Category Archives: Marriage & Sexuality

The Church and Your Marriage. What Could Go Wrong?

readers respond

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.

Three Questions

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.

“Follow Me”

“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.

Be blessed,
CSL

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Of Resets, Resolutions and Reality, part 3

reset3

 

[This is the last of a three-part series; the first post can be found here, and the second post can be found here.]

First off, please accept my apology for the delay in following up with another post to complete this series on Resets. I have been working on developing, from the ground up, a class for my church on the Roots of Christianity. With no textbook, I have been busy creating lessons and resources, creating PowerPoints and .pdfs, loading movies up to YouTube, and creating a web platform on Moodle for my lesson resources. As you might imagine, that occupied all my summer and September. With most of the work behind, I find I can devote a little time to writing for my blogs, and so I especially wanted to finish with the final post in this Reset series. Continue reading

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Of Resets, Resolutions And Reality: part 2

reset2

 

[This is the second post of a three-part series; the first post can be found here, and the third post can be found here.

In my last post, I spoke of Reset and Resolution sex as being possible outcomes of having The Talk™, neither of which help a marriage bed to get back on track. In the case of Reset Sex, any uptick in sexual activity is illusory, as it is merely a ploy to tamp down any threatened mutinies to the sacred status quo.

In the case of Resolution Sex, there is intention to improve, to change things for the better, but there is a serious problem with Resolution Sex. While there is intent, there is no intentionality. Continue reading

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Of Resets, Resolutions and Reality: part 1

Wellreset1

 

[This is the first of a three part series; the second part can be found here, while the third part can be found here.

Well, I thought I was done with aphorisms, but while reading old posts for a project that I am working on, I realized that one of the aphorisms that I mentioned needed another going-over. Rather than the Gamble Rogers’ line about works speaking for themselves, I am going to flesh out some thoughts I have on the Bob Jones line, I don’t care how high a man jumps when he gets saved; I’m more concerned with how straight he walks when he comes down.

Two years ago, I wrote a couple of posts about what “Better” looks like; you know what I mean–“I’m sorry, I’ll try to do better.” In the first post I talked about the need to get down to specifics when having The Talk™, to not speak in broad, amorphous generalities, and in the second post I wrote about ways to start defining “better”. Continue reading

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Aphorisms For Marriage, part 2

aphorism 2

[This is the second of a two-part series; the first post can be found here.]

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. Continue reading

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Aphorisms For Marriage, part 1

aphorism 1

[This is the first of a two-part series; the second part can be found here.]

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

splinter

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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“Stop pressuring me!”

pressure

(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 Plea For Two-Handed Thinking

 

twohands1

This year, I have been engaged in a fascinating exploration of different writers and teachers who say that Christians need to understand the first-century context of Jesus and the Gospels. To get a handle on what the gospels contain, we have to give up our Western mindset and think how Christ’s words sounded to His fellow first-century Jews; after all, He wasn’t speaking to 20th- and 21st-century Lutherans, Baptists and Methodists. To do so, one of the teachers said, “you have to think Hebraically.” He went on to say that “thinking Hebraically requires two hands: ‘on the one hand,… and on the other hand….’” Continue reading

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“… and the Ugly.”: part 3

ugly 3
(Note: in this post, I am addressing husbands who find themselves in Hades-marriages. However, Paul B.’s suggestions and my comments and suggestions apply to any wife who finds herself in the same situation.)
This is the third in a three-part series; here are the links to part 1 and part 2.

With my last two posts, I have been addressing a dirty secret about marriage that we Christians don’t like to talk about, that of truly Ugly! marriages, which rather than “made in Heaven” seem to have been spawned in Hades. These marriages are an embarrassment to us because they mar the image that the church wants to promote, that of marriage as a union “blessed by God”. Continue reading

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