the need for Christian marriage bloggers and other thoughts
There are many blogs that deal mostly or exclusively with marriage and issues for married persons. Many of these bloggers are married Christians, both wives and husbands.
For full disclosure, I consider myself a Christian, albeit I am probably not a good one. At this point in my life, I consider myself “non-denominational”.
These various marriage blogs often address the sexual intimacy shared or not so readily shared by the spouses.
At the end of our last essay, I noted that there were some issues with the various Christian denominations in the US that trouble me. This is the most troubling issue. That priests, pastors, etc. do not often, if at all, speak from the pulpit about the positive and good aspects of married sexual love, and that such love is good for the spouses and for their marriage. As a few others have pointed out to me in recent years, there are many sex positive verses in the Bible. We, as Christians, still seem to be burdened with a sexual pessimism that is not based on Scripture, and with a suspicion of sexual pleasure within a loving marriage. (Some Christians have the mistaken notion that God is a sexual prude as regards sexual pleasure within marriage. That view is non-sensical and false.)
Hence, these Christian bloggers often address the sexual life of the spouses, and specifically the lack of frequent sex within so many marriages. (The church men are failing to do so.) I was surprised to find this issue of lack of frequent sex coming up in blog after blog and in the many reader comments posted. Good sex is not the only necessary ingredient for a good, happy, strong and lasting marriage – but it is one of the few key ingredients. One of the worst things that can happen in a marriage is for either or both of the spouses to be sexually unfulfilled and frustrated. Many priests, ministers and pastors fail to grasp this.
Does it need to be said that stable, lasting and happy marriages are necessary for the spouses and for their children’s well-being? The statistics are grim for the children who are raised without a father (or mother) in the home. These many statistics tell of children who do not do as well in school, often try drugs, some drop out of school, many become sexually promiscuous, and many get into trouble with law enforcement and the courts. This cannot be mere coincidence, simply correlation.
Let’s do justice to the reality that good, frequent, mutually pleasurable and passionate lovemaking (sex) helps to bond the spouses together. As well. we do not think the range of expression of the sexual love shared between the spouses should be unduly restricted or limited. My advice to married couples is talk with each other openly and honestly if you are not making love frequently. Often, it is not a case of problems with sex per se as much as there are other issues in the marriage relationship that are making you distant from each other. Adjustments and changes can be made. Issues or problems can be resolved in a Win-Win sort of way. And, for newlyweds who are facing the challenge (and stresses) of adjusting to married life, I strongly recommend frequent, playful, and joyous lovemaking.
It helps to read about other cultures and how they deal with various aspects of the human condition and the challenges of living. One thereby gains some perspective. I recently finished reading a book of folktales from the Hopi tribe of Native American Indians. Here was a people who recognized that sex was a natural part of life. Everyone in the villages knew that sex was natural and that both females and males had sexual desires. This was no mystery, no taboo subject. Were the Hopis prudish or hysterical or schizophrenic about sex? No. We in the West have been too prudish, too neurotic, if not psychotic, when it comes to sex. Our approach to sex has not been very helpful, in fact it has done some serious harm to many of us. In trying to discourage sex outside of a loving marriage, we have tended to make all sex “bad”.
In many essays, it may seem that I am very pessimistic (such as regards government abuse of authority, increasing Muslim violence, etc.). To me, my concerns appear realistic in the present condition of humanity and the world. But, in this area of married sexual love, we are optimistic for the long run. We believe that in time the majority of people will avoid the extremes and achieve a healthy, rational and mature appreciation of, and respect for, sexual love within the married state. Most people will thus avoid the excesses and the destructive behaviors let loose by the so-called sexual revolution of the mid 20th century. As well, they will reject the animosity to married sexual love that is not Scripturally based and is not rational. This may, of course, take several decades, or a century or more, but we think it will happen even though many of us will not live to see it.
Wives and husbands be sure to love, respect and honor each other. Support each other. When needed, forgive each other. (What is done is done and cannot be undone. Forgive past hurts.) Life is a difficult struggle in this fallen and very flawed world. Be there for each other. Work to strengthen your marriage, and to become more loving, more patient, more giving, and kind human beings.
And, avail yourself of some of the many helpful resources online including the marriage blogs that address the many challenges married persons face. Most of these blogs are authored by married persons who have experienced many of these same challenges you face in your marriage, and they offer practical advice worth thinking about.
Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970), the very insightful, witty social critic (gadfly), philosopher, peace activist, and mathematician, had a very dim view of Christianity. He seemed to fault Christianity for failing to make the common person a better, more decent, more loving human being. I disagree with Russell on this, and agree with one of his contemporaries, G.K. Chesterton (died 1936). Chesterton observed “that Christianity was found difficult and left untried.” This is true of many who claim to be Christian. It is easy to give lip service to being Christian. It is rather more difficult to fully live the Christian values. The Christian values (love of God, and love of your fellow human beings) did not fail mankind. Mankind failed to truly live the Christian values. One needs to do more than merely attend church services on Sunday mornings to really be an authentic Christian.
However, Russell was correct in several of his many observations about religion and Christianity in particular. (I have often written that people need to govern their religious fervor with reason.) Here, Russell succinctly describes a continuing problem within Christianity, and in fact within all organized religions, sorry to say.
Referring to Christians over the centuries: “They learnt instead . . . . to subject the human intellect to the yoke of an ignorant and intolerant priesthood . . . . These were the inevitable results, not of the teaching, but of fanatical belief in the teaching.”
His letter is contrasting Bolshevism (at the time very new) with Christianity. This quote is from one of his hundreds of letters to various newspaper editors over several decades. This letter, dated Christmas Day, 1920, is found on p. 122 of Yours Faithfully, Bertrand Russell – A Lifelong Fight for Peace, Justice, and Truth in Letters to the Editor, edited by Ray Perkins, Jr., copyright 2002, Open Court, Chicago.
Our view: We can support and follow the moral teachings and requirements of the Christian Church when those teachings are on a solid foundation. But, it is difficult for so many of us today to blindly obey dictates from the various denominations that are not well founded, and appear to be symptomatic of a still power hungry priesthood. As well, we believe that adults can use their God-given reasoning faculties for constructive purposes.
Tying this back in with marriage . . . . Being rigid and inflexible solely for the sake of being so is no virtue. Some of these shepherds (church men) ought not be over bearing and need reconsider their unduly pessimistic view of married persons. As we have already written on this in the second essay of our marriage series (mid 2012, link below), I will only add here the following observation. Those pastors, priests, and ministers who suffer from a sexual pessimism and who attempt, by way of their excessive intrusions (pronouncements and rules) into the marriage bedroom, to desexualize Christian wives and emasculate Christian husbands, are doing a terrible injury and injustice to married persons and are harming marriages.
Here are links to 3 of our earlier essays that may be of interest to some readers.
Thanks for reading and thinking about the contents of this essay.