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A Response to “Brothers, I Am Sorry”

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http://sarahchristineschwartz.com/2013/11/06/brothers-i-am-sorry

To the author of “Brothers, I am Sorry,” which you can read at the above address.

Dear Sarah, you are young, and have much to learn about the difference between reasons and excuses, what we wish about reality and what is reality.

While I, like you, was not present for the discussion that prompted your article—a professor supposed to defend male infidelity by suggesting that sexually negligent wives had a role in it—let me say that, based on your description, your college professor has not said much more than Paul says in his own declaration of mutual accountability in marriage, about understanding the needs of your partner. (1 Corinthians 7:2ff; especially note: 1 Cor 7:5  “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”)

“Poor Paul, he’s believed the lie that people are slaves to their passions.”

Given your proposed struggle for humanity in the face of the big bad anti-woman world you imagine that you inhabit, I wonder if you would be so convinced in your proposed senses of “nobility” (what is in fact a childish vision of life) if it were the woman and not the man who was placed in the strain of unmet powerful desires, if it was the woman who was not having basic “needs” met. Maybe you would say the same thing… but you’d be mistaken again.

“He ignored her… worked all the time… didn’t talk to her… spent too much time with his friends… didn’t help her with the children… made her feel like she had an extra child to care for… yelled at her sometimes… never praised her or complimented her… treated her like a housekeeper and babysitter…” Oh! the stories the unfaithful wife can tell… Oh! the sympathy she will receive from her friends and family… “It was really his fault if you think about it.” I’ve heard it a thousand times from women, pastors, counselors, Hollywood, advice columnists.

That said, there is a difference in the real world between reason and excuse. Confusing these two related, but distinct, ideas is a common failing.

Unfortunately, if one discusses the wisdom of modest dress for deflecting unwanted attention, he is accused of defending rape. If one warns women to show cautious regard for the strength of men, for their natural aggression, one is accused of defending violence against women.  One is not allowed to call for wisdom in dealing with sinful humanity without being accused of “blaming the victim.” It shows an unrealistic view of the world… which is what political correctness is actually about… acting and talking as if the world were what you wished it were, rather than talking and acting in correspondence to its harsh realities.

Do any of us have legitimate excuse before God for our sin… male or female? NO.

But when confronting the real world, are there reasons for human choices… logical reasons… common reasons… understandable reasons? Yes. (I Corinthians 10:13)

The abused woman kills her husband. The abused child becomes a dysfunctional ruiner of other people’s lives. The molested child becomes a molester. The unloved husband becomes unfaithful… the unloved wife turns to another man… not all of them, but some.

No excuses… just reasons… reasons that wise people anticipate and avoid.

A good marriage counselor prepares a couple for the way of things.

Men, do you love your wife? Show her. Tell her. Sacrifice for her. Communicate with her. Listen to her. Pay attention to her needs. Be tender and attentive. When you have children, know how hard it is for her and step up to help her in every way you can.[1] Understand her struggles and help her through them. Make sure that she is given the opportunity to develop herself as a person and not just as a household function.  If you don’t… there is a natural price to pay. She may be without excuse before God for the choices she will likely make if you don’t… but you will have a share of the responsibility for those choices. No excuses… just reasons. You had a chance to anticipate and avoid, but you chose to be an insensitive jerk.

Women, do you love your husbands? Show him. Tell him. Sacrifice for him. Communicate with him, and understand when he doesn’t communicate the same way you do. Pay attention to his needs, which may very well be different than your own.[2] He will, more than likely have a passionate desire for sex that is so powerful as to rise nearly to the level of need.[3] No matter what you are going through in life, remember that his needs won’t change in this area. Are you so pregnant you could pop?[4] He still wants sex badly. Are you struggling with your cycle? He still wants sex badly.[5] Are you tired, got a headache, down with the flu, mourning your recently deceased mother, recovering from that amputation? He still wants sex badly. (His wanting does not mean that he should get it, or should expect it; it just means being aware of his needs as much as he should be aware of your needs.)

Does he have any excuse before God for failing to be faithful to you? NO. No excuses… just reasons. But… (Forgive my bluntness in this regard, but already having called many men insensitive jerks, let me say here…) does a cold, disinterested, inattentive, self-absorbed, sexually boring, un-initiating, unresponsive, inconsiderate, priggish wife share part of the responsibility for his struggles and failures. Yes. No excuses… just reasons. You, like the insensitive jerks of this world, had a chance to anticipate and avoid.

An “I am not my brother’s keeper” attitude about marriage is both unbiblical and unwise.



[1] I have been accused of being sexist in my sense that women are the primary caregivers for children… sorry, but again, reality folks not politically correct non-sense about how a perfectly crafted gender neutral world would look.

[2] Again, gender inclination is a powerful force, and wishing it wasn’t doesn’t change that fact. Deal with it.

[3] This does not suggest that women will not also have strong sexual desire, but experience over decades has shown me that most sexual frustration in marriage is coming from the men.

[4] Sad that I have to add so many caveats, but I posted this as a direct reply to the above blog post and was viciously attacked. So, I am not making fun of pregnant women, I am attempting to reflect their own statements about how they feel during last term pregnancy… I’ve got four kids. I remember a thing or two about it.

[5] I am not promoting unhealthy practices, just awareness of need.

 

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