How would you respond if your husband lead/loved you like Christ?

In the discussion of Effortless the conversation turned to how wives should expect to be lead, and how they would naturally react if their husband lead them as the Bible teaches.  There are two parts to this, which correspond to the separate instructions to husbands and wives:

  1. Wives are to submit to their husbands even if their husband doesn’t obey the word.  The idea that a wife should expect her husband to first lead (and lead correctly) before submitting is not only not supported by Scripture, but it is in direct contradiction to 1 Pet 3:1-6.
  2. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church (Eph 5:25-29).

The first point is generally ignored, although it is worth noting that modern Christians are quite enthusiastic about 1 Pet 3:1-6 with a twist.  The second point is much more popular, and this is what I want to touch on with this post.  While as fallen men and women none of us will achieve Christ’s perfection, it is still important to look at His example.

One of the problems with modern Christian culture is the misconception that loving is a synonym for nice.  Jesus is often considered to be a sort of passive non judgmental friend, instead of our Lord, our Master.  Husbands are then compared to this false standard.  For example, in How to Make Your Wife Submit to Your Authority -6 Tips Caleb Suko starts with:

As a husband your job is to love like Christ loves. One of the best ways you can do that is by simply being a friend to your wife.

The first sentence is straight out of Ephesians, but the second sentence has origins from the Book of Oprah.  A bit further down Suko claims that loving like Christ means never holding your wife accountable:

Here’s the real quality of a man, if you make a mistake you’d better admit it and fix it!

If she makes a mistake you need to fix that too but you don’t have to say anything!

You know what I’m talking about, that time when she made a poor judgement call about buying a new kitchen gadget which promptly broke the following week.

Even though it’s tempting, don’t say,

“I told you so!”

Instead suck it up and fix it for her without saying a word. She’ll love you for it and next time she’ll be a lot more likely to listen to your advice.

Wives read and hear this sort of message all the time and come away thinking “Why can’t my husband be more like Jesus?”  They become convinced that their own rebellion is purely a reflection of their husband’s imperfection.  The problem is the Jesus Christian leaders like Suko are describing doesn’t match the Gospels.  Nowhere in the Bible is there a rule that a leader can’t correct the one they are leading.  Moreover, Jesus very strongly rebuked the Apostle Peter after Peter failed exactly in the way that Jesus had predicted.  In John 21 we learn about the reunion of Jesus and Peter after the Resurrection.  Peter eagerly dives into the sea and swims to Jesus, but Jesus doesn’t address Peter until after everyone has eaten.  Jesus then repeatedly rebukes Peter, to the point where Peter is absolutely heartbroken:

15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah,[b] do you love Me more than these?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”

16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[c] do you love Me?”

He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”

He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah,[d] do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”

According to Suko’s theory of Christian leadership, Jesus has failed to act as a Christian leader by not sucking it up and pretending that Peter hadn’t failed exactly as Jesus had foretold.  Implicit in Jesus’ rebuke is a very serious “I told you so”.  Moreover, Peter is right;  Jesus could see into Peter’s heart, and knew he loved Him.  The problem of course is not that Jesus was unloving, but that we have been sold a great deal of nonsense about what loving means.  Jesus loved Peter, and never stopped loving him even when Peter denied Him.  After Peter pleads with Jesus to look in his heart, Jesus then lets Peter know He indeed does know that Peter has repented.  Jesus responds to Peter’s plea by explaining that because Peter has repented and will faithfully follow Him in the future, Peter will suffer an excruciating and humiliating death:

Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

In foretelling Peter’s excruciating, humiliating death Jesus is paying Peter a great honor.  But this only makes sense if you remember that Peter (just like us) was called to obey Jesus.

I bring up this example not to offer it as the single template for Christian leadership*, but to explode the false idea that being a loving Christian leader always means being passive or nice.  At the same time, this should demolish the related assertion that if husbands were to lead like Christ wives would naturally want to submit:

I can’t speak for all women, in general, i think we are wired to respond well to Christ like love- “laying down of ones life (as Christ did)” …in fact- I can have nothing but total admiration and respect for that man (and -that’s- just a natural reaction :-).

For those wives like soulthirstjc who believe they would naturally want to submit if their husband lead like Jesus, I suggest you place yourself in Peter’s shoes in John 21:15-19.  You have failed in a truly spectacular way, a way which will be remembered for all eternity.  You are deeply ashamed of your failure, and the moment you realized what you had done you wept bitterly.  You have also been physically separated from Christ and are reunited with Him for the first time.  You are so excited to see Him again that you dove into the sea to swim to Him.  But before Christ welcomes you back, He strongly rebukes you three times, reminding you of your failure and questioning if you love Him.  Only once you demonstrate that you are truly heartbroken does He acknowledge that He knows you are sorry, telling you that because of your repentance you will die a painful and humiliating death.

Do you still think your reaction to the leadership of Jesus in the flesh would always be to automatically want to submit?  Isn’t it much more likely you would sometimes at least initially** be hurt and angry, and accuse Him of being unloving and unworthy of your submission?

Isn’t this precisely how you feel at times about your own husband?

 

*This is one of many examples of Christ’s leadership in the Gospels, and it would be a mistake to either focus solely on it or pretend it didn’t exist when considering Christ’s leadership.  However, other examples demonstrate that Jesus wasn’t passive or “nice” in his always loving leadership;  He first called out the embarrassed woman with menstrual blood who touched His garment as well as the Gentile woman who asked Him to help her possessed daughter, before ultimately blessing both of them.  Husbands should also remember that we are called to dwell with our wives in understanding, giving honor to them as the weaker vessel.
**Until you repented.

Posted in Armchair Husbands, Attacking headship, Book of Oprah, Headship, Marriage, Rebellion, Submission | 144 Comments

Effortless

soulthirstjc puts on a clinic in Christian feminist reframing in response to Reframing Christian marriage part 2: rebelling wives aren’t to blame for their own rebellion.

Research shows that husbands who do take part in household chores, cleaning. etc. are actually statistically happier, than those who do not. (It could be because they are taking pride in their living space, and because they are creating some really happy wives…which, even in natural, non-christian marriages, has a chain reaction.

She is getting ahead of the class here, because this is a defense of what I called out in the very next post of the Reframing Christian Marriage series, husbands as helpmeets.

However, she quickly returns to the task at hand, reframing the rebellion of wives as the fault of their husbands.  soulthirstjc explains that the source of women’s temptation to feminist rebellion is unworthy men, and that men are what causes women to rebel against God and the order He has established (emphasis mine):

Now- I am- as a woman- called to “submit” (I know this. Even most unbelieving women have heard this.. We’ve ALL been hearing this for decades. LOL),  It IS very encouraging to me that there are ministries out there that do place responsibility on the husband of LEADING the home in a LOVING manner (Ie. being the ultimate example of Christ).  That one thing gains soooo much respect from women- women long to be loved like Christ loved the church (unselfish leadership). I think this one thing can SAVE a wife. And I feel the absence of that is what created the women’s “liberation” in the first place. I don’t feel my love for my husband is contingent on these things (as a believer- it’s called to be beyond that)- But let me tell you- if your husband is constantly totally unloving (calls you names, flips you off, acts superior, etc.)…it can lead a wife to a place of feeling total injustice and naturally wanting to rebel- not just against him, but GOD. Now that’s a dangerous place to be.  I can see how having a Christian husband working on his 110% and a wife working on her 110% would greatly improve the marriage. I can’t speak for all women, in general, i think we are wired to respond well to Christ like love- “laying down of ones life (as Christ did)” …in fact- I can have nothing but total admiration and respect for that man (and -that’s- just a natural reaction :-).

I’ve explained previously the problem with responding to a reframe with an intellectual argument.  The temptation here is great, but as you can see soulthirstjc quite casually responded to my post explaining how biblical teaching on marriage has been corrupted by effortlessly shoring up the corruption.  Remember, the title of the post she is responding to is:

Reframing Christian marriage part 2: rebelling wives aren’t to blame for their own rebellion.

This isn’t an intellectual discussion.  If it were, soulthirstjc would have acknowledged and discussed the reframing the post was focused on instead of doing more of the same.  In most cases the woman doing the reframing isn’t doing so with clear conscious intent.  It is in most cases a thoughtless, automatic act;  they merely notice that their rebellious feminist frame has been replaced with Christianity, and instantly set about discarding Christianity and returning to feminist rebellion.

Posted in Attacking headship, Denial, Feminists, Frame, Headship, Rebellion, Rebuilding the mound, Submission | 303 Comments

Insensitive

In the discussion of What is closeness? I pointed out that the Sensitive Elliot clip does an excellent job of showing that what we culturally think of as “sensitive” really isn’t sensitive at all.  Elliot is oblivious the entire time, missing very obvious mostly non verbal communication from her from the very beginning. Even the man who kicks sand in his face is communicating very clearly, but Elliot is oblivious and wants to “start a dialog” as if one hasn’t been occurring. The only person Elliot is sensitive to is Elliot. He is sensitive to his feelings about sunsets, dolphins, etc. He is fully inwardly focused, yet he has convinced himself that his inward focus is proof that he is really sensitive to others.

This is an old film/theater technique, where the audience is in on a joke that one or more of the actors on stage aren’t privy to.  It works so well in this case because of the underlying truth.  Sensitive Elliot represents something very common in our society.

You can see the same thing in a post by Dallas area Christian blogger Steven Nelms.  Nelms gained worldwide notoriety with a groveling blog post he wrote about his wife: Fathers, you can’t afford a Stay-At-Home Mom.  In many ways this is standard fare for modern Christian culture.  It is an excellent example of what Empath has coined “lift chasing”, in the form of a passive-aggressive attempt by Nelms to place himself above other husbands and fathers by publicly out groveling them.  It also has a feminist frame* complaining that it isn’t fair that stay at home wives don’t get a paycheck they can point to for the value of their work.  None of this is especially noteworthy, as it is the very air that modern Christians breathe.  However, Nelms’s post is an excellent example of an attempt at sensitivity which is strikingly insensitive.

Nelms explains why he wrote the post:

My wife sometimes feels patronized when I ask her permission to buy something for myself. She feels like it’s my money and my name on the paycheck so I shouldn’t have to ask permission to get myself something every once in a while.

His wife clearly communicated to him that she doesn’t feel comfortable with him deferring his leadership to her in this way.  But Nelms isn’t interested in how this impacts her, because he is focused on his own feelings.  His very next words are:

The truth is, I’m ashamed of any time I’ve ever made her feel guilty or humored when she’s purchased something for herself. I’m ashamed that she has ever felt like she doesn’t have just as much right to our income as I do. The fact of the matter is that our income doesn’t even come close to covering what she does for our family. I would have to make over 100K to even begin to be able to cover my living expenses as well as employ my wife as a Stay-At-Home Mom!

She tells him she wants him to lead, or at least to stop deferring to her, and he writes a blog post doing the exact opposite.  This is not about her, it is about his feelings of being unworthy as a leader, his discomfort with headship, and his desire for approval from women.

In abdicating his headship in such a public fashion Nelms is placing an unfair burden on his wife.  For her part she seems to be responding very graciously.  However, even if she did want to assume headship, it would still be wrong of Nelms to abdicate it.  It is even worse that he has set out to teach this abdication and feminist viewpoint as being the Christian view of marriage.  Nelms may feel unworthy to lead, but this doesn’t change the fact that the Bible teaches us that as the husband he is the head of the family.

Related:

*The very title of the post is crafted to avoid offending feminists.  The argument he is really making is that he couldn’t afford a career woman for a wife, but this has the problem of offending feminists.

Posted in Attacking headship, Closeness, Fatherhood, Feminists, Game, Headship, Manliness, Marriage, Motherhood | 454 Comments

Choosing last sucks

Vox Day has a post up today on an article from Lauren Martin at Elite Daily:  Ladies, The Smarter You Are, The More Likely You Are To Be Single

The Elite Daily article is truly a target rich environment.  Cane Caldo has already covered the true meaning of Easter, so I thought I’d use this piece to host a (belated) manosphere Easter egg hunt.  Astute readers should be able to find all of the following, and perhaps several others:

I’ve touched on the last item here and here, but Martin describes the fundamental problem for women who select a strategy of allowing other women to choose first:

Unfortunately, for all those women who thought a man would come later, other women capitalized on their youth, snatching up all the boyfriends and husbands while they focused on building their careers.

Women went into college with an intent to come out wives, slowly but steadily snatching up the number of available men for all those women who chose to attack their professional dreams.

Posted in "The Writer", Aging Feminists, Finding a Spouse, Ugly Feminists, Weak men screwing feminism up | 318 Comments

Eva Mendes said you can’t keep a man.

A few weeks ago Eva Mendes caused what the Telegraph characterized as a “fierce online row” with a seemingly innocuous statement about sweatpants:

You can’t do sweatpants… ladies, number one cause of divorce in America, sweatpants, no!

The controversy wasn’t really about sweatpants, but about framing divorce*.  The ugly feminist narrative is that divorce is empowerment as well as a tool to acquire power within marriage.  Mendes in her joke reframed divorce as ugly and a failure for women.  This predictably touched off a fury of mound rebuilding, and Mendes ended up offering a sort of apology.

What is noteworthy here is that Mendes accidentally stumbled upon a weak spot in the feminist narrative, and this weak spot remains.  Feminism has recast something ugly as something positive, but the reality remains.  We could have another 100 years of feminism, and there would still be the risk of someone pointing out the obvious;  divorce means failure, and a woman who is able to remain married, especially to the father of her children, gains status over other women.

Note:  I was curious if sweatpants had anything to do with Laura Lifshitz’s divorce.  Given that she makes a habit of airing every last bit of her personal life on the internet, I suspect this won’t come as a surprise for my readers.

*That Mendes herself isn’t married doesn’t change this fact.

Posted in April Fools, Rebuilding the mound, Status of marriage, Threatpoint, Ugly Feminists, Wake-up call | 368 Comments