St. Paul on Marriage — Radical Conversion

When I was going through the whole business of suspecting DH was gay, I was in a conservative evangelical church that probably would have been very supportive had I not been under the very mistaken idea that I was obligated to stay in the marriage and to protect him, no matter what. That idea of protecting DH was what kept me from seeking help at the time.

But as I’ve read comments from other women, it’s become clear that many of them have been in churches that are not supportive of women married to gay men, or men with SSA (same-sex attraction). The whole idea of submission from Ephesians 5 gets tossed around and used to bully women into staying in insupportable marriages.

But — and this is extremely important! — I don’t think St. Paul ever intended to beat anyone over the head with his Epistle. But I also think he couldn’t foresee a time in which we live, when women have unprecedented rights and privileges and his words would seem oppressive.

Paul was writing to a people who had lived their whole lives in the self-indulgent, even depraved culture of the Roman Empire. Shaped and informed by Greek paganism, although Roman women had some rights, they were still very much under the rule of fathers, then husbands, and the rights they did possess were so connected with their father’s family that I’m really not sure what the point of their being able to inherit or make a will actually might have been. And if she were a slave, she had no rights whatsoever.

Marriage was monogamous, but not a matter of love; most often it was an arrangement between families. Men married in order to establish legitimacy of offspring, to secure a legitimate heir, or for some personal (economic or political) advantage.

Paul, on the other hand, was an elite Jew, highly educated and quite privileged. In Judaism, marriage could occur for love, as demonstrated by many of the biblical narratives (Isaac and Rebekkah, Jacob and Rachel, et al.). The Song of Songs is a highly romantic celebration of erotic love as an analogy of spiritual love (which does not diminish its importance as a marriage celebration).  This was the culture Paul was teaching his Gentile converts to Christianity:  Christianity was Jewish in its moral and social values, its ethos. It was a massive paradigm shift for the formerly-pagan converts.

So when Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands as to Christ, he’s not subjugating them to men.  Society had already done that. What he was telling them was to view their dependence and their legal subjugation in a new and nobler perspective. By serving their husbands as they would Christ, these Ephesian women were given an opportunity to elevate their homes and their relationships with their husbands to a new dignity and importance. And, in the process, to elevate their own status in the home as analogous to the Church itself. Paul goes into this comparison in some detail in ch. 5, vv. 23-24.

But it’s the men who faced the greater challenge. They were instructed to completely change the way they regard their wives:  no longer as property, nor as a status bearer, nor as an object for sex and procreation, but as part of themselves, part of their own bodies!

To love them.

And, even more radically, to love with the same kind of total self-sacrificing self-donation that Our Lord demonstrated when He gave Himself for the Church.

The Greco-Roman culture was depraved. Sexual license and depravity were normal behaviors. From Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, we get a glimpse “Neither . . . sodomists . . . will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And such were some of you!” (I Cor. 6:9-11) [Yeah, ex-gays.  I totally get that!] That’s how complete  and radical the paradigm shift for these converts was.

So Paul is telling men to love their wives, rather than objectifying them. To honor them as part of themselves. To be willing to die for them.

We ex-wives of gay men have been objectified. We have been exploited, and in many ways abused. This abuse is not a Christian experience of marriage, but more of a reversion to a pagan model.

It really is better than we’ve known.

Them Before Us

When the Titanic sank, the call to the lifeboats was given, with the order, “Women and children first!” In other words, the most vulnerable were to be given priority in rescue and safety.

As western civilization sinks back into the waters of neoRoman depravity, we hear a different sort of call, that the women and children should be the first victims of the catastrophe. After all, we – especially the children! – are less likely to pose serious opposition to the forces of change.

Children are especially vulnerable, and one of our greatest challenges is to see to the protection of children, even while we ourselves might feel as if we’re being sucked under the waves.  But if we don’t protect them, we who recognize what’s going on, and the dangers they face, who will?

I’m so proud of Katy Faust.  Formerly blogging at Ask the Bigot, she now has a heroic work of revealing and fighting the insanity of child sacrifice to the LGBTQ-XYZ agenda.  Them Before Us — the name says it all.

On Marriage

I wonder how many of us have gone on to marry, and marry well.  I’ve not –

although I’d love to.

In our present moral climate, where words are being redefined to mean whatever anyone wants them to mean in that moment, and consequently to mean absolutely nothing at all, when marriage can be between any two (or more) people, or person and thing . .   when divorce is almost as common as marriage itself and most people are just living together without any pretense of commitment . . .

Marriage — real, authentic, traditional marriage — has become probably the most radically countercultural and courageous step anyone can take.

I doubt I will marry, now, after so many years, but I believe with all my heart that we who have experienced the worst of the legal institution must hold fast to our ideals of the spiritual realities of marriage, and defend them with all our might.

Let this be our legacy — a courage of a sort, defending the truth we believed, the fulfillment of union we were denied, the ideal that is bigger still than our loss or others’ failures or betrayals.  Let our voices proclaim the reality that others, including our former spouses, would deny: Marriage is a mystical and complete union between two people — one man and one woman for a lifetime — as complete as it is possible for any two individual souls to be united, in this world.  It is the bedrock of society, the only proper place for children to be brought into the world and raised, the haven from the sorrows and sufferings of the world.

We owe it to ourselves and to our children to hold fast to the idea, regardless our loss and heartbreak.

Even if we are denied the experience, let us not fail to affirm and support and advocate for the ideal itself.  Let us be victorious here, at least:  they could not deny us the truth of our thwarted dream.

Chastity – A Politically Incorrect Perspective

Right off the bat, let me admit that I’m Roman Catholic, and I get the Church’s teaching about Chastity – sex as a unitive as well as procreative act, etc., etc. Up until about thirty, forty years ago, the mainstream Christian churches all shared this view, and most people were part of a Christian church of some description. That’s no longer the case.

In fact, I realize that most of my readers, now and forevermore, are probably going to consider themselves quite thoroughly independent of a religious perspective, so let’s talk about this chastity business from a very practical point of view.

As I’ve said before and will probably say again, women who’ve been married to gay men get all muddled up in confusing sex with affection with love. We are so habituated to equate the lack of sexual love or physical affection with the overall rejection we faced from our husbands that when a man comes along and shows us a bit of affection or sexual interest, we sort of lose our heads…

And it’s crazier, because a lot of us didn’t have sex before the wedding with our gay husbands. I thought DH had such exquisite self-control! but it turned out he just wasn’t interested. So when a man is interested… wow!

And then we find ourselves in situations we really don’t want to be in…

…with the “player” who just wanted the conquest and disappears after the encounter, leaving us wondering what happened! Was I not “good enough” for him, either?

… with the codependent man who is contented to hang around for easy sex but doesn’t want to make a commitment…

… with our judgment skewed in a very big way by all those endorphins and other horrormones that sort of hit us like a ton of bricks and interfere with our rational judgment.

And ultimately, what we want – to be loved for our whole selves and to belong to and with someone – has gotten sabotaged. We’ve been used. We feel it, as well as feeling cheapened, and exploited, and trashed.

So. Where does that leave us?

Let’s look at Chastity for a moment. Chastity does not mean never ever again having sex. Yes, I’m going to limit having sex to the context of marriage. What you do on your own is your business, but I’m not going to advocate any other course of action, okay?

Because, Look:

Chastity is liberating. It frees us from getting entangled in bad, toxic, exploitive premature “relationships.”

Chastity leaves us free to pursue healing and wholeness and our own integrity in a way that easy sex sabotages.

Chastity empowers us. It puts us in the driver’s seat, not our partner whom we’re trying so desperately to please.

Chastity gives us time and room to get to know a man’s character. Really. Sure, there’s always an element of risk – but that risk is exponentially increased, several times over, when those horny horror-mones kick in and are leading us around by the nose.

Yeah, the popular rhetoric these days is that women’s liberation is reduced to her ability to have unrestricted, consequence-free sex, but that’s a lie. Sex out of the context of marriage has emotional and spiritual consequences, and they’re very unpleasant.

So what do you have to lose by adopting chastity? A whole lot of baggage, it appears to me – baggage that actually thwarts us from achieving the life and love we really want.

 

Positive activism

In an arena where sentimentality masquerades for “love,” and “God just wants everybody to be happy,” we who have lived under the shadow of the rainbow – the shadow of our husbands’ homosexuality – can speak truth with love and with insight and with a power few other people possess.

We know the destructiveness of homosexuality on families.

We know the destructiveness of homosexuality in the character and personality of our loved one.

Love compels us to speak out: Homosexuality is a destructive lifestyle choice. It is physically violent, it is marked by emotional violence; it is a perversion – literally, “the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended” – of the love and fruitfulness of life that God created man and woman to live in.

It is not out of a selfish desire for vindication but of a deep and Christ-centered love that protects us from giving in and playing along with the game that says our husbands have the right to be happy, no matter what.

We know better.

Perspective – Part One

(Language warning – but this is why I rated this blog PG-13)

I get pretty angry when I see/hear people talking about homosexuality as if it were all sweetness and light. The willful ignorance of the general population toward homosexuality is appalling.

I have a hard time keeping a civil tongue in my head when I encounter discussion about gay rights, gay marriage, as if homosexual “love” were just like heterosexual love… with certain… anatomical… distinctions.

Think that if you wish, but you’re not thinking at all if you do. The dynamic of homosexual relationships is not like heterosexual ones. There is a violence – physical violence in the sex act and emotional violence in the way gays treat one another and everyone else.

There is nothing sweet or normal about the anger and sarcasm and emotional violence and the general contempt for other people, the basic “F*** you” attitude that marks the gay community in regards to everyone else who isn’t a part of that community – or, in their language, all us heterosexists.

Look. In heterosexual relationships, there is a complementarity of being: masculine/feminine, both equally strong but in different ways. In the gay community, relationships are identified by dominant/passive-receptive. According to Queer Net, this is called the active-passive split: “–a mode of thought found in some cultures in which, in male-male sexual activity, the only one who is perverted is the bottom. In this mode of thought, a man who would allow himself to get fucked is thought weak and womanish, whereas the top retains his manhood because he is doing the fucking.”

Note that the male partner in the receptive or “female” role is the one regarded with contempt and derision.

The slang of the gay community is further evidence of this violence and contempt. It’s rude, it’s ugly to call a homosexual a “queen”? Guess what? That’s what they call themselves and each other. Is it ugly to call a straight girl attracted to gay men a “fag hag”? Well, guess what, again! The term was coined by gays!  Someone told me that my ex- is a “bitch queen” – a term given to a particularly campy or catty gay man. Do you really think I’m being nasty and ill-tempered to use these words, here? Would I be if I were a lesbian?

But the language is nothing compared to the physical acts. Do you know that gay men are likely to have a variety of gay-specific infections and medical complications, not including AIDS, that the rest of the population has never heard of? That gay men in the passive role lose the ability to have normal bowel movements? have to wear feminine hygiene products to catch the bleeding? There is nothing noble, heroic, beautiful or “sweet” about a man having his anal sphincter ripped open by another man’s dick. Okay?

And there’s nothing sweet, loving, or honorable about a man doing that to another man.