Aphorisms For Marriage, part 2

aphorism 2

In my last post, jumping off of a Gamble Rogers aphorism, I spoke about letting your works do your talking, about living out your repentance. After all, one of my pet topics that I will occasionally get exercised about on this blog is the need for integrity, for being a man of your word.

In today’s post, I want to do a slight modification of Rogers’ aphorism, “When your works speak for themselves, shut up!”, and take it in a different direction. As I wrote before, what we do speaks louder than our words, so we need to make sure that the way we live our lives with our spouses lines up with how we talk.

But just as I did when I developed the Golden Rule Corollary© and the I’m Okay, You’re Okay Social Contract™ **, I found myself doing some idle thinking on Rogers’ line and came up with a second version of Rogers’ aphorism that I think applies to marriage. I think I’ll call it the Shut Up and Listen Corollary.™

Aphorism #2

When someone else’s works speak for themselves, shut up and listen.

I can’t claim that this is solely my revelation; in fact, I recently found out that the poet Maya Angelou said something similar: “When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.” In marriage, however, the “first time” train left the station a long rime ago.

What made me think of this addendum to Rogers’ first aphorism? As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I do some reading on a secular marriage board, and I’ve noticed a recent addition to the collective wisdom on that forum. What I am seeing recently is that spouses who are dealing with imposed celibacy often get caught up in an emotional pea-soup fog, and have trouble distinguishing reality from their own wishful thinking. As a result of this emotional fog, they have difficulties in distinguishing personal wishes from reality.

And as happens on every online message board/forum, these wobbly spouses get advice from others. I’ve noticed that the advice that has popped frequently of late is that when someone demonstrates for you what they are actually like by what they actually do, then it’s time to actually believe them.

When You Hear Good Advice, Take It!

All too often, what comes to us under the guise of advice is merely trite truisms and shabby shibboleths, and we rightly let them pass us by. However, occasionally we let a truly good piece of advice slip by, as well, and I’m thinking we open ourselves up to a world of unnecessary hurt by doing so.

“When someone else’s works speak for themselves, shut up and listen.”

Why isn’t this good advice? In the years I’ve been reading about marriage and relationships, I’ve read innumerable accounts and warnings about “red flags”: relationship red flags, dating red flags, marriage red flags, even overlooked red flags that people now regret missing. With all this red flag waving going on around us, we need to be able to receive that bracing advice that tells us to get our heads out of, erm…, out of the sand and pay attention to the reality of our situation, and not wishes and dreams.

The only possible quibble that I can imagine someone having with this is “That’s not a christian attitude.” I’m going to have to disagree with that, because we are told that we are to be wise and discerning as Christians. (I never have understood the idea that the mark of a good Christian is his gullibility.)

In fact, aren’t we told that to be a good husband or wife, we need to be a student of our spouses? What are his/her likes and dislikes? How does s/he feel loved? What are his/her emotional needs? What are his/her strengths?

Well, why doesn’t that apply to our spouses when what his/her actions tell us about who they are?

Bottom Line

As I pointed out in my last post, words are cheap. You need to do more than to tout your integrity if you wish to be seen as a person of integrity. You can’t talk your way into a good character.

But as I am wont to say, there are two sinners in every marriage, and integrity and good character are two-way streets. Yes, guys, as I said last time, if you have been a jerk in the past, ‘fess up and repent, stop being a jerk and start living in integrity. But live in your marriage with your eyes open. Don’t accept your wishful thinking for reality. Make sure that your actions speak for yourself, but also shut up and listen to your spouse’s actions as well. While it is true that there are two sinners in every marriage, God wants both of those sinners to repent and live in integrity, together.


** The Golden Rule Corollary© says that since we all know the Golden Rule by heart, how someone treats you demonstrates how they want to be treated.
The  I’m Okay, You’re Okay Social Contract™ was explained in the intro to my Marriage Splinters post.

Disclaimer: I am not a counselor, doctor, or pastor. For that matter, Wife says I don’t play well with others. My advice and comments come from my concern for hurting Christian husbands and wives. Someone once said to me, “Church shouldn’t hurt”, and I believe the same thing goes for marriage. I’m going to call ‘em as I see ‘em, but please, don’t take my word as gospel. Yes, read what I say, pray about what I say, but do your own “due diligence.”



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Aphorisms For Marriage, part 1

aphorism 1

I am working on a project that has me re-reading many of my posts and the comments that followed them, and in doing so, I came across something that I said in response to remarks about making apologies for past hurts.

Over the years, I have read marriage blogs and listened to sermons and podcasts on relationships in which the writers/speakers admonish people to accept the fact that they have something for which they need to apologize. I, myself, have written about sincere apologies, saying that the “If you’re upset, I apologize” isn’t an apology, but a back-handed insult, so I accept the need for truly repenting of something that you’ve done wrong. Continue reading


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Of Marriages and Splinters


Back in the 70’s, a self-help book entitled I’m Okay, You’re Okay was all the rage, spending a couple of years on best-seller lists. I remember it being used in educational circles in the schools I worked in. After several years of observing how our culture seemed to embrace every new fad that came down the pike but thumped Christians to a fare-thee-well, I articulated the I’m Okay, You’re Okay Social Contract.

The gist of this modern social contract was that all segments of our culture made silent agreement to give okays and attaboys to each other, as long as the others gave okays and attaboys back, and to join together to kick the stuffings out of anyone who had the temerity to not go along with the arrangement. A cultural NATO, if you will.

Okay, that’s past history, but I have to confess that recently, in my thinking, I’ve revisited the I’m Okay construct again. As I was thinking about how spouses blame each other for problems in the marriage, I’ve come to realize that, consciously or unconsciously, both are engaging in another I’m okay behavior. Continue reading


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“Are You Where You’re Needed?” [link]

There is a new post on my other site, CSL On The Bible, should you be so inclined…

btw – for those who don’t get my Twitter announcements, my lead in to this story was “A Methodist minister meets Jesus”. Hope that is intriguing enough. 🙂


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“Unexpected Good-byes” [link]

As most of my readers know, I have two blogs and whenever I post on my CSL On The Bible, I post a link here for those who might be interested in my writings about topics other than marriage.

Today, I am posting a link to my latest post, but am asking that all of you please go there, read Unexpected Good-byes, and pray for us.


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“Stop pressuring me!”


(Let me preface this post, and stress as strongly as I can, this one caveat. If the cause of sexual gatekeeping/refusal in your marriage is due to legitimate issues of the past, such as seriously bad teaching or the result of past abuse, then sexual reluctance is understandable. Understandable, yes, but not necessarily permanent. If it comes to light that there has been past physical or spiritual abuse, then it is incumbent upon both, and I stress, BOTH, spouses to be understanding of each other and to work on healing, so that the marriage can be put on right footing.)

I realize that I haven’t written a post for this blog in a while, and I guess I apologize for that,… er, sort of. Unlike many of the other marriage and sexuality bloggers (whom I truly enjoy and honor), I don’t see myself as a writer. Instead, I’m more like that old guy that you know of who gets himself in a state and then proceeds to grace the world with his wisdom, whether wanted or not.

One of my aids for writing is my idea folder on my laptop, which contains word processing files with snippets of ideas or quotes that I’ve culled over time that I thought, somewhere in the past, might be a good topic to think on and to write about. This is a post that is triggered by one of those older snippets. Continue reading


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A Cautious Cheer For #MeToo


This post has been a hard one to write because I understand that it has the potential to upset some very good people, people whom I admire and esteem. But as the old Muslim proverb says, “It is the dead mouse that swims with the current.”

If you scroll down my page, you will find (in the right sidebar) the logo of the Christian Marriage Bloggers Association, which, (due to a momentary loss of lucidness) allowed me to become a member. Recently, on the CMBA Facebook page, someone encouraged all the male CMBA bloggers to post something in support of the #MeToo movement, and many of them did so by writing a post about sexual harassment/abuse. Continue reading


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“This Is My Son; Shema!” [link]

There is a new post on my other site, CSL On The Bible, should you be so inclined…

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Rare Opportunity For My Readers

In a post on my other blog, CSL On The Bible, I told how a book that I picked up in January has had a profound effect on my Christian faith. I cited a C. S. Lewis quote, from his short work An Experiment in Criticism, in which he wrote that some readers are so affected by a book [t]heir whole consciousness is changed. They have become what they were not before.”

For me, that book was Sitting At The Feet Of Rabbi Jesus, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. I poured over that book for months, and then purchased Tverberg’s second book, Walking In The Dust Of Rabbi Jesus. Without a doubt, these two books have changed how I look at the practice of the Christian faith, giving me clarity at what it means to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Through my posts this year, I have recommended these books highly.

Today, I received an email from Tverberg’s Our Rabbi Jesus site that announced that, for a limited time, her two books, Sitting… and Walking… are available on Amazon for $2.99 each! This is part of the roll-out for her next book, Reading The Bible With Rabbi Jesus. (Guess what I’m getting for Christmas!)

So, please, my readers, in this season of giving, do yourself a mitzvah** and buy yourself an inexpensive but powerful present. Here are the links for the two books:

Sitting At The Feet Of Rabbi Jesus
Walking In The Dust Of Rabbi Jesus


** mitzvah – good deed.


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Addressing the Man-O-Sphere: The Last Word

readers respond

In my quick reaction post to questions about the Man-O-Sphere (MoS), I did not spare readers my feelings about the it (okay, I did. I kept it clean.) But I did promise that after I got that rant out of my system, I would address the MoS phenomenon and so, here goes.

First off, let me say that I understand the appeal of the MoS. To borrow terminology from Newtonian physics, it is an equal and opposite reaction to feminism in our society. However, an equal, opposite reaction is not necessarily a good thing. Everyone has seen images of the little device called a Newton’s Cradle, which has 5-6 balls suspended in a frame. When one or two are pulled away from the others on one side and allowed to drop back, the force is transferred through the stationary balls to the other side, and they, in turn, are knocked from their place, and so it goes, back and forth.

I see feminism as one side of the cradle and MoS as the other side. I get the reaction to feminism, but that doesn’t mean that an equal and opposite reaction is corrective. In fact, I believe that it is just as toxic as the feminism that it reacts to. Continue reading


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