Women’s ovaries don’t agree with Feminism

Biological Clock

“The biological reality that female fertility peaks in the teens and early 20s can be difficult for many American women to swallow, as they delay childbirth further every year, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In the District, the average age of initial childbirth was 26.5 years in 2006, up 5.5 years since 1970, the highest jump in the country…

“While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we, that is still when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby,” says Claire Whelan, program director of the American Fertility Association. “Our biological clock has not kept pace with our ability to prolong our life spans.” Stillman agrees, pointing out that research about advanced maternal age and motherhood today is clear: The older you get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant and the higher the chance of miscarriage, pregnancy problems such as gestational diabetes and hypertension, and chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, among other concerns…

“Society has changed, ” says Stillman, “but the ovaries will take another million years or two to catch up to that.””

These statements were taken from an article in the Washington post by Carolyn Butler entitled “Ovaries have not adjusted to many women’s decision to delay having children”.

You can read the article in its entirety here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/22/AR2010022203639.html

While I strongly disagree with many conclusions and opinions in this article, the biological statements of fact are indeed accurate.

We agree there needs to be an adjustment, we just disagree about where the adjustment needs to be made

In the article, one of Carolyn Butler’s contributors stated that “Society has changed” but that basically women’s ovaries need to evolve to our societies’ desires.  This is the height of arrogance toward our God and creator.

What never occurs to modern women, is maybe, just maybe, we need to “adjust” as a society and return to respecting a woman’s most important role in our society, being wives and mothers.

What all societies knew for thousands of years and has now been all but buried in our society is admitted in this article:

“While we may not be mature enough to conceive at a young age, nor should we, that is still when the body is most adept at conception and carrying a baby

Newborn baby

Of course before they admit this extremely important biological fact, they have to put their value judgment in about maturity, but they cannot escape the biological FACT that women bear the most children, and the healthiest children from the teenage years to the early 20s. After the early 20s miscarriages, birth defects and all kinds of other issues come into play, besides the fact that it is simply harder to get pregnant.

The maturity argument

Dennis Prager, a syndicated radio talk show host has addressed this “maturity argument” many times. Dr. Prager states things like “marriage breeds maturity” and “after marriage having children breeds even more maturity” and he is absolutely right.

In addition to the fact that marriage does mature people, and so does having children, he talks about the need for people to get married younger and have children younger as they used to in the pre-modern era.

I would add to what he has said that as parents in the 20th and 21st centuries we have messed up (myself include in some ways). Each generation of parents over the last century has grown softer and softer on our children.

We hear people say things like, “we have to let children be children”, which basically means that our children have little to no real life responsibility until they reach 18, besides keeping up with their schooling in most cases. Even then we extend the childhood years with college, where they can party and have more fun for about 4 years before they graduate at 22 and are forced for the first time in their life to take on the full responsibilities of being an adult.

In pre-modern times, the idea of a child hood experience with absolutely no responsibility was a very short period. By the time children were 6 or 7 they were being taught the realities of life.

Boys hunted with their dads at a very young age, and girls learned to cook and make clothing at a very young age. By the time most children reached the age of 10, they knew what a hard day’s work was, the boys knew about hunting, farming and fighting, and the girls knew about caring for infants (helping their mother, or cousins or aunts) and they had seen many births. These girls were excited about the day when they would have their first period, and they were excited about when they would be able to marry and have children (usually around 13 or 14).

God created woman’s ovaries the way they are, and they are not going to “evolve” or “adjust”

Most Christians believe that God created and designed human beings perfectly. That means a woman’s ovaries, and her reproductive peeks as well as her eventual reproductive decline were perfectly designed by God.

So we ought to reject this idea that women’s ovaries just need to evolve to the life choices of modern women (and as Christians we know they won’t evolve or change). The fact is that as a society, we have made policies, laws and other accommodations that completely go against God’s design, whether it be in marriage, the family, and especially in how we come to women’s reproductive issues.

God designed a woman’s body to be bearing children at a young age. I stated in a previous article that the vast majority of Biblical Scholars believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus probably had him at about age 14. This was the normal age that most women had children in pre modern times. I completely realize that this is appalling to most westerners, to think of a 14 year old girl having a baby.

I have a 12 year old daughter, and I could not imagine her having a child in just 2 years.

But in recent years I have had to really come to the conclusion that not all our western values, or even our American values, match with God’s design.

Before we decided as a society that women were not mature enough to have children till they are in their mid-20s, almost all human civilizations knew when it came to women producing, strong and healthy children that “the earlier, the better” was the best way to go.

A woman’s most important function in society

pregnant belly

Before the rise of modern feminism in the mid 1800’s, virtually all civilizations throughout history knew that a woman’s most important function in society was as a wife and mother. I link wife with mother, because societies also realized that women having children out of wedlock, was not good for society.

God’s design was that women would have children with the confines of marriage so that the mother would have protection and provision for the children she would bare.

Whether you are a Christian or not, the facts are unescapable. If women stopped having children, the human race would die out.

Not only do we need women to have children, we need them to have healthy children, strong children and well-loved and care for children. This goal is best achieved by women marrying and having children at a young age.

This completely conflicts with the values and thoughts of our modern society but this is how God designed the world to be.

But women are still having babies, just later in life

Some have responded that there is nothing to be concerned about. After all, women are stilling having babies, just later in life. But the unpopular truth is that woman who have children later in life tend to have fewer children.

In his book “What to expect when no one’s expecting”, author Jonathan Last states gives some startling facts on the coming fertility crisis. To summarize what he says in the book, a society needs women to be having on average 2.1 children in their lifetime, just to keep the population level from dropping. The way they come up with 2.1 is, you obviously need each woman to have two people, one to replace mom, and one to replace dad.

But the .1 comes from the fact that some woman are incapable of having children, as well as the fact that some children dies before they marry and have children of their own. So basically we need a certain about of women to have 3 children to make up for the women who can’t have any children.

America’s fertility rate has already dropped below the 2.1 replacement level, and we are now at 1.93. The only reason our population continues to experience modest growth is because of immigration. Many European countries are even lower than America’s fertility rate.

Mr. Last says that in 1970, the world fertility rate was 6.0. It now sits at 2.52 and continues to decline as less developed nations use more birth control and become more westernized.

While I think Mr. Last offered some great statistics in this book, he like many conservatives did not have the courage to take on the true source of this problem – modern feminism and woman’s rights.

In fact he offers no real solutions in the book, but only shows the problem, and it is a real problem. It is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is not a Christian or non-Christian issue, it is simply an issue of math. We are not having enough children because women are delaying having children so long.

You can find the book on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/What-Expect-When-Ones-Expecting/dp/1594036411

Who cares if the population declines?

I have seen people online, mostly liberal, that recognize these facts that world fertility rates are indeed falling, and they think it is a good thing. After all – man is menace to the planet then we have the whole “urban sprawl” problem. Thy population bomb myth was debunked years ago. The only reason we feel more crowded is because we have chosen to crowd ourselves in cities. If you go a few miles outside any major city and suburban area, you will see millions of acres of uninhabited land.

As Christians God has commanded us to “be fruitful and multiply”. He did not just command us to replace ourselves (have two kids), he commanded us to “multiply”. That means we should be having at least four children per husband and wife.

The non-religious problem with population decline is that economies are based on populations growing – not shrinking. When populations decrease, it decimates towns, cities, states and countries.

One of the dirty little secrets of why we are having all the debt issues in the United States is because our population is not growing at the rate it once did. If we had the population growth we once did, we would not be having the Social Security Crisis we are now currently facing.

Am I saying a woman’s only value is in her reproductive capability?

I am not saying a woman’s only value is in her reproductive capability. But a woman’s most important function biologically (and Biblically I might add), is the bearing and caring for children – her body is perfectly designed for this task. My heart goes out to women who are barren – to use the Biblical term. My second wife is one of these women.

While my first wife was extremely fertile (we had several children together before we were divorced). My second wife was never able to conceive, but her heart’s desire was to have children, as should be the desire of every woman who knows her creator’s design. Now she is a great step mother to my five children. A woman has value in other areas as well, whether she is artistic, or musically inclined, or intelligent and well read, but her abilities in other areas must always take a back seat to her primary biological function of motherhood.

So what is the answer to this crisis?

Am I saying I need to go out and find a husband for my daughter who is 12 year old as I write this in August of 2014? No. But my reason for this is not because I believe my daughter would be wasting her life if she did as women earlier in history did, and married young.

The reason is simply because of the culture she has been raised in it would be too traumatic for her since she has not been raised her whole life preparing for marriage at a younger age as women of old were prepared.

But let me give a scenario that could happen in the future.  What if a Christian man from my Church or another church in my area approached me to court my daughter when she was say 15 or 16? Let’s say he was in his mid 20’s and he was a successful software developer or mechanical engineer making a good living? What if he had a home prepared and could show how he could support my daughter? If I checked him out and met with his friends and family and his church elders and they confirmed that he was a good Christian man would I consider letting my 15 or 16 year old daughter marry him? Yes I would definitely consider that.

In most states marriage is allowable at the age of 16 with parental consent. New York actually allows marriage at the age of 14 with parental consent, and some other states allow marriage at 15 with parental consent.

This what I believe Christian parents should be doing.

Our Christian sons have a different responsibility, Biblically speaking than our Christian daughters.

The primary responsibility that God has designed men for is – to lead in society, the church and the family. Men are built to work, to provide for their families, and they are built to protect them.

The primary responsibility that God designed women for was to be wives and mothers. Women are meant to come along men as soon as possible and bare and raise as many children as they can.

Ours sons should NOT be marrying before they can provide for a wife and family. This would mean that a man should not marry until he has steady work, and a home(or at least apartment). Some men may not be college material, so these young men should be encouraged to take up a skilled trade.

Other young men who are intelligent, should be strongly encouraged to attend and finish college so that they can provide to the best of their abilities for their future wife and children.

Our daughters on the other hand, do not have the responsibility to look for how they will provide for themselves, this is their future husband’s job. God designed our daughter’s to be wives and mothers first and foremost. They should be encouraged to seek out older men(preferably mid 20s) that are well established and can provide for them and their children. As Christians we should be teaching our daughters to seek out good, Godly men that will lead them, provide for them, and protect them.

So while it is abhorrent to many modern Americans, both conservative and liberal, I would see no problem with the idea of my daughter when she is 15 or 16, meeting and marrying a good Christian man(say 23 or 24) who is successful in his business endeavors and who is committed to his church and his God. There is nothing evil, or immoral about such an arrangement. Before the last half century, this would been honored thing for a young woman to do.

Once they are married – we should repeat God’s admonition to humanity to the young couple – “be fruitful and multiply”

Are you against women being educated or having careers?

A logical conclusion that someone might draw from this post, and this line of thinking is, that if women did indeed marry younger (as they still do in many non-western countries) then they will not be educated or have careers.

I am not against women being educated. But where I disagree with our modern society is, a woman’s education should always come second to her primary responsibility of being a wife and mother. Our society has it backwards Biblically speaking, we have made an idol out of education and made it more important than a woman’s first job of being a wife and mother.

So would I have an issue with a teen mom marrying, but then continuing her education from home as she bares and raises her children – of course not. Her continuing education would help her to teach her children, among other benefits it would offer.

As far as women having careers goes – I have written extensively on this subject and you can ready the related posts below to find out what I believe the Bible teaches on this subject. But as with education, a woman working must always come secondary to her primary role as wife and mother, if we want strong families, and a healthy and growing society.

Related articles:

Should women have careers outside the home?

The biological case for polygyny and the marriage of younger women

Why God made woman

Why God made man

 

 

The biological case for Polygyny and marriage of young women

PolygynyAndYouth

Previously I wrote about why polygyny is not only NOT unbiblical, but it was regulated, allowed and practiced by many of the Old Testament patriarchs. But what about the biological case for polygyny? Did God design men’s bodies for polygynous relationships? What about the marriage of young women to older to men?

Imagine that you were able to take a time machine back to a time in human history around 3000 years ago, deep in the Middle East. You meet a traveler who says he is coming back from a trade journey for his master. You ask him about how he became a slave and he tells you that his parents were in poverty, and that they traded him to his master for some cattle. He says this helped his parents to come out of poverty and to build a life for his other siblings.

He asks you to come meet his master. He tells you that his master was a great hero to his nation, and he is a kind and generous man, a man that worships the one true God. In the distance you can see what looks like a small village. You see what seems to be a celebration of some kind so you ask your companion “what are they celebrating?”

He responds that his master is getting married. As you come closer he points out his master and his bride to be sitting on the ground beside him. The man appears to be his mid-40’s while the girl sitting next to him looks no more than 14. This must be a mistake.

You ask him again – “that girl is his daughter right?” He responds – “No she is his bride to be. My master is very excited, she is his 15th wife and he is hoping she will give him his 70th son!” After wiping the shocked look off your face, you ask you’re travelling companion one more question – “What is your master’s name?” He responds – “My master’s name is Gideon”.

The story I have just given you, while fictional, is based on a true Biblical character and based upon what we know of the culture and times most likely happened (minus the time traveler with one of Gideon’s slaves- LOL).

“Now Gideon had seventy sons who were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. His concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.”

Judges 8:30-32(NASB)

When does a girl become a woman?

While culturally we consider a girl to become a woman at the age of 18, biologically speaking, adulthood is reached when sexual maturity is reached. Before the modern era, a girl became a woman when she experienced her first period (usually around 12 or 13), she was then eligible for marriage and usually her father had her married off not long after this.

Lucien Deiss in his book “Joseph, Mary, Jesus” writes:

“How old could Mary have been? Young girls usually were betrothed as soon as they became a woman.  It was believed they reached puberty at about twelve or twelve and a half. Boys it was believed reached the age if puberty a year later. Marriage could take place one year after puberty a year later. In general, it was held that men could wait until the age of eighteen or twenty before marrying so that they could have time to build a house and plant a vineyard.”[1]

In “Jesus of History, Christ of Faith” we read:

“The women normally married as soon as they were physically able to bear children, which the Law defined as twelve and a half years of age.” [2]

Rev. Dr. Eugene Weitzel stated this about the Jewish view of early marriage:

“As we noted above, the Jews clearly understood that the first command that God gave to Adam and Eve was “increase and multiply” (Gen 1:28). In fact one rabbi firmly believed that “A bachelor is not truly a man at all.” Furthermore, celibacy was looked upon as an anomaly, almost a disgrace.  Now keep in mind that Jesus Christ, a devout, practicing Jew who dearly loved his Jewish faith, grew up with this view of celibacy.  He also knew that his people believed in early marriage.  Many rabbis, even during Jesus’s time, taught that eighteen was the ideal age for marriage for a man but certainly not later than twenty-four. He knew too that girls were ready for marriage as soon as they were physically ready to conceive and bear children, which according to the law was twelve and one-half years. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was probably no more than fourteen years old when she gave birth to the Son of God.” [3]

Zvi Yehuda in his book on Jews that came to Iraq from all over the world for over 400 years writes:

“Where traditional family structure was unchanged, Jewish girls were betrothed by their parents at age 9-11 and married at age 12-13. A Jewish girl who reached the age of fifteen and was still unmarried was considered an old maid with no chance of a husband.  A girl bride was not asked for opinion in choose her mate and parents occasionally married off their daughters to men dozens of years older than the bride.” [4]

The evidence is clear. Both in Jewish tradition and over historical accounts we know that Jews married their daughters off young.  Why? Because of God’s first command to mankind to be fruitful and multiply.  Men needed more time to prepare a home for their wife – but women as soon they became women(had their first period) and passed the age of 12 were usually betrothed or married and most likely had their first child by the age of 13 or 14.

Teenage mothers were the norm before the modern era

As we have previously pointed out, most scholars believe that Mary was 12 to 14 years old when she was espoused to Joseph to be married. They believe she would have been between 13 and 14 when she gave birth to Jesus. While the Bible does not state her exact age, if she were older it would have stated this as it did with Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptist).  Since the Bible makes no mention of her age, then it is assumed she would have been in the normal first child bearing age of women in that era, which would have been around 13 or 14. Joseph is thought to be a bit older than her (perhaps in his mid-20s or older) because he died well before Jesus’s ministry and Mary was a widow.

Just a note – if you look online there are a few Christians (but a small minority) that have tried to argue with the notion that Mary was a teenage mother and instead argue that she was at least 20 years old as this was God’s age of accountability and God would not have asked her to carry his Son at such a young age.

There are few problems with this theory of Mary being much older. The first problem is that first time mothers in their 20’s were considered to be older mothers, and the Bible would have said something about her older age, like it did with her cousin Elizabeth if she were in her 20’s.  Another problem with the magic “20” number is that in most instances of the Old Testament this applied to men being fully accountable, not to women, and even in the one instance in the book of numbers where men are not specified, it does not specify women either, so the assumption always goes to it talking about men aged 20 or older.

Women were accountable to their father as long as they were in his house. He could override any decision she made, financial or otherwise while she lived in his house. His authority over her then transferred to her husband when she got married.

Some Christians want so desperately to believe, against the evidence of historical and cultural data we have of the period and location, that there is no way Mary could have been a 14 year old mother. But this starts with their pre-conceived notion, based upon our modern western culture we have all been brought up in, that marriage of girls at such young ages is an immoral act.

Bearing and Rearing Children is a young woman’s game

Biologically speaking, a woman’s best time to conceive and bear children is from the time of her first period (for most girls between age 12 and 13) and age 24. After age 24 chances of birth defects and problem pregnancies begin to rise. At age 30, a woman has used or lost 90% of the eggs she will ever have and this is why women in their 30’s typically have a much more difficult time getting pregnant.

The reason that God designed a woman to have children at a younger age, as opposed to an older age(like 30s and 40s) is because of the extreme stress that is placed on the body during pregnancy, as well as the energy and physical stamina that is required to care for and wean a child in their younger years.

What about Sarah and Elizabeth in the Bible?

Yes there are few instances of God miraculously causing older women to conceive, but this was by no means the norm of his design. We cannot take these two special cases and try to make a doctrine that God intends for women to wait until their older years to have children.

“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

I Timothy 5:14(KJV)

A teenage girl might physically able to bear a child, but she is not psychologically ready

This argument does stray a bit from what is strictly a biological topic, but I think it needs to be addressed. I completely agree that most teenage girls in our culture and time period are not psychologically prepared for having children. But that is because our culture babies children in ways cultures of the past did not.

In Jewish tradition, a boy began his journey to manhood at the age of 13, and a girl began her journey in womanhood at the age of 12. While boys were not fully responsible (for taxation purposes, and conscription purposes and some other legal purposes) until they reached age 20, they were in many ways treated as men from age 13 on. Since women did not have the rights men did, a woman was a full woman at the age of 12 and her status and rights did not change from that point forward.

A young 12 year old girl would have witnessed births by many women by the time she reached 12 and would be fully aware of periods, child bearing and birth long before these things happened to her. She would already have been learning about child care well before she reached puberty. Her whole life would have been leading up to the time when she could finally marry and have children of her own.

So in many ways, a 12 year old girl in pre modern times would have had the maturity level of what many 18 or even 20 year old girls have today.

Also we must keep in mind that before the modern era, families took care of other and were much closer. So when a 13 or 14 year woman had her first baby, her female relatives, whether they were cousins, or aunts, or even her mother were all there to help her learn the ropes of motherhood. Today the tribal family structure has all but been eliminated.

Men can father children at any age beyond puberty

Unlike women who ovulate once a month, and are only fertile for about 5 days, the typical man (unless he has a medical condition) is in essence “fertile” every day. A man completely replenishes his sperm every 24 hours. Before recent research, doctors used to tell men to wait every other day to have sex with their wives during her fertile period. Then they discovered that is was in fact better for them to have sex every day, as all the sperm is at its best every 24 hours or so.

A man since he was not responsible for caring for the child, but for the teaching and disciplining of the child, did not need to have the physical strength and endurance that a woman needed in her duties of child rearing, and this is why a man has no expiration date on his ability to produce children.

The fact of God’s creation in human biology is, men are built for fathering multiple children with multiple women at the same time. They are also built for fathering children with multiple generations of women, as their first wives age and cannot have children, they can continue fathering children with younger women.

This is why men have such a stronger sex drive and can compartmentalize relationships with multiple women, much better than the average woman could with multiple men. Not to mention that a man has a never ending supply of child producing sperm. On the other hand, women are designed with a shelf life when it comes to having children. How else do you explain the extreme disparity between the male and female reproductive systems?

What about my own daughter?

As I write this article in August of 2014, my daughter is 12 years old.  I could not imagine her being married at such a young age. But why could I not imagine such a thing? Is it because it would immoral or wrong? The answer is no.

The reason I cannot imagine it is because of the culture I have been raised in and the culture I have raised my daughter in. Because she has not been raised to prepare for marriage at age 12 she is not ready to be a wife and mother yet. Could she be ready in a few years? Perhaps.

Let’s say my daughter was 16 and a wonderful Christian 25 year old man who was a mechanical engineer approached me about courting my daughter.  I was able to check out the church he attended and verify with many people his Christian character.  He makes over 100K a year, owns his own home and can provide for my daughter well. Would I consider letting him court my daughter and possibly marry her as a 16 year old young lady? The answer is yes. 

Just a quick note on the difference between courting and dating.  Dating is when a couple choose one another apart from any parental involvement and they go out alone together doing various activities together.  They may or may not be going out together with marriage in mind.

Dating is a relatively new phenomenon originating in the last century. Before that marriages were arranged either between parents or between the father of the daughter and a potential husband. Courting came on the scene later.  But courting, unlike dating, is always with the prospect of marriage in mind.   Also a big difference between courting and dating is the couple is never alone together.  They always have a family member from one side or even both sides along with them wherever they go.

How does all this apply to us today?

After reading all this, you might say – “so what if before modern times women got married and had babies way younger, and men had many wives – that’s not how are society is structured today, so how does any of this apply?”

There really are two issues here that apply to our modern times, and in this post I will only address one of them, as I believe the other issue merits its own post.

The first issue is the fertility crisis that the world will soon be facing in the coming century. In most modern countries, because women are waiting so long (average age of first time mothers is now around 26 in highly westernized countries) the birthrates in these countries among the indigenous populations has plummeted. Many European countries are far below replacement levels (just having enough babies to keep their population stable) and even the US population only keeps a modest growth because of immigration (legal and illegal). If we did not have the immigration we have now, we would be experiencing population decline.

I will reference this book in another article on this subject, but I highly encourage the reader to check out the book “What to Expect when no one is expecting” by Jonathan Last.

http://www.amazon.com/What-Expect-When-Ones-Expecting/dp/1594036411

The fertility statistics in this book are a real “inconvenient truth” to modern day feminists. We face a much greater threat from dropping fertility rates than any climate change, real or imagined. But I will have more to say about this subject in separate post dedicated to conflict between women’s rights and the survival of the human race.

But the second issue, and the one that this post is primarily dedicated to is the biological capacity of men for polygyny.

Even if practically speaking, we as men in western culture are for the most part living monogamous lives it helps us and our wives to understand ourselves better when we all come to the realization that men are biologically built with the capacity for polygyny.

There are some men who have lower sex drives, and have less polygynous natures than other men, so that they would never desire to act on their capacity for polygyny. But the vast majority of men have a high sex drive, some higher than others, and definitely if our society allowed it would act on their natural polygynous desires and biological capacity of for polygyny.

This is why happily married men still routinely check out other women.

This is why it is not perverted for a 50 year old man to check out an 18 year old woman.

This is why men typically want to have sex multiple times a week, whereas many women would be happy with sex a few times a month.

Man’s capacity for polygyny is not only Biblical, it is also biological.

References:

[1] Deiss, Lucien (1996), Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Liturgical Press, p. 25, ISBN 978-0814622551

[2] Zanzig, T. (1999). Jesus of History, Christ of Faith. Terrace Heights, Winona: Saint Mary’s Press, Christian Brothers Publication. p. 89

[3] Weitzel, Eugene. J. (2010). I Want to Be a Husband and Father for Life and a Catholic Priest Forever. U.S.: Xilbris Corporation. p. 113

[4] Zvi Yehuda, “The New Babylonian Diaspora: The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Community in Iraq, 16th-20th C.E.”, p.97

Related posts:

The biological case for Polygyny and marriage of young women Part 2

Women’s ovaries don’t agree with Feminism

How did God make man?

How did God make woman?

Why polygamy is not unBiblical

Removing the cultural lenses

A Response to Sharon Hodde Miller on the Modest is hottest debate

Womans in different dresses sit on sofa

Sharon Hodde Miller wrote a piece for ChristianityToday.com back in 2011 about how the ‘Modest is Hottest’ movement was hurting young women. I was not blogging back then, and in fact had not heard of this movement until recently. I have a 12 year old daughter and we have been exploring what our family believes Biblical modesty to be.

From other posts I have read of Mrs. Miller, she could rightly be understood as a Christian feminist, I do not say that to discredit her work, but only to offer a little background on where she is coming from in her thought processes.

The main site for “Modest is Hottest” can be found at http://www.modestishottest.com/

Sharon Hodde Miller’s response to this movement can be found at http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2011/december/how-modest-is-hottest-is-hurting-christian-women.html?start=1

In this post I will primarily be examining Mrs. Miller’s response, and showing where I agree and disagree with her critique.

Mrs. Miller writes:

“The Christian rhetoric of modesty, rather than offering believers an alternative to the sexual objectification of women, often continues the objectification, just in a different form.

As the Christian stance typically goes, women are to cover their bodies as a mark of spiritual integrity. Too much skin is seen as a distraction that garners inappropriate attention, causes our brothers to stumble, and overshadows our character. Consequently, the female body is perceived as both a temptation and a distraction to the Christian community. The female body is beautiful, but in a dangerous way.”

This is the typical teaching of feminists that the problem is not with women, but with men. We need to teach men to stop seeing women as sexual objects, but as people, or so we are told.

In the Feminist, and Christian feminist mindset, it is practically impossible for a man to see women as both people and objects sexual beauty and desire, it is either one, or the other in their view.

If anything, most feminists actually think men can have their minds reprogrammed, to sort of have a “sexual on and off switch”. So that only when it is appropriate, for instance in the context of a committed relationship, or in marriage would a man ever be sexually attracted to a woman. But the idea of men being attracted to women, minus any relationship context, is pure evil to the Feminist and her cousin the Christian Feminist.

I actually have had discussions with some Christians (some who are feminists and some who are not) who believe that a man being sexually attracted to women before marriage, or being attracted to other women other than his wife after marriage, is part of the corruption of sin from the fall in the Garden of Eden. They believe that God’s original plan was that man would only desire a woman sexually after marriage, and then only that woman, and no other woman.

The problem is, this kind of thinking is never supported from the Scriptures. God made men polygamous in nature, and his Word even regulates how polygamy may occur. Many of the great Patriarchs of the Bible, including Jacob the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, were polygamists. God pictures himself as a polygamist with two wives (Judah and Israel) in prophecy.

You can read in more detail about what the Bible says about Polygamy from my series:

Why polygamy is not unbiblical

The reason I have said all this is – goes back to Mrs. Miller’s assertion about men seeing women as sexual objects and that is the problem we should focus on – in her view. I would not disagree with the fact that there are men who purely see women as sex objects, completely divorced from their person-hood, and that is Biblically wrong behavior. God wants men to respect and honor women as human beings, and he wants them treated with human dignity.

But that does not change the fact that men seeing women as objects of sexual beauty and desire is NOT the problem here, it is not a defect, it is by the design of God. A man desiring women’s beauty, is symbolic of God desiring the beauty of his church. That is why God has designed women to want to be beautiful, and why he has designed men to be attracted to the beauty of women.

Psalm 45 which is a messianic prophecy of Christ and the Church says this:

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him…The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework…”

Psalm 45:13-14(KJV)

Just as God desire’s the beauty of his church, so too as symbol of that spiritual relationship, he designed man to naturally desire the beauty of women. That is why men are much more visually oriented then women most of the time. This is not some mistake of the fall – it is by design.

The Early Church fathers and their anti-woman teachings

Now where I have some agreement with Mrs. Miller is when she writes about Christians teaching that women needed to cover themselves as to not cause their brothers in Christ to “stumble”, and the fact that a woman’s body is said to be “beautiful, but in a dangerous way.”

She alludes to the harsh teachings of some of the early church fathers against women.

“Of course, this language isn’t new. Consider how profoundly the female identity has been negatively linked to her body throughout church history. For several decades now, feminist theologians have critiqued the mind-body dualism by which Christians have equated men with the mind and women with the carnal body. Citing Eve as the original “gateway for the Devil,” thinkers such as Tertullian have peppered Christian tradition with hostility toward the wiles of femininity. Origen likened women to animals in their sexual lust. According to author Jane Billinghurst, “Early Christian men who had to greet women during church services by shaking their hands were advised to first wrap their hands in robes so as to shield their flesh against their seductive touch.””

First let’s understand something, only the Apostles were inerrant in their writings and teachings on Christian doctrine, because they were directly and perfectly guided by the Holy Spirit of God. Their followers who came later, and other church teachers who lived years after them were not perfect or inspired in their teachings. They wrote some good commentary on the Scriptures at times, but they also fell into heresy.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Colossians 2 fighting against this errors that were creeping into the church, the errors of Gnosticism and Asceticism. Unfortunately, not long after the Apostles deaths, and for centuries to come, church fathers like Origen, Jerome, Ignatius, John Chrysostom, and Augustine all came to embrace and teach the false doctrines of Christian Asceticism.

Christian Asceticism taught that all forms of physical pleasure were wrong, and that the body was completely evil in every way. They actually looked at sex as a necessary evil for reproduction, as opposed to a gift from God and part of his grand design. It was common for church leaders to have Christian married couples who already had children to take vows of celibacy and never have sex anymore. Because of this false belief about sexuality and physical pleasure, they came to see women as the enemy because of how men could desire them, and this desire was seen as sinful.

So we have on one side, Feminists and Christian feminists say it is wrong for men to see women as objects of sexual desire, and on the other side we have the Christian Ascetics and many of their teachings that still survive to this day saying almost the same thing.

The reality is – both sides are WRONG. Men are not wrong in seeing women as both people and objects of sexual beauty and desire, these two concepts are not mutually exclusive, but are in fact the only way to understand sexuality in a healthy manner as God designed it to be.

Sexual desire before marriage, and physical sexual consummation after marriage are by the design of God. There is nothing dirty, or shameful about this truth, and no man needs to apologize for his visual sexual nature, or the fact that he can be sexually attracted to a woman without knowing anything about her person. Where the right and wrong come in, is what he does with that natural sexual desire, does he channel it within the bounds of God’s law, does he treat these women with respect, and does he keep the physical consummation of sex for marriage?

Mrs. Miller writes near the end of her article:

“…we must affirm the value of the female body. The value or meaning of a woman’s body is not the reason for modesty. Women’s bodies are not inherently distracting or tempting. On the contrary, women’s bodies glorify God. Dare I say that a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord! Each womanly part honors Him. He created the female body, and it is good.

Finally, language about modesty should focus not on hiding the female body but on understanding the body’s created role. Immodesty is not the improper exposure of the body per se, but the improper orientation of the body. Men and women are urged to pursue a modesty by which our glory is minimized and God’s is maximized. The body, the spirit and the mind all have a created role that is inherently God-centered. When we make ourselves central instead of God, we display the height of immodesty.”

When I read this line from her the first time – “Women’s bodies are not inherently distracting or tempting” I almost fell out of my chair laughing! Only a Christian Feminist could write such non-sense! I am sorry, but common sense tells us women’s bodies are in fact “distracting and tempting” to men. Not only common sense proves this, but years of scientific research into the area of male sexuality proves how visually wired men are, and how they are distracted and tempted by the female body.

But we have to ask ourselves again, is this wrong? Or is it by the design of God? I know Christians are saying – “God would never want us to be tempted to do anything wrong” – and you are absolutely correct. But that is why I would take the word tempted, and replace it with “attracted”.

Men are distracted by the female form, because they are attracted to the female form. One reason that I alluded to earlier that man is attracted to the beauty of woman is, this is symbolic of God’s attraction to the spiritual beauty of his Church.

But this attraction to women’s bodies that God designed in men, has a second purpose. It also has the purpose of driving men to pursue women, to pursue marriage and having children. Neither feminists, nor church leaders should shame men for this very strong attraction to women, they ought to be praising God for it! The human race would not be here today, except for the strong attraction of men to beautiful women!

So I 100% agree with Mrs. Miller when she writes “Dare I say that a woman’s breasts, hips, bottom, and lips all proclaim the glory of the Lord!” That is an absolutely Biblical statement to make.

I also agree with Mrs. Miller that we need to have an “understanding” about the female “body’s created role”. While all human beings were ultimately created for the honor and glory of God, our bodies were also created for some very practical and physical purposes in this life and world.

God not only created woman for his own glory, but he also specifically created woman for man. Thus her body is also created for man – this is the female body’s “created role”.

“Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”

I Corinthians 11:9(KJV)

Does this mean a woman was created only for man’s sexual pleasure? Of course not! She was created to be a helpmeet to him. She was created to “bear children” and “guide the house”, to be his companion and mother to his children.

But there is no escaping the fact that a large part of the “created role” of a woman’s body was for the visual and sexual pleasure of man. Her body is both visually attractive, and physically pleasurable to a man, and this is not by accident, but by design. A woman’s body is given to man as a blessing, to be enjoyed.

“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:”

Genesis 49:25(KJV)

“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”

Proverbs 5:18-19(KJV)

“I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.”

Song of Solomon 8:10(KJV)

Did you know human females are the only mammals on the planet that have constantly protruding breasts? Other mammal’s breasts only protrude when they are pregnant, or nursing and after nursing the protruding breasts go away. God design a human female’s breasts to constantly protrude, for the visual and physical pleasure it gives to men before and after they bare and wean their children.

So the next time a wife says to her husband when he looks at her breasts – “those are for babies, not for you”, that is actually a very unbiblical statement to make. If they were just for babies, they would disappear after nursing, like they do on all other mammals, but instead God design them for the pleasure of man.

I would encourage the reader to look at my posts Why God made woman and How God made woman for a lot more detail on this subject of how God designed a woman’s body and why he designed it the way he did.

Conclusion

I disagree with both the “Modest is hottest” crowd on one side, and the Christian feminist crowd on the other side (represented here by Mrs. Miller). The Biblical truth lies in the middle of these two extremes. A woman should dress modestly – meaning appropriate to the occasion. If she is at the beach, then a bikini might be appropriate to that occasion. If she is going to church, she needs to be fully clothed. A woman ought not to dress like a prostitute, but at the same time she does not have to hide her beauty.

A woman does not need to dress in a way that hides her body from men in order to not “cause them to stumble”. A woman does not need to be ashamed of the beautiful body God has given her, and a man does not need to be ashamed of being attracted to women’s beautiful bodies. God calls us to self-control, and to not have covetous thoughts. So if a man is appreciating a beautiful woman’s body, whether at the beach or elsewhere, no sin has occurred. But if he begins to sexually covet her (lust after), by thinking of ways he could get her to have sex with him outside of marriage, then he has stepped outside of God’s boundaries and his design.

See these related posts to this topic:

What is Biblical Lust?

What does Modesty mean in I Timothy 2:9?

7 Biblical principles for how to dress as a christian woman

 

Why I let my Christian son have a bikini poster in his room

WhyIAllowSwimSuits2

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would allow my 14 year old son to have a swim suit poster in his room I would have told you that you were nuts. The reason is because I was raised in an environment that taught us that being sexually aroused by the sight of a woman’s body other than a woman you were married to was sin. This was included in a broader definition of lust that is taught in most churches today.

I would never argue that the Bible does not condemn lust, because it definitely does.

But after a great deal of Biblical soul searching, as well as biological reference searching (the chemistry of how the brain works) I came to a very different conclusion than what my upbringing taught me. The Bible never condemns a person for being sexually aroused by the sight of another person, even one they are not married to. It condemns lust – which is a very different thing. Lust is sexual covetousness, not sexual arousal.

For more the topic of Lust see my post What does the Bible say about Lust?

Teens and sexuality

I believe wholeheartedly that God has reserved sex for marriage, this is plain throughout the Old and New Testaments and I teach this principle to my teenage sons, as well as my teen daughter.

“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

Hebrews 13:14(KJV)

While God has reserved the act of sex (that includes intercourse, oral sex, or any other kind manual sex) for marriage, where I believe most Churches are flat wrong is in their teaching that sexuality itself is also reserved for marriage.

While on one side, we have the world blatantly encouraging our teens and young adults to have sex outside of marriage, on the other side we have the Churches teaching teens and college students that they must suppress their sexuality until the day they are married. I believe that both sides are wrong on this issue of sexuality from a Biblical standpoint.

So to that end with my teenagers I teach there is nothing wrong with my son’s thinking some girl is “hot” and there is nothing wrong with my daughter thinking some guy is “cute”.  For my teen daughter her interest in sexuality is only just now beginning, but my sons interests are both in full throttle mode(as it is for most teenage boys).

I don’t teach my son’s like my father and mother taught me, that if there is a nice woman walking down the side walk or at the beach that they have to look away or look at the ground for fear of having “lustful thoughts”.  Instead I teach them to have proper manners, and don’t stair at a girl like she is piece of meat (gawk at her), but they can take tasteful glances and appreciate the beauty that God has made in woman, as he has designed their brains to do.

Why I allow my son to have a bikini poster in his room

It was only after a lot of consideration, and even talking with my wife (she was fine with it way before I was) that I allowed my Christian son to get his first bikini poster in his room. He likes Kate Upton, so he got the Kate Upton Sports illustrated cover shot poster in his room.

Some Christians might say – “OK I agreed with you till now that your son does not have to look down when beautiful women walk by, but isn’t a swim suit poster in his room pushing it?” I don’t believe so.

I let him put a swimsuit poster in his room to remind him of the Biblical principle I have taught him that God designed him as man to visually appreciate women’s bodies.

There is absolutely no shame in this whatsoever! Even if he is aroused by that poster of Kate Upton on his wall, there is still no sin. The sin would come if he started looking up Kate Upton’s phone number, or scheming how he might try and find her to have sex with her outside of marriage (these would be lustful thoughts).

Or if he were to take his arousal from seeing Kate Upton, and then think about how he might influence a girl at school to have sex with him outside of marriage, all of these types of thoughts would be lustful, sinful thoughts.

But aren’t you teaching your son to look at women as sex objects?

I don’t have to teach my son to look at women as sex objects, his brain came pre-wired from God to do that. My job as a Christian father, is to help remind him that while women are indeed objects of sexual beauty and desire for men, they are also people with hopes, dreams, thoughts and feelings and they should be treated with honor and respect.

This is where I vehemently disagree with some conservative Christians on one side, and some radical feminists on the other side. These two groups of people that disagree on just about everything else, believe that it is impossible to look at a woman as an object of sexual beauty and desire, and at the same time honor and respect that woman, or women in general.

They suggest a false dichotomy, like it must be one or the other, and this simply is not true.

I teach both my teen sons that they would be stupid and marry a woman, just because she is beautiful. They should seek out a woman that is beautiful both on the inside, as well as the outside (and they don’t have to give up one, for the other).

I teach them to look for a woman that loves the Lord and his Word as much as they do, if not more. I teach them, that if a woman is truly surrendered to God and his design for her life, then she will be the best wife and mother to their children they could ever hope for.

But that does not mean beauty and sexuality must be sacrificed in order to find a Godly wife. It is not a contradictory to thing to find a woman who is both beautiful on the inside as well the outside.

But not all women look like that!

It was interesting how big a deal it was when I allowed my son to have the Kate Upton poster, it generated a lot of discussion before I allowed it, and then more after I allowed it. His mother (my ex-wife), was not happy about me allowing him to have the poster in the least bit. Of course I had to remind her that the rules in my home and how I teach in my home, and how she teaches in her home may be different sometimes.

My wife (my son’s step mom) is not threatened by the fact that there are more beautiful women than her in the world. She realizes that whether it is in a poster, or on the beach, or just walking down the sidewalk we will pass women that have slimmer, younger and more attractive bodies than her.

My ex-wife (his mother) always had a problem with being jealous of other women’s bodies, and she would have the attitude whenever she saw a beautiful women – “well let’s see if she keeps that look over the next 20 years”.

Regardless of either my wife, or my ex-wife’s approach, I as my sons father have to teach them about their sexuality as I believe is right. In regards to women’s bodies, my son’s know most women don’t look like Kate Upton, that is why she makes the money she does, because she is so exceptionally beautiful.

They know that the average woman will have some strengths, and some weaknesses in her physical appearance, just as we as men have strengths and weaknesses in our physical appearance.

So no –I am not teaching my sons to have an unrealistic expectation that all women should look like Kate Upton. What I am teaching them is, it is not wrong for them to appreciate feminine beauty, and especially exceptional feminine beauty when they see it.

Update: Since I originally wrote this post Kate Upton has been doing new commercials for some video game.  My son was over at our Pastor’s house with him and his teenage sons watching TV and the commercial with Kate Upton came on.  My Pastor’s reaction was “now that is a nice looking woman”.  My son thought that was great and had to come home and tell me what our Pastor said.  I think men need to be comfortable talking about women with their sons, and let them know there is a healthy and normal way to enjoy the visual side of their male sexuality.

Conclusion

WhyIAllowSwimSuits1

So when go on our family summer vacations, my son’s don’t have to feel guilty at all or look down when they see women like this on the beach. Instead they can feel free to appreciate the beauty and artistry of God’s design in how he made a woman’s body.

Picture sources

Picture 1 – “Anna Paola bikini” by Shameless Charlotte

– Flickr: Anna Paola. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Anna_Paola_bikini.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Anna_Paola_bikini.jpg

Picture 2 – “Val & Aran (Women at beaches)” by edera from Genova, Italy – Val & Aran.

Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Val_%26_Aran_(Women_at_beaches).jpg#mediaviewer/File:Val_%26_Aran_(Women_at_beaches).jpg

How to handle a perfectionist Wife

Angry woman shouting at man

How are you as a Christian husband to handle your perfectionist wife? Do you dread coming home from work because you know the moment you walk in the door your wife will complain about five things you have done or not done?

Why God makes perfectionists

Your wife’s perfectionist nature is not some mistake in God’s creation. It is by the design of God.  But what perfectionist wives don’t realize is, they need to channel their perfectionism into positive outlets and not be critical and inflexible with their husbands and children.

For instance a perfectionist wife may channel her perfectionism into how she keeps folds the clothing and puts it way. Often times the perfectionist wife is a great house keeper, planner and organizer. She can use these qualities in positive ways to help her family.

My wife is a perfectionist. Not everything about her perfectionism is a bad thing. When we go on vacations, she is extremely organized at getting our entire family packed up days ahead of time, and going to the store to get all the things she thinks we will need for the trip. I have seen very few women that can throw as good a baby shower or bridal shower as my wife, she is extremely organized and anticipates everything she will need ahead of time.

The negative hallmarks of a perfectionist

Being organized or wanting things done a certain way is not always the mark of perfectionist or a negative thing. But it is the inflexibility, the impatience, and the lack of mercy and grace toward those around them that mark the perfectionist. Perfectionists are often plagued by anxiety and insomnia because no one around them seems to live up to their expectations (including themselves) and they don’t know how to handle the imperfections in the world around them.

Perfectionist tendencies need to be left outside the home and personal relationships

This is one of those posts I can write, only because my blog is anonymous (and this is one of many reasons my blog is anonymous, so I can speak freely).

I wish I could say that my perfectionist wife, like my perfectionist Dad, had not only recognized her perfectionism, but recognized where it is appropriate to apply her perfectionism and where it is not appropriate to apply it – but this simply is not the case with her.

This is my second marriage and I met my wife after having been previously married and having children from that marriage. When we were dating she contained her complaints about me and my children for the most part, but after we were married her complaints came rushing out like water that breaks through a dam.

My wife recognizes her perfectionism, she will admit it before me, her family and my family. Her mother and sister have known this is how she always was.

But while my wife will admit her perfectionism before me and others, she will not always admit that it is wrong. Often she will state the typical perfectionist statement – “I am not wrong for wanting those around me to do things the right way”. I will get more into how I respond to that later.

I say all this, not to say my wife is some terrible person, but simply to say to those husbands reading this who may recognize these issues with their wives, you are not alone. In this post I am writing from my very personal experience.

Our heavenly father is NOT a perfectionist toward us

I want to make something very clear. God is perfect, but God does not act as a perfectionist toward us in the relationship he desires with us. Some Christian teachers over the centuries have incorrectly tried to say that God is a perfectionist toward us with passages like this (and others in the Bible):

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”

Genesis 17:1(KJV)

But the idea God is trying to communicate in these passages, is for us to be “complete” in him. He wants us to walk with him, and to be complete in him. God does not want us to sin, but God knows we are sinners. Listen to God’s compassion here:

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:9-14(NIV)

Being a compassionate wife and mother, is the opposite of being a perfectionist wife and mother. Your wife cannot be both. In the same way God recognizes our frailties and weaknesses, so too a wife ought to recognize these things with her husband and her children and be gracious about these things.

Are there times when my wife can be compassionate and loving? Absolutely! She has her moments. Your perfectionist wife may have some very soft and tender times. But then the perfectionism creeps back in and rears its ugly head. My wife’s soft and tender side is what drew me to her while we were dating. It was only after we were married that she removed the barrier and allowed her perfectionist critical side to come out in full fashion.

So how do you handle your perfectionist wife?

First of all as a Christian husband remember that two wrongs never make a right. It may be very tempting for you lash out at your wife’s perfectionist tendencies.   But if you are unkind and harsh with her, God may not bless your attempts to bring these issues to her attention.

In another article on How to handle a perfectionist husband, I wrote about a wife being criticized for how she cooks. What I was describing there was based on what has happened to me in real life with my perfectionist wife.

Unlike my Dad and many other men, I truly enjoy cooking, it can be a therapeutic experience for me. I enjoy looking up new recipes, and I have been known to watch a cooking show or two. In our home, my wife is more of the baker and crock pot person. If it gets baked or put in the crock pot, most of the time it is her making it.

I am the griller and stir fry person. If it is getting fried up on the stove, that is probably me. I cut and slice up meats and veggies, come up with different marinades and make many different Asian dishes. I also like to make pasta dishes and I have quite a few that my family enjoys. I am also the master pancake maker in my house – by my wife’s own admission.

But not long after we were married (and it may have even started softly and subtly when we were engaged and I cooked for her) – she started criticizing the way I cooked. She did not like how messy I was when I cooked, or that I did not mind if some splatter got on the stove or on the counter when I was mixing and making things.

Once we were married she became more aggressive with her criticism. She did not like how I did not clean while I was cooking, getting things out and putting them away as I cooked, the way she did. She keeps a clean kitchen while she is cooking, and directly afterwards has everything cleaned up and in the dishwasher. Why could I not just do things the way she did? This is something I often heard.

I wish I could say I never lashed out her, but that would not be true. In the first few years of our marriage I lashed out several times telling her to get out of the kitchen. I said she was ungrateful for me cooking and that many men would not make the effort to cook the way I did, and she should be grateful for that.

What I learned more recently in our marriage, is to contain my anger, recognizing this comes from her perfectionist mindset. I now calmly reminder her that we have had this conversation about 500 times since we have been married, and that I am not going to cook the way she does. Occasionally if her tone is off, and I will also address the issue as a matter of disrespect coming from her.

Some more examples of a perfectionist wife’s behavior

Again these come from real life experiences I have with my wife (whom I love dearly) but has a problem with bringing perfectionism into our home:

My wife is one the many perfectionists I have known, that is thrown off by a cereal box being left on the counter, or on the kitchen table. This drives her nuts. I do truly try to remember to put it away, and often I do. But with me and my kids (who are at my house 3 days a week), there is a very strong chance of a cereal box being left on the table or counter.

The cereal box being left out showcases a broader problem with the perfectionist mindset. Should the person of have put the cereal box away after they ate? Yes. But because a perfectionist cannot tolerate even the smallest failings of others this type of things drives them insane. Each person must do everything right, if they fail in the slightest degree, the perfectionist has the hairs on the back of their neck standing up.

Another thing my wife gets thrown off by is if any amount of water is on the bathroom floor or bathroom sink after someone takes a shower and brushes their teeth. This is another huge pet peeve for her. She will routinely hunt down the last person who was in the bathroom after a shower and ask them why they did not use a towel to wipe up the floor and wipe the counter.

Often perfectionists are thrown off by children rough housing, or yelling at one another. While I agree children need discipline, there should always be a time and place for them to just be who they are – children.

I basically have the rule that as long as there is no cursing, or bleeding (or broken bones) or hitting of girls – almost anything goes.

I have teenage boys and sometimes they fight. My daughter(who is younger than them) may get involved sometimes, but all the boys know they are not allowed to hit her because she is a girl. If she hits them, then they can bring it to me and I will discipline her for it if I think that is appropriate. So as long as there is no hitting of girls, no cursing, and no bleeding happening, I usually don’t get involved. I let my children play, rough house, and work out their differences.

For my wife, this often drives her nuts. She wants me to get involved in each and every scuffle and I have informed her that I do not believe this is the correct approach to fathering them. I will only get involved if I think it has risen to a level that needs some parental refereeing.

Being angry or worrying about small and trivial things is what causes many perfectionists to have horrible anxiety problems (my wife suffers from anxiety and sleeplessness and my father does as well – even though he has gotten better with age).

Don’t fall for the perfectionist wife’s justifications

When you try to address your wife’s perfectionist tendencies be prepared for these three justifications in defense of her perfectionist ways:

Justification #1: Her way is “the better way” or “the right way”

She might just try and tell you she was just trying to show you a better way, or the right way to cook. You need to let her know that her way might be what she thinks is the best way to cook, but you do not think her way is better and she needs to accept that.

Justification #2: Her way is not so hard

She might try and say her way is easier, or what she is asking you to do is not so hard, so why can’t you just do it the way she does? Again you need to respectfully let her know that you are not purposefully trying to upset her, you just have your way of cooking and she has hers.

Justification #3: Why do just want to keep doing things you know upset her?

This is the final weapon many perfectionist wives will pull out if all other attempts fail. “Why do you cook this way, or leave your tooth brush this way, or leave your clothes on the floor if you know it upsets me so much?” This is the perfectionist wife’s attempt to put you on a guilt trip, to make you feel that each and everything you do that is not done her way, is a personal attack on her.

You need to let her know that when you are cooking, you are not doing it differently to make her upset. You are doing it that way because it works best for you.

If you accidentally leave some clothing on the floor, or leave a cereal box on the counter, you were not doing it to upset her. You simply forgot to put the cereal away, or you missed the clothes hamper. If you has a father allow certain behavior she may not approve of, it is not to upset her. She needs to defer to your authority as the father and head of the home.

Whenever something is out of place, or you do something different than she would have done it, you need to gently and respectfully remind her that you are not her.

She has her way of brushing her teeth, and you have yours.

She has her way of folding clothes, and you have yours.

She has her way of cooking, and you have yours.

She has her way of driving, and you have yours.

She may want stricter rules for the kids, but you have decided to be more lenient in some areas. This is your prerogative as the father and head of your home.

I could go on with a 1000 examples of small things, but you get the point.

What is not a perfectionist wife?

Sometimes a husband may falsely accuse his wife of being a perfectionist.

A mom wanting her kids to pick up their clothes and put them in the hamper is not necessarily a perfectionist.    She may just trying to teach her kids good habits about cleaning up after themselves.

A mom asking her kids to scrape their plates and put them in the sink, or to perform certain regular chores like washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom is not being a perfectionist. Again she is just trying to get her kids to clean up after themselves.

What I am NOT saying to Christian husbands who are married to perfectionist wives

I am not saying a Christian husband should not take his wife’s concerns into account.  Should a Christian husband try to clean up after himself? Yes. Should a Christian husband listen to his wife’s concern about the discipline of their children? Absolutely.

What I AM saying to Christian husbands who are married to perfectionist wives

But let’s face it, how a person cooks is not a moral issue. The way a person brushes their teeth is not a moral issue. Clothing not making it to the hamper is not a moral issue. The perfectionist wife cannot differentiate between these types of insignificant things, and the truly important things that have moral consequences.

Many Christian teachers have rightly said “you cannot be the holy spirit for another person”, and that is a very true statement. However, you as the head of your home, are the spiritual teacher of your home. This not only includes your children, but it also includes your wife. While you may approach your wife differently because she is not a child, she still a woman who is under your spiritual authority and you bare a responsibility for admonishing her with God’s truth.  A certain amount of perfectionism from one’s wife can be tolerated, but a certain point if she is being disrespectful and obstinate about it a husband may have to call out his wife’s rebellion.

You need to help your wife realize that you do not live in a museum or a military base, you live in a home. Yes a Christian home should have some discipline and order to it, but it should also be a place that showcases God’s love, compassion, mercy, acceptance and grace. It is your job as Christian husband, and the head of your wife, to help your perfectionist wife to see this truth.

Related article: How to handle a perfectionist husband

How to handle a perfectionist Husband

Couple having a quarrel

How are you as a Christian wife to handle your perfectionist husband? Do you sometimes dread the moment you hear his car pull up in the drive way, because within 30 seconds of him being in the door he will find five things to complain about?

Why God makes perfectionists

It is not a mistake that there are perfectionist people out there. It is by the design of God. There are many professions that demand a person of a perfectionist mindset. Perfectionists are detail oriented, and typically well disciplined. These types of qualities come in vary handy for military jobs as well science and engineering jobs.

Perfectionists are often great planners and organizers. If a perfectionist is good planner or organizer, these traits are not necessarily bad to bring into the home, in fact they can be beneficial, if applied in a loving and flexible way. The trick is, leaving room for differences. For instance, the perfectionist husband can often be tempted to have every detail of a vacation planned out, when maybe there needs to be some room left for spontaneity in a vacation.

My father is a perfectionist. He has worked as an aircraft parts inspector for many years and he is very good at his job finding flaws in aircraft parts he inspects. If my father were not such a perfectionist, the air planes on which his parts go might crash and people would die. God gave him the ability to be meticulous when he needs to be.

The negative hallmarks of a perfectionist

Being organized or wanting things done a certain way is not always the mark of perfectionist or a negative thing. But it is the inflexibility, the impatience, and the lack of mercy and grace toward those around them that mark the perfectionist. Perfectionists are often plagued by anxiety and insomnia because no one around them seems to live up to their expectations (including themselves) and they don’t know how to handle the imperfections in the world around them.

Perfectionist tendencies need to be left outside the home and personal relationships

My father had to learn the hard way early in his marriage and when we were growing up, that some of the perfectionist tendencies that made him a great worker, would make him a terrible husband and father if he brought them home with him. Occasionally these tendencies would start creeping back in, and my mother would have to lovingly remind him that we were not parts in his plant, but that we were his family whom he loved.

A perfectionist husband needs to leave his perfectionism at the door of his home. It should never come into his marriage or into how he interacts with and parents his children.

Our heavenly father is not a perfectionist toward us

I want to make something very clear. God is perfect, but God does not act as a perfectionist toward us in the relationship he desires with us. Some Christian teachers over the centuries have incorrectly tried to say that God is a perfectionist toward us with passages like this (and others in the Bible):

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

Genesis 17:1(KJV)

But the idea God is trying to communicate in these passages, is for us to be “complete” in him. He wants us to walk with him, and to be complete in him. God does not want us to sin, but God knows we are sinners. Listen to God’s compassion here:

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:9-14(NIV)

Being a compassionate husband and father, is the opposite of being a perfectionist husband and father. Your husband cannot be both. In the same way God recognizes our frailties and weaknesses, so too a husband ought to recognize these things with his wife and his children and be gracious about these things.

When your perfectionist husband criticizes you for trivial things, he is not acting in a loving and compassionate way. God wants husbands to love their wives and in those moments of criticism he is doing the opposite of what God has asked him to do toward you.

So how do you handle your perfectionist husband?

First of all as a Christian wife remember that two wrongs never make a right. It may be very tempting for you lash out at your husband’s perfectionist tendencies.   But if you are unkind and disrespectful to him, God may not bless your attempts to bring these issues to his attention. It would be a mistake for you to try and take on the role of teacher to your husband, because he is your authority. But there is nothing wrong with those who are under authority conveying in respectful ways their grievances with their authorities.

“If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female,   when they had a grievance against me, what will I do when God confronts me?

What will I answer when called to account? Did not he who made me in the womb make them?

Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?”

Job 31:13-15(NIV)

So if God wants masters to humble themselves and hear grievances from their servants (as we see here in Job 31), how much more should a husband be willing to hear respectful grievances from his wife?

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are cooking dinner for your husband and family. Your husband comes into the kitchen and begins complaining about how messy of a cook you are. He says something like “hey when I cook, there is no splatter on the stove, and I am careful how I stir and I clean and put away things as I am cooking, why do you have to leave everything out to clean up at some later point?”

You first instinct might be rage – you are justifiably feeling “how dare you come in here while I making our family a meal, and criticize the way I cook and tell me your way is better? How ungrateful! Why don’t you just cook the rest of this meal yourself?”

It might feel great to get that off your chest in that manner and storm off. But instead of losing it I admonish you to try this instead.

Ignore what he has said, say nothing to him in response.

If he asks why you are not saying anything, just calmly let him know you are trying to finish dinner and that you and he need to talk later.

Let him sit and think about what he has said to you, let him wonder what you will say to him later. After dinner is done and everyone has eaten, ask him to go to your bedroom or some private place away from the kids. This is where you can share your feelings and feel free to cry and let your feelings out in front of him. Being respectful, does not mean being unemotional.

Let him know how much it hurts you when he criticizes how you do cook.

Don’t fall for the perfectionist husband’s justifications

When you try to address your husband’s perfectionist tendencies be prepared for these three justifications in defense of his perfectionist ways:

His way is “the better way” or “the right way”

He might just try and tell you he was just trying to show you a better way, or the right way to cook. You need to let him know that his way might be what he thinks is the best way to cook, but you do not think his way is better and he needs to accept that.

His way is not so hard

He might try and say his way is easier, or what he is asking you to do is not so hard, so why can’t you just do it the way he does? Again you need to respectfully let him know that you are not purposefully trying to upset him, you just have your way of cooking and he has his.

Why do you just want to keep doing things you know upset him?

This is the final weapon many perfectionist husbands will pull out if all other attempts fail. “Why do you cook this way, or leave your tooth brush this way, or leave your clothes on the floor if you know it upsets me so much?” This is the perfectionist’s attempt to put you on a guilt trip, to make you feel that each and everything you do that is not done their way, is a personal attack on them.

You need to let him know that when you are cooking, you are not doing it differently to make him upset. You are doing it that way because it works best for you.

If you accidentally leave some clothing on the floor, or leave a cereal box on the counter, you were not doing it to upset him. You simply forgot to put the cereal away, or you missed the clothes hamper.

Whenever something is out of place, or you do something different than he would have done it, you need to gently and respectfully remind him that you are not him.

He has his way of brushing his teeth, and you have yours.

He has his way of folding clothes, and you have yours.

He has his way of cooking, and you have yours.

He has his way of driving, and you have yours.

I could go on with a 1000 examples of small things, but you get the point.

What is not a perfectionist husband?

Sometimes a wife may falsely accuse her husband of being a perfectionist. These false accusations of perfectionism usually come from lazy or rebellious wives. I know that it’s not easy sometimes as a wife and mom to keep up your home. There are just going to be those days where you feel like you were not able to get anything done because you were a mom-taxi cab or because of other things that happen with the kids.

But while I don’t think a husband should be coming home yelling at his wife, if a wife is lazy and sits around watching soaps all day and does nothing he has a right to say something (and as the head of his home, he must say something). But it needs to be done in the right way and this is not being a perfectionist husband. I will get more into this topic of lazy housewives in another post.

If your husband has rules for your children, you need to enforce those rules even if you don’t agree. Your husband is not being a perfectionist for expecting that you will enforce the family rules when he is not around. Of course there needs to be a place for mercy and grace when children break family rules but children do need discipline.

What I am NOT saying to Christian wives who are married to perfectionist husbands

I am not saying a Christian wife does not have to submit to and obey her husband. He is the authority in the home by the design of God. As I have said on other posts, a wife should listen to her husband as to how she keeps her hair, or what styles of clothing she wears and in many other areas she should seek his counsel. Especially when it comes to moral decisions of the home, she needs to follow his leadership.

What I am saying to Christian wives who are married to perfectionist husbands

But let’s face it, how a person cooks is not a moral issue. The way a person brushes their teeth is not a moral issue. Clothing not making it to the hamper is not a moral issue. The perfectionist husband cannot differentiate between these types of insignificant things, and truly important things that have moral consequences.

As a Christian wife, you need to in a loving and respectful way, be a helpmeet to your husband and help him not to be a perfectionist toward you or your children.

Related article: How to handle a perfectionist wife