A Couples Retreat… Minus Half the Couple March 14, 2011

A Couples Retreat… Minus Half the Couple

First Baptist Church made a video recapping a recent married couples’ retreat. They asked the couples to share their experiences and urge others to attend the retreat in the future.

Nice video. But I just don’t get the feeling like I’m hearing from everyone…:

Wow. By the third couple, it’s kind of funny… by the sixth couple, it’s downright sad.

As Darrell at Stuff Fundies Like puts it:

From this video I gather that Rule 1 of a Happy Marriage is evidently “Do not allow your wife to express opinions in public.”

They must be following 1 Timothy 2:12:

I’m not doubting the couples are happy… but damn, I have no desire to be in a relationship where the woman doesn’t (or can’t or won’t) speak for herself.

(via Christian Nightmares)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • First it was funny. Then it was sad. Then it was downright creepy.

  • Perhaps that’s why they oppose same-sex marriage-both partners (or neither) would be speaking during the video and wouldn’t that just confuse everyone?


    Besides the one-sidedness of the video, the other thing that struck me were the constant references to the retreat as something done to them by their minister-no concept of communicating, working together, growing, etc-just come to the retreat and be told what to do with one size fits all rules. Complete abdication of responsibility.

  • Rob

    Notice the women bowling in skirts? Really? I bet these are the same people find it odd that Islam forces their women to wear burkas.

  • 13 couples, not a single word from a wife.

  • Barb

    Wow. That was really weird. Does anyone know if the women ARE actually allowed to speak, or do they just adore their men so much, that they CAN’T speak.

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Isn’t it nice how Christians are constantly proving their values.

  • Michelle

    That was a bit creepy. I’m glad Rob pointed out the skirts/burka comparison. While we hear a great deal about countries where that type of covering is law, there are many places where women cover their heads or wear similar gear in the same manner as women of Christian religions don’t cut their hair and wear skirts all the time.

  • Jeff.B

    This looks like as much fun as one of my national sales meetings for work. Although we do at least have booze at my work functions

  • Sweet… a photo from my alma mater! Now I’m going to be homesick all day though…

  • Aimee

    The worst to me were the women who just stared at their husbands as he talked. I feel a little ill when I see someone that fully indoctrinated and submissive.
    Also my husband hates talking, especially to strangers or in public or on recording. he won’t even call our bank if there’s a problem or even order pizza by phone. He’d hate having to be the one ‘in charge’ more than I would I think.

  • Someone You Know

    I’m not doubting the couples are happy…

    Well, the men are happy. That’s all that matters, right?

  • Erp

    Should be made clear that this is the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana. There are probably a few thousand “First Baptist Churches” in the world but their attitudes towards women and marriage differ and they vary by denomination.

    Hammond according to their web site are King James Version literalists (which makes them conservative even by literalist standards) who aren’t affiliated to any Baptist convention. They are also a mega-church.

  • There were one or two rebellious Jezebels there though.

    Keep you head steady woman!

  • You know what they coach in these classes…

    1. Everything you do is for god.
    2. The husband is the head of the household just like Jesus is the head of the church.
    3. The woman should dedicate her life to supporting the husband so the husband has more time for God’s work. Supporting means doing all the cooking, cleaning, housework, and child-rearing. And, of course, relieving your husband of any job-stress by, well, you know what.

    The husband works directly for god. The woman works indirectly for god.

    That is what they coach anyway.

  • Lauren

    I wonder if my husband will think its sexy if I can perfect that glassy-eyed stare?

  • Mr Ed

    WOOT! Feminism is going strong, some of those woman were free enough to nod in their husbands presence.

    I’ve been married for 20 years but for the life of me I can’t figure out where the pillar of “mercy” figures in. I wouldn’t want my wife in a position where I had the enough power over her that I could be merciful.

  • Mr Ed

    Lauren I wonder if my husband will think its sexy if I can perfect that glassy-eyed stare?

    If you were my wife and started staring like that I would take you to a neurologist to make sure you had had a stroke.

  • Lana

    Kinda wonder if they b!tch-smacked the women into silence for that video or something. I mean, they were uniformly silent, and more than a few of them looked as though they sincerely wanted to add something, even if it was just an, “Oh, yes, I had a wonderful time!” . . . but silence. It was freaky.

  • martha

    One woman almost couldn’t keep her mouth shut.

    Maybe she will be the one lucky enough to get a divorce.

  • Erin

    It sounded a bit like it was edited that way, which I could totally see that church doing, editing out the opinions of the women. At least one looked like she was going to speak.

    As for the skirts and bowling, I like to wear skirts alot in the spring and summer, and I hoping that hitting 50 this week here in WI I will be able to, but man, I know a women who wears a skirt EVERY DAY because it’s what God wants! I’m glad I have to ability to wear pants when I want.

  • Haha. One of the wives actually says “yes”. The only one to speak simply says “yes”. :^) This is one of the requirements of a Baptist wife. If you do speak in public then make sure you agree with your husband who is the head of the household after all.

  • Nicoline

    Did anyone notice there were quite a few Palin look-alikes in that video? It’s creepy. And she’s not even a baptist.

  • Rich Wilson

    Clearly, some of those women still need more training. They’re still nodding.

  • CanadianNihilist

    To be fair we don’t know if the women talked next. As soon as the husband is done talking they skip to another couple.
    I’m pretty sure it’s not edited out though :/

    It could be that the husband is saying everything that needs to be said and the woman feels no need to interrupt him, that would be rude after all.

    Personally I hate defending followers of christian mythology but I don’t feel this video provides enough information to attack them on this.

  • Katie’s mom

    A few of us from our humanist group attended a service at a local megachurch this weekend, just to check it out. We were treated to a guest speaker who was in town for a Promise Keepers gathering. I learned a few new things about how to have a successful marriage.
    1. Tithe
    2. Install a pornography blocker on the computer
    3.Regularly ask my husband if he is masturbating
    4. Tithe( they really emphasized this advice)

  • Matt

    yeah, I think it’s quite possible that the comments from the wives were just omitted. It could be that the video is designed to market to men who would not normally want to attend such an event, by only showing the men’s positive opinions. I suspect that the wives of such men do not need convincing.

    but then again, who really knows…

  • Claudia

    It’s not just the skirts, but their length. Almost all of them were ankle length or slightly shorter. Yes ladies, remember that those are your owners husbands legs. Your opinion is obviously unneccesary because it automatically coincides with your husband, doesn’t it?

    I cry for the daughters born into these families.

  • What would Prof. Pat Pending do?

    So nice of Richard Kiel to come out for the event. (1:21)

  • Richard P.

    It’s like all the men came with their sock puppets. Just pull a string and they smile and nod.

  • jenea

    If you notice, only the men were mic-ed. So it was decided before they started filming who would be speaking.

    Hard to know whether they just edited out the women who got mic-ed.

  • Roxane

    I have a Catholic friend who goes on retreats in the hopes that her husband will decide to stay home. They’re locked in a miserable, no-divorce-because-we’re-so-Catholic-that-my-emotionally-abusive-husband-belongs-to-Opus-freaking-Dei marriage.

  • Bunch of nutless, gushing blabbermouths.
    I didn’t know we were supposed to talk after marriage. Guess I didn’t get the memo. My wife is smarter than me, so it’s better for her to represent us anyway.

  • Lady Copper

    It’s not an accident that the women are not talking and that they are wearing the long skirts. I looked up the church and realized its head pastor is Jack Schaap http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpbSTWNWpNE. He is infamous for being a major jerk and an example of the worst kind of fundie, which is saying a lot.

  • Reminds me a bit of The Stepford Wives.

  • Richard Wade

    First it was funny, then sad, and finally angering.

    When I practiced marriage counseling, once in a while I’d see a couple like this. It took a long time to coax the women to share their feelings frankly. In most couples, it’s harder to get men to open up.

    For the women, what looked like passive contentment was really resignation and resentment. For the men, what looked like satisfaction and confidence was really loneliness, boredom, and guilt.

    They were living alone in the same house.

  • Cool. I needed another excuse not to get married. I like my unwife just the way she is.

    Welcome to the Annual Stepford Couples Retreat. Please plug your wives in to recharge before beginning the bowling tournament.

  • Vas

    Wow A marriage retreat for couples with mute wives. It’s nice that these afflicted couples have a retreat to go to where they can feel comfortable being around others who share this tragic condition and understand the difficulty of living without the ability to speak. These husbands are heroes and deserve our respect for their selfless dedication to these brave women. God bless each and every one of you.

  • Lauren

    Mr Ed….Lol!!

    and Katie’s mom…you are *supposed* to ask your husband if he is yanking the crank and install a porno blocker to the computer?!?!?!?! So what…is the woman supposed to ALWAYS service the man when he wants it, whether she is in the mood or not? Man, bet that is some smokin’ good times right there folks. Damn, there are times I direct my hubby to the computer, and its cornucopia of nubile young lasses when I, erm, have a headache, lol. WTF is wrong with *either* partner taking “matters into their own hands” when one is really not in the mood that evening?

    I will NEVER get Fundies…NEVER!!!

  • Stephanie

    So I’m seeing it takes about three years for the women to learn to stare adoringly at their husbands while they speak. Some of those women on their first and second years didn’t even look at theirs…

    Can you blame them?

  • Ginger

    This is absolutely part of the training. As a young woman, I attended several conferences for Southern Baptist women. Even those of us who were not married were told things like “Your role in the relationship is to be your husbands cheerleader. You’re not a coach; you’re not a player; you’re a cheerleader.” And “God created men to need respect. If you don’t respect your husband, you are sabotaging him.”

    Everything, right down to the staring, smiling and nodding are part of what many Southern Baptist women are trained to do. We are specifically told “Never disagree with your husband in public and look at him whenever he speaks.” We are told that God gave us husbands to be our leaders, and to seek equality with them is rebellion against God.
    Those women were probably modeling exactly what they had just learned.

    Don’t even get me started on the clothes.

  • JD

    I saw this yesterday, I noticed the same thing that jenea did, only the men had the lapel microphones. I highly doubt that’s an accident, I mean, if it was acceptable for women to talk, don’t you think at least one of them would?

    Given how stiff everyone is, I’d think that everyone there is one breakdown away from a jihad.

  • BoomerChick

    My husband always looks at me like that when I am speaking. That’s when I bring him into the conversation whether he likes it or not.
    And I don’t even own a skirt (except for my Dominatrix gear).

  • Ugh. Just ugh. I feel so sorry for these women who have probably never known anything different.

    And it sucks for the rest of the world also. How many of these people could be writers or scientists who won’t be cause they’ve been taught to be nice little quiet house wives? How many great discoveries are we losing out on? How many people are dying from medicines that some of them might discover? How many great novels are we missing because of this?

    Make no mistake, this sort of thing isn’t just bad for the women in the videos, this is bad for all of us.

  • The bible verse that comes to mind when watching this is the one that states women should be silent in churches. A quick Google search reveals more verses targeted at suppressing the public view of women, and that the man’s view should dominate in private.

    This appears to be a common theme among Christian thinking. The idea that only (heterosexual) men are permitted equal rights. God created man, then created women for man. God created earth for man to take what they want. God created man in his own image.

    This idea repulses me. We’re part of the same species, the same common ancestor, made of the same type of genetic code, the same type of matter. One human being doesn’t have any more right over another. And that’s a fundamental concept in secular law.

    In the UK there have been two legal cases that I’m aware of that take this fully on board. We are equal. Religious rights do not outrank human rights.


  • schnauzermom

    Evidently, this model of the Stepford Wife does not have the voice box option.

  • Barbara_K

    Ginger – about cheerleading and agreeing with the men, I get the feeling that if the women were asked to add anything the response would be “Yeah, what he said. Good job, honey!”

  • Kristi

    Sorry, but that could never be me standing there looking like a submissive, indoctrinated, incapable little female who should be an incubator only. I feel bad for these women. They are brainwashed into *thinking* they are happy. Look at the misery in their eyes.

  • Scout

    Hey! That’s the hotel I go to every year for my favorite sci-fi con! Maybe we (sci-fi and couples) should try to meet up. What could possibly go wrong?

  • JSug

    To be completely fair, the video footage was edited together. It’s entirely possible that some or all of the women had comments that were edited out. That certainly says something about the biases of the editor, though.

  • I didn’t read any of the comments before I started watching… After a while I was like, “Do the women really like it–or were they just smiling and nodding?” One woman looked like she wanted to speak but she just closed her mouth again and nodded.

    My friend is a baptist and she got married in a religious ceremony. One of her VOWS was to SUBMIT to her husband. I was outraged. I don’t understand WHY you would worship a god that makes you shut up for the dick your suckin’ when there are so damn many gods to choose from…

  • Dakota Bob

    I need my women to dominate me, and tell me how naughty I’ve been. if I was married to a woman like that in the video I would never sleep at night, I’d worry about her snapping and killing me or somethin’

  • Margy

    My cousin got married in a Catholic ceremony to please her parents. Although she and her fiance met with the priest in advance to go over the vows they had written, the priest pulled a fast one on her at the altar. He loudly insisted that she promise to submit to her husband as head of the household and accept his authority without question, blah, blah, blah. What was my cousin, as a young bride in front of several hundred people, supposed to do? She said “I do,” but I, for one, was seething.

  • Lucy

    Very creepy….Are Baptist women required to wear dresses or skirts? I didn’t see one woman in pants…

  • thegiggle

    This rule doesn’t stop at wives. At a recent fundraiser/ministry about marital relationships the pastor explained that I, as an unmarried, 26 year old woman, am my father’s responsibility. When I get married, I become my husband’s responsibility. *eye-roll*

    This church tries to be so forward thinking. They talk about sex and engage the congregation with pop culture and updated language, but they fail so hard at the important stuff, like equality and individuality.

  • Ms. Crazy Pants

    One of those couples needs to stop going to the retreats, save their money, and buy the poor woman some dentures. Despite her closed mouth, it was obvious there were no teeth behind the lips.

    On the other hand, I better it’s harder to talk without teeth, so denying her dentures probably helps keep her quiet.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    C’mon, the 9th woman got her name mentioned, and the 12th woman actually got in a couple of words during the fade-out.
    You damned atheists are so demanding!


  • anybody else getting Gaydar overload on the dudes wearing tuxes? srsly. those guys showed up at a mess of my parties, back in the day. i loved the one talking about the ‘recharge’ like it was next season’s queer party of the year. whatever, dood. you wish all the Fabulous Queers would come to yours. keep pretending wearing a tux will make that happen, heh.

    down lows. so tired, so boring, so 1945.

  • Peter Mahoney

    The very same church’s YouTube channel shows the pastor explaining that in general women should NOT even be allowed to say “amen” in church, unless it is muffled by whole group saying it.

    (They should not ‘lead out’ in any way, since the Bible says women are to be silent in church.) The pastor actually says this.


  • Emma

    When they’re all wearing formal wear, the lack of pants isn’t totally out of place (though you’d think you’d see one or two in dress pants…)

    Bowling though? Maybe we ought to be surprised that they allow women to do something as strenuous as lift and carry a heavy bowling ball.

  • TheRealistMom

    There’s always the cute swimwear for these ladies too… things like this… http://www.marseamodest.com/SWIM-DRESS-A-LINE.htm

    I felt SO bad for the girls at my high school who followed a branch-off of Seventh-Day Adventist that was even stricter than the norm. Long dresses, never allowed to cut their hair, wearing dresses in the pool… uggh.

  • When I get going my poor boyfriend rarely gets a word in. But he’s not much for talking. I tell him to tell me to shut up if I get going but he usually just lets me. We’re having gender role problems. Maybe the church can help us?

  • But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

  • KatAStrophic

    Smile and nod. Smile and nod. One wonders if they really understand English.

    I’ve seen that same glassy stare a million times and it never fails to freak me the hell out.

    My mother was a minister’s wife and she was miserable. He passed away a couple years ago and since then she’s blossomed. Developed her own opinions, started to think for herself, even accepted a gay stepson (she is getting remarried this spring) I am SO proud of my mother, and at the same time I feel so sad for these women because they are downright oppressed and the church community as a whole does nothing except reinforce it.

    Also, I for one would laugh at anyone who insisted I bowl in a skirt. Seriously people.

  • I was once in a relationship with a woman who wouldn’t speak for herself… she just agreed with everything I said and it got really annoying after a while. I don’t know why religious people like it so much. You never learn anything, you never get a real in depth look into another perspective… sounds so boring.

  • Kristin

    I doubt that the wives’ comments were omitted. They only put microphones on the men–they never even expected the women to speak. Maybe they switched the microphone after, but clearly if they expected two opinions they’d have two microphones.

  • neina

    But – but – all the women are wearing skirts, over the knee skirts or longer! There’s something creepy going on. Obviously.

  • Beckyshmecky

    I thought the same thing when it was played. 

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