In the discussion of Sandwich strike preachinginthewilderness commented on one of Sheila Gregoire’s most recent blog posts:
Yesterday she was encouraging her thousands of christian women to make sure they withhold sex or make their husbands sleep on the couch or take the kids and leave if the husbands watches TV with nudity or violence. I don’t know even where to begin…
The post he is referring to is Wifey Wednesday: My Husband Watches Nudity on TV, and it is actually even worse than he describes. While the sin of watching the wrong TV shows is the headline topic, what Gregoire is really teaching her readers is:
- A wife’s job is to make sure her husband never sins, and punish him whenever he does sin. This is so important that she created a large graphic to burn this message home. Teaching from the Book of Oprah, Gregoire explains that wives should constantly be on the lookout for things their husband might be doing which Jesus would not approve of and find ways to make their husbands’ lives miserable until they stop. Anything less and the wife is failing in her God given role. She summarizes this with the question “What are you tolerating that Jesus wouldn’t?”
- This isn’t really about sin, but the wife’s feelings*. If a wife feels unloved, she is commanded by God to punish her husband.
Rule number one is:
1. Focus on your feelings, rather than the infraction.
Elsewhere in the article she explains what this means:
Focus the conversation on your reaction to the show, not on whether he should be watching it
If you focus the conversation around “it’s pornography and you shouldn’t be watching it”, then you’ll get into an argument about whether or not it really qualifies, and you can’t win that.
Instead, talk about the real issue, which is this: “I feel disrespected and humiliated when you watch that, and I don’t know why you want to do something which makes me feel disrespected and humiliated. When you watch that, I feel sad. I feel ugly. I feel like you don’t care about me and don’t really love me.
Gregoire lists a variety of punishments wives should use against their husbands whenever their feelings are hurt. These range from the wife breaking things she associates with her hurt feelings (like the TV), to making him sleep on the couch, denying sex, or leaving with the children. She also does a dance around threatening divorce. She doesn’t say to threaten divorce, but she strongly suggests that not imposing these other punishments will ultimately lead to divorce. This leaves divorce as the reserve threat while claiming not to be supporting divorce:
I wonder how many divorces could have been avoided if people used good conflict resolution early and stopped tolerating things that are wrong?
We start tolerating little things, these little things escalate, and soon we have a huge problem.
You don’t have to make things into World War III, but some things just need to be done for the good of the marriage, and for the good of your husband’s soul. Not everything is that big a deal, of course, but some things are. And the principle here isn’t just the nudity; it’s the fact that he’s choosing to hurt her terribly. That can’t be tolerated, either.
This is all textbook wake-up call theology. However, with the exception of Joel and Kathy Davisson I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it spelled out so shamelessly as Gregoire does. This model not only inverts Scripture** but also leaves both the husband and wife at the mercy of the wife’s emotions, which makes them both miserable.
*Don’t worry about the fact that these two messages are contradictory. Gregoire doesn’t, and neither do the women who read her blog.
**Not only does Gregoire teach wives to do the opposite of what the Apostles Peter and Paul teach wives in the Bible, but her inverted view of headship is quite strong (even if we leave out Gregoire’s doctrine of emotions as divine compass). Gregoire clearly believes in a very robust interpretation of headship; she just wants to reorder the roles.