A Parable

There was a rich man, who had many possessions, and many servants. One day the overseer of the rich man caught a servant stealing from the master, and bid the servant go. “Take with you whatever treasures you have acquired, leave, and do not return.” Now the servant left, but his face fell, and he was angry for he could not find a buyer for the treasure he had stole from the rich man’s house, and it was heavy.

The underling was cunning, and said to himself, “I know the scribes are corrupt, and the soldiers are greedy for blood. I will tell them that the master gave me the treasure, and I was sent away in envy.” So the servant went to the scribes and told them his false story, and their corruption rose in their hearts as they pondered their share of the plunder. They called the soldiers, and all of them went to the gate of the rich man’s house, and demanded to see the rich man.

Now the rich man was away on business. The overseer, seeing the thief and the magistrates and the soldiers at the gate thought the servant had been caught stealing from another. He opened the door, and said, “Have you caught this wicked servant stealing from another? He no longer works here, for what does my master have to do with evil?” The scribes replied to the overseer, saying, “It is reported that you put this man out unjustly, and he has had to live with the beasts of the field. Behold, we have brought many soldiers, and we hold this servant’s word against you.” The overseer replied, “The master has left many things in my care, but they are not mine to give. You seek to work wickedness on my master. Go!” The faces of the scribes grew red with anger, and they grabbed the overseer and said to the soldiers, “Go and get the master’s wife, that we may take from her what is owed the servant, and she may show us due hospitality.”

The overseer cried out, “You must not do this thing!” But they could not hear him for their hearts were hard, and the neighbors who had come out to see the soldiers and magistrates became afraid, and they went back into their own houses. The soldiers of the city knocked the overseer down, and bound him up. And the scribes and the thief overturned the house while the soldiers had their way with the rich man’s wife until morning, for there were many soldiers. When they had their fill of evil in their hearts, and their fill of loot in their hands they left, and the people of the town closed their shutters so they would not see. When they left, the scribes said to the bound overseer, “Be glad we kept the servant’s treasure.”

(h/t: Zippy)

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The Jackass Stops Here

I have waited a bit to respond, to see if Gabriella might realize what she is said, and what she continues to say. Her last few comments here were sorrowful entreatments that I don’t understand her, and that she doesn’t know how to get me to understand. For a theology-seeking Catholic, her understanding of relationships, knowledge, and sex is woefully lacking…though she definitely feels the implications. This is my final response to her pleas for understandingShe writes:

My father and husband are unfairly slandered here. Neither deserve to pay for my loose lips and emotional angst. I obviously made a critical error …perhaps out of respect for these men you could do me the courtesy of sharing this information with Elspeth privately rather than showcasing it to the world?

I was wondering whether you’d come back to clarify–as you should have–that it was YOU who slandered your father and husband. (from the husband link:)

Yes, I can admire my husband for the skills he has that I do not.

No, I don’t consider “financial provision” one of those skills that he has that I do not. Earning an income isn’t that difficult. It only takes an average intelligence and modicum of discipline. Those are things even a woman should have.

One of the reasons I find it easy to admire my husbands specific skills is because we often compete for the fun of it and he frequently beats me at certain types of sports. Painball, first-person shooters, play wrestling, certain types of card games, assembling ANYTHING. He is also really good at getting people to do things they don’t want to do. I call it his Jedi-mind tricks.

And then there is Angry Birds. Nothing frustrates me more than how freaking good he is at Angry Birds.

That was in response to a challenge from Unger (another missed soul) that doubted whether an independent-minded woman–such as you are and were claiming to be–could respect her husband. What a pathetic attempt that was to enumerate your husband’s value: First you denigrate his biblical calling to provide as something anyone can do; to make clear we know he is not special. Then you claim to respect him based on his skill in games and recreation, and his ability to get out of work. Unbelievable, truly. You don’t respect your husband, and you said so publicly and flippantly.

In your dissatisfaction you are searching for other authorities than the ones you have been provided; which is what I’ve been saying for two posts and dozens of comments. So, no: for my sake, for you sake, for the sake of my readers, and for the sake of your husband and father I will not take private what you have made public. You may wipe your mouth, but this napkin of a post will testify to your lusts.

She continues:

I don’t crave to be liked. I crave to be understood. And..I crave to understand others. I don’t think it is a sinful desire, but it has come to my attention that I risk my families reputation which isn’t fair to them.

I saw what you want when you disrobed yourself in the comments. I chose the word “liked” instead of “known” to spare you the ensuing connotations, but that was a mistake. Now, I’m not so deranged to say that what you’re after is sex…per se…but you damn well know from whence a woman’s desire for sex proceeds: the desire to be known. SongTwoEleven said it right:

Your job is not to figure anything out, but rather to hear the Word of God (the Bible) and obey according to your current knowledge of His Word. […]

Further, as nice as it is that you seek conversation in the blogs of the so-called “manosphere” in MEN’S circles, I would advise you to cease doing this immediately. If you have a question or a concern about spirituality, the Bible, or a topic on the manosphere, I would go immediately and ASK YOUR OWN HUSBAND. You said he is a hero to you. Does he know that? Does he feel that he is your hero? Begin to ask him about all matters pertaining to men (he is a man, your man for life, after all) – it will foster conversation between the two of you that may be unexpectedly pleasing to him (and you, but it’s not being done for YOU, but for him).

Although you say you “marinate” about submission, you are not sold out to submission in heart. I do not know you very well, only by what you have revealed of your heart here. However, I would suggest that you place yourself in an emotional state of submission by going to your own husband for EVERYTHING. You have a question about men? Ask your husband. You have a question pertaining to a topic you read on the manosphere once? Ask your husband. You want to know what to fix for supper? Ask your husband. You want to know what color makeup to wear today? Ask your husband. You have a question about God and His character and design for your life? I don’t care if you think your husband is not up to par spiritually – ask your own husband anyway.

Gabriella, you’re not here to seek the “truth”. You’re here to mentally masturbate because you imagine that I have the theological girth that you perceive lacking from your husband. You are, of course, suffering under imaginings of both him and I. You’re one of several Emma Bovarys of the Manosphere; conflating theology and passion until you convince yourself that you can combine them into holiness; when holiness is about keeping things separate that ought not be joined. In flits of emotional turmoil, you throw yourself into other men’s figurative beds. That is the shame you bring on your husband.

You’re replaying your Daddy Issues with me cast as the antagonist. Said another way: You want me to make you into a sort of electronic Alpha Widow, as this is what you have come to expect of men you want understanding from; that is, love. I know this because your behavior is different from the other women. They, more or less, treat me like a friend. You, though, are not satisfied to agree, or disagree, or engage in an earnest discourse; reasoning together in friendship. You want me to take you; it’s the fight you make of it, mixed with your openness, that makes your intentions plain.

She finishes:

My husband is a great man. A hero..actually. He deserves nothing but respect.

Well all he has is you. What are you going to do about?

You’re a liar, and an emotional slut, Gabriella. Turn from this path before an unrepentant Rodolphe Boulanger finds you. Depart from me.

To Gabriella, who is in the Majority

A word on reading this: The links are important, and give much context. Most of the truly important parts I have included as hover-text so you don’t have to actually open the page, but it is a more excellent way if you do. These things take time; which I encourage you to take as testament to my sincerity.

Hosea 10

13 You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors,

This is a learning opportunity. If not: you can still be of service to other as a signpost.

Gabriella, over many comments on my post Advocates Under Authority, has made many comments about why she ought to be exempt from obeying God’s revelation of the natural order of men and women; especially concerning husbands and wives.

In her latest several iterations of “I just don’t feel like submitting to my husband” she said:

Egalitarianism is trickier. Perhaps not to [Dalrock], but I have a hard time not seeing a rejection of egalitarianism as a cop-out. Its like, even if you make a good argument that women are not equal to men, there is still the nagging sense that they SHOULD be and perhaps with the right training they could be.

Where oh where could that nagging sense have come from? No person should trust the judgment of a one with a perpetual nagging sense that what they want is therefore probably good, because they judge the goodness of things by an unnamed and indefinite feelings of want. You have read that that rebellion leads to sin and death, yet you reject it for nebulous “nagging senses”. Instead, you ought to recognize such sensations for the call of temptation that it is, demolish the argument, and make it captive to Christ.

There are a few things I’ve made up my mind about and one of those is the permanence of marriage. Another is that BC is evil, and it only took me 8 years to come to that conclusion.

No family has eight years to spend for a wife (or a husband for that matter) to suss out every moral quandary. You’ve accomplished two. At this rate, when you decide to agree with 6,000 years of scriptural REVELATION, you and your descendants to the tenth generation will be dead. Does this seem profitable to you?

I suspect you chose to tackle the birth control issue before marital submission precisely BECAUSE it is not explicit in scripture. Isn’t it not only possible but foretold to you that the “nagging sense” you have is a refusal to submit to clear revelation from the Lord? Birth control is, you know, “important” like abortion and homosexuality*, as the crumbling American churches keep telling us. But in today’s society you can look around and know most American Roman Catholics don’t really care two whits about them. Their negligence means it’s really up to Gabby; not the church, because the RCC only barely pretends to care about it, and they mostly as a rallying point. This de facto vacuum of authority leaves Gabriella the power to choose, and that satisfies you. It satisfies you so much that you sucked that lollipop of personal empowerment on whether to choose birth control for EIGHT YEARS; on what is long-settled Catholic teaching. If my assumption of this is wrong, that can be easily proved by whether or not you used birth control during those eight years, or obeyed (took, as a man takes a woman) their authority by faith until you had sorted it out.

When my post on authority and the ensuing argument was fresh, I struggled with whether or not to say what I am about to say. Back then I decided against it. Upon further consideration, and having re-read the post and all the comments all over again I have changed my mind. It is more important to me now that other men understand the dangers of being unenthusiastic and foolish about their wives than it is to protect other’s feelings, extend the benefit of the doubt, or avoid possible harm to other’s relationships. Unlike Zippy, at a certain point I believe I can make statements about the psychology of people based on their comments. Words are a REVELATION–an uncovering–of a person, and “What comes out of the mouth of a (wo)man defiles him (her).

28 For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will deliver you into the hands of those whom you hate, into the hands of those from whom you turned in disgust, 29 and they shall deal with you in hatred and take away all the fruit of your labor and leave you naked and bare, and the nakedness of your whoring shall be uncovered. Your lewdness and your whoring 30 have brought this upon you, because you played the whore with the [world] and defiled yourself with their idols.

Those idols are self-esteem, self-empowerment, your own understanding, and all seemingly various fruits which actually have one tree.

Based on what you have said about your husband, a big part of the problem is that your husband is (or was) physically and spiritually lame. There is probably very little to nothing he can do about being handicapped. For whatever portion–if any–of your subversion of him is due to his physical incapacities: double shame should be heaped on you. If that actually plays no part, then good on you. I cannot and will not comment further on that, as you haven’t spoken on it much, and what you have is often of still being physically attracted and available to him. This is good.

However; I think his spiritual lameness is much more crippling to him and you. You are drifting about like a ship without a rudder, even in the relatively calm waters of this blog. There are no woman-haters here. There are many women here. There are no non-Christians here. Your comments are carefully read. Even when you are rebuked it done so thoughtfully, and at significant length and time. This is because we give a damn. We give a damn because we believe–buried under (and in spite of!) all the bullshit you churn out–you want to give a damn, too. I believe you are starving to be in submission. That’s why you come to my blog. Here, you get the best of both worlds: You don’t have to obey me, but I provide a relativley unbendable spiritual rod of correction that you crave. It’s just like American Roman Catholic church. I do not speak of rods with prurience, but I am talking of things that are sexually entwined because the Lord made it so.

You are a practicing Catholic, yet your husband is not even of the same faith. You spend hours (years you said!) reading about what others think (submitting yourself to them) about various issues, and somewhere in the background of your life your husband HAS an opinion on these things; an opinion you should be seeking as fervently as you have my blog.

And he allows it.

You are not one flesh, as you have been called. You are not the body, and he is not the head. Christ said “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” In the sublime way God chooses to make truths echo and transcend: Your husband is the vine of your marriage. You, branch, must submit to this temporary church of the family that you have joined with him, or die.

You are still “so blind”, and you have been warned that you will be uprooted.

Instead, you spiritually break yourself off, and call it holy because you attend a Catholic church, agreed with them on birth control, resigned yourself to marriage, and read a lot of theology. To you it must seem cheap to compare the riches of busy blogs and Augustine’s writings and papal encyclicals to the two coppers worth of seeking and obeying your husband’s will. But from what I have read I feel secure in saying that your soul is poor and pitiful indeed. In truth giving up that mite of service would be the world to you and Christ. Instead you walk away sorrowful because all you care about is being wealthy by your own measure, instead of that of your Father in heaven, and your husband. You did not even have the wisdom to honor the worldly standards of wealth of your earthly father.

Do you see a pattern here, Gabriella? Men: do you see a pattern here? Consider how important are your relationships to your daughters. Consider the patterns you set for them in the way you allow your wives to behave. There is much more at stake than we can know.

As it stands: You’re a moneychanger; exchanging cheap offerings of experience as sacrifices in your own temple when YOU COULD WIN YOUR HUSBAND’S SOUL WITHOUT A WORD by submitting to him and calling him lord, as your spiritual forebear did. By this you would be a branch of Sarah, too–more honorable than anything this world offers. YOU could be the man of your husband’s heart; grooming it with long-suffering, and penetrating it with supplication; to bring forth the fruits of headship, honor, and love. These you could feast on, instead of scrabbling for others’ spiritual scraps.

Men: This is surely your wife’s fate if you do not take being an obedient follower of Christ and an understanding husband (wise to their weakness and innocent of injury) seriously. If there was ever an age where men could be merely a material provider and get fidelity: this is not that age. You are surrounded by evil wolves; male and female. To be a husband is to be watchful and involved and work to make a thing grow; pruning her vices and staking her virtues. It is leading her to pastures of faith, mucking the stalls of your house from the filth of the world, and washing her with the clean water of the Word. You are called grooms for a reason.

A final word: There is no guarantee. Gomer lacked for nothing in Hosea’s house.

Plead with your mother, plead
for she is not my wife,
and I am not her husband
that she put away her whoring from her face,
and her adultery from between her breasts;

“…from between her breasts”; where her heart is. Gomer, like many, chose to be a whore for the personal pleasure of it.

I have found this conversation edifying because I learned that I am not a traditionalists in the strictest sense of the word, and based on the conversations this has spawned in our household my husband isn’t a traditionalist either.”

So do many Christian wives and husbands. Do not be among them.

I wonder if Ezra is still around. She had a lot of good comments.

 

*I do think birth control, abortion, and homosexuality are evils. Now get back on topic.

Then the Storm Passed

When I was a kid (pre-10), I wasn’t allowed to turn on the TV or get something to eat without asking. Most Saturday mornings, I would get up and ask Mom or Dad, and they’d say, “Sure.” Sometimes though, they would still be asleep, and I’d knock on their bedroom door. No answer. I could hear them rustling around in there, so I’d knock again–in case they hadn’t heard me, you see–and I’d throw in a plaintive, “Mooooom!”.

“BOY!”, Dad would thunder, “the house better be burnin’ down!”

Then I’d hear Mom giggle; which I thought was pretty rude seeing as how I’m getting in trouble for following directions.

I always wondered why Dad was so cranky on Saturdays. He’d slept all night, and he didn’t have to go to work!

Fun times, looking back…then I moved out and they divorced. I guess Dad finally got enough sleep.

Welcome Aboard, John

Dalrock encouraged a reader of his, John, to check out my post Tacomaster Desires Steadfast Love for some advice and perspective. John writes:

Dalrock pointed me to your blog (the “Tacomaster Desires…” post in particular). I’ve enjoyed your reading your advice. I believe you commented on a thread at Dalrock’s where my post elicited many replies. I’m another sex-deprived (as in zero sex for months) husband. I’ve also struggled with porn, but haven’t viewed it (or done any activities associated with viewing it) for over 2 months. I’ve told my wife about this. She was mildly impressed, but it hasn’t changed our zero sex/intimacy relationship at all. She keeps saying it will “take time” for her to build back her trust due to my porn use and other past wrongs. (Most of those wrongs are sins of which I’ll readily admit, but a few are more debatable.)

I have a question that’s on a more tactical level. She’s been letting our youngest (almost 3) sleep with us since she left her crib. We’ve let others sleep with us here or there (when they wake up in the middle of the night, special occasions, etc.), but nothing like this. I think my wife’s allowing this “co-sleeping” (to use the hip, modern term) to make intimacy all but impossible for us.

I’ve been thinking about telling her it needs to stop. Something along the lines of “This is our marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). It’s a place for the two of us to sleep and make love. I don’t mind our kids occasionally coming in when they wake up with a nightmare or something, but not on a regular basis. If you disagree, you can sleep with the youngest in her (twin) bed. I’ll sleep here.”

At this point, I’m sure she’d choose to sleep with the youngest elsewhere. But it would be a way for me to put my foot down and set a boundary. I think I’ll have to do things to force the issue unless my wife suddenly builds her trust. And the longer I’m staying away from porn, the more confident I’m getting.

Your sense on co-sleeping is absolutely right. Your child…

By the way: YOUR child. Possession is important. She can refer to it as “our child” if she wants. You are the farmer who plowed the field. The fruit does not belong to the ground. Insomuch as the law transgresses this basic fact it is an evil…hence, the law is quite evil.

…should definitely not be in the sanctuary of the marital bed. There are times when we should make exceptions in times of need, such as thunderstorms, illness, etc., but, generally, the child should be in her own bed. You suggested saying this:

“This is our marriage bed (Heb. 13:4). It’s a place for the two of us to sleep and make love. I don’t mind our kids occasionally coming in when they wake up with a nightmare or something, but not on a regular basis. If you disagree, you can sleep with the youngest in her (twin) bed. I’ll sleep here.”

but I strongly suggest you leave off the qualifiers, and the alternatives. In your case, I further suggest you leave off that scripture, too. If she takes the Bible seriously, it sounds like a softball for a response of, “Well, you’ve already defiled it!” It would be evil for her to do this, but she is already in rebellion, and even willing to use your child to be so.

Show. Don’t tell.

“This is our marriage bed. It’s a place for the two of us to sleep and make love. The children do not belong in here.

Simple, direct, and declarative. Women respond to the declarative. It may not be a good response at first (or ever, depending how sinful she is willing to be), but it is unavoidable; like a steak before a dog. She’ll have to do something with it.

Why no qualifiers or alternatives when you know she’s going be thinking about it?

Because we’re men, we want to do things like try to head-off at the pass a woman’s reasoning and logical arguments. This is stupid of us because she’s not interested in a logical argument for OR against co-sleeping, the holiness of the marriage bed, or almost anything else.

An example: When a woman starts using coupons it’s to save money, but it’s almost never to save money for retirement, or for the general welfare of the family, or even to satisfy the monthly budget. She might do it:

to feel like she got something for nothing
to please her husband (two thumbs up!)
because she has to do so to get everything needed
because she feels superior to those dupes who pay full price
because she wants an excuse to buy something else.

But once she experiences the benefit of successfully living on a budget she will be the biggest proponent of the budget, coupons, super-saver bonuses…the whole shootin’ match. She’ll tell her friends that they ought to do like her, and clip coupons. If a friend argues back: they won’t be friends much longer. Soon after the discussion the wife will notice things about her friend, “I don’t know; she’s just not that good of a person. We don’t really talk anymore.”  It doesn’t matter whether it logical, reasonable, or even true.

As I wrote in “TM Desires…”, fervent Muslim women are the most fervent of Muslims. Women get sold out for the cause. Your goal is to get that going in your favor; to get your wife sold out for you. Logic won’t do that. In fact, if you confront her heartfelt feelings with logic she’s going to take it as a sign of stupidity and weakness. What idiot brings a mind to a heart fight?

The real fight is going to come to you when you actually follow through on banning your daughter from the bed and expect her to obey…now…tonight…not some time in the future like she’s probably used to. If she brings the child in, remind her what you said. Is she still brings her in, take the child out. If you see that you are going to have to physically take the child out: make no moves until you do what you are going to do. Do not telegraph your intents, and don’t struggle. Take the child into her room, and either put her to sleep, or leave. It’s a tough call because now she’s used to sleeping with someone, I’m sure. Do what you think is GOOD; not what you think is easiest, or will resolve the situation fastest, or leave the least hurt feelings. Do what you think is GOOD! If your wife goes to retrieve your daughter, say something along the lines of, “You can stay out until you’re ready to come to me alone. My daughter does not belong in here.”

Exceptions can be made, but I wouldn’t bring that up. I say this for your edification. A sick child, a bad storm, or night terrors are a different matter. If she brings those things up: DO NOT FALL FOR IT! Do not argue about exceptions. Exceptions will be handled as need arises–that’s why they’re called exceptions. Co-sleeping as a bonding strategy is not an exception.

Considering everything that’s going on, it seems possible that she’s forming a vampiric bond with your child. She’s figuratively harvesting love from your daughter instead of getting it from you. Since it is a girl, this has a good chance to backfire monstrously when the smothered child is older, or for your wife to become resentful of your daughter when she fails to fulfill your wife’s needs.

Otherwise, everything I said to TM and to WheelMonkey applies here, too; as far as I can tell. I can’t stress enough to pray to God earnestly in private. Commenter Bill F referred to my advice as creating a crisis point. He may well be right, but my perspective is that it is crisis points that drive men to ask for help. You have arrived at the crisis already.

That being said: This is serious business. A wife might decide to detonate the marriage, as a response to this crisis. God bless you all, and your families. 

Shine ‘Em Up!

Though I would rather be home waking up to the scent of Mrs. Caldo’s daily offering of fresh-brewed coffee, and preparing myself for church*, instead I am on the road and serving my earthly masters at a fashion show.

More on that later, perhaps.

Per my habits, I visited the circle of imperfects. Being that I had nothing to do today but be available, I had put on my navy suit and some snappy burgundy Rockports: standard business fare. It was foggy, which means still, and I was enjoying the peace of it when a security guard followed the sound of her footsteps out of the mist.

“Mornin’ “, she warned. Her face was nearly as lifeless. She was a heavy-set middle-aged black woman, her stiff hair tied back in a severe bun. Wires of it shot out in rebellion of the stricture. Her shirt had taken the same tack, and hung untucked from under her black windbreaker. “SECURITY”, it said. All of which gave me the impression that it was the end of the graveyard shift for her; which did something to explain her Droopy Dog expression. I took Droopette’s challenge, and fired back.

“Good morning!”, I bawled. The main cannon so discharged, I followed up with a full broadside of pearly whites. It was a withering attack, and her morosity immediately sunk into the the watery air. One lone woman survived, and she raised the white flag of a smile.

She really was very black, and so the surrender was quite stark, spectacular, and pleasing.

Victorious, I turned back towards the fog and took a drag from my Pall Mall.

A signal rocket flared up behind me. “Mm oos uu ah shiny!”, it said.

“Sorry. What was that?”

“I said them shoes sure are shiny! Did you do that yourself?”

“I do shine my own shoes, but these are fairly new. I’ve only worn them three times.”

“Oh, ok. Well they look real good. Have a blessed day!”

“You too, ma’am.”

A man that takes the time to run a quick clean-up–on shoes or attitudes–makes them much brighter; though some shoes take much more work than others, and some shoes simply cannot be salvaged.

*Allow me a brief aside: Get dressed for church. Proper dress for the occasion is a recurring theme in scripture. Do this because it is good for you, and good for those around you. Your nakedness is uncovered by God (for good and bad; for the joy of communion and pain of the need for repentance.) but our dress is an expression of our attitude and spirit towards whatever occasion or event we are attending. Understand that it is the adornment of the spirit that is important, but we are half animal. What we express physically–with clothes–has an effect on our spirit, and vice versa. I lay no undue burden on you to wear a suit or meet any specific standard, but you can at least tuck in your shirt men, and cover your shoulders ladies. This is not a fashion show, but an intimate family wedding rehearsal dinner. (Resale shops are your friend, if you are cash-strapped. There is almost no excuse in America.) Do not get caught undressed. Again: I’m speaking about the spirit, and how your spirit will respond to the flesh. Because every rivers runs into the sea, and our Lord reaps where He did not sow, this habit will overflow from Sunday mornings into the rest of your life. You will reap benefits from being dressed for the occasion at work, school, home ,and–yes–from women. Also, men: Go to church. If nothing else, you can get a sense of the importance to not be an effeminate leader.

TM, TAM, and Me

The people over at the TalkAboutMarriage forums have been having some good discussion on my TM post. I want to address a couple things though, in case they come back to check.

1) It keeps being said that I think TM’s wife is an unbeliever. Now, in Christianity, unbeliever has a very specific and derogatory meaning. I am aware of this, and that’s precisely why I didn’t use it. I wrote:

The implication then is that TM’s wife has, in fact, become a non-believer in their marriage. She is a like a priest who has rejected her religion, but still pays tithe out of superstition. It’s a sort of witchcraft meant to protect her from any allegations of wrongdoing.

Please, TAM folks, I am not speaking on the condition of her salvation, but on the condition of her marriage. In turn, how she responds to the Holy Spirit as regards her marriage may indeed endanger her salvation*, but it is not the absolute measure of it. My comparison was of a priest who only reluctantly performs his priestly duties. Insofar as we all (men and women) have our role to play in rendering duties (ordained and mundane; from priests to wives) we ought to do it with gratitude for the opportunity, even if we cannot muster joy.

2) To Wazza, who said:

You know, for years I’ve read all the biblical allegory comparing our treatment of God to how a wh0re treats their spouse, and for years I have lived with the pain of my wife’s affair. Today as a result of your post I joined those two up in my heart for the first time. He must love us so much to forgive us.

My wife knows I reconciled once but will not do so again. Where would I be if God took that line with me?

This is a great insight for Wazza. God has put a limit on what and how long He will tolerate our sins. In the meantime, we images of God understand that love and forgiveness to do not originate from us. We reflect it from Him who is love, by turning our face to Him. That is a lot easier to write on a blog than to practice when we have been wronged. Immeasurably so in Wazza’s case, as he has been wronged in the very manner that God chooses to express the disgust and separation revenge our sin deserves from Him. Our job is not to be infinitely forgiving, but to keep God before our faces, and reflect God’s mercy as best we can.

*Or proof of no previous existence thereof, or need for extended Purgatory-Time; depending on your denomination’s particular form of theological knicker-bunch.

Do Not Monkey Around with Despair

I just made a response to WheelMonkey, who is having nearly identical troubles as Tacomaster. It struck me as deserving its own post.

Stick with me here, WheelMonkey, and read to the end. I am being your friend.

I feel like damned if I do and damned if I don’t. Sigh…

Your mindset is all wrong. Damning is an action taken by someone with the authority to condemn. She does not have that authority. The husband has authority over the wife. In the Kingdom of God this servant has authority over that servant, and the Kingdom of God is at hand! She can kick and bite and refuse and scream divorce as much as she wants, and yet she is a helpmeet under authority as we all are servants under authority. The Master will return, and there will be a reckoning. Be of good cheer!

When Jesus is on the cross, He does not take issue with the crowd (society), the Romans who are crucifying him (the courts), or even the Jews who lied and betrayed him (the wife who played harlot because the Messiah wasn’t “man enough” for them). He cries to God: “Why have you forsaken me?” He does for many reasons (not the least of which is to fulfill prophecy) but because He knows all things are in God’s hands, and the Father wants us to come to Him…just as you want your wife to come to you.

Are you doing this? You have the luxury of not being nailed to a physical cross, yet there is little in your replies of your conversations with God about this. No, He is not going to reply audibly any more than He did to His own Son on the cross.

You are not to “try to have sex with your wife”. You are to desire to reflect and manifest the love of Christ for the world (though the world knew Him not) that God has consecrated solely for husbands and wives no less than He has consecrated priests and prophets to their callings. In this, you and your wife are not so dissimilar. You want her to fulfill you first, just as she wants you to fulfill her first. With that in mind: If you bid her to come to bed with you, and her response is pitiful at first: do not be surprised because she is reflecting your own sin; your pitiful attempts to fulfill the merely physical and ignoring the glory of the spiritual. There are serious things going on here. Your pain at her rejection is a sign of the damage being done. There is no fault for you feeling that.

“Do not muzzle the ox while he is treading out the grain”. This command appears three times in scripture, and it’s about not stopping the laborer from enjoying the fruits of his labor. Let the animal enjoy itself as it WALKS over the harvest to produce SEED. You are to be about doing the work. God will sort out the muzzling, and repay those who have denied you. The Lord will harvest, and separate the wheat from the chaff, and the chaff will be burned up and blown away.

Furthermore: You have not done any of the things I recommended–which I did in the spirit of a man walking in understanding with his wife (1 Peter 3), and with the intent of washing your wife of her uncleanness (Ephesians 5)–but you have done what I said NOT to do. Now you are feeling hopeless, having done nothing with what was given to you in love. Here, you are the bad servant.

Do not speak of divorce. Do not speak of her wrongs because she is trapped in sin, but forebear them. Do not speak unless you have something to offer her.

Do pray heartily, and I suggest literally on your knees. It is good for us. (Wives should pay MUCH attention to that, too, when dealing with their husbands.) Do take care of your responsibilities with as much joy as you can muster. Do see to your appearance. Someone suggested asking her to shower with you. That’s a wonderful suggestion.* Do walk. Do bid her walk with you. There are recurring themes within scripture; particularly as regards relationships: bread, wine, blood, trees, washing, sheep, harvesting, threshing floors, seed and not the least among them is WALKING.

* Feel free to either comment on how you love her body, or simply silently admire, but do not be coy, or look away. If she makes a negative comment in response to something like, “I love that body!” then just smile, or say, “Hey, I like what I like.” Your desire is just.

Some Sounds of Love-Making

Some kind person re-blogged my post to Tacomaster (TM) at a marriage forum called, “Talk About Marriage“. In the comments there, a person named DTO confused my quotation of TM’s request with my actual response, and wondered that I don’t practice what I preach–as well DTO should. Additionally, some women in the comments of that post are attempting to work out exactly what is the right amount of talking they’d like to hear, and how. Finally, there was a question about do men really want to be loved, or do we just want sex and respect.

What follows is meant to address doubts–not that it must work, because I mustn’t say it must when it mustn’t–but that it can, and has. There was a time when I neither preached nor practiced what I wrote yesterday because I didn’t know any better, and I wasn’t yet desperate enough to work it out. It is also meant to demonstrate some more of what I meant by a husband desiring love, of desire that she accept his love.

But, “Don’t tell. Show.”, they say.

Yesterday afternoon I got an anxious text from Mrs. Caldo. She had filed a grievance with the school board about what she perceived as a mistreatment of one of our children. A bit later, she got a response, and sent another text; this one excited. To which I responded, “Let me know how it goes”. Here’s the rest (Mrs. Caldo on the left):

ssolmtext

In the midst of a completely non-sexual conversation she knows what I mean by “available”. Not content to anticipate that evening, she tells me of her longing from before I knew, and is making plans for romping through the weekend.

An hour later she got word that her complaint to the school officials would be redressed. When she came home I said, “Don’t change. We’re going to celebrate your victory.”

“Where are we going?”

“The Steakhouse.”

“Yay! I wanted to go there, but I’d already laid out the food for dinner, and thought we should just stay here-“

“I already put the food back in the fridge. Let’s go.”

We piled the kids into my truck, had a great dinner, and toasted her success. When we got home we set the kids about getting ready for bed. As Mrs. Caldo turned from throwing her coat on the bed I grabbed hips and kissed her good, and kept going. Laughing, she asked, “Now? The kids are still up…”

“Be quiet”, I smiled. We drank deeply.

Ten years ago, Mrs. Caldo had denied me so often that I had sworn her off myself, and we nearly divorced. I’ve covered that.

But that’s not even the best part of yesterday; which I must admit was a very good day…though not uncommon.

I crawled into bed late, as is my wont. Mrs. Caldo was already long asleep. We have a ritual where I pull up the covers, lean over her, kiss her goodnight, and we exchange I-love-yous. She never remembers these the next day, but she always wakes up just enough to respond. When I kissed her last night, she said, “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

“Do you?”, she murmured.

“Yes, despite my reservations”, I teased.

“Mmm…I don’t take reservations.”

I chuckled for five minutes. What a great response! Part of what made it so great for me is that I did not marry a witty girl. Smart, yes, but her family doesn’t have a tradition of witticism. She’s become much wittier over our marriage, and especially so since we truly determined to make our marriage work. That joke was Cane Caldo being reflected back at him by his wife. So well has she taken to him that she can literally do it in her sleep, and the laugh provider became the receiver. That’s what love sounds like between a man and his wife.

Tacomaster Desires Steadfast Love

UPDATE: I have cleaned up some sentences and added a couple more since I first posted this. A friend pointed out that the words I chose could be misconstrued.

Yes, it’s been awhile. This is my return post, wherein I respond to a commenter at Dalrock’s, who asked for advice.

Tacomaster said: Another awesome post Dal and I liked your table.I’m posting before reading the comments so excuse me if this has been touched on. My wife and I are both believers, married almost three years. Initially she didn’t understand the importance of frequent married sex. I was in Hell the first year of marriage with the 1-2 sex episodes/month.

I went to the young couples pastor at church who was an Omega, married about 15 years or so (told me him and his wife didn’t have sex much either and it was ultimately her decision) and only saw him that one time for advice. I fought with the idea of divorce because I was tired of living a sinful life of having sex out of marriage and wanted this to work. My wife and I waited til we were married to have sex by the way. She had one previous partner.

She’s familiar with the verse you mentioned in your opening and the sex has increased but to be honest, it really sucks. She has a ton of stipulations and rules which destroys the passion and spontaneity of it. Plus the fact that she jumps out of bed immediately afterwards to “clean up” kills the mood—oh, and there’s the pressure to “hurry up and c*m” thing that I hate. I’ve never been a porn watcher in my life (never interested me) but these last few months have gotten into it. Is this what Christian marriage sex is? I can’t talk about this with my guy friends. The sex feels like a duty she’s fulfilling. Any input is appreciated.

Here’s my input: Tacomasters’s (TM from here on out) wife is not interested in loving him, or being married to him. They don’t have a sex problem, they have a love problem. Sex is beyond an obligation; it’s a good and necessary function of a marriage; a fulfilling and wholesome manifestation of desire for that person. It is the epitome and consummation of marriage. To say that sex is an obligation of marriage is like saying a mother has an obligation to feed her children. That is to say: A mother who can, but does not, is no mother at all. TM’s wife does not desire him. That’s to say: she does not desire to be desired by him. The first thing TM needs to do is accept this; which is an extraordinarily painful thing to do. This is where TM finds himself: Married to a harlot who is demanding better emotional payment for her services, but expecting a wife.

It must be understood that the sexes were designed for our benefit and understanding. Man was made first, and woman was made for man. Women were designed specifically to be desired by men, and by that desiring to bring completion and projection. That completion shows in the physical world as sex, when the man’s desire for a woman brings forth ecstasy and life. It’s easy to see orgasm as completion, and procreation as projection of life, but there is also a projection of ecstasy that makes the difficult times more easy to bear. Sexual delight is a marvelous grace; a physical symptom of the blessing that love can bring to the lover and the beloved, the man and the woman.

Yes, the woman is the beloved. I do not say that women don’t or can’t love, because they certainly can, and most often do so when men can’t or won’t. (Nursing homes, orphanages daycares, and hospitals are brimming with women.) Nevertheless, women thrive when they are the object of love. Little girls don’t dream of being possessed by the best man in the world. They dream of be the most desired woman in the world, and they dread being desirable to no one. Grown women fantasize about being swept off their feet by powerful men and forces beyond their control. Their bodies are formed in such a way that they receive pleasure in the most vulnerable of positions. They’re mind-bogglingly pliant, yielding, and literally impressionable. Yet, their physical pleasure centers are arranged in such as way as to be accessible to all but the most corporally aggrieved of men. Their emotions are likewise, and we see this in the breadth of men–and the diverse actions among those fellows–that they find attractive.

The desire to be loved is one of the reasons church is so appealing to women. Even if you made churches more male-oriented: as long as mankind is the object of God’s love, and church–that is, communion–is the most tangible expression of God’s love on Earth then women will be beside themselves to get in. The Israelites forbade women from entering the inner courts (you can’t get much more male-oriented than that), and my bottom dollar says ancient Jewesses were dying for access because they were sure those within were more loved by God than those without. No doubt pagans have the same problem. You can always pick out a hindu woman by her dress, but hardly a man. I don’t doubt that for every male worshipper of Zeus, he was but one pebble among the womanly sands of Hera. Among the Muslim extremists, it is the women who are the most extreme. It is women who hold each other’s daughters down for female genital mutilation. It is women who force the burka on each other. These deformities of culture aren’t hate, but perverted concern; that the subjects of such atrocities might be lovable.

Within Christian marriage sex is the sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, between a man and a woman; between the lover, and the beloved. No one, but the two consecrated by covenant with each other, are allowed to enter into that blessed union. Which brings us back to TM’s problem: his wife doesn’t want to be beloved anymore. They’ve read the passage from 1 Corinthians 7, so she dutifully doles out sexual welfare every so often to fulfill the obligation they believe is set forth in that scripture. The obligation is not to have sex, but to not deny each other of it, and that is the worst case scenario. It is a warning that sexual denial within marriage is a very serious matter threatening the very existence of the marriage, and therefore their relationship with God which is bound up in the Christian marriage.

For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

For husbands desire steadfast love and not duty, the knowledge of him rather than sexual welfare.* A husband wants to know his wife, wants her to want to be known by him, and wants no one else to else to know her; to keep her separate and secret for himself, which is holy and beautiful and erotic. That passage from 1 Corinthians 7 isn’t a rebuke of husbands and wives who don’t want to have sex with each other. It’s an exhortation to fulfill their good and holy desires with one another.

7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

We modern Christians (and no doubt earlier ones as well) are putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble because we are not taking into consideration to what St. Paul is responding. The Corinthians had send him a letter mentioning that the church had decided that abstinence was the right thing for all Christians, married or not. St. Paul’s response is to say: “No! By all means: husbands and wives are supposed to have sex!” The Christian marriage covenant is such a powerful spiritual bond that it is to be that the husband controls the wife’s body, and the wife the husband’s. His words are meant to free them from heresies and misunderstandings that have led them into sin and sexual slavery. St. Paul is not merely obliging TM’s wife to have sex with him; he is removing the false narrative that good Christians don’t have great sex. They certainly do, and to deny one another is to deny not only the flesh, but God’s intent, as well. The implication then is that TM’s wife has, in fact, become a non-believer in their marriage. She is a like a priest who has rejected her religion, but still pays tithe out of superstition. It’s a sort of witchcraft meant to protect her from any allegations of wrongdoing.

Wrongness is not the bloody point! She. Is. Rejecting. Him. And she has no excuse because she has been given that marvelous ability to be lovable, and to be loved. It is not TM’s fault. This is a choice she has made. Even if her emotions are not into the idea of sex, she ought to be saying to TM, “Husband, I desire to be pleasing you, and to be pleased by you.”, which is absolutely true. If she did, she would find that–sooner or later (and the sooner the more she means it)–she would get what she really wants, which is to be loved by a man she considers worthy.

In the meantime, TM, do not ask that woman for sex. Stop lying to her and yourself. Stop trying to do what she wants so that she wants to have sex with you. Tell her the truth for a change; that you want to bang her silly, and that she should let you know when she’s ready. Then, stop talking to her except as necessary. When you do, be as polite and formal as you can. Do not hold hands with her. Do not hug her, or kiss her. If she says she loves you, say, “If you loved me, you’d kiss me.”, and be sincere about it. If she comes in for a kiss, then make it a big one, and escalate from there, groping and fondling and all the things a man wants to do his woman until you’re having sex. If she recoils, do not react. Just go back to the routine, and don’t give in.

Make your world what you want it to be, to the best of your ability. Do the chores YOU think need to be done around the house, and only those chores. Regardless of what the previous arrangements were: This is now your house, and you decide what is important. Don’t slack. Do make it a point to take care of the things you think need to be taken care of.

Get your finances in order, if they are not. Make a budget, and stick with it.

Christ informs us of how we should behave when fasting, and I think it should apply even when we are fasting from tasting the fruit of our spouses:

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

In other words: Make yourself look good; take care of yourself. Groom yourself and dress well. If you don’t know how, start here. I haven’t gone through the new Style Guide, but I imagine it’s even better than their old style series. You will feel better.

If you don’t exercise, start. At least go walk every day. In fact, it would be a good idea to invite her to go walking with you, but do not ask. Say: “I’m going walking. Come with me.” and then go. Either way, it will be important and good for you to be active. Physical activity will help you think clearer, sleep better, and feel better.

Whatever you do, while you are doing all these things: Try to smile. If she tries to pick a fight with you, say: “I’m trying to love you, not fight with you.” Leave for a bit if you have to, but never for the night. Do not–under any circumstances!–sleep on the couch, or in another room. That is your house, your bedroom, and your bed. You are allowing her to use them because you have grace and compassion.

Trust God to bring you through this trial and her and work this out for your glorification, as He promises to those who love Him.

As a side-effect: she will wonder what the hell is going on. That is good. Intrigue is catnip to women. BUT UNDERSTAND THIS: That you are not doing these things to please her. You will do what is good, and she will choose to follow, and to be your helpmeet suitable…or not. This isn’t about winning her over, or manning-up for her. That boat has sailed, and she has committed to before God regardless if you’re a lady-killer or a loser. This is about you loving your enemy as your Father in heaven does, heaping coals on her head, and not giving way before the wicked.

If she tries to “earn points” or appear like the good wife by paying you compliments, or at least like she’s not so bad** then say something like, “Thanks. If you really liked it you’d kiss me.” Let her know what you want, and that you won’t be satisfied with head pats and compliments. So if she says, “Will you stop that!” You say, “No.” with a smirk, or a knowing smile. If she retorts with something passive-aggressive like, “Geez, I’m just trying to be nice!” then you say, “A kiss would be nicer.” Never lose your frame of reference that this about her accepting your good and blessed desire to love her wholly, and that means physically, and that means sex! This isn’t about her being right, or good, or nice, or anything other than her being fully accepting of her husband as wives ought to be.

All the while: be praying for her. It will do you both good. We have been given no occasion to mistreat our spouses, for we are called to love even our enemies…which sometimes our spouses are. Bear in ming that loving them does not mean doing what they want. It means doing what is best for them.

Finally, stop masturbating to porn. It is poison. It is so tempting because those dead soulless pictures of dead soulless women exist to please you, and that is what you most desire from your wife. Do not let them pervert your good and natural desire. It will corrupt you, and has negative effects mentally, physically, and spiritually.

*I encourage you, dear readers, please: By all means look beyond the verse I’ve quoted to the whole context of the book of Hosea. It’s about a man who marries a harlot who scorns him, and how that is a symbol for how God’s people have abandoned the love of their life; who has provided all for them, forsaken others for them, and Who–with long-suffering–desires for them to be reconciled to Him.

**And she will, because she will dread the thought of actually being “that bad”, and therefore unlovable–the one true horror of women.