Christian TV Show Pat Robertson Says Wives Who Want Emotional Support from a Husband Are Immature and Should Not Expect Emotional Support
What did I just tell you a few days ago in this other blog post? Here’s a reminder: (Link): Women: Stop Asking Pat Robertson For Romantic Relationship Advice – Whether You Are Divorced or Single
On today’s (August 15, 2016) episode of 700 Club, Pat Robertson answered a letter from a woman named Susie who said her husband does not give her emotional support, so she seeks out her parents for that. Susie wanted to know how she could get her spouse to support her more.
Robertson’s reply was not only unbiblical, but it was terribly insensitive.
If you’ve read books by Christian psychiatrists Cloud and Townsend (and I have – Boundaries, as well as Twelve Christian Beliefs That Can Drive You Crazy), you learn how and why Robertson’s replies were wrong and unbiblical.
Robertson told the woman she was being immature for going to her parents for emotional support and should not expect such support from her husband. Robertson told the woman that she should turn to God for all her emotional needs.
I will you direct you to read books by Christian doctors Cloud and Townsend to find out why Robertson was wrong:
If you read the book “Boundaries,” in a chapter about, I believe marriage, in that book ((Link): Boundaries book excerpts), Cloud and Townsend say that yes, husbands should meet the emotional needs of their wives, that wives are owed that by husbands, and they have lots of Bible verses and biblical principles to back up that view.
Edit. From the book Boundaries, chapter 3, “Boundary Problems:”
[Book describes scenario where a wife named Brenda gets vulnerable with her husband Mike about work-related and parenting problems she is undergoing, and she is expecting emotional support and empathy but instead receives criticism and a harsh dismissal from him]
Brenda was devastated. … It wasn’t easy to express her neediness in the first place, especially with Mike’s coldness. Now she felt as if he chopped her feelings to bits. He seemed to have no understanding whatsoever of her struggles – and didn’t want to.
How could this be a boundary problem? Isn’t it just basic insensitivity? Partially.
But it’s not quite that simple. Remember that boundaries are a way to describe our spheres of responsibility: what we are and are not responsible for. While we shouldn’t take on the responsibility of others’ feelings, attitudes, and behaviors, we do have certain responsibilities to each other.
Mike does have a responsibility to connect with Brenda, not only as a provider and as a parenting partner, but also as a loving husband.
Connecting emotionally with Brenda is part of loving her as himself (Ephesians 5:28, 33).
He isn’t responsible for her emotional well-being. But he is responsible to her. His inability to respond to her [emotional] needs is a neglect of his responsibility.
Termed “nonresponsives” because of their lack of attention to the responsibilities of love, these individuals exhibit the opposite of the pattern exhorted in Proverbs 3:27, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (that last phrase, “in your power,” has to do with our resources and availability).
….Both of the above verses indicate the same idea: we are responsible to care about and help, within certain limits, others whom God places in our lives. To refuse to do so when we have the appropriate resources can be a boundary conflict.
In their “Twelve Beliefs” book (see link, under Assumption 7, “If I have God, I don’t need people”) the doctors lay to rest the Christian myth that all Christians need in life or hard times is God and God alone (or Jesus only). The fact is, people sometimes do need other people.
By the way, Robertson’s reply to this Susie woman contradicts advice he’s given to other people previously. On previous shows, Robertson has told lonely people who have written to him for advice (usually these were never married or divorced people) that “God puts single adults and other lonely people into families.”
Well, now Robertson is telling a woman who feels unsupported and lonely (although she is married) that she should not expect God to meet her needs through people.
Which is it, Pat? Should lonely people expect God to help them with their loneliness by “putting them in families” or not? Make up your mind. Robertson speaks out of both sides of his mouth on this issue.
I’d like to add that Pat Robertson is very much a gender complementarian. I’ve watched his TV show for years, and he buys into the stupid, untrue notions that the husband is the ultimate head of the household and all the other garbage gender complementarians believe in (see for example (off site link; to You Tube video): Pat Robertson says (2nd letter on video) Wives should not have Financial Veto Power in Marriage ). So I guess it figures he’s usually not too sensitive to the concerns of wives who write his TV show with marital questions.
I am surprised that the female co-host Terri, supported Pat’s insensitive remarks in this instance – she usually acts as a sensible counter-point to his nutty or horrible advice. Not this time, however.
Edit. Robertson also tells the woman that he thinks she must be “enjoying her sickness.” That is so freaking insensitive, I hardly know what to say.
For years and years, I used to have clinical depression (not anymore). But when I confided in a Christian woman I met that I had depression (back a few years ago when I still had it), she made a similar, heartless response that “you must on some level secretly enjoy having depression, otherwise you would have been over it by now.”
People do not “enjoy” having physical or mental disabilities. I can see how some people might fall into a self- pity trap and not try to get better, but I don’t think that’s true for most people, and that is certainly not how clinical depression works. The Bible tells Christians to be more supportive of people who are undergoing a crisis or in some kind of pain, but a lot of times, they’re not.
You can view the woman’s question and listen to Pat Robertson’s horribly incorrect and heartless advice here (it’s the second or third question on the video; this is on You Tube – you can also watch the show on (Link): the CBN site):
(Link): Christian Host Pat Robertson Tells Christian Woman Who Married Christian Man Who Turned Out to Be Totally Unethical That She has Discernment of a Slug – Single Women: toss Be Equally Yoked teaching in the trash can
(Link): What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)