Christian Domestic Discipline, Christian Marriage, Disturbing Trends, Divorce, Domestic Violence and Churches, Marriage, Patriarchal-Complementarian Movement, Women and the Church

Wife Undermines Her Husband’s Authority in Front of Children, He Disciplines Her

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The Christian community has done a very poor job of treating women with respect.  Some husbands have resorted to treating their wives as objects and even practice “domestic discipline” or wife spanking.  This is wrong.

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Men treating women/wives as objects they own

I’ve been thinking about how many men  – men I don’t even know – have asked me who gave me permission to say what I do on Twitter or on my blog.    I even tweeted about this earlier:

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Where do some men get the idea that they get to own women and tell them what they can say, do, think, believe, etc?   Many of you have seen men ask me these questions.  In my former circles, I didn’t really question it much as it didn’t offend me.  It was normal for women to be subservient.  If men treated women poorly, we were taught to suck it up and pray for our husbands – that God would change his heart.   Their hearts might never change, but we were enduring hardship and that was noble for a godly women.  Nobody held the husbands accountable, but if wives complained about our husbands, we were told that we were in sin for complaining, not being respectful.

In March of 2012 I contacted Grace Community Church to seek their help on my abusive church situation in which I had become aware that my pastor was possibly going to sue me. Two of the pastors asked where my husband was – and why wasn’t I tending the home, etc?   I remember thinking, “where in the world did that comment come from?”  At the time, I really wasn’t looking at it as a slam to the value of womanhood, but a diversion tactic to avoid dealing with the issue of spiritual abuse.  Now I know better after seeing this similar pattern time and again in specific Christian circles.

Now, after observing patterns for the last 18 months,  I don’t believe the leaders at Grace Community Church would have ever done anything regarding the spiritual abuse at my former church because I, a woman, was speaking out about it.  In their minds, it was not my place to speak out.  If there was a problem in our church, my husband should have been the one doing the speaking.  I believe I was completely discredited by virtue of my sex:  being a woman.

This is one example of women not being respected and allowed to use her individual voice.  Not long after I published the above tweet, a shocking story came up on my Twitter feed, and it shows an even bigger problem of ownership and degradation of women:

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Husband beats wife with paddle for disrespecting him and not addressing him as “sir” in front of their kids

An Ephrata man was jailed Wednesday for beating his wife when she didn’t address him as “Sir” in front of their kids.

This barbarian treated his own beloved wife on a completely different level from parent.  She was an object, perhaps even “lower” than their children.

Dan Kirby Kopp, Source

Dan Kirby Kopp, 49, routinely beat his wife with a wooden paddle or his hand as a way of disciplining her for not showing proper “respect,” according to investigators.

Right, because it’s his job to “discipline” his wife.  Who gets to discipline him when he gets out of line?

According to charging documents, Kopp would take his wife over his knee and spank her, so she would “learn a lesson.”

What respect is he showing his wife in spanking her?  Oh, I know, he thinks he is showing her respect because he loves her enough to discipline her – to show her “tough love.”   The article does not mention this couple’s religious background, but does give a clue further down about “demons,” so I suspect there is some sort of religious belief in the home.  Is it because he’s the spiritual head of the home and he feels he is responsible before God to make sure his family is in order that he behaves this way?  If so, I know these types.

Thank God this woman had the moxie to videotape this spanking episode or she would probably still be in this abusive hell hole.

The wife had enough by October 2012 and went to Ephrata police to report the abuse.

She told officers Kopp — who is 6-foot-5, 230 pounds — abused her as a “means of disciplining her for disobedience to him for undermining his parenting,” an affidavit shows.

The wife used an iPhone to videotape a Sept. 22, 2012 beating, which was shown to jurors.

The video shows Kopp beating the woman with a paddle for not addressing him with, “Yes, sir.”

Kopp also warned his wife that next time he would “cast demons out of her,” charging documents show.  (Lancaster Online:  Ephrata man convicted of beating wife with wooden paddle for refusing to call him “sir”)

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 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  to make her holy, cleansing her by the washingwith water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. Ephesians 5:25-30

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I haven’t written any articles on Christian domestic discipline before.   However, since the blog’s inception, I have read personal reports from abused wives, friends of abused wives, and have spoken on the phone with pastors who have confirmed that domestic discipline is common practice in some Christian circles.   Yes, I said common practice.  One pastor contacted me to share his growing concern and personal observations in his denomination. He told me that one rarely finds the practice of “domestic discipline” written in literature, but its practice is spread from pastors to other pastors and then to the men of the church in mens’ meetings.  This is despicable.  Women are not objects.  They are created in God’s image.

About a year ago, I had been researching this subject for hours over several weeks, but had to limit my time due to physical abuse triggers.  I think I am over that now.  Now I am at the angry stage.  I will be speaking out very loudly against it.  I am sick and tired of the “Christian” church allowing men to treat women as scum of the earth.

Whenever someone questions me again for speaking out and puts me or another woman on my blog down as trash, I will offer the man an opportunity to apologize and take it back.  If he doesn’t, I will make his comment more public so that all can see.  I am fed up with this atrocity.  This is not godly.  It is not loving. It is abuse of God’s creation.

If you are being spanked by your husband, your husband is abusing you.  Your husband has no right to inflict physical violence on your body.  If you are not consenting to the spanking, he is committing assault and battery and is demonstrating criminal behavior.  If you are not in a safe place, seek a domestic violence hotline and call for help.    Do NOT under any circumstance go to your church to report, as “domestic discipline” might be the normal practice there and your husband will likely be defended.  I have read countless stories of women being charged as the sinner for not submitting, not respecting, not loving their husbands by their pastor.  Some women have been put on church trials, placed in church discipline, or even been excommunicated for not remaining quiet and “submissive.”

God does not expect any wife to submit to abuse.  There are many people who are going through what you are going through.  You can get help and get free from your abusive situation.  Feel free to comment here using a pseudonym, contact me via e-mail (spiritualsb @ or ask to join the private forum if you like.  There are many here who would like to come alongside you and encourage you, some having personally experienced various forms of abuse in their own marriages.  A couple of our regular readers have ministry work with domestic violence survivors.    You don’t need to do this by yourself.

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PS – A special thanks to the true manly men who have made a point of calling out the misogynistic behavior I had been blinded to for so many years.

190 thoughts on “Wife Undermines Her Husband’s Authority in Front of Children, He Disciplines Her”

  1. @Tony,

    It’s very sad when mothers don’t protect their children from harm, including the two cases you know of in your country.

    Healing from any kind of abuse is a process, which is why I never push people “to forgive”. I don’t see forgiveness as being the first step toward healing. I think emotions like anger are the first step toward healing. I think there are many losses that are caused by abuse and a person feeling the wide range of them is fine, good and healthy. Jesus is big enough to handle people in pain, in anger, and grief.
    (There are plenty of good Christian and secular resources to deal with abuse.)

    As for the elders at my ex-church, I have never seen four more arrogant, irresponsible men. (And their aberrant conduct has raised many red flags, including people questioning what they are doing behind closed doors.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There have been many mothers who did nothing whilst their children were abused Michaela. I speak to a woman in our church who was abused by her father for years whilst the mother who knew about it did nothing. Same as the girl I work with. Her mother did nothing.

    Part of my most difficult recovery work was the realization that my mom, whom I loved dearly, did nothing when I was physically abused by my new father. The real heart-felt discovery came when my daughter was the same age as me when I was abused. I couldn’t fathom letting anything happen to my daughter, yet my mom allowed me to be beaten. I had to distance myself from her for over a year with absolutely no contact and it took several years before we could really work through this. Our relationship is restored now and is beautiful, but wow – that was hard work.


  3. Thanks for sharing your story, Julie Anne, about your journey of healing from childhood physical abuse and your relationship with your mother, who stood by and did nothing.

    Tony, I see peoples’ recovery from abuse as being like a person’s recovery from a bad car wreck. It takes time. We wouldn’t expect a car crash victim to get up and walk (or run); we know that’s an end-product of a lot of healing. Abuse survivors getting to a place of forgiveness is the same.

    Somewhere I read that a Christian abuse victim was told something very healing:
    “What that [abuser] did to you is so serious that Jesus had to die on the cross for it.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes I agree that one doesn’t expect one to walk away from injury just like that. The wounds take time to heal but with regard to the girl in the church she is still wounded although the abuse happened many years ago. I still believe that unforgiveness can hinder progress at a certain point in the healing process to the point where you can move no further forward.

    Julie Anne thank you for your sharing. You would know better than anyone what the healing process involves. I have been sexually abused by a man in an orphanage I was in. Suposed to be our house father. Some father. I don’t think I was very scarred for some reason although my friend has struggled with homosexual leanings since, which I can only imagine came from that experience.


  5. I am sorry to hear Tony that you and your friend (and no doubt others) were sexually abused in an orphanage. I am glad that you have healed from the experience. (Many people I know, like your friend, who are gay/lesbian/bisexual were also sexually abused as children and have told me heart-breaking stories of sexual abuse.)

    As to the woman at your church who was abused years ago and hasn’t healed from it, she could probably benefit from specialized counseling to help her on the road to recovery. We have specialized counseling here in the U.S., and where I live in California. I hope you have it in Ireland as well. If she can’t afford to go, perhaps the church’s pastors could arrange funds to help her go (part of the “help one anothers”).

    I know many people stuck in their abuse, even though they say it happened years ago. Those people have a variety of coping methods: passive aggressive lashing out at others (or outright aggression), compulsive eating, compulsive doing, drinking/drugs, inability to empathize with others (because to do so would trigger what they haven’t resolved), being religious addicts, and a long list of other problems.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am in England actually. I mentioned Ireland over here because of the Catholic abuse problem there.

    With regard to the lady in our church there is ample help around but one cannot force it on her. When I mentioned the word forgiveness of her parents she rose up in anger and walked away. I have seen much worse than her healed but she does have a blockage on forgiveness, yet she comes to the church every week. I am a great believer in God’s healing but it must be according to His precepts and always done in love. This lady has a bank of psychiatrists on hand but no progress seems to be made. For my part I will have to find another avenue.


  7. Hi Tony,

    I will pray for the woman in your church and for her healing from past abuse.

    Have a Merry Christmas in England. (One summer I worked for Yorkshire Cricket and got to travel with them, a job a relative secured for me. Lovely country, lovely people.)


  8. @Tony,

    Another idea came to mind. Perhaps this woman could be gently referred to a 12-Step group (Al-Anon, Debtors Anonymous come to mind or an equivalent 12-Step program, Christian or secular). There other people coming to terms with losses, boundaries, anger, unforgiveness, acting out, addictive behaviors. It’s free.
    People also learn how to let go of really deep, painful stuff. There is also a recommendation to pray for your enemies for 30-days. It’s hard to hate people when you are praying for them! Prayer dissolves hate.

    Even the lovely Christian Corrie Ten Boom (“The Hiding Place”) struggled to forgive Nazi guards who harmed her family in the concentration camps. But the Lord helped her and gave her supernatural help.


  9. “When I mentioned the word forgiveness of her parents she rose up in anger and walked away.”

    Then hopefully everyone will drop the issue and leave her alone about it.

    Not every Christian agrees on what forgiveness is, whether or not it is necessary in every case for healing from abuse, or even if it is always the best or right choice when the abuser is unrepentant.

    It is entirely possible that she is like many, many other abused people in this world who will never fully and completely heal in every way in this life, through absolutely no fault of their own. For some people, healing is a more complicated, lifelong process. There are some who know that the best they can do is to learn to live with permanent damage.

    I hope she can move forward at her own pace, without feeling demonized or blamed by anyone for not healing quickly enough for them, or for her chosen stance on forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think we have any 12 step programmes around here Michaela but there is talk of them being started up.

    I know forgiveness cannot be forced. I felt it was right to say it when I prayed for her. The response was eerie. She stood up and let out a big Noooo! There was something more than logic behind it so obviously I cannot touch it again but it was an eye opener at where she is at. One cannot do a thing if the counselee doesn’t want it.


  11. Hi Tony,

    12-step meetings: sorry there aren’t in person meetings; there are phone in meetings for most of them and some Skype meetings.

    I will pray for her too.


  12. There’s benefits in both ways Michaela. God uses lots of ways to heal. Sometimes nobody else is involved. My one to one was on an informal relationship basis. If it got serious then there would be others involved if needed. I am on a healing teaching course once a month for a weekend away. I am still learning. Because all my healing came gradually through the word and through Holy Spirit meetings I never experienced counseling but I know that people do experience healing through prayer counseling. I have spoken to many who testify to this. Some of them had horrific backgrounds. Much worse than mine which is saying something, so I am eager to learn. The world is full of broken people.


  13. Forgiving a sicko abuser isn’t always a magic bullet.

    I tried to be a good little Christian with forgiving a few people in my family. On my knees, with prayers, telling Jesus I forgive them. I Fasted. Gave them gifts. Got church counseling. Went to professional therapists. Begged God to release me from the hurt & resentment I felt so deeply inside.

    I made promise to be loving when I was with them, and ended up, saying things I regretted. IT TOOK YEARS. I was so confused, some were saying I wasn’t a Christian because I wasn’t full of love, it was perplexing, I desperately wanted to feel the forgiveness and it didn’t happen for YEARS.

    When it did, it was the most glorious freeing gift our Lord had ever given me, outside of saving me. I don’t have any idea why it took so long, so, give our Lord plenty of space & time to heal people, as the good book says, He has made everything beautiful In Its Time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gail nobody is saying that forgiveness is the magic bullet. Over emphasising that could be as bad as not mentioning it. In your case you was totally aware of it and maybe was trying to get more out of it than you were meant to. I don’t know. There are others who are not even aware of it and it needs to be mentioned in that case. Appropriating forgiveness from the Father is all part of healing but we are told that if we do not forgive then neither will our heavenly Father forgive us.

    Also forgiveness does not always restore relationship as the other party is involved as well. What it does is release us from bitterness and all that goes with it. You obviously had a bad experience and I would ask your forgiveness if it seemed that I over emphasised something that you were hurt by in the past. We all need to get balance but not at the expense of dumping parts of the word of God. I know it is not always easy. I am glad that you got there in the end.


  15. Way to go, Tony…let’s threaten the victim with eternal damnation for not forgiving.

    I would say to stay away from hounding anyone from forgiving anyone for anything and let nature take it’s course. Then I would advise to learn about the words “BIND AND LOOSE”. That is a God given right that the victim does NOT have to forgive if they don’t want to.



  16. Tony said:
    “This lady has a bank of psychiatrists on hand but no progress seems to be made.”

    My response:
    It’s not your job to monitor her progress. And, I agree with Michaela that forgiveness is the last step, not the first step, and not a step in between. I also agree with Oasis, in that she should be left alone. No one should get involved unless she approaches someone. And, definitely, no one should ever threaten her with eternal damnation for not forgiving. Yes, I know that is in the Bible, however, since victims have the God given right to Bind or Loose, then one needs to re-study that section of the Bible that states that God will not forgive someone who does not forgive. We know that the bible does not contradict itself.

    Bind and Loose is in the section discussing forgiveness, and it isn’t a sin to bind, nor is it a threat of eternal damnation to the victim if the victim chooses to bind.

    So, I think it’s time to revisit the “God will not forgive if you don’t forgive” section.



  17. “What it does is release us from bitterness and all that goes with it. ”

    Actually, this is often code for” “Expecting justice is “bitterness”” . There are very wrong beliefs floating around out there in evangelicalism about justice here and now. These wrong ideas actually perpetuate evil for many reasons. Often for the sake of fake piety. but that does not help future victims of the evil, either.

    Lots of wrong understanding/teaching on the concept of forgiveness in the NT. It turns out to be an excuse for evil.


  18. Ed, often people are accused of not forgiving and “bitterness” if they tell their own story of what happened to them. Negative truths are often seen as unforgiveness and bitterness. If you dare mention an evil perpetuated by another professing believer then you are unforgiving and bitter. Truth has no place in that world.

    And the evil continues because these types use false teaching about Jesus Christ as cover.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. ” We all need to get balance but not at the expense of dumping parts of the word of God. ”

    The “Word of God” is the indwelling Savior. Many interpret scriptures differently so what do we do with that? Those differing interpretations have brought us thousands of denominations. So, who has the perfect inerrant interpretation since God did not see fit to preserve any originals? You?

    Here is a question for you. Could you possibly know Jesus Christ if you had no access to scriptures? (Because many did not throughout history)


  20. “Gail nobody is saying that forgiveness is the magic bullet. Over emphasising that could be as bad as not mentioning it. In your case you was totally aware of it and maybe was trying to get more out of it than you were meant to. I don’t know.”
    Tony, I am not sure what you mean here^

    I only have a minute right now, so I am going to paste Ed’s words to you.
    Ed said: It’s not your job to monitor her progress. And, I agree with Michaela that forgiveness is the last step, not the first step, and not a step in between. I also agree with Oasis, in that she should be left alone. No one should get involved unless she approaches someone. And, definitely, no one should ever threaten her with eternal damnation for not forgiving.”


  21. Lydia,

    You had said:
    “The “Word of God” is the indwelling Savior.”

    My response:
    That is so profound. I think that we would all profit from that if we would meditate upon that one for a long while.

    How did the early “GENTILE” Christians survive without a book store to sell them a Bible?



  22. Hi Tony,

    Just a note that I value your contributions here as we all sort out various topics, including abuse and forgiveness. I have found you to be wise, thoughtful, open-minded, kind, empathetic, caring and transparent.

    I wish you and your wife a Merry Christmas across The Pond.

    Best wishes from California,



  23. Hi Gail,

    I think Tony was referring, in the quote from his previous post that you mentioned, that you were aware of the concept of forgiveness and struggled with the entire thing for a long time in your journey of healing. But others may have never heard of it and therefore it should be mentioned at some point.


  24. Before suggesting that someone check out alanon and the a little investigating. Example codependent no more..often further blaming the victim for the addicted person’s behaviors/choices/actions.

    I find this site fascinating. I’m glad voices are being heard in regards to Fundamentalist Christian Churches and their continued treatment of women and children as chattle.


  25. Julie Anne – This is an old problem and a stinky one. Did you know that the expression “rule of thumb” was supposed by some to come from a law or custom that a man wasn’t supposed to beat his wife with a switch larger than his thumb? Although modern research has proven this was probably not an actual English law, it was taken seriously by some important lawmakers in U.S. history. (See:

    The first time I ran across “domestic discipline” in recent years the people practicing it didn’t seem to be Christian in belief, and my take on it was that it was some kind of BDSM since the women writing about it seemed to get some sexual pleasure out of it. This brings up a disconcerting question as to the men in Christendom who are practicing this. Are they in fact doing this for some kind of perverse pleasure? And, if so, it’s even more despicable than the usual type because the women don’t have a choice and must “play along” even if they hate it. The ramifications of that make me too angry to speak about with sanctified speech! It turns my stomach. Even worse, it makes me wonder about a lot of the other abuse that goes on and why it really happens. Satan is surely having a hay day in the church turning every beautiful thing of God upside down and convincing men to call it “good”.

    Isaiah 5:20-24 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! Therefore as the fire devoureth the stubble, and the flame consumeth the chaff, so their root shall be as rottenness, and their blossom shall go up as dust: because they have cast away the law of the LORD of hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

    I’m not suggesting we should “keep the law”. I’m just pointing out that God doesn’t look lightly on this kind of hypocrisy and lies, and that ultimately these abusers **hate God**.


  26. “Domestic discipline” is a sexual paraphilia. If you wish to engage in that sort of sex play as two consenting and equal adults, that is one thing (but I’d advise against letting the kids see or hear it! And DON’T spank your kids; their bottoms are the only erogenous zones they know and aside from this being child sexual abuse it merely teaches them to avoid the punishment, e.g., by lying — not to avoid doing whatever you’re trying to teach them not to do). Such sexualization of the infliction of pain and humiliation, and the power-tripping it represents, is unworthy of a Christian or, for that matter, a conscientious Jew, Hindu, Muslim, or even an atheist. Anyone who tells you otherwise is one of those frauds of whom Jesus is quoted as saying that not everyone who calls ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is rather just another form of punitive orthodoxy, which so far from being righteous is a pathological mindset, than which the Devil himself could not have designed a better tool for damning the befuddled.

    To be sure, there is a whole subculture of gender-egalitarian BDSM practitioners whose watchword is “safe, sane, and consensual.” But that demi-monde has no more to do with Christianity per se than an iguana has with an iceberg.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Women can be abusive as well. My wife verbally attacks me every time I don’t go along with everything she has to say and do.


  28. Why is it considered acceptable to spank children when they get out of line or show no respect to the parent. If done properly it’s not abuse though now days it probably is..anyway and so why not the wife we can’t have the family going about disrespecting each other, and trust me there are many women who could use a good spanking, I think in those christian circles that practice that domestic discipline I think you stated earlier the idea again like you said that God would or is supposed to be felt with by God…so if no discipline is to be used and no one has any fear how do you control an unruly family and don’t tell me through prayer…

    I grew up in a household where respect wasn’t optional, yea it was stick but like every family there are choirs to be done and why should my father half to do them after a hard day of construction why should he half to come home to a messy house no dinner made stc..? That’s not fair. There has to be order to the house or there will be chaos….it would be nice if everyone just fell in line and helped out where needed but that’s not reality is it. I don’t think your really helping the situation yes I do think there is fine line between discipline ,and a Abuse ….so tell me how does one control a house/family that’s starting to go astray or chaos what would you do to get respect and control before it all collapsed in on it’s self.


  29. so if no discipline is to be used and no one has any fear how do you control an unruly family and don’t tell me through prayer…

    Fear rather than love as a motivator is very Machiavelli.
    Who ‘controls’ the father when out of line?
    Women aren’t children. Adults should treat each other as such.


  30. I hope you arent a hypocrite and are against children being spanked too, if its abuse for one it is for the other, esp since no child wants to be hit.


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