Quoting Quiverfull: Defrauding Your (Future) Spouse?

Quoting Quiverfull: Defrauding Your (Future) Spouse? July 23, 2013

Von Ohlman at True Love Doesn’t Wait – Defrauding Your (Future) Spouse

One of the most misunderstood words in the whole Betrothal/Courtship/Dating discussion is the word ‘defraud’. We have all grown up with a system (dating) that promotes something as a virtue that many of us are beginning to understand is a sin: the pre-covenantal romantic relationship between a boy and a girl.

And yet old habits die hard. It has been said, even by some of the most ardent Biblicists, that we ‘can’t eliminate all risk of anyone getting their feelings hurt’ in defense of a system that insists on placing the young man and young woman in some kind of romantic relationship before they are bound in the binding covenant of betrothal. With our background, coming from our culture, we cannot imagine placing a young woman and a young man in binding covenant ourselves without their specific consent… let alone that doing so is actually a great gift and a protection.

Scripture, when speaking of the marriages of Adam and Eve, God with Israel, and Christ with the church, is quite clear on the life-long nature of their covenantal relationship. Before Eve was created God said, “I will make a help-meet for [Adam].” She was created for him. She had no relationships before him, no other suitors or ‘boyfriends’. She was created, and given to him, and they became man and wife.

Similarly in Ezekiel 16 we read of a relationship between God and Israel. Despite her humble birth, God says He took Israel into his house, under His wing; beginning with rescuing her from death by exposure. Washing her, clothing her, He raised her in His house until the time for love came when He entered into a covenant with her and took her to His bed, producing children.The situation with Christ is even more dramatic. From the foundation of the world the elect were given in permanent covenant to Christ. Despite their active rejection and adulteries, God through Christ and the Holy Spirit irresistibly drew her to Himself… to the extent that she will come into her marriage as a ‘chaste virgin’. So how are we to reflect that? How are our marriages to reflect this truth? And what does it have to do with defrauding?

I believe that those of us who believe the most strongly in betrothal have the broadest definition of what ‘defrauding’ means in the context of marriage. Or, perhaps, the strongest definition of ‘fidelity’. We hold that faithfulness to our spouse means never considering anyone else as even a potential spouse: being faithful mentally both after and before the covenant is pronounced.

The marriage covenant involves several aspects. The physical aspect is the clearest and the one that even most ardent secularists agree upon: a husband or wife who has intercourse, or even (for most people) holds hands or kisses someone outside of their marriage covenant has ‘cheated’.

Most of the church agrees that, once the couple are in covenant, focusing one’s thoughts in a sexual manner on someone not your spouse is also adultery.

But our society has never accepted the idea that focusing one’s thoughts… one’s romantic and, potentially, sexual thoughts, on someone to whom we are not bound in covenant is adultery… adultery to our spouse-to-be. Instead, even where we have accepted this as an evil, a risk of an inappropriate relationship, we have called it a necessary evil. We accept, as a founding assumption, that the son and daughter must, at some point, look at each other and say, “Do I, personally, wish to marry this person?”… to look at them and consider them as a potential marriage partner, with all that potentially entails. Perhaps only once their father’s have approved, perhaps only for as long as it takes to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But we assume that this ‘consent’ must happen.

But why do we insist on that period? No Scripture demands it, no Scriptural example demonstrates it. The closest any commentator can come is to point to Rebecca, whose father and brother had already said, “Behold, Rebekah is before thee, take her, and go, and let her be thy master’s son’s wife, as the LORD hath spoken.” And who echoed their decision with “I will go”.

Comments open below


QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull honestly and thoughtfully.


NLQ Recommended Reading …

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich

Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce


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  • acutler

    Yet Isaac’s son could be said to have “dated” his first choice Rachel for seven years and he was the one after whom God named His chosen people.

  • Baby_Raptor


    Consent means nothing to these people. Happiness means nothing. Free will means nothing. Emotional maturity? Not even heard of. Sexual experience? That’s a sin. Actual desire for your spouse? Fake it til you believe it’s real…

    How can anyone say they have an honest marriage when they’re set up like this?

  • Nightshade

    I have inquired of Mr. Ohlman before what value, if any, he places on free will…haven’t seen an actual answer yet, but this seems to indicate that value is zero, none at all.

  • He don’t get the gospel either – Christ not only took a bride who “slept around” before, but wooed us until we said “yes!” And those who do not say yes to Jesus are not children of God. You cannot become a child of God because your father said yes. Your literal father cannot say yes to Jesus for you, your spiritual father, if you are not a child of God, is Satan, and he won’t say yes on your behalf either.

    The gospel is the ultimate example, and the story of God and Israel another example, that a father cannot decide on your behalf – you must react yourself to the one who woos. I cannot believe he use these examples so counter to their real meaning!

  • a-mckeown

    Apparently the author is not aware that in Hebrew there is no word for wife. In the Hebrew language you would say “his woman” or “woman of him”. Even in English the word wife is not used for Eve until after the fall and banishment from Eden.

    But I suppose it would be heresy to suggest that Adam and Eve had sex outside of marriage.

  • Kristen Rosser

    Olhman is apparently a hyper-Calvinist; he believes we only say “yes” to God because we are caused to do so by God.

  • Kristen Rosser

    I don’t think he believes there is such a thing as free will.

  • Kristen Rosser

    This is the horrifying end result of believing that marriage is a picture or illustration of Christ’s relationship with the church, and mixing that with hyper-Calvinism. I believe both these doctrines are dangerous misreadings of the text with the result of the selective dehumanizing of human beings.

  • Madame

    Yup. And Isaac’s son was given a wife after his first 7 years of waiting, and instead of rejoicing in this “wife of his youth”, he spent 7 more years working for the one he wanted.
    Figure that one out for me, Mr Ohlman! (if you ever get around to answering questions, that is)

  • acutler

    It also handily illustrates the disasters that can be caused by forced marriages (i.e. Leah).

  • Nightshade

    ‘No’ is not an option…doesn’t that make his god the theological equivalent of a rapist?

  • Amen, Acutler!

  • Kristen Rosser

    Not exactly, because this version of God makes humans want to say yes– so he doesn’t violate their will so much as change it for them. They are not forced, but their wills are not free either.

  • newcomer

    I like how he left out Adam’s two previous mates, the one that he rejected and the one who rejected him (and went on to pair up with the devil/demon/angel of her choosing, depending on the account). Or does that piece of the mythos not fit into the point he was trying to make?

  • NeaDods

    He doesn’t want an honest marriage, he wants a biblical one. Which, by his own admission precludes happiness, maturity, or even consent.

  • BB/VA

    Every time I read this guy my brain feels all sticky.

  • Two? I know about the story of Lilith but who was the other?

  • persephone

    Von’s going to beat that dead horse until there’s not even a splinter of bone left. Get over it, Von: you didn’t get to marry Miss Perfect and you never will. *Miss Perfect thanks her father daily for that good decision*

    You’re married. You have kids. Move forward instead of looking back. Don’t force your children’s future into some twisted mold without any real basis in history or the Bible.

  • persephone

    I always felt bad for Leah. I’m sure Von’s second choice wife, the one he didn’t want but settled for, probably feels like crap pretty much all the time.

  • persephone

    Von doesn’t have any real knowledge of myth or history. He makes sweeping statements that have quicksand as foundation. He can’t actually carry on a discussion because he has nothing to back up his utterances.

  • acutler

    You’re right, I can’t imagine how miserable marriage was for Leah.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, arranged marriages involving young girls is in the bible plenty–but so what?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Why would I want to respond to a “Father” that created me to fail and then will burn me in eternity for how he created me?

    I’ll take Satan, thanks. At least he’s honest about being a jerk.

  • Madame

    You’re married. You have kids. Move forward instead of looking back.
    Don’t force your children’s future into some twisted mold without any
    real basis in history or the Bible.


  • Madame

    There are also daughters given as prizes, daughters offered to a mob of rapists, servants given to their lady’s husband for sex to bear children for the lady, and I’m sure there are more interesting sexual arrangements to be found.

    The Bible is full of stories that are definitely not meant to be tried at home.

  • I won’t respond positively to “a “Father” that created me to fail and then will burn me in eternity for how he created me” either. But thank God, He is not like that!

    “Burning for eternity” is a combination of:
    1) strict literalism,
    2) confusing 3 different Hebrew/ Greek concepts that are all translated to English with hell,
    3) and thinking that hell (one of the 3 words) existing for eternity means everyone who enters it will be there for eternity. (That is bad logic – the mere fact that I have been in a city that existed in 1000 BC don’t mean I was there for 3000 years.)
    In short, it is a result of the understanding by some Christians in the English speaking world, not what God definitely does.

    And God does not set up for failure.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Read your own bible. It plainly states that God created humanity with free will. It then goes on to state that, because of said free will, we are *incapable* of not sinning, and *incapable* of living up to God’s standards, and that we have to be punished for that. Hence the need for salvation.

    In other words, we have to be punished for acting the way God created us to act. So, yes. He set us up to fail his test. I was never given the option of being good enough for God on my own; I was supposedly “fallen” before I was even born.

  • It is not because of free will that we sin, free will mean we were also made free to not sin.
    The God-sets-us-up-for-failure-by-free-will argument is like saying: “My husband trusted me enough to not watch me all day. He thereby set me up for this adultery, and now he divorces me because I sleep with another guy! The mean b@st@rd!”

  • Madame

    No. Your comparison doesn’t work.
    God did give us a conscience, but he made us human, with desires that he then goes on to condemn and that he himself is allowed to indulge in (hatred, revenge, jealousy….)

    God allowed the serpent access to the garden, knowing fully well that Adam and Eve would succumb.

    I struggle with the idea of God’s goodness. I have tried to just accept it. But I can’t.

  • Trollface McGee

    You mean the Bible wasn’t written in the Lord’s own English?

    I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the “Adam called her wo-man because she’s made from man” bit from preachers who completely don’t understand that out of all the languages the Bible was written, English wasn’t one.

  • persephone

    The difference is that he’s saying that this is a biblical guide to marriage. We know that it’s not, especially according to the New Testament.

  • Kristen Rosser

    This is what it “plainly” states according to evangelical interpretation and doctrine, largely based on Augustine’s reading of the texts. The fact that large sects of Christianity deny the existence of free will, that other groups believe it *is* possible not to sin, etc., shows that this way of reading the text is not so absolutely “plain” after all.

  • newcomer

    The other one has no name in any surviving versions, but is mentioned in several conflicting stories. Either she was created immediately before or after Lilith, and Adam didn’t want her either because he didn’t find her beautiful enough or because God created her from his rib right before his eyes and that squicked him out- which is why God then made Adam sleep before creating Eve in the same way. Also, either she was destroyed because Adam didn’t want her or just left the garden on her own.

  • NeaDods

    You pretty much summed up the philosophy that made me an atheist.

  • You say God gave us the desires he condemns. You say that based on what?

  • Baby_Raptor

    I’m sorry, how does this at all jive with the fact that the bible says that we are inherently incapable of not sinning?

    And, really? Please, think about what you just said. If God was that demanding with his requirements, and he simply *cannot* stand having people who sin in his presence…Why only give us the option to not sin? Why not bypass the entire thing all together?

  • Baby_Raptor

    So what do you believe, then? That God made us “perfect,” but with the option to sin, and the first sin suddenly created all those negative things that God despises (but goes on to use himself)?

  • Baby_Raptor

    My faith started its crash because of this realization, which I had by way of realizing that I’m Bi. I had no knowledge whatsoever of the concept of homosexuality before I realized that I like girls, so there was never any doubt in my mind that my sexuality is biological. And this realization caused a good, hard look at the religion.

    From then on out, it was downhill.

  • Madame


    I say that because God is jealous, he hates sin, and he says over and over again that he will have revenge over his enemies. God destroys people for offending him repeatedly, he hates people (Esau, Cain) for making the wrong choices, I recall the Bible saying that we should leave revenge to God. The Bible definitely instructs us to forgive offenses, but God can withhold that forgiveness unless offenders (everyone) repent and turn to him.

    In your example, you are talking about two adults who have made the free decision to be faithful to each other to try to explain how God is not to blame for putting two adults in a perfect garden (with the temptation in the middle of it and the tempter lurking around somewhere), giving them one rule, and walking off knowing they would eventually break it.

    First, you have Adam and Eve’s innocence. You can compare them to children, so if you want to come up with a comparison, start by using children.

    The situation would be similar to putting two children in a room with bowls of candy and one specific one, in the middle of the room, that they aren’t supposed to eat from because it will make them sick. Now another kid walks into the room and asks them why they aren’t eating that candy and they respond that eating it would make them sick. The other kid says no, the candy is really nice and won’t make them sick.

    So the kids have the candy, but now they feel bad because they had something they weren’t supposed to have. They also start to question the adult who told them the candy would make them sick.

    Anyway… I’m not feeling very coherent here.

  • Firstly, God does not do the negative things he despises in us. Sometimes words shift meanings over centuries or get translated badly. “Hate” is often the word the KJV used for putting someone second, while we use “hate” for the opposite of love. (It is entirely possible to love and put second – like when one of your children has an immediate need and in that second the less pressing needs of all your other loved ones is temporarily put aside.) And nobody say that hate, in itself, is wrong – it is entirely right to hate activities that hurt others.

    People who think God does what we cannot are comparable to a child whose mother, an artist, buys an expensive sheet of watercolour paper and say the child may not use it – he may paint on other paper, but some sets of paint and that paper is not for the child. When the mother paints on that paper, the child sees her as a hypocrite. He thinks she does what is forbidden, but she actually forbade (though she simplified the words to child level) wasting good watercolor paper by someone who did not know watercolor painting techniques, something she did not do.

    On to what I believe? I believe God made us perfect, with the option to choose or not choose Him. But if we do not want Him, we can choose so. And when we choose against Him, he gives the option to turn back. The first promise of beating satan (of coming back to God) whom they chose to follow was given the first time God spoke to them after sinning: He said the serpent would be crushed. In his faithful love, He made a plan for us to come back to Him. Somehow this Jesus plan is effective for at least some who never even heard of Jesus (It says no man come to the Father but by Him, yet people in Nineveh converted long before Jesus and will be in heaven one day). But people who do not want Him can choose His absence. If someone hates God and see only ugly in Him (He is jealous! He hates!) that person would not want to spend eternity with a ruler he hates, so the right thing to do is to take that person to where this king is not the ruler. This ruler is good, loving, righteous and wise, and His absence is hell.

  • You asked: “Why not bypass the possibility of sinning altogether?” I don’t know why God made humans and not robots. One Christian guess is that he wanted a relationship with characters who could actually say yes or no to the relationship. Which almost brings us back to the original topic of the thread, after this long sidetrack 😉

  • That was a red herring tactic. You did not answer me. I asked why you think He is the giver, to us, of those desires. You said what wrong desires you think God have, but not why you claimed these desires in us were given by him.

  • mayarend

    He wants a relationship with characters that can say yes or no, but will punish those that say no? Kind of tricky there…

  • Read what was said to Baby_Raptor in the very thread you reply to – he “punish”/punish by not being with them. He will give them His absence, as they don’t want to be with Him.
    It is not morally wrong to stay away from those who do not want you.


  • mayarend

    True that, but it’s not the interpretation of any branch of Christianity that I’ve heard of. Mostly it’s fire and brimstone and eternal damnation and you will suffer…

    Sorry that I didn’t read the thread, was really big and I was looking to point out just one topic 🙂

  • Madame


    it’s my understanding that mankind is made in the image of God, meaning that we reflect also God’s character traits. We are jealous (possessive) as God is, we are capable of loving, hating, wanting a certain sacrifice from those who wrong us, etc… Some of these are not positive feelings, needs or character traits, and I assume they aren’t “pure” in us as they are in God. In the Bible we find accounts of God’s rage, his anger, his hatred, talk about revenge. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to say that God put those feelings in us.

  • You don’t think it is far-fetched to suggest God put
    these urges in us, so because of that thinking you
    insist He did?

    “Thinking it is not too far-fetched” is not the way to decide what S/someone actually did.

    PS: I am out of this conversation now. I believe the views of all of us are understood.

  • Baby_Raptor

    God doesn’t do what he says we shouldn’t. Okay, then explain to me why God murders thousands of people in the Old Testament. Explain to me why he completely ruined Job’s life on a bet with Satan. Explain why the first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me, for I am a jealous God” when jealousy is expressly condemned. Explain why Jesus worked on the Sabbath which we are ordered to keep holy. Explain why he lost his temper and in his anger cursed a fig tree for not producing fruit when it was out of season, yet Christians are told that both cursing and acting in anger are sins.

    As to your analogy, I do not appreciate being compared to a child simply because I do not hold the same beliefs you do. It’s insulting. It implies that I am somehow either stupid or incapable of fully understanding, and I am neither.

    The fact that the bible says that no man may come to god but through Jesus, and yet people did anyway isn’t a selling point. At best it’s a translation error, at worst it’s a lie.

    And lastly, how can you call a being “good, loving and righteous” when the mere fact of not being in his presence is considered a punishment? At best, that’s only ego. And how can you say those words about a deity who continually describes his “beloved” creation as fallen, dirty, and other insulting terms? Doesn’t sound very loving to me; and I’m pretty sure the act of trash-talking people is condemned as a sin in the New Testament.

  • “As to your analogy, I do not appreciate being compared to a child simply because I do not hold the same beliefs you do.”

    You are not compared to a child because you do not hold my beliefs. I compare both of us to children, in that our wisdom is low compared to God.

    “And lastly, how can you call a being “good, loving and righteous” when the mere fact of not being in his presence is considered a punishment? At best, that’s only ego.”

    If a being was the source of all that is good, loving and righteous, obviously moving out of His presence would be losing all that is good, loving and righteous. That is so obvious that I cannot understand your question.

    As for your examples of God “doing things we should not”: You assumed that if someone holds on to Jesus, he needs to believe all the accounts in the Old Testament of what God did. I’d say that people who cannot reconcile Jesus with the Old Testament should rather accept Jesus and leave the Old Testament (or leave it until they are ready) for now. I believe there are answers to these matters, but the important thing is: Look at Jesus to see God. Jesus
    did not say: ”Believe every word of the Old Testament or you cannot come to me.”

    Grasp Jesus, and you grasp God. Before you grasp God, you cannot fit these things into a God picture.

    (If you want any more answers on these topics, put “apologetics” and the relevant Issue into a search engine. For example: apologetics God killing.)

    As for the “calling us dirty” example, it is wise to describe
    things as bad if you can help people escape from/ avoid bad things by acknowledging the badness. For example, neither of us will call someone hateful towards people in the Quiverfull movement for saying: “there is something wrong with Quiverfull, and the decisions Quiverfull people make.” That is obviously a warning, not a statement of hate.

    God says humanity made earth a mess – but He can help us change it around. He don’t hate us if he hate the mess on earth. It is entirely rational that a totally wise Being who made us would see things we cannot see that we can be saved from, can see what we can be like without the badness in and around us. And He offer us forgiveness and make us new, and then call us words like “his bride” “a new creation” “sanctified” and “holy.” He does not keep on
    calling those who come to Him “fallen.” (And those who do not want to come to Him, could stay away from places they hear the message they do not like.)

  • DaisyFlower

    You said, “In other words, we have to be punished for acting the way God created us to act.” | It is my understanding that when God created humanity, they were initially without sin, but they chose to believe lies about God and thus disobeyed God’s one command. They did not have to disobey (the first humans were not “created by God to act” sinfully, it looks to be quite the opposite). When they did disobey, God was under no compunction or obligation to intervene on behalf of fallen humanity but did so, in the redemptive work of Christ. God is not the villain in the story, as He is often made out to be in these sorts of objections.

  • DaisyFlower

    You said, “that we are inherently incapable of not sinning” | I think the Bible says humanity has a sin nature and leans towards sin, not that each human will always sin every minute of the day, seven days a week. It says that humans have a propensity to avoid God, avoid doing good, etc., and have a preference for sin. But I think it may be a bit beside the point, as the Scripture says that one who is guilty of breaking even one point of the Law is guilty of breaking them all. God’s standard is absolute perfection at all times, in thought, word, motive, and deed, and no adult can pass that test. An adult will sin at least once at some stage, in thought, word, or deed. There are also sins of omission, that is, failure to do the right thing.

  • DaisyFlower

    You said, “but will punish those that say no?” / But the ones saying “No” do not want a relationship with God. People who say no to God often have a tendency to hate God, they think he is a monster, or they’re angry at God for something bad that happened to them in life (they blame God for not prohibiting whatever the bad thing was), some picture God as a party-killer/ wet blanket type of guy (they hate all the rules and would rather party life away, live life on their own terms), etc.

  • DaisyFlower

    The Bible does say that God gave humanity a conscience, but some dull it by ignoring it so often (the Bible says their conscience becomes “seared”). You said, “God allowed the serpent access to the garden, knowing fully well that Adam and Eve would succumb.” / I don’t understand the objection. So what if God knew beforehand how Adam/Eve would react to the temptation, it was still their choice and their responsibility. God warned them what would happen if they disobeyed, and they chose to disobey anyhow.