MckMama ever so kindly gave me an easy intro into today’s domestic violence post by demonstrating exactly, precisely and perfectly why she should not be one to give out marriage advice.
I won’t beat a dying horse, but the short and sweet of the publicity disaster on Blog Frog yesterday (PDF of chat) is MckMama claimed all marriages can be saved:
I am a firm believer that all marriages, no matter what they are going through, can be saved. All of them.
With that being said, I also think the only way for such marriages to be saved, truly restored, made healthy, is if both spouses are willing to give up and turn away from their wrong behaviors and are fully committed to the healing of their marriage.
(If one spouse is willing to fix and the other isn’t, that isn’t to say the partner shouldn’t stay, pray, and wait, if they feel that is right (and safe) for them. Who knows when the other spouse’s heart will change! But if abuse or infidelity or any dangerous behavior is happening and that partner is unwilling to change, I think get out now might certainly be a necessary thing to do!)
Eventually, if one partner is unwilling to get with the program of saving a marriage, I think the marriage will fail. There will be nothing else the partner who wants to change, and perhaps has changed, can do. But if both people are equally setting their sights on a restored marriage, then healing is always possible!
So, yes, I think there are times when marriages can’t be saved. But no matter what the situation, it is always worth at least trying!
That is just my two cents’ worth!
She followed that up by responding to a commenter who asked if marriages where children had been molested could be saved by saying again that ALL marriages, with God’s help, can be saved:
That is such a tough one, Linda. It is so easy for me to say that that would be a deal breaker. That I would never go back. Molesting children? I cannot think of anything worse. That father should be far, far away from his family right now. At least that’s what I think.
But I also never say never. God can redeem and can change anyone if they are willing to be redeemed. Anyone. But even if that were to ever happen, I would think in a heinous situation like this, extreme precautions would have to be taken. I would err for years and year on the side of protecting those kids at any cost. That kind of reconciliation and change could take years of separation before it was completed. It certainly might not be likely, and that might be the end of the marriage for most, and rightly so. But I will not put God in a box because He can do anything! A super tough issue, for sure. I hope that they let God guide them in what they do from here on out. I cannot imagine.
She has backtracked and said she changed her mind, that not all marriages can be saved, but the damage is done. You can read the entire thread here. I won’t continue to berate her for her ridiculous blanket statement or her back-tracking, as readers here and there have done an excellent job of knocking her off her high horse on the topic.
I would like to take this lead-in to talk about another area in which MckMama has offered dangerous advice: submission and abuse.
Let me start with this: No woman deserves to be abused for any reason. Period.
We weren’t in the house; we don’t know what happened. Maybe MckMama, who has known her husband since they were in diapers and knows him maybe a little too well, pushed her husband’s buttons over and over, and knowingly so. That kind of disrespectful behavior wouldn’t be surprising if it brought on abuse. It’s still not acceptable, but I should probably change my statement above to no spouse deserves to be abused for any reason.
Maybe the combination of one house foreclosing, another mouth to feed (which was unplanned and unwanted by Israel, per MckMama’s admission), missed car payments, and an admittedly egotistical wife who continued to make daily trips all over the “Frozen Tundra,” buy expensive organic food, and need a nanny, all lying on the shoulders of the sole breadwinner whose business was faltering in a dying economy set him off. Again, we weren’t there, and even as such, it’s not acceptable.
But there was a lot of stress and tension in the McKinney house in the summer of 2008. It’s easy to see the many different combinations of the hows and whys.
I think, given the condition of the McKinney finances in December 2008 (first foreclosure, sick baby, hospital bills, car reposessed, business problems, a bad economy, four children under four) that money may have played a very large and understandable role in their problems.
With the table set, so to speak, here’s where we left off with Part I. After MckDaddy’s trial on November 3, and the Queen Mum moved in in late November, MckMama posted her first post about submission on December 9:
Oh, and here’s the biggie I will close with: As helpful as all of these coping mechanisms are for me as I navigate through my days filled with Many Small Children and their Many Large Needs, there is one not yet listed that takes the cake. I am learning to put my husband first in all things. You know the phrase, “When Mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”? I find a similar truth holds in regards to my husband.
When I work hard to decide to put Prince Charming first, no matter what my feelings towards him at the time are, other details of our busy, crazy family life fall into place much more smoothly.
I recently read a great book called The 7 Worst Things (Good) Parents Do by John and Linda Friel in which they list one of the worst mistakes as putting our kids first and our marriage last. I am the first to admit that I fell prey to that mistake early in our child-rearing years (you know, like three years ago). I am coming to be able to call out that lie, that putting our kids first is best for our family.
Putting my husband first has been a much better choice for me.
I hesitate to say that our lives are happier when I am not putting our kids first in my life but instead reserve that spot for my husband. It’s true, for the most part, though; happiness does abound when I submit to the way my husband would like things done, fall under his authority and lavish love and respect upon him. I just hesitated to mention happiness because I am coming to–slowly–understand that happiness ought not be the goal of marriage and family.
Neither my husband nor my children, neither my clean kitchen nor my painted fingernails can truly make me happy.
A book that Prince Charming and I are reading together called Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas has the tagline, “What if marriage were meant to make us holy instead of happy?” It’s been intriguing to look at marriage–and at life at large–that way, while, at the same time, to learn to keep putting Prince Charming first, and watch our lives reap the benefits.
So there you have it: putting my husband and his needs and desires first and laying our our MSC’s clothes on the night before MOPS.
She followed that up with a post in April (5 months after MckDaddy’s court date). This was before MckDaddy’s arrests were made known, so pay attention to anything that might, ahem, stand out:
Submission is not a four-letter word!
Prince Charming and I don’t have a perfect marriage. But the thing is, until rather recently, we had a much less than perfect marriage. (C’mon. I can get really vulnerable and real with you guys, right? I feel safe enough and bold enough to do it tonight, so, before I change my mind, I’ll plow ahead. Plus, in a way similar to Not Me! Mondays, I think great good can come from being willing to be open and honest with others about what life is really like on the inside.) And our marriage was definitely less than perfect.
This summer, when we learned that Stellan, as yet unborn, was gravely ill and I was hospitalized for nearly 3 weeks while we alternated between waiting for Stellan to die and waiting for God to reach down and do the impossible, our marital relationship was stretched to say the least.
Oh, but before Biblical submission began to play out in our marriage, first I tried to stamp it to death by demanding my way. Of course, I demanded in oh-so-sweet MckMama fashion as to attempt to get my way without Prince Charming realizing I was overstepping my bounds.
Um, that did not work. Our marriage derailed and landed in the ditch, due in large part to the havoc I’d wreaked.
Instead, as my husband and I are allowing God to now rebuild our marriage brick by brick, God has gone from whispering in my ear and tapping me on my shoulder to gently shaking me with both hands and speaking directly in my face: “Don’t try to demand your way, my daughter! Stop fabricating rules that your husband must follow before you’ll let yourself be happy. Quit seeking happiness in your marriage by trying to find meaning and emotion in every single cotton pickin’ thing your husband does or doesn’t do. Just relax. Just be. Just serve me with your marriage. Prince Charming can never make you ultimately happy, anyway. Being happy isn’t the goal I even created marriage to help my children attain! Find a true joy, my daughter, a sustainable peace in your marriage from letting go of your need to control your husband and meet him in the middle in all decisions, big and small. Give him leeway to lead you, for I have put your Prince Charming in that role for you.”
Here’s her next post on submission on October 27, following the airing of her dirty secrets all summer:
marriage, submitting, forgiving and ducking
What I said above begs the question, then. If, indeed, I would much rather forget arguments that I’ve had with my husband than blog about them, then why on earth am I blogging about them instead of just forgetting them!? Great question. You see, I would rather just brush the truth about my disagreements under the rug and call it good, moving along to a fun post about what a happy family we are. But if I have learned one thing since becoming a wife and a mother it is that it does no one any good to lie to others about the reality of our lives.
And thrown in just because it is one of my all-time favorite MckMama comments:
I’ll say that again. It does no one any good to lie, either overtly or by omission, to others about the reality of our lives.
So MckMama was abused enough to have to call the police twice, have her husband arrested and legally not allowed to see his wife without a moderator present, and only a month after his court date she starts commenting on how submission was saving her marriage. While it’s great that it is stopping the abuse in her house, submission is also a sign OF abuse.
The combination of submission and abuse is especially dangerous on a Christian blog, as the Bible is the primary source for teaching submission. In fact abuse in Submissive Christian relationships is also referred to as “Biblical Battered Wife Syndrome.”
More than a few Christian wives endure years of terrible mistreatment at the hands of an abusive husband because they genuinely want to follow God’s calling to “submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:24). Many assume or have been taught to believe that submitting “in everything” includes submitting to abusive behavior.
It’s important to understand the setting in which Ephesians 5 calls for submission.”
Women who are abused are not required Biblically to submit to their abusive husbands, and without the proper help, reading how submission saved her marriage on the brink and hearing whispers that he was arrested for domestic violence beforehand could be a dangerous and volatile setup for her impressionable Christian audience.
In light of the conversation yesterday on how “all” marriages can be saved, I wonder how, in her MckMama mind, a woman whose children have been molested or abused in any way submits to her husband after the fact? MckMama is a firm believer in putting her husband first, and I have a hard time processing what kind of guardian a mother who believes that she should submit and put her husband first would be?
Want to know what I think? I believe the combination of the severity of the following legal situation, MckMama realizing she was whittling away at her husband with her abrasive personality (her comment, not mine), monitored interaction, and weekly therapy sessions kept them afloat through the summer of 2009. What has “saved” their marriage, though?
Plain and simple, they are no longer financially stressed. They have money coming out of the orifices that also shoots sunshine and smiley faces and unicorns onto MckMama’s blog. They can afford to pay their mortgage, buy that new Yukon now sitting in the driveway, pay Stellan’s hospital bills, and feed another mouth. All without leaving the comfort of their keyboards.
Any and all marriage advice, however heinously incorrect it is, should be preceded with a disclaimer that boldly states: We had severe financial problems in the year before MckDaddy’s arrests. This is no longer the case, as our monthly income is now 500% of what it was in 2008. If you can find a way to increase your income 500%, I heartily advise you to attempt that first before following any inane advice that follows henceforth.
After all, the leading cause of divorce is money, followed by sex, and both MckMama and MckDaddy have bragged that there are no problems there.
On a lighthearted note, here are a few things that I found amusing in my search. From “Glass Houses:”
I don’t Tweet during our weekly counseling sessions.
No, but she did refer to them over and over as “date nights” on Twitter.
And of course, there is MckMama’s much-enlightened advice to Tiger in “A Letter to Tiger Woods”
Stand behind your actions by way of fully admitting and acknowledging them to yourself. Don’t lie to yourself or pretend they aren’t as bad as others think or that somehow you were justified. You weren’t. You are reaping what you sowed, Tiger. Own it. But see, whether you acknowledge all that publicly to your fans is entirely up to you. It makes no difference to me if your public apologies are detailed or not. For it is not us you need to be apologizing to. Because you are well known does not make you accountable to the public. Share only what you want, and keep the rest private. Keep it all private, if you can. But, and I speak from painful experience here, coming entirely clean does feel good. Really good.
When my husband and I tortured each other with coldness and painful disagreements about a year and a half ago, the most terrible of which even ended with my husband being arrested for domestic abuse and us being separated for some time, the very last thing either of us wanted was for the details about that time in our lives to be made public, even to our family and friends. We hid it the best we could, suffering in silence. But I want to tell you about what wonderful freedom came for us, Tiger, when people seeing us in the public eye, choosing to disdain us for some reason, saw fit to dig into our dirty garbage and air it. False accusations were made, and continue to be made, and truth we had wanted to hide also came out. You may be experiencing some of both of these scenarios. I was not there when you argued with your wife, Tiger. I certainly have no idea about the details, nor do I need to. I do know a small bit of what it is like to have your private life made public and to have lies and untruths told about you, though. It sucks. Big time. There is nothing you can do now to change it, though. I encourage you to embrace it, to determine to bring good from it, and to cling to grace. The same grace that my husband and I both need every day to cover our own sins is the grace that can cover yours. Regardless of what the transgression is.