CTBHHM: The Tale of the Purple Flowers PJ Girl

Created To Be His Help Meetpp. 139—40

Before getting to the purple flowers PJ girl, Debi throws in this bit:

It doesn’t seem fair that the wife is expected to honor and obey her husband even though he has not earned the right; yet she must also earn the right to be loved. If she has to honor him regardless of how he acts, why shouldn’t he love her regardless of how she acts?

Um. What. Debi is, of course, referring to the New Testament passages that require husbands to love their wives and wives to obey their husbands. Neither statement is conditional. There is nothing there about one partner having to “earn” anything, and suggesting that wives have to earn the right to be loved while husbands don’t have to earn the right to be obeyed is inserting things into the text.

If my husband were talking to men, he would tell them to love their wives regardless of how they act. But remember, this is me, the aged woman, telling the young girls what they can do to make a heavenly marriage. You cannot command your husband to love you, and you have no right to expect him to love you when you are unlovely.

Debi has made it clear that men have a right to be obeyed even if they are unkind and unloving. How is it that husbands have a right to be obeyed no matter what, but a wife doesn’t have a right to be loved no matter what? This is a blatant double standard. But it does reinforce something I’ve said before—the love/obey dichotomy is not in any sense equal in its requirements or its application.

But God has provided a way for a woman to cause her husband to love and cherish her. God gave us ladies some keys to the avenues of a man’s heart. God made it so that we can actually inspire him into fulfilling his God-ordained duty. His very nature is made to respond to us it we will only treat him with reverence. A man does not have such power to influence his wife. Women are not built with the same response mechanisms. God did not give men the wonderful promise he gave to women, that they can win their wives with proper behavior.

This . . . is also not actually in the Bible. Debi’s completely making this stuff up.

Now on to the purple flowers PJ girl.

Just last week, while I sat in my van in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, waiting for my daughter, I watched the people as they walked into the store. It was an interesting study in human relations. Of the 25 or so couples who walked into the store together, only three of them were touching each other, and those three ladies were the only ones smiling out of the 25 I observed. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the prettiest, all three of these gals were 1s or 2s.

O.O

Debi’s not very nice. Throughout the book, she calls attention again and again to women’s looks—and more often negatively than positively. Her descriptions are most frequently, well, like this:

The third smiling couple took the award of the day. He was a muscled-up, gorgeous hunk, and she was almost past describing. She was wearing flannel PJ bottoms that were cut off just above the knees. The shortened pants had 5-inch purple flowers scattered over the white, almost see-through material. She was short, and at least 50 pounds overweight, with most of the extra weight bouncing in the skin-tight PJ shorts. Her hair was chopped off in an ugly cut and really greasy.

Honestly? It seems from her book that Debi’s first instinct in surveying the people around her is to criticize—and this is especially true of women’s appearances. Remember how she described single moms’ looks? Yeah . . .

Her gorgeous hunk had her in a headlock hug. She was laughing and poking him in the ribs while hollering for him to let her go. You would have thought he was hugging Miss America by the way he was grinning. He was really enjoying his purple-flowered sweetie.

Um. Not to belabor the obvious, but it’s kind of important to respect people’s consent regarding their bodies. If this young woman was “hollering” for her young man to let her out of the “headlock” he had her in, and instead of letting her go he was grinning and “enjoying” holding her like that . . . well, some of those things sound like red flags. Sure, Debi says the young woman was “laughing,” and this could have been nothing more than playful roughhousing—but does Debi really know for sure? To be honest, I don’t think Debi knows the difference. She doesn’t think it’s legitimate for women to have physical boundaries in their intimate relationships, because, in her world, women’s bodies literally belong to their husbands.

I caught his eye, and he grinned back at me, not one bit embarrassed. That gal had totally won his heart and my respect. He was proud to be her man. Of all those beautiful girls who walked into Wal-Mart while I waited, it was this girl who was publicly being adored and appreciated. I suspect that she has never removed her husband’s hugging arm for any reason, much less to save her hairdo. She has excepted all of his overtures with thanksgiving and delight.

I’m trying to come up with a cohesive response to this, but I’m having trouble doing so. For one thing, this young woman is not accepting her young man’s overtures with “thanksgiving and delight”—she’s hollering for him to let her go. You know, I think the reason I’m having trouble pulling my thoughts together is that I can see this anecdote in two different ways. Let me address both.

First, it might be that the couple is just playing around, enjoying each other’s company, roughhousing, and laughing together. In this case, Debi’s analysis is off—she attributes their positive and companionate relationship to the young woman having no physical boundaries when it comes to accepting her young man’s amorous moves. But where in the world does she draw this inference? How does she know that it is not, say, their mutual respect for each other and cooperative egalitarian approach to life that has resulted in this degree of camaraderie? I mean come on, she only saw the couple for less than a minute!

Second, one of the hallmarks of abusive men is an inability to accept their partner’s physical boundaries. What Debi witnessed could very well have been a power play in just such a relationship—an abuser making it clear to his victim that he can make her submit to his every whim even when they are in public. In this scenario, the young man takes delight in causing the young woman embarrassment, and grins at Debi in a triumphant and devious “see how much I have conquered and how much I can get away with” sort of way, basking in his power. Debi may be wrong about the young woman laughing, or maybe her partner is tickling her, or perhaps she is laughing to try to cover for her humiliation in an effort to get people to think it’s only roughhousing.

But, of course, Debi doesn’t think about any of this.

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.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Really? When someone is “unlovely”? Is this woman even aware that “lovely” usually refers to physical looks, not behaviors? Or (even worse) is that what she was going for?

    People shouldn’t have to toe a line to be loved or appreciated. And often, for me at least, when I’m acting “unlovely” (I guess pissy or stressed would be the plain English words for this?) is when I need that affection and support the most. And here this woman is saying…Grr. No words. Too much angry.

    Hey, people who are reading this? If you’re feeling unlovely today, I’m offering you a free hug and a shoulder. Don’t listen to this woman’s attitude, from her or anyone. Please. You deserve better.

    • JasmynMoon

      I think she means “unlovable.” Her idea is that the woman is unable to be loved due to her actions.
      That being said, she also uses “reverence” as a verb. I know that’s common for them, but I would say “revere.” Of course, I would NEVER encourage someone to blindly revere a person just because gawd commanded it.

    • NeaDods

      People shouldn’t have to toe a line to be loved or appreciated.

      Ah, but Debi does, doesn’t she? Her husband started giving her the cold shoulder just a couple hours after the wedding because she dared give an opinion. His love is incredibly conditional, we see that in all of her personal stories.

      We also see that Debi makes no distinction between physical looks and emotions… well, at least until she wants to threaten that you actually lose your physical looks for having the improper emotions (like boundaries and autonomy), whereas if you exhibit the proper emotions you are perceived as physically lovely even if you are, and I quote “hillbilly ugly” which is so much worse than just plain old not good looking.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Well, their religion is all about conditional love….

      • NeaDods

        True. Nothing is unconditional in their world, and all are to try to come as close as they can to a shallow, vengeful, capricious, legalistic, judge mental god. So that is what they become.

    • Saraquill

      I would say a person is unlovely when they write how-to abuse manuals.

      • Mary C

        And how-to be-abused manuals.

      • Baby_Raptor

        Maybe I’m just looking for the best in the situation, but I don’t believe she was like this before Michael. She sounds like she’s attempting to justify what she goes through as what god wants for everyone so she can handle it easier. (Note: I’m not saying this is true, just what she’s attempting to say.)

        It doesn’t make her blameless. But it does make me feel sorry for her. I justified trying to make an abusive marriage work until the guy finally left me for the woman he knocked up behind my back, so I know what being caught in that mentality can make you think.

      • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

        I think she needs to justify her life, esp. at this point. She’s put so many years into it – admitting it’s wrong would be too painful. I don’t think she thinks that out, she just operates in it.

  • NeaDods

    This is one of those days when I want to leap into the conversation… if only Discus wasn’t stopping me. (It’s blocked at work, which is understandable; however, the new pop-up ads mean that every time I try to use a mobile device to get to it, the ad gets in the way. Or the comment field locks while I’m trying to type because a new comment was added or a new pop-up ad is taking precedence over the comment field. If there’s anything Patheos can do on the back end for mobile users, I’d appreciate it.)

    Anyway! I’m writing this via email to myself to cut and paste later, because, as I say, so much to say!

    One, Debi doesn’t think about any of that, because everyone around her is judged by the wrathful standards of a judging and angry God Michael Debi. This is HER life after all, to be Michael’s instant, constant, meat toy, to be used as he wishes when he wishes where he wishes, and it is her job to be happy happy joy joy about it all or risk the punishment of Michael God himself. She thinks this is the way it ought to be because it is the way her life is, and you’re not going to tell her that her life is all wrong, now are you, you ugly, fat, unhappy-in-a-relationship feminist witch sinner, are you?

    Two, Debi is, as usual, all about the outward appearance. She judges everyone by theirs, which of course do not shape up, EVER, on a par with her physical appearance or outward actions. She’s fond of speaking for everyone in a room (making her not only the judge for herself, but the presiding judge over a crowd), and she’s equally fond of making promises that if people will just follow her rules, “everyone” will be impressed.

    Glass houses, Debi. (Especially as my knee-jerk reaction is that I don’t think that cover photo shows a healthy woman. I’m not talking about physical beauty, but *health.*) Not to mention a whole boatload of verses in that Bible she’s so fond of, about judging not and logs in eyes and whited sepulchures. (Which I think I just misspelled, sorry.)

    Three, and it’s tied to two – It’s not just Debi that insists that women be pretty and sweet 24/7 regardless of their circumstances. Who was the preacher who complained that a woman came out of the doctor’s office wearing a sweatsuit instead of flattering clothing? Yeah, because when someone is sick how very dare they wear warm and comfortable clothing! Here, Debi’s actually using the parking lot of a Walmart – WALMART! – as a Biblical Couples pageant. Because the couples going in couldn’t possibly be: 1) tired and forcing themselves through one more errand before they can go home and rest, 2) worried about something, say making their pay stretch through all the shopping they need to do, 3) sick or sick with worry over someone else and on their way in to get medicine. She sits and judges the state of their marriages without a speck of compassion or proportion – it’s not like they’re parading for her pleasure, they’re running into a store.

    Four: That gal had totally won his heart and my respect. I am suddenly reminded of a very religious, INCREDIBLY ANNOYING person I know, who spends a great deal of time and energy letting everyone around him know if they have his respect or not. His life, and his interactions with the people he works with, would be vastly different if he spent a fraction of his time earning the respect of others so that we cared what he thought.

    And five: considering what we know of Michael’s mental abuse of Debi and mental/physical abuse of children, I’m betting that Debi actually honestly sees asking someone to stop without screaming as thanksgiving and delight.

    One last thought, so six: Debi’s rush to judgement is pairing up every male and female as “a couple.” What’s to say that Purple Flowers PJ girl and that hunk of gorgeous that Debi’s rather obviously drooling over are actually a couple? What’s to say that they’re not brother and sister? Siblings are often playfully physical with each other. Furthermore, the other pairs could be equally not *actual pairs* – other sibling sets, a couple of co-workers running out to get supplies before a big meeting, a neighbor giving another neighbor a ride… None of whom are obligated to being all cuddly and happy.

    This is me, an equally aged woman, telling Debi she’s full of judgemental crap. And that the Bible has plenty to say about that subject.

    • Alexis

      Oh, Discus… If only I could like your comment a dozen times over… Especially the part about the pairs not actually being couples…

    • Gillianren

      You know, I’m going shopping with a male friend tomorrow. If Debi saw us, she’d probably assume we were a couple, because we all know that men and women can’t be friends. But even if we were, my friend is shy. I can’t see his having a girlfriend who would be hanging off him in public, because he would feel that everyone was staring at him. It would make him really uncomfortable. Of course, Debi is staring at people, but still.

      • Semipermeable

        Yeah, this was my thought as well.

        Not to mention male/female co-workers, siblings, cousins, etc.

        I have a neighbor who is near my age and we both help an elderly woman manage her yard and garden. We both go to walmart and other stores so we can split supplies, but we don’t really talk much outside of this. We get along, but don’t have a lot in common other then agreeing that the sweet elderly lady who always looks out for everyone needs help with landscaping and snow removal.

        I bet Debi would have saw us and assumed we were a couple or married, because that is how her mind works.

      • Newbie

        Not to mention, I find it statistically unlikely that all those people she described going into such a non-romantic store such as Walmart, are couples (let alone married). And I bet some of those couples weren’t even by themselves, which may well be the reason they weren’t touching.. Again, because we’re talking about Walmart here, not a romantic restaurant

      • NeaDods

        Precisely! She’s pairing up people two by two — this is Wally World, not Noah’s Ark!

      • Kit

        Your last comment is so true. I’m seeing someone right now and neither of us are particularly comfortable with public displays of affection. We’ll hold hands in public sometimes, but we would never be doing anything in public like what she describes here because neither of us would be comfortable with it! What’s to say that some of the couples just aren’t comfortable expressing physical affection publicly?

      • Gillianren

        And I mean, I’m not uncomfortable with it, exactly, but beyond a certain point, I just think it’s tacky. Get a room, you know?

    • Leigha7

      “It’s not just Debi that insists that women be pretty and sweet 24/7 regardless of their circumstances.”

      True. It’s not even just Christians. The number of times I’ve heard that no one should ever wear sweatpants, that women should never set foot outside their house without makeup on (or ever let a boyfriend–all women are straight, remember–see them without it), or even that no woman should ever sneakers outside the gym, is ridiculous.

      And it seems like things keep being added. First it was sweatpants, then sneakers, then ponytails, then jeans…dang it, people, stop trying to tell me that if I’m not wearing heels and a skirt (with a full face of makeup and perfectly styled hair) that I’m a lazy slob with low self-esteem who is failing at being a woman. I’m not going to follow it anyway, so I really don’t want to hear it.

      • NeaDods

        I’m late responding, and I’m horrified. Not in the least surprised, but horrified. No ponytails? The “You must look f–able always” gets to the point of policing hair? Ugh! You’re right to ignore it all!

  • Jackie C.

    When did Christ love the church? When they were at their unlovliest-when they were needy and hungry and thieves and guilty of adultry. The whole point was he loved them first through action. Never through force and his love was never conditional. If Debi’s going to push a few scriptures as a recipe for marriage, she should at least read the entire book.

    And “muscled-up gorgeous hunk” sounds a little like lusting after another man to me. Plus there I was, imagining the guy myself. Shame on her :)

    • Christine

      Maybe this is why Debi is so negative about every woman’s appearance. She’s a woman, therefore she is incapable of seeing another woman as attractive. (Unless, of course, she started thinking for herself, because then she’d get divorced and turn into a lesbian).

      • NeaDods

        Hee! Seriously, though, I think it’s because Debi is all about the outward appearance and public opinion. That, and she’s just a nasty, brutal judgmental person.

    • NeaDods

      Don’t you wonder about Michael’s reaction to that story?

      • Jackie C.

        I could imagine the look I’d get from my husband if I came home and described this “gorgeous hunk” I’d seen at the store.

        I can’t figure out if Debi is desperately trying to convince herself that her life is wonderful and she has it all together or if she’s a calculating bitch who’s out to make money and is the one who really controls it all, including Michael.

  • http://criticallyskeptic-dckitty.blogspot.com/ KevinKat

    I hate being tickled. It ranks up there with being punched and kicked.

    I dated a guy who, despite my urges to “stop tickling me” kept doing it because I was, naturally, laughing.

    My father acted the same way. When he tickles me (yes, still. I’m fucking 30, stop tickling me!) I try to get away from him and tell him to stop, but like my ex, he does it because I’m laughing.

    No, laughter does not always mean you’re comfortable. It can be a reflex, it can be something polite you do to someone you care about. You listen to a person’s words and stop when they say to!

    (In good news: my girlfriend right now understands I’m ticklish and hate it. She takes expert care not to tickle me while we’re cuddling. Also we’re really open about communication, and if she or I say “stop” we do. I even stop when I feel like she wants me to stop – at which point I ask “do you want me to stop?”)

    • AAAtheist

      Good on you for establishing safe, sane, and consensual boundaries with your girlfriend. I guess because of the laughter, tickling is often justified as always being mutual and reciprocal affection. However, it can very much be otherwise, up to and including torture. Consider directing your father to my link. Laughter never trumps a “no”.

      Debi doesn’t seem to understand or care that the body’s innate reflexes and socially-conditioned politeness aren’t always proof of consent, and can lead to all sorts of dangerous conclusions (like rapists rationalizing consent from their victims’ involuntary orgasms). I also don’t know how she thinks she can truly assess the reality of a couple’s relationship through the briefest and shallowest of observations, though she does it all the time.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        She’s Debi (Michael?). She can read the minds of an entire room, anticipate her husband’s every need, interpret the Bible accurately, cook and clean and smile like a maniac, and still have energy to put out on demand. She’s practically magic…if magic were Biblical, of course.

      • NeaDods

        Of course the Bible is magic! (I once got in trouble with a Pentecostal friend for pointing out that saying “Luke 2:12″ – not the actual verse, just book and chapter/verse – to find something lost was a magic spell.)

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        Pardon me if I’m thick, but how? I’m not getting your reference to a magic spell.

        Also I’m rabidly accidentally liking and disliking posts. Stupid tiny screen phone!

      • NeaDods

        The new commenting format is hell on a phone or a tablet.

        The idea of magic is that you say “Bibbity, bobbity boo!” and what you will to happen, happens; in this case, finding something that’s lost.

        For her, the incantation was “Luke 2:12″ (it’s the one about seeking in the name of Jesus). The idea was if you say “Luke 2:12″ when you lost something, Jesus would show you where to find it.

        There is no cosmic difference between the two paragraphs above. Just because she said the name of a Bible verse instead of “bibbity bobbity boo,” she was still ritualistically saying a nonsense phrase in the hopes of making her lost things suddenly un-lost.

      • http://Thechurchproject.me/ Tracey

        Ok got it.
        Also- Like!

      • wombat

        This is an actual thing that people do? SMH.

      • NeaDods

        Her church did, but I have no idea if it was a thing or a notion of that particular minister.

    • Liz

      Thank you for this. I’ve had similar experiences, and it’s a horrible feeling. Just because I’m laughing (something I literally cannot control) doesn’t mean you can ignore me when I’m saying “no” repeatedly. A now ex-boyfriend would tickle me when we were in bed and wouldn’t stop no matter what. Eventually he changed it to looking me in the eye and saying “I’m *not* going to tickle you,” which then made every touch feel like tickling. He thought it was funny, but after a while he just got mad that I flinched whenever he touched me.
      Having your boundaries violated like that just leaves a sick feeling behind.

      • Mel

        I’m ticklish, too. Before I tickle a kid, I ask them if they want to be tickled. Some do, some don’t. I respect that.

        I had a boyfriend who would also tickle me – he wasn’t ticklish. I would physically remove myself every time he did. (Turns out that was a good sign he was an ass, too, but I didn’t catch that until later.) My dear husband is also ticklish and it doesn’t take long to learn the difference between “Boy, that feels so good I’m gonna laugh” laughter and the agonized giggles that tickling causes. Much nicer situation all the way around.

      • Rosa

        I always stop tickling if a kid says stop. It teaches my consent standards either way – if you WANT me to tickle you, don’t say no. If you don’t want me to tickle you, I won’t overrule you. And then we expect the kids around us to treat others the same way – it’s part of raising boys who won’t be rapists, and it’s an especially important part of raising kids on the autism spectrum who have a hard time reading nonverbal social cues.

      • Conuly

        One time I was tickling my niece and she went “STOP!”, so I did. Then she sat up and said she didn’t really want me to stop, so I told her that she could say “no”, or “don’t”, but we had to agree that stop means stop or I wouldn’t know.

        My sister walked in as we had this conversation and laughed for ten minutes because it hadn’t occurred to her that her kids needed to learn the concept of safe words yet.

    • ZeldasCrown

      It is in my experience that the most ticklish people pretty much universally hate being tickled (maybe it’s because they can only react as though they are enjoying it, even though they aren’t). And yet they still laugh every time someone tries to tickle them. So I completely agree that the fact that the woman in this story was laughing in no way indicated that she was enjoying herself (particularly since the laughing was accompanied by asking the man to stop).

      • alwr

        Lord have mercy, why does everyone at this blog instantaneously jump to the conclusion that every relationship is abusive? As someone said above, how do we know that was not a pair of siblings messing around as siblings do? How do we know that it wasn’t a perfectly happy couple in a perfectly healthy relationship? Debi is criticized for her assumptions, but the response is always “because our assumptions are the right ones”.

      • AAAtheist

        Everyone on this blog does not “instantaneously jump to the conclusion that every relationship is abusive.” Libby correctly pointed out the flaws in Debi Pearl’s assumption that the couple (if they even were a couple) was mutually happy with the situation. Heck, Libby herself concedes the fact that it could have been playful roughhousing.

        All she and the commenters are pointing out is the fact that this very same behavior might not be joyful or consensual. Plus, commenters are giving their own real-world examples that illustrate this. This is not a blanket condemnation of tickling, laughing, or playful joshing in general. I’ve had many instances where I’ve loved to be tickled (when I asked to be). But I’ve also had many situations where I asked someone to stop tickling me (past the point of comfort and on the verge of vomiting) and the person didn’t stop because I was laughing.

      • Jayn

        We don’t. But too many people seem to assume that laughing while being tickled means you’re enjoying it, regardless of what else you might be saying at the time, and I think that idea needs to be thoroughly squashed. I’ll laugh when I get tickled…I also fucking hate it. We’re not saying that it’s necessarily abusive, just that the fact that she was laughing doesn’t automatically mean it was all in good fun.

      • Trollface McGee

        Debi makes ridiculous, superficial judgements that are supposed to be taken as fact because criticism -> lesbian duplex. I think people are just pointing out alternative explanations, of which there are many.
        Maybe it was a happy couple. She compares it to the couple from last week, who were sitting around some god-awful boring meeting where the men were allowed to talk while the women were allowed to gaze adoringly at their Gods. Of course the woman at the Walmart might be having a better time with her husband/boyfriend/lover/friend. On the other hand she might not be. Who knows? Not Debi (unless she’s making all these people up in her head, in which case, yes I will accept Debi as the ultimate authority as to the intentions and feelings of the imaginary people in her head)

      • stacey

        Alwr- reading comprehension FAIL. See AAAtheists comment in response to get a clue.

      • Guest

        eh. I don’t think most of these people are assuming it was abusive. Just pointing out that if it were abusive or a violation of interpersonal boundaries it could look exactly the same. And telling how in cases where abuse did occur it did look exactly the same. And stuff.

      • Guest

        eh. I don’t think most of these people are assuming it was abusive. Just pointing out that if it were abusive or a violation of interpersonal boundaries it could look exactly the same as the things you said. And telling how in cases where abuse did occur it did look exactly the same. And stuff.

    • Djiril

      Sheesh! When I was little my dad used to tickle me and I hated it. Then when I was three I asked him to stop and he did.

      • Mogg

        My Dad was horribly offended when I got mad at him and yelled DON’T!!! when he once again attempted to dig my ribs whilst giving me a hug in my thirties. It took that long, and that definite a reaction, for him to get the idea, and I got snide comments about me not wanting to be touched for at least a year afterwards. My uncles used to tickle me until I couldn’t breathe, as well, and only stopped when I grew out of being insanely ticklish.

        On the other hand, I was the older sibling who didn’t respect my sister’s no tickling requests when we were kids. I have long since apologised, but I made her life a misery for a while, which I am rather ashamed of. I wonder if some of that was me learning from my father and uncles that tickling a smaller person despite their dislike was okay, because I certainly didn’t connect that if I didn’t like it, my sister probably wouldn’t either and I shouldn’t do it.

      • Alix

        First paragraph – my dad is exactly like that. He still tries it, too, on the rare occasions I see him, complete with cracks about how anyone who doesn’t like him hovering right behind them or hugging/tickling them is “a criminal.”

    • katiehippie

      I start punching people that think tickling me is fun.

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

        Claws. Aim for the eyes.

    • http://noadi.etsy.com/ Sheryl Westleigh

      This 100%. I actually warn people that tickling is a hard limit and if they do A) they will not be allowed near me again and B) I am not responsible for my reactions because while I might be laughing I will also be instinctively fighting back violently.

  • ZeldasCrown

    I found it weird that Debi said that the female half of all of the couples who were touching were a “15 or 25″ out of 10, and then proceeded to describe one of the women in an extremely unflattering way. Based on her description alone (without the proceeding caveat), I would have guessed that Debi thought this women was less than a 5. But apparently being touched by a man (as long as the woman is smiling, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a real smile, or a fake one) makes one into a supermodel. I can’t help but feel that if Debi had seen this woman alone, she would have significantly more disparaging things to say about the “lesbian, duplex-living single mom.”

    • Sally

      Those weren’t 15 or 25. They were 1′s or 2′s. The “s” can look like a “5,” I’m afraid.

      • ZeldasCrown

        oh, ok thanks. I was really confused. I though she was saying they looked good because they had a man (which does kind of seem like something Debi would say). Thanks for the clarification.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

    But God has provided a way for a woman to cause her husband to love and
    cherish her. God gave us ladies some keys to the avenues of a man’s
    heart. God made it so that we can actually inspire him into fulfilling
    his God-ordained duty.

    Again, I want to point out that this idea that wives can control their husbands’ attitudes and behavior by doing the right things or thinking the right way is one of the central underlying philosophies that motivates codependent behavior. So not only is Debi being un-Biblical, but she’s encouraging a mentality which causes some women to stay in bad situations vainly trying to control their husbands’ behavior rather than taking steps to actually care for themselves.

    • gimpi1

      Thanks for this, Jarred. The idea that you can “make” someone behave in a loving way through your “reverence” of them is destructive in the extreme. No one controls another’s behavior, and many people have would up looking very silly, dead, or both, trying.

      (apologies to Douglas Adams, Life the Universe and Everything.)

      • stacey

        Isn’t it “wrong” to want to control your man, in Debi’s mind? Why is it ok to “control through reverence”? Isn’t this just manipulation?

        She is just SO gross. Her worldview is so ugly, I cannot fathom how this book got so popular.

    • Semipermeable

      Exactly.

      That paragraph has been bothering me and I can’t fully articulate why.
      I think part of it is that Debi’s (Michael’s?) world view is that women don’t actually have any real power, they can’t say something and be taken seriously or have a no respected. They can’t ask for love and affection and have it treated as a real request.

      No one wants to think that they are in truth totally powerless, so perhaps to cope or to justify her subordinate position she has invented this woman’s ‘ability’ that men don’t have. Of course in this worldview men don’t need it.

    • Mary

      The verse Debi is misquoting is about living with a non-christian spouse, and it actually says the same thing for both spouses- basically that your spouse MIGHT become christian too if they see good things in your life due to your new faith, so you really don’t have to run out and divorce them if you’re both content in an interfaith marriage. (This was probably necessary because there was historical precedent for jews having to divorce non-jews that they’d married.) No “wife-specifics”, and no promises.

  • Sally

    Yeah, I’m ashamed of myself when I catch myself judging people by their appearance. Such thoughts might pop into anyone’s head, but we don’t need to entertain those thoughts. Debi is not only entertaining them, she’s reveling in them. Of all the things wrong with this book, even if you’re predisposed to think women should submit and all that, I would think the meanness and judgmentalism Debi
    displays would be a tip-off that this is some messed up thinking. And that submitting to the point of losing yourself might leave you scratching and clawing at other people just to try to get some of it back. She includes these stories to teach us life lessons. But she doesn’t see the lesson of her own subtext.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      I’ve read somewhere that when authors create characters, male authors will usually include lots more judgemental description about female characters than female authors will. Like, basically, a female author will say “Curly red hair, green eyes, snub nose”, and male author will say “Stunning auburn curls, emerald eyes, pert breasts, and a slight imperfection of a snub nose”.
      Maybe this is a subtle tell that God…no, Michael…wrote this?

    • luckyducky

      I was wondering at the statistical likelihood of the 12% of the women being 1s and 2s AND that 12% precisely corresponds to the 12% who outwardly happy.

      I would assume that physical attractiveness, as much as it can be objectively measured, falling into a standard bell curve distribution meaning that 1s, 2s, and 9s, and 10s are going to be fairly infrequent and most people are going to be 4s, 5s, and 6s. I hear 1 or 2 and imagine someone along the lines of Sloth Fratelli from the Goonies… not that that would reflect at all on the worth of that person and how they should be treated.

      Now, I appreciate that WalMart’s customers skew lower income and lowing income means a higher likelihood of being overweight, having less money (and time) to spend on cosmetics, skin care, and hair care and styling, dental care, and clothing, and being exposed to things like cigarette smoke that negatively affect skin, teeth, and hair. So, the superficial aspects of physical attractiveness are likely to suffer in comparison to people in high income strata.

      And if you want to get quasi-eugenic about it, attractive people tend to make more money/be more successful all other things being equal and they have partners who are of similar attractiveness muting regression to the mean. Thus the attractiveness and its benefits accumulate over time as do the disadvantages of being less attractive.

      So, customers may also skew somewhat more to the lower end of attractiveness scale but given the ubiquity and market dominance of Wal-Mart particularly in the South (especially AR, TN, MO), its customers represent a decent cross section of the population at least of people in that region. So the probability of Debi’s observation is really quite low to the point of being very improbable. But I am getting the definite sense that Debi regularly “massages” her stories to make her point.

      In addition, a reasonable person making the same observation might draw the conclusion that relatively unattractive women are more likely to adopt/be encourage to develop a subservient attitude (i.e., have been beaten – physically or more likely psychologically – into submission) as a means to attracting male attention. Thus these women are more vulnerable and more likely to be in abusive relationships and that body-positivity is an important part of empowering women to avoid/escape abusive relationships where the abuser capitalizes on a woman’s insecurity about her physical appearance.

  • Katherine

    When people assume that laughing means you aren’t being abused, I can pretty well guess they’ve never been in an abusive relationship.

    In an abusive situation, the abused partner will often do anything to stop the situation from escalating – and in my experience that often includes laughter. An abuser might punish you further for “taking things to seriously” or “getting upset” so you pretend to just laugh it off because you need to get through TODAY.

    If the “hunk” in this story really is abusive, odds are he would flip out if she called for help and thus “embarrassed him in public” (even though he is obviously purposely embarrassing HER in public). So she laughs. She laughs while she begs him to stop because she knows what happens if her voice quavers and gets upset.

    A few months ago, I was walking down the street and whitnessed something very similar. A man was physically restraining a woman, and they were both laughing. The woman was saying “no, stop!” And since some people DO say “no” and “stop” while flirting or horsing around, I wondered how to interpret the scene.

    As I walked past, the woman, still laughing, said “miss, please help me, this man is trying to rape me.”

    I was taken aback. I was troubled by the laughing but I didn’t want to just walk away if she was in real danger. I stopped. As soon as I stopped, the man started saying “she don’t know what she’s talking about, she’s fine, leave us alone.” THAT pretty well made up my mind.

    I asked the woman to confirm that she was serious, and she did. Once a dialogue was started, she even apologized for the laughter WHILE STILL LAUGHING. That might sound weird, but the laughter was doing his job. As long as she was laughing, nothing WORSE happened to her. I never responded to the man and I stood about ten feet away. After I called the police, he sort of shoved the woman away from him and spat “you don know who you’re messing with, I’ll get you later, I always have my way!” At the woman.

    After he was gone, I walked her to her destination. She was shaking all over and she was terrified. She kept apologizing for laughing, she kept trying to explain how she was laughing because she was afraid. It turns out she was new to the city and temporarily staying in a shelter. The man was also staying there, and it sounds like he was pretty unstable. When she said that she had been raped as a teenager, he seemed to take that as permission, and his plan was to GET HER PREGNANT. She was nineteen years old. I gave her all the numbers I knew or could track down to call for help. I begged her to be careful. I still worry about her sometimes.

    AND DEBI WOULD HAVE GRINNED BACK AT THE CREEP AND KEPT WALKING.

    • Alexis

      I don’t know if you believe in such things, but I’m hoping Life is kind to you. Thank you for what you did, though I’ve never actually met you. I know too many people who would’ve walked away or not even noticed in the first place, and sadly even more people who have been raped, assaulted, or trapped in abusive relationships. I’ve seen friends, my sisters, and even myself at one point, in that position. It goes a long way toward restoring my faith in humanity to know that people are willing to act in the way that you did. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

      • Katherine

        Thankyou for your kind words! Honestly, in the moment it didn’t feel particularly brave or helpful or kind, the young woman kept saying “miss please don’t leave” and… I don’t know, how do you walk away from that? Also, I am a survivor of mental and emotional abuse and my mother is a survived of rape. So yeah, those feelings come up when something like that happens. I knew if I didn’t at least try to help in a small way, I would have hated myself.

        I believe all sorts of things, and well-wishes are always appreciated.

    • dj_pomegranate

      “As long as she was laughing, nothing WORSE happened to her.” This is SO important to recognize–when a person is in an extremely vulnerable situation, s/he has to rely on all the tactics at their disposal. It’s very difficult for outsiders to abusive situations to recognize that things are not what they seem.

      Thanks for sharing this and for supporting that woman. Ugh, what an absolute creep, that dude.

    • Conuly

      My grandmother used to relate this anecdote about a family with an abusive father she knew. I guess it looked good from the outside, because when it came out that the father beat his kids the neighbors said “but the kids are always so happy when he comes home!”

      Well, yeah. As the kids explained, if they didn’t run up and hug him, they got beat.

      • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

        Michael Pearl talks about how the kids run to him, how everyone in his family is happy and laughing all the time, and all I can think is that he’s made all that happen by hitting them with plumbing line since they were a few months old. And he thinks its a great thing.

    • onamission5

      Oh gawd, I am so glad you were there and didn’t walk past.
      (the following gets increasingly awful, so content warnings for violence and tragedy apply)
      My older sister’s guy friends used to think it was hilarious to hold me under water past the point of me cramping up and going limp. I laughed. I laughed because that was the more socially acceptable response than what I wanted to do, which was scream and cry and punch them in the face and yell at the adults in charge for not stopping them from half drowning me. I laughed because crying in public is humiliating, because the unknown social cost to me for “ruining all the fun” was more scary than enduring their hazing, I laughed because I had no idea how much worse it might get if I didn’t.

      When one of my high school boyfriends took offense at something I said and decided to choke me down while kneeling on my chest on a public picnic table outside the school lunch room, my first reaction was nervous laughter. While I could still breathe, that is. I must have been surrounded by Debi’s because nobody stopped to help me, and in fact, afterwards I had people come to me and ask me why I let him do that. He suffered no social penalties that I am aware of.

      When a girl in my sister’s 8th grade class dropped dead from a heart condition in the middle of class, literally, she got up to turn on the lights after a film and died, the response from one the her classmates was to burst out laughing. Not because she thought it was funny but because it was absolutely fucking horrible and laughter was an emotional survival reflex.

      People laugh for all kinds of reasons, not all of which are immediately discernible. Body language, words, power dynamics, one has to take into account all the factors. For all Debi knows, the “couple” she witnessed were siblings, and favorite golden child big brother had made a habit of humiliating and denigrating scapegoat little sister in public, and she had no way of escaping from him, so her laughter was a coping mechanism. (see, I can make up scenarios to fit my internal script, too)

      -edited because discus hates paragraphs-

      • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

        You make a good point. Debi doesn’t know for sure those two were a couple.

    • Rosa

      Good work, on both your parts. I can’t believe she held it together enough to talk to you like that, and you responded perfectly.

      Sexual violence activists here teach that, if you aren’t sure what’s going on, walk up and ask “Are you OK?” – that gives the person you’re worried about agency, doesn’t unduly antagonize the person attacking them (or allow them to answer for the other person like “hey what’s up?”) and doesn’t make the person being attacked name what’s happening or accuse the attacker, because those can be difficult and dangerous.

      • Katherine

        In retrospect, I’m incredibly impressed by her ability to communicate with me so well, and incredibly disappointing by the questions some (definitely not all) people have asked when I’ve told this story such as “what was she doing with him, anyways?” and other victim-blamey type things.

        It also made me really want to learn more about the proper ways to respond in these situations. I’ve been told by a few activist friends that I did well… but really, I was just winging it. I was just doing what made the most sense to ME in the given moment, so it seems likely that, had the situation been slightly different, I might have messed it up.

      • Rosa

        You have an excellent sense of right and wrong, clearly. And the confidence to use it.

        I’ve gotten all the advice on what to do and I still often just freeze up or second-guess myself. You did great.

      • David Kopp

        Don’t doubt yourself. Every situation and person is different. You can have ideas and general tactics, but you can’t have a perfect rulebook for human interaction. The situation was defused in a way that everyone was safe, and that’s the absolute best thing that could happen.

    • katiehippie

      You are totally awesome!

    • NeaDods

      Well done! Well done!

      Laughter is an odd, complex thing. I’ve laughed to diffuse situations. I’ve laughed because someone else laughed. I’ve laughed because it seemed expected of me. I’ve laughed from nerves. And I’ve laughed from humor. Anyone who leaps straight to the conclusion that it’s always from humor has really not paid attention to the world.

    • NeaDods

      Come to think of it, Debi probably would have scolded that poor woman for speaking ill of a man.

      • Katherine

        Ewe, yeah. And probably suggested that the reason she was in such a terrible situation in the first place is because she thought for herself too much. Ewe ewe ewe!

    • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

      I’m so glad you didn’t walk by. The guy found out it didn’t always work, and the girl took a step in learning that asking for help can work, even if you don’t do it eactly right.

  • Mira

    She seems to forget that people are very different in what they actually WANT in a relationship. I don’t like being touched by ANYONE–except my boyfriend. However, he’s not a touchy sort, especially not in public. We’d probably be a couple walking into a store (NEVER walmart) without touching. It’s not because we don’t love and respect each other–it’s because we DO respect each other’s boundaries. Sometimes I’ll touch his shoulder and he doesn’t mind, but he’s not the sort to grab my hand or wrap his arm around my waist. That’s just not who he is. Since when is a relationship a series of 1950s checklists?

  • kamikaze

    A man does not have such power to influence his wife. wtf?

    Here’s a tip, men: if you act in a way that deserves respect, your wife will respect you. If you don’t, she won’t.

    Pretty easy.

  • Katherine

    Oh and also? Can we talk about debi’s laundry list of illogical assumptions here?

    She assumes that just because the couple is physically touching they are MARRIED.

    She assumes that because the man seems to be in control AT THIS MOMENT that the woman is the perfect submissive wife and never says “no” to his advances.

    Even though she is saying “no” right now.

    This is basically a case study in what happens when you look at strangers purely through the lens of your own experience. Debi goes through the world looking for “godly submissive wives” and “evil man hating harpies” and so that is what she finds.

  • Alice

    There is nervous laughter where people laugh to release tension. I think it is more a reflex than intentional. One time I was in a group, and they were talking about a very serious topic that made me uncomfortable because of my personal experience with it. I started laughing and had a hard time stopping even though I was horrified at myself.

  • dj_pomegranate

    Maybe hunky dude really truly think PJ girl is gorgeous, even if Debi doesn’t (imagine that!) I knew a couple once, he looked like Robert Redford–not kidding–and she was really quite plain. But he simply melted in her presence. He loved her so much. No one would have put them together based on looks, but you know what? He thinks she’s the cat’s meow. She thinks he’s the bee’s knees. They have a happy marriage. It has nothing to do with how submissive she is and everything to do with compatibility and respect. The end.

    As an introvert, I’m always asked, “Why aren’t you more excited?” when I am excited, I just don’t show it the way extroverts do. Similarly, some couples just aren’t touchy and it’s really quite rude to see that and say, “Well, aren’t you IN LOVE!?”

    Debi’s understanding of How People Work is bafflingly, absurdly shallow.

  • Boo

    I’ll be honest, I’ve never read any of the Pearl’s books, and have no desire to read them. I did read some Amazon reviews for this book where one woman claimed that Michael is just as hard on men as Debi is on women, but the only book that I know written by Michael is about how to beat up children. From the things I have read about this particular book it seems to me that Debi just hates women. I don’t think she just loves men and believes they should all be adored no matter what, but she is extreamly threatened by other women. She seems to repeatedly look for and find flaws in beautiful young women, and then makes the decision that no man could ever love that woman, or that woman is going to poison and destroy every man she meets. It is Debi’s way of making herself feel superior to all of those cute, young things that turn heads. I kind of pity her.

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      Have you read the Amazon snippet of Michael Pearl’s “Created to Need a Help Meet”?

      http://www.amazon.com/Created-Need-Help-Meet-Marriage/dp/1616440368/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376059837&sr=8-1&keywords=michael+pearl

      • Boo

        Hmm, it doesn’t seem to have created the same amount of outrage as CTBHHM has.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Yeah. But it’s a bit creepy to read.

      • Jayn

        I’ve been tempted to read some of the Pearls’ books out of morbid curiosity. For better or worse, though, the local library doesn’t have any copies.

        (Though if by some fluke I ever wind up with a copy of How To Train Up A Child, I’m making a pinata out of it and bringing it to a child’s birthday party. Seems fitting.)

      • TLC

        Are your guests going to trying to break the pinata with bats? Or will they use quarter-inch plumbing supply lines, like the Pearls recommend in the book? :D

      • Niemand

        I can’t help but wonder if, as Michael seems to have written significant parts of CTBHH, Debi might have written part of this one. Who wants to say that they NEED a helpmeet, especially a man who prides himself as being the big, strong boss? But anti-feminist women see men as weak and incapable and would come up with something like this in a heartbeat.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        I don’t know. The few pages that Amazon has available are disturbing; seriously, go read them. Just the way he talks about Debi …it almost makes me feel sorry for her. The basic gist is on their honeymoon, he makes her go crabbing barefoot in the dark, doesn’t let her sleep much, and uses her whenever he wants, then gets confused that she’s upset.

      • Lunch Meat

        That makes me so, so sad for Debi. My wedding night was a disaster because I was a virgin and extremely physically unprepared; however, my husband was extremely patient and gentle and made it clear that it wasn’t a problem and we could wait as long as it took for me to be able to enjoy it. I can’t imagine if I’d married someone like that and additionally been brainwashed to think I had to do anything he said without objecting until I was so frustrated and upset I couldn’t take it anymore.

        I absolutely do not want to read any more of that book–I’m assuming that he’s going to explain why that was wrong, but from the description I highly doubt he thinks it’s wrong for the same reason I think it’s wrong. His description of Debi/women reminds me of nothing more than a person describing a pet or livestock, or an advanced alien in a science-fiction novel describing why it’s okay to eat or enslave humans. Like she’s a robot whose programming has to decoded so he can use her properly. Just ugh.

        Almost as horrifying is his description of what puberty felt like with all women being whores who wanted to tempt him, with no explanation of why that’s wrong.

      • Lunch Meat

        Just to be clear–the fact that I am sad for Debi does not mean I think she should be excused for what she does now.

      • Niemand

        an advanced alien in a science-fiction novel describing why it’s okay to eat or enslave humans.

        I probably should not have snickered at this, but I did. It’s such a perfect description, except that Michael is in no sense of the word “advanced”.

        That aside, yeah, I am starting to feel sorry for Debi reading the extracts. But she’s gotten so deep into the delusion, I wonder if she even can come out any more. Can you go so deep in Stockholm syndrome that you really do agree with your abuser?

      • NeaDods

        Isn’t that how he STILL sees women? It’s sure how Debi does.

      • tulips

        I’m shocked actually to the point of sputtering at his description of his honeymoon. I didn’t think I could pity Debi Pearl…but I do now.

      • NeaDods

        Nice to know that he admits he’s abusive, even if he doesn’t see it that way.

      • Alice

        Michael’s book said Debi was looking over his shoulder and offering suggestions, so now I’m picturing Michael breathing down Debi’s neck as creepily as possible.

      • dj_pomegranate

        oh my god.

        Some highlighs for those of you who don’t want to click through, and for my own sense of catharsis.

        –On wedding night sex: “…three times was all I could muster, and just barely.” GOOD LORD.

        –”We had brought all the gear for fishing and crabbing, as well as the groceries for her to prepare our meals.” Emphasis mine.

        –”After [he made love to Debi "half asleep"] she got up and fixed us a fine breakfast. Great cook. Her mother taught her well.” Doncha know, you can always tell em by their cooking!

        –”The silly girl [she is a woman you condescending jerk, and you're the one who thought crabs were a great idea so I'm pretty sure that makes YOU the silly one] had left the sack of crabs open when she was trying to get the first crab in the huge boiling kettle. I sat up in bed and offered some constructive [OH I AM SO SURE] advice …who could have imagined a female could carry on in such a crazy manner? … I yelled at her retreating form “I don’t need to hunt crabs; I married one!” Somehow that one remark has hung around our marriage like a ticked off ghost.” GEE I WONDER WHY! GUESS WE’LL NEVER KNOW! IT IS A MYSTERY FOR THE AGES!!

        Michael relaying Debi’s complaints:
        “My shoulder is sore from trying to carry 30 pounds of crabs for hours [they don't weigh that much]…”

        DEAR MICHAEL: YOU ARE SERIOUSLY THE WORST.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Dude. O_O

        I thought I was beyond being surprised by any [expletive deleted] that might emerge from Michael Pearl’s computer keyboard, but apparently … no.

        OMFG.

      • luckyducky

        No shit, OMFG!

        “…I still don’t understand women. I have come to know one woman… it took me about two years to get mine conditioned to tolerate my selfishness, and another 10 years before I understood her needs.”

        You condition lab rats and dogs, not people, you ass. Not saying people cannot or are not conditioned, of course we are but only a sociopath approaches interpersonal relationships with the objective of conditioning someone.

        And while I don’t pretend to know my SO completely inside and out, I am pretty sure we navigated the bulk of understanding each other’s needs well before the 10 year mark. You know, because we are interested in and care about each other as thinking, feeling human beings in our own right not our tool or accessory.

      • dj_pomegranate

        Women are not like, a friendly alien species or a strange new breed of pony. You don’t need to understand “women.” He doesn’t understand women because he doesn’t understand people.

      • Alice

        And in that chapter, he kept calling women “creatures.” Grrr.

      • NeaDods

        Yet more proof that he doesn’t see them as real people. Real people are… oops, I mean have… dicks.

      • NeaDods

        He actually uses the word “conditioned”? I just got cold chills. He really does consider her his meat toy!

        And note that she has to tolerate his selfishness; he sees no reason to maybe work on that major personality flaw.

      • Saraquill

        Ugh. Now I want to screw a lightning rod to his head and leave him in an open plain.

      • sylvia_rachel

        Um, yeah.

        I mean, I’d be the first to admit that my marriage isn’t perfect, and we have the occasional bad day. But we haven’t gotten through two rounds of cancer, infertility, clinical depression, unemployment, the deaths of three of our parents (both of his, one of mine), 15.5 years of marriage and 11 years of childrearing by trying to “condition” each other. Yeesh.

      • dj_pomegranate

        Right? Every week I read Libby Anne’s commentary and I’m like, surely it will not get worse than this. And yet every week Michael and Debi surprise me with their terribleness.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        I wish Libby would do commentary on Michael’s book next. If nothing else, we’d get a good glimpse as to why Debi is so off.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Don’t think I haven’t been thinking about it! I may order one (used) and take a look. I’ve only read the bit on Amazon and a chunk they published in their newsletter (which yes, I get, because it’s free and I’m apparently a glutton for pain). What I DO think I’m going to do right now, though, is start reviewing To Train Up A Child, which I think will also give some glimpse into Michael, since he’s the one who wrote it.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        I’ll review it, if you’re busy…I’m primarily a Mormon blogger, but the similarities to Quiver full are scarily similar enough…

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Do! If your reviews are any good, I might ask to cross-post them! :)

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Aaaand started!

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Also, TTUAC is available online through the wayback machine, and copy pasting beats typing it all in, which is what I’m having to do with CTBHHM.

      • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

        Yeah. I felt really bad for poor Debi. No wonder she passed out! I’d conk too, if for nothing else than to get some relief.

        And 3 times? Her first time? She was probably sore for a week! :S

      • Saraquill

        Why has this man not yet imploded from his own hatefulness?

      • NeaDods

        Why is this man *famous* in a whole subculture for his own hatefulness?

      • stacey

        Because they are ALL hateful, or want to be, because its “gawds way”….

      • Jackie C.

        That reads like a woman wrote it – like she’s showing the world what a true jerk her husband is/was. Notice she’s the editor of the book. That’s a huge amount of power. And the comment about the crab has hung around their marriage like a ticked off ghost – sounds like unlovely behavior to me, like something your average wife might bring up every time she was mad at what a jerk you were and wanted to remind you of your good fortune that she stuck around after the honeymoon. You’d think a woman who truly “reverenced” (she’s got to figure her verbs out) her husband would let that go already. This whole thing smells like they know their audience and are playing to it.

      • ZeldasCrown

        You left out the context for the wedding night quote…and it actually makes it worse-he had been aiming to beat another fellow’s record of five times on the wedding night. “He was a puny fellow, so I had no doubt I would beat his brag…”

        So, you know, the wedding night is really a competition between the men to see who can get the most times in the first time.

      • Mogg

        Ew ew ew ew ew!

      • NeaDods

        This doesn’t surprise me in the least. Debi talks admiringly about Michael’s constant competition with other men, which she sees as manly and I consider textbook insecurity.

      • Nancy Shrew

        He is pretty much the human embodiment of a crab, and I don’t mean the crustaceans.

      • The_L1985

        The reviews make me want to gag.

      • TLC

        I clicked over and read this excerpt. Very frightening indeed. He’s bossing her around all over on their honeymoon, she’s trying to submit and is dying from exhaustion. Interesting that she tried to fight back and yelled at him! Wonder if she admits that in HER books. Much too creepy to attempt to read the whole book!

      • tatortotcassie

        I read most of the honeymoon section and was too appalled to keep going. If nothing else, we have confirmation from Michael himself that he is a controlling asshole.

      • Jayn

        Okay, so I braved a peek.

        “My immediate goal in marriage was the make up for all those sexually frustrated years–the sooner the better.”

        *headdeskheaddeskheaddesk* (Also, is anyone else wondering if he’s using ‘resisting urges’ to cover for the fact that no girl could stand him?)

        “I cottage on the beach, a hot bride, plenty of crabs…this was living!”

        (emphasis mine) I know he’s talking about shellfish here, but I couldn’t help but snicker when I read this.

    • Trollface McGee

      Yep, that’s definitely the impression I get. Women have girl cooties, anything they do is bad. Woman discovers cure for cancer – she’s being disrespectful to her husband and is going to live in some horrible lesbian duplex situation. Man goes out wrestles alligators for fun, loses an arm – just being a guy and the arm? It’s the woman’s fault. I bet if she actually read the Bible she claims to believe, she’d find fault with every single woman in it.

      • David Kopp

        I’m not sure it’s necessarily her interpretation… I’ve read the Bible, and women by and large aren’t looked upon favorably, starting with original sin, going through Delilah, etc., etc.

    • Japooh

      I quit pitying her several chapters ago – she’s not a victim. She’s a monstrous person advocating violence against women and child abuse, along with being a blatant liar and hypocrite.

      • NeaDods

        One does not preclude the other. I think she’s all of that.

    • NeaDods

      Debi just hates women

      She does. I think in part that it’s because Michael has threatened to replace her in a New York minute — why else would she dwell *so much* on the idea of a divorced wife watching the babysitter and the ex getting loads of action she isn’t? — but I also think that it’s because she honestly is in love with Michael and sees every other woman as potential competition. She’s said that she ran off a girl who was, in her eyes, immoral — something about don’t even think to find sanctuary in Michael’s church because she get her sin cooties all over Debi’s man. And wasn’t it Debi who advised a woman whose husband was cheating with the secretary to go down and yell at the other woman for husband-stealing?

      Debi seems to be forever caught between the twin tortures of Michael leaving her or another woman trying to break up her marriage. And as Michael preaches that men are slutty dogs – he makes a big deal of never touching another woman, no matter how unattainable or uninterested because That Would Be Impure, then he’s only feeding into this notion that every other XX person out there is a threat to Debi’s marriage, which she will defend tooth and claw.

      • David Kopp

        Pretty sure that Debi is a victim of horrific emotional if not physical abuse, and is now suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. That’s the only truly fitting explanation for her behavior and writing, IMO.

      • NeaDods

        Yes, but… She grew up in the same churches and preached next to him, lusting after him literally from the moment she became a teenager. There’s Stockholm syndrome and buyers remorse and lots and lots of preconditioning/ grooming there too. All of that and I think a fair dose of being just plain nasty by nature.

      • NeaDods

        I should say “true but..” There’s more than one reason, or the two I originally listed that twist her up so bad.

      • Jolie

        ” he makes a big deal of never touching another woman”- like; he doesn’t shake hands? Because it’d get him horny or something? Eeeeek….

      • NeaDods

        Apparently. Look at the quote in the “Whirlwind Romance” post in this series. Debi says ” I felt my pastor reach over and take my hand. Talk about electric
        shock! I knew there was a strange and wonderful thing happening, because
        he was ordinary a real prude! He wouldn’t even let the old ladies shake
        his hand after Sunday morning service. Now he was holding mine during a
        prayer meeting!”

    • ArachneS

      Ick. I was turned off completely in the first paragraph when he describes a cute little girl and then says “I wanted one”, like you would say you want a toy.

      • ArachneS

        Heh, replied in the wrong place. This comment was meant concerning Micheal Pearl’s book linked below. The whole excerpt is terrible.

  • Trollface McGee

    ” You cannot command your husband to love you”
    This…is actually true. No, you can’t command love. No amount of grovelling and acting like a servile doormat will make a man love you if he doesn’t. No amount of putting up with abuse will make a man love you because a partner who loves you will not abuse you in the first place. Debi’s advice, won’t give a woman a man who loves her, but it will allow abusive men to have an easier time manipulating their wives.

  • Abby Normal

    This woman sounds stalkerish. What gives her the right to go around making shit up about random people that she sees in a parking lot? Most of her “material” doesn’t even seem to come from people that she actually knows. It’s lazy writing at best, and sorta creepy on top of that.

  • Semipermeable

    Because every single man/woman pair walking into walmart are husband and wife. They certainly could not be platonic friends, siblings, cousins, neighbors, coworkers, or anything like that.

    I think her sample size is off.

    It is also interesting that she thinks public play housing is a gauge of love. My partner and I don’t really get affectionate in front of strangers or in public stores, but at home or with close friends we are very playful and touchy-feely/cuddly. Neither of us like acting that way infront of everyone, and I was always taught that it was rude to be all over each other in public. Not to mention rough housing in a store where you could damage things that aren’t yours or accidentally bump into other people.

    Her logic and behavior expectations make no sense.

  • katiehippie

    Let’s tell Debi that this “couple” is actually having an affair. ;)

    • http://yllommormon.blogspot.com/ aletha

      She’d say it’s obvious why: see how much reverence and affection this chubby purple pj girl is giving this hunk? It’s obvious his wife never did that. In fact, the wife probably said *gasp* NO to his advances. And look at her now. Alone, in a cold duplex while her man gets his jollies with a greasy haired girl that respects him.

      Le sigh.

  • Japooh

    What makes her so certain that they are a “couple” and not either just buddies, or perhaps siblings?

    • LizBert

      I thought that too. Despite being in my 20′s nothing makes me act like I’m 10 again like being around my brothers.

      • http://noadi.etsy.com/ Sheryl Westleigh

        That was my thought too. I’ve never acted like that in public with any boyfriend even if we roughhouse in private but with my brother? All the time, especially since we’re very close in age, get us together and we both regress by 20 years.

  • LizBert

    Debi makes so many darned assumptions about other people’s relationships just based on what she can see. I kind of have resting bitch face, unless I’m smiling I just look, well, crabby. It doesn’t mean that I’m angry or anything, that’s just my face. And while I love my husband, neither of us are very touchy feely in public, it makes me uncomfortable and my husband just isn’t inclined to be demonstrative in that way. If she saw us walking into Wal-Mart she would assume that we’re unhappy and on the verge of divorce, when really we’re just going about our business like usual.

    You have no way of knowing what is going on in another family’s life just by looking. Appearances can be very, very deceiving. The “perfect” families are often the ones with serious problems that nobody ever talks about. I remember a guy at youth group breaking down because his dad, who was an elder, was an alcoholic. Hell, even I tend to play my cards close, I don’t want everyone knowing about my problems, it doesn’t mean that they’re not there.

    And goddamnitall. The fat girl doesn’t owe her handsome boyfriend a single thing. Fatties don’t need validation through dating. We’re real people and our relationships exist independently of our fat.

  • Rilian Sharp

    I laugh while reading Created to need a help meet, and that laughter is an expression of horror. It threatens to make me cry, so I laugh instead. Just an example of how laughter doesn’t always mean that the person is happy.

  • TLC

    Again, so much here to comment on. First one: “she must also earn the right to be loved.”

    No, Debi. No one has to earn the right to be loved. Everyone has that right, whether they’re married or single, Christian or atheist, young or old.

    The whole paragraph about women having secret keys to influence their men is just astoundingly warped. I’m not even sure what she’s trying to say! It sounds very manipulative and not loving at all.

    My impression of the couple that Debi “admired” was that they were brother/sister, not a married couple. Whatever they were, I agree that the woman probably was not having fun being held in a headlock.

    Whatever the case, I am still in awe of Debi’s “powers” to see a situation and interpret it with complete accuracy, even without asking questions or getting more information. A few minutes in a Wal-Mart parking lot, and she knows everyone coming and out the doors, without saying a word? Does she claim to be prophetic? Does she pepper her language with, “The Lord told me. . . ” ? Or does she just simply think she’s all-seeing and all-knowing?

    Thanks for all the comments about laughter and what it really means. It helps me understand better a strange and similar situation that happened over the 4th of July holiday.

  • Rilian Sharp

    still reading that excerpt of Created to need a help meet. So, he needs her, and she’s just commanded by god to “help” him? It doesn’t really sound like she gets anything out of it. And it sounds like the opposite of what they usually say. They usually say women need men, and men have to sacrifice for the women. They have to work and die and stuff.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    BRB, need a trigger-smoke. My abuser would “play” around in a similar manner (not so much with the head-locks, but big on the “immobilize you until you submit”-type things.)

  • Allie

    Two points I thought of while reading this:

    I HATE being tickled. It’s very painful for me, and I find it to be a horrible experience, and I always have. Even when I was a kid, I didn’t let my parents tickle me because it hurt. This is something that men (in my experience) have difficulty understanding, because laughter is an involuntary response to tickling even if it hurts or is not funny or enjoyable. Once in college a friend of mine was continually tickling me, and I repeatedly warned him that if he did not stop I was going to kick him in the balls. He didn’t stop, presumably because he thought I was joking, and I kicked him rather hard. So hard, in fact, that he had to leave because it made him sick.

    Also, I knew this guy in high school that was always trying to hook up with (much) younger girls. He was a couple years older than me, and when I was in junior high, he had set his sights on me. He was weird and creeped me out, and I tried my best to avoid him. But his flirting M.O. was this bizarre roughhousing behavior where he would aggressively pick girls up and throw them over his shoulder or just get way too handsy. He did it to me a few times, and over the years I saw the same thing happen to other girls (he got older and the girls were always 13 or so). On the couple of occasions he did it to me, it evoked laughter, but it was because I was a teenager who was uncomfortable and didn’t know how to express it. He was probably 6’2″ and a big football player, so whenever he would do things like throw me over his shoulder, I literally couldn’t do anything about it. So it made me feel panicked and angry and uncomfortable all at the same time, even when I laughed about it.

    I say all that to say that there are MANY reasons why a person might be laughing about a situation AND also be uncomfortable and feeling violated. Not in Debi’s world, though.

    Side note: I feel confident that by “her hair was chopped off in an ugly cut” Debi just means “her hair was short.”

    • Allie

      I forgot to mention that the second guy mentioned above was arrested a few years later for statutory rape. So my feelings of panic (despite the laughter) were clearly reasonable.

    • Liz

      So glad you kicked the guy in the balls. I’ve always gotten angry when my boundaries were violated, but was never taught that it was ok to fight back when that happened. Now I wish I had done some things differently–really that I had been *taught* differently.

    • Rilian Sharp

      My *aunt* wouldn’t stop tickling me, even though I looked her straight in the face and said, “DON’T do that.” She did it again, so I kicked her in the stomach (kind of reflexively) and she never did it again (for the past 10 years).

  • A Reader

    It’s not at all uncommon for people to laugh when they feel nervous, even terrified. This woman very well could’ve been a victim of physical abuse.
    But golly, she was smiling and submitting to her man, so everything’s just fine here!

  • lollardheretic

    I gotta say, all the worries about the signs of abuse are important. That said, it is possible the couple was just horsing around. The reason I say this is NOT because women “say no when they mean yes” (though there is a flirty “no stop!” that I know I’ve been guilty of…), but because Debi is completely unreliable as a narrator and in terms of her ability to read what people are expressing. She’s shown this time and again in her readings of the Bible and of people in situations. So maybe this couple was completely happy and they were joking and she was saying “no, please not Walmart!!” or maybe he was abusive. Maybe they were both from Mars and she failed to notice the green skin and antennae.


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