Last chapter was all about learning not to control what your husband eats, no matter how badly it pisses you off. Lori goes so far as to say that if your husband develops diabetes or keels over dead from a widowmaker heart attack brought on by his ice cream and potato chip binges it is entirely his fault because he made the choice to hoover down the bad stuff. But you get the distinct impression that if Ken bought the farm from a heart attack Lori would be gloating in an ‘I told you so’ mood over his coffin.
Today’s chapter is titled ‘Allow Him to Lead’ and it can be entirely summed up this way: Submit woman because Paul said so! Half the chapter is how submission is Biblical, but the other half concerns that other thing Paul said about submission – Submit to one another. Lori says we’re all wrongly thinking Paul meant for equality in marriage but that’s not at all what he meant you silly selfish woman! It is a big load of ‘Apply frozen corn’
Oh joy! Just like Vaughn Ohlman’s book on marriage “What are you Doing” is more about his penis needs than any amount of reality, so this book is more about Lori’s overwhelming need to control others and her frustrations when she cannot. But just as there are old allegations of attempted sexual abuse against Vaughn popping up, I’m sure at some point we’re going to see a public backlash against Lori complete with awful stories of control tactics.
We start here:
The wife (is) to obey and submit to her husband in everything.
God has appointed husbands to fulfill this role in their own homes.
…but a household that is in submission to its singular, God-ordained authority, is one of peace and unity.
…creation of woman was for the purpose of lending aid to the man.
If the sole purpose of creating women was to help men it might have made better sense for God to have cranked out robot-wives for men, machinery that never could cry and complain, have needs or make any demands from men, and would have been unquestionably submissive to their owners. See how much easier that would have been? What on earth was the Almighty thinking the day He made Eve?
Here’s the other thing, you can as a couple not agree on things and still live in peace and unity.
But there is this out in Lori’s ideas of submission:
You must obey God above your husband.
Warning! Warning! This Does Not Compute!!
Lori goes on to explain if your man is trying to get you to do something wrong, like driving him around when he is drunk (her example, not mine) or use drugs you cannot obey him. This just seems like common sense to me, if someone is pressuring you to break the law for them or with them then all bets should be off at that point no matter what your relationship is.
Logical reasoning is what men typically use in decision-making, while emotions and feelings frequently drive the decisions of women. Men tend to see the big picture, while women see the smaller details.
Oh yeah? If this was the truth then why did I have to take charge of the refrigerator replacement decision in this household? By her flawed logic my husband should have been dragging a distressed little lady, me, out to the appliance store and picking for me. Has she not seen men watching NFL games or UFC? Lots of reigning emotions in men instead of logic. Both sexes are unique people filled with varying degrees of logic and emotions.
Then Ms. Alexander starts into her ‘The beatings will continue until morale improves’ Jesus lingo of joyfulness, joyfully total submission OR ELSE! This is followed by a few short paragraphs putting down ladies that have breast enhancements, Botox and fancy hairdos to try for feminine beauty. Inner beauty only!
Alright, I agree that there are people out there who are ridiculous in their chasing of the perfect face and body, surgeries, excessive exercises and fad diets. All you have to do is turn on the television and see E! channel celebrities the Kardashians to find folks that take it too far. But most people this book would appeal to are not to those extremes to try and look nice for church and their lives.
I’ve run into this disdain for cosmetic surgery procedures a number of times in the Evangelical world in the past. Once I had a serious reaction to a drug, my lips inflated to trout pout status and took a few days to go down. Someone I went to church with decided this was not a reaction to a med, that I must have had lip filler injections. The next thing I knew I was having to fend off concern over my supposed plastic surgery from a fleet of Lori-alikes. It’s really a matter of personal choice, not any of her or anyone else’s business what you decide to do to your own body.
Her screed on inner beauty is largely inappropriate in the context of the book as a whole, and like a bizarre wormhole into another dimension in this chapter because it has exactly zero to do with submission. This is one of my biggest criticisms of this book, the illogical leaps between subjects as if it’s being written by a keyboard banging monkey on meth with ADD.
A smile is the best face lift!
The next part is mutual submission and she claims this is just not possible, that God ordained men as the final vote even before the discussion ever begins. How depressing. Why even bother trying for something if Mr. Killjoy is merely going to vote it down before you open your mouth. She includes more about the constant arguments between her and Ken, the misery of their marriage before she learned to swallow her angry words and SMILE! and we’re done.Swallowing your anger and hurt feelings and covering them up with a smile is a recipe for a nervous breakdown. It’s one of the most emotionally unhealthy things you can do. I’m not advocating yelling and fighting to release those feelings, but what’s so wrong with openly telling your partner that you have those feelings, asking for some kindness and consideration in a non-blaming, non-threatening manner?
So far this entire book explores only two ways to deal with disagreement in marriage, 1) fight, yell, scream and argue, or 2) or go into Children of the Corn creepy level ‘Yes Master’ mindless submission. That is not marriage, those are sick dysfunctional relationships with couples that need to learn how to communicate their needs in a healthier way.
One thing that the book fails to acknowledge is that in marriages and relationships it is absolutely okay not to agree on every single thing, to know you must pick what things are the most important and learn to give and receive grace. Again, there’s no love, grace or mercy anywhere in anything to come up in this book. You get no sense that she has any positive feelings at all towards Ken. It’s all score-keeping and teeth-gritting.
Next week chapter six, which is mercifully quite short and titled ‘What Submission Looks Like’ She says we come into marriage with a jaded view that makes you repeat your parents mistake.
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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