Good news! Women have a new educational opportunity this spring. Why not enroll in Christian Wife University?
If you hurry, there is still space in the upcoming class “New Bride Bible Study” by Jennifer Odom White beginning January 19th. Online materials are available which will teach every new bride how to combat the “subtle and subversive evil schemes” that threaten marriages. And, apparently if you are not a new bride, White’s study will still apply.
But, perhaps you aren’t a bride but still wish to attend the Christian Wife University in hopes you will one day be one, then you could still enroll and learn from the wealth of information provided on its facebook page. Posts like “After a break-up, how can you know if you are ready to date again?” offer advice to men about how to pursue women who seem that they aren’t interested in marriage (admittedly I’m confused about why this is supposed to “minister” to single women). Or, you might want to check out the “cute” calendar from Crafting Chicks because becoming a Christian wife means you need to be organized and cutesy things make being so more fun.
Still, if you are already a Christian wife, perhaps the most helpful information can be found in learning what to do when your husband isn’t spiritually leading your household. In this podcast (part of her series called What’s a Girl to Do?) Jolene Engle answers a reader’s question: “Dear Jolene, If your husband has fallen away from Jesus, our Lord, the wife must take the lead in the household for Jesus and the religion part, right! This is a problem when one leaves the church, and becomes the prodigal son. How would you answer that?” (As an aside, I wonder why Jolene not only doesn’t see the problem of using the terms husband and girl in the same heading, but also italicizes the word girl. Stunning, such incongruity.)
Jolene’s response is worth the 10 minutes or so it will take to listen to her podcast even though you will perhaps curse a bit and maybe lose a few locks of hair in the process.
You will find out that women put men on pedestals believing them to be spiritual giants like Paul and instead we should remember they are not perfect. Using 1 Peter 3.1-6 as her reference, Jolene asserts God says it is the husband’s authority to lead, whether they accept it or not. Since God says this (and is smarter than we are) we need to listen to this passage, learning how to be quiet. It is in this way that our men will see our pure and reverent lives and may respond positively to our actions (which are quiet, remember).
As a student in the Christian Wife University this naturally raises a couple of questions for me. First, I wonder how Jolene skips from a biblical reference written by someone—a human being—at a particular time in place to “God says.” Surely she must understand that historical context is critical to constructing meaning and we cannot skip over it without distorting the message. And second, when she utilizes Sarah of Sarah-and-Abraham to illustrate how women need to trust God and accept the authority of our husbands just like Sarah did, I wonder if she has, in fact, read the narratives about them. You know: parts where Abraham has multiple wives and tries not once but twice to pawn Sarah off presumably to ensure his safety (see Genesis 12 and 20). Dismissing these details and urging women to benignly accept what their husbands dish out strikes me as problematic and potentially dangerous.
Nevertheless, Jolene helpfully reminds us that women are prone to be contentious and controlling because they are just like Eve who was deceived. Because of Eve the sin nature of women is to take over and be in control. Genesis confirms this when we learn Adam was not deceived. Instead he chose to sin because of Eve’s influence. From that time on, women have been given a choice to make. They can either be quiet, accepting submission to their husbands as God’s will for them or they can be like Eve who manipulated her man.
As you can tell, there is much to learn at the Christian Wives University. Before you enroll, however, make sure to check your critical thinking ability—something God endowed you with—at the door.