This continues a series I’ve called “Blogging Dobson” –(1) – (2) – (3) – (4) – (5) – on some comments in the Dobson book “Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives”. I pull out some “interesting statements” which illustrate the fallacy that these kinds of ministries perpetrate of being “godly” or “family-affirming”.
(warning, this talks about suicide because Dobson went there in his text, so you might pass on this post if that is a touchy subject for you) In continuing on this text describing Dobson’s attempts to undermine the authority of husbands, I encounter something that is so almost nonsensical on the face of it that I didn’t even know what to do with it originally when I read the book and copied text – to the point that I’m winging this post as I read the text. It’s also one of those things of the feminist movement (and specifically the traditional feminist movement) that angers me immensely. It’s the idea that somehow the man is completely responsible for the woman’s emotions, mental state, well being, and actions. Consequently the woman has no moral responsibility, duty, or actions required of herself to maintain her own spiritual, mental, and physical state. This is part of the new Marriage 2.0 responsibility for husbands, not that husbands love their wives sacrificially, but that their husbands make their wives feel loved.
Dobson seeks the acceptance of this false doctrine by equating the job satisfaction of men with the satisfaction of marriage in women. Statistically and logically, we should be able to see that this is an apples and oranges comparison. That Dobson would dare make this comparison also brings to mind the typical feminist rant about women not being valued as homemakers because they are not being paid for what they do. He then summarizes his view with a graph which is included in this post.
While the comparison might have made more sense in a world where women didn’t work at all, Dobson makes it clear that he sees the two identical (1):
The chart on page 99 will illustrate this contrasting job satisfaction by men and women. Obviously the point of greatest danger occurs in the late thirties and forties, when the wife is most dissatisfied with her assignment and the husband is most enthralled with his. That combination is built for trouble, especially if the man feels no responsibility to help meet his wife’s needs and longings.
As was talked about before, Dobson feels the husband is wholly responsible for “listening” (submitting) to the wife and deal with all the wife’s emotions, wants, desires, and so on. By submitting to his wife faithfully, the husband is supposed to make his wife feel loved. This is not inconsistent with what others have expressed about Marriage 2.0. Evidently, satisfying every desire of his wife is what “stepping up and leading your family” means to Dobson.
Dobson then proceeds to tell us how women will cope in the “absence of strong and loving support from husbands” (1). To summarize those, which Dobson deems as non-exclusive, meaning a woman can take any or all of these actions (2, 3):
1. Go to work outside the home.
2. Be angry at men and society (e.g. hatred of men), adopting feminism.
4. Have an affair.
5. Take up alcohol and drugs. (this was/is common enough for the Youtube song I linked to get written, I suppose?)
6. Attempt suicide. This is Dobson’s subsequent (repugnant and disgusting) example (3, 4) to drive the point home. Dobson painted the husband at fault for his wife’s attempted suicide because he didn’t make her feel loved enough.
7. Abdicate her responsibilities or run away.
8. Get a divorce. As Dobson writes (3): “Today, more than ever, this final alternative looms as the accepted method of coping with marital frustration.”
Instead of addressing the hardwired sin nature of women, like her rebellion before God in refusing to submit to her husband, the husband passing her fitness tests, dealing with his wife for her purposeful discontentment and creation of drama, admonishing women to find contentment in their own lives before God as well as admonishing them that men aren’t mind-readers, and so on, Dobson fails to see any contributing behavior of these women in doing what they have done, and places the blame of all of these things squarely at the feet of the husbands. “Step up and lead your family by submitting to your wife and making her feel loved.” is instead the order of the day with Marriage 2.0.
Dobson also does everything short of screaming “Do it! Do it!” when it comes to the topic of frivolous divorce for the wife’s “marital frustration”. The culture might not have allowed the free avocation of frivolous divorce in 1980, he definitely is paving the way for the common acceptance of divorce within the church.
Seeing this line of thinking expressed in this book explains a whole lot, now that I’ve worked my way through it in the deeper way that is required of blog posts. It’s not anything that I haven’t already picked up on reading countless manosphere sites, but to see it expressed in print (and back in 1980 no less!) in this way is almost incredible since it depicts a number of the more far out-there things that would almost be absurdity if there wasn’t numerous proofs floating about that people actually think this way. While Dobson has plenty of adversarial words for the feminists (or “women’s liberation movement” as he puts it), it’s especially interesting to see Dobson’s own feminism depicted in black and white. It is almost a perfect illustration of the blindness that the traditional feminists have to the fact that they ARE feminists. Especially to see the dynamic of Marriage 2.0 expressed repeatedly in this chapter, outside of manosphere posts was particularly interesting.
(There are 2 or 3 more of these left, which may or may not have anything to do with marriage. Be sure to check the comments here, as a lot of those are good for this text too.)
(1)“Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives” by Dr. James C. Dobson p 98. (2) ibid page 99. (3) ibid page 100. (4) ibid page 101.