Sunday, April 25, 2010

CBMW Complementarian teaching Threatens Wives

When leaders of Christians for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood state that a wife who is abused or beaten by her husband has brought it on herself because she is not submitting to her husband, they are publicly threatening all Christian wives because they are giving license to all Christian husbands to abuse their wives—even if they add there is no excuse for using physical violence.

Wives who hear such statements understand the meaning quite well, and redouble their efforts to do all within their power to make sure their husbands are happy. Wives who suffer abuse, understand their husbands have been given license and encouragement to abuse or beat them for any reason, since no matter what the reason, it will be blamed on the wife.

Many wives who are not abused or beaten, join with the CBMW in blaming the abused and beaten wives, because they assume they are doing a better job than their abused sisters of submitting to their husbands.

Husbands who hear such statements, experience no pressure to stop their nasty behaviors. In fact, they are encouraged to enforce their man-given authority rights. They know their pastors and peers will not hold them accountable for their sinful actions, but will instead shift the accountability onto their wives.

The result of this is an entire Christian community of wives striving to obey their husbands. Those whose husbands are kind and non-abusive do not need to strive as hard and can voice and push their opinions and preferences. But those whose husbands are harsh and demanding, live in fear of punishment from their husbands and put their entire effort into pleasing their husbands, even if that makes them less than perfect in the eyes of God.

Wives who live with domineering husbands are so focused on submitting, that they are rarely abused for non-submission. Contrary to the teaching of Bruce Ware and other CBMW teachers, these wives are abused because their husband is unhappy about something, or because he feels less powerful than he thinks he ought to feel. If he wasted the day being social, he will come home and chew out his wife for doing nothing all day, even if she was extra energetic and accomplished more than usual that day. If he is attempting to repair the car and the process is not going according to his wishes, he may beat his wife or hurl the wrench at her when she comes to tell him lunch is ready.

Abused wives know this, and do all within their power to make things go well for their husbands. It is unfortunate that they are unable to control the weather, wild animals, pets, inanimate objects, children, other men, the government, & etc.

Because “Christians” blame wives for the sinful behavior of husbands, husbands know they can freely sin against their wives and children.

When pastors like John Piper refuse to intervene until the husband’s violence against his wife turns physical or until the husband demands “major” sin from his wife, they are tempering the threat against wives by disallowing physical violence and blatant sexual sin, but still encouraging husbands to use all other forms of assault and control against their wives.

Furthermore, withholding intervention until the abuse turns physical, makes it unlikely the abuser will stop abusing. The abusive husband’s mindset has become so engrained that any other way of thinking seems ridiculous and non-biblical to him.

When pastors spend 90% of their effort to push wives to forgive and reconcile, and 10% of their effort to encourage husbands to stop abusing, and continue to teach husbands to take authority over their wives, wives know it is pointless to go to pastors for help.

The result of living with this threat from their peers is that far too many abused Christian wives never go to anyone for help until the abuse is so severe their lives, or the lives of their children, are threatened through health problems, suicidal thoughts, or from the abuser’s own hand. And far too frequently, they never go to anyone for help, and one day they end up dead, killed by the very person who vowed to cherish them.

And then some “Christians” claim the murder is the will of God. This blames the wife for being murdered by her husband, and ends up also being a threat against all Christian wives.

It is no wonder Christian women are fearful and prone to anxiety. They live with a major threat over their heads.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge," a novel about a wife who discovers traditional marriage advice doesn't always work. See

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Complementarian is “Thievarian”

Complement: That which completes or makes perfect; either of two parts or things needed to complete each other.

Complementary: Completing; supplying a deficiency

Complementary colors: Primary or secondary colors in the spectrum which, when combined, make another color.

~The Living Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary of the English Language

According to Webster, the parts that complement one another complete one another or make a different color together. They are not first changed into something less than or more than they first were in order to make the completeness work.

The husband and wife are to be joined together and become a unit. That’s somewhat like red and blue joining together to make purple.

But the way the Complementarians teach it, the red must first become less red and give her strong pigment to the blue. She becomes light pink. The blue takes the deepest red pigment as his own and becomes a dark blue. The two never become a blended color. Instead the blue becomes dominant blue and the red becomes washed out pink.

Like sheets of paper, the dark blue moves over the pink, eliminating her input and hiding her from view—except as his servant whose focus is to help him reach his goals. The two appear to be 90%-100% the husband.

In reality they have remained two people, two colors. They have not blended at all. Instead the power of the red was taken from her and given to the blue. The red is denied power of choosing what is best for either herself, her husband, or her children, denied the power of developing her interests in any sphere accept that allowed and dictated by the dominating blue.

The real essence of the red is either destroyed or frozen.

Meanwhile, the blue steals the power of decision-making, the power of following God’s direction from the red and takes it for his own personal use.

The two can never become a new blended entity, because a large part of the red has been stolen from her and is controlled by the blue. Since red has lost control of her future, her choices, her preferences, her gifts, and her personality, she has too little left to blend with the original blue color. If she tries to blend the washed out pink she has left into the dark blue over which she has no control, she will be obliterated and destroyed, and her husband will become double his size and rise up like a giant dark blue Goliath. Because none of her red essence or choice will be allowed to impact the corrupted Goliath, their union of red and blue can never make purple.

Instead of two becoming a blended purple unit, the two become a more prominent blue.

In order for a husband and wife to become one, they must each have full control over their own being, and not yield that control to their spouse. Each person and his/her input must be valued highly and equally for their red and blue to become purple.

To complete one another, each person and his/her input must be valued highly and equally. If one takes a large portion away from the other by taking authority over her or demanding that she give her authority away, instead of being completed, he has been corrupted. And the wife from whom a large portion has been stolen, is also not completed, but diminished to the point of annihilation.

There is no way an enlarged corrupted man can blend with a non-entity wife to make a more complete new organism. Instead of becoming more valuable, both individuals become less valuable because he is corrupted and she is reduced to child-slave status. Instead of becoming a new, blended, different color, they become a darker his color. As a “unit,” they become the dominant partner—who is corrupted.

Indeed, in male authority, female submission marriages, neither person is completed. They are not Complementarian.

Since husbands are taught to be thieves and steal freedom of choice from their wives, and wives are taught to offer their valuable freedom of choice to their husbands to be stolen, a more accurate name would be Thievarian.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge," a novel about a wife who discovers traditional marriage advice doesn't always work. See

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Complementarian Caricature

Those who insist Complementarian marriage is scriptural, seem to have an idealized notion what such a marriage looks like. First of all, they imagine that IF the wife is always submissive, and always subjects herself to her husband, that her husband will always be kind and loving. Secondly, they think the husband will accomplish whatever he sets his heart to do because he has the support of his wife. Thirdly, they imagine peace, harmony, and well-being will reign in the Complementarian home because everyone in the family does the will of the husband.

Friends, the above is a caricature. Only, the Complementarians don't know it.

Even in homes where this SEEMS to be the case, most likely everything is not as it seems.

First of all, as a man commented on one of my early posts, how can a husband be certain that his decisions for his wife are completely unselfish? How can he be certain that he has been listening to her input, that he isn't shrugging off something she says because he doesn't think it is important? How can he be certain that his wife feels safe enough, important enough, respected enough to say anything that needs to be said? As the commenter pointed out, a husband cannot be sure his motives are unselfish. He cannot be sure he has created an environment where his wife feels free to say it as it is. He cannot be sure he is capable of making good decisions for his wife.

Secondly, in a relationship where the rule is that the wife must always set aside her wishes, her opinions, her gifts, even her personality, in order to take on a God-prescribed role, it is highly unlikely that her husband can ever truly know her. He ends up sharing sexual intimacy with a person of his own imagination who is playing a role, rather than with his wife as she really is. Women respond to having to set their preferences, thoughts and gifts aside, by not having an opinion, by shutting down their gifts, by telling themselves their wishes will probably be seen as illogical, silly, uninformed, and less than whatever it is their husbands want. Additionally, although the Complementarian wives in the “perfect” marriage pictured above may see where their husbands are taking advantage of them or otherwise hurting them, they tell themselves to ignore it because to notice it would be disloyal, sinful, unloving, or non-submissive.

So the submissive wife puts on a front for her husband, their children, and her church, and the husband makes decisions for his family without having all the facts. The loving, authoritative husband (what an oxymoron!) has no idea what he doesn't know, and the wife either believes she is not allowed to tell him, that he would brush her off, or that telling him would hurt him or cause him (and as a result cause herself and their children) great distress.

At times the wife feels a wave of resentment washing over her, and she quickly tells herself she is being disloyal and non-submissive to have such a thought or feeling, that she cannot allow herself to feel that way. So she stuffs it away and denies anything is wrong.

So the pair goes on, unaware of what is causing the wife's illnesses. Yes, research has shown that abused wives get sick more often and are more chronically ill than non-abused wives. The illnesses include depression, anxiety, back pain, headaches, menstrual disorders, chest pain, among others. See!v=EQz0flR0cRM&feature=related

The truth is, at least 1 in 4 women are abused by their husbands. Some statistics say the number is 1 in 3. These are limited to reported cases. The health study mentioned above that questioned 3500 women of a health plan in Seattle, says 44% of women are affected by partner abuse.

In group settings when women are asked to anonymously raise their hand if their husband has abused them but they have never reported it, 50% of the women raised their hands. At least one of these anonymous reports was conducted among church women.

If 50% of wives are abused but never report domestic abuse, and 25% do report it, that leaves 25% who either who refuse to acknowledge their husband's controlling and abusive behaviors, or actually have loving, non-abusive husbands.

If a study of 3500 women with a particular health plan shows that 44% of women have been abused, how many women without health insurance experience domestic abuse? It is likely those numbers are higher than 44%, since it is common for abusive husbands to deny their wives health care.

These statistics indicate that it is likely the majority of wives live with or have lived with abusive husbands. Even if a husband abuses his wife only once, that act changes the couple's relationship, because he has made it clear that deep down he thinks it is acceptable to hurt his wife. One act of abuse changes the relationship to something similar to master and slave, and this is especially so if the husband believes the Bible teaches husbands to be the authority and wives to submit to their husband's authority. Even if the husband apologizes, deep down the wife is never sure he will never abuse her again.

The real caricature in today's society is not of the abusive husband, but of the loving husband. The flaws are so apparent to everyone but those who claim to have such marriages. Descriptions of self-important, authority wielding husbands are reality, not caricatures, for the majority of wives. Even if the husband does not use physical abuse or overt emotional abuse on a daily or weekly basis, the fact that he requires his wife to continually and daily set aside her will, to live like a child without the freedom to choose what she thinks is best, so he can have things his way and feel in charge, is in itself domestic abuse.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge," a novel about a wife who discovers traditional marriage advice doesn't always work. See

Saturday, April 3, 2010

If Jesus was a Complementarian

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have refused to come to earth. He would have insisted that He is the Authority and people are to submit to Him because God said so; He didn’t have to do anything to deserve the people’s respect, service and loyalty. He would have gathered the angelic host around Him, basked in their praises, and commanded them to reconcile humans with God. God the Father would have had to force him to come to earth against His will.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have gone to the temple when He was 12 and wouldn’t have asked the priests anything. Instead, He would have told them He was God, their authority, and that they better do what He says and serve Him. When His parents reprimanded Him, He would have told them to buzz off, that He was their authority and they were to surrender themselves to Him, get a horse for Him to ride home, and that the home they were providing for Him was not good enough. He is God, after all and even a palace leaves much to be desired.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have either refused to turn the water into wine, or He would have bragged about His miracle and used the event to announce that He is God, the Everlasting Authority, and that everyone there was His bride and required by God to subject themselves to him or suffer the consequences.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have scoffed at John the Baptist’s baptism, took over the preaching for the day and demanded that all the hearers bowed before Him because He is the Authority, and God gave Him the role of directing their lives.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have ordered the disciples to follow Him, instead of inviting them. Claiming that any type of service was beneath His dignity, He would have refused to heal the sick, lame, and blind. Instead, He would have ordered the disciples to heal the people and scolded His disciples when they could not, and ranted and raved about what idiots they were.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, instead of inviting people to come to Him for rest, He would have ordered them to come and give Him their hard manual labor. Instead of saying “Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you,” He would have said, “Ask and I’ll yell at you, seek and I’ll spit in your face, knock and I’ll beat you up, for everyone that asks makes Me mad, he that seeks disgusts Me, and he that knocks sends me into an uncontrollable rage because he is trying to usurp My authority. He would have declared that His rage, yelling, spitting,and beating was not sin, that the seeker had brought it on himself.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have refused to lay down His life for us. Instead, He would have demanded the death of every last one of us, insisting that since we are rebellious and unable to serve Him perfectly, we must die for Him.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, He would have neglected to love us and treat us with kindness and mercy. Instead, He would have focused on His authority. There would be no Christmas, no Good Friday, no Easter, no Ascension Day.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, he would deny us salvation, and damn us to Hell.

If Jesus was a Complementarian, we would neither love nor serve Him.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge," a novel about a wife who discovers traditional marriage advice doesn't always work. See