Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt. 4

bad teaching

Under the heading of Bad Teachings, I’ve been addressing the truly stinkin’ way in which Christian writers and teachers distort the phrase “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church” (herein referred to as LYWACLTC) into unbiblical shapes, all of which, for some reason, seem to resemble clubs with which to beat up husbands. Christian teachers are funny that way, huh?

Anyway, in a previous post, I shared the time that I asked some readers of a Christian marriage forum to give me ideas on just what LYWACLTC did not mean, and we forged a list of ten ideas. In my last post, I discussed the first item on the list, LYWACLTC does NOT mean you become a servant/slave to your wife. In this post, I want to discuss two of the ideas which are very closely related.

LYWACLTC does NOT mean:
3 – allowing her stay in sin just because she is comfortable.
5 – avoiding correction to keep the peace.

Every Man’s Dream. NOT.

Beats there a man’s heart so energized at the end of the day, that he looks forward to the evening brawl with his wife that he knows will ensue upon his arrival at home? Is there a man so excited to get home so that he can battle his life-rival over something that he said or did to ignite yet another battle-royal?

No, of course not! What do you think I am, nuts? No guy ever gets married because he wants his home to be like the boxing ring at Madison Square Garden; EVER! Instead, guys want their homes to be places of peace, refuges from the world.

Men feel that they have to do enough fighting during the day. Whether it be an intractable boss, or refractory clients, short-tempered customers or impatient service workers, we fight through a day, hopefully being able to keep our jobs and sanity at the same time. The last thing we want is to be the main event at the evening knock-down, drag-out at the house.

Great Comedy, But Miserable Advice

FYI, I have an over-developed sense of humor and I love me some comedy. Stand-up, movies, sitcoms, storytelling…. You name it, I love it. I really enjoy one Christian comedian, Jeff Allen, who has this one schtick for which he is famous, Happy Wife/Happy Life. While hilarious to listen to, at the same time, it makes for some terrible marriage advice. See for yourselves:

Yeah, it’s funny stuff, but the Happy Wife, Happy Life line is, basically, pretty much crap, isn’t it? Allen’s schtick does touch a nerve, though. His picture of that vibrating old man cuts a little close to the bone, doesn’t it, guys? Yes, we want peace in our homes. We want our homes to be sanctuaries from the world’s strife. But acquiescing to unreasonable demands and letting bad behavior slide will only result in a tortured peace, at best. After all, a cold war, while not a shooting war, is still war.

Guys,  we do want our homes to be a refuge from the world, a place of peace and harmony. For that to happen, the residents of that home have to be in harmony, but harmony is not not the same as Pax Romana. History buffs will recognize that term as the state of peace imposed by Rome on all the countries that it conquered. Yes, under Rome, peace reigned from Britain to Persia, but it was a peace imposed by conquest. It’s one thing for the weak to be conquered by the strong, but a completely different thing for the strong to just give in to threats and bullying for the sake of peace.

In our Colloquy #4, Chris Taylor, of Forgiven Wife, said,

I understand that men want peace in their homes—but temporary peace sometimes leads to long-term pain and strife.
So when I say to care for a wife’s feelings, I am not saying that he should turn the other cheek and become a doormat for his wife.
CSL, maybe you can put that into guy speak for me.

Part of my response to this was:

…, you are going to have to understand that marriage is more than just food, bills and sex. Men have to transition into Husbands, and one thing Husbands have to have is a good BS Meter. Chris said it: just because your wife has “feelings” doesn’t mean that you become supine. You have feelings too, and she needs to take them in account, as well. It’s not all about her. And you need to be able to stand up for yourself.

(What Chris wrote in that fourth colloquy, by the way, is what helped to spur this post.)

Anyone Else Nauseated By That Song, “Feelings”?

Your wife has feelings; we all get that. But, surprise, you have feelings, too! And they are just as valid. Your wife’s “feelings” should not be trump card in every situation in your marriage. More important than feelings are right and wrong.  Yes, guys, we can be wrong sometimes; even I have not yet attained deity. After all, even *I*, the omniscient know-it-all who is your cuddly librarian, am never right 100% of the time.

But here’s the thing; the fact that we are men doesn’t mean that, by default, we are goof-offs and dirtbags and need to resign ourselves to second-class status in our marriages. Yes, we can make mistakes and be wrong (spectacularly wrong, at times), but that does not automatically indicate character flaw. Conversely, just because women are women, they are not endowed with divinity, either. Wives can, believe it or not, make mistakes, and even be spectacularly wrong. And just because a wife may be fluent in Hissy-fit doesn’t make her right.

I know of one man who began to study his situation, and came to realize that his wife was an Esau, that “her hand was against every man.” And she would expect him to fight the battles that she needlessly started. He told of watching his wife create drama in a restaurant by getting nasty with the wait staff. He realized that she fed off this kind of drama, and decided to refuse to be drawn into her conflict. He came to realize that he didn’t have problems with family and friends, that it was his wife, and he refused to continue to become involved in her petty squabbles. She wasn’t happy that he no longer helped her fight the battles of her own making, but his relationships with family and friends were restored.

Upgrade From Coach To First-Class

So, guys, it’s time to stand up and dust yourselves off. Take the sign off your back. You know, the sign that says, “Welcome”, where everyone has been wiping their feet? Yeah, take it off. You don’t need to fly coach in your marriage while your wife flies first-class.

One of the things that pastors and counselors will warn singles about is marrying an unbeliever, telling the Christian who is considering marriage that the Bible says that you shouldn’t be “unequally yoked” in marriage. I’m thinking that the same thing applies in pretty much every marriage, even those in which both husband and wife are Christians. When a farmer hitches up a team of horses, he doesn’t put one horse in harness and invite the other up onto the wagon and give her the reins; neither does God, so start examining yourselves and see if you and your wife are “equally yoked” in your marriage, or not.

If you are one of these husbands who have stopped being a husband and took on the role of doormat, I would refer you back to Chris’s words, above:

I understand that men want peace in their homes—but temporary peace sometimes leads to long-term pain and strife.
So when I say to care for a wife’s feelings, I am not saying that he should turn the other cheek and become a doormat for his wife.

What I’m saying is that you need to stand up and look at your marriage, and find out where you stopped being a husband and embarked on a career as a doormat. It’s one thing to be a Christian husband and take Peter’s words to heart: live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life,

It’s another thing entirely to submit to an Anschluss in your marriage simply because you value peace at any price.



Filed under Marriage & Sexuality

5 responses to “Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt. 4

  1. This reminds me of a few quotes from Tripp’s marriage book, What Did You Expect:

    “Our silence in the face of wrong is not motivated by a desire to love the other well but by not wanting to hassle through the difficult process of kind and loving confrontation. We are silent not because we love our spouse but because we love ourselves, and we do not want to put ourselves through something uncomfortable. When we fail to bring such things to light, they fester in the dark of our own sinful heart, and the other does not benefit from the conviction and confession that would help them grow and change.”

    “We fail to approach our spouse when he or she has wronged us because we love ourselves more than we love our spouse . Seldom is self-love a self-conscious thing. Perhaps what you are conscious of is that you are afraid of rejection, afraid of being drawn into a long debate, afraid of your spouse getting angry, or afraid your spouse will throw all your failure in your face. In short, you don’t want to expose yourself to all the possible dangers of lovingly confronting your spouse with something he or she has said or done but hasn’t acknowledged. Do you see what you were doing? You are opting for self protection rather than for what would be helpful for your spouse and for your relationship and pleasing to God. Forgiveness requires that we be willing to let go of our desire for safety and comfort and for the surface peace of silence, and, as an act of faith, that we endure what we do not want to face in order for the other to be helped and our relationship to be reconciled.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is GOLD!!! Where has this book been all my life?!?


    • I wasn’t able to finish it before it was due at the library, but what I did read of it was life changing. Not exaggerating. I think it is one of the GREAT marriage books that just flew under the radar.


  3. MO_Dufus

    LYWACLTC is usually taken completely out of context. The Servant-Leader as usually presented totally ignores “Serve one another,” “wives submit to your husbands” and “wives respect your husbands.” Also, the Servant-Leader as usually presented totally ignores Christ calling the Pharisees (the church) into account for their rejection of God and imposition of law and tradition in His place. So, if I take Ephesians chapter 5 in context, the husband is to serve his wife by meeting her needs AND the wife is to serve the husband by meeting his needs, at the same time as equals and the husband is to lead the home “as Christ leads the church” while the home submits to the husband’s leadership as “the church submits to Christ’s leadership.” The husband neither dominates the wife NOR does the wife dominate the husband. The needs of the spouse are always EQUAL with their own.

    Liked by 1 person

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