Created to Be His Help Meet: Dangerous Advice mixed with a lot of Heresy
Before writing this I read the book from cover to cover to be sure that Debi Pearl’s propensity to misinterpret Scripture was not just an occasional error. I found that, from cover to cover, her misuse and abuse of Scripture was ubiquitous throughout. According to her words, there is a hierarchy:
God => man => woman => children.
I also listened to marriage lectures by her husband (Michael Pearl) confirmed this unbiblical belief. They really do believe that God talks to the man, the man talks to the woman. The woman ought to submit to her husband’s will as if her husbands will and thoughts are God’s will and thoughts. She is to submit to him as if he were her Savior. This is what they teach and THIS IS a LIE. Scripture does not say this! If it did, then Christianity would no longer be a monotheistic but polytheistic — and Christ’s mission on earth failed. He came so that there would no longer need to be any mediators between God and people (no more high priest), but according to Pearl theology, the man needs to be a ‘high priest’ on behalf of the woman. This is highlighted in Debi Pearl’s encouragement to wives (in this book) to give up their ‘quiet time’ with the Lord in order to ensure time to serve their husbands. In essence, a woman needs to give up her relationship with God because her priority is husband, children and then God. This is heretical! God desires a deep and personal relationship with both men and women. Every woman’s first priority is God — NOT her husband.
To substantiate some of my statements, here are some quotes from the book:
You are created to be “a helper suited to the needs of a man. This is how God created you and it is your purpose for existing….You are created to make him complete, not to seek personal fulfillment parallel to him.” p. 21.
“You can freely call your husband “lord” when you know that you are addressing the one who put him in charge and asked you to suffer at your husbands hands just as the Lord suffered at the hands of unjust authorities.”
“The chain of authority must never be broken, even if it means allowing some abuse (of the husband’s role).”
“…first know that a husband has authority to tell his wife what to wear, where to go, whom to talk to, how to spend her time, when to speak or not to, even if he is unreasonable and insensitive.”
She devotes dozens of pages to the idea that if a man struggles with lust, pornography etc. it is somehow his wife’s fault and if she would just “satisfy” him properly he would not struggle in these areas.
No – if a man struggles with lust he need to get before God and REPENT and become accountable to God, his wife, and to other Godly men and get the sin out of his life.
Debi shares a story about a woman named Sunny who married a man of Arab descent, Ahmed. Ahmed, during Sunny’s third pregnancy, spent a great deal of time drinking and would rage at Sunny afterwards. At one point, he came after Sunny with a butcher knife. Sunny went to her mother and various other places crying and asking for help. Debi prayed with her and told her to either leave him or make up her mind to repair her marriage and focus on winning her husband’s heart. When Sunny showed hesitation, however, Debi said (in the book)
“I fully expected her to leave him that night, but I discovered something amazing about her, Sunny really wanted God’s will in her life. She had grasped an eternal vision about life, and she now believed God could save her man. I explained to Sunny that in order to win her husband’s heart she needed to reverence him…She was not to speak ill of him again. Her conversation with others as well as with him, would be only praise and appreciation.”
Now, no one likes a blabbing wife, I agree. However, if a wife “blabbed” to you that her husband beat her and threatened her with a butcher knife, wouldn’t you think it was something more than gossip? Sunny wasn’t blabbing her husband’s sins, she was crying for help! Frankly, if she was too scared to call the police, I think it’s good that she told others what was going on, so they could do it for her. Debi didn’t, though. Instead, she would have us believe that after a week, everything was peachy keen and Ahmed and Sunny were just getting along like peaches and cream. Yeah, right. I’m not saying I don’t believe Sunny wasn’t complaining anymore, but if you expect me to buy that both Sunny and her husband were spiritually fit because Sunny kept her mouth shut, don’t waste your time.
This isn’t the only time I’ve heard of a woman who claimed to be, quite suddenly, spiritually healthy and happy as a duck because she chose to submit to a bad husband. While reading one of the online testimonies from wives, I found one by a woman who said that, before she read Debi’s book, she’d been planning on leaving her husband and taking her girls with her. When she began listing her husband’s faults, at first I thought she’d just mention the typical stuff: he wasn’t sensitive enough to her needs, he was too bossy, he wasn’t a good enough provider, etc. You know, nothing a tough and loving wife can’t handle with a patient spirit. It turned out, though, I was quite wrong. Her husband was addicted to drugs, pornography, and was a pathological liar!! It turned out this woman had a very good reason indeed to leave him. But then, of course, she read Mrs. Pearl’s book and she said that, after reading it,
“I realized for the first time that God’s way is for me to love, respect, honor, and OBEY, no matter what.”
Where in the world did she get this idea? The Bible never says to enable a sinful husband’s behavior; it says to love such a husband, yes, but that doesn’t mean supporting bad (or in this case, sick) habits. That man needs psychological help! Imagine what those children would be exposed to, with the “spiritual leader” in the home looking at porn and being a deceptive drug addict! That wife has done no one in her family, not even her husband, any favors whatsoever with her enabling.
This wife went on to say,
“I now realize that my husband may never change, but that’s not what’s important…God wants me to change. For the first time in my 3 years of marriage, I have peace.”
She went on to say that she looked forward to rejoining her husband in a different state and already her attitude toward him was changing (albeit just over the phone)
This poor woman may be sicker than her husband. She really believes that God would worry more about an un-submissive wife than a spiritually dead husband who is emotionally butchering his family? This wife has single-handedly decided not to give her husband any help and instead to roll over and let his addictions ruin his family without any resistance on her part. I can only pray for those poor children, as they now not only have a sick father but a pitifully spineless mother.
Debi not only advises against divorcing a bad husband, but tells wives to have dangerous husbands put in jail only temporarily. She seems to think that a husband’s temper will cool in prison and that then would be a good time to write him love letters. Debi writes,
“Guys who get out of prison run straight home to their ladies and treat them wonderfully-for a while anyway.”
Clearly, Mrs. Pearl knows nothing about the psychology of abusive husbands. Not only do they usually get angrier at their wives once they get out of prison, but the cycle of abuse does not end just like that! It often continues for a lifetime and if it does end, it ends with a great deal of counseling, not a wife who one minute puts her husband in prison and the next minute tucks her backbone into her pocket and writes him love letters. Pearl’s words even indicate that she knows this would only be a temporary solution, so what happens when hubby hits you again? Certainly you can’t divorce him. According to Debi,
“God hates divorce-always, forever, regardless, without exception.”
Some may defend this book by claiming that Debbi does advise you call the authorities on an abusive husband, but they leave out the fact that what the Pearls really advocate is reverencing a husband no matter what. Here are more of their remarks on the matter:
“if a woman is really seeking God and asking for wisdom from on high, she will be able to discern the difference between her own controlling spirit and those rare instances that a husband may command outside his sphere of authority – requiring legal intervention. Women who threaten to “report them to the law,” or women who refuse to answer the phone any way other than, “He is here, but will not talk,” are rebellious. They will never make it to the hall of fame found in Hebrews 11, where Sara was listed, nor will they make it into a heavenly marriage here on earth.”
“The servant is not given the option of deciding that the master is not acting within the will of God and therefore should not be obeyed. It is acceptable with God (God’s will) for the underling to suffer wrongfully and take it patiently.”
Note the term “underling” used to describe wives. Furthermore, it’s apparently not even her place to decide if she can obey her husband or not. How then should she draw the line, and where?
The awful advice given to abused wives apparently has more to do with the Pearls’ hatred of divorce than any belief they have about a husband’s authority. Here are Michael Pearl’s words, verbatim, on how to deal with a child-molesting husband:
“If there is any thought that they (the children) are not safe, or if he is not repentant and willing to seek help, then go to the law and have him arrested. Stick by him, but testify against him in court. Have him do about 10 to 20 years, and by the time he gets out, you will have raised the kids, and you can be waiting for him with open arms of forgiveness and restitution. Will this glorify God? Forever. You ask, “What if he doesn’t repent even then?” Then you will be rewarded in heaven equal to the martyrs, and God will have something to rub in the Devil’s face. God hates divorce–always, forever, regardless, without exception.”
If your husband molests the children, spiritually killing them and is still not repentant after twenty years, you STILL can’t divorce him. Stay married to the monster, be a martyr, and you’ll please God. The wife is expected to sacrifice everything to him, including any personal happiness or healing she might have. How could she heal, knowing she’d have to remain deadlocked to the man who abused her children? How could her children heal, knowing their mother would let him come home even if he wasn’t even sorry? These children would thus be betrayed by both their parents, the people who should have protected them! This advice is especially shocking to me because Michael Pearl has shown various times that he despises child molestors. He even claimed that he wouldn’t trust his girls with any man when they were children, or even let them spend the night with friends or relatives! Never have the Pearls encouraged any tolerance of child molestors, except for the women who are married to them. How is this?
Even where it not for the life-endangering advice to wives, I would still caution all to stay away from this book. I’ve said before that people abuse the term “head” describing husbands and the Pearls are no exception. Michael Pearl even refused to answer a theological question of his engaged daughter because, he claimed,
“Your husband is your new head. You believe what he believes”.
I’ve been wondering what it is about this book that could allow any psychologically healthy woman to find it helpful. Then, after re-examining all the book’s faults, I realized what it is: hope. The common theme throughout this book is that no matter how bad your marriage is, if your husband cheats, beats, or even comes after you with a butcher knife, YOU the wife can save it. The marriage can be saved and your man can be changed, if only YOU try hard enough and do all the right things. To a woman in a depression, wanting desperately to save her marriage, this is like manna from heaven. Ladies, I’m going to tell you a truth that most already know: this is false. No matter how much you obey your husband, revere him, serve him, you must know that marriage is STILL about two people and requires cooperation from both; sometimes, the husband does NOT change. You think abused women need this book to tell them to keep trying? Most battered women are emotionally bound to their husbands and they will do anything to please them, bending over backwards until they break their spines. Obedience to an abusive man feeds the fire, it doesn’t put it out.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying there’s no hope, nor am I begrudging those who turned their marriages around by taking Pearl’s advice of honoring their husbands. Sometimes the problem is with the wife; sometimes it’s up to the women, to fix things. Love your husband, respect him, honor him, but know your limits. With a willing heart, there is no limit to what God can do. However, remember that your heart is not the only one that must be willing; this is not just about what God can do, but what your husband will do. If you’re in a psychologically or physically unhealthy relationship and your husband WILL NOT change, you must get out because your marriage is no longer honoring God, even if you are. Not all marriages can be saved, not all men will change. Sometimes a wife just has to take what’s left of her life and her heart and leave.
Some of their misunderstanding comes from the Gen 2:20 word translated “helper.” Note that what has been translated as ‘helper’ in English, in the Hebrew (which is the original language of the Old Testament), it says ‘ezer knegdo’. The word ‘ezer’ means ‘help’ and the majority of the time that it is used in the Old Testament, it is used to describe God. “God is an ever present help in our time of trouble.” He is our “ezer” in times of trouble. This word does not denote ‘lesser or subordinate’ as some would seem to relegate a wife and woman’s role. In fact, with God, we know it is a superior helping an inferior who NEEDS help. This is what ezer means. However, going back to the verse, the word ‘knegdo’ in the Hebrew means ‘comparable’ or ‘equivocal’. It denotes sameness. God’s intention of bringing Eve to Adam was to bring one who is exactly like him to be his equal partner in all things. Remember that God made them both in His image, male and female, He made them. They were both made in His image. One cannot be lesser than the other. Both had a personal, intimate relationship with God.