My Favorite Sunshine Mary Post

My Favorite Sunshine Mary Post

In 2014, Sunshine Mary, who used to have a blog, wrote about the way her husband dealt with her rebellion. I wrote a post called Should Husbands Ever Discipline Their Wives and asked the women on Facebook what they thought about Sunshine Mary’s post. She wrote the following after reading the women’s response. It’s quite interesting to say the least!

Last fall, in Nip disrespect in the bud before it blooms into a flower of rebellion, I told the story of how my husband told me to stop putting sharp knives in the dishwasher because it dulls the blades and damages the wood handles. I really prefer to wash them in the dishwasher, so I kept sneaking them in, and he kept catching me disobeying him. Eventually the dishwasher broke, not because of the knives, but just because something mechanical went wrong with it, and he refused to replace it for me because I hadn’t followed his directions about the knives.

Today, I am looking at the mound of dishes on the counter and feeling very sorry for myself. Learn from my mistake, ladies. You may think you can get away with disrespect and disobedience, but those consequences, when they finally arrive, are not worth it. Because he is nipping my disrespect for his authority in the bud, you can be sure that I will not test his resolve to respond to rebellious disobedience again. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a rather dreadful chore to which I must attend.

Some verses upon which I will be meditating while immersed in dish detergent suds:

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22)

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Peter 3:1-2, 5)

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. (Proverbs 14:1)

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. (Revelation 3:19)

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

A few days ago, my dear sister in Christ and fellow blogger, Lori Alexander at Always Learning, posed this question on her Facebook page:

“Sunshine Mary’s husband told her not to put the knives in the dishwasher but she did anyways. When the dishwasher broke, he wouldn’t buy her a new one because she disobeyed him. Should husbands be allowed to discipline their wives in this way?”

Later, she started a new thread with this rephrased and expanded question:

“Putting good knives in the dishwasher ruins them. SSM kept doing it even though her husband told her numerous times not to do so. When the dishwasher broke, he refused to buy her a new one so she would have to wash the knives by hand. Another husband cut up his wife’s credit card since she was putting her family deeper and deeper into debt. You don’t think a husband should ever allow the wife to suffer from the consequences of her disobedience?”

Now, Lori is a devout Christian, and her readers are almost exclusively very devout Christian women. So how do devout Christian women respond to the idea of a husband having the right, as the Biblically-appointed head of the marriage, to enforce mild consequences (such as refusing to replace a broken dishwasher) on an unsubmissive, disobedient wife? I’ve gone through the Facebook comment thread and grouped the responses to Lori’s question into ten common themes (all bold typing is mine; some comments were edited with […] for brevity).

1. A husband has no authority to tell his wife what to do. A man is only permitted to love his wife, and by love, I mean let her do whatever she wants.

Laura ~ He can’t control what she does. She is the only one responsible for submitting. If she chooses not to, that is between her and God. Her husband’s only responsibility is to love her; that’s what he’s called to do. Not buying her a new dishwasher sounds like he is lording his position over her. It doesn’t sound very loving to me. I think if a husband does this, it’s a sign of his selfishness.

Chris ~ I have to agree with this! It’s God’s job to work with each person and not have someone looking over their shoulder throwing a tizzy because you aren’t measuring up. I think Jesus addressed this with that whole speck and plank thing. The minute the way others act or how they treat you becomes more of a concern than your own actions is a sure sign you have gotten off track.

Veronica ~ Man is naturally sinful and can’t be trusted to “discipline” his wife. That’s between her and God…

Jill ~ The Bible ONLY tells the husband to LOVE!!!! Love = prayer!…Where is love from the husband in that?

Linda ~ I think the dishwasher thing sounds inappropriate. If it’s a case of not being able to afford a new dishwasher right now, that’s a perfectly valid call for a husband to make. But if it is (as it sounds like) a case of a husband who doesn’t like that his wife does things differently than he does and tries to punish her by making her life harder, that’s petty and childish. That doesn’t mean that the wife should rebel or disobey him, but it does mean that the husband is acting improperly. That is NOT servant leadership. The wife should voice her concerns, appeal to him, and then submit in order to win him without a word. It might also be appropriate to apologize for ignoring his wishes. But her offense doesn’t justify his response. Nor is it his duty or right to discipline her as if she was a child.

Karen ~ …Wives are not children that the husband can ‘discipline’. Husbands are to love their wives as it says in Ephesians 5:25-29 …There is nothing there about punishing or disciplining the human wife! He is to treat her as himself!!

Chris ~ Hmmm, I don’t know that the idea of disciplining your wife is biblical. I don’t think parenting your spouse has any part in a marriage […]

Reading that last one, my husband snorted, “Neither do the Scriptures say anything about dishwashers. Therefore, we should get rid of them. See, I am a very Scriptural man.”

2. A husband who tells his wife to do or not do something is just a controlling, disrespectful, selfish man.

Michelle ~ Unbelievable how a sweet biblical truth can become so twisted. A controlling man should never be confused with submission.

Emily ~ Disobedience? What is she a 4 year old? He sounds like he needs some help and to grow up and communicate appropriately/respect his wife.

Marjorie ~ …He was using that as an excuse to discipline her for not obeying. For her husband to place himself in the position of micro-managing her, he is showing criticism and not allowing her to grow in a natural way…Everyone should be allowed to make mistakes and to constantly be criticized, judged and punished is disrespectful to her position as his wife. He is undermining her and the children will follow suit and not respect her either… A man who criticizes, belittles and undermines his wife will destroy her and believe me, there can be stiff consequences for that. I have seen my sister-in-law become morbidly obese over the years because of my critical and domineering brother. It is such a sad thing to witness.

Megan ~ If it was a big deal to my husband I’d try to accommodate him in that area; both in the knives and in the credit card situation. My husband wouldn’t deny me a dishwasher based on knives though- we probably WOULD have some frank discussions about respect…

Susan ~ The credit card is different and I can be agree with that. A husband can teach wives how to control the money, but about dishwasher its look like a selfish husband. This is my humble opinion.

Scherrie ~ No. That was his selfish excuse…

3. It is a little unnerving to me that we are criticizing women for failing to submit to and respect their husbands. Could we please go back to criticizing men for failing to love and lead us, like I am used to?

Sue ~ Lori, you know that I love reading your blog. You are a wonderful teacher. You are always talking about wives loving their husband, pleasing husband, obeying husband, but I will love it if you one day you would talk about how a husband needs to protect, love their wives, be the husband that the word of God said they should be.

Jill ~ Lori, how do you believe a women can expect a husband to treat his wife? We are adults and should be able to discuss this. I would even say it is important to talk about it because if we only talk about how a wife should behave then the discussion is not totally balanced.

Shelley ~ Sure that would be okay, if it was also okay when his wife reminded him a few times that his lunch for work the next day was in the fridge for him to take and when he forget it, I guess he would just be hungry. Or if he didn’t wash his clothes for work or forgot to remind his wife to do it, he didn’t have the clothes he needed the next day. If ‘consequences for disobedience’ work for wives, then ‘consequences for stupidity or laziness that the wife won’t bail the husband out of’ should be ok too.

Emily ~ So if a husband forgets to mow the lawn and then does it when it is very long and the mower doesn’t function…does the wife throw the mower away and leave a pair of scissors for him for next weekend as a punishment?

Angie ~ If hubby neglects to mow, hire someone to do it, take it out of the grocery fund or something that affects him directly, and he will remember….

Cyndi ~ Isn’t Sunshine Mary’s husband also the guy who cheated on his wife over and over and over?

As to that last one, the subtext is clear: if a man has ever sinned, even before becoming a Christian, that is a wife’s get-out-of-obeying free card. He wasn’t perfect, so she never has to obey him.

4. I have never seen a sharp knife ruined by a dishwasher. Probably he is wrong, and if he is wrong, that absolves a wife of having to obey her husband.

Jill ~ My dishwasher has never ruined my knifes; perhaps there is a difference between knives in the USA and Australia?

Veronica ~ How does a dishwasher get ruined by knives? IMO, he isn’t taking on his provider role. Just seems like a power play, not a loving action.

Marjorie ~ Even though I have only read this blog for the first time today, I am shocked at this question. My first question is how would putting a knife in the dishwasher be responsible for breaking it??? I know of absolutely no one who would not hesitate to put a knife in the dishwasher, unless it had a wooden handle. I could understand the possibility of a glass breaking in the dishwasher and causing it to break, but not a knife. But of course, I realize that is not the question here…

Susan ~ …its a little tiny thing about these knives that gets me the most. I don’t know about their dishwasher but mine doesn’t ruin knives! I don’t think having a different way of cleaning to your husband is WRONG, just different! Women take on the majority of the housework/cooking, etc. and surely it’s up to them how they clean? I just find this a petty attitude from the husband, like he is throwing a hissy fit because things weren’t done EXACTLY as he decreed. Doesn’t sound like a lovely kind attitude to me?

5. Anyway, unless the wife judges her husband to be wiser than she is, you can’t really expect her to obey him.

Marjorie ~ … The husband is not always the wisest one in the household and if a wife is expected to blindly obey, then there is a destructive force that will cause so much pain and imbalance in a family. I see it in my children as they struggle to understand their own marriages, following growing up in a household where there was a dictator. Good communication is one of the MOST valuable keys to a good marriage… not blind obedience. Love, respect and kindness are more key ingredients and without them there will be consequences. I think the days are long gone where women did not have a voice and were not even allowed to vote without first consulting their husbands…

6. Actually, even asking this question as to whether a husband should expect his wife to submit to and obey him is shocking and horrifying.

Heidi ~ Oh my… Is this really a serious question?? Wow!!

Cris ~ Is this true, Lori?

Debbie ~ You have a sick mentality of what a husband should be to his wife.

7. Plus, everyone knows that if we start expecting women to follow the Bible and submit to and obey their husbands, we will have a rash of out-of-control, power-mad men on our hands.

Shelley ~ Allowing a husband to discipline his wife is taking that power away from God. If submitting to your husband is about obeying God, not about whether or not the husband “deserves” the respect and obedience, then if a woman chooses not to submit she is ultimately disobeying God, NOT her husband. The Holy Spirit will have to convict her and change her heart and hopefully her husband will pray for her. But a husband disciplining his wife? That’s sick and if anyone encourages that there will be a whole lot of regular guys out there turning into maniacs on a power trip who are selfish, manipulative and more like a mean father instead of a loving husband.

Sara ~ …everyone is not perfect. A husband like that is like having your Dad in home.

Jill ~ Lori, does SSM’s husband leave her a list of what to do in the day and she has to do it that way? I am asking because I know someone whose husband does that and if she doesn’t do the list she is in trouble!

8. Anyway, it’s just too difficult for a wife to obey her husband. No loving man would expect her to do that.

Jennifer ~ …that’s weird. My husband is sweet enough to bless me with mercy and forgiveness when I screw up and/or “disobey him”!

Sue ~ My husband would never do this to me, because he loves me too much and he knows that sometimes it is difficult for me to obey him.

9. Abuse! Abuse! Abuse!

Jill ~ I have had dishwashers and trust me, Lori, knives do not break them; something about this husband is not right! My husband has fixed our dishwasher many times and it has never been because of a knife! I think the husband needs to talk to his Pastor about loving his wife more because if he wouldn’t buy her a new dishwasher because of the knives that is just being mean, controlling and not loving her as he would love his own body!! Sometimes women who are in an abusive marriage don’t see it while it is happening; sadly!

Marjorie ~ … I would say this husband is a power hungry control freak and he is punching holes in his marriage to punish his wife in this way. A marriage is a partnership and if no one is allowed to make a mistake without being “punished” then there is something seriously wrong. To be expected to blindly obey is so wrong on so many levels and this most certainly does NOT express love and/or kindness.

Jill ~ Marjorie, I do agree a home with a husband who yells and dominants his wife is setting up their children to need counseling for a long time to come…

Michelle ~ I would have never continued to wash the knives in the dishwasher, if my husband asked me not to, it’s such a small thing fact that she did reveals much deeper issues in the relationship. My question would be ‘why’ did she continue? Is she so controlled that she was trying to find something in her life that she could control?…

Nicole ~ Anything that involves shame, fear, guilt, etc. is manipulation.

Jill ~ There is nothing about a husband treating his wife like that; that shows light to the world. All the world would see is someone being a door mat and the other person seen as a dictator. I know because people who are not saved have told me that. Sadly! Love wins every time but for the world to see it as love, it must go both ways! The world is very quick to see abuse as abuse and love as love! Even if we don’t see it that way!

Jan ~ If wives can be disciplined like children, smacking a child is ok, why not smack one’s wife. Why would it be treated any different? If a government can lock up someone for breaking the law, why not lock up one’s wife for breaking the “home” laws? Where does the husband draw the line?? Sending her to bed early for misbehaving? A marriage is not like a having children or being a CEO {who can sack you if they don’t like you; this would be called divorce}. And what happens if the husband spends all the money and the wife suffers, who cares? What happens if he drinks too much? It seems this is a recipe for abuse and that’s really sad. Men are human and power can easily go to their heads.

Do you understand, men? Not buying your wife a dishwasher is actually abuse. Buying her a dishwasher as a reward for ruining some of your property and disobeying you is love. Therefore, the proper response by a wife to a husband who refuses to love her by buying her something she wants is…

10. Rebel! Rebel! Rebel!

Jodie ~ Still looks like he will be washing dishes…

Sharon ~ NO. I would not put up with that and if I were her, I would go out and buy my own dishwasher and have it put in before he got home. HE is not a dictator he is to love his wife. {just the thought of him allowing her… sounds parental they are both adults}.

Linda ~ He would not be my husband!!!!

Paula ~ …he would not be married to me. No man is going to control me but GOD that is it.

Scherrie ~ Buy it anyway. Men shouldn’t discipline their wives…

Only one man weighed in on the Facebook thread. Here is what he had to say to the question of whether a husband ever has the right to discipline his wife:

Jeremiah ~ Yes, when they act like children.

Ha! Exactly. Jeremiah is going to have an orderly home.

Instead of teaching a lesson in my own words on everything that was so very wrong with the women’s responses, I’ll let that be done by the few women who got it.

Anna ~ Why didn’t she listen to him? She can hand wash now. I would fully expect my husband to do the same thing if I disregarded what he told me to do.

Kimberly-Anne ~ I agree with Anna. The situation doesn’t seem as the husband “lording over” a wife. She was in the wrong in both situations, causing more stress to her husband, not being a very good help meet and being horribly disrespectful and selfish.

Anna ~ As stated in the previous discussion, I think the consequences the wives faced in both of these situations were perfectly acceptable. Why should the husband waste money on another dishwasher if she’s just going to disregard him and keep putting expensive {easily ruined} things in it? He’s going to have to pay for new knives eventually too! Neither of these instances shows selfishness or a husband “lording over” a wife. They show husbands who are looking out for their families. I’m actually kind of shocked at all the Christian women in the other thread saying he wouldn’t be their husband, or saying they’d then go behind his back and purchase things anyway. Wow!

Kimberly-Anne ~ And it shouldn’t be an “I will respect and honor my husband IF” it is “I’ll respect and honor my husband no matter what, even if he doesn’t deserve my respect.” Our children don’t have to earn our love, we love them unconditionally. When you made your vows, there was no clause or subtexts (at least there wasn’t in mine!) Love, Honor, Respect ~ until death do us apart…. Not until he does something that I don’t agree with. Yes, there are times when I might disagree with him, and my husband will let me voice my opinion because two brains are better than once. But if I come across as a shrew, he’s going to shut down. Meekness, quietness, respectfully. “Better to live in the corner of a roof than to live with a quarrelsome wife.”

***Postscript: In reading this all over again so many years later, think about it women, isn’t it better to have your husband do what he can to nip your rebellion to him in the bud ASAP (and not in an abusive way) so the Lord won’t have to chasten and scourge you? God tells us He chastens and scourges those whom He loves. He does it for our good. He wants our obedience. I don’t know about you, but I think I would choose washing dishes every day over having the Lord’s discipline upon me for my rebellion against my husband; for we do reap what we sow. Sunshine Mary was wise enough to see that her husband’s actions towards her were for her good, not her bad.

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