Sick wives despised by their husbands



I have recently read Debi Pearl's book "Created To Be His Helpmeet" Frankly, I think the book is scripturally unsound and borders on demeaning and insulting to women. What Debi Pearl says about the sick wife is just one area where I find a lack of compassion and an almost mysogynistic outlook. Here is what she says:

"being pitiful, hurt, discouraged and even sickly is one side of a “bad marriage” coin. Men in general (your husband in particular), are repulsed by women who project this image. A man’s spirit tells him his woman is rejecting him manipulating him when she regularly manifests a broken spirit, and he will react in anger.”
As a woman who suffers from illnesses that cause chronic pain and fatigue, I am so overjoyed to report that my husband doesn’t treat me as a faulty appliance which causes him great anger, but he cherishes me and tries to alleviate my suffering on bad days by sharing in my tasks and closing an eye to that which can’t be done on any particular day. After all, we promised to love each other in sickness and in health. Isn’t that type of commitment what God wants in marriage? So this chapter got me thanking God for the blessing of a husband who puts me first when I need it.

We sacrificial home keepers have enough on our plates already: trying to cope with our illness, be a good wife and mother and run our home. We often deal with disbelieving family members when the illness is an invisible illness like fibromyagia and chronic fatigue. Most likely you too have thought, like I do, that sometimes it would be easier to have an illness or disability that is highly visible rather than endure snide remarks about laziness and so on as we battle on.

Debi and Michael Pearl lack compassion, empathy and love. In my opinion, they lack many Christlike attributes that are the hallmark of a Christian. To put such a heavy yoke onto a sick woman's shoulders is to cause her added stress and anxiety. It is not the way of Christ.

I believe that the majority of sick women fight a courageous battle and do an overwhelmingly good job of being a Helpmeet to their husband. They are usually the hardest on themselves for they want to do that which their healthier Sisters do and they often fail. They do not need the likes of some author (Christian or not), putting the boot in and blaming them for their husbands' anger and spiritual unease. Nor do they need to be made anxious about their marriage.

Over the years, I have observed marriages where the wife is ill and I have seen that the majority of husbands are not as Debi Pearl claims. They love their wife and usually do all they can to support her in her homemaking efforts. They bring their children in line and demand that they take their mothers' health into consideration.

This is the love Christ wants for us, not the "love" portrayed by Debi Pearl. We would do well to reject her ideas on the sick spouse and to thank God that we have the Holy Spirit to lead us into Truth. He is indeed our Comforter.


© Glenys Robyn Hicks



And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick. Matthew 14:14

22 comments:

  1. Thank you for so eloquently expressing how I often... Thank you for so eloquently expressing how I often feel but have never really been able to put into words despite being a nurse. Currently I am experiencing a "good" period of time after a rough patch lasting almost four years. I almost feel a sense of euphoria about this good time in my life right now and am so grateful that it is here. I am currently trying to go back to work as I had lost my job hoping to be able to work as long as possible. I have to say when I had to stop working and was home for prolonged periods of time I realized how much I really did enjoy my job and being around people. Thank you for taking time to maintain this blog; post helpful tips and suggestions. I hope your good days outweigh your not so good days...blessings...Kim

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    1. Thank you for sharing a cuppa with me, Kim. I am so sorry I missed this comment. Must go on record for being the longest time to reply, huh? Blessings, Glenys

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  2. Debbie, I thank you for your comment and rejoice that you, too have found a wonderful husband this time! The Pearls not only bring women down, but paint a sad picture of men as well....not edifying us but pulling us down. Blessings!

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  3. Debbie said...

    I too suffer from an "unseen" disability. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and Bi-polar disorder. Without too many details, I'll say that I suffered a very tramatic childhood, followed by an abusive marriage. I am divorced and remarried.
    My husband is so very different from the men described in this book. Four years ago I spent a week in the hospital. The house looked like a hurricane went through it! A disorganized mind makes for a disorganized house! For weeks the best I could do was make dinner, pack lunch and do dishes.
    Having a home and a husband that loves me made my recovery so much quicker! He never complained and encouraged me when I did manage to accomplish a few household tasks.
    The Lord has given me such a wonderful man. The Pearls do not give men enough credit.

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  4. Grammy, it does my heart good to hear this! This is true Christian marriage, not as Debi portrays. Thanks for your comments! Blessings!

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  5. Grammy Blick said...

    My mother was diagnosed with a form of sclerosis -- three diagnoses later the doctors called it ALS. An oddity at her age (50+), the diagnosis was correct and over the next twenty-five years my father cared for her as Christ cares for His church. Through God's grace, I know my beloved husband would do the same for me. God has made us one, and for that I am grateful. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Hi Glenys, I've been following you for a long time! What struck me after reading this material was: Debi has ONE type of husband, but she's WRITING FOR EVERYONE?? I bought it...because I second-guessed myself. She doesn't show men or women in a good light, imo. Got rid of her book; wasn't even worth giving it to anyone else! Her 'examples' are in the 'ridiculously extreme' throughout. Glad you're doing this series. So important.

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  7. Hi, Eileen. I was given the book by Pamela Spurling of A Christian Home. She asked me to critique it for her...I have since be so upset about the message this book brings that I have posted where ever I see critiques of it to warn vulnerable wives not in a "heavenly" marriage about the possible dangers. There is other advice given to abused wives that is not only unhelpful, but dangerous! If I didn't need the book for quotation purposes, I too would have gotten rid of it. Blessings!

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  8. Wow, what a sad book. I too am a sufferer of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and if my husband was angry every time I was unwell... (or if I wasn't unwell, if he was angry everytime I was down or discouraged), I would be broken-hearted... What happened to love and mercy and grace, and yes - compassion?? I have never... and I think WILL never read any of the Pearls' books. I honestly think I could put my time to better use after all the horrible things I have read about them and their teachings.

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  9. Clara, I find that the Pearls write in a very condescending way. They seem to hate womankind and babies.. though they deny this, the words speak volumes! I find them *totally* lacking love, mercy, grace and compassion, just as you said! I only keep the CTBHH here for reference purposes. I certainly wouldn't loan it to someone. Not worth reading IMO

    Blessings!

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  10. I learned long ago when i was homeschooling and first read the practices of the Pearl family that something was amid. Whenever iv tried to implement their suggestions it ended up like a full out war.

    I agree totally with you on this topic. Thankfully my husband has been so caring and loving through it my chronic illness. Thank God for wise and caring husbands.

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    1. Amen! I thank Him constantly for a loving husband...Thanks for those encouraging words. Blessings, Glenys

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  11. Very well said. Your critique is valuable. It's been years since I read this book.
    Blessings,
    d from the prairie

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    1. Thanks, Deanna. I think it is dangerous in a lot of ways... Thanks for sharing a cuppa with me. Blessings, Glenys

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  12. Unfortunatly chronic illness, chronic pain and chronic fatigue are hard for anyone to understand who is not living through it. I often pitty my husband... I was not sick when we wed and we have had our share of marriage problems. Now I can hardly bear the burden of my responsibilities, he has to pick up the slack... on top of marriage problems. It's hard for sure. But I could not more pretend to be well than I could fly. This is the life God has allowed and we are both called to behave with kindness, compassion and love through it. Most days he rises above and beyond to help and show love...

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    1. I agree, Tiffany. I don't think the Pearls have any idea about chronic illness, or else they would not be so judgmental and harsh (or would they?) Your husband exemplifies true sacrificial love in marriage. We are blessed, not cursed or resented! Blessings, Glenys

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  13. I think you graciously rebutted this untruth. It runs rampant with a lot of authors to think a woman causes her husband to sin. The part above that says “he will react in anger” or different but similar line of reasoning is that ‘if you aren’t your husbands puppet in the bedroom he will turn elsewhere.’ Glad to hear you have a husband who respects God and his biblical role to you, his wife!

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    1. Yes, the Pearls always blame the wife. A wife is not responsible for whether or not a man sins: he is. It is just one more burden to place on a suffering wife's shoulders. Yes, I am blessed with a good man this time! Blessings, Glenys

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  14. That is a terrible book and the 'advice' they offer is unbiblical and unhealthy for both husband and wife. But, for whatever reason, some people love their stuff. Maybe because it embraces a domineering husband??? When I went through emotional and spiritual brokenness, my husband was right by my side, directing me to the promises in God's word and praying for me. That is love. He displayed Jesus to me.

    Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth this week.

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    1. I agree, Aimee! Some people do seem to enjoy their harsh style of writing. No compassion, and unhealthy for the emotional, spiritual and even physical well-being of both husband and wife. Can we both imagine how we would cope if we had a man who gets angry with us? Sounds to me that perhaps Michael Pearl may be harsh, cold and quick tempered behind closed doors. Praise God for husbands like ours who display Jesus's love and fruits of the Spirit. Blessings, Glenys

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  15. I LOVE this book. I have Cerebral Palsy and was never able to be the help-meet I wanted too be. I also have a mental illness which has taking a toil on our marriage. My husband has gone above and beyond to make sure I have what I need; even when I've acted ugly towards him. I had to go into a nursing home last October (I'm 45). We're still trying to figure out what our "new" life looks like.

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    1. I am so sorry that your illness has taken a toll on your marriage. But I am so glad that your husband is Christ-like and patient with you. Unlike the husbands portrayed in Debi Pearl's book. We are blessed with good husbands. I praise Him for that! Blessings, Glenys

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Thank you for visiting with me today. I love to hear from you. I may not always be able to reply right away, but I will respond to every comment you leave. Blessings and comfort, Glenys

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