For what it’s worth, I think she is selfish too.

March 14, 2013

in None of the Above

A few of the comments recently have suggested that I am all about telling men how bad they are, and that I think women are just about perfect.

Angel and devil © Alexandr Stepanov | Dreamstime.com

If someone said, “I am disappointed that you now support abortion” I would say I do not support abortion, and might provide a link to where I recently said I did not. I would not argue it much beyond that, because if someone does not believe my words, more words will not change anything. I also would not worry that maybe I was starting to think abortion is okay; I know my thoughts. However, I might wonder why someone would think support abortion. I would wonder if I said something that gave this impression, or if failed to say I was opposed to abortion when it seemed like a good opportunity to take a stand.

Much of what has been said in the comments is about what I think, and that is not a matter of opinion. However, how I come across however is a matter of opinion, and I may not be doing a great job communicating what I think. So, a few clarifications:

  • When I started TGH almost a dozen years ago, it was simple tips on being more loving and generous. I still do some of that, but I realised years ago that I was often offering Band-Aids and aspirin to marriages that were suffering from deep cuts, malaria, cancer, lost limbs, and other life threatening issues. So yes, I have changed what I say, and sometimes my intention is to provoke.
  • My theological understanding is that all of us are deeply selfish, regardless of whether our gonads are inside or outside our bodies. I do not know if you or your wife is more selfish, could be either way, but I know both of you have many problems that boil down to being selfish. I also know your marriage would benefit from either of you dealing with any of your own issues.
  • When I talk about male selfishness and problems, I am not talking about y’all – I am talking about us. I have owned up to plenty of the things I have suggested are evil stupid a bad plan. Some of those I have beat, some I have not.
  • This blog is aimed at men, so I speak to men about what they might be able to do better. Agreeing with you that your wife is horrible will not help you, or her, or your marriage, or your kids. (May God have mercy on the children!)
  • Your dad was right – life ain’t fair. Your wife will at least occasionally do things she should not, and she will at times ignore wise advice. Telling her she is wrong is almost never a solution, and getting others to tell her she is wrong is usually even worse. You can work on you or you can work on her, but only the first has any real chance of bringing about change.
  • Life ain’t fair #2: Your wife brought a lot of baggage into your marriage, and you are stuck with the consequences of that stuff. Not being the one who hurt her does not mean you are immune to the fallout. You can be patient with her, or you can be nasty about it, but again only one of those has any real chance at bringing about positive change.
  • I am a pragmatist. As long as it is not immoral or illegal, I will gladly do “something I should not have to do” if it will make my life better. I will also do something “I should not have to do” if it will make my wife’s life easier. I will do this partly because I know that will ultimately help me, but mostly because I love her.
  • There is also the “little matter” of what Jesus thinks I should do. I think most of what Jesus said to us about relationships in general applies to marriage. I have long thought about doing a series on Sermon on the Mount – I think it is time.

By the way, I am happy to hear from any of you about any of this. I think email is a better place for such things, but use the comments if you prefer.

Image Credit: © Alexandr Stepanov | Dreamstime.com

58 comments
CarlaKanupp
CarlaKanupp

Paul, I have (generally speaking) never had a problem with the things you say or how you say them. Your target audience is "husbands". Therefore, the sins of the husband should be maximized, while the sins of the wife should be minimized. The focus should be on "taking the log out of your own eye". In the same way, I expect Lori to maximize the sins of the wife, while minimizing those of the husband. We can only change OURSELVES. We are only responsible for ourselves. It's by our OWN change that we can 'influence' our spouse to make their own change. Call sin, sin. But what good is it to point out how big another persons sins are, for who is able to cast the first stone?

Keep up the good work for Christ! :)

CarlaKanupp
CarlaKanupp

Paul, I have (generally speaking) never had a problem with the things you say or how you say them. Your target audience is "husbands". Therefore, the sins of the husband should be maximized, while the sins of the wife should be minimized. The focus should be on "taking the log out of your own eye". In the same way, I expect Lori to maximize the sins of the wife, while minimizing those of the husband. We can only change OURSELVES. We are only responsible for ourselves. It's by our OWN change that we can 'influence' our spouse to make their own change. Call sin, sin. But what good is it to point out how big another persons sins are, for who is able to cast the first stone? Keep up the good work for Christ! :)

HotHolyHumorous
HotHolyHumorous

It's truly impossible to address everything in a single blog post. I often get the "but you didn't say ___" line of thinking too. Essentially, a marriage bloggers chooses what to talk about and who they're talking to on any given day and pray that the message reaches those it needs to reach.

 

Thanks, Paul, for clarifying!

HotHolyHumorous
HotHolyHumorous

It's truly impossible to address everything in a single blog post. I often get the "but you didn't say ___" line of thinking too. Essentially, a marriage bloggers chooses what to talk about and who they're talking to on any given day and pray that the message reaches those it needs to reach.   Thanks, Paul, for clarifying!

sheilagregoire
sheilagregoire

Paul, I have the same issue, just switch the genders, on my blog. When people are hurt, they often are looking for justification for their hurt--but my husband/wife is so horrible! And the truth is they may very well be right. But concentrating on how horrid your spouse is will not do your marriage a whit of good. Jesus says to look first to our own sins and attitudes, and that is how positive change in a marriage starts. You are doing just what you need to do here.

sheilagregoire
sheilagregoire

Paul, I have the same issue, just switch the genders, on my blog. When people are hurt, they often are looking for justification for their hurt--but my husband/wife is so horrible! And the truth is they may very well be right. But concentrating on how horrid your spouse is will not do your marriage a whit of good. Jesus says to look first to our own sins and attitudes, and that is how positive change in a marriage starts. You are doing just what you need to do here.

Anonmom31
Anonmom31

I wanted to chime in on the "understandable" line of commenting. I am a wife so I can't ever claim to completely understand my husband - but I do try to be the person who most understands him. We had a lot of trouble with sexual sin in the beginning of our marriage. My refusal and his pornography - until we really started trying to understand each others sinful reactions, and where they came from, we essentially demonized the other because what they were doing was wrong. When I found my husbands pornography it was very easy to label him as a pervert or an animal. Only with starting to understand why he needed sex and what void he was trying to fill with pornography did I start to see him as a vulnerable person who sinned. I don't think anyone here (I could be wrong) would say that by me starting to understand why he sinned, I have redefined pornography as not sinful. Just my 2 cents

Anonmom31
Anonmom31

I wanted to chime in on the "understandable" line of commenting. I am a wife so I can't ever claim to completely understand my husband - but I do try to be the person who most understands him. We had a lot of trouble with sexual sin in the beginning of our marriage. My refusal and his pornography - until we really started trying to understand each others sinful reactions, and where they came from, we essentially demonized the other because what they were doing was wrong. When I found my husbands pornography it was very easy to label him as a pervert or an animal. Only with starting to understand why he needed sex and what void he was trying to fill with pornography did I start to see him as a vulnerable person who sinned. I don't think anyone here (I could be wrong) would say that by me starting to understand why he sinned, I have redefined pornography as not sinful. Just my 2 cents

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

Paul, to continue my thoughts you stated in a reply to the comments the other day:

 

"As to my analogy, I did say she would give up if she was just beat up about her bad cooking. Many women give up on sex for the same reason. They think they can never give him enough, so they give him a bit and stop there. It's not right, but it's understandable - and while the husband did not intend to push her to that, he did."

 

So you say it's not right, would you call it sin?  Would you call this selfish sin?  If so, why do you say it's understandable?

 

Would you say the same thing about a man, that it was understandable that he ended up sinning after months or years of this?

 

Why is her sin understandable?  I think the problem many of us have is you downplay the woman's sin.  You seem to reason it away for some reason, or some hurt, or some misjustice done to them....

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

Paul, to continue my thoughts you stated in a reply to the comments the other day:   "As to my analogy, I did say she would give up if she was just beat up about her bad cooking. Many women give up on sex for the same reason. They think they can never give him enough, so they give him a bit and stop there. It's not right, but it's understandable - and while the husband did not intend to push her to that, he did."   So you say it's not right, would you call it sin?  Would you call this selfish sin?  If so, why do you say it's understandable?   Would you say the same thing about a man, that it was understandable that he ended up sinning after months or years of this?   Why is her sin understandable?  I think the problem many of us have is you downplay the woman's sin.  You seem to reason it away for some reason, or some hurt, or some misjustice done to them....

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

I've struggled with this since the comments over the weekend.  I cannot find any scripture or even any real life reference that says women care more or sin less in their marriages like you say.  So I very much struggle with your comments that day and also the general overtone of your message lately both here and elsewhere.

 

I guess whether you or we like it or not, you are the ambassador for us me out there in cyber world and I find the verbage used against men much different than that used for women, including your words and again I find that troubling.  I know men and women are different but I think we might be treating their sin too gently...after all it is sin, no?

 

I think being patient is good.  Prayer is great.  However, I think Jesus also called out sin very strongly though, both in language and deed.  I want that to be done in the case of men, but also in the case of women.

 

I find so much of marriage these days is feminized and taught from the feminized perspective.  The arguements are framed in such a way, that's it's almost a lose/lose for a man anymore.  Very few christian women want anything to do with being under even the most loving and tender headship of their husband, the numbers go down even further if you look at women you are sex positive and want to be under that leadership.   Goodness sakes we've got enough of our own problems to deal with no doubt, but in general I find Christian men at least open to the idea of loving their wife as Christ loves the church...maybe I'm wrong but I don't see that in the reverse.  

 

 

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

I've struggled with this since the comments over the weekend.  I cannot find any scripture or even any real life reference that says women care more or sin less in their marriages like you say.  So I very much struggle with your comments that day and also the general overtone of your message lately both here and elsewhere.   I guess whether you or we like it or not, you are the ambassador for us me out there in cyber world and I find the verbage used against men much different than that used for women, including your words and again I find that troubling.  I know men and women are different but I think we might be treating their sin too gently...after all it is sin, no?   I think being patient is good.  Prayer is great.  However, I think Jesus also called out sin very strongly though, both in language and deed.  I want that to be done in the case of men, but also in the case of women.   I find so much of marriage these days is feminized and taught from the feminized perspective.  The arguements are framed in such a way, that's it's almost a lose/lose for a man anymore.  Very few christian women want anything to do with being under even the most loving and tender headship of their husband, the numbers go down even further if you look at women you are sex positive and want to be under that leadership.   Goodness sakes we've got enough of our own problems to deal with no doubt, but in general I find Christian men at least open to the idea of loving their wife as Christ loves the church...maybe I'm wrong but I don't see that in the reverse.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

CarlaKanupp Thanks - that is the goal. Not always hitting it, but working at it!

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @HotHolyHumorous And then there is always the outlier who shows up to say "I/we are not that way." (Of course I have been known to do that - done it at least once on your blog!)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@HotHolyHumorous And then there is always the outlier who shows up to say "I/we are not that way." (Of course I have been known to do that - done it at least once on your blog!)

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

 @sheilagregoire Sheila & Paul,

I have great respect for the both you so don't take this the wrong way!  How much of it is because you try to tackle a topic that is more than a blog can handle: (by Paul's own words)":When I started TGH almost a dozen years ago, it was simple tips on being more loving and generous. I still do some of that, but I realised years ago that I was often offering Band-Aids and aspirin to marriages that were suffering from deep cuts, malaria, cancer, lost limbs, and other life threatening issues."  So now he's trying to tackle those big issues...and I appreciate him doing so...but

 

Really, it's hard to tackle the complexity of such topics that you cover in any depth.  There are angles and complexities that come up in a marriage that are more complex than national security that a single blog post or even a week of them can't touch.  When a topic is introduced you have people coming from all different angles/places but often the topic introduced isn't written about this certain situation...it's too broad in my opinion.  I see your frustration and can symphathise, but I feel the frustration on this end also and I'm not even in a hurting marriage anymore.  I think my wife is the greatest!  I think much of this would be solved (but please understand I'm not in your place so this is just a completely rookie novice's take...I'm no expert I'll freely admit and sorry if I"m completely wrong).  Often when I read a blog post by either of you, or a great many others, I feel like you are trying to talk to everybody but in reality it's only speaking to one situation or angle.  I hope that makes sense.  I can't imagine how tough it is to write something everyday but I do think you can frame the conversation in such a way everyday that you can get way less dissatisfied readers when we clarify more.

 

Thanks again for the work you both do.  I'm thankful for the both of you.  In Christ-

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

@sheilagregoire Sheila & Paul, I have great respect for the both you so don't take this the wrong way!  How much of it is because you try to tackle a topic that is more than a blog can handle: (by Paul's own words)":When I started TGH almost a dozen years ago, it was simple tips on being more loving and generous. I still do some of that, but I realised years ago that I was often offering Band-Aids and aspirin to marriages that were suffering from deep cuts, malaria, cancer, lost limbs, and other life threatening issues."  So now he's trying to tackle those big issues...and I appreciate him doing so...but   Really, it's hard to tackle the complexity of such topics that you cover in any depth.  There are angles and complexities that come up in a marriage that are more complex than national security that a single blog post or even a week of them can't touch.  When a topic is introduced you have people coming from all different angles/places but often the topic introduced isn't written about this certain situation...it's too broad in my opinion.  I see your frustration and can symphathise, but I feel the frustration on this end also and I'm not even in a hurting marriage anymore.  I think my wife is the greatest!  I think much of this would be solved (but please understand I'm not in your place so this is just a completely rookie novice's take...I'm no expert I'll freely admit and sorry if I"m completely wrong).  Often when I read a blog post by either of you, or a great many others, I feel like you are trying to talk to everybody but in reality it's only speaking to one situation or angle.  I hope that makes sense.  I can't imagine how tough it is to write something everyday but I do think you can frame the conversation in such a way everyday that you can get way less dissatisfied readers when we clarify more.   Thanks again for the work you both do.  I'm thankful for the both of you.  In Christ-

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

 @Anonmom31 , your marriage sounds a lot like ours when we started out although I hung on for quite a while till I turned to porn.  I'm not trying to be funny or anything like that but do you think you'd find this sentence on The Generous Husband or any other female marriage blog then:

 

Because a man needs sex and because women can often do not understand that need for sex it is understandable that a lot of husbands turn to porn.

 

Because quite honestly I can't see that sentence on there for a million years...

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

@Anonmom31 , your marriage sounds a lot like ours when we started out although I hung on for quite a while till I turned to porn.  I'm not trying to be funny or anything like that but do you think you'd find this sentence on The Generous Husband or any other female marriage blog then:   Because a man needs sex and because women can often do not understand that need for sex it is understandable that a lot of husbands turn to porn.   Because quite honestly I can't see that sentence on there for a million years...

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@cabinetmaker Point well taken. See Friday's post. (And thanks!)

SonjaChoyPhilip
SonjaChoyPhilip

 @cabinetmaker I don't want to stir anything up, but I, for one, am refreshed to see this sort of blog.  I read blog after blog telling me as a wife what I should do, how I should behave, how I should treat my husband.  and the very selfish side of me is often wondering "where are HIS blogs telling him what to do" (ignoring for a moment that the Bible tells us both what to do - we just need practical confirmation - haha)...

 

It's hard to take, this idea that we should do what we do FOR God and not for our spouses... that we should do what we do Regardless of what our spouses do or don't do... because it's FOR God.... but it's something we should all hear and take to heart regardless.

 

I like to think that I am a pretty good wife... and my husband tells me I am (he's an awesome hubby!) ... but I am not that way _naturally_  I am that selfish 3 yo inside who just wants what I want.  I am that way because I have source after source to go to that constantly backs up what I read in my bible.  Do unto others.  Be kind.  Dont hold onto grudges or unforgiveness (this is what you are doing when you say "i wont because he/she didnt..."  And I purposefully read it (the extra stuff) because I know it will keep me on the right track.  I still read the bible for selfish reasons, because it keeps me close to God.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @cabinetmaker Yes, Jesus identified sin, but not always as harshly as we tend to do, and not always "evenly". He only mentioned the sins of the woman at the well in passing, and with the woman taken in adultery I think He was much harder on the men than on the woman.

 

That is not actually the issue here. Here is it more about pointing out the sins of the audience rather than of those who are not here. That said, I can see I need to do a better job of showing that I "get" the sins of those not here, and that I do not approve. 

SonjaChoyPhilip
SonjaChoyPhilip

@cabinetmaker I don't want to stir anything up, but I, for one, am refreshed to see this sort of blog.  I read blog after blog telling me as a wife what I should do, how I should behave, how I should treat my husband.  and the very selfish side of me is often wondering "where are HIS blogs telling him what to do" (ignoring for a moment that the Bible tells us both what to do - we just need practical confirmation - haha)...   It's hard to take, this idea that we should do what we do FOR God and not for our spouses... that we should do what we do Regardless of what our spouses do or don't do... because it's FOR God.... but it's something we should all hear and take to heart regardless.   I like to think that I am a pretty good wife... and my husband tells me I am (he's an awesome hubby!) ... but I am not that way _naturally_  I am that selfish 3 yo inside who just wants what I want.  I am that way because I have source after source to go to that constantly backs up what I read in my bible.  Do unto others.  Be kind.  Dont hold onto grudges or unforgiveness (this is what you are doing when you say "i wont because he/she didnt..."  And I purposefully read it (the extra stuff) because I know it will keep me on the right track.  I still read the bible for selfish reasons, because it keeps me close to God.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@cabinetmaker Yes, Jesus identified sin, but not always as harshly as we tend to do, and not always "evenly". He only mentioned the sins of the woman at the well in passing, and with the woman taken in adultery I think He was much harder on the men than on the woman.   That is not actually the issue here. Here is it more about pointing out the sins of the audience rather than of those who are not here. That said, I can see I need to do a better job of showing that I "get" the sins of those not here, and that I do not approve.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @cabinetmaker  There are certainly limits to what one can do on a blog, no question. However, much can be done with a series, which both Sheila and I do.  Even more than that, a blog can serve to call attention to something so that a couple will go for help. 

 

As to speaking to a wide audience,and not being able to speak to all, you are right - but this is hardly a blog thing. Any author or speaker deals with thing. This is why I have been so thrilled with the proliferation of Christ centred marriage blogs over the last few years - more voices means there is a better chance that each person will find a voice that can reach them.This s why I do so much to put other blogs out there. If my only service to someone is to point them to a blog that helps them, that is good with me. My desire is to minster, and sometimes that means sending folks elsewhere.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@cabinetmaker  There are certainly limits to what one can do on a blog, no question. However, much can be done with a series, which both Sheila and I do.  Even more than that, a blog can serve to call attention to something so that a couple will go for help.    As to speaking to a wide audience,and not being able to speak to all, you are right - but this is hardly a blog thing. Any author or speaker deals with thing. This is why I have been so thrilled with the proliferation of Christ centred marriage blogs over the last few years - more voices means there is a better chance that each person will find a voice that can reach them.This s why I do so much to put other blogs out there. If my only service to someone is to point them to a blog that helps them, that is good with me. My desire is to minster, and sometimes that means sending folks elsewhere.

AnYa494
AnYa494

I appreciate the advice and wisdom shared on these blogs.  I can't help but wonder if the situation isn't amplified because of the existence of self-publishing.  My eyes were opened to this idea when I read a self-published e-book recently (about nutrition).  It was incredibly poorly written. Now, please don't think I'm saying that to any of you, the quality of writing is great.  However, I realized the value of the editing process.  An author who has gone through the editing process by multiple editors and who has to pitch an idea for publication before the concept or topic is even written about has had the chance to have a different perspective brought to it.  In the Christian world, there are other godly people whose wisdom is being imparted as well.  The process develops the final product.  As bloggers, we don't have that editorial process, the checks and balances.  We are our own editor.  (I am a regular blogger in a different genre).  Perhaps the perspective made by commenters is what would happen in the editorial process?  Perhaps the ideas of the authors are developed by the discussion and process of editorial?

Anonmom31
Anonmom31

@cabinetmaker - I can assure you I came across some posts fairly close to that statement in the midst of our struggle and found them absolutely infuriating. However, now with the benefit of hindsight I can see the intent in the message, while not necessarily loving the delivery.

Anonmom31
Anonmom31

@cabinetmaker - I can assure you I came across some posts fairly close to that statement in the midst of our struggle and found them absolutely infuriating. However, now with the benefit of hindsight I can see the intent in the message, while not necessarily loving the delivery.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @SonjaChoyPhilip  While some of the men here will disagree, I see far more blogs for wives being "hard" on the women than going easy on them.

 

I also think that the vast majority of blogs for husbands are being hard on the men. Granted there are not nearly enough blogs for husbands, but most of what I do find seems very good about calling men to deal with their own stuff.

 

It is interesting to look at the numbers of followers for blogs for husbands vs those for wives. With far more aimined at women you would think the few for men would have massive numbers of followers, but this is not the case. The number of women willing to read something intended to help their marriage is significantly greater than the number of men who will do the same. (This is also true for books and seminars, BTW.) My explication for that is that women are more relational! ;-)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@SonjaChoyPhilip  While some of the men here will disagree, I see far more blogs for wives being "hard" on the women than going easy on them.   I also think that the vast majority of blogs for husbands are being hard on the men. Granted there are not nearly enough blogs for husbands, but most of what I do find seems very good about calling men to deal with their own stuff.   It is interesting to look at the numbers of followers for blogs for husbands vs those for wives. With far more aimined at women you would think the few for men would have massive numbers of followers, but this is not the case. The number of women willing to read something intended to help their marriage is significantly greater than the number of men who will do the same. (This is also true for books and seminars, BTW.) My explication for that is that women are more relational! ;-)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@AnYa494 If something was clearly unscriptural, I think it would be approached in a Mt 18 way. Of course the CMBA could not stop someone, but they could remove a problem blog from membership. Still, going so far as to remove them would be a strong signal.

 

In one sense the readers are the ultimate control, in that they can vote with their click. However, there are plenty of wrong, insane blogs out there, both secular and supposedly Christian, so the fact that a blog has big numbers really does not mean it or its author are right or sane. If I started to preach threesomes as the way to fix a bad sex life, I would no doubt lose 99.99% of my current readers - but I would also pick up new readers who want "permission" to have that kind of sex and claim it's okay with God. (Actually there is a very large group out there who has been saying that for decades - and they have a larger on-line following than I will ever have.)

 

(Note, I am part of the CMBA core team)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @AnYa494 I have no problem with people disagreeing with me in public, sorry if I make it seem otherwise. I've specifically encouraged disagreements in the comments, and know I have done so a couple of times recently.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @AnYa494  I would say the member's of the CMBA are not nearly as like minded as you would expect. Aside from some core beliefs, we cover a wide range. I find that a blessing - a sometimes frustrating blessing, but a blessing.

 

We (the CMBA) have discussed the problem of confirmation bias, and we have discussed and argued various issues. Many of us have said "Please challenge me if you think I am wrong" and I've seen that happen. We are actively working to be iron sharpening iron.

 

Retractions and corrections are far less common than they should be on blogs, no doubt about it. It is easy for pride to get in the way, and not having an editor or boss to is certainly a limiting factor.

 

I fully get what you are saying about it going to one's head. When Lori and I were among the few Christian marriage bloggers this was one of our biggest concerns. I've never thought I was infallible, and being a lone wolf concerns me a great deal. The more of us there are, the harder it is to think we have all the answers!

 

My preference for correction being done by email is for three reasons:

 

First I see it as the Biblical way to do it - first go in private, then with a brother, and so on.

 

Secondly, I personally have found that I am much more likely to hear and apply things of this nature when they are done in an ongoing private discussion. Carrying on a debate in public, where others interject their ideas, support, and so on is not the same as a calm discussion between two mature believers. Maybe that is just my limitation, maybe it is my knee-jerk reactions or my pride, but I know it's true of me. I am not suggesting email to avoid public criticism, but rather because I honestly want to learn and grow, and I find that email is more likely to do that for me. I've had a number of such conversations over the years, and many of those have changed what I say and how I say it. A few have changed what I believe.

 

Thirdly, public debates of this nature can decent into people taking sides, and I don't see that as any help to anyone. As long as ideas are debated it's fine, but it seems all to common that feelings and pride get involved. Along those lines, I am never comfortable when what some see as an "attack" on me results in an outpouring of support for me or my position. I appreciate it, and it makes me feel good, but I always feel uncomfortable about it. Maybe I just need to get over that.

 

So disagree all you want in the comments, I'm glad to have it. But if you really want to discuss a disagreement, if you want to influence what I think, email is a better way to go.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@AnYa494 Yes, blogging is a whole different things than writing a book, with different strengths and weaknesses. Reader comments can be a huge help to a blog author, if they can read them with both an open mind and without being unduly swayed. It's long been known that those who have an axe to grind are far more likely to take the time to write letters than those who agree. This means that complaint mails and emails are not a true picture of how the audience as a whole feels. As commenting is easier and faster I suspect the situation is somewhat less skewed, but I don't have anything solid to base that on. The bottom line is comments are not a true representation of how the readership as a whole feels.

 

As to self-publishing, it certainly has opened the world to some poorly written books. But there is more to it that that. The publishing industry is not always a good judge of what will and won't sell (The Harry Potter books are the ultimate proof of that). In the Christian publishing industry there are other problems - especially in the area of marriage and sexuality. I have had the opportunity to speak to several authors of well known Christian books that included information about sex, and every one of them fought one or more losing battles to include something in their book. One was told flat out that NO reference to vibrators would be allowed (this was in the late 90's). I know one Christian author, with a number of well selling books, who went to a non-Christian publisher for her book on sex so she could say what she felt needed to be said.

 

The fact that publishers limited what could be said about sex is part of why The Marriage Bed web site did so well when it was first put on-line - we said discussed things Christians wanted to discuss that publishers were unwilling to allow.

HotHolyHumorous
HotHolyHumorous

 @AnYa494 You make an interesting point. I also write fiction, and I have several friends with self-pubbed books. The quality varies a great deal based on whether they did the hard work themselves and used good editors, as you say.

 

However, most of the marriage bloggers I know actually do bounce ideas off others. We run stuff past wise family and friends, and we chat with each other. So at least SOME of this pitching/editing process does happen.

 

Just thought I'd give you a sense of what I've seen. Thanks so much! Blessings to you and your blog!

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@AnYa494 If something was clearly unscriptural, I think it would be approached in a Mt 18 way. Of course the CMBA could not stop someone, but they could remove a problem blog from membership. Still, going so far as to remove them would be a strong signal.   In one sense the readers are the ultimate control, in that they can vote with their click. However, there are plenty of wrong, insane blogs out there, both secular and supposedly Christian, so the fact that a blog has big numbers really does not mean it or its author are right or sane. If I started to preach threesomes as the way to fix a bad sex life, I would no doubt lose 99.99% of my current readers - but I would also pick up new readers who want "permission" to have that kind of sex and claim it's okay with God. (Actually there is a very large group out there who has been saying that for decades - and they have a larger on-line following than I will ever have.)   (Note, I am part of the CMBA core team)

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@AnYa494 I have no problem with people disagreeing with me in public, sorry if I make it seem otherwise. I've specifically encouraged disagreements in the comments, and know I have done so a couple of times recently.

AnYa494
AnYa494

@TheGenerousHusband . I just looked up the CMBA and the list of members.  Again, it brings me to the accountability issue.  If you're using the idea of iron sharpening iron example with that association, is here true accountability?  What if one member teaches something so very un-Scriptural?  And even saying there was such action as banning them, there is no stopping them from continuing to blog w/o claiming membership.  There is no true accountability.  In the church if the pastor does something completely unacceptable, they can be removed from the pulpit.  While it might not stop them from still serving elsewhere, there is a course of action, there is accountability.  In publishing houses, if an author makes a crazy claim, the book publication can be dropped.    I think as bloggers we must be very careful to maintain accountability, and realize that it comes from more than just other bloggers who have no true course of action if we err.  Perhaps it's easier for me to say this as my blog is about food.  It's pretty cut and dry, there's not a lot of misinterpretation.  Salt is salt.  And the topics won't greatly influence the spirituality or lives of people.  They either eat my grilled pizza recipe or they don't.  Perhaps I'm just too shallow.

AnYa494
AnYa494

@TheGenerousHusband  Thanks for your response.  I see a difference between taking it privately to your brother when they have sinned against you versus an interpretation difference of something.  We've all walked different roads, we all have different experiences that shape our view.  That doesn't make one person more or less right than the other.  It's just the way we see things.     I don't aim to change the way you think.  But I think there is danger in wanting to keep conversation (that isn't harmful) hidden.  It scares me, when that is the desire.  I know I'm not going to change your mind.   I'm okay with that.  But I do believe that there are many people in life who read your blog who may have a different perspective.  There is so much vast variation in the interpretation of Scripture, and we have to honestly say we won't really know the answer until we meet God face to face.  Sometimes we have to agree to disagree.  That's okay.  But as I said, it scares me when people say "if you don't agree with me, I want it said in private" when there is not necessarily sin involved.  That doesn't provide accountability for anyone involved.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@AnYa494  I would say the member's of the CMBA are not nearly as like minded as you would expect. Aside from some core beliefs, we cover a wide range. I find that a blessing - a sometimes frustrating blessing, but a blessing.   We (the CMBA) have discussed the problem of confirmation bias, and we have discussed and argued various issues. Many of us have said "Please challenge me if you think I am wrong" and I've seen that happen. We are actively working to be iron sharpening iron.   Retractions and corrections are far less common than they should be on blogs, no doubt about it. It is easy for pride to get in the way, and not having an editor or boss to is certainly a limiting factor.   I fully get what you are saying about it going to one's head. When Lori and I were among the few Christian marriage bloggers this was one of our biggest concerns. I've never thought I was infallible, and being a lone wolf concerns me a great deal. The more of us there are, the harder it is to think we have all the answers!   My preference for correction being done by email is for three reasons:   First I see it as the Biblical way to do it - first go in private, then with a brother, and so on.   Secondly, I personally have found that I am much more likely to hear and apply things of this nature when they are done in an ongoing private discussion. Carrying on a debate in public, where others interject their ideas, support, and so on is not the same as a calm discussion between two mature believers. Maybe that is just my limitation, maybe it is my knee-jerk reactions or my pride, but I know it's true of me. I am not suggesting email to avoid public criticism, but rather because I honestly want to learn and grow, and I find that email is more likely to do that for me. I've had a number of such conversations over the years, and many of those have changed what I say and how I say it. A few have changed what I believe.   Thirdly, public debates of this nature can decent into people taking sides, and I don't see that as any help to anyone. As long as ideas are debated it's fine, but it seems all to common that feelings and pride get involved. Along those lines, I am never comfortable when what some see as an "attack" on me results in an outpouring of support for me or my position. I appreciate it, and it makes me feel good, but I always feel uncomfortable about it. Maybe I just need to get over that.   So disagree all you want in the comments, I'm glad to have it. But if you really want to discuss a disagreement, if you want to influence what I think, email is a better way to go.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@AnYa494 Yes, blogging is a whole different things than writing a book, with different strengths and weaknesses. Reader comments can be a huge help to a blog author, if they can read them with both an open mind and without being unduly swayed. It's long been known that those who have an axe to grind are far more likely to take the time to write letters than those who agree. This means that complaint mails and emails are not a true picture of how the audience as a whole feels. As commenting is easier and faster I suspect the situation is somewhat less skewed, but I don't have anything solid to base that on. The bottom line is comments are not a true representation of how the readership as a whole feels.   As to self-publishing, it certainly has opened the world to some poorly written books. But there is more to it that that. The publishing industry is not always a good judge of what will and won't sell (The Harry Potter books are the ultimate proof of that). In the Christian publishing industry there are other problems - especially in the area of marriage and sexuality. I have had the opportunity to speak to several authors of well known Christian books that included information about sex, and every one of them fought one or more losing battles to include something in their book. One was told flat out that NO reference to vibrators would be allowed (this was in the late 90's). I know one Christian author, with a number of well selling books, who went to a non-Christian publisher for her book on sex so she could say what she felt needed to be said.   The fact that publishers limited what could be said about sex is part of why The Marriage Bed web site did so well when it was first put on-line - we said discussed things Christians wanted to discuss that publishers were unwilling to allow.

AnYa494
AnYa494

@HotHolyHumorous  While I can appreciate that you bounce your ideas off each other, do you think the possibility exists that these said bloggers are all like-minded in the first place?  I have been a blogger myself, I have read many blogs for a long time and I've also worked in the newspaper world.  I've seen many different genres bounce ideas off each other.  However, the fact remains, (I'll pick on nutrition as that's one I see this a lot) that they are all like-minded and they don't have other outside thoughts thrown in there to give a different perspective.  This is what would happen through the editorial process when you have multiple persons with different life experiences and different road to get to the point they're at.  In the newspaper world, despite editors, we would still often have to print retractions and correction.  So I pose this question, even WITH editors if errors are made and things need to be retracted, isn't it possible (or even more likely) incorrect statements may be made when we are working as self-editors?  And while I don't mean to discredit the bouncing back and forth of ideas from one blogger to another, without a different perspective, can you really be achieving the best possible results?  I don't know, I'm just trying to pose these questions.     One thing I do know, I don't know everything.  I think there is danger in anyone saying they are a complete authority on something.  The only complete authority is God himself.  We so often misinterpret his Word to say what we want it to say.     I have a hard time accepting anyone who writes as if they are the final authority.  When we fall into that role, it begins to go to our  head.  I've watched a few of my friends go from unknown to "famous" bloggers in their genre.  It completely went to their head, and they began to act as if they were it.  I personally think there is great danger in not having accountability.  Often in the world, this comes via editors.  In the church it comes through higher governing bodies of denominations and boards.  There is a reason there is a board or group of people overseeing many things in life.  It's not just to share the work load, but also I believe to keep each other in check, keep egos in control and encourage humility (granted, we live in a fallen world, it's not always successful).  Even Peter and Paul had it out.  Peter literally walked with Jesus.  Jesus revealed himself to Paul.  If those two had moments of disagreement why would we, who are farther removed in a sense (as of the course of time although through the Holy Spirit not so - this gets deeps, too deep for me to say I understand), aren't we likely to have moments of misinterpreting and disagreement?   I also see concern in the comment "I think email is a better place for such things, but use the comments if you prefer."  While I understand that this blog belongs to the author, no one was attacking his person or belittling.  I've read some wicked comment written to bloggers.  I didn't read anything here that was inappropriate, but rather trying to present a different view.  I saw from the same people who offered a different view, praise as well.  The desire to have comments that disagree be sent privately so as to not present a different view to the public concerns me.  I'd think we'd embrace it as a chance for "iron to sharpen iron."  When said comments are attacking, sure I get the request.  But thought provoking dialogue?  Why be afraid of it?  Don't we ALL want to grow?  Can one say they are done growing and the final authority?  I sure hope not.  Jesus is my final authority.  I know that where I stand may be completely wrong.  I must leave myself open to correction.  I believe it should be the same for ANYONE who teaches, whether that's in the church, via publishers or via self-publishing.

HotHolyHumorous
HotHolyHumorous

@AnYa494 You make an interesting point. I also write fiction, and I have several friends with self-pubbed books. The quality varies a great deal based on whether they did the hard work themselves and used good editors, as you say.   However, most of the marriage bloggers I know actually do bounce ideas off others. We run stuff past wise family and friends, and we chat with each other. So at least SOME of this pitching/editing process does happen.   Just thought I'd give you a sense of what I've seen. Thanks so much! Blessings to you and your blog!

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

 @Anonmom31  @cabinetmaker I see things like that in the comment section, but not by the author's...

Thanks for your reply.  I'm glad things are better now in your marriage.  Mine also.  I pray your husband was like me and able to repent and quit.  The day my wife figured out what sex meant and applied it I won my battle easily, quickly & thankfully.  I know many guys can't seem to unfortunately.

cabinetmaker
cabinetmaker

@Anonmom31  @cabinetmaker I see things like that in the comment section, but not by the author's... Thanks for your reply.  I'm glad things are better now in your marriage.  Mine also.  I pray your husband was like me and able to repent and quit.  The day my wife figured out what sex meant and applied it I won my battle easily, quickly & thankfully.  I know many guys can't seem to unfortunately.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

 @AnYa494  That is certainly part of it, but men will flock to blogs about sports or technology, so there is more going on that just that.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband

@AnYa494  That is certainly part of it, but men will flock to blogs about sports or technology, so there is more going on that just that.

AnYa494
AnYa494

@TheGenerousHusband  @SonjaChoyPhilip  Could that be because women are just wired differently?  Women are much more verbal than men.  A man tends to solve a problem by just doing it.  A woman tends to talk it out (whether she's the one talking or by reading) to solve the problem.  I think it's just the inherent difference between men and women.  Same reason a man is less likely to go to the doctor.

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