There has been a lot of vitriol about the Duggars these days. Finally, the nonreligious are exulting, another religious leader has turned out to be a hypocrite, proving both him and his religion to be worthless. They are patriarchal fanatics who make their wives submit. I’ve read several articles along these lines, and they have something worthwhile to say. Articles with titles like “Anna Duggar Won’t Leave Her Cheating, Anti-LGBT Husband” and “I Was Almost Anna Duggar.” It seems the religious group the Duggars are associated with puts all blame on the woman to be sexually pure and submissive and the husband to be filled with insane, Satanic lusts he must flee from, and his wife must help him in this duty by being available to him. Women are kept in repressive, abusive marriages because they are denied an education, job experience, or any reproductive freedom.
Yet these things just aren’t true.
Anna Duggar may or may not leave Josh. She probably won’t, but it’s not our business. Leaving for infidelity might be a valid reason, but why on earth would she leave her husband for opposing gay marriage when she probably feels exactly the same thing? Sorry, folks, but being anti-LGBT is not a reason to grant a marriage divorce.
Yes, Ephesians 5 does instruct women to submit to their husbands, right after it admonishes all Christians to submit to one another in Christ and right before it lists a long set of duties and responsibilities– the man must take care of his wife on the deepest levels, spiritually as well as mentally, emotionally, and physically. His job description is much longer than hers. Both roles require sacrifice but offer rewards.
This kind of submission, the kind that I and many other Christians embody, does not require a woman to be repressed or held back. I have a master’s degree. I have plans to pursue doctorate work someday. I work at a rewarding job where I give back to society and earn a steady paycheck. I’m raising a happy, healthy family, despite my children’s best efforts. If something were to happen to my husband, we both know I have the skills and experience to support my family. It would be tough, and not ideal–since I enjoy not being the main breadwinner–but definitely doable. My husband, my big bad dominating Christian husband, has encouraged my continued education and encouraged me to work outside the home as much or as little as I liked. He takes care of most our daily lives. In exchange, I offer him submission in certain areas where with someone who hasn’t given so much I might not: Certainly our sex life, but also our hobbies and the state of our house and squeezing pennies.
A man can respect a woman and dominate her. He can cherish a woman and command her. The Bible can be true and all people still treated with dignity and respect. The Duggars have not done anything but something we always knew: Christians are sinners and Christians can be terrible people who make terrible mistakes, and we are all headed for Hell if not for the all-encompassing, overwhelming, indescribable love of Christ.