My business is used to be focused on the wedding industry, and thus I’ve primarily been blogging about this niche. However, I’ve found myself organically being drawn towards material more centred around that which comes after the wedding: marriage. And parenting too actually, which may come before or after the ceremony.

I recently wrote a guest post about some issues my husband and I encountered when our daughter was born, which you can read about here. The website I guested for, To Love, Honor and Vacuum, is religious; Christian to be precise. I’m proud of the piece I wrote and everything it stands for. And I am proud to have guest posted for this particular site.

The fact that it’s a religious platform did not feature in my decision to write for them; as far as I was (and still am) concerned, that’s a part of their identity – but not their only identity.

The website is also a location for a community to foster a network, within which to communicate and champion one another.

That’s a positive and healthy ethos to be involved with and, as I mentioned, I’m proud to have posted there and shared my story. I’m confident in the resolution my husband and I found and, having received lovely, positive feedback relaying similar experiences, I also feel validated in my approach and stance.

 

Negative Feedback

Unfortunately, I also received comments of a different nature.

I appreciate that writing in the public domain not only opens one up to both positive and negative views, but actually invites opinion; after all, the successful writer sets out to evoke strong feelings in the reader.

However, I’ve been somewhat shocked by the reaction to what, at the time of crafting and seeing it published, I’d believed was a relatively innocuous post. It’s been a steep learning curve – and one that I feel is worthy of discussion.

It’s the year 2015. I was of the impression the developed world had come a long way, even if only in the last thirty or so years. Whereas it was once acceptable – expected even – that there were gender-specific roles, I thought this narrow-mindedness had all but ended. (Having said that, men and women have different strengths, and I completely advocate the right to state such a fact without the fear of being labelled sexist. That’s simple good sense.)

 

A History of Women’s Rights

In 1910, women were allowed to take exams to become chartered accountants. In 1928, women got the (full) vote (as opposed to women over 30 – with other conditions attached – in 1918). In 1970, an Equal Pay Act was passed.

And in 2015, I feel the need to remind one or two of the realities of family life in the twenty-first century.

I’ve never particularly identified as a feminist. I’ve not not either; but I’ve never felt the need to speak up – because I’ve never personally encountered offensive sexism. Until, that is, I wrote this blog post and prompted a shocking backlash from some of the very people I’d expected to be onside – other women in similar positions! This is sad and disheartening.

 

Assumptions and Judgements

A substantial part of the issue, I surmise, is that I attempted to retain a degree of privacy whilst writing the post in question: I left out a few personal details that I felt added little to the points I was making. Is it this which resulted in some very judgemental remarks about me and my marriage?

Had I included further details about our daughter’s frailty when she was born and the fact that we spent time in hospital after her birth, or the fact that I suffered from anxiety, would I have faced such harsh judgement?

 

Our Reality

Following what we felt confident would be a routine scan, it so happens that due to concerns over how our baby was growing, we were given twelve hours notice of the intention to induce her birth sixteen days early. When she arrived weighing 5lb 4oz those concerns were validated. Less than 24 hours after returning home and due to serious dehydration, she was readmitted to hospital and force-fed with a nasogastric tube for several days, which probably saved her life.

Babies come into this world facing far worse and I in no way undermine that fact. But no matter how simple or effective the treatment, when your tiny newborn is unwell, it’s a scary place to be. Both of our mothers were unable to visit us (his was out of the country, mine was ill) which didn’t help, and we were first time parents.

In hindsight I can see that I was vulnerable to PNA and I can also understand why my husband was lacking in confidence when handling his tiny daughter.

When I discussed the issues addressed in my guest post with my husband, despite feeling somewhat resentful because I was not coping well, my overriding concern was that he was not forging a bond with his daughter. Rather than thinking he was simply lazy (though I wondered if this were part of the issue), I worried that he was not interested in his baby – a far greater problem.

 

Initial Reaction

I accept that some of what was said about the piece I wrote is partly, if not wholly, influenced by the faith of the readers in question. When I initially responded to one of the comments, such was my answer that I left no room for conflict – I was not putting myself up for a fight.

It transpired, however, that I’d inadvertently invited the one battle I had no hope of winning and no desire of contending: God’s word. I decided it was time to bow out and maintain a dignified silence.

I answered, initially, with what I hoped were very diplomatic and unprejudiced words, designed to temper the argument. Sheila Gregoire, whose blog I was guesting on, was also moved to get involved, and I’m grateful to her for defending my post and my honour.

I’ve mulled over the wisdom of addressing the comments and slurs on my character in a new post, but my mind was made up, in part, when I became aware of the fact that Sheila was also compelled to respond properly. In fact, she has written a mini series as a result of some of those comments; you can find her latest offering here.

 

My Final Word

When I became aware that people closer to home also believed that I was being unfair or disrespectful towards my husband, I knew I could not ignore the issue. So I would like to clarify my position:

I am confident that while some commenters’ views may appear to be totally at odds with my values, in other cases we are quibbling over semantics.

Where ‘submit’ is used interchangeably with ‘respect’ or ‘accede’, our principles are not so different. Where it can be defined as bow, yield, or kowtow to – not so much.

I was dismayed to learn that having made huge efforts, at personal cost, to ensure my husband’s needs are met (frequenting the gym regularly and never having to get up to our daughter during the night, for example), there has still been a suggestion that I expect too much of him. I cannot understand or agree with this view – to me it is either antiquated chauvinism in a non-religious context, or, as Sheila discusses, misinterpretation in religion.

My marriage is built upon mutual respect. It may be that not all unions work in the same way, and I accept and respect that; I do not judge. What I find unacceptable is when a difference in values, and thus opinion, gives rise to anybody forcing their own beliefs upon somebody else. There is no justification for that.

I am comfortable with how my marriage operates – I wonder whether the same could be said for those who feel the need to remark upon the perceived shortcomings they attribute to somebody else’s marriage? After all, the best form of defence is attack, so they say.

Sheila’s angle is the (mis)interpretation of submission in Scripture; mine is the blind judgement of others.

I’m saddened by the ease with which people twisted my words and sentiments to demean what I had attempted to depict as a beautiful realisation and understanding reached between my husband and me.

The point of my post was to express my recognition of the fact I’d made a grave error in making assumptions about my husband and my marriage. In publishing my story, I simply hoped to help one or two others avoid making the same mistake I did.

Difference is fascinating and wonderful; respecting that difference is sublime humanity.

50 Comments

  1. becca banana Reply

    Thank you for your original article about the reality of parenting a baby together….. I could really relate!

    Thanks also for sharing your experience & how you handled some really crazy comments. Kudos to you!

  2. Thank you for sharing your healthy experience in marriage and for your honesty in opening up to your husband to ask for help when you needed it. I read your original post (since I often read Sheila’s blog) but did not comment, because what you said made sense and I agreed with you! Now I realize I probably should have said that at the time. Have a wonderful day, and again, thank you for sharing your wisdom with the rest of us.

  3. Your original post resonated loudly in this mamma’s life!!! I am a Christian and I was wholeheartedly encouraged and blessed.

    Why nasty comments always come baffles me. People can be so stupid, so harsh, and so cowardly (seemingly brave when hidden behind computers and ananaminity….). Disappointing. There are much bigger things they should get their panties in a bundle over!

  4. I am so sorry for all the negative comments you received on your guest post on To love, honor, and vacuum. I thought your post was great. I don’t usually read through comments on blog posts unless my attention is drawn to them because I think what tends to happen is that those who are argumentative or who hold the most extreme views on issues tend to be the ones who post comments the most. So, I hope you remember that there are readers like me who don’t usually comment at all and who do agree with what you say. I even pinned your guest post :). I hope you’ll forgive those poor excuses for Christians and know that those extreme views are very rare among believers.

  5. I definitely appreciated your original post on Sheila’s blog. Having run a Christian blog focused on marriage and sexuality for four years, I understand the frustration of negative commentary. But I also get to see the blog statistics, the emails, and thank yous that come months later that a guest poster doesn’t see. Please know that your reception was likely far warmer than the few errant detractors in the comments section. Blessings to you, your marriage, and your family!

  6. I wanted to say that I’m a regular reader of Sheila’s blog and really appreciated your guest post. As a mother of a young toddler, I struggle as well with knowing how to discuss issues with my husband without coming across as unpleasant. Thank you for shedding some light!

  7. My little family had a bit of a difficult beginning as well. In fact, our circumstances were very similar to yours. I commend you for recognizing your need for help. I can’t say that I was so wise. Blessings to you. I appreciated your words.

  8. Thanks for sharing your story! As a Christian myself, I am baffled by the negative feedback you received. What a needed reminder that my husband can’t read my mind. Hmmmm. Who would have thought? Blessings!

  9. I am a long time reader, sporadic commenter of Sheila’s blog. I actually like your article there a lot and found a lot of what you have to say to be things I recognized from my own experience. It’s the kind of post I’d sent on to new moms, but it was a good reminder as well now that I’m a little farther along the way and expecting # 4 in a month.

  10. I wanted to quickly let you know that I read your original post on To Love, Honour, and Vacuum. I thought it was well written and inspirational. I personally am not married yet or have any kids, but your take on marriage and how you resolved issues after the arrival of your firstborn resonated with me and my personal philosophy in regards to the strong need for clear and effective communication in marriage and that the husband and wife are meant to work as a team. I actually didn’t read the comments left on your article and was unaware of the severe backlash you had received, unfortunately, primarily from the Christian community, until Sheila wrote a follow-up post to address that issue. I wanted to let you know that I am a Christian, those negative commenters are the minority, NOT the majority, and I wholeheartedly support what you had to share in your guest post. Blessings on you, your family, and your marriage!

  11. Thank you, Kate, for both your original post on Sheila’s blog and also for addressing the judgmental comments you received. I, too, thought your resolution to your marriage issues was bang on, but did not post on the original blog. I am really sorry that you were treated to such bizarre negative feedback from people who claim to be Christians, but negate the basic principals of Christianity by their conduct. Please know that these people do NOT represent the majority of Christians. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences.

  12. I read your original post on Sheila’s blog and the follow-up she did today regarding all the comments you received. I am normally a reader only, but felt compelled to respond.

    You said above:
    I am comfortable with how my marriage operates – I wonder whether the same could be said for those who feel the need to remark upon the perceived shortcomings they attribute to somebody else’s marriage? After all, the best form of defense is attack, so they say.

    Sheila’s angle is the (mis)interpretation of submission in Scripture; mine is the blind judgement of others.

    I think you both hit it right on the head. Those of us with strong marriages and what I consider a “balanced” faith have no need to lash out in comments. I’m assuming there are many, many like me that read to gain perspective and tips on how to make a good relationship better and we have no need to comment beyond speaking to our computer monitor as we read.

    My thoughts as I read your original post were more along the lines of “Wow, I wish I had figured that out when my kids were little instead of waiting until we had the 3rd one and I had to deal with postpartum depression to ask for help.” I appreciate greatly that you are able to share with such open humility what works for you with the hope that it will benefit others.

    • Kate Reply

      Thank you, Nanette.

      I feel very lucky that we figured out what was going on before it drove us apart.

      All the best.

  13. In our 27+ years of marriage, we have found the same thing to be true–if you don’t talk about it, it won’t be resolved. It is part of the mutual respect and love that the Bible teaches.Thanks for your post.

  14. Your post isan example of the mutual love-respect taught in the Bible. Thanks for writing. I know many more Christians who have this understanding of the marriage relationship than those who don’t.

  15. Thank you for your original post on dealing with issues in marriage. It is a great example of how we should handle problems. I am sorry you have had so much backlash. I am a christian and think you have modeled mutual respect in marriage very well.

  16. I read Sheila’s blog regularly. I saw your guest post and thought it was perfectly reasonable. It seems like you had really good conflict resolution skills and a desire to do what is best for your husband and baby. In fact, I assumed you were a Christian trying her best to be her husbands helpmeet (or submit to his leadership). You can’t help your husband if you’re burned out and/ resentful.

    I’m sorry those people behaved so awefully to you. I didn’t think your post was inflammatory at all. I was pretty confused by their extreme responses.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  17. Kate Reply

    I hope this goes without saying, but I would like to clarify my position with regards to all religions:
    I believe that the negative comments on my post are remarkable in the truest sense of the word – they are worthy of remark precisely because they are atypical. I have never thought the comments in question are representative of Christianity; but all the same, it is wonderful to receive such positive feedback.

    I would like to thank Sheila and all of the above commenters for their lovely words. I really appreciate the support I have received for my posts so far.

    I am glad to have instigated some fascinating discussions, and I will endeavour to continue to do so in future posts! I hope to see some of you back here!

  18. I read your post over at Sheila’s blog last week and greatly appreciated it. Thanks for posting it; the wisdom is really helpful for young married and parents-to-be!

  19. The fact the you recognized the need for communication is great! I think you did the right thing and your child will reep the rewards of both parents! Carry on! =)

  20. Hi! I’m one of Sheila’s regular readers, and just wanted to let you know we aren’t all that crazy. I’m sorry you had to go through that.
    I recently had a similar (though on much smaller scale) experience when I voiced an opinion on FB. A group of fellow mothers got very mad at me.
    Allow me to share some good insight I got. I am also taking college classes. This happens to be at a Christian college. A friend and I were meeting with the professor to go over some stuff and when he came in I was telling her my troubles with this group of Christian women. The professor had some great insight. For one it was good for me to know, that this Christian man agreed with my more “liberal” point of view instead of calling it un-Biblical as those women had. He also pointed out that their strong criticism about my views ,said more about regrets in their own life, then with how I’m living mine. He also reminded me of basic psychology and how it easier to find someone else to do something stupid with and gang up on me (kind of like teens and peer-pressure).
    I’ve realized its easy for people to get brave and critical on-line about someone else’s life. Maybe it helps them not to deal with their own dysfunction. I hope you don’t let this discourage you from writing and blessing others by sharing your experiences.

  21. I am a regular reader of Shiela’s blog but do not read the comments sections. I’m afraid I’m one of those ever-faithful but ever-silent blog readers of the blogs I follow!

    I was encouraged by your guest post and have experienced much the same lesson in my own marriage about learning how to communicate with my husband.
    However, upon learning how you were treated as a guest poster in the comments section by her post today, I was outraged, shocked, and grieved. As a Christian I feel what you experienced has defamed the very Jesus I worship and have come to love so greatly because of His great and sacrificial love for me. And I am angry that women have chosen or been deceived into twisting His Word into saying something it simply doesn’t.

    Thank you for opening up your life as an encouragement to others.

  22. Ashley Easter Reply

    I am SO sorry for the backlash you got on that post. I echo Sheila’s thoughts… We are not all like that.

    This is how my husband and I do marriage. It sounds very similar to your marriage style.

    Much love to you and I apologize for the comments you received.

    http://www.ashleyeaster.com/blog/weareincharge

  23. Husband & Wife In Question Reply

    First, I want to state that we were 2/3rds of the commentors you are referencing. Second, we want to apolagize to you in the way it came across. Our differences are with Sheila and not with you. If you are not a christian and are not teaching God’s Word then we have no problem at all with what you shared. However, please understand that is not the way it was presented at a website (Sheila’s) which is about teaching how marriage should take place in a christian marriage.

    As christians we have no problem with a wife asking a husband for help and we certianly think a father should be deeply involved in raising his children. We do not beleive though that God’s Word teaches a wife has the authority to tell her husband how their marriage and parenting is going to play out. Share her hopes and feelings, most certianly. Ask for help, definetly. But not tell him or order him. It goes against scripture.

    So please understand our disagreement was not with you but with Sheila whose teaching deals almost exclusively anymore with teaching wives to take the authority position in their marriages and not teaching wives the scripture that pertains to them in the Bible while yet holding husbands to the teaching that pertains to them. In other words, everyday Sheila tries to What I find unacceptable is when a difference in values, and thus opinion, gives rise to anybody forcing their own beliefs upon somebody else. There is no justification for that. Or in other words she forces values and opinions on christian men/husbands through her teaching- using God’s Word as her weapon but only applying it to men.

    In other words you stepped into a long running battle that unfortunately is filled with hard feelings on both sides. We are sorry you got stuck in the middle and it would have been handled much differently had we known that you were not a christian.

    I know this is not a flattering comment in regards to Sheila but I ask you to do two things before you make judgement.

    Review her last year (or three years of posts). Do a count on how many address women treating their husbands better or addressing what we as christians would call women’s own sins? Now count how many are addressing men’s sins. You’ll find that somewhere around 80-90% address men’s sins and yet she is speaking to women everyday. The basic theme of her blog is not how to be a better wife or even how to have a better marriage, it is simply about taking control of your husband. If that is not the case, why the vast difference in the number of posts? Are men worse then women? Are men causing more marriage problems than women?

    We do not expect someone who does not share our faith to agree with what the Bible says but even people who do not share the same beliefs can agree that the only person you can change is yourself. If you are speaking to the same group everyday, why are you constantly teaching about the sins of the other?

    Respectfully and wishing you & your husband the best.

    • Kate Reply

      I was unable to approve your comment immediately – as a mark of respect, I first sought Sheila’s blessing to publish it. I would have liked to respond sooner, unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to do so before now.

      Thank you for your apology, it is appreciated. However, I do have several points to make in response.

      If you take such offence to Sheila’s posts and viewpoints, it strikes me as odd that even after three years you still take the time to read her blog. I am not trying to be inflammatory, but I honestly feel that no good will come from this. You acknowledge that you understand the general tone of Sheila’s blog, and you are clear that you disagree with it; surely it will simply frustrate you if you don’t react, or potentially upset others if you make provocative comments? Of course, it is your prerogative to read anything you wish; personally I would prefer to use my time in a more positive and constructive way.

      On a personal level, I feel it is necessary to correct you regarding your comment about telling and ordering one’s (my) husband as to how their (my) marriage will work. Whilst I think I understand your sentiment, I can assure you, that is absolutely not how my marriage operates. I respect my husband completely – but only in reaction to, and because of, his mutual respect for me. (I appreciate that this is immaterial and off-point, however, it is important to me that our marriage is portrayed correctly. It’s because I respect my husband that I want people to know that I treat him with dignity; I cannot comfortably allow people to believe that I treat him in the dismissive way you suggest.)

      Whilst I do not wish to take up the argument you have with Sheila, I will simply say this:
      I do not have time to devote to reviewing posts going back three years. However, the little dealings I have had with Sheila represent her as a tolerant lady, one who is respectful of others’ views, and interested in healthy and respectful debate. I have found her welcoming, in spite of my religious inclination. (I think that is as it should be, but not all are so broad-minded.)

      I agree that the only person one can change is oneself, and in so doing, one may alter another’s reaction to their new behaviour.

      **ADDENDUM**
      Sheila tweeted a link to a blog post of hers this week, dating back to 2013. It goes into more detail about being able to change oneself but not others; it also challenges your assertion that Sheila never calls women out on their behaviour in marriage.

      It is exactly the post required to redress the balance that you suggest is missing – and it was written long before this debate. Here is the link if you would like to read it:
      http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/02/7-thoughts-that-will-change-your-marriage/?utm_content=buffere0001&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
      **ADDENDUM**

      My final word is thus:
      I said ‘The fact that it is a religious platform did not feature in my decision to write for them; as far as I was (and still am) concerned, that is a part of their identity – but not their only identity.
      The website is also a location for a community to foster a network, within which to communicate and champion one another.
      That is a positive and healthy ethos to be involved with’ and I stand by that. I think it is sad that there is a degree of segregation between religions, and apparently, also between those of faith and those not. I refuse to be complicit in it. (Again, slightly off topic – this is in reference to a different comment made regarding my post, by somebody else.)

      As far as I am concerned, there is room for us all to have differing beliefs and values, it’s what keeps the world interesting. We should be accepting and not force our opinions and views on others. However, extremism is always undesirable; moderation and tolerance make for a far healthier society.

      In a purely hypothetical situation, if one takes Scripture out of context, but does so with the best of intentions, is that so wrong? If the result is that they and their family live a better life for doing so, is it worth arguing over semantics? When discussing interpretation, there can never be a right and wrong; by its very definition, there will always be varying ideas about intent.

      I don’t purport to be educated in this area, so by all means correct me if I have this wrong:
      My (admittedly very limited) understanding of Christianity, is that God would always intend for peace to prevail. Surely that is something upon which everybody, no matter their religious persuasion, can agree upon?

      • Husband & Wife In Question Reply

        Kate,
        Thank you for your reply. Because you asked a few questions of me I will give you answers to those questions.

        First, why do I read Sheila’s website and comment even though it frustrates me? I will answer that I know of at least three marriages that were healthy marriages, not perfect as none of our marriages are, but very healthy and happy. However, within several months of wives reading Sheila’s blog their husbands began walking into “a war zone” each night as my wife’s friend put it when they walked through the door. Two of the wives eventually realized what the cause was and stopped reading, the third has not although the women around her have. On a personal level that is why- because real people are being effected.

        I do not think Sheila is a bad person. She’s very talented. She’s obviously done a great job raising her daughters. I think I’ll see her in heaven. I don’t wish her ill will.

        I do believe her teaching is very dangerous and harmful though. I’m sure it seems sound (becaue it aligns with the world’s wisdom) but it does not align with the Bible (the words are there for anyone to read but the doctrine of the church for 2000 years is not in agreement with Sheila). Those few marriages I mentioned, are only the ones I have interacted with, are multiplied out in the thousands across the world and it does marriages, families and the church much harm.

        And this is the part where all I can say is that in our faith, we are instructed to hold fast to sound doctrine and call out false doctrine and teachers. What I did is no different that what Sheila did in her post where she called out us and another person that commented (and also a christian author and allowed another christian blogger to be called out in her comments). In other words, Sheila’s tolerance stops only when you are in agreement with her theologically or a woman. In other words Sheila says, do as I say not as I do. Allow me to call out things I think are wrong and name names but don’t ever do it to me or those who agree with me. Her calling out christians is for the the good of christianity and she is an ambassador for Christ but when others do it we are shameful. She is welcome to do as she threatened and give out my email address. She approved each comment personally and had a chance to respond to each comment a courtesy she did not allow us or many. I’ve had many disagreements with Sheila but have never threatened her nor have I misrepresented her or her beliefs. I stated what is fact and I even told you where you could check for yourself- her own words.

        While I understand what you say about your beliefs and worldview, understand our faith does not allow us to see things the same way. Our God is a God who loved us so much that He died for us but He is still a God who ultimately will judge all of human kind and the majority who have ever lived in the lake of fire because they chose to not believe and walk with Him. That saddens Him (and us). He is a God of peace but probably not how you define peace. He is both the fullness of love and righteousness. Peace ultimately, is aligning yourself with God and His Truth if God truly exists.

        Finally, I want to thank you for your gracious comment. You seem to have a beautiful family- congratulations. We are deeply sorry for hurting your feelings and wish you the best. Thanks again for your graciousness-

        • Kate Reply

          You articulate your points well. However, I cannot agree with an individual point you make, neither can I ever share your values. I say so respectfully – we are lucky enough to live in a world where we are each entitled to our own beliefs.

          I believe you that in your friends cases, their changed behaviours caused more problems in their marriages. What I am not in a position to do, is draw any conclusions from that. It may be that what you say is correct; or it may be that the women you mention are living in a way that I would personally find objectionable, and that their husbands did not appreciate having their authority questioned. I can’t possibly know for certain; with respect, I’m not sure you can either. None of us ever really know what goes on behind closed doors.

          I think it is important to take a step back and look at the overwhelming evidence. And it seems to me that the majority of people, both readers of Sheila’s blog and non-readers, seem to have similar principles to myself – and happy marriages for it.

          With reference to Sheila’s teaching, I really can’t get too involved. From what I see, there is a fundamental difference in your beliefs, based upon your own interpretations of Scripture; and therefore it is something you will never agree on. I cannot possibly presume to know which of you is correct, but I do feel that a happier, more peaceful life (in the context of the dictionary definition) is desirable.

          In the same way that you feel Sheila’s teaching is harmful, it is clear that she feels your interpretation is dangerous. You are both attempting to achieve the same goal, but with those fundamentally different beliefs, you will always be at odds.

          We are all capable of tolerance – until our own personal line is crossed.

          What you state as fact, I bring back to interpretation, whether it be in relation to the Bible or Sheila’s blog. (Please forgive me if that sentence is clumsy and appears sacrilegious; I am not comparing the two, I am stating that they are both equally open to interpretation.)

          The implication as to why you read Sheila’s blog is that you are on a crusade to prove that she is wrong. Sheila has a huge following, so no matter how misguided you feel she is, I think it unwise to pursue your campaign in this way. Again, that is your prerogative.

          I am now bowing out. This is not a religious blog and I never intended to be drawn into such controversy. I hope I have not caused offence to anybody and I wish you the best.

          • Husband & Wife In Question

            Kate,
            You are very gracious and I’m sorry you were put in this position. Our intent was not make you judge, but to present ideas that were not being presented accurately. Dozens of comments have been sent in saying people who believe as we do do not believe that men should treat women disrespectfully or destructively (her words), but they are never published. I continue because I have had many women tell me that over time or certain comments that I have made helped them see the light of what is actually in the teaching. We have been a position that many hundreds of couples have told us exactly what goes on beyond close doors and in their heads and hearts.

            Sheila’s teachings, the world resolution techniques and boundaries, will get you a safe and operable marriage- possibly even a happy one if both people are put together and making the effort. However, God’s way of marriage transforms lives, families and churches. God’s way of marriage is not safe. It i a husband and a wife giving their absolute all to each other (in different ways because men and women are different both in what they can give and what they want to receive) in love and service to one another. All based on God’s Word that does not change with age, emotion or circumstance.

            Most people alive today have never seen that kind of marriage, let alone lived in one as progressive and feminist ideas have torn our marriages, families and churches apart. So as much as I admire the class and grace you show and as talented as Sheila is, you are calling a 6 a 10, because you can’t envision there is anything beyond a 6. And quite frankly 6’s don’t transform lives so most never get to a 6- and our families, churches and communities there is evidence of this everywhere.

            Thank you again and the best to you & your family-

          • Kate

            I said I was bowing out, and I am. However, since your last comment was approved automatically, I feel I must respond, very briefly, in defence of any non-religious readers, or those Christians who do not share your views.

            Whilst you are mostly articulate, you lack eloquence or tact. Whether or not it is intended to be so, the latter part of your comment is incredibly patronising.

            I have now altered my policy and any further comments you make must be approved. Please respect, as I have already mentioned, that this is not a religious blog and it is inappropriate for this thread to continue.

            Thank you for your interest and your input.

    • Since ‘your differences are with Shelia, not with Kate’ your continued argumentation is in violation of Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”

      In addition your admitted and continued conflict with Shelia is in violation of Romans 12:18 “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”

      Because you were clear to say, that you do not ‘believe that God’s Word teaches a wife has the authority to tell her husband how their marriage and parenting is going to play out’ or ‘order him’ — I feel the need to add that Christians, as a whole do not believe that God’s word teaches that ANYONE has the right to dictate to their spouse. Mutual respect in marriage is normal, as God’s Word says in…

      – Philippians 2:3 “In humility count others more significant than yourselves”
      – Ephesians 5:21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
      – Ephesians 5:33 “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
      – 1 Peter 3:7″Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor.”

      Kate did not advise disrespect or a seizure of any undue ‘authority’. She advised spoken words and personal choices that rightfully belonged to her. She did not ‘go against scripture’.

      Neither does Shelia ‘ teach wives to take the authority position in their marriages’ — she encourages them to make personal choices that rightfully belong to them in order to peruse health in their marriages.

      You say Shelia is “not teaching wives the scripture that pertains to them in the Bible while yet holding husbands to the teaching that pertains to them.” I would like to inform you that there are approximately 23,000 verses in the Bible. Of those, about 50 verses limit their teaching to one gender or the other, which is 0.2% (one fifth of one percent) of all Biblical content. I fail to see how Shelia’s Bible teaching is unbalanced in the way you claim, even if your interpretation of the 4-ish female submission passages is correct. I think she is teaching on them, she just does not think they forbid what you think they forbid.

      Therefore your accusation that Shelia “forces values and opinions on christian men/husbands through her teaching- using God’s Word as her weapon but only applying it to men.” is in keeping with 2 Corinthians 12:20 “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.” Shelia clearly only prints words, and forces nothing. People retain freedom to read, or not, to agree or disagree.

      How to deal with the sins of others is a very Biblical topic, and the Bible’s teaching on how to approach those situations applies to both genders. Married women are not free to only obey 0.2% of the Bible that talks to them as wives. They must also be taught to obey the ordinary instructions to the whole community of Christ. Obedience to those passages is not “controlling” it is normal Christian behaviour. Avoiding confrontation of men’s sin (or enabling it) would be a women’s sin, and poisonous to marriage — which Shelia helps women avoid.

      (These instructions are in Matthew 18, with further clarification and application regarding the duty to rebuke one another in 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. For example Galatians 6:20 “If anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.”)

  24. Kate, I am so sorry about those awful comments you received. As I read through them, I was thoroughly embarrassed. My own blog isn’t very big right now – but stuff like this makes me dread having more readers. I wonder what they’d say if they knew my hubby does the laundry, cooks, cleans, vacuums, mops…and more. And we have a wonderful marriage going on 17 years – I think we must be doing something right!
    I am just so very sorry about those horrible comments. You’ve handled it quite admirably here. And your original post was great. I appreciate you sharing your heart there – and here.

  25. Thank you for both posts. They both were very touching to me. Our first baby was born with half a heart. My husband had to return back to work before our son was released from the hospital. I work, too, in fact it was my job that the insurance was on, but I still had maternity leave. When we came home, he had a feeding tube and medications. We were so scared and overwhelmed. Our niece moved in and became our nanny, our fragile child couldn’t go to daycare until after his third open heart surgery, right before his third birthday. It was so hard to focus on the needs of us, as a couple, when our child needed so much of us. When he turned five, we welcomed his brother. The parenting differences was huge. My husband stays at home now and watches our toddler and watches our oldest after school. Both of us had suffered bouts of PTSD. There were so many things we struggled with over the years. We appear to look strong and healthy as a family. Emotionally, we still struggle. We sit down and actually ask- how are you emotionally. I’m so glad you talked it over and expressed your needs. That’s exactly what needs to happen for a stronger marriage to occur. Hugs to you!

    • Hi Joy! It’s Sheila here. I just had to reply: I’m assuming you’re one of my readers? Did you know that I had a son with the same thing as your baby? I’m assuming you’re talking about hypoplastic left heart.

      My little Christopher passed away 19 years ago, but he’s still near and dear to us. I just didn’t know if you were aware that you and I share that in common!

      I’m so glad that your little boy made it through his surgeries. That’s so wonderful! But I know what the fear is like.

      • Kate Reply

        So very sad to hear of your tragic loss, Sheila.

        Thanks for stopping by to share. All the best to you and yours.

    • Kate Reply

      Thank you, Joy, and I am sorry to hear of your difficult circumstances and traumatic experience.

      All the best to you and your family.

  26. I loved your post on To Love, Honor, and Vacuum! I am well past the new mother stage, but I remember those often overwhelming times. We also share the experience of having a fragile firstborn. For us, her hospital stay was so long that my husband learned to hold her, change diapers and soothe her in the NICU, so he was pretty confident in the basics. Even so, we arrived home with her and literally said to each other, “Now what do we do?”

    I didn’t read the comments on your LH&V post until yesterday and I am sorry some women were horrible to you. I have been an evangelical Christian for a long time and I have seen this bizarre turn back to extreme views on marriage and family life.They are a small but vocal group and I am sometimes ashamed of the way they use Jesus to try to validate their hateful behavior and to excuse abusive behaviors in the home. I find that they gloss over the “submit to one another” part of the Bible passage, and that’s where the joy of a great marriage is. I think the best response to them is to go out and live an awesome life.

    • Kate Reply

      Thanks, Teresa, I appreciate that. And thank you for sharing, it’s always great to hear from somebody with similar experiences. I must say, one positive from being in hospital for us was the incredible support – it sounds as though you found the same.

      All the best.

  27. As a regular reader of Sheila’s who happened to catch the beginning of the crazy train of comments I felt I just had to come leave you a little note. I so appreciated your article and the principles you described resonate so closely with those I’ve grown up with I was surprised to realize that you were NOT coming from the same religious background as myself. I was terribly disappointed to read what transpired after I had stopped following (I am a mom of two babies, 14 months & 4 weeks so I’ve been a bit busy lately!). Please know how much I enjoyed and was encouraged by your article as I’ve had some similar feelings since our second baby arrived as far as needing to ask for help. We did not have nearly the same traumatic start but in my own way I’ve felt completely overwhelmed and needed extra from the hubby. Your post encouraged me to do the right thing and ask for it. I am subscribing to your blog because I love your style and want to continue to read more from you! Thanks again for sharing your heart and I’m so sorry for the negative experience you had.

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Megan,

      Thanks so much for your feedback and positive words! I love to hear when somebody enjoys my posts, particularly when something I say resonates.

      I look forward to seeing you back here.

      Take care.

  28. Ngina Otiende Reply

    I loved your post on Sheila’s blog. I appreciated how you worked through your challenges because these are the very things I too have learned the hard ways. I felt like “hey lookey here, I am not alone!” lol. Thank you for being vulnerable and open and wanting to help and encourage other wives who might have similar struggles. I am a long time reader of Sheila’s blog and I love what she has to say about marriage. Many blessings to you and your marriage!

  29. I don’t often read the comments on blogs I follow due to the limitations of Feedly. I did, however, see Shelia’s latest post on the comments you recieved and wanted to come over and offer some positive words. I, too, went through a period of resentment with my husband after our second was born. I didn’t realize until he was about 5 months old that I was suffering from PPD. We had a great series of talks and were able to go from distancing ourselves from each other to coming together. I do believe in Biblical submission to my husband in the sense that God gave him strengths that I do not have. Even simply due to pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones, he has less emotional fluctuations to deal with! But I also believe that my husband and I were joined together to sharpen each other. He has made me a better and more balanced person, and I have done the same for him. He treats me with love and respect and vice versa. But, at the end of the day, I want my sons to look to him for leadership. There can only be one captain of the ship because two captains trying to sail in different directions will just end in disaster. But a good captain always listens to and resoects the voice of his first mate. And, regardless of the fact that most people who know us think I captain our ship, I’m proud to stand beside my husband as he steers in the direction we have both chosen. Totally corny analogy, I know. But it is so frustrating to see scripture skewed and people to view submission as weak. Yes, i try to have suoper on the table when he gets home from work, because I’m better at running the house and he is better at running the farm. And then I even clean it all up. And he takes care of bedtime routines and stories and snuggles with our boys until they fall asleep. Teamwork and working within our strengths. I, for one, am glad that I get to handle the house akk day instead of working in -40 weather and tossing bales and carrying calves,
    Sorry for the complete runon comment. I’m glad you and your husband are working towards a getter marriage and parenting relationship. Now I’m off to explore the rest of your blog.

  30. Kate Reply

    Thanks again to all of you lovely commenters – Sheila has some very lovely readers! I hope to have poached* some of you for myself, and look forward to talking to you more in the future!

    *I’m kidding, I don’t mind sharing.

  31. Kate, I’m very sorry you were put in this position. We are all made in Gods image, and thus all of immense value. Although, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Me, you, Sheila, all of us are in need of a Savior. I’m sorry if that is offensive, but that is a truth I cannot deny or make less offensive without denying the power of Jesus.

    Sheila made a grave error in representing you on her blog as she did. Not because of you (knowing what I know, your post was very reasonable), however her failure to disclose that you were not a believer in the Christian faith left the reader to assume that we all had the same starting point in our worldview. She failed you in implying that you were a Christian, implying by failing to inform the reader that we had different basis for our belief systems. As you stated, you were not in this for a religious debate, which is certainly understandable. However, that is the situation she put you in when she didn’t disclose that you didn’t hold her religious views.

    Again, I apologize and pray you may find peace and the Savior.

    • Kate Reply

      Sofie,

      Thanks for your comment and for providing your viewpoint.

      Sheila was unaware of my religious inclination at the time of publishing my post. So perhaps it becomes my grave error to have truly believed it would be of no consequence – certainly, in my opinion, it shouldn’t be.

      My post was not an issue for Sheila (who has said, based upon my article, she presumed me to be of Christian faith); neither has it been an issue for the vast majority of Christian readers. In fact, one has only to read through the comments prior to yours to see the overwhelming support I have received.

      You are, of course, entitled to your opinion. But given that my post was not designed to be contentious or provocative, it saddens me you feel that way.

  32. Kate –

    I want to thank you for guest posting on Sheila’s blog. I have been a follower of hers for four years probably – she’s my favorite marriage blogger. I want to apologize for how some commenters treated you. I didn’t read the comments to your post, but I did read your post and REALLY liked it. I couldn’t be the mom that I am if I didn’t have help from my husband. His strengths cover my weaknesses and vice versa. We are a team, and I think truly that team parenting is the best for kids, though your “team approach” will look different from mine or anyone else’s. We are all different.
    I didn’t know whether you were Christian or not, and really, it didn’t matter to me. No matter what (if any) faith someone is, they have a story to share and your story doesn’t have to be the same faith as mine for me to gain wisdom from it. I have gained so much from Sheila’s blog even when I disagree with her on a point or two. FYI I am Roman Catholic and much of the “submission” talk is totally foreign to me. I have encountered it on Sheila’s blog not from her, but from commenters whom I believe have a misguided view of submission (and Shelia has tried to address that – thumbs up to her). I won’t get into a big debate here, or try to evangelize to you, but I just did want to stop by and give you some “back up,” a big thank you, and a plea for you to please not look upon all Christians with a bad lens because of what you have experienced. Please keep sharing your wisdom because there are many marriages – Christian and non-Christian – who can benefit! Thank you –
    Erin

  33. Read your original article on Sheila’s blog, and her followup articles too. Just wanted to agree with Sheila that the inflammatory comments often found (on her blog and all over the internet) are often left by a LOUD minority who’s opinion is not shared by the majority. I appreciated both your posts here and on Sheila’s blog. I’m usually on of the quiet minority, myself. I generally think that those who get online just to pick fights must really need a life so they have something better to do! If they don’t like something a blogger posted they have the option to NOT READ IT! I also think people are more likely to comment when they disagree. So don’t let them get to you! They don’t speak for the majority! (And honestly, unless a blogger mentions the comments in a follow-up post, I and a lot of others never even read them, let alone comment, even if the post was fine/great/unobjectionable.) Keep up the good posting and thanks for not judging all of us (Christians/readers) by the unfortunate responses of an overactive minority.

  34. If I may comment here nine months later, oops☺️
    I know too well about commenters like the ones being discussed. It us indeed a loud minority, who come on very strong .
    I read the Word of God, but there are those who attempt to separate women/ wives from God.

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Jean,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      I’m pleased to say that the overwhelming majority of commenters were absolutely lovely. And as I hope I articulated respectfully, I appreciate this topic gives rise to high feelings, and have no desire to become embroiled in an argument that has no winner.

      If we can all be tolerant and respectful, everyone wins.

      Happy 2016!

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