Lori Alexander, Emotional Abuse, Headship, Submission
I’ve been reading Lori Alexander’s blogs for quite a while now. Just when I think her writing is the same old boring rhetoric she always blathers on about, she ups her game. Her recent post, “How Not to Get Married” is one that actually should be titled, “Five Easy Steps to Ensure You Stay In an Abusive Relationship.”
Lori’s sure that women taking care of themselves (a.k.a. feminism) is a way to ensure that you never get married. Her post is a response to this article which discusses how women should feel secure about themselves when in a relationship. I’m guessing she thinks it’s a feminist article because it describes women as being “strong.”
Change your appearance. The article advises women that someone should love you for who you are and that physical changes should be made because you want to make the change. Sounds reasonable to me.
Allow me to use myself as an example. I was getting tired of my hair and was ready for a change. My husband likes long hair. I told him and gave him a “look” that I was going to get a hair cut. He said, “Well, you know what I like.” I replied back with, “Yes. But, I’m the one who has to deal with it.” He understood. I ended up getting a much shorter hair cut. And, guess what? My husband likes it even though he prefers longer hair.
Lori thinks women should change their appearance to please their husband and offers examples of how she has changed her hair style and length of dress according to what Ken likes. Because that’s all women are meant to be husband pleasers, and according to Lori, this is what brings a woman true happiness.
Does Lori even realize how easy this sets a woman up for emotional abuse? When someone tries to change you according to how they like to see you, that is a controlling relationship. Abusers may use a victim dress, makeup, length of hair, or their weight to emotionally manipulate, intimidate or humiliate. In a controlling relationship like this, a woman cannot find true happiness because she will never be able to please her abuser.
Compromise our passions. The article tells women that no one should get in between your goals and that your partner should support your endeavors. I know this can get tricky in relationships where both work. I do believe your partner should support your goals and endeavors, but I also understand when one partner may need to compromise. In the end, what works best for the couple should be most important.
Lori, however, believes that women should only support their husband’s goals. To do that, a woman must follow God’s ways by staying home, having children, and following the husband wherever he may lead. To her, a woman’s value is solely placed on the will and purpose of the husband. Is it easy to see how this view allows abuse to easily creep in. Why is a woman having her own dreams and goals wrong? A loving husband would support those dreams and goals and take pride and pleasure in seeing his wife succeed.
Wait for his approval. The article tells women that they need to be assertive and make their own decisions instead of seeking validation from someone else. This is not bad advice either. An adult woman has the right to be assertive and make decisions without approval from someone else.
Lori argues that women need to follow God’s ways and be subject to the leading of their husbands. What happens in Lori’s world if a husband loses mental capacity to make safe decisions due to disease or brain injury? Does the wife just go along with what the husband says because he’s still the head of the family? What if a husband dies and the wife is suddenly finding herself needing to make major decisions for herself? Can you see how that might place a woman in a difficult situation if she has never been allowed to be assertive and make decisions?
Cancel already-set plans. The article tells women not to drop scheduled plans just because a man wants to be with you. Excellent advice! A partner controlling your planned time is a definite red flag in any relationship. Abusers use this tactic to isolate women from their friends and family.
Lori, of course, believes that women should drop everything planned for the man we love because he is our priority. This line of thought guarantees a woman will stay in an abusive relationship.
Let him change who you are. The article tells women to not change for anyone but yourself. And, if you make changes to yourself it should be to better yourself. There is really an argument against this?
Of course! Lori wants women to change for the Lord and make themselves more attractive to their husbands. Women should do this by being “loving, kind, generous, gentle, servant-hearted, joyful, meek, and quiet spirited.” Individually these qualities are not bad. All together, this is a ripe environment for emotional abuse by a controlling partner.
Lori has stated many times on her blog that she does not condone abuse and has given advice to women on what to do if they are abused. However, I find her advice of being a submissive wife according to God’s prescription a way of endorsing women staying in abusive relationships. I have called her out on this on her Facebook page, but she has never answered. If she ever does, she’ll only claim that these are not her ideas but God’s ideas. To which I would respond that if she is truly against abuse, she needs to stop perpetuating ideas that keep women in abusive relationships.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.