In Which Ken Gaslights and Lori Thinks Women can Avoid Marrying Abusers

Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife, Domestic Violence

-by Kathi

Ken Alexander recently posted an article on The Transformed Wife in which he defends gaslights Lori’s teachings. This post isn’t really meant to focus on Ken, but Lori’s response to a Facebook comment associated with the blog post. We’ll take a quick look at Ken’s words before moving on.

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Ken attempts to inform readers that Lori simply gives a choice for how women should live their lives. He tries to soften the tone of Lori’s teachings by saying: “Lori is not trying to dictate every woman’s choice, but she does feel passionately about the things she sees in God’s Word that are regularly being violated by the Church,” and, “It’s okay if you are a working mom.  It’s okay if you want to go to college. It’s okay if you struggle at being submissive to your husband or even respecting him.”

I have to challenge this because he also says, “Join me in choosing the life God says is best for you and me. A life He promises will be a abundant and free as we walk in the Spirit of the life of Jesus flowing in and through us.” Also, “The moment Lori decided to believe God at His word and to trust that she is a new creature in Christ, dead to sin, and alive in Christ Jesus, it was then that the promises of Jesus for spiritual and relational healing began to come true for her.”

In other words, Ken believes the same way Lori does about women who work outside the home, women who go to college, and women who struggle to be submissive to their husbands. If he thought differently, there would be no reason for him to implore women to choose the life “God has planned for them,” and he wouldn’t use Lori as an example of following God’s word. Thanks, Ken, for the valiant attempt at trying to make us believe that Lori is only looking out for the good of women in the world. Her words have spoken volumes over the years and her intentions are pretty clear.

But, this is a discussion for another time. Let’s look at what Lori thinks about women avoiding abusive husbands.

****

A commenter, Lisa, asks how a woman avoids the scenario of marrying an abuser, specifically when it involves financial abuse, who may leave her penniless and destitute. This is a really good question.

Lori’s response? Women need to rely on God, women should not marry an angry man, women must choose to live by faith and not by fear, and women need to be wise in who they marry.

Other readers add comments that women are to rely on their husbands like the church relies on Christ, and marriage is not about what “we” get out of it. 

There’s more to the conversation, but I’ll end here to regroup Lori’s thoughts about how to not marry an abuser. She says:

God is ultimately my provider. He commands young women to marry, bear children, and guide the home (1 Tim. 5:14) so if this is His will for me, I will obey Him and trust Him with everything else. 

It’s choosing to live a life by faith instead of by fear.

Women must be wise in who they marry and seek the Lord for wisdom in this area.

Yes, women should not marry angry men. It’s usually angry men that abuse women. 

Right. If only it were that easy. Lori could stand to learn about abusers before placing the onus of marrying one on a woman. Abusers don’t walk around with a capital “A” on their chest to make it obvious who they really are. Abusers can be charming and clever and are very smart in hiding their true nature. There is always something that attracts a woman to the partner she commits to.

Women don’t start out in a relationship with an abuser knowing that one day her life might be a living hell. If a woman knew going into the relationship that she was marrying an abuser do you think she would still go through with it? I can’t think of one person who’s said, “Hey, I think I’ll marry an abuser. This will make my life fun and fulfilling!”

Lori’s simple, “women must be wise in who they marry” rule doesn’t really work because often times women don’t know they’re marrying an abusive partner. The abuser may never show his true colors until they are married, or may normalize the behavior, making the victim feel like it just the way relationships work. Looking back on the relationship, a survivor may recognize some red flags at the beginning of a relationship. Abusers are clever at making victims feel like they can overlook the red flags.

This is yet another example of Lori’s lack of understanding of domestic abuse and abusers. Her lack of understanding lends to her lack of empathy for victims of domestic abuse. Her lack of empathy lends her to place responsibility on victims and spiritually abuse by saying they’re not trusting in God.

Note to Ken: Own up to the fact that you believe the same as Lori does when it comes to women’s place in the home, church, and society. If you really don’t believe that a woman’s role is God ordained, then please stop enabling Lori’s teachings.

Note to Lori: It is not a woman’s fault if she marries an abuser! Stop telling women to “trust God” and “with God all things are possible” when they are in an abusive relationship. This makes a victim doubt herself and question her relationship with God. In other words, this is victim shaming. Stop telling women that there is no room for divorce. Start telling women that the abuser is responsible for his actions. Start telling women that they should not feel like they need to stay in an abusive relationship. If you truly are “mentoring” women you would care more about their safety and well being than your teaching.

**If you or a loved one are in an abusive relationship there is hope. Please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 800-799-7233.

25 comments on “In Which Ken Gaslights and Lori Thinks Women can Avoid Marrying Abusers

  1. Wow, this fits in with a thought I just had about moving goalposts. At first, Lori says, just trust God to work everything out, and when that is challenged, she starts backpedaling to the point that the woman is responsible for her choice of a husband. This is the same sort of Piper-esque BS that we hear all the time. At first, it’s glowingly universal, and then as it is questioned, it turns into the same thing everyone else says.

    So, “trust in God to work it out” turns into “you better take care of yourself”. Yet, if she is challenged on how anti-Christian “look out for #1” sounds, then she will immediately backpedal to the other statement.

    I was talking yesterday about how horrible Reformed literature on Sanctification is. At the beginning, they say, “Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit” and they go on and on about how the Holy Spirit does this and that, but then the obvious question comes of whether we can influence sanctification one way or the other – and by implication, we contribute to that work, but of course, we can never take credit for “our work”, so then we get whipsawed back and forth between the two hopefully so fast that we don’t realize the author has actually said absolutely NOTHING. It’s as if the Reformed picture of Judgment Day is the Father stomping on us on his way to Jesus and saying, “well done, good and faithful servant!”

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  2. The estimates of pregnant women experiencing violence range from 16-25%! In all of the ‘Pro-Life’ stories about the babies ‘rescued’, I have never heard of anyone ASKING THE MOTHER IF SHE WAS SAFE.
    We just had two cases in the news recently. One was a boyfriend giving his pregnant girlfriend bleach to drink to try to cause a miscarriage. The other was a man who took his infant child away from its mother, went outside in broad daylight and drowned it a pond in front of on lookers. They were too shocked to do anything until too late. The papers focused only on the child. I wonder what shape he left the mother in. They could hear her calling to bring the baby back.
    One of the stories I read recently about the ‘rescue’ by the Pro-Lifer. The woman outside the clinic was confronted by the pro-lifer and the father of her unborn child. He was a deadbeat who had several other children by other women and didn’t provide for any of them. He tearfully promised to the woman that he would care for her child and they went off together. The Pro-lifer was busy congratulating herself on ‘preserving the family and the life of the child’. The bystander observing this asked if she knew the couple. The pro lifer replied that she had never seen either of them before. For all she knew, the man could have taken the woman home and shot her.
    When I first graduated college, I rented a room in a house with a mother and her two daughters in CT. The oldest daughter was just starting college. The mother was an ex Catholic who had divorced her husband when her eldest daughter was 5. Her ex-husband was abusive, but highly thought of in the community. She had also believed that she was the luckiest woman alive to marry him when she first got married. He had a Jekyll & Hyde personality. She lost a baby boy when her husband picked her up and threw her on the couch. Right after, he ‘gave’ her to his best friend to be raped. “I’ve wanted you for a long time and now I have permission.” Her permission was irrelevant.
    The final straw was when he used her head to split the 2X4 stud in the wall and her 5 year old daughter had to go to the neighbor’s house next door to call the police to keep Daddy from killing Mommy. She took her daughters to Mass after that, but left the Catholic church after having to endure the angry glares from the priest for divorcing – Mr. ‘Perfect’

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  3. I think that is, all too often, the story of abuse. The guy seems perfect until they marry and then the evil comes out in full force. That’s why Lori’s and the typical Evangelical church’s marital counsel is often so wrong.

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  4. Christian commentator Pat Robertson (of “The 700 Club” television show) often pulls the same idiocy that Lori is pulling here.

    Whenever a woman write in to say she’s married to a physical, emotional, or financially abusive husband, most of the time, Pat Robertson blames the woman.

    Robertson assumes that all abusive men give off red flags during the dating process (some do, but many do not), so, he concludes, all women who marry abusers “deserve it,” because they willingly and knowingly married an abuser.

    I did a few posts on my blog about this, these are just two of them:

    (Link): Christian Host Pat Robertson Tells Christian Woman Who Married Christian Man Who Turned Out to Be Totally Unethical That She has Discernment of a Slug

    (Link): Pat Robertson’s Insensitive Reply to a Domestic Violence Victim (November 2018)

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  5. Lori Alexander wrote,

    God is ultimately my provider. He commands young women to marry, bear children, and guide the home (1 Tim. 5:14) so if this is His will for me, I will obey Him and trust Him with everything else.

    God tells men and women it is better to stay single than to marry and have children:

    Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do.

    … Now about virgins: I have no command from the Lord, but I give a judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. Because of the present crisis, I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is.

    Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife.
    But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

    Also, marriage v. being single is not a matter of “God’s will” for a person.

    Staying married or single are choices God leaves up to individuals. They are not “giftings” God puts upon a person, either. God does not choose if you marry, or if you are single. He allows you to decide if you want to marry or not.

    And some adults are single by circumstance, not due to choice. This fact goes unrecognized by most conservative Christians, who assume that all older singles intentionally avoided marriage because they hate marriage, are selfish, and/or because they are “traditional values hating, feminist liberals.” None of that is true.

    The American Christian church has a large problem with lots of adult singles who’d like to marry but cannot find partners; they don’t want to recognize this or repair it.

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  6. It’s the same sort of circular argument. Women who marry abusive men should have been “more selective”. Yet, a woman who does not marry young is told that she is “too picky”.

    Just like Lori. She wants to claim that she isn’t in the business of shaming women, but then she tells them that God’s Will(TM) is for them to marry. If they don’t marry, they’re choosing selfishness and career and whatever above obey. She tells them that all they need to do is “trust God” and he’ll work out the rest. But, then, if one of these poor women follows her advice and ends up marrying an abuser, “IT’S ALL HER FAULT!!!”

    I think this is what Jesus means when he talks about the Pharisees being like the children in the marketplace. They think they get to decide whether we should be happy or sad, or single or married, and seemingly no matter what we choose, we always chose wrong.

    And, yes, the church’s attitude towards adult singles is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the rampant legalism and dismissive attitudes towards any non-white, non-married, non-middle class, non-Republicans.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I read Lori Alexander’s advice, all I hear in my head is the old Billy Joel song “Pressure” —

    I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale
    Now here you are
    With your faith and your Peter Pan advice
    You have no scars on your face
    And you cannot handle pressure!

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  8. Gas-lighting is a good description of Ken’s comments: Lori is not trying to dictate… BUT you’re not choosing the life God says is best. It’s okay if you’re a working mom… BUT you’re not being obedient like Lori is. It’s okay if you struggle to submit… BUT you’re not a healed “new creature” like Lori, etc. They are both “passionate” about condemning anyone who doesn’t see things their way.

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  9. Ashley asks Lori on Facebook: “How exactly do you recommend single mothers stay home? I’d love to hear this one.”

    Lori’s merely helping Ashley see her choice in her single motherhood situation. /sarcasm/

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  10. Lori’s crew are obsessed with ‘working from home’ being the answer to everything.

    They make way too big a deal of what ‘keeper of the home’ even means. I have a full time job and my home is ‘kept’ I think. If I need to hire out help, hey that’s what money is for. And the proverbs lady had servants anyways, so all this is bunk.

    My mom stayed home when I was very small and worked when I was in school, which is a compromise many family adopt, and honestly I can’t imagine how much I would not have wanted to be home with my mom for my entire childhood all day every day, love her though I do.

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  11. It’s creepy how much weight they ascribe to ‘working for a boss’ as if it’s the worst thing ever. My last two bosses have been great.

    *sidenote: I bought a robot vacuum this year and its the best thing I’ve ever done as far as ‘keeping’ my home straight. Highly recommend.

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  12. Incidentally, Proverbs talks about the son heeding his FATHER’s instruction, so if Lori wants to go full bore legalistic, the mother AND father need to be home educating the children, which, incidentally, was possible in an agrarian society. So, by consequence, we are all horrible sinners, including Lori, because we’ve left God’s plan for us to all be farmers.

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  13. O.M.G.

    My first thought on reading Lori’s FB post to Ashley was, what is her stance on accepting government welfare? Not all single parents will be able to work from home, and of those who can, that still takes time and effort away from parenting.

    My second thought was on the contradiction in her post.

    “And it seems to me you want to try and justify women leaving their children in the care of others full time…?”

    “Have you sought the Lord in prayer in make a way for you to be home full time, to make money from home, maybe run a daycare…?”

    Uh…I thought Lori was against daycare, full stop. Even for non-Christians. Either she just tossed out that post without much thought, or she’s a hypocrite. You can’t come across as an absolutist on all mothers being full time homemakers, and recommend a mother profit off of other moms seeking daycare while they go to work. If it’s morally wrong, you shouldn’t contribute to it. If it’s not morally wrong but depends on the circumstances, you have no business trying to mandate it for everyone.

    My final thought is on how sayings like “trust God” are code for “rely on other people to provide”. I’ve seen conservative Christians argue that only churches should dispense charity, even though that doesn’t always work, depending on the size of a church, the state of the economy, etc. I know, the men are all supposed to be making money hand over fist to provide for all these women and children. If they can’t or won’t (or abuse), well, you should have married better. What hypocrites.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “And it seems to me you want to try and justify women leaving their children in the care of others full time…?”

    That’s another thing. This ‘leave your children in someone else’s care fulltime‘ bugs me. It’s not like you’ve handed your children off and will never see them! At most it’s probably more like 40 or 50 hours, which leaves plenty of time for socialization, dinners, baths, etc. Stop shaming mom’s. If they love their kids, the kids will know.

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  15. [also if you are working from home full time (which is fine, but lori seems weirdly fond of) you aren’t constantly taking care of your kids, you will probably have to ignore them some to get any work done – my dad worked from home sometimes and he was pretty clear about this being his office and actual job), and I fail to see how it’s better to leave them alone at home while you work as opposed to letting them go out of the house to play with other kids, learn, etc]

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  16. Totally agree that many women end up with abusers without realizing it first.

    At the same time, as a marriage blogger, I also believe that usually there ARE red flags before the wedding–it’s just that the woman wasn’t trained to see it. So it is so, so important that we actually do train women to recognize potential abusers before they get married. (Does this mean I agree with Lori? I hope not!)

    So what are some of those red flags? Men who agree with Lori! Any man who thinks that a woman should not have any independent thoughts, but must follow a man completely. A man who cannot handle any kind of pushback or criticism. A man who disparages anyone who disagrees with him. A man who insists on grilling her on everything she spends or everyone she talks to, etc. etc.

    There are so many more!

    But so many of them end up being about controlling behaviour, which many girls are not taught to recognize because they grow up in homes that preach what Lori does. So I agree that we must do a better job of preventing women from marrying abusers. And that means teaching girls to recognize the danger of teachings like Lori’s.

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  17. Lea said,

    Lori’s crew are obsessed with ‘working from home’ being the answer to everything.

    One expression my Dad has tossed at me at times in my life when I found something difficult was to tell me, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

    Well… if it was possible to earn a living wage off stay at home work, doesn’t Lori think most people would do so?

    I don’t think it’s possible for most people to earn $30,000 or more from home. If they could, I bet everyone would do it, because that would be preferable to having to wake up early every morning, sit in traffic on a lousy, stressful commute, and have to wear heels and panty hose in an office all day.

    At one full time professional job I had (office job), I was permitted to tele-commute one day per week. And it was awesome.

    On my telecommute days, I’d get up, get some hot tea or coffee, fire up the e-mail, see if any co-workers needed me urgently, and started on some projects.

    I did all this sans make-up, in comfy, sleep shirts and socks and floppy eared bunny slippers. Around noon, (my lunch hour), I’d take a shower at that point and change in to a t-shirt and shorts.

    I did not miss my long, stressful, crummy commute to and from the office building at all.

    If I could’ve worked like that five days a week, not just the one, you hella bet I sure would’ve done so. But most people cannot do that.

    If everyone could pay groceries, insurance, mortgage / rent on a stay at home job, I’d bet they’d do it. But most people cannot, so they have to commute to an office building every day.

    Like

  18. Lea said,

    [also if you are working from home full time (which is fine, but lori seems weirdly fond of) you aren’t constantly taking care of your kids, you will probably have to ignore them some to get any work done – my dad worked from home sometimes and he was pretty clear about this being his office and actual job), and I fail to see how it’s better to leave them alone at home while you work as opposed to letting them go out of the house to play with other kids, learn, etc]

    I totally agree.

    I think Lori is romanticizing stay at home mom-ism.

    My mom was a very devout Christian. She was a SAHM. But even she did not follow these odd-ball, idealized misty watercolor notions of SAHMism, not to the degree Lori is presenting them.

    I was the youngest kid in the family.
    And I have memories of being a toddler and up to a five year old (prior to going into kindergarten) of what life was like around the house when it was just Mom and me in the house – my father would go off to work each day, and my siblings were in school.

    Contrary to this idealistic version of Mom-ism Lori is painting, where the Mom spends every second of the day reading Bible stories to the kid, and making home-made meals from scratch –

    My mother would sometimes have to do chores around the home, so she’d put me in my playpen in the den while she did laundry and other housework.

    As I got older (around five years old, still not in school yet), my Mom would put me down for a nap not so coincidentally at the same exact time as her favorite soap opera show would start (and that’s okay! I don’t begrudge my mother or any mother some time during the day just to kick back and relax).

    My mother did make some dinners from scratch on occasion as I was growing up, but sometimes, no. I remember plenty of dinners where we had frozen pizza or hot dogs, and frozen Ore Ida potato wedges and crinkle fries heated up on cookie sheets – stuff that was fast and easy.

    And even for the dinners that were made from scratch by my Mom, as we’re from the south, it probably wouldn’t be considered nutritious as Lori would prefer, in that most stuff was deep fried in Crisco. (Fried okra, fried squash, fried potatoes, etc).
    (And no, I don’t weigh 800 pounds, even though I was raised on that kind of food, LOL.)

    Oh. I don’t know if Lori would approve of this or not, but on weekends, my Dad usually grilled for the whole family.
    Dad took over dinner duty on some nights. My Mom would just kick back sipping a glass of wine while Dad cooked our potatoes, steak, chicken, or whatever, on the grill.

    My family may have had some problems, but NONE of them arose from my Dad grilling or my Mom not making us “nutritious home cooked meals” every night. My Mom would sometimes read me Bible stories at night at bed time, but she did not spend every waking moment of the day telling me about Jesus –

    Can I digress her a bit to say, if my mother had rambled on about Jesus 24 hours a day, I would’ve found that wacko and odd. And I respect Jesus very much, even though I’m shaky on the faith now.

    I was a super devout Christian myself many years, and even at that time, I was very “weirded out” and/or put-off by other people who said they were Christian who made every single conversation about Jesus.

    The kind of Christian who can’t just shoot the breeze with you about the weather, the latest movie, no – every single conversation has to get around to Jesus in some way. I sometimes suspect that if Jesus is real, even he is annoyed or creeped out by people like that.

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  19. I wanted to add to this (by Lea):

    [also if you are working from home full time (which is fine, but lori seems weirdly fond of) you aren’t constantly taking care of your kids, you will probably have to ignore them some to get any work done – my dad worked from home sometimes and he was pretty clear about this being his office and actual job), and I fail to see how it’s better to leave them alone at home while you work as opposed to letting them go out of the house to play with other kids, learn, etc]

    I know I’ve shared this at this blog before (and/or at the other one), but I feel anecdotes like this are worth repeating for any newbies who didn’t see this previously…

    A few years ago, I read some quotes by the actress who played June Cleaver on the American, 1950s-era t.v. show that most conservative Christians worship for its portray of SAHMism, “Leave It To Beaver.”

    In the interview, the actress (June Lockheart is the name?) said in real life, she had two (or was it three, I can’t recall?) kids.

    Every day, her job, she said, was to drive to the studio to film her scenes for “Leave It To Beaver” as the SAHM June Cleaver while her actual children were being baby sat by a nanny or someone else.

    O, irony. LOL.

    Like

  20. Cobber said,

    When I read Lori Alexander’s advice, all I hear in my head is the old Billy Joel song “Pressure” —

    I’m sure you’ll have some cosmic rationale
    Now here you are
    With your faith and your Peter Pan advice
    You have no scars on your face
    And you cannot handle pressure!

    Not bad, not bad.

    Another Billy Joel song I’d add – “My Life.”
    _“My Life” – Billy Joel (song on You Tube)_

    I’d have Billy Joel sing to Lori some lyrics from that song:

    I Don’t Care What You Say Anymore, This is My Life,
    Go Ahead With Your Own Life Leave Me Alone!

    Don’t get me wrong, I still belong,
    You can speak your mind,
    but not on my time!

    Like

  21. Lea said,

    *sidenote: I bought a robot vacuum this year and its the best thing I’ve ever done as far as ‘keeping’ my home straight. Highly recommend.

    I was reminded of this news story:

    _‘Pooptastrophe’: Man details the night his Roomba ran over dog poop_, August 2016

    It was everywhere.

    Jesse Newton’s horror story started earlier this month when his Roomba ran over dog feces and dragged it all around the living room.

    Newton detailed the incident on Facebook in a post that now has over 300,000 shares. The “war zone of poop” was discoverd at 3 a.m. when his 4-year-old son crawled into bed with him and his wife, Kelly, smelling like feces.

    One would think in our high tech culture of today that surely the people who make these robot vacuums could program it in some way to detect and go around dog poopy?

    Like

  22. NJ, everything in your post was spot on, but I wanted to discuss this part:

    Uh…I thought Lori was against daycare, full stop. Even for non-Christians. Either she just tossed out that post without much thought, or she’s a hypocrite.
    You can’t come across as an absolutist on all mothers being full time homemakers, and recommend a mother profit off of other moms seeking daycare while they go to work.
    If it’s morally wrong, you shouldn’t contribute to it. If it’s not morally wrong but depends on the circumstances, you have no business trying to mandate it for everyone.

    I didn’t reject complementarian teaching until I got into my mid 30s or sometime then.

    When I was in my 20s, in spite of having a lot of doubts about comp, I was a comp.

    I was raised in the Southern Baptist church.

    There were several things that drove me away from comp, and this thing I’m about to mention is one of them (I brought this up at the other blog before).

    In the 1990s, when I was in my mid or late 20s, there was a bruhaha over some comments some muckity-muck in the Southern Baptist church made. There were a lot of news articles in the news papers back then.

    (I think this story is just a few years before everyone started to get on the internet, in the late ’90s. Most folks were still getting most news on TV or from the printed page.)

    The Southern Baptist guy was going on and on about how awful it was for mothers to put their children into daycare. He was guilt tripping and shaming working mothers for working outside the home and for sticking their kids in day care. He believed mothers should all be SAHMs.

    I remember thinking at that time, that even though I was clinging to many traditional gender role views at that time, that his view was horribly sexist, backwards, and behind the times. (And I still think it’s wrong.)

    It was the little drip- drip- drips of sexism such as (but not limited to) that which started my move away from complementarianism.

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