The last few posts in which I was talking about my Dad received plenty of comments with a lot of thoughts, ideas and opinions. I want to thank you all for that, simply because it proves to me personally that this feeling I had about my Dad, that he wasn’t handling things the way he should, was in fact right all along.
There were many questions concerning my Mother and her role in this, so I want to talk a bit more about her as I feel it makes more sense to know her character and personality as well.
My mom is a very very quiet, introvert person. Ever since I can remember, she’s been quiet, hardly talking to people outside of our direct family. At church, she had a very hard time connecting with people, finding friends and such. She tried to be more outgoing, but it went only as far as signing up to bake a cake and then dropping it off without a word, only a smile.
While in the normal world, this would cause her problems, within the movement, it didn’t. Quite the opposite. My mom was praised for her quietness, her submission, her willingness to be simple and “die to self” as they love to say. While she was ignored, not noticed by the world, in the movement, she was somebody. And she didn’t have to do anything but be herself.
My dad was (is) really proud to have such a wife. She brought him honor and praise, she made him look really good in front of the other Patriarchs. She was the walking symbol of his strength and wisdom. If a woman was and could be this meek and quiet, it had to mean that the husband was an amazing leader. My dad took all his pride from the way his marriage looked to the outside.
My dad on the other hand always felt the need to be right and unquestioned. I was told that he was always a strong personality, but that he wasnt this bad. During the marriage it seems, the fact that my mother hardly ever spoke up, voiced an opinion or questioned him, must have gotten him used to feeling like this. My mom is addicted to harmony and peace. She’d rather swallow all her anger than get into a fight. And so, even if she felt my dad was wrong, she didn’t tell him simply to keep the house a peaceful and quiet place.
Over the years, my dad worsened. When you’re used to being right, it must be hard to accept criticism from anybody. My dad’s ego depended on the quietness of my mother, and likewise, the peace my mother loved so much depended on my dad’s ego.
Now, some comments talking about the wrong concept of submission in my family. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But for my parents, submission looked different. Here’s an excerpt from one of the comments:
“Honestly, he should be hit with Ephesians 5:28-29 (Husbands love your wives and cherish them–my paraphrase) and Ephesians 6:4 (Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath.) Perhaps the children should make posters of those verses and hang them around the house. It’s a thought.”
That IS a good idea, but it wouldn’t work out at the end of the day.
In this mindset, it’s really hard to argue whether a man really love his wife. Even if he mistreats her, its covered by “he wants to protect her, hence he loves her.”. Shes living on a really small budget? Protection of the family. He doesn’t listen to her? Because she’s not as smart and he’s protecting the family from foolish decisions. She doesn’t feel loved? He just has a different way of expressing it. She needs to adjust to her head of the house. Theres ALWAYS some way to explain every male behaviour, no matter how bad and degrading it is.
A wife on the other hand can be easily caught unsubmissive. She does it her way? Unsubmissive. She criticizes you? Unsubmissive and not honoring the husband.
Really, I could go on and on with thousand examples, but we will always end up with one answer: The man’s faults are encouraged by unsubmissive wives. A submissive wife will cure all problems within marriage. I encourage you to read http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/articles/general-view/archive/2003/july/01/learning-our-place-as-wives/
The Pearls answer questions about marriage and family life on their site and they demonstrate a deep understanding of this form of submission. It’s about total submission to a point where you can’t do anything in order to talk to your husband about problems. If you are too lazy to read through all the articles, here’s the basic principle: Submission is key.
My mother firmly believed that her total submission could cure all the problems within our family and within her marriage. Whenever things got worse, she tried to be even more submissive. She never questioned his decisions but blindly trusted that he had a divine revelation about everything. Whatever it was that he said or did, to her, it was directly from God and if it was a bad thing that was said or done, then it was because of her lack of submission.
I know many people are going to comment that it’s a wrong form of submission, not meant like that, that my mother needs to act rational, like a normal woman. But that’s NOT going to happen. It wont happen just like it wont happen that they leave the Christian faith. This is their faith. It’s irrational, yes, but so is all faith.