One of the funniest examples to illustrate this point (p. 217-219) involves a letter a woman named Vicki wrote to Debi because she was “tired and discouraged”, frustrated that her husband wouldn’t fix the sink or the screen door. Debi opens her reply letter by asking Vicki to take the “Standard Dumb Cluck” test. The first question in this test is “Does natural healing not interest you?” Indeed, all of the questions in the “Standard Dumb Cluck Test” except the last have absolutely nothing to do with the original letter. Debi follows this test with, “Well, are you a dumb cluck?”, then writes an extremely harsh letter about how Vicki should get her lazy self off the couch, learn to use tools, and take some initiative. Not knowing the situation, we’re not disputing Debi’s advice, but are disturbed by the complete lack of courtesy and compassion in the letter, a style unfortunately carried over into many of Debi’s other letters. Debi is essentially presenting this woman (whom she knows nothing of except for a one-paragraph letter) to thousands of readers as a silly, lazy “dumb cluck” bum.
The verse just before Titus 2:4-5, which Debi spends so much time exploring, says this: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” To label another woman (all of the following are direct quotes from her book) a “cheap office wench”, “cheap office hussy”, “lazy, complaining wife,” “cranky, demanding leech”, “skinny swine”, “rebellious”, or “hillbilly ugly, which is worse than everyday ugly” in a book to be read by thousands, simply based on one letter or observation, comes dangerously close to slander. At the least, this approach does nothing to show the love of God or the respect we should all show to people made in His image (women included, we believe!).
Debi constantly holds the threat of divorce and the miserable life that would bring over the women reading her book. Women should never be secure in their marriages or their husband’s love, but should always know that the fate of their marriages, their husbands’ fidelity and love, and their happiness, rests solely on their ability to take Debi’s advice, follow her teaching, and be lovable and “precious” all of the time. The following are pages in which Debi threatens women with all kinds of vivid, drawn-out, melodramatic, worst-case scenarios if women “disobey” her advice: 29-32, 66-67, 69-70. All of the scenarios contain a quote similar to the following (p.66): “If you continue to dishonor your husband, the above scenario will likely become your own nightmare – soon!” Here are some representative quotes:
Page 31: “It is a mistake for a wife to take her position for granted, to assume that love and contentment exist because ‘we are husband and wife’… Never demand that a man love you and cherish you because he ought to. Earn every smile and shared moment. Cultivate his love for you… A woman holds her man with the fragile threads of adoration, thankfulness, delight, and just plain fun.”Unfortunately, a lot of what Debi is saying here does have truth to it – not Biblical truth, but the cold, hard truth of living in a fallen world where the curse is very much still in action. However, if women are following Jesus and finding themselves in Him, fear of husbands leaving them should not be their primary motive for loving and reverencing them. Women should love and reverence their husbands because the love of Jesus is in them and they are responding in obedience to His commands. 1 John 4:18 says that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Moreover, a woman reverencing and serving her husband primarily so that he will love, cherish, and be faithful to her makes a pathetic parallel to the Great Mystery of Christ loving His Church.
Page 131: “Men may allow the lust of the flesh to pull them away from that which they value, but they will try to get back to that comfort zone. It is this natural need for his own family that keeps a man caring for and bearing the responsibility for his wife and children. When a woman does not provide for her husband a comfortable nest and a reverent attitude, she has to rely on his goodness to ‘keep him’ faithful. She is a fool to expect him to be a good husband when she is not being the help meet God has created her to be.”
Page 139: “It doesn’t seem fair that the wife is expected to honor and obey her husband even though he has not earned the right; yet she must also earn the right to be loved… If my husband were talking to men, he would tell them to love their wives regardless of how they act. But remember, this is me, the aged woman, telling young girls what they can do to make a heavenly marriage. You cannot command your husband to love you, and you have no right to expect him to love you when you are unlovely. But God has provided a way for a woman to cause her husband to love and cherish her.”