I am the granddaughter of a pastor. A philandering, stealing, downright unkind Mennonite pastor. For many years, my mother and I would often ponder how difficult we found it to understand or empathize with my paternal grandmother and what appeared to be her unending loyalty to my bad grandpa until the day she died.
That was when I was 20. Okay, even 30. But as I mature as a human being, mother, and wife, and grow in my faith, I realize my grandmother was exemplifying a submissive wife. My grandmother may have even been exactly the kind of woman who is being featured in the new TLC show, “Submissive Wives’ Guide to Marriage,” much to the outrage and disdain of women (and I’m sure some men) worldwide.
When you think of human oddities and examining the most extreme of human conditions, TLC is the go-to microscope of the widely varied and strangest afflictions. Amid programming which features gigantic scrotum, trailer-park life, and beefy brats in crowns, to name a few, The Learning Channel sums up its latest offering with the following teaser: “Enter the private world of submissive wives, who believe a woman’s role is to serve and submit to her man.” Despite the inflammatory manner in which the feature is presented, the heart of the matter really isn’t off-base or offensive at all, especially in relation to network’s other high-ranking offerings.
We All Could Be More Submissive
Dictionary.com defines submissive as “inclined or ready to … yield to authority.” Let’s look past the closet S&M junkies and road ragers and assume a benevolent spiritual stance. Being a submissive wife doesn’t mean getting on your hands and knees and allowing your husband use you as an ottoman. It doesn’t mean being forced to do perform sexual acts against your will. It doesn’t mean sleeping outdoors (unless that’s your bag) while you cook him a big fat steak and tuck him into a featherbed. Cue the scene in the movie “Coming to America” where Eddie Murphy’s princely character demands that his arranged wife-to-be perform a series of humiliating—albeit giggle inducing—acts right before the big “I do.”