When Fireproof Fails

I just woke up from a dream about complementarianism – something about an older gentleman who decided to up and get married so he read a book and followed it’s instructions and within a year he was married and he had put his vast wealth into putting together his own personal zoo. (Whoever said all dreams had to make total sense from start to finish?)

The other day, I met someone who got married right out of high school. She started having children and those children needed babysitters. Now the gender roles aspect of complementarianism says that single young women make the best baby sitters. Her husband couldn’t resist the temptation to get involved with said babysitter. So she was buying a movie called Fireproof in the faint hope that it would somehow save their marriage from their upcoming divorce.

Now to me, Fireproof can be understood as the story of a husband who wakes up one day and for some unexplained reason is desperate to avoid divorce and obeys the instructions of a book on how to manipulate a person through love-bombing in order to get her to believe that there’s a chance they can save the marriage if they add God and Christian teachings into the mix. War Room is even more blatant in it’s message that: “Submission is learning to duck so God can hit your husband.” “It’s your job to love him, to respect him, to pray for the man, [not to fix him].” Neither movie really cares about how it’s underlying premise that God created husbands to have authority over their wives, and by extension, men over women is partially the cause of some relationship issues that lead to the break-down of marriages.

After all, the woman’s husband would have been far less likely to get involved with the babysitter if the babysitter was a man. But ultimately, it comes down to the husband’s heart – people who cheat don’t always do it because they’ve stopped loving their wives and want to move on; sometimes they don’t really have a reason and just give into the moment – it’s not something that his wife can do anything about. No amount of submission will make her relationship tolerable and no amount of love-bombing type manipulation will make it okay. Complementarianism is partially responsible for the woman’s failed marriage, which means that there’s nothing complementarianism can do to fix what it broke.


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