What would happen if you went to marriage counseling, and you were handed a list of 100 sins you may be committing against your husband?

It’s time for a new To Love, Honor and Vacuum podcast! And this one is a little bit different. Something was brought to our attention that was just so awful that we thought it was worth devoting an entire show to. So Rebecca, Connor and I all jumped on the microphone and dissected this list.

Listen in here:

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On Twitter, someone shared a list of “homework” that they had received from Harvest Bible Chapel back in 2011/2012.

It was pretty awful. And all day on Tuesday my Twitter feed was blowing up as people shared very similar homework that they had received from other churches. We managed to track the root of it–a guy named Wayne Mack wrote a book back in 1980 of homework for Marriage and Family Counseling. And people had adapted his lists. It looks like churches were getting them from several biblical counseling organizations–Faith Bible Counseling in Lafayette, or the Biblical Counseling Organization.

(Seriously, this is one of the reasons I was concerned with biblical counseling).

So you go in for marriage counseling, and you’re handed a list of 98 things you may be doing to sin against your husband (another list from another church had 102). And there don’t seem to be equivalent lists for men. There are lists with 100 ways men can show love to their wives (and equivalent lists for women), but not lists that accuse men of sinning in all of these ways.

We’re dissecting this list on the podcast, and talking about how this whole approach is so harmful to marriages (and to women). I’ve uploaded two versions of the lists to the site, and you can download them here if you’d like. The first one has three components to it: How to love your husband; a scorecard for wives (where husbands can rate you on various aspects); and a list of 98 common ways wives sin against their husbands. The second is just the latter list, updated.

Scorecard for Wives & Common Ways Wives Sin (HBC)

Three documents are included here, that were shared on Twitter. It comes from Faith Bible Counseling, and was handed out at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago in 2011/2012.

LOG List Wife & Mother

An updated list put out by the Biblical Counseling Center with over 100 ways a wife may be sinning.

I would really prefer not to talk about all of this stuff, but then something big breaks on Twitter and people ask me to, and so I do. But we’re working on the Honeymoon Course we’ll be releasing June 10, and that seriously is much more fun! So I’ll be talking about that in the next few weeks.

However, I am burdened by how badly women are treated in some churches, and how much marriages are hurting. So I want to draw attention to this and let you know up front: this is not okay. One day some of you may be really vulnerable, at the lowest point of your life, and you may turn to your church for help.

I want you to know now: If they give you a list like this, this isn’t safe. And it’s okay to say no.

(I’ll be writing a bigger post about this on Tuesday, but I wanted to comment on it today.)

And remember, women: God wants you ultimately serving Him. He is to be your focus–not your husband! When we love God appropriately, THEN we’ll be able to see clearly to love our husbands well, too.

If you’re struggling with all of this, please pick up 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, which helps you look at marriage differently, with a Christ-centred, rather than a husband-centred, approach. And that actually allows us to love our husbands much more effectively and much more freely!

Do you have a hard time asking for what you want?

You can change the dynamic in your marriage and make talking about your own needs easier!

If your marriage is in a communication rut, it’s time for some change.

What would you think if you were ever given this list? What stands out to you in it? Let’s talk in the comments!

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