Quiverfull Marriage is a Toxic Mess

Quiverfull Marriage is a Toxic Mess December 4, 2019

Example of a non-gendered role and decisions and submission all at the same time. Who knew a simple sidewalk could be imbued with such meaning?

Today we’re looking at a piece on marriage that Doug Wilson of Blog and Mablog has written. It’s advice to an engaged couple that he knows. Which is suspect in and of itself because Doug is the same guy that got a child molester released from jail just in time to marry to an actual child. His ideas on what constitutes a marriage are automatically suspect by virtue of that alone. By his own definitions of marriage in this piece Quiverfull marriage is a toxic mess of unhappiness and struggle for everyone. Why get married?

If I had to live my marriage like Doug recommends here I’d stay happily single with my cats. No matter how much shade he throws at little old cat ladies. His vision of marriage sounds like a cross between the Bataan Death March and serving as a house slave in plantation times. Which isn’t surprising as Doug loves to romanticize the bygone era of plantation times, and wax rhapsodic on how happy the slaves were and how kind the masters in the face of all contrary evidence. The truth never stopped Doug.

Doug starts with the assumption that both the future bride and groom share exactly his vision of complimentarian marriage, with the Daddy-Husband controlling everything, and the wife scraping and bowing while making up copious bowls of banana pudding for ‘deh massah’.

Doug speaks of marriage being ‘combative’ and ‘competitive,’ which, surely it is not that way for most folks. But then again most people are not practicing complimentarianism in their marriages. They have better sense than this.

So Doug is ordering this poor unmarried young guy to say no to his wife’s talents, ideas and good things she’s bringing to the table in the name of keeping her humble? The mind boggles!

Here’s the thing about gendered roles and tight control like that. If people are forced into ill fitting roles that aren’t in their particular wheelhouse things just do not get done, or done well, or done in a timely fashion. Doug’s ideas on gender roles seem more like some sad outdated generational thing that Gramps might rant about from the front porch than practical advice that works for everyone.

I was talking to a young family member this week and reminding her that the thing she was griping about, the expectations of an older family member were merely generational. Telling her of the time that same family member chewed me out for talking of being the one to put out the trash. Older family member was insisting that trash removal was strictly a male job, not wanting to hear me when I said I did it because my husband worked long hours, commuted long hours, so I did it because I didn’t wish to add to his ‘must dos’ and it was just as easy for me to carry that bag to the can and drag the can out to the street.

We laughed over the older relative’s ideas on gender roles, coming to the conclusion that taking the trash out was not a gender role and the whole idea of roles for genders is ridiculous anyway. You do what you must do no matter what gender you are.

Doug ignores the practicalities of who does what and why. Example. His notions of submission. The way this ‘submission’ works in healthy families is that the partner that does not feel as strongly about things usually submits to whatever the ideas are of the more passionate on the subject partner. My example is that sidewalk being poured in the above photo. My husband came to me with the idea of prying up the stepping stones and having a sidewalk poured. He wanted my option. Told him I was fine either way. Had no strong feelings either way. No dog in that fight. So he decided to have the sidewalk added.

This is how compromise frequently works in marriage. It’s not hard, it’s not even work. Now that is not to say there will not be times when you both feel strongly and cannot agree, and must work towards an equitable solution. Yes, they happen, but you’re not in competition here, you both want what you believe is best for you as a couple. That requires diplomatic and other skills not found in QF theology, like grace.

The only hope I can pull away from here is that of this version of complimentarianism marriage being now mostly generational. Meaning when Doug, Mary Pride, Nancy Campbell, Lori Alexander and Larry Solomon do as we all must do and kick the bucket to stand before their maker that the younger folks now in charge will shrug and go ‘Meh.’ over the whole deal.

This will die out, as well it should, just like the deaths of rotary phones, Beatle wigs and tv dinners. The last gasps of a miserable marital dinosaur.

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About Suzanne Titkemeyer
Suzanne Titkemeyer went from a childhood in Louisiana to a life lived in the shadow of Washington D.C. For many years she worked in the field of social work, from national licensure to working hands on in a children's residential treatment center. Suzanne has been involved with helping the plights of women and children' in religious bondage. She is a ordained Stephen's Minister with many years of counseling experience. Now she's retired to be a full time beach bum in Tamarindo, Costa Rica with the monkeys and iguanas. She is also a thalassophile. She also left behind years in a Quiverfull church and loves to chronicle the worst abuses of that particular theology. She has been happily married to her best friend for the last 33 years. You can read more about the author here.

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