. Get to know your spouse, then you know what may or may not be a good time to make plans. We know each others work schedule. I do what I want. My friends are married and have kids, they know their schedules. Unless one has kids, its not somehow disrespectful to make plans with a friend, if I know our schedule, I am aware that we don’t have plans.

  • Robb Butterfield

    I think that’s part of the point of this whole article. It’s not only for the women in marriage, but applies to the men as well…seems equal to me. I do agree permission is a bad word. I don’t ask my wife permission to do anything and she does not ask mine, but we do discuss every decision we make.


    Lady, you, use, too, many, commas. WAY, too, many, commas.


    YIKES. So instead of deciding on the right partner to make each specific decision (because, you know, you may actually be better with certain decisions than him, even though you don’t believe it,) you just decided to go back a few decades and behave like women had to behave before they were given rights. The Suffrage Movement’s women must be turning in their graves. I say this with all best intentions… You have an inferiority complex if you think you shouldn’t be able to be the one making certain decisions. Therapy would be good and would help you see that you are an adult woman capable of making decisions just as much as he is capable. He isn’t God. The Bible says what it says because women used to be men’s slaves. I can’t believe you can’t see this. So sad.

    I discuss my plans with my boyfriend. We communicate with each other, and we discuss our options. But I sure as hell am not submissive to him. He is and EQUAL to me. I am not inferior to him. He is not superior to me. My opinion counts as much as his. This is what a healthy relationship is all about.

  • truthseeker7771

    Some of you read into things WAY to much. First, “asking permission” is a terrible way to describe this. . It’s nothing more than informing one’s spouse about potential plans in case the other has something else in mind to do that could conflict with things. Some couples may literally ask permission, but those are usually people who expect an account of every minute of the other’s day. Insecurity is the real issue in those instances. Couples who are comfortable in their own skin and trust the other don’t think twice about these things.


    Uummm… “There will certainly be times when the husband and wife will be at a standstill when making a certain decision. In this case, the Bible tells us that the husband should make the call (Ephesians 5:22-33). Read my husband’s blog, “The Truth about Submission in Marriage” , for more on this.”

  • Stephen M. Hoffman

    It is not necessarily just about a coordination of schedules people. Asking permission – when done by both partners is correct. it is submission to the other. “Submit yourselves one to the other” That means that my will is not paramount. My wife’s will is not paramount, and neither are either of us in any way diminished.

    I wholly admit that I have not practiced this in 19 years of marriage. However, while reading the article, I found a wonderful truth buried here. There are multiple things that begin to happen when this is put into practice. Cultivating this over years could be life changing.

    #1 – the partner being asked feels respected and loved.
    #2 – the partner asking is practicing submitting to the other
    #3 – the partner being asked gets to hear details about the others day, plans, wants, needs, desires, etc.
    #4 – the partner asking begins to become more comfortable with sharing details. Trust with small things becomes trust is large things.
    #5 – during the exchange, both partners communicate. They become more intertwined.
    #6 – trust is mutually built because there is no room for hiddenness.
    #7 – both partners become more familiar with the other – relationship deepens, less distance, less room for temptation or outside forces to enter and destroy the marriage.
    #8 – you learn what to pray for and how to go to war for your spouse.

    All of these happen because letting your partner know about any decision you are making breeds trust, communication, empathy, relationship, and love. Those who are bashing this seem very prideful and / or fearful. Like something will be taken away, or they would be less of a person if this were implemented in their relationship. and, BTW, you ARE SUPPOSED TO become lost in your partner. You are supposed to be one flesh. You should be so close that nothing can come between you. Why is that a BAD thing?

  • I don’t have a dog in the fight really as an unmarried person but reading your response makes me think your way would likely be a lot less healthy for a marriage. You seem simultaneously not accepting of decisions from other people (“I can’t be friends with people who do this.”) and very demanding that others accept what you choose to do (“I do what I want.”). In any relationship it seems more likely to succeed if you do the opposite in both those categories.

  • dmsday

    I not asking for permission so much as I am asking if we have anything to do as a family unit that is more important than what i’m planning to do. It’s being considerate.

  • Jermaine Walker

    I agree that the wording might be causing some confusion—and the concept she’s describing sounds much more common (i.e. checking in, letting them know, etc.) than the language here might indicate. Asking permission is a super loaded term considering the current cultural climate, especially woman-to-man. But then, some of the comments sound like they are describing the literal asking of permission—so, meh?

  • AD

    I say that because when a person has to ask permission to go to lunch or other things that are small, its simply trivial. It gets annoying because people work and why should my friend have to wait to tell me if she can go to lunch or hang out when her husband is at work or otherwise she knows she is free? If it what people choose to do thats fine but I do not have to be friends with them. I get it when they have kids or are calling because their sincerely not aware of family plans, but as an adult decision making is apart of life. Why is one so ignorant of their spouses life and schedule? I do what I want because I’m an adult. I chose to marry my husband. I love him and want to spend time with him, so I plan things to do with him. I want to spend time with him more than my friends, so I make time. I work a second job and we discussed my working on the weekends, our finances, and making sure on the days we are off from work (the weekend) that we make time for each other. Communication is key. Permission is not. This is just like having to ask to spend money on socks and nor do I ask if its ok for me to buy groceries. I don’t ask if I can cook dinner, clean the bathroom, and so on. I’ve observed a couple for my entire life that has been married 35 years. My mom does not ask for permission to do things. My parents communicate and have discussion about big things, like traveling out of town with friends, or spending a couple hundred dollars. I’ve been around other healthy long-term marriages and never seen women or men ask permission. A person’s wants don’t have to be selfish and inconsiderate. Wanting to be considerate of my husband’s feelings still does not warrant a need to ask permission like a child. We are married on some level I want his wants. Adults discuss things in question. People in relationships communicate or should.

  • there is no such thing as too many commas. only too many people who do not use enough OXFORD commas.

  • truthseeker7771

    I see it exactly as you describe and agree. As for those who are in a relationship with someone that has an expectation of getting their “permission” on any / all decisions, well good luck . If you aren’t miserable yet, give it time. It’s coming.

  • Bob643

    Apparently you do not care much for the “antiquated”, “ridiculous”, and “abominable” Bible as a guide for life. Or maybe you just haven’t taken the time to understand it.

  • mdsjhawk

    I’m not sure how it would cause less conflict. If I wanted to have dinner with a girlfriend and my husband said no (for no good reason, like having a legitimate evening planned), I would be LIVID. Even if I didn’t say anything then, that would eat away at me. I just don’t understand how people live with that kind of control over them. And before people start telling me “thats not what the article is about,” it sure comes off that way. If it isn’t, then the article really has no point.

    Also, you really ask your husband permission to go to the gym? I can *maybe* see discussing a big night out where you might be gone until late, or in a different town, etc, but the gym? Really? I”m pretty sure not even my grandmothers seeked that kind of approval, and they are church goers.

  • BillyBob

    well in a situation like that first one you should talk to him about why he said no. 99% of the time you would get a legitimate concern of some sort. and it’s not “control”, its trust and discussion. now if this were entirely one sided and the other spouse were to be essentially lord over your life, then it would be control.

    going to the gym and stuff like that would fall into the “little things” category. she isnt saying ask permission for everything, just anything big enough that its important. personally, i think that if youre doing stuff like this it strengthens your relationship a lot.

  • Heather

    No spouse has the right to say “no”. Period! If he/she does, then there is a bigger problem. No one has to give up their freedom and sense of self when they get married. If that’s what marriage means, then forget it!,

  • Heather

    It’s not that I don’t understand it – I do! It is ridiculous! The bible has no relevance to modern life. Those who think it does are kidding themselves.

  • Something Is Wrong

    Well, you see, sharing decisions and discussing together what is going on kind of pushes you to engage with your spouse and tends to reduce SELFISHNESS. You know, the kind of selfishness that might lead one to deny something from the other solely to exert power or the kind of selfishness that might lead one to become livid at not getting their way. I’ve never known a marriage that could survive selfishness. My wife and I discuss everything and the times when we don’t are when the biggest problems occur. In matters of money, she doesn’t make purchases I don’t know about, and I don’t make purchases she doesn’t know about (within reason and common sense with our budget). Never once have I gone out and just done what I wanted to because I wanted it and neither has she; same rules apply to us both. I won’t speak for anybody else, but my marriage is about a whole lot more than economic benefit and sex and that wouldn’t even be possible if we were selfish in our relationship with each other. 15 years and counting, we still have our conflicts, but we work them out together.

  • Something Is Wrong

    Heather, all due respect, but there are plenty of situations where a spouse has every right to say “no”. In our marriage, both my wife and I each hold a veto pen and sometimes we have to use it.
    So, since you obviously don’t agree, tell me what your answer would be to the following situations.
    1) Your husband is laid off from his job and has no idea where to find the next one. For whatever reason (just accept it as part of the scenario), you aren’t able to bring in more money and with the drop in pay, you know some monthly expenses have to go so you decide it’s time to cancel Cable TV and stop eating out until he can get a new job. He says there is no way he’s getting rid of cable and he refuses to stop going out to eat. What do you say?
    2) You have been planning a dinner for a month with family coming over from out of town. The day before the dinner, your husband, out of the blue, says he doesn’t feel like having anyone over tomorrow and just wants to relax and watch some TV instead. He says you should call your family and cancel. What do you say?
    3) This last one may be a little more extreme, but it has happened to a friend of mine… who chose poorly and whose marriage ended as a result. Your spouse has been getting reacquainted with an old girlfriend and has been spending a lot of time texting, messaging, and calling and talking to this old flame. He then comes to you and says he would like to meet up with this old girlfriend for dinner sometime… without you. He swears it’s nothing and that it’s totally innocent but when you ask if you can come along as well, he makes it clear you are definitely not invited. What do you say?
    These are all realistic examples and are modeled after situations I’ve seen in people close to me. Sometimes no is the appropriate answer, even in daily life, but a discussion is required afterwards. If that’s too much for you to handle, maybe marriage isn’t right for you. No, strike that, maybe you aren’t right for marriage.

  • Shillo

    I feel that the author is nuking her friend’s response to her “needing” permission from her husband to hang out with her friend. I’d have a similar reaction if my friend told me they needed permission to spend time with me. The author equates a night out with friends to a major life event (job change, moving, etc.), even though it is not at all at the same level. There is a huge difference between checking in with your significant other to make sure you don’t already have something going on or whatever and asking if you’re allowed to do something. People discussing major life changes that affect the whole family is logical. Needing to discuss pretty much everything you could possibly do (that isn’t a major life change) is excessive.

    The points made in this article scream excessive co-dependency. The author states that letting one person have all the control is unhealthy and can lead to abuse. She fails to see that excessive co-dependency is just as unhealthy and can also lead to abuse. If you need to ask permission to do anything as a way to empower yourself or as a way to stay engaged in your relationship, you are already in an unhealthy relationship.

  • logicalvoice

    I never actually thought of it as ‘asking permission’. We just don’t make plans, unusual purchases, etc without consulting each other. Fifteen years, very few arguments, and people sort of assume we’re newlyweds by the way we act together so it works for us. I don’t actually remember either of us ever saying no, but I’m sure if we did it was because we couldn’t afford it or we already had plans. I just wonder how many of those who talk about ‘no one has the right’ and ‘if I was told no..’ can say they have marriages with basically no conflict and how many will last?

  • logicalvoice

    Isn’t the friend disrespecting the author by rolling her eyes, laughing, or even commenting in the first place? I mean rude much?
    Codependent means not being able to function without each other. That’s different from choosing to be part of the team instead of just an individual in a relationship. I’d tell said friend that I’m sorry that she and her husband each do their own thing and don’t even have enough of a relationship to care what the other ones doing.

  • mike

    this is the difference between co-dependence ( unhealthy ) and inter-dependence (healthy )

  • logicalvoice

    In a mature relationship you don’t give up freedom and sense of self. You gain support and increased worth. And if your spouse is leaving you sitting at home alone night after night you have a right to say something. If they don’t talk to you and you don’t say anything how will he know it bothers you before it becomes a conflict?
    If your that worried about losing your sense of self you really aren’t ready for marriage anyway.

  • Bob643

    Okay, fair enough. It is just confusing that you are reading a post by a Christian and then make a comment that attacks Ashley’s position. I really do not understand evangelical atheists.

  • Jonathan B

    Every relationship that involves at least 2 people requires a little bit of surrender of self. Not just marriage, parenthood, friendship, business relationships…every day you go to work on time because you made an agreement with your boss to work a certain number of hours for a certain amount of pay is giving up a little freedom. But you’ve decided it’s worth it, even if it’s only worth it because you don’t want to starve to death with no money for food. How many times have people you know that have kids skipped an event because their kid was sick or had a ballgame that day? That’s a sacrifice of freedom and self too. There’s going to be times what your spouse needs is different from what you want. If it’s every time and always, then you have an unhealthy imbalance which the author described as bad. But if you can never give up what you want for someone else, then you should not just never be married but never be in a relationship at all. Far too many people enter a relationship because they’re aroused/excited/infatuated when they’re not actually ready to be part of a relationship. It’s a big reason why the divorce rate is so high.

  • Imona Budget

    Respectfully, Stephen, asking for permission, like you are a 16yr old girl asking her Dad if she can go out, is quite different from the great points you brought up..^
    Asking permission and, as you put it, “letting your partner know” are 2 different things…..

  • Imona Budget

    I agree 1205%. As someone who was married(marriage failed for a reason unrelated to this topic)…

  • Imona Budget

    You’re right. The bible is a book about how a certain group of people lived. Mosaic Law and Jewish Law doesn’t apply to non-jews.

    Christians aren’t Jews, meaning, they follow the teachings of Jesus, which was to Love your Fellow man, who without sin cast the first stone..you know…Non-religious things…

  • Our “rule of thumb” we learned before we got married(part of pre-marital counseling), is that it takes 2 “yes” for a ‘Go’ decision, but either spouse has veto power over anything. We don’t start anything, go anywhere, buy something without both being in agreement. We are super, happily married- it’s been 19 years. Neither one of us says “no” out spite or to have power, if there’s a conflict or someone doesn’t feel comfortable, they have a right to say “no”. I think it’s one of the keys to keeping our marriage healthy and going the same direction.

  • It goes both ways, I expect my husband to ask me before he goes out with friends too. It IS equal in most couples who do this. It’s respect for my time and my feelings, like I respect his. We put stuff on the calendar and that’s the ‘easy’ way to check if we’re free, but what if something’s not on the calendar and the other one not invited for the night out was hoping for some time to spend together, or what if someone just forgot to write something in on the calendar? I really appreciate my husband checking with me before he goes and makes plans for things. I think couples who plan independently end up hurting the other’s feelings often because they didn’t consider the other spouse when making their own plans. Hurt feelings lead to bitterness and resentment, which leads to making their own plans without consulting the other, and it can really spiral out of control until you’re leading separate lives. I think the word “Permission” here is what the hang-up is for many people. Yes if my girl friends want to make plans for a night out or a weekend away, I will ALWAYS ask my husband if it’s OK if I go, and almost always he says “Yes”. When I ask my friends if they want to go out, they almost always say, “Let me check with my husband”. Honestly, it’s not even verbalized sometimes, and maybe that’s the way it should be to avoid all this awkward “Permission” stuff…just say, “I’ll get back to you” and go consult your other half.

  • So if he does say “no” because he can’t watch the baby, isn’t that “not having permission”? That’s all the article is saying…She’s checking with her husband if it’s OK or not to go out. Sometimes the answer is no. Maybe some don’t call it ‘permission’, but if he can say “no, I can’t watch the baby that night, you have to stay home” then you wouldn’t just go out anyway, despite his “no”, would you? so it kinda IS asking permission…People just are hung up on the word “permission”. I think a lot of people DO do what she says in the article, but don’t call it “asking for permission”.

  • Gangle

    Nope. First of all, my husband wouldn’t say I have to do anything in that scenario. He would say ‘sorry, I’m not available to watch the baby that evening’. I have two options from there: find someone else to watch the baby ( relative, babysitter etc) or choose to stay in. We believe on keeping each other informed, being respectful of each other and *asking* if we would like the other to do something. But no, we don’t tell each other what to do or demand permission.

  • Shillo

    The friend is allowed her opinion, just like everyone else. Obviously you and the author disagree with the friend. That’s fine, but the friend reacted in a way that is normal when rather archaic things are brought up in conversation.

    The actual definition of codependency is “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.” Having to double check to make sure it’s ok to do simple things like seeing a friend or going to the gym falls under “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner.” The points the author makes come off as codependent. She basically says that she seeks/needs the approval of her spouse in order to go and do the things that she enjoys/wants to do and that she harbors that same kind of control over him. That’s not healthy. Rather than give points on having a communicative and respect-filled relationship, she tries to justify why having a codependent relationship is “better” than everyone else’s. Great, being in that kind of relationship works for her. For most people who are in a long term, successful relationship, this kind of codependency doesn’t work.

    Also, having separate hobbies/interests and spending time away from your significant other (without needing their approval) doesn’t mean you have a terrible relationship and that you don’t care about your significant other. It means you are capable of acting like a normal, independent human being in a healthy relationship and are ok doing something on your own without needing someone else’s approval or presence.

  • Clint Beastwood

    Your intentions make sense, but I think it would be more accurate toward those intentions for you to simply make it a habit of INFORMING your S.O. that you’re going out. Asking permission really only works if you’re going to go along with whatever they say, even if it’s for a dumb reason or no reason at all. Informing your spouse will accomplish all the things that you listed.

    I supposed this could work better for couples who love having a high level of codependency. I personally don’t have the time or patience to have to keep track of someone’s social choices, especially if it’s just standard stuff like going out with friends.

  • Clint Beastwood

    That’s interesting, because some of the most miserable couples I’ve seen is where one of the spouse’s friends asks them to hang out and they automatically say no because their spouse doesn’t let them do anything.

  • Clint Beastwood

    If you’re asking permission and the other person can only say no for certain reasons, then asking permission isn’t conducive to what you’re trying to accomplish. Letting them know about your plans is more conducive.

  • John Wayne

    If you’re in a good relationship then you should BOTH be valuing the other’s needs enough that you can trust your significant other to not want to be a complete tool. And while telling your significant other “hey, I’m going out tonight” may get you the desired results of going out that night… it isn’t exactly the same and can lead to resentment where your significant other may believe they’re of lesser value to you than they’d like.

  • Stephen M. Hoffman

    not necessarily. The fact that everyone is so up in arms over the concept does show how far we have strayed as a society. There is nothing wrong with being under authority. It is actually a GOOD thing. The covering and blessing that comes from walking in mutual submission and unity is incredible – and a biblical principle. The spirit of rebellion says “I refuse to submit my will” Asking permission (or more accurately put – SUBMISSION) is a physical representation of a spiritual concept. We are to submit our will to God, and in doing so, we get the benefit and blessing of His covering and protection. When we are rebellious and say that we do not need to submit, we remove ourselves from that covering. The same goes for our physical lives. We have been placed under authority in every area of our lives, and it is a good thing. The enemy places shame on principle by making seem like it is demeaning, when in fact, there is no shame to be had.

    Those arguing that the simple act of asking permission – or have issue with how it is phrased – should seek Holy spirit and the Word for guidance on why it is so abrasive to them. The concept is biblical, and if you struggle with it, there is something that needs to be examined.

    The filter you are seeing the principle through does not inform scripture. Scripture should inform your filter – or more accurately remove / replace / BE – your filter.

  • Julie Daube

    My husband and I both check with each other when it comes to scheduling outings, etc., mainly so we will know if the event conflicts with something else or if there’s money in our budget for said outing. I don’t know that I would call this “asking permission,” but it’s just basic consideration.

  • Clint Beastwood

    I see where you’re coming from, but from my perspective, if I’m in a relationship with you then it’s because a) I trust you and b) I think you’re a responsible adult. If my S.O. is both of those things, then Id trust them to make responsible decisions and I wouldn’t hinder their ability to maintain friendships. If we don’t already have something on the calendar for that time, then my answer is going to be an auto-yes anyway, so what does it matter?

  • Heather

    With all due respect, I’ve been in a healthy relationship for 23 years now, so yes, I do know what it takes to make a marriage work. We inform each other regarding our plans, but would never say “no” to what the other wishes to do. My bigger objection here is the practice of a wife submitting to a man. That I have serious issues with and feel is unhealthy.

  • Heather

    These comment sections are forums for people to express their opinions. If you notice, most of the people who posted here also disagree with Ashley regarding her ideas pertaining to seeking permission and spousal submission. Sorry you don’t happen to like my point of view and are trying to belittle my opinion because you happen to disagree, but you will find yourself and Ashley in the small minority of people who still think women aren’t as capable as men. And, before you make a comment stating that people who think this way have no idea how relationships work, please know that I’ve been in a healthy and stable relationship for 23 years and neither of us asks permission to do anything and my partner thinks submission is just as much of a joke as I do…..

  • logicalvoice

    We’re all allowed to have our own opinions, but speaking your unsolicited opinion about someone’s relationship especially with eyerolling and laugher isn’t considered polite anywhere.
    And your opinion may be that our relationships are archaic and codependent, but my opinion is that you partially know one aspect of the relationship and are neither equipped nor qualified to judge.
    You and friend both seem to think writer went to her husband and said Friend invited me for a girls night out. May I go, please please please? I promise I’ll be home on time! like a 12 y/o begging to go to a school dance. Today my husband said Do you care if I go hunting this weekend? I said we have reservations at Medieval Times Sat. He said Oh yeah…Guess I’ll go next weekend. I said okay. I had things to do but got a last minute invitation so I said Friend invited me to come bake Christmas cookies. He said can you do blah first? The rest of that stuff can wait. I said sure. He said have fun. My friends would never roll their eyes because they aren’t rude and almost every one will say let me check with husband or ill let husband know. We basically state what we want to do and open the door for discussion. You think it’s seeking approval, we know it’s respect.
    Btw, my daughter is studying to be a councilor with emphasis on Christian marriage and states she hopes to have a marriage as healthy as ours.
    AND…Both my first husband and my mother would tell you that trying to control me would be a lost cause.

  • Shillo

    You’re judging me for having my own opinion (as well as the author’s friend’s opinion), so what makes you so much more “equipped and qualified” to judge? I actually study the psychology of human relationships, the effects of abuse/what makes relationships unhealthy and help people work on achieving a healthy mental state post-trauma. That’s my field. It’s also human nature to judge based on the prejudices one was raised with, so please quit trying to act as if you don’t judge people because you do. Your mind is, to some extent, programmed to.

    My husband and I just let each other know what is going on and go about our lives. That’s normal. We double check that we don’t already have something going on and keep one another informed. We have discussions over important things, not every little petty thing. We respect one another’s hobbies, quirks and interests that the other enjoys without hindering one another by making sure we got approval from the other in order to enjoy said things. I’m sure that the point that the author was attempting to make before she turned it into a “5 reasons why codependent relationships are ‘better'” post was that simply being courteous and being communicative makes for a good relationship. I saw the attempt in the blog post. It was there. However, it was morphed into advising others that a rather codependent relationship is the only good kind of relationship and I happen to disagree, thus commenting on it.

    You seem to have a bigger problem with the friend just commenting on the response the author gave to her. Mildly defense on your part, but I’m assuming you relate with the author and the type of relationship she has. That’s fine, but you don’t have to get cheeky or defensive over someone with an opposing opinion. This is a public forum after all. There will be differing opinions.

    The author spoke first and the friend responded. That’s how one holds a conversation with another. The author brought up the point that she sought/had to get some form of approval from her husband first. She decided to run with the “permission” theme when she wrote the blog. She chose to post the article on a public forum and continued to defend her choice in the word “permission” and that that was what she was going for in the blog post in the comments (see below).

    She could have stated that what she meant was how you phrased it; things like “Hey Jane asked me to go with her tomorrow. Do you mind?’ Or ‘Joe and I are gonna watch the game at his place if you don’t care??” She did not do it in that way. I find that to be promoting things that aren’t healthy in a relationship rather than things that are. If she worded it better or corrected her meaning in the comments, then I wouldn’t have taken such an issue with what was written. I, however, am entitled to my own opinion on the author’s article that she posted on a public forum and opened to debate. You are entitled to your own differing opinion.

  • Bob643

    I never said that women are less capable than men. I also never said that people who think your way have no idea how relationships work. By putting words into my mouth (strawman arguments or strawwoman arguments, if you rather) you certainly make yourself look less capable of properly elucidating your opinion. Not because you are a woman, but simply because you are not arguing in a logical fashion. I was simply stating the obvious, that you are not arguing from a Biblical basis. Ashley is and therefore to anyone who does not consider the Bible to be a valid source of truth, it seems “antiquated”, “ridiculous”, and “abominable”. There are plenty of forums where non-believers discuss topics such as this strictly from secular perspectives. But for an atheist to go to a Christian’s blog and actually read it and then to spout what we already know, that you do not believe our “antiquated”, “ridiculous”, and “abominable” book makes you an evangelical atheist. And that is what I simply do not understand. What is your motivation? What do you gain. Yes, you have every right to express your opinion. But when a Christian does it on a secular blog, they get told off, usually with many foul perjoratives. But Christians (at least most of them) do it out of love because they are actually concerned for your soul. So that is their motivation. What is yours? Concern for our … what? As I previously stated, it confuses me.

  • Gina

    I ask my husband before any decision is made, if he doesn’t feel comfortable with me going to certain places then I don’t go, simple as that. he likes to fish and hunt, I told him that hunting season is his, he can hunt and fish when ever he likes so he doesn’t need to ask about that, but if I have something I would like for us to do like go out with friends or whatever, I will tell him ahead of time and we go out,(sometimes it’s spur of the moment, it’s ok,lol) then its back to hunting or fishing. we tried the you do your thing and I’ll do mine, it almost destroyed our marriage. God made us one so we need to act like it.

  • Gina

    but if he is not comfortable with it and I go anyway it causes conflict…and same goes if I’m not comfortable. he asked about going to a bachelor party before and I knew the groom wasn’t a Christian, I didn’t order him not to go but we talked about it and both agreed it wasn’t a good idea. we are a team.

  • Clint Beastwood

    The word “permission” brings along the implication that you do not have authority over your own life. If you’re asking permission, that means they have final say after the factors are considered. If you’re checking in, that means you have final say after the factors are considered. The two situations are very different.

    If you can’t trust your partner enough to have a little independence and make their own choices, then how much do you ACTUALLY trust them?

  • rbaker62

    IMO most healthy marriages are those where the husband and wife consult with each other before making decisions. I think it’s the idea of “asking permission” that’s got everyone riled up here. It’s just a matter of having consideration for your spouse.

  • Jill

    It is the word “permission” that upsets people and is actually being misused. It is actually not the accurate word for this practice for the majority of the population. It is simply running things by each other,communicating because you do share a life,especially when you have a family together. That “communication” is just basic respect, a basic action to ensure things run smoothly for all and how people work together. If two coworkers were working on a project together and an idea came up,one would say “I need to speak to so-and-so” as the project is a joint effort, affects the other person, and their input is needed. It is that same exact thing for a couple raising a family together, sharing a life. The only difference is in personal lives people tend to very inaccurately misuse the word “permission” when describing what people always do when working with another in any factor of life.

  • Ana Reichenbach

    My husband and I consult with each other, as the article states. I love it! We have been married 20 wonderful years. Wouldn’t want things any other way.

  • I don’t think it’s “permission” so much as it is consulting your mate. As long as it’s mutual, I see no problem at all in that.

    It’s very different if you’re asking and he’s exerting some kind of false authority, saying yes you can do that, no you can’t do that, and he does whatever he wants. Submitting to one another in love is healthy. Dominating and seeking to control one another is not.

  • Jeremy R Howdyshell

    Sir, I believe you don’t understand what the serial comma is.

  • BillyBob

    first of all yes they do, just not simply because they want to (they have to have a good reason and you have to discuss it). second, its not so much asking permission as it is letting them know and making sure they’re good with it (there’s a big difference). and third, because its a mutual relationship, you aren’t giving up freedom or any sense of self. a marriage in which couples arent involved in eachother’s lives goes south in some manner almost always.

  • disqus_nlQsPP2Hgp

    Was this article not proofread at all, even in the most cursory fashion? Even ignoring that what the article is advocating for is clearly “discussing” decisions with your husband, not “asking permission,” the brutally mangled punctuation in the first paragraph makes me want to rip my own hair out and then rebuild the American school system from scratch. Why? Why is it like this?

  • Heather

    We are responsible adults here, not children. He would never tell me no, just as I would never tell him no. We trust each other to use good judgment. I am not his subordinate and as an adult, I do not require or want guidance from him.

  • Heather

    I think you need to quit while you’re ahead because you are obviously missing the point. I am far from being the only person to disagree with the basic tenets of Ashley’s blog piece. Secondly, just because a person does not believe in a strictly literal translation and application of the bible does not make them an atheist. You have no idea what you are talking about and are therefore coming off as arrogant, presumptuous and condescending.

  • Tory Klementsen

    I agree. I don’t like the term “permission” because that implies that he can say no without explanation and I simply have to take his answer. If that happened I wouldn’t be married to him because simply put, I wouldn’t have married a man like that, even at the age of 20. We’ve been married over 30 years and we always run things by each other. I let him know if I’m going to go out with the girls or if I need to meet with a client. I don’t ask him, mainly because he doesn’t have much of a social life himself outside of work (he’s an introvert). I’d never just go, and he always knows where I am. The only time I might not is if I know he has a late rehearsal and won’t be home and I happen to say “Oh yeah, he’ll be out anyhow” and then I’ll just say “Thursday night I’m going to dinner with Jacquie. I hope you don’t mind.”

    It’s not permission, it’s mutual respect.

  • Tory Klementsen

    Sorry but if my friend needed “permission” from her husband, I would be very concerned about her relationship. But this is on the author. She states she needs to ask permission. You are right…this person makes it sound like a) her way is the only way to have a relationship when different people are different. For example, as I stated earlier, my husband is an introvert who really doesn’t care to socialize with others outside of me (we do a lot as a couple, but he doesn’t do things along with others). That means if we don’t have plans, I am free to make plans with others without checking with him and it truly is not something that bothers him. I do check with him, but he’s told me time and again that I don’t need to.

    She also assumes that b) Asking permission to go with someone out to coffee after work on a Friday night is the same as spending $300 without checking. Not even close! Well, Friday might be different…that’s date night in our house, and it’s sacred.

    c) She says that letting one person have all the control is unhealthy, yet she implies that she gives control to her husband over her decisions. As an adult woman who is a Christian I have this silly little idea that God gave me a brain and free will because He intended me to exercise both within reason. Reason is realizing that on a Tuesday afternoon after work meeting someone for coffee for an hour is no biggie and doesn’t require me to get permission from my husband, while planning a travel weekend with a friend is quite another situation altogether.

  • Tory Klementsen

    Exercise is under my purvey, that means I don’t ask and I don’t expect him to ask. I will say “I’m going out for a run” or if he’s cooking dinner I ask him how long it’ll take and if I have enough time, but for crying out loud I’m not asking permission. It’s not selfish, either, to take care of myself. Oh and Judgy McJudgerson down there “Something Is Wrong” try 30 years and counting here and very happily married.

    Saying no without reason is not discussing decisions.

  • Tory Klementsen

    I don’t think either of those situations are indicators of a healthy relationship to begin with.

  • bigbywolfe

    If you bothered to actually read the article you would see that her husband also asks her permission, it isn’t one sided and she isn’t being treated like a child.

  • Shillo

    I totally agree with you!

  • Something Is Wrong

    And neither is being so selfish and shallow that you can’t handle your spouse disagreeing with you or disapproving of what you want. In reality, the scenarios I provided don’t necessarily speak to unhealthy relationships (except maybe the last one), they just speak to somebody being selfish and thinking that the word “no” shouldn’t be allowed to their partner. The only point is that in a truly healthy marriage, the word “no” and asking permission will not cause problems, but will spur discussion and engagement from both partners in the marriage. Not being able to handle disagreements or talking to each other to see if what you want to do for yourself is okay with the other person is the absolute epitome of an unhealthy relationship. If you don’t want to ever have to clear anything you want with anybody else, don’t get married. If that’s how you want to handle your marriage, don’t be surprised if you wake up one day and find you have “grown apart” or worse. I’m sorry, but there is no room for selfishness in marriage.

  • Something Is Wrong

    Ok, so you’d answer in the affirmative to all the scenarios I laid out then, right? Wow. Like I said, they’re all pulled from real-life examples so not a single one of them is outlandish or unrealistic. My wife and I don’t often say no, but it happens and we talk about it when it does. Usually, there’s a good reason for it. We just believe in being more than room mates and in not living our separate lives… because we’re married. I know, crazy, right?

  • Heather

    I know from experience you can strike a healthy balance, being both a couple and individuals. My partner and I can and do have separate lives outside the home, both at work and with friends, yet we still come together in a meaningful way. Neither of us would expressly forbid the other from doing anything. Instead, we would talk it through and compromise without either side making unilateral and absolute decisions for the other. Marriage is different things to different people and all of them can and do work, depending on the individuals involved. Not everyone subscribes to the concept of biblical patriarchy and this notion of giving up individuality to “become one”. Just because my relationship works differently from yours doesn’t mean it’s wrong, unhealthy or not meaningful.

  • William Halley

    It is one thing to kindly let him know that you made plans and was checking to see if there was anything scheduled. We let each other know where we are and who we are with, but we NEVER tell each other that they can or cannot go. We respect each other, but don’t feel the need to control the other person.

  • Oldswitcheroo

    Good article. I feel like I’m on the losing end of this. I always check with wifey before planning something. She doesn’t bother, and then makes poor decisions with outcomes I am expected to fix. Then i become resentful.

  • BillyBob

    everyone needs guidance, and people also often make mistakes. you do trust each other, and honestly most of the reason you would say “hey is it ok if I go out with a few friends for dinner?” would be because you want to make sure he didn’t want to do something with you at the time.

    a huge portion of what is required to make a relationship work is A) being involved in each other’s lives and B) improving the lives of you and your spouse. Marriage is about building, it’s not a destination. It may seem odd, but things like this are very important to a fully functional, happy relationship, even if it’s not marriage.

  • Erin M Vestal

    actually most people miss the actual definition of “permission” meaning before the act of. so if you are indeed asking or consulting for permission, you are simply asking or consulting before the act of… So maybe it is the word “ask” rather then to consult. Mark and I had our pastor read Ephesians 5:21-33 i think it was. Now mind you this is just off the top of my head, so be kind. “wives submit to your husbands as to the lord, for the husband is the head of the wife as the lord is the head of the church,” we also had the pastor explain this, because it too is often misunderstood. This just like “asking” this leaves some feeling as though they just entered into a slave like position. If one truly understands the meaning behind the entirety of this specific gospel, they would understand that this is created to be a two way street. It also goes on to say, ” Husbands should love their wives as they love their own bodies, he who loves his wife, loves himself.” Christ does not wish us to become doormats, in some variations it says ” husband are to treat their wives as if they were priceless gems, as the lord adorns his church” The moral of the story is not the many misunderstood words or variations of marital terms, the moral is this: be kind and understanding, patient and loving. be slow to anger and quick to forgive. Speak to your spouse, friends, …with a respect for their feelings and choices. but for spouses in specifics to the topic at hand, weather your asking for permission or consulting for advice or what have you, when you are taking the oath and walking away tethered as one wrapped in the love of Christ you are speaking to your other self about matters regarding life, love and the pursuit of happiness. If the relationship is in a healthy place of mutual love and satisfaction it will not be a problem. We should all try to get better at caring less about what strangers think about us. Alas I struggle with that last bit, too much.

  • Sheri Nevill-Carbin

    Nope. Permission has a very clear definition; the word is being used incorrectly here. The idea expressed in the article makes sense in terms of checking in with the other person to see if there are other plans before moving forward with agreeing to something, but that isn’t the same as asking for permission.




    consent; authorization.

  • JustAnotherVoice

    Ugh, I am not going to ask my husband for ‘permission’ because I respect him as my husband, not my father. I talk to him about things that I’d like to do, and take his opinions and concerns into consideration, but I am an adult, and expect to be treated as one. And that goes the other way as well.

    Permission is a terrible word to use to describe communicating with each other.

  • STW

    I’ve told my wife (at her request) that I forbid her from doing anything with others that she doesn’t want to do. When declining an invitation no one ever argues when she pulls out her, “My husband doesn’t want me to.” I don’t mind being the bad guy if it keeps her happy.

  • ptoadstool

    Great essay. My wife and I always consult each other.

  • Catherine

    I agree that talking to each other about plans is a good thing. You lost me when talking about submission though. “There will certainly be times when the husband and wife will be at a
    standstill when making a certain decision. In this case, the Bible
    tells us that the husband should make the call (Ephesians 5:22-33).” This is not what the verse says. Going along with the husband on decisions that we disagree with could cause bigger problems later on.

  • Something Is Wrong

    Do you know what a direct answer is? I asked yes and no questions and you beat around the bush. It’s not hard. I gave scenarios and you dodge them rather than answering my questions. Also, maybe you ought not to be commenting on a post about marriage if you aren’t even married, which is heavily indicated by your choice of verbage (healthy relationship, partner, rather than marriage, and spouse) and if you don’t even believe in marriage which you pretty much came out and said in your last comment. Really, regardless of your relationship and how long it’s been going on, if you don’t have the balls to fully commit to a marriage, then you don’t understand how to manage a marriage and you really have no place commenting on what constitutes a healthy marriage; you think you do, but you don’t. Marriage is VASTLY different than “being together.” I’m sorry you have such a twisted and lacking understanding of people being inter-dependent and the fact that it’s a great thing for a wife to submit to her husband (and by the way, a husband submits to his wife as well, it’s a two-way street). Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s anything I can do for you. I think this conversation is dead. Especially since you can’t even give me a straight answer to direct questions. Good luck with your “arrangement”, whatever you choose to call it.

  • Samantha Vimes

    There’s a difference between checking in and seeing if a plan is going to work for everyone involved and asking permission. Checking in gives your spouse a chance to remind you of prior plans, transportation issues, or just plain say, “But that’s Agents of SHIELD night and it’s more fun when we watch it together. Should I record it, or are you not that into this other thing?”
    You’re giving him veto power over your activities and friendships. That’s taking being engaged in each others lives and changing it into giving him control. And since you say when you disagree, you have to do things his way, then it is NOT equal for him to consult with you, because he can say no to your no, but you aren’t expecting the same freedom.
    Do it this way if you want, but don’t have a master and pretend that it’s equality. That’s not really being honest with yourself.

  • Bob643

    It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with. –Pete Seeger

  • TL

    Why is “permission” such a bad word? It is no different the “submission” in that the context has been changed. As individuals have their own language so do marriages/relationships. The word Ashley uses are the words that work within her marriage with her husband but these may not be the same words that work in other relationships. This blog was not about the language but the idea of keeping your partner in mind when making plans or determining your schedule. It is about remembering that when in a relationship YOU are no longer putting YOU first but another person or unit (family). Ashley was not attempting to alter your language usage but provide a viewpoint to those that do not understand why one would engage their companion in planning. If the word “permission” doesn’t work for you but “consulting” does then great! Focus on the deeper idea, not the superficial.

  • catholicchristian

    Brava, Ashley. These are the same reasons I as a husband ask my wife’s permission, but as the husband I have an additional reason: the buck stops with me. My wife and I are co-equal in all ways but this: if there’s a tie, I have to make the decision that rules the day. And you can bet that I’m NOT going to make that decision without my wife’s best counsel (the only reason to suspect that she’s not smarter than I am is that she married me :)). If she won’t agree with my tentative decision, and I can’t convince her, I’m going to think very hard, and for as long as I have before the decision MUST be made, before I go against her wisdom. Most of the time I have changed my mind, and most of those times it’s been a good thing I did.

    Spouses who do not make a habit of deferring to each other but always “do their own thing” will, IMO, eventually find out that “their own thing” is all that they have left of what might have been a wonderful relationship.

  • JustAnotherVoice

    Why is “permission” such a bad word? It is no different the “submission” in that the context has been changed.

    Yeah, ‘submission’ is even worse, in my book. My husband and I do not have a dominant/submissive relationship. And yes, for one to be submissive, another must be dominant. While that might appeal to some, it does not to all.

    The word Ashley uses are the words that work within her marriage with her husband but these may not be the same words that work in other relationships. This blog was not about the language but the idea of keeping your partner in mind when making plans or determining your schedule. It is about remembering that when in a relationship YOU are no longer putting YOU first but another person or unit (family). Ashley was not attempting to alter your language usage but provide a viewpoint to those that do not understand why one would engage their companion in planning.

    Yes, submission and permission work well for Ashley and her husband, I am sure. Not once did I ever even attempt to dispute that. And there is no ‘may not’ about it – those words do not work for many, many others.

    It seems you did not fully read or comprehend my original comment. I mentioned that my husband and I talk to each other, and take the opinions and concerns of the other into consideration. We communicate and we work together. As equals. Neither of us is submissive to the other, nor do we seek permission.

    I don’t see the appeal of setting one spouse above the other. There is so much joy in living and working together as equals. That’s all I have to say on the matter. Just as Ashley is free to say her piece, so am I, which I have done.

  • TL

    I apologize as it was not my intent to put one spouse over another in terms of power or dominance. That is not how I view a marriage but I can understand what Ashley is describing as well as I can understand your position. Couples should talk to discuss their plans; that is respectful and thoughtful of the other. I think you and Ashely and myself are all talking about the same idea but using different words.

    I don’t appreciate your unkind words towards me. We are not here to judge one another but to gain an understanding of perspectives and viewpoints. I apologize if my response to yours was harsh or seemed to lean towards the negative as that was not the intent. I had hoped to bring to light the different ways the same information can be viewed and embraced. I noted that you gave Ashley “permission” to speak her peace just as your gave yourself the “permission” but you left me out. I don’t have any desire to start a debate, nor do I look to be “right” or “wrong” only add another perspective. I hope this makes sense.

  • Heather

    First of all, I don’t need you to “do” anything for me. I may disagree with you, but at least I have not been nasty, condescending, and verbally abusive to you. I am in a healthy, stable 23 year relationship (more than most marriages last these days, so obviously we’re doing something right) and YES, I AM married! You have absolutely no earthly idea what you are talking about and do not know me, yet you feel the need to personally attack me. I don’t owe you a direct response to your “scenarios” yet I have just as much right to post here as you do. To refer to my way of thinking as “twisted” is rude, presumptuous and arrogant. Submission is an antiquated and absurd practice and by definition cannot be a two way street. How can one person’s view always being overridden based on their gender be a two way arrangement? Giving up the right to make certain decisions on your own in exchange for a situation in which you receive “guidance”, financial support and physical protection is a shabby deal and something most women don’t need or desire. Maybe it works for a small minority in this country but most people (both men and women) find it ridiculous. And PLEASE, spare me the worn out argument that submission means the man takes on this tremendous burden that is spared the wife. I gladly assume responsibility for my finances, actions and physical protection and don’t NEED a man to provide me with these things. Instead, I find sharing a life and home with a man to be an enriching experience full of shared ideas, responsibilities and goals.

  • Heather

    Sounds like something you haven’t learned to do quite adequately yet. Putting down the opinions of others isn’t “talking” to them – it is just condescention. Plus, most christians don’t put these types of statements out there out of love or concern for others’ souls, they do it simply to further their own conservative agendas.

  • Jb

    Prime example of “open-mindedness” & “closed-mindedness”. This article does come off pretty strong with the title alone. However, this should not be a reason for one to be so critical of the rest of the article… Any highly educated individual knows that when an author writes a “piece,” he/she is to immediately catch the attention of his/her audience. I’m guessing this may also have something to do with this title.(Just a little more perspective added). Your viewpoints and maturity are commendable. Thanks for sharing.

  • TL

    Catholicchristian, I hope there are men out there who embrace your understanding of the role as a man in the house. To clarify what it means to be the tie breaker is important. You take that “power” very seriously and understand that it means you do carry a great deal of burden and I hope you don’t have to have the burden often. Thank you for sharing; it makes a difference.

  • Jb


  • TL

    I appreciate your sharing, Jb. I agree; writers are definitely charged with the job of catching the attention of their readers and they do so at the risk of a negative response. Ashley recognized this and immediately wrote a follow up which provided further clarification. Her message is a great one and I hope more read it with an open-mind rather than a defensive one.

    Thank you for sharing!

  • Jb

    Your article puts all into perspective… Thank you for delving into the specifications and sharing them with everyone. The title comes off strong, however, every highly educated individual will clearly understand why. Bravo!

  • Matt Woodling

    Why is permission even part of it? Why not just discuss everything and ask “what do you think?” with the understanding that either party can do what they decide is best without pernission, that there are consequences to making important decisions unilaterally. There’s no reason either party should have veto power (although that CAN be negotiated), but if your partner objects to something you want to do or say, you’d better listen.

  • “The Wine”

    As a child, you spoke to your parent and state you are going to go to the park. They say yes or no based on the current situation.

    You state to your spouse I am going to go to the park, They agree or disagree based on the current situation.

    It is permission for you to go. Or a permission for you not go. (A rose by any other name is still a Rose).

    Permission is the correct word for this article. Here are some other synonyms that you can replace it with if you choose, but they all have the same meaning without complicating the Author’s original point. Consent, concur, agree, authorization, leave, authority, sanction, acquiesce, approve, endorse, provide, etc.

  • Heather

    I don’t ask for or need “guidance” from my partner. We provide each other with support and advice, but we are both adults here and no one needs to be “guided”.

  • BillyBob

    support and advice is a great way to describe “guidance”. there’s a difference between being guided and being babied. and yes, adults still often need guidance when going through something difficult or if they are unsure. there is no magical point where you no longer need help because “you’re an adult”.

  • kimtylerscruggs

    Absolutely spot on, Ashley Willis!!!! Submission is a beautiful thing because we both submit to God before we do anything. I ask permission…he asks permission…but I never realized how wonderful it made me feel until I read your article. Thank you for sharing and for helping me put my feelings into words.

  • Paul Flack

    Yes but very few of the examples you cited have to do with “permission,” it’s just checking in. Why not, “Hang on I’m going to let my hubby know where I’ll be,” as opposed to “Gosh I don’t know my husband might disapprove,” which is what it sounds like when you say “permission,” as if he were your father and you were 12 years old. Ugh. You are both adults who have made the decision to walk side by side through this life, not one in front of the other.

  • Paul Flack

    Blah. I truly don’t believe that the essence of being a man makes you capable of making the “final decision” any better than any woman. Flip a coin if you must, just don’t pretend that your best judgment is any better than hers. Walking side by side through this life, making decisions based on mutual respect and admiration will help both partners avoid the negative psychological consequences and blunting of potential that the “ultimate decision is mine” mentality will inevitably cause.

  • catholicchristian

    Paul, you are welcome to your beliefs; it may very well be that the psychological differences between men and women do not mitigate toward this kind of arrangement. However, my wife agrees to this (and did so before we were married, and not as a condition of marriage), and – though I acknowledge the other factors involved – this is the arrangement that’s worked best in most cases during most of recorded history. Tell you what – you try it your way, and let’s find out how long your marriage lasts, and you can compare it to mine (35 years so far) and my parents (58 years so far) who do it the way I outlined. The bet is that the loser buys the winner a cup of coffee. You up for it?

  • JustAnotherVoice

    It’s not close-mindedness to say that I disagree with the author. She has chosen to live her life in a certain way, and I have chosen to live my own another way. I am not saying that her way is wrong, only that it would be wrong for my life.

    I am critical of the concept of submission and asking for permission, because it does not work for all. I am not critical of Ashley or anyone else who chooses to live this way for making that decision. If Ashley is happy, then I am happy for her, for what little that matters to either of us.

    But, please, do continue to extol the virtues of TL, and pat each other on the back for your perceived superiority.

  • Paul Flack

    Sounds good to me! My wife and I have 25 years together and going strong. I’m a marriage and family therapist, and while I have seen that that “Man presides” has been the most STABLE of arrangements over the centuries, this is largely due to the fact that women have needed the safety and security of marriage for their own survival, and that of their children, however they can get it. In a marginally more civilized society, women are finally able to hold out and take more control over their own hopes, dreams and expectations for how they’d like to go about their business. And therefore able to feel more like full partners in whatever relationships they choose to engage in. That’s something that few women in the history of mankind (including today) have been able to experience. Kind-hearted, loving, egalitarian men trying to strike a balance between their own natures and St. Paul’s unique views on gender roles tend to settle for some form of benevolent paternalism.

    That said, I congratulate you and you wife and your parents. If everyone’s content, then your own natures and the spirit of Christ’s teachings (as opposed to St. Paul’s) are probably being employed to good effect. Unfortunately many couples don’t know how to pull it off without diminishing all that the wife has to offer to herself, her husband, her family, and society in general. And since they’ve never known any different, they’ll settle for that.

  • dtacoma

    The “permission” aspect strikes me as juvenile, or fundie/muslim. I’d have to wonder too about a guy who demands a wife seek his “permission” to go out with her friends. That would be a huge red flag to me – control freak, insecure, low self-esteem. Someone like that wouldn’t be a friend of mine for long. As others have noted, there is a distinction between “permission” versus “touching base” or “checking in”. The op used “permission”, so I’m assuming she used it with intent.

  • Paul Flack

    I disagree. If, as a child, I tell my parents I’m going to the park, and they tell me no, then I’m not going to the park. They have the responsibility and the privilege to say yea or nay.

    If my wife lets me know that she’s going to the movie with her friend, it’s a courtesy more than anything else. I can “disagree” all I want, but she’s going to go to the movie if she wants to. I don’t have the privilege of saying yea or nay, because she is an adult and she stays with me by choice. And unless I’m her employer, I don’t have the right to tell her yea or nay about anything she wants to do. (Even then she could just quit the job and go do what she wants).

    Now, since she is an adult, she has likely made all the necessary arrangements to go to the movie without causing problems for me or the kids. And because we care about each other, if it WAS a problem because I’m still at work and nobody’s there to watch the kids or whatever, or she had forgotten that the cable guy was coming, then we would work together to figure out how to get her to that movie. Or not–she might decide not to go because she decides that it’s too much of a hassle. But even if it DID cause a problem for me, due to the fact that we’re in the habit of doing things for each other and have a pretty good goodwill bank account built up, I’m going to try my best to bite the bullet and figure out my problem so she can go to the movie.

    All of which is a weird scenario because why would I ever “disagree” to something that she wants to do? My job is to help her achieve her hopes and dreams and make her life better and easier, and that’s her job for me as well. So why would I ever need or want to “consent, authorize, allow, sanction, acquiesce, or approve” of anything that’s going to further those aims? (I would definitely approve, endorse, concur, or provide, though).

    So bottom line? Words have meanings in real time. Doesn’t much matter what the latin origin of a word is; today, “permission” implies that you have the authority to constrain or deny or refuse (in other words, control) your spouse. First, this is false; they can up and leave you whenever they feel good and ready. 2nd, it’s a pretty distasteful thing to do to another adult–I’m guessing even cops don’t like it much. Especially when that adult is someone you want to be with happily until the day you die, and beyond, perhaps.

  • Paul Flack

    You seem to be mixing two very different ideas. The first, that couples need to be connecting and consulting as opposed to just “doing their own thing” is very logical and very true, otherwise you just drift from each other. However, to take the leap that this means you can say “no” to each other as if you had authority over them, that smacks of a controlling relationship.

    Yes you provided some interesting scenarios, in which saying “no” to a spouse would probably be wise. Unfortunately for your argument, what you did there is what’s called a “straw man” argument. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man) You set up a scenario that you think represents what the other person is talking about and then blow it over with your brilliance. That’s not a valid argument, it’s manipulation, so Heather’s not entitled to play into it and give you a “straight” answer (not that she needs me to defend her). Most of us in loving, trusting, mutually respectful relationships with healthy partners are just not going to run into those situations with our spouses, unless they suddenly undergo a dramatic personality change or brain injury or something. Frankly I never would have married or stayed with some of the people whose behavior you describe.

    Instead, I’m with my wife who is a responsible, intelligent, independent woman who stays with me and listens to what I say sometimes because she chooses to. And she would laugh all day long if I tried to tell her “no” or withhold my “permission.” The very idea!

    And, just so you know, OUR “arrangement” is a 25 year old marriage with no end in sight.

  • Heather

    I would call that “support”, not guidance.

  • Jb

    You clearly haven’t read the article. Your ignorance & “combative nature” toward it proves this point. 🙂 HA! To funny!

  • JustAnotherVoice


    I have read the article, but if it gives you comfort to make accusations, go for it. Knock yourself out, guy. But I won’t help you get off on drama, so you and that other person (don’t recall the screen name and don’t care enough to look for it) are on your own.

  • BillyBob

    i think youre still thinking of guidance as in you have no clue whats going on and youre being pulled along. couples do need to guide each other often, that’s one of the great things about marriage; it helps you to grow more. there’s a reason they call your spouse “your better half”. everybody needs guidance, and where better to get it than your spouse?

  • Lisa

    Why get caught up on “words” permission” discuss” whatever you choose to call it in your marriage – just choose to do it – out of respect because really wouldn’t YOU want to be treated that way?

  • Jeff Lavenau

    I find myself as a Reformed Baptist in the unusual position of being in total agreement with a Catholic 😉

    Mr. Flack, it’s not, and is never presented in the Bible as, about ability. It’s simply about roles. The Word of God gives men the right–and burden–of the deciding vote because in God’s wisdom that is what is both best for the families and displays God’s glory in emulating the relationship of Christ and His church.

    By the way, if you’re under the impression that Paul and Jesus’ teachings aren’t coherent with each other, then you’re under the impression that God Himself is not coherent. Jesus is God, and the Holy Spirit who inspired Paul’s writing is also God. This is the same problem with when people try to say Jesus never talked about homosexuality(even though He did). God judges Sodom in the Old Testament, and Jesus is a member of the Godhead, one of the three persons of the one Triune God, and therefore when God rained down fire on that place, Jesus was not absent, nor was He in disagreement. God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are always of the same mind. Paul’s “views” on the roles of men and women are not unique to him at all in scripture. They agree perfectly, because all scripture is God-breathed, and if your church doesn’t teach that AND show how, I suggest you find a better church.

    If you aren’t a Christian at all, which it honestly sounds like may be the case, I honestly want you to know that you have been grievously misinformed about the Bible and I beg of you to find a church which focuses on expository preaching of the Bible and ask the pastor about these things. You’d likely be surprised. At the very least, Google it. Look for things John MacArthur or John Piper have done on the topic. You’re woefully wrong about very important things, and as someone who cares about you and wants you to know the truth, I’d like to see you set free of that.

  • Jeff Lavenau

    It’s more complex than that, because Jesus is the master of both. A wife is never said in Scripture to have to obey a husband who demands or imposes things contrary to the Bible. Jesus is the ultimate authority, and the husband’s burden in having the power to make those calls is the burden to take responsibility for loving his wife the way Christ loved the Church, and gave himself up for her. (Eph. 4:25) It’s a weight of responsibility and privilege, not an ultimate power. For instance, to your point, if a husband was controlling activities and friendships such that wasn’t best for his wife’s joy and growing in Christ, he would be wrong and not to be obeyed. The wife’s measure for that criteria is the Bible, just as should be a good husband’s criteria for how to best love his wife.

    Lastly, it’s an issue of obedience to God. The wife doesn’t give him control, God did. And God will demand an account for how that responsibility was handled. Look up the passages about the servants given stewardship and what happened to the slack ones when the *real* Master came home. It is NOT a plaything, for real.

  • Paul Flack

    Thank you for the time you’ve taken in this obviously well-thought-out response. From the tone of your argument, I think we’re just going to have to agree to have different perspectives on the nature of God’s revelation to the saints and their levels of infallibility when deciding what to put to paper (papyrus, etc.), what early secular and church leaders and scholars decided to include in the collection of writings we today call the Bible, and the various interpretations that have arisen since then. I have studied the Bible for much of my life (mostly the King James version), but other responders on this thread have also provided informed insights on Bible passages (based on early editions) that suggest that it was not necessarily Gospel that man is intended to call the shots, but rather it was a reflection of cultural norms at the time, which makes it even more interesting that neither Christ nor the other apostles of the New Testament chose to make a overt point of the power differential of men and women.

    As far as Christ (as Jehovah) being of a similar mind in the Old Testament, remember that there are a number of commandments He provided at the time that were set aside or modified upon His coming (killing women for any number of reasons, circumcision, dietary restrictions, etc.), so a study of His loving, compassionate, and often deferential attitudes towards women during his ministry will probably be of more benefit that seeking out examples from Moses’s law in defending the “Man get the last word” dogma. Furthermore, a careful review of the rationale behind the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah reveals that it had more to do with the inclination of the cities’ men to gang-rape both men and women (remember, Lot’s daughters were offered as a consolation prize) which looks to me like a condemnation of the extremes to which male privilege can go (“You’ve got visitors? Yay! Fresh meat! Why? Because we can”).

    Incidentally, me being called “woefully wrong” seems indicative of black/white thinking, considering the vast number of interpretations of the Bible as evidenced by the estimated 217 different Christian denominations just in North America (hirr.hartsem.edu/research/fastfacts/fast_facts.html) . If you believe your interpretation of gender roles is consistent with God’s will, based on your and/or your church’s belief of what God’s word consists of, then I’m certainly not going to change your mind. I would just recommend prefacing “you’re woefully wrong” with “in my opinion,” or “according to my faith’s tenets…”

  • Matt Woodling

    If you’re advocating for two-way discussion and respect with each partner having equal say and the right to reject what the other partner says, then I’m on-board with you, Lisa. I got hung up on “permission” because the author used it and implied that the female is the one who must get permission from her husband.

  • Lori Huber

    I think it’s less “permission” than consultation, as noted in the comment below AND by the paragraph explaining each. The word “permission” gives a negative connotation and isn’t really a good definition of the entire concept being discussed – which, by the way, I heartily agree with. My husband and I consult one another about virtually everything and although it’s not “permission”, per se, it is respect for one another and sharing our life (singular – not plural, as we have a life as opposed to lives). Has nothing to do with submission but does have to do with love, respect, and sharing. A shame the premise of this advice is overshadowed and misunderstood by poor choice of words.

  • I agree with everything in this article about interconnectedness and a shared life – except – I just don’t think it should be termed, “asking permission.” Children ask for permission of parents. That’s not a good relationship for a husband and wife.

    If there were a continuum between a husband and wife who basically live their own lives and make their own decisions apart from one another, to a husband and wife where one or both ask each other’s permissions to do things, I don’t think I’d want to be on either end of that.

    I’d want to be in the middle — a deeply interconnected life where both people are constantly checking in with one another and moving through their schedule and plans as a unit, confering, collaborating, checking in, sharing decisions.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    Interesting food for thought! My husband and I try to always stay on the same page about major life decisions and scheduling; we are definitely not the type of couple who each has their own separate life. We’re very interconnected. I hope most couples discuss major decisions before making them!

    That said, can I offer some food for thought that might introduce a new dynamic to the discussion?

    I love that my husband and I intertwine our lives. It’s what I always dreamed of before marriage, and I am living the dream, let me tell you! However, over the years I noticed that intertwining to a very high degree led us to feel like a self-sufficient unit that didn’t need anyone else. The longer I was married, the more I realized that single friends felt lonely and missed their friends who had gotten married. In some cases, they saw their married friends as unreliable or uncommitted to friendship because marriage demanded so much of their attention all the time.

    Nowadays, I’m thinking a lot about the balance between putting your spouse first in your life, but also realizing that you do still have commitments and priorities involving other people, too. I always want to be respectful of my husband’s time. At the same time, though, I don’t want my friends and other family members to feel like they are an afterthought that I can only pay attention to or commit to if my husband happens to already be busy that day. I began to realize that always telling others “I have to run that by my spouse” might be sending that message. It might come off as me constantly reminding them that they were a lower priority.

    I think about this a lot because even as a married woman, I sometimes feel that uncertainty in friendships with other married women when they can’t plan anything or make any kind of commitment without running it through their families. This makes me think, “Wow, if I feel this disconnect from friends even as a married lady myself, how sad must it be for my single friends when most of their friends get married, feel disconnected in this way, and they don’t have a spouse to keep them company through it?”

    Anyway, that’s just my two cents. I’m definitely always on a journey to balance my relationships in life, and that’s just where I am at this moment in that journey.

  • Aztec01

    And perhaps, this is why Ashley Mills husband is not friends with Ashley Madison. I only wish, in retrospect, that my marriage had been so respectful of each other.

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