True Womanhood – Get Abused, Win A Crown!

In Women by Caris Adel30 Comments

Photo Credit: Courtney Carmody


TRIGGER WARNING!!!  ABUSE, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, and everything ANTI-GOD!!! Seriously.  FOR THE LOVE!!!!!!!  Oh, also, this post is pretty long.  Fair warning.  I couldn’t not put any of these quotes in.  Because holy hell.  You need to read this.


The gospel informed woman, the younger women are to love their husbands.  They are to value marriage, they are to be covenant keepers, even when it’s hard.  When it hurts.  When it seems so difficult.  But in the culture, in the climate where the gospel does not inform the way we live, women will resent their husbands, they will dishonor them, neglect them, leave them, and this is where we have the divorce culture, disposable marriages.”

Because staying married no.matter.what is the golden cow.  God forbid a woman have a divorce certificate and no bruises.

I don’t feel adequate to talk about this topic because I have no experience with domestic violence, or any violence against women for that matter.  But people need to know that this is in a well-known bible study, being taught by fairly well-known Christian women.  People need to know what their churches are teaching if they use this study.

Let’s get things started with Mary Kassian’s love for the word amenability:

I think there is a softness about womanhood, a receptivity about womanhood that is in a woman’s spirit long before she gets married.  It’s in who God created us to be.  And amenability…yes-ability…is agreeability….you’re leadable.  You’re not stubborn like a mule.  You welcome input.  You welcome someone giving you direction….That’s really a characteristic of womanhood…it shows up in general in womanhood just by her agreeability.” 

And they list off examples where this happens in real life; in the workplace, with friends, even saying girls need to be amenable to their brothers.

So you’re telling me that all females, no matter their age or their marital status, need to be agreeable, leadable, and yesable to all males.  And if I question this, I am ‘bristling’ at God’s command.

There is no way in hell I am teaching that to my daughters.  No way in hell.

I don’t think that that means that every woman has to just be a yes woman to every man….{don’t be responsive to the wrong things} (1) So, strong caveat there, but just to have a spirit where you are wanting to engage.”  (posted for the sake of fairness, even though everything they say contradicts this, in my opinion.)

Man was created to actively and joyfully initiate and give, and the woman was created to joyfully and actively respond and receive and relate.”  This particular point has been well covered.

Women weren’t made just to be with men, to be a companion and a partner.  Oh no.  Women were created for men. Our adverse reaction to the idea that we were created for man serves to underline just how very far we’ve fallen from the original created order…..when the first bride was presented to her husband, she was undoubtedly bursting with joy to have been created for him.”


Remember, these quotes are talking about abuse in marriage:

There are no guarantees, that responding ‘God’s way’ will work.  “How you respond to this man, you must think of it as, ‘this is my response to God’……If the man is asking her to do something ungodly or is interacting with her in a way that’s very harsh and difficult – I’ve counseled women through, you exercise humility, you express your opinions, you appeal in a way that’s gentle, you pray…”

IF YOUR HUSBAND IS ABUSING YOU, YOU EXERCISE HUMILITY???  Because abuse is the time to be gentle?!?!?!

If he’s caught in a pattern of sin, thankfully Scripture’s given us recourse.  Matthew 18, once you’ve appealed to your husband, you say, I’ve seen this in you and I’m concerned for you, then you take it to your church leadership…”  (So, no civil authorities for Christian women?  And nice assumption that church leadership is always a safe place to go.)

I’m concerned for you!  Not for me, not for my safety or the safety of my children, or what this violence is teaching our children.  No, my only concern is for you.  W.T.F.

And to women who suffer in these relationships for a really long time, or have been deserted or abandoned, there’s one perspective to offer that can be helpful, and that is, our life is but a breath…it feels very long, I get that, but you have to live with the idea that one day you will stand and look at your savior face to face and you will be rewarded for what you did, not what you changed in someone else…….If you live in light of eternity, you will realize that out of his grace he’s going to give you a crown to reward you that you wear for all eternity…..This light and momentary affliction, which seems very heavy and long, is shaping and sanctifying and molding us, conforming us to God’s image….he uses even the failures and sins of others to sanctify us.  Pressure sanctifies”

Isn’t it refreshing to know that God is sovereign?” (Says the single woman!)

Oh, Nancy.  There are so many things I think about this god.  Refreshing is not one of them.  (Seriously.  ALL.THE.SWEARS)

They also talk about how we shouldn’t intimidate our husbands with our strong-will and determination.  Heaven forbid women have will or determination, especially when it comes to abusive situations.  Their commitment to marriage is so strong that being married takes precedent over being safe.

We do not submit to sin.” (2)

A non-Christian attitude is, “‘you deal with your sin before I’m going to deal with mine.’  Instead of examining our own hearts and our own sin, and looking where God wants us to change….Eve responded to the wrong thing.  We’re responders and we need to have that responsive, soft spirit.  We want to respond to the right thing. (3) And we want to be that helper that challenges our men to a higher standard of godliness.”

I get challenging our spouses to be more Christ-like.  But that cuts both ways.  Encouraging one another in the faith is not a patriarchal trait.  It is not even a marital trait.  It is a characteristic of being in the Church.  But when you are talking about abuse, that kind of challenge goes out the window.  I get covenant, and not giving up on marriage just because it’s hard or because a spouse is flawed.  I get that.

But when you are in an abusive situation, the parameters change.  At that point, it is not the woman’s job to encourage her husband to be godly!  And if she wants to remain in the marriage, let’s at least talk about separation, boundaries, safety!  Because sometimes redemption will look like a restored marriage.  But sometimes redemption will look like divorce.

(Also, when you are being abused, you need to look at your own sin??  ok then…)

And this is the third time they’ve talked about responding to the wrong thing.  Am I the only one who infers that they seem to think being abused is a choice?  As if when you are raped, you have the chance to say, no, I’m not going to respond to this?  No, this is sin and I’m not going to submit to it?  What the hell does that even mean?

In comparing physical abuse in marriage to Abigail and David, they quote 1 Sam 25 and say:She humbles herself before him, and then she calls him to a higher standard.”  A woman who behaves like this is not “a woman just cowering in fear, in being overcome by evil, but it’s a woman overcoming evil with good.”  They acknowledge this way of marital life is only for Christian marriages.  And for non-Christians, they can appeal to the civil authorities.  Because staying in an abusive situation screams Jesus!?  In what circle of hell does being humble to an abuser become the goal?

It grieves me every time I hear criticism that this position is making allowances for women to be abused.  That if you say I want every bit of your intelligence, submission, as unto the Lord, in order to show this redemptive picture of the gospel in marriage, is allowing for abuse, no way.  No it doesn’t.  Because the Lord doesn’t either….in no way does it condone abuse.”

The fact that your position is such that approval can be inferred?  Means you have problems.  And yes, this doesn’t condone abuse.  Let me say that clearly.  Kassian and DeMoss and company do not condone abuse towards women.  But they do not believe in empowering women to leave the abuse.  Which is dangerous, dangerous ground to tread.  And they have the gall to say, multiple times, ‘we can’t be simplistic’.

This kind of theology turns a marriage certificate into an idol.  It values the claim of ‘not divorced’ over the protection and safety of women and children.

If these women were really concerned about violence and the treatment of women here and abroad, they would be teaching women healthy ways of responding and reacting to abuse.  They would be encouraging building up a healthy self-esteem, rooted in being created for the sake of God, not for the sake of man.  They would teach healthy boundaries, and ground women’s essence in the image of God, which includes love and justice.  They would talk about what this does to children to grow up in a home like this!  They would talk about shelters and hotlines and give advice on how we can help our friends if they are in this kind of situation!

Women were not created to be doormats, even if it means they have a little too much determination or a strong will.  Let’s not mention how a strong will could, in some cases, enable a woman to protect herself.

I cannot abide a theology that says it is God’s will for women to stay in an abused situation, but praise Jesus you get a golden crown at the end.  What fresh hell is this?

When you adhere so tightly to gender roles that there is no room for exceptions; when you turn your biblical interpretations into a rock solid wall that freedom cannot penetrate, then I do not see Jesus in you.  That doesn’t mean he is not there.  But I can’t see him.

And if I know what he looks like, and I can’t find him?  Then he will be unrecognizable to millions of others.



This website has verses and resources that could be helpful if you are in an abusive situation or know of someone in one.

This post is part of a series reviewing and discussing the True Woman 101 Divine Design study, by Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh Demoss:

Part 1 – True Womanhood – Why Airplanes Aren’t in the Bible

Part 2 – True Womanhood – Death to Certainty

Part 3 – True Womanhood – Affirming Female Ordination?

Part 4 – True Womanhood – June Cleaver as Jesus

Part 5 – True Womanhood – An Offensive Gospel

Part 6 – True Womanhood – Compassionless Christianity

Part 7 – True Womanhood – Oppressing Women since Creation

Part 8 – True Womanhood – Get Abused, Win A Crown!

Part 9 – True Womanhood – Cookies and Chains

Part 10 – True Womanhood – Tension, Cracks, and a Concrete Faith

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  • http://dramaticelegance.blogspot.com/ rachel lee

    this. is. yes.

    my mother tells me this story all the time, of a woman she knew when she was a young bride. a woman who’s name i now know as well as my own, because my mom has repeated this story a thousand times to me. she stayed with her cheating, verbally abusive husband, even though he wanted a divorce, she would not comply. and she died, and my mom said she radiated, and she speaks of her as though she was a saint.

    this woman was not a saint. and that story is dangerous, maybe deadly, to share. her faithfulness is lauded over safety…she is some sort of matryr, in a way, and it turns my stomach in a vicious way.

    thank you for speaking TRUTH and LIGHT when so many women are preferred to be shut down and silent. never stop, dear friend caris. <3

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      Oh my gosh. That is an awful story. I think sometimes the marriage/church analogy goes too far. Faithfulness to God is not the same as faithfulness to a man, or a promise! Ugh.

  • http://1t412.wordpress.com/ Christina

    Good grief! This is the worst stuff they’ve been peddling yet.

    Also, I love the bit about how women are supposed to be open to input. I do try to be, but I wasn’t aware that that wasn’t also a desirable trait for men.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      right? heaven forbid some of these qualities be human qualities and not gendered ones.

  • Dawn Dornes

    WOW!!! Sounds all too familiar! “Spare the
    marriage at any cost” they told me! Even if I die! And then they will
    sing, “To God be the Glory, great things He has done!!” I have never
    liked Nancy DeMoss’s books or teachings. I wonder how well she would live under
    the abusive hand of my ex-husband. A man who claimed to be a Christian but
    didn’t live it in our home. I wonder how “humbly” she would have
    stood by to watch him beat one of HER children for something they didn’t do. I
    wonder how “gentle” she would be after her husband rapes her in her
    sleep. I wonder what godly response she would have towards him after hitting
    her, choking her, pinning her to the floor by her wrists. I wonder if following
    Matthew 18 would work after he’s cheated on her with 2 women, threaten to kill
    her if she ever left him and then stalked her for a year after he leaves her
    for one of his hoers.

    Having lived 14 yrs of hell and watching what that did to my children!! Oh God,
    she makes me sick!!! It makes me angry!!!

    I now work with abused women. I see the fear in their eyes! I hold them when
    they cry because their abuser took her children. I have seen the bruises and
    scares. I have heard the countless stories of what they lived through. Jesus is
    grieved to see what is done to his precious lambs! Mark 9:42 states: And whosoever
    shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is
    better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast
    into the sea.

    I could go on for
    hours about this. Thanks for posting this and for sharing it with me
    personally. I’ve been super busy and haven’t been able to keep up with your
    blog lately.

    Keep doing what
    you’re doing girl!!

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I’m so glad you’re able to bring some good out of it….it’s so infuriating.

  • http://www.allthingstruthful.wordpress.com/ Bethany Grace Paget

    Ok. The golden crown part. Um… I couldn’t even read it without wanting to scream. I’m thinking to myself as I’m reading that “no, no, NO this is NOT the way that Jesus would have wanted marriage to look” I heard so many times in my early Christian days that submission wasn’t about being abused because God doesn’t condone abuse. Yet I look at the people I know who have been shunned by their church because if divorce or, OR have had to have meetings with the elders to decide what to do about their marriage, including “if it’s ok to get a divorce” when their husband was emotionally and physically distant and they’ve been separated for 6 years with no chance of reconciliation. But she has to ask permission to divorce??? WTF

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      ask permission?? oh my gosh. WTH??? it’s all so twisted!!!

  • kim

    This makes me crazy. Girl, tell the truth. Keep on.
    All I want to do is cuss reading this crap they are selling, in Jesus name.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      you and me both!!!!

  • KarenJo12

    “Kassian and DeMoss and company do not condone abuse towards women. But they do not believe in empowering women to leave the abuse. ”

    “The rockets go up, where they come down, is not my department, says Werner von Braun.”

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  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com/ Ed_Cyzewski

    Thanks for this review Caris. My pastor spoke about Ephesians 5:22 and shared, “Jesus doesn’t abuse you. Submitting to an abuser is not the same as submitting to Jesus.”

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I think sometimes they think marriage is Jesus/church…and not just an analogy. :/

  • Rachel

    “This kind of theology turns a marriage certificate into an idol. It values the claim of ‘not divorced’ over the protection and safety of women and children.” Yes, yes, yes!

    Thank you! I work with survivors of rape, assault, and domestic violence. My dad grew up in a domestic violence situation where he was beat daily…and went to church every Sunday. It makes my blood boil when I see how the Church responds to abuse.

    All the swears, indeed. Well done.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      That’s awful Rachel. :(

  • Daisy

    I’ve only read down to this part so far (summary of gender complementarian views):
    “So you’re telling me that all females, no matter their age or their marital status, need to be agreeable, leadable, and yesable to all males. ”

    Like I was saying under another post, a lot of biblical gender complementarianism is nothing but codependency under another name, and gender complementarianism encourages women to be this way and holds it up as being biblical and something worthy to emulate.

    The problem is that codependency is not biblical. One phrase in the Bible that references codependency is “fear of man.” (It’s not always referenced clearly, though, but can be seen in examples in Bible stories of how people act and react to each other or to God.)

    Codependency (Fear of Man) is when believers are so afraid of people, that their fear of being rejected, ostracized, insulted, yelled at, jailed, beaten, mocked, or killed by people for doing what is right, or standing up for God, causes them to “chicken out” and not do the right thing – they give in to people rather than stand up to them.

    Codependents go through life very compliant, sometime very gullible, they are very passive, they are like doormats, afraid to speak their true mind, to disagree with others, to stand up for themselves. These behaviors can in turn make such people prime targets for abusive, manipulative, rude, nasty, selfish people or for con artists, and often keeps them stuck in abusive relationships.

    Churches and conservative Christian culture exacerbate this problem by encouraging codependents to be even more codependent than they already are, rather than freeing them of it (which is what they should be doing).

    Churches especially encourage women to be codependent, because the traits that make up codependency are the same ones gender complementarians consider the most biblically feminine: passivity; quietness; gentleness; being non argumentative; non assertive; submissive; nurturing; forgiving.

    (I know there are Bible verses that speak of being gentle, kind, loving, etc, and when practiced at proper times and in balance, those are fine qualities, but churches twist such verses to make them sound mandatory at all times for all people in all situations, when they are not. There are examples and verses which tell believers to use self defense, or to defend other people, don’t go through life allowing others to use and abuse you.)

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I love all of your comments. I grew up pretty codependant with my mom and yes, I totally agree with you.

  • Daisy

    Gender comp quote: “Our adverse reaction to the idea that we were created for man”

    I thought we humans, men and women, were created because God said, “Let us create man in our own image, male and female, let us create them.”

    I do think there may be some NT verse that says “female was created for male,” but it was part of a larger argument Paul was making to combat some particular heresy to a particular church he was addressing way back when.

    In other words, I don’t think that verse means what gender comps think it means – which comes down to “women were created to be slaves, cooks, and sexual toys for their husbands because that is what some selfish men prefer and want.” ~That is how gender comps take most verses in the Bible that reference wives/ marriage/ women, but that is not how they were intended.

    Also, as a never married, 40ish old woman who wanted to get married but I never did, I get real sick and tired of being told that my only meaning, worth, or role in life is to marry and / or be a mother.

    Gender comp quote: “with the idea that one day you will stand and look at your savior face to face”

    And, so? I don’t believe adultery is the only biblical/legit grounds for divorce as most Christians do, but even if it were a sin to divorce a guy due to him being abusive, so what? God forgives sin. Nobody is perfect. I don’t believe divorce is the unforgivable sin.

    Gender comp quote: “And we want to be that helper that challenges our men to a higher standard of godliness.”

    That is another codependent trait: feeling responsible for someone else’s behavior and/or emotional moods (here, they are telling women to take on that responsibility). It it not biblical. The abusive man is responsible for his behavior. The wife is not responsible for his behavior, or for changing him. He is responsible to change the abuse, not his wife.

    Also, it is partially the Holy Spirit’s job to sanctify believers, not a spouse’s. That quote makes it sound as though it is the wife’s duty to make her spouse holy. It is not.

    Gender comp said: “in no way does it condone abuse.”

    Well, you may say you are against abuse, so far as it goes, you do not condone abuse, but, your teachings on gender, submission, and marriage do in fact enable abuse to continue.

    By the way, any book or blog by a counselor about codependency and bullying (and you can extend this to abuse) will point out that the only thing most abusive/ bullying people response to is negative consequences to their behavior.

    That is, if you keep being “nice” (or submissive, loving, sweet, etc) to an abusive person, the abuser (or run of the mill, mean jerk) interprets this behavior as weakness on your part, and as though you are indirectly asking to keep on being abused.

    They regard being nice, loving, and sweet back to them in the face of their mean behavior as permission to keep abusing you. That is why therapists (even Christian ones) advise people to either stand up to the abuser (unless he is very violent, in which case they may counsel you sneak out of the house and never return, and divorce the guy). Being submissive and kind-hearted back to a mean person (or abuser) actually allows the abuse to continue and sometimes makes it worse.

  • Desley Noneofyerbiz

    All I can say is screw them all. God will deal with them all ever so severely for prolonging the abuse of my children and becoming a stumbling block in the way of my children and myself. I have almost a non-existent relationship with God at this point because I CANNOT bring myself to love, let alone trust, a God that trivializes and dismisses the suffering and pain of His children. I STILL can’t bring myself to a place where I can leave my abusive husband because I can’t seem to convince myself 100% that they are wrong. And I took upon myself the burden of my husband’s abuse for years!! So screw you, Nancy. Screw you True Womanhood. To hell with your whole ministry!! If I ever get to a place where I can trust God again it will be in the face of everything you’ve ever taught and counseled women to do. Praise the Lord for women’s shelters and feminists. They cared enough about my kids to help them heal and work to give them a safe childhood. But you people — everything you stand for is unconscionable. You will be dealt with accordingly because God is keeping every tear that you have caused my children and I, who countless times cried out to Him. But you in your arrogance — you lay these burdens on His people and you won’t even listen and hear what we are saying to you.

    Screw. You. All.

    “You shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If you afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all to me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless” (Exodus 22:23-24).

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      ((((Desley)))) I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through.

  • Kim

    For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man (1 Cor 11:8-9).

    In Genesis, Eve was created as a Helper (EZER) for Adam, but that’s only one facet of womanhood. Women are born into families and communities. Women are daughters, sisters, extended family members, neighbors and friends before they ever become wives and/or mothers. Like Demoss, many women will never be wives or moms. Women were also created to be community Helpers (EZER) in their communities. The Bible illustrates that – not that Demoss or Mary care to affirm or promote that Biblical truth.
    Midwives disobeyed the king and refused to kill Hebrew baby boys (Ex 1:15).

    Rahab the prostitute was considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction (Jam 2:25).

    Deborah was a prophetess, judge, spiritual mother and chief ruler over Israel. She held a position of authority that her husband didn’t (Ju chap. 4&5).

    Jael proved to be a very important military ally for Israel and killed one of their major enemies (Ju 5:24).

    Wise Woman of Abel was brave, wise and outspoken. She initiated a conversation that ultimately saved her city (2 Sam 20:16-22).

    Abigail refused to comply with her husband’s foolishness. As a result of her actions, the lives of the men in her household were spared (1 Sam 25).

    Prophet Huldah was sought out by the king and his assistants because of her wisdom. She confirmed and expounded upon what the king had already read (2 Kin 22:14).

    Queen of Sheba is one of the only or few Old Testament women who Jesus commended (Mt 12:42).

    Anna was a prophet, prayer warrior and witness for Christ (Lu 2:36).

    Women traveled with Jesus, ministered to his needs and financially supported the gospel (Lu 8:1-3).

    Dorcas helped the poor (Acts 9:36).

    Lydia was a merchant, and she allowed Paul and others to use her home as a meeting place to handle church business (Acts 16:14,40).

    Phoebe was a female deacon (Acts 16:1-2).

    Esther helped save her Jewish people from annihilation.

    Each of these women made a tremendous contribution to their community. Woman was created for man, but woman was also created to Help those in her community. The Christian walk is about.community. For some, that will include marriage, but marriage (and motherhood) are not the only things that women were created for. Demoss should know. She is not married or a mother.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      I think that almost bothers me more – that these single women are discounting the work they do, and not allowing other women that option, and placing burdens on them that they don’t have to worry about. So unfair.

    • Jeanne

      One of my favorite discoveries was that while Eve is called a “helper” and that seems to equate to “hired help” in evangelical circles, there is someone else who is called “helper” using the same word. And more often. Something like 99% of the time the word is used (it’s been a while, don’t quote that percentage, but it’s up in that neighborhood). The other Person is God. Now if your theology requires the helper to be subordinate to the helped one, you have bigger theological problems than marriage issues.

  • Kim

    FYI: A collection of several scriptures on abuse complied by Christian women who have personally been through it. http://godswordtowomen.org/identifying_abuse_and_grounds_for_divorce.htm

    What these women share is much different from what Demoss and Mary say. While Demoss and Mary give a lot of opinions on the subject with little actual Biblical support, these women list some concrete scriptures. This is info that every Christian woman should know. You may not be an abuse victim, chances are that you know somebody who is or will be.

    • http://www.carisadel.com/ Caris Adel

      Oh that’s really helpful Kim, thanks!

  • Helen

    It is super sexist and inappropriate of DeMoss and Kassian to say to not intimidate men with being smart. It’s true intelligence isn’t the first thing a guy looks for in a wife or girlfriend, but contrary to complementarian belief, a high IQ is not a life sentence to spinsterhood either. Sure, maybe some very sexist men like these kinds of women, but most men who are healthy, believers or not, want an equal partner.

    And domestic violence is a crime. Sixth commandment, ladies! THOU SHALT NOT MURDER.

  • Khurram Aziz

    Contemplate what Mother Teresa said in her private letters when asked:
    “Are you married?” she replied:”I am married to a spouse who sometimes makes it difficult for me to smile.His name is Jesus…and that’s because he’s very demanding!”

    Wake up and get out of the abusive relationship!!

    May the Divine Mother guide you in your path to autonomy and self-empowerment
    I am come here to do my Mother’s Work… Lol

  • Khurram Aziz

    I’m going to out GOD and get this over with..God is a shemale..yes that’s right a transsexual cosmic gender-bender cowardly hiding in the closet and an autocratic masculine facade ..It’s a lie that he perpetuates because he is a coward!!

    The proof: “God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them” doesn’t take a genis to figure it out ..NOW GO CONFRONT HIM WITH IT !!!

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