I read several blogs written by Titus 2 women. Many of them are homeschooling mothers like myself. They enjoy keeping a home, cooking, organizing and being crafty and they proclaim to love Jesus. They also proclaim to obey their husbands and be submissive helpmates. A number of them are also in struggling marriages and blame themselves or Satan for their faltering relationships. In some of these relationships there is spousal abuse, and instead of hitting it head on, they try to minimize how they are treated or their children. They believe that if they have faith, pray, and obey and submit to their husbands that God will heal their marriages and prevent the abuse from occurring again and again. When it doesn’t stop, they blame sin in their lives and Satan and try to justify the abuse.
Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
What is worse is that often in these circles of women who are striving to be Titus 2 women and live according to Proverbs 31, the abuse and control they live under is kept a secret. Not because they are trying to protect their spouses, but because they are trying to protect themselves from being judged for not being good enough by other Titus 2 women, their peers. Judged for not being faithful, for not trusting God or for being a good steward. Because let’s just pop the cork off the bottle and let the truth out, when it is found out that one of their own is in trouble, people want to ignore it or place blame in effort of shielding themselves from the very thing they fear – that that could be them (or it may already be them).
1 Timothy 2:14
And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
But what does Beautiful Wreck know about this? She is married to an Atheist after all. Unequally yoked for 18 years.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
My mother in my early years strived to be a Titus 2 woman. She was heavily involved in AGLOW women’s ministry and Bible studies that were often held in our home. Many times I stayed or went with her so I could play with daughters of her friends and then as a teen was allowed to participate and got to observe first hand the placing of shame and blame placed on women in abusive marriages. Women, friends, confidants encouraged women to stay in domestic violence situations where verbal and/or physical abuse took place. Often times the children were abused, beaten all in the name of God and to discipline them and it was many times about a father’s anger or irritation, than a parent correcting a child.
My mother was friends with many women who were in bad marriages, that were abused physically, emotionally, and/or verbally and all of them stayed out of obligation. There seemed to be this belief that this is what they signed up for so they must stick to it. They often would justify living like this by saying they took vows before God and that God didn’t “believe in divorce”. It was as if they believed that God wanted them to live in these abusive, controlling relationships.
1 Timothy 2:11
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.
Silence. That was what women in the Christian community were being taught and continue to be taught. In the pulpit and in Bible studies and in Sunday school classes women are given the message to be silent, to be submissive, to obey their husbands because that is what God would have them to do. And now it can be found throughout the Internet, on blogs, by women who speak at conferences, who display beautiful photographs of their children, giving testimonies of hope and have huge followings. The reader enjoys page loads of eye candy, recipes, and personal stories of despair and triumph interwoven with proselytizing and blaming Satan for their short comings while sending out the message “I endured, and so can you.” It is making domestic abuse situations acceptable for the sake of God and keeping an intact family.
Wives, submit to your husbands as 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.
I also got to witness other forms of abuse that occurred in these “Biblical” marriages, mostly surrounding money. The keepers of the home, the wives and mothers who were in charge of cooking and home maintenance often had no money of their own. Some of them did not even have joint banking accounts with their husbands, much less their own bank account and were given allowances. I can’t count the number of times I heard my own father say “I work and pay the bills so you abide by my rules.” The home we grew up was not “our” home, it was his house, and we just had the privilege of living there. Yet, my father did not want my mother to work. She also didn’t want to work. She wanted to be a keeper of the home, caring for her children and doing the things she enjoyed like cooking and sewing, but it came at a price of giving up her independence and she gave that away willingly.
One of the biggest things that has stood out to me has been the amount of control that many of these women, especially those that stay at home, relinquish to the men in their lives. Just recently a woman told me “Well my husband does pay the bills” when I asked her why she wasn’t allowed to do something because her husband forbid it. We are talking about a grown, beautiful, bright woman being restricted on when, where and what they are allowed to do because her husband, as she put it is “head of the house”. Over the last year I have spoken to many women who have husbands who dictate to them how they should dress, wear their hair, and where they can go. Their independence has been eroded to that of a parent child relationship than that of a husband and wife. Is this really what marriage is about? even Biblical marriage?
I want to ask these women – Do you think God wants you to be in an abusive marriage? a controlling marriage? a relationship that leaves you feeling shame and guilt? Do you think it is your husband’s right to tell you how to dress or how to cut your hair? Do you think it is your husband’s right to push you? hit you? verbally abuse you? coerce or force sex on you or sex acts you do not want to perform? Does your husband claim to know God and excuse his poor choices and character on the Devil?
I’ll be honest, being married to an Atheist has a lot of plusses. For one, my husband owns his behavior. He doesn’t blame Satan when he acts like an asshole. He doesn’t pray to God to fix him, he takes an active role in correcting his behaviors. Sixteen years ago my husband and I attended marriage counseling and he alone went to anger management classes. We didn’t go to church and ask our friends to pray for us or seek counsel from a pastor – we had seen in our own families how that had worked out. We also didn’t blame Satan. Amazing what some action on our parts and personal responsibility has done for our relationship.
If you believe in God, and I do, living in an abusive relationship is not part of God’s original plan for marriage. If your husband proclaims to “be saved” and know Jesus Christ and is living for Him, then the facts are – your husband is not going to abuse you. If Jesus Christ abides in him, he is not going to control and dominate you, he is not going to ask things of you that demean and degrade you, and he is surely not going to physically abuse you. And please, don’t give me this line of crap about how we all sin and fall short – I get that – but just like I don’t think sex offenders and murderers should run free in our society, neither do I think women and children should stay in households with abusive men. (or women for that matter)
Let me spell it out – if your husband hits you, Satan did not make him do it. If your marriage is flailing like a dying animal, the Devil is not involved. If your husband cheats on you, it’s not the whore’s fault, it is his fault. If your husband treats you like a dog and acts like a tyrant, HE ALONE is making the choice to behave that way. It also isn’t your fault. Just because you act like a bitch, nag, complain, disagree, and have your own crazy issues this doesn’t mean that Satan is in charge – YOU ARE. It is pretty lame to blame our human nature for our faults and then do nothing to change things to improve ourselves.
So let me get to the nitty gritty. A lot of focus on these beautiful, Christian mother blogs when talking about marriage is on the women and how they should behave and act to make their marriages work, but I am thinking more of a focus needs to be put on how a husband should behave in the marriage and whether or not he is living up to how God tells us how men should be in a marriage.
Ephesians 5:23, 25, and 28-29
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.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church
If your “godly” husband who claims to know Jesus and desires a “Christian marriage” then let me tell you something – he will not hit you. He will not be beating you and the kids and talking to you like you are animals. He will CHOOSE YOU over football, golf, hunting, cars, video games and anything else that distracts him from having a relationship with you. He will not hide money from you. He will not tell you “he is the head of the house” in a way to be boastful or to dominate you. He will give you equal say and be your partner in parenting your children, purchasing things for the home, and anything else that is important to your lives. If your husband is a Christian and living according to the Bible then he will treat you as Jesus Christ loved the church and will act accordingly AND IF HE ISN’T – well MAYBE YOU ARE UNEQUALLY YOKED with your spouse.
Holding out for a miracle is no reason to stay in an abusive relationship. Blaming Satan and our sinful nature is not a reason to keep living in a home situation that negatively affects you or your children. Staying in an unhealthy marriage doesn’t bring you closer to God and is really not doing your spirit any good.
Please Christian women stop painting abusive marriages out to be something acceptable between cute pictures of your kids, sewing tutorials and the recipes you cook in your kitchen.