by Aletha cross posted from her blog Yllom Mormon
If you are anything like me, you read the title of this chapter and stopped, did a double take, and then you jaw dropped. Did you re-read the title, just to make sure you got it right? Because I sure did. But it’s true. This chapter is about the three kinds of women. Yes, Michael allows that women have personalities. But, of course, the point of learning about women’s personalities is to figure out which type your wife is, so that you can more readily “lead” her to be the proper help meet she wants to be.
Text is in purple.
Knowing Her Strengths and Weaknesses
In my wife’s book for single women, “Preparing to Be a Help Meet”, she draws a picture of the three kinds of girls and how they relate to their husbands. She calls them Go-to girls (Command), Servants (Steady), and Dreamers (Visionaries).
First off, WOMEN-not girls! Second, this is a book for single women, but paints the three types of women and how they relate to their husbands. If I were writing a book for single women, I would make sure it’s about being independent, finding out one’s likes/dislikes, practical skills, self-esteem building, and affirmations that it’s OK to be single. Just from the few sentences Michael’s said about Debi’s new book, it sounds like “Preparing” is a “How to snag a man” manual. But I guess in a culture that says wife/mother is the ONLY acceptable life choice for a woman, there’s not much else to write about.
Also, what does it say about the fundagelical notion of equality if certain types of women are branded as “Servants”?
As we said earlier, men are very fixed in their natures from birth, but the girls seem to develop their types as they grow and mature. In many cases, their type is not as readily identifiable until later in life. If a girl marries young, or before she has extensive independent experience, she can readily mold into the counterpart her husband needs. God created the female to be the helper, so following marriage, most girls will quickly adapt to their husbands needs regardless of their types.
So much bananas in one paragraph-where to start! OK, I don’t have extensive experience with small children, but I’ve taught Sunday School for 5 year olds for 6 months. And the argument that girls don’t have a fixed type is false. There was one girl who thought she was the boss. “Get me water! I want a cookie! Don’t play with that! Put those blocks there!” I saw her again at a church event about 10 years later. She sat at the table like a queen while others got her water, cake, and looked at her for approval before they left.
If I had known about these “types” back then, she would have easily qualified as Command. Even at 5, she was easily identifiable in personality. I don’t know how many children Michael has dealt with, but even newborn kittens and puppies have readily noticeable personalities. There are some puppies that lick you like crazy, some that hide in the corner of the whelping box, and some that sit and watch the action. If puppies and cats have distinct traits from birth, why would Michael assume people are different? And by people, I mean females. Ugh.
I love how, once again, there’s the “Marry ’em young!” call to action. Because who wants a girl that is…INDEPENDENT? Oh, and if God created the female to be the helper, why are there so many women that are most content being the breadwinner, or at least working outside of the home? If Michael allows that women can be Command (I mean Go-to), then why doesn’t he allow them to want to Command anything but children? Besides, shouldn’t both parties in a partnership try to adapt to the needs of the other one? Isn’t that what partnership is about? Mutual give and take?
Couples seem to be best matched in complementary pairs-opposites on the color wheel, red and green, purple and yellow, blue and orange. A man strong in one trait is best served by a woman strong in an area where he is weakest. A Command Man and a Go-to Girl can end up competing with one another. I am a Command Man so I appreciate the strengths of a Servant and a Dreamer.
I can see where this is true. My husband and I are very opposite. He’s gentle and nurturing and I’m brash and exacting. However, I’ve also known couples that are so identical it’s scary, and they get along great. It’s equally possible for Mr. Command and Mrs. Go-to to use their mutual drives to support and challenge the other-they don’t have to fight over dominance. But I suppose that’s too much of a healthy, egalitarian view.
I would be ticked off if my husband thought of me as a servant, regardless of my personality.
As a rule, I don’t much like Go-to/Command women and would need to make quite a bit of adjustment if I were married to one. There was never any danger of that, because in my youth I would never have given an aggressive woman any attention. I had a first and only date with several Go-to gals. But I am sure they eventually made some Steady Men a very congenial mate. The Steady Men, unless they are insecure, are usually drawn to Go-to Girls.
Yes, I can imagine a strong, opinionated woman would have a hard time in a relationship with Michael. I would actually pay to see an encounter like that. Feel free to imagine scenarios and write them in the comments! Like parallel-universe fiction. I’m imagining Michael asking out a young lady. He takes her to dinner, and tries to order for her. A look crosses her face and she snaps “I am quite capable of picking out what I want, thank you!” as she orders for herself. During the meal, instead of only asking him questions about himself, she talks about her business, her hobbies, and her dreams of running a corporation. After dinner, she offers to pay, and insists they at least go Dutch. Can you see the look on Michael’s face? He is beet red and so confused/upset.
PS. Just because a woman has a strong personality doesn’t make her aggressive. Confidence and opinions do not mean that one throws herself at a man. Criminey. Has Michael actually talked to a woman?
Understanding your nature and that of your spouse will enable you to know her weaknesses and strengths so you can help her develop her potential rather than taking offense at her particularities. As a woman matures and meshes her life into her husbands, the lines blur as to her type. If she is a Servant than she takes strength from her husband and becomes stronger and more confident. If she is a Dreamer, she learns to temper her ideas to fit his needs, thus becoming more of a Servant. If she is a Go-to Gal she learns to enjoy serving while still possessing her aggressive approach to life. It is up to the man to lead his wife to become all he needs her to be.
Did anyone else notice that regardless of the type of woman she started as, Michael insists she will end up a servant? Sure, she may have an aggressive approach to life, or temper her ideas to fit her husbands needs, but serving is still her #1 cause.
I’ve not hid that I am predominantly Command…I mean Go-to. After marriage, I am still very much the one who wears the pants.
Today, as a matter of fact, the foster kids were horsing around on the couch and saying things like “If you had to squish one of us, who would it be?” I answered that I wasn’t sure, so they told me to make my husband answer. I said I wasn’t his boss, and both kids started laughing. “Yes you are!” They said. Now, Michael would criticize my husband as a weak Steady, and me a Dominant shrew, but it works for us. And while I refuse to say that I am a servant to my husband, I will say that I am able to consider his needs, as he does mine. It is not up to the man to lead his wife to make her what he wants. It is up to the couple to find a dynamic that works for them that is healthy and, if not happy, at least content and functional.
This next list came from our readers. It is the combined wisdom of several letters.
*A Dreamer likes to make things happen.
*She is creative
*She is not as concerned about details, but is given to an active imagination
*She is driven and focused
*She is not always patient with those who are not as efficient, but is a great person to have around when something needs to be done
*She cares deeply about people and issues but would rather do something about it than sit around thinking
*She has strong intuitions and impressions, many of which turn out to be correct
Um…isn’t this like classic Command? I’m dealing with the flu currently, and don’t have the energy to re-link the Command sections, but I’m fairly certain these traits describe Command Men, not Visionaries. Maybe traits are different for women?
*A servant woman is extroverted, friendly, warm, and cheerful
*She is hospitable and loves to visit and get to know new people
*She is very conscious of needs and opportunities to help others
*She is often emotional, very compassionate, and has strong beliefs, opinions, and convictions
*She needs a strong man to keep her feeling balanced
*A Servant woman is always trying to serve and give
*She is not very good at pacing herself, sometimes overexerting and overextending, and is prone to discouragement, exhaustion, and burnout.
*She’s very sympathetic and understanding, quick to take blame, and very burdened with the problems and needs of others
I see why Michael is drawn to this type of woman. But still, so much different from Mr. Steady. Michael made Mr. Steady seem like a wishy-washy coward who can’t get things done.
*Perhaps the most misunderstood of the three categories, a Go-to woman takes life seriously
*She has great attention to detail and is very conscious of what is appropriate and what isn’t
*She does not like excitement, sudden change, too much activity, and unpredictability
*She thrives on consistency, loves peace, and is a woman of principle
*She has a great deal of inner strength and can be very loyal, committed, confident and creative
*She can be emotional but does not express her feelings easily
*She is a dignified woman that has strong opinions and high standards but is easily discouraged by failure
*She responds well to encouragement, but becomes insecure when criticized
Perhaps the reason Mrs. Go-to is misunderstood is because Michael keeps telling women like her that they should be Servants, and that eventually, their nature will change so they are more satisfied with serving their husbands.
One Reader Wrote:
“A key to understanding these three types of women is to discover what motivates them.”
*A Dreamer wants to make everything work and look good
*A Servant woman wants to make everyone happy
*A Go-to dignified woman expects everyone, especially herself, to live up to high ideals
It’s funny. Michael talks about men being more than one type, but doesn’t seem to think women can have more than one motivation. And by funny, I mean upsetting and sad.
The dominant strength of each has the potential to be her greatest weakness. As their individual goals are different, so are their needs.
*A Dreamer/Visionary woman needs a focus or a project. She needs to feel that she has something important to do.
*A Servant/Priest woman needs to feel appreciated and that the people she is ministering to are being helped.
*A Go-to/Command dignified woman needs to be put at ease so that her creative potential can thrive.
Why does he keep saying “dignified” with Go-to? When I think of dignified, I think of the Queen of England. Stately, remote, exacting, and old-school. Not exactly what comes to mind when I think of a female Command Person.
I also think it’s interesting that nowhere in this section (and this is the whole section) on the types of women is advice to ask the woman what she wants. No entreaties to find out what one’s specific wife needs. No remarks on women’s desires, personal quirks, wants, wishes, hopes. Nothing but “Here are three types of women. Find which one you think best describes your wife, and I will tell you what you need to do to mold her into what you want.”
It’s also telling that Michael took 75 pages describing men to themselves, but only 3 talking about women. I keep hoping that he just pretends not to care about women; like the shock factor is how he gets customers. But the more I read, the more it really seems that he really and truly believes women aren’t people-just blank canvases to paint whatever her man wants. How sad for the women trapped in this culture, and told they should be happy with their lot!
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