Jenna at Proletarian
Karen at Roses and Tea
Sal at Stand up and Walk and I are reflecting on Debi Pearl's new book, Created to Be His Help Meet (which you can order here). Molly usually joins us, but she's just had a son, so she's a little indisposed!
Yeah, I am still behind in my reviewing. You know, the great thing about blogging is that it's not schoolwork, and I can't have points deducted for tardy work! Heh. Anyway--down to business.
At this point in the book (all the other reviewers pointed this out last week), Part One ends and Part Two begins: Debi breaks down Titus 2:3-5 into chunks to show women how God's Word is actually blasphemed if we do not obey Him in these designated areas.
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
"Even though it is not the unpardonable sin," she writes, "it sure is a scary thing for Paul to say about young wives." The Greek word translated "blasphemed" in the KJV is blasphemeo, which other Bibles translate as "dishonored" or "maligned." Honestly, those sound watered down to me. If it blasphemes the Word for women to disobey God in these areas, then let's call a spade a spade!
Chapter 15: To Be Sober
This is one of the chapters that seem to be written for a mother at home--but that doesn't mean that nothing applied to me (a childless woman who works outside the home). Debi charges women to thoughtfully care for their homes in order to maintain peace and joy within its walls:
"When a woman soberly considers the needs, time schedule, and resources of her home, then she will be a more efficient help meet. This planning will eliminate tension and help set a peaceful mood."
The point here is not that all of the household management rests on the woman's shoulders; it's that there is so very much a woman can do to make things run smoothly in the home, making it a "refuge from the stress of life."
This is an area I've allowed myself to be lax in, using my childlessness and personal living situation as an excuse. I'm really good about meals, but have a tendency to procrastinate about everything else. I'm so tired after working all day and making dinner at night, but if I planned more diligently and wasn't so (ouch) lazy at times, my house would be more in order. (Note to self: less blogging, more cleaning.) Anyway.
Chapter 16: To Love Their Husbands
(I suppose I should warn you that I get a teeny bit graphic here.)
One thing I've heard about Purpose-Driven Life that I like (no, I am not a fan, but that's another post) is that Warren tells people: "It's not about YOU." I like that. I need to hear that. Over and over.
"Loving [your husband] means putting his needs before your own....We were, and are, created to be help meets. Every day and every night we need to be ready to minister to his needs."
WHAT? You mean I am supposed to esteem others more highly than MYSELF?!
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Debi takes this opportunity, in telling us to LOVE OUR HUSBANDS, to exhort women to wholeheartedly, enthusiastically cultivate their sex lives with their husbands. I completely agree with her and believe that this area should be laid out for women much more clearly and emphatically than it usually is.
"There are a multitude of excuses women use to explain why they would 'rather not' or why they 'cannot respond' sexually. I believe I have heard them all. Her husband knows in his spirit that all her excuses are just that: excuses for not wanting him. When a woman is not interested in his most consuming passion, he feels that she is not interested in him. When a woman just 'allows, cooperates, and tolerates,' it leaves a man feeling sick at heart....A man's most basic needs are warm sexual love, approval, and admiration. For his wife to be willing but indifferent, speaks of neither sex nor love. A woman is a fool to believe her own excuses..."
Look, there may indeed be some legitimate reasons why a woman (or a man) is not able to get excited. I have two things to say about that: A) it is absolutely that person's responsibility to seek to rectify that, and B) we're not really talking about medical exceptions here. We're talking about, "Oh, honey, I have a headache." Night after night.
Changing one's attitude about this is just like changing attitudes about everything else we've addressed in these reviews--it's not different because it's sex. Every married person deserves a fulfilling sex life, and it's part and parcel of what you VOWED TO DO before God and man. It's not created to be drudgery or "duty;" it's created to be joyful and satisfying. If we're regarding it as the former, the very first thing I believe we should do is examine our hearts and see what kinds of thoughts we've allowed ourselves to think that may be leading to our distaste or coldness or inertia.
Sorry, I've got to quote this part (priceless!!):
"If you are not interested in sex, then at least be interested in him enough to give him good sex."
And one more, because her warning provides sobering food for thought.
"It is a man's duty to walk in truth and have high integrity, but a woman who trusts in a man's ability to endure all things, while providing circumstances that test him to the max, is a fool. It is your duty to fulfill his sexual needs."
This duty is not just that of the wife--the husband has the same obligation (wonderful obligation!) to his wife.
1 Cor 7:2-4
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.