Quoting Quiverfull: What Does Mentally Justifying Your Own Abuse Look Like?

Quoting Quiverfull: What Does Mentally Justifying Your Own Abuse Look Like? September 5, 2014

marriagefrom Peaceful Wife’s Blog the story of one woman dealing with her husband’s addiction to pornography by putting up with the emotional abuse: God Equips and Empowers – Joy Filled Wife

Shame on you Peaceful Wife (April Cassidy) for condoning this type of scary behavior. 

That night, when I asked God why my husband’s addiction hadn’t been revealed to me before marriage, He showed me something that I think is seldom understood in marriage. You see, we have often heard the saying, “Marriage is not meant to make you happy, but to make you holy.” What that looks like in action is to sometimes forsake your own desires or “rights” in order to help your spouse turn back to the Lord.

I am not advocating putting up with physical violence or the like, but I think we make the mistake of thinking that, if our “rights” are infringed upon, we have an automatic “out” in marriageThe problem with this is not only that it isn’t Biblical, but that it doesn’t achieve the outcome of refining each other and helping our spouse become more like Christ. What the Lord revealed to me that night is that the reason my husband’s addiction wasn’t shown to me before I married him was because I wouldn’t have married him if I had known about it. God had chosen me to be my husband’s wife because He cultivated within me specific character traits of Christ that were to serve as an example to my husband and help Him come to a place of deliverance.

God fully intended, from the beginning, to use the longsuffering He developed in me over the years to win my husband without a word as he gradually overcame his addiction. I only wish I had realized that when I began this brutal, but worthwhile, journey over a year ago. When God choses our spouse for us, he puts two people together who are best designed to help refine each other and become more like Christ. I think we often get so caught up in the fact that our spouse is not meeting all our desires that we lose sight of the fact that our spouse’s shortcomings, and even sins, are often what God plans to use to help us overcome our own sins and struggles.

This isn’t even the worst of her justifying her own abuse:

I decided to keep snacks in my bathroom drawer and my purse so I could take a few bites while I went out to get the mail or was in the other room. Was he unreasonable to become upset about me eating a slice of bread 4 hours after my last meal? Yes. But my counselor helped me see that I needed to avoid being a distraction as God worked on my husband’s heart. My husband apologized to me later that night for being controlling about the bread.

…and this…

Because my husband’s addiction caused him to become a man he wasn’t proud of, he would often take his inner frustrations with himself and project them verbally onto me. He would blame me for things I had no part in, would become angry that I didn’t meet an expectation he had failed to communicate to me, and, on one occasion, belittled me in front of our guests for not having dinner completely ready when he walked through the door with them, even though he had failed to call me and let me know they were heading over, as agreed upon.

…still more…

My counselor showed me that taking care of the children was my God-given responsibility and that I could show my husband respect and build him up as a husband by taking on all of the responsibilities in this area and thanking him for how hard he works to provide for us.

Those words rang over and over again in my head. God had bigger things to work on in my husband’s heart than unhelpfulness. I did not need to dwell on the smaller things and make them as big a priority as the serious stuff. The small stuff would be ironed out over time after the Lord refined my husband and helped him break the chains of his addiction.

If your husband is so controlling that he will not allow you to eat a slice of bread four hours after a meal or your counselor is telling you to not bug your husband with any parenting responsibilities combined with him constantly verbally abusing you – you should run, not walk, as far away from him as possible. Any husband that disrespectful and controlling is just one short fuse from taking it physical.

If he’s already taken the abuse from emotional and verbal to physical please seek help immediately! No where in the Bible does it state that it’s alright to allow your husband to abuse you. The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1.800.799.7233

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders and ask our readers: What do you think? Agree? Disagree? This is the place to state your opinion. Please, let’s keep it respectful – but at the same time, we encourage readers to examine the ideas of Quiverfull and Spiritual Abuse honestly and thoughtfully.

Comments open below

NLQ Recommended Reading …

Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce

13:24 – A Story of Faith and Obsession by M Dolon Hickmon

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  • Christian Janeway

    Ooooh, the whole “happy/holy” crap. Yep, happened at my church too! Recently! CalvinistJaneway.wordpress.com, & it’s the most recent posts.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Whenever I read about someone who says that the abuse has only been verbal/emotional/financial/spiritual, I have a hard time believing that the physical component has not manifested in any way by then. I know that there are situations where physical abuse is not happening….and my first response is fearing that the physical is ‘just around the corner’, ‘could happen in the next fight’, or ‘one minute too slow to respond to an order’ away.

  • Yes, I found out from personal experience that “He doesn’t hit me” means “He hasn’t hit me yet.” Fortunately I was able to get myself out of that relationship after the first punch, but looking back on all that preceded it, I don’t think I should have waited that long.

  • Nea

    It breaks my heart to see a woman convincing herself that her God not only wants for her to be abused, but deliberately planned her future.

  • Trollface McGee

    That counsellor needs to lose their license(if they have one). This woman was clearly having issues and being abused, instead of helping her, the counsellor blamed her, told her to pray, all the meanwhile she was being harmed.
    No one deserves blind obedience and abusers don’t deserve respect.

  • B.A.

    Agree 100%. The woman is lucky to be alive. My sister’s closest friend,who she’d known since middle school,was murdered by her husband.

  • KarenH


    author: God, why didn’t you reveal my husband’s porn addiction before I married him?

    God: Because fuck you.

  • SAO

    God wants me to be miserable!

  • Levedi

    Classic codependence dressed up in religious language. The irony is that she’s not helping refine her husband, she’s enabling his spiritual disease. A person who looked at him and said “I love you. I will not be treated like this” would do him more good because she’d be holding him accountable. One thing I’ve seen in truly healthy marriages is that the couple involved can call each other on their BS. She can’t even say “I’m hungry. I’m eating something.”

    And my dear – you are being physically abused. Controlling and limiting someone’s access to needed food is a form of physical abuse. The fact that he apologized later means nothing; most abusers go through a cycle of harm and apology that keeps their victim off balance, perpetually hoping that it won’t ever happen again or that their abuser is making progress.

  • Honestly, I’m surprised that “God” didn’t answer her query to “Why didn’t you tell me my husband likes the porn?” with “Well, he didn’t before he married you; if you weren’t such a cold fish, he wouldn’t need to go looking! Aren’t you grateful it’s porn and not prostitutes?”
    Because, really, isn’t that how the thinking goes in this culture? After all, men will be men-and men need sex. So if a man’s a lookin’, it’s because his wife isn’t a doin’.

  • I highly doubt that the “counselor” is actually anyone with psychology or psychiatry training. From the advice she’s being given I would say that this “counselor” is from their church and exists *only* to enable the continuation of the abuse out of a need to protect the belief system, not the people involved.

    It sickens me that she’s being fed this garbage and doesn’t even KNOW that it’s garbage.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    MrsGrizzley, I’m sure she’s going to an unqualified nouthetics counselor. Kathryn Joyce wrote a long piece about the rise of these horrible “Biblical” counselors and the damage they do – http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/evangelical-prayer-bible-religion-born-again-christianity-rise-biblical-counseling-89464/

  • Trollface McGee

    Sadly, that’s what I thought. I just read an article about Christian counselling and how so many of them lack any sort of basic certification and training.
    I think the “counsellor” might be liable civilly, but it doesn’t sound like the woman even realises that she’s been harmed.
    It’s sick.

  • Nightshade

    ‘…the reason my husband’s addiction wasn’t shown to me before I married
    him was because I wouldn’t have married him if I had known about it.’ So a person, woman or man, does not have the right to know what s/he is getting into? A patient has to give informed consent before even the most minor medical procedure, shouldn’t that be the case for one of the most major life-altering decisions you’ll ever make? I realize that no one ever knows all details of exactly what they’re doing when getting married, but at least the big stuff like, gee, I dunno, addiction history?

  • That_Susan

    I guess I don’t see the automatic connection between porn and abuse. Yes, it’s abusive to micromanage what your spouse is eating — but I don’t get the connection with the porn.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Women have no right to “informed consent” in CPMland– God has a detailed plan for her life*, and she either follows it, or she’s tortured eternally in the afterlife. Submission or hell– that’s the only “Free Will” she gets to exercise.

    *This “plan” for her life can only be found by blindly obeying the teachings of CPM leaders and marrying whoever she’s told to by the designated “patriarchal authorities” in her life. The fact that this “plan” is based on cherry-picked Bible verses that are interpreted in light of CPM leaders’ gender and racial prejudices isn’t something she should contemplate if she wants to avoid hellfire. Still less should she observe that the middle-aged white men doing this biblical divination have concluded that God desires a social structure which just so happens to place them on the top of the pyramid, let alone wonder if maybe this isn’t pure coincidence.

  • Nea

    I think it’s part of the whole hating/fearing sex thing. This is a world where Debi Pearl describes 30 seconds of what I think was Law and Order as softcore. Where men “can’t unsee” the slightest flash of flesh.

    Where, to be blunt, people become hypersexualized to the point that avoiding it, avoiding the temptation of it, judging that women should “bear consequences” for it and nonmarried nonstraight people can’t have it at all, while avoiding/mastering/praying about their own urges for it sound like they become a full-time proposition.

    Heh, proposition.

    Basically, you make only one kind of sex accessible (penis in vagina, likely missionary position) in one circumstance (holy wedlock), define everything else as either wanton/temptation/porn/sin, and suddenly there’s porn EVERYWHERE because the vast majority of people aren’t actually getting the release they want.

    It’s abusive because it’s “bad” – and bad in a kind of way that she doesn’t have to deny is bad, as she would if he spent all the family money or wanted to move them out into the middle of nowhere and make her serve catfood and cabbage.

  • Astrin Ymris

    I wonder if there are any women in CPM land who are secretly okay with their husband’s getting their rocks off elsewhere, because they’re tired of the endless flow of pregnancies/childbirths/babies, and his missionary-position-penis-in-vagina sexual repertoire never thrilled them anyway?

  • Nightshade

    The ultimate manipulation tool, ‘Do as I say or you’ll go to hell.’ Prettied up with ‘it’s what God wants’ or ‘Don’t you want to do God’s will?’ but underneath it’s the greatest power one human being can have over another, the ability to completely dominate that person’s entire life, and as if that’s not enough their afterlife too.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I believe there are some out there that are secretly happy when the husband cheats just for that reason. Years ago I taught at a conference on the subject of sex and marriage and more women than I would have thought hadn’t heard the news that sex was supposed to be pleasurable for both partners. I was teaching that if you weren’t enjoying your sex life with your husband then you weren’t getting everything that God intended for you and that we had to have BETTER SEX than the world! What a stupid fool I was… wanting to out-orgasm the wicked!

  • Because sex is a competition, dontchakno

  • Astrin Ymris

    Toxic memes will do that to ya… (((Suzanne)))

    Now that I think about it, freedom from the pressure to fake orgasms would also be a relief to beleaguered wives.

    I wonder if that’s why Debi-Nancy-Szuszanna-April and all their clones blog about anonymous wives who are miserable about their husband’s “porn addiction”? They have to let the masses know that if their husband isn’t having frequent sex with them, they SHOULD feel miserable and rejected. And if they don’t, they should feel guilty about THAT!

    After all, the CPM doesn’t want their breeders to slack off on raising future Dominionist voters and/or outbreeding the brown races. “We MUST have every uterus producing at maximum capacity– or else!”

  • Astrin Ymris

    Hell is why I left Christianity. I was raised in a fairly-liberal mainline denomination, but I just couldn’t reconcile the idea of a loving God with eternal damnation.

    Though now that I think about it, the supressed “issues” might have had more to do with it than I gave credit to at the time. I’m still struggling to came to terms with what I know happened.

  • SAO

    I’d say most porn shows women serving/existing for the man’s pleasure.
    A man who is addicted to it is probably:
    1) unsatisfied with normal women as they don’t match the fantasy he sees in porn.
    2) spending lots of time and money on porn instead of figuring out what he wants out of his life/marriage and how to get them.

    In short, he probably has unrealistic expectations of his wife and the belief he should get what he “deserves” and has not only the power but the duty to make it happen. That makes abuse a very short step.

    I’d view the thing about the bread being that he wants a more shapely wife. Does he have a realistic view of her body? Is she actually overweight? Or merely not built like Barbie? Is her figure not that great because she is always pregnant or recovering from pregnancies? Or is she overweight because she comfort eats because eating is the only pleasure she has in her miserable life? Or is he withholding food to get her to be the wife he thinks he wants?

  • Nea

    So, basically the same sort of people with the same kind of training as stand in front of abortion clinics yelling at the women going in have hung out their shingles to “counsel” women before they show up at the clinic?

  • Nea

    I just want to say that I followed the link and enjoyed reading your blog, C.J.

  • Nea

    This is a world with no consent and no information that hasn’t been filtered through the religion. Does it really surprise you that “informed consent” is then treated as random unrelated syllables?

  • Nea

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people think they get a pass on being crappy to others in this life in the hopes of getting rewarded for it in the afterlife.

    One of multiple reasons that shattered my belief system.

  • Nea

    Don’t blame yourself. Haggard outright preached that very philosophy, and look where *he* was going for the best sex!

  • Jenny Islander

    Or is his view of her body shape never not one second a reason for either of them to attempt to reconfigure her physically?

  • According to a Bible scholar I once read, Jews understand “taking the Lord’s name in vain” not as saying something like OMG as an exclamation. They understand it as using the name of God to promote something that is not exactly of God. Like a TV preacher who preach that you will be blessed by God if you send money to him (God’s name is taken in vain for his wealth), or a white man spinning the Bible to place white men in charge.
    (And what they do IS spinning. If a non-biased person interpreted all submission verses as strictly as CP take those on wifely submission, they would have been extremely diligent about listening to not only government orders but government preferences and government ways of doing things – for example sending their children to government schools – because of “submit to the government” texts, and they will be very diligent about submitting to wives because all believers should submit to one another.)

  • That_Susan

    Yes, that makes perfect sense – but I actually think this wife is (indirectly) being just as micromanaging towards her husband as he is towards her. Rather than directly addressing his behavior TOWARDS HER that’s unacceptable, she’s taking it upon herself to psychoanalyze him and decide what the root cause is, and now she’s tolerating direct abuse as she prays for him to be delivered from porn, which will supposedly turn him into a kind and loving guy.

    I think it’s much more respectful towards a man, or towards any human being for that matter, to simply say, “The way you’re treating me is unacceptable. I won’t live with someone who jumps all over me every time I eat a snack, or who berates me in front of others for not doing something perfectly” – and then leave it up to him to do the personal work of figuring out what he
    needs to change within himself to be able to treat me better.

    If, for example, I was addicted to romance novels, reading them all day at night, and therefore neglecting my children and being a negative bitch to my husband because my life just wasn’t matching my romantic ideal, I’d respond a lot better to him saying, “Your behavior is unacceptable. The kids and I are human beings and deserve your love, attention, and acceptance. The kids and I won’t stay with you if you keep abusing us,” than I would to him trying to micromanage my reading habits, whether by openly forbidding certain books, or by just praying for God to deliver me from my addiction.

  • Catherine

    That’s horrifying.

  • Astrin Ymris

    BTW, am I the only one to think that CPM portrays God as the Ultimate Abusive Partner– a micromanaging control freak with unreasonable expectations who inflicts arbitrary punishments at the drop of a hat, without rhyme or reason?

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    I can’t dictate for anyone else when they should get out and would never judge them on being involved in an abusive relationship – but thankfully you got out, and I managed to find my way out too. It’s all too easy to say “Oh I would never put up with that” until one is actually in such a situation. Looking from the outside at a relationship and then saying “Why doesn’t she just leave” isn’t taking into account all the details of the situation that an outside observer cannot see. Being kept in utter terror of what an abuser will do to family/friends if they leave, threatened with death after which ones body will never be found thus denying family the closure in laying them to rest – with the estimated 6-7 attempts to get out of an abusive relationship that it takes for someone to actually get out for good, I think that more emphasis should be put on encouraging family and friends to keep being supportive no matter how long it takes or how many times their loved one has tried to leave and gone back. Part of the problem is how the going back and forth combined with the abuser’s other tactics cause their victim’s support network of people to back away and even disappear! I waited until my parents had moved out of the state and I’d be the only ‘target’ before finally getting away with the involvement of local law enforcement.

  • teaisbetterthanthis

    I was actually advised to see “training” as a nouthetics counselor — after I looked into it and saw that it was more “give bible verses” and less “provide mental health assistance”, I said I’d pray about it. (Meaning: Nope.)

    The person who gave me that advice STILL acted like I’d told her that I was really a sneaky atheist-in-Christian-clothing.

  • SAO

    I’d say there’s a huge difference between praying for someone to stop doing something and forbidding it. Praying doesn’t even require her to let her husband know she dislikes his behavior.

  • Astrin Ymris

    What both outrages me and wrings my heart is that CPS will take a newborn into state custody on the grounds that the woman is “in an abusive relationship” and tell her she won’t get the baby back unless she leaves him. Then the baby is placed with parents on the foster/adopt waiting list and fast-tracked for termination of parental rights.

    I call it the New BabyScoop. After all, how likely is it that a poor woman without support or financial resources is going to be able to leave an abuser? I hadn’t heard the 6-7 attempts statistic before, but it makes sense. Such women are thus a reliable source of “product” for the adoption agencies which “collaborate” with privatized CPS programs.

    This is sickening. If CPS knows that a mother is in an abusive relationship, then they should provide HER the legal, financial, and psychological help needed to escape this creep WITH her baby! Maybe if this was routinely done, it wouldn’t take the average woman 6-7 attempts to get out of an abusive relationship.

  • Astrin Ymris

    For a young woman raised in the CPM cult, this is as unlikely a response as a novice swimmer jumping in and making it across the English Channel on the first try. She’s been brainwashed since birth that she has no rights EXCEPT those the man whose authority she’s under gives her– and those can be rescinded in a heartbeat.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    The only DV incidents that make the news here are the kind that involve a celebrity, murder, murder-suicide, or some combination thereof. California is the ultimate in “stay out of it/MYOB” as well as NiMB (not in my backyard) nonsense. We have a screwed up foster/child services department that places children in homes that have had previous complaints and negative reports on file, there have been a couple of times in recent years where employees of said department have been charged with falsifying paperwork and more, and home checks don’t happen because there simply aren’t enough people qualified to do them nor is there enough money to hire more. The Hollywood types who don’t feel like waiting and want good publicity just go abroad and buy themselves a kid. Or they manage to adopt one in another state – at least they keep the kids, rather than handing them off to another family.

  • Christian Janeway

    Thank you, Nea! You have a strong, bold voice yourself. 🙂

  • Astrin Ymris

    Re: “…We have a screwed up foster/child services department that places children in homes that have had previous complaints and negative reports on file, there have been a couple of times in recent years where employees of said department have been charged with falsifying paperwork and more…”

    Maybe that’s why studies have discovered that kids are 1/3 more likely to be abused in a privatized CPS system than a state-run one. Businesses exist to make money, so they try to increase sales (put more kids in foster homes, for which they can charge the Eebil Gubbamint a nice fee for) or reduce costs (skimp on hiring social workers and running background checks on prospective foster parents).

    The only surprising thing is that anyone is surprised by this. Privatization of social welfare programs (and prisons) is an epic fail.

  • That_Susan

    Yes, that’s very true. Reading her story made me see the stark contrast between the CPM approach to dealing with relationship problems and the (in my opinion) much healthier, more respectful, and less intrusive secular approach of simply communicating about what’s unacceptable about the way that person is treating ME, and allowing them the space to a) decide whether they care enough about the relationship to change and b) figure out why they’re treating me that way and what would need to change in order for them to treat me better.

    Of course, while being more intrusive, the CPM approach is also a handy copout for people who want to avoid facing up to their own abusive behaviors by saying that the “root problem” is that they were being oppressed by Satan, in the guise of some form of addiction, and were therefore not actually responsible for the abuse. I felt so sad, some years back, when one of my friends decided to lift the restraining order on her abusive husband, quit requiring him to get counseling as a condition of their reconciliation, and just spend a weekend in a deliverance ministry with him instead.

  • gimpi1

    I followed your link and read your posts. I was sadly, not surprised at the “shutdown” that your parishioners put on the conversation. The whole idea that “divorce can never be the answer” and “we can’t discuss the husband’s bad behavior, because it’s disrespectful” meme means no real conversation can take place.

    Sometimes, divorce is the only solution to a truly toxic marriage. You can’t honestly discuss a situation if talking about someone’s bad behavior is not permitted. If a woman’s actions can be discussed if not dissected, why is it off-limits to talk about how a man behaves? If a spouse is behaving in ways that are truly dangerous to family-members physical or mental health, leaving the marriage is an act of defense, of both self and children.

    It’s sad that one person can shut down actual communication like this. On a happier note, I’m glad to see Captain Janeway is still inspiring people. Voyage on!