Well, it’s been a while since I’ve gone down the road of a personal rant, but a recent comment by a husband who feels somewhat abused by our feminized church culture has me turning to the dark side of the Curmudgeonly Force.
In the back and forth to my Reset #3 post, I responded to a reader’s comment by saying that a refused husband needs to take action in his marriage, and not let things coast along in a sexless marriage. I made the statement that the husband in a situation where the wife insists that he needs to move first should say “This is not a negotiation. Yes, it is my duty to meet your emotional need for connection, but by the same token it is your duty to meet my need for connection, as well. You have to be willing to step up.”
Part of his response to me is what is triggering this post. He wrote:
I agree that the man should take such action. However, I don’t think the church generally teaches such behavior on the part of the husband. Instead the teaching is that such action is tantamount to verbal abuse and sexual harassment, and certainly NOT loving. Consequently, the church leaders would not support the husband, but would most likely side against him with the wife. Do you agree this is typical of the church? How do we get this corrected in the church? How does a husband deal with a wife’s reluctance? [my emphasis]
Unfortunately, this reader is only right. Those of you who have been around awhile know that I can really get myself in a lather about the bad teachings of the Church concerning marriage. If you are a new reader, let me to direct you to some older articles that I have written on this topic (bookmark them for later reading, if you should be so inclined);
Bad Teaching: Soulmates
Bad Teaching: Unconditional Love
Bad Teaching: “As Christ Loved The Church
Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt. 2
Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt3
Bad Teaching: “Like Christ Loved The Church”, pt. 4
Bad Teaching: “Unconditional Love” Marries LYWACLTC
Love And Respect: A Two-Way Street
Bad Teaching: “What God Has Joined…”
Re-addressing “What God Hath Joined”
But as to the specific concern expressed by the reader, that the church would say that the advice I gave, that telling a wife that both spouses have duties to the other would be labelled as abuse and harassment, I have two responses:
First Response: You’re right. Quite possibly, they will. Today’s feminized church is more than capable of doing that very thing. (Before you get up my nose about “feminized church”, read my Women Rule posts, #one, #two, and #three, where I demonstrate the reality of my claim.) As has been demonstrated from time immemorial, them that puts the dollars in the plate gets to call the tune. And since the Church today caters to the female trade, men do–and will continue to–get short shrift in most churches.
(Does that make me an Man-o-Sphere supporter? Not hardly, given my posts excoriating those folk. However, trying to slap a pejorative label on me doesn’t make anything I am saying less true.)
Second Response: So?
“So?” CSL, what to you mean, “So?”
Just that. To borrow from Jesus, “what is that to you? Follow me.” Yes, I understand that, mayhap, your local church will tsk-tsk you, but so what? I hope that this doesn’t give you the vapors, but let me put a flea in your ear: you are married to your wife, you aren’t married to your church!
Tell me, if you had a ‘friend’ who was always telling you how bad you are and that you need to do things that you know are not right, how long would you keep that ‘friend’? Now, I’m not talking about those friends who are true brothers, who are like “iron sharpening iron”; instead, I’m talking about a so-called friend who thinks that you’re an idiot and can’t do anything right if you aren’t doing what they tell you to do. That kind of ‘friend’ you can, and should, do without.
And I don’t think that it would hurt you one iota to let your church know that. In my reading, I’ve come across many tales of counselors and pastors who want to push off the concerns of the husband, simply because he is a husband. But if the problem in the marriage is two-sided, a one-sided solution just won’t cut it, and pastors and/or counselors need to understand that the concerns of husbands are just as valid as the concerns of wives. Again, you are married to your wife, not your pastor or counselor.
In looking at the paragraph that triggered this post, you will see that the reader asked me three question, and here are my answers:
1 – Do you agree this is typical of the church?
Why, yes. Yes I do. (See links above, to my Women Rule posts.)
2 – How do we get this corrected in the church?
By not playing their game. If dollars and butts in the pew are trump, be willing to take your trump cards (butt and money) elsewhere. (See recommendations below.)
3 – How does a husband deal with a wife’s reluctance? [Wives, this is for you, too.]
By getting Cloud and Townsend’s Boundaries and Boundaries in Marriage, and learn how to live in your own integrity. You are to be a man of God, not a doormat of God. It might be helpful for you to read my Go-To Marital Tools posts, as well, listed on this page.
“CSL, you aren’t telling us to go church-hopping or church-shopping, are you?!?”
I don’t think I am. But given the fact that our churches are somewhat less than saintly nowadays, I do advise that Christians be more loyal to God than to a building. I realize that I am capable of making incendiary statements, but when we have churches and church leaders fronting for either abortionists and perversion on one hand, or for a p*ssy-grabbing adulterer on the other, I don’t think that I am too far off the beam in being tempted to throw up my hands in disgust.
So how should loyalty to God rather than to churches play out? I’m going to answer that with a tip o’ the hat to my other blog, which deals with my studies in the Bible. In the Tanach’s paean of praise to Torah, the question of “How shall a young man keep his way pure?” is answered in one simple sentence: obeying God’s word.” (Psa. 119.9)
You read your Bible; you study your Bible; you start to live your Bible. And I don’t mean a cut-and-paste Bible, nossir! Many today like to do what Thomas Jefferson did, which was to cut up two Bibles and glue the parts he liked into a blank book. (By the way, the Jefferson Bible can be viewed online.) I’m sorry, but a Choose-Your-Own Scripture won’t cut it. You have to be open to conforming your life to Torah, God’s teaching. (As I point out on my other blog Torah does not mean Law, but teaching, specifically, God’s teaching.
And if the time comes that you do feel that your church isn’t going to help you do that, conform to God’s teaching rather than the world’s teaching, then that might just mean taking a hike. (Just so you know, I will probably be facing that decision within the next year or so, as the UMC is having a Special Conference to decide on whether homosexual behavior in inimical with Methodism.)
Guys, if this post speaks to you, bookmark it and come back to it. I’m not saying that you declare your independence today or tomorrow. As with everything, take a big chunk of time to pray, read your Bible, and earnestly seek God’s will. I don’t think that you can go wrong by reading my posts on Waiting, Watching, and Working, as you work on being the best You that God wants you to be.
Waiting, Watching, Working, pt. 1
Waiting, Watching, Working: pt. 2
Waiting, Watching, Working: pt. 3
Waiting, Watching, Working: pt. 4
Waiting, Watching, Working: pt. 5
Waiting, Watching, Working: pt. 6
Lastly, get David Murrow’s book Why Men Hate Going to Church, and check out his website, Church for Men. Again, this is not for the purpose of finding a place that strokes you fur the right way, but to find a place that will challenge you to be a man of God, not a piñata.