Spare the Rod and Spoil the Who?

1950s-spanked-wife (2)

Excuse me!  What?  Where have I been?  I’ve never heard of this!  I thought.  I know I’ve spent a lot of time at the beach lately, but I seriously have NOT had my head buried in the sand. I couldn’t believe what I was reading!  Anything involving women, especially Christian women, is always of particular interest to me.  I have one friend who always keeps me up-to-date on some of the latest, and perhaps more controversial, trends among women.

This one has me speechless, so I resort to writing.  Warning!  This is perhaps the strangest thing I’ve ever written about, and that’s an understatement!

Spanking!  I don’t mean your children.  And I’m not referring to the kinky, sexual kind either.

There’s apparently a growing number of conservative Christian women consenting to having their husbands spank them as an act of submission.  What?  Yes, you read correctly, spanking into submission!  I couldn’t make this up if I tried!  Promise.

The name of this strange practice is Christian Domestic Discipline, or CDD.  And if it’s not crazy enough that they’ve created a name for it, there’s also a website, internet groups, and beginner’s booklets on how to do this and what items to use in the process.   According to, CDD is a lifestyle in which spanking and other punishments (loss of privileges, time outs, etc.) are used to maintain an orderly, Christian household.

This more than bothers me on several levels.

Anytime we attach the term Christian to anything, whether to ourselves or to an organization, we are representing Jesus.  The term Christian means Christ-like.  Nothing about husbands spanking their wives resembles Jesus.  Jesus’ life on earth was about grace, love, peace, forgiveness, healing, setting captives free, and deliverance, not about whipping and bruising people into submission.  There’s no account of Jesus spanking anyone in the Bible, ever!

The submission in which the Bible is referring, has nothing to do with punishment.  As I wrote in “Submissive or Crazy… Or a Little Bit of Both,”

Submission to my husband is as much a picture of my earthly marriage as it is a picture of my relationship with Jesus.

While the Bible clearly says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” God pointed something out to me that gave me much relief.  Yes the husband is to be the head of the home as Christ is the head of the church.  But before Paul addresses married men and women, he encourages us to know what God’s will is, then goes on saying “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  This “one another”  includes all people, a yielding to one another in every direction.

He tells men to “love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”  Which means husbands love your wives over your own bodies with relentless, unconditional grace and favor.  And wives, in the same way that “we love Jesus because He first loved us,” so shouldn’t we also love and submit to our husbands simply because they love us?

One of the obvious problems with this beating-into-submission method is there’s nothing protective or safe about it.  It’s rooted in fear and punishment, not safety and love.  If Jesus is my picture of what a husband should be (and He is), then I expect my husband to provide, protect, and love me at all costs, the way Jesus does.  Not only that, I want my man to love me the way he loves himself.  Like Paul suggested, “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church” (Galatians 5:28-29).

In “Recipe For a Smokin’ Hot Marriage,” I explained in detail and gave examples of what motivates me to willingly submit to my husband.  Summed up in one word, LOVE.

The other day, I was extremely upset over something involving someone close to me.  I felt it wasn’t rightly handled, so I picked up the phone to call the other person to…aheeem…share my thoughts.  My husband said, “Rivera, no.  Please.  Just pray about it for 24 hours before you do that.  Please.”  He was wise enough to know I would respond to the suggestion of praying.  He also knew if I talked with God, He would talk me out of it.  My husband loved me so much he didn’t want me to embarrass myself (or him).  Because I love him, and I know he loves me, I listened. I respected him enough to yield.  I submitted.  He didn’t need to spank me into submission.  His history of loving me was enough.

The bottom line is married couples have a right to consent to do whatever they wish in the privacy of their own homes, but to me this is absurd.  It riles me because it’s a misrepresentation of Jesus, since it carries the name Christian.  It’s just another way for the world to see Christians as cultish and weird.  This makes me sad.

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  ~Ephesians 5:15

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12 thoughts on “Spare the Rod and Spoil the Who?

  1. laurabennet says:

    I’m stunned and so sad about this. True submission builds a wonderful relationship both ways. It amazes me that people can come up with their own ideas that have no biblical basis and call it Christian principles. How many people will jump on this as license for their own warped ideas. Like anything any of us do that is different than God’s way, this must sadden our Lord’s heart too. Thank you for sharing.

  2. D says:

    What a terrible idea. NO husband who is trying to love his wife as instructed in Eph 5:25-33 would ever even think of doing this.

  3. Mary says:

    Rivera, thank you for the courage it takes to expose these wayward things that are done in the name of Christianity. Recently, while checking out a youtube video link sent to me about a precious reunion between a soldier and his dog, I saw a link to “The Most Hated Family in America.” It caught my attention. I’ve been reading and speaking about the topic of forgiveness, and I couldn’t help but wonder what this family had done that people found so hard to forgive. I was heartsick when I saw what they were doing in the name of God, and I wanted to shout out, “This is NOT true Christianity!”

    It was a reminder again (as if we needed another one) of just how broken and confused we have become… as individuals, as a nation, as a world. The Bible is unerring, but it’s Truth is often misinterpreted or (worse yet) twisted to give credence to perverse practices. Now it might be easy for me to say, “Well, I would NEVER…(do or say that);” but the sad truth is that I have, at times, followed a line of thought or action much too far before God convicted me of HIS Truth.

    You have my continued prayers, as do all those who are misguided about what Christianity is and is not. May God help us all to discern His Truth, and may He also give us the courage to live it and share it!!

    I love you!

    1. Rivera Douthit says:

      Thank you Mary. Well stated. “Wayward things” for sure. The world we live in is so sick, it saddens my heart and makes me want to shout the Truth from the mountaintops. I guess this blog is my platform for doing that:) Thank you for faithfully encouraging. I love you too!!!

  4. Joanna Adkins says:

    What a horrible concept!!! I’d never heard of that and can’t even imagine that to be according to scripture as you pointed out!!!

  5. Courageous Jane says:

    Oh no. You’re right on the money about the impression others might get about all Christians based on something like this. It disturbs me in the same way it does you. I sometimes feel the need to look like “the world” in order to be accepted in “the world” in order to impact “the world,” … because no way is “the world” going to hear what I have to share if they picture me as this kind of Christian. You’ve opened a can of worms in my brain! So many things in this world that I wish I didn’t know about or have to talk about (or think about), but which you continually bring to my attention! Remind me to thank you someday. 😉

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