Monday, June 15, 2015

Taking Time for the Important Things

"I pray this so that you will be able to decide what really matters and so you will be sincere and blameless on the day of Christ"
--Philippians 1:10 (CEB)

Most of us know that building intimacy is not the easiest of tasks. So many obstacles arise seemingly out of nowhere to build walls where none should be, and communication is a critical skill to master if one is to keep these walls down between a husband and a wife. Yet, sometimes, one spouse can be an effective, even inspirational, communicator to everyone but their own marriage mate.

Reasons for this can be an exhaustive list, but they are not impossible to overcome. While it would be nice, you don't need to feel as if perfect communications are required. Nor do you need to be able to impart all your thoughts to your spouse in one attempt. All you really need to do is to get your spouse's attention, to get them to notice you have something to say. And the best message to send, the one with the most powerful impact, is I care about you.

This can be a difficult message to get through in times of tribulation. But a good spiritual routine can be of especially good help during these moments. Prayer is such a powerful tool for the Christian couple, and can be used for a variety of purposes. And never forget, prayer is a tool for communication.

A small, yet vital, part of my family's spiritual routine is the customary prayer before meals. It keeps us humble in recognizing that we can enjoy the bounty of this world in even such a simple was as a meal only through the Grace of God. And, just as importantly, even during those times of tribulations, our prayers get said.

During a recent tribulation, without really meaning to, I did something I probably should have done much sooner. It was during the nightly prayer before dinner, with my Bride and the Brood at the table, that I gave Jehovah thanks for the opportunity to enjoy his wonderful bounty with my family. And then I added:
"Lord, my beloved wife is having some difficulties right now deciding on a job she can take. Please lend your Holy Spirit to bring her peace of mind and the benefit of your Wisdom to choose the right course of action, for her benefit according to your will."
That was it. Nothing more.

And the tears started rolling down my Bride's face.

The kids watched somewhat anxiously, wondering Did Dad blow it again? Even the toddler seemed to hold her breath, her spoon motionless above her bowl.

And me, of course, saying stupidly, "What's the matter?"

"I didn't think you cared," she sobbed.

"We talked about this last night, remember?" That had been what started the tribulation.

"But all you said was I would make the right choice," she replies. Kids still quiet--amazingly quiet.

"Of course," is my brilliant response. " I know you will."

"But you just prayed for me. You really care." Click.

So I want to say that the final moral of the story is this: Intimacy requires communication, so don't waste any good channels. Take a little bit of extra time, just a few seconds, to let your spouse know, in no uncertain terms, that you care. And an easy way to do this is through your prayers, to let God, your spouse, all those around you, and even yourself know how much you really do care--you  know: the Important Things.

My prayers to you all.

Image courtesy of stockimages at

Thursday, June 4, 2015


"For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel. . ."--Malachi 2:16 (ASV)

DIVORCE.  The legal dissolution of a marital union and severance of the marriage bond between the husband and wife. The original terms for divorce have literal meanings of send away (Deu 22:19), release or loose off (Mt 1:19), drive out; cast out (Lev 22:13), and cut off (Deu 24:1-3, where the literal expression a certificate of divorce means a book of cutting off.)

When that first couple were married in Eden so long ago (Gen 2:18-24), God did not make any provisions for divorce as Jesus explains in Mat 19:3-8 (and if you think about it, aren't we glad he didn't?). Then came the serpent, and sin, and death, the Flood, Nimrod, and all the other stuff. Life became complicated. Yet, Jehovah had already set a standard for marriage (complement to each other, one flesh), and he had made it thoroughly obvious there were standards of conduct he expected humankind to follow on pain of consequence (that first couple did get kicked out of Eden for eating the fruit).

Between Genesis 1:1 and Leviticus 21:14, as far as we can tell, the official practice of divorce somehow sprang into being, and the Mosaic Law had provisions to regulate this practice within the community of God's people. But the ancient Israelites failed to uphold the Law in a faithful manner as pointed by Malachi and later by Jesus in Mat 19:3-8Many Christians today therefore take the meaning of Mat 19:3-8 to be Jehovah never really approved of divorce; that it was a creation of Moses and will therefore adhere to a strict belief that divorce from a spouse is impossible in the eyes of God. But, is that what the Scriptures really tell us?

As mentioned in Malachi 2:16, Jehovah really does hate a divorce. However, that is not all that Malachi has to say on the subject:
And this again ye do: ye cover the altar of Jehovah with tears, with weeping, and with sighing, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, neither receiveth it with good will at your hand.
Yet ye say, Wherefore? 
Because Jehovah hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously, though she is thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.
And did he not make one, although he had the residue of the Spirit?
And wherefore one? He sought a godly seed.
Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For I hate putting away, saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, and him that covereth his garment with violence, saith Jehovah of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
--Malachi 2:13-16 (ASV)
Effectively, Jehovah was putting the Israelites on warning: Stop trifling with divorce. Jehovah was calling the Israelites out on their treacherous practice of basically divorcing on any grounds (refer again to Mat 19:3-8) in order to acquire another wife (usually younger, pagan wives) over their first one (wife of his youth). Through Malachi, God debunks their excuses about Abraham's dealings with Hagar (And did he not make one, although. . .) with the plain reference to the Christ (a godly seed). Interestingly for us, Abraham's case demonstrates many points:
  1. Divorce (sending away) is obviously not forbidden by Jehovah. Note, however:
  2. The choice to dismiss Hagar was not Abraham's; it was Sarah's (both times). Abraham found it distasteful.
  3. When strife arose, Abraham did not dismiss the wife of his youth over the obviously much younger Hagar.
  4. One could look at Abraham's attitude to show that not just a first wife (Sarah), but that neither a secondary, nor even a slave wife (Hagar) should be "dismissed" on any but the most serious of grounds (Hagar was finally dismissed only at Jehovah's insistence because the Seed would spring through Sarah/Isaac, not Hagar/Ishmael).
We also know that Jehovah himself sees justification for divorce at times:
Moreover Jehovah said unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 
And I said after she had done all these things, She will return unto me; but she returned not: and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 
And I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement, yet treacherous Judah her sister feared not; but she also went and played the harlot. 
--Jeremiah 3:6-8 (ASV)
I find it quite interesting that the wording goes as far as mentioning a bill of divorcement. This is very explicit towards Jehovah's meaning and leaves no doubt that, hateful or not, Jehovah does approve of divorce at times. Not to be lost in this by any means, however, is the severity of circumstance under which Jehovah finally decides on divorce:
"Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath doneshe is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot."
So, this is not even the first time she had gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlotGod has a very definite view of the marriage bond in mind, which can be seen throughout the Old Testament and can be inferred by his dealings with Ancient Israel. Careful review of the Scriptures reveal how Jehovah reacted to the Israelites' provocations, how he wanted to exterminate them all in the time of Moses, sent plagues among them, let them suffer humiliating defeats in battle, eliminates entire bloodlines, forced them into "prostitution" with the nations around them, sent them repeatedly into slavery, even exile, and other punishments.  But he always left the door open to them, waiting for them to have a change of heart.

The only time Jehovah actually mentions divorce, the sending away, the we're through message we see in Malachi, is because of adultery:
"for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorcement."
We know this is figurative adultery (well, not entirely at that either), but in effect it is the breaking of a spiritual marriage covenant by spiritually becoming one flesh with other religions that constituted the adultery. Reinforcing this idea from the Old Testament, Jesus Christ himself not once, but twice, tells us basically the same principle applies to people:
"But I tell you not to divorce your wife unless she has committed some terrible sexual sin. If you divorce her, you will cause her to be unfaithful, just as any man who marries her is guilty of taking another man’s wife."
--Matthew 5:32 (CEV)
"I say that if your wife has not committed some terrible sexual sin, you must not divorce her to marry someone else. If you do, you are unfaithful.”
--Matthew 19:9 (CEV)
Jesus makes it clear what constitutes grounds for divorce with the intent of remarrying: Violation of the one-flesh bond with a spouse. So we can safely say that burning your toast in the morning, not taking out the trash or not receiving the marriage due in a while don't quite meet up to Jehovah's standards for divorcing and seeking another spouse.

There are going to be such cases such as abuse, abandonment, and others in which a legal separation, and perhaps even divorce may have to take place. But remarriage would probably have to wait until either the other spouse died or got remarried or engaged in sexual activities with someone else. And the Scriptures do cover some other special situations (such as mentioned in 1 Corinthians and Ezra) that might also permit remarriage.

So divorce is definitely possible in the Scriptures, and does have Jehovah's approval when properly handled.  But it is a deadly serious thing for a Christian to trifle with, and should be only a last resort when things like abuse are not involved. Pastors, elders and other mature members of your congregation should be kept informed of your situation to provide you with solid spiritual and moral support.

I speak from painful experience. Divorce is not an easy matter and will affect you and your family for years to come. But if there does come a time or circumstance that warrants it, Jehovah, our Heavenly Father has your back.

My prayers to you all.

Image courtesy of Baitong333 at

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Lonely Trek to the Narrow Gate - Part Three - Quest for Peace

"Trust in Jehovah with all thy heart, And lean not upon thine own understanding:"
--Proverbs 3:5 (ASV)

There is one abiding principle I have to believe all Christians adhere to, regardless of their particular flavor. The Bible is clear in its examples that baptism only takes place after instruction (ref Acts 2:37-41Acts 8:12, Acts 8:34-36, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 16:32-34, Acts 18:8Acts 19:1-6, etc.). We supposedly enter into God's service with full knowledge of what that baptism commits us to, and in theory, I guess, we all know it can be hard. Then, somehow, someday, some of us get slammed in the face with a spouse who denies us the intimacy we have been promised, by no less than God's Word in the Bible, is a guaranteed part of the marriage covenant--and just how hard God's way can be lands on us like a trainload of  bricks.

Whether we "saved ourselves" for marriage or not, it still comes as a rude shock. Had we been able to predict this outcome in our worst, darkest nightmares, we most assuredly, for certain, guaranteed would not have in any unlikely conceivable fashion in the most insane of senseless, drunken or drugged moments have even possibly imagined the slightest, thinnest, remotest unfathomable possibility of contemplating to think of maybe potentially agreeing to commit ourselves to a life sentence of heartbreaking, lonely, frustrated denial to be intimate with the only entity in all of God's entire vast creation we are allowed to be intimate with. Which now seems is exactly what we did when we took our marriage vows.

We find ourselves confused, desperate and humiliated. We're too embarrassed at first to say anything to anyone about this thoroughly intimate problem, worried about what others might think of us. When we finally try to approach the subject with our spouse, we see mixed results, from those instantly cured to, well, reading blogs about what to do because all else seems to have failed.

So now what?

Well, as I mentioned in Part Two, the key to overcoming this situation is Peace. I am saying overcome because I cannot say in advance what the end result will be; but if you are at Peace, any outcome will be at least bearable, which is probably much better that what you have now. Peace is fruitage of the spirit. It usually comes along with other fringe benefits:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control; against such there is no law."--Galatians 5:22-23 (ASV)
“How blessed are those who make peace, because it is they who will be called God’s children!"--Matthew 5:9 (ISV)
Sounds divine, no? Peace lets you accept Jehovah's will in the matter without resentment, without regret, without hate or anger towards your spouse. Peace lets you place other feelings into perspective, to take comfort from your ordeal, and allow you the opportunity to try and improve your situation God's way.
"Make sure that no one pays back evil for evil. Instead, always pursue what is good for each other and for everyone else."--1 Thessalonians 5:15 (ISV)
"But know that Jehovah hath set apart the pious [man] for himself: Jehovah will hear when I call unto him.
Be moved with anger, and sin not; meditate in your own hearts upon your bed, and be still. Selah.Offer sacrifices of righteousness, and confide in Jehovah."--Psalm 4:3-5 (DARBY)
"Don’t pay back evil for evil or insult for insult. Instead, give blessing in return. You were called to do this so that you might inherit a blessing. For
those who want to love life and see good days should keep their tongue from evil speaking and their lips from speaking lies.
They should shun evil and do good; seek peace and chase after it.
The Lord’s eyes are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers.
But the Lord cannot tolerate those who do evil.Who will harm you if you are zealous for good? But happy are you, even if you suffer because of righteousness! Don’t be terrified or upset by them. Instead, regard Christ as holy in your hearts. Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it. Yet do this with respectful humility, maintaining a good conscience. Act in this way so that those who malign your good lifestyle in Christ may be ashamed when they slander you. It is better to suffer for doing good (if this could possibly be God’s will) than for doing evil." --1 Peter 3:9-17 (CEB)
How can I cultivate Peace?

Since it is fruitage of the spirit, how about praying? Jehovah wants your marriage to succeed, so don't feel bashful about asking Him for help. Humble yourself before Him and follow His ways.
"In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."--Philippians 4:6-7 (ASV)
"Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and *he* will sustain thee: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved."--Psalm 55:22 (DARBY)
"Great peace have they that love thy law; And they have no occasion of stumbling."--Psalm 119:165 (ASV)
"Jehovah is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart, And saveth such as are of a contrite spirit."--Psalm 34:18 (ASV)
"Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Jehovah.
Lord, hear my voice: Let thine ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
If thou, Jehovah, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with thee, That thou mayest be feared."--Psalm 130:1-4 (ASV)
Keep up reading the Scriptures daily. Meditate on what you read and consider how you could apply what you read to your situation and let God's Peace come over you. Keep praying for Peace and do not forget Jesus' comforting words:
"I’m leaving you at peace. I’m giving you my own peace. I’m not giving it to you as the world gives. So don’t let your hearts be troubled, and don’t be afraid."--John 14:27 (ISV)
Next part, I will share what I have done to get me this far. May Jehovah grant you His Peace.

My prayers to you.

Image courtesy of Naypong at

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Denied One Strikes Back (or Time To Change)

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
--Ecclesiastes 3:1 (KJV)

Even as a Denied One, I have to admit, sometimes refusal is a no-brainer: Sick, injured, that time of the month and such, are pretty much things the other spouse has a duty to excuse, no questions asked. But how about on those other occasions? What do I consider refusal?

"You, funny man."
"Pervert. Don't you think of anything else?"
"I'm not in the mood."
"Why don't you take care of it yourself?"
"Again? We just did it last month."

And many, many others (I'm sure you have your own list.)

Refusal is a door that never opens or that gets slammed shut in your face. But once your hand is numb from all the fruitless knocking and your nose is bleeding from having that door slammed in your face once too many times, you start losing your enthusiasm and just want the pain to stop. Even if it means no more sex.

When matters have reached this point, we slowly start turning into something we don't want to be: our spouse. This is where I found myself two years ago.

Me and my bride are watching TV after the kids are asleep, when all of a sudden she gets up, turns off the TV and heads towards the bedroom, stripping off her clothes.

"Could you leave the light on," I ask her.

"Why? Aren't you coming?"

"Not yet.  I want to get in some reading first."

"Read tomorrow. Hurry up; I thought you wanted sex."

It's a trick, I tell myself, be strong!  "I'm too tired," I tell her, almost sweating with the effort.

"You said last week you wanted sex," she accuses, though, actually, it had been two weeks since I last said anything. And two and a half months since our last, brief, unsatisfactory encounter. But I wasn't stupid enough to point all that out (I do learn some things, after all.)

"I'm just too tired," I insist. She says something unpleasant and closes the bedroom door not softly (#3 is sleeping, so neither of us would dare slam the door.)  I feel proud of myself. After leaving her be for a month, gently prodding for two weeks, and whining for two more, I had decided that complete abstinence would be easier than keeping this pattern going.

Of course, I had made this decision before. Many times. Hopelessly in vain. Because, regardless of how angry, sad, empty, used, worthless, unloved, rejected, etc. I might feel, my bride is still irresistible to me. But this time, I was strong!

Ten minutes later, the door opens loudly.

Something unpleasant, she says, then. "Are you coming or not?" she barks.

"Not in the mood," I say, feeling triumphant at finally throwing back those words. She says something even more unpleasant, virtually slamming the door closed.

Ten minutes more, and I'm feeling almost giddy at my new-found freedom. YES!

The door opens again. Very softly. I look up, ready for the coup-de-gras.

And I see my own pain in her eyes.

Don't feel like such a strong man now!

I can almost see Satan sitting in the far corner, fingers twitching in greedy anticipation at what I'll do next, so I begin to ponder on 1 Corinthians 7:3 and, of course, "never return evil for evil to anyone." And then on the correct meaning of render in 1 Corinthians 7:3. So I got up and rendered to my bride the affection she was due.

[Satan Exit Stage Down]

It was short and unfinished yet, somehow, we were both satisfied--if only for one night before the next cycle began. And I have never denied her since, nor will again. I will not subject the one I love to the pain I feel. Period (I hope you're not disappointed.)

What lessons did I learn?

First, that, even though she was refusing me, she still needed to know I was interested in her. She needed me to keep asking. That was the affection she was due, and when I stopped rendering it, she got scared and when I refused her, she was hurt.

And, second, that it was time for a change:  I had taken my first step.

My prayers to you all.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Friday, May 8, 2015

When you just want to give up

"Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools."--Ecc 7:9 (KJV)

I debated with myself for a long while when I first started this blog.  Many of the other blogs out there that drew my attention seem to have been started by deniers/gatekeepers after they decided to change or by couples/denied ones after recovery was full underway.

When I finally decided to post, I was fresh with enthusiasm, riding the high of apparent success. But inside I knew it was really only a turning point: after more than four years, my bride seemed to be the passionate, enthusiastic woman I had married. Yet, I feared what if it's just a blip? What if she goes back to lucky-if-once-a-quarter? Will I have been guiding people down the wrong path? And I worried about that.

Essentially, the D/G knows if they are going to turn around or not (well, maybe not that simple, but they at least know when they are going to start the process). As long as matters have not degenerated into the D/Gd becoming a D/G themselves, the D/G is still basically in control--nothing has really changed except the "default answer", and the ones being D/Gd may not even know something has changed for a while unless it's announced. That next time they should dare to initiate might just seem as one of the "lucky days" and they might not initiate again for a while.

The main point is, the D/Gd really has no control over this process. We're just passengers on this ride: we can clean the ride, grease the wheels, repair the tracks, lay new ones, etc. But we cannot make it go nor choose where it will go. Even with curmudgeonlylibrarian's The Talk(TM) all we can do is wait and see. And that, dear readers, can be frustrating.

I went ahead and started this blog, then, knowing full-well there is the chance of a not-happy-ending. But I stand by my decision because I wanted to relate to you the trials and tribulations of a D/Gd trying to set his marriage on the right track. I won't hide my lows, of which I recently experienced (and spent moping about at ForgivenWife; I find, for me, Chris has just the right mix of "cry-on-my-shoulder, stiff-kick-in-the-butt" attitude) one. You pray, suck-it-up, and keep going. My elders are happy, at least. Their advice is the same as always: Just give it another chance.

So I do. I keep Jeremiah 17:9's advice firmly in mind, you know: "The human heart is deceitful..."  Keep your mind focused on the love you know you had and can still remember for your spouse. That your heart, even filled right now with resentment and loneliness, can once again be filled with that joy you had at the beginning and even surpass it if you just stay the course. Never give up. Never surrender. Never compromise your standing with God by contemplating anything other than Loving Your Spouse.

And, as always, take in comfort from Jehovah:

"Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."--1 Peter 5:6-11  (NKJV)

You are all in my prayers.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Thou Shalt Put Out?

"But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you."--1 Cor 7:23 (KJV)

I keep seeing Christians with the view that their spouses owe them sex - on - demand.  Mind you, they will also deny this is the case, but still hold the position that a spouse sins if they just say no to sex.  They try to sugar coat it with "if they are asking reasonably" or "the spouse should delay, not outright deny" or "if they are treating their spouses well."  But come on, be honest. Isn't Sin Sin, whether sugar coated or not?

"No, your Honor, it wasn't murder. Oh, I killed him--but it was painless and I was polite about it."

"It was NOT adultery; my husband dared me to go find someone who would have sex with me."

Either it's a sin, or it's not. There is no "middle" ground, no compromise with sin. We can be forgiven our sins, but we can't dictate whether what we do is sin or not.

The loudest rallying cry for "I must be gratified," comes from misinterpreting 1 Corinthians 7:3~5, which I guess I'll post again:

"3 A husband should fulfill his obligation to his wife, and a wife should do the same for her husband. 4 A wife does not have authority over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband doesn’t have authority over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Do not withhold yourselves from each other unless you agree to do so just for a set time, in order to devote yourselves to prayer. Then you should come together again so that Satan does not tempt you through your lack of self-control." (ISV)

Verse 3 is said to command the spouses to "pay up" the marriage due.  Verse 4 is said to explain how each spouse really is in control of the other.  Verse 5 is said to command "you must not say no."

Problem is Verse 6:

"6 But I say this as a concession, not as a command."' (ISV) (Hmmm.)

Of course, there are scholars that believe this applies to Verse 7:

"7 I would like everyone to be unmarried, like I am. However, each person has a special gift from God, one this and another that." (ISV)

But this seems absurd.  Why, you ask?

Because Apostle Paul is clearly stating "I" and not God.  Not once, but twice: "I would like" and "like I am." There is no reason whatsoever to pre-clarify what is already, obviously, not being stated in God's behalf because of Apostle Paul's use of I.  Still not convinced? Then, I guess if you're not married, you cannot be a Christian, because in Verse 2, Apostle Paul says:

"Yes, and yet because sexual immorality is so rampant, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband." (ISV)

There is that "should" again. Not once. But twice. Ergo, everyone in the congregation should be married. And, by the way, just in case you think this is a far-fetched idea, you should know that there is no word for "bachelor" in ancient Hebrew.  Not being married by 20-or-so was generally considered a sin against God's command to fill the Earth and to be arrogantly defying Jehovah's own statement in Genesis 2:18:

"And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him." (ASV, emphasis mine.)

So, unless you are willing to believe Verse 6 applies to all the verses before it, you must be married to be a Christian. Straight from Apostle Paul's hand--which you know is not what he meant because of Verse 7's "I would like everyone to be unmarried, like I am."

And, thus, we come to the clincher: Verse 1:

"Now about what you asked: “Is it advisable for a man not to touch a woman inappropriately?”" (ISV)

Can you see it now more clearly?  Verses 2 ~ 7 are in direct response to the question in Verse 1, and the only way Apostle Paul cannot be contradicting himself in Verses 2 and 7 is if Verse 6 applies to Verses 2~5. Because otherwise, if Verse 6 applies to Verse 7, or does not go all the way up to Verse 2, in Verse 7 Apostle Paul would be recommending the "sin" of singleness. And there is No Way he would be recommending sin.

Hopefully, this will stop people from beating their spouses with 1 Corinthians into submitting to unwilling sex. Because we all know what you call unwilling sex, right?

So, when your spouse says "no,"  should it have been better phrased? Of course. Should it have been a delay and not an outright no? Probably. Should they explain themselves? If they are wise, yes. Do they owe you an explanation? Absolutely not. Are they sinning? Most certainly not.  So deal with it. God's way

"Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."--Romans 12:17-21 (ESV)

In conclusion, then, even if your spouse tells you "no" with annoying regularity, unless it is a constant or long term, continuous pattern of refusal, they are not sinning.  But you obviously have something going on that needs addressing.  Pray for insight, keep humble, and keep your faith. Remember, Jehovah wants you to have a happy, joyful marriage. But he will only help.  You must make it happen.

My prayers go with you all.

Image courtesy of marin at

Friday, May 1, 2015

Porned Again Christians

Trying to help Christian couples through intimacy issues brings the inescapable reality of having to deal with the Big P.  So I thought I might as well get it over with and add my few cents worth, and having experience sort of "on both sides" of the camera probably gives me a slightly different viewpoint than what one might expect of a Christian.

Porn has entered a new Age in these modern times where so much material is not being made from the exploitation of others, nor is in anyway exploiting viewers in an economic sense anymore. Vast amounts of material is being made available free of charge by more-than-willing participants to on-line repositories for free viewing at large over the Net. So, within this new context then, this new Age of Porn, I absolutely cannot see anything wrong with porn in the socio-economic sense. Scandalized? You shouldn't be. You should be pleased. The traditional "commercial" porn industry is reeling under the pressure of all this free porn, so much so that some begin to wonder if the industry will collapse altogether--and that is not a bad thing.

The days of vicious exploitation of both performers and viewers are slowly disappearing, muffling--or at least taking some of the wind out of--many of the rallying cries from social groups at large.  Porn now becomes a matter of personal freedom of expression (and we all know how the average person feels about their freedoms), not sexual-economic slavery to cruel commercial interests--and this is not a bad thing, either.

All that being said, in a secular sense, I am even able to see some benefits to porn and, also in the secular sense, with the growing loss of victimization, porn is ceasing to be immoral.

But I don't live in a secular sense any more.

With morality being characterized as the behavioral norm of rational beings to minimize harm/maximize benefits within a specific social context, it is then easy to see how nowadays porn is becoming "acceptable" in secular society.  Be that as it may, however, the social context I chose to live in is Christianity, and within this particular context, spiritual well-being is paramount to our long-term survival. And those of us within this social context have willingly accepted and proclaimed through baptism that the "norm" for maintaining that spiritual well being is found in God's Word to us through the Bible.

And when considering porn, just one example of what that Word tells us is:

"Let us walk properly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and lustful acts, and not in strife and jealousy."--Romans 13:13 (AMP)

"Not in sexual promiscuity" outright eliminates performances by unmarried couples (it would be either fornication or adultery). But even when the performers are married to each other, unless the viewers are also married to the performers, what is supposed to be a Godly, loving, expression of affection degenerates into nothing but a lustful act (action with intent to promote erotic feelings in others outside of the marriage bond).  Same goes if a third party is present to record the act, because that one-flesh communion is exclusive to those involved in the marriage, and could even now be argued to be fornication because the recorder, just by his presence, can be said to be involved in, or directly influencing, the act.

How about "single" performances?  Well, unless the viewers are married to the performer, these are also, at the least, lustful acts (refer to the cameraman, above.)

That about covers making porn.  Do I really need to also explain viewing porn? Or is the term "lustful act" self-explanatory enough?

And I would also caution against so-called erotica. Do not fool yourselves. It's main intent is just that: Arouse the reader. That, by definition, is pornography.

So, here we have Jehovah lovingly informing us what kind of behavior is sinful, i.e. spiritually damaging. Which means porn has now regained that old tendency to victimize (harm) both those performing and viewing it and therefore becomes immoral to Christians.

And yet, we have a growing prevalence of porn among Christians. 

Go figger. 

From scurrying-in-the-dark-ashamed to the in-your-face-screensaver-proud users, porn retains a strong hold on many Christians and is a lure for many others. A standard term that I have noticed is "porn addiction," which, although, I think is thrown around too much (I prefer "porn habit," which I believe is more descriptive of most of cases) I recognize that there are such individuals.

Yet Proverbs 26:2 always comes to mind:

Like it or not, porn fulfills a need in the viewer.

You must realize that there are reasons for a porn habit (although these are not excuses).  Kicking a porn habit is much easier than you'd think, but can still be the most difficult thing you can do. A trained counselor or experienced elder can help. But you can also kick the habit on your own, if you are willing to be completely honest with yourself and really want to change. To start, the next time you watch porn, ask yourself while you're watching:

"Why am I watching this stuff, anyway?"

Now, don't go and watch porn just to answer the question (your answer will be obvious--and wrong.) But the next time you find yourself doing it "naturally," sort-to-speak, ask away. The answer might surprise you. I don't mean the superficial stuff, like "they have such big ___." I mean dig deep inside yourself and get to the root of the problem. Why are you watching, anyway? Feel lonely? Curious? Angry? Resentful? Rejected? Jealous? Pray, truly pray, for insight into your habit (ref 1 John 5:13-15), because without it, you won't be able master this obstacle for good, and it will keep dragging you back into its clutches.

Not all porn is created equal.

You can tell a lot about a person from the porn they watch, or didn't you realize the porn industry is as targeted as any other industry? From genre, performer's appearance, story line, feature length, etc., all for a specific audience. Just saying someone watches porn is like saying they eat lunch.

Pay close attention to what is being watched and gain insight into the habit. Do you watch (regular) soft/ hard/ extreme porn? (I hate to mention these, and some are illegal) Do you watch kiddie porn or "fake" kiddie porn or bestiality or same-sex? Water sports? True BDSM?

There is much you need to learn about your habit.  

Not all viewing habits are equal.

Determining if you have a true "addiction" can be difficult. So when, where, how and how often can also be good indicators to the extent of the problem. Are you secretive or blatant or just private? Do you watch by yourself? Do you masturbate (sometimes, always, never) when you watch? Do you want your spouse to watch with you? Do you watch the same videos over and over? Do you watch the whole movie or just the sex scenes or just the "money shots"? Do you watch before, during or after sex with your spouse? Do you watch basically "anytime, anywhere?"

All these are clues that need looking into. Once you have a clear picture of your habit, you will more than likely start to see where the "need" is. Then you will have to deal with that. And suck it up: There is a good chance your spouse will be involved or need to be involved.  If not, so much, so good. You can spare them some pain, although at some point, you should tell them about it.  Keeping secrets is not that good--eats away at your peace of mind.  You might also discuss with your elders--they are usually quite happy and supportive of those kicking a porn habit. And there is that "worst-case-scenario" where you might determine you need professional counseling. Get it.  As soon as you can

For those suddenly discovering their spouse has a porn habit.

First of all, my heart goes out to you. But if self-righteous anger is all you want to gain from this blessing, then ignore what follows. And, yes, I said Blessing. I think we could safely apply 1 Corinthians 7:16 in this case as well as James 5:19-20: You have the chance to bring your spouse back from the "dark side" if you are up to healing your spouse (which is in effect what they need).

If you are well grounded and your faith is up to it, you can try to handle this within your marriage first. But if you have any doubts, please, by all means as soon as possible, seek assistance from an elder or counselor.

It is mostly the same advice: Pay close attention to what is being watched and gain insight into the habit. Honestly and frankly discuss with them what they find so appealing. Many see porn as "victim-less" and do not stop to consider a spouse's feelings. Do not let anger creep in; they will see it as jealousy. Do not say things like "dirty", etc. That is judgmental and we are not supposed to be judging each other plus it will make them defensive. Focus on your feelings, how you feel about their habit. Calmly let them know the porn habit is not acceptable, won't be tolerated, and that they must strive to eliminate it within a reasonable length of time, and that you will do all you can to help

Realize this, however:

1. Praying to God to change your spouse will not work. Why? Jehovah has granted all of us free will. He will not intervene in that way.

2. Since God will not change your spouse, do not think you have the right to, either. They must change themselves.

3. Remember: When this system of things comes to an end, not everyone will have a happy ending. And porn puts one on the short list for the "not happy" side.

4. You should not be angry at your spouse. Be angry at what is causing them to watch porn. Feel sorry that they have a weakness that could end up costing them everlasting life.

5. Porn addiction can be overcome. Once it has, though, it might put much more sexual demands on you. You cannot then cry "they need it too much". You will have to find a compromise.

6. You cannot compete with porn. Except with these vital exceptions: Love and presence. When you are intimate, make sure you show up. Give them your undivided attention and show them you love them and want them--words will not get through. You have the advantage here: you know them intimately well--or at least you will by now.

7. Keep your perspective. Many of the posts in the various marriage blogs bring tears to my eyes. If all you have to deal with is a porn problem, you might want to consider yourself lucky.

And remember to keep praying. God is your biggest ally and he wants you to have a happy marriage.

My prayers go with you.

Image courtesy of hyena reality at

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Lonely Trek to the Narrow Gate - Part Two - Choosing your path

"Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow,
So a curse without cause shall not alight."--Proverbs 26:2 (NKJV)

After months, maybe years, without intimacy from your spouse, you eventually come to a crossroads.  At first you wonder why you are here, then wonder why it took so long for you to see what was happening to your life, then despair as you contemplate the rest of your life in this hopeless, pathetic, humiliating and heart-broken state.

This is definitely not what I signed up for at the wedding!

To speed up things, I am not going to try and examine how we reached this state, because we all have our own unique stories, regardless of how many similarities we may share. And, to put it simply,

It is irrelevant.

Good news is, since you're here reading this, you have at least taken that first step to restoring your life.  You have chosen to do something.  What will you choose to do, though?  Personally, I only see two choices available to a Christian (hence the cute illustration): Bail out (the quick route) or hunker down for the long haul (i.e., take the scenic drive.)

Whichever path you take, in the first part of this series I put down some thoughts that will apply to either journey.  I will not judge, or even think less of you for that matter, should you decide the quick route is best for you.  How could I, seeing as my own trials have only lasted 4 years, while some of you have agonized 10 years, 20 years or even more?  But my hopes and prayers are you will take the scenic route as I did, because you can always bail out at some later date--but once you do, you're off the road, pretty much for good.  My aim is to help those wanting to take the scenic journey to a happy, intimate marriage, to take in full the joy our God wants us to enjoy with our spouse.

Your mission, dear reader, should you decide to accept it, is. . .

Probably not what you think. But if you take the time to ponder with an open, clear mind on what is most truly lacking in your life right now, you will probably arrive at the same conclusion:

Can you see how this might work for the good? Well, if not, I'll get to that, but right now I need to let you know that I am making a few assumptions.  I need to do this because, without these, this journey will probably get you nowhere really slow. They are (in order of importance):
  1. You love God.
  2. You love your spouse.
  3. You want a happy marriage (with aforementioned spouse, of course.)
1. You love God.

This is always important, even more so for Christians. When Jesus, the Greatest Teacher was asked:

“Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

Matthew 22:36-38 (CEB)

Seems reasonable; after all, he created us and all this marvelous universe around us. But do you truly understand the meaning of this passage?  And why it is so important?  Put simply,

Your relationship with Jehovah is the most important relationship you can or will ever have.  More important even than your spouse, your children, parents, etc.

Seems kind of demanding, uh?  But this is what our baptism demands (emphasis mine):

"I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me."--Deut 5:6-7 (ASV)

"I demand your complete loyalty—you must not worship any other god!"--Exodus 34:14 (CEV)

That was basically Adam's sin.  He idolized his wife by making her more important than God, obeying her instead of God when he accepted the forbidden fruit from her hand--and we still pay the price for that.  And why is loving God so important?

"If we love and obey God, we know that we will love his children. We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow."--1 John 5:2-3 (CEV)

Simply stated, by truly loving God, we will love our fellow man and obey God's commandments, which are really not that difficult (although easy to stray from every now and then.) And this hooks into number 2.

2. You love your spouse.

If you didn't, you probably would not have married them (OK, I admit this is not always the case, but I think I speak for the majority of cases.)  The important thing is, even after all your tribulations to this point, you still have some spark left, however small, for your spouse.  Or you think you might, buried deep in the cesspool of bitterness, anger and loneliness.  Or you want to re-ignite that otherwise dead flame all over again.

Remember that as a Christian, you should still love your spouse as a person even if not as a spouse anymore. As a Christian, you should not have any place for hatred of your fellow man in your heart:

"The one who claims to be in the light while hating a brother or sister is in the darkness even now. The person loving a brother and sister stays in the light, and there is nothing in the light that causes a person to stumble. But the person who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and lives in the darkness, and doesn't know where to go because the darkness blinds the eyes."--1 John 2:9-11 (CEB)

So if you find yourself harboring some hate in there--let it go.  Open your eyes and come back into the light.  It is OK to hate someone's actions, but you should not hate the person doing them. Always remember Proverbs 26:2--there is reason for their actions.  It's just that you--and maybe even they--do not know what it is.

3. You want a happy marriage (with aforementioned spouse, of course.)

Which is, of course, the goal of this series.  There is one critical fact you must always keep in mind to make this goal a reality:

"Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."--Genesis 2:24 (ESV)

We have all heard it. But, again, do you truly understand the implications of this passage? And why it is so important? This might sound familiar:

Your relationship with your spouse is the most important human relationship you can or will ever have.  More important even than your children, parents, etc.

At the end of the day, your kids will leave you to start their own families, your parents are finally free from the burden of caring for you, your siblings are busy with their own families as well.  The one who will be at your side then, cleaning up after you when you're sick or enjoying a stroll in the park with you when you're hale, is your spouse.  And that, my friend, deserves the status of most important human relationship, don't you think?

"Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun."--Ecclesiastes 9:9 (KJV)

Until the World To Come arrives, your spouse is supposed to be your reward, your incentive, your companion and partner down the cramped road to the narrow gate. I know it seems, is, a lonely trek right now, but that is why we started down this path.  To make what is supposed to be a reality.

I will get into "why peace" next post.  In the meantime, think about it.

My prayers go with you.

Image courtesy of tongdang at Freeut

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Our Desires in Perspective

"And they brought him to the place called Golgotha..."--Mark 15:22 (ESV)

Having spent four years literally begging for a chance to be intimate with my bride, with less than half of those rare, months-apart encounters truly satisfying, I find myself troubled when faced with giving advice to those whose major problem is not getting OS or the cowgirl treatment. I am troubled because I wonder if I am actually pathetic because I seem to lack sexual ambition.

Mind you, if my bride ever found it within her heart to bless me with OS, I would probably never be able to thank her enough (though I would definitely try.) It's just that I don't--need it.

When I was younger, I spent several years half-in/half-out of the dark side of sex.  I had gone through a critical time stuck in a hole that saw me attempt suicide before I turned to the "seedier" side to climb back out.  And I did manage to climb out because what I observed there showed me how insignificant my problems really were.  But I was always a spectator.  I wasn't interested in participating--well, yes I was. However, uncommitted sex did not appeal to me, and as I drew closer to several of these girls, mostly strip-club dancers--but also a couple of straight-to-video (brand new concept back then) porn-stars--that viewpoint became even stronger.

These young ladies took me everywhere (I had a nice car then, and even money at the beginning) .  Dancer bars, other strip clubs, live sex shows where they'd be performing, some *exotic* shows as well.  I was the "safe guy." They asked my opinion on how to make their performances more "real" and exciting.  We're talking minute, intimate mechanics here. Extremely weird for a virgin male. They called me when they were too drunk to get home, when they wanted to go shopping, or after they fought with their boyfriend-of-the-month. The most common thing I heard among these ladies they all liked "plain-vanilla" sex. They craved it; for them it was special. Well, perhaps things have changed since those days.

As my senses returned, my funds disappeared, and I got wiser, I gradually stepped out of the shadows.  I tried, really tried, to get those girls out as well.  But they didn't want out, not really.  Had I been in the Truth then, well--I probably would never had met them, anyway.  I did buy airplane tickets for a couple of them though, but they returned after a two or three months, right back where they started.  Said they liked the life too much, had gotten addicted to the "freedom" of sex, that "plain vanilla" had lost its appeal.

Sex had become their burden to bear on the way to Golgotha.

I think those years drifting through the shadows, experiencing life there, has affected me in a deeper way than I had previously thought.  Seeing first hand how sexual desires can take hold and dominate your entire being in ways you never thought possible has probably killed my taste center for sex.  Don't get me wrong: I long for it, desire it, want to get as much as I can.  But whatever "acts" my bride gifts me with is enough in those times she is warm, ready and willing.  What else do I really need?  Or could possibly want? I'll still end up at the same place, if only a little faster or slower: Satisfied and in my beloved's arms.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to spice up/change up your sex life.  Nothing at all.  Our God has given us remarkable freedom in this area.  But when this "wanting something new" begins to dominate our thoughts, even though we might otherwise be enjoying a bountiful sex life, it slowly leads us to resent or even coerce a spouse who, for whatever reason, won't indulge us with our whim.  And then we have let ourselves become a greedy slave to our desires--we have become Idolaters (Col 3:5)

Sex becomes our burden to bear on the way to Golgotha.

And on which side of the Christ do you think we will be placed?

Keeps your desires in perspective, doesn't  it?

Image courtesy of digitalart and Vlado at