Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 204—207
Alright, story time! I’ve been waiting for this section for ages because . . . well.
If you’re new here, you’ve stumbled upon my page by page review of Debi Pearl’s how to be a good wife manual Created To Be His Help Meet. Debi Pearl and her husband Michael run No Greater Joy Ministries, a fundamentalist ministry popular among conservative Christian homeschoolers. Michael is also the author of To Train Up A Child, a child rearing manual which I have also been reviewing page by page.
For me, Bad Bob has long served as the passage that best incapsulates how off base and frankly toxic Created To Be His Help Meet is. When introducing new friends to the extremism of the antifeminist views I grew up with, I have often pulled out Created To Be His Help Meet and read them Bad Bob. There is just something extra special about this story—and not in a good way.
But enough of that! Let’s get started!
In the following story, the characters, Bob and Lydia, are composites drawn from counseling sessions of two different couples. We have heard the same basic story many times over while ministering to countless married people.
Bob had an upset stomach and was not hungry, so his family dropped him off at the motel where they would be staying, and then they went to get something to eat. His dad never let them watch the motel TV, but Bob knew they would be gone for at least an hour, and he was bored. The first scene that he saw held him riveted. The music was sensual. Bob stared, trapped in his own shocked silence. There before him in slow motion was a woman walking up steps. All he could see was the woman’s behind encased in a short leather skirt that was slit up the backside. The camera slowly shifted down her long slender thighs until he could see the backless high heels. Then it traveled slowly up her long legs focusing on the open slit as she climbed. He watched as she reached the top of the stairs and stepped into a room; still the camera stayed on her legs. Bob’s heart pounded in anticipation. The soft music began to swell as the camera climbed. A sound on the outside of the motel door jerked Bob back to the present. He hit the off button with such force as to crack the remote and then flung it across the room as if it were a poisonous spider. False alarm, no one was there, but after only two minutes of a mere introduction to soft porn, Bob would never be the same. That day was the first day that Bob masturbated. He was 13 years old.
Two years later, Bob was sitting in church when Lydia, the youth director’s wife, stood up directly in front of him to take her youngest child to the bathroom. His mouth got terribly dry as he stared at her round behind encased in a tight leather skirt with a slit up the back. It is true that Lydia’s skirt was several inches longer than the one that was no part of his daydreams, but when Lydia bent over to pick up the child, several of the young men sitting behind her slowly covered their laps with their songbooks. Bob almost hated Lydia after that day. She was responsible for his torment and temptation. The force of those few seconds of soft porn 2 years earlier, along with the stretched material pulled dangerously high as Lydia leaned over, caused him to empty his semen into his pants, right there in church, resulting in a large wet spot. He found a use for his Bible that day after church. It covered his shame as he rushed out to the van to take the back seat. A week later Bob dropped out of the youth group. His sudden departure puzzled and saddened the earnest youth director. He went to Bob to ask him if there was anything Bob wanted to talk about. Bitter bile filled Bob’s mouth at the memory of the youth director’s wife slowly walking up the church steps with her tight skirt and high-heeled shoes, just like the woman on the TV. Lydia, with her sanctimonious smile, did not deceive him; how could she be so dumb as to not know exactly what she was doing to him? No, he had nothing to talk about, he told Lydia’s stupid husband.
Lydia never knew she had shamed her husband, hurt his ministry, and caused a young man to smolder with bitter hatred and almost falter on the edge of quitting the faith. She would not have believed me (or perhaps she would have been secretly pleased at what she thought was her beauty) if I had pulled her aside and explained how the young men at church were reacting to her and why several treated her with such distain. She would have explained to me that her style was just “her style,” and they needed to get a grip. I know this because I have talked to many Lydias.
Bob had not looked at porn since that first night, but his mind was in a constant struggle, and his battle with masturbation was never-ending. Opened or low-cut shirts were a misery to him. Bare midriffs were bad too, but a girl who had long slender thighs coming to the meetings in mid-length shorts or skirts made him miserable beyond belief.
When Bob was 22 years old, he met a sweet, little peach of a girl with soft, warm eyes and a good, clean heart. They married, and Bob was relieved that his miseries were finally over. For the first three years she was sexually exciting, and he was able to fully enjoy what before had shamed and frustrated him in his youth. He known knew blessed relief from his old enemy, lust, which was finally brought under control in his pure marriage relationship.
Life never seems to roll out easy, and after Bob’s wife had her second child, she stopped being so responsive to Bob in the bedroom. Her excuses were exhaustion, sickness, didn’t want to get pregnant, didn’t feel like it, it hurt because “something seems wrong inside me now,” etc. She knew she had to give him sex once a week, but she came to him half-heartedly, which caused him to never really get total satisfaction. The women at work always dressed sexy and had tried to provoke Bob, but he saw them as a bunch of diseased animals, so although they provoked him, he resented it.
Church was different. Church ladies seemed clean and wholesome. At 25 years old, Bob was in his prime, and he needed his woman. God had designed his body with a sensitive trigger that needed release at least 2 or 3 times a week. He had developed certain habits in order to avoid unexpected temptations. His wife had no idea why he had such strange habits, like picking the spot where they would sit in the church, but she just sat where he led her. Lydia was not a problem anymore. Thankfully, the few years that had passed had played havoc on her beautiful behind and thighs. Bob smiled and said “hi” when he saw her walk by. She still tried to pull on that stupid “what did I do” look, like she really didn’t know why he had always disliked her. It was true, he still did not like her and found a certain sense of gratification at the demise of her beauty. Seeing her made Bob remember when her husband, the youth director, was teaching a small group meeting of young married men, explaining to them that all women go through times of total disinterest in sex, including his own wife, and how important it was to be vigilant against lust during those times. He had felt sorry for him at the time, but now Bob’s own little honey had turned off her water spigot of sweet loving.
“Vigilant, I must be vigilant.” Bob was scanning the church building looking for a safe place to sit when he felt his wife pulling on his arm. “I want to sit over behind the Chandler family.” Bob’s alarm went off. Three tall, long-legged, beautiful teenage girls, who liked tighter, shorter skirts, were members of the Chandler family. He groaned with irritation. His wife caught the groan and took offense. He wished he could explain all this complicated mess to his wife, but she would only get jealous and spend the rest of his life watching where and who he was looking at. He looked down at her, whom he loved with all his heart and wished she were a little more sober-minded and not so quick to get hurt feelings. He wished she loved him the way he needed to be loved, he wished she would be his help meet when he needed her most. He wished she had enough wisdom to be discreet and discerning and would look out for him at times like this. He wished she would just obey him, not because she understood, but because she cared for him enough to obey. He wished she knew how much he needed her and how in a way, she held the power of heaven and hell for him in her hands. He allowed her to lead him into the row of temptation. If anyone could see his mind while he sat behind the Chandler girls, they would have had him arrested. He knew he was Bad Bob, full of lust, anger, frustration, and defeat. Somehow he always thought bitterly of Lydia when he was feeling defeated: “What a fat cow, no, not a cow, she’s a pig.”
I wish I could tell you that Debi set up this story to tear it down. It reads as though it is in someone’s head, an illustration of a disordered mind to be followed with information about therapy or understanding the condition that results in this sort of mental disturbance. But alas, it is not to be.
Bob, Frank, Tom, and Your Pastor
Bad Bob is the story of a thousand Bobs and Franks and Toms. If you think that Bob is some kind of freak or deviant, you don’t know men. Listening to these struggling men pour out their stories and their bitterness is a counselor’s job. It is our duty to “help” them overcome. Over the years, my husband and I have wished we could tell all the young women who, by their immodest dress and unladylike behavior, cause the lust of countless men to explode into participation in visual adultery. Bad Bob is intended to inform you and warn you of your complicity. Bad Bob is the regular guy at your church. He is your preacher and your daughter’s Sunday School teacher. He sits behind you in church, or, just maybe, he is the one who avoids sitting behind you and your daughters.
Okay, so let’s talk about this. I mean, part of me feels like we don’t really need to talk about this. It sort of stands on its own and makes itself ridiculous. Still, we must talk about it, because there are people out there who really do buy into this.
At the root of Bob’s problems is actually his belief that any sexual thought or feeling that is not carefully contained to marriage is both a serious sin and a slippery slope to utter depravity. This belief has him so freaked out that he cannot develop a healthy and balanced sexuality. Instead, he spends so very much time focused on not thinking about sex that that’s all he thinks about. He also sees masturbation as a problem and something he must fight against, which means he has no way to get any sort of natural release before marriage or even within marriage during those times his wife isn’t in the mood. He ends up so holed up and repressed inside that he lashes out by resenting essentially, well, every woman in his life, and blames his own problems on them. That’s bad.
I’m trying to think what else to say, but everything is circling back ground to Bob’s repressed sexuality. He is obsessed with the way women around him dress not because he was exposed to two minutes of soft core porn but rather because he is so focused on avoiding sexual thoughts that he can’t look at a woman without immediately having the forbidden thoughts and then blaming her for them. To compensate for his lack of ability to control what women wear, Bob dehumanizes them, referring to them as “diseased animals,” “fat cows,” and “pigs.”
Bob also resents his wife for not understanding that it is her duty to have sex with him whether she wants it or not, because he has a “need.” He shows no concern for locating the reasons she has become uninterested in sex—if she is tired because she is worn out from watching the kids she could probably use some help with that, if she doesn’t want to get pregnant she should probably get in birth control, and if she’s complaining about the sex act causing her pain she really should go to the doctor about that. But Bob doesn’t care. Indeed, Bob doesn’t appear to care about Lydia’s sexual satisfaction at all except in as much as it relates to him—because when her effort is “half-hearted,” he doesn’t get “total satisfaction.” Bob is a selfish jerk to the very wife he tells himself he cares so much about, and he doesn’t even see it.
Bob needs counseling, big time, and preferably before he snaps and rapes one of those Chandler girls while taking her home after babysitting. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.