CTNAHM: Surprising Introspection from Michael—Sort Of

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally Posted on Yllom Mormon

Created to Need a Help Meet, pp. 116—117

Today we are talking about the Command Man’s greatest weakness. And I have to say, I’m surprised at what Michael thinks it is. Does he handle the subject well? Does he offer feasible techniques for overcoming said weakness? Hahaha. I’ll let you guess.

The Command Man’s Greatest Weakness

The Command Man’s greatest weakness is confidence in his hormones—in his innate nature. He trusts his own judgement above others’.  He is often accused of being proud, arrogant even. Of course, pride comes readily to the one in command. That is why the Apostle Paul warned that in selecting leaders to “rule” the church, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he falls into the condemnation of the devil (1 Tim 3:6)” A novice Command Man, one that has no history of humble leadership, is in danger of being carried away with pride.

I think it’s interesting how much Michael dogs on women’s hormones, but men’s hormones seem to be OK—as long as there’s not TOO much trust in them. (And who judges that, exactly?)  Also, the way Michael describes Mr. C-arrogant, not trusting anyone but himself, does not really lend itself to practicing self-restraint. If “pride comes readily”, then why not spend a few paragraphs discussing humble leadership? Or at the very least, defining it!

Being created with the nature to lead does not qualify one to lead anymore than being born a man qualifies one to parent.

I’m really surprised by this line. Because it is 100% true. And yet, no matter how much lip service Michael may pay to this idea, in practice, and in most of the rest of this book, he disagrees with this. He flat out says, Command Men are leaders, and people follow them. He argues that having kids is the only way of a Godly marriage. So while he might write this line, and while it is true, it would probably mean more if his entire ministry echoed this, instead of “Mighty Man, you are called to lead! Your judgments are right, because you speak for God!”

The will to lead is not the same as the wisdom to lead. The ability to persuade others to follow does not mean one is going to lead them in the right direction. So the greatest weakness of a Command Man is his stubborn assumption of his own superiority.

Oh. I get it now. He’s talking about OTHER Command Men. Because Michael is righteous and just in all things. I mean, he doesn’t even have to apologise! Clearly he has the wisdom to lead, and is obviously leading others in the right direction. I’m going to stop before I use all my sarcasm in this one paragraph.

This is expressed in marriage by his presumption that his wife should joyfully support him without questioning the wisdom of his actions. He is often surprised at his own failures and does not easily take the blame for his presumptuous mistakes. He seldom apologizes. Of the three types of men, the Command Man is the most prone to think he could manage just fine without a wife…if ONLY he could have sex three times a week and have a cook and housekeeper who mind her own business!

I am having a hard time seeing how knowing the difference between ability and correctness of leadership translates to marriage. And nowhere does Michael say “This is not a healthy attitude! Your wife is a person with her own needs!” I also think it’s weird that Michael tends to boil wives down into little more than serving automatons, and yet he (jokingly?) says Mr. C doesn’t think he needs a wife—as long as all his needs get met. One question I have is how is Mr. C going to get sex (in this culture) without marriage, and when masturbation is a sin? The nookie-fairy?

Commanding Hope

Don’t despair, Mr. Command Man; you can have an amazing marriage. I know because I am this type, and my marriage has been exceedingly rich and rewarding. More importantly, it has been rich and rewarding for my wife.

I’m calling bananas on this. All one has to do is read Debi’s book, and see how much self-loathing she has, and what little respect she has for her husband. But, again, the culture of the target demographic does not allow for women to express anything other than contentment. The saddest part is, how are women supposed to realise they are unhappy if they are told anything other than submissive joy is unacceptable (from childhood)?

You may be uncomfortable sharing your personal feelings with anyone, even your wife. Command is a lonely thing. The sanctity of one’s command must be protected from the public. It takes awhile for a wife to raise her clearance level so as to be admitted to the inner sanctum of strategy and power. All this changes as a man learns to really love his wife and she learns to appreciate her husband’s strengths and virtues, and accepts him on his terms.

I might have had an idealistic dating relationship, but isn’t “clearance level” something that should come during dating? If you don’t think your SO accepts you, and you don’t trust them, WHY MARRY THEM? Why turn marriage into the CIA? Here’s a tip to those of you dating. If you don’t trust your partner enough to share your feelings (and I’m not talking about those who have difficulty understanding their feelings-let alone sharing them), if there is no level of trust, you should either break up or seek help. Because a relationship without trust is unhealthy.

Oh, and I think it’s insulting that man only has to “love” his wife (with no explanation as to how this happens), and the wife has to appreciate her husband’s strengths, and accept him on his terms. Nothing mutual about this, folks; walk on…other things to see.
As time passes, the King-type man will become more vulnerable to his woman then will the other two types. Because of his self-imposed remoteness he will pour all of his personal intimacy into the one person on the whole earth whom he dare trust. It is this act of becoming one flesh and one heart that is the essence of marriage. It is more than physical, more than emotional; it is the act of becoming soul mates. It is what God created marriage to be. It is worth any sacrifice to get to this place in your marriage. And it will be a sacrifice. Marriage in its highest form takes a great deal of giving over, especially for a Command Man.

I’m amazed how how often in this marriage-help book, Michael makes marriage sound unappealing. If becoming one heart and one flesh means 1/2 the partnership (the half with women hormones, of course) being “on-call” and “joyfully submitting” to the other, I’ll pass. I also am really irritated at the phrase “as time passes”. Yes, I believe that relationships can get closer and/or better over time. But to set up marriage as “Well, it’ll be hard and require sacrifice, but eventually it’ll be worth it!” seems a bit…odd to me. Especially in a culture that marriage is the ultimate achievement.

Why not talk about the little ways that marriage is delightful, even when their are differences of opinion? What about discussing strategies to keep the love alive, despite illness, poverty, or distress? Why not provide concrete examples and options, instead of making the entire relationship sound like a drudgery?

For people that purportedly are fans of marriage, their idea of it sounds unhealthy and awful. Honestly, I am so glad I married a man who loved me for who I was at the time (undiagnosed and unmedicated, even), instead of a man who loved me for who I would become once I submitted, and accepted him on his terms.

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.


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