The only “authority” a husband can exercise is that which his wife consciously gives him. Society’s depiction of the man ruling over the home with a fist is an utter fiction (and a vile lie, from the feminists).
In practice, she holds all the “power” in the home.
She can resist any decision simply by talking, crying, fulminating, and talking, and talking…, until he gives in.
I point to my case, where my wife knew well that my number one goal in life was the religious formation of our children, and which she couldn’t care less about. Thus she could get away with anything by parceling out my involvement with the kids.
Well, I think the saying is not exactly true. Men aren’t exactly the same in marriage as they are during courtship–it’s very likely that they during courtship they are especially eager to please, especially eager to resolve disagreements in their beloved’s favor, especially generous. Also, one typically has a lot more disposable income than when children come and a whole lot more free time. So courtship presents an unavoidably misleading picture of what married life with this person is going to be like. I know that my husband and I got much poorer from when we got married to when we had our first baby in terms of free time and disposable income.
When my husband and I were having our worst troubles when Baby Girl was a toddler, part of the problem was that instead of wanting to do nice things for me, almost any minor request required persuading him that the favor was necessary and demonstrating it in excruciating detail. This was not, needless to say, how the man I fell in love with treated me.
Courtship is very different than marriage. You typically have less disposable income, less free time, more home responsibilities, kids, more demanding jobs, etc., and it may take a while to gracefully adjust to those pressures.
I prefer the Russian saying that says, a husband is a person that used to bring you flowers, and now brings you vegetables.
YMMV, but SAHMs don’t have a lot of control over our lives. We have to accept whatever the terms of our husband’s employment is and work around it. If our husband gets a job two or three states away, we’re moving, and his job has take priority over everything else. If there’s not enough money, we have to make it work (if we’re doing our job, of course). If he says he’s busy working, then we don’t get help with the house or kids, even when we need it. If he’s bad with money, we can’t stop him.
When my husband and I were having a hard time, I literally could not leave the house by myself unless I got him to agree to take Baby Girl. It was like being in jail, but at the time, I wasn’t able to express to him how unfair it was that he could come and go at will like a free adult, but I was dependent on getting his permission to go anywhere by myself.
Also, my husband would grill me over tiny expenses, even though he makes a great income and I had been a very careful money manager. This all felt really degrading and humiliating. The stuff he did at the time (like quizzing me on whether I really needed to go to the grocery store even when I was taking Baby Girl–he thought I should only go once a week) really hurt my self-confidence at a time when I felt overwhelmed and lonely and was probably teetering on the edge of depression. If I’m not smart enough to decide when to go to the grocery store, what am I smart enough for?
Like it or not, this felt a lot like the “iron fist” that you think is mythological.
My husband has (thank goodness!) stopped doing this stuff when he realized how terrible it was, and the worst period was less than half a year, but it was that bad.
Lord knows what would have happened to my mental health, had I been a “submissive” wife in the sense that omgriley and Vonsalza use the word.
Edited to add: This low point was what caused me to start reexamining my old ideas about wifely submission and start thinking about whether those ideas actually made sense. I also realized that my bad ideas about wifely submission were part of what got me to that low point. You cannot imagine how surprised I was to find the quotes in Casti Connubii I’ve been talking about and realized that up until that point, I’d been carrying around essentially conservative Protestant notions of the wifely role. As a new convert, it never occurred to me that the Catholic theology might be rather different.
I actually try very hard not to use that word as that’s not my challenge from God. Headship is.
And I know that babies are hard; especially when self-centered westerners like me have several of them. Close together! But your husband being less than helpful in the day to day baby-grind doesn’t justify your rejection of headship. I doubt you’ll find it in Casti Connubii, anyway. And you need to be careful that you don’t sow seeds of enmity that may one day bear some ugly fruit in your marriage.
But either way, if you could leave me out of your cathartic and confirmation-seeking narrative that conflates Christian husbands fulfilling their God-given duty of leading their households with calloused wife-oppressors, I’d appreciate it.
Its not “rather different”. You just super-want it to be. It may be more nuanced, but there are plenty of papal addresses, encyclicals and so on that affirm the reality the husbands have a leadership role over the entire house.
One of the supporting documents is Casti Connubii that you seem to have rather selectively studied. Feel free to try that link I’ve twice posted. The citation is in there.
Good information! I take your point that at different times and places physical coercion by the husband has been accepted, under a guise of traditional Christianity.
However, I’m referring to normal families (Christians and otherwise) in the west, in the current and recent past.
I don’t know about America, but in Australia we have a hugely successful “domestic violence industry” which depicts the violent, domineering husband as ubiquitious. They (the industry) do it for profit, and probably for fun also, and our gullible politicians, media and public go along with it. Women take advantage of it to depict any form of anger or coercion from their partner (married or de-facto) as “domestic violence”, and they take further advantage of it when they leave him, by immediately labelling him “an abuser” and leveraging this for advantage in custody and property settlements. This is the vile lie from the feminists I am referring to.
I am aware of several well written articles supporting my case, but my favourite authority is no academic, but a remarkable woman named Erin Pizzie. She founded the first shelter for battered wives in England in 1971 and learned a lot about domestic violence there. She herself was the victim of an abusive father and mother. She saw, first hand, how her shelter was taken over by feminists in the 1970s, and how the dv industry built a whole anti-male narrative and a billion dollar industry around fake domestic violence statistics.
Erin: Yeah. All across for 40 years, they have been doing educational packages which they then sell to, whether it’s to the police or social services, and the message is always there: it’s all men, it’s all men, it’s all men.
Dean: And it’s a lie, isn’t it?
Erin: It’s a massive lie. Yes. And it’s a very, very, very—a lie worth telling because you get billions out of this. This is more about money than it is about caring for anybody.
This is no academic issue. In Australia, at least, the lies are pervasive and infecting families and relationships.
If you note – the quote by Ladislaus. He iswell acquainted with the type of men – and knows many personally. Men who treat their wives like complete garbage under pretext of wives-- having to obey their husbands. What he has witnessed is an ongoing state of abuse. Not something from the distant past.
Now as to the other quotes – Yes – they apply to our current time frame too.
Oh and those men that abuse/mistreat their wives (and their supporters)-- yea – they would consider themselves “pious/devout” Catholics.
You didn’t link the site you quoted, so I couldn’t check it out.
However, if it is radical traditionalists then it is a fringe.
As I said, my “vile lie” from the feminists is the lie that many, if not most, husbands rule the home with a fist, and that “domestic violence” by men against women and children is a first-order issue, rather than a fringe issue. This is not to belittle the victims where it does happen, but they are not the vast majority of western homes.
I said that the picture of the man ruling the home with a fist is a feminist lie. You have provided some examples from radical traditionalist sites where some form of physical discipline is accepted.
Firstly, the physical discipline (eg. “spanking”) being accepted by some is not the same as the media picture we get here, in Australia at least, of the brutal, domineering husband.
Secondly, these are radical traditionalist sites (fisheaters is rad trad, cathinfo.com is SSPX), or, at least, radical traditionalist posting as individuals.
For the third time, the feminist “lie” I was referring to is the picture of the ordinary man ruling the home with a fist. The liars are going after the middle class, not the radical Catholic traditionalists, or even the places where dv actually occurs most often. I don’t see how these quotes refute that.
The point – mistreatment of women exists. It exists within those who call themselves Catholic. What is at the core of the “authority” that they base themselves on – the husbands “headship” over the wife. Her submission/obedience.