Amidst all the craziness with the alcohol, there was yet another worrying development which had crept up.
As I mentioned before, my marriage had developed two fronts;one being my husband’s self destructive propensities and the second which came later, that being his embrace of religious Patriarchy. The booze crisis came in with a flash, but that didn’t mean that trouble wasn’t brewing on the ol’ Patriarchy front.
Despite his new alcohol problem, my husband remained devoutly involved with the church. It was bitterly ironic and a testament to his hypocrisy, but it didn’t stop my husband. In fact, I noticed the return of an old attitude, the one where he was lord over the house. It was hidden behind a kinder veneer, but at it still had the same core. I noticed it at first during a couple of arguments when I would threaten to leave him if the alcohol problem got worse. It was then that he would say that I couldn’t. Disturbed, I tell him that it was my choice. He would reply that I didn’t have Biblical grounds to leave him. At that point we would argue whether I cold hypothetically leave him. I would not let up until he would admit that I “could” leave him. However, it would never be with God’s blessing and during one argument, my husband tried to argue that the only way that I could leave him was to deny that I believed in God and thus be the unbelieving partner who left the believer.
The ramifications of this were extremely worrisome. Despite the fact that I backed him down every time, I knew that deep down, my husband now believed that I didn’t have the right to leave him. If the issue was forced on him, I knew that he would back down, but it was only because of the consequences if he tried to physically restrain me fro leaving. However, if he could have his way, I could never leave him unless I had “Biblical grounds” to do so. Seeing how he used the Word when it served him, I knew that no matter what he did, I would never have the a “Biblical” justification to leave him.
The very fact that he felt this way told me that my husband had come a long way since he first started attending the second church. I realized that he was right back into the Patriarchal mindset. For now, he was restraining himself. He was not trying to rule over me-yet. For now, he was trying to woo me back into church. As time went on, I noticed more and more invitations from various members of the church, one lady even sent me a card praising my “servant’s heart” and saying how much she hoped I would attend. In time I would become ensnared and I would have to start changing myself. It would be for a higher purpose of course, every freedom I gave up would be to “follow God’s Law”.
I noticed this even when cooler heads prevailed. Although my husband insisted that he was not going to force the church issue, he said that God would ultimately hold him accountable not only for his conduct, but for mine as well. When I replied that God would hold me accountable, my husband said that God would hold him accountable since he was head of the family. Another sign that my husband was back into the mindset.
Now, I really had a problem. Not only were we going back down the road to Patriarchal living (at a slower and stealthy pace), but my husband had a much worse personal problem than he had the first time. There was no way I could even begin to travel that road.
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