Created To Be His Help Meet ~ An Open Letter to Debi Pearl

by Africaturtle

Dear Debi,

It’s been a few years now since I read your book Created to be His Help Meet for the first time.

I am married to a Mr. Command Man, as per your book’s description. My mom gave me your book for Christmas the first year I was married (six years ago now). She told me it was the best book she had read on the subject, and after reading it I was convinced it was too. (I had already read many other Christian books and periodicals on godly womanhood, including those of Mary Pride, Nancy Campbell, and a few from Vision Forum.) As a new wife and soon-to-be mother (I was pregnant within the first month after our wedding) I soaked up all of your stories and advice, expecting wholeheartedly to put these lessons into action and experience the heavenly marriage I was destined for!

May I also note that I had been very careful in choosing a godly, Christian man. Someone who welcomed the idea of children as a “blessing”, that served God wholeheartedly (we were involved in campus ministry together) and who respected my ideas and encouraged me to be a “keeper at home”, as described in Titus 2. I was sure we were destined for something great and unique as a family, and that our lives would be a testimony of faith and God’s greatness in a place that was in dire need of the light of the Gospel (we were living in Europe, not the US).

I quite naturally shared this vision with my husband and shared with him the insights I was reading and discovering through your book. I even wondered if we could get this book translated so I could share its message more easily with those around me, as the church people I knew seemed to be the first to “need” its message. I felt sorry for all the men who had grumpy, pestering wives who never appreciated them. Wives who had obviously bought into the lies of feminism and insisted on pursuing ambitions of their own through career and temporal pursuits.

I am writing to you now because I have had some problems in experiencing the “fruit” promised in your teachings. For an entire year I really tried to apply joyful, unconditional submission. I spent a second year wondering “what am I doing wrong?” and so prayed a lot and read and re-read many parts of your book. By year three I was starting to wear down in my resolve, starting to question the workings of my relationship and by year four I began to turn to other sources for insight. I am now at the beginning of year six and after coming to a point of near break-down (as in “I’m going to go crazy, literally, if something doesn’t change”) I can tell you that there are some problems with some of the assumptions in your book.

I think that given you have a “mature” husband that treats you “well”, you might have a hard time understanding where I am coming from. I too, could never have imagined what this would be like without having lived it myself. I grew up in a stable home with loving parents, who, while maybe didn’t have as “heavenly” of a marriage as you claim to have, did treat each other with love and respect.

My husband does not (love/respect me). Of course he loves me. He wouldn’t have married me otherwise. But let me talk, for a minute, about a subject that you cover at length in your book: anger. You describe two types of anger. Typical “male” anger, where it is predictable and can be avoided if you (as the wife) learn his “triggers” and avoid setting him off. The second kind is “seething anger”. This is the kind of anger that makes him bitter and suspicious of others, and is often fueled by negative comments the wife makes about others.

Let me describe a third type of anger for you, that your book left out: Abusive anger.

This kind of anger has no “reason” other than maintaining an illusion of control. This kind of anger erupts for any and every reason at any time of day or night. This kind of anger is most often hidden from anyone else but the one who is closest and dearest to the abuser. This kind of anger is like a dark cloud that blows in unannounced and does not leave until it has rained down all of its evil torment and has nothing left to “dump” on you. This kind of anger is maddening, because no matter how hard you try you can NEVER find the “trigger” and avoid it. It always “hits” you when you least expect it. Just when you start to trust again, just when you’ve dried your tears, just when you’ve gained enough strength to raise your head up out of your hole and look around “BOOM” it strikes again. This kind of anger cannot be reasoned with. There is no answer that is ever “good enough”. You are required to answer questions to which there is no “right answer” and then commanded to shut up because your answers are making the questioner mad. In this reality EVERYTHING is your fault. In fact you only possess faults. You have never done anything good or useful really. Of course that is, until the cloud lifts. Until the anger has run its course. Then you are FREE!

Free to smile. Free to laugh. Free to forgive. Free to carry-on as if nothing ever happened. In fact you MUST smile. You MUST forgive. You MUST carry-on. Because you don’t have a choice. If you don’t he “might” just get mad at you again. Mad that you cry too much, mad that you didn’t forgive quickly enough. Mad that you don’t trust him the way you ought to. Now according to your book I’m not sure that really crosses any “bright red line” (as your husband describes it, in discussing spheres of authority).

But I can assure you it crosses many lines. It DESTROYS your soul. It destroys your confidence. It steals your peace of mind. It physically drains your energy and makes you sick. (I have a cold nearly every-other month despite eating healthy organic food.) It takes away any hope of a happy home, the one place on earth that is to be your HAVEN!! It destroys your children as well. They develop nervous habits, nightmares, and anger issues themselves (and mine are still all under the age of 5!) Now granted, he has never actually “hit” me…so I guess I can’t really “prove” he has done anything “too” bad. At least not bad enough to call the police. I mean I definitely didn’t want to involve anyone else in our problems because your book made me keenly aware of how fragile men’s egos truly are, and how important it is to ONLY speak good of them to others. So actually your book has encouraged me to become a pretty good liar. Yes everyone always asks “How are you? How are things going?” and of course I can’t say “terrible” because that would require an explanation, which would reveal “bad things about my husband”, a man everyone thinks so highly of. And so I am stuck. Stuck in silence, in heartache, with unanswered prayers.

I don’t really hold you responsible as we are all responsible for what we do with the information we are given (and plus your book only re-iterated what the Bible says, so my problem is probably more directly with the Bible) I wish you could see the dilemma your teachings create for women in my situation (and there are many, as I have come to learn!) You see the more I shared with my husband on your teachings of a wife’s duty and the workings of a Christian family, the more my husband came to expect all of that from me. The more he rubbed it in my face when I fell short of his expectations (which are “perfection”, by the way) and the more he felt “entitled” to be waited on hand and foot. It didn’t matter that I had just given birth and that he had 2 wks vacation from work…since the house was my “domain” he was not touching it! He would gripe and complain about what I was not doing and then go play basketball with friends or read a book and then chew me out for being “lazy” and yell at me at night for “keeping him up” while I was up trying to nurse the baby. You see with men like this there is no “winning”. When you “submit” to a man like this you only “feed” the monster inside. It is like giving-in to a 2-year-old who is throwing a temper tantrum. He uses anger to intimidate everyone into doing things in a way that “suits” him (and sometimes even HE doesn’t know what that means!) and the more you cooperate the more he uses it. You have understood this principle quite well in your child-rearing books so I’m kind of wondering why you don’t see that it works the same way with adults too.

Now there is also the part of your book where you cover sex. For this part, my husband has not been abusive, as in forceful. And for the fact that I prefer not to talk about my sex life with strangers I will be as vague as possible. But I would just like to say that you should not assume that EVERY man functions like your man. It seems he has a HUGE appetite for sex and likes you to dress up for him, etc. Good for you! But this is not true for everyone and if you send all girls into marriage assuming the ONLY thing their husband cares about is “getting some” you might be setting them up for disappointment. If the only motivation a wife has in “putting out” is to keep her husband from straying?? Well, I don’t think that guarantees anything, and I think it is a pretty lousy assessment of what men, (honorable, thinking men) are capable of. I think actually, in many ways your book degrades men. You seem to think that stroking their ego and giving good sex is all that’s required for a happy man. I don’t think all men are this shallow. And if a woman “saves” her marriage in this way, I don’t see how she ever can truly respect the man she is married to. I think you even use the word “manipulate” once in describing the wife’s way of handling a situation. Manipulation doesn’t seem very Christian to me, come to think of it.

I know you are very busy so I do not want you to “lose” too much time on this letter, I know it is getting long. But I want you to be aware that your teachings can indeed create some dangerous situations for those of us out there that are gullible enough to try applying them to our own situations.

What has helped me the most is reading through some good (non-Christian) books on verbal abuse. One my husband is currently working through (yes, because he does recognize the destructiveness of his behavior, though he hasn’t been able to break his own destructive cycle) is “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. Telling him that he doesn’t actually have the right to control me and that he needs to view me as an “equal” is one of the most-needed sermons he could have heard. (Unfortunately the church doesn’t really agree with that message, nor does your book.) But for the first time (in six years) I have the spark of hope that our marriage could indeed be something worth “saving”. Had I continued down the path your book laid out for me, I would most certainly be emotionally dead, slaving away from morning till night for an ever-increasingly ungrateful, dissatisfied husband.

As I write this letter I have still not found “peace” in my marriage but I am convinced that if it is possible it is far away from the path I once was following.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it will help someone, and that maybe you and your husband will choose to take a much more official and militant stance against (all forms of) abuse, especially in “Christian” homes. Your book pretty much puts the happiness of the whole marriage on the shoulders of the woman, and this I do not think is a healthy burden (happily married or not) for any woman to bear.

Sincerely,

J.

Note from NLQ: The Lundy Bancroft book referenced in this article is a fantastic resource for women in abusive relationships seeking to understand their partner’s behavior however NLQ does not recommend it as a resource for the men in such relationships.

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

Read all posts by AfricaTurtle


  • celecat73

    Excellent article. Well-written and it hits so many wonderful points. Thank you for sharing this.

  • lisbet

    Perhaps a bit of an odd comment from someone who is married to a devout Christian but isn’t one herself. Have you ever looked into the Orthodox church? Most people don’t seem to know it’s out there.

    The problem with books like this is they don’t seem to have a sense that most English language translations of the Bible are horrible translations- and they take lines from the Bible out of their historical context. The only way the Bible can be understood is contextually, and with a clear sense of what the English words were referring to in the original ancient texts.

    Anyway, I have come to actually respect and feel fondness for Christianity through my husband’s very scholarly group of parishioners. His church is filled with strong independent women and is a peaceful place for me, a feminist, flaming liberal, and academic to be.

  • http://revel217.blogspot.com WhiteStone

    Well written.

  • http://tapati.livejournal.com/ Tapati

    I saw a segment on Headline News about a verbal abuser who sounds a lot like your husband who got counseling and changed his behavior and beliefs about being in charge. Here’s the link:

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/10/19/jvm.reformed.abuser.hln

    He changed only when his wife put her foot down and told him she was leaving unless he got some help to enable him to stop behaving this way. This of course doesn’t work with all men, but it will with many.

    Thank you for telling your story. It sounds so familiar to me from my own experiences trying to apply Helen Andelin’s book Fascinating Womanhood to my own life years ago.

  • http://tuckedintohim.blogspot.com/ Karen

    A great article…

    Might I very gently – with not a hint of dogma or know-it-all – add that this abuse, this formulaic religion and rules and regulations and unnecessary expectations, these have nothing to do with God? Christ came and balked at this rubbish, so we can too. He has offered me true freedom and rest.

    I pray you are comforted today, and that your honesty here will continue to encourage others, as it has me.

    Hidden in Him,
    Karen

  • beautyforashes

    I am a woman who also followed the teachings of CTBHH. They had the very same effect on my marriage as they did to yours (that is to say, they made a horrible thing even worse). You put it all so well. Thank you for sharing.

    My marriage was not able to be saved, though it went on for twice as long as yours, and that was probably part of the reason why. The professionals told me, in no uncertain terms, that the teachings we were following made things ten times worse than they would have been (and that this is something they see regularly in our hyper-conservative community). :( By being a “helpmeet” (ala Debi Pearl and Rebekah Anast style) to my command man, the monster was fed and the bit of good man somewhere down in there was stomped right out.

    My command man never hit me, either. But there came a day when I realized that my children and I were no being just as bruised and battered as if there were fists flying…and that my children were about to lose their momma (because I think I was literally going to go insane). I left. For my children and for my self. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but worth every bloody step.

  • MoonlitNight

    *cheers* Good for you, to have seen the truth of the situation and started to change it! Good for your husband, that he’s trying to do the right thing by you!

    Two more thoughts: I agree with you that it is terribly insulting to men to only satisfy and manipulate them with food and sex. What happened to intelligence and human decency — do only women have those attributes, and if so why aren’t we running the show?

    As for anger, why would anyone think that the first two types of anger are okay either? Why should it be the wife’s job to not trigger her husband, unless he’s going to return the favour? And how then are you supposed to talk about something important that makes one or both of you angry? (Sure, it might start a fight, but there are ways to have fights that actually resolve problems, not just exercise them.)

  • africaturtle

    Karen, Thanks for your thoughts, and humble attitude. I’m not offended but do not find this type of response satisfactory on a personal level…i still have a lot of quesitons. i’ve responded to the issue you raise in the forum section, if you care to read a more detailed (though not very lengthy)response there.

  • africaturtle

    thanks for sharing your courage.

  • africaturtle

    thanks for your encouragement. I agree on the anger issue. There are actually many issues you could pick apart that she presents as “unquestionable” truths throughout the book, but i chose to only address the ones that meant something to me personally.

  • africaturtle

    Not wanting to go down the path of sarcasm or personal criticism I left Debi’s assumptions about her personal world unquestioned. But i did want to mention this one part. For the record, though i give Debi credit for being maried to a “mature man who treats her well”…i am not convinced this is truly the case. There is one story in the book that particularly disturbed me about her husbands garbage routine. As the story goes, he misses the dumpster while she is watching his “he-man” performance of heaving an over-stuffed garbage bag to it’s intended destination. Instead of landing in the dumpster is explodes on the ground. He shrugs it off (male ego hurt, is her explanation) and walks away leaving her to run in scrambling behind him to pick up all the mess, JOYFULLY! (of course) Now that might be a generous act on her part. But this immage of her groveling in the dirt scooping up garbage with her hands while her husband (who made the mess) walks off whisteling in the other direction! He is a Pastor, i found this to be fundamentally opposed to the notion of a servant-leader that the Bible requires of church authorities. And i think that for any man, no matter how large his ministry, his character is revealed in these sort of “little” things. It seems however, for them, it resulted in great sex later on…go figure.

  • Siege

    I am a woman who will soon no longer be married to one of these men. After his arrest five years ago for domestic violence (after 7 1/2 years of abuse) I found CTBHHM. I can say that they book helped me immensely in my walk with God, and there were times it seemed he was doing so much better. However, my “submissiveness” made the situation so much worse.

    After 12 1/2 years I have left. I no longer live in fear of how angry he will be when he gets home…he was ALWAYS angry, just to what extent? I no longer live in fear of the possibility that tonight may be the night that his slight aggression turns to full blown abuse again. The pattern was emerging again. I have my mind and my soul back.

    I am filing for a divorce this week. I have waited two months and he is still not willing to change. He is convinced that he does no wrong (seriously…he thinks he is sinlessly perfect!) and that *I* physically abused him! He will bring up what I would do in self-defense to get away and tell me that even if it was in self-defense, it was me abusing him. (Laughter inserted here) I am not safe there and I am not going back.

    I would like to suggest a book. “Christian Men Who Hate Women” It sounds odd, but it has REALLY helped me. I also want to point out that as a woman who has gone through it all, I would MUCH rather have the physical abuse over the mental, emotional, verbal, and spiritual abuse. Knowing how I feel right now, with my mind clear for the first time in 12 1/2 years, I wish I had taken the steps to leave sooner. I cannot help but think that maybe, just maybe, had I left sooner, he may have been willing to see his anger.

    Thank you for this wonderful post. “Siege Black”

  • erickajen

    as a friend to the above “siege black” – i understand what you are saying! girl, this post is tremendous! absolutly exactly what people need to hear. how many women and men are out there in horrid marriages because “debi pearl says…. the Bible says….”.

    when i read the book, the thing that i learned most was that if my husband drags his butt to work every day, even on days he really doesnt want to go, then i had better drag my butt to the sink and do the dishes, do the laundry, etc even if i dont want to. im the one thats home all day. i shouldnt be able to “relax and play” all day and let everything else slide! my husband doesnt deserve to come home to a house that is messy and be expected to clean up after that as well as working all day. however, our marriage is pretty good, and theres no such situation as yours and siege’s.

    there were a lot of things in the book i disagreed with. i tossed them out with the “bathwater” so to speak. im the kind of person that takes what she likes and tosses out what she doesnt (or what doesnt go according to my beliefs in what the Bible says). so i tossed them out. i read small parts of the train up a child books as well, and i didnt like it at all. so i just didnt read it.

    but like i said, and you said, women really believe they are doing the right thing. men believe they have the right to do these things. it really sets up churches to serve another purpose instead of God’s purpose… and thats a dangerous thing! it literally sets families up for emotional, spiritual, and physical abuse, perhaps even death.

    bless you for getting yourself some help, and praise God your husband is working to get through this! some men arent as humbled, and most women arent as lucky. God bless you in your struggles to get help and heal your husband and your marriage.

  • erickajen

    *HUG*

  • beautyforashes

    Love what you shared, siege, and especially what you said about your “head getting clear.” I worked very hard to save my marriage…but when I finally separated and started honestly considering divorce as a viable option, it was like a bunch of fog rolled away from my heart and my mind, and I could finally…SEE. Woah, it was crazy what I could see. Sometimes, stepping away from it and looking on from the outside (instead of completely enmeshed on the inside) is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself.

    I saw a man who was promising change (as usual) but was still being his same old manipulative blame-shifting self…and I realized I only have one life to live on this earth…and no way in hell did I want to spend any more of it with that man. Whether he could actually change or not, or was literally just so sick that change was not possible, I will never know. All I know is that I stopped having to live with it.

    Single life with a bunch of kids is no picnic…but freedom is SO BEAUTIFUL. It’s worth every minute of hard work! :) :) :)

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  • Fabkeys

    I am right where you are too, having just filed last month after finally gaining ‘clarity’ about who my husband really is. Hang in there, you are doing the right thing! It helps me to picture the beautiful, peace-filled life waiting just a few steps away. Hang in there! <3

  • Shiloruh

    I sympathize with your frustration. My Father also blamed his abuse of me, my mother and siblings on our failings. I was a “difficult child” who needed “discipline”. And who wouldnt believe the Priest had a rebellious child. PK’s are notorious for rebellion.
    sigh.
    It does take a good long time to really see that it isnt ever about the victim. It doesnt matter what/who you do/are as long as the abuser can abuse.
    It took years for me to shed the labels i was given to justify my own abuse..
    I no longer let someone who hates me define me. I get to say who I am. I am not rebellious or difficult or even a victim or survivor. I am a happy healthy woman who has always done the best she could. “When she knew better she did better”, (to paraphrase Oprah).
    Blessings to you on creating who you are.

  • garlicmom

    I am sorry for the time that you have had and all of the anger that has been expressed. I think that a lot of what people write is misunderstood. Whenever you have a husband such as the one that you have and others you can not disclose to them all of the behaviors that you are trying to incorporate and in your life because they seek only to use the good in your life against you. You simply have to do what you are going to do and not detail all of the reasons why. And as for the fact that the guy is explosive and all and you are just adding to his behavior by by being Godly then its only because you have layed out that you are better than him with telling him all of these things and that’s what he is going to do. Flaunting obediance to God is pride and will only bring a snare and a fall. Mrs. Pearl never said that the Man wasn’t ever at fault and that men didn’t have faults but that we are to bring out their good side. That’s my feelings on this and I will be praying for you and others like you who are in these types of situations. Every book will not be all inclusive but you have to take her book for the good that it is and not imply your own assumptions to other’s work. I’m sure Debbie would tell you something similar to what I have said and you should never leave God for anyone even if you thought what you did. The Bible doesn’t give out faulty info it is the reader who needs some more thought or direction or even more reading or prayer until he sees clearly. In Christ’s love, Jenifer

  • Cathy

    Jenifer,
    Seriously???? Really??? You are going to charge this woman with “flaunting obedience to God as pride”?? The mutual sharing of what you believe God is teaching you(though in this case, the “teaching” was in error) should be a regular part of a good marriage. No where in this letter does she state that she flaunted her obedience. Only that she shared a hearts desire to be that. And, while I’m all for trying to bring out my mates “good side”, I am in NO WAY responsible for his faults. This woman has been living through a psychological, emotional, spiritual hell, and this is the best you can come up with? Telling her that she is responsible for misinterpreting Scripture??? You, I’m sad to say, are under some serious bondage of legalism yourself! Wow! And we wonder why the world wants nothing to do with the church. We habitually kick and shoot our wounded! Blessings to you AfricaTurtle!!! Hang in there and don’t stop your pursuit of freedom! IT IS FOR FREEDOM WE HAVE BEEN SET FREE. BE NOT AGAIN ENTANGLED IN THE BONDS OF THE ENEMY!!!

  • Lottie Jump

    I’ve abandoned beating up on the Pearls, even though they deserve it, and I may be called into service again. However, I did want to make a comment on your piece. It was very moving and it’s a good read for other women who find themselves in your situation. But that’s not what I wanted to say, of course.

    Debi and Michael Pearl are abusers. Of course they’re going to write abuser apologia. You can debate the Bible all day, but it won’t matter because they use their bully tactics to humiliate anybody who disagrees with them. I know how to bully and humiliate too. And I didn’t learn it in a a vacuum either.

    We’re pretty much all child abuse victims, some to lesser degrees than others. Your husband sounds like he has some issues he should work through. And in some ways, people like yourself who had relatively loving homes are at a disadvantage when it comes to married life, especially if you buy into abuser apologia.

    I’m actually meaner than my husband, and yours I’m certain. I know, nobody is surprised. But before you feel sorry for my husband, who is also a Commander (lol) and a natural born leader actually, if I weren’t so strong willed he would be abusive. In other words, if he were married to somebody who had been “trained” not to stand up for herself, my husband would be verbally abusive to her regularly. Just like the verbally abusive relationship my husband’s 70 year old father has with his 55 year old wife. But that stuff don’t fly around here. And my husband knows it. And he behaves because I MAKE him behave. He’s a good man and saves his “abusive anger,” as you so aptly called it, just for me, so I know what you mean about that one. Of course, that’s no different than our abusive parents, is it? And my husband has quite the sexual appetite, so all I really need to do to make him happy is to be “manipulative” as you again so aptly put it, and give him sex and affection, but then again, I have the experience and know what I’m doing. And if he gets out of line, I tell HIM to shut up and he does because he knows, even on a good day, I’m much tougher than he is. And I don’t care about feminism. Feminism, in my opinion, is for weak women who need an excuse to demand to be treated with respect. I don’t need an excuse. I just demand.

    I’m sorry about your marriage. I’m sorry you swallowed the American Christian Big Lie hook line and sinker. Here’s some advise: Stop wasting your money on a scam that’s just meant to sell books to the gullible and line the pockets of preacher hucksters. And I’m especially sorry when I think about all the other women in your situation who don’t have the gumption to pull themselves out of it.

    This bizarre form of fundamentalism is NOT Christianity. It’s a cult, and the Pearls are willful charlatans. Eastern Orthodoxy is real Christianity, and probably the only legitimate form left on the Earth. I’ve read the Bible in Greek too. It’s not an infallible document and anybody who’s studied it knows that. Only the invincibly ignorant believe otherwise, not that it’s their fault. Just remember this: Jesus ate with prostitutes, not his wife and children, because he didn’t have a wife or children. All he had were the outcast, the poor, fishermen, beggars, and the sick. And Jesus told Martha that her sister, Mary, had chosen the better path — because she left the kitchen! Jesus came to liberate us from the Old Testament, which has a very limited application in real Christianity.

    As sorry as I am for you, I’m angry at Debi Pearl. I think I hate her more than her husband because she chose the abuser over her own children. That makes her no better than a crack whore. That’s why I call her a “wife slut.” And you have to wonder about all that sex, and if there is an element of sexual addiction there, and what means when it comes to the kind of abuse they inflict on their children without mercy.

  • rose

    After 20some years of marriage to my angry husband I realized that he was a bully and I called his bluff.I cringed, was miserable, and depressed for years until I found my cohones!

    I told him if he ever talked to me or the kids that way again he would be SORRY. I also found solace in the scripture that says, As much as lies within you, live at peace with all men.’ I decided that much peace within me was over—-at least where he came from.

    You better deal with the anger within you for your sake and the sake of your children. And don’t say there isn’t anger within because I wouldn’t believe it. I know how living a life with ridicule, condemnation and being made to feel like an idiot daily makes you feel. So you need to decide if you are staying with him or leaving. I stayed for children and now I am glad I did. Because now after 34 yrs he rarely has his fits-although he had one last week. BUT it didn’t even hurt my feelings.I know when to tell him to take a flying leap and when to keep quiet. I can now feel sorry for him-it’s like a 2 yr old having a verbal nasty temper tantrum.

    I asked the LORD to make me a woman of great character 30 yrs and HE has!! But is anything worthwhile easy? Heck no.

    Just give it all to the ONE who loves you with everlasting love. And dont’ listen to those condemning religous people who feed everyone crap. If you don’t respect yourself and your children who will? Stand up for yourself and especially for your children.

  • Clyde

    Miss Pearl does not know the true meaning of “helpmeet” in the Hebrew..obviously has never studied the Hebrew if this verse and others..I have been there,done all that(while still ignorant of Scriptures) an to no avail,but to get the crap beat out of me all the time,to have my husband be with every woman on the street,bring home diseases..all I ever did was..{quiver} with fear..thank God,HE (LORD) got me out of the hell hole I was in..just to end up in another one..all because of this misconception of what I was raised to believe,about men and women,husbands and wives..well,God has healed me! HE has taught me the truth,after diligent study of the Scriptures and studying in the hebrew.I have also questioned many older Jewish men(some who are Preachers)and some who are my dear friends..and even they say the same as what God had shown me thru the Scriptures.They say this kind of teaching is wicked and downright sinful! I have been in a spiritual abusive Church as well as marriage for a long time..thank God the fog has cleared,I am free..and I am in a process of healing..I still have a long way to go..but I am headed in the rght direction…Women..throw these books away! Trust in the Lord,for HE is our Husband..and HE truly loves us,and adores us! Praise The LORD!!

  • Loulou

    This could be my story. Except that I was married for almost twenty years. I filed for divorce in November 2010. I had written to Debi Pearl and begged her for help, telling her that the abuse was just escalating after years of servitude. She said that I just wasnt trying hard enough. I went down to suicidal depression after ten babies, home baking to sell, baking bread for our large family, raising chickens, homeschooling and doing all those herbally, home birthy things while my husband surfed the web and lay in the bath holding his family jewels. I am finally out of the abuse and starting to see how horrible my and my childrens’ lives really were. And then two months into my recuperation I find that I have stage two breast cancer. I really believe that body is simply telling me that I can no longer function as I have been. I have been lying to myself all these years. And I really do partly blame Debi Pearl for throwing around that horrible advice that almost killed me. (literally). Thanks for a great article.

  • BG

    Hi,

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. The Pearl’s are turning Christianity into a mental s&m relationship. I want to let you know that there are plenty of Christian, spirit-filled born again Christian, people out there who don’t believe in this. I have an egalitarian marriage, my husband always wants my opinion, never tells me what to do, we spit the housework and we raise our children as a united front. We both have advanced degrees, and while I love being a mommy and being married, it’s not what I was “created” for. We all have many gifts, spiritual and natural and all of us were created for God, not our spouses. I mean Paul even says that’s it’s better not to marry, so how does that fit in? I’ve heard many times from the pulpit how the headship does come in– it’s the man’s responsibility first to make the marriage work, to set the tone if you will. He is commanded to love his wife, to put her needs above his, to love her like Christ loves the church. Jesus wasn’t a cruel task master. He gave up his life for us! He was beaten for us. His self sacrifice and devotion to his church is the model the “head” of the house should take. Husbands should do housework, they should be active parents, they should love and put their wives first. If they do that, then biblical marriage works and their wives will love and respect them. I was raised this way and I guess I didn’t even know until I was an adult what a burden “christianity” can be when it is perverted and turned into a legalistic yoke that ignores the whole counsel of the Bible in order to push an agenda. Quiverfull subservient wives being beaten down by abusers grieves anyone with any sense of justice, how much more does it grive the Lord to see his people going through that.

  • Anonymous

    It truly does not matter if you are a strong-willed woman or a submissive woman–if you are married to an abusive man, he will abuse no matter what you do! I’ve been describing abusive anger as a ’2-year-old temper tantrum’ for about a year! I’m amazed at how many times I heard the same thing in this discussion! People who don’t experience it really don’t have a clue what abused women live with! My heart goes out to all of you and I hope that each of you will be able to find support in a group of people somewhere who understand what you’re going through and who believe what you say!

  • Mhozey

    I completely agree with you that the Pearls are nothing but abusers. I’m disgusted that they are allowed to sell their lies for a profit! Their book “To Train Up a Child” is CHILD ABUSE! I was utterly shocked by what I read there.

  • indiemamma

    So did Debi ever write back to you? After about 3 years of trying the principles in CTBHH, I too found myself depressed, terrified of my husband, and wondering where I went wrong; several of the things you described in your letter I totally identified with. I was raised in the ideal home, homeschooled, courtship, solid relationship with God, etc,. My husband and I have started therapy (me for depression/co-dependancy, him for anger, and together for marriage therapy). I can honestly say that our marriage has improved more in the last 3 months than it did in the last 3 years of me trying to cheerfully apply Ms. Pearl’s principles. I’d really be interested to read her response if she ever sent you one.

    Thanks!

  • Abused No More

    I just found this site and I am so thankful. I was in an abusive marriage for 15 years. Did the whole home school thing and became a good little submissive doormat just like my church taught me to do. It didn’t stop the abuse and made it worse. I finally left, went through a major identity crisis and feeling like a total failure. Long story short, I remarried an amazing truly Godly man who is teaching me what real love is. He values my perspective and will NOT let me squander my spiritual gifts by hiding behind submission. He encourages me to follow my god-given passions. I am so thankful for his love and would not be able to make it through the aftermath my children still live with if it weren’t for him.
    Both of my boys were In and out of trouble and involved with drugs. My younger son died from drugs and my other son’s life is a shambles. He has so many scars in his heart from the abuse and social isolation of home schooling and now he carries a lot of guilt for his brother’s death.
    I stayed for 10 years too long standing in faith for God’s transformation of my marriage. And it cost me and my children dearly.
    All in the name of biblical submission.

  • Abused no more

    After sleeping on this, I realized that I really have a lot of compassion for Debi Pearl. She is so invested in the mindset, how can she say, “Oops.I was wrong. And by the way, my husband is an abuser and I’m getting a divorce.” I know I had to leave my church before I could leave my husband. Pride, peer pressure and shame are powerful. I can only imagine how much stronger that is when a woman has accepted the role of a spiritual authority by writing books to teach other women. She is still believing the lie and missing out on a truly loving marriage. Very sad.

  • Elizabeth

    AMEN!!!!! I am 5 weeks into my separation after 11 1/2 years of being submissive to an emotionally abusive control-freak who, oh, by the way, just happens to enjoy molesting younger men in his spare time. I could probably file for divorce now on the grounds of unfaithfulness, but don’t really want to drag all this filth through the courts. At this point I plan to wait the 1 year + 1 day & file for divorce on July 5, 2012. Single life with 3 children ages 5 through almost-9 is difficult….. and at this point it would be super-nice to have an income…… but like beatyforashes, freedom is SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!

  • Katrina

    Having grown up in, but since escaped from, an Independent Fundamental Baptist church, I see almost every man in that church, in this article. My father and brother included. I distinctly recall a woman (her husband a respected deacon) who, during her fourth pregnancy, was told she could die if she got pregnant again. But, DH wanted six kids so guess what: two more babies. Thankfully, she survived the pregnancies. But how can a man claim to love his wife as Christ loved the church, and then force her to do something that could kill her? I was SO turned off of marriage for so long, because of what I grew up watching. After escaping, I learned what God truly intended for marriage, and married a man who believes the same.

  • Sara

    Dear Africaturtle, I am so glad I got to read this, thank you for sharing your story, I am one of the people who loved the book and applied much of it in my life. My husband is the most gracious kind person in the world, he did not have a dad and he rose to the occasion because he needed and responded to being really respected. My husband has never viewed me as a door mat and treats me as an equal. On the other hand my very good friend read the book and her husband only got meaner, more abusive and cheated on her. She told me she felt crazy and did not understand why life could be so good for some of us. I am ashamed because I really thought if she just stuck it out and tried harder she might see a change like I did. That is the danger of one size fits all theology. You start to blame the wife for things she can’t fix. Some of us are selfish and wicked and
    our spouse can’t fix us. Thank you for explaining what happened to you in a way that I can understand and showing me some very valid problems that can happen from trying to apply a method at all costs and not listening to the Spirit God gave us to teach us better than anyone ever could. I promise to be a better listener
    for now on. God bless you.

  • Dana

    Many years ago friend gave me a small little book & said, “Read this! It has helped us so much in raising our kids.” It was “To Train UP a Child” by the Pearls. I read it & thought they had some good points so I gave it to my husband to read. He couldn’t get past the 1st chapter & threw it away. Made me so mad! Thank goodness he did that though. He saw what I didn’t see in their writings & life. We have 10 kids & I guess we are considered Quiverfull by some, but in no way is my husband the “King” of our home. We work together in the training of our children. He doesn’t “rule” our home. This letter totally breaks my heart that this poor mom ( & so many others) are living in homes like this because the think it is their “godly duty”. It makes me mad that men take advantage of their efforts!
    My daughter was given Debbie’s book by a friend & suggested she read it. My daughter is 20 & still living at home, working as a nanny. My daughter said we could read it together & we will…dispelling Debbie’s myths & wrong teachings concerning marriage as we go through.

  • Lilah

    These men don’t want wives. They want robots! Not only that, but people like Debi Pearl seem, at the very least, to have an extremely simplistic view of the world and how people think. I’ve never read one of her books, but I’m guessing that she never mentions the possibility of mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, when she addresses the issue of men’s anger. (Of course, no Quiverfull man could POSSIBLY be crazy, right?) Not only that, but when she encourages women to be manipulative towards their husbands, she actually encourages them to be dishonest with them. I’m no Biblical scholar, but isn’t there a Commandment that says that lying and dishonesty are a big no-no?

  • Lilah

    I guess that the Commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill” applies to everyone except the deacon!

  • africaturtle

    apparently there is no “subscribe” option on these comment threads (there is on the forum) So, i was just “checking back” today and saw your question.
    No, I never received any response from Debbie or NGJ Ministries. I submited my letter via the question/email contact form on their website. honestly i never really expected to receive any response. It was beneficial for me however to summarize the various internal questionings that had been rolling around inside my mind for quite some time. My husband and I are currently doing individual therapy and joint couples counseling. The couples counseling has been really really good. mainly b/c we both really like the therapis that ²

  • africaturtle

    …therapist that we see. (sorry, i hit enter too soon).

  • africaturtle

    this is really sad (about all your kids have gone through) thanks for comming here and sharing. This problem of not knowing the future is difficult when trying to assess what to do in a given situation. I’ve heard a few stories where men changed, i’ve heard a lot more where they didn’t and the women only regret not having left sooner…this is difficult to process, as every situation is unique. I do appreciate hearing your experiences.

  • africaturtle

    wow, your response brought tears to my eyes. thank you. (and i believe your friend will thank you too.)

  • Erin

    Hi there,

    I’ve been reading about the quiverfull movement for some time now, as well as the anti-quiverfull movement.

    From the quiverfull perspective I see a lot of families that are happy and work well (the Duggars, Bates, Jeubs, etc.). From the anti-quiverfull perspective, and forgive me if this sounds judgmental, but it seems like the two women I’ve seen blame the immaturities of their husbands on a religion or the quiverfull movement itself.

    It also seems like the women take no responsibility for the fact that they themselves chose to marry the man, then became upset when it wasn’t all roses. Do people really expect to have a marriage with no problems, or marry someone that is perfect? Yet, the anti-quiverfull women seem to want to blame other people or philosophies for their marriage problems, forgetting the fact that *they*, not anyone else, actually chose to marry their husband! God and other religious people did not choose that for them!

    I wonder if you could answer that burning question. At what point is a woman responsible and accountable for her choice to marry a man who is abusive. At what point do you look at the vows you took and say “I took that vow, but now I’m backing out because my husband is an abusive person, that I willingly chose to marry.”

    I guess the simplest way to put he question is: Why did you guys choose to marry abusive men?! And why do you want to blame some book, philosophy or religion on their actions?

  • MeganD

    An abusive man doesn’t seem that different from the abusive God promoted by the patriarchal movement. And there’s also a well known phrase to the tune of “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Small flaws can become enormous. Bad thoughts and behaviors become legitimised. and even encouraged. Is it really that far of a step from being told to beat your children to keep them obedient and then using that same idea on your wife?
    Abusers also often hide their abusive tendencies until their chosen victim is firmly under their control. They frequently seem charming and even kind to the outside world.

    How dare you go and victim blame these people. “It’s your fault. Why didn’t you notice? Why didn’t you dress/act/speak/think differently? If you hadn’t done that you wouldn’t have been hurt.”

  • Gen

    Zaclty this. Thanks for putting it so well, MeganD. “Battered Wife Syndrome” or whatever it’s called in English is a real psychological phenomenon. YOu should read up on it a bit, Erin, before spouting accusations and judgements and generally making yourself look ignorant and uncompassionate.

  • Gen

    Oh, also, it’s not as if these dudes come with signs or tattoos that say: “Hello, I’m going to become abusive in X years. Please keep this in mind before you decide to marry me”. I mean, sheesh. If only.

  • Erin

    To Megan and Gen, you’re misunderstanding my questions. The anti-quiverfull movement is not just about individuals breaking away from their abusive husbands. They are blaming an entire philosophy that their husbands apparently subscribed to as well, and insisting that families like the Duggars are just as miserable as they were, though it is obvious they’re not. You can say women left men who were verbally abusive and overly critical, only to themselves become verbally abusive and overly critical of innocent people like Michelle Duggar.

    You’re one to talk about looking ignorant and uncompassionate! This is where personal responsibility and accountability come into play for mature people who’ve gone through ugly divorces after they themselves chose marriage! If you want to divorce your husband and no longer support him or love him, fine. But don’t blame a philosophy or religion, then claim everyone else who follows that *must* be miserable as well, just because you feel guilty for marrying a bad guy.

    At some point you have to take responsibility for your choices and stop blaming other people for your problems. Or taking on a crusade just to prove to yourself you made the right choice.

    Re: the book this blog is about, it is ironic that women have been ruining men’s lives with self-help books on how to “be a better husband” for over three decades now. It’s only fitting that now women have self-help books dedicated to ruining their lives, too, isn’t it?

    Re: your choices for husbands. If you guys had bad judgment when picking your husbands, why should we trust your judgment now that women like Michelle Duggar are just as miserable as you guys were?

  • Erin

    *Let me be a little more clear regarding my last question. What I mean is, if you had such bad judgment when choosing to marry a guy, why should your judgment as anti-quiverfulls be trusted when you say that all current quiverfulls, like Mrs. Duggar for example, are just as miserable as you all were?

    Yes, my statements and questions may seem a little insensitive, but these are the questions you have to answer when you’re starting a crusade against an entire philosophy. You have to be able to answer hard, and *obvious* questions, like “are you only doing this out fo jealousy?” Or “is there a hint of bitterness in you now after a messy divorce?” These are questions that need to be answered when you are not only giving testimony of your personal life, but you are giving a testimony about other people’s lives that does not mesh with reality. If you’re going to judge you have to be prepared to be judged as well. After what you’ve apparently already gone through, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

  • MeganD

    This philosophy needs to be flushed down the toilet, plain and simple. An ancient, misogynistic culture wrote a bunch of laws and people today are still trying to live by them as if they’re something good. And the misogynistic male-privilege you are spewing is revolting. Ruining men’s lives with self-help books on being better husbands? Because women wanting an actual partner and not a ‘bread winner’ is such a thoroughly horrible thing. Cats and dogs, living together. End of the world.

    Women are the intellectual equals of men. A philosophy that teaches women (and the men) that women are weak minded, weak willed, extra open to satan’s influence, incapable of having any say in their life, and their greatest purpose in life is to be a walking cleaning womb is abysmal and needs to be crusaded against.

    Yes, there are some women out there who enjoy being submissive. But they shouldn’t force their children into that mode of thinking as well. It is cruel and dangerous to do so as it leaves them completely unprepared to deal with reality and anyone outside their narrow lifestyle. And in the case of the girls, it leaves them entirely incapable of supporting or furthering themselves should they wish to leave. If you need to hold your childrens’ futures hostage in that manner, something is wrong with the belief set.

    More victim blaming. You are despicable.

  • Erin

    Megan, thanks for answering my questions, kind of.

    Still no mention of the fact that you chose marriage? If anything, you guys actually were too submissive yourselves. You couldn’t stand up to the weak willed men you chose to marry and now you want to drag the Duggars and other innocent couples down into your misery. Good luck with that.

    Michelle Duggar seems pretty happy writing books, doing speaking engagements and being a television star. Hardly Cinderella under the yoke of her evil stepsisters. But oh, I forgot, she actually does that stuff with her husband, so that’s bad.

    I hope you enter a bitterness free world someday, I really do.

  • MeganD

    Oh, you see… I was never part of this movement. I never could be part of this movement as I’m too strong-willed and understanding of my own strength.

    But I have relatives that are like this. And I see what it does to them and my cousins.

    In fact, I could say this philosophy is the leading cause for me being an atheist, as an aunt told me when I was 11 that I was satan’s child and destined to hell because I did not want to play with her 6 year old socially inept son for a 4th straight day in a row. All I could think was “Is God so petty he’d send me to hell for something as little as *that*???” And that was the beginning of the end.

    So after that… assumptions make asses, and you continue to victim blame. “It’s all your fault. Why didn’t you know better.” “You were too submissive in your following… of a theology… that demands total submission.” Hunh. You know what, that last one just sounds stupid crazy. Go figure. Being too submissive for something that says you must be utterly submissive.

    My world is bitterness free, now that I’ve managed to lose God. I’m happy. I enjoy my relationships with friends, coworkers and family. I love my boyfriend and hope to marry him. He respect my intelligence, and doesn’t mind that I make more money than he does. I have a job that is mentally stimulating, physically demanding, and eminently rewarding; that of being a veterinary technician. I actually help people and their pets.

    You on the other hand? You snipe at women trying to overcome a horrible part of their lives.

    Who is it that is supposedly wallowing in bitterness, again?

  • MeganD

    *edit to add that by “too strong-willed” I mean “bloody stubborn and would have had to be beaten daily and I’m surprised my parents survived me”

  • Erin

    Megan, I hate to break the news to ya, but you knowing jack squat about quiverfull philosophy, then saying all quiverfull wives are abused, then simultaneously calling the successful ones brainwashed and submissive, is more “victim blaming” than anything else could be. In your Christianphobe mind women like author AfricaTurtle here are stupid for standing by their husbands, which the writer here is actually still committed to doing, which makes sense since he hasn’t actually done anything abusive, maybe immature at worst.

    Your “relationships” are, I’m sure, fascinating and liberated…to you. But I hate to break the news to ya again, the divorve rate for “liberated” women like yourself that have pre-marital sex and demand subservience from their boyfriends is over 60%. (You prefer matriarchy to patriarchy, which doesn’t work.) while women like AfricaTurtle here only divorce about 10% and have more successful marriages. Yeah, pretty obvious who is, and who will be, bitter- not her. While AfricaTurtle may be confused and having to deal with the immaturities and indiscretions of both herself and her young husband, you will simply be a bitter Christianphobe thinking you’re better than anyone who believes in God, including, ironically, AfricaTurtle here, who you think you’re better than because you would have divorced her husband while she chooses to stick by him.

    You would actually blame AfricaTurtle for staying married, talk about “victim blaming”. You actually think you’re smarter than her, you have a Christianphobe superiority complex.

  • Megan

    Once again, I think you are replying to an imaginary post, because I certainly didn’t write what you’re now ranting against.

    Where did I say ALL the quiverfull wives are abused? And why is calling a women who follows the quiverfull position of utter submission submissive ‘victim-blaming’? I’m sure there are women out there who are naturally submissive and are happy, I even mentioned that previously. But children should not be forced into that mode.

    With regards to divorce rate: Did you know that evangelicals have a higher divorce rate that atheists? And that, unlike you, I can back that up with actual statistical evidence?
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm

    I also don’t demand subservience from my boyfriend (who is standing behind me as I type all this) and do not want a matriarchy. I want equality in my relationship; the acknowledgement that I do some things better, and he does some things better. Not because of our gender, but because we are individuals.

    I’m also definitely not a “christianphobe”. My family is christian, and I do not think any worse of them for it. We often have fun and lively debates about religion and just as I am happy that they are happy with their faith, they are happy that I happy with my lack of it.

    I have no superiority complex, but you certainly have a victim complex.

  • mrSTRATEGY

    You have
    Legitimate complains but
    Bad ideology (which drifts from the Bible).

    Husband and wife
    MUST both make efforts to save their marriage.
    If you do all you should do
    Your husband needs to also do ALL that he should do
    and your marriage will work.

    Straying away from the Bible
    or amending its ageless principles
    will only foment more trouble.

    BUILD YOUR MARRIAGE ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE BIBLE!

  • Christina

    With all due respect Jenifer, I find it unfortunate that you signed this “In Christ’s Love”. What love is this? Making assumptions and moral judgments about what another woman did wrong in her marriage in order to continue supporting your own personal principles? Blaming a victim for abuse is not loving. I think it is very unfortunate the way people throw around the phrase “in Christ’s Love”. It is so often accompanied with spiritual abuse. It excuses anything a person says, regardless how abusive it may be and is a form of Christian manipulation. It can be down right crazy-making. It is very selfish to kick down a victim because what she says may challenge one’s personal views. Personal religious principles do not out-value real human beings that are hurting and suffering. The kingdom of God is not comprised of principles and concepts and formulas promising solutions. It is comprised by real human beings who are in need of God’s love and grace. Lets stop saying things like “in Christ’s Love” It is not necessary. If we have it, our words and deeds will show it and it won’t have to be said.

  • Madamoyzelle

    You are not paying attention.

    “BUILD YOUR MARRIAGE ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE BIBLE!” you say.

    Yo. Look here: THE BIBLE WAS THE PROBLEM IN THE MARRIAGE.

    Yo. She did EVERYTHING to save her marriage. It is now Mr. Man’s turn to jump!

    And. I URGE YOU to fix this. Go and write a book telling men, “Men! You MUST RESPECT YOUR WIVES.”

    Go found a group that deals with Christian men and their anger issues!

    Go to the pulpit and start preaching at the men about the sins of anger and abuse! Tell them the signs of a Bad Man! We ALL know the signs of a bad woman, don’t we?? We women have heard them OVER AND OVER again!

    Why don’t you go fix the men, and leave the women out of it?

    Because at this point, American women need respect. We can really do without your kind of love, thank you very much. Love comes AFTER respect.

  • africaturtle

    Erin, after reading down through all of the following comments/argument i’m not sure if it’s really “worth” replying to these questions…but i would like to try nonetheless. Probably because I was once a lot like you in my line of thinking and could never have imagined life as it is currently. (actually i was more inclined to answer your first questions posted here, the insulting ignorance that appears in some of your posts further on down tempts me to be less obliging…)

    First off, you are mixing up a TON of different things. This site has MANY contributing authors and we do not all share the exact same point of view. Some people choose to comment on the Duggars (i personally do not). For those who surmise that Michelle (or the kids) are *not* as happy as they let on…it is NOT b/c they(the critics) are so bitter and jaded as to think that ALL QF husbands are abusive, it is simply that from personal experience they CAN testify to the fact that a family that LOOKS happy/comfortable/well-adjusted may in fact not be. Once you’ve understood the teachings of this movement from the inside you understand the pressure to always keep a “joyful countenance” and to “do all things without murmuring or complaining” so you understand that “appearances can be deceiving”. The other thing you understand once you leave that mindset is the notion of “bounded choice”. Yes lots of QF women love having lots of babies, but that is b/c it is drilled into you that that is the most pleasing choice to God, so really what other option are you left with?? (Kinda like someone growing up on the tundra and planning to become a surfer…technically it *could* happen, but really it’s not gonna, they might not even know such a thing exists really)

    Your questions do include victim blaming but i would still like to answer those (if it’s possible). I appreciated the defense MeganD offered and did not hear the same “blame” in her statements that you accused her of. I also did NOT appreciate that you felt you knew enough about me and my personal life to hold me up as an example of divorce statistics and to state that my husband is “immature at worst, but definitely not abusive”. You have no idea how upsetting that is. Talk about minimizing. Would you like to define abuse for us??? so we can all know if we were “really” abused or not? I suppose that as long as i don’t need stitches or a cast it doesn’t count?? This particular letter focuses on verbal abuse (there are many aspects to that , i focused even more specifically on rage).That does not mean that this letter describes every single aspect/incident of my life.

    Don’t worry i cant hate you too much though, because that kind of thinking is what kept me in confused silence for so long. As long as i didn’t have a black eye to “prove” how he treated me I wasn’t a battered woman and therefore not in an abusive relationship and therefore just needed to be more patient, submissive and prayerful, and surely God would mould his character bringing him to maturity….right? I think you definitely have a “hollywood” version of what spousal abuse looks like (i know i used to).

    Not all women on NLQ had abusive husbands, but for those who did we can testify to the fact that following QF/patriarchy only made things worse in the relationship. Those who had “healthy” relationships saw things swing into unhealthy ballances (that they are now trying to recover) and others saw the flaws from the beginning or as they went along and though they didn’t follow it in their own relationship are now being more vocal about what they view as a fundamentally flawed theology.

    So to answer specifically your two questions here:
    Whay did we choose to marry abusive men? Have you ever heard of “Bait and Switch?” same applies here, if you cant wrap your mind around it then you need to read a good book on abusive relationships (Patricia Evans is good) and WORK to understand because statisticly you HAVE women in your life who are suffering from it (1 in 10) and you would be better equiped to help them deal with it, if the occassion arrises.

    Why do you want to blame some book/philosophy/religion for their actions? I dont think any of us blame the QF movement entirely we are basicly saying “what we thought would make a bad (or mediocre) thing better, actually ended up making it worse”. there is also another thought often expressed on the forums (which i believe) and it goes along the lines of, “those patriarchal marriages that are GOOD are actually only patriarchal in WORD and in very much MUTUAL in practice.”

    One more thing. Statistics about divorce are garbage… and i have come to learn that there are WORSE things in life than divorce, of course unless you believe that divorce IS the worse possible thing that can happen to you…like i have always been taught.

  • Kate

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for this letter. I’m looking into new churches after moving, and one that I was invited to is having their women study this book over the summer. I wanted to read reviews, because even though their book choice may not be indicative of their church, I feel that it’s important to be involved in a vibrant small group community. Based on this letter, as well as other reviews online, I will not be visiting this church.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wisdom and your insight.

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  • Pearl

    Thanks so much for your post! I’m a counselor and grew up with a lot of quiverful families. Right now I’m working with a woman who married an emotionally abusive man at a quite young age. And first off, it’s incredibly wrong of commentators to blame women for being “so stupid” as to marry an emotionally abusive man. That’s like saying if your husband cheats on you it’s your fault. And second of all, I completely agree that a wife asserting herself (the very opposite of Debi Pearl’s advice) is instrumental in stopping the abuse and saving marriages. I’m so proud of you Africaturtle for finding the strength within to give your husband a chance to change, this time with the ground rules very different from Debi Pearl. And also, may I just encourage you that I’ve seen emotionally abusive men turn around once their wives put up boundaries in the relationship. Don’t give into the abuse; don’t give up on your man if you don’t have to. Praying for brighter days for you!

  • Serena

    I disagree with you that “Created to be His Helpmeet” is based on the Bible. I think you would be far better off reading “Guardian Angel” by Skip Moen which really is based on the Bible. I would not read the Pearl’s books on disciplining children, either. They promote abuse. The best book I’ve read on raising children is “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee” by Wendy Mogel (It is a Jewish book). Here is a link to an excellent short resource on what the Bible really says about husband and wife relationships:[ http://www.hebraiccommunity.org/portal/c/document_library/get_file?folderId=15582&name=DLFE-2.pdf ] I pray that you heal and you both find help and that the LORD makes something beautiful out of your lives together. Shalom!

  • mld

    I agree about the dumpster story being disturbing. My husband would probably “emotionally punch” someone he saw doing that – not only doing, but thinking it was ok!! My husband has issues just like all of us -fallen man- however, he has a God-given respect in so many ways that amazes me. For all you singles looking for a man – watch how he treats his mother, his sisters – you will learn whether he truly has respect for women – because, even if his sisters and mother were problematic – he will have unconditional respect for them. He may not like them, but repecting them are outside of that.

  • mld

    Hey Serena – yes! Skip’s book would definitely be an eye opener to the Pearl’s!! Another is “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere. Every singel marraige minded girl ought to read it.

  • Cathi

    Kudos to you to have the courage to leave. Some people just don’t change, and if you have children, staying in a situation like that can teach them that that controlling behavior is normal, thus perpetuating the cycle. It took me 17 years before I had had enough, but the hard work of setting myself free was worth it. I hope and pray you will find peace and prosperity in your freedom from abuse, and be happy again…there is hope in the Lord. He does not want to see us in bondage to any man…

  • Robin Albright

    Wow! I can’t believe the aggression of some of you women here. Jenifer I love what you shared here and couldn’t of said it any better! No one is blaming this woman who wrote this letter to Debi for her problems. So to jump on Jenifer for having some loving criticism sounds whiny and annoying. Forgiveness is the key to all of our healing and you all are ready to fight and beat up the Pearls! God has a book. It is called the bible. We are in an imperfect world and most could use it. Just because this woman Debi Pearl writes a “kickass” book on how to be a biblical wife doesn’t mean to sit back and get abused people. That’s a totally different topic. So lay off of her and stay positive. This girl was in an abusive relationship and she did the right thing by getting out. Plain and simple. Maybe Debi’s book just didn’t apply to her situation at all. ???

  • Robin Albright

    Wow! I can’t believe the aggression of some of you women here. Jenifer I love what you shared here and couldn’t of said it any better! No one is blaming this woman who wrote this letter to Debi for her problems. So to jump on Jenifer for having some loving criticism sounds whiny and annoying. Forgiveness is the key to all of our healing and you all are ready to fight and beat up the Pearls! God has a book. It is called the bible. We are in an imperfect world and most could use it. Just because this woman Debi Pearl writes a “kickass” book on how to be a biblical wife doesn’t mean to sit back and get abused people. That’s a totally different topic. So lay off of her and stay positive. This girl was in an abusive relationship and she did the right thing by getting out. Plain and simple. Maybe Debi’s book just didn’t apply to her situation at all. ???

  • http://successfulpro.com/ Kathrin Banke

    Wow! Fantastic step by step short training. I will use in which!

  • madame

    Africaturtle,
    I’m glad this post came up again because I missed it back when you wrote it in 2010, it appears…
    I think I it was 2008 or ’09 when I started reading the NGJ website and nearly bought CTBHHM. Thank goodness it was only available from Amazon.com with exhorbitant shipping prices (to Europe). Back then my husband and I were going through the crisis that threw me into a tailspin (I think I wrote about it back on the first NLQ forum). I read article after article on NGJ, seeking a solution for my marriage, and thinking I must have reached the point where God wanted me to submit and let go. But I felt like I was dying inside, and I felt so incredibly angry at God, for making me a woman, for giving me a man who didn’t care about how he was hurting me with his decisions, and for asking me to obey and follow this man, all along being joyfully available. I became really bitter.
    So one day I came across a blog with a very negative review of the book, and the review was written by a homeschooling Christian woman. I was so relieved! A conservative Christian woman was refuting the Pearl’s teachings. I could step away from them too! (Michael and Debi know how to make you feel like YOU are getting it wrong if you don’t agree with them)

    Anyway, I hope things for your husband and you are going well. Thanks for sharing your story and this letter. Did Debi ever answer?

  • Mega

    Wow, my neck hurts and my eyes got blurred reading all your posts, ladies (and gentlemen). after all these long long long posts, i found that no one mentioned to consult with Holy Spirit as your guidance before taking actions. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, then all shall be added to you”
    Debi is miles away from you. Holy Spirit lives within you and He sure knows much better than Debi Pearl. Ask Him! He is more than willing to help if we do not put Him in silence.

    Debi Pearl is a mere human who is totally imperfect but is willingly to invest time and effort to help other women. Fact is : she was able to help many through her books but she also just couldn’t cover all varieties of cases.

  • Mega

    Before i read CHTBHH, i went thru the storm in my relationship. Abussive words from my hubby rained down and tortured my heart and mind continuously. Small issues became big and yes i decided it was the end, had enough, he wasn’t getting better. I am still young and could just go and find another guy. Right on the dot of that thought, Holy Spirit just dawned a very clear but gentle reminder : ” Have I not loved you as who you are? Why can’t you love him as who he is?” Simple, clear, straight to the point and focus right at the cross Jesus was nailed. He was there, He understands my pain, He loves me and looks beyond my faults. He doesn’t approve my sins nor my husband’s sins, but He stands firm saying He loves us despite our failures. This is the same love He is teaching us thru Bible. Now you expect this to be easy in marriage?

    Love costs. It costs God His own begotten son. I since then, understood, this life isn’t about me, it is about Jesus. The sun doesn’t revolve around my feeling and my pain. Until you understand this, none of Bible verses or what Debi says make sense to you.

    Based on that whole fundamental understanding, my heart started to be open to Holy Spirit teaching. Remember tht i was only in my 20s and had no book to guide me how to treat my spouse. All i had was God Himself, which is apparently enough. I began the habit to pray first before i talked to my husband, to bless the day, to ask for wisdom what word to say and when to say. This is the wisdom many women miss. Now if you read CTBHH or bible or any other christian book, even that …. ask for guidance from Holy Spirit so you could earn wisdom from what you’ll read. Cuz our mind isn’t pure, we need help so we don’t misinterpret which could lead to misconduct, such as give in all the time instead of being loving but still firm with God’s principles. By doing this habit, i began to realise, it is me that needed to change first before i demanded him to change. True enough, the wonderful journey of character shaping began and my husband slowly changed into a better man.

    11 years already, i am reaping what i sow. I am in the height of happiness in my marriage continuously for years. No child yet, but we’re always happy and knowing we need to focus on God’s big picture in life which is Jesus, not you, not me. This all happens, not because of my own strength, but merely because of God’s mercy and grace giving me the wisdom i asked from Him. Is it not written :”Ask and it shall be given to you, knock and the door shall be opened to you” Amazingly when you understand this life revolves around Jesus, you are the first beneficiary of His abundant blessings, your spouse is next. But when you always revolve around you, nothing gets done and you have long face throughout the years.

    Having gone thru those years, a friend gave me CTBHH. I agree with Debi, and i could relate with what she means. I am certainly not a super woman claiming i have gone thru all, many of you have surely gone thru worse situations than mine, but it is Christ’s love for all of us that can mend things in life, including your marriage. Ask from Jesus, not only asking from Debi Pearl. Debi is limited and not omni-present. Jesus is all loving, powerful, gentle, prince of peace, friend and great counselor and is only a prayer away while Debi is miles away. So, you choose, it is your life at stake. Not Debi’s.

  • suzannecalulu

    Mega, you are assuming that everyone here is a Christian. Many are not, many never were and their hurt came out of a different religion. There are just as many here that were once upon a time Christian but the spiritual abuse they suffered drove them to reject their faith. Some here are Christians still and may have done some of the things you suggest. We try not to tell our readers what religion/faith is wrong or right, that is left up to the individual. The purpose of the site is to help others suffering from spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse happens way more than you might think.

  • lemai

    hey i think not one of you understand the bible or you are just some religeouse people you don’t like correction. do you know that the pearls books are saving lots of marriage and help the abusive kids? i incourage you to reread it again cos i really feel sorry for you. do you know you guys reminds me of the lady the bible warn us about her. she is jezebel the rebell and the controller unsubmissive woman

  • lemai

    not one of your command was icourage all of you ladies are liars jealousy..but with all my love for you i wanna let you know that you are decieved by the devil if you understand the bible you will never against debby pearl for her books, she laern all those advice from the bible..thanks

  • Anon

    By your spelling, reasoning, and support of the Pearls, please tell me you are not a home schooling mother. I will sleep somewhat better if you do.


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