Marriage structures

This topic is very important, and I have put a lot of thought into this before writing this post. The main question that I am going to address in this post is:

Is being ‘too controlling’ a sin for leadership positions?

and

Is it a sin for a wife to be ‘subservient’ in marriage?

Generally speaking, in Christian — or shall we say Churchian — circles there’s the implicit or explicit “acknowledgement” by teachers that those who are in leadership are in sin if they are “too controlling.” Obviously, the greatest area where this topic comes up is in marriage.

Many women are “fearful” or “worried” if a husband is being too controlling. Hence, if a husband is “too controlling” and a wife submits to this she is in also in the “sin of subservience.”

As a firm advocate of Patriarchy I believe these both to be false. Dalrock has explored this in a number of recent posts including this one: Sarah was a doormat by complementarian standards as are her daughters.

Churchian delusions

Generally speaking, churchian leadership likes to be intrusive into various marriages dictating what is true and what is false. This is to say that husbands are called to be “servant leaders” or “spiritual leaders” rather than just “headship” as the Scriptures call it because they need qualifiers and limitations on how husbands are to act in their own marriages.

This appears to be a mistake as the Scriptures affirm that marriages have a separate authority structure which connects in the Church in different ways. Indeed, the Scriptures affirm headship as Christ loved to Church and to treat her as his own body thrice; however, they don’t necessarily prescribe the ways in how this is to occur.

Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church [q]in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband.

Similarly, wives are called to submit to their husbands in all things. This includes teaching at the Church.

1 Corinthians 15:34 The women are to keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but are to subject themselves, just as the Law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is [n]improper for a woman to speak in church. 36 [o]Was it from you that the word of God first went forth? Or has it come to you only?

Why are women — or perhaps wives — told to keep silent in Churches? Well, 1 Corinthians latter chapters speak mostly of order in the Church. That is those who speak out in Church are disruptive. God is not a God of chaos but of order. However, the other lesson that is less brought up here is that tasks are delegated to the husband because of the way authority work in establishing order. This is important because the Scriptures continually affirm headship and submission in marriage as it’s own sphere.

Now, the reason why “being too controlling” as a husband is not a sin and why I do not believe in the “sin of subservience” is because each marriage is different. What works for one marriage within the bounds of Scriptural guidelines may be different from another. However, is one better than the other? No. Is one wrong while the other is right? No again.

For example, take a supposedly “controlling husband” and a “subservient wife.” The husband likes order in everything he does, and he wants everything done a specific way. This is not wrong. It is simply a leadership preference. Likewise, a wife who submits to her husband in such a manner is not in sin. She likes and needs a strict structure in order to be the most effective helpmeet in her marriage. This is a pairing where both obedient to the Scripture and fulfilled in their roles and responsibilities. However, many churchian leaders would call such a marriage a sin.

Simply put, there are many different types of leadership styles that men may have. Some range from strict to loose. In the same way, there are many different types of personalities that women have as well. Some do well with more structure, and some do well with less. This is important because it means that a woman who wants to be a wife and mother should only accept marriage to a man who meets her particular leadership style. If she wants more structure then she is not in sin even if others say she is sinning because she is subservient to husband.

If the husband wants an “egalitarian marriage” then it is up to him to use his headship in that manner. I think it is unwise to do this because this makes making final decisions much more difficult. However, it is his choice to rule his own household in this way. This does not make a marriage in reality an “egalitarian marriage” because the husband is still commanded by God to the role and responsibility of headship.

This leads me to my main point: Churchian leaders and Christians need to butt out of other people’s marriages, especially calling them a “sin” when there is more structure than what they would call “normal.”

“Normal” is an ambiguous standard because it is most often defined by culture. What is “normal” in culture regarding marriage? Egalitarian marriage. Hence, we see that complementarians have gone to great lengths to define marriage closer to what culture has said is “normal” so that they aren’t classified as extremists. They shy away from calling headship as it is and lean toward the gerrymandered phases of “servant leader” and “spiritual leader” that I mentioned prior.

A health marriage may take on many forms. Some will have a lot of structure within them which may make them appear strict and controlling. However, such structures are not a sin because they are all within the bounds of the headship-submission marriage relationship. Some will have very little structure which may make them appear with more “freedom.” However, these are not inherently “better” than a stricter marriage.

Likewise, is a man wants to rule his marriage with egalitarian means I think it is unwise but he can do what he wishes. Let us not be under the delusion that it is actually an egalitarian marriage as that is the way that the man has chosen to rule. This is the same thing as gay marriage. Because God is the ultimate authority, gay marriage does not exist. Humans can think it exists and manufacture laws to govern it, but it still does not exist.

Submission taken too far?

There is no such thing as submission taken too far. However, there is such thing as false humility in submission. There are quite a few examples of wives on various blogs who have taken submission into their own hands. Let me explain.

For example, a husband has a particular way to rule his own family and the wife is doing well in that structure. However, after she has talked with a mentor, read a book, or read a blog or two on the topic of submission, she now has the impression that she was “not submitting properly to her husband before.” Now, instead of working well within her husbands structure for the family she becomes a self proclaimed “doormat” in which she never expresses her opinions, does everything her husband wants, and even does some things that her husband doesn’t want under the guise of “being more submissive.

What typically ends up happening is that this leaves the wife feeling poorly about everything and generally unfulfilled. Then the husband has to have some awkward conversation with his wife where he says he ‘just wants his wife back’ and that she was being weird about things.

Such examples are often used as an example to show that “being a doormat” or “subservience” in a marriage is bad thing. However, this is false.

In reality what happened is that the wife was embroiled in an example of the insidious nature of false humility. The wife decided unilaterally that she knew best what was the right way to be a helpmeet to husband. Although she had the right intentions of being submissive to her husband, she was actually being rebellious to how her husband wanted the marriage to be run in the first place. Thus, conflict came up between them which needed resolution.

Right intentions are good! However, the right intentions must be applied properly. After all, there is some truth to the phrase that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Therefore, wives often get the impression that “being a doormat” or “subservient” is a bad thing from this experience. However, what they miss from this scenario is that they were actually being inadvertently rebellious. They were listening to other people, books, or blogs on how to be submissive to their own husbands instead of listening to their own husband on how to be submissive to them.

Hence, when a wife who has went through this experience sees a marriage with “more structure,” she often believes that the wife is in sin because she is being a “doormat” or “subservient.” This wrong impression causes wives to attempt to butt into other people’s marriages in order to correct this sin when in reality they may be introducing dysfunction or malcontent into an otherwise Godly and healthy relationship.

Conclusions

  • It is not a “sin” if a husband is “too controlling”
  • Neither is it a “sin” if a wife is “too subservient”
  • Some marriages have much more structure than other marriages which may make the husband appear ‘controlling’ and the wife appear ‘subservient.’ It is not a sin, unlike many Churchians would have you to believe. Calling them a sin may be the real sin.
  • Churchian leaders and Christians need to butt out of other people’s marriages, especially calling them a “sin” when there is more structure than what they would call “normal.”
  • Husbands have the choice to rule their marriages how they want: more structure, less structure, or even in an apparent ‘egalitarian manner.’
  • A husband ruling his marriage in an ‘egalitarian manner’ is probably unwise due to making final decisions much more difficult.
  • Wives who listen to other people, books, or blogs about how to be submissive tend to run into conflict with their husbands because they think they now know what ‘submission’ is and how to go about it. This is not a “sin of subservience” or “being a doormat” rather it is insidious false humility that others know more about your marriage than your husband.
  • Wives who have had those ‘bad experiences’ with being ‘too submissive’ may see other marriages that are godly and healthy and offer incorrect teaching when they see “more structure” in a marriage than normal because they think it is dysfunctional when it is not. Hence, wives need to be vigilant about giving any other advice rather than “submit to your husband the way your husband sees fit” because they may introduce malcontent and dysfunction into other marriages if they offer any other advice.

Finally, for those who are single:

Christian men who desire to be married should aim to find a wife who meshes with his leadership style. If you want more structure in your marriage, then attempt to find a wife who thrives under more structure. If you want less structure in your marriage, then find a wife who thrives with more so-called freedom.

If a Christian woman who desires to be married likes more structure then only marry a Christian man who likes structure in his marriage. Likewise, if a Christian woman who desires to be married does not like a lot of structure then she should choose a man who has a more laid back leadership style. If each woman gets married to a man who has different leadership preferences than her then it will make things difficult.

Personally, I lead through a more laid back leadership style. I am very firm about things that are important to the health of the relationship. Yet, I am more laid back in the everyday choices of life, but I will make decisions easily if required. If I see marriages that have more or less structure and control than my relationship, I need to be vigilant that they are not necessarily “wrong” or “in sin” because they operate differently.

Be vigilant not to call marriages with more or less structure than yours sin as you may be heaping such judgment onto yourself.

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33 Responses to Marriage structures

  1. Neguy says:

    Great post.

    You hit on a critically important point. The church today, esp. the Evangelical one, treats the husband’s leadership of the home as delegated authority from the church. This is false. The household is an independent sphere of authority, like the government and like the economic sphere. The husband is no more under the authority of the pastor of a church when it comes to the way he runs his home than Barack Obama is in the way he runs the country. This is very clear from both Ephesians and 1 Peter.

    Mark Driscoll more or less invited women to use the elders of Mars Hill as a “court of appeals” when their husband wouldn’t do what they wanted. Jason Meyer at Bethlehem Baptist (John Piper’s successor) did the same. I haven’t seen Matt Chandler directly say this, but he definitely does stress that women should stay away from men who are not under the authority of the church, and given his overall treatment of the topic, it’s not hard to infer he probably feels the same way as the other two.

  2. Pingback: Marriage structures – Manosphere.org

  3. Dragonfly says:

    This is interesting, Deepstrength. I think you’re right that looking at someone else’s marriage and not knowing all the details and saying that they’re “being a doormat” could cause dysfunction. What I see usually is that a person may be in a victim mentality and want to garner sympathy for their situation as well as vent and complain about it to anyone who will listen.

    I do think there is such a thing as being too submissive, to the point where it’s disrespectful to your husband… April writes on that topic some, and I think it falls into what you’re saying about false humility. She (the wife) really thinks she’s doing the right thing and usually sees herself as the victim. She’s the ever-martyr and her husband is the bad guy who can never be pleased, and at some level, she perpetuates this cycle by annoying him with constantly being “too submissive” – falsely humbling herself with deep resentment inside.

    And on the other hand, I really do think husbands can be too controlling, I’m sure that’s not a popular line of thought in the manosphere, but there really are abusive situations and toxic people that get married and perpetuate the situation by not seeking help for how to relate in better ways. At the same time though, I don’t feel it’s my responsibility at all, to tell someone that he’s too controlling, definitely more of a man’s job to step in, and even then, if it’s not real physical abuse, I think getting the wife to respond better and in healthier ways is better than trying to overtly “change his style” of leadership.

    Hope that’s not confusing… :/

  4. Dragonfly says:

    Stingray had a post awhile back on this about men being either dominant (positive masculinity expressed) or domineering (which translates into arrogance and yes, “controlling” qualities).

    Also… regarding wives being falsely humble and acting too submissive and annoying their husbands, I do think it can be a sin. And being arrogant/prideful is a sin… so it’s crazy complicated!

  5. @ Dragonfly

    And on the other hand, I really do think husbands can be too controlling, I’m sure that’s not a popular line of thought in the manosphere, but there really are abusive situations and toxic people that get married and perpetuate the situation by not seeking help for how to relate in better ways. At the same time though, I don’t feel it’s my responsibility at all, to tell someone that he’s too controlling, definitely more of a man’s job to step in, and even then, if it’s not real physical abuse, I think getting the wife to respond better and in healthier ways is better than trying to overtly “change his style” of leadership.

    The only place I would see if something is “Too Controlling” is if there is “Obvious Sin.”

    Thus, it’s not a control problem but a sin problem. It would be irresponsible to call it a control problem. I think it’s pretty clear that “physical abuse” falls into the category of “obvious sin.”

    The problem is that both “control” and “abuse” are keywords of SJWs and their leftist allies to be used as attacks on men even though women do each of those things at the same rates (physical abuse) or greater (verbal abuse, control).

    Hence, it’s better to call it a sin problem rather than use the already contextually loaded misandrist words.

  6. @ Dragonfly

    Stingray had a post awhile back on this about men being either dominant (positive masculinity expressed) or domineering (which translates into arrogance and yes, “controlling” qualities).

    Yep, that’s precisely what I’m against. It’s flat out wrong.

    A man who wants something done “his way” is classified by some as arrogant and domineering.

    Who is classifying what is ‘arrogant’ or ‘domineering’? The wife? The Church? Unfortunately, it’s the same thing with classifying ‘verbal abuse’ or ’emotional abuse.’

    Each woman may be different in what she thinks is “domineering” or “arrogant.” I have a friend who is “arrogant” in the way he does things and brags about many things. Some girls hate him for it. Some girls love him.

    It’s too vague to mean anything.

    This is why I defined marriages by “more structure” and “less structure.” Those with less structure tend to think that a marriage with more structure may be “more controlling” or the man is “arrogant” and “domineering” wanting things “his way.”

    But in reality, it’s not that way. It’s simply different and can work for them.

    Judging other marriages according your marriage is bad, bad news.

  7. Dragonfly says:

    Well, it’s still an interesting post she did, I do agree with Stingray here on the difference and how it could ruin a marriage (it’s still sin even if SJWs try to confuse it).

    Here’s her post if you’re interested or haven’t read it, even the comments are good, especially Deti’s comment:

    “There’s a difference between a man who is dominant and a man who is domineering.
    A dominant man takes charge and leads. A domineering man is demanding, arrogant, churlish and unpleasant. A dominant man protects and leads those under his charge. A domineering man cracks the whip, pushes too hard and then complains when things don’t go his way. A dominant man commands respect by his mien and bearing, and his wife and children are safe and secure with him. A domineering man gets no true respect, only superficial submission, and his wife and children secretly hate and fear him behind his back.
    It appears to me the manosphere does not advocate for male domineering. It seeks, and celebrates, male dominance.”

    https://verusconditio.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/dominance-vs-domineering/

  8. @ Dragonfly

    Yeah, that’s precisely what I’m talking about.

    What looks “domineering” or “controlling” — demanding, seemingly arrogant, unpleasant, or seemingly unkind — in another’s relationship is only that way because it’s compared to the judging person’s own and what they think is normal or abnormal in most circumstances.

    In reality, it may be “highly structured” and thus more demanding because that what works for them.

    It’s situations like these were Churchians, in particular, are extremely good at sowing discontentment and dissatisfaction in relationship where there may not be any sin in the first place.

  9. Dragonfly says:

    …. hmmm, I thought you’re saying there is no such thing as a man too domineering (too controlling), unless he crosses the line into physical abuse. You’re saying there is no such thing as too arrogant a man, too unpleasant a man, too disrespectful/dishonoring a man who is in a leadership position, which is the opposite I think of what they were trying to say in Stingray’s post :/ .

    You thoughtfully ask, “Is being ‘too controlling’ (domineering) a sin for leadership positions?”

    I think, the obvious answer is yes (for the church leadership at least):

    ““Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.

    He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”” 1 Timothy 3:1-7

  10. Dragonfly says:

    I do think it gets dangerous when a wife is going around labeling her husband as too controlling/domineering, when really he isn’t. I’ve seen that happen to men who post here, and it has ruined their whole reputations. But that is the sin of the wife slandering her husband, and falsely accusing her husband.

    Is that more what you were trying to speak to with this topic?

  11. Dragonfly says:

    On the too submissive part, I do believe women can be too submissive to the point of oppressing themselves and enabling sin in their husband’s lives. April’s thoughts on this:

    ” But many women go the opposite direction and completely give up their influence and perspective to the detriment and destruction of their marriages. A husband does not learn to be more like Christ by having a completely silent, unthinking, unfeeling, wall-flower, non-functioning wife! That is a recipe for creating a domineering, selfish, controlling, unloving tyrant! He NEEDS her active involvement, her thoughts, her feelings, her praise, her genuine admiration for what is actually good in him (not empty flattery), her desires, her skillful encouragement of his leadership.”

  12. Dragonfly says:

    More from April on women acting “too submissive” (which probably falls under false humility):

    I’d like to discuss today something that biblical submission is not because a number of women think they hear me say that biblical submission means passivity:

    “I shouldn’t ever say how I feel or what I want.
    I should have no opinions.
    I should never disagree with my husband.
    I should never share my insights, perspective, wisdom, or concerns with my husband.
    I should be quiet all the time.
    I should smile all the time.
    I should let my husband decide everything in our marriage without any input from me whatsoever.”

    There really are some women who seem to believe these things 😦

  13. @ Dragonfly

    No, that’s not what I’m saying.

    I’m saying that it’s too often the case that well-meaning-Christians see something “different” from what their own marriage looks like and think it’s “sin” or “bad” in some way. In these cases, it’s simply inciting discontentment and dissatisfaction where there is none.

    Similar analogies:

    1. They’re over there eating food sacrificed to idols! What heathens!
    2. They didn’t wash their hands before they ate… sinners!
    3. He’s hanging out with those tax collectors and sinners… he’s also a sinner!
    4. If a husband wants to be strict and demanding in his marriage he’s in “sin” because he’s “domineering” or “rude” or “not being Christ-like.”

    My main point is that if you’re interjecting into someone’s marriage outside of “obvious sin,” you need to be really careful that you’re not setting up stumbling blocks before them by sowing discontentment and dissatisfaction.

    Likewise, there is no such thing as “too submissive.” If someone is being too submissive it’s almost always “false humility” that I mentioned earlier. She is acting a certain way because other people told her, books, blogs, or whatever told her to do X, Y, and Z to be submissive rather than finding out how her husband wants her to help him.

    We know this for a fact because the Scriptures instruct wives to be submissive to unbelieving husbands who do not obey the word to win them (1 Cor 7, 1 Pet 3). Both Paul and Peter affirm it.

    I think you’re close to understanding, but it hasn’t really suck in super deeply yet. It’s a paradigm shift in thinking because of the entrenchment in shall we say “blue pill” thinking where politically correct and SJW language villifies men as bad if they want a strict or structured marriage.

    For leadership positions in the Church yes. Ruling the house with good repute is a prerequisite.

  14. Dragonfly says:

    “In these cases, it’s simply inciting discontentment and dissatisfaction where there is none.”

    So you think April blogging several posts on being “too submissive,” on being a “doormat,” on “you don’t have to lose yourself to be a godly wife,” are wrong then, because she *may* be “inciting discontent and dissatisfaction” in her readers?

    I think it is really helpful for those women so that they can learn healthy, positive ways to influence their own lives (spiritual maturity) and their husbands.

  15. @ Dragonfly

    So you think April blogging several posts on being “too submissive,” on being a “doormat,” on “you don’t have to lose yourself to be a godly wife,” are wrong then, because she *may* be “inciting discontent and dissatisfaction” in her readers?

    I think it is really helpful for those women so that they can learn healthy, positive ways to influence their own lives (spiritual maturity) and their husbands.

    Yes.

    April correctly identifies the dysfunctional situation in many women. However, where she goes astray is that she incorrectly labels something that is good as something that is bad.

    Submission is good. Too much submission is never bad. Jesus submitted to the Father in everything. It’s not bad.

    As I mentioned, the correct label is “false humility.” These women are not being “too submissive” rather they are being “false humble.” The reason why this is bad is that the women implicitly get the message that ‘submission’ or ‘too much submission’ is bad when submission is good. It’s the whole calling good evil and evil good thing. Christians want to be fully submitted to Jesus. Wives should want to be fully submitted to their husbands. That is true unity.

    Indeed, understanding this distinction is important because when you correctly identify sin you can actually repent of it:

    “Oh, I was being false humble… I can repent of that to God and learn how to actually be submissive to my husband… ask him how he wants me to be a helpmeet!”

    Whereas if there’s supposedly “too much submission” then you have to learn all of these different things you should do to “not be too submissive” which is simply very confusing and has to be met with many qualifiers.

    “How do I not be too submissive? Should I speak up here? Should I do this? How can I express my opinion in the right way?”

    You can only repent of sin if you correctly identify sin. Women obeying others, books, and blogs over their own husbands is sin. It’s not being “too submissive” (not a sin), it’s being false humble (a sin).

    This is not to say that April isn’t doing a good work. The results over there speak for themselves.

    Make sense? Do you see why (1) the distinction matters and (2) how the correctly identifying the problem makes the solution become much more clear?

  16. Dragonfly says:

    I think I finally get it now, DS, sorry.

    I see what you mean, I do think the distinction could be far more important than I’ve really dwelt on before commenting to you. I’ve read countless comments on feminist sites where women say they’ve tried the submissive thing, but that it ended them up on tranquilizers and was driving their husbands crazy. Of course we know it was false humility, but all they really saw it as was being “too submissive.” So when April writes with that title, women instantly understand it (even feminist women), and are drawn to read about it because it exposes truth and falsehoods, regardless of being labeled incorrectly. I see what you mean though about that mis-labeling could be dangerous. I think April, with labeling that, is actually countering those dissenters claims that they tried the submissive thing and that it didn’t work. She’s saying that yes, you really can go too far (in your mind) in “submitting,” but that’s not what biblical submission is.

  17. @ Dragonfly

    You’re getting closer.

    Sure, you could say it helps women relate. But, if it’s worded correctly the other way, it is much more effective at correctly identifying the problem, putting words to explain it, and introducing a solution. For example,

    That’s great. You had the right attitude and intentions here, but you were a bit off track in how you handled it. Here’s how you do it the right way.

    Instead of trying to figure out what this whole submission means on your own with other people’s advice, books, or blogs just go ask your husband instead. While those other things can be helpful and give you good ideas, they can also be unhelpful and lead you into more dissatisfaction and discontentment as you’ve discovered.

    They are not the ones who see your relationship with your husband everyday… it’s your husband. He’s the one who cares about you and has the relationship with you. It simply make sense to go talk with him about how you can both handle your roles and responsibilities — including what submission looks like in your marriage — in a godly and effective manner together.

    You don’t even have to mention false humility even though that’s what it is!

    This addresses the heart of the matter much more directly and effectively rather than beating around the bush about what constitutes being “too submissive” thereby also giving the wrong impression that you can actually be “too submissive.” It’s certainly NOT right to say: “You were doing too much of the right thing” (e.g. you were being too submissive).

    While God does use our occasionally misguided attempts to change lives, it’s almost inevitably better to learn how to more effectively identify the Heart and Truth of what the issue is so it can be tackled directly.

    While Truth feels bad at first because it makes us uncomfortable, you eventually realize that it’s a good thing after several inoculations. People are hungry for Truth.

  18. donalgraeme says:

    DS, you are right. “Too Submissive” isn’t submissive at all. It is something else entirely.

    When I submit myself to God’s authority, I don’t sit around on my posterior and wait for God to tell me to do every little thing. I don’t stop talking (praying) with Him. Being passive isn’t submitting- it is the sin of sloth.

    Also, I have to strenuously disagree with you on this part:

    However, the other lesson that is less brought up here is that the husband has authority to interpret what was said in Church when instructing his wife.

    It says no such thing- there is nothing about the husband interpreting there. Rather, what St. Paul was saying was that the husband would explain what was taught to his wife during the liturgy if she didn’t understand it during the service. In other words, she wouldn’t ask a question directly during the service, or ask her husband during the liturgy, but would instead wait until it was over and she was at home and then ask him.

  19. @ Donal

    Oops. You’re right on that front.

    I went back and changed it to:

    Why are women — or perhaps wives — told to keep silent in Churches? Well, 1 Corinthians latter chapters speak mostly of order in the Church. That is those who speak out in Church are disruptive. God is not a God of chaos but of order. However, the other lesson that is less brought up here is that tasks are delegated to the husband because of the way authority work in establishing order. This is important because the Scriptures continually affirm headship and submission in marriage as it’s own sphere.

    Thoughts?

    Also, “too submissive” in terms of what christo-feminists use as “doormats” is probably a couple different things. Sloth is a part I think, but it’s probably more peripheral in nature due to the fact that passivity does not always mean not doing anything. False humility is a large part, and there’s also some aspect of covert rebellion (e.g. “Submission should be done the way I think it should be done”).

  20. Dragonfly says:

    DS, the women that are truly stuck in that mindset, usually don’t have the mental health in order to have an adult conversation with their husband, clearly asking him what he wants and how they can both work together. It’s really sad… I’ve talked to women like this before, part of the false humility thing is constantly thinking of yourself (a form of pride or preoccupation with oneself) but thinking too lowly of yourself and reacting out of that mindset. When they pair with men who are domineering, it is not a good recipe for a healthy marriage. His anger outbursts or rages, yelling and disappointment with her or her performance, only serves to turn her more inward and into a “victim” in her own mind. It’s very toxic, and it doesn’t usually just get fixed by her being able to talk to him like an adult. Women like this refuse to act that way (or truly feel like they can’t).

  21. @ Dragonfly

    Yes, obviously it can take longer to dig them out of that mindset. That still doesn’t mean you need to make the process more complicated and also shy away from calling out particular issues like false humility and victim mentality.

    That’s also not April’s expertise either. She is blogging from the perspective of the overbearing, nagging wife.

  22. Dragonfly says:

    I don’t shy away from calling it what it is, but that takes a much more personal level of knowing someone and communication like in person or via email, unless you do it like April’s doing and confront the ways women behave that are wrong, and let them sort it out in their heads. It doesn’t usually work to point out to a woman in this mindset, that she’s actually acting in a form of pride, it doesn’t work to tell her she’s playing the martyr or victim in her situation, some women like this don’t want help and get offended when you openly accuse her of those sins. I have a friend that’s like this sadly, and she has ruined many relationships with men and with friends because of not being able to get out of that mindset. Calling out the real sin for her I think has been helpful, but it’s also “ruined” our friendship.

    Basically, the books and blogs aren’t responsible for these women’s lack of desiring to operate in healthy manners, they may make them discontent because they’re comparing their marriage to someone else’s but that is something they have to confront in themselves.

  23. Cane Caldo says:

    “Too controlling” is a euphemism for a lot of different (though often related) behaviors. This will probably shock some people familiar with me, but, yes, I think a husband can be “too controlling” in that euphemistic sense; if he’s not gentle (gentleness is relative to the circumstances), or if he’s manipulative…especially in the sense of deceiving her to get the desired reaction.

    But can a wife be too submissive? No, I don’t think so. I’m not sure I understand everything you’ve written in regards to false humility, but I could have missed a key word or phrase that would unlock for me what you mean. Regardless, I agree that a wife can’t be too submissive.

    I wouldn’t expect there to be perfect symmetry on this issue either. Women are weaker than men. I am sure that one of the ways that modern people (including Christians) decided that women could be “too submissive” was due to their acceptance of the idea of equality between the sexes because equality, by definition, demands symmetry.

  24. @ Cane

    I agree with that.

    I’m mainly talking about an outsider perspective looking in. Judging their marriage according to your marriage is dubious at best.

    Now, from an internal perspective I agree that a lack of kindness/gentleness may potentially cross the line of not becoming embittered toward the weaker sex. This is not what I’ve been referring to though.

    In regard to false humility, I’m specifically talking about where a wife believes she’s been “too submissive” and has to reign it back to become less submissive because being “too submissive” is a sin. This is similar to where beauty is called shallow which is another form of false humility.

    You’re making something that is good and calling it something bad. Then backing away from that so-called bad thing. In other words, downplaying something good as if it’s something bad: false humility.

    ——————-

    Also, Cane brings up the good point that anything within this post and/or comment thread if women/wives are supposedly learning from it they should ask their husband(s) how and if it applies.

    That’s my disclaimer for this post.

  25. @DS

    Some thoughts:

    1.
    Can a soldier ever be too submissive to his leader?
    Can a student ever be too submissive to his teacher?

    It appears to me that there is some form of “false negative” here. In other words, it doesn’t make any sense.

    2. With your disclaimer, you may consider instituting a policy for comments, especially for the women, on your blog?

    3. I am heartened by how my fiancee has been asking me about things in the Bible she doesn’t understand (e.g., why God hardened Pharoah’s heart). As her soon-to-be husband, it puts the pressure on me to be more diligent in reading and understanding Scripture. As much as I am trying to figure out where the line is drawn in terms of women speaking in Church, I am a staunch believer in women asking their fathers or husbands about the Word of God and that men should be groomed (and guided) from young about reading, understanding and teaching the Word of God.

  26. @ Choking

    It appears to me that there is some form of “false negative” here. In other words, it doesn’t make any sense.

    Yeah, I think it’s false humility… namely, you’re denigrating something that is good as something bad which leads someone to despise good. It’s basically a form of deception.

    The example that is similar is that of beauty. It’s false humility for someone to call something beautiful shallow.

    2. Indeed, I may go to some policy on womens comments sooner or later.

    3. That is good!

  27. Looking Glass says:

    @DS & chokingonredpills:

    When it comes to what the Lord expects of us, there are quite a number of subjects where, when taken conceptually, there is only one answer and no ability to change the context. The answer is its own context.

    For a visual reference, think of the Lord’s command as standing on a hill. Any shift in direction sends one careening down the hill. (The 10 Commandments being the prime example, though most others operate the same way.)

    Vanity dictates that all moral choices are on a continuum. This allows for there to always be someone “worse” than you, making you “better” than them.

  28. Cane Caldo says:

    @DS

    In regard to false humility, I’m specifically talking about where a wife believes she’s been “too submissive” and has to reign it back to become less submissive because being “too submissive” is a sin. This is similar to where beauty is called shallow which is another form of false humility.

    Got it. Absolutely right.

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