Quoting Quiverfull: Part 1 – Marriage is the Best Context For Human Development?

Quoting Quiverfull: Part 1 – Marriage is the Best Context For Human Development? January 29, 2015

by Mquotingquiverfullichael Pearl of No Greater Joy – Marriage is God’s Finishing School

Editor’s note: While I think it’s a given that marriage does force you to mature and develop in ways you might not have as a single person it’s unlikely that Michael Pearl and most everyone else have ideas even in the same wheelhouse about marriage. Your thoughts?

I hear you asking, “To what end do I make all the sacrifices? Does it honor God for me to be walked on and emotionally abused all my life? It’s not fair!”

There is a little regarded fact that you must face: All marriages begin with two imperfect people. The world is filled with imperfect people. Only in books, movies and your girlhood imaginations do perfect men exist. Marriage is God’s finishing school, the opportunity to face our shortcomings and grow into the people God desires us to become. Marriage is the best context for this human development because it is an arrangement that forces our imperfections to the surface where we can see the damage they do. It is the “reveal all” of the human experience. It is a relationship that does not allow us to avoid the consequences of our selfishness and insensitivity. Not like casual relationships, in close, daily union with another selfish human being, we are forced to see and feel the damage we inflict.

Men and women are created differently but complementary. Each has something (and is something) the other needs to make them complete. Each is designed to yield to the nature of the other in order to become whole.

Only in a properly matured marriage do we reach our full potential and the most glorious human experience. But in all cases, the beautiful experience is a work in progress. It is an achievement to be obtained though much sacrifice and surrender of our personal rights. Two people can only blend into one new union by yielding. If either of them waits on the other to yield first, all growth stops. Only in a situation where one of them sees his or her duty before God and continues to fulfill his or her roles does that person continue to grow as a human being. It is rare indeed to see a man being all (or most) of what he should be when his wife is stiff arming the relationship. Likewise, it is equally rare to see a woman fulfilling her duty before God and her husband when he is not reciprocating.

QUOTING QUIVERFULL is a regular feature of NLQ – we present the actual words of noted Quiverfull leaders, influential bloggers and cultural enforcers 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.

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  • gimpi1

    Roles, roles, roles. It’s all about playing roles. Playing your role as a duty. Fulfilling your role. Surrendering your rights to better play your role. And, I don’t know, baking parker-house rolls?

    What about actually being the person you really are? Not some pre-determined, suffocating role, but the real, authentic person that your spouse, family and friends can know and love. You, not some made up character in a Pearl-esque drama.

    It seems to me any ideology that tells you that protecting your personal rights, being honest and living authentically is evil, and that deceptively living out a pre-determined role as duty to a deity that apparently wants you to sacrifice your individuality and happiness is good is a bad ideology.

    BAD IDEOLOGY! BAD!! BAD MR. PEARL!! (reaches for rolled-up newspaper)

  • Joy

    Pearl, your version of marriage (judging by how you treated your wife on your honeymoon) is known as something else to other people: ABUSE. And ABUSE is not the best context for human development. Singles can develop just as well as those who are married.

    I’d wager pretty much anything that Debi would be a much healthier person if she would have never married you. And who knows? If you got the help and therapy that you so clearly need, you might be a healthier person too!!!

  • Nea

    All marriages begin with two imperfect people

    Except him. Michael is practically perfect in every way, with every callous, selfish impulse being chalked up to his being a Command Man who just can’t be doing all that empathy or justice (or anything else that would prevent a *real* commander from not being shot in the back by his own men accidentally-on-purpose.)

    Oh, he kinda sorta used to be mean to Debi. But he’s an itty bit sorry even though she’s such a drama queen that she’s still upset that he made her carry a sack that wasn’t all *that* heavy and she’s learned to shut up now that he made it clear that she’s totes emotional and can only be listened to on his terms and his timing after he makes a totally huge deal about clearing the decks to be arsed to listen to his own “queen.” Who was blemished, as he’s willing to tell everyone.

    And his kids are all better than yours, period.

    But other than that, he’s imperfect. In a commandly, perfect, macho way.

  • Saraquill

    You’re not one to speak about what makes a good marriage, Pearl.

  • Nea

    You’re asking for context and nuance. And, as Mr. Pearl so wrenchingly wrote about how he almost lost his faith in college, context and nuance are haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd and hurt his fee-fees.

    No, seriously, he wrote an article about how his unaccredited college was too demanding because he had to consider translation and Biblical context for everything when he just wanted all of life to be black and white so he knew the rules, and it almost made him stop believing in God. But then, he discovered that someone had done the intellectual heavy lifting by deciding that the King James Version was totally the only one that God approved and not any of that corrupted Greek and Hebrew shit.

    It’s almost as if, having had the crap pounded out of him every time he had an independent thought as a child, he’s now pants-wettingly terrified of breaking some arbitrary rule by some arbitrary punitive authority and desperately clings to black and white binary thinking lest he call down more pain upon himself.

  • *salute*. He wouldn’t know a good marriage or even a healthy one if it bit his ass OFF. *grumblegrouse* Any human relationship can make one’s faults known. It doesn’t require a lifetime servitude from which there is no escape. *peeved*

  • *salute* Upvoted for the Rolled Up Newspaper. He sure as hell needs something to wake him the hell up.

  • Nea

    Except he’s hinted that he kind of digs the endorphin rush of being hit himself.

  • *chibi-deformed eyetwitch* He what?

    That explains EVERYTHNG!!!! All these years, he’s been trying to get Debi to HIT HIM BACK!!!
    Dear Arceus, some people…

  • Finding Home

    Well, those final two sentences are interesting! A man cannot be all he’s intended to be if the woman is not fulfilling her role. But on the other hand, if the woman fulfills her role properly the man will magically become what he’s supposed to be. In other words, the burden is on the woman in both instances.

    But on the other OTHER hand, men are powerful and in control and the little lady is weak and helpless.

  • SAO

    I’ve always assumed they are playing to their peers. We’re holier, Godlier, and just plain better than you because we’ve dreamed up some even sillier and more constricting rules for the women of our family to follow.

  • Jenny Islander

    “We have seen the same thing in an egg. We call it ‘going bad’ in Narnia.”

  • Nea

    Yeah, he felt all cherished and forgiven when his grandma hit him. But Debi doesn’t count. She’s property, not an authority.

  • Nea

    Remember how often both Pearls say it’s a woman’s responsibility to bolter her man in all ways so that eventually he’ll stop being a jerk? Michael outright says that he broke Debi to saddle in about two years but then took a decade to get around to thinking of her feelings.

    This is what Debi considers winning and being treated as a queen. First being ground down, then eventually getting some dim recognition as a human being.

  • Melody

    I just saw the movie Pleasantville and it reminded me so much of fundie values, including not being allowed your own discernment. It is a wonderful portrayal of how all sorts of oppressive systems, ideas, and ideologies keep people down, all the same, and seemingly pleasant. However, not happy, angry, as no real emotion is allowed.

  • Amarad

    Spare and save me from complementary thought.

    Relationships and social interactions of any kind are a good context for development as a person. I won’t say any one kind is best. But relationships (including marriage) are just opportunities for improvement and growth. Growth doesn’t magically happen *because* you’re married.

    The only thing that can force you to improve and grow as a human being is *you*. You have to recognize bad behavior in yourself. You have to make a decision to change, and then take steps to do so.

    You can’t put the onus on a friend or partner to “force your imperfections to the surface” or the “consequences of our selfishness and insensitivity”. Nor should anyone be forced to live through the backwash of your personal growth…

    “I hear you asking, “To what end do I make all the sacrifices? Does it honor God for me to be walked on and emotionally abused all my life? It’s not fair!””

    ….particularly if you are being abusive! No-one will ever change through inaction and you are not obligated to be a martyr for anyone.

    Add in the implication that human beings aren’t selfish, insensitive or hurtful to people who aren’t spouses is beyond absurd. It demonstrates how little thought or opinion Pearl holds for literally *any* one around him. I judge people by how they treat their friends and those around them.

    I’m not touching the idea that both parties have to give up their agency in “surrender of our personal rights”. We know that they really only mean the woman, according to the Pearls other writings and the horrible implications of such.

  • Melody

    It is interesting how charismatic and charming people are not necessarily good people, but almost always leaders. They know how to control and use (groups of) people which is also very scary when it isn’t used for good.

    I haven’t seen the movie yet, but it sounds interesting to see how these methods work. Pleasantville was more about how people don’t question things, they simply accept it because it has always been this way. It also questioned groupthink: people became aware if they were being a follower and began to wonder if they wanted to make their own decisions.