CTBHHM: Playing Telephone with God

CTBHHM: Playing Telephone with God October 2, 2014

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 282

Today we will cover a letter. Debi doesn’t respond to it directly, using it as a stepping stone to more discussion of being a soul mate, but it’s worth looking at for itself.

Dear Debi,

I found your website! What a blessing. I have learned so much from the submissive-wife-type comments. I am learning about being a submissive wife, and it is amazing to see my husband absolutely bloom before my eyes.

Relationships and personalities are so varied. I’m sure there are relationships where the wife has been overbearing and domineering and the husband has been sort of pushed out of the day to day running of things to the extent that he just sort of retreats (and vice versa, and everything in between). In a situation like this, the wife taking a step back and giving the husband more room to breath and move and do will likely result in the husband “blooming.” In other words, there are situations where taking a step back and turning over some of the responsibility is absolutely what is needed for the health of a relationship.

The problem is that Debi isn’t urging wives to evaluate whether they’re smothering their husbands or giving them room to grow. Rather, she’s telling all wives to give over all responsibility and all decision-making and focus on being their husbands’ de facto servants. She’s offering cookie cutter solutions to real problems, and proscribing the same solution for those for whom things all already hunky dory as well. There is no nuance here, no room for variety or understanding that what works for one couple may not work for another.

We have been married for 15 years, but this is the first year I have kept my tongue quiet.

Again, there are plenty of times women—and men—cut down those around them with their tongues. But Debi isn’t asking wives to evaluate how they treat their husbands but rather to step back and entirely and only give their husbands deference and praise, ever.

But it seems this letter-writer—Jill—isn’t actually talking about having a sharp tongue. No, she’s being literal here.

 

Any request that I have, I tell God about it and he provides through my husband. It is sooo coooool!

Yes, you read that right. Jill has taken to communicating with her husband through a supernatural game of telephone. This is such a bad idea on so many levels. Even assuming the existence of a God, why not just communicate directly with your husband? Why task God with communicating with your husband instead?

Things have changed so very quickly. If you only knew what life was like before. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say, I now have beauty for ashes. And it is absolutely God’s doing. I know that I had nothing to do with it, and I am glad for that.

This narrative is very evangelical. You know, “things were awful as long as I trusted myself to fix my problems, but when I gave it up to God he solved them all himself, and better than I would have thought”—that kind of thing. But in this case it’s especially insidious, because Debi is using letters like this to hold out this wonderful amazing dream life to her readers—a dream life they can have if they will only be properly submissive to their husbands.

God is jealous for my husband, and he will not allow me to change him. Sometimes I can almost hear God tell me, “See, daughter, you finally gave him to me, and now I am fixing him better than you would have even thought! He is my son, and I take pleasure in working with him. Keep having faith that I will work in your husband’s life, because I am not done with him yet; and I am not finished with you, either. Lift up your head, and praise me with joy as I complete this work. This is your job, daughter; praise him with joy always for the work that I am doing in him.”

I have to say, I very much prefer it when evangelicals put a person “in God’s hands” rather than trying to change them. I’ve often felt that my mother would be happier and less stressed out if she would put her adult children “in God’s hands,” and stop worrying about us. That said, if women like Jill place a husband (or a child) “in God’s hands” and there is no change, what then? In other words, the trouble is with expectations. If someone puts a person “in God’s hands” fully expecting them to be “fixed” within the year, well, that may result in some serious disappointment.

When things go hard, I praise God and give the circumstance to him. I’ve learned that our prayers will not be answered if we harbor bitterness. Deb, my house is changing from week to week. I can see the work going on before my eyes, and I stand amazed. THe more I forgive in my heart, the more wonderful changes there are. Please let people know that forgiveness really is a key, and yes, continual forgiveness, so that our prayers will be answered. I Peter 3:7 “Likewise ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”

This actually touches on what is meant by “spiritual abuse.” When religious leaders tell their followers that their prayers will not be heard unless they forgive constantly, it is incredibly easier for those same religious leaders to take serious advantage of their followers. After all, if you don’t forgive, God won’t listen to your prayers! So stop talking about that thing the pastor did—you’re just being bitter! Bitterness separates us from God!

You get the idea.

When I stopped dictating the answers to God, then some of the questions got answers, better than I had even hoped. If you only knew where I was a few years ago. God is so good. Be blessed.

Jill

Frankly, this book sometimes reads like a diet book. Follow this advice and you’ll have a perfect husband and to-die-for marriage! Look, Jill did it! She followed this advice and all her problems were solved in thirty days! This can be you! Try it now with our money-back guarantee!

But then, I’m still stuck on Jill engaging God in a game of telephone.

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