…is not humble or hardworking enough, or so they say.
Theme: Faux-Masculine Archetypes
Length: 1,100 words
Reading Time: 4 minutes
She’s the Boss around the house!
In Running all the big decisions by the missus first. (2020-10-30), Full Metal Patriarchy revisited a phenomenon typical of Complementarian marriages — the idea that the wife is the head of the house. This marital structure is hardly limited to Complementarians. Most men quickly buy into this scheme, because in their minds, they don’t want the headaches of continually having to make trivial decisions every day over things like choosing menus for meals, which type of dish detergent is best to buy, and whether the children should wear jeans or shorts each day; nor do they care for the hassles of washing, cooking, and cleaning. They would rather leave these mundane tasks and smaller decisions to the wife.
But complementarianish wives don’t see it this way. For them, “head of the house” means exactly that — they’re the boss! If the husband voices a concern, it is often dismissed as irrelevant or out of touch. If he states a preference, it is often disregarded, or if not, she carries the arrogant notion that she is being sooo kindhearted, loving, and sacrificial for tolerating his requests and accommodating his whims.
As Doug Wilson put it, he is a guest in his own home.
Unfortunately, these bungling dimwitted lazy husbands are slow to pick up on this kind of attitude in their wives, at least as long as the home is humming smoothly. But when something goes awry, the man is often taken to task, and summarily blamed for not “getting involved”, not “helping out”, and not “doing more” around the house. But of course, his skill level in cooking lasagna, folding laundry, vaccuuming the drapes, and wiping small butts will forever be substandard to her expert dexterity and keen eye for detail.
We as a culture have more or less accepted this image of the distant bumbling husband/father, a guest whose boorish jokes and off-color quips are patiently endured simply because he carries all the financial responsibilities of the family. For more than 50 years, we’ve seen this archetype depicted in films and on TV sitcoms — and we’ve laughed. Meanwhile, women have coopted this archetype as a convincing justification for disrespecting their men.
What is the Bungling Lazy Husband doing wrong?
Citing Ephesians 5:25, Tim Challies tells us that a husband should lead by loving her more, and the way to do this is (1) to increase his commitment to her service, and (2) to make himself as uncomfortable as possible in doing so.
“Your wife, aware as she is of your sin, should never have reason to doubt that you love her, that you love your children, that you are committed to serving your bride in this unique role. You must be willing to forsake your own desires, your own comfort, your own rights in order to express love for your wife.”
“The godly husband leads his wife with meekness and gentleness. You need to be aware of your own sin and your own failings.”
Challies keeps reminding us that the husband should be aware of his sin. I wonder which sin he is referring to. Is it having a lackadaisicial attitude toward, and a lack of diligence in performing the housework? Or is it the sin of appearing too comfortable* and content in his own home? Or maybe it is the sin of not making her feeel lurrved?
Later in the same article he contradicts** the above passages when he writes [emphasis mine],
“The godly husband does not mock or belittle his wife. You must not lead her through scorn or sarcasm or anger or punishment. Lead your wife with special delight and dignity, leading her differently than you would lead a child or an employee. Lead her with an awareness that you are a servant first, a leader second. Do nothing to puff yourself up with pride but everything to show your wife that you esteem her higher than yourself.“
Surely the man’s thorough ego abasement will heat things up in the bedroom!
Challies also tells us that the husband should do all of the above with confidence!
“…the godly husband listens to Scripture above the world and leads his wife, confident that God calls him to do just this. Lead your wife with a humble confidence, even when you are called upon to make difficult or unpopular decisions.”
So to sum it all up, the bungling lazy husband needs to do the following:
- Humbly dwell on his sin. Use this guilt trip as a motivation to work harder.
- Be more diligent in serving the
BossLord in his unique role of housemeet.
- Make her feel loved by debasing himself at the most inconvenient times and by displaying authentic discomfort.*
- He must not ever use any Game techniques, because that would be unChristian!
- Because true Headship is rather unpopular right now, he must be willing to face persecution and ridicule for being obedient to the
- Be confident and bold about doing all of the above!
No chilly challying; no dilly dallying; let’s get to work on it now!
Challies is deluded enough to call this Headship! Certainly, readers must recognize the nonsensical efforts of the flesh in all of this. Yes, a man can glorify God and show love to his wife by doing housework, but Challies methodology doesn’t quite cut the grease. It’s not so much about the man’s being a servant or contributing service as it is about sharing the joy of having a mutual enterprise (such as cleaning the house).
Clinical Evidence Indicates Otherwise
* It should be noted that Dr. John Gottman has identified the husband’s level of comfort in the home (viz. “physiological soothing”) as an indicator of marital contentment and stability. IOW, wives who make efforts to make their husbands comfortable have better marriages. (PDF of research paper.)
** This is a contradiction of the earlier passages because we know these habits will not make wives feeel loved, but instead, it will only make her even more frustrated than she already is. Appeasement is not the way to win a woman’s heart.
CH Maxim #54: A woman’s happiness is inversely proportional to efforts to accommodate her demands.
Corollary to Maxim #54: The more a woman’s demands are catered, the more irrational will her future demands become.
Average Score: 3
- Chateau Heartiste: Appeasement Is No Way To Win Wars Or Women (May 12, 2014)
- Σ Frame: Don’t Admit Her Argument (2018-3-19)
- Dalrock: She’s the boss, you’re a guest. (2018-3-27)
- Maids a la Mode: Top Tips on Motivating Your Husband to Clean (2020)
- Σ Frame: Only noble born men are qualified to do housework for unicorns (2020-8-24)
- Σ Frame: A Snapshot of the Destruction caused by Pride (2021-8-25)