Tag Archives: Christian Marriage

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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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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“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 Plea For Two-Handed Thinking



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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“… and the Ugly”: part 2

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

In my first post about truly Ugly marriages, those spawned in Hades, I wrote about how Paul Byerly, of Generous Husband, had recently experienced an unsettling nightmare, in which he dreamt of being trapped in a Hades-marriage. His next post told of his thoughts on how he would attempt to deal with the situation if he were in one. Continue reading


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“… and the Ugly”: part 1


This is the first of a three-part series; here are the links to part 2 and part 3.

In my first Indifferent Muddle post, I referenced Emerson Eggerichs’ Love & Respect, a book I recommend highly. I mentioned how he and the Byerlys, of Generous Husband and Generous Wife, speak of good-willed spouses, husbands and wives who do have goodwill in their hearts toward each other. It was in that first post that I discussed that not all marriages have spouses who are still good-willed, hence the Indifferent Muddle. Continue reading


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Point to Ponder…

Recently, I came across a statement by a man who is contemplating divorce due to his sexless marriage, and just the wording made me want to put this out as a warning.

Love is a perishable commodity.

There are so many ways I could go with this, such as taking the opposite tack, that love, if it is true love, is eternal, or that God’s love is unconditional. Yup, all that.

But we need to realize that love is not something to presume upon. If we abuse love, it may very well wither and die. Hence the well-known Walk-away Wife and Walk-away Husband syndromes.

But here’s the catch: yes, love may be perishable, but the fact is that we are the only ones who can kill it.

Jes’ sayin’.

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July 5, 2017 · 9:43 pm

Be The Voice

lighthouse (1)

There’s a way to handle a woman, said the wise old man.
Simply love her.
~ From Camelot.

Earlier this month, Julie Sibert, of Intimacy In Marriage did an excellent post for wives on Three Ways To Like Sex (When You Hate Your Body). It was an excellent post, and as I read it, this song from Camelot came drifting back to my mind. You know that I have a problem with the way that the today’s church has twisted Paul’s instructions for husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Continue reading


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Ignore The Hypotheticals


I just finished a series in which I attempted to bring balance to the discussion of Christian marriage and the validity of sometimes having to bring an end to a dysfunctional marriage by divorce. The springboard into that series was the attempt to provide an answer to the question “how much refusal is refusal,” and when does it justify separation and divorce.

In preparing for that series, I came across several “testimonies” from refused spouses who told of trying to have discussions with their refusers about the sorry state of their marriage bed, only to that these discussions turned back on them with accusations with a common theme–the refusing spouse accused the desirous spouse of wanting too much sex. (Just for your info, I’ve read stories in which both husbands and wives are accused of this, so it’s not solely a wife-specific complaint.) Continue reading


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