Wives Suffering Under Patriarchy

Wives Suffering Under Patriarchy

The word “Patriarchy” has very bad connotations these days. The word simply means “the male head of a family or tribe” but feminists have fought hard to get rid of Patriarchy because of the “cruelness” and “unfairness” of it. I asked the women in the chat room this question: “Can you all share with me the pain and misery you are suffering under Patriarchy? I need to make a blog post about this to warn women of God’s ways.”

Verna: “A happy marriage. It’s dreadful.”

Nicole: “On the contrary, I’m suffering from being OUT from under Patriarchy! I anxiously await the day my husband will be restored to his rightful place in our home as head over our family.”

Diane: “I am suffering terribly with this man who gets up every morning at 4:30 am and works from 5:00 am until anywhere from 4:00 to 6:00 pm every day building machines. He also leaves me on Saturdays from 4:00 am until noon. Then he comes home and does things like cutting out a wall to put in a new sliding glass door for me. Then he takes me to church every Sunday morning. He says he loves me. He gives me a nice vehicle to drive and a credit card to buy all the gas I want. He pays all the bills and gives me more grocery money than I need. He takes me away on trips now and then and always remembers my birthday and our anniversary. I get to stay home, homeschool, keep house, and cook everyday. I have had the joy of raising three daughters, and now I get to enjoy grandchildren. Someone rescue me from this pain and misery!”

Taylor: “Yeah I never have to work a ‘real job’ another day in my life and I don’t have to trust strangers with my children. It’s the WORST 😜.”

Candis: “I don’t have cable or dish/tv, can you believe it? He makes me live without it. He makes me go on cruise ships, stay at home with my twin girls, drive a brand new mini-van. And I didn’t get anything for Christmas but a brand new bathroom! He only asks that the bed be made and ice tea…Save Me! lol”

Kylene: “I get to stay home with my children and homeschool them. I get to teach them, influence them, cook nutritious meals for my family, etc. When my husband is off work, I get to be with him instead of at work (and so do my children because they’re here, too). We’re all so oppressed. 🙄”

Christine: “When I’ve been so scared I couldn’t talk, he was there with words.
When I couldn’t see straight because of tears, he lead me.
When I couldn’t find the time, he made time
When I didn’t have the energy, he lifted me.
When I thought I couldn’t love enough, he showed me how!
He loves me just like Jesus loves his church.”

Patricia: “We had a terrible hail storm last April. It destroyed our vinyl siding, roof, and screens on the house. Because of patriarchy, I didn’t have to deal with insurance adjusters, roofers, and contractors. I was able to be in the house making my husband his favorite rice pudding during the final inspections. It’s rough, Lori Alexander ❤”

Carlee: “It’s so hard to get to be around my child all day and not have to worry about him being in someone else’s care. It is the worst when he’s sick and I don’t get to go to work and hope someone else notices his symptoms the way I do. And my husband is so controlling – he insists I take time to care for myself and will occasionally force me to rest while he picks up dinner on his way home. I get to have a clean house at my leisure and home-cooked meals daily! I never get to experience the heartbreak and confusion of casual sex or wondering where I stand with this guy I hooked up with. I get to have the same man all the time and he comes with a legally binding commitment to me. How boring! 😫”

Molly: “I have received more blessings than I ever deserve because of my father and husband. I’ve been loved, cared for, and valued by both. I can’t stand the disdain our culture seems to have for men in general. It’s so dumb and no different than old-fashioned bigotry of hating entire groups of people just because. I thank God everyday for my husband, who is humble and hard-working. Last week, he took off time from work to go with me to a doctor appointment because I was scared. He drives me wherever I need to go and is much calmer and wiser than I am. It’s clear that God wants me to look up to my husband and listen to him, and I regret that I didn’t always treat him that way. Thank you, Lori and friends on this page, for showing me the light! I feel badly for my friends who never married because they are missing out on that provision and love.”

Libby: “The cruel Patriarchy I grew up with is a loving father who is to this day affectionate and kind to myself and my daughters. And I have a wicked, wicked husband who provides a comfy life and works his booty off for me. It’s so difficult when he helps me around the house even when I don’t ask him, and he goes out of his way to bless my day with happiness.”

Chelsea: “I’m provided for, I have a kitchen full of food without ever needing to make a paycheck. My children have never gone without yet I never have to leave their side. I have a doting, loving husband who kisses my forehead and cuddles me all night. I’m able to fulfill all of my dreams with his help and support and I have the freedom to do everything I’ve ever wanted. I’m living out my purpose every single day and get to go to sleep at night feeling fulfilled knowing I have healthy, intelligent children because of my ability to spend undivided time with them. It’s terrible.”

Nicole: “I get so tired, I take a nap most days after we are done homeschooling and the little ones are napping. It’s awful. 😴😂”

Sonja: “No pain and suffering here. I’m so thankful that I am protected from the world by a man who is happy to have me at home.”

Here are some thoughts on Patriarchy by Ken:

“One hears a great deal today about ‘the end of hierarchy… This is blatant nonsense. In any institution there has to be a final authority, that is, a ‘boss’—someone who can make the final decisions and who can expect them to be obeyed.” (Peter Drucker, Management Challenges for the 21st Century). If the greatest mind we have had on management and organizational structure clearly says that we need “someone who can make the final decision” in every organization, why not the family and marriage?

As we were walking tonight Lori told me she posted a tongue-in-cheek question in her chat room asking “How are you doing under Patriarchy?” I am not a big fan of the word Patriarchy as I don’t see the word in the Bible and it carries with it a mix of false connotations and some real sins committed by false religion under the guise of Christianity. If Patriarchy means a father is the head of his home and he rules it with servant leadership, I am all in. If it means a father is in any way unloving or unChristian towards his wife and family I want nothing to do with it and neither should you.

The Patriarchy of the Old Testament was necessary for tribal leadership. Imagine that we had all our four kids and soon to be seven grandkids all living under one roof or compound and issues came up that needed to be decided. The idea that we would all get together in a room and talk it out is a great American ideal, but so impractical, as not only does “decision by committee” take a lot of time, but what do you do when you cannot get consensus?

“We are running out of grazing land and food for the family and animals and need to move on, Dad. Should I call everyone together to decide when and where we should go now?”

“The Amorites are attacking from the south and will be here before dusk! Should we have a family meeting to decide what to do?”

Patriarchy in the Old Testament was the result of a necessity that God addressed by making the men of the family the leaders, and the oldest of the men, the elders, the final decision makers. It was a necessary model of organization that served the tribe well and kept disputes and conflict under control while providing direction and leadership. Remember, much of the family in these days worked within the family business too, and that business was owned and operated by Dad.

I do not see the OT model of Patriarchy in the New Testament, nor do I see the necessity or benefit of a father making decisions for his grown sons and their families who are not living under the same roof. For that matter, a Christian father should be trying to distance his influence over his sons and daughters as they become adults and allow them to create and govern their own family units. My job of being Patriarch ended the day that my child left home for good, and now they must make their own way in life, hopefully God’s way. I certainly am available to them for counsel if they choose to use me as their sounding board, but I have no intention of making any family decisions for them.

So what does the New Testament teach? It teaches that a husband is to be the head of his wife and rule his house well, with love, joy, peace, goodness and all of the fruit of the Spirit flowing through him. He is to be the leader of his home, yet his leadership depends mainly on a wife who loves, respects and willfully submits to his leadership. The husband as leader of his home is to be the final decision maker that is necessary for a healthy organization and family, but his decisions should not be self-serving, but rather focused on the family as a whole and the well being of each of its members.

I much prefer the word leader to Patriarch for our NT times, and I can’t over-emphasize that a Christian wife following her husband is voluntary and cannot be forced. If a wife chooses to be difficult and disobedient to God’s Word, a godly husband’s recourse is limited to conversation, prayer, and perhaps allowing her to suffer the natural consequences of her rebellion to his leadership. Just like Christ does not appear to be zapping us for our disobedience towards Him and His Word, so, too, a husband must be patient to wait upon the Lord to work on his wife’s heart to bring her to a desire to be Christian in her behavior.

“All things Christian” must be the motto of our homes, and when one or the other spouse goes away from what is clearly taught in God’s Word the family suffers. But what does it look like when a wife accepts her husband’s leadership in her life and marriage? Hear it from the words of those who are experiencing God’s blessings by doing things God’s ways. God’s ways can’t be put into a word like Patriarchy, or even leadership.

When the Spirit of Christ is flowing in and through two of his children who want to make for themselves a fabulous marriage and family, the results can be spectacular as the women shared above. I was not Patriarch, but I was a faithful servant of my God and I lead my family well, even when my difficult wife at times refused to follow, then became the best wife I could have ever imagined. The result of God’s work is now four other families who love doing things God’s ways and are extending God’s promises down to another generation of God’s family.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Ephesians 5:23

10 thoughts on “Wives Suffering Under Patriarchy

  1. Voluntary submission is an interesting concept. My wife is very good at making demands while simultaneously insisting they are requests. But I guess I get confused by the language. If she says a particular chore “has to get done,” is that a request? If she tells me that “someone needs to the dishes and it sure won’t be me,” is that a request? If she says that she needs “somebody” to get the trash cans in from the house, is that a request?

    One time she said that and then self-consciously added the word “please.” Then she laughed and said, “18 years of marriage and I finally learned to do that.”

    So what exactly are the “natural” consequences of that kind of submission?

    1. There are two sides to a Biblical marriage and the first side is a husband’s loving leadership. You should desire to please your wife, serve her with gladness and that usually means a husband chips in with dishes and other ways to help. But, you get to decide when, where, and how you will love, serve, and help.

      One of the first steps of leadership is to discuss with your wife how you think it is best to manage your home and relationship. Many a Christian husband after 18 years has to say, “Honey, I love you lots, but I have felt put upon and manipulated by you for 18 years now. I can’t tell you exactly why I have allowed it, and I need to ask your forgiveness for not telling you earlier, and leading our relationship as I should have. It’s my fault and I would like to discuss how we can both get the best out of our marriage together without upset or hurt. Set reasonable and healthy divisions of labor and expectations, then be willing as a good servant to go above and beyond when necessary… and you decide when it is necessary.

      The natural consequences if you are feeling manipulated is to smile at your wife and say, “Well I hope those dishes do themselves as I have put in a full days work and I am sure they will wait until the morning.” You are pleasant but you stand your ground and lead with lots of good communications.

      I am trying to remember, but I think way back I had some of this issue and I told my wife if she asked me to do something in a manipulative way it was a guarantee I would not do it. Lead, but lead with a servant’s heart and love.

  2. The world is in so much turmoil and confusion. All because they want God left out of the picture. But God in His wisdom is not the author of confusion but of order. We know when there is order there is calm and peace. Gods perfect order is written in His word. When it is followed, we will find rest and peace. Why on earth we choose confusion and chaos over peace ill never fully understand. When a woman is properly submitted to authority, she is certainly not under bondage. Those who say she is are really just looking out for an excuse to avoid responsibility. Or to avoid God being in the picture. Excellent post Lori, i may just have to print this one out. 😊

    1. WOW… that is very well said. Thank you! Everything in God’s design is orderly, even down to the cells in our body. He loves order and to have order in any relationship it must be defined by a benevolent leader who is always looking out for the well being of the whole, not just his own interests.

  3. Ken said: “If Patriarchy means a father is the head of his home and he rules it with servant leadership, I am all in. If it means a father is in any way unloving or unChristian towards his wife and family I want nothing to do with it and neither should you.”

    Beautiful. And clearly, the women in the chatroom who posted of their good experiences, are married to good men. This is how a Christian marriage should be.
    But what about those of us who are NOT married to good Christian men? Ken has said we should want nothing to do with it. Yet Trey has said women should obey/submit to their cruel husbands who make them suffer unjustly and you, Lori, condone that. This “belief” is in direct contradiction to both the Bible, and Ken’s statement in this post.

    1. Language is an interesting thing in that it is easy to misread or misunderstand, especially if not written or said well. In this case the nominative and controlling word is Patriarchy. In other words, “If it (Patriarchy) means a father is in any way unloving or unChristian towards his wife and family I want nothing to do with it (Patriarchy) and neither should you.”

      I was trying to express that the evils assigned by some to what they see as Patriarchy are not part of the Christian faith, and we should have nothing to do with a group that espouses such Patriarchy.

      Now back to your main point, what does a Christian wife do when married to a difficult man, “Try to win him by her wonderful, godly behavior.” God’s ways are of the example of the Suffering Servant Jesus who allowed Himself to go be taken advantage of in order to win you and me.

      I cannot recall Trey going to the extreme of telling wives to obey/submit to a cruel husband who causes them to suffer, but I could see him advocating that some think they are suffering under a cruel husband because he is grumpy, won’t help around the home, aren’t getting their perceived needs met, or things such as this.

      If a wife feels as if she is living with a cruel man she should seek wise counsel and allow wise people to speak into her life. She may need to separate from him for a time to get some counseling as a couple. Physical abuse needs the same approach as I do not believe that God makes any requirement that a wife put herself or her family in harms way of an Bipolar, drunk, or drug addict. (She does have this post clearly spelled out on her blog for Marriages in Crisis: https://thetransformedwife.com/married-to-angry-men/)

      These are always tough discussions as the tendency is for some to say, “Always run away and quickly,” and certainly that is what the feminists and those who have had past cruelty done to them. I believe that each situation is different and that is why seeking wise Christian counseling is important to help sort through the reality of the situation.

      Lori does not condone anything to do with cruelty, but she also is familiar with the exaggeration the women she entered were believing about their husbands. She was not afraid to challenge them to think though if it was really being cruel or unkind, or if she mistaking unkindnesss, anger or disrespect for being “cruel.” Remarkably, many, but not all, practiced for week the simple practical and Biblical instructions Lori gave them and came back the next week telling her maybe their man was not so bad, and maybe they had been part of his frustrations.

      A year later watching the two in the back of the church, or having a woman come up to her and thank her for saving their marriage was a true joy. The few who needed to separate did so. Let’s not give up on God’s promise to win him, but let’s also be prudent that no wife should really be suffering cruelty.

  4. I really, really enjoyed this post! My husband is a strong Christian man who also works extremely hard to provide for us. I feel very blessed to stay at home and care for my family and home. I don’t have to worry about commuting to work on bad roads, pleasing a difficult boss, finding childcare we can trust or being utterly exhausted when I get home from work. My husband no longer feels bad that I am making more money than he is. I am also very relieved when it is my husband, and not me, who makes the final decisions on matters. Of course, he listens to my input and we pray over it together. But the final words are on his shoulders, not mine. I pray often for him and for myself to be a good helpmate and support to him.

    The only thing some families who embrace a patriarchal system would really need to be careful of (and please know that I say this very gently and with the genuine respect) is to use caution in not elevating the father and husband to a spiritual position to which he is now an idol, or too close to becoming one, which would take focus off of God and the wife’s/children’s relationship with Him. I realize it’s definitely not the norm. I jusy think it sets the situation up in a way for it to happen easier for those who are using the patriarchal system more out of selfishness. Again, I realize most aren’t. This is also where it’s up to the individuals- husband, wife and older children-to not go outside of the boundaries God has set. Certainly most Christians know what those are. The patriarchal system is certainly a beacon of light in a dark world in which we all live. Ken made it very clear that misuse of it is not what you want part of at all.

    Thank you again for your wisdom in teaching that God and His ways are always best! It’s up to us to live our lives in a way that pleases Him first and foremost.

    1. Thanks Katrina,

      I guess I don’t see Patriarchy as a good definition of a Christian marriage even as it fits the OT Jewish model of marriage. I much prefer “husband leadership” where he leads his godly wife and they both together lead and train the children. But once the children are grown they are off on their own and Dad takes steps out of any control or decision-making in their lives.

      It is here were the Christian marriage and Patriarchal marriage diverge. There is no clan and no putting Dad on a pedestal, especially after the kids are gone. Dad should be showing the love and humility of Jesus, not looking for glory from the family.

      That said, I love it when I get “thank you” notes and kind compliments from my children for being a good Dad, and they don’t hesitate when things go really bad to seek my counsel. But they are their own persons in their own families now and we want them to be individual units and building blocks of their own church, not be a part of our extended clan of a family.

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