“The Husband Has the Final Say” and Other Sexist Myths [Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife]

I was browsing Facebook today, and I came across the following post by Lori Alexander:

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Just Who is Lori Alexander?

Lori Alexander is a blogger, author, and mentor of women. She has an older blog called “Always Learning” and a more recent blog called “The Transformed Wife.” Lori also has a Facebook page where critical comments often disappear down the “memory hole.”

Lori claims that her “ministry” is based upon Titus 2:3-5, but the problem is that she promotes false teachings which contradict the exegetical teaching of Titus 2 and the full counsel of Scripture.

Like so many other women and men in the professing Christian community who claim to have “women’s ministries” and seem to have appointed themselves as mentors, marriage experts, and relationship gurus to Christian women. . . Lori promotes a dangerous blend of truth and sexist myths cloaked in spiritual-sounding flowery language and select Scriptures taken out of context.

Her false teachings give both women and men a false perspective of themselves, a false understanding of their purpose in God’s will, an unrealistic portrayal of marriage, and false ideas about what constitutes a healthy marriage.

The overall impression that I get from Lori’s messages is that if women say and do all of the right things [according to Lori’s beliefs], they will have a happy marriage and a joyful home, and if they don’t, they need to try harder.

In Lori’s world, marriage is elevated to the point of idolatry, husbands are placed in the position of God over women, a woman’s identity revolves around serving her husband [of course under the guise of “serving God”], and a wife’s sanctification and justification before God are based upon how well she pleases her husband and to what extent she obeys him. In short, Lori pushes man-centered theology dressed up as “Biblical womanhood” and a “high view of marriage.”

On July 27, 2017, Lori reinforced the sexist myth that “the husband has the final say.” Although this idea is very popular among professing Christians and in many cultures around the world, interestingly enough, it cannot be found anywhere in Scripture, nor is it remotely implied. This fact alone utterly annihilates the idea that the husband has the final say, because if the Scriptures don’t teach it, then professing Christians shouldn’t be teaching it either as if it’s God-breathed and authoritative.

The sexist myth that “the husband has the final say” is a human precept and a man-made tradition taught as a doctrine of God. Matthew 15:1-9 shows that Jesus doesn’t take too kindly to such traditions, because they cancel or make void the word of God.

How so?

Let Us Go Back to the Beginning

The book of Genesis tells us that God created both Adam and Eve in His image, meaning that both men and women possess intelligence, moral agency, and the ability to make decisions. We see this all throughout Scripture. Both men and women are able to make good decisions because God has blessed us with intelligence, the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, and sound judgment.

The ability to make good decisions isn’t dependent upon one’s biological sex. It is dependent upon one’s level of wisdom, knowledge, expertise, discernment, faith and reverence for God. In some cases, the husband might be the one to make the best decision, and in other cases, the wife might be the one to make the best decision. It all depends on the situation and who has the most wisdom, knowledge, and experience in a certain area, and that person won’t always be the husband.

The idea that the husband has the final say opposes what the Scriptures teach about decision-making skills and insinuates that the final say rests in the hands of the husband merely because he is a male, and the wife is obligated to go along with whatever he decides merely because she is a female. This is rooted in sexism and not the full counsel of Scripture. It is carnal and not spiritual. It is disrespectful to God, who created women in His image with the intelligence, moral agency, and ability to make good decisions.

God did not create Eve to be intellectually inferior to Adam. Genesis 2:18 says that He created Eve to be “just right for him.” Only an intelligent woman can be “just right” for an intelligent man. When God created Eve to be Adam’s helper, that included her helping him make good decisions for himself, their marriage, and anything pertaining to their family.

The intention was for Adam and Eve to become “one flesh” and make good decisions together, corporately, as husband and wife. Sometimes the help that a husband needs is a discerning wife who will explain why his idea isn’t a good one and present a better decision.

There is no indication in Genesis that God created Adam to be the primary or sole decision-maker and that he would have the final say in all decisions by virtue of being a male. This seems to be a “gender/creation role” that sinful men have invented out of an ungodly desire to hold all of the power in their marriage, rule over their wives, get their own way and not be questioned, reproved, or held accountable by their wives for making bad decisions, and be the final authority on all decisions.

The idea that “the husband has the final say” opposes and contradicts the creation account, which states that God made both man and woman in His image, and created Eve to be “just right” for Adam as his helper and not his personal “amen section.” God’s will is for wives to help their husbands make good decisions, and the sexist myth that “the husband has the final say” cancels that out and diminishes the wife’s intellect, voice, and contributions.

Husbands Can Make Bad Decisions

The sexist myth that “the husband has the final say” contradicts the truth that human beings are flawed sinful creatures with finite understanding, and therefore, we can make bad decisions and one person should never hold all of the decision-making power.

Scripture is full of examples of husbands making bad decisions about sex, marriage, parenting, money, politics, and religious worship to their own detriment and the detriment of their wives, children, and nation. In light of this, to yield all final decisions to the husband merely because he is a male can be harmful and dangerous because of the sinfulness of man.

Men need to be questioned before they make decisions, especially major decisions that will affect themselves, their wives and children, and community. They need “checks and balances,” first and foremost their wives, and also well-trusted friends to hold them accountable, admonish them, and be their sounding board to give them honest feedback and suggest better ideas.

To push this idea that the husband has the final say is to ignore the truth that human beings are sinful creatures with finite understanding, and that husbands can and do make bad decisions.

Husbands aren’t less sinful than their wives and they do not necessarily have more understanding than their wives, so it makes no sense for a wife to defer all decisions to her husband as the final authority on all matters when he is just as human and fallible as she is.

Much unnecessary hardship, peril, disaster, and struggle has been brought upon families as a result of husbands and wives following this sexist myth that “the husband has the final say.”

Husbands and Wives are Subject to One Another

“. . . Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility; for “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5, KJV)

“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21, NLT)

The Scriptures teach mutual submission — that men and women in the body of Christ are to submit to one another. This mutual submission doesn’t cease, stop, or come to an end just because a man and woman get married. Upon marriage, they are still expected [per Ephesians 5:21] to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Many people only focus on the passage which instructs wives to submit to their husbands, but they seem to skip over the passage which leads into Paul’s instruction on marriage and commands us to submit to one another out of deep respect for Jesus.

The sexist myth that “the husband has the final say” flies in the face of mutual submission. A husband is not being clothed with humility and subject to his wife if he never defers to her wisdom because he thinks that his “gender role” is to have the final say on everything and his wife must subserviently go along with whatever he decides.

If he always gets his way and has the final say, then he never has to learn how to reach a compromise, never has to respect what his wife says, and never has to trust her to make the right decision. He never learns how to sacrifice his interests for the well-being of others, work together with his wife, and grow in this regard, because his wife is the only one who is yielding, deferring, compromising, trusting, and sacrificing. This is one-way submission and one-way compromise which caters to the flesh of the man-in-charge and it is contrary to Scripture.

But Test Everything That is Said.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21, NLT)

The Scriptures instruct us to “test [examine] all things” and use discernment and sound judgment. We normally apply this to discerning religious teachings, practices, and leaders in the church, but it also applies to the decisions that we and our spouses make. If our spouse has an idea, it’s imperative that we weigh it against Scripture and sound wisdom in order to see if it’s a good idea or not.

Whether the issue is joining a new church, quitting a 9 to 5 in order to start a new business, or investing money in some venture, it’s important that a wife evaluates her husband’s idea and offers her opinion on the matter. He could be making a bad decision based on misinformation, incomplete information, impatience, pride, gullibility, or a desire to get rich quick. Or it could be that his decision isn’t necessarily bad, but there is a better option that he hasn’t considered. If this is the case, the wife should speak up out of love and concern for her family.

A Meek and Quiet Spirit

Lori seems to think that having a meek and quiet spirit means being subservient to your husband’s decisions, therefore, women who disagree with or question their husband’s decisions don’t have a meek and quiet spirit.

However, the spiritual meaning of having a “meek and quiet spirit” doesn’t mean that a wife is supposed to suppress her logic, critical thinking skills, discernment, wisdom, and sound judgment. The phrase “quiet spirit” doesn’t mean that a wife is supposed to be literally silent, say nothing in acquiescent agreement, and ignore red flags when her husband is about to make a bad decision. The koine Greek term translated as “quiet” in 1 Peter 3:4 means to be peaceable–not mute.

Queen Esther had a meek and quiet spirit, and yet she spoke up and stopped King Ahasuerus–her husband–from making a bad decision by giving Haman authority to slaughter the Jews. Abigail had a meek and quiet spirit, and yet she went against her husband’s dangerous decision to insult David and his men and secretly went to meet David and intercede for her husband.

When Scripture said that women are to have a “meek and quiet spirit,” it means something very different than what Lori Alexander teaches. Having a meek and quiet spirit doesn’t equate to bowing down unquestioningly to whatever your husband says.

Lori seems to think that as long as your husband isn’t an evil man, then you have no reason to question his decisions. Well, the problem with this kind of thinking is that even godly men make bad decisions and there are a plethora of examples of this all throughout Scripture.

For this reason, even godly, loving husbands need to be questioned, reproved, admonished, and given feedback. Believers aren’t supposed to sit back passively, docile, and silent when someone that we love is about to make a bad decision, especially not our spouse! That’s not Biblical submission, that’s unloving.

Asking your husband, “Are you sure we should do that?” or “Wouldn’t this be better?” isn’t playing the head over him — that’s being his helper, a loving wife, and a real friend who is impartial and objective enough to be honest and ask important questions. Lori doesn’t seem to know the difference between a wife usurping her husband and a wife helping her husband.

The Husband Having the Final Say is Lazy and the Easy Way Out

Anyone who has been married knows that it takes hard work. Both parties have to learn how to be quick to listen and slow to speak, communicate, respectfully disagree when differences of opinion arise, compromise, sacrifice, and defer to one another. It takes a lot of effort to learn how to “cleave” to one’s spouse, cooperate, work together as a team, and reach a consensus that pleases both parties.

It seems to me that a marriage where the husband has the final say is the easy way out and takes less effort than a marriage where both parties have their own mind, their own voice, their own perspective, and must learn to sing different notes in harmony and function as one cohesive duo. If the husband has the final say, then he’s a “one man duet” because he is the only voice that matters and he doesn’t have to harmonize with anyone.

If the husband has the final say, that’s also less work for the wife because she doesn’t have to figure certain things out and learn how to make major decisions. She just leaves the important decisions up to her husband and doesn’t have to grow by learning how to think things through, discussing different perspectives, and planing out and executing major decisions.

Yes, I do believe that the husband is the head of his wife, but being the head doesn’t mean that a husband is supposed to do all or most of the thinking and decision-making, or that marriage is an authoritarian power structure or a benevolent dictatorship where the husband calls the final shots and the wife is to silently and mindlessly nod in agreement even if she thinks differently.

I utterly reject this idea that when a woman gets married, she is to disappear or vanish into her husband and be so swallowed up by her marriage that she loses herself and her individuality and becomes an appendage of her husband who voices no thoughts of her own. Wives have their own mind just like husbands do and it is perfectly okay for them to express their thoughts, feelings, convictions, and opinions. Becoming one flesh doesn’t eradicate one’s individuality.

Do Whatever Your Husband Says as Long as it Isn’t a Sin?

I’ve also heard people teach Christian women that they must do whatever their husbands say as long as it isn’t a sin. This is another sexist myth which cannot be found anywhere in Scripture and should be tossed into the metaphorical trash can.

Teaching a woman that she must do whatever her husband says as long as he isn’t telling her to sin, is itself a sin, because it infringes on her individual liberty, blood-bought freedom, and personal convictions. Just because something isn’t a sin, that doesn’t mean that a woman has to do it because her husband said so. This is an old wive’s tale which is used to control and micromanage women and it needs to be purged from the minds of believers.

It isn’t a sin to do jumping-jacks, so does this mean that a wife should do jumping-jacks just because her husband tells her to? Absolutely not. A wife isn’t a slave to her husband or his personal robot, so she doesn’t have to do anything that he tells her to do just because it isn’t sinful. Expecting someone to do whatever you say just because it isn’t sinful is a form of control, humiliation, domination, and degradation.

It’s false teachings like this that are driving Christian women out of the local church and reinforcing the false belief that God is a woman-hating tyrant and the Bible/Christian Faith is misogynistic, sexist, and oppressive towards women and girls.

If more conservative Evangelical Christians don’t speak out against these sexist myths with the same intensity and righteous indignation that they speak out against other false teachings, they are going to see more Christian women grabbing their Bible and heading for the nearest exit, and they are going to see more women running off to third wave feminism.

No discerning Christian woman in her right mind will stay in a religious organization, movement, or theological camp where women are treated as if they are the “oldest child” in their house, an appendage of their husband, and their husband is their god, high priest, or mediator.

Ultimately, Lori’s fans need to examine her teachings more closely and compare what she says to the exegetical teaching of Scripture, and they need to ask themselves exactly what type of wife will she transform them into if they follow her false teachings?

Will they be transformed into daughters of Sarah, like Abigail and Esther? Or will they be transformed into unthinking Stepford wives who relegate their responsibility to make decisions to their husbands? Ironically, they will have to make that decision on their own.

7 thoughts on ““The Husband Has the Final Say” and Other Sexist Myths [Lori Alexander, The Transformed Wife]

  1. Hi Evelyn,
    We spent 15 years in a ‘Christian’ religious cult which pushed this idea, actually it was the backbone of their preaching. It resulted in an unbelievable attitude of entitlement where the elders broke apart perfectly viable marriages because in their view one or other of the marriage partners wasn’t submitting to the elders. Mostly it was that the women weren’t submitting to their husbands. The husband was then ‘encouraged’ to divorce the wife and the elders then ‘encouraged’ the husband to marry somebody else in the congregation, usually somebody whose marriage they had previously destroyed. I was convinced they had a family law firm on retainer, they had destroyed so many marriages. If it weren’t so hideous it would be the subject of a new Stepford Wives sequel.

    After 13 years out of that hell however, I can happily say that my husband and I have found a genuine marriage based on mutual respect. My husband is a genuinely changed man and will be the first to confess that he was a total misogynist whilst in the cult. He repented from his abusive behaviour and asked for forgiveness. I can say that I have forgiven him totally because of his genuine repentance. So now our marriage is one based on our individual relationships with Jesus, NOT the elders of any given congregation. My husband does not dictate to me or micro-manage, and I don’t expect him to wait on me hand and foot because he is my husband. We serve one another and our family, and yes, we still have flashbacks and triggers because you can’t go through 15 years of abuse and not have those. But we get over it and move on.

    • God bless you for being so transparent and sharing you and your husband’s testimony. It really illustrates that what we believe about marriage and biological sex can and does influence our mentality, attitude, behavior and how we view and treat our spouse. It also illustrates that what we believe about marriage and biological sex can influence the kind of counsel or advice that we give to others. Ironically, some of the same individuals who claim to be staunchly against divorce will directly or indirectly encourage a husband to divorce his wife because she isn’t subservient or conforming to some unbiblical man-made “gender role.” I wonder how many marriages have been destroyed because of this?

  2. I’m not married and I don’t have super strong views on this stuff, Never even heard of the person you are talking about. Obviously a human is fallible, so I get you that wives should question and discuss with the husband.

    But I looked up Ephesians 5:21 that you quoted, and he expands on what he means in that verse right after it;

    21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

    22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.

    After that there is a whole bit that describes what v21 looks like for the husband. Now “the husband has the final say” is a particular formulation, but doesn’t v22-24 basically say that. Doesn’t it actually go even further?

    What do you understand by Ephesians 5:22-24?

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