Comments by Eric following my post It doesn’t work both ways took me in a direction I didn’t expect from the topic I had chosen. Eric’s contention that there is a dearth of reference to love in marriage in the Christian manosphere is a fair charge indeed. from there however he states that if a woman is in love with a man she will submit. Specifically he said:
She would submit to a man she was in love with like a reflex, more than a consciously thought-out volitional process
This didn’t sit comfortably with me. Hastily I attempted to suggest that it is love that motivates her lack of submission. That statement was also incomplete. But I used the quick easy lazy reference to Gen. 3:16 to make my point. I did so even though i do not fully subscribe to the idea that it means very simply that a woman will wish to control her husband. Oh, she indeed does want to. But it is in my opinion more complicated than that, and it is still germane to the topic Eric raised.
That a woman loves her husband and takes that too far manifests in all sorts of issues that indeed reflect on women’s unique sin nature. Its just not so simple as to say that women are controlling and will attempt to control those they love, especially the husband. We have to sort of build up to the point where a wife being controlling is the outward manifestation of Genesis 3:16.
I read this scripture just as it is written, without contextual acrobatics that end with it stating something very different than what it says. I take it to mean exactly what it says. A woman will have a keen desire to have a husband and a family. With the rest of the fall we get childbirth pains and men having to work (weed gardens) and all the attendant things we know curse humanity until, well, until they no longer do.
Men working and women having a family (lets not argue derivatives and converses, just stay to these proclamations) have been clear principles of social order for the vast majority of history. They work together to preserve the moral and social order of human life and have restrained to varying degrees baser natures in individuals and afforded a glimpse at God’s relationship to mankind, thus giving a better opportunity that man come to know God.
These things are blessings wrapped in curses wrapped in blessings and so forth. We have the capacity to make bad out of good, good out of bad, and everything in between. The over arching case for how badly we have screwed all this up is the basic underlying reason for the existence of the Christian manosphere. But I want to get back to submission and Eric’s point and how a woman loving her husband is not a natural precursor to her submission to him. In fact the totality of churchian teaching would support Eric’s contention since they say that IF a man just love his wife well enough she will naturally fall into blissful biblical submission. Eric’s comments also support this idea that women crave authority, if you accept the premise that those men and women asserting that are assuredly referring to a woman that loves her husband.
A woman’s desire should be for God. But here we are told that her desire will be for her husband. The whole problem of rebellion vs. submission for women is summed up here. Women in a sense worship men in that they look to men for all of their physical, spiritual, and emotional cravings. This applies to the woman who serially fornicates and to the married woman of fidelity. This can be seen clearly when we come across a Christian couple that give off a greater air of contentment. One characteristic that is ubiquitous is a woman who is not seeking her identity, to solve her insecurities, and doesn’t care to manage her outward moral appearance by virtue of the portrait her and her husband paint. She and her husband are secure in their faith and submission to God.
This seems like a lot of old ground. But when you see how ultimately its the supplanting of God by women using their husbands, then trying to pray to god to change their husbands into a being who can meet needs only God can make….its not the every day twist on submission and controlling wives. The net effect is that the statement in Genesis 3:16 does lead to women being controlling. But not in a simple and straightforward way. And not in a way that simply eradicating a woman’s controlling nature will fix. More, it cannot be addressed via the typical churchian mantra on submission.
Ive pasted a version churchian teaching here, from the site “Boundless”:
In Ephesians 5:25, the apostle Paul wrote about how a husband should love his wife: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Guys, when you marry, this should be your vow, your commitment to your wife. You must be willing to sacrifice your life — if need be — as Jesus did for us. While this example is the extreme, the point is that you can no longer continue to be selfish.
The leadership and submission Paul talks about in Ephesians are areas in which both spouses work together as a team, are united, serve each other, defer to one another, and have the same goals. Though the leader is the one responsible to see the signs ahead and respond accordingly, both you and your future mate need to stop and pay attention to the dangers before proceeding — as you would when you come to a yield sign. You must also encourage each other, support one another, and keep the enthusiasm going so you won’t get weary or feel as though one of you is doing most of the work. It comes down to three things: teamwork, being a servant to each other, and avoiding the power games that will hurt your marriage.
This is old news in the sphere and I only post it to show how it can never address the fundamental issues that have been in place since the early days of creation. Some observations about this Ephesians teaching are that is has something for everyone, it sets no stakes in the ground, and it functions like dropping the couple into a maze that has no entry or exit, telling them there are directions inside that explain how to get out, and then they find signs all over the place saying “turn here” or “straight ahead”….but from an aerial view its clear they are stuck. The church has created a useless mess in response to a problem so basic, so fundamental that it could be explained and preached and not be offensive to anyone.
To me it is obvious that love doesn’t manifest in submission, but lacking emotional restraint, it manifests in control. How does love manifest as control? I saw an article in The Wall Street Journal that touches on this.
In a series of six studies that followed 100 couples for the first seven years of marriage, researchers at the University of Iowa found that both husbands and wives feel lower marital satisfaction when they are given too much advice from a spouse, as opposed to too little. And—surprise!—unsolicited advice is the most damaging kind. The most recent study was published in 2009 in the Journal of Family Psychology.
I was surprised that the following was stated:
When too little advice was offered in a marriage, it was the men who suffered more
If you read the article, I think you will get the same feeling that I did, that being that this statement is conflating advice giving with support. Notice how even this feeds back into the point made above regarding Genesis 3:16. It seems to say that a man giving advice is just that, a man giving advice. But when a woman gives advice it means she is lending support. It says her advice is altruistic and his is intrusive, notwithstanding all of the unpacking they do of what is intended and what is perceived.
That the man suffers without the “advice” of his wife is seeing life through the lens of the innate goodness of women and how therefore they MUST exert control. This has been somewhat biblically rationalized by certain opinions of Jeremiah 31:22 which says:
“a woman shall surround a man” or ‘a woman shall compass her man”
Some interpretations suggest that this represents the positive influence of the feminine on the war like qualities of the masculine leading to an over all more genteel society. (simple version). These themes cross secular and religious boundaries and are nearly uniform in the direction they point.
Cane Caldo took exception to my statement that I admit implied going first by the woman as a necessary step for marital order. He was correct in his rebuke. I then stood by, however, my actual point that lacking her falling into line, no matter what happens leadership and submission will not be reflected as to Christ and the church. Then Eric makes an excellent observation that there is a lack of love being written about as a tangible ingredient to marriage in Christian manosphere blogs.
The easy objection to Eric’s point is that love is an action not a feeling. In that sense love IS written about frequently. But his further point that love would naturally afford a biblically ordered marriage is not correct. I hope I have made that case.