Marriage (3): rebellions large and small

(Tim Bayly) #1

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:

(Joseph Bayly) #2

This is interesting. I would have said it is a step towards anarchy. But that whole idea of authority being indestructible means that the if the church is stripped of authority in today’s context, the strongest other authority picks it up (like the servant that already has 10 talents receives the one abandoned by the wicked servant.) It would play out completely differently in the Wild West, for example.

(Chris Gatihi) #3

Thank you, brother, for confronting this. I 100% agree with you in this but am still unconvinced on this part before you started talking about marriage:

I’m not trying to re-ignite the discussion from the other thread that was closed so please don’t take this that way but it was peculiar to me when the point was made in the other thread and I’m still wrestling with it. A couple questions:

  1. Do you see every application of authority by church officers as an exercise of the keys that you speak of (i.e. Matt. 18)?
  2. Is Bannerman the person who you think most persuasively explains keys (in the context of Matt. 18) being exercised by church officers? If not, where would you point someone who wanted to really dig into the idea of keys being exercised by church officers specifically?

It’s this idea of keys being exercised by church officers (in contrast to by the entire congregation) that I’m still continuing to stumble over in my understanding of the New Testament.


(Joel Norris) #4

I think the best way to understand the current situation is that people have been working to increase the authority of the State at the highest levels for the express purpose of undermining the authority of intermediating institutions. It seems like a step towards anarchy because individuals are freed from constraints imposed by families, churches, businesses, civic organizations, and even cultural expectations, but it is also tyranny because the more distant higher levels of State are now directly regulating the lowest levels of individual life. It is not so much that the State is usurping and centralizing authority of its own volition but rather that the majority of the population desires that it be so. Recall that Israel received a king because the people demanded it.

(Torsten Howard) #5

The word translated as “malign” you’ve referenced from Titus 2:5 is in Greek “[blasphēmētai]” or “βλασφημῆται” which is Strong’s 987, to blaspheme. I believe that the many other translations of blasphemetai like malign [NIV], bring shame upon [NLT], revile [ESV], dishonored [NASB], slandered [CSB, HCSB], and so on are a deliberate attempt to soften the Scriptures and fail to bring to the understanding the rich and depth of meaning Christians associate with “blaspheme the Word of God”.

(Topher) #6

I’ve read a good deal of the Bayly blog over the years and have appreciated your stance on many issues. I have a simple question regarding the circumstances between the man and woman mentioned in this post: how? How was this to change between them? How could he have changed it, by changing himself? In what way?

I am the man who has conceded much, and I am reaping the whirlwind of a disintegrated family. Yet I am still uncertain of how I didn’t love my wife. I have been accused of not understanding, again and again, yet, I did. For her, my opposition to her desires was framed as not understanding, even when I demonstrated a validation of her concerns, to step in a different direction was to act unloving. I felt trapped, in a vicious cycle of either conceding or living through vicious and terrible anger, berating and belittling. With four children in the house, to concede to keep peace seemed wise, at the time.

I was told that my desire to seek marriage counseling was only a means to manipulate the direction of our marriage, as I would simply “charm” the counselor to see things my way. Yes, I can be persuasive.

So tell me. How?

The basic principles of your stuff is great, but what if there is something neither you nor I can reach in a woman?


(Joel Norris) #7

Brother @Sojourner, I am sympathetic to your situation, being a child of a wife-initiated divorce myself.

Here you answer your own question.

Loving your wife would have been not conceding to her ungodly desires and instead responding with patience and firmness rather than anger.

That may very well be true, and it may likely be that there was nothing you could have done to bring your wife around, but you would probably be in a better position now if you had not conceded or expressed explosive anger, and possibly you could have gained your wife’s respect.

(Topher) #8

Did I contribute to the problem through my own immaturity and impatience? Sure thing. Absolutely. But the better part of my time was spent in patiently undergoing quite intense interrogatives regarding some fairly sleight peccadilloes; mainly my failure to always see things her way in regards to our relationship or her relationships with others, at whom she might be at odds. I got angry on occasion, but I wonder sometimes at the “sin” of anger, or the possibility that anger can become sin. God gets angry, and at times tells us we should too. When and where, well, those times do come. I’ve sinned, surely. And I’ve heard about them, over and over and over again.

But just to be clear: I’m not sure where you got the idea I was confessing “explosive anger”; I wasn’t. Also, I was talking about my wife. To not concede meant little peace in the house. Her anger wasn’t explosive either, more seething. It sort of colours the air, this kind. Not scary, just deteriorating; it demands immediate and very focused attention or you will not sleep well. And for all the talk about marital theory, sometimes, just getting through a day and keeping your head up is a pretty good win. The weight of it makes going to work harder, it makes planning seem heavy, leading becomes momentous, and pushing against the anxiety and fears takes up quite a bit of time. Ever really been there, brother?

The other thing is: NO MAN wants to admit he may have married a harpy. It’s on him, right? Love is blind. Like the Puritans said: Choose your love, then love your choice. So, suck it up, it’s all on you. Imagine if Adam had said, “No, Eve, I’m not eating that (unbelief).” Would God have said “Adam, you need to love your wife!” Meaning, throw her out of the Garden, by herself, or “eat up because you love her”? Problem being, she had already swallowed. Yes, Adam did eat, and here I am, wondering how to navigate the fallout.

I need to ask too: how is it that men are often told “you need to earn her respect”; yet women aren’t (at least in the church) told, “you need to earn his love”? I think it would be better if neither condition was ever suggested and wonder at how men have been sort of castrated by the suggestion that earning that respect is even possible, in every and all circumstances. Losing it seems the better possibility with some women, but ever gaining it? Well, how come a man must start from zero or less? If a person, man or woman, is unwilling to forgive or let go of past offenses - even ones that are simply perceived - is it possible to ever gain back what might have been lost? I mean, even Sarai didn’t ridicule or bring up what Abram did when he sent her to pretend to be his sister. The Scriptures seem to be less bent on berating men for their past failures than we are; Scripture never calls Abram an idiot or stupid, never takes away from who he is, doesn’t make him carry a load for what he did. The Saints tend to move on in life, towards the Heavenly kingdom.

I ask, have you ever been in a relationship that was simply oil and water? It would be great to hear HOW you actually navigated it. I’m looking for some “boots on the ground” stuff, brother.


(Joel Norris) #9

I am sorry, @Sojourner, I misread your comment, and I apologize for attributing explosive anger to you.

Yes, in my relationship with my late mother, who had big mental and spiritual issues that I won’t get into here. And there was not one thing I could do to fix the situation. So I focused on doing my duty as a son, but the situation never improved, and I never gained a shred of respect from my mother. But I did gain great power to resist manipulation and discern what love required. And the experience very much trained me to never give in to seething anger (or pouting, in the case of my wife) and to not let my emotional state be governed by another.

Of course, it’s not the same as what you are facing – the mother-son relationship is not as intimate as the husband-wife relationship. But it’s also the case that a man can choose his wife, but he can’t choose his mother, and although he can live separately from her as an adult, he is completely helpless to her as a child. But I have come to the point where I give sincere thanks to God for my mother because through the suffering, his grace greatly worked in my life. And I pray the same will be true for you, too.

(Topher) #10

No worries. I know that my writing can skip beats, and I assume I’m clear because it makes sense to me, as any man probably does, to himself.

I appreciate your openness. I’m wrestling with a number of questions that I’ve been asking for years, ones which the article brought to mind again.

(Chris Gatihi) #11

@Sojourner, my heart goes out to you. I know what you mean, brother. This is fleshly manipulation at work. And the goal of it is to make life as painful for you as possible until you concede.

And the reason I’ve given in to it is because of the fear of man. The fear of woman in this case.

I’ve painfully come to learn (far too slowly) that the only solution is … surprise… the fear of the Lord (Luke 12:4-5). To fear the Lord and the consequences of rebelling against Him more than to fear my wife and that feeling that will persist if I don’t concede. It was painful to acknowledge that for far too long the latter fear was more functionally supreme in my heart :disappointed:

Even though the cost of conceding is great (as you’re attesting too), there’s a different kind of cost (a redemptive, God-glorifying cost in the long run), I’ve come to find, in not conceding. It means that I have to bear the weight of that air that makes me feel uncomfortable. But isn’t that the essence of what love is? The essence of love, especially a man’s love for his wife, is bearing a cross that he wouldn’t otherwise bear if he weren’t in this relationship:

[25] Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, [26] that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, [27] 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 5:25–27, ESV)

Basically, in such a position, we have to choose pain. We can’t avoid it. The question is if we will choose a kind of pain that is only destructive or a kind of pain that is redemptive in the long run (of eternity).

I spoke with @tbbayly on the phone early last year and one thing he prayed for me as I shared some of my struggles (along the same lines as yours) was for strength. He didn’t know what I needed the strength for but all he knew was that I needed strength. I’ve come to realize precisely what I needed (and still continue to need) that strength for:

Love suffers long (1 Corinthians 13:4, NKJV)

…being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; (Colossians 1:11, ESV)

No easy answers. But a faithful God in His glorious might, His precious Word, and the sufficiency of Christ in the fellowship of His sufferings.

Grace be with you brother.

(Topher) #12

I think you are right. I appreciate your counsel. Pray for me. I can hardly anticipate the road ahead, but I’d like to walk it with that strength you mentioned.

Not sure though, about the fear thing. That’s an easy way to explain something after the events, when one has simply tried to mitigate turmoil. My circumstances now are because I did say “no” to something that would put our family on a certain trajectory. Having said no, I am now subject to a kind of exile, with little hope of reconciliation. I’m now in clean-up mode, trying to navigate the fallout of actually leading, and not being followed. I know that’s vague, as the story is long, and my circumstances are complicated. Still, I take heart at your words.

Peace & joy in Christ.

(Jay Tuck) #13

Thanks for sharing. It really puts the flesh on the bones of the article.