Posts Tagged ‘Christian marriage


Two-fer Tuesday: Marriage by Miz Pink

pinklip-duoDeke agreed to let me be saucy with today’s topic, while he’ll throw his body on some other grenade topically speaking.

So, how’dya all feel about open relationships?

No, silly, I am NOT asking you if you’d like to get all jiggy with me or Sir Pink. Don’t email me with any photos of yourself or offers of salacious intent. I’m pretty much keeping my bedroom off limits to outsiders and I don’t much like the idea of me or Sir Pink going visiting anyone elses private parts. No matter how much I suspect he might want to go…there…someday. Maybe it’s just because I don’t see any good pickins for myself and won’t ease up on that idea until I have some options to pick from for myself too.

But I do wonder, is it all that bad? Is adultery really adultery if the two people in the marriage are OK with it? It’s not really cheating. No one is being lied to in the marriage.

Marriage may be between two folks, but does that mean you can’t invite a third or fourth or the entire crew of the good ship S.S. Open Minded for a visit?

Marriage I think is largely what the two people in it want to define it. Supposedly, everything is good in that ole marriage bed so I think as long as people are in agreement, I don’t think we can really be casting stones at people who go off on a little different track.

Anyhoo like I said, it’s not the kinda thing I’m into…at least not right now. And if Sir Pink is into it, he’s wisely keeping his mouth shut and waiting for cues from me before he broaches it.

So don’t send me any photos or emails. But I’ll keep an open mind about the whole notion. Sort of.


Keeping it Together

couple-embacingMrs. Blue and I have had our moments over the years, as have all married couples. With the decline of income over the years and the addition of Little Girl Blue along with Son of Blue, pressures have been higher than ever and, I dare say, we’ve had more big arguments in the past four years than we did in the prior seven we were married and the two during which we dated.

There have been times I was certain my marriage was over. In truth, those feelings have never lasted very long. Both myself and Mrs. Blue love each other and despite the occasional animosity that happens in life, we are devoted to each other and committed to our marriage and family. That isn’t to say that things couldn’t break at some point, but we’ve fought for our relationship, and staying together has always been the choice.

This kind of thing is on my mind a lot in recent months, not so much because of any particular pressures in my own marriage, but in those of people whom I know online (no, not personal, real-life friends, but people I do feel a kinship for online). A while back, it was SocietyVs, author of the Losing My Religion blog, whose wife had cheated on him and left him for a time. The separation didn’t last terribly long, and last I heard, they were still working hard on the relationship and SocietyVs, far from wanting payback for marital infidelity, had used this as a chance to see where he’s gone wrong emotionally and otherwise in the relationship.

On the less positive end of the spectrum, one of my top three or four favorite bloggers of all time, Chez at Deus Ex Malcontent, seems to be at the end of his marriage, after recently bringing a child into the world. He’s posted very honestly, even brutally at times some might say, about the situation. Through it, he has been careful not to lay blame at his wife’s feet but also to make clear that separation or divorce aren’t his choices. They pulled their marriage back from the brink a couple years ago, I understand, but it doesn’t look good this time around.

It’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten most of the responses to SoceityVs when he was posting about his marital travails, so I don’t recall if people were giving him some of the party lines of either you must stay together and fight for your marriage or you must break up now because otherwise you will both hate each other eventually. I seem to recall most comments were in the supportive range and more neutral and useful in their advice.

So, too, comments for Chez have trended toward balance and logic, but there are those who have said things like:

  • You must stay together for the good of the child
  • You must break up or you will make life hell for the child
  • It always takes TWO people to ruin a marriage
  • So, which of you gave us first!

And so on. While not the most common of comments, some of those on the fringed ends of the spectrum infuriate me with their black-and-white approach.

All of that is a very long-winded introduction to what I think will be relatively brief marriage advice from me here to anyone whose marriage is on the rocks or seems to be.

You must be willing to fight.

But you must choose your battles carefully.

And you must be fighting a good fight.

Now, the tricky part is knowing which battles to pick and understanding whether you’re really fighting the good fight. To me, I think it is important that in deciding these things, one must take their own interests out of the equation if at all possible.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look out for yourself, your sanity and your own interests. Such things are important, but they don’t always involve a “fight.”

What I am talking about is when you make choices like:

  • Will I fight to keep this marriage together?
  • Will I fight for custody of the child or children?

Those are the two biggest fights I can think of. There may be others, but those are the most primal, I think, and neither of them can be made properly if you are considering your own wants and needs.

So, to the first bullet point, which might generally be called fighting for something: Staying together only makes sense if the two of you truly both need and want each other. You must be useful to each other and supportive of each other, whether that support is active and overt or more subsoncsious and subtle. If you aren’t both bringing something invaluable and irreplaceable to the other, why be married? Why be together at all? And this is why you must start by considering what the other person needs before you factor in your needs.

The second bullet point is more of the theme fighting over something, and it, too, requires you to divorce yourself from you own desires. Especially in the case of children, are you fighting for them because they are best off with you, or because you simply want to hurt the other spouse? Scoring points with children is a godawful thing to do, and I personally like the idea of God striking people with a bolt of lightning for using kids as weapons in a relationship. When my parents divorced, they refused to put me in the middle of things, and I will always be grateful to them for that.

I think that those people who stay married “for the sake of the children” are not that different than people who fight for custody in a divorce, just the flip side of the same coin really, and special attention should be paid to whether it really is best for that child that the parents be together. It might be, but it also might be the worst choice you could make. So again, think of the children first before thinking of yourself, or yourselves as a marital unit.

Yes, marriages and custody and the like are often worth fighting for. But sometimes, the war is already lost by the time you realize you’re engaged in yet another battle. Sometimes, there is nothing left to fight for, or fight over, and you need to make sure you aren’t still in a conflict that you are no longer likely able to win.


In the “In” Crowd, Part 2

Well, nothing like having “part 1” of a post and then following that up with the second portion roughly three weeks later—particularly when I said I’d follow up in a couple days. *sigh*

Anyway, back in mid-December I posted about an issue that irritates me: How a lot of people get riled  at Christians because they believe their way is the only way, even though most faiths are guilty of the same conceit.

Well, my follow-up is a related topic that was itching at the back of my head from a post—well, actually, the comments to a post—at the blog Losing My Religion in which someone hispanic-couplenamed Yaelbatsarah was railing about how Christian evangelists break up homes and marriages. The original point of the post was sort of a support and encouragement from the blog author SocietyVs (with a call out to his readers for assistance) for two women whose husbands had been sucked in by a “prophet” calling himself a Christian and claiming to speak to Jesus directly and presenting his personal letters as a new gospel. (That’s what I recall. This post was months ago, so I’m somewhat sketchy). The wives were disturbed because their husbands were so into this cult that they were neglecting their families. It was an unhealthy thing, as these guys were pretty much fawning over their “prophet” and disregarding their marriages and the actual Word of God.

Here are some snippets I had copy-pasted from Yaelbatsarah that stuck me, as he (I’m assuming maleness based on memory…if Yael is a woman, my very sincere and extensive apologies) basically found at least a twinge of bitter humor and righteous payback somehow in the way we were worrying about what this “prophet” (whom we were referring to as Speedothy, as his name is Timothy and his nickname Speedy…yeah, a prophet named Speedy…) was doing to these two marriages. He seemed to think we were hypocritical in bemoaning the fate of these two women’s marriages because according to him, evangelist Christians who are mainstream supposedly do the same thing. Here are some of Yael’s comments:

What about today? Do you target husbands or wives from other religions for evangelism? What do you think happens within their homes if you do? Is it only a problem when the shoe is on the other foot? BTW, my utmost sympathies are with the two women involved here, yet I have to wonder, my people, my children, are targeted for evangelism all the time. Do we have their sympathies?

I think Speedothy is totally wrong in what he is doing, however, if you go around teaching your gospel with no regard for the home lives you may be disrupting, than you are no different.

All through history followers of Paul have attempted to convince Jews OUR sacred texts mean something other than what we have read and have been taught AND that we Jews should instead follow the teachings from Paul’s letters. The similarity in these cases is quite glaring. The difference is only as I said, with the shoe on the other foot all of the sudden this is a problem, but when it is YOU doing it to other people its not a problem at all! How convenient! Don’t you think if I asked Speedothy he would also rationalize his taking people away from Christianity, claiming his is true Christianity, just as many Christians rationalize taking Jews away from Torah, by claiming their view is the true Torah? Don’t get me wrong, I think Speedothy has gone off the deep end, but I don’t see how what he’s doing is any different than what was done by Paul 2000 years ago nor what is done by many Christians today.

For the record, here’s part of a response I made to Yaelbatsarah, though I never got a reply to it as far as I recall:

In principle, I see where Yaelbatsarah is going in trying to spin parallels between was was done some 2,000 years ago that sometimes pit spouses and families against each other with regard to faith and saying that it’s hypocritical for us to assume Speedy is any different, worse or better…but there are some important points to note:

Paul seemed to prefer NOT to be having married men out there on the trail preaching the gospel and leaving their families behind. He wrote that he would rather someone be celibate and devoted to spreading the good news. Better, he said, to be married and not to sin in the flesh, but best to not have sex (or marriage) to muddle things up at all. It didn’t seem to be his goal or desire to pit one spouse against another. In fact, Christian spouses were urged to stay WITH their spouses even if they didn’t themselves also convert. Speedy seems to be saying choose me over your wife.

These are snapshots, and I hope they aren’t too out of context. That post and its comments were very long and covered a lot of territory beyond the marriage issue. But some of the things Yael said really pissed me off, to be honest.

I mean, why the venom? I suspect that either he has had a personal experience of someone close to him converting, or knows one or more people who have. He seems to have an attitude that evangelism has personally wronged him and his fellow Jews and who knows who else.

So, if it’s OK to blast evangelists for this, does that mean that when someone from a Christian family converts to Judaism to marry the person he or she loves, then the medieval-mixed-coupleChristian family has the right to demonize the fiance as some sort of religious seducer who has set out to destroy their family or has let “love” get in the way of doing the right thing by “leaving their child alone”?

And why, pray tell, does this have to tear a marriage or a family apart? If one spouse becomes Christian and the other one doesn’t feel the same way, we are not told in the Bible to browbeat that other spouse and cram Jesus down their throat. In fact, Paul writes in First Corinthians, chapter 7 (verses 12-16):

But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?

Also, I just don’t get where Yael’s sense that evangelists are preying on relationships comes from. It almost seems like he suggests that Christian evangelists often target one spouse to get to both or to get to a whole family. I’m not saying that it can’t happen; of course it could. But by and large, evangelism is about sharing the Gospel and leaving the non-believer to make their own decision, ask questions, etc. Evangelism is about presenting Jesus as an option, not trying to seduce or trick people into it.

And Yael is clear that he thinks Christian evangelists are insensitive to marriages. Well, seeing as how we believe the only trustworthy path to salvation is through Jesus, it would be pretty damn insensitive of us not to tell others about that path. We can’t make anyone walk it, but we are supposed to point to it and say, “You really should take that road. I’m just sayin’…”

It’s not about insensitivity. I think that an average evangelist would much rather reach out to both people in a marriage at the same time and share with them equally. Well, our contacts and friendships in life don’t always work that way. A good evangelist will share when and where he or she can, without pressure, and that might mean reaching out to just one person in a marriage. Is the evangelist supposed to say, “Well, gee, the other spouse might not like Christianity. Oh well, I guess I don’t mind if I pass on the opportunity to help this spouse save his/her soul. I’ll just assume they wouldn’t care anyway.”

I’m sure there are more than a few husbands out there with very old-fashioned values who didn’t like “nosy broads” telling their wives about being liberated and equal and shit. Does that make those women wrong for wanting to empower women they saw as being held down? In the end, it’s the choice of a spouse what to do in a case like this and the choice of the other spouse how to handle it.

To demonize evangelism itself as destructive to marriages and families—whether Christian evangelism or some other faith’s—is simply ignorant and wrong.

Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley


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June 2023

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