Tag Archives: 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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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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Smack Dab In The Muddle, pt. 2


In my last post, I wrote about the state that many marriages find themselves in, that of the Indifferent Muddle. In this condition, husband and wife plod through their married life with a growing indifference in how they live in their marriages, since the marriage is carried on by rote. Oh, if asked, each will say, “I love my husband/wife!”, but maybe, if pressed about desire and attraction for their spouse, they will agree with the old Amish saying, “Cooking lasts.” Passion, however? E-e-eh, not so much. Continue reading

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Smack Dab In The Muddle, pt. 1


Many of the authors and bloggers I read make it a point to emphasize generosity and good-will. Two of my favorite bloggers are Paul and Lori Byerly, authors the Generous Husband and Generous Wife blogs (I read them every morning, without fail.) Another example would be Emerson Eggerichs, author of Love & Respect, who peppers his writings with statements on how most spouses are not evil jerks and witches, but truly do have good-will for their mates (a statement with which I agree, by the way). 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

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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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Marriage/Divorce: Restoring Balance, part 4


(This is the fourth of a four-part series; here are the links to part 1, part 2 & part 3.)

Over the last three posts, I have been attempting to answer the question of how to quantify refusal. As a reader said, it takes only one act of adultery to break the marriage covenant, but surely one “Not tonight” does not constitute refusal, thus violating the marriage covenant.

Since Jesus addressed divorce in the cultural and historical context as a rabbi, I went back to rabbinic writings to find out how the rabbis of Jesus’ day addressed the topic of refusal, and I discovered several things:

  1. the rabbis believed sex to be a right and responsibility of marriage;
  2. the rabbis even went so far as to list the amount of sex a wife would be entitled to;
  3. The rabbis viewed sexual neglect as a violation of the marriage covenant deserving of non-support (after one month) and divorce (after one year.)

And what was incredible to me was that… Continue reading


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Marriage/Divorce: Restoring Balance, part 2


(This is the second of a four-part series; here are the links to part1, part 3, & part 4.)

In my last post, I started addressing a question or two put to me by a reader asking if it is kosher to consider sexual refusal as a valid reason for divorce, a la adultery. After all, he correctly noted, it only takes one act to commit adultery, whereas refusal is a long-term situation. At what point does it become “sexual immorality,” he asked. In fact, he asked that question again in response to my One Coin, Two Sides post:

There is a slight problem with the abandonment is equal to adultery argument in my opinion. The act of adultery along with sexual abuse (may as well throw that in for good measure) is sustained by a single act. A single act of adultery would be grounds for divorce and a single act of sexual abuse could mean a lengthy stay in jail. Now clearly a single act of refusal, even though it may be a break of the marriage covenant, wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow in most circles.
So when does refusal become abandonment and then possibly/maybe grounds for divorce,1-day, 2-weeks, 3-months, 9-months….?

Continue reading


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Marriage/Divorce: Restoring Balance, part 1


(This is the first of a four-part series; here are the links to part 2, part 3 & part 4.)

And, I’m back. I guess. I think. Maybe. Anyway, here I am today.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I follow quite a few marriage bloggers and writers on Twitter, and recently, divorce has been a trending topic among them, with an increase in the number of posts and tweets encouraging Christians to continue to hold on to their marriages for the Kingdom. I can understand that, by the way. Back in December, Michelle Weiner-Davis, of Divorce Busters,  sent out a tweet stating that January was Divorce Month, and recommended that New Year’s Resolutions for starting divorce proceedings be abandoned. Continue reading


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