OK, here's a post that's got me so angry that it's managed to kick me out of my no-blogging funk.
Who would have credited it? A man who advocates male-headship who reckons that, if something goes wrong in a marriage, it's usually (not always, but usually) the husband's fault: Marriage Counseling: It's His Fault.
But wait. Perhaps there is a point here. The underlying thesis of the post seems to be that if a man sufficiently 'sacrificially loves' his wife, that the marriage will not have problems.
I have a huge 'problem of justice' here. There are three underlying assumptions that I don't agree with. One, that the husband is most likely to be the selfish partner. Two, that the wife is most likely to be the unselfish partner. And the third: that even if the wife is the selfish (abusive, addicted) one, that it's somehow the man's job as head of the family to 'cure' her by his sacrificial love.
Trying to 'fix' other people by the force of our own will or behaviour is normally called co-dependency and anyone who has tried it will tell you that, not only doesn't it work, but trying this methodology as a way to maintaining a relationship with an addicted/abusive partner is simply a recipe for heartache.
If I were a Christian man whose wife was abusing him, I'd want to stay a hundred miles away from such counsel. My heart aches for the husbands who won't be heard because the nature of their concerns doesn't fit with their pastor's preconceived ideas. Just as my heart aches for all the Christian women who are told that if they are just more submissive, their husbands will stop abusing them.
Justice demands that the true nature of what is happening in any situation be discerned. Truth is not served by assuming that women are usually 'good' and men are usually 'bad'. I despair - in either a conservative or liberal ideology - when people make claims for female moral superiority. Each one of us - no matter what gender - is capable of the most dastardly evil and the most glorious good.
The last paragraph in this post sets out where I disagree with male-headship:
1) That, to quote: the husband gets commended when it is going well and he gets the heat when it is not.
Sorry, no. If a wife is mentally or emotionally unstable, the husband is not responsible. And if a marriage is going well, it's because both partners are playing their part.
2) A happy, holy wife is a wonderful endeavor for a husband.
So, the wife is, in some sense, the husband's 'project'? This reflects what I call the attitude of male headship that a woman is never quite a full adult.
3) A husband must learn to keep the pulse of how his wife is doing (spiritually, emotionally, physically)
Again, this assumes that a husband somehow 'has control' over his wife.
Both Christian egalitarians and advocates of male-headship often present themselves as believing that husbands and wives are called to put their spouse first. The difference in the two attitudes isn't really even about 'what women are permitted to do in Church'. The big difference is the attitude of male-headship that women and our lives can be controlled and led by men. That we are not and never will be full adults. And that co-dependent relationships - with the man responsible for controlling his wife's mental, emotional and spiritual responses - are What God Wants.