What’s the deal with Debi Pearl?

Have you ever read the book, “Created to be his Help Meet?”  I have.  It’s helped countless number of women to be better wives:  nicer, fairer, more gracious.  It certainly helped me!

But what’s the deal with the book?  What’s the deal with the behavior it generates in women?  What’s the deal with the degrading advice, and the overall tone that asserts that wives are to be subservient to their husbands?

Debbie Pearl basically says, “God created man in His image; then He created Eve from Adam’s rib.  So, Eve was created in Adam’s image.  Not God’s.”

Therefore . . . Adam has worth.  Adam has purpose and meaning.  Eve?  Well . . . do what Adam says, okay?

Don’t get me wrong.  I liked the book A LOT at one time.  For a few years, I enjoyed the person I had become.  I enjoyed the fairy tale marriage I produced.  But the problem was, as the years went by, I grew in the Lord.  I began to see Debbie Pearl’s book for what it was:  a formula.  A set of legalistic rules and guidelines and principles to live by.

My friends and I (who had formed a ‘Created to be his Help-Meet’ book club, to discuss and go over every nuance of every page) eventually tired of the BS.

Years later, my husband would tell me, “you’ve become a smartass.”

Well, not really.  It’s just that I was not kissing his feet anymore.  I was not afraid of him anymore.  I was maturing in my life in Christ and was therefore becoming more me.  The shackles of religion were falling off, and I was being set free.

Okay.  So, to answer the question, “what’s the deal with her book?”  Well, I don’t know.  It’s just a very in-your-face, c’mon-stop-complaining-about-him kind of book.  Debbie Pearl makes the claim that every wife has something against her husband, some grudge, some complaint, some “thing” that is hindering her from really enjoying married life.  And Debbie is right in most cases.  Let’s face it, wives . . . we are forever trying to control those poor boys, are we not?  (Hello!  The curse of Genesis 3!)

Man, we need to let it go.

But don’t use Debbie Pearl’s book as your impetus.  Use the grace of God.

Learn that God does not expect you to be perfect, so that you can give your husband grace for not being perfect either.

Learn that God has totally forgiven you of all your sins – past, present and future – so that you can learn to forgive your husband’s sins.

Learn that God relates to you through the New Covenant, through your inheritance in Christ, and that you are essentially a trillionaire princess daughter of the King of the Universe . . . so that you won’t really expect that much of your husband.

Poor guy’s only human after all.

2 thoughts on “What’s the deal with Debi Pearl?

  1. Jamie Carter

    Debbi Pearl’s book comes from one of the more fundamentalist corners of Christianity from whence the concepts of Christian Patriarchy, Stay at Home Daughters, Courtship, and Quiverfull ideology also find their home. Sometimes women can be given this ethereal equality, in heaven; but functional inequality in practice. Now I haven’t read the book through and though – but I have read excerpts and responses to some of it’s more problematic passages on: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/ I’ve read the stories of women who would submit no matter what and how their husbands would take advantage of them in every way. I read women talking to each other trying to understand their spiritual wounds and bring healing.

    I’m no fan of complementarianism; partially because as a single person – I’m always considered the “other half” that someone has just never managed to find. In complementarianism; I’ll never be “whole” until I get married and fulfill my gender role. That’s why egalitarianism appeals to me – it counts me as a whole individual whose talents and gifts should be accepted for what they are and it’s less important that they be exercised in ways that are appropriate for my gender.
    There was this ancient Rabbi – he said that an ezer kednego was supposed to be “a help when she saw that the one she was helping was doing the right thing, and an opposition when she saw that the one she was opposing was doing the wrong thing.” Debbi Pearl doesn’t let women oppose men, that’s being contrary and usurping a man’s headship; but I do believe that there are cases where men shouldn’t have the final say because sin has made them incapable of not abusing their authority. Husbands are not Christ, they lack His perfection and aren’t always going to make the right decision or the decision right. I don’t think for a moment that God would want women to just submit and obey because there are instances in the Bible where they didn’t and it worked out well – for Abigail who countermanded Nabal’s orders, for Tamar who managed to get a child when her father in law didn’t keep his word. And there are instances where submitting to a bad idea didn’t spare the wife – like Sapphira’s fate.

    Ultimately, no matter how biblical an idea might be, there’s never such a thing as a one size fits all teaching that just applies to everyone. Biblical womanhood, is focused on the married, leaving out the singles. Modesty seems to apply most only to the young, it’s not something you hear preached to elders. So too, I think this idea of “headship” doesn’t apply to every marriage. Some men have no business micro-managing their wives and making decisions for them as they have abusive natures that degrade their wife’s humanity as they treat them as if they were helpless children; it should never be used as an excuse for men to not change a diaper or to not do the dishes because that’s a woman’s role. And sometimes, I think a good husband would be wise to defer to his wife’s wisdom particularly in areas that are very much in her wheelhouse and aren’t in his.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. momforfreedom

    Thank you for the wise words, Jamie. I think the quote by the ancient Rabbi gives an excellent, succinct summary to this whole topic! And your last paragraph is also an excellent summary.

    This Debbie Pearl book became quite popular in the ‘homeschool community’ in my town (quite a large group in our medium-sized city), and therefore entered into homes that were definitely not fundamentalist, and nowhere near the Quiverfull movement. Wives on the margins of Christianity were eating up every word — and here’s the scary part — because her advice actually works. (If you want a happy, adoring husband.) For most of us, the ‘fairy tale phase’ lasted 3 or maybe 5 years. Then we woke up, grew up, and a few (two of the ladies in that “Created to be his Helpmeet” book club I mentioned) got divorced. So, yeah, just like a lot of behavior modification programs, it works for a while.

    I’ve been married for 21 years and really want to stay married; my husband is kind and affectionate and hard-working. But, he’s not perfect. I’m at a place now where I feel totally comfortable speaking up when he is wrong. When I think he is wrong, I’m finally able to do as you mention here: “I do believe that there are cases where men shouldn’t have the final say because sin has made them incapable of not abusing their authority.”

    I also want to add that as I grow in the Lord, I don’t need a list of rules, a book with a method, or a system of principles to guide me. The Lord guides me, and He always leads me to forgive, show mercy, etc.. Yes, I’m comfortable being a smart-ass when I want, but that is different than being mean.

    Anyway, again, I really am thankful for your insightful opinion. You have a lot of wisdom.

    Like

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