I had to look this word up when I first read it. Uxoriousness means to be “excessively fond of or submissive to a wife”. It’s from the Latin for wife uxor (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/uxorious ). In his 1999 book The Church Impotent, Roman Catholic scholar Leon Podles observes: “Not tyranny, but uxoriousness, is the chief danger of patriarchy” (73).

That thought’s worth rolling around in your head. If you haven’t been through a struggle, a tussle, a brouhaha (Who can’t smile when he uses this French word?) over women suffrage, girl acolytes, or even perhaps ordaining women, you might not have seen uxoriousness in action.

Uxoriousness is not the same as henpecked or the woman wearing the pants in the family. With these, you typically see the effects in the woman. Uxoriousness you see the effects in the man. This is C. S. Lewis’ men without chest; this is effeminacy; this is standing up for the downtrodden in a meek, mewling sort of way.

In any of the aforesaid dust-ups, forays, or tempests in teapots, it is uxorious men arguing the most stridently, stringently, and cloyingly for their wife, daughter, mother to vote. Some women are present of course, but they appear unwomanly which everyone knows without consulting a dictionary is better than appearing as unmanly or unmanned. The uxorious man is this.

What urges the husband, father, son to advocate for women to vote, pastor, lead, read, usher, or to distribute will be excessive fondness – in this case misdirected – or submissiveness which is downright embarrassing.

Patriarchy never speaks in favor of putting women into roles contrary to their calling, their order, their gifts; the uxorious man either of the fond or the servile type does. But to argue contrary to the Creator’s order for the sake of a creature is saying that something contrary to the Creator could be of benefit to the created.

You know how cowardice can catch? How hysteria can be mass? How panic can be epidemic? Uxoriousness speaking in favor of “liberating” women from the blessings of God’s created order can be too. But, and here’s the real problem, it appears unamerican, ignoble, and insensitive to speak against a man arguing for his woman’s rights.

But the truth must out. Imagine a husband arguing for his wife’s right to be a prostitute? A father arguing for His daughter’s right to be a whore? But that’s exactly what happens when a divorcee argues that his adulterous ex-wife or a when father argues that his daughter with a live-in lover not be disciplined.

Every man sees the problem, but it’s very hard to speak up. It seems impossible to follow Paul here and speak the truth in love. Better to speak truth any which way you can than to countenance the lie.

It’s easy to speak against a tyrannical patriarchy but not against an uxorious one. But unrebuked uxoriousness leads to unmanning men and empowering Furies, Harpies, and Amazons.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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