New NLQ Series: The God Card ~ Thoughts on Patriarchal Teachings, by Journey

A Good Man Will Make Sure Those Dishes Get Done (by Repenting For His Failure to Make Sure His Wife Does Them)  

by Journey

One of the most important things to do, in any arena of information, is to go directly to the source instead of relying on heresay. In posts to come, I intend to introduce direct statements from different leaders in the patriarchy movement, statements that will often include words I myself read, as I sought to obey God as a woman striving after His will, in a marriage that regularly left me confused, condemned and off-balance.

patriarch

The God Card ~ Thoughts on Patriarchal Teachings

After reading and hearing stories like the ones featured on NLQ, one of the primary arguments that the “Biblical Manhood/Womanhood” camp makes is that,

A.) Our abusive husbands obviously took the teachings too far, or that,

B.) “We should have known better—we should have known to not submit to his controlling ways, should have known that godly submission would never require you to follow a list of cleaning rules, etc.”

They claim that the teachings of patriarchy aren’t to blame for what happened in our homes. No, no, not the teachings at all. It was all the fault of our own dysfunctions, the fault of a bad man, or all the fault of our own failure to properly appropriate the good and godly teachings.

So, say you are a woman married to a man who has to control you, and you are steeped in “Biblical Womanhood” teachings that tell you your calling from God is to submit to your husband’s leading.

HOW are you supposed to know what the line is between a leader and an abuser, when the teachings tell us it’s the man’s job to set our agenda, our schedule, our vision, our life calling, our location, our occupation, our parenting style, and more?

Maybe it’s unfair to blame Biblical patriarchy for making abusive men. I’ll give you that. After all, abusive men come in all shapes and sizes (as do abusive women), and can be found in every part of society, in all camps and classes and cultures.

That said, if an abusive man is lucky enough to discover the world of Biblical patriarchy, he’s going to be giddy with joy at how the teachings pat his abusive ways on the head and call them, “righteous.”

Biblical patriarchy teachings give these men a new club to use on their victims—The God Card—which adds to the abuse by adding a spirit-killing kind called, “spiritual abuse.” But it’s probably unfair to say that ALL of these men would have never been abusive outside of the Biblical patriarchy sphere. Maybe some would have never been abusive otherwise, but probably most would have been inclined to be abusive, no matter where they were.

So, in my opinion, the biggest area that “Biblical patriarchy” teachings fail is when it comes to the women married to these abusers (and the children, who then have to grow up watching this kind of marriage and thinking it’s normative).

This is also the area where I most want to bang my head against the wall. Because when you are married to the abusive man, the Biblical patriarchy books and speakers blame it on YOU, since sweetness and submission are supposedly the way a godly woman “cures” her husband’s bad behavior. “Don’t you know, if you are sweet and submissive, you’ll have him eating out of the palm of your hand?”

But then, when you finally LEAVE the abusive husband, they still blame it all on YOU, shocked that you put up with abusive behaviors for so long. “I mean, come on, doesn’t everybody know that when it crosses the line into abuse, you are supposed to get help right away? Why did you stay? What was wrong with you, that you couldn’t tell it was abusive?”

(That’s if they’re actually okay with you getting away from the abusive man. Most won’t be. Leaving your abusive husband in a conservative community usually means you will also have to leave your former community. They don’t do divorce well, and usually, to them, the person who files is the person in sin).

How in the world are these women supposed to know it was abuse, given the kind of marriage literature and teachings that are available in the patriarchy camp?

For that matter, how is anyone close to them, perhaps happily married themselves, but reading the same literature, supposed to know that their friend is being abused?

Patriarchy people are often quick to say that they do not support abusive husbands. But how will they know a man is abusive, when much of the camp’s teachings call abusive behavior godly?

I think it’s best to let the patriarchy camp speak for itself in these matters. So let’s read the teachings of a respected leader in the Biblical patriarchy movement, Douglas Wilson, and perhaps someone can explain to me how a woman married to an abusive control freak who uses God to get what he wants is supposed to deduce that she is married to an abusive control freak who uses God to get what he wants?

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum!

The God Card by Journey:

A Tale of a Passionate Housewife Desperate for God by Journey:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

More from Journey: