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.

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8 thoughts on “TM, TAM, and Me

  1. Cane the marriage counselor. Cool.

    I’m not making fun of you, really. My husband gets lots of request for marital advice from the younger men in his family. I think it’s good for godly men to offer sound counsel. It is desperately needed.

  2. By the way, your wording did not imply that Mrs, Taco was an unbeliever and I never assumed you meant to imply it.

    Many believers comport themselves in ways unbecoming a Christian at one time or other. Saying so isn’t the same as unilaterally expelling them from the faith, as if we could.

  3. Thanks, Elspeth. That’s good to hear. What appears to have happened was that one fellow genuinely mis-read what I wrote. Now, several comments (I suspect they are women by name and pic) have taken that and ran with it. It’s fascinating. One woman said:

    “On a personal note, the words in 1 Corinthians make me feel like I am sinning and I don’t like that feeling. But I am still a believer.”

    That is precious. The whole of her conversion at hearing the Word of God is that it evokes a feeling she could do without, but it has no meaningful effect on her relationship with God. What a burning irony.

    That’s why it’s so often a losing strategy to tell wives they’re in rebellion of the Bible.

  4. Mr. Caldo,

    I found your blog via a link posted by Dalrock. When I read your advice to Tacomaster a light bulb went off in my head. Your words made so much sense and the advice was so well thought out that I found the need to share it on the site Talk About Marriage. I hope I did not overstep in posting your counsel there but so many men in my life and on TAM seems to be dealing with this struggle every day that I thought your recommendations were warranted. If I did the wrong this I apologize. I also apologize for confusing your term non-believer with the term unbeliever. I have already written an apology on TAM for the confusion.

    One issue I would like to mention is the apparent reluctance to pursue action in dealing with this issue. Many men seem to take the attitude that since they cannot reasonably divorce due to lack of sex they have to just accept the situation. I recall not long ago a woman was divorcing her husband due to a gambling addiction. Although he had taken steps to address his behavior she decided to divorce and quoted 1 Timothy 5:8 ” Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. She maintained that even though it seemed he had stopped compulsive gambling, since he had squandered the family’s financial resources he was an unbeliever and had committed abuse. Therefore she had Christian grounds to divorce. The Church leaders agreed with her. So 1 Timothy 5:8 can be used to classify her husband as an unbeliever and an abuser thereby entitling her to a divorce but a husband cannot use 1 Corinthians 7:4 toward the same end.

    Again, I thank you for your excellent post and blog and will continue to follow along.

  5. @Bill F

    Thanks for your comment, and I am honored that you thought enough of my post to copy it to TAM. And I thank you for your apologies, but they are wholly unnecessary. I’m glad you corrected the unbeliever bit, and I was very encouraged to see you fight back against some of the other commenters there.

    One issue I would like to mention is the apparent reluctance to pursue action in dealing with this issue. Many men seem to take the attitude that since they cannot reasonably divorce due to lack of sex they have to just accept the situation.

    This is not only the worst thing to do for himself, but also the worst thing a man can do to his wife. And it’s completely unmanly. I am sorry to hear that story about the woman divorcing over already-ended gambling. All I can is, based on what you’ve relayed, the church elders who supported her divorce were wrong. For the same reasons, I would counsel a man who is dealing with a refusing wife to make his best efforts to follow the principles behind the plan I laid out. If someone can’t understand the principles, then ask me; always surrounding themselves in heartfelt prayer. Let there be no respite for the Lord from the prayers of men!

    Luke 11

    5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

  6. Instead of “non-believer,” perhaps “apostate” or “backslider” or “denier of the faith once held” would have been less prone to misunderstanding. (Depending upon your precise meaning. YMMV)

  7. Instead of “non-believer,” perhaps “apostate” or “backslider” or “denier of the faith once held” would have been less prone to misunderstanding. (Depending upon your precise meaning. YMMV)

    How about “one who ignores certain scripture and listens to deceivers using twisted scripture”

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