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Can you help me with some biblical arguments?

post #1 of 47
Thread Starter 
I am not as versed in the Bible as I'd like to be, but there are things that I feel are fundamentally wrong that my husband argues as 'it says in the Bible...'

First, wifely submission. I am all about MUTUAL submission, MUTUAL respect, etc. He believes that the bible gives him free reign to do whatever he wants. He believes that the Bible gives him permission to say 'jump!' and I will say 'how high?' I feel that there should be repect, I feel that we should come to decisions together. I do not get a say in anything. I do everything around the house, all of the chores, all of the child-rearing, etc. I set out his underwear for him in the morning. I make his breakfast. I fetch every glass of water, every snack, anything he needs. I am to drop whatever else I am doing to serve him. I have to ask permission before I do something as wild as going to the library. And many times I am not allowed to go for one reason or the other. All of this he justifies as the Bible saying that wives should submit fully to their husbands. When I am not 'subservient' enough I am called 'the dumbest woman that ever lived' and much, much worse. His family even gave me the book 'Created to be his Help Meet' by Debi Pearl. Garbage!

I do not feel that this is right and I want a valid argument.

Secondly, 'The Rod'
I believe in gentle discipline. He believes 'spare the rod, spoil the child' Are there any arguments in the Bible that are anti-spanking?

Thanks a lot.
post #2 of 47
Honestly, and I mean this with gentleness and respect: what your husband is doing is abusive and wrong. He using the Bible as a scapegoat for controlling you. Personally, I would *refuse* to do anything for him until he treats you with respect. Yes, the Bible does speak of wifely submission, but not in an outward way. It's meant to be a spiritual submission, in letting your husband lead you to Christ. It doesn't mean letting him have the final say, or letting him do something you don't like simply because "he's the husband". The Bible also speaks of the husband loving his wife as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her. If you love and cherish someone that much then you will listen and respect them. Respect is an important part of love. If you husband does not respect you, then he does not understand what love is.
post #3 of 47
You might find this website helpful.

http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/weblog/

I would be surprised if your husband finds any biblical arguments that you give him convincing. However, if you read the passages in Ephesians that he is likely looking at, you will see that the husband is supposed to love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the church. Clearly your husband is failing at that, or you would not feel as you do; I can't imagine Jesus calling anyone dumb. I think your husband is immature.

I'm afraid that I don't have any advice, as I've never been in a situation like this. But to you, I hope he comes to see your true value.
post #4 of 47
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post #5 of 47
I am a submissive Christian wife, and my husband is the head of our household.

OTOH, what your DH is doing sounds abusive and controlling. Are you active in a church? If so, I would advise you to go to the elders or the pastor or priest and talk to them. Maybe if DH heard from other men that this is not okay, he would change.

I will pray for you.
post #6 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by angelpie545 View Post
Honestly, and I mean this with gentleness and respect: what your husband is doing is abusive and wrong. He using the Bible as a scapegoat for controlling you. Personally, I would *refuse* to do anything for him until he treats you with respect. Yes, the Bible does speak of wifely submission, but not in an outward way. It's meant to be a spiritual submission, in letting your husband lead you to Christ. It doesn't mean letting him have the final say, or letting him do something you don't like simply because "he's the husband". The Bible also speaks of the husband loving his wife as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself up for her. If you love and cherish someone that much then you will listen and respect them. Respect is an important part of love. If you husband does not respect you, then he does not understand what love is.
I do agree that it is abusive. I thought that he was a good, Christian man when I married him and found out soon after what he was really like. I have tried to refuse to do things for him and it honestly just makes things worse. I've given him the argument that the husband is supposed to love his wife as Christ loves the Church, and he argues back that if I were not so insolent and if I did things correctly and without attitude he would be able to love me that way. It's a circle. I do believe that respect is an important part of love, but apparently he does not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post
You might find this website helpful.

http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/weblog/

I would be surprised if your husband finds any biblical arguments that you give him convincing. However, if you read the passages in Ephesians that he is likely looking at, you will see that the husband is supposed to love his wife in the same way that Christ loves the church. Clearly your husband is failing at that, or you would not feel as you do; I can't imagine Jesus calling anyone dumb. I think your husband is immature.

I'm afraid that I don't have any advice, as I've never been in a situation like this. But to you, I hope he comes to see your true value.
Thank you, I recently discovered that website and I love it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissinNYC View Post
I am a submissive Christian wife, and my husband is the head of our household.

OTOH, what your DH is doing sounds abusive and controlling. Are you active in a church? If so, I would advise you to go to the elders or the pastor or priest and talk to them. Maybe if DH heard from other men that this is not okay, he would change.

I will pray for you.
We do attend church, but the church is part of the problem, IMO. His father is a deacon and I have gone to him in the past. He just asked what I did to provoke him Many members of the church know what is going on with us and they don't do anything or say anything to me. I think there are varying levels of abuse in many relationships in the church. Whether it be physical or verbal or emotional...it's there.
post #7 of 47
I'm in agreement with everyone else: what your husband is doing is controlling and abusing you, not leading you.

Regarding your husband's "spare the rod, spoil the child" argument, he may not be aware that shebet, the Hebrew word translated as "rod" can be translated in several different ways. You can translate it as "rod"- as in a stick to hit with- or you can translate it as "staff"- the thing a shepherd uses to guide his sheep- or you can translate it as "sceptre"- as in a king's sceptre, the symbol of his rightful authority. As a good shepherd doesn't need to hit his sheep, and a good king doesn't need to brutalize his people, so a good parent shouldn't need to hit his or her children.

Furthermore, the bible does not say "spare the rod, spoil the child." That line comes from Samuel Butler's satirical poem Hudibras, which mocks the Victorian lifestyle. What the bible does say, in Proverbs xiii. 24, is “He that spareth the rod hateth his son,” which can be understood as "He who does not lead his children (as a shepherd with a staff or a king with a sceptre) must hate them."
post #8 of 47
Ah, Debi Pearl. The "You'd be worse off in a duplex" book.

This is a tricky one, because I believe wifely submission is a Biblical concept. And it's not about him, it's about your relationship with God. Putting his underwear out because he'll get mad if you don't, or because he says you 'have' to put it out to be a good wife, is not honouring God; but putting his underwear out because it will make him happy and thus demonstrate your humility and love for Christ is honouring God. In other words, the Bible says that even unreasonable, unfair situations (like the slave/master one, which is obviously extreme) can be accepted with grace as an opportunity to grow in God; to love the unlovable and show the humility of Christ.

That said, it in no way means you have to accept a permanently lopsided, bizarre marriage relationship. Your husband is completely missing the point by demanding you submit - notice that the Bible always frames submission as a spiritual exercise for the wife. It never says "Husbands, make your wives submit", because in a sense, it's not about the husbands at all! And to say that his spiritual exercise of sacrificial love is contingent on your submission is a gross distortion of the passage. Corinthians does not say "Husbands, love your submissive wives if they're doing everything right". Once again, the principle is to love the unlovable for the sake of Christ - if I suddenly turned into an insolent, shrewish woman who flouted DH's every request, it would still be his duty to God to love me.

Furthermore, the Corinthians passage does enjoin mutual submission among all Christians, 'wives to husbands' simply being one example or subset of that. Look at the 'seam' where the chapter begins and read it fluidly (remembering that chapter breaks weren't part of the original text, just additions for convenience).

So, upshot of it all: If you do find yourself being insolent or angry, try to stop yourself, not because your husband deserves a Stepford wife but because God calls Christians to holiness and gentleness. In the meantime, are there any healthier spiritual influences you could throw in your husband's way? I've been around abusive Christian men and it's an ugly thing to see. I don't suppose there's any chance you could change churches, or leave a good website or book around (sorry, no idea as to titles), or enlist an older trusted friend (your father, maybe, if he's a Christian and a good choice?) to talk to him man-to-man? And of course, prayer... lots of prayer. I can help with that.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm saying "buckle down and take it". Abusive behavior isn't OK. I can't tell from your post just how seriously you take it (ie, would you call it abusive or just "he's being a jerk"?), but if you feel you need to separate, do so. You don't have to divorce him if it's against your convictions, but I think most Christians would agree that separation for emotional abuse is absolutely justified. In your situation I'd be tempted to leave for a few weeks with the statement "Honey, if you want a Biblical marriage we'll work on one together" and require some very good Christian counselling to follow.
post #9 of 47
Your husband is a lazy jerk and spoiled brat. the other part of that verse is that the husband is to lay down his life for his wife as Christ laid down his life for the church. He was a humble servant to his disciples and always took the place of least importance. How you respond to your husband and to what end is between you and Christ. I do believe you can bring glory to God and peace to your home and joy to your husband by being a submissive loyal wife even to the least deserving husband. But whatever you do should be done unto God and for Him and has nothing to do with your husband. You also can't look at it as a magic cure all to your husbands issues. I think a lot of people preach it that way but sometimes nothing good comes of it. You won't be rewarded for it this side of heaven. What your role is and what your husbands roles are and how you two do the dance of love is between you and him and Christ. But submission is not servitude abuse and control. Also submission, to be submission is to be voluntary. otherwise you are just being forced into service and that misses the point.
post #10 of 47
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Ah, Debi Pearl. The "You'd be worse off in a duplex" book.

This is a tricky one, because I believe wifely submission is a Biblical concept. And it's not about him, it's about your relationship with God. Putting his underwear out because he'll get mad if you don't, or because he says you 'have' to put it out to be a good wife, is not honouring God; but putting his underwear out because it will make him happy and thus demonstrate your humility and love for Christ is honouring God. In other words, the Bible says that even unreasonable, unfair situations (like the slave/master one, which is obviously extreme) can be accepted with grace as an opportunity to grow in God; to love the unlovable and show the humility of Christ.

That said, it in no way means you have to accept a permanently lopsided, bizarre marriage relationship. Your husband is completely missing the point by demanding you submit - notice that the Bible always frames submission as a spiritual exercise for the wife. It never says "Husbands, make your wives submit", because in a sense, it's not about the husbands at all! And to say that his spiritual exercise of sacrificial love is contingent on your submission is a gross distortion of the passage. Corinthians does not say "Husbands, love your submissive wives if they're doing everything right". Once again, the principle is to love the unlovable for the sake of Christ - if I suddenly turned into an insolent, shrewish woman who flouted DH's every request, it would still be his duty to God to love me.

Furthermore, the Corinthians passage does enjoin mutual submission among all Christians, 'wives to husbands' simply being one example or subset of that. Look at the 'seam' where the chapter begins and read it fluidly (remembering that chapter breaks weren't part of the original text, just additions for convenience).

So, upshot of it all: If you do find yourself being insolent or angry, try to stop yourself, not because your husband deserves a Stepford wife but because God calls Christians to holiness and gentleness. In the meantime, are there any healthier spiritual influences you could throw in your husband's way? I've been around abusive Christian men and it's an ugly thing to see. I don't suppose there's any chance you could change churches, or leave a good website or book around (sorry, no idea as to titles), or enlist an older trusted friend (your father, maybe, if he's a Christian and a good choice?) to talk to him man-to-man? And of course, prayer... lots of prayer. I can help with that.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm saying "buckle down and take it". Abusive behavior isn't OK. I can't tell from your post just how seriously you take it (ie, would you call it abusive or just "he's being a jerk"?), but if you feel you need to separate, do so. You don't have to divorce him if it's against your convictions, but I think most Christians would agree that separation for emotional abuse is absolutely justified. In your situation I'd be tempted to leave for a few weeks with the statement "Honey, if you want a Biblical marriage we'll work on one together" and require some very good Christian counselling to follow.
If he weren't demanding about my being 'subservient' I would GLADLY do some submitting. I would do many of these things for him anyway, as a loving wife. Because I WANT to do these things for my husband, not because I am doing it out of fear.

I do try to stop myself from being insolent and angry. I pray about it daily. I feel the bitterness rising up in me and I try HARD to not be so angry and bitter. I feel like I am being walked all over, and I AM.

The members of the church we attend think this is acceptable. When I went to stay with my BIL and SIL for a few days because he gave me a black eye his deacon father did his best at sweeping it under the rug. Going to another church is not an option. He will not talk to members of my family because he hates them all.

I can't leave the relationship so I am trying to do whatever I can to make it better. I work hard at trying to do everything correctly, to not upset him, but it's not working out.
post #11 of 47
Gently~

I do not think any biblical arguments you give him with help him "see the light" at this time.

IMO, it is time for separation and counseling, I will be praying for you and your family. I believe your husband can change, I really do, I pray he does.
post #12 of 47
Honey, if he's given you a black eye there is no question at all that he's being abusive! How come you can't leave the relationship; are there financial reasons that would make it impossible for you to separate? There's a single parenting forum here on MDC; I don't know if you have kids, but either way you'll find lots of support and advice from mothers who have left abusive situations. I don't see any amount of submission on your part making your relationship 'better' at this stage; it's absolutely his problem, not yours. Having a perfect wife has never stopped an abusive man from being abusive. Not being angry and bitter is great, but that is not the same thing as letting him hit and dominate you. You can work on being peaceful and loving when you're in an emotionally and physically safe place - know what I mean?

I really hope my original post didn't come across as lecturing you; that wasn't my intent at all! It sounds like you're in a horrible situation, particularly with a church that's letting this happen. Is there anywhere you can go, anyone you can stay with?
post #13 of 47
It doesn't sound like this is a man you can reason with.

And as strange as it sounds, Debi's book actually says if your husband hits you (or does any other evil, unlawful thing), call the police, press charges, testify against him, and push for the law to put him through the wringer. If you are going to stay (which I'd not recommend), keep that in mind and when he and his family complains, tell them you got it from the book *they* gave you.

I believe in wifely submission. However, I have learned over time that it doesn't look the same in every marriage, and sometimes behaving like a doormat and walking on eggshells brings out the worst in a man, sadly. Especially if he comes from a background where abuse is accepted as the norm. It is possible to be strong and a good wife at the same time.
post #14 of 47
I just want to offer another voice as someone who thinks "wifely submission" as a Biblical instruction is wrong. There are plenty of Christian denominations who do not agree with it.

There are lots of Christians against spanking as well.

I hope you get out and/or get some non FIL based help.

Good luck.
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppermint View Post
Gently~

I do not think any biblical arguments you give him with help him "see the light" at this time.

IMO, it is time for separation and counseling, I will be praying for you and your family. I believe your husband can change, I really do, I pray he does.
Yes. Please leave. It sounds like you may be in danger. Is there a domestic violence shelter you can call? Or perhaps family? If he hits you, call the police *immediately* and press charges. This will help your case as it builds a paper trail.
post #16 of 47
People who use religion as a means to maintain control of others are sick and abusive.

Please contact your local YWCA and get some help. I realize that seems drastic. But you are NEVER going to be 'good enough' for this guy.

I was a part of that mentality once. That belief system, while it may work for a few relationships, by far breeds a silent undercurrent of masochistic and abusive men who wave A BOOK to justify disrespecting. manipulating, and abusing their partners.

I'm sorry you are going through this, I hope you are able to find peace in your life soon.
post #17 of 47
I could help you with biblical arguments, but I'm not going to waste my time because it is clear that he will not listen to reason. He is abusing you. You need to figure out a way to get away from him.
post #18 of 47
I'm sorry to butt in here ... but he is so abusive. And he's already hit you - that is SO very serious.

What if his behavior escalates, and it's not a black eye next time? Your children may not be safe if he's OK with beating them.

This is not a man with whom you can reason. This is an abuser - physically, emotionally, and in all other areas.

You need to get out, and you need help. Contact a domestic abuse hotline. They can give you a list of resources that can help you. I'd also start contacting a lawyer. Whatever you do - do NOT confront him alone. He could kill you. Seriously.

Please be careful. Your life (and your children) could be in danger.
post #19 of 47
If he's hitting you it's much more serious than I thought. I also looked at a few of your older posts, and it seems like an extreme situation to me. God does not want you in this situation, and he sure doesn't want children to experience or see it. I think that you need to leave and take your children. It sounds like you have some family, could they help?

If you can't get away because he is keeping you isolated, you may have to make a plan. Take the kids swimming or something and don't come back. Find a contact at a local women's shelter on the internet, and make a plan for them to come and get you all when your husband is not home. If you have internet you can talk to people even if he takes your phone.

Other churches would help you too. If you are worried about them supporting your husband, go for some of the larger, more hierarchical denominations like the Roman Catholics, they will have policies about what they are supposed to do to help you.
post #20 of 47
I remember your previous statements regarding your husband and this is nothing the bible will help you with. He is an abuser plain and simple and the bible is his excuse not his reason. You say you cannot leave and want to make it better but you cannot. You can either survive or die and he will control which happens not you. You are sacrificing your childrens emotional and, possibly, physical health and that is wrong no matter what you choose for yourself. You are setting your children up to live a life like the one you are living and considering your life that is the last thing you should want.
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