In Part 1b we listened in as Gothard tried valiantly to describe the differing outlooks on life that, according to his understanding, men and women exemplify. It needs mentioning again here that Bill is relying on no practical experience. He has never been married. It makes sense that, being he has propped himself up to be a guru in every area of life, and the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of worshipers at his feet, he would make vast, overarching, easily wrapped up in a square box and neatly tied with a silk bow, conclusions for very complex issues in life. One of those issues is human nature. It cannot be pidgeonholed, no matter how many verses you abuse.
Let’s lean in to hear Bill Gothard describe the perfect cheerleading bear rug – the good wife.
[Be enthusiastic about your husband’s achievements. Sharing his excitement is more important than sharing his work. Your husband needs and wants your faithful, loyal, and enthusiastic support.]
Poor, poor men. We have no self-esteem. If we do something good and a woman is not there to jump up and down, clapping her hands in utter joy, we are spent, and cannot continue on in this life. Even if the woman is exhausted from making meals, doing dishes, washing laundry, cleaning the house, schooling the fourteen children, and otherwise doing everything a stay-at-home perfect wife and mother should be doing, as quoted in a hen-pecked Proverbs 31, if I walk through the door, excited about the penny I found on the street and the subsequent rock candy I was able to buy with it, my wife would be expected to throw her arms around me and give me a thousand kisses, exclaiming her enthusiastic excitement for my success.
All humor and facetiousness aside, the sinister side to Gothard’s quote here just jumps off the page. What does he mean, “more important than sharing his work”? What is “his work”. Does Gothard expect all women to help a man in his career, never having one of her own. The obvious answer to that question is “DUH!”
[Believe in your husband—no matter what.]
Really? Even when he blows the mortgage on gambling? Even when he liquors up before he comes home every night? Even when he follows “godly discipline” as put forth by gurus that train you to severely beat and abuse you children? Even when he treats you like a bear rug? Even when he has an affair with someone just a little hotter than you, with a smaller stomach and non-poofy hair? Even when he goes out with his friends and blows a few Benjamins and then becomes enraged when you bring up the fact that the privilege is not reciprocated? Even when the children begin to fail at homeschooling due to his choice of a curriculum? Even when he is physically, spiritually, mentally, or verbally abusive to you?
Kristine (my hot trophy wife) and I lived this mindset for about half of our miserable marriage. At one point, I lost my job at a dealership where I had been selling cars, just waiting for the next big opportunity to come along. And come along it did, with a glowing job description in the paper – selling Filter Queen vacuum cleaners. Needless to say, I was exuberant after the sales training and she was more than skeptical. Two months, $4000 in debt, and thousands of company lies later, I admitted that she was right. But I was angry at her for even suggesting the possibility that I had made a bad move. She was supposed to support me even to the family’s ruin. Yep. What an immature way to live life.
[Loyalty can be demonstrated only in adversity. A husband needs to know that his wife is committed to him no matter what and that she will look first to him for counsel and direction. Use difficult times to reflect the depth of your commitment to your husband, and do not ask others for counsel without his permission.]
Abuse? Yeah, that’ll fly. “Honey, you’re hitting me. Can I talk to the police?”
[A wife is never supposed to “take over.” In response to pressures within the family or within a marital relationship, a foolish wife will take matters into her own hands. When you intrude into one area of responsibility, even with the “good” motive of meeting urgent needs, your husband will most likely surrender other responsibilities as well. Initially, it may appear that you succeed in fulfilling responsibilities that should be carried out by your husband. However, in the long run, the decision to usurp or ignore your husband’s responsibility to meet those needs will do much more harm than good. (See Proverbs 14:1.)]
You read that correctly. When a man is a loser, or even just simply making a bad decision, the wife who rights the ship is a fool. Why? Because all men are hanging on the edge, holding every bit of responsibility with the tips of their fingers. When they lose one area of responsibility, they are helpless to keep hold of the rest. How fragile are these Gothard lives anyway?
But, the most laughable part of the above quote is the verse Gothard references. What Proverbs 14:1 actually says is:
“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly, with her own hands, tears it down.”
Ok. I’ll give you some time to breath after that laugh. Bill is actually saying the exact opposite of what this verse says. It says that a wise woman builds her house (that seems to me to be pretty much anything and everything to do with living) but the foolish woman, in her own power and individual capacity, has the ability to tear that same house down. Let me throw out an alternative interpretation for Bill Gothard’s benefit here. If a woman does NOT use her wisdom and tell her husband that he is about to make a big mistake, or whatever the scenario, she singlehandedly tears her own house down, not the other way around as Gothard oddly sees it. This is just another example of Bill taking little unrelated snippets of Scripture and using it for his own benefit. We caught him in the cookie jar again.
Women, you are free to live a life of independence WITHIN your marriage. It isn’t really that hard. My wife and I screw it up every day and we’re still happy and vibrant. She tells me when I’m a fool and I desperately try to dish it back but have trouble finding fault. I have three private detectives on the case and expect a breakthrough any day now.
In Part 1d, we will finish up the first “Basic Need of a Marriage” for men. We get to talk about the real reason for sex, in Bill Gothard’s eyes, who also, allegedly, has no experience in that..er…exercise.
Discuss this post on the NLQ forum. Comments are also open below.
I am a 30 something husband of one and father of 6 dynamic and loud children. My wife and I are still madly in love – at least in my view. My world is exciting, tense, and full of life. I love to write and hope to one day, do it full time. – Incongruous Circumspection
Snipped! by Incongruous Circumspection
Debunking the Fourteen Basic Needs of a Marriage:
More by Incongruous Circumspection:
NLQ Recommended Reading …
‘Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment‘ by Janet Heimlich
‘Quivering Daughters‘ by Hillary McFarland
‘Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement‘ by Kathryn Joyce