I was reading an atheist article with a poll attached that asked the question “Is marriage better when wives submit to the leadership of their husbands?”
The thing that shocked the hell out of me was the response. At the time of this writing, 1387 people had voted in the poll and 446 (32%) of the total respondents said that, “Yes, male leadership is the natural order of things. Women can't lead in marriages or otherwise” and 885 (63%) of the respondents, said that marriage should be a partnership of equals.
Holy 1800's, Batman!
So where the blue blazes does this attitude towards women come from?
We have to look no further than religion - in this case, mostly fundamentalist Christianity, although Christianity isn’t the only culprit. Here’s a clip to illustrate what I’m talking about:
In the Bible we are taught in Ephesians 5:22-24, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Now we have the command that men are supposed to love their wives. And we teach that all the time. But no one wants to say with authority that women should submit to their husbands. We even water down what submission means by saying it means "respect." But clearly the word means "obey." The church is supposed to obey Christ. They are not supposed to just respect Him. The Bible tells children to submit to their parents. It does not just mean to "respect" them. It means to obey them.
And here’s another example from a very interesting interview with a woman who used to be part of the Quiverfull movement:
Sarah Jones: What justification was given for the rule of the patriarch and how does that fit in with mainline Christianity versus fundamentalist, extremist versions of Christianity?
Vyckie Garrison: It is my contention that the Quiverfull movement is regular Christianity lived out to its logical conclusions. When Christians teach “the husband is the head of his wife” (Eph. 5:23), Quiverfull Believers put that into practice ~ and nearly every time, the husband becomes a despot in his own home.
While the majority of Christians will have their excuses for why their wife has to work outside the home, or why they personally cannot have more than two children, or why it won’t work for them to homeschool. If you ask the average Evangelical what a truly godly, “biblical” family looks like, they will begin to list Quiverfull ideals:
• Husband as head of the household and final authority (Eph. 5:23)
• Wives submit to their husbands (Colossians 3:18)
• Obedient children (Eph. 6:1)
• Trust the Lord with family planning (i.e., no birth control ~ Psalm 127)
• Stay-at-home-mothers (Titus 2:3)
• Homeschool the children (Matthew 12:17 ~ “render unto God that which is God’s” ~ since children bear the image of God, parents ought not render them unto Caesar, i.e., government schools. See also, Deut. 6:7)
• Modest dress (1 Peter 3:3)
• Debt-free living (Romans 13:8)
• Political domination (Psalm 127 and The Dominion Mandate in Genesis 1:28)
In my experience, the “average Christian” believes most all of the principles of patriarchy taught in the Quiverfull movement, fortunately for Christian women, few actually put it into practice the way Quiverfull Believers do.
If you read the comments in the original article, you will find some gems like this one: “There is also a major misrepresentation of the Bible here. The author has left out the second half of this principle. The Bible says that the Biblical marriage relationship is to be modeled after Christ and the Church (“the Church” being followers of Christ, not a building). The Bible says that Christ loved us so much that He gave Himself for us, even to the point of death. This is the mans role in a Biblical marriage relationship. While the woman is to submit, the Bible says that the man is to lead her, by being a serving her. This concept of servant leadership is not a concept of ruling over a person but of making putting her before you every day.”
I’ve read comments similar to this one on NV, where a believer says something along the lines that women are to submit but husbands are supposed to love their wives like Jesus loved the church…as if that makes the submission slave-like parts any better. It also conveniently sidesteps the metaphor that the man is like God in the household, women are like ordinary mortals but everything is cool as long as the God of the house loves his submitting mortal.
You can also find this comment: “After considering all points of a situation and getting the wifes input the ultimate decision is the mans. With husband and wife on thier knees praying for guidance the man is responsible for making the final decision. Does this mean the man has dominance over the woman, certainly not.”
It certainly does mean the man has dominance over the woman. How could it not? No matter how right the woman is or how good her argument might be, she has to submit to the male of the house and abide by his flawed decision.
Even Mike Huckabee signed an ad made by the Southern Baptist Convention that said, "A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ."
As a man I find these sorts of teachings deeply disturbing. I can’t even imagine how offensive it must be to some women.
I do not want or expect my wife to submit to me. In fact, I love her more because she is a strong woman with strong opinions. To eliminate or water down that independent spirit of hers would be a crying shame. It would be a crime.
It does seem though that a lot of people would disagree with me, including many women. So it begs the question (even if that question seems obvious to me) whether or not marriage is better when wives submit to their husbands?
Hell, maybe even the King was into submissiveness? Whatever. He still rocks!