A few weeks back I quoted a post from Pastor Doug Wilson castigating Christian men for listening to pastors and living by the rule if mama ain’t happy (emphasis mine):
When a false definition of servant leadership is mandated for the church, the only people who will simply ignore that teaching will be the dullards and pigs. The sincere Christian men, who falsely believe they are being taught in accordance with the Word, will dutifully disarm. They will abdicate their essential role of actual leadership in the home, and they will call it servant leadership, leading from behind, or “just-what-I-was-going-to-suggest-leadership.” But there is a vast difference between real servant leadership, the kind Christ practiced and enjoined, and the kind that requires men to stand down whenever mama ain’t happy. By so emphasizing servant leadership, the church has not succeeded in establishing more of it, but they have succeeding in giving men a noble-sounding name as a fig leaf for their cowardice.
A number of readers speculated that Pastor Wilson himself had taught the very message he was castigating husbands for following. After reading the introduction to Wilson’s book Reforming Marriage, I can confirm that their suspicion was correct.
In the introduction Wilson explains that we can determine if a home is pleasing to God if the home has a distinctive spiritual aroma. This is something that can’t be faked (all emphasis mine):
…keeping God’s law with a whole heart (which is really what love is) is not only seen in overt acts of obedience. The collateral effect of obedience is the aroma of love. This aroma is out of reach for those who have a hypocritical desire to be known by others as a keeper of God’s law. Many can fake an attempt at keeping God’s standards in some external way. What we cannot fake is the resulting, distinctive aroma of pleasure to God.
How do you test to see if God is pleased with a home? For married couples, Wilson tells us that this aroma comes from the mood of the wife. If the wife is happy, this means that her husband is loving her as the Bible commands.
In the home, where should this wholehearted obedience begin? Where should the aroma originate? Jesus taught us, with regard to individuals, that cups must be cleaned from the inside out. If we apply this principle to the home, we should see that the “inside” of a family is, of course, the relationship between husband and wife, as they self-consciously imitate the relationship of Christ and the Church.
The health of all other relationships in the home depends upon the health of this relationship, and the key is found in how the husband is treating his wife. Or, put another way, when mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
Wilson tells us that teaching husbands how to create this aroma (a happy wife) is the purpose of the book:
In the same way, husbands are to love their wives alone. This is the duty I hope to explain and amplify throughout the course of this small book.
He includes a caveat that husbands must not worship their wives, but he is teaching that the wife’s mood is the unfakable sign of God’s pleasure! If your wife is happy, this is a non falsifiable sign that God is pleased with you. If she is unhappy, this is likewise proof that God is angry with you. He closes the introduction with:
When a husband seeks to glorify God in his home, he will be equipped to love his wife as he is commanded. And if he loves his wife as commanded, the aroma of his home will be pleasant indeed.
See Also: Women as responders