The Power of a Transformed Wife: Part 2 Chapter 1 More of Where is the Love?

The Power of a Transformed Wife: Part 2 Chapter 1 More of Where is the Love? November 18, 2016

Transformedby Suzanne Titkemeyer

When we last left Lori she was explaining about how horrible and contentious her early married years were.  She really missed out because for myself and many other people I know that married for love those first few honeymoon years were wonderful. Not much fighting going on either. None of what she’s talked about so far bodes well for the long term survival of most marriages, except for those ones where people refuse to ever consider divorce, deciding that this is the hand that God dealt them so they must play the cards no matter how crumbled or fake they are.

The rest of this chapter starts off with Lori telling of their wedding and how life wasn’t any better afterward. In fact, she describes their first few years this way:

We experienced a rough couple of years.

Apparently after they said ‘I do’ the arguments increased and it wasn’t for any legitimate reasons either.

I didn’t think he was giving me the praise and attention I deserved. He also continued the poor eating habits he had before we were married.

That’s it, the two main points of contention in their honeymoon years. No praise and eating junk food. Which makes me think that neither of these people ever bothered to communicate their needs, desires or requirements before they married, when it would have been important in determining if they should have ever married in the first place. Talk, people, it’s not that hard! Open communication needs to be there from day one, with no sulking and pouting if the other party fails to read your mind.

Then the book goes on to talk about the birth of their children and how cheated, insecure and frustrated Lori felt when she had to go back work full time when her baby was four months old teaching in a Los Angeles inner city school.

I felt like I wasn’t a good wife, mother, or teacher.

I’m guessing as she kept her job, didn’t kill her child from neglect or abuse and kept them all from being featured on ‘Cops’ or ‘Hoarders’ that Lori was probably perfectly fine in all of those areas. It’s sad and a useless expenditure of emotional energy that she felt like such a failure in every area. This is where a loving and emotionally supporting spouse can be such a help. Clearly Ken did not fit that role adequately at the time.

Are you ready for some poor-shaming? You know Lori cannot go more than a page without throwing some blame on someone.

I also welcomed the chance to get out of a tough situation teaching at an inner-city school, where many children didn’t have fathers in the home and few parents came to parent-teacher conferences.

Meee-ouch! Can you just feel the Christian love oozing from every word?

When their second child was born Ken magnanimously allowed Lori to be a stay at home mother. Her reaction is just what you’d expect from someone that stated they didn’t feel they needed to get a career type education because they just wanted to be a wife and mother.

Yay! (sic) I never wanted a career. It was always my heart’s desire to just be a great wife and mom and have a happy home.

At least it spared all those poor children from having to put up with her disdain of their living situations!

The rest of the chapter is a very convoluted and rather boring recitation of various illnesses and ailments she claims to have suffered from in those years and how unhappy she was. Marriage counseling was tried, very unsuccessfully and everyone counseling them ordered Ken to love her more.

See, here’s the thing about that. You cannot make someone else happy. You can change how you treat them, treat them with more love, respect, appreciation, or whatever else positive. But you cannot control their response to your reaching out to them. Particularly if they have some sort of inner template they keep measuring you against, demanding you fix their lack of happiness by being whatever while they look for flaws in everything you do.

The other person has to want to fix things, and every indication in chapter one is that Lori was unhappy most of her life, a critical taskmaster with zero mercy for anyone that failed to measure up for whatever reason. You cannot change someone like that, no amount of marriage counseling it going to work, no matter how you try, until they gain the ability to see that they too have a responsibility in the relationship.

When I think of all the small kindnesses between my husband and I still to this day I feel humbled and grateful. I feel like crying thinking about it. Especially when I see marriages where there is zero kindness or consideration.

I saw this dynamic play out many times in my old church, never ending with a divorce but with some of the most miserable one-sided marriages. One fellow we knew would turn up on our doorstep, never wanting to leave, eating dinner with us, participating in our family life, watching movies, making music, Bible study, you-name-it and he showed up at least three times a week at our house and others. His wife could have been a carbon-copy of Lori Alexander, except she would call our house and our other friends homes screeching and yelling that her husband was shirking his manly duties by being away from her and their home. It was pretty obvious to every one why he never went home, because nothing he did, said, thought was ever right. No amount of marriage counseling helped them. This isn’t even the only case of this I’ve seen in the Evangelical Quiverfull world either. I think it’s much more common to be unhappily married in these types of religious environments because you are not allowed to be human or deviate from the tightly proscribed roles laid out by the religion.

So what was the turning point for Lori? In the next section she talked about reading a copy of Debi Pearl’s book ‘Created To Be A Help Meet’ during one of her brain tumor removal surgery recovery times and it changed the way she thought.

Lori leaps right from reading Debi’s book to suddenly mentoring all these younger women with miserable marriages and started her Always Learning blog. She says she found a ‘real passion’ for mentoring women.

Funny, all I’ve ever seen her do on her blog is sneer, put down others, behave in some rather unloving unChristian hate-filled ways.

There’s still zero love, mercy or forgiveness in any of this, just a babbling out of how unhappy and sick she has been. Wow. I’m still kind of blown away by the lack of love between her and Ken. She’s really missed out on all the wonderful parts of marriage and been stuck in misery.

That friend of mine whose husband hid from her when we were all Quiverfull? She died back in June, still miserable and now her husband is newly married very happily to someone else. What a sheer waste!

This is all followed by one of her old blog posts citing Michael Pearl and Voddie Baucham. I will not bore you with a recap. Short version: Satan does not want women at home.

Next time Lori talks about her reasons for mentoring (debasing) other women. Oh joy!

Introduction | Part One


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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  • Friend

    “I was a shrew! Now I’m not! Don’t you dare be how I was!”

  • Astrin Ymris

    You can’t give anyone happiness if they’re not capable of opening their hands to receive it.

    I think Lori hates herself. Unfortunately, she deals with it by turning her hostility outward, blaming everyone around her for not filling up the void in her heart. IOW, she might have Borderline Personality Disorder.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    After having read through this book a couple of times now I’d venture to say she hates herself, has self esteem issues and likely has been suffering from some sort of problem that should have been addressed back in her childhood. Her statement that she felt like a failure after going back to work after her first baby is just heart breaking. Sounds like a touch of post natal depression too.

    All this suffering is just tragic. I wouldn’t wish her feelings on anyone.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Does she mention any childhood abuse?

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I’m guessing as she kept her job, didn’t kill her child from neglect or abuse and kept them all from being featured on ‘Cops’ or ‘Hoarders’ that Lori was probably perfectly fine in all of those areas.

    No, I’d put money on her being an absolutely horrible teacher. Being even a decent teacher is extremely difficult even when you’re completely dedicated to it. It kicks the asses of many highly intelligent and committed people, especially when first starting out, especially in a high-needs school, or any environment that is culturally foreign to the teacher. There is no way some judgmental, classist (and probably racist) snot who has contempt for her own students and doesn’t even have her heart in the career could have been a perfectly fine teacher. I’ve known people like that and they are far from perfectly fine and they don’t stay. I don’t know if she ultimately would have kept her job if she’d kept up with it but it’s easy enough for a bad teacher to hang on for two years, considering how much high-needs school districts are in need of teachers.

    I think I also need more proof that “not criminals” to believe that she was a decent mother too. I know plenty of well-adjusted, law-abiding individuals that overcame bad parents. But when she was just doing babycare, she probably didn’t have as much opportunity to do damage. She might well have been “perfectly fine” at that. Assuming she didn’t spank her baby.

  • persephone

    She mentions her parents being unhappy together. I think that’s why her father encouraged her to get a career, instead of being an SAHM. Lori’s mother was an SAHM, and her mother sounds like she was very unhappy.

    My mother did the SAHM thing, because that’s what you did in the 50s and 60s, and she hated it, but she could never admit that to anyone, even herself, so her unhappiness rained down on everyone. She was always undermining people, not as openly nasty as Lori, but questioning every decision and choice, and expecting instant obedience from us kids, and so on. She would literally stand around in meetings at the Kingdom Hall with her happy face on, and I could tell she was seething inside, but no one else seemed to notice.

  • Astrin Ymris

    *winces* I’m sorry you had to go through that!

  • jennabobenna

    My dad eats all sorts of things my mom isn’t keen on. Braunschweiger (basically German pork pâté) comes to mind. My dad also passed on a love of PB&J dipped in tomato soup, which my mom thinks is bizarre. And White Castle, my mom has eaten it maybe once in the past decade. He/we just generally reserve those foods for when she’s not around or when she’s already eaten/not hungry. It’s not a character flaw to like different foods. Personally, I’ve only ever drawn a line when significant others have consumed eggs or milk and in those instances, I just ask that they brush their teeth so I can’t smell it on their breath (I have a severe aversion to milk, eggs, and American cheese and a strong sense of smell lol). Like, chill, Lori.

    ETA: And while I can’t stand to smell eggs on the breath of a guy I’m dating, I have been known to make eggs for breakfast if that’s what the guy wants. He just has to brush his teeth before he gives me a thank you kiss haha. But we’re having OJ instead of milk because I cannot stand that smell and it lingers and just–blech. I have often wondered whether I had a traumatic childhood experience involving milk because my aversion to milk and American cheese is off the charts. I’m that customer that will make the fast food people remake the sandwich if they put cheese on it and my coffee if they put cream in it.

  • Jessica Lynne Roulston

    As a teacher in a high needs school I completely agree! Some days it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. I really love my kids and try to work hard with my students parents and be proactive about the curriculum. I’ve seen the damage a horrible teacher can do.

  • Mel

    If her biggest understanding of why inner-city schools have students who are struggling hard is “they don’t have dads” and “the moms don’t come to parent-teacher conferences”, I can promise you she was a shitty teacher.

    Real issues include – but are not limited to –
    – Food insecurity
    – Intermittent homelessness
    -Over-crowded housing where students don’t have space to do homework or play freely
    – Parents who have to work absurd amounts of hours to keep a roof over the family
    – Drug abuse in adults
    -Living in a racist society

    Having a dad in the picture can actually make most of those problems worse if he’s not a stand-up employable guy. And PT conferences are the least useful tool if you make the parent take the time to physically show up at school. Use the damn phone.

  • Suzanne Harper Titkemeyer

    I feel pretty certain Lori was an awful teacher just based on the stuff she said about inner city school teaching, just not awful enough to be fired. Moderately incompetent.

    Kudos to those of you who teach. Seems like the toughest job in the world from here.

  • Mel

    Honestly, I loved the teaching part. The part that was killing me was doing all sorts of mindless paperwork that was being collected so the administration could demonstrate….I dunno….something….instead of spending every free moment agitating for more money being spent on education – which is what we needed badly….

    Teachers can be hard to fire – and not because of the maligned tenure laws either. Educators like trying to help people including other teachers who are struggling. If she was simply moderately bad at first, she was probably on the normal track for a new teacher – we all suck to various degrees at first. Once it became clear she wasn’t improving at an expected rate, there would have been plans implemented. If the district thought they could find another teacher for her spot and she wasn’t progressing, they could get rid of her quite easily in the first few years of teaching – but a lot of inner city and very rural districts know that finding a certified teacher is not a given….

  • Astrin Ymris

    I thought I was the only person in America to dislike cheese! ;-D