Not only is Fireproof based on a faulty premise, as discussed in part 1, it also claims that an abusive person will respond positively to loving behaviors. The second problem with Fireproof, is that it claims that either the husband or the wife can successfully implement the “Love Dare.” Yet, the Fireproof story itself shows how impossible this would be. While Caleb pays the mortgage and car payments, he withholds a third of his income in order to save for a boat. He has $24,000 saved, which gives him the means to buy flowers for his wife and pay for a wheel chair and hospital bed for her mother.
His wife does NOT have those discretionary funds at her disposal. She takes a full time job to be able to pay all the expenses Caleb refuses to cover, and does not have the money to pay for a wheel chair and hospital bed for her mother, who has suffered a stroke, nor to have the door painted or shelves put in the closet. Although Caleb is on duty as a fireman for 24 hours, and then has 48 hours off, he refuses to help with household tasks. His wife is spread thin with her job, household chores, and with helping her parents every weekend. Caleb has plenty of time to relax, to view porn on the computer, to have a social life, to exercise. His wife’s social life is limited to her lunch hour and the weekends when she helps her parents, and she is constantly working.
The Love Dare asks the reader to invest in his or her spouse, to give them a gift, to do special things for them. Yet, these things have been the very things Caleb’s wife was doing for six years. Finally, the seventh year, the year the story focuses on, she has quit doing all those loving extras because they are resulting in her husband becoming MORE selfish, not less selfish, and Caleb is frustrated and angry at her “lack of respect” for him. If making his dinner, washing his dishes, washing his clothes, putting flowers or candles on the table, etc. didn’t bring forth love from Caleb in all those years, the likelihood of the “Love Dare” being successful when Mrs. Caleb tries it is nil. Yet church leaders claim if a wife is loving and submissive like that, her behavior will induce her husband to love and cherish her.
Nothing could be further from the truth—especially if the husband is abusive. This is an extremely important point that church leaders do not seem to comprehend. Abused wives in particular are usually spread very thin. Since they are trying like everything to regain the love their husbands once appeared to have for them, they are focused on doing all those extras, on being so perfect their husband will have no reason to gripe and call them names and tell them they are worthless nobodies. Usually, wives do this for quite awhile before they begin to realize that their husband is taking advantage, using them and making ever more ridiculous demands to regain that sense of wielding power over another.
I must add here that it is the voluntary submission of the wife—submission to avoid an ugly denigrating attack—that causes abusive husbands to attack their wives, either physically or non-physically. When the wife showers her husband with loving and submissive behaviors, many abusers consider that a weakness and "go in for the kill," to thoroughly establish their power and control. Other times an abuser begins to think she is doing it by her own choice, not because of his coercion. Therefore, if her actions originated from her own choice, he is no longer in control. Since she is being so perfect, he must change his rules for her, even if he has to resort to the ridiculous, in order to regain that sense of dominating her. If an abuser has any inner prompting to feel ashamed of himself and change his ways, he tends to quickly squash it and be even more vicious to silence that inner prompting.
This is opposite of what church leaders teach. Bruce Ware, for example, has stated that it is the non-submission of the wife that induces her husband to attack her. This may be the case occasionally, but most of the time, the wife is bending over backward to keep her husband and home happy, and her husband abuses her because he is frustrated that he lacks a FEELING of domination over her, or conversely, because he does feel that power and believes his power gives him the right to attack her for whatever reason he makes up.
It is time to stop pressuring the person who is already doing all she can, and start pressuring the one who is doing next to nothing.
Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel,"a story about a woman who grapples with her husband's demands that she submit--no matter what. Please visit www.wanetadawn.com
Chronically Self-Centered Spouse Series - Nope, I'm not doing this series. Nope, Visionary Womanhood is not doing this series. But I do thank Natalie for linking to it over there a couple years back...
6 months ago