This is the new book by Always Learning blogger Lori Alexander in which she rewrites Debi Pearl’s book ‘Created To Be A Help Meet’ without those horrible stories Debi likes to use – such as ‘Hillbilly Ugly’. She also awkwardly cobbles on blog posts randomly.
It purports to be a book on how to have a happy and fulfilling marriage if you are just submissive enough. The problem with the book is that it lacks that some very essential ingredients most necessary in marriage – grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.
I’ve read it now twice and the book is filled with some tragic sad stories of misery in marriage without any of those four needed things listed above. I feel so bad for the author and her husband because they’ve missed out on the wonderful parts of marriage with their admitted years of bickering, squabbling, simmering resentment and open warfare. Please do not emulate their example.
The book starts with this dedication, which starts off the melancholy nature of this book:
To those women who dreamed of having a close and intimate marriage only to find out that their marriage was more like a nightmare.
Nightmare. Wow. Strong words and revealing. It only gets worse from there. In the ‘A Note to the Reader’ Lori writes about a conversation between her and her husband Ken shortly before their youngest child flew the parental nest for adult life.
‘I’ve come to the conclusion that our marriage is just a partnership. I thought marriage was supposed to be about intimacy, closeness, and affection—not the distance, arguing or upsets that have kept us from feeling closeness.’
It is about more than a partnership. If you find yourself like Lori and Ken here then something has gone terribly wrong, something that being falsely cheerful and submissive cannot fix. If you find yourself in this state after thirty years of marriage you should put down this book and find a competent marriage counselor and see if you can figure out where you’ve gone wrong.
Not a very encouraging start to the book at all.
This is all followed by Lori talking about how deeply hurt she was by her husband’s difficult words. I’m sure they were as hard for him to speak as it was for her to hear those words. So many wasted years for both of them.
She follows this with talking about fighting with her husband on their honeymoon because he dared to eat those horrible toxic Ritz crackers (toxic in her eyes) and he kept eating and doing things she didn’t approve of. Watch sports, eat ice cream, be grumpy, you-name-it and Lori took offense and picked a fight with him in an attempt to control him.
It’s at this point that she awkwardly segues into saying that reading Debi Pearl’s toxic marriage book ‘Created To Be A Help Meet’ completely turned around her marriage as she learned to simply be very submissive and cheerful toward Ken.
Here’s where I have a problem with that. I too have been married over thirty years, am still married and pretty happy. But I learned early on that if my husband ate something I thought was bad for him, or did something that I disapproved of or just generally got on my nerves I actually TALKED to him about it. Not nagging, not arguing but simply logically discussing things like adults if they were genuinely important issues that bear discussion. Communication is key in good marriages.
The stupid small stuff? Such as eating ice cream when he would have benefited from a salad? I might have said something non-accusatory once about the issue and then shut up about it, figuring he was an adult that could do what he liked, making him responsible for his personal choices, granting him grace to do it his way without being offended that he’s doing things differently than I would. No smoldering resentments building to explosive arguments, no negative thoughts or words towards him or about him to others.
Most things are small stuff not worthy of fighting over. It’s not like you yourself are perfect either, you need his grace and space as much as he needs yours.
The give and take, the discussions, the grace you grant each other to make mistakes without holding it against each other and all the little things you do out of love for one another is the thing that forges those deep bonds and intimacy. You do these things out of love, not because you are forced to do them.
The thing about this uber submission that people like Lori, Michelle Duggar, Debi Pearl and others practice isn’t really submission at all. It’s also all about controlling your husband by expecting God to change him into someone else. It isn’t respectful. It does not accept him as he is and love him no matter his imperfections. It shifts the control issues to God, meaning you come to believe if you are just perfect in your submission or righteousness then God will change your man to Mr. Perfect. It’s not supported by scripture and it’s not Biblical. It does not seem to make any of the women who follow this warping of Christianity very happy either. They struggle to convince the rest of us how ‘happy’ they are, but we can easily see the strain in their expressions of faux happiness.
Chapter 1 involves Lori’s growing up years. She talks a great deal about her rebellion. Tune in next Friday for that review.
Sunday night at 7 pm I will be doing a Facebook Live video talking about this book and reading selected small passages. Also I’ll be holding the funeral for the last book I reviewed for NLQ Vaughn Ohlman’s ‘What are you Doing?’ Join us on NLQ’s Facebook page.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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