Christian Patriarchy to Men: You don’t have to grow up!

What are the qualities we generally associate with maturity? The ability to see things from others’ perspectives? The ability to accept that the world doesn’t revolve around you, and that things don’t always go the way you want them to, and that you just have to deal with that? The ability to cooperate with others, to communicate and find compromises that everyone can be happy with?

Yeah, under Christian Patriarchy, a man doesn’t have to do any of that. Because he’s the head of the family, dammit!

What he says goes! God speaks to him, after all, and everyone else should listen and heed what God tells him! He’s the one who gets to make the decisions for the family, and for the children! Period! In other words, a man is allowed to act like a willful, spoiled child who always expects to get his own way. And if he doesn’t get his own way? Expect a reaction of confusion mixed with anger and righteous indignation.

It’s incredibly ironic that the movement insists on training any sort of willfulness out of children completely, but turns around and fosters it in its men. The truth is that in Christian Patriarchy men are allowed to act like spoiled children while women and children are expected to just roll over and acquiesce.

While not every man following the teachings of Christian Patriarchy will respond in the same way – there is a good deal of variation based on personality – these teachings, quite simply, are the perfect recipe for amplifying every bit of willfulness, selfishness, and inability to compromise a man might have. They amplifying all of a man’s bad qualities, and the more of these qualities a man has to start with the worse the amplification will be. A man whose tendency toward wanting his own way might have been balanced by an assertive wife will suddenly morph into a micromanaging dictator.

And the worst part is that there is no check on this.

If a woman goes to her pastor and complains that her husband is being an unreasonable dictator, she will be told that it’s her role to submit even if her husband seems unreasonable. In fact, in some cases this is what she will be told even if she goes to her parents for help.

By telling men that they are to be in charge and make the final decisions, and that God has mandated that their wives must submit and follow their lead, Christian Patriarchy creates a situation where men have no need to communicate, cooperate, or compromise. Or, you know, grow up.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.