Ladyrebecca's Musings and Ramblings

The Increasingly Political Thoughts of Rebecca (Becky) Walker

Marriage and Sex April 19, 2008

I realized something the other day. If this is too much information for some of you, I am sorry if you are offended but not sorry for what I am about to say.

My husband and I have a wonderful sex life. We have tons of fun in bed and are completely satisfied with each other. Our sex life is holy and pure.not our bed...but beautiful none the less.

I grew up believing a sex life could only be pure and holy if it was with the confines of marriage. That it was the marriage that made sex holy and beautiful. It was the fence around the marriage bed, keeping the participants in and everyone else out that made it good and clean.

That’s not what makes it beautiful. The performance of duty is not what makes it pure. The piece of paper from the county courthouse is not what makes it holy. It is the daily choice that I and my husband make to share our bed with each other and no one else. If we were not married, we would still make that choice. If the government decided that tomorrow was the last day of marriage and that they would no longer recognize any kind of marital union, Israel and I would still come home to each other and find solace and sexual pleasure in each other’s arms and never the arms of anyone else. It is not the fence that keeps others out of our bed and us out of others but our choice.

And that is what love is. Love is not a piece of paper saying he has to provide for me and any offspring we might have. It isn’t a ring on my finger or his. It isn’t a pretty white dress and a rented tuxedo. It isn’t the approval of our family and friends. It’s our choice. It’s daily sliding into bed next to each other when there are others willing to welcome us into their bedroom.

This is revelatory to me. I thought what made my sex life special was that Israel and I are married. No, no, no. Marriage has nothing to do with it. Marriage, as we in America and the Christian church know it, is a piece of paper, a legal contract. Our sex life is special because we choose to share it with each other. Daily. There are men and women who’ve made offers, outright and not, and it is the saying no to them and yes to each other that makes our sex holy.

It’s the choice. The free will choice to say “No” to every other person in the world, and “Yes” to each other. It’s free will and it’s beautiful.

 

The Worst Advice EVER!!! March 10, 2008

You may think the title of this blog is a bit presumptious. Wait until you read this before deciding I mistitled it.

Years ago, a friend recommended Michael and Debbie Pearl’s books on childrearing. We read a couple and while they had some good advice and interesting ideas, for the most part, they were a couple of freaky, freaky people. Before realizing the full extent of their creapiness, I signed up for their newsletter/magazine. After receiving it for a couple of months, we realized we didn’t even want it in our house. Neither Israel nor I wanted to write a letter canceling our subscription for fear that we would be chastized, because obviously, if we didn’t like what we were reading it was because we were being convicted and therefore needed to be reading it. And from the letters Michael Pearl received and the advice he gives, that would not be out of character.

We moved from Kansas City to California and the magazines followed us. I finally got online and after some searching was able to discontinue our subscription without having to talk to anyone. YAY!

Yeah…unfortunately, the canceling didn’t seem to take. We moved to Mississippi and continued to get the magazine. We never gave them a forwarding address and yet, here’s the magazine. We moved to a new place and yesterday, what should be in my mailbox but another “NGJ” (No Great Joy – the name of the Pearl’s ministry) magazine. This magazine did not have a forwarded sticker on it. Nope. It had my name and my current address. I don’t understand but am freaked the heck out.

Then Israel opened it and started reading it, thinking perhaps we’d find something ridiculous to blog about. Did he ever. Below, in blue ink, is a letter from a reader and Michael’s advice.

I have tried to read your articles to find an answer to my problem, but I have not been able to find one. So, I write to you in secret. My husband has been talking with another woman for several years without my knowledge. I just found out, and I’m so hurt. My husband says he’s sorry and that he tried to stop several times, but could not get victory.

This is the second time this has happened. My husband is a saved man in the ministry, and this girl has a high position in the ministry as well. I have decided to keep my mouth shut, because I don’t want my husband’s ministry to have a scar. I need help though, because I’m so hurt inside and have no one to talk to. I have to face this girl every week and act as though nothing is wrong. My husband has to work in the office with her a least once a week and act as if nothing is wrong. I don’t want him to talk to her, look at her, or even smile at her, etc., but if he acts funny, I know suspicions will arise in me.

My husband said that he would start being open with me when I ask him questions or ask to see his phone. But I feel like he’s starting to get irritated with me already, as I keep asking and I’m scared of his temper. My husband admits that he has a problem with wanted attention from women, and I fear that it may happen again. I feel so alone and I’m fighting so much with bitterness, anger, thoughts of their conversations and wondering why I wasn’t or am not good enough for him. I feel so betrayed.

I love my husband and our children, and I want him to do the Lord’s work. I don’t want to do anything that will destroy his ministry. Please help me with some advice.

Michael answers:

Fight for your man. Go to the woman personally, and tell her to get another job or you will make her wish she had. Tell your husband that you expect either him or her to quit and go somewhere else. If not, go to work with him and don’t let him out of your sight.

Here are my thoughts on this little tidbit…

I have tried to read your articles to find an answer to my problem, but I have not been able to find one. So, I write to you in secret. First problem. Why are you doing this in secret? Your husband already knows you are concerned. If he is actually interested in “victory” you shouldn’t have to hide the fact that you are seeking advice, unless, of course, he thinks the Pearl’s are a bunch of crackpots. My husband has been talking with another woman for several years without my knowledge. Talking, huh? What a cad. I just found out, You just found out. This woman and your husband have enough of a relationship that you are concerned and you are just finding out. You should be involved enough (and your husband should allow you access to his life enough) that you know about friendships, male or female, before then hit the “years” mark. and I’m so hurt. My husband says he’s sorry and that he tried to stop several times, but could not get victory. I’m not sure what he’s supposed to get victory over. If all that’s happening is conversations, where’s the sin to be victorious over? Maybe you aren’t being as honest as you need to be? Maybe they are having sex in the pews but you are too embarrassed to say so?

This is the second time this has happened. The second time he’s talked to a woman or the second time he’s hidden a relationship from you? My husband is a saved man in the ministry, and this girl has a high position in the ministry as well. I have decided to keep my mouth shut, because I don’t want my husband’s ministry to have a scar. That’s right. Because what’s really important here is that you all keep a nice happy public image while you die from the inside out. You should be more concerned with you marriage, your husband’s soul (if indeed there is sin occurring), and your own self respect and health (if you are continuing to share the bed with a man who’s sleeping around), than with public image. I need help though, because I’m so hurt inside and have no one to talk to. Ironically, no one to talk to except a man you aren’t married to. Hmmm. Ironies aside, why are you alone? Why don’t you have friends you can share this with? If it’s because you are too afraid of “ministry scars” you are a fool. Build some friendships that are deeper than what you had for dinner last night. Be vulnerable and open and then accepting and nonjudgemental when your friends are open and vulnerable in return. I have to face this girl every week and act as though nothing is wrong. Why must you pretend nothing is wrong if something is? Of course, if all that has happened is that your husband and this girl have been friends, than you are overreacting and there isn’t anything wrong. If there’s been an affair, the Bible has guidelines for how adultery should be handled in the church. Follow the Scriptures you claim to believe. My husband has to work in the office with her a least once a week and act as if nothing is wrong. See previous statement. I don’t want him to talk to her, look at her, or even smile at her, etc., You have just given much more validity to their “relationship” by putting all these rules in place. What had been a friendship has now been classified as “illicit.” Again, if there has been adultery, it needs to be dealt with at a corporate level. but if he acts funny, I know suspicions will arise in me. I think you need to be in therapy. Seriously. You shouldn’t be this upset and this “suspicious” over a friendship. And if your husband has committed adultery, you probably need to be in therapy to deal with the betrayal and the hurt.

My husband said that he would start being open with me when I ask him questions or ask to see his phone. Again with the not trusting. He’s a grown man. I would get irritated if Israel wanted to count the cookies every day to make sure I wasn’t having more than my fair share (food being my addiction). But I feel like he’s starting to get irritated with me already, as I keep asking and I’m scared of his temper. Stop the train. You are afraid of you husband. This should not be a letter asking for advice on how to stop him from talking to another woman. This should be a letter asking for advice on how to get yourself and your children out of the house without endangering anyone needlessly. If you are afraid of you husband, get the hell out of the house. You both need counseling. Him for being angry or violent enough to make you afraid; you for staying in a dangerous relationship for all these years or, and this is the clincher, for being willing to say your husband is abusive (what else do you think “afraid of his temper” means?) when in reality you don’t have the maturity to deal with normal adult relationships, which include some conflict. My husband admits that he has a problem with wanted attention from women, (I’m a woman and I like attention from woman. I like attention from men, too. I enjoy people noticing me. I also enjoy people noticing my husband. I like it when people think he’s neat and want to talk to him. I find it very complimentary to me. I chose well.) and I fear that it may happen again. What happen again? Talking to another human being who happens to be female? I feel so alone and I’m fighting so much with bitterness, anger, thoughts of their conversations and wondering why I wasn’t or am not good enough for him. I feel so betrayed. Again, you need friends, girl. You need to make some friends outside of your immediate family. You need to deal with your bitterness. That crap will eat you up from the inside out. Seriously. Bitterness will destroy you. Anger is not necessarily bad. If something wrong had happened, you I should be angry. Of course, if you are angry because he chats with a coworker, you do probably need to be dealing with anger issues. Stop thinking about their conversations and ask your husband what they’ve talked about. Maybe you’ll find out that they went to the same highschool and have many mutual friends. Maybe they both like painting and have been discussing different water color techniques. Maybe they are having phone sex and you do have reason to be upset. You will never know until you ask you husband and he has the integrity to tell you the truth. And if he doesn’t, a “scar” on his ministry is the least of you problems.

I love my husband and our children, and I want him to do the Lord’s work. So much that you are willing to sacrifice your marriage so he doesn’t look bad. I don’t want to do anything that will destroy his ministry. Oh, like keeping your mouth shut until he has a high profile, public affair that blows up and makes the whole Christian community look bad? Thanks. Please help me with some advice. Or, give me some really crappy advice that won’t help at all.

1. “Fight for your man.” Not bad in and of itself. But the way he advises to go about fighting for her man…yikes.

2. “Go to the woman personally, and tell her to get another job or you will make her wish she had.” Okay, okay, I am trying to write about this but the laughter in my brain just won’t stop. The Pearl’s pride themselves on being based on the bible. Where do they find support for making someone’s life miserable in order to get your way in the Bible? Because that’s what he’s saying. First, you make an ultimatum. “Quit or I’ll make you wish you had.” Okay, then when she doesn’t quit, what are you supposed to do? Start slashing her tires? Begin telling people what a slut she is? Maybe egging her house and calling at all hours of the night is the answer. With open ended advice like that, anything is possible. Michael stresses consistency and following through with threats in his parenting advice. Why would dealing with adults be any different? So, if this girl doesn’t quit, now this woman is stuck with having to make someone else’s life miserable. Sounds like a great way to model Christ.

3. Tell your husband that you expect either him or her to quit and go somewhere else.” Whoa, Whoa, whoa. TELL you husband? TELL? I thought that Michael Pearl supported women being submissive to their husbands. Maybe telling your husband what to do means something else to him but to me, it smacks of being unsubmissive. (I am NOT agreeing with Michael Pearl’s view of submission but simply pointing out his own inconsistencies.) My question when I hear this is “Or what?” What if he doesn’t quit or she doesn’t quit? Oh, yeah, last sentence…

4. If not, go to work with him and don’t let him out of your sight.” Wow. Well, that is certainly one way to build trust and faith in a relationship. And I’ll bet his boss will be really pleased when wife and kids (because they should all be homeschooled if you are a follower of the Pearl’s) show up to shadow Daddy at work. And what if you husband doesn’t happen to work in the ministry where that sort of thing might be acceptable? What if one’s husband works in a controlled or secure area? What if he works in a construction site? What are you going to do when he has to leave town for a business trip? Come on, Michael.

There are just so many things wrong. I think the first thing that needs to be addressed is the truthfulness of this letter. I don’t think she’s telling the whole story. Either her husband has done more than just talk previously in their marriage or he’s doing more than just talking right now. OR, and this is a big OR, she’s seriously this worked up because her husband is talking with a coworker.

My husband and I have a great relationship. We also have great friendships outside of each other. One of my best friends, is also one of his best friends. She came down and spent two weeks with us last summer. We went up and stayed with her for two weeks this fall. She plans on coming to Germany and staying with us for 6 months. Israel and she talk on the phone once a week or so, sometimes less often, sometimes more often. Sometimes I’m home, sometimes I’m not. If I’m not, Israel makes sure to tell me so that it doesn’t seem as though he’s hiding anything. I’m not concerned about him having an affair with her. Do you know why?

Because I’ve made a conscious decision to trust my husband and my best friend. Would I want them to go on a month long back packing trip through the Rockies by themselves? No. If such a situation happened (through no fault of their own, like a plane crash or something) would I believe them when they said nothing inappropriate happened? Yes, I would. I can’t live any other way. If I can not trust my husband to be honest with me, than there’s nothing I can do. Yes, I could follow him around and watch his every move. If he doesn’t respect me enough to tell me the truth, why would he respect me enough to change his behavior just because I’m watching. And if the only reason he’s behaving is because I’m watching, what happens when I can’t watch him?

The only way to have a relationship with any meaning is to trust. What Israel does is his responsibility. If he has an affair, there will be consequences and he knows that. If he looks at too much porn, there are consequences. If I eat a whole bag of Hershey’s Kisses, there are consequences. If I don’t clean the house and he has to come home to a pigsty, there are consequences. If I have an affair, there are consequences.

Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions. Israel and I have made a commitment to be 100% honest with each other, which includes telling the other when we’ve screwed up.

We don’t hide things. Why be married if you aren’t going to be soul mates?

We don’t lie to each other. How could I lie with a man, allowing him access to me while I am more vulnerable than at any other time, if I’m lying to him and vice versa?

We are honest about our weaknesses. How can you address a problem if you don’t know it exists? How can we be a help to each other if we don’t share our struggles?

We help each other and lean on each other when we need a shoulder to help us along. Why have a relationship if you aren’t going to be bettered and neither is your partner?

My point is that Michael Pearl’s advice smacks of distrust. It smacks of someone who thinks the best way to find out what’s going on is to follow the person around. The only way to make sure your spouse is doing what they are supposed to is to shadow them. Where’s the trust? Where’s the love? Love doesn’t do that.

God doesn’t hound us, following after us, waiting for us to screw us so He can pounce on us. God doesn’t give us ultimatums. Well, only the “follow Me or suffer eternal damnation” one but other than that, God doesn’t say, “Preach the gospel here or I’m going to give you fecal incontinence.” God says, do this. God sets the standard. We make a choice of whether or not we are going to strive to meet that standard. If we decide to not meet it, than we suffer the consequences, be what they may. If we decide to meet the standard, than we must do all we can to meet it. If we are unable, God is there to help us. He’s more than willing to help us. I think He enjoys giving us a hand for that last heave up the mountainside. He’s not just going to do it all Himself. He expects us to put some effort into it.

The conclusion I’ve come to is that I’m going to have to make this magazine stop. This man’s advice is so bad, I don’t even want it in my home. I am not looking forward to having to speak to them or write to them or in any way alert them to my existence but this drivel has to stop coming into my home. I get enough drivel through the news.

 

Aaaaahhhhh February 28, 2008

You know, it is just amazing to me what a good night’s sleep will do. Life is so much more handleable today. We are supposed to have “abundant sunshine” today so we should be able to play at the park after Story Time. Tuesday was raining, last Thursday was raining and we were sick the Tuesday before that and the Thursday before that our friends weren’t able to stay and play. So, after three weeks of trying, Brodie and Jael and Isaac might actually get to play at the park together.

I am so glad that we have decided to home school Jael. Brodie just turned two. Isaac is about a year and a half. Jael can play fine with them. There is a little girl at play group who is a year older than Jael and she can play just fine with her. We went to one of Israel’s co-worker’s son’s birthday party a week ago and she played fine with the six and seven year olds. Yay for not being peer stratified!

I read an article last night about a teacher who has been verbally abusing the children in her class, calling them stupid and mean and threatening them. One of her students came to class with a tape recorder in her backpack. The student’s mother had put it there because she was concerned that the teacher might not be acting in an all together healthy manner. The mom’s fears were not unfounded. When presented with this information, the school board admitted that they’d had to discipline this teacher the year before for slapping a four-year old child. The discipline consisted of, get a load of this, one day suspension without pay.

*GASP*

A whole day with no pay! You mean, she took a day off and didn’t get paid for it? The horror!

Seriously though, there are a ton of problems with this situation. I’m going to start with the slapping because if that had been handled correctly, this second story wouldn’t have happened. The teacher should have been ordered to attend intesive thearapy and if she was unwilling than she should have been fired. My husband and I believe physical punishment has a place in a parent’s discipline regime. However, we don’t slap her. Slapping is a reaction and not discipline. We don’t ever spank her when we are angry. We don’t discipline based on how we feel about her behavior. We discipline because she has disobeyed and must be taught that there are consequences to disobedience. Slapping is reactive and is not thought out. So, not only was the teacher disciplining in a way reserved only for the child’s parents (corporal punishment), she was doing it badly.

Four year olds should not be in school. I’m an ardent supporter of homeschooling and we’ve started some with our four year old but only as much as she’s enthusiastic about. We’re considering not starting formal education with her until she’s about eight based on research showing that kids who don’t start formal schooling until 8 but are allowed to explore their world and learn through play, catch up with their conventionally schooled peers within six to twelve months. The “late starters” have better social and creative skills than their more heavily schooled peers.

Then you have the yelling at kids. What makes someone think this is okay? I mean, yeah, maybe your parents were verbally abusive but why would that make you think it’s okay to speak to other people’s kids that way? Don’t they cover the proper way to speak to kids and control behavior issues as a part of the “becoming a teacher schooling”? If that isn’t covered, than why in the hell are the masses letting these people spend eight hours a day to “professionally” teach their kids?

My husband has worked on cars since he was about eight years old. He worked as a Ford mechanic for about a year and has much experience working on a variety of cars in his personal time. He’s fond of saying, when presented with a car problem he’d not encountered before, “Why send my car to the dealership to have them screw it up when I can screw it up at home for free?” I ask the same thing about school. “Why send my kids away all day to be screwed up by a stranger when I can do it at home?” And of course, hopefully avoid some of the screwing up.

After ranting about strangers for a bit, I am feeling downright happy.

And I just cleaned off all (well most anyway) of the horizontal surfaces in my house (well, kitchen at least). I also swept the kitchen and vacuumed the house. No, I’m not manic. Israel asked me to clean the house today. A totally reasonable request but one I resented anyway. Until I got started and then it was so nice to have clean surfaces and a clean floor that I didn’t mind being reminded of my wifely duties.

Jael and I are off to Story Time.

Until next time…