Patriarchal blogger Lori Alexander is very concerned. Very, very concerned, I tell you. She is concerned, she says, because women want to control their husbands. And that’s bad.
Do women naturally have a desire to control their husband? According to Genesis 3:16, they do and it happened right after the Fall. When I teach women to not deprive their husbands sexually, they come up with all types of excuses why they shouldn’t have to do this. The majority of these excuses are simply another way to control their husbands.
I’m used to seeing patriarchal authors frame women’s disinterest in sex when they’re tired as “making excuses,” language Lori does use here. But Lori then says that these excuses “are simply another way to control their husbands.” Control. What does it mean in this context? If I don’t want to have sex because I’m tired, I don’t want to have sex because I’m tired. I’m not using that to “control” my husband. Unless…
Does Lori view a woman stating her feelings or opinions on something as a de facto attempt to control her husband? For example, if a man says “hey, let’s go to that pizza place tonight” and the woman says “I’m really not in the mood for pizza right now,” is that an attempt to control her husband?
Imagine being in a relationship where you can never find out what your partner wants or what opinions your partner has about plans you’re trying to make because your partner has been taught that starting their desires or opinions is wrong because it might impact what you decide and would thus be them “controlling” you.
Everything about this sounds awful.
I mean really, think about what Lori is trying to do here. She’s trying to disarm women’s ability to ever say “no” to sex. Because saying no—even if they’re tired, or in pain, or god knows what—would be attempting to “control” their husbands, which of course is something a godly woman should never do. This creates a situation where a husband can never actually know whether his wife actually wants to have sex—because she’s been taught not to say, under penalty of hellfire. This is disgusting.
Lori goes on as follows:
When I teach women to submit to their husbands, they will come up with all types of exceptions that will allow women to decide that they really don’t need to submit to their husbands in everything as unto Christ.
I want to take a moment to focus on the word control.
All but a few women … prefer God’s will for men so they can decide when they want to have sex, rule their households, be female preachers and support them, and have careers, if they want.
Lori says most women want access to things God has set aside for men and only men: the ability to choose when to have sex, to make decisions for their households, to have careers, etc. Women, in other words, do not get to choose when they want to have sex. That is not their role. This isn’t suggested or implied. This is explicit.
For Lori, women controlling their husbands is not wrong because it’s wrong for one partner to dictate to the other. Women controlling their husbands is wrong because the other party is supposed to be doing the dictating. For Lori, if one party isn’t being controlled by the other, that party must be controlling the other. Lori does not seem to be able to contemplate the idea that a relationship could be navigated on a foundation of equality.
We see this over and over and over again in Lori’s writings. In fact, nearly ever story she tells about women who aren’t following her model involves the woman dictating to her husband and making all of the decisions.
[God] wants you to submit to your husband. This is the most difficult for most women. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do but when you married your husband, he became head over you and God commands that you submit to him. A willing, submissive wife leads to harmony in the home.
I don’t understand how a relationship like this can possibly be attractive. I have a friend whose partner rarely states his opinions or desires when she wants to make plans, and it drives her nuts. She doesn’t want him to say “whatever you want” when she asks for his input. She wants to know what he wants, because in a normal, healthy relationship, that matters. Having a partner who always says “whatever you want” gets really old really fast.
A few weeks ago, Samantha Field wrote on Twitter that:
In my personal experience, I have never heard of a single man who was 100% committed to the courtship model who didn’t turn out to be an abuser.
I found this really interesting—and it makes sense. After all, constantly hearing “whatever you want” wouldn’t get old to an abuser. It makes sense that those boys interested in having partners, and not indentured sycophants, would leave, while the boys who choose to stay and marry within this system would be those attracted to that level of power and control—or, in other words, those most likely to turn out to be abusers.
In the homeschool community I grew up in, most of the boys left and married girls outside of the community. Those who stayed were mainly girls, waiting for someone to come marry them. (In fact, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen Michael Pearl and other leaders in the Christian patriarchy movement lamenting this very trend—that so many of the boys leave and marry outside of the community while the girls stay and wait, unmarried.)
I’ll give you one last line from Lori:
Surrender all of your hopes and dreams to Jesus, women.
“Surrender all your hopes and dreams” is an apt summation of Lori’s entire worldview—at least for women.
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