A Christian Look at Domestic Violence

So many Christians do not understand domestic abuse. They often teach that a Christian wife should just submit and pray harder. This booklet looks at what the Bible teaches about abusive behavior using the story of David and Saul as an example. Obviously, the relationship between Saul and David was not the same as the relationship between a husband and wife, it was more like that of a father and son. However, the general abuse dynamics are the same and it is a very interesting study. This study would be very good to share with a pastor or anyone who you feel needs more insight into abuse.

Teaching Children How To Appolgize

JoEllen from CuppaCocoa explains how to teach children A Better Way To Say Sorry.  This method is phenomenal as are the results of teaching it.  As Dara Stoltzfus said on the Facebook page for this site.

I’ve used this approach with my kids and it’s really the best way to go. Just forcing the “I’m sorry” thing doesn’t help anyone or teach kids “why” they should be sorry. I find too that when you talk to them about what they did wrong, once they’re used to this way of apologizing, they do it on their own. They will spontaneously offer an apology and ask forgiveness without being prompted to do so once they understand “why” what they did was wrong.

And, the funny thing is…once my oldest…did something and then she came to me and asked me to forgive her and I realized at that moment that here…I’d been wanting to wallow in my anger. I wanted to stay mad at her. I wanted to somehow “make her suffer” for what she’d done (the effects of having been spanked showing thru in me) and when she asked me that I had to deal with that IN ME.

Thoughtful parenting really changes US in such amazing ways.

This post is part of a larger series on How To Shape Children’s Behavior.

She also has some good marriage advice.

What Is A Helpmeet?

If you think that woman was made only to serve man then you need to read Dan Wilkin­son’s explaination of what the Bible means by Helpmeet.

Wifely Submission

Dulce de Leche has a series on Wifely Submission

Part 1 Intro
Part 2 Before The Fall
Part 3 The Fall
Part 4 What God Has Joined Together
Part 5 Wives, Submit Yourselves to Your Husbands
Part 6 Spiritual Leadership
Part 7 Who Makes the Final Decision?

Also Eric Pazdziora explores The Myth of the Weaker Vessel.

Is Debi Pearl to Blame?

Livinginblurredlines shares how the advice in Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet negatively affected her marriage.  However she does not want to put the blame on Debi Pearl saying,

Blaming Debi Pearl’s “Created To Be His Helpmeet” book for what I am going through is like blaming a cookbook for your burned dinner.

I’m not so sure I agree with that. If the cookbook tells me to cook the dinner for 30 minutes at 350 and I cook the dinner for 3o minutes at 350 and it burns, I’m going to warn people that the cookbook has some bad information in it.  Sure, I should have kept an eye on the food and noticed if it started burning and saved my dinner.  But whether I saved my dinner or not, the cookbook has shown itself to contain unreliable information and people should be warned about it.

That said, she makes some  good points, especially that one should look to God first and foremost.  Amen.

More on Created To Be His Help Meet

Sheila Wray Gregoire discusses Debi Pearl, Wife Abuse and True Submission in Submission Doesn’t Mean Lying Over And Taking It.   The discussion in the Comments is also very interesting.  It was there that I found he following link:

Natalie at Dusty Feet has been working on a very detailed book review of Created To Be His Help Meet.

A Complementarian’s Concerns With Created To Be His Help Meet

Complementarian Tim Challies analyses Debi Pearl’s book, Created To Be His Help Meet and points out his concerns with the teachings therein.

Part 1 looks at the harsh and critical spirit and the foolish counsel.

Part 2 looks at “poor theology, poor use of Scripture and far too little gospel.”

This is an excellent review to share with complementarians.

Abuse Without Hitting

Dulce de Leche features an anonymous testimony about the damage of emotional and mental abuse in But He Never Hit Her.

A Warning About Extreme Submission

Mrs. Jacks shares her testimony of How Submission Books Nearly Ruined her Marriage.

What Does The Bible Teach About Unquestioned Submission?

Bob Bixby looks at what the story of Ananias and Sapphira teaches us about Unquestioned Submission in, Sapphira – When Standing by Your Man Will Kill You.

How To Be A Good Wife

Aubry Grace  looks at the fallacy of trying to follow the advice in books like Created To Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl and An Excellent Wife by Martha Peace in her post, The Gospel Driven Marriage: How To Be A Good Wife.  Excellent advice which I think every married person should read.

And in the interest of fairness, here is a good post for the unmarried to read. <3

Wife Only Submission vs Mutual Submission

I have noticed a confusion about the difference between WOS (Wife Only Submission) and MS (Mutual Submission) so I would like to clarify the difference and add some thoughts.

WOS is the belief that, in marriage, husbands are not obligated/called to submit to their wives out of reverence for Christ.

MS is the believe that husbands and wives are both obligated/called to submit to their spouse (and others) out of reverence for Christ.

WOS is often tied with patriarchy — which is the philosophy that, in marriage, the male has authority over his wife due to his gender.

In my opinion, patriarchy can be mostly-healthy, when the man is choosing sacrificial love towards his wife and/or when he uses his perceived authority in wise and godly ways — which would generally include trust, respect some ‘delegation’ of that perceived authority, etc.

In that ‘mostly-healthy patriarchy’ case, WOS is not what is truly going on — because ‘sacrificial love’ fits the Biblical definition of ‘submission’, even if neither spouse would use that word for it, and even though it depends on the (in my opinion, inaccurate) perception of inherent male authority. If the husband is submitting to his wife (by loving her sacrificially) that is a MS scenario, and anything else is just semantics.

The reason WOS (the idea that males are not obligated/called to submit to their wives out of reverence for Christ) is a bigger problem than ‘mostly-healthy patriarchy’ is because if men do not submit to their wives (no matter what vocabulary they prefer to use about it) they are not obeying God’s commands to them, and that’s a problem — often a problem that has effects on many others (the wife, children, children’s spouses, grandchildren). It’s hard for me to see people ‘normalizing’ the disobedience of one gender, while twisting the obedience of the other gender to compensate for it.

Now I believe that the NT describes a situation in which a husband had legal and civic responsibility over his wife, who was, by law his property. He had the full authority granted to him by the Roman government, and he could not ignore it. No one could.

Therefore I find it quite understandable that, in reading the New Testament some readers would draw the conclusion that because that hierarchy is described in the Bible, it is to be understood as ‘the right thing’ for Christians. I hold nothing against people who have honestly come to this conclusion — it’s easy to come by!

Patriarchy was the building block of Roman society. Equality between men and women would have been illegal. Therefore the New Testament gives commands as-to how a man with legal/civic authority is still capable of submitting to his wife, and is not exempt from the command to do so.

Therefore I consider marriages that involve ‘presumed authority’ of the male, ONLY WHEN combined with proper Christian submission (to each other) — to be within the Bible’s definition of a godly way to live.

Patriarchy-with-mutual-submission worked for the 1st Century Roman Christians, and it can work for our brothers and sisters if they want it to. We have no place to stand against them as if their conclusions and choices were sin.

What can’t work (as far as I can possibly see) is patriarchy-without-mutual-submission… because the belief that some Christians are free not to submit to other Christians (for reasons of gender and marital status) is completely out of step with the Bible — encouraging disobedience to direct commandments as well as disregarding the very core of the character of the Christlife.

Patriarchy can hurt people — and does — but it does not always hurt people, and it can be done ‘well’ according to the New Testament.

WOS (the belief that husbands are free to behave unsubmissively towards their wives) is the real poison. Living with someone who claims Christ but lives with a me-before-you attitude, and believes and preaches that it is right and proper to do so… that’s just not right… and people are definitely going to get hurt.

My Thoughts on Submission

Ever since my good friend, GreenGem, posted her Thoughts On Leadership I have been pondering my own thoughts on submission. When someone actually emailed me to ask me whether I believed in Wife Only Submission (WOS) or Mutual Submission (MS) I pondered even harder.  Now I am feeling led to solidify my thoughts.

MS starts with Eph 5:21 which says, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”  WOS starts with Eph 5:22-24 which says, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.” (Note that the words in brackets are not in the original Greek but were added by the translators.) Crystal Lutton has very good explanations of what the word, “submit” means, and what the word, “head” means.  You might also  want to read this explanation for more information.  I’m very thankful for theses explanations because I knew that I did not agree with the patriarchy explanation which leads to so much abuse. I have seen many healthy marriages which claim to believe in WOS yet they are really following MS. This is not to say that a WOS marriage cannot be healthy, I just have not met any.

Now, I’d like to note that both those verses are followed by Eph 5:25 which says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”  It occurs to me that I have never seen anyone teaching Husband Only Love (HOL.)  It seems obvious to everyone that the wife is still supposed to love her husband.  The fact that this passage tells the man to love  his wife and does not tell the woman to love her husband seems to suggest  if the man is loving his wife, she will naturally love him in return.  So, maybe if the wife is submitting to her husband’s will while he is loving her, his natural reaction is to want to please her and so will naturally submit his will to what she wants.  So, as they love each other and submit to each other, they work together to try to meet each other’s needs.  Which is exactly how I understand MS.

Note, someone commented below that the Bible says that women should love their husbands in Titus 2:4.  I would like to point out that while Eph 5:25 uses the word agape (perfect and sacrificial love), Titus 2:4 uses a variation of phileo (brotherly/family love).  Also, the Bible teaches in many places that we should love everyone.

An Open Letter to Debi Pearl

Another wife has tried and tested Debi Pearl’s Book, Created To Be His Help Meet and found that it nearly destroyed both her and her marriage. She tells her story in An Open Letter To Debi Pearl.

Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of).

Created to be his Help Meet – A Review (sort of) is an exposé of Created To Be His Help Meet. He does a very good job of responding to the problematic parts of this book with Biblical corrections.

ThatMom Responds to Joy about Debi Pearl

I just came across an interesting post from ThatMom about Debi Pearl and her book, Created To Be His Helpmeet. She is responding to Joy, who defended Debi Pearl in a comment on a previous post back in March of 2010:

Responding to Joy about Debi Pearl

Behind Closed Doors

Glenys shares a heartbreaking and powerful blog entry about an abusive marriage and exposes how damaging the advice contained in Created To Be His Helpmeet, by Debi Pearl, is.

Kristina’s Keepsakes review of CTBHH

Kristina’s Keepsakes has started a series analyzing the Pearls’ books, starting with Created To Be His Helpmeet.
Created To Be His Helpmeet Part 1
Created To Be His Helpmeet Part 2

Responses to Created To Be His Helpmeet and other marital advice

Spunky’s Blog entry about Created To Be His Helpmeet

The Pearls Respond to the Blogs by Spunky

“Created to Be His Help Meet” discussion

Today, I’ll let Mr. Pearl speak for himself… by Rebecca

I feel sorry for Debi and Michael Pearl! from Emotional Abuse and Your Faith

is debi pearl’s “created to be his helpmeet” really biblical? by ThatMom

Razorbackmama’s commentary of Created To Be His Helpmeet