I think we’ve found the script for the sequel to Fireproof.
Empathologism shares a lesson to Christian husbands in his post The reverse nuclear option, the submissive Christian wife. The lesson is from Dennis Rainey’s FamilyLife, and opens with a quote from Scripture to emphasize the message:
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, but humility goes before honor. PROVERBS 18:12
In the lesson we learn of a husband and wife who run a ministry. One day the husband makes a decision regarding the ministry without first consulting his wife. The husband recounts this story of his transgression with shame and tears in his eyes. Being a modern Christian wife, she confronts his audacity in making a decision without clearing it with her first. The husband makes the mistake of standing his ground, telling her:
The decision has been made, and it’s too late to change our plans now.
Overcome with rage and emotion, the wife decides to blow up the family. She packs the kids in the car and announces they are leaving him:
Okay, Bill Bright! I’ll just leave! I’m not going to live where I have nothing to say about what goes on.
Now time for some patented misdirection. The couple’s son chastises the mother for her decision to detonate the family:
Mom, this shows me the kind of person you really are.
This is crucial, because for the slower in the audience this will be read as teaching wives that they shouldn’t use threats to blow up the family to make their husbands submit. But as both the opening quote from Scripture and the ending of the lesson make clear, the message that this is how a wife humbles a disobedient husband and brings him to heel is the real takeaway:
As her son’s words stung her, Bill burst through the front door and deliberately got in front of her car. He pleaded, “Don’t go, Vonette.”
He went on to apologize, and she did too. Then Bill backed up his words of apology by changing the decision…
The moral of the story is husbands must always back down when their wives threaten to blow up the family. Once the husband submits the wife can then apologize for threatening to destroy the family. The wife explains:
I stayed because he took the first step toward reconciliation and working out our problems. It took a real man of God to admit he was wrong, and this gave me the courage to confess my poor attitude.
I know the story is too short to make an entire movie about, but it reinforces the modern Christian message on marriage beautifully while including sufficient misdirection to confuse those who claim to believe in traditional marriage. My suggestion would be to create three or four different variants on this basic story, and tell parallel stories like they did in Courageous. Make the men all heroic blue collar types, and show each one being beaten into submission by their wives with threats of familial destruction.
My first thought was to really grind in this message of the Holy Threatpoint by having one of the husbands play the role of the villain; he would fail to submit to his wife when threatened and she would follow through and destroy their family. Then she would use the family courts to bleed him white with child support and alimony. In the end of the movie we would see him in a prison cell, having been driven to a life of crime in an attempt to pay the required sums to his wife. However, then I remembered that this story was already included in the original Courageous. I’ll leave it up to the Kendrick Brothers to decide if they want to weave a retelling of this moral into the sequel for Fireproof (should they accept the idea). Either way, I think the sequel should take a page out of Courageous and end with the husbands all signing a formal pledge to submit to their wives in all things, and acknowledging that now they are doubly accountable.
You can read the full lesson here, and don’t miss Empath’s expert analysis here. Also, if you haven’t already picked up a copy, check out Rainey’s book Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood. You can see the advertisement for the video series based on the book here.