Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » MEN: TREAT YOUR WIVES LIKE CHILDREN
  • MEN: TREAT YOUR WIVES LIKE CHILDREN

    Filed at 9:18 am under by dcobranchi

    Scott’s advice to married men. I really don’t grok conservative Christianity.

    32 Responses to “MEN: TREAT YOUR WIVES LIKE CHILDREN”


    Comment by
    COD
    September 19th, 2006
    at 9:49 am

    I started to blog that too, and then just quit. The idea that I should be choosing my wife’s friends for her is so odd that I couldn’t even work up anything snarky to say about it.


    Comment by
    Valerie
    September 19th, 2006
    at 11:00 am

    This outlook is alien to me because I’m a 20th/21st century person, not a 1st century person.

    A few weeks ago the 2nd reading was from ‘that letter’ from whoever the writer of Ephesians was, the reading where you can practically hear Episcopalian women throughout the church grinding their teeth. At the end of the sermon the priest talked about social context, and how using the reading to maintain a hierarchical structure between husbands and wives was not ‘in imitation of Christ’ but ‘in imitation of the Biblical world.’
    standr...06.mp3
    (very low volume so adjustment is needed; if it interests you)


    Comment by
    sam
    September 19th, 2006
    at 11:16 am

    Perhaps it isn’t Scott’s advice, but his agreement would suggest that he’d be willing to give that advice. I know some women that would just as soon hurt you as listen to this kind of suggestion.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 19th, 2006
    at 11:52 am

    OTOH, these were Scott’s words (from the RSS feed for the post):

    A wise man seeks out wise friends for his wife.


    Comment by
    Mary
    September 19th, 2006
    at 12:58 pm

    hmmm – wonder why his wife doesn’t share things with him? Oh, right, because he tells the Internet how little he respects her.


    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    September 19th, 2006
    at 2:02 pm

    Here are MY words–I have to make a REAL EFFORT to make sure my wife ever gets the time to get out with people she enjoys. If I didn’t make that effort, she would ALWAYS be meeting more immediate needs in the home.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    September 19th, 2006
    at 2:23 pm

    You know, you could marry more than one woman, and make sure they’re different ages, and that your mother rules the lot. That ought to provide them the right sort of companionship without the regrettable necessity of allowing them to leave the home.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 19th, 2006
    at 2:25 pm

    Encouraging your wife to make sure she takes time for herself is a far cry from seeking out wise friends for her. Phraseology counts.

    I asked Lydia to read your post. She understood what you were attempting to say (and the Biblical basis) but thought that the way it was said left a bit to be desired.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 19th, 2006
    at 2:44 pm

    I’m with Lydia!
    Scott, I wrote a long response to your old blog but deleted it, asking you to explain as a Christian sitting next to me, because usually you’re more politically astute than than the Pope and a lawyer to boot, so you should be able to say what you mean at least without offending those of us who aren’t LOOKING to be offended by Christianity! 🙂

    I may have saved it in a draft file and can send it to you for yucks . . .off to see.


    Comment by
    Rob
    September 19th, 2006
    at 3:10 pm

    I consider myself very conservative and very Christian. But I shudder with fear at the prospect of approaching my wife with the news that I’ve chosen an appropriate friend for her.

    Maybe I just got lucky – my wife has the habit of seeking out people who know more about a subject than she does.


    Comment by
    Nance Confer
    September 19th, 2006
    at 3:56 pm

    And maybe she got lucky, Rob. You seem to have the sense to have some respect for her.

    Nance


    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    September 19th, 2006
    at 7:44 pm

    I went back and reread what I posted, and we may have to agree to disagree on this one. The part that is REALLY offensive is that Christian husbands and wives are supposed to model the relationship between Christ and the Church, here on earth, but none of you even picked up on that part.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 19th, 2006
    at 8:12 pm

    Offensive to whom?

    And do you really think it’s ok to pick your wife’s friends for her?


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 19th, 2006
    at 8:18 pm

    Here’s the offensive bit.

    Make sure she has an older, wiser female friend to share and grow with. [emphasis in the original]

    …I couldn’t agree more. The man who acts on this is wise!

    How do you “make sure that she has an older wiser female friend” without picking said friend for her. And, even if you tried, can you really dictate that your wife be friends with another particular woman?


    Comment by
    Charity
    September 19th, 2006
    at 10:06 pm

    I’m sorry, but I don’t get what is so offensive. Our church has a program that pairs younger women with older women for a mentoring relationship. There are clear spiritual benefits to such a relationship. What is wrong with a husband suggesting such a thing? Maybe I missed it, but I did not see where he was saying that the husband should choose the friend.

    I love how you used the word “grok.” When I read how others responded compared with how I responded when I read the post, that word just seems very fitting.


    Comment by
    COD
    September 19th, 2006
    at 10:47 pm

    I get the feeling that Charity is not a Heinlein fan…


    Comment by
    sam
    September 20th, 2006
    at 12:04 am

    I for one don’t “look to be offended by christianity.” I’m personally offended by people being offended as a general rule. But what Scott says sounds very different to me than it does to many christians, the conservative kind, and the idea of a man controlling his wife to the point of choosing her friends does seem offensive. We’ve come a long way since “biblical times” and the concept of woman as object, owned by her father till her husband buys her away.

    Based on what I read, Scott controls his wife. She is unable to ever leave her duties concerning the home and raising/teaching the children. She is either not allowed or is unable to choose her friends, and Scott would presume to control with whom she becomes friends. As he stated, he would choose a woman friend for his wife, a friend older and wiser, not a friend so much as a mentor. Apparently women don’t deserve friendship itself, just a misplaced mother-daughter relationship.

    To knowingly place oneself in a position of complete submissiveness is a decision that an adult can make for themselves. But I worry about female children growing up in an environment where they are trained to be submissive to men.

    I don’t go out of my way to be offended by christianity. Times were different when the Bible was written just as times were different when Tom Sawyer was written. When I see obvious acts of inequality, no matter what they are based on, I get offended.


    Comment by
    Jeanne
    September 20th, 2006
    at 12:07 am

    Charity, if my husband “made sure” I had certain friends of his choosing rather than suggesting (your word) or supporting my choice of friends, mentors and otherwise, then he is compelling me. I do find it offensive that this is promoted by some as representative of Christ’s relationship with the church. It is precisely that I am free to follow Christ’s teachings — or not — that makes my decision to follow Him the defining belief and practice of my life.

    We’re not talking about whether it is wise to have women friends who can serve as mentors to us. (Of course it may be a very good idea, tho’ I have often found wisdom among my younger women friends as well). However, *I* would not find it Biblical nor emblematic of Christ’s love for the church for my husband to “make sure” of my choice of friends. I’d find it disrespectful — and he’d find it a pretty hopeless endeavor, as well. And of course, ironically or predictably (?), my choice in friends is probably pretty much exactly who he’d choose for me, if he had any interest or intention of doing so. But I’m sure it’s never crossed his mind even once in our nearly-25 years of Christian marriage.


    Comment by
    COD
    September 20th, 2006
    at 9:01 am

    If a wife’s judgement is so impaired that she can’t be trusted to pick her own friends, what does that say about her choice of husband?


    Comment by
    Anonymous
    September 20th, 2006
    at 10:35 am

    Sam wrote: “Based on what I read, Scott controls his wife. She is unable to ever leave her duties concerning the home and raising/teaching the children. She is either not allowed or is unable to choose her friends, and Scott would presume to control with whom she becomes friends. As he stated, he would choose a woman friend for his wife, a friend older and wiser, not a friend so much as a mentor. Apparently women don’t deserve friendship itself, just a misplaced mother-daughter relationship.”

    Since I am his wife, I just wanted to adjust this perception, since all you have to go on is what Scott wrote. It is not that I am not “allowed” to form friendships or choose friends (as I think you could guess) but rather that, left to myself, I will spend myself on the all-consuming tasks for mothering and teaching six children under the age of 10, and not remember to “feed” myself. Apparantly, I’m not alone in this, hence the advice.

    To answer another critique above, there is actually nothing that I won’t share with a man as humble, honest, and affirming to me as Scott is, but there are many areas where I am blind to my own follies, and this can be one of them. There is a mountain of pride (see my own blog for evidence!) in every human heart, and I can easily believe that *I* don’t *need* friends–especially those that are older or wiser enough to tell me that I err. My husband cares for me when he volunteers to do tasks that release me to go and get the care I need (but don’t necessarily esteem) from others.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 20th, 2006
    at 11:34 am

    I think we’re all pretty much in agreeement here. I don’t think Scott really “makes sure” that Mrs. Somerville (Miriam? Marian? Sorry, I can’t recall your first name offhand.) has older/wiser friends. I don’t think that’s even possible. As Bonnie just pointed out, any good husband encourages his wife to take time for herself outside the home and away from the responsibilities of child-rearing.

    My sole complaint was with the original language. It just seemed so condescending. And Scott’s wholesale endorsement of it initiated this thread.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 20th, 2006
    at 12:04 pm

    Marcia, right? – nice to virtually meet you! What heartens me about your post is that you’ve come to make it! In years of conversing with Scott through the NHEN forums etc I’ve often wondered why we never saw his wife choose to enter homeschooling discussion in her own right, speeaking for herself, out where (as Florida board of tourism used to say) “the rules are different here!”

    You may not like it or stay long (it may be more like the wild west than Florida, come to think of it) but obviously you weren’t prevented from coming. 🙂


    Comment by
    speedwell
    September 20th, 2006
    at 12:21 pm

    I don’t have a problem with couples choosing voluntarily to split household duties between them as they see fit… but I do kind of think that between a) “Honey, go ahead and spend some time with your friends, and I’ll take care of the dishes and laundry and the kids’ dinner tonight” and b) “Honey, go ahead and spend some time with your preapproved friends, and the dishes and laundry can wait until you get home to feed the kids”, the former is more respectful, loving, and (gasp!) Christlike. Call me crazy.

    Right now I’m personally having tremendous issues with my otherwise sane and normal guy getting bent out of shape at my temerity in requesting assistance from the Society of Women Engineers to–at the age of 40–go back to school to study engineering. I thought we had this licked when he stopped going around the house all depressed because I didn’t want to do something more feminine. Truly, I’m not part of the great anti-man conspiracy he seems to resent so much.

    But damn, I’m glad he’s not a fundie on top of it or I’d have “God” telling me to knuckle under, too.


    Comment by
    Marcia
    September 20th, 2006
    at 1:08 pm

    JJ wrote, “Marcia, right? – nice to virtually meet you! What heartens me about your post is that you’ve come to make it! In years of conversing with Scott through the NHEN forums etc I’ve often wondered why we never saw his wife choose to enter homeschooling discussion in her own right, speeaking for herself, out where (as Florida board of tourism used to say) ‘the rules are different here!'”

    Right; mutual, I’m sure! 😉

    I’ve never been on the blogs you mention MOSTLY because I haven’t chosen to make it a priority to be so, and secondarily because I am not an expert or active in the public arena of homeschooling politics. My husband is, as you know, a prolific blogger and makes time to be so. I am more shy naturally than he is, happy with my circle of friends IRL (older and younger!) and somewhat fearful, too, of communication via the Internet. It seems so common that one’s words are taken either wrong or out of context. (This thread is a perfect example of what I find so off-putting about blogging, and why I seldom make time to join a discussion. Until now, I never read the discusssions you alude to above. Since I found myself and my marriage to be a point of speculation, I thought I could just jump in and clear the air… but, as we see, it’s hard to clear.

    Recently, I felt led (I know… but, yes, led by God) to start a blog on which to share spiritual insights that other friends IRL find helpful. Those don’t seem to generate a lot of controversy or comments, so I’ve been encouraged to tool around in my own little fishbowl over there.

    Anyways, thanks for the welcome and have a nice day!


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 20th, 2006
    at 3:02 pm

    I said I was with Lydia before, and I add Jeanne! So well put imo —
    “Using language is perilous.”
    “The misinterpretation seems to happen at both ends . . .”
    “I always wonder about the continuing use of ‘loaded’ language that does not seem compatible with . . . actions . . .” and,
    “(U)nderlying issues of patriarchy and personal power rise up thru their homeschooling . . .”
    Jeanne, I had that same hair-prickling, breath-sucking-in response and then spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly why, what it all meant. For me no words were readily at hand to describe the strength of that feeling or define its meaning, but to me that’s a sign something is MORE important, not less so.


    Comment by
    Anne
    September 20th, 2006
    at 4:13 pm

    Fess up, Daryl. How much did Scott pay you to promote his blog? You know — the only bad publicity is no publicity thing? 🙂


    Comment by
    Valerie
    September 20th, 2006
    at 6:39 pm

    There are some things that, when expressed as common sense are fine. But when they’re wrapped up in a religious context, they take on a completely different meaning.

    The point that John Spicer made in the sermon I linked to (way above) was that husbands and wives should be mutually supporting (and model the supportive relationship between Christ and the church — although John said that even that metaphor can get stretched, and I can see that getting weird concerning Christ’s (husband’s?) relationship to his own Body (wife?), which the church-as-a-whole is said to be). I did not miss that connection, Scott.

    I don’t want my husband hanging out with the beer-belly polkists any more than he wants me hanging out with … , perhaps, (some) motorcycle mamas. You worry if a major inappropriateness looms, and that’s normal. But to tie up this normal concern in a “God sez …” context, transports it to another level. What was natural is now a micromanaging Thou Shalt.

    ==================================================
    “Make sure she has an older, wiser female friend to share and grow with.”
    ==================================================

    There’s a difference between me asking my husband’s advice, “Hey, is she playing with a full deck, or what?” and then listening to his opinion, and him arranging a ‘blind date’ for me that he picked up … where? Just where is my husband supposed to be finding these older lady friends for me? eHarmony? Otherwise, how is it that my husband has entree into older lady friend circles that I don’t?

    And just why is it that men are assumed to be That Much Smarter about picking friends than women. Concerning friend-picking-out-skills, why is it that the half of the human race that tends to be more aloof and less verbal is assumed to be superior to the half that has bonding-with-others flowing like oxytocin in her veins?
    anapsi...d.html
    UCLA Study On Friendship Among Women

    Supportive spouses as a metaphoric model I can buy. Husbands trolling for older lady friends? Weird.


    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    September 20th, 2006
    at 8:43 pm

    Full disclosure: I didn’t pay Daryl NEARLY enough for all the hits my K-Dad blog has gotten out of this. (I owe you, man.)

    Mitchell Stephens, in “Kingdom of Children” remarked on the way Evangelical homeschool dads treated their wives. Mitch is a feminist and a liberal sociology professor who spent nine years studying “inclusive” and “believer” homeschoolers, so his take on gender issues within the homeschool community is worth noting.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 21st, 2006
    at 8:04 am

    “I find the model to be pretty limiting and polarizing.”
    How I feel about most everything these days!


    Comment by
    Jeanne
    September 23rd, 2006
    at 5:25 pm

    Unfortunately, these things do get out of whack. We know that in some circles, even being a prominent and well-respected woman in homeschooling does not protect one from being faced with more than hard times if one does not submit to a husband or the authority of a church, even in the face of abuse or manipulation. Fortunately, there are many, many more loving Christian families where husband and wife have mutuality and respect for one another. But again, this is my concern about the use of language that seems to give a “godly green light” (that is a really poor metaphor, just let me by with it) for men to inappropriately dominate their wives physically, emotionally, financially, etc. And it can be small things — there is nothing like trying to help a woman with, say, a breastfeeding situation, for instance, and having her respond that “my husband won’t let me” do whatever would be a potential solution to the situation. After those calls, I don’t sleep, because any resolution is far outside of my realm.


    Comment by
    Daryl Cobranchi
    September 23rd, 2006
    at 5:53 pm

    Which is why I never got involved in any kind of breastfeeding decisions. I just don’t have anything useful to add to the discussion. Heck, I even feel funny, sometimes, talking about HE. The experts really are the moms.


    Comment by
    JJ Ross
    September 23rd, 2006
    at 8:33 pm

    In our family it would be absurd to use the conservative Christian patriarch model for home education, because of my background (actually having been teacher, curriculum and instruction specialist, principal, etc.) — so if my husband claimed leadership of our children’s education (not to mention my friendships or schedule), he wouldn’t believe it himself much less persuade the rest of us. What could possibly be gained from that fiction, then, other than a diminution of the Feminine, if not a diminution of God as all-knowing?