In a way this is sort of cute, but it can get nasty and they can push things until they explode and then the issue isn’t video games (or whatever), but the fact they are hurting each other in a fight or avoiding each other altogether.
Take the above words “Play Video Games” and replace it with:
work in the shop
work on his race car
and you end up with the same pattern: she complains; he resists. I’m pretty sure this pattern has gone on for thousands of years across all cultures, times and eras.
She’s thinking: I can’t believe he doesn’t grow up. I can’t believe he can’t see that I do everything around here and he’s taking advantage of me. I can’t believe he won’t change this. If he doesn’t take my ideas to heart, he must not love me or even want to be with me. It’s so simple. I don’t feel he hears anything I say. Why am I even here? He’s taking advantage of me. Everything has to be his way. He’s such a control freak.
He’s thinking: I can’t believe she won’t just relax. She can’t enjoy life. Everything is work and has to be her way. I can’t even relax in my own home. I’m an adult and don’t need another mom. I’m already working hard and she doesn’t appreciate it. She treats me like I’m 2. At least when I’m doing _____ I don’t have to worry about her unhappiness. Nothing makes her happy. I’m a piece of crap. Why did she marry me anyway? I can’t do anything right. She used to be fun. I have to relax somehow. Everything has to be her way. She’s such a control freak.
You can see how these attitudes can slip couples into complete avoidance of each other or a pretty hostile environment where mean things are being said and thought or even where they slip into physical altercations and before you know it someone’s had to call the police. Oh, boy.
Here’s a very curious fact: The average divorce is at 7.2 years.
Here’s a very curious fact number 2: Men take a little longer (on average) to grow up than women.
Here’s a very sad fact number 3) They divorce just about the time he’s starting to reach her maturity level.
Here’s an encouraging thought: With a little guidance from a guy like myself who has a little savvy the couple could have risen above this problem, learned to figure it out, come to a meeting of the minds, learn to handle their differences with a little more tact, figured out how to work as a team to reduce their hostility and learn to solve their problems together. Love is patient, after all! I wouldn’t say 7.2 years is very patient.
Still, I wouldn’t say playing video games four hours after work or even more every day is a very mature thing to do. I can see why it is really irritating and it very well may slow down your husband’s development as an adult. But your blowing up about it or cutting your husband out of your heart or your harboring resentments isn’t exactly helping the situation either and keeps you from being all you can be as a person and as a couple. It can seem like a log jam and you can’t get unstuck.
You may have never heard of him, because his heyday is largely over, but my girlfriend at the time (now my wife!) attended his Christian seminar back in 1973. He was all the rage and was filling up stadiums with 10,000 to 20,000 seminar attendees for week long workshops (2 hours every night) explaining his take on the truths of the Scriptures visually using hand drawings on an overhead to help people grasp his points. I learned a lot from him that week, but remember feeling so guilty that his material quickly faded for me. But I didn’t forget the way he illustrated things and I often use a dry eraser board in my office to help my clients visualize things. Actually, I recently wondered what happened to him, because he went from being a rock star on the Christian circuit to falling off the radar.
Well, what’d you know? He’d been busy perping on young women he’d recruit from his workshops to come help at his headquarters. He’s also used the principles he’s taught (the crux of his material was submission to authority, which, of course, included “the girls” being under his authority) to thoroughly justify his own self-aggrandizement and spiritually abused those who worked under him. I just found out the reason his wildly successful workshops disappeared is because he barely survived a sexual scandal from his brother in the late 1970’s who was his right-hand man and had molested a scary number of single staff women in their northern Michigan retreat center complete with porn paid with Institute monies and Bill Gothard had done absolutely nothing about it. His self-picked board didn’t do anything about it either, and Gothard largely lost his creed with local churches, who had demanded accountability (authority without accountability is tyranny). So he switched his emphasis to homeschooling materials, a largely independent group, that enabled him to continue his lifestyle undetected. I wasn’t even aware of that scandal at the time. I’m just learning all of this now (you can check out the latest here).
My point in all of this? Mr. Gothard had promoted himself as a Christian teacher to the masses and it turns out he’s a charlatan and he’s left a trail of tears instead. Jesus said, “they will know you are Christians by your love” but sadly, too often to count, we could say in our day, “they will know you are Christian’s by your hypocrisy.” How tragic is that? I don’t think any of us expect the Church to be perfect, but using Christian doctrine and position to beat up on the innocent is a little hard to take. It’s no wonder people throw out the baby with the bath water in frustration. Those in the wake of this kind of hurt struggle with thinking what in the world is reality? One’s beliefs about God go pretty deep in the soul and to have some leader touch you inappropriately (as of March 8, 2014, 34 women had come forward to say Gothard had been inappropriate with them. One of these reported genitalia touching. The rest of them were sexually harassed as well as spiritually abused.) and use the Bible to motivate you by guilt for their own purposes, plays with your brain and you wonder if you are going crazy sometimes. People lose their faith over these things. People lose their morals over these things. People lose their marriages and their relationships and their dignity. No wonder (The web site reporting this has some first person accounts of Gothard’s abuse, that are amazingly filled with the healing of God and grace in their lives. They are wonderful examples of healing in the face of evil. You can check them out here.).
I teasingly tell engaged couples, you don’t want to get married until you’ve had a pretty big disagreement with your fiance and you were able to work it through. In the same way, you shouldn’t be a counselor unless you’ve recovered from some hurt. One of the main jobs of a counselor is to help people heal from hurt of whatever kind. Getting hurt from the people who are supposed to set an example for you can play with your brain.
Without going into details, let’s just say there’s more than one reason why I’m not a pastor anymore. The biggest reason was I was at the tail end of my viability as a minister. I looked around my denomination in the state of Iowa at the time and there were only two ministers over the age of 50: one a pastor in the largest church in the state and the other a pastor in the smallest (17 attenders on Sunday morning). I could see the hand writing on the wall. The evangelical church mostly wanted pastors in their 30’s and 40’s. Refreshingly, the church we now attend has kept their pastors for 20 years or even longer and they have been able to build a pretty solid reputation in the community, But that is the exception. Whatever you might complain about the Catholic or large Protestant denominations, at least they take care of their pastors for life. Not so in the evangelical wing. I had four kids at the time I left the ministry, was in my forties and had about one more go around and that would be it. But the situation I was in was floundering, so my chances of being enthusiastically hired somewhere else were slim to none.
And then there was the other reason, which I won’t go into at all, but just to say, it’s been thirty years and I don’t even think about it much unless my kids are around and we start to banter about the past somehow. Actually, I’m very thankful: I got a new career out of the deal, helping others going through hurt, and come out the other side with their dignity and, hopefully, their faith and marriages intact. Not an easy assignment, but one that’s a little easier if your guide on the journey has been down that road before and come out a better person. I supposed that’s a bit presumptuous for me to say, but I learned the message of why Christ died on the cross is twofold: He deals with the evil in your heart and He deals with the evil others have done to you. I’d known about the former prior to being a pastor. I had to become a pastor to learn to deal with the second.
If you are going to be a counselor you have to be able to help both the perpetrator and the victim, the one who hurt and the hurting, the sinned and the sinned against. It’s a lot easier helping those who are on the receiving end than it is the one who dishes it out. The reason people dish it out is because they are pretty selfish and self-deluded in their thinking (By the way, that would be all of us: “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God*) and I, for one, aren’t mean enough sometimes to beat their stupidity out of their brains. Sometimes, though, the one who hurts others is pretty repentant and open to new ways of thinking and acting and there is joy to behold. But overall, I’d much rather have Job as a client than Ahab, if you know what I mean. Still, even though we pride ourselves we aren’t like “those people” we all have our own sin that’s caused us to hurt others. You can’t become a whole person until you can grasp how you’ve left your own trail of tears. Self-delusion would be a universal trait.
But hurt plays with your brain, too (By the way,that would be all of us, also. Jesus died for the sins against you just like he died for the sins you committed against Him! “Come onto me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” and “By his wounds we are healed.”**). And if you aren’t careful you can use the crap you go through (whether from parents, lovers, spouses, children, ministers, bosses or colleagues, Christians or not) to hurt others. You’ve heard the saying: “hurt people, hurt people”? If you have been a victim of someone elses stupidity and selfishness, you are only a step away from doing the same thing. It’s easy to get all self-righteous about it, but the Deceiver has a pretty good track record recruiting from the downtrodden. Just talk to people who populate our jails. You can believe most have endured some pretty sad abuse, but it didn’t lead them down the paths of righteousness. Hmmmm.
Hurt or sin, either one, lies to your heart and the deceit is pretty easy to believe, and to have a faithful counselor help you think differently can be a welcome relief! Of course, you can find a counselor out there who will gleefully help you denounce your faith and God and, for that matter, your husband or wife or mother or father, and reject it all as hogwash. But that won’t be of much comfort for long. Revenge and resentment as motivators only work in R-rated movies. You are going to want to find a way to not let other people’s craziness become your own. Being delivered would be the way to go. Rescued? Redeemed? We all could use a little of that.
Give us a call.
*Romans 3:23. For a summary statement of how all of us have turned to our own way against God see Romans 3:9-18.
** Matthew 11:28-30 and Isaiah 53:4-5. This is one of the major themes of the Bible. Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt is the prime example.
I suggested there’s a good reason she felt uncomfortable. Your actions speak louder than words. The actions proposed in Fifty Shades of Grey imitate imprisonment and death. I called this the Sexuality of Death and contrasted it with the Sexuality of Life. Marriage creates an environment where the Sexuality of Life can flourish, but if you aren’t careful, you can easily introduce the Sexuality of Death into your marriage. Marriage is a boundary that provides a safe place for the connection of sexuality between a husband and wife to grow. The message behind BDSM is NOT protection and is anything, but. If you flirt with these behaviors your can literally traumatize your spouse, which can leave your spouse terrorized and fearful of you.
Gina Ogden, the modern priestess that anything sexual is fine as long as there’s a spiritual element (the spiritual she’s preaching about is not with the LORD Almighty. Her sexual cocktail includes any gender, even alone, as long as it’s “spiritual”), was interviewed about her view of this Fifty Shades series and why (some!) women over 40 are so (supposedly!) interested in it and she is quoted on Yahoo as saying,
An extremely titillating book like this slows you down and gives you a fantasy from the reality of your life, from taking care of the kids, parents, working…Because of physiological changes and the fact that our focus has shifted to all these other responsibilities, it takes longer to warm up to sex. We need to be led into it, whether it’s through reading erotica, a massage from your partner, or being romanced.
It’s difficult to read Ogden because you have to sift out the truth from error. Some of her advice is very helpful. Yet, she says “partner,” not husband or wife or spouse. She includes reading erotica in the same category as a massage or being romanced. Just as there are not too many women out there who appreciate their husbands getting off on naked, nubile 20-year olds in pornography, there are not too many husbands, who are thrilled if their wives need to fantasize about someone else to be sexual with them. For Ogden sexuality is not the connection between a husband and a wife; it’s the sexual spiritual experience in any context apart from abuse.
But I would argue that BDSM IS ABUSE, child abuse all grown up. With the clients I’ve seen on this issue there is one partner (usually a husband steeped in porn. If it’s the wife, she was usually sexually abused as a child) who is trying to talk his wife into this type of behavior. He uses all manner of persuasion, including quoting the Bible (Satan is really good at quoting the Bible. He used it on Jesus in the temptations in the wilderness. He’s still using it. Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.). The same arguments Uncle Bob+ uses to convince little Billy or Sally that it is fine and honorable and good for little girls and/or boys to do these fun little acts with Uncle Bob (“See how happy the little girl is when she does this to her uncle?” as he shows her pictures or videos of smiling children being tormented by some self-worshipping adult), so, too, Uncle Bob comes to his wife or her husband with pictures of smiling, happy people assaulting, asphyxiating, tying up, humiliating, choking, or imprisoning other seemingly happy people: “See the pretty knots? See how happy they all are? You want to make me happy, don’t you?”
That’s the trick. The perpetrator makes it the victim’s fault. It’s called “grooming” amongst those who work with sex-offenders. The sex-offender grooms the child to think it is the child’s idea and the child’s desire to be vandalized by this perp. Of course, the child doesn’t know the child is being preyed upon and Uncle Bob is a sleazy, selfish criminal about to destroy this child’s life for years to come. Which plays, of course, on the victim’s brain. It wasn’t all pain, right? The plumbing works, right? So we have terror mixed with pleasure. The child thinks, “It can’t be wrong, because Uncle Bob is such a nice guy and he loves me and he says it’s fine and it feels good. But I’m confused. It feels wrong, too. I’m think I’m going crazy.”
This is the BDMS cocktail: pain and pleasure and I’ll take you right up to the edge until you say “Red” and when you say “Red” I know to stop and everything will be fine. Of course, if you say, “Red” it makes it your fault if we quit and you won’t make me happy, but I’ll never say that. It’s really important you make ME happy and do what I want and if you don’t, I’ll subtly make you feel like you are a prude and Miss Goody Two-Shoes and a puritan and a fundamentalist Christian and a naysayer and fun killer. You’ll just have to figure that out with your therapist five years from now.
It’s not fine and people are hurt and traumatized and devastated and feel violated because “they defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves.”** The potential victim should have said “Red” the minute her boyfriend, or whoever, started bringing out his little pictures (or in the case of Christian Grey in Fifty Shades, his titillating comments of Anastasia Steel “biting” her “lip” or the tease he gives her of his “secret” room and the tempting signing of his forbidden contract or his phony deprecation that he needs to initiate her to real love-making first, because she’s a virgin, before he totally humiliates her with his hardware store) of imprisoned, smiling, glamorous models all tied-up like they are being offered for sacrifice to Baal, which if you think of it, is just what is going on.
Perpetrators, who sexually abuse children, use secrets and very subtle manipulation to make their victims think the victim wants what the abuser wants (“It’s our little secret.”). The Bible says Satan comes as an angel of light** and sexual predators do the same thing. On the surface it seems fine, but there’s just something creepy about the whole thing. This is the allure of temptation: “Ignore the bad side; look at all the benefits of selling your soul to the devil. Mooheehee.” Christian Grey comes across as all glamorous and handsome and winsome and mysterious and tempting and alluring (and, of course, he’s RICH!). Anastasia Steel can’t resist. And, porn being porn, everyone’s happy and gets happier the more perverted their behavior becomes. There’s always a happy ending in porn. Everyone’s always smiling. It can’t be wrong if they’re smiling, right?***
Just because a victim is 24-years old instead of 8, does that make it any less abusive? Just because your victim is your spouse, does that make it any less wrong? You can’t abuse your date if she’s over 17-years old? You can’t violate your wife because she’s your wife and she’s an adult and she says it’s Okay? You’ve told her your lies about everything’s fine and we’ll stop when “you” want to?
Stop when you want to? All sexual predators have said that phrase to their victims from time immemorial. Let me count the ways I’ve heard that phrase dressed up as a delectable feast only to discover its excrement with a caviar pate.
Perps go so far as to even say its a way for spiritual enlightenment. Isn’t that what the Serpent said to Eve?**** And today, Gina Ogden is saying it, and Christian Grey is saying it and, sadly, too many folks are saying it to themselves or their spouses only to wake up to discover they’ve been playing with fire and someone was burned. Uncle Bob is everywhere.
There is some spiritual crap going on, alright. If you change the “f” in “defiled” to a “v” you get “deviled,” which is not far off.
The wise can tell the egg that nourishes from the imposter feces that kills. Just because they both come out of the back-end of a chicken, doesn’t make them the same thing.
+ I’ve used the “Uncle Bob” metaphor before. Check out Uncle Bob in two podcasts here.
**2 Corinthians 11:14
***On a very curious side note, my wife told me last night she wasn’t reading these blogs on this subject because they were “creepy” and then she told me her first patient on the psych floor for her nursing rotation during her nursing school was a swinging adult male who’d flipped out and gone crazy. Hmmm. The perp perping on himself? You not only run the risk of traumatizing your spouse, but traumatizing yourself. It would be funny, if it weren’t so tragic.
I’ve discussed it in other blogs and podcasts, but briefly:
-if a child is molested, the child thinks he’s going to die
-if a lady is raped, she thinks she’s going to die
-if a baby is unwanted he is too often aborted and he dies
-masturbating to porn, a guy’s seed (life, you know) is spilled onto the ground or spilled into a kleenex and flushed down the toilet: death
-the pornography itself: turn off the electricity and it’s gone. Poof.
-two men expose themselves to excrement, which the body is trying to extricate so you don’t die
-two men or two women can never make life, despite governmental or public sanction. In our society it doesn’t matter. As long as you FEEL like you love the person you are doing the rituals of death with. Feelings become the god of the age. Still: not life. Smiles, maybe. But underneath?
-a man and a woman who are not married, but are cohabiting and pretending to be married. They have the guise of marriage. It looks like marriages, but it isn’t. They are only fooling themselves. They are posers. Then they wonder why they have problems. Then they think I can’t be with a person who’s so selfish, little realizing they themselves are selfish for thinking you can have a marriage without sacrificing yourself and your life and your future and the relationship ends up in death. Cohabiting couples are more likely to break up, have abortions and sexual abuse, both child and partnership violence and breakups. They are fraught with conflict, sexual problems (duh?) and money problems. But see? We’re smiling, so everything must be Okay. Little do they know the vampire has struck and they are, in fact, dying.
-BDSM roleplays sacrificial rituals of death that go back at least to the Biblical Canaanites, if not further. Here: let’s romanticize me taking away your soul with your permission. See? Isn’t that fun? Now let’s dress it up and tout it as the new female erotica. Who can we seduce now? Isn’t being manipulated fun? Let’s make movies about this and seduce our whole society that sex between a husband and wife is boring and we need these things from Ace Hardware to spruce up our love life (Ace Hardware? What does Ace Hardware have to do with love?). We just wanna have fun.
Death is fun?
At least in China they do their Sexuality of Death without all the glamour. Yesterday it was reported Chinese family planning officials forced a woman to abort her daughter when she was seven months pregnant. Her crime? She already had a child:
According to reports, Jianmei was beaten and dragged into vehicle on June 2 by family planning officials while her husband, Deng Jiyuan, was at work. Jiyuan told Ling of All Girls Allowed that five men had abducted his wife and taken her to a hospital where they held her down.
“They covered her head with a pillowcase. She couldn’t do anything because they were restraining her,” the husband stated.
The officials asked her to pay fines worth more than $6,000 but when the money wasn’t given, they forced Jianmei to sign an abortion “consent” form. They inked her thumb and pressed it forcibly against the form.
Toxins were then injected into the brain of her unborn daughter.
“I could feel the baby jumping around inside me all the time, but then she went still,” the mother recounted to Ling.
The forced abortion took place on June 3. After enduring painful contractions, she gave birth on June 4 to her deceased child.
Still, occasionally, in our society, the hurt of the Sexuality of Death can be seen. There’s evidence. But it’s getting scarcer and rarer. You can see it in the report of what the 18-year old man testified yesterday day in the Penn State Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal. CBS reported:
“I spaced,” the alleged victim said. “I didn’t know what to do with all the thoughts running through my head, I just kind of blacked out and didn’t want it to happen. I froze.”
He testified that after he broke off contact with Sandusky, the former coach came to his home and yelled at him for not spending more time with him. He told the court that the argument got heated and that eventually hid behind a bush to avoid Sandusky.
“I got extremely, extremely scared,” testified the man. “With all the connections he had if he really thought I would say what happened that he could hurt me or someone close to me.”
Hid behind a bush? Good for him. At least someone is getting it.
-Your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to move in with you? Run away.
-A same-sex friend want’s to do what? Run away.
-The porn vampires come out at night and say “click here,” “click here.” Run away.
-Your partner wants to tie you up? Are you kidding me? Tie me up? And then he’s showing you porn pictures of happy women with dog collars around their necks and says, see all the happy faces? Run. Run away.
Somehow in our culture we still identify child abuse as something sick and dirty and wrong and hurtful and deserving of punishment so that we do not promote it in the public sphere. But everywhere else, the Sexuality of Death is just fine.
This day, chose life, the Bible says, over and over. But no. We like our death, all dressed up, with celebratory parades and dances and loud, pulsing music, and beautiful gowns and bodies and grinning faces, ear to ear on the celebrity pages giving the pretense of life, but imposters all.
We don’t like our Christians pointing these things out. You can be a Christian as long as you smile and either keep your mouth shut or agree that indeed, death is to be preferred to life. Christians are judgmental, you know. You don’t want mommy or daddy telling you to not put your hand on the stove or to drink that poison. So let’s shut them up. Eventually it’ll be lock them up. See how tolerant we are? Or we could throw them to the lions like the Roman’s did. At least get some entertainment out of the deal.
Rome: Hey, there’s a society steeped in death. We’ve been down this road before?
Your mom might care, but it’s your life and if you want to drink yourself silly or stay out all hours of the night or play video games til your fingers are sore or spend all your money and the money from next year and the decade after that on purses or 4-wheelers, or buy lotto tickets or sleep all hours of the day or live in a trash heap, nobody gives a crap.
If you are married a secret equals a lie. What? That’s right. There is no room for a secret in marriage. Period. Why’s that? When you get married (you know, a wedding where you publically declare your fidelity to each other til death us do part and you tell that to God, to the Church, to the State, to your relatives, to your friends, to the dog (a dog snuck in the church when Mary Sue and I got married 36 years ago and slept under a pew), to each other and to your very self and later when you literally become one sexually, at that moment God unites you into a new family, a new social organism with a skin around the both of you called a boundary and this boundary is primarily a boundary of protection and He instills in you the Mother Bear Instinct, whereby you protect each other because you are both:
That’s right. You might not agree on everything, but you let each other know what’s going on, where you are, what you are spending or thinking of spending, how work went, how you are feeling about your life, your future, your dreams, worries, and concerns.
YOU LET EACH OTHER KNOW.
BECAUSE YOU ARE BOTH IN.
AND WHAT YOU DO AFFECTS WHAT YOUR PARTNER DOES OR THINKS OR WORRIES ABOUT OR HOPES OR FEARS. AND LIKEWISE FOR YOUR SPOUSE, SO YOU
LET EACH OTHER KNOW.
It’s a little worrisome for some at first, because, you know, these newly married folk may have lived single-y for a decade or more and they are used to doing whatever whenever and not answering to anybody so marriage might seem a tad cumbersome. It might take a while to get used to. It can be irritating to hear one’s spouse say, “What’s the deal with that?” Over time, you learn how to say these things, how to bring them up, what to bring up, what to let slide, how to express it so your husband or wife can actually hear it. It would be good to figure that out. It takes about 15 years. Minimum. Some people need help figuring that out, so they come see me and we talk about how to actually be a husband and a wife. A lot of people have no idea.
The average divorce is at 7.2 years, so most people never even ever discover the major reason they got married, which was to help them both grow up. It takes a little humility to be married.
Humility would be good. You don’t know everything. Some of your habits are bad, even destructive, and if you keep doing them you are literally going to die, get fired, get arrested or eventually live under a bridge (“The rats were particularly friendly today.”).
Your husband or wife has an opinion about you systematically destroying yourself so more than likely your spouse might say something about it here and there and if you are wife or a husband, over time, the seeds your spouse planted will bear fruit and you will slowly overcome these little “foxes” (as the Song of Song calls them) and become a better person and couple.
If you have enough humility to realize you don’t know everything. If you have the finesse to convey your insights to your spouse without a club.
Those are two big IFS.
Since nobody wants to be told what to do (when they are 13) and nobody has any people skills (when they are 13), most people who divorce do so at the emotional maturity of a 13-year old and since divorce is so traumatic they stay at this same emotional level the rest of their lives.
If you aren’t open to some input in your first marriage you more than likely won’t be open to input on your second (or third, etc.)
If you don’t know how to convey your opinion without a little suger in your first marriage you more than likely won’t have clue in your second.
Divorce does NOT enhance either of these maturing, life-enhancing skills. If anything it makes a person more self-absorbed and self-protective and angry and offputting and defensive and guarded and suspicious because who wants to be hurt again?
My prayer for you, if you divorced or your spouse divorced you, is that you will bow before the Father and pray He will take away your bitterness of heart and that he would instill in you a forgiving and humble spirit, so that someday you may actually be able to put aside childish things.
That would be a good thing.
If you think about it, people who divorce at 7.2 years (the average marriage length at divorce) are newlyweds, if you consider you are supposed to be married to that one person the rest of your life.
Let’s see: 7.2 divided by 62 years (how long my mom and dad are currently married and still counting) equals: 11.6 percent.
I am totally convinced that the vast majority (all?) of folk who divorce do so without ever discovering the art of being a husband or wife and are basically divorcing their roommate. They divorce still not knowing how to be a husband or a wife so then they do the roommate thing all over again in the next marriage or they tire of marriage altogether (so they think), see it as a burden and a snare, and live serially with a number of other would be partners, roommates with benefits, if you know what I mean.
NOT friends with benefits. There’s no way you can be friends with someone you are sexual with if they are not your husband or wife. This so-called “partner” (what should this person be called?) will slowly become a stench and you will eventually end up hating him, and the hatred with which you hate him will be stronger than the love with which you loved him, to quote a verse in the Bible that tells a similar story from 3000 years ago, I kid you not. I’m not making this stuff up.
Which brings us to secrets in cohabiting. If there are no secrets if you are single and therefore no lies, because you have no one to lie to and if in marriage if your secrets equal a lie, because you both depend upon each other for your present, your future and your well being, than in cohabiting secrets equal? What?
I’ll tell you how a secret feels in cohabiting: It feels like a lie. But the problem is this other person is not your husband or wife and you have no claim upon her and she has no claim upon you. Technically you are both single. Even though you are living with each other, bought a house together, even had a kid or two together, if you are not married, you are at most business partners.
Which is the same relationship divorced people have. Their relationship is strictly business. In cohabiting your relationship is strictly business. You both pay half of the rent, right? That’s a business relationship. Roommates.
I had a roommate from college. I never told him where I was going, who I was with, what I was thinking, fearing, worried or concerned about. Neither did he. He could care less. Roommates. And with roommates, that’s fine.
But with cohabitation how can you ever be more than roommates or a business relationship? Sex just makes you in bondage to each other. It’s, ahhh, immoral, for one thing. But you tell each other it’s fine and wipe your mouths and tell yourselves you’ve done nothing wrong. You can tell yourself whatever you want. It means nothing. You aren’t married. No one made a public pronouncement you are both in. You are both using each other. Love does not seek it’s own and that’s all both of you do: seek your own. Sex outside of marriage is not only immoral, it’s an act of selfishness and self-promotion and soon the whole business will grow wearisome and after a while you will grow tired of each other, kids or no kids, and you will break up and go your separate ways because he was so this or that or she was so this or that and everyone will understand and you will do it again because you are lonely and the next person will have an opinion one day and you will scoff at him, too, because you ain’t gonna take no crap. You ain’t gonna settle. You don’t want no one telling you what to do. That’s why you never married in the first place, right?
Cohabiting people don’t make very good husbands and wives because it takes a little humility and honesty and integrity to be a wife or a husband and these two cohabiting people are just getting what both of them want from each other right now for nothing and screw integrity (no pun intended), I can do what I want, propriety be damned. And now all of a sudden you marry and now all of a sudden you are going to be humble enough to tell the truth and be honest and make right decisions going forward? How is your new spouse that you just sucked the life out of while you were living together without marriage supposed to ever trust you in that?
And now your cohabiting person (what do you call this person? Roommate? Potential wife or husband? Likely engagee? Girlfriend or boyfriend would be insulting. You just had a kid with this person. The father of my child? The body on the other side of the bed?) tells you a lie and you freak and he says to you, “You are not my wife. I can do what I want. It’s none of your business,” and other insulting things and you realize you have NO SAY. She’s not your wife, buddy. Your opinion ain’t worth squat.
So in cohabiting: secrets =????
No wonder cohabiting folk break up in spades. Romantic feelings of love, so strong in the beginning, quickly wane without the structure of marriage to protect it and nurture it.
One time I asked a young couple who lived together what prevented them from getting married. They both laughed and slapped their knees while both of them said in near unison: