Some readers of my recent series on the book Every Man’s Marriage may feel that I’ve unfairly lumped Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker in with complementarians. After all, their book teaches that the wife is the master, and that the husband’s job is to submit to her, to comply with her soul essence in all things. On page 90 Fred explains that he is Brenda’s slave for life, and she is his “master”. But on page 93 they caution not to fall into the feminist trap of making your wife your master (emphasis mine):
Remember, we’re not talking about abdicating the crown when you choose to mutually submit. We’re talking about abdicating your style. Playing Chief Tiebreaker will trample your wife’s convictions and eat away at her soul essence. She’ll never blossom under that scenario, and there’ll be no oneness. You won’t experience intimacy.
Of course, we must be wise as we become Chief Servant, because there are two sides to the coin of mutual submission. On one side are those men who think they’re kings of the realm, and they lord that role over their wives. This attitude creates resentment and imbalance in the relationship. On the flip side are those men who have abdicated their godly role of male leadership because of feminism. In other words they make their wife king of the realm, deferring to their wives and failing to take leadership.
This is the soul essence of complementarianism; they don’t believe that men should succumb to feminism, but instead practice headship and submission, just like Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker teach.
Alternately, if you read the quote immediately above and your first thought was:
Aha! I knew Dalrock was holding out on me! Sure they teach some terrible things, but they teach some good things too!
Then you might be a complementarian.