A little over 400 comments into the discussion of Radio Silence and Dread, a blogger by the handle Prov Erbs asked:
Please help Dalrock or anyone else! What does Christian dread look like in detail for a married couple of 15+ years? I feel like what I need is dread in my marriage now. It’s not healthy, though it has improved significantly with much prayer and this site. I want to honor Christ. I want to have lots of sex with just my wife and the mother of my two children. I’ve never been with another woman. I have temptations b/c I’m like the guy in the spreadsheet. Heck, I’d take his ratio now compared to whatI I’m getting. Please help! Thank you.
Gin Martini suspects we are being wound up here, and that is always possible. However, either way the question is an excellent opening for a much needed follow on post.
In the Radio Silence post I carefully carved out a sliver of Dread, and many are taking that as an invitation to take the whole cheese wheel. Writing about Game from a Christian perspective is extremely difficult because this is in many ways new territory and there are very important moral considerations to get right. At the same time, we have two distinct groups desperate to pull us to either the right hand or the left.
On the one side we have the prevailing view of modern Christianity, which is an unknowing but enthusiastic adoption of a cross dressing view of biblical roles. Under this theological gender bending view husbands aren’t to lead their wives in biblical headship, but are to submit to their wives as the Apostle Peter instructed wives to do with their husbands in 1 Pet 3. Actually it is worse than this, because this cross dressing view wouldn’t even permit husbands to win their wives over without a word. Under the cross dressing view of marital roles, husbands can’t even remain silent if it means allowing their wives to feel discomfort with their sin.
On the other side we have those who want to toss out biblical instruction on marriage or at least rationalize it away, when being faithful gets in the way of effective Game. No, you can’t cheat or put yourself in compromising positions. No you can’t threaten to cheat. No you can’t divorce or threaten to divorce if she doesn’t have sex with you, or if she isn’t as excited about it as we all would wish. If your primary goal is to have sex, you aren’t at the right place. Why expend all of this effort on Biblical Rationalization Game when $50 and a trip across town would almost surely accomplish the goal? I’m not minimizing the importance of sex in biblical marriage, as the Apostle Paul explains in 1 Cor 7 that you would be better off not marrying unless you feel passionate desire, and that denying sex is a sin and creates temptation for sexual sin. But never forget that when he says to marry if you burn with passion he isn’t talking about how to get sex, he is talking about how to be obedient to Christ.
Getting to the question from Prov Erbs, I took only a quick scan of his latest post and one other page. I certainly can’t have the whole picture, but from what little I’ve read my advice would be to stop thinking about sex and focus on being a Christian husband and father. His focus needs to be on being head of a Christian home where the wife is in profound rebellion while the children are taking everything in. If he brings his house back into order he very likely will make real gains on the sex front, but focusing on sex is killing him. From his male action plan page:
I don’t want to have sex with anyone else. I only want to have sex with her. Even in my dreams, and I’ve been dreaming a lot about sex, I only want to have sex with her. Sex is not boring with her b/c I love her and she’s the mother of my children. It was never boring for me at least, which is why I’ve gotten even more oneitis. God is my one and only, she is not my one and only. Yet, I’m struggling here….
This script is killing him. She has the cookie and he keeps eying it in his mind, wishing she would give it to him. What he needs to focus on is being head of the family. Unfortunately the cross dressing fetishists have been extremely creative in subverting him legally, and most fellow Christians won’t be of much help as they are enraptured with the cross dressing model. He needs to keep a clear head and remember his role of biblical headship. I would start by reading Headship Game, but I’m sure my readers will have suggestions as well. But either way his goal needs to be to lead his wife as a loving Christian husband. She is mired in sin and rebellion, and he needs to do everything he can to help her reject the path she is on.
In his latest post Ice Melting, he gives a summary of their situation and describes what he sees as signs of improvement. I think he’s taking some big red flags way too lightly, as his wife is repeatedly and deliberately putting herself in a position to have sex with other men:
1. She still has been going out to CrossFit across town. She’s been going 4-5x/week.
2. She still has been going out to lunches, no more dinners, with her gym mates. I’ve seen pictures online on Facebook, and it’s almost always – at least on 5 different occasions – her and 5-7 men. There are almost never any women in these pictures.
3. She has been communicating with her old CrossFit friends in our new area, and she’s been itching to go again.
He explains in closing that he isn’t taking action on this because:
I still don’t like that she goes out with men so much, but I see no evidence of flirting or adultery so I can’t say much. She continues to say she’s an older sister to them. (Christian women often say this.) She looks really young for a 40 year old, but she’s still a 40 year old hanging out with 20 and early 30’s men, so I can’t say I’m too worried. Plus mate guarding isn’t going to help me at all, so I’m just pulling back.
There is no biblical role where married women go out to lunch with men. Also, at 40 her targeting younger men, often much younger men, fits with their relative SMVs. This is what the cougar phenomenon is all about. Women who are declining in attractiveness are pursuing younger men who haven’t yet come into their own. Such men aren’t yet attractive enough to attract a suitable wife or girlfriend, but they are very often willing to accept some no strings sex from an aging woman who is still hot enough.
He needs to make it clear that this is wildly, horribly inappropriate. They aren’t living in the same house and she is carrying on like a whore. She may not be cheating on him, but she is acting like a whore. Forget mate guarding, what would a loving father say to his daughter if she were acting like a whore? What would Yiayia say? I would make it painfully clear what she is acting like, from the frame of the man who is charged with washing her in the water of the word, not from a frame of “you won’t have sex with me but you are going out with these other men!” I would make addressing this and what I’m sure is a whole host of related behavior a priority. There is nothing innocent or appropriate about it. She needs to acknowledge what she is doing and repent. I would treat it like an alcoholic, not just stopping the specific set of inappropriate behavior but stopping the pattern she is engaged in here.
I would focus on this issue with his pastor. Hopefully the pastor understands how wildly inappropriate this is for a Christian wife. If this doesn’t get some fire in his belly, nothing will. If possible, members of the church should reinforce the husband’s message that this is unacceptable. Ideally he should find an older woman who has strong Christian sexual values to counsel his wife in line with Titus 2:
the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
His wife will of course go nuts when called out on her whorish behavior. Be ready for emotional outbursts in a fevered attempt to rebuild the mound. Don’t take the bait and let her change the frame. Moreover, she will absolutely hate the idea of an older Christian woman teaching her about how to be a proper Christian wife. She will hate it because it gives the good faithful woman status over her while it calls out her need for repentance. It is essential not to give in to her excuses not to do this, no matter how convincing, hysterical and emotional they get (and they will). He can’t force her to do it, but she can’t force him to back down from what he knows is right. Part of the beauty of this is it will help the pastor and others see the wife’s wild rebellion. Why won’t she talk to this nice lady from the church? This is straight out of the Bible. Don’t waver on this or help her make excuses for it to the pastor or the older woman or anyone else. Let her rebellion speak for itself.
His other immediate focus should be on reestablishing his overall frame of leader of the home. His prior decision to leave the marital home could make this more difficult, because basically moving out is like an ultimatum. Straighten up or I won’t come back. Do as I say, or else. The problem with ultimatums is if the other person chooses or else. Moving back in will almost certainly be seen as him caving, but it probably is still the right thing to do if he wants to try to establish himself as head of the house. One opportunity here is that they are already apparently planning a joint move to a new home. However, she is leading the process and picking out the home:
5. We will have a 4BR home waiting for us when we move. She said she got a 4BR instead of a 3BR so that we could live together/separate bedrooms. When I told her that husbands and wives should sleep together, she said this is the first step. I did not agree to move in yet.
He needs to at least lead the process to pick the house, and better yet flat out pick it out and start everything in motion. He needs to hold firm on the smaller home, and she can sleep on the couch if she refuses to sleep with her husband. If he needs to budge here, he could go so far as to sleep on the couch himself. I know this is heresy from a Game perspective, but he may need to make this compromise to get the rest in motion.
One thing to keep in mind in all of this is the kids are watching. He also has a sacred leadership role to his own children. He needs to make it clear what Christian marriage really is, and not feed the confusion his wife is trying to create. She wants to create a situation where divorce or separation is his fault or nobody’s fault. He needs to conduct himself in such a way that they can clearly see and understand what should be happening even if his wife ultimately blows up the family (and there is in my opinion a very high risk this is what will happen). This isn’t just about here and now or the next five years, it is about their understanding of marriage when they become adults. Having one of them sleep on the couch fits with this aim, as it will counteract her efforts to normalize what she is doing (turning her husband into a beta orbiter). Along the same lines:
- Don’t threaten to divorce or divorce without clear and unambiguous cause. I won’t go into the differences between Protestants and Catholics and Orthodox here, but whatever your denomination follow it and don’t try to get creative in justifying divorce.
- Don’t pretend their mother isn’t in rebellion and doing wildly inappropriate things. He doesn’t need to bring them into it, but he shouldn’t pretend this is no big deal. They already know this is a big deal, and not only is it better not to lie but it will be less troubling for them as well.
- Unfortunately he is going to have to model the fact that Christians will at times have to suffer for their obedience to God. His example should be one of strength of conviction, not showing self pity or calling attention to his suffering.
This isn’t going to be easy, and as I already said I think there is unfortunately a good chance his wife will blow up the family. However, this only reinforces the importance of focusing on faithful headship and setting an example for his children.
If he can manage the immediate problems eventually he should be able to get to a place where he can benefit from Cane’s advice to Tacomaster. Somewhere along the way his wife is likely to stop denying sex, if only temporarily. This could be an attempt by her to manipulate him, it could be due to returning attraction as he takes on the role of leader, or it could be due to a desire on her part to fulfill the biblical role of wife. Most likely it will be some combination of the three. Her motivation doesn’t matter, he should simply take her as is his right. One of the other things I noticed in his male action plan page is a concern about his performance:
I can’t seem to bring her to orgasm through intercourse. I have to use my hands, mouth, etc. She doesn’t really want to orgasm too much, she says that it’s too intense. She’s repeatedly saying she wants a gentle lover. We we’re virgins when we got married, so we have only had sex with one another. It was really great the first 7 years or so just learning, exploring, and being playful with one another. I just wanted it more than her after we had kids, but even then she complied and I remember it being happy. She’s never complained strongly unless I really pushed her to have sex when she’s not into it.
A loving husband will want to satisfy his wife, but his frame is of a performer being judged. This is a hook for his wife to manipulate him with and he needs to banish it. Especially until things change dramatically his fundamental frame should be that wives who aren’t frigid have sex with their husbands, and a husband should feel no shame in taking his own wife. Stop the rest of the script, and get back to basics. Ironically, this change in mind frame is more likely to bring her to orgasm than the modern “she comes first” script. Women don’t fantasize about a careful attentive lover. They fantasize about being bent over the nearest piece of furniture and screwed silly.