1888 – Happily Married Couples Respond to Article Calling Marriage a ‘Failure’

In tandem with yesterday’s post 1888 – Letters Show Women Who Create Happy Marriages Pick Well & Are Mature, where I presented letters from couples who were in “Miserable” marriages, today I wanted to focus on the letters from the “Happily Married” couples.

These letters were in response to a woman named Mona Caird, who wrote an article for the Westminister Review in 1888, calling marriage, “a failure… servitude to a man… the primary instituion by which women continued to be held in bondage… and for which their freedom has to be sacrificed.”  The article was so provocative that it produced no less than 27,000 letters from women in response to it.

While many agreed that marriage was indeed, a failure, most of their responses could be identified as having either not picked (or been pushed to pick) men of good character who didn’t have the AAA characteristics (Alcohol, Abuse, or Affairs), or that they simply were not mature enough to create a good life with the good man that they picked.  Many of the miserable married women’s attitudes displayed victim mentalities, selfishness, lack of conviction in how they should respond in unfavorable circumstances, and admittance that they were embittering their own children.

So what did the Happily Married group have to say about marriage being declared “a Failure?”

“Will you allow a married woman of twenty years’ experience to say a few words?… Marriage was instituted, I humbly conceive, in the interest of the weaker portion of humanity, viz. women and children, and it works more to their advantage than otherwise.  Men could probably content themselves very well – and many do – with a system of free, i.e., temporary marriage.…   The woman, I suppose, was intended to be subject.  “He shall rule over thee,” was part of the curse pronounced on the first human sinner, Eve…. I write from a feminine standpoint only; and while admitting that marriage is often very disappointing, it cannot be considered a total failure so long as it carries on the race legitimately and surrounds the woman with the dignity – almost sanctity – of true wifehood and honourable motherhood.  -FAITH AND HOPE

If you are sensible, intelligent, and diplomatic women, and do not expect too much of your husbands, you may be happy wives as a rule….  Use your own judgement in the treatment of the particular specimen of the genus homo on whom you bestow your affections.  Above all, recollect that there must always be something on both sides to put up with, so bear and forbear; and if you get a decent fellow, he will love, respect, and appreciate you for it.  If you find that your husband is at all inclined to go astray, give him a latchkey; he will soon tire of a liberty which is not disputed.  Don’t sit up for him.  Go to your rest contentedly, and meet him with a sweet, unsuspecting smile, and no embarrassing quesitons on his return in the small hours of the morning….  Under these circumstances your husbands will find no sport at all, and I warrants, will return home nightly at regular and respectable hours less than a month after.  It rests with yourselves to a great extent whether your marriage turn out failures or not.”  -EMILY COFFIN

On the eve of my marriage I made three mental vows.  They were – never to aggravate him, never to have a secret from him, nor by any selfish or thoughtless act of mine to lead him one step towards bankruptcy.  Fifteen years aftewards I told him of those vows, and alhtough I have been a widow for ten years, I should blot this paper with my tears if I attempted to put it in writing the love and tenderness of his reply…. ”  -A BELIEVER IN THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE

“Will you give a workman’s wife a chance to say a few words on the marriage question?…  Now, I am a married woman of forty years’ wedlock standing; therefore what I say is entitled to consideration.  My verdict is “Marriage is not a failure,” and I will show you why I think so.

At fifteen, when I was an apprentice girl, I fell in love with my – well, my old man.  He was an apprentice boy, four years older.  We were very happy – happy as the finest swells that ever wooed, though neither of us consulted our parents as to our choice, and we enjoyed courting on the quiet, and we longed for the day when we could get married.  As soon as he was out of his time we fixed the day; and one morning we both of us took the day off and marched away to church with a shopmate a-piece for witnesses and wedding train, and were united by a good-natured person, who seemed to relish the job of making so young and good-looking couple man and wife.  My dowry was the love I had to give.  His means were just what he could win week by week as a journeyman.  With no bank account, and with but the slenderest sort of “establishment” we set up in matrimony, and we were as happy as was possible.  Within a year my first boy was born.  He has had eight brothers and sisters, and seven of them live in manhood and womanhood….. Why are we made men and women?  Clearly to be partners one to the other, and to fulfill the divine mandate “Increase and multiply.”  We are not put on this earth by God merely to amuse ourselves, but to do a work.  Woman’s work is to be a mother, and form her children’s minds and educate their hearts.  But in acquitting herself of these duties she finds wondrous joys if she be a true woman.  What greater prize can there be in life than to find, when the hair has grown white and the step is losing its spring, that the children one has borne return her love and care a hundredfold and that every day the interest on the outlay grows apace?  I don’t know of any; and I would not exchange the love of my sons and daughters, and the fireside quiet that is mine at near sixty, for the wealth of all the Rothschilds….

-A WORKMAN’S WIFE

“I had known my husband over three years before we were married, and saw a great deal of him; consequently we thought we understood each other’s disposition sufficiently to live happily together.  But we had not been man and wife many months before I found he was drifting away from me…. The advice from different friends was: “If he goes his way, you go yours.”  But I knew this was not the way to win him back; so, after bearing it pretty patiently for three years, I set about in my mind the best way to go to work…. I always met him at the door myself, as though nothing had happened, and paid the same little attentions I had always paid befor ewe were married, took great care to study what friends he liked, and made a rule to ask one or two cheerful ones to dinner two or three times a week.… So by degrees, I was enableed to wean him from bad companions, and now, for the past year or more, we have been as happy as possible….”  -MIDDLE CLASS WOMAN

“Before many years pass we hope to celebrate our golden wedding, please God, and we are not tired of one another yet.  But I made many mistakes…. I know how to manage my husband now, and have learned to double his pleasures, which are not many, by sharing in them….”  -WINNY JONES

***

There are so many distinctions between these happily married wives and the miserably married wives, that AAA men aside, reveal the overall conviction, passion, love, and maturity of the happily married women.

It is not that they were merely lucky, although maybe some luck played into some of their stories, but it’s obvious that even when they had maritial troubles, or mismatched personalities, the happily married wives showed patience and long-suffering sometimes for years so that they could come to a point where they were both on the same page together.

The happily married wives also showed characters of women who believed in “winning him over without a word, but in deed.”  Instead of complaining, nagging, allowing themselves to be miserable companions, ruining their life and their children’s lives with the, these happy wives focused on doing what was right, having a good pleasant attitude, supporting their husbands even when it was difficult, and committing to take responsibility for the marriage they desired.

Any thoughts on the differences or things that stuck out?  For me personally, the happily married wive’s tales touched me.  They had so much love, so much affection and conviction of their duty to their marriage, and to truly love their husbands, it was touching to see that even when friends would tell them to go their own way, they knew it was the wrong advice.

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The Nice Guy Wants to Be Your Partner, Not a Leader

I stumbled upon this post (below) over at a forum I used to comment at frequently back in 2008 (a year into my marriage when I thought I could magically fix everyone’s marriage problems), called enotalone.  Back then it was a smallish community of regular commenters and we would try to help any new people who came there with friend issues, family issues, sex issues, or marriage problems.  I loved reading everyone’s personal situations, maybe its the nosy yenta in me, however, I loved being able to analyze a difficult situation and try to find (or listen to) the best advice for that person’s particular situation.

Not everyone seeking answers were ready to hear what we had to say about their predicament.  Much like in therapy, you cannot just disclose everything you see wrong immediately to a person or they’ll shut it out in self defense, and nothing good will come of their experience with you, or from your advice.  You have to slowly help them to see the real problem; you really have to help them come to terms with it themselves first.

What I found striking about this particular post (from May 2014)  is how honest this self-proclaimed (and proud?) beta-male is about his desire to be a partner, not a leader, in a relationship with a wife.

I emphasized the phrases that are particularly important to his particular situation, and want to go through each one to dissect exactly what is going on here in his life at that moment in time.  But first, his plea for help:

***

Hey everyone

I’m trying for some introspection here – before I start just let me say that I’m not looking for this thread for nice guys to complain about how they finish last.

So hey there….I’m a nice guy and I finish last 😛

I’m on the heels of another breakup (long time coming) and just trying to…. get some perspective on my place in the dating world

For any of you who have taken any interest in the Mayer/Briggs personality test, I’m an ISFJ – for the uninitiated, that’s a uber-responsible softie with some other annoying attributes – I was fascinated when I took the test, as it nailed me to probably 90% (I’m an ISFJ that will actually communicate with you and a few other discrepancies)

So my ex and I made the call to separate a few weeks back. There were numerous reasons for this, many boiling down to simple incompatibility:

She’s very high energy and an extremely outspoken and self proclaimed Alpha female whereas I’m a softer spoken artsy type

We didn’t have anything in common that we enjoyed doing together and conversation was really really hard. I found her overwhelming and she found me reeeaaally boring ( I’ve never had that with anyone before)- this one was the main factor as we just didn’t have fun together

Her opinions are hard and fast whereas I’m more….tender I guess towards other peoples opinions and perspectives

We recognized these and our other differences early on and thought we’d be able to make it based on the other attributes we liked about one another. Over time I found her very critical and overwhelming and I would more and more often become anxious and stressed – in all honesty I should have had better boundaries and left ages ago

Fort the last two years we were embroiled in a crazy roller coaster ride with her teenage daughter, when the fog lifted and we had some time to really re-examine us as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.

Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male, more of a challenge, more of a ballbuster (I don’t know how to be a challenge with the huge demands of the family). I understand her wants, but feel they would make more sense were it to just be the two of us, or with a few less kids – it was exhausting.

So much of the literature around this sort of thing will say, be a challenge to your girlfriend, to your wife, always leave her wanting, give her two signs of affection for her every three….that sort of thing.

I’m just like my dad…I’m not a alpha male,

I’m the typical ISFJ guy who will make sure everything runs smoothly, show my love, support you and give you my last quarter cup of Starbucks if you finish yours, you an trust me with your life and your heart.

So….I think I’m just trying to process, my ex has said before to me “you get so lost in us” (meaning the family) and I definitely did, for a long time I was leaving work 2-3 times a day to check on her daughter, we’ve done eating disorder, self harm, suicide ideation, tons of police visits…. I could go on, it’s been a rocky ride, stressful ride. I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a “strong male”, while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades. It felt like a bit of a catch-22 as she’d tell me not to get lost in everything, but she was very demanding (also self proclaimed) and the needs of the family were very high so I didn’t really know how to NOT get lost in everything.

I’m rambling, I guess where I’m at is I’m not sure how to take this (there’s a ton more details, maybe some of you remember some of my posts back in January) but I’m not sure if I went wrong picking someone extremely incompatible with me? Maybe I should have held out for a sweet gentle librarian or am I too “Beta” and gentle which is a turn-off?

If I am too beta and gentle, I don’t really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly, so as time went on, I voiced my needs less and less. This was a point of frustration for her, but when I explained that it seemed pointless to do so because she’d just shut me down….she would shut that down too……

Is there a place for Beta guys? (as we are called), some people would say “nice guy” but I find that that moniker also includes, possessiveness, passive-aggressiveness and shut off emotions (none of which are me)

I get why women would go for the confidence of the Alpha male, but dang….I’m just not at this point in my life and never have been, I was a quiet baby, quiet kid, etc, I’m just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

Or maybe I was just with the wrong person way too long, trying too hard to fit a square peg in a round hole, I don’t know.

Any thoughts on my rambling mess?

Thanks”

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

First, there is nothing wrong with being a quiet, introverted, or “gentle” male, these qualities do not necessarily have to mean that a guy is feminine (emasculated) as well.  Alpha and beta are much more complicated that what most people seem to try to confine their definitions into.  The best and most simplistic manner I can possibly attribute to what is “beta” is an attitude of deference or subservience to a woman’s opinions, her needs, or her desires.  A kind of lack of confident authority or capable masculinity in a man.  Being too dependent on her happiness for his own happiness… allowing her to run and rule the family while he takes a back seat as a pseudo-equal partner, or because she leads better “makes better decisions.”

I give this guy a lot of credit for being honest and self-aware enough to admit that he actually doesn’t want to be a leader… most men who have been groomed into this kind of equality-type marriage adamantly assert that there shouldn’t be a leader (that somehow they both manage to lead and no one follows – yea, right) because they are both equal partners in the marriage.  Society has purposefully created these “beta” males, destining them for unhappiness as they strive for niceness and peacefulness, to be partners instead of leaders in their marriages.  However, no one endures the pain and frustration throughout life like the beta male does.  Let’s take a look at the emphasized sentences a little closer:

1) “as a couple we wondered what there really was when you take the family (she has 5 kids) responsibilities out of it. In typical ISFJ fashion I threw myself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of our partnership.
Over time, while she appreciated my gentle, giving nature she really found that she wanted more of an Alpha male”

He doesn’t give their ages, but a single man who has taken on a woman with 5 children is only a plight a beta male would put himself through… the self-sacrificing, self-effacing giver who prefers to “do the right thing” for someone else, but never for himself (or always puts himself and his needs last).  Forever seeking to be the hero in order to mask their lack of real authority or tangible masculinity in their relationships, in classic white knight or beta fashion, he “threw” himself into family responsibilities for the last 3.5 years of his “partnership.”  Men who have been brainwashed by society to be “beta” believe that the crucible of true masculinity is in how much he can give, how much he can bleed for his partner and children, how many of his needs he can sacrifice, no matter how unappreciative or nonreciprocal his wife (ironically and supposedly his “equal” partner) is.  The problem is that women typically do not appreciate all that the self-sacrificing beta male does, she becomes accustomed to taking advantage of all the “sacrifice” he gives without having to pay anything herself for it, women will use this kind of man (for his goods and services) for a long time, but he will never win her respect and thus will never capture her raw desire.

2) I’m just like my dad…I’m not a alpha male,

This makes me so sad.  I think very few men had a good example of a father-figure in their life who exhibited what God truly intended for a man to be while growing up.  Most fathers are likely too passive, allowing the wife to be the true leader, while he is simply a figure head, pseudo-leader of the family to outsiders… behind closed doors, she is the one who leads.  When children (especially boys) grow up in this kind of family environment, they hear all these mixed messages (in church) about men being the spiritual head or leader of the family, and yet they watch day to day reactions where their father submits, defers, and is subservient to their mother who essentially runs their Matriarchal family.

This thus creates men who grew up with beta fathers, who in turn will produce more beta boys.

Boys desperately DESPERATELY need fathers who are strong, masculine, capable and confident in their God-given position to LEAD their family.

3)  I always say my dedication and support for all her kids and her to be where my strength lay as a “strong male”, while not aggressive and outspoken I was there for all the stuff her and the kids needed, many hospital visits and drunken teen escapades.

This again, depicts what is the crucible to a beta male of what represents true strength or masculinity – his ability to support her and her kids, to be there for her and for them.  He sacrificed his own time and energy in this relationship (that was not even a marriage, and to kids who are not even his own), thinking it was the epitome of being the “strong male” that she’d eventually desire.  He rationalizes that (based upon all his love and dedication and sacrifice), he is her hero and should be (at the very least) appreciated as such.  But do beta males ever get appreciated for all that they are willing to do for a woman (and her 5 children)?  No….  Their reward (this is harsh but so true) is a very unfulfilled or nonexistent sex life, or her cheating on him with an alpha-type male (more common than you’d think), or her using him for years for resources, money, housing, or emotional support, or parenting her fatherless children (as in this case) only to leave him after the fact because she’s finally realized she desires someone more alpha.

Women like this know they desire someone more alpha, but they are not against using a beta male for as long as he allows himself to be used.

4) If I am too beta and gentle, I don’t really know how to up my game in that regard without compromising who I am (which is a gentle beta-artist by the looks of it)

This is a common problem with men who have a skewed view of alpha vs. beta.  There is no one cookie cutter creation for what makes an alpha.  Every man is different, and it is a journey a man has to travel on his own, with God, to find his own identity.  It is probably the most difficult life journey any man has to undertake in order to realize his full potential to be what & who God intended him to be.

But believing that becoming “alpha” will somehow compromise his true “beta” self, he is undermining any advancement in personal growth, healthy boundaries, or even spiritual growth as he forgoes learning to acquire real strength and develop authentic masculinity.  A healthy, strong, masculine man does not allow a woman to use him in such a manner.  Such a parasitic relationship is not what God intended for him to “endure” in order to achieve a kind of “holy” sainthood for his sacrifice and dedication.  Having strong boundaries, a strong sense of self-respect and healthy pride in himself, a confident assertiveness, and a clear mind that can see a situation for what it is and be able to avoid a woman’s petty manipulations – these are all qualities of a healthy “alpha” male.  He does not need to change his innate gentleness or kindness, he just has to make sure he isn’t ruled by these qualities.  He doesn’t have to become some kind of “ball-busting” asshole like he says she would prefer.  While many criminals, sociopaths, and yes, assholes would be classified in the alpha category (and have the women to prove it), they are only alphas because they exhibit these traits (or take them to unhealthy extremes), not solely because of their anti-social behaviors.

5) I was forward with my needs and frustrations with her, but they always got shut down fairly quickly

Another failure of the beta male, is to be “forward” with a woman on what he needs or wants from her, to try to explain or break-down logically how a reciprocal relationship should work.

Women (like any human with a conscience) understand how reciprocity works, it is simply that they feel they don’t have to abide by those particular rules when it comes to nice beta men.  A woman who picks a beta man is not picking him in order to fulfill his deepest desires and fantasies, she is picking him for what HE can do for HER.  It is Emma Watson’s HE FOR SHE in real life played out day-to-day.  HE has to cater to HER, HE has to be there for HER, HE has to put up (or shut up) for HER… and so-on and so-on it goes.  When or if he starts to feel like it is a little one-sided and tries to explain to her about reciprocity, she plays dumb, doesn’t “get it,” and as in his own example he gets “shut down fairly quickly.”

She just doesn’t want to hear that he has needs, too.  It’s HE for SHE remember?

6) Is there a place for Beta guys?

There is “a place,” however it is not a place he wants to be, because being beta is never going to be fulfilling for a man, he will always feel a tug that something isn’t right, that his true self is somehow being repressed or even oppressed by everything and everyone in society.  He will always feel (unless it is extremely repressed) that he is somehow falling short, failing to be a true man.

There are many men who have found their place and lived the life as a beta man, husband, and father… and they often also find themselves waking up to a woman who doesn’t desire them in that raw sexual way, or who tells them she has never loved them to begin with, or who constantly disrespects him or undermines him in their marriage.  Again, it is simply not a place he wants to be in.

7) I’m just a more peaceful kind of person who would rather be a partner than a leader in a relationship.

Possibly the most wonderful example of true masculinity depicted in literature is that of Jesus Christ.  His unswerving strength, His confidence and capability, His boldness and courage, His assertiveness and toughness – all these masculine qualities were matched with calculated compassion, gentleness, love for children, joy, peacefulness, understanding.  He was not an asshole, nor was he a blubbering emo.  He was not merely a dutiful, quiet beta – He had much too much gumption and gall in fighting with the Pharisees than to be a compliant “peace at all costs” beta.

He stood up for what was Truth, always exhibiting what was the opposite of cowardice.

Which, when you really look at it, a beta male is afraid… afraid of his own masculinity.  Society tells him its too dangerous, undesirable, or even wrong.

But men, nothing could be further from the Truth.

Single Men: Your Girlfriend Should Not Want to Change You

conflictlove

This should be common knowledge, but apparently, many single guys (and girls) get involved with people that are not quite all that they would want their future spouse to be.  And so they embark on some strange journey of trying to “help” them, or change them into their fantasy person.

I’ve seen girls accept guys for boyfriends they aren’t truly attracted to, at a very base sexual level.  Women are definitely more attracted to qualities other than simply a man’s physical appearance, that is undeniably true.  A husky man that has confidence and humor can attract a woman perceived as “out of his league” with a sexiness that exudes from his behavior and general confidence with women.  But even most women have a physical standard for men that is more stringent than they ever usually feel comfortable admitting.  It’s why you find so many women who are overweight themselves, pining after hot firefighters, or celebrities… meanwhile their husbands (who aren’t as attractive as these hot men) are lucky if they are having a sex life of once a month!

In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a woman in the real world who would ever have the guts to admit that she is more turned on by a hot, handsome guy, than a nice guy that still looks like the nerds she knew in high school.  It might not be a body builder type, but it’s not exactly the new “Dad Bod” either.

Guys, your physical appearance matters, and if you are interested in being more than Just Friends, you’d be smart to capitalize on your youth, health, and fitness in order to attract the kind of high quality girl you want.

But that would be a whole other topic, this post is explicitly for single men, who somehow find themselves in the very awkward position of dating or being with a girl (or woman) who is just not happy with who they are at that moment in time.  This is the kind of girl who tries to get you to join a gym membership – you know… “for your health,” (snark) not because she’s trying to force you into some kind of role to be her perfect person.  The point is, a woman who is doing this to you, usually does not care (or have any conscious knowledge sometimes) how critical or cruel she is being, she is not worried about your feelings of self-worth or self-confidence because she’s so focused on how you should be.

She often doesn’t realize that criticizing your weight, job, clothes, or any of that IS undermining your self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.  She’d rather you go through the painful process of accepting her criticisms and changing yourself (for her comfort level), than her do the difficult work of finding (or catching) someone that already meets her physical, educational, or financial standards for a good relationship.

Physical

Educational

Financial

These are probably the three biggest areas I’ve seen where women try to provoke through constant bitching change men.  There are other areas as well, like his friendships, but generally, these are the areas where women seem to give men the most grief in a relationship.

Does it come from Low Self Esteem?

Yes.  Yes, I believe it does.  The fact that she would pick someone who was not enough in her estimation to begin with is very telling here.  Why else would any woman settle on a man that is less than she thinks she (at least at some level) deserves?  Here me out single guys!  If a woman is putting you through this kind of unnecessary drama, you will be better off doing one of these three things:

1) Change, but make these improvements only for yourself. There is nothing wrong with getting a better degree, going after a better job or career, losing some weight or getting a gym membership to bulk up a little – all these things are positive, but they are only positive if they are done for the right reasons.

2) Leave her critical spirit in the dust, and then change (follow number 1).  This is hands down your best option here.  As a single, young guy, with more than likely your good health on your side… why put yourself into a relationship (or God-forbid future marriage) with someone who is more than happy to criticize you in any perceived short-coming of yours, to make herself feel better?

3) Don’t change, maybe you are genuinely happy with life as it is – maybe she was pressuring you to go after loftier goals than you desire for yourself, or to work yourself to the bone so that she can have a future of mass credit card bills or a mountain of debt to sate her happiness.  I knew a man that married young to a beautiful sorority girl, his college sweetheart.  He was pre-med at the time, but after their marriage found out that no matter how hard he seemed to try, he just couldn’t make the test scores to actually get in to medical school.  His wife then started to treat him like dirt, criticizing everything about him, his job (where he actually made pretty good), her inability to quit her job to be home with their new baby (she thought he’d be a doctor remember?), made fun of his research achievements (meanwhile he was receiving actual awards for his research), and denying him sexual access.  All because she married someone she didn’t really accept for who he was, but who she imagined he could be in their future together.  She’d rather ruin their marriage, than accept and make the best of the man he has become (a good man who works extremely hard to provide for their family, loves her and his baby, and puts up with her condemning and soul-crushing spirit).  The major drawback of choosing this option is that you will most likely lose the relationship if you don’t change.  For a single man, this is great in my opinion, you have very little to lose as you aren’t invested in her beyond maybe the physical or emotional.  If you do find it hard to move on, perhaps you need to remind yourself that she does not accept you (or possibly even feel sexually attracted to you) at a very very deep level for her.  To stay in that kind of relationship suggests you don’t value yourself enough in the first place, this is something you’d want to explore for yourself… why would you glue yourself to a woman who at her deepest level, isn’t crazy about you?

For a married man, you have my sympathy & a lot more to lose, but keep in mind that bending to her control will only make you even more repulsive in her eyes for your future.  Your best route is to go with number 1, but have the emotional attitude of number 2 in protecting or insulation yourself from her destructive spirit.  You don’t have to divorce her, but keeping a safe emotional distance so that she isn’t constantly cutting you down, while you work on yourself, for yourself, is wise in this kind of situation.

Your Future with a Critical Girlfriend

You have to understand, single guys reading this, the psychological aspect of a woman desiring control over you is bad enough, but to allow her to control you can lead to a future battle of wills when it comes to decisions later on down the road.  A future marriage with this kind of woman is going to be rife with unhappy conflict, why picture having children in this kind of environment?  A critical spirit is very hard for a woman (or a man) to overcome without significant amounts of therapy, and you will be playing into her hand from the beginning by 1) agreeing with her that you aren’t enough as is, and 2) that she is right to control or impose her will of what’s best for you.

Life is already hard guys, why make it harder by picking, or staying with someone who is merely settling on you?

Love, Sex, & Relationships – How Do You Know if It’s Real Love?

Every weekday morning on my drive to work, I used to listen to a man who spoke so much truth, it was almost jarring.  Although he has grandkids, a world and lifetime of experience, Chip Ingram’s voice still sounds like a man in his 30’s, you can actually hear the compassion and genuine love behind his words.

He would speak on many topics, some a little controversial.  He spoke a lot on personal and spiritual growth, I learned things and felt so convicted to change that, in the year I listened to him each morning, I grew a lot spiritually.  He was cunningly smart, he would use science to reveal the truth about things biblically sound, explain scientific studies, go into detail on who were the people who actually funded or conducted those studies, reveal the truths behind the lies that my generation (GenY) and younger were being taught everyday concerning sex and relationships.

I had already, by happenstance, learned his teachings on sex and Christianity coincidentally the few months before my husband and I got married.  During my engagement, I was on a break at a department store I worked at, which was placed inside an outdoor strip mall, and I walked down to the end where a Christian bookstore happened to be.  I walked in and his book Love, Sex, & Relationships was the first one I picked up.  I sat on their couch and started reading… I still remember how shocking some of his real life stories were – so shocking that I held them in my mind long after I read them.  By the time I started listening to him on the radio, though, 6 years later, I had no real use for that information.  It was still interesting, but I was in a stable yet passionate, romantic marriage.  And we knew from watching other couples around us that we were doing something very right.

I preferred listening to his personal growth sermons, things that would actually challenge me, make me wiser, better than I was, and I did gain some insights from hearing his presentation, however, what really sparked my ultimate interest to keep tuning in, was that everyday I’d listen, I would think, “Boy, I wish So-In-So knew that!”  or “Wow!  I need to tell So-In-So this fact!”  One of the things about getting married so young is that you have quite a few friends who are still single, and looking for a relationship or in relationships you wish they wouldn’t be – for their growth and development.  My husband and I lost track of how many couples we knew, around our age too, that had already gotten divorced during our marriage in only 6 years.  A couple of people we knew didn’t even make it to their first year anniversary – and they were committed Christians!

So while I was driving, listening and taking in his valuable points for people in the dating market, I started listening with a real purpose – to be able to impart some of his knowledge to the people I knew.  A couple years later, now I have friends in their late 20’s that still ask me this relationship-sex stuff, and even younger girls that I actively get the privilege of mentoring.  Teen girls, especially, want to know and understand the pitfalls of sex, and how to create or spot a good relationship that will last the test of time; the sad fact is that most of their parents don’t have it, and they are actively seeking to find a good model that they can hold in their minds for themselves to achieve later in life.

Here are Chip Ingram’s 12 Tests of whether or not you can tell if it is Love or Infatuation Sermon notes (no I wasn’t writing in my car… these are available online here):

 Is it “Love” or “Infatuation?”

Test #1 – TIME
 Love grows, and all growth requires time.
 Infatuation may come suddenly.

We can fall into lust or infatuation, but love is when it grows into something more.  Love grows from knowing that person’s character traits, out of caring for that person, whereas infatuation doesn’t care who they really are – it can grow into a strong, intense “crush” feeling or high, but if it’s not willing to grow into love, it’s ultimately useless beyond 9 – 18 months.
Test #2 – KNOWLEDGE
 Love grows out of an appraisal of all the known characteristics of the other
person.
 Infatuation may arise from an acquaintance with only a few or only one of these
characteristics.

Infatuation is just basic chemistry that you may feel with another person, regardless of if they’re a criminal or an upstanding citizen, which is why you have to be careful to go slow in relationships, to find out who the other person really is.  Chip says that often this initial chemistry that comes from a glance, a smile, or an opening line the guy may come at you with, can give you an overall impression of that person that is really far from their real-life character.  I remember when I was 16… I caught the interest of a senior at my high school… who was turning 20 that year (yea, my parents almost died).  He had been homeschooled by his mom in Lousianna, and when placed into our school the year or two before, found that he was actually behind for his age.  He didn’t tell me any of this of course, I had to find out secondhand from his friends, and then he told me the truth.  But he was smoother than the ice at an ice rink with his manner and come-ons, and when I slipped, I fell pretty hard on the ice.  I eventually gave him my phone number, who cared if he smoked, wore a black leather jacket, was friends with the rowdiest seniors at our school who played in a rock band.  All those things just increased my infatuation.  

Even though my parents refused to let me date him, and our relationship never even crossed into the physical realm, the infatuation period was still just as intense.  It started to drop immediately, however, due to the lack of physical engagement (which is why it’s so important to prolong that for girls, so that you can see if the relationship is worth mixing those emotions into it), once I got a grip on who he really was – his real character traits, it was a lot easier to end the fling and try to kill the infatuation.  He had no goals for himself, or any intention on going to college after he graduated, in fact, he was barely even managing to graduate.  His ultimate plan was to work at Walmart after high school, and he did.  

Test #3 – FOCUS
 Love is other-person-centered. It is outgoing. It results in sharing.
 Infatuation is self-centered.

Part of the infatuation phase is living in some kind of fantasy land, and you are ultimately at the center of it becuase it is your own fantasy that is keeping it going.  I’m not saying that real love can’t grow from an infatuation, in fact, that’s basically how my husband and I fell in love & then grew into it, but first and foremost, an infatuation is self-centered.  

Test #4 – SINGULARITY
 Genuine love is centered on one person only.  Even if it is a distance-tested relationship, genuine love means you aren’t tempted to cheat or become infatuated with a coworker, friend, or random stranger you meet at a coffee shop that is friendly and you have chemistry with.  
 An infatuated individual may be “in love” with two or more persons
simultaneously.

This is a good one!  If you find yourself being drawn or infatuated with multiple people at the same time, you can know that you aren’t really “in love” with any of them, including the person you are in a relationship with.  When you are finally ready for love, and are really in love, you don’t let yourself become infatuated with another person, instead you work on growing your love inside the relationship you already have. 

Infatuation can be devastating for married couples who have let their love slowly fade, or who have built up hurt and blocked emotions so that they are actually at a weak point in their marriage.  Emotional affairs to physical affairs, you can bet they all start out as a simple, innocent-seeming feeling of chemistry that creates a spark that is then nurtured into a full-blown infatuation.  Real love that is couple-focused and keeps the work going throughout the years stays true emotionally, as well as physically.

Test #5 – SECURITY
 An individual in love tends to have a sense of security and a feeling of trust after
considering everything involved in his relationship with the other person.
 An infatuated individual tends to have a blind sense of security based upon
wishful thinking rather than upon careful consideration, or he may have a sense
of insecurity that is sometimes expressed as jealousy.

Infatuation really is like building a fantasy life inside your head about another person, you don’t know them quite well enough yet, so you fill in the blanks yourself based on your positive experiences with them so far, and you unknowingly create some kind of faultless person you can dangerously become entwined with.  That’s why affairs are said to be so strangely addicting, the partners only see each other’s good (or perfect) sides, never experiencing their full personality, that is, until they try to start a real relationship (maybe the other spouse found out and divorces the straying spouse).  Most relationships that started from an affair, do not last because it was founded on a fantasy. When the fantasy is over and they see that the perfect partner really has some ugly sides to their personality, the addiction fades away and they are left with each other – two people with major character issues to work on.

Test #6 – WORK
 An individual in love works for the other person or for their mutual benefit. He
may study to make the other person proud of him. His ambition is spurred and
he plans and saves for the future. He may daydream, but his dreams are
reasonably attainable.
 An infatuated person may lose his ambition, his appetite, his interest in everyday
affairs. He thinks of his own misery. He often daydreams, but his dreams are
sometimes not limited to the attainable and are given free rein. At times the
dreams become substitutes for reality and the individual lives in his world of
dreams.

Couples who are in love, work together for the other person.  They care about meeting each other’s needs and it often comes effortlessly.  Their ambitions are spurred, like Chip says, because they are seeking to achieve things in life, together.  There are many times when my husband and I are out without our kids and we are free to relax, when we start day-dreaming about the future we’re building with each other.  Infatuated couples sometimes daydream, but their daydreams are often far-fetched goals that may be realistically unreachable for them, thus setting themselves up for failure – but that kind of thinking makes for a good fantasy life!

Test #7 – PROBLEM SOLVING
 A couple in love faces problems frankly and attempts to solve them. If there are
barriers to their getting married, these barriers are approached intelligently and
removed. Whatever barriers that cannot be removed may be circumvented, but
with the knowledge that what is done is deliberate circumvention.
 In infatuation, problems tend to be disregarded or glossed over.

Real love between a couple means they don’t go into marriage blindly, if there are any problems or issues going in, they deliberately sort them out before tying the knot.  Infatuated couples look past the person’s character flaws, or they get married so fast they never even glanced at what was glaringly obvious to everyone else.  Chip’s example is perfect here, as a pastor, he gets approached by couples like this trying to get him to marry them, all the time:

“We’re in love…  We met yesterday (or last week, or two weeks ago…) and God showed us we’re meant to be together, could you do the marriage?”

“When?” I ask, trying to work toward some sense of realtiy in the conversation.

“Tomorrow, this week – as soon as possible.”

“Why then?  How exactly did this come about?” I ask.

“Well,” she sighs, “I dropped my purse and he picked it up and our eyes met.  Then I found out that his last name started with an S, and I prayed for someone who last name starts with S, so there – we know it’s from God.”

Before I an express my amazement, she babbles on, “What’s so incredible si taht even though he’s 38 years older than me and I’m not sure if he’s a Christian, God has made it so clear that he’s the one.  We don’t have a common vision, but we’ll figure that out later.  I don’t know anything about his family other than he’s been married seventeen times.  Ours would be a blended family because I have eleven children and he has seven, but we love each other.  It’ll work out.”

I’m obviously exaggerating, but it comes out almost like that.  What is it?  It’s infatuation mixed with classic denial – with an added pinch of insanity.

Test #8 – DISTANCE
 Love tends to be constant.
 Infatuation often varies with the distance between the couple.

“Love knows the importance of distance.  Infatuation imagines love to be intense closeness, 24/7, all the time.”  If a couple feels the need to be attached or with each other all day long, it is a sign of unhealthy codependency.  Genuine love allows for two lifes of the two people, and doesn’t try to mesh them into one stagnant, fake life together.  Chip suggested trying to have a short-term mission trip planned where you are away from your relationship partner, if you find that the distance awakens you to infatuations with other people you meet on the trip, you are not in genuine love.  If, however, the time spent apart actually makes you grow and become a better person, all the while wanting to be better for your partner, you can bet you are growing in real love.

Test #9 – PHYSICAL ATTRACTION & INVOLVEMENT
 Physical attraction is a relatively smaller part of their total relationship when a
couple is in love. When a couple is in love, any physical contact they have tends
to have meaning as well as be a pleasurable experience in and of itself. It tends
to express what they feel toward each other.
 In infatuation, physical contact tends to be an end in itself. It represents only
pleasurable experience devoid of meaning.

Part of the reason why introducing sex into a relationship before marriage is so detrimental is because it can dramatically feed the infatuation with strong emotional bonds (from sex) for usually the girl, while helping them both to overlook any character flaws in the other person.  Going slow and waiting for sex until marriage ensures that both parties are going in with eyes open and minds relatively unclouded.  Another thing I’ve noticed personally in watching relationships has been that as soon as sex is introduced (premaritally obviously), the growth tends to come to a slow drip, and soon, the relationship is only about, or only held together, by the sex.

Test #10 – AFFECTION
 In love, an expression of affection tends to come relatively late in the couple’s
relationship.
 In infatuation, it may come earlier, sometimes from the very beginning.

Again, like I mentioned in explaining his last point, if sex is introduced into the relationship right away, it causes the relationship to have very little ambition to grow beyond it into real love.  Love goes slow, takes its time, even if it starts with infatuated feelings, it seeks out to know whether they are worth investing in or not by getting to know who the person really is.

Test #11 – STABILITY
 Love tends to endure.
 Infatuation may change suddenly, unpredictably.

Part of the reason my husband and I were so shocked to see friends we knew divorcing after 1 or 2 to 3 years was their ability to be SO incredibly, undenaibly in love during their engagement or early phase of their relationship, and then so utterly not in love with each other while they were ending their marriages!  It was like watching insane people!  We couldn’t believe how fast their feelings for each other could flip like that.  Now I get it, they were in the infatuation phase, and they never learned how to grow into the love phase – or they were unable to once they found out who the other person really was.  Remember, the infatuation phase can last for 9 to 18 months.  So if a couple falls in love, gets married fast, it makes sense they may find themselves divorcing within the first year or by the time they reach their second or third.

Test #12 – DELAYED GRATIFICATION
 A couple in love is not indifferent to the effects of postponement of their wedding
and do not prolong the period of postponement unless they find it wiser to wait a
reasonable time; they do not feel an almost irresistible drive toward haste.
 Infatuated couples tend to feel an urge toward getting married. Postponement is
intolerable to them and they interpret it as deprivation rather than preparation.

A good test for this is whether or not a couple is able to even wait long enough to try to get through some basic pre-marital counseling sessions.  If they aren’t interested in those at all, they are probably not interested in finding out if the marriage will really work based on reality and what they both realistically are going to want and need from each other while in the marriage.

Art of Seduction

becomeyourhusbandswhore

I’ve written before how important sex is to men.  How men need sex… how they crave quality sex versus quantity (though they don’t mind quantity).  Its just who they are, and how they were designed to be, and is why since the beginning of time it seems, we have always had the oldest sins around – adultery and prostitution.  These have always stayed with us, for very basic reasons that a wife would do well to understand.

This is not to say that women don’t also cheat on their husbands, apparently they seem to cheat just as much as men do – however, this post is for women to understand why their husbands may look at porn, have a fling, or a full fledged affair with another woman.  Most often, when men search for sexual fulfillment other than their wife, they are doing so because they are craving something very particular.

Admiration

Virtually all men crave a woman who admires him.  A woman who will listen to him when he’s talking about something he finds interesting, or when he’s giving his opinion.  They want a woman who will be interested and fascinated with what he says – yes, I said fascinated.  It turns them on to be in the presence of a hot woman (his wife) who is also giving him her entire attention and the right kind of feedback that says, “You are such an interesting man!  Omg I want you!  Now!!!”

When was the last time you reacted to your husband like that?  I know… us wives are ridiculously tired, over-achieving, too much to do, have kids hanging off our legs at any moment when we’re at home (or out… at the store trying to deal with a meltdown).  I understand, I’m a wife and mother of two now.  But guess what?  Your husband craves this kind of thing, and if this need is met by you, he will move mountains to ensure your happiness.

In our marriage, I’ve made sure to keep this aspect of our romance alive – its just how we’ve always been and I’m not “pretending” to be interested at all, its just second nature to me with him.  Its affects on my husband have made friends jealous of how he treats me, because I play more the role of a lover, he plays more the role of a man who showers his lover with gifts and attention & romance.  He brings me my favorite strawberry filled donut for no reason other than he thought of me at the store when he saw it.  He, on the regular, buys me chocolate just because.  He flirts and teases me like he did when I was 19… and I’m almost 29!  We have the kind of relationship that others envy because I’ve chosen to be a different kind of wife.  (do you hear that? I chose… any wife can make that choice) My role of being his seductive, passionate lover, in essence, strategically segued him into playing his role of being my favorite (and only) “client.”

Respect

How many men crave respect?  All of them.  They want to be known as the leader of their house, they want their wives to defer to them for decisions – but they want their wives to genuinely do it out of the feeling of respect, not just half-heartedly ask their husbands what they think, but to let them know that they are expressly interested in their husband’s response because of who he is.

They want a woman who looks up to them – who doesn’t try to outshine them or put them down – but who greatly esteems them and their opinions on matters (this ties in directly with Admiration).  They don’t want a wife who will constantly argue and bicker with them over decisions and details, or one who challenges them and their headship constantly.

A woman who respects a man, treats him like a man… not like a child that has to be reminded or told what to do, but as a man who is capable.  She believes in him and that he will do the right thing, and he feels it and can’t help himself to fulfill it for her (because he so wants to be perceived that way).

Desire

Husbands want a wife who genuinely desires him.  A woman who does, treats foreplay differently.  She kisses his neck, runs her nails across his chest or down his bare back, she doesn’t just lie there and expect him to give her all the foreplay pleasure… she takes initiative to give it to him as well which draws out his response.

She takes the sexual experience to a whole new level with how passionately involved she is in (and out) of bed.  Desire is so intense (when you really feel it) that it can almost be tasted in the air.  Men crave a woman who shows them this.

Addicted

Men want a woman who feels addicted to them, or who gives them the impression that they are.

A woman who has fun during sex, abandons her inhibitions and isn’t afraid to vocalize anything she’s feeling, thinking, or desiring, is why prostitution (and porn even) are such big addictions for men.  Not only do the women usually look hot, the attitude they have seduces a man.  They crave the attitude a woman has when she is addicted to a man – the attitude their wife may have had when their relationship was just starting out and redhot.

Deeper!”  “OMG you’re so big!” or screaming out during sex lets him know she’s addicted to him.  Husbands crave this from their wives.  They want to feel desired and like the woman is utterly and completely addicted to him, and only him.

If a woman has accomplished all these so far, you can be sure he is starting to get addicted to her as well.  Men get addicted to this kind of sex and woman, it is why viewing porn acts like a drug in the brain.  Virtually all men even if they have a porn addiction, would rather be addicted to a real, flesh and blood woman.  All the more reasons for wives to take note!

Recipe for Disaster

So… like I’ve stated before, these are all basic emotions and feelings that lead to men turning to porn, having minor flings, or full-fledged affairs with other women.  Men are seduced not just because of woman’s body, but because of her mind and the way she uses the Art of Seduction.  If a man is lacking these basic needs in their marriage relationship, I would go as far as to say they are “starving” in these areas.  If a man feels starved, it won’t take much to tempt him to take a bite… I’ve seen homeless men pull half-eaten food out of trash cans!  They are that hungry that they’ll eat something rotting, old, germy, and disgusting… all because they are starving.  If he’s full and having all these desires met, there is no need and no desire (at all) to take a bite of something less than ideal.

You, dear wife, are ideal.  He wants you.

Single Women: Probably the Most Important Thing You Can Do, Is Become Emotionally Mature

emotionallymature

Single women, probably the most important thing you can do in order to succeed in love and relationships, is to become emotionally mature.  I’m not coming from a preachy of place of “I’ve got it altogether” quite the contrary… I’m still learning and growing and maturing into the woman I want to become.

But you can be sure, I DO have in mind the woman I want to become.  Do I fail at times?  Yes.  Am I always trying to grow as I watch women in my life (especially my mentor) who I admire and want to be like?  Yes.

A word about mentors and the importance of mentoring is crucial here.  You should have an idea of the woman you want to become, her qualities, the way she behaves, the way she runs her life, the way she treats her husband and children, and the way she balances the demands of her life whether she’s working or a stay at home mom.  This is best met in having a mentor or woman you would like to model after in your life.  She should be (probably) at least a decade older if not more, and ahead of the stage of life you are currently in.  I understand in our day and age, mentoring is probably not available to you, and so you must look to women you work with, in your church, in your community or in your family that you genuinely want to be like, and work to have those qualities in your character.

Men do not appreciate women who are immature emotionally, most men put a lot of effort into thinking their decisions through rationally, and therefore desire a romantic partner who also has a grounded way of thinking.  They do not appreciate women who anger easily, take things too personally (overly sensitive), spend money thoughtlessly, take care of their life and home carelessly, and so on.

Men want women who are emotionally mature.

A large part of this is being open to realizing when you have immature motivations when interacting with a guy – are you seeking to control him on some level?  That’s immature and not healthy.  Are you genuinely looking to add to a relationship from your point of view – be willing to work on yourself so that you can be better – for him?

When my husband and I were dating I was admittedly too close to my mom, telling her too many details so that she would worry and become overprotective.  However, one time I was telling my designs on my husband (for the future).  I’d managed to catch a great guy, an older guy, a guy who’d already had girlfriends and casual relationships, but I had no idea how I’d keep him to myself – he was naturally a flirt and even when he subdued it, women were still trying to draw it out.  So in my mind I planned to sabotage any possibility of him being able to cheat on me.  I told my mother that I hoped he’d get fat (no kidding!), not really fat, but just fat enough so that all the other women wouldn’t like him anymore!

Wow!  Looking back I cannot believe I thought this way.  I was desiring him to be less than his best self, out of pure selfish motivations to control him, his life, and even his health!!  Talk about being emotionally immature, I wanted to control the handsome sexy guy by turning him into someone I wouldn’t have respected (or desired) after the fact!

My mother was offended at my idea and thoughts on how to keep a good-looking sexy guy, and quickly set me straight.  And what she told me changed my entire way of viewing men.

Men, when they love you and are being fulfilled by you, do not want to cheat.  Heck, even if they aren’t being fulfilled, most men are (when they love you) loyal enough to choose a lesser damaging option (like porn) instead of full out cheat with another woman.  Most men desire that idealistic relationship when they are ready for marriage.  They want a woman they won’t feel tempted to cheat on.

My mom pointed out friends I had at the time, and their boyfriends, one in particular was a girl that had great character, a Bible study leader in our clique, but was not exceptionally beautiful.  She had charm and attractiveness, but my mother’s point was that her boyfriend (who honestly loved her, drove her car, took care of her) did not want to cheat on her with a woman that was maybe “more beautiful.”  Do men feel temptations?  Yes, because they are visual, it’s second nature for them when they are visually stimulated.  But do most men in a loving relationship want to cheat?  No.

Those thoughts were nipped in bud that day, and I put it out of mind.  Fast forward through the years we’ve been married, he’s always been an exercise lover (and as a result, has always looked hot), and myself enjoying it with him has only added to the richness of our marriage (as written in Couples Who Play Together, Stay Together).

I want him to be at his best, no matter how many women come onto him, or how easily it would be for him to cheat on me, I want the best for him – for him to be his best.  That is love in its most base form because it is absent of selfishness.  I trust him completely, and a lot of that has to do with not exerting control over him (feeling that need to control him would reveal that I ultimately can’t trust him).  This can only come from a place of maturity versus the desire to have him be less than his best so that I can control him… and likewise, our entire marriage and relationship.

So in becoming emotionally mature, you should try to:

  • Pay attention to your motivations… are they coming from insecurity or desire to control your guy?
  • Curb your irrational thoughts of mistrust or worry.  If you can’t shake the feeling that you can’t trust a guy, end the relationship.  Your intuition is either picking up on something that is not right, or you aren’t ready to trust fully (because of a past wound you need to deal with)
  • Look at things as they really are, not as how your fear sees them.
  • Check anger at the door until you rationally talk things through
  • Take responsibility for your actions, own up to drama you might have caused that led to a fight, be mature enough to apologize when you realize you were wrong
  • Realistically make a list of things you would bring to a marriage partner – things that would make their own life better.  Many women falsly (and selfishly) think that marriage will revolve around them – that their husbands will be there to serve them, while the wife offers nothing (or very limited) benefits in return.
  • Make sure you are happy and emotionally filled on your own – do not put the weight of your own happiness (which should be in your control) onto an unsuspecting future husband – it isn’t fair to him and it will never make you happy.  Part of being emotionally mature is understanding how to be happy and find fulfillment on your own, as your own person, in your own right.
  • A healthy marriage is comprised of two healthy people who both take responsibility for their own happiness and then work together to ensure they are meeting each other’s needs in the relationship.  Make a commitment that you will not commit to a man unless you are ready to be mature enough to meet his needs.

Is He Really Sexually Satisfied?

I write to women on this topic because we are the ones who so often are the “gate-keepers” when it comes to sex.  A healthy marriage has a healthy sex life.  But what exactly does a “healthy sex life” mean?  How do we know if ours is healthy?  This is not meant to be a comparison article of who does what or how often, but more focused on the point of how we can be sure that we are having the best sex in our marriage.  And since this is written to wives, I want to know… are your husbands sexually satisfied?

It’s a loaded question, one that I wonder if many women dare to even ask their husbands, and one that entitled, spoiled women will never have the gall to ask their husbands.

We have an obligation, a responsibility if you will, as the “gate keepers,” to make sure our husbands are sexually satisfied, and take responsibility for our own sexuality to make sure that we are, as well.  A healthy marriage has a healthy sex life.  And a healthy sex life requires a great amount of honest and open communication.

A blogger I truly admire, Dan, at Frankly Speaking, has allowed me to present to you his work & thoughts on why and how we should feel concerned with this topic if we truly value our marriage and our spouse.  He has written an entire series on why “Duty Sex” (mediocre sex that is given just for the purpose of checking off that box) isn’t truly satisfying, and leaves us and our husbands desiring more fulfillment.  He also has compiled a list of some great candid questions that a wife (or husband) can ask in order to really make sure our husbands are sexually satisfied.

My husband and I took time out last night after he got home from his work to go through Dan’s questions, most of whom we already knew the answers to… needless to say, it led to a steamy ending.  😉  Read Dan’s piece & try these with your husband, really seek to understand (without judgment if you don’t like his honest answers), in order to make an effort towards the best sex in your marriage.

Dan from Frankly Speaking:

“Is your husband satisfied with the short menu (your current routine or sex life)? If so, how do you know? Do you really know, or is it something you are assuming because of his behavior (the fact that he still wants sex regardless), or the fact that he has not said anything different to you?

If you have never really established a pattern or method for dialog about sex, how reasonable is it to expect he WOULD say anything if unhappy.

Here is my man perspective on this. A husband is currently getting sex from his wife. How much or what kind is not the point. Getting sex is the point. He knows his wife and he never really talk about sex, and he also (more than likely) believes his wife is reserved sexually. Talking about sex will be difficult. If he tells her he is…which bomb word do I insert here?…bored, unhappy, unexcited, not all that interested, wanting more; you take your pick, he foresees her feelings being hurt and her going into a depression and that means NO SEX.

He would like to speak up, but he doesn’t want what he may see as the bedroom privileges he does enjoy revoked, even though married sex is not to be seen as a privilege to be awarded by either party to the other.

If you have not yet established a sex talk pattern the two of you are comfortable with, what he sees happening with bringing this up is sexual Russian roulette, and the gun is pointing at him with bullets in all chambers of the cylinder. It looks Lose/Lose to him.

So, again I ask, how you can be so sure you are right? How do you know he is happy with the short menu?

Does he like oral sex? How many times a week would he like it?

Does he like the sex you have? How many times a week would he like it?

Does he like it when you masturbate him?

Does he like watching you masturbate?

What is his favorite sexual activity?

What does he like about your body; your breasts, your vulva?

What pet name does he have for your vulva and breasts?

Does he like the smell and taste of your body of your body where ever he places his face?

What is his favorite sexual memory of you?

Which are his favorite panties and why?

Does he like stockings?

What is his favorite place to rest his hand on your body?

How many of those answers do you know?

You should know them all, and he should know them about you if you have been married over 3 to 5 years.

This is the place to start when seeking contentment in your sex life. What are the two of you currently happy with and excited by. You both need to begin by knowing you have sexual value to one another. First count your blessings. Then when you are ready to talk change, you are starting from a place of seeking to give greater pleasure to one another and not just seeming to want to improve you own sexual lot.

Pray for guidance and wisdom. This community (Dan’s blog) can can offer our advice and opinions based on our own trials and experience, but we do not know your hearts as God does. When you have prayed, listen for the knowledge God has concerning your hearts. That may be where the change begins, and not in the bedroom, but that change in heart will encourage change the bedroom.”

Book recommendations from Dan:

book1

book2

As you are married for longer amounts of time, Dan mentions that you may have to go back through a set of questions like these – rediscover each other’s needs and wants – since over time and through familiarity, they may have changed.  The goal is for total communication and being on the same page when it comes to sex in marriage.

You want to be having the best sex possible in your marriage right?

Go for it!

Lover Above “Mother” – Putting Your Husband First

We all fall in love when we decide to get married – we’re not in those days where marriages were arranged (at least, in the U.S.) – we typically fall in love naturally, and marry the person we are head-over-heels for.  But once the months of preparation for the wedding have transpired, the blissful honeymoon hours have faded, and the actual marriage has gotten under-way, the couple usually realizes that it takes work to keep up a good relationship.  Most couples seem to navigate this establishing of their unique couplehood well.

When children come along – all bets are off!

Us women typically become cranky and argumentative, with a sexual desire that can be as cold as Antarctica – we take our silly complaints to social media sites like facebook to let the world our friends list know that WE ARE TIRED OF IT!  The irony of complaining about the very people you love the most (your husband and your children)!

The problem is… once children come, marriage just gets complicated.  When do you find time to communicate?  Most couples aren’t very good at first, at finding and making time for good,deep communication to happen.  Most of generation X still hasn’t completely embraced what Gen Y has accepted as truth; that marriages need regular date nights, flirting & teasing to keep the passion and romantic fires fanned.

Your role as a lover to your husband came before your role as a mother, and its still just as important for the life-blood of your marriage.

The issue of whether your husband or your children should be put “first” in your life is definitely a heated one.  Of course, everyone has different opinions, but I truly do believe that a family works best when the husband and wife both put each other first, and then the children come second.  You need to have a solid marriage where both of your needs in the relationship are met in order to care properly for your children.  When this is out of balance, husbands and wives start feeling neglected by each other, and as though their needs don’t matter.

Women are experts at getting out of balance, once children come along, not only are we extra (horrendously) tired, but we place our position of Mother above our role as Lover.  When a woman neglects her husband and puts her children first (and him second) the marriage starts to get out of whack… it starts deteriorating.

This can be shown in things like allowing your children’s extra curricular activities to run the family schedule into overdrive, to minor issues such as making sure you have enough time allotted in your week to communicate (uninterrupted by little ones). Some marriage counselors say up to 15 hours per week should be reserved for this couple alone time.  (Side note: our marriage doesn’t meet that time suggestion of 15 hours of alone time, but we do make a very deliberate effort to put our marriage first, to find the time that we need for intimacy and communication).

Once you’ve chosen your man, he is the natural, God-given leader of your family – to allow your children to make decisions (or to make decisions based on a false-guilt felt towards your children) instead of coming together and as a team discussing what’s best for all, is to disrespect your husband in his place of authority that God has given him, and your marriage.

Let’s be women who honor our husbands by not forgetting that we are his lover, his passionate partner in this beautiful, crazy, hilarious thing called life.

When Changes In a Spouse Can Lead to Divorce

I understand that many Christians (or religious people) think that divorce isn’t an option, that because Christ never said it was ok to divorce (except for marital unfaithfulness) in even dire circumstances, that He truly meant that divorce was never an option.  That leaving a marriage was never a valid decision.

Yes, I believe marriage is sacred, and the Bible clearly states that God hates divorce because that is not how marriage was intended to be – the pain, devastation, and trauma of a divorce isn’t something that we were meant to go through.  But I also understand how different circumstances can make marriage a living nightmare, and how fixing the problems are not always possible when one or both spouses refuse to work together with each other to solve the issues.  One of these circumstances would be when a spouse changes in such a way as to greatly undermine the stability of their marriage.

I genuinely love reading Matt Walsh’s blog, he states things that most people are too politically correct to say, and fearlessly is dedicated to finding and exposing the basic truths of confusing situations.  A post from a month or two ago was concerning marriage, with him disclosing a conversation he had with a man concerning divorce happening simply because people change.  Walsh, as usual, took an assertive position against this being a valid or even credible argument for divorce, he mocked and degraded the man’s simple excuse and compared the issue to his own marriage to his beautiful, loving wife.  To him, change, no matter how detrimental, was just a part of life – something that has to be dealt with in a marriage, and not a cause for marital demise.

I’m not trying to call him out really, many people can be very vehement when it comes to certain topics that they feel they understand everything there is to know about them – I’ve certainly missed the bigger picture when being too passionate or assertive in what I saw as right or correct – to the degree of losing some critical aspect of wisdom that involves humility in admitting that maybe there is an exception.

It is naïve to think that people don’t sometimes change in ways that are extremely negative to a marriage.  I can think of various examples where the change of one spouse is incredibly – undeniably unfair to the other… because they didn’t know beforehand that their partner would act/think/behave this way.  They end up being trapped in a betrayed position of having to stay married to someone who isn’t the same person they thoughtfully, deliberately, and maybe even prayerfully chose to marry.

When you marry, you are marrying for yourself (yes, it sounds selfish – but even the Bible says that you must love yourself… “Love your neighbor, as you love yourself.”), and you also marry for the other person, your future children, and extended family even.  Marriage is a partnership where you make promises to each other to fulfill each other’s needs emotionally, and it’s also understood that you fulfill each other’s needs physically.

Every marriage is different and unique, and this is in no way trying to make wide judgments on what is or is not unfair changes, there are things I have left out (emotional or psychological issues that a spouse refuses to treat, or a husband refusing to work to provide for the family, etc.).  These are simply a few of the major examples in which change can greatly undermine a marriage.

RELIGIOUS CHANGES can be hard, my husband and I were different denominations of Christianity when we were first dating, he was Catholic and I was Prostestant.  Many people didn’t understand why we would date each other, and it could’ve been a real wedge in our marriage if we had stayed in different denominations.  We were constantly talking about the differences though, and debated back and forth on what the Bible actually said.  He eventually came to see that he really didn’t believe in a majority of what the Catholic church teaches as “Truth,” and decided to look for a protestant church he agreed more with.  In truth, he didn’t even know much of what his denomination taught on different topics until we talked about them together, because his family hadn’t had open discussions about their religion and why they believe what they say they believe.

When a person suddenly changes to a different religion once they are already in marriage, however, it is incredibly unfair to the other spouse (no matter even if I agree that they changed to a good religion, the change is still difficult and unfair to the spouse who couldn’t have predicted it would happen).  This kind of change, depending on how much the couple lets it affect their life and decision-making (even concerning finances), can cause disagreements and fights that drive a wedge to truly destroy a marriage.  When kids are involved, it becomes even harder, as the parents most likely won’t agree on which religion to teach to their children.  Religion is usually something people are very passionate about, making it hard for them to think clearly as to what is fair concerning the spouse who didn’t agree to marry someone of that religion.

Again… extremely unfair to the spouse who didn’t know their chosen partner would suddenly change.  The best thing to do in this situation, in my opinion, would be for the spouse who changed to be extremely understanding and delicate towards the other, they are the one disadvantaged here.  They need to allow all decisions (even concerning their children) to be worked through together – which means they won’t get their way all the time – even though they feel they are in the right.  The only other option, that many Christians will disagree with, is to divorce.

 

SEXUAL CHANGES I think, are probably the most common kind of change that occurs in a marriage, with usually one spouse deciding that they don’t like or need sex anymore, and refusing to try to fix the problem because it would inconvenience them to be told that they have an obligation to meet their spouse’s sexual needs.  There are even marriages where a wife (although it can be the other way as well) tells her husband to have a mistress, and to be ok with allowing someone else to meet his needs in that way.  I was listening to Dennis Prager, a Jewish radio talk show host, (and the inspiration for this post), when he pointed out that the U.S. is practically the only country or culture who looks down on this kind of behavior, that in most other countries, having mistresses is a normal (acceptable if kept quiet) thing.  Obviously, if you’re Christian, you know this is not the way God intended for marriage to be.  Monogamy can be wonderful if you have a spouse who understands what they’ve committed to, and is able to maintain a healthy sex life in your marriage.  Or monogamy can mean a life sentence of sexual frustration, or even celibacy!  Either way, when one spouse changes in this way, it is incredibly unfair to the other, and usually leads to affairs and divorce.  The best thing to do in this situation is to try to convince the spouse to go to counseling to save the marriage, to understand what marriage even means.  Most times, the spouse who loses sexual interest doesn’t understand how much it truly affects the other.  Counseling can sometimes open their eyes so to speak, however, there are many times that even counseling doesn’t prompt the spouse to change, and the other is left with a lifetime of misery and frustration – or choosing to divorce and find someone who cares about their needs.

 

PERSONALITY/BEHAVIORAL CHANGES are equally as difficult, when one spouse becomes addicted to gambling, over-spending money, drugs, alcohol, or porn; or they acquire a hostile attitude and personality, constantly degrading their partner, it is again, extremely unfair to the one who hasn’t changed.  These are self-explanatory, and rarely do these kinds of problems ever fix themselves without major intervention – and willingness to correct the behavior on the part of the person who changed.  The best thing in this situation is to try to convince the spouse who changed to seek marital counseling in order to save the marriage – its not uncommon for the offending partner to refuse counseling, unable to admit that their problem is hurting the marriage.  Again, sometimes the other spouse is left with decision to either stay with a changed, unwilling to fix their issues-partner, or decide to divorce.

 

I understand that many people probably won’t agree with my perspective on these things – they will still vehemently and passionately, like Walsh, think that everyone changes and that change is just a part of life and living your life with another person… “so just deal with it!”  I just can’t help but have compassion for men and women who find themselves in these (and other) horrible situations, however… it truly isn’t fair, they weren’t allowed a say in their spouse’s change of religion/addiction/personality/behavior, etc. and so I find it incredibly hard to judge them for choosing the path of divorce.

It’s a less judgmental, more sympathetic view of life and people.

 

 

(Side note: I’m not covering abusive situations, if you are in an abusive relationship, please seek professional help immediately!  Abuse is not one of the debatable points of a “person changing,” the safest thing is to call the police, get to a safe place, and seek professional counseling to understand why you were in an abusive relationship).

 

Single Women: Have Character

A repair man named Daniel came over yesterday to fix our sink and electrical mysteries at our house.  Just a few weeks ago, he had brought us a new stove as our old one had gone out finally… that and our landlord really likes us.  It’s great having a repair guy you trust and can have a lengthy conversation with, I always come away feeling like I’ve learned or been reminded of another important life lesson.

Daniel is in his 50’s and is recently divorced from his wife of 21 years.  The day after Christmas (after he spent around $4,000 on new kitchen appliances for her gifts), she told him she was leaving.  Their entire marriage they’d had problems, they weren’t Christian, and for 19 of the 21 years he said she constantly rejected him.  He said all these years he never really saw her for what she was… he loved her, spoiled her (buying her new cars), and was the romantic type of guy that would actually write love letters to her, which she would take to work and throw on a desk for her women coworkers to read and make fun of him (he walked in on this scene one day while he was bringing her flowers).

Can you believe it?

When their kids were grown, he wanted to work on their getting out of debt so that they could travel the states in an RV or go on long vacations… he had it worked out that it would only take a year to get 90% out of debt.  His wife liked the idea at first, but then decided that she couldn’t live within their means and went as far to tell him that she couldn’t live with him managing their money responsibly – she wanted to have her expensive lifestyle, even if that meant going into debt.

He’s doing better now, happy even, and seeing a beautiful woman a little older than me….  What amazes me is that he stayed under his wife’s spell thinking she was wonderful, when for so many years she really treated him horribly.  Only in retrospect was he able to see it.  Men in the Manosphere (internet collection of men who blog on these issues) call this having “Wife Goggles,” where one thinks their wife is perfect, no matter how ugly she is on the inside.

He told me that women like me, and like the one he’s currently seeing, are beyond attractive, why?  For one thing, he can tell they love their children – he’s been over twice now during dinner and watched me with my son at one of my favorite times of the evening – the time we get to eat!  His wife never cared about her children in a very deep way – he said he only realized this after the divorce was in procedure and his grown children told him how they really felt about their mother and their childhood.  She resented having children, she treated them more like an obligation rather than the treasures they are.  She never got down on the floor and painted with them, never gave them the kind of attention he said he sees me give my son.  He told me he realized it was selfishness, she was always thinking of herself instead of the people she should’ve been loving around her.

Seeing a woman with character is beyond attractive to men.  You might say this only applies to men like him – older, who have had a bad one to recognize a good one – but that isn’t completely true.  My husband’s main attraction to me when he was only 21, was that I was open with him, kind-hearted to everyone, yet also had beauty – he constantly told me that those things altogether are extremely rare to find.  He was alluding to the belief that a beautiful woman is usually spoiled rotten, and in no way going to be a loving, caring, unselfish partner and wife… I’ve always thought this was false, but maybe I was wrong.  There are so many men in his age-range and even below that are going through his very same circumstance of suddenly finding themselves single, with their wife-goggles in the trash can.

I wished him well and thanked him for his wonderful words and insight.  It really is great to have an awesome repair man.

Last words: it really is a beautiful thing, that no matter what you’re like right now, you can work to have character.  Character is a choice… and it’s wonderful that it’s never too late to change – for yourself and for others.  Single women, have character, be that wonderful woman that makes her family and husband SO GLAD they have her.

22 The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this.”

 

Quote from the Bible, Galations 5:22-23, The Voice translation