How to Figure Out What to Do With Your Life, In One Easy Step: Ask Your Husband
The God Card ~ Thoughts on Patriarchal Teachings
Guidance for a wife is a very simple matter. It seems to boil down to just asking your husband. We have to remember that it is the man, the husband, that God designated to be the head, the authority in the home. –Genevieve M. White, in Daughters of Sarah, p. 59
The woman who wants to be in control is a wife who is in rebellion towards God. God does not look with favor on those who are rebellious towards Him… The Bible says that “Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…” …Webster’s 1828 calls witchcraft, “intercourse with the devil.” The controlling wife is receiving her guidance from the wrong source, and this deception will cost her dearly somewhere along the way. …The desire to control is the basis of rebellion. — P. 34
The patriarchy camp sees men and women as very different creatures, and one of the distinguishing features of the two genders is that males are gifted to leadership and expected to take control, whereas females are designed to follow and are taught that to want control is to exhibit a rebellious heart (and since rebellion is regularly likened to witchcraft, i.e., intercourse with the devil). Therefore, leadership traits are not considered part of one’s personality type, but are viewed as either positive or negative depending on the sexual organs one was born with.
As a QF wife and a strong fundamentalist Christian, I had a deep desire to bring honor to God with my life. When I was taught that rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft, I determined not to be rebellious. The problem was that I was not born a passive dependent creature. Patriarchy, my deceived acceptance of patriarchy, and my spiritually abusive husband combined to fashion me into a passive and dependant creature. Much like the blog post we were discussing on the NLQ forum, “Biblical Womanhood” turns Scripture (often in well-intentioned ways) into a spiritual abuse guidebook, a manual for how to slowly but steadily crush every last spark of life in your bones.
If you do have an abusive husband, acquiring the strength it takes to leave him (especially if you have a full quiver of children) is likely similar to considering climbing Mt. Everest without a backpack or supplies or a map, and with a broken ankle. It’s a tremendous undertaking because you have systematically been conditioned by your trusted teachers to think that it is Satanic to think for yourself, to question whether you are glorifying God by allowing an abuser to control you and your children, or to desire to make decisions about your own life. In this camp, there simply is no godly way to leave an abusive man, because there is no way, in that kind of setting, that you will be able to tell you are living with an abusive man in the first place. How can you, when you have trained yourself not to question, not to consider, not to think about any of his faults, or to question his commands?
In recovering from my years in the patriarchy movement, I still struggle with a Pollyanna-ish view of people. I often think that if they were well-intentioned, I should give the benefit of the doubt and try to overlook what they just did, if at all possible, even when it is obviously unhealthy and potentially destructive. I have made some bad choices about friendships, overlooking things that were overtly un-healthy, because I had lost my ability to discern that destructive behavior is destructive behavior is destructive behavior, no matter how much I may love the person or “hope” for them that the unhealthy things will become better.
I walked right on past fluttering lava-red flags, because I spent years doing that in my marriage and it never occurred to me to do otherwise. I am getting better, but it still takes me more time than I feel it should to call a spade a spade, or to take full and complete stock of an unhealthy behavior or choice instead of glossing over it and acting as if it didn’t happen. I believe this comes from the years spent in a marriage to a spiritually-abusive man who was steadily becoming more and more destructive, a marriage where I practiced to perfection the fine art of not questioning, always seeing the bright side, and assuming that if I was finding fault, it was because something was wrong with me.
No, I didn’t come into the marriage that way. When the engagement ring was slipped onto my finger, I was a little spit-fire, quick to speak out if I felt bothered or concerned. It was my love for God that was manipulated, in the end, and my own inability to discern truth from error. I was systematically trained, by teachers and books and my husband’s “words from God,” to become a good passive follower, slowly starving out the parts of me that cried out in protest and anger, the parts of me that could have helped me to see that my husband was not a well man, that he needed help, and that help could only happen as I stopped glossing over things and started yelling, LOUDLY, that there was a very real and valid problem.
…There is a failure of women to understand that their God-given role is not one of leadership, but of willing submission and support. The women should be encouraging the men to take their God-given place of leadership, and not taking the lead themselves. This is not demeaning to the women, it is God’s perfect plan of government and harmony! What God greatly values in the woman is not her leadership, but her meek and quiet spirit. —Stephen Hulshizer, from ‘The Truth of Headship,’ p. 15
Ladies, if you have leadership skills, it is not part of your God-fashioned design (unless you use those leadership skills to preach the glories of patriarchy, with your husband’s approval, that is). Your uterus? Oh, my, yes, that’s part of God’s design. But, your exuberant personality and your ability to lead? Heavens, no! That, my dear, is a result of the fall, and if you love God, you will take pains to rid yourself of any desire to plan or control. (After all, it only makes your life as a wife miserable, anyhow).
In closing, an applicable quote (from a book highly lauded by Vision Forum and their affiliates) shares how this can flesh out in the real day-to-day matters of married life for the godly couple. What many would call disturbing, this book instructs men and women to see as wise and good. Many in the patriarchy camp say that they stand firmly against spousal abuse, but at the very same time, they promote abusive teachings like the following. I posit that the well-intentioned “Biblical patriarchy” adherents can’t help but support abuse, because the abuse is intrinsic to the teaching…which means that either God is abusive, or the patriarchy camp has got God figured out all wrong.
Now let’s get down to some practical application of all these principles. One way in which a man can begin to act like a program director in his home is through a daily assignment and report system. …In the morning, before he leaves for work…the father takes a few minutes with the wife (and optionally the children) to go over the assignment for the day. This would included especially the school schedule…also encompass household chores, family projects and other activities planned for the day. The purpose is to have a common understanding between the husband and the wife. He is announcing his plan for his household for the day; she is affirming the plan and her intention to carry it out.
When he returns in the evening, he takes a few minutes once again. This time, he checks in with both his wife and children to get a report on how the plan was carried out in his absence. His wife reports… What is happening here is that he is holding both Mom and the children accountable for their work while he was gone. He in turn is getting the information he needs to be accountable to his heavenly Boss concerning his little domain. This simple system has the great benefit of keeping the focus on the father as the leader. …This system is especially good for Mom, who is relieved of a great burden God never meant for her to bear. She was created to help her husband and carry out his decisions. She was not meant to make the big decisions and enforce them… –Philip Lancaster, in Family Man, Family Leader, p. 177-178
The God Card by Journey:
- Thoughts On Patriarchal Teachings
- Subordinate but Equal
- Thoughts From The Excellent Wife
- Ask Your Husband
A Tale of a Passionate Housewife Desperate for God by Journey:
More from Journey:
- Dear Happy Full-Quiverer …
- It’s Complicated: Why It Wasn’t As Obvious As It Seems Like It Should Have Been