The opposite of submission is not necessarily rebellion, but a heart that is miserly with affection and grace.
Theme: The Integrity and Fidelity of Marriage
Author’s Note: Stephanie (author of the discontinued blog, All Things Bright And Beautiful) asked me to write this post. She and I share the view that this topic is one that needs to be continually taught.
Reader’s Note: More women should read this and become aware of how they have a choice to either build up their marriages with faith, or tear it down with foolishness.
Length: 2,500 words
Reading Time: 8.5 minutes
Husbands have a long fuse, but once they blow up, they’re gone!
Stephanie, the host of an older Femosphere blog that is now defunct, All Things Bright and Beautiful, wrote an excellent post entitled, “Don’t Ruin Your Husband’s Love Toward You” (2018 April 9) (Web archive here.) I have extracted sections of this post to be quoted below.
““…the reality of how we treat others is reflected back in how they end up treating us. Grace or not, Christian or not, I believe God often allows us to reap what we have sown into the hearts of others – our friends, our family members, our children, but especially our husbands.
It’s not usually talked about in our culture, especially in regard to how women treat their husbands. But the fact and spiritual principle of reaping and sowing, affects everything we do and everyone around us – whether we want to admit to it or not.”
“And I think we’d be wise to have a healthy fear of this. If we love our husbands, we must take into effect that this could be possible if we continue in sin against him, always believing that tomorrow is another chance, and yet never taking the measures to truly change for good.”
“…a wife can harm her husband’s ability to love her so terribly, that it almost becomes impossible for him to feel the same feelings toward her as he once did. Keep in mind this doesn’t usually happen within the first 10 years or so of marriage. I think it happens after a couple or more decades… it’s a slow husband-love killer.
Σ Axiom 22 (AKA The Mob in the Crucible Effect, c.f. “frogs in the pot”, or “crabs in the bucket”): We all influence those around us, for better or for worse. We are all subject to the decisions and actions of others, especially those in positions of power (including power players in the SMP). Thus, it is the will of God for us to act as responsible independent moral agents.
Case Study 1 – Jack’s First Marriage
This is exactly what happened to me and my first wife. She would frequently get angry about things that she refused to talk about. About once every month or so, she threatened to get a divorce, and she would even pack a suitcase and leave the house for a few days or a week. Each time she did that, it made me worried and sad. But after she went on like this for about two years, I just couldn’t take any more of her anger and drama, and something inside me just snapped. I stopped trusting her. I stopped believing that things would improve. Then, the next time she spoke of divorce and left, I actually felt glad that she was gone. When she came back a few days later, I felt so depressed.
After she pulled this stunt a couple more times, I realized how my emotional reaction to her behavior had changed, and then I knew in my heart that our marriage was truly hopeless and would soon be over. I finally started to believe all her talk about divorce, and I started seeing her threats as a legal liability. I felt like I had to face the facts, and deal with it. Sure enough, it wasn’t long after that, she really did file for a divorce, and I was very glad to finally get her out of my life.
Looking back, I can’t help but wonder how differently things might have turned out, if she had learned to settle down and enjoy married life, instead of using her anger to control everything, including me. Looking back, I can only conclude that she only viewed marriage as a tool to advance her own purposes, and not as an opportunity to enjoy life together with another person.
Case Study 2 – Leo and Sophiya Tolstoy
Stephanie quoted an excerpt from one of her favorite books on a woman’s role in a godly marriage. It was about the relationship Leo Tolstoy had with his wife.
“When a wife constantly pushes or nettles her husband, it is like the bite of a poisonous snake and can cause the destruction of a could-be holy marriage. One of the most tragic cases in history is that of the Russian novelist, Count Leo Tolstoi and his wife.”
“In the beginning of their marriage, Tolstoi and his wife were so blissfully happy that, kneeling together they prayed to God to continue the ecstasy that was theirs.
Tolstoi is one of the most famous novelists of all time. Two of his masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are considered literary treasures. He was so admired by his people that they followed him around day and night and took down in shorthand every word he uttered.”
“Although he was a man of wealth and fame, after studying the teachings of Jesus, he gave away his property, worked in the fields chopping wood, and pitching hay, made his own shoes, ate out of a wooden bowl, and tried to love his enemies. He gave away the publishing rights to his books and had the courage of his convictions to live a life he believed in.
But his wife never accepted him or his simple philosophy of life. She loved luxury and he despised it. She craved fame and the esteem of society, but these things meant nothing to him. She longed for money and riches, but he thought these things a sin. For years she made every effort to change him and his views. She screamed at him because he insisted on giving away the publishing right to his books. When he opposed her she threw herself into fits of hysteria, threatening to kill herself or jump down the well.
After 48 years, this man who had adored his wife when he married her could hardly bear the sight of her. And one of the most tragic scenes as when Countess Tolstoi, heartbroken and old and starving for affection would kneel at her husband’s feet and beg him to read aloud the exquisite love passages that he had written about her in his diary fifty years previously. And as he read of those beautiful happy days that were now gone forever, both of them wept.”
“His dying request was that she should not be permitted to come into his presence.”
…which is a poignant way of saying, “Let me die in peace.”
Case Study 3 – Too little, too late
Stephanie wrote the following commentary about this all to common tragedy.
“When I was in a marriage group some time ago, I would see women like Tolstoi’s wife come in fairly often – already usually a couple of decades into their marriage – and be desperately pleading with us on how they can turn everything around, all the while admitting that they’ve been treating their husbands horribly for the past few decades. […] Usually he had finally had enough, or reached some kind of “breaking point,” and he wanted out. Or he had found another woman who treated him kind again – who admired him and loved him more than his wife seemed capable of.”
It is sad that it has to come to this before wives are motivated to face the issue and do something in order to have a happier marriage.
Stephanie went on to explain how these women responded when they realized that the damage had already been done and that there was nothing left for them to do but to face the bitter consequences of the bitterness they had been sowing for decades.
“It was usually apparent that it was already too late, but it was very interesting to watch these women go through psychological changes of first being extremely repentant and humbling themselves, eager to learn and read and practice trying to honor and respect him. I often had such great hopes for them that they were truly changing in their hearts. But when it didn’t work (and often times the husband wouldn’t believe their change was real or genuine), they would turn angry, they would get bitter, and then become very resentful even toward us as they believed our advice for happy marriages wasn’t true.
They would become indignant that their husbands’ didn’t accept their changes. I would see these women start suddenly claiming that their husbands had really “emotionally abused them,” all this time, and that their (the wife’s) sin was in submitting to them too much. Then they’d often blame sites like mine in creating women who submitted too much! It was… like I said… very interesting to watch psychologically. I talked about that here in this post a little.”
So, when they saw that they would not avail of any mercy, that there would be no personal benefit to their repentance, then instead of grieving over their errors and losses and making the best of it, they totally backtracked and denied any wrongdoing on their behalf, even going so far as to blame their husbands and attack those who were telling them the truth and who were offering assistance.
“Again, though, like in the Tolstoi example, this sort of behavior is actually tantamount to abusive in my opinion, toward the husband. It falls under the “Borderline” or “Cluster B” disorders, which are extremely hard to fix, never-mind how hard it would be to live with someone with those psychological disorders. A wife like this will usually never be able to admit she was verbally or emotionally abusive for years, until it’s almost too late, but it’s interesting how quick they are to act like they were the victim of emotional abuse, when just a few months before, they were admitting (finally) that they treated their husbands so terribly that they couldn’t believe he put up with it for so long!”
Case Study 4 – Sabrina tries to Straddle the Feminist Fence
In the comments under Stephanie’s post, Sabrina wrote the typical hypercognitive viewpoint of a Strong Independent Woman who is churched up enough to value the institution of marriage, but who is also converged enough to insist on seeing marriage as a partnership of equals and a zero sum game. She doesn’t understand the beauty of submission and the peace of being under a husband’s spiritual covering. She wrote,
“[In Ephesians 5:21-24,] Paul is reminding wives to submit to their husbands, even though he is asking the husbands to submit to the wives as well. Paul wanted to make sure wives understood that this revolutionary idea wasn’t changing their role as wives. He was asking for a change in the reason why. He was asking the wives to submit because they “want to”, not because they have to. Paul was asking Christians to mutually submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. He was selfless and so should we be as well.”
“The interesting thing is when you look at the original Greek, the word submit isn’t even in verse 22. It says, “wives to your husbands”. The “submit” is implied because of verse 21. However, the Lord is asking for submission none the less. Husbands submit to your wives and wives submit to your husbands, in everything.”
“We’ve been conditioned to believe we are less than our men, but that simply isn’t the case.”
Red Pilled readers should know by now that it is a gross misinterpretation of scripture to conclude that the Bible says, “husbands should submit to their wives.” It’s also despicable and disrespectful, both to themselves and to God, for women to assume that godly submission implies that they are somehow less human than men.
Stephanie responded well to Sabrina’s solipsistic self-deception.
“Yes, I do think it’s good for husbands to value their wives’ opinions and to listen to them, that’s not “submitting” to their wives though. Hopefully y’all can understand the huge difference between submitting to someone (doing what they want to do) and listening to their ideas and opinions and deciding if it makes more sense. And also, that’s not what Tolstoi’s wife was doing when she was throwing herself into hysterics and threatening to kill herself just because he wanted to live out his Christian convictions. Hopefully y’all can see that like I said in the post, that behavior is under the Cluster B and Borderline psychological disorders, and should never be used as a good method to get your husband to “listen” to you. Talking, sure, trying to persuade him, maybe… it all depends on how emotionally mature and respectful the wife is in the way she views her husband.
Also, she was still supported financially, so it’s not that he was sinning by refusing to take care of them. And he wasn’t physically harming her either! She just had a craving for his wealth and fame and success and wanted more money from his books (which he felt convicted to give away).”
Having an unacceptable Influence makes a woman unacceptable
In his study of the factors of successful marriages, John Gottman concluded that it’s very important for husbands to be “accepting of their wives’ influence.” Feminists are quick to interpret this as meaning that husbands should accept their wives demands and share the balance of power. (I also tend to believe Gottman himself was somewhat of a feminist, as most people of his generation are.) However, Gottman’s research showed that active listening, compassion, gentleness, and physiological soothing between both the husband and wife were key ingredients that enable marriages to succeed. This lines up with the Biblical command for husbands to love their wives (Ephesians 5:25-33) and it hints at the reason why all believers should submit to one another in love (Ephesians 5:21).
If we consider the Biblical analogy of how the relationship between Christ and the church is similar to that of husbands and wives (also in Ephesians 5:25-33), this would imply that Christ/husbands have the authority, and should be accepting of the church’s/wives’ influence, and that the church/wives should submit to Christ/husbands in everything. This viewpoint seems to agree with scripture, but it also depends on what kind of influence they might have.
A husband’s acceptance of his wife’s influence could be considered a form of the mutual submission to all believers that Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:21, but it’s quite different from submission in a hierarchical order within marriage which Paul succinctly emphasizes in verses 22-24.
Moreover, Sabrina’s attempt to hijack and misappropriate the truth of the scriptures (case study 4) is an evasion from the overriding point of Stephanie’s post — that there is no middle ground between wifely submission and being contentious. Sabrina’s stance offers us an excellent example of how women will do mental backflips to justify their non-submission. Anything, it seems, is better than submission, even at the cost of their own sanctification.
As I described in Women have sex to influence men (2021-11-10), most secular women will use whatever means they can to make themselves socially relevant and to influence a man, and sex is at the top of the list. But unfortunately, we have many churchianized wives, like Sabrina, who have a dim view of sex, and are not content to merely be an influence in a man’s life. The thing is, a woman’s neglect or rejection of her role as an influencer (e.g. Sabrina) invariably erodes Headship authority and summarily presents itself as a negative influence in a man’s life.
Σ Frame Maxim 25: A woman’s neglect or rejection of her role as an influencer (as opposed to a more direct expression of control) invariably presents itself as an unacceptable influence in a man’s life.
If this influence is so pernicious that it destroys a man’s confidence, his domain of authority, his finances, his reputation, his progeny, yea, even his faith in God, then he may reach a point where he comes to weigh the cost-to-benefit ratio of retaining the presence of this influence, face up to his ability to cope with it, and decide whether to keep this woman (i.e. his wife) in his life or not. As Father Spyridon said, it becomes an issue of salvation/sanctification. In anticipation of readers’ objections that this emphasis on soul-preservation is not a Christian way for a man to deal with his wife, I need to emphasize that this is not a conscious decision made of free will, but one that a man is forced into against his volition, as described in case studies 1 and 2 above. IOW, it is a natural consequence of what their wives have been sowing in their hearts over the years.
Σ Frame Maxim 26: A woman who has a grossly unacceptable influence is unacceptable as a wife.
Wifely submission is absolutely necessary for a man to get any sense of satisfaction out of the union. Her submission is also necessary for the marriage to glorify God. If a woman is not being feminine and submissive enough to allow her husband to experience joy, peace, and contentment in the relationship (i.e. sanctification), then at some point, he’s going to withdraw from her emotionally, and perhaps physically as well.
“Can God redeem marriages like this? I believe He can do anything. But it’s not the norm that these marriages are ever fully repaired, so it’s best if you don’t ever fall into this pattern, as it all could have been so easily avoidable from the beginning.
And if anything, please remember Leo Tolstoi’s bitter marriage, and be on guard against women like his wife who suddenly tried to twist the truth in the end, in an effort to destroy her husband’s legacy and reputation.”
The sad thing is that once 20+ years of a bad marriage are lost to the sands of time, this dynamic is unlikely to ever be reversed. As Stephanie said, “God often allows us to reap what we have sown into the hearts of others.” It’s difficult to argue against God’s concept of justice.
- Σ Frame: Why do Women Incite Others to Emote? (2018-06-19)
- Σ Frame: Ladies Should Respect the Man and Love the Boy (2018-06-28)
- Spawny’s Space (Farm Boy): What Is Her Major Malfunction? (2018-07-20)
- Σ Frame: A cord of many strands is not easily broken, but here’s how to do it. (2018-09-24)
Also see the comments under these posts.