Thou shalt be true to thyself

Terry Breathing Grace tipped me off about this great video blog by Sheila Gregoire of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum.  Sheila has commented on this site from time to time, and has also referenced this blog in her own posts here and here.  One thing which strikes me about Sheila’s work is how incredibly gentle she is in her pro marriage message to Christian women.  At first I thought she was only lukewarm on the topic of marriage, but after further consideration I am convinced that she is accurately assessing the nature of her audience.  What she considers “harsh” I would consider walking on eggshells.  But as I said I think she has accurately gaged her target audience.  Christian women as a group are not used to being told they have any obligations.  Ever.  Even obligations resulting from a sacred promise they made in the church in front of God and everyone they know.  This simply isn’t the way of the modern Christian church*.

But this isn’t Sheila’s fault.  She is trying to strengthen Christian women’s commitment to marriage and has to work with reality.  As a near lone voice amongst Christians she is doing an incredible job.  This is an uphill battle, especially since Christian women have discovered the 11th commandment:

Thou shalt be true to thyself

Here is another video blog she did, which may be the one which generated the letters she mentioned in the video above:

*I know it often isn’t fair to make blanket accusations, so I’ll offer a caveat;  if your congregation is actually different, I would love to help you tell the world about it! Keep in mind I’m not talking about churches which speak like Christ but act like Oprah.  Those are a dime a dozen.  I’m talking about a church which actually believes the bible so much they are willing to take action, and even make women uncomfortable with the idea of not keeping their sacred promise.  And I’m not talking about lecturing men on keeping their promises as a response to women not keeping theirs either.  I’m also not talking about a church which tries to find legalistic ways to claim they are different without doing anything which might make sinners uncomfortable.  Yeah, sorry for getting your hopes up.  I know I just excluded 99.99999% of Christian congregations.  But on the bright side, I hear most churches have good news to share on the topics of offerings, new members, and the number of missionaries they have sponsored.  Plus I hear the choir and the pot lucks are great!  So while God’s plan for the family may not be important enough for your congregation to take real action on, at least you have the other things!  Besides, I’m sure the millions of kids being put through the meat grinder will get over it some day.  When they do, perhaps they can join the church and sing in the choir, or bring something tasty to the pot luck!

This entry was posted in Choice Addiction, Church Apathy About Divorce, Divorce, Feminists, Sheila Gregoire. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to Thou shalt be true to thyself

  1. Hi Dalrock! Thanks for linking and for your kind words. Definitely appreciate it–and I appreciate what you’re doing in your side of the blogosphere.

    By the way, we had a great potluck at church today. Lots of corn on the cob. Really tasty.

    I do think that many churches are truly trying to do a good job with marriages–the problem is they’re not particularly effective at it. I have yet to talk to a pastor who isn’t beside himself about the number of divorces in the church, but I also haven’t talked to a pastor who has a good strategy for it. One of the reasons is that because so many people in the church aren’t married, and because there are teens or little kids in the service, they don’t want to preach on marriage or sex. They don’t want people to feel left out. And they’d rather stick to a salvation message.

    I’m not saying it’s right; I’m just saying that’s what happens.

    So instead, they have these “marriage nights” where some couple comes in and talks for an hour, and that’s supposed to be enough for the year. But so few people come out to “special nights” (I know; I’m one of the main speakers in Canada at such things). So it has to be preached from the pulpit, and pastors have to start talking about teh hard stuff, and start addressing stuff like sex and obligation and commitment, even if there are kids or singles there.

    I also know that in our church, where the women have been the ones who have left, the pastors have raked them over the coals. Those women are, in most cases, not going to our church any longer. I’ve seen the same thing in many other churches. So I don’t think it’s that pastors are easy on women who leave; I think it’s that the women feel like they can, because they can just find a new group of friends. And there isn’t enough of a culture promoting marriage to make divorce seem like a horrible sin anymore.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Don’t want to hijack the thread.

  2. greenlander says:

    I watched those two videos.

    I especially liked her points: (I’m paraphrasing her a bit)

    1. Changing your behavior doesn’t mean that you’re violating yourself
    2. “I learned more about myself being married than I ever could have being single”
    3. I see my own faults as I interact with my husband and kids
    4. Keeping a “secret score” against your partner doesn’t help. Try to communicate in a way that demonstrates you understand your partner’s frame.
    5. Doing what is necessary to improve your relationship is following that path that’s in your best interest.
    6. Marriage can’t make you happy if you don’t decide to be happy. Your attitude, and not your circumstances, are what make you happy.

    I listen to that story about the 25-year old woman who had been married for 13 months and wanted out. The whole time I was thinking, “That poor guy needs to start reading Athol Kay’s blog.” I can picture her being a total bitch in the relationship and him trying to jump through all kinds of hoops trying to please her. The correct response to “She told me that she never really loved me” is counter-intuitive. He needs to take a red pill and take control of the frame in their relationship, but no advice out in the world will help him do that if he’s not ready for the pill.

    She does a good job of explaining to women how to love the betas they are with. She’s 100% right when she says that divorcing and getting back on the carousel isn’t going to give a better result.

    I just can’t picture many of the urban twentysomething women I’ve dated in Silicon Valley actually incorporating any of her advice. The thought of some of the careerist women I know watching Sheila Gregoire and having some kind of an epiphany just makes me laugh because it’s so improbable.

    I occasionally have respect for tradcons like Sheila who are trying to help, but they’re treating the symptoms of what’s sick in our culture rather than the cause. And perhaps that’s the only thing to do: the cultural tide is too big for anyone to really do much about it.

  3. Dalrock says:

    Thanks for stopping by Sheila,

    I’m glad you took the post as it was intended. I see you as part of the solution, but unfortunately I don’t see the church or Christian culture backing you up.

    I also know that in our church, where the women have been the ones who have left, the pastors have raked them over the coals. Those women are, in most cases, not going to our church any longer. I’ve seen the same thing in many other churches. So I don’t think it’s that pastors are easy on women who leave; I think it’s that the women feel like they can, because they can just find a new group of friends.

    I think this fits very closely with my statement:

    Christian women as a group are not used to being told they have any obligations. Ever. Even obligations resulting from a sacred promise they made in the church in front of God and everyone they know.

    Young men reading this site would be wise to take serious note of this. Christian women as a group aren’t different than non Christian women in this regard. Never assume you are getting a woman who truly believes in lifelong marriage because she is a dedicated Christian. You have to test for this on your own. Also note that the same pastor who shames you into marriage won’t be either willing or able to ensure that your wife keeps her vows. Most don’t care enough. The rest are not sure what they should be doing.

  4. Dalrock,

    I would largely agree with your statement that Christian women aren’t taught that they have obligations AS A WHOLE, although that is definitely mainstream Christian thought if you read the marriage books, etc. (I know; I write some of them). But let’s take one particular area where I think women in general are weak (and Christian women are no exception). Women just don’t realize how important sex is to a guy. In a big survey I did for a book I have coming out, for instance, I discovered that over 40% of women in their 30s and 40s make love to their husbands less than once a week. I think that’s a problem, and when I surveyed guys, they definitely agreed. But to ask someone to make love “when they’re not in the mood” seems unfair to most women.

    Women need to start thinking about sex differently (and I’ve written a ton about that, too). But I think that’s a huge issue in most marriages, and it needs to be talked about more.

    I don’t think it’s a problem unique to Christian women (in my survey, I actually found Christian women made love SLIGHTLY more than non-religious married women, and they had better sex lives, but the frequency wasn’t anything to brag about). But it still is definitely a problem. One thing Christians do do is talk about the differences in the sexes, perhaps more than the non-religious do, but we still don’t see it talked about as something a wife really needs to get on board about. And I think a lot of marriages could be saved by just having sex a little bit more. It does breed goodwill, after all!

    I don’t mean to be simplistic; I know there’s more to it than that. I’m just using it as an example of an obligation that many women really feel shouldn’t be an obligation at all.

  5. One quick clarification question: how would you define a Christian culture that preaches against divorce? Obviously our pastors disagree with divorce and believe in obligation in marriages. Our literature definitely does. So how would you define a culture that does? I’m not trying to be confrontational; I just genuinely want to know.

  6. dragnet says:

    I’m afraid I have to agree with TFH—a primary problem with the church, it seems to me, is an inability to recognize the source of divorce, who initiates it and the beneficiaries. There doesn’t seem to be any recognition on the part of the church that there is a vast economic architecture and incentives constructed around the divorce—and that these incentives are geared toward women. The church and most other traditional conservatives tend to blame men for the divorce problem, i.e. faulting men for a lack of strength and godly leadership, etc…when such a thing is literally impossible when Christian women (along with all other women) have been raised from birth to think they have no obligations to men, and to be feral as they can be.

    Which is why blogs like this are so important—they throw off the mask obscuring the source, incentives and beneficiaries of the divorce regime, for all who have eyes to see it.

    “Also note that the same pastor who shames you into marriage won’t be either willing or able to ensure that your wife keeps her vows. Most don’t care enough. The rest are not sure what they should be doing.”

    Yes. But I’m not sure it’s because they don’t care. I think, like greenlander says, at this point the cultural tide maybe too strong for the churches to pushback against. I would wager many churches feel completely powerless.

    I also think that there are economic incentives at play here. Churches are now overwhelmingly attended by women—the feminization of Christianity has become a prominent discussion item in some sectors of the internet over the past few years. A pastor who takes women to task risks alienating the economic base of his church.

    They really are caught in a bind.

  7. mjay says:

    I think this is a great column, but more and more I get the impression that these types of columns are akin to articles from the past that saluted and tried to preserve the Passenger Pigeon, or the steam engine.

    Marriage in a few decades will be a relict custom in America. I live in Southern California, and my old gf got married last year, had a baby and is a stay at home mom.

    What a radical lifestyle. How rare, and old-fashioned.

    I am divorced, have been through hell many times to spend time with my daughters, and cannot even stomach the thought of going to a wedding, any more than I could imagine attending a Klan rally or a lynching.

    Instead of trying to preserve a dead, outdated custom, society should move on. The reanimation of marriage in Christian and MRA circles is an anomaly, a sad attempt at maintaining an institutino that is dead and hollowed out inside.

    Let it go.

  8. dragnet says:

    I’d like to add: normally I keep quiet on threads like this because I don’t really feel in a position to comment. I grew up in an extremely religious and conservative household, my father is a baptist preacher—but I haven’t attended services in ten years now (I recently turned 28).

    I said that to say I wouldn’t be surprised if the feminization of Christianity and scapegoating of men is keeping lots of young men arms-length from the Church. Taking issues like this seriously seems to me a matter of survival for the Church, but there seems to be no sense of urgency at all. Part of the reason I don’t go back to services is because I feel like there’s nothing really for a man to go back to.

    In any case, I appreciate posts like this—it makes me feel like at least someone is doing something.

  9. Buck says:

    I attend a very dynamic, full gospel church, Harvest Bible Chapel. The Pastor is an unapologetic minister of the word…BUT…he seldom speaks about this issue. He is also deafening silent about politics.
    The church in America has WAY too much focus on marketing, membership, money and not nearly enough on morality!
    But, with that said, the facts on the ground in America are simply stark. The bible tells Christians to be wise. Marriage is simply an unwise thing for a man to do. Paul talked about this and he too advised against marriage…he though lived celibate. Our culture is saturated in sexuality and that being the case, the prospect of men refraining from sex is highly unlikely, regardless of their churchgoing status.
    The word “hopeless” is a sad word to use in describing the current state of American marriage, but I fear it is the correct word.
    The alleged “christian” marriages I know of are every bit as corrupt as any worldly marriages and the fact is, the church has no teeth and no ability to enforce standards except via excommunication ( which they will not do!). American women absolutely will not be held to any standard of morality.

  10. Anonymous says:

    “American women absolutely will not be held to any standard of morality.” Absolutely right… and when combined with no-fault divorce, guess where some guy losing the house, his kids and half his income to a cheating spouse who feels she “deserves” it.

  11. Johnycomelately says:

    When churches enforce head coverings, sleeves to the wrists, skirts to the ankles and no female ministers I’ll come back aboard.

    Church wardens don’t have the balls to tell a chick to do a dovetail and come back decently attired. Mind you I can guarantee some asshat mangina would step in to defend her honour to dress like a whore….

  12. terri says:

    Thanks for the hat tip, Dalrock. I agree with you that Sheila does an amazing job and that she has a gentleness in her hard truths that sometimes make you miss the fact that she is telling a hard truth. For example, when she unpacked the “being true to yourself” argument.

    There are Christian women who would have a light bulb moment when she asked if their husbands would be true to themselves if they changed. I have no doubt that some of the women who heard that *got it*.

    One of the reasons I stopped writing so many marriage posts was because I didn’t feel like I was tactful enough. I don’t have Sheila’s gentle touch and I am more in your face. As far as I’m concerned “submit to you own husband” should be enough for a woman who professes adherence to Christianity. Just do it and stop making excuses.

    In response to TFH, I think you’re right. Many pastors are fully unaware of the nature of divorce and the divorce industry and the injustices men face in the family court system. Many pastors are oblivious to the mass media marketing and popular psychology that encourages women (and men though to a lesser extent) that their happiness and feelings are of paramount importance and that their dissatisfaction is a spiritual condition that they must take immediate steps to remedy.

    In short, the whole thing is a mess.

  13. greyghost says:

    It is that blue pill thing. The church has made feminism as anormal. And then tries to preach from that as a basis. And as for the comment of a pastor taking on the feminization of the church risking the financial well being of his church shows a lack of faith. The same preachers will tell of people risking all in communist and totalitarian countries to worship and these guys risk having to get a job out in the open market. The choice made was to appease the devil. A good thing is maybe for pasters and preachers to go to the mens blogs and see what is being said about the church. I also think the best thing for any preacher would be to study “game.” Not for the purpose of screwing the female members of the church but for the huge knowledge of female psychology in a context of real world sexuality and inter personal relationships.

  14. greyghost says:

    PS
    Some of your posted articles Dalrock from sites and organizations selling divorce would make for a good series of sermons.

  15. PT Barnum says:

    I would largely agree with your statement that Christian women aren’t taught that they have obligations AS A WHOLE, although that is definitely mainstream Christian thought if you read the marriage books, etc. (I know; I write some of them). But let’s take one particular area where I think women in general are weak (and Christian women are no exception). Women just don’t realize how important sex is to a guy. In a big survey I did for a book I have coming out, for instance, I discovered that over 40% of women in their 30s and 40s make love to their husbands less than once a week. I think that’s a problem, and when I surveyed guys, they definitely agreed. But to ask someone to make love “when they’re not in the mood” seems unfair to most women.

    Ah, what? Since sex is the only thing most women feel they need to bring to a marriage, I have no idea what you just said. Maybe “I am completely delusional”? Is that what you are trying to say? Why don’t you go to the local grocery store and look at the covers of chick magazines as an experiment? Just to see what females think they bring to a relationship.

    Sex is very important to keeping wifey, when she is at breeding age, from becoming an unmitigated, raving, lunatic b*tch. That is what sex is important for.

    Perhaps I am simplifying things. Perhaps you have no idea what you are talking about.

    Also, perhaps your model of God as ultimate day-care employee, on 24/7 to stop little Suzie from electrocuting herself the FIFTEENTH TIME she shoves the fork into the electric outlet, needs to be reworked. Little Suzie is an adult, and most of the dangerous things she does she does out of malice.

  16. dragnet says:

    @ Buck

    “He is also deafening silent about politics.”

    Well, he should be–unless he wants his church to lose it’s tax exempt status…

    Talk about marriage and personal decisionmaking is one thing, but endorsing specific candidates or political parties is a bridge too far.

  17. Dalrock says:

    @Sheila

    One quick clarification question: how would you define a Christian culture that preaches against divorce? Obviously our pastors disagree with divorce and believe in obligation in marriages. Our literature definitely does. So how would you define a culture that does? I’m not trying to be confrontational; I just genuinely want to know.

    I believe the biblical answer is by the fruit it bears.

  18. Buck says:

    “You must be true to yourself”
    ” But, I’m a good person”
    “I need closure”
    “as long as you are happy”
    “I just don’t feel fulfilled”

    HUH?
    This sort of pap is now considered sage rumination/higher thinking in the Oprahized America. Woman soak this sort of pop-psychobabble up. In the Christian church it is even worse. There are bible passages that say one can NEVER lose their salvation once they have accepted God. Women LOVE this…gee, let me get this straight, I can be the biggest pole dancing whore in town, then just fold my hands, say Sorry God, and all’s forgiven, poof…sin all gone…ready for another day of banging the pool boy, popping vicodin and getting botox injections.
    This message is very intoxicating, especially to women (security conscious) , as it is morality insurance.
    Yes, we all sin, yes, we all need to live every day closer to God’s ideal, yes, God forgives…BUT…God clearly says in the word, that once you have found salvation, if you return to your sin there is no forgiveness. Jesus told Mary Magdalen “go and sin no more”
    Matt. 7:22, 23 says, “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”.

    King David seduced Bathsheba (adultery), then arranged for her husband to be killed (murder), and the Bible says David was a man after God’s own heart…HUH?
    WELL, yes, David sinned BIG TIME, but he begged for forgiveness, and God granted him forgiveness. So, he got a freebie right? WRONG!
    David’s life after this sin was a disaster, his kingdom was split in two, his son had sex with David’s wife in public, just to embarrass daddy, his family was devastated, David became sick, etc etc.
    Choose to sin, choose to suffer. God is not mocked.
    The preachers of America need to beat this drum…if you choose to drink, do drugs, lie, cheat, steal, scam, back stab, slander etc etc YOU WILL PAY THE PIPER!
    Dalrock shows study after study where post-divorced people are less happy, alone, whatever.
    Even the biggest atheist around will do well to follow the biblical command to love others as you love yourself…gee, think about and show consideration for the other person! What a concept!

  19. Dalrock,

    Touche. (how do you get that little accent thing on the “e”? You know what I mean, anyway).

    PT Barnum, I’m not really sure what your critique is. Are you implying that women DO have sex a lot, and that that’s what they think their only obligation is? Because I would argue that the research does not bear that out.

    Dragnet and TFH, thanks for your insight. I get what you’re saying now. I think I may pass this on to a few pastors I know.

  20. CL says:

    Those were excellent videos. Thanks for sharing those. Sheila, you rock!

    Touché. Right click spell check.😉

  21. terri says:

    PT Barnum,

    I think you’re missing something major. Many women once they are married and the children start coming, move sex down to the bottom of their priority list. Particularly if they have had all the babies they intend to have. This is actually common knowledge. The man who complains about the lack of sex in his marriage and the wife who complains about the amount of sex her husband desires is a meme as old as…I don’t know but it’s old, LOL!

    Are you confusing the Sex and the City meme of womanhood to the reality many couples face in the trenches?

    Further, Please know that Sheila is not excusing this behavior on the part of wives but rather goes to great lengths (as have I in the past) to encourage women not to neglect this part of their marriage including making the effort to remain sexually appealing to their husbands.

  22. Dalrock says:

    @Sheila

    Touche. (how do you get that little accent thing on the “e”? You know what I mean, anyway).

    I think my answer came out more smartass than I intended. I really am floored to see people like Glen Stanton celebrate the fact that only 38% of the most devout Christians have divorced. I feel like I’m stuck in The Emperor has no clothes and I’m the only one who noticed that he’s running around buck naked. I also am aware that I could be misinterpreting the bible verse involved, but it seems like a very strong fit to me. As I’ve written before, it is human nature to measure what you really care about. I don’t think I have ever spoken to a pastor who wasn’t eager to tell me about all of the different countries his congregation had done missionary work in, or who didn’t know how many people attended last Sunday. The fact that churches (and pastors) don’t bother to track divorce rates really says it all to me.

    On the é in touché, I don’t know how to bring up an extended character set in a browser, but I’m guessing there is a way to do so. The easiest way I know is to look the word up from wikipedia, etc. and copy/paste it from there.

  23. eincrou says:

    sheilagregoire: “how do you get that little accent thing on the “e”?”

    ALT+0233

    While holding down the ALT button, in sequence press “0233” on the number pad.

  24. Dalrock says:

    @greenlander

    I just can’t picture many of the urban twentysomething women I’ve dated in Silicon Valley actually incorporating any of her advice. The thought of some of the careerist women I know watching Sheila Gregoire and having some kind of an epiphany just makes me laugh because it’s so improbable.

    I think this is true about changing other people’s minds in general (including this blog). My sense is that Sheila’s message is tuned to have maximum effect on the few women who need to hear it and are also open enough to do so.

  25. detinennui32 says:

    “I think this is true about changing other people’s minds in general (including this blog). My sense is that Sheila’s message is tuned to have maximum effect on the few women who need to hear it and are also open enough to do so.”

    More women would be more open to hearing this if (1) more churches were willing to tell women explicitly where their deficiencies are (sexual refusal and deprivation, using sex as a weapon against husbands, complaining and nagging, dishonesty, excessive consumerism) and, more importantly, (2) more men ingested the red pill and refused to put up with their wives’ rotten behavior.

  26. zed says:

    On the é in touché, I don’t know how to bring up an extended character set in a browser, but I’m guessing there is a way to do so.

    If you are using a Windows computer, on the Start menu pick the run command, and type the command “charmap” – this will bring up a table of the characters your computer is capable of displaying. The characters not on an ordinary keyboard can be entered by holding down the “Alt” key and using the numeric keypad to enter the Unicode number of that character.. As eincrou pointed out, the code for the é character is “Alt 0233”. If you are talking about temperature, Alt 0176 give you the degree character – °. The British pound sterling symbol – £- is Alt 0163 – and the American cents symbol – ¢ – is Alt 0162.

  27. detinennui32 says:

    @ Sheila, Dalrock:

    I also know that in our church, where the women have been the ones who have left, the pastors have raked them over the coals. Those women are, in most cases, not going to our church any longer. I’ve seen the same thing in many other churches. So I don’t think it’s that pastors are easy on women who leave; I think it’s that the women feel like they can, because they can just find a new group of friends.

    Christian women as a group are not used to being told they have any obligations. Ever. Even obligations resulting from a sacred promise they made in the church in front of God and everyone they know.”

    The entire problem right now stems from Chrstians demanding freedom from judgment. They believe they have a right to divorce and not be judged for it, even if the reasons for divorce are nonbiblical. Of course the usual biblical injunctions to “judge lest ye be judged” and “remove the beam from your eye before you try to remove the speck from mine” are trotted out. The shaming language of “you have no right to judge me” is thrown back in congregants’ faces.

    Pastors are in a bind too. Women not only comprise most churchgoers, they often decide where the family will attend and how often. They also decide what money will be given, when, and in what amounts. Pastors know they cannot preach on this subject without offending divorced women, or women in general. Then the women howl and complain that the pastor’s sermons are publicly shaming them or women in general, or placing undue expectations on them.

  28. terri says:

    They believe they have a right to divorce and not be judged for it, even if the reasons for divorce are nonbiblical.

    Yes, Detin. This is huge. The freedom from judgment defense. it doesn’t stop at the subject of divorce of course, but divorce is one area where the walls go up almost immediately if anyone even subtly suggest that Jesus may just have meant the harsh standards he voiced on the subject.

    I don’t think pastors are afraid, though. I think the message of grace and forgiveness of sin often makes them feel as if they can’t take a hard line on the subject even though the Scriptures do.

  29. Sedulous says:

    @TFH
    Because they refuse to see the elephant in the room : that there is an industry of lawyers, government workers, and feminist groups that PROFIT (i.e. make money) by marketing divorce to women, and rewarding bad behavior in women.

    Divorce and remarriage has been the elephant in the living room for a long time. I’ve spent 30+ years in a Pentecostal church that is noted for it’s strict holiness standards, yet divorce and remarriage is a non-topic. Even the strongest pastors and preachers — the one’s who’ll turn purple over makeup, jewelry and television — avoid the subject.

    Should I be surprised, when even strong leaders like Moses let the Jews divorce because of the hardness of their hearts? And bachelor John the Baptist was beheaded because he told Herod it was unlawful for him to marry his brother’s wife (due to Mrs. Herod’s manipulation). This has always been a thorny topic. No surprise then that most of the New Testament’s instruction on marriage and family relationships came through unmarried men.

    Personally, I think this is one reason why evangelicals are so gung-ho on condemning gay marriage. Besides being unbiblical, it diverts attention from their lack of emphasis on divorce (with or without remarriage). Listen to the “family value” Republican candidates talk about the sanctity of marriage, and notice how they avoid the subject of divorce and serial marriages. Evangelicals are just useful idiots for this party.

    The prophet Malachi condemned Jewish men for divorcing their wives (Malachi 2:14-16), because divorce in biblical times was a one-way ticket to poverty for most women. Today we have the same problem, only the genders are reversed. Now it’s men who are being driven to poverty from divorce by the wife’s treachery.

  30. terri says:

    Personally, I think this is one reason why evangelicals are so gung-ho on condemning gay marriage. Besides being unbiblical, it diverts attention from their lack of emphasis on divorce (with or without remarriage).

    This is on of the reasons the gay marriage debate fails to move me one little bit, Sedulous. It’s hypocritical for Christians to be up in arms about this while remaining largely silent about our own assault on the sanctity of marriage

  31. Joe Blow says:

    I worship in a Catholic parish that is – by the opinion elite’s standards – raving right wing, but is probablly just middle-of-the-road observant and faithful Catholic, albeit with a lot of good ministries going on. The pastor and the more junior priests are really clear about the divorce rules – no communion, no cohabitation and no re-marriage unless the Archdiocese sees fit to grant an anullment. They’ll give you the paperwork but the Archdiocese is not known as being real easy about anullments. At the same time, they have two ministries, one for those living with divorce, and another ministry for troubled marriages. These include prayer groups, support groups, and close leadership from the padres. The one thing that I dislike is that sometimes they are apologetic about the rules; there’s no need to be nasty but the oprahfication has even reached supposedly stodgy denominations like us papists. I am grateful that they are firm in abiding by the rules and canon law; but wish they were a little less mushy about it. Even despite the occasional lapse into the therapeutic outlook, the church is packed for all services, and is getting on average one calling to the priesthood each year. Divorce numbers? Pretty low from what I’ve seen. People come to us after a divorce pretty often but the married people who are communicants do not seem to get divorced very often. There are a few but for the most part the families in our parish are very stable.

    I think the lesson is that traditional faiths can propagate traditional values and even succeed as a “business model”, but they have to remember to provide a constructive path forward for those who are struggling, and at the same time adhere to the rules unapologetically. One reason that the Church has a lot of these rules is that they’ve endured for a long time for practical reasons. Now that we’re finding out what the costs of promiscuity are, at least in the broad sense the rules track pretty well with the smoothest path for navigating the biological challenges of dating and marriage; and a padre who is a really strong beta in approach can keep the pews filled. It is ironic that in one of our higher and more noble activities in life, we are still at heart pack animals.

  32. the suede says:

    I would say that Christianity is a part of the problem. In fact the family of Jesus was a feminist family. Maria was inpregnated by the Holy spirit. Joseph took the responsibility of the father but at the same time God the mighty father may be seen as the welfare state.

  33. Smooth T says:

    “Personally, I think this is one reason why evangelicals are so gung-ho on condemning gay marriage. Besides being unbiblical, it diverts attention from their lack of emphasis on divorce (with or without remarriage). ”

    I won’t argue that you are wrong on this point. But I think it’s also an acknowledgement that the church completely dropped the ball on no-fault divorce. The toothpaste is out of the tube, and it ain’t going back in. The reaction towards normalizing gay marriage is an attempt to not let that happen again and weaken marriage even further.

  34. dragnet says:

    @ Joe Blow

    The lack of mushiness is a key reason why Orthodox Christian denominations are thriving—meanwhile the Protestants are in decline and for the Episcopalians it’s all over but for the shouting.

    And I say this as someone who’s politics are most assuredly to the left of most of the commenters here.

  35. Pingback: Monday Musings | tolovehonorandvacuum.com

  36. Dan in Philly says:

    While I can’t comment on “churchianity” out there, anyone who studies the bible and actually takes it seriously will see that it’s uncompatible with the modern understanding of the feminist movement. The man is CLEARLY responsible for leading the woman and children, and clearly made to take the responsibilities of being a man seriously.

    Salvation is indeed a gift to all thouse who accept it, but living a saved life requires a lot of what used to be called being a man, and now is considered being an alpha man. If you read the bible and only focus on examples and instructions of how to be a man, you will get a better course on game than thousands of Roissy posts. Of course, I’ve listened to many sermons which go to great lengths to de-emphasize this aspect of christianity, but God is God and we’re not, and neither are priests and pastors, so you can’t expect perfection everywhere you look.

  37. PT Barnum says:

    Women just don’t realize how important sex is to a guy.

    PT Barnum, I’m not really sure what your critique is. Are you implying that women DO have sex a lot, and that that’s what they think their only obligation is? Because I would argue that the research does not bear that out.

    Amusing. Now you play stupid. Women know exactly what they are doing when they lock their legs together. They are reducing supply. And acting in MALICE. There is no “accident”. There is no “they don’t know”. Little Suzie is jamming her fork into the electrical outlet in an act of deliberate malice. For personal gain and to indulge her malice.

    The fact that this makes her even more crazy than normal is completely lost on her.

    PS:
    The guy who marred the 25 year old woman? He should divorce her immediately. He is probably 27-28 years old. Just at the point where he has enough money and status to attract a modern “wife”…. and not quite old enough to realize his options have expanded two fold at least. He still imagines he is in a desert of no female attention. Grateful to little modern whore. Once he is out of the marriage, he will realize that his options have expanded and will continue to expand. BEST FOR HIM, is to drop the harlot. And find a non-harlot. Or just have fun. No cost to him, after all. This isn’t biblical, but we are past biblical with 25 year old harlot. I bet she was on birth control pre-marriage and her attraction triggers were reversed. They then reverted when she married and got off birth control.

    Why why this virginal slut on birth control? I mean, wasn’t he her first time? The best she ever had? Doesn’t he have the biggest c**** she has ever seen?

    Am I right?

  38. PT Barnum says:

    Further, Please know that Sheila is not excusing this behavior on the part of wives but rather goes to great lengths (as have I in the past) to encourage women not to neglect this part of their marriage including making the effort to remain sexually appealing to their husbands.

    She pretends they don’t know what they are doing. Basically, lying WITH them. “Oops, that just don’t know”. Well, “OOPS” little Suzie is acting with deliberate malice. She knows exactly what she is doing.

    I think you’re missing something major. Many women once they are married and the children start coming, move sex down to the bottom of their priority list. Particularly if they have had all the babies they intend to have. This is actually common knowledge. The man who complains about the lack of sex in his marriage and the wife who complains about the amount of sex her husband desires is a meme as old as…I don’t know but it’s old, LOL!

    After children. Perhaps. Not before. As for any historical claims, I’ve heard enough wild lies, lunatic lies, that I don’t really care to believe any claims about the past unless solid proof is presented. Did oldster say it was always like this? Well oldster is completely untrustworthy and has proved so on numerous occasions. So I’ll need him to back up his claims. Cause I really have any reason to believe anything he says.

  39. Kai says:

    Certainly, some women see sex as merely a bargaining tool and use it to their advantage. But that’s not all of them. There are plenty of women in marriages their husbands would otherwise describe as happy who simply don’t get that their husbands feel totally differently about sex.

    I’m not saying your characterization of the ‘virgin’ isn’t correct, but it isn’t that rare for girls in their late teens to be on birth control to control all kinds of things other than their fertility.

  40. Dalrock says:

    @terri

    PT Barnum,

    I think you’re missing something major.

    Agreed. 😉

  41. dragnet says:

    @ TFH

    I think it depends on what you mean by “feminism” exactly.

    I think one thing MRAs, feminists, and traditional conservatives overlook when it comes to supposed societal upheaval cause by “feminism” is…that this upheaval can actually be explained, in large part, by other phenomena. The evolution of computing power, machinery, mass production, the invention of the pill—all these technologies meant that the traditional gender roles would’ve come under attack even if “feminism” had never asserted itself. As but one example, it wasn’t “feminism” that initially drove women into the professional workforce—it was abandonment by their men during the Depression, followed by the outbreak of world war. From there, it was actually businessmen that pushed for women to enter the professional workforce en masse, as it nearly doubled the consumer base. The free-marketers have a lot answer for with regards to “feminism”. The feminists were really just tools—they get a lot blame they don’t deserve and take a lot of credit they aren’t entitled to.

    All the same, I consider myself an anti-feminst—but in a particular kind of way. I oppose the particularly poisonous and adversarial brand of institutional feminism that grips the Anglophone countries. I think it is possible to re-evaluate gendered roles without pushing for strict numerical parity in every field. I think it’s possible to oppose intimate partner violence without cheering male castration. I think it’s possible for women to assert their new freedoms without being able employ to the threat of state violence against their husbands. I think that if women want to be equal, then they should bear the full weight of true equality—rights must be accompanied by responsibilities. And so on.

    But I’m also willing to entertain the idea that I’m being naive here.

    I still don’t know which political party this should align me with. There isn’t a party for someone who supports universal healthcare and long-term entitlement restructuring. There isn’t a party for the anti-feminist who also supports affirmative-action based on SES (but is race neutral).

    I’ve done enough thread jacking for now.

  42. Anonymous Reader says:

    Kai
    Certainly, some women see sex as merely a bargaining tool and use it to their advantage. But that’s not all of them. There are plenty of women in marriages their husbands would otherwise describe as happy who simply don’t get that their husbands feel totally differently about sex.

    That’s likely true, especially in women who have had one or more children: the estrogen surges that go with pregnancy do affect the brain.

    However.

    From the male point of view, when a married woman who is in good health unilaterally decides that sex in marriage is now merely an occasional option, it looks like betrayal. Betrayal of trust, betrayal of marriage contract. Oh, and taking the man’s fidelity totally for granted, while seeming to deliberately tempt him to break his vows.

  43. Kai says:

    “Anonymous Reader says:
    From the male point of view, when a married woman who is in good health unilaterally decides that sex in marriage is now merely an occasional option, it looks like betrayal. Betrayal of trust, betrayal of marriage contract. Oh, and taking the man’s fidelity totally for granted, while seeming to deliberately tempt him to break his vows.”

    I agree completely, and I think it’s wrong.
    I like the way it was put by someone who probably wouldn’t be too popular around here that ‘monogamy is supposed to be sex with one person – not sex with no people’. If you don’t have sex with your partner, you’re breaking the contract as much as if you have sex with someone other than your partner.
    I just think that a lot of low-sex-drive women really don’t get that.
    And I think that’s where people like Sheila are trying to meet them. Speaking not to the evil sex-bargainers, but to those who consider themselves good wives but are failing to recognise and meet an important need in their husband that they just don’t get themselves. I think her way of saying it looks pretty decent.

  44. Stephenie Rowling says:

    If you don’t have sex with your partner, you’re breaking the contract as much as if you have sex with someone other than your partner.

    Cosign this. I consider denying sex within the marriage without any medical or physical real reason sexual terrorism.

  45. Buck says:

    dragnet,
    @ Buck

    “He is also deafening silent about politics.”

    Well, he should be–unless he wants his church to lose it’s tax exempt status…

    Talk about marriage and personal decisionmaking is one thing, but endorsing specific candidates or political parties is a bridge too far.

    When a candidate or political party supports abortion, gay marriage, generational theft via deficit spending, no fault divorce, etc, the pastor MUST take a stand. And, you can take a stand without endorsing a particular candidate or party. If the opposing candidates have clearly defined positions on issues that are clearly moral in nature he must speak up. For instance, Obama believes in any abortion, any time, paid for by taxes, McCain was prolife…no brainer here.
    America’s black churches have no problem excoriating Republicans by name from the pulpit and their tax status is never in jeopardy. A five minute youtube download of Obama’s Rev Wright is all your attorney would need to get a tax case dismissed.( equal protection under the law)

  46. gabriel says:

    “I think you’re missing something major. Many women once they are married and the children start coming, move sex down to the bottom of their priority list. Particularly if they have had all the babies they intend to have.”

    It says all a man need to know about what most women think about men. Of course, “alphas” excluded.

  47. dragnet says:

    @ Buck

    You’re off-base. Of course the Democratic party has obvious moral deficiences that should be decried—but one could argue that those of the GOP are greater still. I don’t remember hearing much resistance from the church as the invasion of Iraq slaughtered nearly 100,000 innocent civilians or as the Americans installed lawless regimes of torture, murder and due-process free kidnapping and assassination in several conquered and client states. And I just listened through GOP debates where a governor was cheered when it was stated that his state had executed more men than any other. And during last night’s debate the Tea Party crowd voice approval that a 30-year old comatose man was allowed to die as he could not afford health insurance. I could go on.

    Both parties are morally bankrupt and, in my mind, this is an argument for keeping the churches out of party politics and endorsements. When the churches enmesh themselves in politics, both are wounded.

  48. terri says:

    It says all a man need to know about what most women think about men. Of course, “alphas” excluded.

    Firstly, I said “many” women, not “most.” And yes, it does say a lot. It is not my intent to excuse or rationalize away such behavior. It is wrong and it is a violation of marriage vows.

    I am not interested in convincing men who are inclined to remain single to do anything outside their best interests. What I am interested in (as is Sheila and Dalrock I assume) is making a serious attempt to raise awareness and understanding among the ranks of those already married.

    No one wins when families are shattered and children are separated from their fathers because of issues that can be resolved if spouses would take the time and pay the attention needed to make things better. Many women need to be deprogrammed to say the least but I honestly believe that for those willing to do the work it is possible to have a great marriage.

    And I agree wholeheartedly that churches need to make a much more concerted effort not only to strengthen marriages but vehemently discourage divorce by unapologetically preaching what the Scriptures teach on the subject no matter how the people take it. The Truth must trump feelings and cultural ideology.

  49. Kai says:

    “Buck says:
    For instance, Obama believes in any abortion, any time, paid for by taxes, McCain was prolife…no brainer here.”

    It’s a no-brainer if abortion is the sole important issue to a presidency. There are a number of other issues that could be morally decided in favour of one party/candidate or another. You might still come up with McCain here, but focusing on one single issue isn’t a great way to pick a leader. Anyone who manages to become a candidate for president probably has a good few moral failings for a church to decry – but there’s still only a choice between two.

  50. Dan in Philly says:

    To add to my earlier comment, I would like to say that there are many christian single women who are aching for an alpha christian man to take them and be the leader of the household. Even those who are somewhat ambivalent about the clear instruction in the bible in this matter usually strongly desire a good and strong man in their lives. I am trying to rear my own son to be such a man, and for my daughters to love and attract one…

  51. Anonymous Reader says:

    Kai, I believe there is more to it than low sex drive. Leaving aside those women who choose to use affection as a kind of “doggy treat” to reward good behavior (and they exist, and they are not rare), there is the issue of patterning, or maybe copying, behavior. We all have models, or archetypes, in our heads for behavior that we’ll fall back on in times of stress.

    A woman who marries a man may or may not start acting like her mother right away (she might go out of her way not to act that way, for example). The rush of estrogen that accompanies pregnancy leaves her in an emotional state. The surprising stress of a newborn puts her into a different role than she’s ever been in before. So at some point, she may well unconsciously – unconsciously please note – start acting as she saw her mother act. Why? Because now she is A Mother, and A Mother does things differently than a woman who is dating, or recently married.

    Even in the “let it all hang out” era that we are still living in, most people grow up with only the vaguest of notions concerning their parent sexuality (there are exceptions, and I know of some pretty sad cases, but they remain exceptions). People who grow up in a church culture, on the whole, likely are going to be all but totally ignorant of such things. And there’s nothing wrong with that, until the day comes when a married woman with one or more children starts, consciously or unconsciously, patterning her private time with her husband based on what she saw her mother do publicly. Because denial of sexuality affects men in multiple ways, it isn’t only sexual frustration that results, it is an emotional frustration. And whom does he pattern his behavior on at that point?

    Of course, with the divorce industry having fed upon married men for over a generation now, more and more people in their 20’s have no template or archetype for “married man” / “married woman” to follow at all, except what they see on TV or movies.That’s a whole ‘nother topic.

  52. You forgot Christian singles groups. That’s a MAJOR pull for 20-30 somethings to find a date…errr…I mean “praise the lord.” I’m a PK myself and everything I saw in the church had nothing to do with anything as noble as “God” or “Jesus.” it was just a club for pretty brainless people to go to for an ulterior motive under the guise of “religion.” I’d rather hang out with sinners.

  53. gabriel says:

    One thing that I should do in the first place – to thank Sheila Gregoire for what she’s doing. It’s a tremendous difficult task and I wish her good luck!

    @terry
    I know what you’ve said, but I took the liberty to extend to “most” and I hope that’s not a big problem for you (otherwise, my apologies!). I did that because it is my observation too with women withholding sex/rewarding sex/bargain sex, etc from personal and anecdotal evidence. Actually, I experienced that even with a 21 year old virgin so I tend to think it’s a feature, not a bug.

    When a woman “move sex down to the bottom of their priority list” drag the husband/partner to the bottom, also. I’ve never understood that. My wife it’s no.1 on the list. My kid is no.1 on the list. There’s no contradiction, because there are two very different lists. My love isn’t something finite and part of a zero-sum game.

  54. Buck says:

    Kia, Dragnet
    The current Democrat party is not your parents or grandparents Democrat party. John F. Kennedy could not be nominated for President as a Democrat today…NO WAY!
    The current Democrat party is simply a front for world communism. Communism by definition is anti-God…
    There is no comparison between the life of an unborn (innocent) child and convicted murderers et al. The preamble to our Constitution holds truths self evident that all men are endowed by their creator with inalienably rights …LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…(note; life was #1). Any candidate who disrespects innocent life should immediately be disqualified from any Govt position.
    Who said I was a Republican???
    I did not agree with the Iraq war, still don’t ,and I have no idea what we are doing in Afghanistan. I have no idea why the US has a military presence in 140+ countries.
    But lets not delude ourselves about which party starts wars…Democrat: Wilson WW1, FDR WW2
    Truman Korea, Kennedy Viet Nam, Clinton Kosovo, Obama Lybia…
    Johnson poverty, Carter stagnation…note that we are still in Germany, Japan, Korea, Kosovo, Lybia and still fighting poverty …stagnation fled when Reagan arrived.

  55. dragnet says:

    @ TFH

    “One aspect about the two parties where the reality may be different than what you have long believed is the subject of race.”

    What are you talking about? I don’t remember ever mentioning race as a reason to oppose the GOP. Read what I’ve written above—those are (some of) the reasons I think the GOP is useless.

    If you can find anything on race, I’d certainly like to see it.

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  57. I have just recently found this blog and I trust you will accept someone from the other side of the Pond commenting so late.

    Firstly, to deal with the issue of politics, I think all of the major parties, Rep, Dem in the US, Conservative Labour and Liberal in the UK all pee in the same pot. The label makes hardly a difference at all.

    But on the issue of churches not treating marriage seriously, there is a Christian organisation in the States called Marriage Savers which tries to get all the churches and synagogues in the area to agree on a serious course of premarital counselling, and in one area where this has happened a higher than normal number of couples decide not to get married than would with the usual half hour chat with the pastor or priest, but those that do get married have a much lower divorce rate than comparable areas around them over an extended period.

    Now on the subject of married people who restrict sex, they should be divorced for failing to abide by their marriage vows. I believe that in the 18th Century, there was a case of church discipline being exercised by a Puritan Church, publicly, with someone who failed to provide their spouse with an appropriate level of conjugal rights. I do not know what the vows are in the US, butin the UK they include the statement, “With my body I worship you” by the bride.

    I would agree that there are too few churches and too few preachers who are willing to put their heads above the parapet on this, but Mars Hill Church in Seattle (http://marshill.com) have a series of sermons on the web on Song of Songs, which is treated as the (erotic) story of married love and two sermons in the series called Trial, one on Marriage and Women and one on Marriage and Men and in all of them the preacher does not pull any punches about what the text is saying and the implications for modern day behaviour for Christians. From my perspective, it would be great to see everyone behave according to biblical standards, I can see that not everyone here would necessarily agree.

    [D: Thanks for the info. I don’t think that vow you referenced is commonly used in the US. Welcome to the blog!]

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  64. Frank says:

    Yeah, sorry for getting your hopes up. I know I just excluded 99.99999% of Christian congregations.

    Great statement. Remember, God’s people have always been a remnant, not the majority of those who claim to “believe in Him.

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