CTNAHM: Everything That Is Wrong With Your Wife

By Aletha

Originally posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 158—159

Last post I was rather in shock because I agreed with Michael the entire section. Well, not to worry because he’s back to his old self in this section. There’s a heavy dose of “what’s wrong with the woman” and everyone’s favourite scripture passage. And by everyone’s, I mean Michael’s. Here we go!

Spots, Wrinkles, and Blemishes

The ministry of Christ to his bride is that of removing spots, wrinkles, and blemishes. I print the text again because it is so very important that you maintain your focus on what God says.

Ephesians 5:25-27
25-Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26-That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the word,
27-That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ugh.  I am so very, very tired of these verses. Not only because Michael is taking them out of historical context and twisting them to fit his ideals, but because there’s only so much one can squeeze out of 3 verses. Also, I’m not a fan of bludgeoning people over the head with scripture. I guess I’m reviewing the wrong book, then!

Note once again, the context for this passage is “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself for it…” The purpose of this passage is not to reveal how Christ loved the church, but to give us an example of how a husband should love his wife. We have seen how he should sanctify and cleanse her with his words. Now we examine the nature of a husband’s ministry.

Yes. Let’s look at the context for this passage. Here are a few background pages about these verses. Succinctly, historically, Paul was talking to Romans who grew up with a different set of values and ideas about familial leadership than did Jews. Unlike Michael’s idea that this section is to husbands, it is actually helping to explain how much Christ loved the church—by comparing it to something that Romans understood: household codes.  (If I’m incorrect, please let me know)

The point being that Michael is teaching these verses backwards. These verses weren’t intended to be an exhortation to husbands, but rather to help non-Jews to understand Christ’s love and devotion. Not only is Michael misinterpreting the passage, but he is doing so in a way that is damaging to everyone in the family.

I just love the Word of God. It is composed of perfect words, in the Received Text that is. The same cannot be said of commercial versions like the NIV and 200 other English perversions. The Holy Spirit has inspired this description of man’s ministry-spots, wrinkles, and blemishes. Everything that is wrong with your wife is summed up in these three words.

Ah yes. Once again, we are told that the King James is the ONLY true version of the Bible. Here are a few links from Michael explaining how he arrived at this conclusion. (Bonus: the second link is a video!) I’m not even going to get into translation errors, biases, missing manuscripts and changes that have been made to every installment of the Bible.

Oh! And how lovely it is that everything that is wrong with a wife (Everything that the man disagrees with, in other words) can be summed up in three insulting words. In case you’re curious, please do not tell your spouse that they are blemished, spotted, or wrinkled-in body or in spirit- unless you want an argument.

Spots are foreign matter that stains. They are not inherent. They are the result of carelessness or misuse. They stand out because they do not belong. They speak of a former event when something went wrong and the stain is left on the garment for all to see.

I’m getting the strong feeling that Michael is talking about pre-marital sex here. Anyone else? Contrary to Michael’s belief, premarital sex does not end with an “A” branded into the forehead. It is also possible for a woman to agree to sex before marriage without it staining the rest of her life. When I was a teenager growing up Mormon, I was also told that sex before marriage was terrible. But there was the caveat of repentance. Apparently God forgives. I think someone should let Michael in on that secret, because the God he preaches doesn’t forgive, forget, or let go. Just judges and moves on to the next sinner.

Wrinkles result from disuse. They are there to testify that the garment has not seen the light of day. It has been safely tucked away and not had a chance to get spotted by the world. A wrinkled garment is a protected garment,  but apparently not well favored.

I did laundry two days ago and left the clothes in the dryer since then. They weren’t all the way dry when the cycle was over, and do you know what happened? When I opened the dryer this morning, the clothes were wrinkled! Not from disuse, but from absentmindedness. In fact, I can think of about 3 more ways that clothes can get wrinkled besides being safely tucked away.

His analogies are a bit confusing. I get that he thinks women should be “safely tucked away” from the spots of the world. I disagree, but I understand what he’s saying. But I don’t understand why a woman who is protected in this manner is not well favored. Can anyone explain this to me, please?

A blemished garment is one that has an inherent flaw. It was never perfect. It has always been marred by nature. Blemished garments are not usually put on the front shelf. They are not worn on special occasions. They must be kept at home and used for practical purposes lest the wearer be embarrassed in public.

Holy cow. First off, why would you choose to marry someone who you believe is flawed in a way that is so dramatic, you fear to take them in public because they would embarrass you? Secondly, the kept at home and used for practical purposes line made my blood run cold. What kind of “practical purposes” does Michael mean? I think we all can guess. Ick ick ick.

Wow! Isn’t God smart? And he never even got a degree in psychology. Consider all that is wrong with your wife: She is either spotted by the world through experiences that have left her with guilt, shame, or emotional issues,

That darn psychology-people gettin’ that book learnin’ and talkin’ nonsense. Oh, and I’m sure focusing on all that is wrong with your spouse is the best way to improve the relationship. If I have, in my head, a list of my husbands failings, then that’s all I’m going to notice. I will take for granted the way he opens my car door, tells me I’m beautiful, and washes dishes, because those don’t matter as much as the negative things. Focusing on the bad is the quickest way to become unhappy-and it shouldn’t take a psychologist to tell you that.

Another thing that grated on me is that Michael seems to assume that every pre-marital sexual act is consensual. There is no caveat for those women who are sexually abused, raped, or coerced. There’s no directive to get a woman with sexual issues help. No exhorting extra patience, kindness, or gentleness to someone who has been sexually scarred. (And growing up thinking SEX IS EVIL BEFORE MARRIAGE is sexually scarring). Just “your wife is spotted by sex and you need to clean ‘er up”.

or she is wrinkled from having been cloistered like a slave and never allowed to develop as a person. She is wrinkled with hidden talents and gifts never developed. She is a wasted resource. Her husband soars higher while she stoops to scrub floors.

So women should be allowed to develop as a person, but then it’s the man’s job to change her to the person he needs. Wouldn’t it be easier to never let the woman grow until she’s married, and then the husband prune her to his satisfaction? (Not that I agree with this theory at all) And Michael has made it clear earlier in the book that the only appropriate talents and gifts are ones that the man approves of.

Oh, and lovely imagery there. A wasted resource. Like oil, food, or electricity-a woman’s value is strictly based on her performance, not herself.

Or a wife may be blemished from birth or from limitations placed upon her in her developing years. Her very personality is flawed, or her social skills are clumsy, or her motherly instincts are missing, or she is gawky and clumsy by nature. She could have a low IQ or be physically or mentally impaired. There are many ways a woman can come to maturity with blemishes that are part of her very body and soul.

Ugh. This paragraph makes me so upset that I am not even going to say anything about it. Sound off in the comments!

A proud husband may be ashamed of his wife’s moral spots or be embarrassed by her social wrinkles, or he may have pity on her for the imperfections of her blemishes. Know for certain, his dissatisfaction is quite apparent to her, exacerbating the problems, causing her to either retreat or fight for the respect she deserves, leaving both in an unhappy marriage.

When you think of your significant other, how often do the words “ashamed, embarrassed, or pity” pop into your head? Hardly ever, hopefully. Oh, sure, one can be embarrassed by the way their spouse acts. But having a relationship with someone you consistently deem as less than you isn’t healthy for either. It’s kind of like the idea of marrying someone to change them-because you, obviously, know what’s best for them.

Wait a second…that is Michael’s philosophy. Simply by being a man, one is gifted with discernment enough to “fix” his wife. And women, you know you need fixing! So just let the man do his job, and you’ll both have a happy marriage. /snark

I know of no young bride coming to marriage without some spot, wrinkle, or blemish. Some are unspotted by the world, but wrinkled from lack of experience. Others may be spotted but far from wrinkled. Still others may be neither spotted nor wrinkled, but blemished. Unless you marry a 60 year old widow that has already gone through a sanctifying process, your new bride will need sanctifying in one or more areas, and the process wont’ be complete on your first anniversary.

What about the young men? If women can be spotted, blemished, or wrinkled, why can’t men? Surely any sexual acts on his part prior to marriage is equally spotting? Or if the man is feeble-minded or cloistered? Michael doesn’t even address those ideas.

The more I read, the more it seems that Michael thinks men are inherently perfect. Oh, sure, they have some issues they should work on (unless he’s a Command Man), but in general, they always make good choices and do what’s right. If one believes that rationale, then it’s logical to assume that women are inherently imperfect and need to be fixed. This idea is toxic to both men and women, and yet Michael treats it like it’s God’s truth.

I have many flaws, but I’d rather believe they’re because I was born human than that I was born female. Because thinking like that automatically makes my judgement less sound, my opinions less valid, and my person-hood less than that of a man’s. Which is exactly how Michael appears to view woman. How sad for his wife!

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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