Last week I neglected to do a review because I was house/pet sitting and accidentally left the book home. Freudian slip perhaps because Chapter 8 is possibly the most toxic idea in both the book and Quiverfull. It’s titled ‘Win Him Without a Word’.
The idea that if your husband is not perfect that the best way to change him is to submit as hard as you can, behave like Jesus with a vagina and God will honor that by convicting your sinning husband of his sinning sinning ways before changing him into the Good Christian Man of your dreams on that white horse swooping in to make you the Queen of his life. Fulfilling all your inner unrealistic daydreams and wishes.
Sadly, no, I’ve never ever once in all my years in the movement or out seen it work out that way, no matter what Lori tries to claim. What happens is women are only able to keep up the fake facade of personal holiness and sacrifice so long before they crack or end up with a significant mental illness. Some I’ve known have ended up physically ill and some have died. For every positive story of changing the husband without a word in Lori’s book I can think of a dozen ones where it had bad consequences for all involved.
NLQ is filled with stories that counterpoint everything in this chapter. Just take a look at Tess Willoughby’s life story and tell me how all that submission worked out for one example?
This idea always reminds me of the scripture that says there are ways that seem holy but only lead to death. It’s that serious.
Here’s what Lori says at the beginning of the chapter about difficult marriages and husbands:
Sometimes the bigger problem stems from what they have done to push their husbands away over the years through their disrespect and neglect.
She goes on to say that if does not matter if your husband is more righteous than the preacher, a drug addict or a serial adulterer, you must smile, submit and behave like Jesus and God will magically melt their bad boy selves away. She does say this one true nugget in this page, that wives cannot argue a husband into right behavior. Telling someone in an argumentative way to change their behavior is just offensive. No one ever takes that well. Being nagged is never fun. Why not talk to him and explain how whatever it is he’s doing that you do not like makes you feel?
She goes on to claim that unless the Holy Spirit is blowing on your words then they will only be perceived as ‘stark arguments’ before pushing taking every thought captive. Thought crimes.
And then always respond with Godly behavior no matter what your man is doing.
Instead wives are to live like Jesus before their husbands, even when they don’t feel loved.
Knowing that ‘living like Jesus’ for women in the Christian Patriarch Movement means putting up with physical, emotional, spiritual and economic abuse and still insisting this is the only path is hateful and cruel. No one, I repeat, no one should have to live in abuse for any reason!
Lori then tells a long story about helping a lady named ‘Susan’ stay married to her cheating man in the face of other church members, pastors, counselors telling her to leave him. Lori points out to Susan the effects of divorce on children, cites breaking up the family, how she cannot financially support her kids, the evils of daycare, robbing God of a chance to perform a miracle and stealing sanctification away from her husband.Whew, that is one huge load of guilt, lies and manipulation.
Why not say, “I’m sorry you are hurting. Is there anything I can do for you in this difficult time?” instead to your friend? THAT is much more useful than any amount of trying to shame her into staying in the abuse and disrespect.
“It’s important for you to keep the family together as long as possible because your family is sanctified when you live out a godly life in front of them. When you’re not around, Jesus is not there, but when you’re in the home with your children and your husband Jesus is there living inside of you.”
Illogical, un-Biblical word salad.
Even though your husband is in a pit — often from adultery, alcoholism, or pornography — his greatest chance of being freed is through your faithfulness in allowing Christ to shine His light through you.
No, and would you like to know why this is merely wishful magical thinking? Because the person that needs changing has to first WANT to change. There is no amount of praying, submitting or taking every thought captive that can bring this about. The person involved in these situations usually has to reach some sort of bottom or deep self realization and then start making the effort to change. They must take the first step. You cannot do it for them.
Sometimes the kindest thing you can do for a spouse struggling with these types of issues is to tell them that you love them, but you cannot stand around and enable their behavior. Leaving while they are wallowing in it is the very thing needed to motivate change.Plus why would you expose your children to a man who is cheating, getting high or other addictive and possibly abusive behaviors. It’s great to support your husband but once there are children involved it’s your primary job to protect them from abuse.
I have to end this chapter here as this is getting long, only about a third of the way through because it’s filled with too many bad ideas to dissect them all at once. The next section is about suffering and sacrifice no matter what everyone around you says.
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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