Nov 222010

Over at Dalrock’s the issue of the man being head of the marriage came up and David Alexander pointed out that all this means is that the wife can play the blame game and claim victim status forever.  The responses to David Alexander treated this all as a problem with his thinking, as if the problem was completely in David Alexander’s head.  While DA does have his own unique issues this is not a case of that.  DA did not generate this idea on his own.  It’s widespread and here is a good example of that from Douglas Wilson, the pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho:

When a couple comes for marriage counseling, my operating assumption is always that the man is completely responsible for the all the problems. Some may be inclined to react to this, but it is important to note that responsibility is not the same thing as guilt. If a woman has been unfaithful to her husband, of course she bears the guilt of her adultery. But at the same time, he is responsible for it.

… Husbands are responsible for their wives. They are the head of their wives as Christ is the head of the church. Taking a covenant oath to become a husband involves assuming responsibility for that home. This means that men, whether through tyranny or abdication, are responsible for any problems in the home.

You would expect a feminist to say men are at fault for everything.  This is not a feminist saying that.  It’s a Christian pastor.  However, that (and the fact that its biblically and theologically unsound) is beside the point.  The theology of male headship in marriage is used as an excuse to blame husbands for everything that goes wrong in a marriage regardless of what wives do.  This shows how this is an idea that David Alexander did not come up with on his own.  It’s widespread in the Christian church and elsewhere so its no surprise DA would have picked up on it.

Men can’t solve the problems caused by feminism and other forms of female supremacism by just thinking differently.  There are a wide variety of forces arrayed against men.  This Christian pastor is just one small example.  The guns of the state are the other end of the scale.

I have not been convinced that the attempt at feminizing men has been all that successful.  What instead has happened is that men are trying to navigate a minefield created by female supremacism so that they don’t lose their jobs, their assets, their freedom (i.e. go to prison), or their lives.  What gets called the feminization of men for the most part is really a gun pointed at men’s heads.  If a gun is pointed at your head, you will act differently.  Take away the gun and most men will reassert their masculinity in a week.  (Maybe not that fast but very quickly.)

Most people who talk about how men lack masculinity or are failing to lead (whether its marriages or in general) aren’t interested in actual masculinity or male leadership.  They are just interested in something they can control and authentic masculinity and male leadership isn’t it.  However their faux complaining about it creates shaming language they attempt to use to control men.  This is what Douglas Wilson does.

You can change your thinking all you wish.  You may need to do so.  Chances are this is not your problem.  More importantly this will not make Douglas Wilson or the gun the feminist state has pointed at your head go away because they exist outside of your own head.

  13 Responses to “It’s Not All In Your Head”

  1. Douglas Wilson is wrong. Male headship simply means that in a marriage, the man is in charge, and therefore is the prime decision-maker. As such, he is responsible for the decisions he makes, the actions he and his family take together, and the consequences of such. But he is surely in no wise responsible for any independent decisions of and independent actions taken by his wife, who is still another adult individual, morally responsible for the actions she takes (since Scripture makes it clear that salvation is an individual matter, each individual to be judged on his/her sins alone); unlike, say, their children, for whose actions they can be held responsible.

    Doug Wilson is pedalling feminism in this, whether or not he realizes it. I pity the men who attend his Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals churches, let alone his marital counselling sessions.

  2. […] It's Not All In Your Head » Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Technology […]

  3. Yes, men are responsible in a marriage. But responsibility assumes that authority precedes it. Without authority, you can’t quite claim responsibility.

    I must ask this pastor: where is the man’s authority a marriage today? Does the church enforce it? Does the state enforce it? Does anyone anywhere really think that a man can make a woman do anything she doesn’t want to do in the current climate?

    I would also ask this pastor: if a man is held responsible for the state of his marriage, but lacks the spiritual and legal authority over his wife, what does that make him?

  4. Good questions for Wilson, indeed.

    BTW, as an aside, I should point out that while he is quite firm in his policy in this matter, in other matters, his CORE group is rather wishy-washy, refusing to take a stand. For example, his churches don’t have a common view of the sacrament of baptism: some practice infant baptism, while others don’t, only baptizing believers.

    Fancy that, eh? But no question, a man is responsible for his wife’s actions.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or scowl.

  5. Using that logic, a state is responsible for its citizens, so next time I hold up a bank I hope a poltitician gets it good and hard.

  6. “Most people who talk about how men lack masculinity or are failing to lead (whether its marriages or in general) aren’t interested in actual masculinity or male leadership. ”

    Indeed, they are mostly indulging the female fantasy of having to turn a man off and on whenever she damn well pleases. Lead her when she wants him to and get out of the way when she doesn’t.

    “If a woman has been unfaithful to her husband, of course she bears the guilt of her adultery. But at the same time, he is responsible for it.”

    Borrowing from another phrase that includes much responsibility or rather the lack of it: No women deserves to be shamed..

  7. The quoted portion takes Douglas Wilson’s words out of context.

    His stance is not that a man is to blame for the problems or even necessarily the cause of the problems. Instead, he argues that a man is “responsible,” meaning that whatever problems do exist within his family, they are his responsiblity to deal with and solve. Neither your post hear, nor the source articale properly account for the nuances and actual meaning of Douglas Wilson’s words.

    Regardless of whether one agrees with his teachings, it is unfair to judge him for what he is not saying. I have the book that is quoted, in case you wish me to provide more contextual quotations…

    • What does “This means that men, whether through tyranny or abdication, are responsible for any problems in the home.” mean? This clearly communicates the man is the cause of all problems in a marriage.

      Even if you were right, how is Wilson neither a fool nor a misandarist (assuming he’s not both)? Both the government and the church have tied a man’s hands if a man is supposed to be responsible for any problems in his family. If a man ends up in jail (which can easily happen) because his wife didn’t like how he “took responsibility” for the problems in his family, is Wilson going to be defending him? Clearly not.

      Wilson is just someone else who is breaking mens’ legs and attacking men for being unable to walk afterwards.

      • Exactly, PMAFT; the language of “through tyranny or abdication, are responsible” does not suggest merely being responsible for putting a situation right; it suggests that men are responsible, always, for whatever caused a negative situation to occur. That is to say, Wilson is laying blame, not necessarily pointing the way forward out of the problem, at least, certainly not in this statement. I don’t see anything being taken out of context here; these are his words, damning as they are.

  8. The key concept is “responsibility,” and the pastor is reverting to an archaic use of the word. In 2010, with our culture of lawyers and lack of personal accountability, “responsibility” and “guilt” have become almost synonymous.

    The pastor’s view of “responsibility” is similar to parental responsibility for their children. Christian dogma cast wives into a role that barely had the rights children have today. This thinking may have been pertinent 500 years ago but now that husband’s hands are essentially tied by modern cultural and legal limitations, responsibilty is a hollow and useless concept. Yet many people still throw that term around when it suits their own needs.

    It would be like children being given the rights of adulthood today; as parents, where would that leave us in the scheme of “responsibility” for their behavior?

  9. I just LOVE the gun to the head analogy. It’s true! I’m careful about what I say and do precisely because of the legal and other sanctions I face if I speak or act ‘out of turn’…

    • Of course what makes the gun to the head effective is having something to lose. With the mancession, marriage strike, etc. a lot men are entering a situation of nothing left to lose which changes the dynamic considerably.

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