Last week Friday, Matt Walsh put out an article on the Ashley Madison data breach. It is entitled “Cheating On Your Spouse Is Not A Mistake” (click on title for link to article). While I certainly do not agree with everything Matt Walsh writes, I generally like this take on the exposure of cheaters.
He does an excellent job exposing minimizing behavior behind calling cheating “a mistake.” Matt Walsh explodes that myth. He also explodes the martyr complex these cheaters are trying to invoke by calling themselves victims. I applaud him for doing both of those things.
Plus, he calls adultery and cheating evil.
Big applause from DM for that!
Where I break ranks from him in his article is over his criticism of Jessica Kirkland’s Facebook rant that went viral (link here). This is about the Facebook post where Kirkland exhorts fellow mothers to teach their daughters to stand up for themselves, take power, and make men like Josh Duggar cower if they behave like he did. She ends it by saying, “As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.”
Walsh takes this rant as radical feminism gone mad. To him, it sounds like Kirkland is teaching war of the sexes. In fact, Walsh treats Kirkland’s posting as if Kirkland is advocating emotional abuse from the female side.
I think Matt Walsh misses the point.
Kirkland is addressing learned passivity and acceptance of disrespect, in my opinion. Dr. Dobson, in his classic book Love Must Be Tough, maintains the essential missing piece in a marriage ravaged by adultery is lack of respect–i.e. contempt. The idea that respect is missing in a marriage when adultery has taken place is not a new or radical idea.
Even a Neo-Calvinist, Pastor Tim Keller encourages mutual respect in marriage sharing a story in their book The Meaning of Marriage where his wife–Kathy–broke their wedding china getting his attention. This episode came after he broke his promise to cut back on work hours after an agreed upon number of years. It was a fearful episode for Tim Keller. Some might even say that Kathy Keller breathed fire.
While I might not have expressed things the same way that Jessica Kirkland did in her Facebook post, I do appreciate what she has to say. I agree that we must raise our daughters to have a backbone. They must have deal-breakers.
Finally, to Matt Walsh’s charge that this is just subtle blame-shifting onto Anna Duggar, I do not see Kirkland’s exhortation as saying Anna Duggar brought the cheating upon herself. Josh Duggar’s choices to commit adultery are on his soul alone. But Anna’s choices in how she responds to this knowledge is upon her like our responses as faithful spouses is upon our shoulders.
Will we accept such disrespect or will we metaphorically “breathe fire?”
The choice is up to us.*
*Personally and pastorally, I think it is more godly to “breathe fire” than to tolerate adultery.