It's just not workin' for them

Many times I've come across women who are very dogmatic about laying down their identity, goals and desires for the man they are married to.  (The man becomes their identity, goal and desire.)  Or they are strong believers in the whole, "my husband leads me in my walk with God" way of thought.  There are countless sermons or articles supporting this view and many well known and respected ministries teach this.

 For a long time I've believed that good marriages exist with a foundation of mutual respect, and each person keeping the other's dreams, goals and desires as important as their very own.  There are shared goals and dreams, of course.  But there are also personal ones, and I do not believe a marriage license automatically means you abandon them.  Dr. Stephen Betchen , marriage therapist says, ""You need to maintain appropriate boundaries, allow each other a sense of individuality and independence. Support each other's hopes and dreams."

 Before we are a wife, we are a daughter of God.  We are God's and God's alone and have to answer to Him as individuals.   When you stand before God in heaven, your spouse will not stand with you.  So you better know what you believe and have your own thing going on with God.  You can't go to heaven on your spouse's coat tails any more than you could get there tied to your mama's apron strings. 

I can pick up my Bible all by myself, and it's a good thing.  I have my own hotline to God.  I don't go through anyone else to get to Him, including my husband.

Thankfully I'm married to somebody who believes the same and in fact when we wrote our marriage vows, that's part of exactly what he said to me:  "Deanna, knowing that Christ is first in your life I will fulfill my role as your second love.  I will also keep your dreams and desires as important as my very own."  To me, back then, it was just a no brainer that of course I would have a husband that would do that.  But the longer I live and the more I notice people around me I see that it's a rare thing.  I have friends whose husbands are the same way mine is but they are few and far between.  He also respects the fact that I can hear from God all on my own and don't need him to be my prophet, priest or king.   (I recently heard a pastor's wife introduce her husband before he preached and she said, "And now I want to introduce you to my King..." and I thought I would just throw up...really, it wasn't endearing in fact to me it was kind of SCARY.)  Anyway...

Here's what I'm noticing!  It's a fascinating thing I've been discovering.  When I look at these marriages up close and personal, I am noticing a starling thing.   In most of these marriages there has been a moral failure somewhere in their past or in some cases a complete breakdown and divorce.  If they divorce of course, everyone knows it.  But lately I've had an insider peek into the private lives of some couples lives who are not divorced but have significant failures in their past.  Many of the marriages that subscribe to this type of thinking or lifestyle have affairs, porn addiction, and other toxic behaviors on the part of the husband.  The other day I started just mentally filing through all the people I know who hold these beliefs who also have or have had serious issues, and told Larry I have to believe there's a connection!  He agrees with me.  And all I wanna say to this is, "how much longer are some people gonna live that way before they see it's just not workin' for them?"

Larry is my best friend, partner, lover.  However he IS NOT:

  • My Savior.
  • The one who directs my spiritual journey.
  • My hotline to God.
  • Someone I am expected to abandon my God given identity, life goals, dreams and desires for.
  • Someone I need to protect me from "outside forces".  (Yes, I've actually heard that.  FYI folks, I married Larry Shrodes, not Jim Jones or David Koresh.)
Even soft patriarchy slides ever so quickly  into abuse.   Control or abuse may initially be disguised as care or concern.  I also believe that when a wife subscribes to this way of thinking or lifestyle it causes her husband to think less of her.  We teach people how to treat us, and instead of this mindset endearing you to a man I think it creates an atmosphere of disrespect.

It would be one thing if I saw testimonial to the fact that this lifestyle or mindset was working for a majority of people but the fact is with the lion's share of them there are just too many skeletons in the closet for me to buy it.


Leanne said…
Sending you major kudos and high-fives from halfway across the country!!! The sad thing is, when women finally realize that this life isn't working for them, they will abandon their faith, because to them patriarchy = Jesus. A prime example of the Pharisees gaining a convert and making them twice as fit for hell as they are themselves. The patriarchal mindset is not only wrong - it's dangerous!!!
Hi Deanna

I really enjoyed this article...

Should you be interested I have recently started blogging (from S.A.)


Leanne, it is so ingrained with so many out there, (we re blessed that the AG at least on paper and with our top execs doesn't believe it) but other denoms, they do on paper and in practice. And, as far as the church folks go it doesn't make it easy that major ministries across the country have conferences and even "romantic weekends away with your spouse" that are designed for nothing but bringing patriarchy more into vogue than it is now. I know I'm preaching to the choir here...
Thanks Suzette, I'll check it out!