A response to Kirk Cameron saying wives should ‘Follow Their Husband’s Lead’
I damn near spit out my coffee when I saw the headline on Facebook this morning.
This immediately lead me to ping my favorite badass lady friends with the link.
“Did you see this shit? What the actual fuck?!”
We joked about doing an Onion-style satire piece. We expressed our frustration with how it seems that more and more people are using The Bible as a means to oppress whole groups of people. Emotions were running high. I immediately decided it was time to brush off the ‘ol bloggin’ skills and get to writing a rebuttal.
The article is part of an interview with Kirk Cameron who’s currently in the middle of the “Love Worth Fighting For” national marriage tour. Their goal is to teach married couples about the importance of having a God-centered marriage, and the importance of fighting to keep their marriages alive.
The inflammatory quote says:
“Wives are to honor and respect and follow their husband’s lead, not to tell their husband how he ought to be a better husband,” Cameron explained. “When each person gets their part right, regardless of how their spouse is treating them, there is hope for real change in their marriage.”
However, if you read into the message of the post, what he’s trying to assert is a method that husbands and wives can follow when having crucial conversations.
They also interview his sister, Candace Cameron-Bure, who expands on how she interprets this message:
“With big picture issues such as where we live or what schools the kids attend, if he feels strongly about something and I think our family would benefit from it, I am going to share my thoughts,” she continued. “But ultimately, I trust that my husband has our family’s best interests at heart, so I wouldn’t fight him on that.”
However, she continues to make another point:
“… and when I feel strongly about something, he agrees with me. It goes both ways.”
Kirk Cameron also goes on to say:
“Thinking that you are going to win an argument, you end up losing. It’s a no-win situation,” Cameron stated. “In order for you to win, your husband or wife has to lose. When they lose, you have not built up your marriage.”
Here’s where I think the message gets convoluted. We see both Cameron’s agreeing that the husband is the head of the household, and their comments would let us to believe that husbands are the ones who should be trusted with final decisions when an argument ensues. They’re asserting that this is true, but that there also needs to be some level of mutual ground.
Can someone please walk me through how that makes any sense at all?
The real issue that couples face, and the point that I think the Cameron’s were attempting to make, but failed at, is how to have successful arguments with your partner.
This is where the sexism — the underlying message that made me and countless others blood boil upon seeing that headline — is playing against those who are trying to make a statement about ways couples can have more successful crucial conversations. The message of that headline reinforces the age-old stereotype that men are more skilled than women.
If we can take a step back and examine how utterly detrimental that message is, we can re-focus the conversation back to what the real purpose is — What are some real methods couples can use to have more successful crucial conversations?
It is unfair to think that because you’re the wife in this scenario that you ultimately have to “submit” to your husband. If you click on the notice within Facebook, you’ll see just how many Christian women are defending this message.
We need to realize that placing that burden on the husbands shoulders is just as unfair as expecting the wives to submit to a decision they may not agree with completely. This does not service either individual, or the marriage as a whole.
We need to stop viewing this as how husbands and wives should behave during crucial conversations — we need to remove the gender roles and stigma’s completely.
As you can see, once you remove these antiquated biases, when you empower each person with both responsibility and common respect, that’s when real progress can be made. Not to mention that this notion of “the roles of husbands and wives play” is irrelevant when applied to non-traditional couples, genders, and sexuality.
By focusing the conversation on just those two roles, you’re alienating everyone else that doesn’t fit that mold.
This only reinforces why creating Vaalia is so important. We need to recognize that the content people such as Kirk Cameron are focusing on is detracting from the real issue — How can you create and maintain a better relationship with the person we’ve chosen to spend our life with?
Funny enough, my goal is exactly the same as his. However, I do think the method in which he’s tackling the issue is flawed.
If you’re interested in being a part of making Vaalia a truly valuable service — one that’s all inclusive, treats each individual as an equal, and uses time-tested research and strategies to build, maintain, and nurture a more loving relationship with your partner, then visit http://vaalia.io to learn more.