Why Complementarian / Egalitarian Labels Matter: A Response to Nancy Pearcey

by | Sep 15, 2023 | Theology of Marriage and Sex | 51 comments

Our Baptist News Op Ed: Nancy Pearcey Response
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Do complementarian men make the best husbands?

Last June and July I was really burned out. I had been engaging in a Twitter back and forth with Nancy Pearcey, the author of the new book The Toxic War on Masculinity. Her thesis is a simple one: 

“The happiest of all wives in America are religious conservatives … who hold conservative gender values and attend religious services regularly with their husbands.”

Nancy Pearcey

The Toxic War on Masculinity

While her book was an ambitious project and has many things to admire, I felt this statement was both inaccurate and dangerous.

While discussing it with her on Twitter, I just couldn’t get her to seem to understand my central critique:

The fact that complementarians in name only who act out egalitarianism do better is hardly a ringing endorsement of complementarianism, especially when, if complementarianism is acted out, people do so badly.

I was accused of being mean to her by many by pointing these things out (and had several ridiculous articles written about me in hyperconservative circles), and I decided to let it go for a while until I had the bandwidth to address it properly.

Yesterday, our podcast went into both the problems with her arguments and the problems with her scholarship. 

A Baptist News Opinion piece took a deep dive into the data about complementarianism’s results.

We also wrote this opinion piece so that our argument was laid out well, and people could refer back to it.

The opinion piece covers most of what we argued in the podcast (minus the scholarship bit). It’s an important one, and Joanna and I worked on it for ages. She even ran some new stats for it! (That’s one of the great things about having such a large dataset; occasionally you think of new questions to ask!).

Please read the whole thing! When people click through and read our opinion pieces, then sites are more likely to pick up our opinion pieces again. So read and share!

In a nutshell, though, here is our argument:

  1. You can’t judge complementarianism by looking at those who say they believe it, because most who believe it don’t act it out
  2. When judging its effects, you have to look at those who act out authority and hierarchy in marriage, because that is the defining feature of complementarianism that distinguishes it from other forms of marriage.
  3. When you look at those who act out hierarchy, you see that disaster ensues.
  4. Even if people don’t act out hierarchy, another explanation for why people who believe in hierarchy do well is the rose colored glasses effect: they’re more likely to rate their marriages well because they put such an emphasis on successful marriages being a part of their identity, while simultaneously believing they don’t deserve much.
  5. The rose-colored glasses effect is huge when measured, and gets stronger the more you believe in complementarianism.

Some of my favourite bits from the Baptist News piece responding to Nancy Pearcey:

“Nancy Pearcey pulls findings from the same chapter in Gottman’s work, citing his conclusion that in both egalitarian and hierarchical marriages “emotionally intelligent husbands have figured out the one big thing: how to convey honor and respect.” Thus, she claims, labels don’t matter…However, she omits to mention the big finding Gottman uses to frame this entire chapter: Complementarian men only do well when they don’t act out hierarchy and put aside their beliefs. You can’t claim beliefs in complementarianism are irrelevant by quoting someone who found acting out those beliefs is disastrous.”


Turning to sexual satisfaction, we see similar disturbing trends when people act out hierarchy. Overall, our research for The Great Sex Rescue uncovered a 47-point orgasm gap between evangelical men and women (where 95% of men almost always/always orgasm in a sexual encounter, while only about 48% of women do). When we look at how acting out hierarchy affects orgasm rates, though, the gap increases.

  • 51.7% of women who act out egalitarianism almost always/always orgasm (giving a 43-point gap).
  • 40.2% of women who act out complementarianism almost always/always orgasm (giving a 55-point gap).

What about women who never reach orgasm?

  • 10% of women who practice egalitarianism have anorgasmia.
  • 16.7% of women who live out male authority have anorgasmia.

Zeroing in on the lived-out effects of complementarianism’s distinctives shows a disturbing picture of a belief system that works only if one doesn’t practice it.


The more one believes in hierarchy, the larger the “rose-colored glasses” effect — which is fine if you want couples to have a cheery outlook regardless, but rather problematic if you want to claim women who put themselves under a husband’s authority have objectively better marriages and sex lives.

It shouldn’t be considered a success that women who believe in hierarchy don’t think they deserve to orgasm or don’t mind as much if their marriages are objectively worse.

Sheila Wray Gregoire and Joanna Sawatsky

Baptist News, Do complementarian men do better? A response to Nancy Pearcey

And then there’s our big conclusion:

Committed churchgoers who believe in Jesus definitively do better on the vast majority of measures than both the general population and casual churchgoers. That is good news.

However, we must not claim this means complementarians do better, because the data not only don’t support that conclusion. They actually warrant the opposite conclusion.

Regular, committed churchgoers who act out complementarianism do worse than those who act out egalitarianism, whether they claim to be complementarian or not.

We agree with Nancy Pearcey that it’s a relief that most who believe in hierarchy actually model the “close, relational model” promoted by egalitarians. But claiming complementarians in name only who act out egalitarianism do well is hardly a ringing endorsement for complementarian men.

We can’t declare the complementarian/egalitarian debate “worn out” by measuring what happens when people don’t act out their theology. We have to grapple with what happens when they do.

It’s time for complementarianism’s practitioners to stop claiming success they didn’t earn. Instead of riding on the coattails of those who follow Jesus’ words about living a life of service rather than focusing on power and authority, research shows complementarians really ought to join them.

Sheila Wray Gregoire and Joanna Sawatsky

Baptist News, Do complementarian men do better? A response to Nancy Pearcey

Again, please read the whole thing, bookmark it, and share it! Next time someone tells you that complementarians do better, just pull it out and send it along.

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Joanna likes to call what we do a public health initiative.

Joanna, our wonderful stats expert for both The Great Sex Rescue and She Deserves Better likes to call what we do public health. She has a Master’s in Public Health, and thinks about things in those terms.

So here’s why we think this debate matters, and why we’re so passionate about it.

1. We know that complementarianism, when acted out, causes harm.

It makes abuse and divorce far more likely; it lowers marital and sexual satisfaction. It isn’t good.

2. Therefore, we should be encouraging people not to act out complementarianism.

Makes sense, right? Public health is about harm reduction: when you know something makes harm more likely, then you want to reduce the likelihood of that thing.

3. When we tell people that labels don’t matter, and complementarians do as well as egalitarians, we work against public health.

Just because complementarians-in-name-only-who-act-egalitarian do well does not mean that we can give complementariansim a pass, because when it is acted out, bad things happen.

By making excuses for complementarianism, we fail to warn against the problems. And we make it more likely that people will continue to act it out.


You may also find these helpful:


We need to teach what works. 

Mutuality works. Considering both of you as equals works. Functioning as a team, rather than a hierarchy, and acting as partners works.

I’m glad that most people do that, regardless of labels. But that doesn’t mean labels don’t matter. We should care about the people who will be hurt if we continue to preach that complementarianism is okay. God warns us that when we know disaster is coming, and we fail to warn, that will be on our heads.

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.

Ezekiel 33:7-9

When you know disaster is coming, you warn. When you don’t, it means you’re not showing love to people, and God takes that seriously.

Pretending everything is okay when it isn’t props up the power structures and lets people feel righteous and safe, while also increasing the likelihood that more people will be hurt in the future.

It’s easy to understand why people do it: the church is heavily invested in men being in power. But it’s not okay. God is watching. It’s time to tell the truth.

Do complementarian men make better husbands? Our Baptist News op ed responding to Nancy Pearcey

Why do you think Pearcey was so unwilling to hear our argument? Why can’t people recognize that acting out hierarchy does harm? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. Angharad

    “…they’re more likely to rate their marriages well because they put such an emphasis on successful marriages being a part of their identity, while simultaneously believing they don’t deserve much.”

    I think this is also a huge issue when comps are ‘courting’ or dating. I have a dear friend who has experienced horrible treatment from her prospective husbands (fortunately, none of them have ended up proposing to her as I dread to think how bad the resulting marriage would be), but because she has been taught to believe that marriage to an authoritarian man is the be-all-and-end-all of a Christian woman’s life, and because she also believes she shouldn’t expect much, she doesn’t see it. I’ve lost track of the number of times when she’s enthused about some ‘amazing, wonderful’ behaviour from a man, which has been basic, common politeness.

    (Of course we should still be grateful for these things, but being grateful is very different from being convinced that your man is the most wonderful one on the planet because he does the kind of everyday stuff that any decent citizen should do!
    And if you are choosing a life partner on the basis of these things…).

  2. Tiffany Nixon

    It grieves me, but this happens so often. I can give you my 2 cents on why Nancy may be sticking to her guns… it could be one of these reasons or something else. Only Nancy can answer that and ONLY if she does true self inspection. Sadly, people often cling to unhealthy beliefs despite recognizing their detriment, and this phenomenon can be attributed to several factors. First, tradition wields a powerful influence on human cognition. Beliefs passed down through generations carry a sense of heritage and continuity, making it emotionally challenging to deviate from them. The fear of betraying one’s cultural or familial roots can override rationality.
    Second, group dynamics play a significant role. When individuals are entrenched in communities that uphold these beliefs, it fosters a sense of belonging and identity. To question such convictions may lead to ostracization or conflict within the group, which many are reluctant to face.
    Also, cognitive dissonance often prompts individuals to seek confirmation of their existing beliefs, selectively ignoring contrary evidence. Admitting fault or changing one’s perspective can be psychologically distressing, leading people to resist even well-supported research.
    The power of tradition, groupthink, and cognitive dissonance can combine to perpetuate unhealthy beliefs, trapping individuals in a cycle of conviction despite evidence to the contrary. Unfortunately we see a lot of this in the church culture where many have been taught that it’s not ok to think for themselves.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well said! I feel like I’m pushing so hard against all three of those things all the time. It is a lot.

    • Mel

      In a lot of these belief systems, there are many teachings that support the other beliefs needed to make it “make sense”. It absolutely self protects the system. You have break through at least one aspect in order to see the faults throughout. The teachings on authority both at church and in the home, modesty, that other teachings and teachers are dangerous/worldly and must be avoided, woman are more easily deceived…etc.
      The presenting of such teachings using select out of context verses gives an illusion. There’s a lot of spiritual abuse when you believe that God has said these things and that these “authorities” are basically the voice of God to you. That that is His way. And His way is the best way.

    • Jo R

      And let’s not forget the biggest cudgel of all: disagreeing means a woman is sinning against God, may be going to hell for eternity, and may not even be a Christian! 😱 🙄

    • Laura


      You said it well. For years I was afraid to admit that I don’t believe in hierarchy in marriage and whenever I said something like, “What’s wrong with being equals in marriage?” Or anything that contradicted with supposed biblical beliefs, I was met with silent hostility and told that I was in rebellion and needed to read the Bible. But I did, whenever we read Ephesians5 where it says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church, there isn’t anything in those verses that says anything about leading, having authority, or making the final decision.

      I’m getting to the point where I don’t care what others think because I have seen the harm caused by comp/patriarchy beliefs. I was in a marriage where my now ex thought he was in charge because he was the man. I almost got involved with a man who thought the same and so glad I escaped that one. I am done with all the virtue signaling Christians do when they do not act out what they say they think they’re supposed to act out.

      • Bernadette

        I’ve encountered 4 common arguments for why God gave husbands authority over their wives.

        The most common “argument” by far: “You have a problem with authority.”

        The second was “The husband is the head of the wife.” Which proves nothing, because head doesn’t always mean authority.

        Third most common: Instead of insinuating that X Bible verse says authority in marriage, they explain their interpretation…while confusing their personal interpretation for infallible truth.

        Fourth. A fellow Catholic claims that it is Catholic doctrine for husbands to have authority. But they never prove it’s doctrine and I don’t take their word for it.

        • Nessie

          “You have a problem with authority.”

          This was somewhat explained to me in the mindset of: women often lack humility so God in His wisdom gave them the opportunity to learn how to humble themselves. Of course they wouldn’t come out and state it that succinctly.

          Riiight… because none of the men writing books or preaching to large audiences or teaching about how women have to be their husband’s sex slave struggle with pridefulness. And I guess single women are just denied that “opportunity” of humbling themselves. 🙄

          • Bernadette

            Yeah, as if being considered a second-class citizen in your own marriage is “humbling.”

        • Laura


          I’ve also heard that argument about “problem with authority.” I have read comp blogs where the writer (a comp woman) talks about how women do have a lot of power, so women need to suppress this power so as to not emasculate their husbands. Not the exact words, but basically that’s what these comps believe or try to convince themselves. I’ve heard that being submissive is like being “meek, but not weak” or it’s “strength under power.” I think these women say these things because subconsciously they feel repressed that they have to adhere to traditional gender roles in their marriages so they appear to the world that they are really following God and are set apart.

  3. Mara R

    Poor Nancy. In order to get her book published and accepted in these circles, she has to cater to the men in power. Otherwise she is far less likely to get her book published.

    I actually blame the male dominated and male protecting structures she was most likely born in and feels compelled to serve rather than her.

    And strangely, I’m glad her book came out at this time so that it can be refuted for what it is. It brings important things to the forefront to be discussed for a larger audience. I’m glad it comes now, after you’ve done the hard work of collecting data and are able to use it to refute the unbiblical doctrine of hierarchy in marriage.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Ironically, her publisher is actually ours. They publish a lot of materials that are very pro-woman. So I think she could have gotten it published easily. It’s just that the people who tend to invite her to speak and who respect her would hate her message then. I think the tribe she’s in is very dedicated to men being in charge. You can see by the types of podcasts that have had her on.

      • Rebekah

        I subscribe to a couple other podcasts which have interviewed her. Knowing, and agreeing, with Sheila’s take on this subject, I attended to these podcasts very closely. Neither podcast is dedicated to men being in charge. However, I felt that Nancy defended her position more strongly in Leslie Vernick’s podcast, which I heard first. Later, I heard her interviewed in the Pure Desire podcast, and I almost felt, at this later date, she had softened her stance and gave more allowance for the objections Sheila has publicly voiced. I wondered if she had softened her stance between the broadcasting of those two podcasts because of interactions with Sheila.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          I certainly hope so! I wish she had considered these things before writing her book.

        • exwifeofasexaddict

          Which book was she discussing in PD? I heard her talking about Love Thy Body on PD podcast. I quit after about 20 minutes because I felt like she wasn’t being honest.

  4. Jo R

    Mara, why is there no “bingo card” emoji????

    All right, I’ll settle for 🔥 🔥 🔥.

    And Angharad is right on the money too. As long as marriage and motherhood are a “Christian” woman’s “highest calling,” how can anything ever change?

    I’ve asked these two questions on other posts and don’t recall receiving any answers:

    1. Where is any post-Pentecost NT woman praised for being a wife, let alone a mother?

    2. Why didn’t the NT writers demand or even just suggest extensive baby-making as the most important strategy for evangelizing the world?

    • Mara R

      Jo R, (insert blush emoji here, in your mind. Because I’m not emoji savvy in these here parts)

      As far as your point number one, Jesus straight up refutes that being a mother is the highest calling for women. I’m sure you’ve seen this. But just in case you or others have not:

      Luke 11:27 & 28 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” 28 But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

      I’m not knocking motherhood, and neither is Jesus. I am a mother who loved being a mother. But this Roman based cult of household codes needs to be rooted out of the present-day church.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire


  5. Nathan

    > > Why do you think Pearcey was so unwilling to hear our argument?

    I’ve seen this attitude both on the far left and the far right. People get obsessed and hyper-invested in a belief, and they don’t want to hear anything in opposition to it, and they take criticism of the idea as criticism of themselves.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, whenever we become activists so that we’re dedicated to dogma rather than truth, then we can’t see clearly anymore.

      • Mel

        100%. The belief system rises higher than God. Super messed up. Very hard to see though when you are caught up in it.

  6. Jo R

    Found this blog post via Andrew Bauman’s FB post today.


    All the examples she lists… Holy cow. BTDT. 😭

    And seen recently on Orthodox Barbie’s FB page (paraphrasing): If egalitarians are wrong, well, at least Christ is preached. If comps/pats are wrong, half of the church (and really, it’s more than half) has been wasted for centuries.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Half the church has been wasted! But also the other half has spent so much energy trying to maintain power that they haven’t really been spreading the gospel at all. Look at how much energy has been spent by these churches in the last few years trying to make sure women don’t preach; trying to push abuse under the rug again. Think how much better if that energy and time and money had been spent trying to actually do kingdom of God stuff!

  7. EOF

    The line that stood out to me was this one: “One can act out traditional gender roles without believing in male headship.”

    Say what?? The whole point of gender roles is that the man is the head of the woman. I was taught never to say no, never to walk away, never to think about my safety, never to put my needs above his wants or ego, and to obey him always.

    These churches and books teach that not only is the man ruler over woman, but that she does not matter. At all.

    Now that my eyes are opened, I see that the church taught me to become my husband’s slave. Although I also worked (and most of our marriage I work while doesn’t) I am responsible for all the household chores, the cooking, the childrearing, and I must give sex even when exhausted, meanwhile he watches videos and plays games all day and sleeps as late as he wants. And THAT’S OKAY with complementarians!!!! According to those people, God cares more about my husband’s penis than my wellbeing.

    And they wonder why women are leaving churches in droves?

  8. Phil

    Seems we have a new Thesis Statement:

    All complementarian men and women who have cognitive dissonance have almost as good of marriage as egalitarians. 😳🤣

  9. Wild Honey

    I have one word for those who believe “labels don’t matter” – marriage.

    Is marriage only between a man and a woman? Two consenting adults of any gender? Any number of consenting adults of any gender? Two minors? An adult and a minor? An adult and their pet parakeet?

    Come on, Christian influencers, you can do better than this. Definitions matter – https://www.whyhavewefasted.org/precision-of-language-definitions-matter/

  10. Jen

    It’s very simple: complementarians who don’t practice complentarianism are not complimentarians.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Sounds pretty simple to me!

      • Tim

        Genuine question: are they complementarians who don’t actually practice complementarianism or are they complementarians who have actually read Matthew 20? (“…whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave…”, etc).

        I have an inkling that it’s warped view of leadership that’s the bigger issue. I’d be very interested to see some of the analyses from GSR etc repeated on a survey that included some questions on doctrine/philosophy of leadership as well as marriage.

  11. CMT

    Do labels matter?

    Probably a lot of us have experience in church environments that are earnestly complementarian, yet full of people whose marriages are quietly more or less mutual and egalitarian. The disconnect is there, but it’s not talked about because everyone supposedly agrees that male leadership/female submission is God’s Plan for Marriage. Speaking as someone who grew up in a place like that, it is profoundly confusing! Truth and straightforward readings of Scripture should guide our lives in everything, right? But the adults who taught you that go into logical contortions and caveat after caveat trying to explain how what they’re doing is really leadership/submission, like the Bible says. It didn’t make sense to me and that was extremely unsettling.

    For this and other reasons (*ahem* For Women Only), I entered adulthood and marriage very confused about how healthy adult relationships actually work. A decade, a faith crisis, and some therapy later, things are looking up, but I don’t recommend my route!

    TL:DR Telling kids the truth about healthy relationships is important. Labels matter because when kids see adults doing one thing and saying another, it messes them up. Let’s stop doing that!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Exactly! But also, let’s say that you’re a healthy person in a healthy relationship but you tell others you’re complementarian. Then people will think that a husband “leading” a wife is normal, and a wife not being able to speak up is normal. Unhealthy marriages won’t realize that those who say they’re complementarian aren’t actually acting it out. We’re hurting people around us when we don’t tell the truth.

  12. Scott

    Unless or until you address two gaping issues with your material, it’s going to be hard to take your conclusions seriously. Issue #1: The be-all and end-all measure of success is orgasms (who has them, and how often.) While it may be a useful measure and provide some insight, it’s terribly reductive. Issue #2: You haven’t surveyed men. At all. And because of that, your data is one-sided.

    In my experience, men who are egalitarian tend to be passive, while those who are complementarian take up their responsibilities. In the long run, women don’t respect mousy men.

    • Lisa Johns

      Did you ask women whether they respect “mousy” men? Or is that just your opinion?

      In my experience, men who are complementarian tend to be passive-aggressive. Or wait, maybe that was just the one I was married to…

      In defense of Sheila et al., consistent orgasms can be a good indicator of whether she is relaxed and trusting during sex, and whether her husband is taking the time to care for her. Not the ONLY indicator, but a good one.
      And she never intended to survey men. At all. And because of that her data gave her exactly the knowledge that she was seeking, which is, are WOMEN happy in their marriages, and why or why not?
      If you’re seeking knowledge about what *women* think and feel, you don’t survey men. That’s not one-sided, that’s just common sense seeking information from the right place.

      • Nessie

        When we were comp, my husband failed to take up any responsibilities except finances. Now that we are egal, he is actually trying to step up. He’s got a long way to go but I can respect his efforts (and that he’s actually treating me as a person instead of a live-in maid/wh0re/cook.)

        Demanding, orgasm-entitled man-child’s who don’t appear “mousy” (to other men especially) are far less respectable than men who actually care about their wives and live out loving them as Christ loved the church. I’d venture to say a lot of men considered Christ “mousy,” too.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Oh, exactly! So well put.

    • Jo R

      If men were on the wrong side of a 47-point orgasm gap, I don’t think they’d be interested in much else until that gap narrowed considerably. No, it’s not the be-all, end-all, except when it’s so lopsided.

      Imagine engaging in sex (likely only PIV) for DECADES—and NEVER having even one orgasm. That’s a sad reality for a whole bunch of women, Christian and otherwise.

    • Jo R

      Actually, she did survey men. Three thousand, IIRC.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I have surveyed men, Scott.

      And I don’t think men would be interested in sex if they weren’t reaching orgasm. Also, orgasm is highly linked to issues of trust and safety in the marriage.

      • Lisa Johns

        You know they wouldn’t!!
        And absolutely it is!!

      • CMT

        If using orgasm rates to understand the quality of women’s and couples’ sex lives is reductive, well, that’s a mistake sex researchers were making for a few decades at least before the Bare Marriage team came along. Come to think of it, that might make an interesting topic for a deep dive someday! As I understand it, this research has a long history. People have been investigating orgasm rates (and finding a substantial male-female discrepancy) since at least the Kinsey report.

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          We also have created a scale of sexual satisfaction that includes far more than just orgasm rates. One of our big outcome variables (which, if Scott listened to my podcast, he’d know) is feeling emotionally close during sex.

          • Lisa Johns

            Oh, emotions count?!


  13. M

    I found a really interesting article that gave me hope, entitled “An Equal Relationship”, where he makes a scriptural case for male and female being equal in marriage, and outlines ways that equality should show up: https://www.covenantkeepers.org/online-articles/47-general-marital-issues/678-an-equal-relationship He even says both wives AND husbands should take care of each other’s sexual needs! BUT, then I read his posts on God’s design for women and men, and he argues for men in authority and women to submit, but he turns around and says men are never to force their will on their wives but must wait for them to willingly submit – in other words, “seek to find agreement and never use force”. Women are supposed to submit willingly, but also to cooperate in the decision making, but also to see him as leader, but remember you’re an equal, but…it’s so confusing.

    The biggest head scratcher, however, was when he said this gem: “Imagine what life would be like if you had two heads on your physical body. What confusion this would bring to your life. Likewise, when you selfishly try to become the second head in your home, confusion results and marriage loses…instead of seeking control, help him in his decisions and offer your input…if you truly desire harmony in your relationship, abandonment of your selfish desire to control your husband is a must.” First, this is gas-lighting to the max. It’s telling women they should help make decisions, but also not try too hard to help make decisions. Second, he’s describing functional egalitarian marriage but preaching complementarianism. Third, there are literally people with two heads who have to cooperate in life. They are called conjoined twins. Pretty sure they would laugh this quote off the page. Also, the irony that he thinks two heads would make life so confusing but his arguments have my head spinning.

    • Lisa Johns

      He’s trying really hard to live on both sides of the fence — and in trying too hard to please everybody he is going to please nobody. Poor guy needs to go home and rethink his life choices!

    • CMT

      “ he argues for men in authority and women to submit, but he turns around and says men are never to force their will on their wives…Women are supposed to submit willingly, but also to cooperate in the decision making, but also to see him as leader, but remember you’re an equal”

      This is EXACTLY the kind of brain-breaking doublespeak I was talking about in a previous comment. Imagine trying to wrap your head around that as a teenager with no actual relationship experience. And then add a hefty dose of gaslighting in the same form you identify here – girl/woman seeking agency=sinful, damaging desire to control males. If you teach girls this BS, men won’t need to flex their authority over women. The women will be too busy tying themselves in knots trying to “submit” properly.

      • Jo R

        Sheila, please ask CMT if you can turn that first para into some merch!

        • Lisa Johns

          I want a shirt that uses the words “brain-breaking double-speak!” 😍😂


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