Loving and Controlling

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.

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21 thoughts on “Loving and Controlling

  1. Women are commanded to respect, children to honor and men to love.

    If you expect, demand or desire more…. your setting yourself up for disappointment

  2. I agree with your statement that love does not immediately turn into submission but into a desire to control. Good observation!

  3. “If a man will just love his wife enough she will naturally fall into blissful Biblical submission.”

    That’s not what I meant, I would actually disagree with that statement. What I am saying is that if the woman is truly in love with a man, she will submit to him automatically. The Churchian teaching won’t work because the man can’t force her to love him. Misunderstanding that would lead to the conclusion that:

    “It also supports the position that women crave authority.”

    I would argue that instead they crave what they lack, but still value. The desire to control we commonly see arises when the wife wants more from the husband can return. The cause of that situation is most likely from the woman choosing a man whom she doesn’t value or respect in the first place; and feminism encourages that attitude by teaching female ‘independence’ and superiority.

    “Love is an action, not a feeling.”

    True. It is absolutely NOT a feeling. But the action involved is where I’m not following your argument: submission IS an action too; and an act of love. Even in the animal kingdom we see that the female submits to the dominant male—this is what animals do by instinct without any reference to love as a value. In the higher state of being human, this same action takes on a higher sense in joining two as one on a spiritual level.

    Regarding Genesis 3:16:
    Jewish theologians hold that ‘Shekinah’ or divine glory, enters into a couple and unites them as one at marriage. The concept of ‘surrounding’ is connected with the idea of Shekinah in Judaism, I’m assuming that is how the passage from Jeremiah above would be understood and in Genesis as well: that women in a sense glorify their husbands, but this not the same as controlling them.

  4. The problem with Ephesians 5 is that it is taught in isolation from the rest of the letter.

    Chapters 4, 5, & 6 are instructional chapters that build upon each other. The instructions to husbands and wives in 5 can’t be understood correctly without first understanding the part of chapter 4 where Paul talks about the body of Christ. Jesus is the head and believers are parts of his body–each with their own unique role.

    Chapter 5 draws a parallel between Christ’s (the church’s head) relationship to believers (the church’s body) and a husband’s (the marriage’s head) relationship to his wife (the marriage’s body).

    Chapter 5 is easy to understand if read in context with the rest of the letter. It’s impossible to understand if you pick out and handful of verses in isolation.

  5. Maybe you don’t read much about love in the manosphere, because love in modern society has universally come to mean “eros” love. The emotional, impossible to define, abandon all logic and reason variety of love. The type of love that says it’s OK to divorce a man and take away his money and children, because a woman isn’t haaaappy (after all, if he really “loved” her, he would want her to be happy).

    Men are more attuned to “agape” love–the love that speaks of responsibility. A man that works long hours at a job he hates and keeps his family intact despite not feeling love from his wife is expressing agape love for his wife and children.

    But, agape love has all but disappeared from modern discourse on the subject of love. Men who work long hours are called unloving, absent husbands and fathers by society, when what they are actually doing is sacrificing their own lives for the good of their family.

    It’s noteworthy that we’ve had to invent a new term–tough love–to bring the concept of agape love back into modern discourse. Perhaps if there was a general acknowledgement that there are more types of love than just “eros” love, then you would see more discussions about love in the manosphere, but I’m doubtful that will happen.

  6. The problem with Ephesians 5 is that it is taught in isolation from the rest of the letter

    I would agree that it is taught that way, in isolation, but that rather than a good comprehensive teaching of it, parts from the context are pre-cherry-picked and used to corrupt rather than explain the fullness of it.

    So, where are you headed with all that? I ask because what you’ve stated so far could be pretext for vastly different interpretations.

  7. J & Empath:
    In Greek ‘eros’ and ‘agape’ mean two specific and distinct concepts. ‘Agape’ love is not gender specific; but should be shared by both parties.

    At bottom, the reason why love is not discussed in the manosphere or among churchians is because they would have to concede that ‘agape’ has largely ceased to exist among women in our culture. It’s not that men are ‘more attuned’ to agape; it’s that women no longer accept it. This is kind of where I was also going on the subject of submission: women who aren’t submissive, or love in the agape sense, don’t really love men at all.

    Many ‘red pill’ women fall into that category. They will argue that ‘women are more attuned to eros love’ or that ‘they have to learn submission’ when in reality, they want to evade the fact that they simply hate men.

  8. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2013/08/14 | Free Northerner

  9. The problem I have with your comment Eric, is that if the Bible is to be believed, men are not naturally more attuned to agape any more than women are naturally given to submit. If either of these were true, Scripture would not repeatedly admonish husbands to love and wives to submit.

    The only thing that any of us is naturally attuned to is sin and selfishness.

    I agree with you that women are largely conditioned to view men through a negative lens. But that is the lens of mistrust, not hate.

  10. @Eric:
    “What I am saying is that if the woman is truly in love with a man, she will submit to him automatically.”

    Would you mind expanding this thought for me? Wondering how you reach this conclusion and what ‘automatic submission’ looks like – thanks in advance!

  11. @ Elspeth:

    “The only thing that any of us is naturally attuned to is sin and selfishness.”

    I totally agree.

    “I agree with you that women are largely conditioned to view men through a negative lens. But that is the lens of mistrust, not hate.”

    I disagree. To me it appears that women are conditioned to actually hate men, in addition to mistrusting.

    I appreciate your perspective though.

  12. Hannah:
    Among the lower order of mammals, the female submits to a dominant male for the purpose of reproducing high-quality offspring. Now, among animals of course this behavior is instinctual. But it’s also a human instinct. And since modern women refuse submission, pursue low-quality males, and prefer celibacy and abortion to motherhood, it follows that these attitudes are learned behaviors.

    Many attribute this to original sin, as Elspeth did above. But since we’re talking about an instinct, it would seem that a sinful woman would still follow her instincts; possibly by submitting to a succession of dominant males and having children out of wedlock by different men; but she would still follow her instincts. Notice that historically, the ‘fallen women’ of past generations behaved exactly like that. If original sin is responsible for modern female behavior, the operative dynamic in that sin is hating men.

    When thinking of what automatic submission would look like, I think maybe the best word would be what women mean by ‘surrender’. There’s an implication of full commitment (the agape principle) included there.

  13. Elspeth:
    I would argue that Scripture does not repeatedly argue these things. These subjects only appear in a few verses in some epistles directed a specific problem in a specific church. Some of the later writers who studied under the Apostles (e.g. Clement, Barnabas, Ignatius &c) don’t talk about sex or marriage at all. It seems to have been taken for granted that these were unusual conditions.

    “That is the lens of mistrust, not hate.”

    Mistrust is also rooted in hatred, though.

  14. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for your explanation. I have some thoughts which I hope don’t offend you. If you think I’m wrong in my observations please let me know!

    The instinct to surrender that you’ve referred to in animals appears to me to be the same instinctive surrender that a woman displays when she ‘gives’ herself to a man sexually.
    This is the animalistic surrender that is running rampant today because we’re living without societal restraints and daddy’s don’t like to believe that THEIR little ‘princess’ could possibly be this base.

    In a lion’s pride for example – the males fight one another to pair off with the females to prevent outside male take over. Any ‘left-over’ females then choose an already paired-off male to join.
    I read an article describing the selection process that the female lions undergo and this is the most popular male lion of choice! :

    “A lion with a darker mane tends to have better nutrition, higher testosterone levels, a longer reproductive life-span, and a higher offspring survival rate than a lion with a lighter colored mane.”

    Females want to secure ‘strong’ genes to keep her future safe.
    In the past this would include her children as they were a natural extension of ‘herself’. These days females have been given justification for whatever position she chooses to take on morality. Therefore birth control, abortion, daycare whatever is all ok under the umbrella of “So long as it makes you Haaapy!”
    We are in an incredibly SELFish day.

    A woman wants her future to be safe.
    Women have an in-built fear of the unknown. It makes her feel vulnerable.
    Securing a strong man to provide and protect for her gives some level of safety.
    But a wife can love her husband and yet STILL desire to have control over him whenever HE threatens her ‘safety’!
    (Remember is anything different than what she already knows – this is huge)

    As an anecdote – I love my husband dearly and due to his dominant personality I found submission to him not too difficult because things were more pleasant when I obeyed rather than arguing plus he acted like he was in control so I just believed that things would turn out fine if I followed.
    Fast forward several years and the most self-resistance I ever faced was when I realised I had a natural inclination to overthrow/crush/challenge my husband’s parenting! My internal dialogue was so damn ugly and I’m certain my face would have followed suit whether I actually said anything or not! Eek.
    Where I saw a need for tenderness my husband would be tough. Where I saw a need for gentleness my husband would be gruff. Where I saw a need for kindness my husband would be rebuking. You get the point! I can’t tell you just how horrible my thoughts were.

    I thought my way was right and by default anything he did differently must be wrong….
    (Mother’s know best etc)

    I justified my position in my head because of ‘research’ (yep you can find anything you want on google!) and as a result felt that his approach was damaging and perhaps one day we’d all suffer the consequences. AGGGH it’s embarrassing!

    Anyway…. let me tell you that there is no ‘desire’ to submit. It is an act of obedience to God and it gets easier and more natural with practice and biblical reinforcement!

    I have repented of this and learnt to support my husband’s parenting style by imitating it in his absence, by reinforcing his words if challenged by the children, by STAYING OUT OF IT when he’s in action!!! Oh and by being quiet 😉

    In my opinion the only thing a wife truly DESIRES is to be in control. To usurp her husband’s authority is to go straight back to the fall. We do it constantly unless we learn to love according to God’s law.

    Pride is the sin. Humility is the answer.

    To really LOVE is to esteem my husband higher than myself.

    As an end-note – my husband is the most fantastic father to his children and they are learning to be bold, inquisitive, athletic and courageous because of him! My previous attitude was so wrong and I remain thankful I learned this not too late. My job is to support my husband’s way.
    There’s my place!

  15. Hannah:
    I agree with parts of this assessment, but again I think the selfishness and narcissism that you describe among modern women is learned culturally and against their natural inclinations. In the example of the lions, males with “better nutrition, higher testosterone levels, a longer reproductive life-span, and a higher offspring survival rate” are the kinds of males that the sexually feral human females do NOT choose.

    http://www.toptensworld.com/2013/05/03/top-10-sexiest-men-in-the-world-of-2013/

    The photo gallery about speaks for itself.

    I tend to believe that the impulse to control and dominate is also culturally driven and learned; however, it may be natural tendency that’s been exaggerated and amplified by our feminist culture.

    But the question would naturally follow: if submission is an act of obedience to God and in need of Biblical reinforcement, then are only Christian women capable of submission? Asian women, who mostly aren’t Christians, have a reputation of being submissive wives. I don’t think anyone could make the case very easily either that Islamic women are less submissive than Christian women. And, in Classical times, submission and fidelity were, according to Greek and Roman writers, the highest virtues of women. Since submission seems to operate independently of faith, it would also seem that it is a natural virtue.

  16. Hi Eric, thanks for your reply 🙂

    In my mind the sexually feral human females DO choose to mate with the most dominant males they can find! These are the men who display power and control and can assess and eliminate threats. (Serial-killers receiving love letters from hordes of such women as an example!)
    Do you mind telling me what you think the ‘Sexiest Men’ link shows?

    I do believe that the natural tendency of women to control has been exacerbated by feminism. Without the constraints of The Patriarchy – sinful female behaviour is going unchecked.

    Regarding Asian women I think their society has kept a higher focus on honour and discipline so perhaps they are kept in line? Perhaps it’s a stereotype? I’m really not sure at all as I don’t know many Asian couples but the Asian females I have met mostly in Australia have certainly appeared to be far more girly and cutesy and petite than their European counterparts. Perhaps this physical difference comes into play?

    Regarding Islamic women I am absolutely CERTAIN they are more submissive than Christian women!!!!! Absolutely! Their culture demands it! I do not think they are more hard-wired to submission than other women but like every other empty vessel they will exhibit what they are filled with.

    Submission comes from self-discipline through adhering to a moral code that demands it, or from external-discipline from a society that demands it.
    Only a few will choose the former option as this requires much brutal self-examination and change.

    The Patriarchy demanded submission through respect and obedience to males and females behaved accordingly.
    Without The Patriarchy females are not demanded to do anything and they are behaving accordingly.

  17. Hannah:
    “without the patriarchy females are not demanded to do anything and they are behaving accordingly.”

    Good point; although feminism makes demands on them too. Arguably, the demands feminism makes are even more oppressive to women since they demand they go against their own natures (e.g. choosing abortion over motherhood; divorce over monogamy &c).

    As far as the thugs go, I don’t see them as being able to exude power and eliminate threats at all. Most of those types that I’ve ever known are total cowards and mentally unstable. Most of them couldn’t survive at all without female enablement or welfare. The superficial courage they have is typical of what most bullies display. It would seem that if women really sought power and protection, they would be attracted to men like policemen and soldiers instead of criminal losers; who usually end up being defeated by the first two!

    I think lists like the link above show that women today really prefer men who are beneath them and whom they can despise as inferiors. Feminism teaches, BTW, that women are superior to men, so this would be logically consistent. Overall, I think the reason women choose these types of men boil down to these:

    1. They aren’t really sexually attracted to men at all; but our culture teaches female power is sexual. So they pursue low-status men because they fear their own frigidity (which is really rooted in misandry) and want to reassure themselves. Sex with a high-status man is too threatening.

    2. They don’t really have to commit to men like these; because nobody will blame them if they leave. They get to keep a measure of their power without really sacrificing anything.

    3. The one I’m seeing more and more with younger women is also a by-product of feminist brainwashing: the attitude that ‘nice guys aren’t really nice’. IOW, they regard any interest shown to them by a normal, nice guy as a potential threat; while they reflexively believe that ‘bad-boys’ are normally-behaving males (i.e. less threatening because they are showing their true selves). Obviously, an attitude like that is completely based in male-hatred; but most of these girls are too blind to see it and many will even argue that they don’t hate men at all!

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