Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marriage is a Partnership: Addressing a Distorted Marital Practice

Yesterday I read a very disturbing blog written by a married couple who practiced something referred to as "domestic discipline". This blog apparently went viral and is now a private blog.  For many reasons, I have not returned to the blog to verify that it is no longer a public blog, nor will I post the link to that blog from A New Breed of Mom. However, I do feel compelled to write a response to such a disturbing marital practice as well as explain my opinions of how a healthy marital relationship looks.

The concept referred to as "domestic discipline," basically consists of the wife being subservient to the husband and the husband having permission to "punish" he wife by spanking her like a child, put her in the corner, ground her, etc. like she was a child. The "spanking" is really domestic violence - the husband beating the wife until her backside was black and blue. It's a disgusting practice, which only tries to glorify domestic violence. What is even more disturbing was that when I Googled "domestic discipline" one of the first sites that came up was a Christian Domestic Discipline site.

Obviously, for anyone who is Christian, beating your wife is NOT a Christian practice. Beating your wife is called domestic violence. Domestic Violence (in my own definition, click link to see Wikipedia definition) is abusive behavior towards one's spouse, significant other, or family member who resides in the same home. Domestic violence includes physical aggression, extreme verbal aggression, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and controlling behavior. In a DV relationship there is a predictable cycle of violence. There are also a variety of different types of domestic violence. On average, it takes a DV victim seven attempts before they successfully leave the relationships. Relationships involving abuse of any kind are NOT healthy, and despite what the abusive partner may say, they are not the norm.

A healthy marital relationship is a partnership in which two consenting adults vow to love and cherish each other til death do they part. The husband and wife are a team. They take care of each other. They discuss big decisions with each other and do not make a final decision until they are both in agreement. They compromise. If something is very important to one spouse, the other spouse may give in or let that spouse have his or her way. This kind of give-and-take goes both ways in a marital relationship. The married couple asks as one solidified unit, not two individuals fighting against each other. At the heart of healthy marriages is a deep, underlying friendship.

Through a marital partnership the couple relationship becomes central to the family unit - whether that family unit is a nuclear family or a stepfamily. In a two parent family, the couple is the heart of the family and makes decisions that affect the well being of everyone involved. I know that not all marriages last forever. I know that not all families are two parent families. Families come in many shapes and sizes. However, if you are married it is important to strive to make your marriage work. It is important to work towards a marital partnership. The couple's relationship is the most significant relationship model their children will experience. Let's teach our children that marriage is a partnership based upon friendship. Let's teach them that marriage is a 'safe' relationship based on mutual respect. Let's teach them how to handle conflict in a healthy manner.

I love comments. I know this could be a heated topic for some people, but I would love to know what you think are the most important ingredients in a healthy marriage?

Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships 
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
For Your Marriage


collin said...

OMG!! how can anybody tolerate this type of husband. I am really shocked to know this. I don't understand how can any person be happy in this type of relationship.

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tutus and tantrumns said...

Wow, I have never heard of 'domestic discipline' and let me say...what a crock of shit! I much prefer the team element of a marriage. What do these people think they are teaching the children? So ridicilous!

Anonymous said...

As soon as I read 'domestic discipline' I knew it was a Christian movement. There are some crazy pactices going on right now in the name of Christianity.
While my husband and I subscribe to a theory of marriage similar to your own I recognize that doesn't work for everyone. If a husband and wife find a system they agree on and it follows their particular faith, are we to judge? Is it violence if both adults are consenting?

Krista @ Not Mommy of the Year said...

I read some of the same stuff yesterday and it just made me sad. I don't understand how a woman could think that it's healthy to be treated like a child.
I don't like to be judgemental, and in a way I feel like I am being judgey, but it's just... it just made my stomach turn. I had to close out of the site because I couldn't stand to read something from a woman who thought that it was ok to be punished like a child and then basically, beaten for being "bad". I really hope there aren't many people out there who think that this is OK.

Lindsay Williams said...

Collin - It was shocking to me too, which is why I felt compelled to write this post. To me it is no different than domestic violence. I hope and pray these women realize that is not Ok treatment from their spouse and that they deserve so much better than that.

Tutus & Tantrums - Although I don't believe the couple who's blog I read had children, I certainly share the same concern about what does this teach children growing up in a family where this practice is taking place.

Kristin - I typically try to avoid being overtly judgmental, however, in this situation whether it involves two consenting adults or not(I can't imagine a woman WANTING to be beaten), I still think it is wrong. It is absolutely violence whether consenting or not.

Krista - It made me sad too. That is why I wanted to include the DV information in this article in case anyone reading this may be in such a relationship and may need some direction about where to go for help.

From Tracie said...

I think this is absolutely domestic violence. No question about it. It is highly disturbing and very sad.

You did a great job of describing very important elements to marriage. It all comes down to love and respect. In a home full of love and respect, compromise will be possible, one-ness will be possible, and a healthy relationship can be maintained.

Mama B said...

I'm torn between laughing and crying.
I laugh at the absurdity of this because I would literally SHOOT my husband if he ever even THOUGHT he needed to 'spank' me like some freakin' child.
And I want to cry at the thought of some women being raised to believe that this is acceptable and even Biblical! I could write a 3 day response on my thoughts on this but I'll refrain and just say- how ridiculous.

Jen said...

This whole things makes me actually feel sick to my stomach. I can't believe something like DD exists! I can't ever imagine feeling that it was OK for my husband to spank me or punish me like that! It's very, very sad.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I talked about this blog at length last night and did a little googling to find out more about this domestic discipline stuff. The fact that this whole thing claims to be a "Christian" belief just really disturbs me.

We both believe that mutual respect is one of the most important parts of a marriage, and I did not see any of that in the blog yesterday. This type of submission on her part does not mean that she respects her husband - to me it says that she fears him. And the beating and humilation clearly shows that he has no respect for her either. It sickens me to think about this poor girl's future.

OH, and the fact that their families know about all this only makes it worse to me. I'm pretty sure that my daddy would be doing some major damage if my husband treated me that way.

Hannah Thomas said...

Marriage takes work, commitment, etc. You don't get married to have another Daddy - I'm thinking in the sense of punishment.

Husband's can also make mistakes, and if spanking is good for her IS he allowing himself to be humiliated as well?

This does not set up healthy ways of dealing with marriage as far as mistakes made (we all do), conflict, etc. I read a story recently on another blog about this, and they linked to the blog in question. Her husband was brutal, and I was spanked as a child - my father was NEVER that hard on me! Goodness knows I made bigger mistakes than she mentioned. I personally don't understand how the man can live with himself.

If couples have a fetish - then say so clearly. That lady was struggling with how happy she was with the arrangement,and so I doubt it was a fetish for her.

Christ asked husbands to be loving, humble and meek towards their families. He didn't ask them to be the all powerful disciplinarian. The men should be ashamed of themselves. If that type of behavior was acceptable the way they describe? It would have been hinted at, or out there for all to see within the bible.

How denigrating! They have lost all common sense, logic, rational thinking, and if they stop to think LONG enough - isn't that a form of 'Lording it over'? Sigh! I mean major DAHH there!

I pray they see the deception they are living, and turn from it before it destroys what is truly intended for marriage.

Lucy said...

There's some glitch in a woman's brain if she consents to abuse. As if she somehow deserves it. Was her own father abusive? It makes you wonder...

Lindsay Williams said...

Traci - I'm with you in the DV camp... Thanks for the compliment about how I described marriage. That is how I truly feel both personally and professionally.

Bonnie - Reading that blog made be feel a way I can't even describe.

Jen - That seems to be the general consensus. Thanks for commenting!

Hannah - I talked to my hubs about it last night too. I didn't go as far as to revisit the blog with him though. Just something I don't want to read again. I hate thinking that relationships like that exist. It is sad.

Hannah Thomas - This couple did not have a fetish. That is a whole different issue in my opinion. Thanks for your comment. It is sad how people take the Bible and twist the words to meet their own selfish purposes.

Mr Lonely said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carly said...

I missed all this yesterday. But I can't believe that such a thing even exists. It is definitely DV. I feel sorry for the women that think that this is acceptable treatment from their spouse.

Busy Working Mama said...

I had to stop reading this after the second paragraph or so. I do not abide by any violence or abuse of women. I recently read a blog where the mother stated she was raising her daughters to be "good, submissive wives" and her sons to be "masters of the house." I was like...REALLY?! In this day an age? What a disservice she was doing to all her kids. It just disgusted me, maybe because I am a strong-willed, smart female and not afraid to show it. I intend to encourage strong traits in my daughter, not work to fight them.

Lindsay Williams said...

Lucy - I totally agree that a woman who would consent to such treatment must have some severe emotional issues.

Carly - I don't know how you missed it! Everyone was tweeting about it! Its sad that not only do they think this is acceptable treatment from their spouse, but they also view it as being Christian..

Aleksandra - Reading the actual blog about this practice yesterday made my stomach churn. This article went on to say what my opinion is of a healthy marriage.

~*Jess*~ said...

Yeah that blog was extremely disturbing.

I think at the end of the day you really have to behave in a manner you're comfortable having your children practice. Yelling isn't ok and if they see you and your spouse yelling at each other on a regular basis, that will become their idea of normal.

I think it's important to have communication, laughter, love. And that will make you better parents for your kids and better spouses to each other.

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