Mark Driscoll Suggests it’s her fault

Because he’s such a swell guy, Mark Driscoll has taken upon himself, in response to the Ted Haggard scandal, to share some “practicle suggestions” on his personal blog as a way of encouraging young church leaders to avoid the pitfalls of sexual immorality. One of his suggestions is the following:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.”

If one could be a fly on the wall of all the marital arguments this suggestion will lead to. Just imagine all the young men under Driscoll’s influence who all of the sudden feel they have the freedom to suggest to their wives that they lose a few pounds or they might end up being cheated on. This seems to advocate some kind of conditional love and faithfullness based on physical appearance. Just the thing you want to hear from your pastor, right? Amazing. Also, is it me or does Driscoll look like he could benefit from his own advice?

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36 thoughts on “Mark Driscoll Suggests it’s her fault

  1. not to make a hasty generalization (like driscoll) but i am more aware of pastors being emotionally unavailable to their wives and families than what he is suggesting… and the constant state of paranoia he lives in stresses me out just reading it… i am so glad to work with a pastor who i can grab coffee with and not worry that he thinks i might pull a potiphar’s wife on him.

  2. So Mark says,
    “not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.”

    And this is only one of many reasonshe gives, the rest of which are the man’s fault.

    How in thw world can you then write a blog with the post title, “Driscoll suggests ‘It’s her fault'”?

    By the way, you put “It’s her fault” in captions. Since you are refering to a quote, I am wondering where you got it from?

    At least “swell guys” don’t slander their brothers in blogs.

    Blog responsibly.

  3. Matt, I’ve removed the quotations. If you have any opinion on whether or not you support Driscoll’s suggestion, I’d love to hear it. The fact he’d even bring this up as “not helping” men remain faithfull is irresponsible enough on it’s own. Are you really defending this?

  4. Horrible, but not surprising. This wouldn’t be the first time Mark Driscoll has shown how unlike Christ a Christian can be.

    As to your last comment (he could benefit from his own advice) there is a great clip on YouTube where Jimmy Kimmel makes a similar point – it is toward the end of his monologue.

  5. Calling what Driscoll said irresponsible is like calling someone irresponsible who tells men to do their best at being emotionally available to their wives, and to not just hang out with the guys and watch sports at home. All he said was that pastors wives should not let themselves go. A women being sexually available to her husband is the same as him being emotionally available to her. You would have no problem if Driscoll suggested men step up here in response to a woman having an emotional affiar at work, that leads to a sexual affair. The reality is that in some cases (note Driscoll does not make a blanket statement as you would like others to beleive) men don’t get their needs met at home becuase their wives aren’t available for whatever reason. While this does not exonerate those men, it also leaves the woman partialy culpable for him being tempted (note, I am only saying that she is culpable for the temptation, not the sin. That is all on the man). Furthermore, Driscoll used this as an example of how a man can protect himself, not as an excuse for sin.

    The last statement is my primary reason for the “slander” comment. The man was simply trying to help men keep themselves pure, not justify their sin. That you accuse Driscoll of the latter, when he was doing the former is blatant slander.

  6. Matt, I understand Driscoll’s intent and I do believe he was only trying to be helpfull. That we can agree on. I don’t believe I have slandered Driscoll. I wrote that this statement is irresponsible and you disagree. That doesn’t make me a slanderer. It’s simply my opinion.

    Obviously, husbands and wives being emotionally and physically available to each other is a good thing. But where I feel Driscoll is being irresponsible here is how he attributes the wife’s responsibilty only to her physical appearance. What if Ted Haggard came out with a statement where he claimed that part of the responsibility for his actions rests on the fact that his wife is lazy and unactractive? If you support Driscoll’s words here, you would have no other choice than to be in agreement with, what is in my opinion, a terrible notion. If that’s your position, then we must agree to disagree.

    If these suggestions are aimed at young male leaders in the church and they ar moved to act on this suggestion, how do they go about addressing this in their marraiges? Do they tell their wives that they are fat and need to lose weight in order to help them not be tempted? Do they email their wives the link to Driscoll’s blog? How does that work?

    If your marital fidelity is any way conditioned upon what kind of physical shape your mate is in, then maybe marraige isn’t for you.

  7. so wait….a guy’s wife who is a tad overweight and isn’t waiting for him in lingerie when he gets home from work might lead to his interest in sex with a man. I wasn’t sure how that worked….but now I get it. Thanks Mark!

  8. Matt – this is what Driscoll says:

    Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives.

    That’s a blanket statement if I’ve ever heard one. So when you say that he’s not making a blanket statement, I have to wonder if you’re being overly charitable in your reading of Driscoll’s comments. He also says,

    It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go

    That’s another blanket statement I think, and again it’s not very charitable. So I have to again wonder whether we’re reading the same statement.

    Calling what Driscoll said irresponsible is like calling someone irresponsible who tells men to do their best at being emotionally available to their wives, and to not just hang out with the guys and watch sports at home.

    But that’s not what he said. He linked blame for the man’s sin to the woman’s attractiveness. And call it what you will, if he didn’t think there was a connection he wouldn’t have made the statement.

    Look – if the issue is with the man, why didn’t he just say, “Hey, men, DON’T SLEEP AROUND.” But he doesn’t say that. He feels compelled to make a point about what the woman is or isn’t doing, while leaving the men largely off the hook in these comments. And, having read his other comments about the role of women, I can’t say that I’m surprised. I agree w/ Zack on this one when he says, “This seems to advocate some kind of conditional love and faithfullness based on physical appearance.” That’s exactly, imho, what Driscoll’s remarks logically lead to. It may not be what he’s trying to say, but it’s what he’s succeeded in communicating.

  9. I read his entire post, and if this was the only thing that he said…then I would have a problem with it. But the fact is, this is not all that he said. He is not making the point at all that the wife is to blame. He is making the point that pastors, yes PASTORS, need to be talking to their wives about all things…even when they feel they are not being sexually cared for. And even that is not all that he said, but merely a part of it. The picture is bigger than we think.

  10. Gary, No one here is saying that “talking to their wives about all things” is a bad thing. If that’s all Driscoll originally suggested then this would be a non-issue. Again, it’s his suggestion that the woman’s looks are somehow partially complicit in a husband’s infidelity that is what I have a problem with. It is a flat-out misogynistic notion.

  11. I read the whole thing too. And the position of that point in his argument – second from the top, before he discusses things like accountability and such, sends a message as well. Zach called it misogynistic – I don’t think that’s an overstatement.

  12. I think there is a big point being missed here. What is Driscoll’s yardstick as to what a wife should be? Make that two points being missed here; when the scripture calls the Church the Bride of Christ and that husbands should love their wives like Christ loves the church, how does Christ evaluate His Bride?

    Think about what scripture says about true beauty and the metaphor of marriage between husband and wife to Christ and the Church, and it becomes glaringly obvious that Mark’s brief but obvious viewpoint of wives and marriage is BASE and profane.

    May I also point out how offensive it is to read anything that suggests men speak to each other, much less to everybody, in a way that suggests they’re evaluating the wives in the church in a sexual way.

    The last thing I want to worry about is my brother in Christ looking at me as a lech and not a brother! I worry about things like that from bad men at other places, I should be free of those kinds of evaluations at church.

    And may I point out how it looks to complain about wives not being sexy enough and at the same time complaining that other women are too sexually provocative. Sounds like this guy is sending out mixed messages to his sheep. No wonder he’s getting profane emails.

  13. Amen Rose. This is what is truly offensive. Driscoll steps to the plate and blatantly objectifies women as products to be enjoyed by their husbands. This absolutely profane theology is a great injustice to the Kingdom of God and the teachings of Jesus.

  14. for complementarians like driscoll, women are seen as having the same value as men, but with differing roles largely emphasizing a woman’s service for their husbands as a wife/mother. i guess it would make sense then that if a man falls into sexual sin, the woman would be held at least partly responsible, in that she did not adequately serve his needs. but then again if the man is the leader, wouldn’t it be his fault for exemplifying poor leadership qualities?

    either way, this type of mindset presents lots of problems. too much pressure on a man to be in control of everything in his life. too much blame placed on a woman for not being enough like the Proverbs 31 woman (who wasn’t real, mind you)

  15. if driscoll removes the statement about “letting themselves go,” then i don’t know if i really have too much of a problem with what he says.

    i think that driscoll has a point in saying that wives should be careful to make themselves emotionally and sexually available to their husbands. however, his statements about the physical appearance of a wife completely negate anything positive that could come from this.

    in a situation involving marital infidelity, blame can rarely ever be placed only on the shoulders of the spouse who is unfaithful. i think that there is often enough blame to go around to all parties involved. but, of course, this doesn’t absolve anyone of guilt. it only seeks to point out that, in a marriage, we must hold ourselves to a high level of accountability and responsibility in a marriage. if a pastor’s wife commits adultery, then there is a good chance that the pastor is at fault in some way (though he is not to blame for his wife’s actions, but rather the situation he helped create). likewise, when the pastor commits adultery, there is good chance that the pastor’s wife is at fault in some way. the spouse certainly does not deserve the pain that infidelity brings, but that does not keep them from being responsible for making temptation more pronounced.

    but then, as i said, any positives that could come from driscoll’s message are negated by the idiotic statement about the physical appearance of a wife. i can certainly understand where he’s coming from. men prefer to look at women that aren’t unnattractive. that is a given. it doesn’t mean that driscoll is in the clear here.

    if physical and emotional intimacy with your wife is predicated on how she looks, then your marriage is real messed up. we are called to be good stewards of our bodies (which means that we shouldn’t ‘let ourselves go’), but to suggest that this would hinder intimacy is ludicrous.

    also, i would have to disagree with rose’s last paragraph. driscoll is not saying that pastor’s wives should be more “sexually provocative.” he is saying that they shouldn’t let themselves go. there is a big difference. you can keep yourself in shape and not dress like a slut. this is more what driscoll is saying. i’m not trying to defend driscoll here, because i think he’s in the wrong. however, i am trying to make sure that his words aren’t being misconstrued (as i think they are with rose’s statement about driscoll’s mixed messages).

    i also don’t think that driscoll is treating women as products to be enjoyed by their husbands. i’ve heard driscoll say the same things about men being out of shape and its effect on sexual relationships on a few ocassions when listening to lectures or reading his stuff. once again, that doesn’t mean i agree with him. far from it. it just means that other people might be putting words into his mouth.

  16. This is irritating. Driscoll (and everyone else) is/are responsible for their morality. It goes to the core of the person. A spouse is not responsible for anothers moral failures. Although they are influencers, you (Mark) are ultiately responsible for your actions. I can hear it now from Haggard – I choose to have a gay relationship because my wife is fat. 😦

  17. Hmmm…I read the entire post by Driscoll and I didn’t find this to be that offensive. My wife even agreed with him and she’s a very independent woman. She suggested the same thing to me as well since we’re both a few pounds overweight. *S*

    I think Driscoll’s take is simply that both spouses should take the time for each other. He’s not in any way suggesting that this was the case with Haggard. He was making a general observation and to be honest, I’ve seen the same thing on both sides. I’ve seen pastors who are grossly obese and I’ve seen wives of pastors who are just as obese. This can definitely be a turn-off sexually not to mention shortening our lives.

    I wouldn’t castigate Driscoll simply for making an observation. It’s not like he said Gayle Haggard MADE her husband do anything. In fact, the crux of his post was putting the onus on the men to be careful to take steps to protect themselves.

  18. [I feel like I’m off in a corner shooting my gun after the bar’s already cleared out, but what the hay…]

    Anyone who thinks Mark Driscoll is blaming wives for husbands’ infidelity, obviously cannot read context. I’ll bat for Driscoll any day on the issue of husbands and wives.

    Perhaps some of us get a bit defensive because we are unsatisfied by the woman God gave each of us.

    *puts on flak glove*

  19. “Perhaps some of us get a bit defensive because we are unsatisfied by the woman God gave each of us.”

    Talk about a blanket statement! You can go ahead and speak for yourself on this issue, not for me or anyone else on this blog.

    Thanks for the judgement, Bro!

  20. I read the whole article, and I can definitely see where you’re coming from Zach. I’m a woman and I take issue with what Mark said in that one paragraph. At the same time though, I think he assigned enough of the blame to the pastor as well. His blanket statement about pastor’s wives was, however, out of line. In all honesty, I’ve never seen a pastor’s wife who “let herself go.”

    The rest of the article offered fair assessments of how a pastor should act. That being said, I also think it’s important that we resist the temptation to deify pastors and I think Driscoll is on the verge of doing that in his article. It’s as if he feels that pastors are not humans who make mistakes as the rest of us do.

  21. Brooks,

    Driscoll is clearly putting partial responsiblity on the wife’s appearance. If you can’t come to that conclusion, then maybe the driscoll kool-aid you’re drinking is spiked.

    Thanks for your sentiment, Dean. I echo your thoughts.

  22. Driscoll’s comment? Inappropriate. Damaging. Hurtful. Unwise. Sexist. Unbelievable. Juvenile.

    And Brooks… I am defensive because the comment was wrong and anti the way of Jesus. There is no way a comment like that should be made [much like yours]. And by the way, I am way satisfied with the woman God gave me… and I’m still defensive!

  23. Ok, there is a second part to this.

    It is the conversation about “sexual liberties” in light of a scandal about gay sex.

    Which makes me wonder, is part of his contention that women like Mrs. Haggard need to be open to the kinds of sex a man would have with another man.

    Do you read Driscoll saying that pastor’s wives should put out anal sex to be biblical women? Or is it simply oral?

    Im not saying this to be a smart aleck or overly perverse, but his comments do beg the question

  24. Protesting outside Mark Driscoll’s church will just give him the ego boost of a martyr complex that will fuel his already strident attitude. He will thank anyone who shows up to protest for the publicity and make him feel like: gosh, if people are upset, then I must be doing something right!

    My problem with him is a simple lack of the fruit of the spirit, (along with the lack of common sense, of course). Where’s the gentleness, love, self-control, for crying out loud?

    There’s one more irony about this guy: older conservatives like John Piper and D.A. Carson have turned to him as an example of someone who shares their conservative views on women in ministry, but who is hip and cool. And yet…he embarrases them with statements like this.

    My opinion is that we should all just ignore him. Perhaps the lack of attention will force him to say less foolish things.

  25. I would hope John Piper is embarassed but I have yet to see any evidence. His frienship with Driscoll has been a head scratcher for me for some time now.

  26. I am surprised to see some Christians on this blog and because this is the case I will appeal to scripture. Tell me where Driscoll is being unBiblical. Have you ever read the Song of Solomon? Its ALL physical. The notion that a man should not want to be physically attracted to his wife is ludicrous and unBiblical. Also, you have all made the point that Driscoll is making blanket statements, this is partially true. WHo is he making his blanket statements about? People he knows. Listen to what he says, “pastors I have met, pastors I know…” This is not him saying all Pastor’s wives int he world, he has limited his “blanket statement” to those Pastors that he knows.

  27. Hey Mate,
    Since you have so faithfully dissected Driscoll’s post and made him appear as a real chauvenist pig; will you also be faithful in covering his recent addendum and clarification to his post and his willingness to listen to his critics? He almost sounds Brian McLaren-ish in his tone. Are you “generous” enough to allow him to speak and clarify himself?

  28. mark driscoll actually regretted putting that blog up and removed it shortly after it was posted. i have read a story in which the women at his church say that he is regurlarly appologizing for things like this.
    i think he just speaks too often before really thinking over his position and how it will be taken.

    it is wrong to place blame on the wife. i think he has a small point that in marriage if either spouse lets themselves go it is much harder to be attracted to each other. he just overstates almost everything he puts out.

  29. granted, he’s apologized and removed the blog. it’s just bad enough this even came out of his mouth at all. and it’s not an isolated incident. if he were truly sorry for his asinine comments, he’d try not to continue making so many.

  30. i agree. he does too much of this. i like his preaching when he is just dealing with theological issues alone in a teaching attitude, but when he gets into the masculinity thing it’s just really annoying and not helpful.

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