Good and Obedient wives
“AND GOD PROMISED MEN THAT GOOD AND OBEDIENT WIVES WOULD BE FOUND IN ALL CORNERS OF THE EARTH. THEN HE MADE THE EARTH ROUND AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED.”
I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this quote. If you’re a woman reading this post I presume you had the same reaction. And if you’re a man, I would be verrrry interested in knowing your reaction. Were you angry, amused, indignant, self righteous, explanatory, guilty? Did you react to the “good” wives part or the “obedient” wives part? I think we can safely say that it’s downright ridiculous to expect a wife to be obedient and that unfortunately, religion has taught men to expect that. You must read Pam Hogeweide’s excellent book Unladylike: Resisting the justice of inequality in the church. I quote from the book –
“But then it became so clear to me one week. The pastor talked about husbands leading their wives, and women needing to submit to their husband’s authority. I realized it wasn’t just me, that I wasn’t being insecure for feeling like the lesser sex. The church was teaching me this.”
She announced to her husband that he could do what he wanted, but she would no longer be joining him at this church. She told him this with respect and firmness, making clear that she would not subject herself to a community that assigns women secondary roles in marriage and in the kingdom of God. He agreed and together they are searching for a new faith community where women equality is a value rather than a debate. This is what resistance looked like to her. She shed being ladylike in favor of being a woman. ”
” Obedience” is an important Hindu concept – everyone is obedient to elders (or should at least pretend to be so) and, in a society that values the submissive woman, people complain, “girls are not brought up as they used to be in the past or as they ought to be. It is lamented that in the past girls were brought up “very strictly” to be docile, obedient, patient, subservient, tolerant and never demanding. Today, they are raised “just like boys.”
Their degree of tolerance is on the decline; they have absolutely no patience, do not make any “adjustments’ and have no idea of what it is to be an ‘obedient’ wife and ‘humble’ daughter-in-law. They question, demand and command.” says O.J.Joycee in Not a wife waiting to happen. The author continues,” It also made me wonder whether wedlock is truly marriage or bondage if the wife alone suffers in silence and willingly obliges every single wish and whim of her husband and his family, and endures all humiliation stoically and uncomplainingly.”
I’m not going to go into other religions that turn being an obedient wife into a kind of fetish. The truth is that every religion looks at a wife as being subservient to a husband and that a marriage is successful only if the woman complies with the man’s demands, commands and wishes. That both parties could compromise seems to be an unheard of thought.
So much for ‘obedient’.
What’s a ‘good’ wife? That may be something some of us aspire to. After all it’s quite a common human aspiration. To be ‘good’. I’ve recently found the Happy Wives Club quite inspiring with their upbeat desire to change the way people view marriage. Check them out.
It is quite possible that a lot of the resistance to marriage will fade away like mist dissolved by the rising sun if we delink obedience and marriage. Till that happens all we can do is search our round globe for those four corners where all the good and obedient wives are hiding.
Posted on January 29, 2014, in Celebrate, media portrayal of divorce, oppressive customs, strength, wife and tagged Church, good wife, Happy Wives Club, obedient wife, Pamela Hogeweide, Unladylike. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.