Real Marriage: Grace or disgrace?

Moving on into chapter 7 in the Driscoll’s “Real Marriage” book, I thought Grace was describing my 2nd boyfriend…. seriously.  Each of these things she mentioned about her first boyfriend…. I mentally put a check mark next to in my head.

*Lost my virginity to him…check

*He became controlling … check

* He controlled my friendships…. check.  (basically I had none.)

* He controlled my free time … pretty much… check

* He followed me around checking on me and what I was doing… check

The only real difference was that he was never physically abusive to me, which could have happened if I stuck around longer than I did.  He tried to alienate me from my family and nearly did it.  I was almost so isolated from everything but him…it’s scary to think back on this now. I even thought like Grace did, that if I married him, it would cover my sin and shame with him….thankful that I never did.  Thankful that somehow I got the strength to leave this relationship and never come back.   Thankful that my family intervened and got me out of that situation by allowing me to move back home.

Like Grace, I lived with that shame of unforgiveness for a long time.  I didn’t know that I needed to run to God for love and grace, instead I tried to hide it from him, like Adam and Eve hid in the garden after eating the forbidden fruit.  Funny how the human nature thinks we can hide things from God.   It wasn’t until I finally gave it over to God and forgave myself, that healing came.

I don’t remember if I wore any of the “masks” she talked about.  I probably did, just didn’t realize it.  But the pain of what I experienced was hidden very well.   That experience had changed my outlook on sex…. when I was single, it was an idol.  When I got married, it became a necessity to do for a period of time….. All I can tell you is that I am thankful for God’s healing.   I have never really discussed it much before except with my husband.   It’s a part of my past that I am glad that God has taken from my mind.   I think the only reason he has brought this back is to possibly help someone who may be going through what I went through.  It’s okay to talk it through with someone who has been there before.  There is no shame in it, only forgiveness.

So that is my story.  What did you think about this chapter?

Real Marriage: Sex – God, Gross or Gift?

Now, we’re entering chapter 6 in the Driscolls book.   We all know that the bible defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman wed in holy matrimony.   He intended it to be for good, and He called man and woman both VERY GOOD.    So how in the world did we get to the point where sex is misused and misinterpreted like it is today?

It’s spelled S-I-N.

Okay, let’s talk about the three topics of this chapter…. first Sex as god.  Mark gives an example of a man he counseled.   It is so important as we raise our children that we help them to realize there is NOTHING that they should treasure more than God.  The first commandment tells us that there is to worship God alone.  Wealth, prestige and even sex can be put on such a high pedestal, that we forget all about God.   Idolatry.  It’s when a good thing becomes a god thing.  In today’s world, pornography is a $90 billion idol per year worldwide, and $13 billion is in the US.  Porn is addictive.   Prostitution…. it’s hard for me to fathom selling my body for sex, but it happens to a lot of women daily.  If you view sex as a god, then you and your marriage are in grave danger.  There is no freedom, comfort , joy or pleasure on this path, it only leads to destruction.

Sex as gross…. really?  This is kind of the antitheses of sex as a god….it’s like a necessary evil.   Procreation…that’s the sin I fell into in the early years of my marriage.   Unfortunately, a lot of this train of thought comes through misteaching by the church.  Speaking of how evil sex is, but never fully explaining that once in a marriage covenant, sex is a beautiful gift from God.   Also, unfortunately, people who have been sexually abused or molested have the wrong view of sex since they were violated.    I think part of my problem in early marriage revolved around that.  I had a relative that took great pleasure in finding “alone times” with me to fondle my breasts when I was a teenager.   While I was never raped or molested by him, I found what he did repulsive, and I carried that into my marriage.     Thanks be to God for the healing he gave me on this issue.

Sex is a gift.  The bible tells us that married sex is approved by God.  I think of it like God’s wedding gift to you.   One of the most precious gifts that will last a lifetime…unlike that banana holder you got!   Sex is a powerful gift and has 6 benefits…. pleasure, creating children, oneness with your spouse, knowledge of your spouse, protection against sexual sin, and comfort.    I can attest to all 6 of those, and those are gifts I cherish and treasure.

So what are your thoughts?  When you went into your marriage, was sex a god?  was it gross?  or was it a gift?



Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together

The next topic I want to cover is what the Driscolls called “The Four Horsemen” of conflict in marriage.   (From Dr. John Gottman’s observations)

Horsemen #1 = criticism – meaning not just having a complaint about something your spouse did that you find annoying or frustrating.  It goes deeper – attacking his character or personality.    Complaints attack the problem.  Criticism attacks the person.

Horseman #2 = contempt – this is showing disgust for your spouse.  Name calling, condescending humor, belittling, body language…. it grows over time with unresolved conflicts.  We just stack it all in one big heap of disgust.

Horseman #3 = defensiveness – refusal to apologize or back down when you are guilty in a conflict.  I remember some of these when DH and I were going through my refusing years.  I deflected (or tried to) the blame on him… it was all his fault, when in all actuality, I didn’t want to admit I was wrong.

Horseman #4 = stonewalling – we stop working toward reconciliation, and start living separate lives.  This includes ignoring your husband, turning your back on him when  he tries to converse with you, and disengage emotionally and verbally with him…. essentially, you check out.

In this chapter, it states that when these 4 horsemen take up residence in your home “statistically it will end in divorce”.   I am so grateful that DH and I are not one of those statistics.  Thankfully for me, my husband was stubborn and not going to give up on me.  But I tell you what, we sure did live for a while like friends with benefits during my refusing years…that’s something that I know DH cringes hearing about…. but that was my fault.   My sin got in the way.

What is needed if we are seeing these Horsemen in our household?  First recognize your sin.  You can do nothing about his… sins by omission (where you do not do what you should do) and commission (where we do what we ought not do)   Repent of those sins.  Remember, that repentance means that you are sorry and you will not do it ever again.  Repentance includes three parts to it… confession, contrition, and change.   You need to be prepared to do all three…. Second, forgive if your spouse does confess his own sin.   Forgive quickly.  Remember that no one has been sinned against more than God.  Yet, he still forgives us daily.   The chapter goes through what forgiveness IS NOT, but remember forgiveness IS loving despite sin.   Third, let go of all bitterness.  Bitterness has roots, and usually we don’t feel bitter toward strangers, but people who we have deeper ties with and bigger expectations.  Fourth, if you have a fight, make it a good fight, meaning on that reconciles instead of creates enemies and bitterness.

What are your thoughts?


Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together

Today’s topic, I know, is your favorite…. Submission!
We just covered this topic in my Bible study class, and it’s the next chapter for women only in the Driscoll’s book.   Grace leads us through this sometimes controversial and more than likely misunderstood topic of the bible.

So, first let me ask….how do you define submission?  Do you feel that submission enslaves you to your husband?  Do you feel that submission means that you have no say in your marriage?   Are you to obey your husband no matter what?
These are things I hear that people believe the word submission means.   In the bible, the key verses that are used to generate those questions in Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.”  What happens is this is what is read…. “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands…” and red flags go flying.  Why do I have to submit to him?    What is he supposed to do?  ooooo, I’m skipping to verse 25, since I see the word HUSBAND there…. “Love your wife…”, that’s it?  I have to do whatever he says???

Okay, so let’s take a chill pill for a minute.   Finish verse 22… “as you do to the Lord.”  Do you submit to the Lord?  Or do you do your own thing?  I’d like to suggest this to you… go back one verse.  “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  So according to this verse, he has to submit to you as much as you have to submit to him.

Let’s put a definition on this…. submission.   It doesn’t mean slavery.  It doesn’t mean you become a doormat to everything he does.   Submission doesn’t mean you have to obey his every command.  Submission is respect.   Wives, respect your husband as you respect the Lord.    I know I respect and revere the Lord very much, so as much as I love the Lord and show Him respect in all I do for him, I should do the same for my husband.  Submission is also a choice.  You can choose to respect him… you can choose not to respect him.  It is a voluntary cooperation to support and complement him.  For us wives, it means that we should devote ourselves to complementing our husbands.  We are to help our husbands.   Isn’t that why we came from the man’s rib?  Not his head, not his foot, not his back, but his side.  Submission is not only directed to women…. we are all called to submit ourselves to God and one another.

Here’s the main thing I brought out of my bible study this past week about submission.  This is from Tom Constable, ThD from Dallas Theological Seminary:

1.  It begins with an attitude of entrusting oneself to God .  Our life focus MUST be on Jesus Christ.

2.  It requires respectful behavior (1 Peter 3:1-2 –Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives. )

3. It involves the development of Godly character (1Peter 3:3-5 –Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, )

4.  It includes doing what is right (1Peter 3:6 – like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.) It does not include violating other Scriptural principles.

There is so much more I can add, but this post would be a mile long…later on in my comment section, I will reveal some more things I learned about it in my bible study class.

Ladies, what does submission mean to you?   What were you taught about submission by family or the church?  Does it line up with what God calls us to do?

Previous article I’ve done on this topic….

One more


Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship and Life Together

How many of you have read this book by Mark and Grace Driscoll?  I have read about 75% of it on my Kindle Fire…. I’ve just not had as much time to read in the past month as I would like.   I would like to each week bring out a topic from their book and have a discussion on it.   If you want the true reference from the book, you’ll have to purchase it or borrow it from the library, but I am more than happy to discuss these topics even if you haven’t read it.

So over the next week, let’s start with the first topic from the book…. friendship in marriage.

Over on CN, I did a poll because I found out something interesting amongst not only my CN sisters, but other friends as well…. Is your husband your best friend?    In that poll, that you can see here, over 70% of women who took the poll said their husband was their best friend.  Some of my friends thought that was the weirdest thing in the world that I thought my hubby was my best friend.   The way I look at it, for the rest of my life, he’ll always be there.  I’ve had other friends come and go in different seasons of my life, but when the kids are grown and married and on their own, it will be him and me.   If we’re not close friends, then what happens to our marriage then?    I respect my husband and enjoy his company.   I want it to always be this way.   Why would it be so weird that he would be my best friend?

Now I do realize that your husband may not be you BEST friend, but it is important that you are friends with him.  Even in Song of Songs 5:16, the wife says, “This is my beloved, and this is my friend.”   Merriam-Webster defines friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem” – I think we should all have the affection part down with our husbands, and I hope that the esteem part down as well.   You tell your friends everything.  There is nothing that I keep from my husband.  Sometimes I may not like what he tells me back, but…. shhh…he’s usually right!

When DH and I were traveling through the dark valley together that was my refusal years, I used to wonder … when my kids are older and gone, what is going to happen to us?  Will we even know each other?  That was the darkness I was in, but he proved to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that he would never leave me or forsake me.  He loved me.  He loved being married to me.  Now, I look to the future, and I really look forward to the time that he and I will have to spend together by ourselves.   I look forward to not having to worry about finding a babysitter…we can just get up and go whenever we want, wherever we want.   We can buy a two seater car!   He and I will be friends forever and ever as well as soul mates.

I work in an atmosphere with almost all women.  There are 17 of us that work most closely together.  I watch some of them as they talk about their husbands, and it isn’t always good.  Not all are married, so I worry about the impact that it places in their minds.   Some of them are in the empty nester phase, and it sounds like they barely tolerate their husbands…. that is so sad!  This should be the best years of your life in your marriage!  I truly hope to never go there and to find ways to help them enjoy their marriages.

What are your thoughts on this?  Is your husband your best friend?  What will your marriage look like when your kids fly from the nest?  If you are already an empty nester, what is your marriage like?  If you could do something differently, what advice would you give to us that still have children at home?

My biggest word of advice is to never stop dating your husband.   If money is tight, you can plan a picnic at home after the kids go to bed.   Try to at least once a month go out on a date with your husband…dinner, coffee, or a movie.   If you are plugged into a church, try to see if you can set up with another couple to share sitting…you watch their kids while they go out on a date and vice versa.   We didn’t date at all during my lowest period on our marriage.   Things are SO much better now that we go out by ourselves without the kids.   We have a teenager about to go off to college and a 4th grader…. so our date nights revolve around dinner on AWANAS night for the youngest or whenever the oldest can stay at home with the youngest.   It is so nice to at least get an hour to go out to dinner together on those nights.   Try to plan something, just you and your hubby.   I know we have a few military wives on here.   God bless you and your hubby.  I know it’s hard. I have a friends that doesn’t know from one day to the next when she will have time to skype or IM with her husband.   Send him care packages…. some of his favorite things from you.   Reminders of your love waiting for him at home.   Maybe take a picture of some places and have a “virtual date” with him…. send a picture of your favorite restaurant, and talk about what you would order there…what you would talk about over dinner…. what you would do after dinner.   Anything to keep the spark going until he comes home….or are you the on deployed?   Ask your DH to do the same for you.

Please tell me what your thoughts are on this topic.  I would love to hear them.