What Abuse is This?

From Complegalitarian:

So if the relationship is sour, it *must* be because she's not acknowledging his leadership well enough. If she agrees with everything he says and complies in every single way, then there won't be any problems, now will there?

(No problems, but not much of a REAL relationship to speak of, either)... 🙁

I see that particular emphasis as being abusive in and of itself, even if the guy does not resort to physical violence, the emotional violence done to a woman in that kind of a "relationship" is enormous. In effect she ceases to exist.

I guess I would need to ask what "kind of 'relationship'" is being referred to?  Complementarian?  If it is complementarian marriages in general, it becomes more difficult to believe that egalitarians do not see all complementarian men in general are abusive.

If there is a different "kind of 'relationship'" being referred to, it would be helpful to know exactly what is being referred to?

I do have a few thoughts on "ceasing to exist".

Do we "cease to exist" when we are in Christ?  (Since Scripture refers multiple times in both New and Old Testaments as God / Christ relating to His peoples as husband and wife, it's a reasonable thing to do).

Is God / Christ being abusive when He gives us His commandments?

ALSO:  is dying to one's self necessarily a bad thing?  If the giving up on one's self leads to a greater tie of "one-flesh", why is that bad?  Especially since BOTH parties may be required to do exactly that.

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14 thoughts on “What Abuse is This?

  1. Leigh Ann

    "If she agrees with everything he says and complies in every single way, then there won’t be any problems, now will there"

    This seems to be a type of straw man because those in comp. marriages will tell you that the wife does not agree with everything that he says nor do comps. say that a wife is required to agree with everything that he says and does. Nor do comps. say that she has to comply with "every single way", even though they say that she was submit (in deed and attitude) with his final decision. Also many times on CBMW they speak of the husband taking the wife's advice and seeking her council and doing things her way. So, yes, exactly what "type of relationship" are they referring to? If they say it is a comp. one, it is a classic misrepresentation. If they say that it is a wrong view, comps. would agree.

    But also what is a "real relationship"? Where do you get your definition for that? If it is a mutual giving and taking, than that is what comps believe in.

    I have wondered about the cease to exsist thing as I have heard that argument before. But then you would have to say that the man also cease to exsist whether you are comp or egal because the two become one. When we are "yoked" to Christ, we take His name, He becomes our identity in the place where we are at (if that makes sense-I am still a plumber but I am a Christian one-it does change my identity but it doesn't--kwim). Something will change but it is not a giving up, it is an adding. Which by the way is a historical view concerning the Trinity. That when Christ became man He didn't give up anything. He added humanity. But anyway, my mind is going on tangents.
    Thanks for the thoughtful posts.

  2. Sue: I don't have any problem with it. For a woman teaching a woman how to relate beautifully with her husband, this is a good thing.

    Leigh Ann: (sarcasm alert on) Egals don't use straw men. (sarcasm alert off)

    What that comment says to me is that an abuser is an abuser. A wife can be perfect or imperfect: an abuser will still abuse. Not because of any issue the wife might have (or not have). An abuser is abusive because he is an abuser.

    Abuse is sin and should be treated as such.

  3. Charity

    I guess I would need to ask what “kind of 'relationship’” is being referred to?

    I just noticed that you have quoted me here. To answer your first question, I thought it was obvious from my quotation from Molly’s post – a sour relationship, which is blamed on a wife not being submissive enough. And I have seen that happen all too often unfortunately.

    Do we “cease to exist” when we are in Christ?

    Certainly not. Jesus promises that he has come to give us life and life in all its fullness. I cannot level that with ceasing to exist?

    Is God / Christ being abusive when He gives us His commandments?

    Certainly not. He is not only holy, but also omniscient – he really does know what is good and what is bad.

    ALSO: is dying to one’s self necessarily a bad thing?

    Out of interest, can I ask you where you get the idea that dying to oneself could possibly be a good thing? I have heard Christians preach this before, but I can’t find it at all in the Bible. I’ve just been through all of the New Testament looking at all the references to dying, and a can’t find a single one that mentions dying to self. Dying to the law, yes. Dying to sin, yes. But not dying to self. Or oneself.

    If the giving up on one’s self leads to a greater tie of “one-flesh”, why is that bad? Especially since BOTH parties may be required to do exactly that.

    Because if one person ceases to exist, there’s no longer a relationship but just one person. A relationship is just that a relationship between two people, each with their own emotions, feelings, preferences, etc. I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that suggests that a person’s personhood should be lost either when they marry or become a Christian.

  4. Charity, you do understand that "dying to one's self"" is an expression about turning away from selfishness?

    Because if one person ceases to exist, there’s no longer a relationship but just one person.

    Bingo. One-flesh.

    No longer two, but one.

    As each "dies" one's own self, each grows into the other. Soul mates, life mates, heart mates.

    Out of interest, can I ask you where you get the idea that dying to oneself could possibly be a good thing?

    What is the opposite? Living to one's self? Selfishness.

    I'd rather figuratively die to myself than live to myself.

    "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it"

    Charity, would you rather live to your self or die to your self? (NOTE: I've used "your self" not ÿourself.)

    I'm talking about the sacrificial love that comes when you walk away from ego (self) and put the other first. Die to self.

    It's about two becoming one, not each clinging to self.

    The question I ask myself, "Would you rather live to my self or die to my self?

    Lose my life or gain it?

    I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that suggests that a person’s personhood should be lost either when they marry or become a Christian.

    Right...and (the earthly reality) is that they don't. Not even complementarians.

  5. Charity

    Ellen

    How I wish you were right. The sad fact is, that there are women out there that do lose their personhood, by not being allowed to express their own emotions, preferences, opinions, because they have to be seen to be 100% in agreement with their husband. I know some of them. Some of them are my friends. My own mother is one of them. How I wish you were right.

    There is a big difference in turning away from, or dying to if you prefer, selfishness, and dying to yourself, or again if your prefer, "your self". The Bible does not talk about dying to self. Nowhere.

    You know, the Bible does not say "no longer two, but one". The Bible says "the two shall become one flesh", but nowhere does the Bible suggest that they are no longer two people.

    I believe that to truly put the other first, you need to actually exist in your own right.

  6. Anon

    Ellen,

    I don't think you have seriously considered what Charity has said. There is the teaching of "one flesh." This has nothing to do with there being "one person." There is a fundamental difference in dying to the flesh, and dying to oneself. One is what is asked, to die to one's own flesh, to become one with another.

    This has no connection to dying to "self" either to one's own will or authority over self. This is dangerous and leads to mental destruction. It is the road to despair.

    I cannot really put words to it. It is a descent into hell. One becomes obsessed with stepping in front of cars.

    Since you seem so oblivious, I can only say that the surrender of self is a truly terrible thing.

    Real words are not adequate. Does this piece of fiction help you understand.

    True despair can only be communicated by metaphor. Dying to self really is the death of the soul.

  7. I am not oblivious. I simply understand that it is the abuse that is the sin.

    Complementarianism does NOT require that "one person ceases to exist".

    Abuse is sin. Deal with sin as sin.

    CBMW opposes and condemns abuse as sin.

    Period.

    End of sentence.

    Abuse is sin. Another period.

    CBMW agrees. And yet the most positive thing that was said about the CBMW statement by the egals is that it's "nice that they acknowledge that in theory"

    Wow...weak.

  8. How I wish you were right. The sad fact is, that there are women out there that do lose their personhood, by not being allowed to express their own emotions, preferences, opinions, because they have to be seen to be 100% in agreement with their husband.

    Yes there are. That is sin. Deal with it as sin.

    It is not the complementarianism that is the sin.

    You tell me...is the intentional removing of the person-hood of a wife something that would be described as a husband loving his wife the way that Christ loves the church? umm...no.

    Tell me, please.

    Do you flat out believe that complementarianism is abuse?

  9. Charity

    Do you flat out believe that complementarianism is abuse?

    That's a hard call. 🙂

    Flat out is probably going too far. I believe that it is theoretically possible to put it all into practice without it becoming abuse. In practice though, from my observation either one of two things happens.
    Either the couple does not strictly adhere to it, leaving the wife some breathing space.
    Or there are varying degrees of abuse.

    It is my firm belief that most abusers (and here I include sexual abusers) are not at all aware of the fact that they are abusing. Most of them are deluded into believing that they are actually doing their victims a favour. Most of them are not nasty people setting out to harm others. This does not however lessen the damage done by the abuse, on the contrary it makes it worse.

  10. It appears that you are trying to say that (while you will not flat out say that the husband leading the home is abuse), you will hang onto the option to haul out when it's convenient.

    What you are leaving out (a common omission) is that the "breathing room" is built in to complementarianism (unlike patriarchy as it is taught today). Complementarianism is a husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church, giving her honor as the weaker vessel, as co-heirs in Christ. Being willing to die for her.

    A wife with this kind of leader is not without breathing room, any more than the church is.

  11. Anon

    This is very odd. If the system is ideal, the very image of perfection, then why does it need "breathing room." It needs breathing room, because otherwise it would be terrible, mind-destroying emotional abuse.

    Being a slave is one thing, but to endure the intimacies of someone who systematically eliminates your opportunities to make choices in life, and dispenses decisions at every turn, is utter and complete humiliation. The person in submission is supposed to be joyful and grateful to God for the destruction of their attitude of entitlement. They are to seek the loss of desire for choice, for autonomy, for ambition, for discernment. It is the slavery of the soul.

    This is why it needs to have breathing room built in, because it is so bad to begin with.

    So, mitigated by "breathing room," it is not all that bad.

    I don't think many people are going to want it anyway. Imagine what life would be like if two adult Christians said they wanted to live together in mutual submission. Would you have to put a big warning sticker on that package which said "Leave breathing room." This warning implies that the system itself, without "breathing room" is lethal. Yes, it is lethal.

  12. So, anon...what you are saying is that the C's are damned if they leave room for a little space and damned if they don't.

    the attitude it telling.

  13. Anon

    I am saying that the image in the scriptures should be of an ideal. When this image is described by egalitarians, it works. Mutual submission, democracy, consensus, sacrifice and submission, these are all models that don't need "breathing room." I can transpose a team relationship that I have with a coworker, or a friendship with a fellow Christian into a loving marriage.

    However, an "authority - submission" relationship is abuse without breathing room. If breathing room is factored in, then one admits that the model is in itself abusive and needs adjustment.

    Either give up the "breathing room" or admit that the model has its difficulties.

    The scriptures do not say, "Husbands, lead your wives, just as Christ lead the church and gave himself up for her" - they just don't.

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