I hope and pray for you that you will be able to see things more and more clearly. Perhaps, someday, you will write for us an honest memoir of your journey of recovery of your feminine authority?
Let me introduce myself: I am Charis, the faithful wife of one husband since 1982 and the mother of a quiver full of 8 living children between the ages of 9-27 and from what I have been reading, I’ve been in your shoes:
- My husband was a Christian leader- seminary graduate, missionary, Christian college professor. His harshness got him in trouble too! In fact, he is not in full time Christian work anymore.
- Any and all marriage problems were MY fault (it’s a lie but due to my own CSA history and all its attendant shame, a lie which I easily swallowed)
- My husband exercised control and condemnation over my hairstyle. He thought coloring hair was “deceptive”, but I could not bear being mistaken for “grandma” of my newborn, with the 16 year old taken for his mother.
- My husband bullied others, put them down, called them names. One choice put down is to be associated with anything feminine. For example, he has referred to our 9 year old son a “wuz” because he isn’t very athletic….
- ….only, like your husband with the whole Ted Haggard thing, he denies it because he didn’t “call him a wuz”. He said he was “ACTING like a wuz”. Very like Mark’s “literalistic” denial.
- The denial of his damaging words and the re-writing of history became so common in my life as I stopped polishing his ego at every turn and started standing up for myself and the children that I coined a name for it: “the revised self sanctified version”.
Young children, and wives who have been sexually abused in childhood are very easy to control. I see myself in the diminutive, little, “weak willed, easily controlled” woman of 2 Tim 3, arrested in childhood in many respects and ruled by my husband in a very unhealthy way. And, sadly, his behavior and attitude matched some of the other items in the 2 Tim 3 listing.
Times will be changing around the Driscoll household as your children enter their teenage years! Teenagers are not so easy to control. My firstborn, Hannah, went away to a conservative Christian college down south. I remember when she came back for her first Christmas break at age 18 with so many opinions, so outspoken, I thought they had turned her into a “feminist”. Even as I corrected her for “disrespecting her father”, for “questioning authority”, something deep inside me admired that she had such freedom and assertiveness.
Nowadays, Hannah is a married 27 year old who graduates in May with her MD and is in the process of choosing a residency. And I am am a changed woman! I rejoice for her and for all my children that they do not follow in my “submissive” footsteps!
Which brings me to your interpretation of Esther as a “submissive wife”. Please re-think this, Grace. Can you see how Esther was actually a defiant wife? She defied the king’s laws on multiple counts: appearing before him when it was against the law and punishable by death. This act also defied his newest law that “every man should be ruler over his own household” Esther 1:22. Rachel Held Evans has an insightful post and comments on Esther and Vashti: The Real Story and Katherine Bushnell’s 100 year old analysis also addresses it well: The Vashti-Esther Story by Katharine C. Bushnell.
Lastly, I want to question the approach to Song of Solomon your husband takes? My husband, who is recovering from his longtime porn and sexual addiction, has expressed that preaching that holds up Solomon as a role model for marriage is a stumbling block for him. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Solomon lived in real life what porn addicts live between their ears, was demonstrably incapable of loving a woman well, and is no role model!
My take on Song of Solomon is that there are three characters. Solomon- aware of his own failings in love- made himself the villain of his play, who attempts to seduce the woman away from her shepherd lover. The only use of Shulamite is in 6:13 followed by an uptick in chapter 7 of Solomon’s seductive effort. Though he wanted her for his harem (6:8-9), I believe the pursued woman in the story chose not to yield to the seduction of Solomon and become a “Shulamite” (“Solomon-ite”). Instead, she resisted the seduction and remained faithful to her beloved shepherd. May we do likewise!
You could be a very powerful force for good Grace Driscoll. I have tears in my eyes imagining strongholds falling for many if you are able to recover your spiritual authority as equal co-heir (Gen 1:26-28) and help(ezer) your husband…