When the Wife Gets a Tattoo… And Doesn’t Tell You

Blonde Tattoo Bride

Over Christmas dinner, my sister asked me, “What would you do if your wife got a tattoo, but didn’t tell you about it beforehand?”

My sister had heard about the situation from a radio program and wanted my opinion.

I thought about the question for a few moments and responded.

One House

When one is married, that person shares the same house as their spouse.

What if one spouse totally redecorated the house without letting the other one know? You’d have a big argument, right?

When you are married, you “share” everything, including bodies.

So if the wife decides to get a breast implant without the husband’s consent, there could be issues. Likewise if the husband decided to do something with his body.

So from the “one house” perspective, the woman is in the wrong for hiding the tattoo from her husband.

Tattoos From a Biblical Perspective

There is nothing wrong with getting tattoos from a Biblical perspective. Sure, your body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19), but I don’t believe you’re sinning against your own body by getting a tattoo (the verse mentioned is about sexual sin).

Since we’re talking about marriage, let’s see what the Bible says about bodies.

Let’s take a look at Matthew 19:5:

Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’”

The above verse talks about marriage and simply states that married couples are one flesh. Meaning, their bodies are no longer separate, but together in unity.

Let’s look at another verse, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5:

The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

The above verse is in the context of sex within marriage. But inside the verse are two key truths:

  1. The wife’s body is not hers alone, but also her husband’s.
  2. The husband’s body is not his alone, but also his wife’s.

In a biblical marriage, both the husband and wife “share” bodies.

If the wife does something to her body (such as get a tattoo without permission), she is dishonoring her husband because her body belongs partially to him. Likewise if the husband did something to his body (guys aren’t off the hook!).

From a biblical perspective, it’s pretty clear the wife was in the wrong here regarding the tattoo.

Conclusion

The wife and husband share their bodies. To do something to their bodies without the consent of the spouse is not only disrespectful, it is a sin.

35 thoughts on “When the Wife Gets a Tattoo… And Doesn’t Tell You

  1. Well, my sis phrased the question in the context whether the husband had the right to be upset about it. I came to the conclusion that the husband had the right to be upset.

    Hopefully the husband won’t do anything drastic since tattoo removal is quite painful and expensive.

  2. I would look at it from a different perspective I think.

    If it was an in-character thing for her to do then it would be unreasonable to be upset by it as he had chosen to be with her, and that’s the sort of thing she’d do.

    If it was entirely out of character then something has changed and he really needs to set aside the way he feels about it and be there for her.

    He can take the moral highground if he wants (if there is such a thing in reality) but it is unlikely to help matters any.

  3. Wow, I can’t imagine getting a tattoo without my husband knowing about it. But, I don’t like tattoos to begin with so this would be way out of my character.

    1. My only question is…

      Why was she hiding it from him in the first place? Why does something like that have to be a secret?

      Though she may not feel obligated to “get permission,” you would think she would have at least mentioned it.

      There’s no way around it- that’s just disrespectful.

      1. Your point is 100% correct. Marraiges break down for a lot of reasons but the number one is lack of communication. Sure, we keep things from our spouses that are not important, but to hide something from a spouse is an issue. To “hide” assumes that you already know it’s wrong in your spouses eyes.

  4. Some said that some secrets will be left as secret forever to protect something. But in this situation, I agree that couples should be on both directions of telling something and everything about their bodies.

    Having such then hides it to a man seems to be very insulting. Just be respectful and faithful to your partners. Come to think if you are on their shoes.

  5. Methinks its not the appearance or size of the tattoo but the way she uses it? In a committed relationship, a *chicka chicka bow wow* tattoo (you know what I’m talking about) is only fun when it’s used for… um, “internal marketing.”

    Now, if this was a means for establishing some sort of competitive advantage or attraction in the open market, I’d be disgruntled and assert the constitutionality of my monopoly position on said tattoo and spouse… not that the constitution seems to carry much moral weight these days, but I digress.

    Non-promiscuous uses of tattoos include memorials for the deceased, tributes to loved ones (could any mom not love a heart with “Mudder” written across it?), for medical information, pure juvenile delinquency (for all ages), sports/military affinity, or to enhance memory (e.g. name, telephone number, grocery list items, etc.).

    My reaction would vary in proportion to the motivation and use of said tattoo. Ultimately, if she has to get a tattoo for the subjectively “right reasons,” I at least want to be with her with camera and disinfectant wipes in hand… needles can carry diseases if improperly sanitized! (and the pictures could be used for retribution if the *chicka chicka* ever swings in the wrong direction and she needs to be in the bow wow house).

    That’s my 9 cents anyway… hey, and tell sis I said hi! Good post, btw. Please excuse my 3am wiki-ness. It’s all meant in good humor, boys and girls.

  6. Well, the whole point is the wife should respect her husband. If that happens to me, I will be upset specially if the name on the tattoo is not mine or hers hehehe. I will file a divorce! :)

    Hiding something from your husband is the beginning of something worst later. I think if that happens to them too, they’ll be nagging you all day.

  7. Of course the husband has the right to be upset. That said, there’s not much to do about it except maybe, getting tattooed himself :)

    Or maybe to understand that tattooing had been ruled out by the Christian religion while it had been very popular for centuries and even milleniums (millenia?) before.

    Our Celtic ancestors were tattooed, as well as Hawaiian, Japanese, Haida natives from British Columbia, and every ancient people you could think of. There are some old meanings associated with most of these so called tribal tattoos, who are the most popular. And these tattoos are popular now because they’re mysterious and beautiful most of the time.

    What we don’t like about these tattoos is they’re been worn by the very tribes we’ve been fighting during colonial times. These tattoos are symbols of cultures we’ve been fighting.

    There is also another fact about why we don’t like tattoos that much.

    You’ve probably noticed that tattoos are associated with bad guys. This goes back to when the Christian religion ruled tattoos as inconvenient, those who wanted to rebel against law and order would get themselves tattooed.

    Pirates, criminals, mafias and alike were all, and still are tattooed.

  8. I think that if husband would like the tattoo, he should not be mad. On the other hand if it appears to be very ugly for the husband he should do something about it. For me it is much easier because I’m a huge fan of tattoos of all kind and it would be difficult to displease me with such surprise.

  9. To me this wouldn’t be that big of a deal unless the tattoo was somehow offensive or insulting. We share everything, but I still love her and in the big picture a small piece of artwork really means very little.

    No reason to get too upset in my book. If you hold onto something to tightly, you may not have it to hold onto any longer.

  10. Hello all. I am actually in this situation, so I googled it to better handle it.

    My partner and I are married and applying for citizenship. She is from Japan, and I am from Canada. We are immigrating to Canada.

    I have left Japan, and am now living at home and looking for work–which I found yesterday!!–for the past three months. Last night I got an email with pictures of her new tattoo. I was horrified. It covers her entire shoulder blade.

    We had discussed this in the past. I told her that I don’t approve. I told her that I would be very upset. 1. We are immigrating, and I we don’t have money for grabage like this (I estimate the cost to be $400 or more). 2. She has done this to me before. She has two other tattoos. The first one, I didn’t think she would do it. The second one, I begged her not to, and still she did it. And now this! I am speachless.

    I have thought deeply about the emotional and financial betrayal of her action, and horrified by what it signifies. I have asked her to remove it. I am not going to look at that ugly thing on her back for the rest of my life! I spend my time thinking about our future, and she spends her time thinking about tattoos. No respect for our current situation.

    What should I do?

    Thanks,
    C

    1. I’m definitely not one to give out relationship advice, but I see a big red flag. If your partner is unwilling to respect your feelings on such a small matter, what kind of respect to you expect to receive on the harder matters?

      1. Tell me about it. I’m not sure what to do. I emailed her to say how I feel (she’s at work) and she hasn’t responded. I want her to remove it.

        I know the bible says that we are one body, and that’s how I feel. That’s how I feel!! She can’t do whatever she wants, same as me.

        She had the money and balls to get it done, she has the money and balls to remove it. It’s aweful that she has done this to herself and to me. I don’t know whatelse to do, but I want her to take me seriously.

    2. Christie,

      You stated that your partner got her first tattoo and you did not believe she would really do it. In other words, she said she would, you said “no you won’t” or “go ahead” or something to the effect, not believing she actually would? But she did get a tattoo. Then she got the second and third tattoo strictly against your wishes. Not knowing more about your relationship, I really can’t say what is going on but I have some ideas based on your post and based on some of my close friends.

      One thought I have. Is your partner being very dominant? And is she using the tattoos to intimidate you?

      The second thought I have is based on a friend’s live in girlfriend and is much less sinister. She got her first tattoo a few years ago and is hooked. She just loves tattoos! She loved the entire process, from choosing just the right one, to having them applied, to showing them off to her friends including me. Her tattoos have nothing to do with a lack of commitment – she intends to spend the rest of her years with her boyfriend and is totally committed. But she will continue to get tattoos until she has no bare skin left. He used to hate them and the tattoos have led to many bitter arguments. But he has calmed down a little and has become more accepting. He understands why she is getting her tattoos and she is even letting him help pick a few out for her.

      Communication is always the deal breaker in any long term relationship and if you two can-not communicate about this in a sensible manner then what else are you not communicating about? Maybe you and your partner need to sit down and have a long heart to heart talk?

  11. Hello Tom, and thank you.

    When my partner got her first tattoo, I didn’t protest. I thought, “It’s her body, and I what can I say?” But in my heart, I hoped that she wouldn’t do it. When I saw that she did, I felt mournful. It’s strange, I guess.

    The second tattoo, I voiced my opinion a little more. I told her that they don’t suit her. Third, I got a little stronger with, “I’ll be mad.” I feel uneasy about it all. I can’t really explain why.

    The example of your friend’s situation may be similar to my own. Although, I don’t think she likes tattoos that much. Like, I don’t think she “needs” to do it. Way back in university I took a philosophy course in body modification. We were presented with extreme situations, like tattoos and self-inflicted amputation–all of it. So, I’ve been exposed to both sides of the argument. That said, it still grosses me out–lol. Yeah, I guess I’m not very open in that department.

    I think this is about, “I want, I want, I want.” If I say “No”, it doesn’t matter, because it’s her money and her body. That’s how she feels about this.

    I just can’t stand that I will never see her back, normal. It somehow defiles her. It’s ridiculous to think that, I know. I sound like a jerk. Sigh*

    A heart to heart sounds good, Tom. What should we accomplish? What do you suggest we work out?

    Thank you for your input. I would love to hear more thoughts. >.<

    C

  12. What if my wife has a tattoo. I think it’s just fine with me. First, I love tattoo as an art. Second, I wouldn’t allow her to let my siblings to have one.

  13. Hello, and thanks to everyone who wrote me.

    Many people said that you can not own someone’s body. I agree, sort of. If you have ever loved someone (romantically), you know it’s pretty hard to tell the difference between their body and yours.

    Anyway, enough time has passed, and I know that I’m a bit of a hot-head. I over reacted. I’m sorry for the headache I caused her.

    At first, I wanted her to feel stupid, and I was successful. But that’s not cool. My job as a partner is to make her feel happy and good about herself.

    It’s hard to control yourself when you are angry. Why is it so easy to say BS to the people we love–haha? I wish I wasn’t such a child. That’s something I definitely have to work on: staying positive and playing it cool.

    Anyway, good luck everyone! And thanks for the advice!

    C

  14. I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I was wanting a tattoo for several years. I knew my husband didn’t like them, but never saw him treat anyone differently because they had one. A few months ago I decided to finally get one and let him know a week before that I was getting one. He didn’t say a word to me about it. Well, after I got mine things have gone downhill. I’ve admitted my wrongs, and even have started the removal process, but it still doesn’t seem good enough. He still gets upset if I don’t cover it and has made this a huge issue in our marriage. We’ve even gone to counceling which hasn’t really helped. I don’t know what else to do or if even getting it removed will solve anything.

  15. Michelle,

    It seems like you have crossed an invisible line with your spouse and maybe broken a deeply hidden taboo with him. This happens more often than most realize, particularly when both are very condescending. One goes out on a limb for a “want” while the other reserves his opinion. But when the “event” finally happens and it could be a tattoo, a motorcycle, sky diving lessons, the spouse finally reacts. It’s almost like it wasn’t real until NOW.

    I hope you work things out but if things continue to go south then I recommend enlisting some outside help, even finding another marriage counselor. Psychologists and councelors are like any other professional. There’s good ones and there’s bad ones.

  16. What if the husband new about her wanting to get one and she understood that he absolutly dislikes tattoos to a great effect and the wife new and was told that a 20 year marraige would end over it and she did it anyway?

    1. I am the wife in the above question. I would like to add a little background. The marriage had been rocky at best most of the marriage. I have always wanted a tattoo even before getting married. I have been hurt for many years during the marriage by lies and porn. Even him divorcing me due to money problems. The divorce happened 5 years ago and has ripped my heart out. I am not allowed to do anything with my mom-was offered a trip of a lifetime and was told I can not go. WITH MY MOM…. I am tired of doing things for everyone else and this was for me. I know some people do not agree with tattoos and have gotten different biblical views. Maybe this background will help.

      1. I agree with the biblical views but it seems that in your case, you no longer had a marraige. And in this case your body is your business – not yours and a ex-his business!

  17. Hello there ^_^ I want to first say I so much enjoy reading your thoughs and I listen too, I value very much your opinion because it’s honest, real and very wise : ) but I had a quick question about the tattoo part that’s biblical? I know a scripture from before which says “”‘You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you. I am Yahweh.” It’s in Leviticus 19:28 (I got the wording from the World English bible) Honestly, I would much appreciate sharing your thoughts with me on this.

    Thank you,
    Victoria

  18. My wife went out “shopping” and came back with a lower back tattoo. She was 50 at the time and it was her first tattoo. I have none.
    I actually found it very exciting and thought that it was a great adornment to an already beautiful body.

  19. My wife just got a tattoo,

    Two nights before she went and had her friends husband do it she mentioned something about getting one. The next night she said she was going to get it done and asked if I wanted to come. I told her that we should talk about it because I wasn’t sure that I approved of it. She told me that she had been thinking about getting it done for some time now, well that was news to me. I didn’t even know what it looked like or even where it was going.

    What’s done is done, I am having a hard time with it and not sure that things will ever be the same. I am turning for support on this blog because I can’t turn to anyone that is close to me because she doesn’t want anyone to know about it.

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