Welcome back to Part Four of our Flourish series, in which we inspect a case study of Stockholm syndrome billing itself as the path to life and love and flourishing.
0 out of 5 stars: Would not recommend.
But before we get too far, let us examine one of the more shocking revelations in this book, even though we have not even left the introduction behind. (Yes, Dear Readers, the Abomination That Maketh Desolate is still before us.)
So, sit down with a cup of coffee and your Bible, and read my story. It is not a story of perfection. In fact, I am going to need a copy of my own to keep beside my bed to help me remember what I have learned. It was Prince's wish that Maiden write her story, and Maiden usually loves to do her husband's wishes. (She is still working on that.)
Yes, you read that right! (I hope you weren't sipping your morning coffee when you read that part.)
This whole thing was her husband's idea.
Now, I don't know about you, but if I was this kind of person, and my wife was planning on writing a book about her experiences, I would either move to the Moon, or ask her not to. I certainly wouldn't encourage her to show my entire hindquarters to the aggregate Mennonite population of North America.
Yet here we are.
Also, I have to point out how jarring and disassociative the switch from first person to third person is there.
Do not take our experiences and words as absolute truth. Don't worry. We're not. Read your Bible and check for yourself that what I have written aligns with God's Word.
And that's the end of the introductory fairy tale.
This next section drops the Maiden/Prince thing, and talks in a little clearer detail about the first few years of marriage.
And, it honestly feels that when they were booting up the Marriage Game program for the first time, they picked the "Hard Mode" right out of the gate. Multiple moves, multiple kids, changes galore. Difficult even for the well-adjusted people, and HFKAP doesn't strike me as particularly well-adjusted.
For the rest of this series, I'm going to be pretty selective in my direct quotations for a few reasons.
Reason 1: I'm only on page 9, at this rate, we're looking at (checks calculator) 112 posts, and my dopamine stores are gonna run out long before that.
Reason 2: Typing out long quotes from the book is the most boring part of writing these articles.
Reason 3: I want to focus on the overall flow of the book, and its abominable errors, and there are key quotations that bear that out, so I'll use those, but there's a lot of extraneous details that don't add to my overall goal here.
Reason 4: If you want to read the book, just go get a copy of your own. Be sure to get a jumbo bottle of ibuprofin and a pillow to scream into while you're out.
But, there are some things that are so absolutely insane, that I must give them to you as printed in the book. As always, these are in quote boxes. OK, let's continue.
The author describes her experience with God, and some of her spiritual struggles with devotions before marriage. She says she hardly opened her Bible, except to go to church. And then, after being married, what with housework, the HFKAP and his myriad demands, and three babies in three years, there just wasn't the emotional space.
Somewhere, in the midst of the second baby, Warring Maiden, and frazzled emotions, I realized I was drifting further and further from what I desired in life.
This is monumentally sad, but it's also kind of hilarious, because it's like a surfer writing, "Somewhere on the ocean that day, as I floated past the Hawaiian Islands, I realized I was drifting further and further from Seattle."
She describes wanting to be kind, and wishing her tears would dry up, and her frustration that tears and nagging didn't work to change her circumstances. (Because nothing will make an abusive person change unless they want to change.)
And she came, eventually, to see herself in serious need of help and repair. And this is the problem. Because most of us are in need of those things, but it's not an excuse for people to mistreat us, and when they do, wrong on them.
Ironically, all through the first several years of marriage, I thought I was the one who was following God's will best. I could see, in glaring honesty, my husband's faults and sins without remembering that he could see mine just as easily.
Apparently there was a Warring Prince out there someplace that she never mentioned?
This is the result of that wicked pernicious heresy that all sin is equal in the eyes of God. And this fuels abuse like almost no other teaching I know.
In essence, the author is saying that because she was not perfect in every way, she had no right to take issue with her husband's unfaithfulness to her. And, as best I can tell, the only "disrespect" she showed him was that she wasn't OK with him breaking his promises to her.
If you are cheating on your wife, you are not the one in the relationship that is doing a better job following God. Some of y'all haven't read the book of Malachi and it shows:
"You cover the LORD’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant."
You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”
The Lord doesn't delight in you and your unfaithfulness to your wife, you wayward, faithless Romeo!
I felt a restlessness in my heart to influence our little son and daughters, Nailed it! Baby 3 was a girl, too! That's really gross, you guys. so they would grow up to be a strong man and women of God. I started watching my words, and weeded out some of the music I listened to, epecially when our oldest daughter began singing along with some of the songs. It had seemed OK for me to sing them, but it felt different when I heard the words from the mouth of my daughter.
So she decides to take stock of her life, because she has failings, too. Like (checks notes) listening to secular music. Which is, I guess, just as bad as texting other women you aren't married to. (And if you actually believe that all that was going on with Warring Maiden was some light texting, I think you're probably too young to be reading this blog. Go ask your mom to put on some Octonauts, ok, buddy?)
But this would come at a price.
My husband and I had both witnessed marriages where the wife had become more and more "spiritual," and the husband saw right through it. He felt the cold shoulder, the silent scream that she believed herself to be better than he. We saw husbands in those situations drifting further and further from what they knew was right, fueled by the wife's critical attitude.
Therefore, my husband started to get a little worried about the changes I was making, afraid I would grow cold and bitter toward him, as I focused more and more on externals. We had quite a few discussions over the years, and gradually I discovered what makes a wife more Godlike.
As I write these blog posts, I frequently am forced to fight the very real temptation of typing the very first words that come to mind, because this stuff is so wicked, and perverted, and vile, and ungodly, that there are very few words in the English language that are not obscene that express the obscenity of these ideas.
Yes, definitely, a husband who is living in open sin against God, his family, and his wife, has a lot of cause for concern that "his wife might grow more spiritual than him." And, of course, that might make him drift further from what he knows is right. I dunno how you get further from what you know is right, when you're already smashing them Ten Commandments, buddy.
And, of course, such a husband is a very reliable source for what makes a wife Godlike. And notice that there's no discussion whatsoever about what makes a husband more Godlike.
How to become more Godlike as a husband:
Step One: Quit Cheating on Her
Seriously, that's it! One simple step will immediately improve your Godlikeness as a husband, and unless she was cheating on him, too, she was already more spiritual than him, before she started her Bible reading endeavors.
If you are a husband who is not cheating on his wife, I apologize. I can't tell you how to be more Godlike, except to read Ephesians 5, where it says that husbands should "love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." That should keep you busy for a few months at least.
And can we talk about how this view of men, and the expectations that this society puts on men is degrading and destructive to everyone around.
It's like that Right to Jail guy from Parks and Rec.
Wife cries too much?
Right to cheating.
Wife doesn't have sex on demand?
Wife acts too "spiritual?"
Right to cheating. Right away.
Laundry not done?
Gives you the cold shoulder?
Meals not cooked?
Believe it or not. Cheating.
"We have the best marriages in the world... because of cheating."
As if men are some frail, fragile, weak, pathetic, powerless sex-bombs, who, if not handled with kid gloves and showered with deepest worshipful admiration, will lose biological, emotional, spiritual, and moral control, and go off in a explosion of rampant cheating- like a manic bull elk in rut, running down every available "Warring Maiden" in the tristate area. But, paradoxically, they are also God's Choice to run the home as Godly Headship Leadership Leaders of Leading and clothed with immense power and dignity from on high: princes, every man Jack of them.
Since childhood, I had known what the Bible said about a wife's role in marriage, but now I began to understand it in a new light. No "buts" or "what ifs" excused me from obeying God's commands for wives. Deep down, I already knew that I ought to obey and honor my husband. I had observed other Christian women talking down their husbands, or arguing with them if they didn't like what they said or did. This exposure to less than perfect relationships subconsciously ruled my thoughts and actions, but I knew this wasn't the kind of marriage I wanted.
Yes, dear reader, a much better marriage is one in which the wife quietly acquiesces to her husband's coldness and unfaithfulness. As if.
Living in a fetid hole with rabid badgers while your husband is off hunting emus in southwest Australia is preferable to what she's been dealing with. (And it gets worse.)
But I struggled with fear, I began to realize that God wanted me to love my husband just the way he was, in spite of his shortcomings and even when he was wrong. I grasped the truth that no man has ever been criticized by his wife and become a better man -- maybe a bitter and broken-spirited man, but not better.
OK. New rule.
I'm gonna try to make these posts as regularly as I can, because this abyssal swamp of darkness needs a lot of light shined down into it, but I get to quit when it's time to quit. Even if it's really abrupt, and I think I'm about done for today, because if I keep trying to write this, I'm either going to post something I regret later, or else I am going to start throwing things and screaming incoherently.
WHAT IN THE HARRY MEGAN AND MOE IS THIS UNMITIGATED HOGWASH?
For all her Bible reading, she missed all the stories of people's lives being improved by getting criticism, even from women, and sometimes even from their (shocking, I know) OWN WIVES.
If you can't be criticized and critiqued by the person closest to you who knows you best, lest you become bitter and broken-spirited, perhaps you are beyond help.
And then, this...
Still, I was afraid if I loved my husband just as he was, without reminding him of his failings, he would think he was okay, and didn't need to change a thing. How could I even start loving my husband just the way he was?
As if being a slimy cheater is equivalent to being forgetful, having halitosis, or perhaps, being a tad on the pudgy side.
I was afraid if I loved him like that, I would become second in rank to Warring Maiden. Sometimes I felt as if I already was.
Goodness, Dorcas, I can't imagine what gave you that crazy idea!
The fear would drive me crazy when I focused on it. Fear then controlled my responses to my husband.
You're not supposed to be scared of being second place to any woman, if you're married. If your husband is making you feel that way, everything that you feel about it and him is the way God wired you do feel. He's wrong! Not you! Always and forever!
The fact that this came out of a respected publishing house without so much as a raised eyebrow, muttered oath, or coffee-laden spit take is beyond belief. Especially when I read later that (and I know I'm jumping ahead a bit, but my mental health my rules,)
...instead of getting angry when I knew my husband was sitting there on the couch texting Warring Maiden, I prayed and prayed for my own heart, and I prayed for my husband.
After all the articles I have read from CLP and similar publishers about how social media and texting are an existential threat to our lives because of how it breaks down the sense of proper reserve between the God-given sex genders, or whatever, where do these guys get off publishing this, and suggesting that any response other than calling what he is doing gross sin in the eyes of the Lord is appropriate?
Where's the church? The bishop? The deacons? With their brows deeply furrowed in kindly concern for his wayward soul? Or do they only show up if it's Netflix on your phone?
This man's frequent, habitual, gross violations of the most basic tenets of Christian marriage are on flagrant display throughout this book, and "ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you."
It's totally completely beyond me. And there's some deep repenting that needs to be done nationwide, as far as I'm concerned. (and not just Nationwide, either. Pilgrim, Western Fellowship, Beachys, and maybe even BMA could use some too.)
Until next time.