"Husbands love your wives …" ~ the Peanut Butter in the Patriarchy trap!

My daughter, Berea, has mice in her new apartment ~ and this morning she asked on her Facebook status: WHAT DO MICE WANT?

Answer: Peanut Butter! 🙂

by Vyckie

I’ve lost track of how many times I have been told that the only reason wifely submission did not work out in my marriage was because I was married to a jerk.

Recently, “Karebear” commented: I hope that you two understand that the groups/husbands that you were with were not practicing a Godly lifestyle. The bible does call women to be submissive to their husbands but it also calls men to love their wives …. And, the bible defines love as, not self-seeking, protective, kind ext….

Another reader wrote:

Husbands are commanded to love their wives and this love of a husband is only of value if it is sacrificial, Christ is the example of sacrificial love (Servant King–NOT TYRANT).

Submission of a wife is only a beautiful gift if the context is respect as opposed to fear.

The impression I get (forgive me for speaking out of ignorance) is that your marriage was codependant and that your husband had a weakness for malignant narcissism/Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

So in other words ~ the failure was not in the teachings of Patriarchy ~ but in our practice of it ~ we were doing it wrong.  These defenders of Patriarchy assume that I was submitting out of fear and they’re also convinced that Warren never sacrificed for me and the kids.

Let me state plainly that throughout our 18 year marriage ~ I never doubted for a minute that Warren loved me and the children more than himself and that he always put our welfare ahead of his own concerns.

Here’s the thing: Over the years, as we got more and more into the patriarchal mindset ~ our definition of what it means for a husband to “love” and to “sacrifice” morphed into some pretty twisted ideas

The teachings we learned from leaders such as Jonathan Lindvall, Doug Phillips, etc. led us to believe that the husband loves and serves the Lord as “protector, provider, and priest” or sometimes stated, “prophet, priest, and king” of his family ~ all important aspects of his role as “head of the household.”

In every sermon, book, magazine article, radio interview, etc. which taught about a wife’s submission ~ there was *always* included the admonition to husbands that they “love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”  WE UNDERSTOOD THAT PART OF THE PLAN!!! 

Truthfully~ “Husband’s love your wives” is the part that makes the whole Patriarchy deal seem so bloody attractive!  What woman doesn’t want a husband and father for her children who willingly lays down his life and serves, protects, provides ~ a man who fulfills his leadership role with gentleness and competence? 

That’s exactly what we all wanted.

But get into those teachings a little farther, and you’ll discover that “protector” means CONTROL ~ it means that a man, who is ultimately responsible for his family’s spiritual well-being and who must one day stand before his Maker and give an account ~ such a man believes he is entitled to know every detail of his wife’s and each child’s every move, every desire, every thought …  How else will he be able to protect them from the Enemy who seeks to lead them astray and destroy them?

Kristen Rosser, aka “KR Wordgazer,” writes the FAQs for No Longer Quivering which address Quiverfull/Patriarchal teachings from a biblical standpoint.  In “Does Patriarchy Glorify God?” Kristen makes the excellent point that the teachings and practice of Patriarchy actually belittle and diminsh both God and men ~ by putting God in a box and men in shoes which are much too big as they are expected to fulfill roles for which God alone is sufficient. 

I am especially looking forward to KR’s upcoming FAQ: “The Bible and Male Headship.”

It’s been explained at NLQ before ~ in the comment section and also on the forum ~ but I think it needs to stated over and over again: If a husband is truly loving his wife self-sacrificially ~ then the issue of Patriarchy ~ of headship and submission ~ is a moot point.  A husband who loves his wife has a relationship of mutuality which has nothing to do with the teachings we are addressing here at No Longer Quivering.  Warren and I had that sort of love *before* we were introduced to the teachings of Patriarchy.

… but of course, he did have some quirky ways ~ he was insecure and had a tendency to micro-manage things…

What we’re talking about here ~ and what the QF/P teachers are telling married couples is that when husbands behave badly ~ their wives’ loving submission is the key to transforming the slackers and the abusers into bold men of God who will step up to the plate and lead their families to the glory of the Kingdom!

With sermon titles such as, “How a Wife Can Use Reverence to Build or Save Her Marriage” or “The 7-Fold Power of a Wife’s Submission” ~ these bible teachers are setting a trap ~ and “Husbands love your wives …” is the peanut butter they use ‘cuz they know that’s what women want ~ it gets us every time!!!

Sadly, the way it works out in this practice of Patriarchy ~ it is the wife who ends up doing all the Jesus-like self-sacrificing … to the point of self-abnegation and burn-out.  And it is the children who end up (in extreme cases such as with my oldest daughter) in the psych ward ~ or else spending years playing catch-up in the process of discovering who they are, what they are like, what they desire, what they believe …

As for the men?

I think Coldplay says it best in their song ~ Viva La Vida:

I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own
It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People could not believe what I’d become
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh who would ever want to be King?

Discuss this post on the NLQ forum! Comments are also open below.

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  • valsa

    Vyckie, not trying to censor you or anything but could you please take down that picture of the poor dead mice? I’m not sure if it occurred to you, but some of your readers (like myself) might get upset at pictures of dead animals.

  • nolongerquivering

    Valsa ~ how’s that? Didn’t mean to distress anyone with the dead mouse. 🙁

  • valsa

    Thank you so much! I used to have pet rats so the previous picture just broke my heart.

  • nolongerquivering

    Oooh ~ I found an even better graphic! We have the patriarchal dude mouse pointing the lady mouse towards the trap that’s set with peanut butter. Perfect, huh? 🙂

  • Lauren

    Vyckie, not trying to censor the person who is not trying to censor you but could you please leave the picture up? It’s the perfect illustration to your article and most adults and children see this in real life when mice need to be trapped about the house. Anyway I’d rather see a picture of it than have to clean up these things as we must do each year,lol.

  • Lauren

    Oh I see you just changed it while I was typing! Oh well the cartoon is better for the reason you said.:)

  • valsa

    Great, now even the mice are getting in on the “protector husband” racket 😉

  • Kristen

    Thanks for the sweet words, Vyckie!

    You know, I just made a connection– these teachings are just another form of utopianism. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, people thought they could create utopian societies where all of life’s problems would be solved and everyone would be blissfully happy. The only problem with making people happy was the people themselves. They needed to be fixed and changed and molded to fit the ideal, so the ideal society would actually work. But it never did, somehow. . .

    The result? Complete subordination of individual autonomy and worth, to the utopian ideal. And nobody was happy.

    Idealized, fantasized perfect happiness, somehow just doesn’t work. Apparently part of the reason is that in order to be perfectly “happy,” what you can’t be is free.

  • denelian

    i was thinking the same thing!!!

    when i was *much* younger [late teens] i was *obsessed* with a “radical notion”: put WOMEN in charge for a few hundred years. women PLAN, and they CARE about *PEOPLE*, ya know? we wouldn’t get into stupid wars over stupid things [like oil or drugs or religion] and men would finally learn A) that women are just as competent as they are, B) that women are BETTER than men, because we wouldn’t do to them what they did to us.

    15+ years later…
    i mean, no, we wouldn’t necessarily do the SAME things – we just aren’t as visually orientated – but we can do similar. and wars are wars are wars – they’re going to happen, however much i deplore them.
    and ALL men who think women aren’t REAL PEOPLE would get is “and now the evil feminazis have done what they threatened and they’re going to come castrate me any day now!”

    i was imagining a world where children were cared for by everyone, where differences were embraced and utilized or corrected, depending on the individual’s needs and wants. a world where a big hit movie does NOT require “fan service” of a “sexpot” woman getting nekkid, or wet, or whatever. where rape was treated as the travesty it is, but what one does to one’s OWN BODY [including drugs] doesn’t matter UNLESS it can be shown that it affects OTHERS [for instance – a person with kids doing heroin?! *shudder* a dying cancer patient? PLEASE! pain bad! a 19 year old smoking pot at home? no big. same kid smoking while driving is bad. because it might cause an accident… etc]

    but, as you say, it was a “Utopian Ideal” and thus unrealizable and completely artificial.
    i still believe that societies where women held power were better, OVER ALL, than societies that screwed women over and made them, at best, legal children for their entire lives or at worst less than property. equal power. we don’t even have THAT yet… sigh

  • Charles

    Isn’t Sarah praised for calling Abraham “Lord”? You seem to not like anything the Bible says about women submitting to the husband as their head. This is concerning because you cannot love God and hate his word.

  • gracieallan

    I am way late to the discussion, but I only recently discovered your website. You make two really good points in this post. First, that people think you were “just doing it wrong”, otherwise patriarchy would have worked. (I would have thought the same thing not too long ago,) Second, that the real problem comes in the redefinition of such words as “love” and “protect.”

    I am discovering the same type of weirdness in the Christian parenting teaching that I adhered to for years. I consider myself to be currently in recovery from that type of Christian parenthood; I’m still trying to rediscover the genuine article. It was never that I didn’t love my children (and probably the same is true of the “experts” I was listening to.) It’s just that I was taught that if I REALLY loved my children, I would do certain things (many of those things I now would label as unkind, unmerciful and disrespectful – all, ironically, very un-Christian behaviors!) But I did them anyway because I had become convinced that to do less would endanger my children’s souls.

    And the kicker was that when my children would act badly (no doubt because they were on the receiving end of unkind, unmerciful and disrespectful treatment), the verdict was always: you’re just not doing it right.

  • Charles said: “Isn’t Sarah praised for calling Abraham “Lord”? You seem to not like anything the Bible says about women submitting to the husband as their head. This is concerning because you cannot love God and hate his word.”

    I’m not aware of anywhere in the Bible where Sarah is praised for calling Abraham lord. It is a fact that she does call him lord in Gen 18:12, which is a term of respect and wives certainly should respect their husbands. However, respect and obedience are two different things, and the Bible never commands women to obey their husbands. Sarah’s respect is a good example for us of how to respect our husbands. Abraham’s treatment of Sarah is a good example for men as well. When he asked her to say she is his sister, he didn’t TELL her and expect her to obey. The word used there is the Hebrew word “na'” and it means: “pray or please, used in entreaty or exhortation.” It is the same word used many other times of people praying to God, asking for help. He asked her, they came to an agreement and then they acted.

  • Paula

    1 Peter 3:5-6 NIV: 5 For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, 6 like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

  • In Ephesians 5 Paul is instructing the family with a view to helping it function properly. He gives husbands, wives, children and fathers direction on how we can help each other mature. Remember there is also an enemy of God, Satan and I am sure he uses this portion of scripture creating legalism and has a field day turning what is meant to be an aid into weapons that each family member can use to tear down rather than build. If you want to put this to the test then husbands, tell your wives that they must submit. Wives, tell your husbands that they must love you and the reaction is distance on both sides of the newly created fence of legality and in turn given sin power. No-one wins here except our enemy and we are complicit. The message in Ephesians is a personal and family corporate instruction to all the individuals concerned within the family setting on how to function and it needs faith applied not the law, personal faith. Although we would be right in telling others (bible in hand) that they should love us or submit we gain nothing in doing so except resentment. The model of family live here is set out by God not man. The intention of God here is to help us.

  • Pearl

    Good post. I really don’t think the Bible teaches patriarchy. All the men in the OT who practiced patriarchy got in trouble, like David committing adultery, and Solomon who multiplied wives, and Isaac whose sons wanted to kill each other, and Judah who ended up impregnating his daughter in law. If anything the OT is a case example created by the Lord on why you SHOULD be monogamous and you SHOULDN’T practice patriarchy. People just twist the NT verses “wives submit” to come up with weird doctrines of men. Anyway, I know you don’t like the Bible anymore, and I guess that’s pretty understandable considering all you’ve been through at the hands of people who claimed to be following the Bible. But honestly, it’s just giving into those horrid people if you let their flawed interpretation of the Bible be what you believe the Bible really says.

  • Love this post – I know exactly what you mean because I was there! It is not good to be king of the castle – it creates such insecurity in children and wives! Blessings to you and your web-site.

  • todd atkinson

    first off you will never get the real meanings of the stories in the ible from your religion as they were created to contain knowlege and keep people ignorant because ignorant people are much easier to control. Also christianity is not the religion of Jesus but of Paul. The whole tone of Jesus teachings were that sumission to everyone, male and female was the highest ideal, that a leader acts like a servant, the greatest acts like the youngest etc. The reason for this is submission is the more difficult thing to do and shows tremendous strength of character-according to this women have been the leaders all along and the narcississtio men where to ignorant and arrogant to see that ecause they were to busy focusing on the verses that justified their mysogynistic eliefs. I wonder if you would make the same argument in favour of slavery based on the same misguided belief that every word written in the bible is the inerrant word of GOd. All i can say to that is its pure idolatry and what an insult to God to equate mere human creations to such a level of worship. That sounds like keeping to a form of godliness but denying its power, the power of God through his spirit to lead one sincerely looking for the true meanings in scripture-which are so far from what churches teach-the corpses, the lind leading the blind and its quite evil to keep people from a true relationship with God in such a diaolical way, welcome to the beast church. See mrastrotheology and marty leads if you want to find some truths aout the bible.

  • todd atkinson

    you are her daughters if you do what is right and not give way to fear. Did you know the part of the brain called the cerebrum was name after sarah and arham. Sarah is the right hemisphere, the femine intuitive and more emotional part of the brain, araham is the left the part used in logical task oriented thinking. The wife sumitting to the husband refers to the emotiions submitting to the logical decision makeing part of the brain, this one can turn into lucifer though if it becomes like adam and lords it over the right hemisphere completely cutting off contact with the higher light which is accessed via the helpmeet negaively polarized rt hemisphere as two positively polarized forces would repell one another.

  • ssohara

    I’m a Christian and I believe the Bible. However, the way my husband and I interpret the passage on husbands and wives – we both are supposed to serve and encourage each other. When he lost his job, I supported us financially for 6 months. When I got cancer he quit his job to make me juice 5 times a day and cook me healthy meals, etc. It’s a partnership and sometimes I give more than he does and sometimes he gives more than I do, but that’s the way marriage is. I look at the verses on husbands and wives as more about mutual sacrifice and setting healthy boundaries.

    the thing is, if you read about how Sarah is held up to be a model wife in the Bible, for example, and submitted to her husband – you also see how she has laughed at Abraham, has voiced her own opinion, etc. So I don’t think submission means what the Patriarchy movement seems to think it means. And Jesus said Mary chose the better path when she chose to be the 1st century equivalent of a scholar rather than being a “traditional” home-maker type like Martha. And the Bible never says all women are to submit to all men, or that only men are gifted with the Spiritual gifts.

    The thing is, when I was a new baby Christian, I became a Christian in a church up in Cambridge in which there was a couple where both the husband and wife were going to Harvard Law School, and a woman who was going to Harvard Medical school – and these were all strong Christians. And there were also “traditional” Christians where the wives were home-makers, but it was pretty obvious the women were educated and not doormats. However, then I moved to the deep South and for a couple of years I went to a church where my gifts, etc., were repressed because of what I consider now a very false interpretation of Scripture.

    This church talked about the freedom of Christ, yet all the married women seemed to have dead eyes. The women were told they needed to serve the men of the church and because I was a new Christian trying to “do it right” I bought into this for a couple of years and was seriously unhappy. It was only when I finally left that church and started going to more rigorously intellectual places that I broke free of this trap. When the pastor of a church encourages you to think for yourself, to read the Bible and commune with the Spirit and talks to you like an intelligent person – that is a good church. When the pastor TELLS YOU WHAT TO DO and implies that his interpretation is tthe only valid one and discourages you from your own study…