Why so many people are confused about marital roles.

During my lunch break today I read the following Dear Abby letter:


DEAR ABBY: My husband and I were going along in life, doing it our way, until we decided we wanted to return to the church, so we stopped drinking and smoking pot. We hit a rough patch in that journey and divorced, but we didn’t stop going to church. It’s crazy, I know. After we divorced, I knew I messed up and deep down I knew I loved him.

So, now that we have remarried, it seems like he’s taking the role of Christian husband back to biblical times. This means he is the head of the house (which I get), but to the point where I am almost like a fixture. I would say I’m here for my looks, but I am overweight. I would say it’s for the sex, but it isn’t happening morning, noon and night, if you know what I mean. I would say it is the money, but now, after his last raise, he makes more than I do.

He cooks most of the time because he gets home before me. The house is always clean, and we share the household bills and expenses. So, I’m kinda lost and confused. Do I have a purpose here? Or am I only here to help pay the bills? — STARTING TO WONDER

Here was “Abby’s” advice:

DEAR STARTING TO WONDER: Only your husband can answer that question. However, part of a husband’s duties to his wife is to make her feel “honored and cherished,” and if that isn’t happening, your remarriage is in trouble.

Marriage counseling (possibly within the church) might help you to reconnect with each other, and I strongly recommend it. Unless you find out why you’re unhappy and fix it, this marriage will not last.

One’s initial reaction might be to mock the wife, but when you actually stop and think about it for a moment, her feelings of being lost and confused are also rather poignant and touching. She instinctively senses that something is wrong here – that a husband being “head of household” shouldn’t really be synonymous with “doing everything himself”.

This couple is confused because they are trying to “do” marriage under several sets of different, competing rules all while getting no helpful teaching but plenty of bad advice.  Previously they obviously had an egalitarian marriage in which they split the earning and household management evenly. Since becoming Christians, her husband is trying to figure out what the biblical role of “husband” is supposed to entail, and he’s obviously figured out that he is supposed to be the head of the marriage. But he has no practical understanding of what that looks like, so he is simply taking it to mean, “I am the head, therefore it must be my responsibility to do everything myself and require nothing of those of whom I am the head.”

The wife sees that things have changed, but she has no concept that her husband being the head requires her to be “under” his headship. She also doesn’t seem to understand that she has duties that, as a Christian wife, she is supposed to be fulfilling. But don’t mock her; how would she know what those roles are? She may have read a few verses in the Bible about women submitting to their husbands (or not), but it’s unlikely that she has had any helpful teaching about this from other Christians.

Now, common sense also seems to be lacking here. Obviously a wife with a clue would say to herself, “Gee, my husband is working hard. What could I do to please him?” She seems to have a sneaking suspicion about some of the things she could do: take care of her health and appearance by losing some weight, making sure that physical intimacy is happening somewhat regularly, and perhaps taking on some additional responsibilities around the home since her husband now out-earns her. But my suspicion is that she doesn’t really want to do these things very much as they may be difficult, and she’d rather coast along and is looking for moral cover to do so.  This is probably why she went to someone like “Dear Abby” with her question instead of taking it to God or another mature Christian.

Still, we can forgive this couple for their confusion. It would be really helpful if pastors could step up and deliver some practical sermons on biblical marriage roles.

But the one we can truly be disgusted with here is “Dear Abby”. Now, clearly Abby is not a Christian, so we can assume she gives lip service to egalitarian marriage. But here is where the rubber meets the road; here we have a man who is doing nearly everything and a woman who is not pulling her fair share, but instead of telling the wife to step up her game, Abby blames the husband! Not only is he supposed to do everything, he’s also supposed to make his wife feel honored and cherished while he does it! Not only is that not biblical, it’s not even egalitarian.

Since they are Christians, we can pray for this couple to find wisdom from God about what the biblical marriage roles of headship and submission look like in a practical context.  However, it is no wonder men and women are lost and confused. Pastors are often too cowardly to teach accurately on biblical marriage for fear of offending their congregants, and the secular advice-givers actively promote a fake egalitarian model.


Sensible precautions for single young men and women who want to protect their futures.

Just recently I gave some advice to young women which can be summarized as follows:

Young women:

  1. Don’t have more than one drink.
  2. Don’t go back to a young man’s room with him. That’s not just slutty; it’s also dangerous.

Now a recent news story from my alma mater prompts me to repeat that advice to young women and offer the following advice to young men:

Young men:

  1. Don’t have more than one drink.
  2. Don’t take a young woman back to your room with you. That’s not just caddish; it’s also dangerous.


Three young people, all with ruined futures. Nevermind about the he-said-she-said. Nevermind about feminists and men’s rights activists. These two young men and one young woman were young, they were foolish, they were just doing what everyone else was doing, and now their lives are trashed.

Don’t take that chance, young men and women. There is no fleeting pleasure in a drunken hook up that makes it worth the risk of potentially being raped or having a false rape allegation brought against you.

Biblical sexual morality: it’s not just right and holy. It’s also sensible and safe for both women and men.

Anatomy of an illicit seduction (Into the Woods, Lesson 3)

prince kiss

The scene from the Disney movie version of Into the Woods we will consider today is the one in which the Baker’s Wife has decided over her husband’s protests that they will walk 500 paces into the woods in opposite directions from each other to look for Jack.  After she is well away from him, Cinderella’s Prince Charming comes riding by on his horse.

Baker’s Wife: Hello, Sir.

Immediately we have our first lesson. Where is the Baker’s Wife? Is she where she is supposed to be? Is she with people who will keep her safe, both from others and from her own sinful and possibly dangerous impulses?

Lesson for women: Do not go where you should not be. There is no reason for women to be out drinking in bars, fraternity parties, or nightclubs (our modern equivalent of “the woods”) alone or with other groups of women.  It doesn’t matter if “everyone else” is going; you shouldn’t because it is both dangerous and foolish. Only neutral or bad consequences can result and a few moments of fun is not worth the potential cost to you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. There are plenty of places a young woman can meet a decent man that do not pose this kind of danger. And the Baker’s Wife, like all married women, had no reason to be off asserting her independence from her husband.

Cinderella’s Prince: Hello.

Baker’s Wife: You must be here to slay the giant.

Cinderella’s Prince: Yes.

Baker’s Wife: Have you come upon the giant yet?

Cinderella’s Prince: No.

Baker’s Wife: I have.

Cinderella’s Prince: (stops walking) You have?

Baker’s Wife: Yes.

Cinderella’s Prince: And why are you alone in the woods?

Baker’s Wife: I came with my husband. We were…well, it’s a long story.

Cinderella’s Prince: He would let you roam alone in the woods?

Baker’s Wife: No, actually, it was my choice. I’m looking for the lad.

Cinderella’s Prince: (moves closer) Your choice? How brave.

Baker’s Wife: Brave?

Cinderella’s Prince: (next to her) Yes.

Notice how the seducer affirms her foolish and rebellious behavior. Players who write about how they seduce women with what they call Game talk about this very tactic, which they refer to as overcoming a woman’s anti-slut defense.  They will say things like, “You’re a strong and independent woman. I admire the way you can be sexual when you want to be. No one has the right to judge you for that.”

Lesson for women: If a man is flirting with you and begins affirming some behavior that you’re engaging in, stop and reconsider the behavior. Is it really in line with your character? Does it really square with your sexual morals? Don’t let a man sweet talk you into believing that sin and rebellion are empowering and fun. That’s only what your itching ears want to hear in the moment.

The Prince begins singing to the Baker’s Wife:



(BAKER’S WIFE blinks)


Baker’s Wife: Uh…

Cinderella’s Prince: DON’T FEEL RUSHED

(he kisses her; she is stunned, turns to audience)

Notice how he becomes physical with her even before she expresses any desire for him to be. She didn’t clearly say no or push him away, so he moved in closer and then stole a kiss. Players refer to this as escalation or kino, which means during a seduction the man will escalate things sexually as quickly as possible and try to establish physical contact of some sort with the young woman he is trying to seduce.

This can feel very nice and flattering to a young woman, but she should immediately become cautious if a man whom she doesn’t know very well (or even one she does know) touches her in any sexual way. This is why sexual activity beyond holding hands and maybe a quick kiss should be left until marriage: because it is easy to get caught up in the moment, which feels very nice, and it is very difficult to say no once things begin progressing.

Lesson for women: Have clear boundaries about physical contact and never ever allow a man to transgress those. Despite all the feminist quacking about Yes Means Yes!, understand that it is your responsibility to say no loudly and clearly. A man you have no relationship with should never kiss you and you should get away from him very quickly if he “steals” a kiss, no matter how nice the kiss felt.

Baker’s Wife sings to the audience:




(resumes the kiss, then pulls away; music stops)

Wait one moment! We can’t do this. You have a princess.

Cinderella’s Prince: Well, yes, I do.

Baker’s Wife: And I have a Baker…

Cinderella’s Prince: Of course, you’re right. How foolish.

Here the Baker’s Wife offers what players call last minute resistance. She wants him to continue the seduction but she wants to put up some token resistance so that she can tell herself it “just happened” – why, it wasn’t like her at all, it was some trick of the woods!


Lesson for women: Our characters are revealed by what we say and do. If you want to be a woman of good character who would make a good wife, do not put up “token” resistance and then wait for the seducer to overcome it, for he surely will try if you give him any reason to believe he has a chance. You, like the Baker’s Wife, know right from wrong; never allow anyone to tempt you to engage in what you know is wrong. Remove yourself from his presence as quickly as you can.

The Prince sings:

(Music resumes)








(kisses her again)

Because she gave him the opportunity to continue seducing her, that is exactly what he has done, by trying to convince her to “let her hesitations be hushed”.

Baker’s Wife: But this is not right!








Again the Prince affirms her foolish behavior by directly telling her that there is no right or wrong and just to let go and follow her feelings. He encourages her to give in to the moment, even though she knows it is wrong. Players are very good at this kind of thing; if they suspect any possibility of a woman being sexually attracted to them, they will try every trick in the book to convince her to give in to her sexual urges.

Lesson for women: Resist and remove is the best course of action. Resist allowing a silver tongue to convince you to “follow your heart”. Why?

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

And remove yourself from the presence of the man who tries to entice you into sexual sin with him, no matter how tempting you find him. Feminists will try to convince you that casual sex is empowering, but evidence does not bear that out (some women will insist that as long as sex takes place in a “relationship,” whatever that means, it is somehow moral, but I would urge you to avoid that as well; marriage is the only safe and licit place for sexual activity).

If you seek marriage and family formation, do not allow yourself to be seduced. It is your responsibility to avoid players and seduction, and you can do that by educating yourself about the tricks (“game”) seducers use so that you can spot and avoid them.

Other posts in this series:

Useful outside reading (the posts are good reading but the comment threads should be avoided by young women):