While I’m literally busier than that proverbial one-legged man at the butt-kicking contest I have no desire to schlep this toxic tome down to Costa Rica. Peace, relaxation and happiness only goes with me down there. So today we are doing THE LAST CHAPTER EVER!!! from this book, Lori Alexander’s “The Power of the Transformed Wife” Chapter 19: The Power to Become a Transformed Wife.
Today’s chapter is in parts revolting, stomach-turning, laughable and sad. Sad because like the first chapter it reveals the horror crap-show that the Alexander marriage was for many years. No one should ever have to live their lives in the misery both of the Alexanders put up with. Fundamentally mismatched and dysfunctional from day one.
Lori starts with this:
“Jesus. He is all we need.”
Yeah, well, about that. Ain’t much Jesus in this book. There is, however, a lot of Lori. There’s no mercy, no grace, love is in scanty amounts, forgiveness something of an afterthought and I do not remember one quoted Bible verse in this book that came from the mouth of Jesus. Jesus was kind, merciful and accepting in his life, without any use for hypocrites or liars, or those that use the Bible to financially profit themselves. Lori Alexander comes across as angry, bitter, frustrated and rigid. Ironic I’m having to write this final chapter on Good Friday, the day that commemorates the death of Jesus.
“I am dramatically different than I was when we first married.”
I would hope so. Everyone grows and changes over the course of thirty five years. I know I have. The problem I see with the growth proclaimed in this book is that it seems to be very little. Lori started from a place of extreme immaturity and selfishness and hasn’t grown much past that. She has giving it a shiny polishing with a side order of Bible.
My Cajun great-grandmother used to have a saying, in French, that translates to ‘You can polish a turd, but it’s a still a turd, a shiny turd. That’s how I see Lori’s advice on her blogs and her books, gilding something vile and calling it good.
“I am living proof that knowing what the Bible teaches and actually living it out are two different things.”
Sister, this is more true than you know, and in ways she never intended it to be.
“…when your husband says something unkind or treats you poorly,…..Instead of just biting your tongue, staying silent, and calmly moving onto the next subject, focus on having the right heart.”
No, having a ‘right heart’ has little to do with dealing with such a thing. Having mercy, grace, compassion, the knowledge that your husband is having a bad day or that something is going on in his mind is much more important than any amount of ‘heart’. What’s going on can be determined by, duh, actually talking to him. I rarely take offense on those rare occasions my husband snaps at me. I know he’s venting about something/someone else he cannot vent about to them. I usually smile or laugh and remark, ‘Having a bad day, are we?’ and it defuses the entire thing. We usually end up talking and eventually laughing over whatever is going on. It does not have to be a big bad thing.
Unless, of course, your husband is genuinely abusive in his speech to you and others. Then perhaps you need to rethink your relationship dynamic and take appropriate action, such as couples therapy or possibly separation. No one should have to live with abuse no matter what Jesus did on the cross.
“It has taken me years to learn the difference between an argument and a discussion; between a joke and a snide remark; and between truly not feeling well and just using illness as an excuse not to do what God asks of me in my marriage.”
That’s all sorts of strange and makes me wonder if instead of depression and frustration if what was going on here was some sort of autism spectrum thing. Most of us figure out very early on the differences between jokes and someone being a jerk to score points off us.
Using illness to avoid dealing with life is another giant red flag that there is something deeper and squishy going on with her. NEVER do this! Most women I know who have dealt with serious, long-term, chronic illnesses have chosen to attempt to have as normal a life as possible without burdening anyone else with their struggles, sometimes to the point of denial of their own needs. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you are less than 100% and taking action to protect your health and meet your own needs. I suspect those that use illness to manipulate others or hide from the world are fewer than Lori alleges here.
Thus this ends Lori’s words in the entire book. Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!! But we get Ken instead…and this all derails into freak show abusive marriage territory. Poor Lori, I’m starting to feel really bad for her. Putting up with being spoken to and treated like this would warp a saint.
“My greatest sin against Lori over the years was my unkind responses to her remarks of dissatisfaction about me.”
He’s lucky she stayed. I suppose if the horrors of her teaching career had not been so prominent she might have left him and started a happier life. Sad. Why didn’t they just talk, or try couples counseling? Honest non-blaming communication can solve a multitude of problems.
Ken illustrates the problem with some dialogue between them. Even sadder and a tad abusive even.
Lori: “Do you want a salad tonight?
Me: “There you go again, trying to feed me rabbit food….”
Lori: “I was just asking if you wanted a salad or not.”
The problem, however, was never with the salad itself, but with her desire to control so many areas of my life.
Can someone please explain to me how offering someone a salad is trying to control someone else’s life? I’m confused. This comes across more like Ken verbally abusing Lori. He sounds like such a jerk here. He’s lucky she didn’t slam that salad bowl over his head.
In a healthier marriage that conversation might go:
- Wife – “Hey I’m thinking about making a salad for dinner. Do you want one?”
- Husband – “Yeah, I’m not really feeling like a salad right now. Is there anything else you’d consider or maybe I should just eat those leftovers and you have a salad. Whatever is easiest.”
- Wife: “Well, there’s a half a steak left over from last night and some veggies, or I could heat up ‘insert available food here – like something from the freezer or a can of soup or a sandwich’ if you’re sure you don’t want a salad.”
- Husband – “That’s fine. Whichever one.”
End of discussion. See how easy that was? No one was offended, everyone had their needs met and it wasn’t a big deal. It could also be the husband cooking and asking the wife if she wants a salad too. Lori does not consider that some men love to cook. My father did all the big cooking growing up because he loved to do it. Cooking is not a gendered occupation.
“There’s no greater sense of relief and peace than knowing that no matter what I do or say, my Transformed Wife will be at peace.”
Ken is making it sound as if he now has carte blanche to abuse his wife in whatever fancy strikes him and she’ll just take it like a punching bag.
“I love the way Lori changed her arguing habit……
“Ken, I finally figured it out,” she said.
“What’s that?” I inquired.
“How we can have an intimate marriage.”
I liked hearing that, but there had to be a catch. “Okay, what do I need to do now?”
“It’s nothing you need to do,” she said as she looked sheepishly to the ground “What has to happen is that I need to please you.”
No responsibility in this for Ken. How very convenient for him. Debi Pearl poisons another well. Poor, poor brain-washed deluded abused Lori!
“In our home, I basically took care of myself in almost every aspect, except for the laundry and house cleaning…… and I took care of myself and made my own entrees or meals,….. I did my own shopping for food and for clothes, and I did my own ironing.”
Ken misses that there is nowhere in the Bible that says this is wrong. I think it’s pretty sad that they couldn’t work together more on these things and mutually agree. But it’s not the end of the world, it’s not necessarily bad that a grown man takes care of himself.
I have to say I’m impressed that Ken buys his own clothing. Jim has never cared about clothing and if I didn’t update his wardrobe occasionally he would still be wearing those awful Madras shirts and Greg Brady striped shorts he had from the 1960s when I first met him in the 1980s. He does not care about clothing and is happy to cede the decisions on new clothing to me. Again, whatever works for the couple is fine. There are no strict Biblical rules about who goes clothes shopping.
Lori goes on to ask Ken after she absorbs all the awful ideas in Debi Pearl’s “Created To Be A Help Meet” what she could do to please him. This conversation ensues:
“Well, you know….my ironing isn’t done, so maybe you could iron some shirts for me,” I said. “That way I won’t have to scramble to get that done before I hop on the next plane.”
Lori ran off to iron my shirts. Ten minutes later, she returned to my office and said, “You know, ironing is really hard with my bad neck. Could I maybe do two to three shirts a day? By the end of the week I should have all your shirts ironed.”
I. Can’t. Even! Laundry, even shirt ironing, is just not that hard, not even with a bad neck! If it is that bad, then make a plan, like Lori did here and stick with it. I don’t get why he would expect her to do this if her neck is as bad as she claims. How many shirts is this man going through? Why not simply iron the shirts the day they come out of the laundry, or better yet, send them off to the dry cleaners. I used to sent out my husband’s shirts for washing and ironing when I’ve been my sickest. It’s not expensive at all and they’ll do a professional job. Problem solved for both of them!
Ironing dress shirts has never been one of my favorite things, but before I discovered the cheap wonder of someone else doing it I would make it a pleasurable time. I had piles of those shirts every laundry day because my husband Jim worked in Washington D.C. as an Economist with the Dept. of Labor. Professional dress required. So I’d save a movie or television show I wanted to watch or listen to some favorite music, set up the ironing board in front of the television, to watch or listen to the music and iron, sometimes having a glass or two of wine while I ironed. How you do things and approach them can ease the boredom or unpleasantness of them considerably.
“The discord, stress, fighting, and disconnection was gone. Her frowns had turned to smiles every time I walked into the room.
I was beginning to feel like someone who was finally comfortable in my own skin under my own roof.”
That is so incredibly tragic that this couple spent so many years completely miserable with what sounds like zero connection between them outside of the bed. Don’t live like this. Talk to your husband. Work together to find out what works for both of you. It does not matter if others think whatever works for your marriage is wrong or awful, it’s between the two of you only. Oh Lori! So many wasted years~
The last section I am not posting here. It’s a poem Ken wrote for Lori on their wedding day. Let’s just say while the sentiment is sweet he’s never going to be a Poet Laureate, or win any contests. He should have not put that in the book, it should have stayed as something deeply personal between the two of them.
And we’re done. I’m off to make a bonfire from this book because I don’t want anyone else poisoned by the bad ideas and lack of all love, mercy or kindness in this book. No more marriages need to be ruined.
I’m off to iron (just kidding), and do our Good Friday ritual – watch “Jesus Christ Superstar” May your holiday be everything you wish it to be.
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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