I’ve talked before about when women act bad. When the wife is in the wrong or acting bad then the problem is simple. The husband is the authority figure, he is in almost every case larger and stronger and his wife is obliged to obey him. If she doesn’t want to comply then the husband can use appropriate force or even discipline if necessary to force obedience from an unwilling or reluctant wife. The same holds true for the government/citizen relationship. The citizen is under the authority of the government. If the citizen should not want to obey he can be cited, given a warning and punished appropriately. It’s a straightforward thing really. The laws are laid out. If the citizen acts bad the government has the power to punish or even use appropriate force if the citizen refuses to cooperate and accept the rule of law and appropriate punishment. The rules are laid out and if the person refuses to obey then the problem can be dealt with straightforward in a no-nonsense manner and force/discipline can and will be used against the reluctant citizen to compel obedience against the person’s will to get them to act right and keep order in society. The husband is the authority in the house and if the wife is out of line the husband will tell her and if she refuses to cooperate the husband can just take her in hand then and there and straighten out the problem and put everything back in order even against the woman’s objections. It’s a simple and easy solution that can generally be dealt with quickly and easily as divine law has ordained the husband’s authority (the same with the government’s) and he is more powerful and can simply overpower the woman’s will and everything can be set straight. The home can be in order and peace can reign once again.
But what about if the husband is the one doing wrong? What if he is the one who is out of line? The solution for the woman is not so easy. She is not in authority over him. There are times when she might try to be and if he is in the wrong she might try to confront him head-on and tell him to act right. But what if he doesn’t accept that he’s in the wrong and act right? What if he refuses to change? She cannot be truly in authority over him. She cannot compel him to do something if he doesn’t want to. She has not the strength nor proper authority. Nothing can be law without authority behind it, and no authority can be a true authority without the power to compel obedience against those who are unwilling. The woman in authority over the man upsets the natural order and she, in almost every case, does not have the power nor strength to compel obedience from him. Her position can be the same as that of a citizen who lives under the rule of a tyrannical government that has gone out of control, has become abusive and is not functioning properly. When this happens the citizen cannot compel the government to get “back in line” and function properly and generally has to look for an external form of support. The citizen might find supporters, draw up a petition and look for others to show support and sign it. The citizen might then try to find those higher up the ladder in authority to show support and plead his case. If all else fails, the citizen will probably start looking for a miracle and pray to God to hear his cries.
Likewise, the woman who finds herself in a position where the one who is supposed to be protecting her (her husband) has gone out of control and refuses to perform his rightful duties towards her and/or the children ideally needs an external form of support. If she is a Christian woman or a Muslim woman she can look to what God says and show her husband where he is wrong and expect of him that he change his behaviors. A woman with no religious affiliation can still look to a form of divine law to tell the husband he is wrong and he needs to change. It is important for the woman not to just say “I want it now do it!” or make her case in such a selfishly-oriented way. This will cause the man to pull away from her and he will be less likely to want to protect her or resume his rightful duties towards her if she makes demands unilaterally in a selfish way against him. Putting her case to her husband in such a way causes her to be unfeminine and removes the man’s natural protective instinct for the woman.
I think it is very destructive for women to protect themselves unilaterally. A woman should always try to gain support from the community around her and other men in the family close to her that can deal with the man at his own level if need be (as in deal with him “man to man”). It is hard in our world today because society at large does not care if a husband supports his wife and even more abused women find it hard to find shelter and a woman can hardly count on the law to enforce that her husband perform his rightful duties or be punished. But in any case, a woman should never doubt that her feminine aspects can still draw support towards her and change the husband to be the man he should be. She can also set a good example that will help inspire cultural change.
A woman cannot and should not follow the husband if he is leading her down the wrong path. She also cannot obey when he is not acting in his rightful role as a man. Obeying him when he has truly become neglectful and abusive will cause her to be a doormat and he will continue to be irresponsible. It isn’t always easy for a woman in these situations as a man’s irresponsibility and bad behaviors towards his wife can cause a real problem when he is the one who is supposed to be in charge. I have heard women ask “well, what is a woman supposed to do if the husband won’t act right? Sit around and watch her family fall to pieces all around her?” These women make good points and pose difficult questions with no easy and straightforward answers.
In cases not so severe I believe a woman can win her husband over by still obeying him even if she doesn’t necessarily like what her husband demands or if he isn’t doing things quite the way she wants (no authority figure is ever going to operate exactly as the ones under his authority like anyways). Her feminine charms can win her more love from her husband and she can influence him thus, but unfeminine selfishness will only draw him away and she will be even more unhappy. In severe cases such as non-support, abandonment, abuse and neglect she must put her foot down and refuse to follow the man or temporarily separate and seek the shelter and the support of others and not return to the husband until he has changed his ways and accepted responsibility.
The important thing is the woman’s attitude I believe. She should always be willing to obey but make it clear that she cannot do so if he is truly in the wrong (not just because she doesn’t like a decision but because he is truly doing something wrong or stepping outside the bounds of what is moral or appropriate) and is neglecting his true duties towards her and the family. If the husband asks her to do something that he doesn’t have any moral authority to do (such as telling her to “get a job”-that is his responsibility and he has no right to push it on her– or telling her to go commit an indecent or irresponsible act) she must say no. She must tell her husband why she is refusing to make it clear she cannot obey him because what he has asked is wrong and he has no authority to command her to do which goes against God/divine law.
These issues aren’t easy to deal with and there isn’t always an easy answer. For the women who have never heard of Helen Andelin I suggest picking up a copy of her book “Fascinating Womanhood.” Mrs. Andelin taught many women in her lifetime to be feminine and she teaches a woman to embrace old-fashioned femininity and accept patriarchy, not equality. She has very good advice on how a woman can act to bring out the protective and responsible chivalrous instinct in men and how a woman can best fulfill her roles as a traditional woman. She also gives advice on how women can deal with men who won’t earn the living, how women can deal with anger in an appropriate feminine way and have a happy home life in a traditional marriage. Mr. Jesse Powell also has some good articles on how a traditional woman can assert herself with men in a hostile feminist climate and also how the submissive wife is protected under patriarchy that are very worthwhile to read.
Another thing I would like to add is that a woman should not solve the problem by taking it into her own hands when the husband is being too passive in his leadership role or is refusing to support the family. For instance, I heard a woman say that her son would stay up half the night playing on the iPad and she was very worried for her son. She had many talks with her husband about it and he would do something for a time but then would cave and let the son have the iPad back and stay up half the night. Eventually the woman had enough and her husband wouldn’t do anything so she took matters into her own hands and took the iPad and smashed it to pieces. She employed a temporary solution to what was in reality a chronic long-term problem (her husband’s reluctance to accept responsibility and his passivity in his rightful leadership role). The problem was solved for the moment but surely it was only a matter of time before something else big would come up. Her husband was glad she had done something about the problem which shows yet another danger. First she went against her husband’s authority and second she allowed him to evade responsibility so the next time if there should be a serious problem the husband might think “it’s ok, if I just do nothing my wife will eventually handle the situation.” Here a pattern of allowing the husband to evade responsibility is created. In the process she also showed the children that their father was not the ultimate authority thus possibly causing them to even act out more in the future. She upset the natural balance of authority/responsibility in her home.
A woman taking matters into her own hands when her husband doesn’t accept responsibility only worsens the problem in the long run. The same can be true for women who go and get a job because their husband won’t support the family. This may solve the problem temporarily (money’s coming in so the kids won’t starve) but the woman only creates a greater long term problem. A woman should not follow her husband into sin and should put her foot down if he is asking her to accept his responsibilities. If he is rejecting his responsibilities she should remind him what his duties are in a non-selfish way and refuse to obey until he is operating in his rightful role as a man once again.