When you think of Christianity and the metaphor of the yoke, is this the imagery that first comes to mind?
A woman married to a Command Man wears a heavier yoke than most women, but it can be a very rewarding yoke. In a way, her walk as his help meet is easier because there is never any possibility of her being in control. (Debi Pearl. All quotes from Ms. Pearl are found in the blog post linked in her name.)
This Command Man is one of the three types of men – along with Mr. Visionary and the Steady Man – that Ms. Pearl says all men fall into. Her position is that in these three types the character of God is revealed for the good of women and the world. Here’s how she describes being married to a Command Man:
- “They are known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot. Most of them do not want their wives involved in any project that prevents them from serving him.”
- “We receive very few letters from wives of Command Men. These men have less tolerance, so they will often walk off and leave their clamoring wife before she has a chance to realize that she is even close to losing her marriage.”
- “Command Man will not yield. He is not as intimate or vulnerable as are other men in sharing his personal feelings or vocation with his wife. He seems to be sufficient unto himself. It is awful being shut out. A woman married to a Command Man has to earn her place in his heart … .”
- “She is on call every minute of her day. Her man wants to know where she is, what she is doing, and why she is doing it. He corrects her without thought. For better or for worse, it is his nature to control.”
Sounds ominous. Yet she thinks not. To her, it’s a blessing:
If you are blessed to be married to a strong, forceful, bossy man, as I am, then it is very important for you learn how to make an appeal without challenging his authority. …
A woman married to a Command Man has to earn her place in his heart by proving that she will stand by her man, faithful, loyal, and obedient. When she has won his confidence, he will treasure her to the extreme.
Unwavering obedience and fealty will win his heart, she says. Only after she has earned his love will he treasure her.
What a heavy, ungodly, horrifying burden she places on people.
Laying Your Burdens Down
Jesus never asks anyone to carry a heavy burden. Instead he invites you to give up your wearying burdens and put on his yoke, that is, to give up the crushing ways of the world and find ease and rest in his ways.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30.)
When it comes to people like Ms. Pearl giving pseudo-religious instruction, Jesus calls it out:
“And you experts in the law [that is, religious teachers], woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.” (Luke 11:46.)
What would be better teaching for Ms. Pearl? She should tell men to stop trying to run their wives as if they were puppet masters making their spouses dance on a string. But in Ms. Pearls’ world women can’t tell men anything except how wonderful they are and how much they want to obey them. Anything else and a wife should expect her husband to leave her and the kids behind.
By the time she realizes that there is a serious problem, she is already a divorced mother seeking help in how to raise her children alone.
According to Ms. Pearl, it’s all the wife’s fault.
God’s Love Comes Before Your Love
Remember, this is the man Ms. Pearl admires as the Command Man, a necessary member of society that any woman would be blessed to be married to. All she needs is to earn his love by unerring loyalty and obedience to all he says and does. After all, as Ms. Pearl says, he won’t treasure her until she succeeds in pleasing him.
How different from the love of God:
We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 John 4:19-21.)
First comes God’s love, then ours. And then we are to love one another because of God’s love, not because of each others’ love. A failure to love one another like this, John says, is a failure to love God. Anyone who says God created some husbands to withhold caring for and treasuring wives until they earn it is teaching an ungodly doctrine.
One verse Ms. Pearl relies on to support her rules for wives married to a Control Man is James 3:1.
Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
She should read that verse again and apply it to herself in light of how her teaching contradicts God’s word and his love for people.
God loves you and he wants you to love one another. There is nothing to be earned, no heavy yoke to bear. Remember, as you are in relationship to one another, Jesus offers you rest rather than rules.
Rest in his love as you love one another.