What Does the Bible Say About a “Spirit Spouse”?

1 Timothy 4:1-2

What does the Bible say about a spiritual spouse, a spiritual husband, and spiritual wife? This is a question I’ve been asked a lot over the years, but I’ve put it off because I thought I already answered this question in my teachings about soul ties.

But when I started researching the terms “spiritual spouse,” “spiritual husband,” and “spiritual wife,” I quickly realized most people are using these terms in a very different way than I originally thought. I assumed people were using these phrases to mean that you are spiritually married to another person in your heart or in the spiritual domain. I imagined people felt like they were emotionally attached to a person and though they were not married in the eyes of man they were married in the eyes of God. But I was really wrong. This is not how this phrase is commonly used.

So let’s talk about this common idea of “spiritual spouses.” It is biblical? And if not, why?

What Do Most People Mean By the Phrase “Spiritual Spouse,” “Spiritual Husband,” or “Spiritual Wife”?

Pastor Conrad Mbewe wrote a great article for the Gospel Coalition on this topic. In response to the question “What is a spiritual spouse?” he wrote:

The belief is that when your marriage is breaking up due to a husband who seems to have lost interest in you, or you have serious gynaecological problems, or you are having miscarriages, it is because you have a spirit called a ‘spirit husband.’ These spirits cause problems for us in the spiritual realm. Such is also the case if you are getting on in years but remain unmarried. If this is the case you have a ‘spirit husband’ blocking other men. Thus, it is claimed, you need deliverance in order to have a wholesome and healthy marriage.”1

The more research I did on this topic, it quickly became apparent that this idea of a spiritual spouse is commonly taught by people who are hyper-charismatic and believe in the need for “deliverance ministries.” These people teach that a spiritual spouse can be responsible for sexual pervasion in your life, prolonged unwanted singleness, bad relationships, perverse dreams, and a host of other problems.

In short, when people use the phrase “spiritual spouse” (or “spiritual husband,” “spiritual wife), they are talking about being married to a demon who has made a claim on you. This demon is jealous, wants to keep you away from other good people, and they have power to control certain parts of your life.

So is this biblical? No. Here’s 4 biblical reasons for why I believe a “spiritual spouse” is not a real thing, is not supported in the Bible, and is very dangerous to accept.

1. To Justify the Idea of a Spiritual Spouse in the Bible, One Must Make Large Hermeneutical Jumps That Are Very Weak and Unwise

Hermeneutics is just a big word seminarians use to mean “the method of interpreting Scripture.” A good hermeneutical framework includes some really important principles. One really important principle is that Scripture interprets Scripture.

If we are being honest, we have to admit that there are parts of the Bible that are very clear and easy to understand and then there are parts of the Bible that are more confusing and not so clear to understand. When this happens, it’s essential to go back to this hermeneutical principle about Scripture interpreting Scripture.

This means you take the part of Scripture you are confused about and then you compare it to parts of Scripture that you do understand. You use the parts of the Bible where a reasonable person would be unable to debate the meaning to then help you properly interpret the section of Scripture that reasonable people could debate about. Scripture never contradicts Scripture, so you choose the interpretation that fits best in the theology outlined in all of the Bible. You don’t take one verse that many people debate and then use that to interpret all the other passages in the Bible. Another way to say this is that you must interpret each verse through the lens of the whole Bible rather than interpreting the whole Bible through the lens of just one verse. Heresy always occurs when we take one verse out of context and use it to twist the plain truths in the whole of Scripture.

For example, it’s undebatable that the Bible clearly states the only way to be saved is by grace and through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). But there are some passages in the Bible that seem to say something different. For example, James 2:24 states, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” If you read this verse out of context and in isolation from the rest of the Bible, you might walk away misunderstanding how to be saved. But when you put this verse in it’s proper context in James 2 and you interpret it through the lens of all the other relevant Bible verses about salvation, you see there is a better way to interpret this. While we are saved by grace and through faith alone, when we are truly saved our faith will never be alone. Our faith will always be accompanied by spiritual fruit. You are not saved by this fruit, but when you are saved this fruit will be present. If you say you have faith but you don’t have any fruit, your faith is not real (James 2:17, Ephesians 2:10).

All that to say, whenever someone tries to justify the idea of a “spiritual spouse” being taught in the Bible, they use unclear passages of Scripture and must make large assumptions that are not supported anywhere else in Scripture. For example, people who believe in the idea of a “spiritual spouse” point to Genesis 6:1-4, which is a notoriously debated section of the Bible. You should never use one or two Bible verses that are unclear to dramatically change the plain meaning of Bible verses that are clear.

2. Teachings About Spiritual Spouses Contradict Clear Boundaries Outlined in the Bible About Spiritual Warfare for Christians

If you’ve been following this ministry for a while, you know I believe in spiritual warfare and we need to be vigilant against spiritual attacks (1 Peter 5:8-9). But teachings about spiritual warfare can quickly get off track when we lose focus on the boundaries God has set between Christians and demons.

Demons can possess non-Christians, directly influence their behavior, and give them bad thoughts (Ephesians 2:1-3). But when the Spirit of God comes into you when you put your faith in Jesus Christ, the enemy loses this type of influence in your life (Colossians 1:13, Colossians 2:13-15, 2 Corinthians 3:17). Demons relate to non-Christians and Christians in two different ways because of the boundaries placed around the Christian by the Spirit.

The enemy can still tempt you, but not directly in your mind or through controlling your body. The enemy must now use the “world” to appeal to the “flesh” inside of you rather than directly influencing your behavior like when you were an unbeliever.

For more on this topic, you can read my article called Was that Thought from God, You, or the Devil?

3. Teachings About Spiritual Spouses Lead People Into Dark, Unbiblical Experiences

Just because many people have a common experience and believe they are doing so because of a common cause is not proof of this cause. The presence of two factors does not automatically mean there is a correlation between these two things.

For example, the fact that people are having sexual dreams and these same people also believe they have a spiritual spouse does not mean that the presence of sexual dreams is proof of a spiritual spouse. Likewise, just because someone was “delivered” from a spiritual spouse by a prophet and then this person stopped having sexual dreams does not mean this person was actually delivered from a spiritual spouse. There are many people who have sexual dreams who don’t believe they have a spiritual spouse. And there are many people who stop having sexual dreams who did not receive deliverance from a prophet.

Usually dreams are simply a manifestation of your thoughts from the day. If you are choosing to lust when you are awake, or if your body is experiencing natural sexual feelings when you are awake, it is very likely your brain will produce thoughts while you sleep that are sexually related, meaning you will have sexual dreams.

With this in mind, it’s true that the mere belief in a spiritual spouse can cause you to experience things as though a spiritual spouse was a real thing. When you believe something to be true, your mind can take facts and force them into your belief system. But if you had a different belief system, you would be interpreting those facts differently. Bad teaching always leads to bad experiences. Don’t let bad experiences be justification to believe in bad teachings.

Therefore, you don’t need to worry about marrying a demon. Rather, you should be concerned about believing this false teaching about marrying a demon. This unbiblical teaching itself is the real attack from Satan. As 1 Timothy 4:1-2 states:

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”

Demons are real. Demons do attack Christians. But they attack through unbiblical teachings from false prophets and lies spread by unbelievers, not through demonic marriage vows and spiritual claims that you constantly need deliverance from.

Your own sin can make you live like a slave even though you are free in Christ, but if you keep blaming a demon for your own bad choices, you will never turn to Christ and crucify your own flesh, the real reason for your sin (Romans 6:15-23).

Demons can’t control you or your life. But your belief in demonic lies can hurt your walk with God. Therefore, submit to God’s truth and the enemy must flee from you (James 4:7). The Bible plainly states that when the Spirit of God is in you, no other spirit can be there too and keep you in bondage (2 Corinthians 3:17, Matthew 12:44-45).

For more about why you are dreaming about someone, you can read my article called How to Interpret Dreams About Someone. 

4. Teachings About Spiritual Spouses Are Unbiblical and Dangerous Because They Place the Blame on the Wrong Source, Thus Causing Us to Pursue Wrong Solutions

You may be struggling with many of the symptoms people claim are produced by a spiritual spouse. But if you believe you need to rebuke a demon for your intrusive thoughts, your sexual dreams, your bad relationship experiences, or a sin in your life, this is what the enemy wants because you are focusing on the wrong issue. If you never address the root issue to these real problems you are experiencing, this is how demons are actually deceiving you.

A demon wants you to blame demons for your sin because this will keep you from taking personal responsibility for your bad choices and turning to God for the grace you need to fight your own sin nature (James 1:13-18). Focusing on a spiritual spouse that you believe is keeping you single will keep you from looking in the mirror and addressing the personality issues that are keeping you away from true love (Proverbs 19:3). And needing a prophet to deliver you will keep you dependent on them rather than on Christ, the one true mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). As Colossians 2:16-23 states:

Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— ‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’ (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.”

For these reasons (and many more), I don’t believe the terms “spiritual spouse,” “spiritual husband,” or “spiritual wife” are biblical ideas that are supported in Scripture.

However, what could be real is a soul tie, but not in the way that most people use this phrase. If you want to know what I mean by the term soul tie and how to break this type of bond, click here to read What Does the Bible Say About Soul Ties?

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Published by

Mark Ballenger

ApplyGodsWord.com is the writing ministry of Mark Ballenger. To reach Mark, send him an email anytime: markballenger@applygodsword.com

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