In the discussion of Gotta ask the boss, commenter AnonS described a man up group he found via his local mega church:
Local mega church had a small group listing for a ‘radical men’s mentoring group’ that I emailed for more information about. This church is non-dom but quite conservative for the area; forbids female teachers and gives lip service to submission when it comes up.
The ‘radical men’s mentoring group’ send out an email that required the married men to get a signed permission slip from their wives in order to attend. I replied that I was no longer interested.
Based on what AnonS shared, I was able to find a link to the Men’s Radical Mentoring Mentee Covenant, which does indeed require the wife to give her husband permission to participate in the program (emphasis mine):
9. I discussed this commitment with my wife and she fully supports my involvement. She willingly relinquishes the time it will take to attend the sessions and retreats and to do the reading and homework, with the goal of my becoming a godlier man.
Note that this is the same approach Dennis Rainey takes with his Stepping Up® program (emphasis mine).
Bob: So, I‟m thinking of a wife who is planning for that weekend. She’s got the option of either her husband, on Saturday, doing all the projects around the house so that he can watch the game on Sunday; or she can send him to the Stepping Up® Super Saturday event, down at the church, that’s happening in their community. We’ve got hundreds of churches that are participating in this; but she’s not going to get any “Honey, do” lists done that day. What would your counsel to her be, Dennis?
Dennis: Give up the “Honey, do” list for a day.
Men are sold on the program with the promise of finally becoming a respected man:
This is man stuff! Finally, I’ll become a man!
But those who market to conservative Christians know that wives are firmly in the driver’s seat in modern Christian marriage. The husband isn’t the decision maker, and his thoughts don’t matter very much. What matters is what the boss thinks. To sell their books, videos, programs, etc, they need to appeal directly to the head of the modern Christian family, the wife. The first thing they need to do is reassure the wife that no matter how much they talk about believing in the Bible and biblical roles, they have absolutely no intention of challenging the feminist status quo. The ever present danger of a man up program is that the men might in fact man up. Coming to the wife upfront and formally asking her permission reassures the wife that nothing biblical is at risk of happening during the Christian man up program.
Nagging by proxy.
Having assuaged the wife’s understandable fear, the next thing the man up program salesmen need to do is convince the wife to order her husband to attend/participate. To do this, they need to convince her that the lost time bossing her husband around will be worth it, since the goal of the program is to rework her husband to her liking. She needs to know that
- Someone else will be filling the void, bossing her husband around during the time she isn’t able to do so.
- The people bossing her husband around in her absence will be able to be more effective in molding her husband into the man she wants him to be.
Here is how Rainey made this part of the pitch:
I‟m actually encouraging you, as a wife, to look beyond the “Honey, do” list and beyond to making an investment in your husband‟s life—to encourage him, not discourage him— but encourage him to become the man God made him to be. If you send him down to the Stepping Up Super Saturday event—I can‟t guarantee this because he’s got a choice—he’s got a real choice, and some guys don’t make it; but a lot will.
Radical Mentoring founder and Chairman Regi Campbell gets the same message across in the preface to his book What Radical Husbands Do, 12 Steps to Win and Keep Your Wife’s Heart.
A Word to the Wives
I’ve been around long enough to know that women get real curious about books their men read, probably because we read less than you do. I have three things to say to the “maverick” wife who might be reading this, especially if you’re a wife who is hanging by a thread on the other end of a failing marriage…
If he’s coming to realize some of his “issues”…starting to accept them and take ownership…and there’s sincere humility and conviction in his heart, you’re an idiot to abandon this marriage. He’s on his way to becoming the man you wanted and thought you married to begin with. Give him some time and encouragement. What’s rewarded is repeated. You get what you glorify. So catch him when he does stuff right and brag on him…
Finally, if your marriage is in trouble, know your challenges will be forgiving and forgetting. You may be totally justified in throwing the bum out or taking off. What he’s done, what he’s said, his selfishness, his constant criticism…maybe all of the above…any rational woman would get out and start over. But now he’s ready to try…really try…really try to make things different. He’s been using different words. There’s an earnestness that hasn’t been there. If you see this kind of movement on his part, you’re smart to move toward him and see what comes of it. After all, do you really want to start over and train another hardheaded man to be a decent husband? It’s so much better for you, the kids, your folks, for everyone, if this marriage becomes rock solid.