Please be… Part 2

So many homemaker blogs tell wives that their job is to make their husbands feel respected, loved, and like he is the master of the home. They urge wives not to make him uncomfortable or expect much out of him since his life at work is so hard and stressful. They push a wife to stroke her husband’s ego. They care more about his feelings than his soul or his performance as a husband or father. This is the stuff that bugs me.

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(I am not a fan of the crassness of the original post, and the use in my first post was just to make a point,  so I will refrain from it in this post since the point has been made. For part one click here: 

https://driptorchpress.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/please-be-a-butthole-wife/

Before I get a bunch of husbands mad at me, I do not advocate anyone be a jerk to anyone. I do not advise wives to rudely nag their husbands or husbands to nitpick their wives about burning dinner or not taking care of the dishes. 

The point I was trying to make is this: submission does not equal silence for either the wife of the believer or the wife of the non-believer. 

The believers wife is primarily a tool of sanctification in her husband’s life. She is iron on iron for him. She is a sister in Christ and as such she is a loving voice of correction to her brother. She is to be a gracious lover and a patient partner. If her husband is sinning it is her task to help him see it and kill it. 

I am a finite creature. I am unable to see all the sins that play in my life, I need my wife to show me my blind spots. It would be tremendously unloving for her to let me continue in my sin. 

Yes, it will be painful for a wife to confront her husband in his sin. It might hurt his feelings. I don’t think it’s painless when the elders of the church come to someone and call them out either, but it is their duty as brothers in Christ to do so.  

A lot of articles talk about being Christ to our spouse. But these articles typically only focus on “Jesus meek and mild”. Jesus is not a one dimensional character. He knew when to be gentle and He knew when to flip a table or two. He used gentle rebukes and He called people vipers. Christ exhibited incredible wisdom and discernment for us. We should learn to be like Him. For the sake of our spouse’s soul we should learn how to properly and lovingly rebuke sin. 

The role of the non-believers wife is one of a quiet sign pointing to the Gospel. Notice I said “quiet”, not “silent”. The Gospel is not sweet unless the Law is bitter, the husband of a silent woman is not going to taste the sweetness of the Gospel unless he knows there are boundaries that he has crossed. 

If she never sets up boundaries or expectations (which is what a lot of Christian marriage sites imply) he will never know he has sinned against her. Picture this: the non-believer husband goes to work and all of his coworkers are talking about their nagging wives (yes. This does happen . Shocking,  I know. ) Will he think to himself “Wow, my wife is great. She graciously takes care of everything, there must be something to  that Jesus she follows” or will he think “wow, my wife is a pushover, I have it made. I am awesome, these guys are losers.”?  Knowing the men I do it’s typically the second. 

Now, assume she doesn’t silently pick up after him and let him get away with being a slob day in and day out. Assume she sets up boundaries and asks him graciously to help her manage the household by doing little things like putting his laundry in the hamper. He knows “the law” so to speak. 

When he violates this “law” , she graciously forgives him and picks up after him. Now, his response to his coworkers is going to be “Wow, my wife is great, she is not a nag. I fail all the time to meet her needs and do the right thing, but she graciously forgives me and never speaks to me in anger about my failures. I wonder if it has something to do with that gospel she is always talking about.”

I hate to say it but the seeker-sensitive church culture has infiltrated marriage. The seeker-sensitive church doesn’t bring up sin. It doesn’t call anyone to repentance. It never challenges a soul with the Law of God before presenting the Grace of the Gospel. The seeker-sensitive church says “God loves you and has a plan for your life” and leaves it at that. Now that may fill up cushioned chairs (seeker-sensitive churches are also buttock sensitive, no pews there) and it may fill up the church coffers, but it is not winning souls or making converts. No one repents when they feel good about themselves. 

So many homemaker blogs tell wives that their job is to make their husbands feel respected, loved, and like he is the master of the home. They urge wives not to make him uncomfortable or expect much out of him since his life at work is so hard and stressful. They push a wife to stroke her husband’s ego. They care more about his feelings than his soul or his performance as a husband or father. This is the stuff that bugs me. 

I’m not saying “be a b hole and nag your husband about every wrong thing he does.” I’m saying establish boundaries and expectations and then graciously love him when he fails. 

Wives of believers: Don’t be a silent wife, speak up when your husband sins. Approach him with respect but boldness, be discerning with your words. 

Wives of non-believers: Win your unbelieving husband with your gracious forgiveness and unconditional love. Speak the Gospel with your actions and manners. 

Don’t be a *jerk. 

Please, Be A Butthole Wife

so-close
So close, yet so far away. And wow does that camera capture all the dirty spots…

I was going to write a second post about gender this week, but my wife sent this to me and it was just too much to not comment on: http://herviewfromhome.com/stop-being-a-butthole-wife/

While I understand her grief, and I even understand the sentiment about not being a nag, I just want to say: “Please, be a butthole wife.”

I say this as a husband who makes mistakes all the time, even ones he is completely unaware of. I say this as one very sinful man, living with an incredibly sanctifying and gracious woman. I say this as a man who often neglects to love his wife as he should: please, don’t let your husbands be big children. Be a butthole wife.

We are given spouses to sanctify us and shape us into the likeness of Christ, and we do that by being the iron to sharpen the iron of our spouse. Iron on iron. Not soft lead against cold steel. Not soft clay against a hard hand. We are to be one hard substance equal in strength and force to another.

Yes, there is grace, there are little battles and big battles. There are things we should just let slide for the sake of everyone’s sanity. But there are also times when we need to stand up and say “Hey, knock it off.”

If your husband is a slob, who after continually being asked (with politeness, not nagging) to please put his laundry in the hamper, continues to scrap it on the floor, he is not being Christ to you.

If he continuously ignores or downplays your needs in the bedroom and insists on getting sex whenever he wants, however he wants, he is not being Christ to you.

If your husband sits around after work and does nothing but drink beer and watch tv (or lock himself in his study to read theological tomes), he is not being Christ to you.

Your husband is a man, not a child, not a tender lump of flesh unable to withstand a little heat without charring. While he is not a child in age, he is still a sinner and a child of God. You are here to help him grow and become a better, more mature man. This means that he needs your reminders to love you in the ways you need love. If this means he needs to stop leaving his clothes all over the floor, by all means speak up.

Now, I’m not saying you take out a rolling pin and beat him about the head with it. I just get tired of reading books and blogs that insist that “submission” means rolling over and taking it. I get tired of reading so many blogs written for women (by women) telling them to let their husbands be lazy, narcissistic jerks, because “submission”.

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. (Ephesians 22-24 ESV)

Yes, wives are to submit. Yes, your husband is the head of the home. But he is not the center of the home. He is not the supreme king of the home. He is a delegated authority. He is given his own instructions:

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” (Ephesians 25-33 ESV)

In Ephesians, God dedicates three (and a half) verses to telling wives to submit, yet He takes eight and a half to explain to husbands how they must treat their wives. The proportion of blogs written to wives on this subject is grossly disproportionate to the posts written to husbands.

1 Peter 3 has a bit more to the wives, instructing them again to be submissive and respectful:

1 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:1-6 ESV)

The husband only gets this verse, but it is packed with depth:

7 Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)

Your husband is called to love you as he loves himself, he’s called to love you as Christ loves the church, he’s called to live in an understanding way with you and honor you. If he does not follow these commands he is sinning.

Laundry is a small thing, dishes left out are a small thing, occasional acts of irresponsibility or forgetfulness are normal and should be given grace. But if a husband is asked multiple times to please be an adult and stop making a mess, I would argue these become big things. If a man cannot respect his wife in these little things, what big things is he missing?

Husbands, it is a small thing, you can do this, please, put your dirty underwear in the hamper. Put your dishes in the sink or wherever your wife asks. Better yet, learn how to do laundry and dishes. Honor and love and cherish your wife by not creating more work for her. Die to yourself and do hard things like putting the toilet seat down. Turn off the TV or put down the book and have a beer with your wife. Talk to her, listen to her, seek to understand every minute detail of her. Know her mind and heart intimately so that you can encourage and sanctify her with the Word and with your words and actions.

Wives, please, be butthole wives. Remind your husband with love and grace that he needs to love you in these small ways. Don’t let him get away with the sin of not loving you as Christ loves the church. Do your duty and be the iron of God in his life. Win him with your conduct, quiet, gentle, respectful, but still reminding him that he is under authority as well. Hide the remote occasionally. Hang a basketball net over the laundry basket (hey it worked for my mom and me). Take his hand during love making and help him explore you intimately. Remind him to do the little things as politely and sweetly as possible and let him be responsible for his ungracious eye-rolling.

Wives: don’t settle for a crap husband, be a butthole wife.

For part 2: https://driptorchpress.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/please-be-part-2/

On Gender

Should we allow men and women to be friends? Should we allow them to share bathrooms or changing facilities? Is gender a spectrum? What does it really mean to be a woman or a man?

Thanks to Freud we are an over-sexualized society who has no idea how to keep intimacy in a proper box. This has inhibited us from making meaningful relationships with members of either sex in recent decades. It wasn’t long ago that people would write deeply intimate letters to members of the same gender even. Now it is rare to see anyone showering in a locker room due to fears that the next guy in the stall may be a closet homosexual.

Recently there has been much debate about allowing people of the opposite sex to use single sex locker rooms. Debates as ridiculous as these come from our obsession with both identity politics and sex.

How about this: allow private businesses decide their own locker room policies. If they want to divide guests between male and female, young, old, black, white, family, not family, let them. If they want to mix everyone together, let them. Put it in the private contract members sign to join the club. If a potential member doesn’t approve of the policy they don’t have to sign the contract.

Public spaces are a little more complicated. If I had it my way everything would be private, and the above solution would solve everything. But we live in the here and now, so I’ll have to make concessions. First, let local jurisdictions decide. One size-fits-all top down solutions never work out well. Requiring a small local government to build extra locker rooms or adapt current ones to accommodate that one individual in the whole town who decides one day that they are not what they are is a tyrannical burden on taxpayers. If that one person and his (her?) supporters don’t like the policy let private industry sweep in and provide them with the space they want.

But really. Why not just have three options for all new public facilities? A men’s room, a women’s room, and an “I don’t know or care” room should all be built into new public facilities. Old facilities should adapt family locker rooms into the last category. They are already almost in that category.

Or better yet, stop being so squeamish. Europe has hundreds of co-ed dressing rooms, locker rooms, showers, and saunas. It doesn’t matter what gender one feels like one morning, they go and do what they need to do without everyone getting jumpy. Is Europe one big orgy? Not from what I have heard. Most of what you hear from Americans who visit these co-ed places is that there is really a whole bunch of unsexy going on. Sexual arousal is virtually nil when there is an abundance of flesh about. Not to mention the embarrassment of being aroused in a room full of people who are not there for sexual purposes at all.

The solutions I’ve seen thrown around such as curtains and single stalls really serve to perpetuate the intimacy problems we already have in this country. It is already rare to see people showering in same-sex showers due to sexual insecurity, curtains and single stalls are just validating that fear. We need to overcome the idea that everyone is defined by their sexual orientation. That dude showering next to you probably is not the least bit interested in you, whether he is gay or not.

Sex and gender are not different things, and we are not defined as individuals by either. Gender is not a spectrum. One is either a male or a female, determined by biology, not character, personality, or anything outside of genetics.

Yes, it is easy to categorize people by their genitals, we can make generalities based upon genetics and hormones. There are stark physical and hormonal differences between the genders. But much of what we call “masculine” or “feminine” is really just cultural. This is what I believe leads to all the confusion. In our culture, we can no longer look at our genitals and say “I’m a man” or “I’m a woman”.

In our confusion we have to look at our personalities, our thought patterns, our interests, and our feelings to determine what we are. The problem is, those traits are not determined by chromosomes. Those traits are highly individualized and influenced by environmental factors as well as internal factors.

There are generalities made by “experts” about each gender. In our culture “manly” men are characterized as brutish, stupid, into sports, obsessed with sex, unemotional, and not at all interested in things like fashion or the arts. Women on the other hand are over-emotional, irrational, obsessed with materialism, maternal, talkative, and usually quite critical. Oh, and less prone to having body hair. According to our culture, women are all vain and care for very little beyond what they look like. Generalities like these are made in all cultures. Some are cross-cultural, some are very much local.

But what of the outliers? What about the men who hate sports and competitiveness, or the women who cling to rational thinking and can’t stand emotional nonsense? What about the well-dressed men or the hairy women?  What about the boy who plays with dolls or make-up and the girl who plays with trucks and in competitive sports? Why must we force them into the boxes which generalities have created? Why not allow them to be who they are as individuals and stop labeling them based on chromosomes and genitals?

Gender to the modern mind is either a social construct or a spectrum. Those who say gender is a spectrum will ironically cling to the very stereotypes feminists have tried for so long to dispel. The entire gender “spectrum” is based on stereotypes of what defines “male” and “female”. You only have to look at Bruce Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair to see what I am talking about. In order to be the “woman” that he feels he is, he must conform to the beauty standards of American culture and appear in full makeup, deep cleavage, and the airbrushed glory of every female model that has graced the magazine. He even had to hide his hands because they are “masculine”. Interesting also is that all of the things that make him a “woman” are based largely on externals, what culture says women should look like.

Those that feel they are the opposite of their genetic gender are often basing those feelings off of stereotypes of what our culture says being a man or woman is. If gender is really just a social construct, how can one sit there and say that person x is “more female” or person y is “more male”? They have to resort to the very stereotypes and social conventions they are trying to reject. If gender is nothing more than a social construct, how does one feel “more male” or “more female”? Do they not simply feel more male or more female by their own culturally influenced definition?

The manufacturers of gender confusion have to resort to the very stereotypes that they claim to reject. Would they not do better to say “I am male, and I act like this” or “I am female, and I act like this”? Their tastes, character traits, or personalities do not define them any more than the stereotypes created by culture. The very stereotypes they say they are trying to reject in saying that gender is a spectrum are the very stereotypes they are embracing when they say a passive man is “acting female” or a sports loving female is feeling “male”.

You are not a male simply because you are strong or aggressive, bold, big, muscular, single-minded, or driven. You are not a female simply because you are passive, quiet, submissive, delicate, sensitive, gentle, nurturing, kind, or able to multitask.

We need to stop placing so much value on the collective idea of “men” vs “women” and start viewing people as individuals.  We should not fall into the ditch that says that character traits are determined by gender or into the other ditch that says that character traits determine one’s gender. Your chromosomes may determine the hormones that flow through your body, testosterone may increase aggression, but they do not determine one’s character. A man does not have to act aggressive merely because his hormones tell him to.

We should also not fall into the error of assigning moral character to personality traits. A testosterone filled male who behaves in a more passive manner is not going against nature and trying to be a woman, he is merely being himself. He is how God made him. His personality is determined by many factors, not simply the chromosomes he was born with. Likewise, an aggressive woman is not less female. She is not trying to be a man or go against nature. She is merely acting according to what nature and nurture has instilled in her.

Is gender a spectrum? No. One is either a male or a female. Behavior does not make gender. Can men and women share space? Why not let the facility owners determine that? What does it mean to be a man? You have an X and a Y chromosome. What is a female? Two X chromosomes. Stop trying to confuse people, stop focusing on externals. Focus instead on the strengths of each individual, whatever their genetics may be.