STILL struggling with 'wives obey your husbands'

I posted this same topic a while back, and many people offered advice and exegesis, but I’m afraid I’m back for more. And this time, it’s personal…:o
here’s my situation - my husband has always been one who is, I would say, excessively worried. When our daughter was six months old and had the sniffles, he was certain there was a bacteria eating through her skull.
In the time I’ve known him, he has thought he has had polio, scurvy, cancer, and a broken rib cage.

So, anyway, in light of the recent earthquakes, he thinks we should do the following:

  1. Sell everything we own and spend it on rations, guns, gold and silver.
  2. He thinks we each need four guns. Currently, we have zero. That’s eight too few guns, according to him.
  3. Move up to northern Michigan. He says we need to be at least 300 miles away from any city. There are no jobs in northern Michigan, and I hate the snow.
  4. He’s already spent alot of money on ‘emergency food’. They’re like those military meals. I suggested that I just make sure we had a nice supply of things like peanut butter and soups and stuff in the cellar, but he points out that none of THOSE things say emergency anywhere on them and so they are insufficient.

Now…in light of all this, I am reading scripture.
The last time I posted this question (I wasn’t this specific), I got alot of answers along the lines of ‘Well, he is supposed to LOVE YOU!’ Yeah, I get that. And make no mistake, he does. That’s why he’s like this. Because between me and the children, is his whole heart. I am absolutely serious when I say that if anything were to happen to me and the kids, I suspect the civilized world would never see him again. I’d bet on it.
So, make no mistake, that man DOES love me. With every fiber of his being.
Another type of answer I got was ‘Well, this sounds crazy, so clearly, you wouldn’t have to obey him’, but, I have to be honest here, the scripture doesn’t say ‘Obey your husband unless he is trying to liquidate the kids’ college accounts’ It just says ‘obey’. There is no stipulation for craziness.
What I am ACTUALLY doing is just saying no. I am saying no to all of this. We’re not moving. We’re not buying guns. No, no, no. And people say that might be deflating his ego, but I think living in squalor in northern Michigan might also deflate his ego.
So, my question is - in this specific situation, how could a wife obey her husband?

As a Catholic, you shouldn’t rely on scripture alone. The Church interprets scripture for Catholics, and the obedience owed to husbands applies to such things as spiritual leadership and reasonable requests. (Husbands are supposed to sacrifice themselves for their wives and children.)

But your particular situation is even more extreme, I mean it sounds like your husband has had a break with reality. It sounds like he had a mental illness all along, and that recently he went off the deep end.

If I were you, I would seriously consider calling 911 and trying to get him forced treatment. 4 guns per family member, selling everything to buy gold rations and silver, moving in the middle of nowhere honestly sounds like a serious exacerbation of his mental illness and the man needs help.

People need not obey when it is immoral to do so. If your conscience tells you it is immoral to obey in this instance, without any specific guidelines from the Church, then you may disregard his wishes, dear. (I suppose you can guess what most sane mother’s consciences would tell them.) :slight_smile: Best of luck with that.

You need to get him to worry less about this world and focus more on the next, point out to him you are all going to die of something in under 100 years no matter what he does, it is just a question of when and what.

He needs to switch the focus of his plans from earthly survival to eternal salvation, then his instincts will make him a saintly husband and father.

Well, for starters, I’m not a Catholic, though I find myself agreeing with alot of Catholic theology, which is why I post this here. On that note, I’ve tried to read some non-scripture stuff regarding this particular passage. JPII’s letter to women was very helpful, actually. But, I guess I’m wondering, what does the church say in this type of a situation? Does the church say that if the husband is being unreasonable there is no need for me to obey? :shrug: I honeslty don’t know. And if so, on what grounds do they say that? That’s really what I’m trying to get at.
His grasp on reality has always been tenuous. I don’t think his grasp has gotten any looser, actually. This is pretty much how he’s always been, just about different things.
the reason he tells me he wants these things is because he knows, deep down, that it’s crazy. And so his sentences end with ‘That’s crazy, isn’t it?’ and I say ‘yes dear. It’s completely nuts’ and he says ‘okay’. So, he knows these are insane thoughts, and he’s not going through with them because I have told him not to, but I wonder, if I were following the teachings of the Bible, should I still be saying no?
Do you see my dilema?

Is he Catholic?

This world is not our goal, heaven is. Even if the government makes us all wear ugly clothes and live in barracks, we can still love God and serve Him.

Sounds like your husband needs some counseling.

But are his requests immoral? I don’t think they are. Ridiculous, yes, loopy, yes, extreme, yes. But I don’t think they’re immoral. You see what I’m getting at? What is the wife’s obligation to obey when her husband is just being ridiculous, not immoral, not evil, not neglectful, just plain ridiculous?

Aint that the truth!!!
And i think you’re absolutely right!
Now, how to get THAT to happen!! He’s an atheist/agnostic.
I don’t see that view changing anytime soon.
So, I pray and pray and pray for him. But, for now at least, he’s trying to protect his family from imminent danger. And let me tell you, those earthquakes in Haiti and Chile have NOT helped calm his fears!!

Unlike the others here I do not consider your husband mentally ill, at least not just from what you have told us here. There are plenty of sane people who do what he is proposing, he is just misdirected. It is prudent to plan for a disaster, but you cant live your whole life waiting for a disaster that may never come in your lifetime.

Marriages are about compromise. You can obey him in a way that at the same time redirects him to a better end.

AS far as selling everything you can compromise, point out to him you still need to live your life’s today and tomorrow, there is no need to create a survival situation before one has occurred. But to show respect him and take him seriously you are wiling to store up a years worth of food, the Mormons are a good source of information for how to do this as it is part of their religion, and convert say 5% of your savings into gold.

With the guns for example, if your husband is not a violent man, you could agree to him getting a gun but only on the condition that he is going to take up hunting and use it to put food on the table at least that way the gun will be earning its price if a disaster does not happen. Then in year or two if he agrees to use a second gun for hunting also again you could agree to that. Say for example he gets a rifle first year to hunt deer and the second to third he gets a shot gun to hunt birds. Point out to him this is all good training if he ever did need to survive using those tools, because the time to learn to hunt is now not when you need it to live or die.

Just getting him out of the house hunting will calm him down, he will have less time to think about all the bad things that can happen and at the same he will be more confident about his ability to look after his family which should make him more relaxed. If he refused that compromise then no guns.

I don’t consider myself mentally ill and I plan on my home eventually having at least three guns, they are just tools and different guns suit different purposes. The advice on guns is based on the assumption that you trust him with a firearm however, only you can know that.

As far as moving goes from a survival standpoint that is not necessarily a good idea. He needs to adapt his plans to his abilities for one, what wilderness survival skills does he have that will allow him to prosper in the country, because most people who live in cities cant last a week once the supplies they brought with them run out.

Suggest to him he looks into Urban survival, many survival experts now teach that the best chance of survival is to stay in the cities, as long as your home is adequately prepared staying there gives you a far greater chance of survival then running out to the country where you have neither knowledge, skills or resources to survive.

Explain to him that Emergency rations are just that emergency rations, they are only meant to be used short term, using them over a pro longed period will make you get sick, tinned food and long lasting foods like grains etc are much better as long as your store them right and as their expiry date comes close you can eat them and replace them with new ones so again they dont go to waste. Again the Mormons are great sources of information for this.

Another thing you an suggest to him is that if he wants to get all this stuff he should get a second job and he can buy whatever he wants out of the wage he earns at that.

Those are just suggestions you know your husband better than me, you need to judge whether he would respond positively to any of the above or not, and whether they would be a better response than just flat out refusal.

Just you thinking something unreasonable is not enough of reason to disobey otherwise you would disobey all the time.

You can flat out disobey if he is endangering the family or commanding somethign contrary to the laws of God you an also disobey him if he becomes mentally ill for obvious reasons. For things less than that discussion and compromise are best.

It sounds to me like your husband is in emotional pain. He sounds like he is having some major anxiety issues.

In regard to “obeying” him – well, I have to say I tend to think of obeying as being more “respectful” than “I will do whatever you say” kind of thing, and in this instance he is being totally unrealistic. What really jumped out at me was that the food had to say “emergency” on it. He sounds fairly obsessed with his idea that you are all in danger, that really worried me.

I think the loving thing to do would be to help him see that he is needlessly suffering through his anxieties. Medical help is readily available. Encourage him to seek it.

The Church would definitely say you don’t have to obey your husband’s insane requests. Imagine if your husband said that the children have to get tattooes of the number 83 on their backs (really big), because he thinks it will protect them from the evil smurf in the basement. Does it mean you have to obey your husband and tattoo your children? Of course not.

What your husband is proposing is even more insane than that.

The real issue here is that your husband needs professional help, has he ever been treated for anxiety/paranoia?

Nope, atheist/agnostic

I agree with those saying that a wife doesn’t need to submit if the husband is endangering the family, making decisions contrary to Catholic teaching, etc…My allegiance is to God first, then my husband. If my husband wishes to do make decisions that are not in the best interest of the family, I’m not going to submit to those decisions…nor would I submit, if he were doing immoral things, or things contrary to the faith. Above all, wives being submissive isn’t a one part invention…coupled with that Jesus tells husbands to love their wives as Christ so loved His Church. Should those two things go hand in hand, a true partnership emerges. Marriage should be a partnership…not a husband cmomanding a wife to do things against her will, and she must ‘‘obediently’’ submit. That’s not at all what Jesus meant. I think that your husband might find counseling helpful, as another poster suggested. Prayers for you both. :gopray:

Well there is the heart of his problem, he is afraid of death as to him it marks the end of everything, just one of the many evils rejection of God causes.

You need to approach this in two ways, in the short term try and make a few compromises and in the long term you should become a Catholic and then with the great graces you will receive from that you can also give the Faith to your husband. St. Monica is a good example of how wifes should deal with husbands similar to yours.

It certainly sounds like your husband may have some type of Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, or other anxiety issue. I have relatives that deal with this. You may want to seriously look at having that treated.

On a completely different note, as a Latin American historian by trade, I would have thought that the Chilean earthquake would greatly alleviate his fears. If you look at what’s happened rationally (and I don’t think he’s being quite rational), Chile was hit with one of the worst earthquakes of ALL TIME, and despite that, only 1,000 people died. Now, that is tragic (and we should pray for those people), but the casualties, all things considered, were light. Most of the deaths were from the resulting tsunami on the coast. Almost ALL modern buildings survived. The infrastructure is mostly intact. Chile will be able to recover relatively quickly from this disaster because it was so well prepared.

The shocking death toll in Haiti ONLY occurred because of the deplorable poverty and building standards. Even a standard American home is built 100 times better than most Haitian buildings. The un-reinforced concrete walls simply collapsed. American concrete has rebar running through it.

Do you even live in an earthquake or tsunami zone???

No, and isn’t that funny! I mentioned the same thing to him! We live in Michigan (Detroit, actually). We don’t get earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, heck I think there’s only one poisonous snake in the whole state! It’s so funny you ask that because I have pointed out to him that, though our freshwater lakes aren’t all THAT fresh, if there were a situation where there wasn’t any clean drinking water around, we are, uh, SURROUNDED BY FRESHWATER ON THREE SIDES. I mean, honestly, you can’t get a much more natural resource rich place than here!!
That’s a good point about Chile. I will definitely bring that up to him! I also remind him that comparisons of Detroit with Haiti aren’t entirely fair. For as abysmal as services can get here in a disaster, they are CERTAINLY LEAGUES better than Haiti!

Wow, this is all really good advice! I mean that quite honestly! Are you something of a ‘survivalist’? You are very knowledgeable. I think I’m going to propose these ideas to him. I would not be opposed to storing, well, three months worth of food. I can tell him that once we have the three months worth of food stored, we’ll see how much space that eats up in our basement and then, if we have room, add another three months worth.
I do like your gun suggestion, too! I wouldn’t be opposed to owning one. One. And, of course, since we live in Michigan, there are AMPLE opportunities for him to hone his hunting skills, if that’s what he would like to do. I think that’s a great compromise! I think, honestly, if he wants to take this ‘survivalist’ mentality seriously, he needs to also take up fishing. I’m not kidding. And you’re right. He’s never fired a gun in his life, I don’t want whether or not I eat to depend on his abililty to learn that skill in a day. If he wants to be able to hunt, he can start now. Venison stew is quite tasty. he’d be completely trustworthy with a firearm, and very safe with one, too, of that I’m sure, so that’s not the problem.
Interesting points about urban survival. I thought the same thing! I mean, here, in our house, we have everything we need. Even right now, we have probably enough food in the pantry, bottled water, candles that sort of thing to last us a couple of weeks!! And of course, we’re near hospitals, people we know, resources. Though my husband is quite the outdoors guy, I agree with you - I think after his initial supplies ran out, we’d be in trouble.
Thanks for the advice!!

Anxiety. Both durgs and counseling. Counseling was a waste of time. I agree with him. He tried several couselors, and I think he just got MORE anxious. :shrug:
The drugs he’s tried, he wasn’t too happy with, but that was years ago.
I don’t know that he would be willing to try them again. They also didn’t seem terribly effective, and the side effects made him something of a zombie. It’s possible there are newer drugs out there however, that might help him.

He is making the wrong kind of ‘preparations’.

Have him watch this:

and then do this togethers (as a family):

This will replace his ‘anxiety’ with hope and confidence.:thumbsup:

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