Tag Archives: Marriage

Guest Post: Minimizing Sex Starvation

***I’ve been busy lately, so here’s a guest post from Bee.  There’s a decent chance this post was submitted to me to advertise a particular site (Edit: From the comments it seems not. My apologies to Bee.) but the post is readable and on topic and cleaning and routines is something I struggle with (or, more accurately almost completely ignore in my bachelor home) so some encouragement to keep on top of things is helpful.

As well, the idea of scheduling sex is interesting and not something I’ve thought of. On one hand, it seems like it could be a good to get it regularly, but maybe it’s a bit of a forced buzzkill. What do y’all think?

I do accept and post guest posts that may give my readers some value or information related to the topics of this blog, so if you have something worthwhile feel free to submit it. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of people submitting near illegible spam. So for those people sending me spam, this post represents the bare minimum of quality I will accept for future guest posts, so if you can’t reach this, don’t send anything. ***

In this world, risk can never be eliminated or fully controlled; it can only be reduced and managed. My two suggestions can minimize the possibility of ending up in a sexless marriage. My two suggestions can not guarantee you will not end up in sexless marriage.

This post is for single, Christian men. Because Christian men can only find sexual release in marriage with their wife this makes avoiding a sex starved marriage very important.

We see from Genesis 2 that the wife was brought into Adam’s existing life. Before Eve was created, Adam was an adult and was working a job given him by God.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him. (Genesis 2:15 – 20 NASB)

For most Christian men their God given job is:

  • to worship and give thanks to God.
  • to grow the church by having more than 2 children.
  • to disciple their wife and children to grow in Christ.

Eve was brought to Adam to be his helper in his already existing work and life. Eve needed to fit into Adam’s existing life and world.

I believe that one important part of being a helpmeet is to meet her husbands’ sexual needs.

In the pioneer days of North America mothers taught their daughters a weekly routine that organized and prioritized their work as married home helpmeets. Monday was washday, Tuesday was ironing, Wednesday was mending, etc. This weekly routine focused their energies and helped prevent discouragement or depression. Mrs. Bee has told me that looking at her weekly schedule helps her when she forgets or loses track of what she should be doing.

As a single man you want to be able to practice what you preach about schedule and routine. While single, begin to incorporate the power of routine into your life. Start going to bed at the same time each night. Designate one evening a week for cleaning your apartment or home. Incorporate exercise, grocery shopping, Bible study, fasting into your week. The FlyLady is a good source for help with cleaning and routines.

My solution to minimize the chances of a sex starved marriage is based on two foundations.

Choose a woman who believes in personal submission to her husband. A sexually available wife is also a submissive wife.

Make sex a regularly scheduled event. Begin with a 20 or 30 minute session three times a week. Most married men will be fine with that but if you need sex more frequently, then change the schedule after awhile. For the Christian man who married because he “burns’, sex is too important to let happen only when his wife is emotionally in the mood.

Like Adam, you have job and a regular schedule before getting married. As a Christian man, you are not scheduling sex in your routine before marriage. But, as soon as you are married, you adjust your existing bed time 3 or more nights a week to accommodate your sexual release, your wife’s sexual release, fleshly uniting with your wife, and your procreation duties.

Jesus told two short parables illustrating that major decisions should be considered carefully before commitments are made.

For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends [o]a delegation and asks for terms of peace. Luke 14:28 – 32 NASB

These parables means you should inform a women of what your schedule after marriage will be like and allow her to decide, without pressure or coercion, if she is willing to enter into this kind of relationship with you. Be wise, don’t bring this up on the first 3 dates, but do bring it up shortly before you are ready to propose. It would be natural for most women to experience some trepidation at the thought of performing sexually three times a week, or more. Trepidation alone should not be a deal breaker. Try to discern if willingness is present with any trepidation.

Your convictions regarding birth control and sex during menstruation (Leviticus 15:19) may be factors in adjusting your schedule with your wife. Those details are best left up to each couple to work out.

If your wife gives you regular sex make a special effort to reward her. An occasional longer time with more romance for her can be a reward. Helping her with house chores so she can get to bed on time is also something I have done that has not hurt my sex life. I have not done chores to get more sex, I have done chores because my wife was freely giving me plenty of sex.

I hope these ideas help single, Christian men avoid a sex-starved marriage.

About myself; I met my wife at church in North America. My N was zero. Her N was greater than zero but she has not had a problem bonding to me. We have been happily married for 21 years. My wife has never sexually refused me even though I did not know these principles before I got married. I was fortunate that my wife believed in being submissive and in serving me sexually – I was not wise enough to look for those qualities when I was looking for a wife. In the last 9 months we have been scheduling sex 4 times a week. I am very happy.

Unrealistic Expectations

Donal pointed out this comment by Elspeth:

Most people (men and women) have unrealistic expectations, about themselves, about what they are worth, about what they should be able to have. And those who know they can’t have what they want will go without. Especially men. I’ve heard a couple of young men actually say that.

He then defended those with reasonable, but possibly unrealistic requirements. (Read his post for definitions).

I’m going to go farther: as a man you should have unrealistic requirements for marriage. I’ve created my list for marriage and it’s reasonable, but possibly not realistic.

Based on previous analyses only about 40% of women are even worth considering for marriage looks-wise (ie. are not fat or actively ugly) and only about 30% of women would be in the 0-2 sexual partners category (although, that’s a bit higher if you go younger) and less than half have not had a one-night stand. Throw on top of that that you should almost never* marry a woman over 30 and be wary of those over 25, and your pickings are getting slim. That’s not even considering the much more important (for marriage) aspects of personality and inner beauty.

we can estimate that only about a fifth of eligible women would be even worth considering marrying. If we then look towards such things as religion, shared values, mutual compatibility, personality, and the like, the percentage of women that would make a decent wife for any particular man is shockingly low. (The only reprieve is a man only needs one reciprocating girl to meet those requirements).

If only 20% of women are worthy wives, then that means that 80% of men are not going to be able to find a worthy wife. Now, it should be noted that most men won’t meet the requirements a worthy wife should have and many men will choose unworthy wives, but still, if even a quarter of men are waiting for worthy wives that means that 20% of those men are simply going to have to do without.

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It is better to live in a corner of the housetop
than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 25:24 ESV)

While a good marriage can be a great blessing, the consequences of choosing an unworthy wife are huge.

I remember reading somewhere (I can’t find the link) that 70% of marriages either end in divorce or perpetual unhappiness, which means that only 30% of marriages end up being happy and healthy. (That’s pretty close to my estimation that only 20% of women who are worthy wives, is it not?)

There is a 40% chance the marriage will end in divorce, the odds of which are strongly effected by how worthy the wife is. The cost of an average divorce to a man is about $150,000, the price of a smaller house. (This does not include child support, which will run an average man a pretty penny as well). The emotional costs of divorce are also huge: it is better to be single than divorced.

But even if the family stays together, there’s a chance the marriage will be miserable. Number I’ve read range all over the place. This study shows that 97% of marriages are ‘very’ or ‘pretty’ happy with their marriage, while this one shows 80% are satisfied with their relationship. I’ve seen lots of other numbers bandied around of anywhere from 20-60%, but most of these did not seem supported by anything. 80% satisfaction sounds right, which means 20% of marriages not ending in divorce are unhappy.

So, there’s a 50-70% chance that a marriage will be unhappy or end in divorce. If a man chooses a wife wrong, he will end up miserable.

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Men should have unrealistic (but no unreasonable) requirements for marriage. IF only a fifth of women display the qualities that make a good wife, not all men will be able to find a good wife. Going without is much superior to entering a marriage that will end in divorce or misery.

So hold those requirements high and be unrealistic if necessary to so.

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Before the accusations of misogyny start flying, know that I also advocate women demanding more from their relationships. Women should also hold high requirements for marriage and relationships.

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* I have talked with one girl approaching 30 whom, had circumstances been different, I may have considered, but she had been engaged in her mid-20s then the guy calling it off because she wouldn’t have sex with him until marriage. There are not many women out there with that level of virtue, but every rule has an exception.

Patriarchy = Civilization

I’ve implied this before, but now I will make it explicit:

Patriarchy is civilization. Civilization is patriarchy.

The two concepts are indistinguishable, differing only in emphasis.

Any time someone says patriarchy, they are, whether consciously or not, referring to civilization.

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Civilization is built when men produce more than they need to satiate their desires; civilization is the surplus value males create for the future, particularly their children.

Men will only produce surplus value if it will increase their returns in the marriage market (h/t:RPR). It is not that marriage itself is of value to men, rather marriage provides a means by which man can ensure paternity of his children. With the paternity of his children assured, man can invest invest in his children. Assured paternity binds father to children.

This binding of father to son and daughter is civilization, it may even be humanity itself.*

Patriarchy is a word encompassing all the mechanisms society has created so that man can be assured of the paternity of his children and will bind himself to them. It includes monogamy, pre-marital chastity, prohibitions on adultery, slut-shaming, the criminalization of prostitution, cad-shaming, father as the household head, proscriptions on divorce, patrilineality, and fatherhood itself.

These mechanisms are what create civilization.

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From the wiki for JD Unwin who completed a marriage study on civilization and marriage in the 1930s.

Unwin’s conclusions, which are based upon an enormous wealth of carefully sifted evidence, may be summed up as follows. All human societies are in one or another of four cultural conditions: zoistic, manistic, deistic, rationalistic. Of these societies the zoistic displays the least amount of mental and social energy, the rationalistic the most. Investigation shows that the societies exhibiting the least amount of energy are those where pre-nuptial continence is not imposed and where the opportunities for sexual indulgence after marriage are greatest. The cultural condition of a society rises in exact proportion as it imposes pre-nuptial and post-nuptial restraints upon sexual opportunity.

The whole of human history does not contain a single instance of a group becoming civilized unless it has been absolutely monogamous, nor is there any example of a group retaining its culture after it has adopted less rigorous customs.

Decadence leads to barbarism.

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The problem is free-riding. For both men and women, it is in an individual’s self-interest to get around the mechanisms of patriarchy. A man can have more darwinian success if he impregnates a woman and another man raises the child or if he impregnates many women. A woman can have more darwinian success if she has is impregnated by a fitter man than she can marry then has an attainable man raise the child. When free-riding becomes too common, the assurance of patriarchy weakens, then disappears.

What we experienced in the 20th century was the triumph of the free riders over civilization. The culture that was indispensable for suppressing the free riders was hijacked and turned on its head. Not only does culture now fail in its primary pro-civilizational mission, it actively discourages women from cooperation and makes it as easy as possible for them cheat their responsibilities… The cost of this failure is civilization itself and there can be no greater price to pay than Eden.

The bond between father and child is destroyed. Men lose their will to create a surplus and build for the future.

Civilization dies.

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Patriarchy is civilization.

Anybody opposing patriarchy is opposing civilization. The destruction of patriarchy is the destruction of civilization.

Whatever feminists and liberals may think of patriarchy, the violence and rapine of barbarism is far worse.

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* The binding of father to children has many benefits on an individual level as well.

Traditional Family

In my earlier post, lolz commented:

In my humble opinion, the tradcon exchange between husband and wife that you advocate is not really all that equitable – and certainly not what one sees in ancient societies.

He also posted a link (read it all, it’s pretty good, except the conclusion which is too egalitarian and hedonistic for my taste):

In other words, people we call “tradcons” are frequently hewing to a “tradition” that is mostly a recent invention. Throughout virtually all of history, up to and including much of the world still today, “the family” or even “the nuclear family” meant something very different: what it usually was was father+mother+the kids as part of an extended family, with grandmothers and grandfathers and aunts and uncles and/or cousins frequently living under one roof, or in very close proximity to each other, in a mutually supportive environment. “The family” was all these people, usually dedicated to helping each other, often forming alliances with other families to their mutual benefit. Even in societies where it was the norm for the youngsters to move away, they usually moved in mutually supportive groups together only a day or two away from the rest of the extended family, whom they would often get back together with in times of trouble. Even in societies when young men struck out on their own, they usually did so in mutually supportive groups, not alone against the world.

The ancient idea of “the family” was not “we get together and have dinner at holidays and provide each other some emotional support.” It was much more a matter of, “we work together during the day, we make our meals together, we live in one house or adjacent houses, we fight off enemies together, when one of us is sick we all get together to help. Two of our young’uns are getting hitched? We may need to build them a house because we can’t fit them in here right now so let’s give ‘em a new place over on that hill up yonder.”

First, I’ll answer the ‘equitable’ thing. lolz is right, it’s not equitable. Having to work 40-60 hours a week away from your home and family is definitely the shorter end of the stick to raising your own family, as I’ve written before, women definitely benefited from the ‘traditional’ nuclear family. The problem is, unless you’re willing to abandon your kids as latchkey children to daycare and the public schools or you have family that’s willing to take care of them most of the week, you need someone to take care of the kids, and given biological differences between the sexes, the man staying home will result in marital problems and divorce. It makes sense to have the woman stay home.

Which brings us to the next point: both lolz and Esmay are right.

The nuclear family is not ‘traditional’ or the way things were, it was an adaptation to modern industrial society. What the article above failed to mention, is that ‘work’ as we know it today, is a recent invention. Until the industrial revolution, most people’s ‘work’ was either the family farm or or the family home business (or in tribal societies, men hunted, women gathered). There was no real separation between work and home life, they were the same. Sadly, we do not exist in that society. To not starve, most people have to work outside the home. The nuclear family is the best adaptation to that economic reality we have.

Ideally, we’d be able to get back to that tribal, extended family structure. One of my hopes, if that someday I will be able to be able to create a tribal structure among my family, and maybe with my friends as well. We’ll live on a mostly self-sustaining farm subsidized by some small income from a couple projects I’m working on. That will take a lot of work, and will be a lifelong project, but hopefully I’ll get there.

But for now, the realities of modern society constrain me, constrain us. We can try to build a traditional, tribal structure, but that is not going to happen right away. Before that, I have to get a wife, then keep my children from having their souls devoured by the progressive school system, that means the nuclear, breadwinning family is a necessity for now.

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As an aside, I would actually not mind being a stay-at home dad. A commenter at Vox’s site has described his adventures as such:

Hey man… we don’t JUST play video games all day. I mean sometimes its almost 8am before they finish with their school work for the day. And sometimes we go down to the lake and shoot turtles with the 10/22s… or fish… or have great glorious nerf wars in the tree forts. and there is a swimming pool out there for the really nice days… about 300 of them a year.

Ok well… its mostly video games…

He’s also described the risk of it:

Look the truth is if I wasn’t such a stupendous badass my wife would’ve lost interest years ago. Happens all the time. The stay at home dad thing is basically betting your family’s future on your ability to maintain your badass man credibility with practically the whole deck stacked against you. The risks are huge. Of course.. if you pull it off you get to spend all day with your kids shooting turtles, fishing, playing Black Ops II, and watching Sportcenter. so I mean… its not entirely irrational.

Honestly, that sounds like a lot of fun, and would be much better life than going to the office every day.

Even the risk of the family being destroyed, while much higher, is not as brutally punishing, as you won’t be the one paying child support and alimony, and you’ll probably have a decent chance of getting custody.

The question is, could you find a girl okay with the arrangement and could you stay badass. I figure, if you ran a little hobby farm in the country, fished, and hunted, your odds wouldn’t be too bad. You’d still get the provider rep if the meat on the table was something you slaughtered or hunted yourself.

It would take a lot of work to set up, but I’d be okay with the arrangement of staying home on the acreage with the kids while the wife worked.

Musings on Romance

Donal has some musings:

The basic strategy which many (most?) women employ right now, which is regularly known as AF/BB (see Rollo’s post for more), is one that requires two distinct elements to pull off: deceit and desperation. Many, if not most, men would not be content to marry a woman whom they realize is choosing to marry them solely as a meal ticket, and effectively a sperm donor as well. It should surprise no one that men don’t like to be used in that way, and will balk at it if they realize that is what is happening. Hence the importance of hiding what is going on from them.

Maybe I’m odd, but I honestly wouldn’t mind taking a wife who was wanting to make rational deal upfront. I’d be quite willing to go along with a young woman who proposed an honest, straightforward marriage deal: ‘you provide for me, protect me, and father my children, and I’ll bear you many children, keep your house, and provide regular sexual access.’

If she met my list and I had some positive feelings for her, I’d jump at the chance for such a rational young girl.

That’s not to say I’m willing to be the beta bux for a woman who’s already had her alpha fux, but that’s something quite different a family-oriented girl with a low time preference rationally planning her future. In fact, that kind of future-time orientation would be rather attractive in its own right.

My problem with being the beta bux is not that a woman would want “a meal-ticket” but rather that she is not offering a worthwhile value in trade by trying to sell damaged and/or decaying goods for full price through deceit.

If a young woman wanted to make a fair and honest trade on the marriage market for a meal-ticket, I’d be game.

But then again, I’ve always been rather emotionally-detached and bloodlessly rational, so I’m probably the odd one out here.

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Which leads me to further musings on romance.

The slow, agonizing death of modern marriage did not start with gay marriage nor did it start with no-fault divorce. It didn’t even start with the creation of ‘marital rape‘ or mass contraception.

It started well before that: it started with the acceptance of romantic love as the basis of marriage and the conflation of romantic love and Christian love.

Romantic love is a feeling and feelings change, for this reason romance and romantic love are a horrible basis for marriage.

Christian love is not a feeling, it is a series of purposeful attitudes and actions adopted.

‘Love’ is not love.

If you accept that romantic ‘love’ should be the basis of marriage, you are the problem.

Christian Sickness

I’ve discussed the issue of purity and abstinence recently, but I’m doing it again as I’ve just come across this piece that perfectly illustrates modern evangelical sickness, read it. I’m beginning to think ‘purity’ is one of, if not the most, destructive teaching in the modern church.

In this article, a 30-something women discusses how great purity is and how hard her struggles with sexual desire are.

As a single girl in my thirties who was committed, by God’s grace, to saving sex for marriage,

Notice, ‘committed to saving sex for marriage.’ This is entirely the wrong commitment. The commitment should be to marriage.

Paul was very clear on this: “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Corinthians 7:8-9 ESV)

For those women (and men) burning with passion, counseling abstinence is simply wrong; in fact, it might be borderline sinful. Instead, the church should council marriage.

“Purity culture” is destroying the church.

Or maybe the greater question is, Why do we even want to fight for sexual purity when our desires seem so natural and good—and often feel too powerful to control?

She shouldn’t. These desires feel good, natural, and powerful because they are good, natural, and powerful because God made them that way.

The problem is not the desire, the problem is looking for it in the wrong spot. People should not be waiting until their late-20s, or 30′s to get married and suffer under some perverse form of purity. They should be getting married young and having good, natural, enjoyable sex with their spouses while young.

God created sex, then told us to enjoy it only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman; so if He has us wait an excruciatingly long time for it, He is (mercifully) teaching us to meet our very deepest desires in Him alone.

Waiting is the problem, a Christian should not be waiting. They should be actively preparing and looking for marriage, men and women alike, each in their own way.

She gives some advice on combating lust, of which this is the most interesting:

9. Set hard-and-fast boundaries with men—for your sake and theirs. Hanging out alone with a man never helped me; it usually stirred up desires unnecessarily.

If a man and a woman are hanging out and want each other so much they are considering sin, they should be getting to the altar post-haste. ‘Boundaries’ are a broken product of a broken church culture. If a Christian man and woman are worrying about violating their ‘boundaries’ they should be be getting married.

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To Colleen,

You seem like a decent woman, but you have been mislead by a sick church culture, so please don’t take offense to my criticisms, instead help me to fix church culture. Council your other women readers avoid sticking to some misguided quest for a perverse form of ‘purity’, instead council them to commit to marriage, to try their hardest to find a decent Christian man and start a life.

Stop waiting and ‘being pure’, and embrace the holy desires God has given you. Find a decent Christian man, marry him, and have as much sex as you possibly can; council your readers to do the same.

The false teachings you have received on this issue have obviously hurt you according to your own words, so please help prevent other young women from falling into the same trap.

Marriage: Take Up Your Cross

When I write or talk of Christian marriage I will get blowback of the type ‘surely you don’t expect a woman to put up with abuse‘ or ‘surely you don’t expect men to put up with a lack of sex.’ ‘How can you possibly require someone to stay in such a horrific situation?’

First, I will quickly establish once again the fundaments of Christian marriage:

‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. (Matthew 19:5-6 ESV)

Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:24-27 ESV)

Divorce is not an option, it is illegitimate, and wives are to submit as the church to Christ and husbands are to love their wives as Christ did the church.

If you get married, this is your mission. Love your wife to the point of crucifixion or, alternatively, submit to your husband to the point of crucifixion.

I am not being hyperbolic. This is what is literally what is demanded of you in the Bible.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26 ESV)

Take up your cross. If you’re a husband, your cross is to love your wife. If you’re a wife, your cross is to submit to your husband.

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First for the men, this is how much Christ loved the church. Watch and take it to heart:

Christ loved the church so much he allowed himself to be brutally tortured and crucified for the church. This is how much you are to love your wife.

Is your wife disrespecting you worse than that? Is a dead bedroom ? Is nagging? Is your wife assaulting you?

No.

You do not have the right to divorce your wife for any of this. You do not have the right to stop loving your wife for any of this.

If you are married, stop whining, pick up your cross, and love your wife.

Stop being a little bitch.

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Now for the women, I do not have a video, but here is Paul on his trials:

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? (2 Corinthians 11:23-29 ESV)

According to tradition, Paul was later martyred by beheading. Peter was crucified upside down.

Paul submitted to Christ to the point of where he spent his life enduring extreme loneliness, extreme deprivation, and brutal torture only to have it end in violent death.

Is your husband ignoring your needs worse than this? Is having regular, if uninteresting, sex worse than this? Is being verbally abused worse than this? Is being smacked around worse than this?

No.

If you are married you do not have the right to divorce your husband for any of this. You do not have the right to stop submitting to you husband for any of this.

If you are married, stop complaining, pick up your cross, and submit to your husband.

Stop thinking your situation is oh-so-specially horrible that you are exempted from God’s commandments.

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Because fools and knaves may try to twist my words, I will state the stupidly obvious.

The husband being required to love his wife no matter what does not give the wife permission to deny her husband sex, to nag, to disrespect, or be violent.

The wife being required to submit to her husband no matter what does not give the husband the right to belittle, ignore, or abuse her.

Quite simply, for both parties, instead of thinking of your rights and how to get the most out of your marriage, think of what you can do for the other. How best can you love your wife? How best can you submit to your husband?

Your spouse and your spouse’s needs come before your own.

If both spouses think and act this way, you will both be much happier and your marriage much stronger.

If you think and act this way, even if your spouse does not agree to do so, it might surprise you what changes you can effect in the other or in yourself. But even if nothing changes, it’s still your Christian duty.

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Pick up your cross. If necessary, allow yourself to be nailed to it.

It doesn’t matter if your spouse is abusive, unloving, distant, cold, or quarrelsome, your duty, your cross remains.

Does this sound like a tall order? Does this sound like more than you can handle? Are you not prepared for this?

Then don’t get married.

If you aren’t willing to pick up your cross and do what is commanded of you in marriage, whatever may come, do not get married. Stay single. If you do decide to get married, be sure to choose your spouse well, so they are unlikely to become abusive or unloving.

Before you decide to marry count up your costs. If, having counted the costs, you still choose to marry, pick up your cross.

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (Luke 14:27-30 ESV)