What is the story that Christian marriage books are writing?
We know what they’re telling–it’s right there in the pages! But what if the books we read are also a part of writing our own stories?
It’s Rebecca here today (Sheila’s down with COVID, she’s doing fine but is quite miserable and is taking it easy) and I wanted to share this amazing short film that was made about evangelical books about sex and marriage–and they feature our research!
Watching the video, I’ve been thinking a lot about the weeds in the parable of the sower and the seeds.
Matthew 13 includes Jesus’ parable about a sower who goes out and spreads some seeds, but a lot of them die out. Not enough soil, birds eat them before they can root, and thistles choke them out.
It’s hard not to see these books and harmful teachings as those thistles.
What many of these books have done is it’s told women, “You can’t trust the evidence in front of you, you have to believe something else.” Some books tell women to overlook red flags like anger, controlling behaviour, or sexual entitlement so that they discount their intuition, push aside the uneasiness, and just figure “this is how men are.”
But others have also told women that they can’t trust the evidence of goodness, either. Women in love with men who have given them no reason to doubt their goodness, who are faithful and respectful, who see women as whole people, are told that they can’t trust the evidence in front of them, either, because all men have a sexual depravity that women cannot understand.
So we can’t trust ourselves if we see red flags. But we can’t trust the green flags, either.
Today I just want to say, you can trust the evidence in front of you.
Steve Arterburn is wrong–struggling to not masturbate at the sight of hot women in public is not “every man’s battle.” Feldhahn is wrong when she says your love is not enough, but that your deference to him as a man is also needed. Eggerichs is wrong when he teaches that God commands wives to be sexually available as a sign of respect with zero consideration for her sexual needs at all, her dignity, or her safety and wellbeing.
There are good men out there who are safe, who are respectful, who don’t see women as objects. And I believe that the reason these big-names and pastors cannot admit that fact is that it would shine a light on their own unrepentant mistreatment of God’s daughters. But if you are in a relationship with a man who has given you no reason to doubt, no reason to question, no reason to feel uneasy–rejoice! Be glad! Don’t allow false teachings to steal your joy.
But the other side is also true–some men are bad. They are selfish, they revel in their objectification of women, they want to use you as an object in the name of love. This is not simply “God-designed masculinity,” or whatever they’re saying today to excuse men’s abuse and sin. You are not being unsubmissive, quarrelsome, proud, or judgmental if you recognize red flags in someone.
May we raise the next generation to know and seek truth, with a lot fewer thorns in their way.
Thank you Mailli Brown and Abbi Fisher for such an amazing job done on this video. I hope it impacts many people, and thank you for helping change the conversation! For more information on the short film and its creators, check out their instagram.