The topic of a wife’s full submission to her husband is a topic that I have posted on before, starting with the Patriarchy post. Due to the number of discussions that I run into on this topic, I am going to present a stronger argument from a secular point of view. Because I find it disturbing, I set this aside for a couple weeks. You may not wish to read on unless you believe that total submission is a good thing.
I was introduced to the ideas of a wife’s total submission to her husband about four years ago. Shortly afterward, I obtained a copy of Elizabeth Handford Rice’s book Me? Obey Him? and was convinced for a few weeks that submission to the husband was always right—both of kids and wives.
Then I started to use my brain and apply these ideas to non-standard situations, such as the death of a spouse. The “principles” did not make sense then and, worse, the proponents of this submission could not even agree with each other on the proper course of action for widows to take. Many of the vocal “Christians” on this topic contradicted Paul’s words in I Corinthians 7:39, while attempting to be uniform in their application, and demand that the woman return to her parents’ house.
The internet, as you know, has a wide range of information available on it. Here is an extract from a blog post made by a totally submissive “wife” (I’ll cite it at the end):
i just finished reading a blog post by someone who âfelt sorryâ for people who labeled themselves as submissive. Her POV was that submission shouldnât be one-sided and woe be to the misguided souls who portrayed themselves in this manner. Even though her reasoning seemed to be a bit skewed, i agree with the point that it shouldnât be one-sided. And i truly donât believe thatâs the case in a healthy [...] relationship.
She obviously wasnât seeing the entire picture.
Master S, being the intellectually-balanced being that He is, would probably agree that we give equally. We learn from each other, and grow from those experiences. We submit our own egos in deference to what will best make this relationship work.
Note that she calls him “Master.” This is virtually identical to the way that these leaders say Sarah called Abraham “Lord” (I Peter 3:6). From Webster’s 1913 for “Lord”:
1. One who has power and authority; a master; a ruler; a governor; a prince; a proprietor, as of a manor.
The early posts on the referenced blog chronicle how the woman gave over all of her possessions to her Master. There was a vast internal struggle to overcome her earlier life of control. Her knowledge of his thoughtful and caring personality allowed her to give over full control anyway.
The woman even dealt with the statement that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Many Patriarchalists would be proud of her rebuttal.
So now I get to tell you that this is an excerpt from a blog dedicated to an NC-17 lifestyle (the one above “R,” which used to be called “X”). It chronicles a life of BDSM—Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism—where life is defined by sexual beatings (as a simple explanation).
As I already explained, her complete trust in the guy’s caring personality allowed her to give herself completely to him. The most recent posts (I skipped over quite a bit in the middle) explain how she caught him e-mailing his ex- in very explicit terms.
The last post, approximately 6 months after the beginning of the blog, contains these words:
In retrospect, I felt S was my heroâ¦even with flaws and imperfections. I guess thatâs the toughest thing for me to reconcile, the loss of feeling that heâd do the right thing, even when it was difficult. I felt heâd make decisions based on keeping our relationship in the highest regard. .
When it comes right down to it, I probably donât need a hero. Just a man who has his priorities straight and appreciates whatâs right in front of him. After this experience, S may step up and be that man. That would be all the hero I need or want.
According to every rule that I have read in “Christian” books on submission (and for men to lead), this couple met all of the criteria. The wife relinquished all of her rights and focused on the husband. The husband took her strengths and weaknesses into consideration in his decisions.
Well, there is one deviance from the official criteria. The two people involved in this story were not legally married (the e-mails came out after their engagement was announced). They were not Christians but, according to Handford, submission even works on unsaved spouses. More recent popular books insist that complete submission will keep the husband from wandering.
With a couple exceptions, fixed rules do not make a marriage work. If Christians want to claim the Holy Spirit’s help, that is one thing. Extreme submission to make the “perfect marriage” is only so many rules.
You can claim that BDSM is warped or extreme. The common “Christian” teachings are that if the woman uses her appeals correctly, then she will never run into true abuse as she submits to her authority figure. I beg to differ. This is my second exhibit that submission is not a cure-all.
Excerpts were copied from here and here. Just so that you are warned, they are two of the milder posts.
While considering whether or not to post this, I talked to a friend who has extensive dealings with hyper-conservative circles. She told me that she knows several “Christian” individuals who practice Bondage in their bedrooms. While this is not as extreme as BDSM, it is a significant step in that direction. I don’t recall the story of Abraham and Isaac being sexual. Just sayin’.
You might want to reconsider…