Tag Archives: Relationships

Respect: A Dirty Word?

tongue

In my first post after my undeclared sabbatical, I spoke about how one influential blogger has apparently decided that men are pretty much second class citizens in Christian marriage, anymore. In reading her posts attacking Emerson Eggerichs’ Love & Respect, you are faced with the undeniable fact that Madame DeFarge** embraces the teaching that husbands owe their wives “unconditional love” (after all, LYWACLTC™, don’t you know?). Readers of this blog will recall that in past posts, I have debunked the idea of unconditional love, but, hey,  it’s a major tenet of today’s Church, almost approaching the status of accepted orthodoxy. 

Be that as it may, in one of my Bad Teaching posts, I did demonstrate that the command for husbands to love their wives was accompanied by the command for wives to respect their husbands (this can be found in Eph. 5.33). I pointed out that due to parallel construction, either love and respect are both unconditional or neither is unconditional, that it isn’t a mix ‘n’ match set. It’s just not kosher to say that the husband has to love his wife unconditionally, whereas wives only have to respect their husbands conditionally. Nope. T’aint fair, t’aint biblical.

But this is exactly what Madame DeFarge argues on her blog. In fact, when one commenter said that while a husband’s love should be unconditional but it was alright to require a wife’s respect to be earned, Mme. DeFarge replies “Totally agree!” While Mme. DeFarge says that she is a new convert, her history shows that she has been undermining respect for husbands for several years. After all, three years ago, she wrote a post for her followers asking if they respected their husbands TOO MUCH.

“Respect Is So Yesterday!”

Although I am approaching 70, you don’t have to have a long memory to remember when respect was NOT a dirty word. It wasn’t that long ago that there were two books that were popular in Christian bookstores (even making the New York Times Bestsellers lists, I believe) for helping Christian marriages. First there was the men’s devotional, The Love Dare, written as a spin-off of the movie Fireproof, which challenged husbands to become more Christ-like in their relationships with their wives.

A couple of years later, Nina Roesner wrote The Respect Dare and created an on-line community and ministry around the idea that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. It seems that she and her readers have not felt the need to excise Eph. 5.33 from their Bibles.

I first heard of Roesner’s book and ministry six years ago through a fellow Christian blogger who decided to read and take the Respect Dare. Chris Taylor, of Forgiven Wife, shared with her audience that she had purchased The Respect Dare and was going to work through the 40-day devotional. She explained her reason for doing so:

I have always been very disrespectful toward my husband, and that is the real thing I want to change. I want to create a space in which my husband can grow as a man and know that I value and respect him as a man.

So the idea of wives respecting husbands was not, until recent events, a topic of scorn. There were respected (oh that word!) authors, men and women, writing about the need for love and respect in Christian marriages. Ah, good times.

Not Spouses, But Accountants?

Fast forward six years, and we now have Madame DeFarge and her following shouting “A la barricades” as they go after ministries and churches that won’t join them in their denunciation of Love & Respect.

As I noted in previous posts, the Church has become a feminized organization and I have documented the Church’s institutional denigration of men and masculinity; Madame DeFarge has upped the ante on men-bashing in Christian marriage and given full throat to those Christian women and beta males who want to lash men for being men.

The watchword in all of the postings by Madame DeFarge and in the comments from her devoted choir is earned, with the chant rising from all corners of the internet “Respect must be earned! Respect must be earned!” Over and over, Mme. DeFarge and her followers announce that they cannot, will not, respect a husband who hasn’t earned it.

As I was reading Madame DeFarge’s posts and emails where she lets slip her dogs of war onto Emerson Eggerichs, Focus on the Family, and husbands in general, one question arises in my mind that I find troubling in her entire crusade. Please pardon my French, folks, but

When in Hades did wives transmogrify from spouses into paymasters? 

Marital Earnings?

In order for someone to earn respect, there has to be someone else keeping tabs, totting up brownie points in order to determine when the candidate achieves his Respect Badge, right? After all, aren’t we told in Rom. 4:4, “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due”? For someone to earn a wage (in this case, respect), isn’t there a boss or foreman making sure that the worker stays on task, and that he earns his wage?

And then I realized just what Madame DeFarge was doing with her “Earn Respect” campaign. Although completely unintentional, she has been setting marriage relations back decades. As I thought about what I was witnessing in Mme. DeFarge’s undertakings, I remembered something that I had come across before, that some wives took it upon themselves to decide when their husbands had earned the privilege of having sex. Had the guy done enough choreplay to merit a roll in the sack? Had he been nice enough or obsequious enough to receive sexual favors, or not?

In essence, marriage was again being turned into emotional hostage-taking, a system of relationship transactions; “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Husbands and wives are to no longer be seen as lovers, but instead as business associates involved in marital commerce, with respect as the currency that keeps the goods flowing. (Hmm, now I am wondering about the idea of making daily/weekly deposits in Love Banks…)

I’m sorry, but to my way of thinking Madame DeFarge and her followers are reducing the Christian concepts of love and respect to business transactions, making Christian marriage merely a sanctified prostitute-and-john affair.

Wives, are you making your husband earn something from you? Are you seeing yourself as the person in your marriage who holds the marital pursestrings? Husbands, to you, as well, are you holding affection hostage against your wives? I’m sorry, but that isn’t Christian and it isn’t godly. And according to the Bible, your putting a stumbling block between your and your spouse means that you are putting a stumbling block between you and God. I’ll have more to say about that in my next post.

CSL

** Since my blogging hero, Paul Byerly of Generous Husband, acted like a Christian should and didn’t give the name of the attacking blogger, I am following suit. However, I find it cumbersome to be constantly referring to She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and so I am going to refer to her by the name of a character from literature whom she seems, to me, to resemble. To those of you who recognize the character Madame DeFarge, yes, I do believe that the name is an apt appellation for her.

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.”

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 

 

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Echoes from My Well of Silence

hello

Hello, folks; long time, no see, and all. I recently received some emails from readers who called down into the well, “Is anybody there… body there… body there?” (When you have people checking you for a pulse, you realize you’ve been gone too long.)

Yeah, I have been silent for some time, as it’s been over six months since I have made any posts on this blog. First off, my family had to fight off the annual winter plague that descends upon the CSL household around Christmas and lingers for months. Add to that Wife and Daughter #1 making three trips to the hospital in Feb. (two in ambulances), and I recently had to have dental surgery, I think I have a plausible alibi for my extended absence. Alibi, but not an excuse, if I’m being honest with myself.***

Continue reading

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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.” Continue reading

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Of Resets, Resolutions and Reality, part 3

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[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 1

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[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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A Cautious Cheer For #MeToo

inferno

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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Addressing the “Man-O-Sphere”

readers respond

In my last post, I made a passing reference to a portion of the Internet called the “Man-O-Sphere” (herein shortened to MoS). I believe my exact statement was, “… idiotic Man-O-Sphere.” One of my readers asked me for more on my antipathy toward the MoS, so this is something I’ve dashed off. I freely admit this is not an attempt at a point-by-point refutation of MoS; I also admit that it is also heavily weighted by my emotional response to what I’ve seen and read by MoS writers, and not a dispassionate rebuttal. Suffice to say that I believe the MoS to be an equal and opposite evil to feminism. Continue reading

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