Don’t be a sex sponge.

Most women bloggers have a loyal reader and commenter who can be described as “Issues Guy.”  Like a dog has fleas, he’s got issues with women — and man, do they bite.

My Issues Guy put himself right in the middle of this post on idolatry, in a tangential combox conversation which turned out to be far more interesting than the post itself  (even though the post itself had “foreskin” in the title!). Issues Guy described his perfect potential wife and marriage thus:

The Plan
Find a woman who:
•wants to/is willing to have sex all the time
•wants to be 100% submissive in a way that feels natural
•wants to/is willing to have all the kids I can give her

It’s a simple three-point plan. Not sure how hard it would be to execute.

In return I will:
•treat her like a middle school girl (which women seem to like no matter what they may say) alternating with treating her like an adult which they admittedly also seem to like.
•work till I black out if necessary
•let her read to me

It’s a perfect plan.

Ouchie, the issues!  A married man tried to correct him, saying, 

 Your description of marriage as a contract with its focus on sexual gratification of the man exposes a deep seated fear of intimacy and completely misses the root of our Church Tradition … So you will be physically faithful to one woman. Big shit. So was Hitler. 

[…]

As a sacramental vocation, I have experienced that marriage helps me to be a better person ONLY when I am actively engaged in all aspects of our lives. When I slack off and choose to only live my vows by “working until I blackout” it is a sham. And when in such denial, my heart has been clouded from receiving love from any source.

Issues Man responded:

Sex as the foundation of marriage isn’t an error, it’s natural law. That’s why sex is considered the consummation of the sacrament and why people of the same sex can’t marry each other.

Really this whole controversy boils down to a wife’s duty to have sex with her husband.

A few people tried to respond to him, but here is the reply that really lit up my female brain:

The expectation that someone should be available “all the time” speaks to little to no understanding of how important sex really is.

Ding ding! Issues Guy thought that, because he wants and needs sex all the time, he alone understands how important it is; but in fact, it shows how unimportant he imagines sex to be. It shows how little he understands it.

Imagine if someone said, “Most people settle for three-minute pop songs, but I am different. I appreciate the beauty of Beethoven. Therefore, I will put the fourth movement of his ninth symphony on repeat, and will listen to it over and over again at top volume for the rest of my life.”

That would be weird, right? Someone who wants that is someone who maybe started out actually loving music, but his natural desire for its beauty and depth has turned into . . . something else. Something that ruins Beethoven.

Or imagine a child who is presented with a chocolate cake for his first birthday. He’s so excited that, while he does manage to get some of it into his mouth, he also smears it in his hair, squishes it between his fingers, slathers it all over his skin and clothes.

PIC baby massacring cake

 

 

You wouldn’t look at a kid like this and say, “Wow, here is a true gourmet! Unlike the rest of us, who eat three meals a day, he truly understands how important food is.” No, you’d say, “Ha, he doesn’t know any better. Someone get a towel.”

Why is this? Well, when something is profound, we don’t enjoy it best when we wallow in it. We’re not sponges, just an undifferentiated blob of strung-together holes designed for soaking. Someone who soaks, someone who wallows — this is not someone who understands. This is someone who has traded understanding for consumption.

It is the same with sex.  The “want/need/have-to-have/gimme-more-now-now-now” model of sexuality is a sad and poor and foolish one. Yes, we have needs — but we are more than the sum of our needs. We are not made to wallow. When we understand that something is important, we use some discernment, some restraint, or at very least some careful timing.

Now, these analogies — music, food — are useful to explain what is grotesque about the “want/need/must-not-be-denied” attitude . . . but only up to a point. It is true that there is such a thing as too much Beethoven or too much chocolate cake, and that people who yearn for nonstop saturation don’t truly love what they say they love.

But that’s not the only problem, when we’re talking about sex. It’s not just that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It’s that sex doesn’t mean anything at all when it’s not an expression of a relationship.

Food and music have some element of this need for relationships. It’s nicer when we enoy music together, and it’s a happier day when we can share a feast with someone else. But if we do enjoy these things alone — if we are carried out of ourselves, out and away from the crowded concert hall on a solitary musical wave,  or if we close our eyes in bliss as we taste a spoonful of something exquisite, something we do not have to share?

PIC woman tasting spoon

 

 

This is fine. This is great. This is normal, and nice, and good.

But sex is different. Sex is only meaningful because it is part of a relationship. This is true of sex every single time, no matter who you are, what your circumstances, what your  needs, what your wants, what your desires, what your issues. Sex is about two people, always. “You give it to me” is not a relationship. If you’re thinking of sex as something that you do and the other person must let you do, then you are not really thinking about sex. You’re thinking about holes that need filling. You are being a hole that needs filling. You are being a sponge.

PIC flabby sponge

 

The comments I quoted above came about as a tangent to the central conversation — but come to think about it, they’re right on target. I said that idolatry is when we

replace God with something smaller and easier to manage — and devote your life to serving that, instead.

And there we are. Sex is not small, and it is not easy to manage. It is a vast ocean. One way that we can make it manageable is, paradoxically, to wallow in it — to become an undifferentiated, undifferentiating mass of saturated holes. It is easier this way. Sponges don’t care about tides, or storms, or seasons, or night or day. Some of them don’t even need another sponge to reproduce. They just witlessly bud, and add to themselves more holes to be filled.

Do not, o thou man, be a sponge. Be better. Struggle, suffer, give yourself over to a world of thirst and desire, conflict and deep joy.

Struggle, learn, suffer, love, and be better than a sponge.

 

******

You know that Extraordinary Bishops’ Synod on the Family coming up in October? The Patheos Catholic Channel will be posting a rolling symposium covering all sorts of topics relevant to the Synod. I’m tagging this post #synod and #symposium because it’s about sex, and sex is relevant to everything! Right? Yes?
Anyway, many of my fellow bloggers, many of whom are capable of thinking of things other than sex, are posting clear, insightful, entertaining posts. The Catholic Patheos Synod Symposium Landing Page is already full of great posts, and is being updated regularly. You may not be familiar with some of the fine writers who contribute to the Patheos Catholic Channel. Browse around! We’re an amazingly varied bunch.

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My Aleteia piece on the suffering faithful...
I just figured out why it was called "The Synod on the Family."
Additions, corrections to Greg Popcak's book Holy Sex?
Is it easier for rich people to have big families?
  • Kate Cousino

    Interestingly, yesterday one of my old friends announced on FB that he is becoming celibate. This is a free love, hippy-dippy, “spiritual but not religious” fellow. His reason? He says that he has realized that he was a more joyful, more open, and more loving person as a teen, before he was sexually active, that he was “more open to loving others without reservations” or expectations. He says that it is impossible that sex could be treated casually without resulting in lasting consequences and painful experiences. This is a fellow who is in the habit of referring to “the sacrament of sex” (not in a Catholic sense, of course).

    What strikes me is that, although my friend frames it in terms of “chakras” and “energies exchanged” he is far further along the path of understanding the significance of sex and the dangers in treating it as a commodity than your Issues Man.

    • Kate Cousino

      On a side note, I pointed my friend towards Thomas Merton (after a conversation comparing Eastern/Western meditation a while back; Merton is the go-to guy for that discussion) and he ordered the Seven Storey Mountain. He tells me it should arrive today. I’m really looking forward to the discussions that should spark!

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    I’m not sure if I’m hurt that I’m not your resident crazy guy- but at least I admit that sex must be *relationship*, the merging of two souls, open to the gift of life, and do it right, nine months later you have to give it a name and you get to keep experiencing the results for 18 to 35 years, barring accidents and illness in the relationships. Issues guy sounds to be about 17 and experiencing insane levels of testosterone (as all us men did at that age). I’m much better now.

  • echarles1

    Your Issues Guy has a basic misunderstanding about sex and marriage, one that
    Shrevie learned the hard way in the movie The Diner:

    “You
    know the big part of the problem? When we were dating we spent most of our time
    talking about sex. Why couldn’t I do it? Where could we do it? Were her parents
    going to be out so we could do it. Talking about being alone for a weekend. A whole
    night. You know. Everything was talking about gettin’ sex or planning our wedding.
    Then when you’re married… It’s crazy. You can have it whenever you want. You wake up She’s there. You come home from work. She’s there. So, all the sex-planning talk is over. And the wedding-planning talk. We can sit up here and bullshit the night away, but I can’t have a fiveminute conversation with Beth.”

  • Anna

    “Issues” is why I loved anna lisa’s response to him. I was all ready to go on explaining why a Kantian understanding of marriage is not compatible with Catholicism (even pre-JPII, as he imagines) and how the “I’m in this only as long as I get what I want” is completely modern-society and not at all God – but anna lisa got right to the heart of the whole thing and simply described her huge messy joyful living family with a brief mention of how true love always grows beyond itself. And her response was perfect since only someone with no experience of love can imagine that marriage as Issues Guy describes it would be anything but utterly soul-killing. And until he experiences love, he won’t get it because he doesn’t think it exists.

    • anna lisa

      :)

  • http://janalynmarie.blogspot.com/ Beadgirl

    Heh. I was wondering if you were going to respond to him.

    “Sex is only meaningful because it is part of a relationship.”

    This is what I kept thinking as I read his comments. I think (hope) that if he were ever to get married to a woman he loves and respects, a woman whose well-being and interest he puts above his own, then on those nights when she says “no” because she is not feeling well, or is exhausted, or is ovulating but is not ready for another child, or is just plain not in the mood, he won’t be resentful because he wants sex to be an expression of their love and regard for each other, not just an itch that he needs scratched without regard to her needs.

  • donttouchme

    We’re not talking about sex, we’re talking about marriage, what it is, what it used to be, what it will become, what it won’t.

    • mouse

      Ah, see, there’s the point of confusion!

      See, what you described wasn’t marriage, it was the definition of concubinage. When the statement “you got to eat today, so lift up your skirt” is followed by “consensual” sex, that’s less matrimony and more Stockholm syndrome.

      • donttouchme

        No it isn’t. A concubine is a second wife or a girl someone is sleeping with with no commitment.

        I’m not surprised you all want to separate sex from “marriage” though as if they are just accidentally connected and real marriage is the emotional attachment and commitment. Since that’s what the new gynocentric revision of marriage explicitly is.

        • mouse

          Hahahaha! That’s cute. You’re the one defining marriage as “you get food and a roof over your head; I get exclusive, executive control over your body”. That’s what is historically known as “slavery” which is illegal in this country.

          It’s as if you saw a headline : “Breaking: JPII makes Astonishing Discovery: Women Have Brains, Souls” and suddenly your whole world came tumbling down around your ears.

          • donttouchme

            Note to self: crazy feminists think marriage prior to 1965 identical to slavery

          • Kate Cousino

            If you think marriage in the Christian west was primarily utilitarian and not at all companionate, then you need to revisit some first hand and contemporary accounts.

          • donttouchme

            Sorry to spoil the romantic comedy starring St. JPII. But sex IS holy matrimony, quite literally, which is why the covenant was built all around it.

            Edit: and why homosexuals can’t marry each other.

          • Kate Cousino

            Nope. Holy matrimony is the union of a man and woman who, through their sexual relationship, commit to forming a family together.

            In other words, without the union, it isn’t matrimony. That union is differentiated by its sexual nature, fidelity, and permanence, but not *limited* to sex, fidelity, and permanence.

          • donttouchme

            Note: through their sexual relationship. There is no matrimony without union and no union without sex.

          • Kate Cousino

            Weeeelll….there are special circumstances where that isn’t accurate. Under canon law, a Josephite marriage is still a valid marriage, even though it is celibate.

            Normatively, though, sex is an essential element of marriage. As I said earlier, no one here denies that. We merely deny your reductionist, utilitarian approach to marriage.

          • donttouchme

            Ok, canonical exceptions aren’t the rule when it comes to natural law.

          • Kate Cousino

            Ah, but we’re talking about sacramental marriage. What you describe might be sufficient for a natural marriage (though it would be a sucky marriage) but it falls far short of the union Christ and the Church model for us.

          • donttouchme

            I never was. I was talking about the “machine” of the world that runs on certain truths, which the new gynocentric model of marriage denies and tries to subvert.

            Re: the sacrament: That’s well and good. That’s part of the covenant built up around the fundamental reality of humans as material and spiritual beings. Sex still is holy matrimony. There is no sacrament without sex, and canonical exceptions don’t make the canonical rule any more than they make the natural law.

            Aside: It’s kind of cheating to significantly edit a comment without noting it.

          • KL

            Having followed this conversation in both posts, I am still confused about your assertion that the new, TOB model of marriage is “gynocentric.” Could you please elaborate on what you mean by this? In what way is an understanding of sacramental marriage as a mutual partnership privileging the woman?

          • donttouchme

            Basically because men and women aren’t equal. Which shouldn’t be a controversial idea, but is, because of the feminist culture and its quislings in the magisterium. As an illustration consider the greater inequality of a child and a man. If you started believing the child and the man are equal, you unjustly elevate the child and diminish the man. If you try to build society around the idea that they’re equal, you don’t have any choice but to privilege the child.

            Further, marriage is by nature patriarchal. We haven’t had it for a million years or 50,000 years, but only for like 6,000 years. It really is the source of civilization and history. It came about by linking a father by right to the children he produced with a certain woman. Because he became a father he suddenly started working a lot harder to care for his kids and pass something on to them when he died and civilization got built by all those father. That’s basically the androcentric model used the whole time until recently. The father was at the center. This is an aspect of natural law. Today, since men and women are supposedly equal, why have the father at the center? Surely, the reasoning goes, he’ll work just as hard when he doesn’t have a right his kids or to his wife’s body. To try to create some kind of non-patriarchal marriage is really an oxymoron. It’s gynocentric and won’t work. Which is why marriage is in the shape it’s in.

          • mouse

            Right. Things were better when abuse was considered normal.

          • mouse

            And in your opinion, st. Joseph was some kind of weakling for not exercising his “right” to his wife’s body?

          • anna lisa

            I had a professor in college that argued for abortion based upon “stringency”. He said that the life of a child was less “stringent” than that of a 33-year-old man. He used that number because he said Christ died at the height of his “stringency”.
            The dark voice always blends truth with heresy, because scoring a big catch requires a cover of beauty and altruism.

          • donttouchme

            I don’t know what that means, but I like your style a lot.

          • anna lisa

            Thanks! :)
            His name was Dr. Wennberg. He wrote this book called “Life in the Balance”. He was very loved, and voted “best professor” at Westmont, year after year. The book, which was a big seller at the campus bookstore, made the case that a woman’s life has far more importance than the life of her unborn child because she has more strength, intelligence and experience. I wrote to him, and didn’t mince words. I told him that we are all connected, and that If a scared girl bought his book, and aborted her child because he provided her with the “out” she was looking for, he would share in the guilt of the child’s spilled blood. He and I went round and round. I quoted Mother Teresa to him, and he’d quote someone obscure, and then throw in these crazy bits of eastern-mysticism-curve balls, saying things like: “maybe God recycles souls, if they aren’t put to good use the first time around.” –Sounded more like recycled Nazism to me. That idea made me realize how Protestantism makes for some crazy, loose canons. Logic, and a substantial amount of truth, can pave the way for something which looks like truth, and freedom from the outside, but has a diabolical heart. Satan is one of the most attractive creatures on earth.
            I am so thankful that I’m Catholic.
            A couple of my kids will rant and rave about Catholic “rules” or tell me that I’m not free if I’m just following orders, but instead of shutting them down, I tell them they are in fact partially right. The letter of the law, without understanding the heart of what it means or why it must be followed, makes us slaves, not friends, children, or lovers.
            The last time my 18-y.o. trotted out that rules. rules. rules. complaint, we were driving. I said, “you don’t like rules? Well, look at that yellow line down the middle of the road. It’s not there to keep you curtailed, it’s to keep your face intact when you decide you want to free-wheel it on a blind curve.”

          • donttouchme

            I don’t think inferiority is related to worth. The two are wrongly connected today, that if something is inferior it is naturally of less worth. It isn’t true. But it doesn’t then follow that a baby isn’t inferior it’s mother because it isn’t of less worth. When a great mind like that professor goes wrong it just goes wrong in a bigger way, not in a “wronger” way.

          • anna lisa

            You know exactly how you are manipulating the language when you say that women are inferior to men.
            You know perfectly well that Christ the suffering servant wouldn’t approve of the spirit in which you say it.
            You also know perfectly well that some women are superior to some men in math, science, medicine, law enforcement …the list goes on and on. Every woman here would agree with you that most males are better equipped to fight fires or subdue a 300 lb. criminal. The word “better equipped” would be a more advanced way of expressing this. You’re just picking a fight to vent your frustrations, because the world is changing in ways you don’t approve of, and can’t control. What’s kind of funny is that you are picking that fight with a bunch of traditionally minded women who are expending their lives at the *service* of their husbands and children. We submit ourselves *freely* but if that spirit of service isn’t *reciprocal* wives and husbands intuit the fact that the original beauty that God envisioned for us becomes perverted to something ugly, twisted and abusive…Our adoption in Christ does not ask us to be slaves
            “the opposite of love is not hate it is use…”
            You’re afraid of being used–we’re afraid of that too.
            We don’t approve of the way the world has changed in many ways either, but we have the confidence that The Holy Spirit breathes over everything, and especially in the humble hearts that give their will to Him. God will win this culture war *eventually*. He will continue to beckon us to a higher state of being, if we interpret culture with His inspiration, rejecting what is not of Him and embracing new ways of thinking that are.

            You know that God is not static. He is creative by nature. He can’t be frozen in time. Jesus told his disciples that there was so much more he wanted to teach us, but we weren’t ready yet and couldn’t bear it. That’s why Peter is so important. If we don’t listen to Peter, what we think might be the inspiration of the Holy Spirit could be the diametric opposite.
            “It is not good that the man should be alone.”–God was telling us something astonishing about *Himself* , and the way He functions.

          • Anna

            Once again in this conversation I must applaud your patience and perfect expression of the truth!

          • anna lisa

            :) :) :) In my zeal, I almost forgot to pick my five y.o. up from school. They were patient too.

          • donttouchme

            “Better equipped” doesn’t communicate the meaning I intend. I know probably every woman here will concede that the male sex is stronger and faster (a lot of women won’t even recognize that). What they won’t concede is that the male sex is really the primary source of civilization, which it is. And most of them will never acknowledge any duty to their husbands which they wrongly equate with slavery, but ONLY at best the option to give themselves as a gift, which is an idea that came from St. JPII in trying to cooperate with feminism. Some of them do, such as MightyMighty and I think you. The result isn’t the same in the aggregate, which is why marriage in general is in such trouble. The gynocentric revision undercuts the nature of what marriage literally is. So I don’t think the St. JPII revisions to marriage represent progress, and “big picture”, I think men and women everywhere both will be paying the price for that till things go back to sanity. Anyway, everything I’m saying is in Casti Connubii in SLIGHTLY less provocative phrasing, and even here in this traditionally-minded comment section probably 99% of the women would disagree with what Peter says there, even though it’s way more rational, unambiguous and in line with natural law than the JPII revisions.

            I think I hang out here because no one else writes the things Simcha writes and this kind of conversation occurs basically nowhere else that I have found. Not only or primarily to annoy traditionally-minded women. I like your style. You’re somehow able to slap me and compliment me at the exact same time.

          • anna lisa

            d.t.m. You didn’t understand what I was trying to say about self donation. Just use your common sense–wouldn’t you prefer a wife who anticipates you? Wouldn’t you dread it if you knew you were causing her mental or physical pain? Can’t you understand that repeatedly making this mistake would in effect suck all the joy out of it for both husband and wife? Animals can do such a thing guilelessly–human beings can’t. I think what you are underestimating is how much life (marriage) the women here have lived. You are effectively sticking your finger in the eye of *anybody* who has suffered because of love, when you state that a woman who is inferior to her husband needs to subordinate herself to her husband’s will and whim, no matter what the circumstances. What human beings need is to love and give love. This crosses over every race and creed. The Catholic Church didn’t invent this reality, it is simply the truth. This is what we were *all* made for. Love *needs* (I wish there was a stronger word in English) –to lose itself in the other –but this requires *trust*. Trust comes when we tell the *truth* with our bodies, rather than a lie. If a wife/husband can’t trust that the actions of their spouse are committed in good faith, than the (cumulative) effect upon their relationship is the same as the manner in which sin damages our relationship with God. To act selfishly is to deny one’s own humanity, and the one that is wounded by those actions. Thankfully there is repentance and there is grace. God can repair any damage, as long as we are humble and willing to be honest. This is why Satan is Satan. He refuses that grace. He lies to himself, and clings to falsehood. His favorite win must be when he can make people who think they are Catholics into antichrists.
            It is true that a woman or a man can die a saint at the hands of a selfish spouse, –and while that marriage may appear to be valid, it could in fact be in reality the “anti-marriage.”

          • donttouchme

            Well I definitely don’t see how any of that is at all connected to my previous comment. Or how it conflicts with anything I wrote, if that’s what you mean. But I guess in these whole two threads only one woman acknowledged any duty. Which I can only take as confirmation of everything I’ve been saying.

          • anna lisa

            The need for duty? That’s like saying “nobody mentioned that breathing is important.” Sex that is reduced to just duty is like giving an Olympian the bunny hill in August, and it’s covered with rocks–why would you even *want* that? You have your eyes glued to the rocky terrain and there’s this giant blue sky above your head.

          • donttouchme

            It’s exactly like saying breathing is important. Which is why it’s so ridiculous to ignore and deny it, and why marriage is so bad-off today.

          • anna lisa

            Of course. sex. is. important. *Who* is ignoring it? Both sexes have an obligation to maintain a healthy respect and balanced attitude. Perversion can happen on both ends of the spectrum. A prude can just lay there like a corpse and a pervert can be so far gone that he thinks that corpse looks enticing. And then there are the true martyrs who understand how it *should* be, but endure a kind of abuse that is hard to fathom.

          • donttouchme

            Who? Uh, everyone. Say a wife has a duty to have sex or the logical extension that a husband has a right to his wife’s body and people freak out and deny it like they have been all over these threads.

            But I’m not JUST talking about s-e-x. I think women really might be more sex obsessed than I am. I’m talking about marriage.

            I really don’t know what the disconnect is here then because everything I’m saying is in Casti Connubii, even the stuff about inequality.

          • anna lisa

            d.t.m. I made a burrito for my 14 year old today, and he didn’t even bother to say “thank you”. It’s not that he didn’t want it, or that it didn’t taste great (he ate every morsel along with the chicken noodle soup made from scratch) it’s just that he’s so- (forgive me– I hang out with so many males) –butt hurt that I’m trying to hold him to a standard. He dropped out of summer school because he didn’t want to write a paper comparing King Louis VI with Napoleon. I told him that if he dropped the class and wants to sleep until noon, he still has to write the report, regardless, and he won’t get his gaming computer back until he does. We are in a semi tense stand-off. I tried to bend over backwards for him and even said he could write a paragraph a day, for a couple of HOURS of gaming, but he won’t give ground “on principle” lol!
            This is called: cutting off your nose to spite your face *because your pride won’t allow you to budge an inch off of your (perceived) high ground.*
            I have to hand it to him though. His tenacious attitude will make him an excellent soldier for God *someday*.
            We are all *gold in the fire*.

          • anna lisa

            (King Louis XVI)

          • donttouchme

            So why don’t you humble yourself then and agree that everything I’ve been saying is in Casti Connubii, since it is.

          • anna lisa

            d.t.m.
            You know what I feel guilty about? Sometimes I say things for the sake of comic relief before I’ve had time to meditate. I had the time to think about a few things, and honestly, I get where you are coming from to a *point*, but not because you are *right*–because I used to think I knew what kind of task master God is, and I can relate to abstracted virtue. I used to have this hyper sense of idealism, and I inflicted it upon myself and others (as apposed to you inflicting it upon a mythical wife.) I was untested, and untried in the bigger scheme of things.
            God is patient.
            God loves me. He loves you. He loves the woman at the well. He loves. He’s patient.
            I said somewhere up the thread that you weren’t a troll, and that the time I dedicated to you was so I could distract myself. That isn’t true. EVERYBODY, everybody, everybody, everybody is worth being given then time of day when they have issues.
            I think this will all work out for you if you simply make yourself vulnerable to the *Holy spirit*.
            .
            “Give it all to God”–Mother Teresa
            .
            That’s the best advice in the world.

          • donttouchme

            I was lying in bed last night trying to figure out where the disconnect was. Suddenly I got a warm feeling in my chest an realized there is no disconnect. Yoi believe the exact same thing I believe about all of this. You believe in a duty to have sex all time (which never means literally “all the time”) unlike 99% of the readers here who believe they have no duty. You believe in being 100% submissive in a way that feels natural unlike 99% of the readers here who believe the wife has no duty to be submissive. You are willing to have all the babies your husband can give you (with all the excoetions an caveats readers here want to list endlessly). That third point is more widely accepted by readers here because it is still actively taught. So long story short if I found a woman like you or MightyMighty she would meet all my basic requirements. I’m confident your marriage is different from 99% of the marriages of readers here.

          • anna lisa

            d.t.m.–
            I’ve been married since I was 19 years old. I have lived so much life. We have almost hit the 30-year mark.
            .

            The only reason why I think the way that I do is because I’ve suffered–My husband and I both have. (gold in the fire…)
            .
            When a marriage is reduced to “the marriage debt”, it is a symptom of a breakdown in communication. It hurts the man’s ego if his wife is clearly not an active participant. It hurts the wife’s ego if she can see that he is willing to settle for that, or worse, let’s say that he has witnessed her get up so many times that night to attend to someone else’s needs that she feels like a pathetic zombie, and he gets in line after the last “offender” to *settle* for that–and *no* none of them are offenders, it’s that she is human, and in her sleep-deprived-addled-brain it can appear that way in a painful moment. It sets the wrong tone to make something that is such a gift into a “I’m offerin’ this up for Jesus” complex (because I’m *proud* of the fact that I put out even when I’m not happy about it–that is sad. THAT is SO SAD!). I can remember a time when I had sttled in to a warped notion about marriage. It’s not that I felt it was bad or didn’t like it, it’s that I thought that the nature of this world kind of sucks the big pleasure out of everything–so you start with fireworks and then end up settling for an elevated heart rate if you’re lucky and (this is crucial)–decide not to be mad about it. You turn into Mary-the- martyr who kind of usually warms up to an idea. The fact that Mary-the-martyr warms up to the idea, encourages Sam-the-settler to try his luck and just go for it.
            That scenario is not only a prime example of a breakdown in communication, but WORSE–so much worse–a settling for something and not even *hoping* that things could be So. Much. Better. It’s like being duped into thinking that the sky doesn’t exist anymore because you bowed your head and looked at the ground for so long.

            I’m kind of cringing to even write about any of this because it’s really, really personal. But if it could stop one person to stop believing in that nasty little white lie–than so be it. I’m not saying that any marriage should reach a crisis point but this is BETTER than to start feeling like mental, spiritual, and body Novocaine has taken over–where both parties don’t even *care* enough to bother to bear their hearts and wounds to each other–or to *cry* for that gradual, but tremendous, slow-loss.
            .
            I have a feeling that a lot of marriages slip away this way into the dead zone–death by a thousand painful moments that turn into death by a thousand indifferent responses because the heart learns to guard itself.
            .
            My husband and I don’t take anything for granted anymore. We are amazingly in tune with each other–with how the other is feeling. (ok, now I can tell this is going to start to sound smarmy, because it’s hard to put all of these things into words that convey the truth…)
            We take exquisite care of each other *emotionally*. We are so spiritually united, we feel like *one person*. We are tender with each other. We *anticipate* each other. We find bliss in our proximity, and if this isn’t a physical reality it is always a spiritual one. We pay attention to *details* of refinement. The very *thought* of the marriage *debt* makes us laugh. Debt? DEBT? How on earth could anyone ever settle for such MINIMALISM? That’s like settling for tap water and army rations when you could drink the finest vintage, and eat filet mignon.

            It’s a choice. Everything in life is about needing to *choose* the good–but you have to have enough faith, hope, and love, that it will be given to you. Cynicism destroys this hope.

            What’s interesting is that even in our worst moments, we would *always* have taken a bullet for each other. We have never *not* loved each other. But we’ve finally understood the profound reality of “The proclamation of the kingdom.
            Heaven begins here.

          • donttouchme

            I can see how te debt could retreat out of sight or get buried so deep you practically forget about it, the way you forget about breathing, to use your earlier figure of speech, but breathing is still essential. So it should be at worst provincial to have it as a requirement like on my list, but women today go apeshit if you bring it up. The same is true for submissiveness. Many thanks for your explanations and relating your experience of marriage. I’m definitely going to keep my list intact as a basic foundation. I’m convinced it’s right even though it makes 98% of women think I’m a sociopath or something.

            What do you think of the other three items on my list? I really think they represent excellent emotional maintenance of a wife. It might sound like I’m kidding but I’m not.

          • Kate Cousino

            You know, if you just put it in language that acknowledges that you want a *willing* partner in marriage and not a domestic servant/nanny/sex slave combination, you’d get a bit farther–both in communicating with the women here, and in not terrifying any potential mate.

            Try this: put it in terms that might attract a young anna lisa:
            1. You want a wife who recognizes that an active sexual relationship is a vital aspect of marriage, and who is willing to work with you to make that a priority even during the busy seasons of your lives together. (She might want assurances that you will also work at making this mutually beneficial).

            2. You would like a woman who shares your desire to live out a providentialist approach to childbearing, welcoming children freely whenever there is no serious reason not to.

            I’m not going to go into the whole “working your butt off” part because I’m not sure whether that is an expression of something you actually want out of marriage, or simply what you assume makes all the rest of it sound ‘fair.’ There are women who want to be SAHMs and are looking for men who are willing to be a sole breadwinner. Even those women, however, usually prefer help around the house and hands-on help parenting to whatever extra income working overtime and weekends might bring in, whenever it’s possible, so I wouldn’t assume that working more hours automatically makes you a better provider.

          • donttouchme

            What about the submissiveness point?

          • Kate Cousino

            Well, that’s a sticky point, particularly since that word has very different connotations and meanings when used by different people.

            If what you mean is “We work together for the good of our family and the Glory of God under my leadership” you might get somewhere–most people understand a leader as someone who sets direction without micromanagement and relies on feedback and advice from the rest of the team. This is “submission” as “under the mission,” where the common mission is the focus, and the hierarchy is more or less a matter of roles and talents rather than power. This sort of head of the family leads by persuasion, wisdom, and example, rather than raw exercise of power.

            On the other hand, if what you mean is “my need and wants are more important to me and should be more important to my wife, and my children than their needs and wants” (which is, honestly, how you came across in the snippet that inspired Simcha to write this post, and especially how you come across when you talk about “androcentric” marriage), then you will benefit everyone, including any potential spouses, by saying it plainly and warning them off before they “submit” themselves to being demeaned. I should note that Casti Connubii pretty explicitly rejects this interpretation. Marriage is not “androcentric” it is family centered. One flesh, remember?

            The other option is what I think of as the “deciding vote” pattern of submission, which more or less comes out as “I will work with my wife to make decisions for our family together, acknowledging the richness of insight and experience each of us bring to the table, and seek consensus–but if a consensus cannot be reached, then I expect my wife to submit to my decisions, providing they are not immoral or outside the realm of good reason (those being some of the important provisos in Casti Connubii).

            This last is probably acceptable to many Christian women of a conservative stripe. It’s the model my parent’s marriage runs on, more or less, probably more successfully so inasmuch as my father has no particular taste or desire for power over my mom or us kids, and only uses his veto when particularly compelled by his conscience or the circumstances.

            It will still scare off those who have scar tissue from prior bad experiences with men who liked to talk about submission while demeaning and humiliating those under their power. But it will probably appeal to young women of a certain idealistic stripe and agreeable temperment, especially if you demonstrate yourself to be someone worthy of their trust.

          • donttouchme

            Interesting. Which model do you follow, if any, if you don’t mind me asking?

            I think I’m thinking of a personal dynamic more than an authority structure, which is why I said “wants to” and “in a way that feels natural.” I haven’t really tried to imagine an authority structure.

          • anna lisa

            wait, you don’t mean the list that had to do with talking to her like a “middle-school girl”–you were joking, right?

            Submission is a word that has a lot of connotations, it kind of conjures up images of Geishas who bow down and back out of rooms.

            Do I defer to my husband–yes–but he defers to me all the time as well. I like that he takes the responsibility to be the captain of our ship. We really listen to each other and trust the others’ opinion. Some habits die hard though. My husband is a good driver but drives a little too fast for my taste. He has made tons of improvement in that area. (he also likes to fiddle with his phone a little too much.)
            The life I save may be yours.
            Aren’t you glad he really listens? Any good marriage depends upon good solid communication between spouses. We both compliment each other when the other sees something that the other didn’t pick up on. I admire his intelligence and he admires mine, sometimes his insights blow me away and vice versa, but most of the time what blows our minds is how we think so much alike, that we know what the other is thinking ALL . the. time. It’s uncanny.
            I’m trying to think about what the other thing on your list was–being open to children? That answer would be more of a book–and thankfully we both ended up totally open and on the same page. My husband was brought up in a nonChristian household so it took him time to understand the Catholic worldview. A week doesn’t go by that he doesn’t thank me for having the courage to have the children (that he adores more than his own life.) when he had skepticism for my world view. I had some shaky moments, but my advice is that real prayer gives us higher vision.

          • donttouchme

            Not joking. Women like it when you treat them like girls. Who knows why.

            No not too glad he really listens.

            Because I like fast drivers. I’m always having to pass people which can be hazardous.

          • Anna

            Clearly none of the women on this thread know why “women like it when you treat them like girls” since none of us like it. So that’s a real problem with your list, just as much as the sitcom dad-as-a-joke, “my husband is just another child” attitude is a problem. Only adults can contract a marriage, and if one of the adults doesn’t realize that the other is also an adult, and act accordingly, serious problems result. Read “David Copperfield” for an example.
            But aside from the “duties” on your list, there’s as much or more of a problem with your listing her duties *in exchange for* your duties. That’s why we’re arguing that your ideal isn’t a marriage, it’s a business contract akin to prostitution. Sure, I do things for my husband, household, and kids sometimes out of a sense of duty because not all parts of that are things I enjoy, but it’s not a trade. During the current season of life, I do pretty much nothing but throw up, lie on the couch feeling nauseated, and sleep (and read to the kids because I can do that lying down). Sure, I’m growing two people, but the house is falling apart as I do so. But my husband keeps on providing for the family, and helping me in any way he can by cooking or whatever. And he’s not keeping score. (If he were, you can bet we wouldn’t have had more than one kid, because I was so sick that first trimester that sometimes, not only did he come home to no dinner on the table and nothing else done all day either, he had to clean up vomit when I hadn’t run fast enough.) If it’s merely an exchange, then not only should he not step up when we need him to, he should quit doing even his ordinary stuff until I can keep up my end of the bargain. But that’s not how it works. Ditto for if he were unemployed or couldn’t work due to illness or something: I still do what needs to be done for the family, though there’s no exchange happening. And what if there’s something like infertility? Do you share that grief together, or do you resent her for ruining your contract?

          • donttouchme

            Yes you do but it’s pointless to argue. Yes there is an exchange happening but it’s pointless to argue. No it’s not prostitution but it’s pointless to argue. I’m not interested in exchanging ideas or arguing these points anymore.

          • Anna

            Hey, no shame in “breaking on the floor” per Leah Libresco. But I presume that’s why you’d rather not discuss any of this further.
            Also, yes, an exchange of sorts, but not “you did A so I will now do B and you saw I fulfilled my contract so you do C and I pay you by doing D.” Just both of us seeing what needs to be done for the good of each other, ourselves, and our kids, and doing it.

          • donttouchme

            Haha! Just looked up “breaking on the floor.” Never heard that phrase. I like it. I broke on the floor one time, but I’m on the other side if the world from that here. Everything I’ve said is true. Ironic that you broke on the floor in the exact same comment that you suggested it of me, though. :)

          • Anna

            Huh? I explained why it’s *not* a tit-for-tat trade as you keep insisting, while saying it’s a kind of exchange, in the sense that we are bound to *each other* and not doing family-building for random people on the street. And you think I’m agreeing with your vision?

          • donttouchme

            You most definitely are. Notice I said it’s an exchange but not prostitution. You repeated my thought in your own words. It’s best to lead a woman to the doorway of her own mind.

          • Anna

            You *said* it wasn’t prostitution, but “unlimited sex and being talked down to in exchange for the man’s paycheck,” which was your list, is the definition of prostitution, though you seem to have a more long term set-up in mind, so perhaps “sugar daddy” would be a better term than “john.” My description was of a mutual exchange of persons in the whole of life, not a score sheet like yours.

          • donttouchme

            The one pont conspicuously absent in all these comments is “let her read to me.” I think everyone is probably mad because I only want a woman who knows how to read.

          • anna lisa

            Anna, sometimes I’m shocked to remember what it felt like to be crashed on the couch like that. …Living under the specter of nausea, and having to force feed yourself to stave it off…ugh!
            Women don’t know what heroes they are in that moment. They just feel useless and mediocre, because they can’t keep it together, and the house goes to hell. (I think what we do is think that there are other women out there that handle the constant feeling of dying better, and manage to be tidy too.)
            There is no greater love than to lay down your life for another.
            You are a hero, and your husband is too. People like you are literally saving the world because the counter balance of all of your unselfishness is GRACE that goes out to selfish people who are dying under the weight of their horrific disease. (or as my friend’s Dad would say: suffering is currency in the economy of divine salvation.)
            I know you know this, but nausea puts the sufferer in that dark tunnel-vision mode.
            This too will pass!

          • Anna

            Thank you for the encouragement! :-) At least I have fewer weeks of nausea ahead than I’ve already gotten through, so there’s light at the end of that tunnel! And you are right about my husband being a hero – he’s way less whiny about picking up the slack than I am about feeling icky… 😉

          • anna lisa

            Ah ha! See, you just did it–“he’s less whiny”–
            Maternal guilt. If you’re like me you’ll even feel guilty for that guilt.
            Nausea is the worst feeling on earth. After a couple of months it messes with your head.
            At least childbirth comes and goes in roughly a day. As much as my husband would cook and clean when I was out of commission, I still remember feeling a small dose of unholy rage when I saw him calmly munching a turkey sandwich when I was in transition for the first time…I don’t know, in my mind it was like Caesar fiddling while Rome was burning.

          • Anna

            lol! My mom has said pretty much the same thing about smelling cashews on my dad’s breath when she was in the midst of a 36-hour labor with me, though I don’t know if she termed it a “small dose” of rage. Given her history, I was prepping myself for marathon labors, but mine have all been blessedly short at 6.5 hours each. Maybe that’s because she warned me and my sister to inquire about the guy’s birth weight on the first date and not get involved if he was a big baby. And so far they’ve all been my husband’s birth weight which was lower than mine. :-)

          • anna lisa

            Oh well I’m exaggerating about it being actual rage… “Indignant” would be a more accurate description. But it’s true that my husband loves to tell people that I was a holy terror when I was in labor and would waddle in to triage, demanding to know if the anesthesiologist was there. I just learned along the way how much you need to advocate for yourself in a hospital. I I was at “10” for two hours with my first fat girl, who was stuck. They practically made me stand on my head to dislodge her. And no. epidural. I’m hoping that erased all of my time in purgatory. (And yes, they asked me if I wanted to get my tubes tied when I was in the middle of it.) I was so big with her that a perfect stranger told me I looked like an alien, in the last few days of pregnancy.
            .
            Isn’t it funny how pregnant women have such a heightened sense of smell?? Maybe funny isn’t the word…:(
            .
            Both my baby girls were big fatsos. All of the boys were basically high 6lbs to mid 7 range. Very do-able. My fourth, the smallest and with an epidural, was laughably easy. He actually smiled when he was born and didn’t cry. He’s the one who is constantly testing me now at 18. He was a perfect child until 6. My shortest labor was so quick I almost didn’t get there on time. I’m sure there was miraculous help for him (he’s now my biggest kid). He was born with the cord wrapped very tightly around his neck. He’s the one I named after St. Maximilian Kolbe. It didn’t hurt that we were also in St. Francis hospital, and the convent of Poor Clares down the street were praying for us.
            Please don’t be bashful about alerting the troops when you are getting close to your date, so you are surrounded :) Hey–that would be a great feature for Simcha to put on her blog–A field where Moms who are in the last stretch can post their due date, and then happy news. I can’t think of anything more exciting in life than a new baby.

          • Eileen

            Lol! My husband not only ate and drank as he pleased, he dished out legal advice and billed clients during my labors. Clients would call him for advice, but first ask for an update on the baby, and he’d tell them we were still waiting and that I was right there in the room, laboring away. With the pleasantries out of the way, the business conversation would proceed as normal. He has a client on the opposite coast who called him at 10:00 pm our time. Call finished approximately 10:12. Baby born 10:17.

            I realize this sort of makes my husband sound as obtuse as donttouchme guy, but the truth is it didn’t bother me at all. He’s an awesome husband and father. I was just blessed with easy labors. The kids and I needed his support much more during the definitely not easy pregnancies.

            I do wonder though if donttouchme realizes the kind of woman who can raise a gaggle of kids while her husband works til he passes out is not necessarily the same woman who is submissive by nature and wants to be talked to like a middle schooler. 😉

            My own opinion though, is that he’ll figure things out once he meets the right woman. Or he won’t. And then he’ll stay single.

          • anna lisa

            Eileen that’s so hilarious, I can picture it. My only alibi for my sense of entitlement is that I was a young upstart who probably hadn’t even stopped reading Teen magazine yet.
            My husband would work until he dropped too, I call him by his father’s name when he gets over the top. (Like last Easter!–“really Fred? Really.”)I don’t know, –work fulfills him a lot, but we now have a loose pact that he generally will not work more than nine hours a day. Labor and delivery rooms give him attacks of ADD.
            The other thing that slightly annoyed me is how he and my OB would chat it up about things like their favorite wines. Same story–I was Chicken Little, and they were just so blasted *casual* about what was going on. I adored my OB though, he was like a priest in his cassock, so he could do no wrong. He was this super nerdy, uber-evangelical-happy-go-lucky kind of a Clark Kent. When the baby was about to come he would transform into Superman and snap his gloves on with this exhilaration and relish. He would thank Jesus at the end (so adorable)and no matter what hour of the day or night it was, he would always stay a little and drink some champagne with us. He used to deliver all of the medi-cal babies, so I don’t think he slept for years. I’ve heard that laboring mothers give off so much of the bonding hormone in the delivery room that the doctors and nurses literally get a little inebriated with it. So that must explain it–he was high all the time.:D
            .
            You are totally. on. the. money. about donttouchme. I’ve had time to calm down about the middle school girl ridiculousness. I think he’s way more bark than bite. I’m thinking that one of these days when he’s head-over-heels and mooning over some girl, he’ll have a good laugh at his former attitude…

          • anna lisa

            lol, you must live on the east coast because that/those extra swig(s) of bourbon have already made your inner as@$*le rise to the surface. That’s so hilarious. When my eighteen y.o. rages against the machine and lets his troll out, I smile and tell him: “have a nice day, find your own way…” :)

          • Anna

            And I’m sure now you’ll let your husband know that his m.o. of listening to you is disapproved of by an internet stranger and he’ll know better next time. Also, I didn’t realize that the “treat her like a middle school girl” was intended as a peer interaction ala your 14 y-o burrito eater… my mistake. But it makes more sense that way. :-)

          • anna lisa

            You didn’t grow up in a third world country where the size of your private parts are determined by who veers to the side at the last minute on a mountainous road (and the oxygen is thin) and where only one car can fit on one lane.
            Big talker.

          • donttouchme

            I’m sensing aggressive driving is a sensitive topic. I live on the northern plains, lots of oil traffic, lots of trucks, lots of road construction, lots of waiting.

          • anna lisa

            Ha! You got us. Punk’d. It finally sunk in. Pimps are more subtle than that last comment. But why would you do it? It’s pretty evil any way you slice it. Some women are really suffering in difficult marriages, and it was like you enjoyed sticking a fingernail in the wound. Wow, who does that stuff? It’s like kicking puppies. Man.

          • donttouchme

            Not sure how to reply to that…

            Edit: uh, except that it’s not true

            Edit II: I’m not treating women like girls here, that’s not what I mean. If that’s what you’re saying.

          • anna lisa

            Thanks for clarifying. Maybe your problem with women, is that you keep company with the lowest common denominator out there in the great northern planes. Oil workers and camp chasers aren’t exactly known for their refinement.

          • MightyMighty1

            Hi DTM,
            You remind me of someone I know who would rather have his theories on love and marriage and sex than make himself a desirable partner. It sounds like you want a wife who loves you and desires you. It sounds like, despite the language in some of your posts, that you don’t actually think your wife has to say, “Sure, just slide right in there” while she’s lying on the delivery table–meaning, even if you said, “Honey, I know you just delivered and you’re hurting and trying to avoid an infection, but I have a right to your body and I’m really in the mood,” she could respond, “Not happening.” (If I’m wrong, then you actually are beyond the pale.) When you talk about men having a right to their wives’ bodies, it suggests that they literally are not allowed to say no without sinning. There are men who want to have sex with their wives at times when it is not right–one woman I know had her husband demand sex a few days after a miscarriage and then demanded it again the day her mother died. Does he actually have the right to demand sex of her, regardless of what it would do to her? This sounds like a situation where she is always the sinner.

            In a good marriage, the Church recognizes that you have a moral right to have sex with each other, but that it is an act that requires mutual consent (not always mutual desire–plenty of people overcome a low sex drive for their spouse’s sake). The Church does not teach that men have a unilateral right or ownership over their wives’ bodies, or that women have a right to needlessly deprive their husbands of sex. But it does teach that both husband and wife are partners in an enormous enterprise that requires quite a bit out of both of them.

          • Kate Cousino

            If it helps, I find your assumption that the primary good women are owed from marriage is material support pretty offensive, too. Gold digging is as much an offense against marriage as is sanctioned incontinence.

          • irena mangone

            Please stick your casti cannubii up your left nostril I lived with a husband he is Now dead. who insisted my body belonged to him and he could use it as he saw fit. If I so much a as. Said no he would accuse me of rejecting him . And that I must have a lover as I did not want sex. Day n and day out for 28 years. No matter how I felt, babies or no. I have four. Children. Had to have my tubes tied as he did not want more children it was not all bad but my goodness it could be hell . I knew no better being a Catholic thought had to do as he wanted. And was not going to have a divorce. So had to put up with everything

          • anna lisa

            The primary reason that a lot of marriages are bad today has more to do with a *self centered attitude*.

          • donttouchme

            That’s another expression of the new gynocentric form of marriage that wants to run a marathon without breathing. Have you read Casti Connubii?

            I didn’t mean just unhappy marriages either though. I mean an unreliable institution.

          • anna lisa

            I live Casti Connubii. And wouldn’t you like to know how many times I breathe a week. I’m afraid it would make you cry. (Shoot, that sounds braggy, but we freaking worked so hard for that.)

          • anna lisa

            “Nor are those considered as acting against nature who in the married state use their right in the proper manner although on account of natural reasons either of time or of certain defects, new life cannot be brought forth. For in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved.”

            Casti Connubii also reaffirms the dignity of the human conjugal act as distinct from the conjugal acts of animals, by its volitive nature; that is, the act is not merely biological but rooted in the will and therefore a personal act. (Wikipedia)

            The ‘natural reasons of time or of certain defects’ are universally accepted as meaning menopause and infertility. This paragraph thus means menopausal and infertile couples may morally engage in intercourse, even though there is no possibility of children resulting from the act, as long as it is done for serious reasons, and not merely as a contraceptive.

            The ‘natural reasons of time’ is interpreted by some to also mean the infertile portion of a woman’s menstrual cycle.[3] The practice of avoiding pregnancy by abstaining from sexual relations when the woman is fertile (natural family planning) was first addressed in rulings by the Sacred Penitentiary in 1853 and 1880, which declared the practice moral

          • Mary Schreiner

            “This mutual molding of husband and wife, this determined effort to perfect each other, can in a very real sense, as the Roman Catechism teaches, be said to be the chief reason and purpose of matrimony, provided matrimony be looked at not in the restricted sense as instituted for the proper conception and education of the child, but more widely as the blending of life as a whole and the mutual interchange and sharing thereof.”

            “This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband’s every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors, to whom it is not customary to allow free exercise of their rights on account of their lack of mature judgment, or of their ignorance of human affairs.”

            “Again, this subjection of wife to husband in its degree and manner may vary according to the different conditions of persons, place and time. In fact, if the husband neglect his duty, it falls to the wife to take his place in directing the family.”

            “And now, Venerable Brethren, we shall explain in detail the evils opposed to each of the benefits of matrimony. First consideration is due to the offspring, which many have the boldness to call the disagreeable burden of matrimony and which they say is to be carefully avoided by married people not through virtuous continence (which Christian law permits in matrimony when both parties consent) but by frustrating the marriage act.”

            I’m not even halfway through Casti Connubii and it seems to me like it directly contradicts all of your claims.

          • donttouchme

            That’s because you’re reading the exceptions and caveats as if they are the rule. What is the rule?

          • Mary Schreiner

            First of all, you are wrong. Paragraph 27, that clarifies the notion of wifely subjection IS NOT an exception. It is a clarification, a deeper meaning of the definition, of what being a wife is. You’re not a wife, so I can see where you’d get confused. You’re pretending they are “exceptions” to justify treating women as Less Than. You’re my equal on Monday, but Tuesday you’re inferior. News flash: that is not how human dignity works.

            And further, Casti Connubii says the rule is”Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church.”[29] So, wives are called to listen to their husbands as the Church listens to Christ, with the understanding that although Christ is perfect and would never mistreat, cause harm, or lead astray, men are sinners who are perfectly capable of doing so. Are you perhaps missing the part where husbands are called to treat their wives as Christ treats the Church? Because I’m pretty sure Christ would 1. Never force his church, 2. Never consider his church a thing he can take whenever he wants, 3. Never use his authority over his church to treat his church as a thing to be used, manipulated, brought to heel, etc., *even though* He has the ability to. Because real men are like Christ, and actually care about the relationship they build with their partners.

          • donttouchme

            Women ARE literally “less than” in that they are subject to their husbands every day of the week. You just got done saying in your previous comment that men and women are equal in dignity but unequal in function then immediately forgot and went back to your exaggerated and distorted equality of rights.

            And yeah it’s true Christ is perfect and husbands aren’t.

          • Mary Schreiner

            You are mistaking “subjection” as “superior/inferior” instead of “functionally different but equal.” You cannot say we are equal on one hand but “literally ‘less than'” on the other hand. *I* am saying we are equal on both hands. Different functions does not equal superior and inferior like you want it to. Much like the eyes function differently from the ears, yet both have equal dignity in the body. In fact, Casti Connubii specifically refers to the husband as the brain and wife as the heart. Now, can try to argue that the brain is superior to the heart because the brain is what ultimately controls bodily functions, but good luck with that when your heart stops. Both brain and heart serve necessary, unequal functions in the body, but neither organ is superior or “Greater Than.”

          • Mary Schreiner

            “76.This equality of rights which is so much exaggerated and distorted, must indeed be recognized in those rights which belong to the dignity of the human soul and which are proper to the marriage contract and inseparably bound up with wedlock. In such things undoubtedly both parties enjoy the same rights and are bound by the same obligations; in other things there must be a certain inequality and due accommodation, which is demanded by the good of the family and the right ordering and unity and stability of home life.”

            Wow. It’s almost as if, like, we’re equal in dignity but unequal in function! No way!

          • donttouchme

            Equal in dignity but unequal in function is exactly what I’ve been saying. Men and women are not equal as material/spiritual beings. Almost everyone here is talking about an “equality of rights exaggerated and distorted” and pretending they’re enlightened and I’m backward. Ridiculous.

          • Kate Cousino

            Of course I have duties towards my husband. They are outlined in the vows I made–to love and honor, in sickness and in health, for better and worse, as long as we both shall live. I take that quite seriously–as, I assume, do the other married ladies commenting here. We disagree with your requirements for marriage because they are reductionist and disrespectful to the full personhood and dignity of women.

          • KL

            Thank you for clarifying explicitly that you believe men to be superior to women, though your following discussion fails to demonstrate why men are superior — simply that they have typically taken up the roles requiring greater physical strength as opposed to those associated with childrearing and household management. We’ll also ignore the existence of stable matrilineal and/or polyandrous societies that seem to do just fine with deviating from a patriarchal paradigm.

            Your analogy comparing an adult to a child is flawed in multiple ways. First, there are valid and demonstrable reasons for an adult holding authority over a child: namely, that a child is not fully emotionally or psychologically developed and is incapable of providing for him- or herself (generally speaking; there are of course many children who manage to fend for themselves under tragic circumstances); thus the adult has a responsibility to care for the child and exercise authority until such time as the child comes of age, at which point such authority is relinquished. Secondly, simply because an adult wields authority over a child has no bearing on whether or not the two persons are “equal.” In fact nowhere have you elaborated upon what you mean by “equality.” Does this refer to identical physical or psychological traits, an equal claim to self-determination, equivalent human dignity? The vagueness of the term “equality” in your comments makes your claims impossible to evaluate.

          • donttouchme

            The whole world was pretty much matrilineal and polyandrous prior to patriarchy/marriage. We don’t know much about it because humans didn’t invent written language, and all the other inventions that define civilization, until marriage appeared. We have matrilineal, polyandrous societies today. We call it the “ghetto.” It’s single mothers who get banged by lots of men and don’t really know which ones are the fathers.

            The child/man illustration served to illustrate a concept. It’s not about authority, but inequality. It doesn’t need to be a perfect parallel to demonstrate the concept.

            Also in case you don’t notice the comment above, men are superior to women in terms of civilization building.

          • KL

            Your responses are so bafflingly tone-deaf that I am becoming more and more convinced that you are at least partially trolling for attention. As a result, this will be my last reply to you. However, I (perhaps foolishly) feel compelled to respond to your assertions above before I depart.

            The whole world was pretty much matrilineal and polyandrous prior to patriarchy/marriage.I would love to see a source for this, as this hypothesis — while popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries — has been largely rejected in modern scholarship.

            We don’t know much about it because humans didn’t invent written language, and all the other inventions that define civilization, until marriage appeared. Again, sources please. Even if it is true that marriage and written language arose more or less contemporaneously, correlation does not imply causation and a direct link between them cannot be demonstrated.

            We have matrilineal, polyandrous societies today. We call it the “ghetto.” It’s single mothers who get banged by lots of men and don’t really know which ones are the fathers. Setting aside the breathtaking racism and classism implicit in this comment, we are once again faced with sorting out causes from correlations. Many social scientists would argue that the matrilineal, matriarchal structure of some poverty-stricken communities is due to the breakdown of marital and family structures (note that this refers to marriage, period, not specifically androcentric, patriarchal marriage), which is in turn linked to cycles of poverty and lack of economic opportunity in some urban areas. In other words, women must take up many roles traditionally relegated to men because the men in that community are not stable partners, while primarily female kinship ties are more dependable. You’ve reversed the order of causality; the breakdown of stable marriages has necessitated more matriarchal structures, not the inverse.

            [And it’s worth noting that I was not in any way referring to “the ghetto” or similar communities in my comment above, but rather to societies such as that of some Tibetan and Indian communities that still practice stable, and seemingly quite peaceful, polyandrous marriage.]

            The child/man illustration served to illustrate a concept. It’s not about authority, but inequality. It doesn’t need to be a perfect parallel to demonstrate the concept. No, the point of an analogy is that there is a similarity between the cases compared. There is no similarity here, so the analogy doesn’t function at all. And again, you’ve failed to define what “inequality” means in this context, rendering the attempt still more meaningless.

            Also in case you don’t notice the comment above, men are superior to women in terms of civilization building. I don’t know what “civilization building” means as an innate capacity. Your comment above implies that you cluster within that term strength, focus, drive, and intelligence. Setting aside those traits’ relationship to the capacity for “civilization building,” your assertion that women inherently possess less of these traits begs the question. You fail to account for the fact that, in a patriarchal society, women are both socialized against displaying these traits and are afforded far fewer opportunities to exercise them. You see fewer strong, focused, driven, intelligent women in positions of authority than men and conclude that men must be more suited to such positions, while failing to recognize that women are, and have historically been, presented with often insurmountable obstacles to reaching the same positions, thus artificially skewing the sample.

            As I said above, I won’t be continuing this conversation. And this reply is not for your benefit, since I don’t expect you to budge on your stated opinions (sincere or otherwise) — rather, I submit it in the hope that no one reading them is swayed.

            [Edited to fix weird formatting.]

          • donttouchme

            It’s not really a conversation anyway because you’re saying, in pompous style, nothing. So your reply benefits no one.

          • Sheila C.

            Thanks for going through the historical bunk for us. I want to add that the Minoans, whom evidence strongly suggests were a matriarchal culture, did in fact develop not only writing (the Linear B script) but also an advanced level of civilization.

            And as far as women not creating civilization, I’ve told this fellow before (and clearly he chose to ignore it) but many of the technologies that make civilization possible were in fact invented by women. Almost all archeologists agree that textiles were invented and developed by women, and it’s a good theory as well that women invented agriculture, which remained a niche women’s activity for quite some time as hunting was seen as more important. In patriarchal societies — say, many of the poorest cultures in Africa — men have the honor, sure, but women are the ones drawing water, collecting firewood, and doing 80% of the farming as well. So you could say “men are building civilization,” but only in the sense that they lord it over the women who are doing all the actual work. Not so impressive when you look at it that way.

          • Kate Cousino

            Someone recently pointed me to a fantastic Dorothy Sayers quote about “women’s work” that touched on this:

            “You don’t as a rule find the men trying to take the women’s jobs away from them … Of course they do not. They have done it already.

            It is a formidable list of jobs: the whole of the spinning industry, the whole of the dyeing industry, the whole of the weaving industry. The whole catering industry and…the whole of the nation’s brewing and distilling. All the preserving, pickling and bottling industry, all the bacon-curing…Here are the women’s jobs – and what has become of them? They are all being handled by men. …

            It is perfectly idiotic to take away women’s traditional occupations and then complain because she looks for new ones. Every woman is a human being – one cannot repeat that too often – and a human bring must have occupation, if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.

            I am not complaining that the brewing and baking were taken over by the men. If they can brew and bake as well as women or better, then by all means let them do it … But they cannot have it both ways.”

          • donttouchme

            You’re right, matrilineal society still isn’t impressive when you describe it well, and then (here’s the turn) call it patriarchy. You end up a bunch of men hanging around, having sex, taking naps, contributing if they feel like it, while the women try to scratch out a living. The invention of patriarchy gave men incentives they actually desire, and lo and behold, they started using their enormously superior civilization-building abilities and 8,000 years later we’re communicating over the ether. The stupid gynocentric model of marriage we’re now pursuing removes the natural incentives that men care about viscerally and instead is following a “come on men, man up”/government mandated financial contribution approach that men don’t care about. But if you want single mothers working in the fields while the men hang out in the shade, well, you’re going to get your wish.

          • Sheila C.

            So, in other words, a society in which men make the rules, get the honor, are given more attention, respect, and education from birth, and are able to force women to do their work for them is actually NOT patriarchy unless it magically motivates the men to do more? Isn’t that a bit of a “no true Scotsman” argument? What is your evidence that when men are given more power, they are incentivized to do more? Because when I look around at cultures around the word, that isn’t what I see. Islamic nations, India, China, etc. — anywhere men are more respected and given more power, and where women are treated as second-class in some way and expected to obey — all of these places have women doing most of the work. And yeah, over the past 8,000 years, clear through Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages, women were spinning every single thread in the sails of the ships, making every bite of food everyone ate so no one starved to death, and inventing most of the medical advances we knew of up to the modern day.

            What, might I ask, was *their* motivation to do all the dirty work? Or are men incapable of doing the work necessary for civilization unless they get special privileges, while women magically have the ability to get by without all that?

          • donttouchme

            Like I said, the “come on men, man up” approach won’t work, and it’s foolish to cling to it. Because, as you’re unable to recognize with your philosophical deficiencies and pride, men are superior in the natural order.

          • irena mangone

            And war mongering. Child abuse etc

          • Kate Cousino

            I am curious to know under what grounds I could be considered “not equal” to a man. Outside of physical strength, I can’t think of any way in which I experience myself to be lesser. Could you elaborate?

          • donttouchme

            Women aren’t capable of building civilization. In terms of civilization building, women are inferior to men, which involves strength, yes, but also other traits such as focus, drive, intelligence. Women are more clustered around average in IQ, men are more spread out, with greater numbers at both ends of the spectrum.

            And again, exceptions don’t make the rule.

            Edit: I always thought it was weird that strength is diminished or eliminated as a defining attribute. Even if everything else was equal, which it isn’t, the strength differential easily proves that men and women aren’t equal.

          • Rebecca Anderson

            If you say that men are superior to women because they are stronger…well, guess what the jails are full of? Men. Who is more likely to commit violent crimes? Men. The majority of rapists are…men.
            For the record, I believe that men and women are equal. Neither is better or worse than the other. But by your logic, men are definitely more violent and unpleasant. And isn’t life all about trying to be kind to each other? On that level, the male sex fails dismally.

          • Kristen inDallas

            You seem to be making the same confusion of terms many extremist feminists make, but in the opposite way. I’m going to use two different words here — equal and equitable. By equal lets assume things being exactly the same in every respect. By equitable, assume things that have similar value. (you can use whatever words you want, the point is to hold in your mind 2 seperate concepts… equal/equitable just happen to be the words I’m using for those concepts).
            By those defns, men and women aren’t equal… but they are equitable. Extreme feminists are often people who, after suffering (or seeing) the pain caused by not being treated equitably, respond by demanding sameness across genders. This can be extremely destructive. You seem to be more understanding of the pain that results from demanding everything be the same, and responding by acting as though women have less value.This is also extremely destructive.

          • donttouchme

            I agree with that completely. It’s exactly the same as what I said.
            Edit: including the comment I made below to Anna lisa

          • mouse

            Sure. That whole “in sickness” part of the vow shouldn’t apply to you, right? No silly celibate gets to tell you that women are human beings.

          • mouse

            If that were the case, polygamy would be a valid form of marriage. And serial rapists would get to keep their victims, I mean wives.

          • mouse

            Nope. Even secular common law marriage have the component, generally, of the participants hanging out with each other in a non – sexual way. You’re describing the ownership of a person, and the use of only those organs you find useful: her baby maker and her lady bits. Period. (Really no pun intended)

            Relationships between two folks who like, or even more if they love each other, can be deeply, profoundly spiritual relationships. Romantic poetry has expressed this truth from time immemorial.

            But seriously, I’m sure you can leverage a woman into the contract you’ve outlined…. but you’ll probably need to limit yourself to illegal immigrants or teen runaways or high end blow up dolls. Good luck!

          • donttouchme

            I’d only marry a teenager with her parents’ consent.

          • mouse

            Oh, so parents get to consent, but not your bride. Classy.

          • donttouchme

            Yes, genius, that’s exactly what that means.

          • mouse

            Hey, you’re the one arguing the poor girl has no right of refusal, ever. I mean, what you’re saying is that she could be dying or just have delivered twins and you still wouldn’t take no for an answer because you *paid* for that and you’re going to get your money’s worth!

          • anna lisa

            I don’t think he believes this in his heart of hearts. He craves true intimacy. All human beings do. My guess is that his disgust toward women stems from guilt. He can’t bear the lack of control that bearing his heart and soul entails. It would also limit his choices. The dark voice tells him that it is the fault of the flesh and blood women, that he is left with the temptation to find consolation in a woman who wonttouchhim–but a real man has his needs….
            Not necessarily true–just a hunch.

          • Anna

            Guilt maybe, or the deep wounds from women in his past. I was at a theology of the body conference once and there was a woman there with her son who was about 18 or 20. She had, at some point, escaped an abusive marriage and heard *everything* that week that had anything to do with the fallen nature of women as “you deserved abuse.” And she argued constantly against even the mildest statements on the sinfulness of women or the responsibility women bear in a marriage. I don’t know if she got anything out of that week, but I’m certain it was the first time her son had heard a word about the goodness of men or the ability of women to sin. And I’ve always hoped he was able to take some of that with him, because it had to be horrible growing up with that constant message that his maleness was inherently bad. Anyway, if I’d saved it, I’d add that wounded puppy picture Simcha posted a month or so ago… :-)

          • anna lisa

            Anna, that’s a good point. Women can be bossy creeps.

          • IRVCath

            Illegal immigrants in this country, given their religious proclivities, would be horrified at the suggestion, no?

          • mouse

            Apologies. I meant no disrespect to either runaways or immigrants. I was attempting to make the point that only someone in truly desperate straits and without recourse to the normal avenues of justice would agree to the proposed terms of shelter for unconditional access to their body and complete forfeiture of their dignity.

          • anna lisa

            Yesterday, we were having such a great day at the beach. The day before, my daughter and her cousin bought these giant, inflatable turtles to float on together. They tied them together so they wouldn’t float apart. I watched them out there just beyond the breakers. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to buy something so silly, when everyone else uses boogey boards and paddle boards when the surf is so flat. (If I knew how to use my computer better I’d post a photo.) I don’t like to get in the water so much, but after watching the big girls, and then the little kids spending hours laughing and playing on those stupid turtles I went out myself the next day. I had missed the chance to be with the girls but it was sublime! The ocean wasn’t too cold, and all I had to do was paddle a little with my hands to keep from drifting too far down the beach. I was hoping that the sharks would see the big silhouette from below and think I wasn’t worth it I eventually came in reluctantly. It was the first summer (in I don’t even want to tell you how long) that a kid didn’t cry for me. I fried my back a little because I over indulged.
            Back on the shore this young woman came up to me tentatively. She was a beautiful young Chinese woman, dressed in a silk beach cover-up and wearing a French knot. She could barely speak English. She asked me where we got the turtles. apologizing, and looking down politely. I told her “Big Five”( because my daughter had asked me to buy another so I could go out with them, but I’d declined,)
            She was so lovely, and I could tell that it cost her something to approach our encampment
            “She’s so beautiful.” I said to my husband after she left.
            Then I cynically added, “I guess the Chinese billionaires are starting to set up shop.”
            About an hour later my husband made this sucking in noise, and said, “Oh. No. That Chinese girl is with Ron.”
            We both sighed heavily. I wished I had the ability to be more then some American woman, telling her where inflatable turtles could be bought.

            Ron has a new Asian, mail-order(?) woman every fourth year. His kids must be in their twenties now. I wonder where they are.

          • Andy, Bad Person

            I don’t think you have a single clue what marriage prior to 1965, or ever, was like.

          • $1028912

            Sometimes, marriage still is akin to slavery today. It depends on the marriage.

        • Kate Cousino

          No one here wants to separate sex from marriage. We want it incorporated within a true marital union, which is something LARGER (not smaller) than you are envisioning.

          And concubinage does historically imply commitment and legal responsibilities, including financial security for the concubine in exchange for sex and children. It differed from marriage in that the concubine was not considered to have the status of a wife, often because she was already considered too poorly educated or low in class/income to be a suitable marital partner.

          • donttouchme

            I only googled the definition so I can’t affirm or deny.

            A roundabout way of saying sex is separate from marriage by saying it’s subordinate to the “larger union” which is a roundabout to emotional attachment and commitment

            Edit: “true union”, sorry

          • Kate Cousino

            You don’t know what “subordinate” means, do you? It certainly doesn’t mean “separate.”

          • erinest

            He also doesn’t know what “The exception proves the rule” means, so I’m not surprised.

  • Rachel

    Hm. I wonder why Issues Guy is single??? Shocker.

    • donttouchme

      FWIW I could easily marry. Scary huh?

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        But could you stay married? Achieving a wedding is easier than holding onto a marriage.

  • tteague

    I couldn’t help but read the “issues” guy’s comments at a kind of joke designed to bait others into… whatever. Although, I have known guys like that, that say things like that with a kind of straight-faced innocence. It’s like speaking with a thoroughly convinced cult member. Anyway, my sense is to say “go for it dude”, and to say to everyone else, “just smile and back away.”

    • anna lisa

      You’re right. But I do realize that my eighteen-year-old, does the exact. Same .Thing. He baits me with outrageous statements. But at the root of those trollish comments he is afraid of something very real, and needs to be talked down from that crazy, irrational, fearful ledge he happens to be on again. He actually does want to talk. Sometimes it works to talk to him, and sometimes it doesn’t. God knows it would be tidier to just blow him off. I handle it best when I don’t go for the bait by raising my voice, (or tell him he’s being a jerk–lol I think I told donttouchme he needed a light exorcism–fail! So I don’t always manage to stay graceful) If it’s not getting anywhere productive, I try to say, “well then we are going to have to agree to disagree” –and cut it off right there. Sometimes the next day he’ll admit to being a jerk, and it gives me the opportunity to hug him and tell him how much I love him, because a lot of the time his body language says: don’touchme. It’s tough. All of my other kids are huggers.
      But hey, that same tough nut accepted a book called “Time for God”, and is *actually* reading it!!!! He really likes it!

      NPR was doing a piece on stress this morning. They listed off the main causes of stress. One of them was “teenagers”. Teenagers are dangerous because they can be magnificently intelligent–but they don’t know how to handle their own brain, and inflict it on everyone around them.

  • anna lisa

    I think you can share a lot of intimacy with your husband/wife, without being a sponge, or wallowing. No woman on the planet is going to have this disposition if she is being taken for granted though. She will avoid him at every turn if he does that It’s true that marriages have seasons too. Nobody starts out with all the info. We all have to manage with spiritual braille, and learn to fight the good fight. Having a new breastfeeding baby really tempers a marriage. I remember when I was a new mother, my husband moaned “I just wish they could give men a pill for this…” Nobody warned me about that. I used to think that childbirth caused that temporary dip, but when I wasn’t able to breastfeed the last one, I noticed I bounced back immediately.
    I still marvel how the marriage act is different every single time. I wouldn’t call it the same piece of music.
    This is going to sound canned, but a holy relationship is like fine wine. It gets better and better. It’s easy to see how it could become an addiction. But you can have wine almost every day without it being an addiction…temperance is about fine tuning good things. A third glass of wine even after several hours is never as lovely, as the first, but a new day seems to restart the clock…

  • http://bayareachesterton.wordpress.com RedMeg1990

    I hesitate to even ask this, but let me just dip my toes in by looking at “wants to/is willing to have all the kids I can give her.”

    Does your model allow for the wife’s physical/medical status at all? If a good, honest doctor has rendered his best medical opinion that wife needs to not get pregnant, either a) for a determined period of time recovering from a difficult pregnancy or dangerous delivery or c-section; or b) for the remainder of the fertile years, because a pregnancy would post a serious threat to her health, how would that fit into your model? Just curious…

    • donttouchme

      It’s a theoretical framework that puts me as a man at the center, which is why many don’t like it. They do not like androcentric marriage. Any good Catholic wife is theoretically willing to have a baby every year of her fertility while married. She’s likewise theoretically willing to have sex all the time if she recognizes that she has duties and not just a vague responsibility to “make a gift of herself” as in the new gynocentric model. A framework doesn’t account for exceptions and unique circumstances. The second point doesn’t have an “is willing to” caveat because I only want a woman who really wants to be submissive. A woman who doesn’t want that probably doesn’t have a vocation to marriage.

      • mouse

        Your parents did a real number on you.

      • Sheila C.

        Translation: you would kill your wife by getting her pregnant when she is severely ill.

        People who moon over the “good old days” like to gloss over the part where so many women died in childbirth.

        • donttouchme

          You missed the relevant sentence. And women always risk death when they get pregnant. And there are probably more deaths per year in my line of work than in women who die in childbirth. So men like me are at greater risk than pregnant women.

      • Kate Cousino

        What makes you think you have the moral fiber and personal character to be at “the center”?

        The ego that imagines itself to be equal to the role of sole seat of judgement, discernment, decision-making, discipline, and worth for a family is a thing of fascination to me, especially when it is combined (as it often is) within men who have yet to prove themselves capable of maintaining a full, wise, disciplined, and healthy life for themselves, let alone for a large family.

        • donttouchme

          Men are men. It is what it is. There’s no other option. Also I come from a long line of men who built the world.

          Edit: but it is an interesting point that men all over the West don’t consider themselves up for marriage. I wonder why that is…maybe because the new version is a scam on men.

          • mel

            ” Also I come from a long line of men who built the world.”
            Um…we are bragging on this?

      • http://bayareachesterton.wordpress.com RedMeg1990

        Just a couple of friendly tidbits, since you haven’t had first-hand experience in this department…
        –six weeks of “pelvic rest” (i.e. NO SEX) are the normal medical recommendation after childbirth.
        –it’s almost a physical impossibility to crank out a baby every twelve months AND breastfeed. The closest mine ever came with breastfeeding were fourteen months apart. But that’s not every year, strictly speaking, so I’m guessing the phallocentric model will insist on no breastfeeding so as to maximize offspring. Formula is expensive, budget accordingly.
        –miscarriages happen. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll be the statistical anomaly that never has one. Recommendations on this vary, but most obs want to see at least ONE normal cycle, sometimes three or more, before conceiving again. Which means NFP, which again means periods of NO SEX.
        –So things keep trucking along as you’ve planned, you have a 4, 3, 2, and 1 year-old, plus an adorable six-week old infant. Six weeks = back to sex. YIPEE! But the infant is hungry and crying. And the 4-year-old is having night terrors. Hopefully your plan also includes some kind of a night nanny? Or are all the little darlings locked in their respective rooms not to emerge again until morning barring a life-threatening emergency?
        –The little woman must NOT be permitted to have any health issues arise whatsoever during her fertile years or it will interfere with the plan. No car accidents, no carpal tunnel, no gall bladder issues, no nothing. Make sure she gets the memo on that.
        –I saw no mention in your plan of the wifey having to maintain her girlish figure. Oversight?
        –The children must also not be permitted to have any kind of health concerns arise during wifey’s fertile years or they may also interfere with the plan. Late-night ER trips can be such a libido killer. So can agonizing over whether little Iggy is just a little speech-delayed quirky or really on the autism spectrum, and who to go to for testing, and how to pay for it if insurance won’t cover it, and what protocols to follow afterwords. HUGE energy drain, that. Sternly inform the child that none of that type of nonsense will be permitted.

        I myself have been blessed with ten living children, with four more lost to miscarriage. I suspect most people would label me a “devout” Catholic. But there have been times in the past twenty plus years that I’ve needed to hit the pause button on the baby-making, including for reasons of pure mental and physical exhaustion rather than life-or-death medical reasons. I”m not holding myself up as a model of anything, but to claim that I don’t have a vocation to marriage or am not a good Catholic wife would be ludicrous.

        Do you know any good Catholic men in real life who can share their counsel and friendship with you? I think it would go a long way.

        • donttouchme

          Maybe you overlooked the words “framework” and “theoretical.” You WERE willing to have a baby every twelve months, theoretically, but it’s basically a non-issue because its so unlikely. So what’s the problem with that point of a woman who wants to/is willing to have all the babies I can give her? Nothing. It’s not even a remotely extreme requirement.

          • Sheila C.

            And yet I know plenty of women who actually DID have a baby every year, for years. Generally it destroyed their health and/or caused health problems for their kids (premature birth, etc.). So I’m not sure what your plan is if that should happen to you. Since the obvious solution (don’t have sex for awhile) is so out of the question for you.

      • $1028912

        That’s true — not all of us have a vocation to marriage, including your narrow definition of what marriage should be. But that doesn’t mean we don’t get to find sexual partners.

  • Sheila C.

    I cringed at the statement, “If I can’t have sex when I want, why bother getting married?” As a married Catholic, sex whenever you want is exactly what you *don’t* get. You’re either about to have a baby, just had a baby, interrupted by the baby, too tired because of the baby, or abstaining because you don’t want to have a baby. The only way around this is birth control, which we’re not allowed to use! The inseparable connection between sex and babies is what keeps sex from ever being an idol, or something we can have all the time. It carries its own responsibility along with it.

    But the same person said he was perfectly happy sleeping in, watching movies, etc., and so I think he should stay as he is. Marriage is a heck of a lot more work and trouble, and sex is not a sufficient reason to do it. If you can’t or don’t want to live a life of self-emptying and sacrifice, PLEASE DO NOT GET MARRIED. You are not suited for any vocation, because vocation implies sacrifice. (Including the single vocation, properly lived.) Of course there’s joy in it too, but you don’t get to the joy except through the sacrifice. If the thought of waking up at three a.m. to rock a colicky baby, and then not getting to have sex the next day, is horrifying to you, DON’T GET MARRIED. Because a lot of it consists in that sort of thing.

    • Kate Cousino

      “You are not suited for any vocation, because vocation implies sacrifice. (Including the single vocation, properly lived.) Of course there’s joy in it too, but you don’t get to the joy except through the sacrifice. ”

      Yes!
      http://peaceandpekoe.blogspot.ca/2014/07/our-vocation-is-to-die.html

    • Guest

      Sheila, I want to address your first paragraph just a bit – you seemed defeated and helpless and implied birth control is a solution and that we should be able to have sex anytime we want. But isn’t that what this article is about? Not being a sex sponge? It undermines the meaning and beauty of sex.

      The Catholic view of sex is not about all of the things we cannot “do” with each other in bed, and it is not about saying “no” to all of these things. It is actually an enormous “yes” to more important things. The physical union between a married man and woman without birth control or other forms of contraceptives is a “yes” to authentic love, to fertility, to vulnerability and to giving yourself completely to the other person. Birth control is like saying to your spouse, “I want all of you. Wait – just kidding. Not your reproductive system.”

      There are ways not to have children without contraceptives. I encourage you to look into Natural Family Planning. (http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/natural-family-planning/)

      The USCCB website writes, “Making decisions therefore, about when and how many children to have in marriage is a sacred responsibility that God has entrusted to husband and wife. This is the foundation of what the Church calls,”Responsible Parenthood”–the call to discern God’s will for your marriage while respecting His design for life and love.”

      “NFP reflects the dignity of the human person within the context of
      marriage and family life, promotes openness to life, and recognizes the
      value of the child. By respecting the love-giving and life-giving
      natures of marriage, NFP can enrich the bond between husband and wife.”

      More information can be found here: http://ccdocle.org/marriage-and-family-ministry/marriage/natural-family-planning

      http://www.nfpandmore.org/

      • Sheila C.

        Egad, I am surprised you read my comment that way. I love my Catholic marriage. I also don’t get sex whenever I want; that’s life.

        The fact is this: any reasonably generous Catholic marriage is going to involve some abstinence. I consider this a feature, not a bug, because sacrifice is good for us anyway.

        But a lot of flowery explanations, like the ones you quoted, make it sound like this is all a wonderful spiritual experience by its very nature, which it isn’t. You get good results if you’re a mature individual who isn’t totally obsessed with getting sex whenever you want it. For a person like Issues Guy who has a fixation with that, it would probably wind up being a living hell. So I’d recommend he stay far away from it.

  • http://www.conversationwithwomen.org/ Emily

    Sex is only meaningful because it is part of a relationship.
    Amen!. That said it all for me.
    At the risk of becoming the resident “project self-promoter” Here is an anonymous story from http://www.conversationwithwomen.org that could be written by the wife of an issues guy. Thankfully, this couple seems to be figuring it out.
    http://www.conversationwithwomen.org/2013/11/08/porn-almost-destroyed-my-marriage/ Please consider submitting your own story. You don’t have to be an “issues” gal to have a story that would inspire others to live their faith.

  • jenny

    Excellent !!!

  • MJ

    On a purely practical note, my currently-pregnant self definitely chuckled at this guy’s belief that his first and third criteria are compatible. Have fun having sex all the time when she’s constantly pregnant and/or postpartum! Intimacy at these times is wonderful and important, but it is definitely… different ;).

  • Anna

    I think I’m inclined to the school of thought that this guy isn’t for real, but if he is, heaven forbid he or any wife he marries (!) should ever become seriously ill. Or elderly. Sure, sex consummates a marriage, but it doesn’t constitute it. Otherwise, anybody who became unable to continue having sex – because of illness or age or whatever – would cease to be married, presumably.

    • Booklover

      Yeah, honestly this is so extreme I’m really inclined to think he’s just trolling for attention. Which he has now gotten, in spades.

      • Anna

        Not the same Anna as above, but I’m starting to agree with you here. I mean, anna lisa has done yeoman’s duty trying to get him to look at the sky instead of the rocks, to broaden his vision a bit, but there’s not much (discussion-wise) to be done with someone who *prefers* sex with chattel who only puts out due to payment rather than sex with a human being who *wants* to unite with him due to recognizing him as a gift and his recognizing the same of her. The only person who prefers a prostitute to a person who acts out of love is someone who doesn’t believe love exists (or doesn’t believe anyone could love him/her).

        • donttouchme

          That’s ridiculous and not the point. I’m talking about a framework for marriage based on duties and responsibilities and vows, NOT LIMITED TO SEX and defining those points, and obtuse interlocutors don’t want to acknowledge the rocks in the foundation and would rather just look at the sky.

          • Anna

            No, we’re just trying to point out that the main rock in the foundation of any human relationship is the fact that *both* people have equal inherent worth and dignity. And the “look at the sky and not the rocks” thing wasn’t trying to ignore the foundation, it was trying to show that your vision of marriage as *primarily* obligation-based rather than Trinitarian-theology-based is cramped and distorted.

          • Anna

            So what about the question: do you really think a marriage is over when sex ends? Because guess what, men’s health problems can lead to that just as much as women’s. The truth is, sex is something young and healthy people do. When you’re can barely make it through the day, physically, sex just doesn’t register very high on the list of priorities. (Luckily for my husband, I don’t share your view and still consider myself married!)

      • donttouchme

        There’s nothing extreme in this. It’s basic Catholic teaching in Casti Connubii. Except to the extent that basic Catholic teaching is considered extremist today.

  • Caitlyn Wallace-Taphorn

    Well the good news is I’m 99% sure this guy is not getting married anyway. What a catch!

  • $1028912

    “Sex is only meaningful because it is part of a relationship.” —> Sex is such a personal thing that I think it’s best to let the individual participants determine what makes it “meaningful.”
    The Church offers a clear definition of what sex is for, but even within this framework, there’s bound to be disagreement. There will be even more disagreement when the scope is extended to the broader, secular world.
    Hypothetically, let’s say “Issues Guy” finds the woman of his dreams, who is fulfilled being the perfect submissive wife, and bearing as many children as God gives her, and their family lives happily ever after. This would not a bad thing — nor would it be a model for the rest of us.

    • anna lisa

      Lisa, seriously? If it ever works out for him, it’s going to be because he *falls in love* and love would never allow him to treat his wife in the way he describes. It’s like he wants to teach us all how to walk on the moon, and he hasn’t even begun to train as an astronaut. I would never expect you to be that naive.

      • $1028912

        It’s theoretically possible that he could find a woman with masochistic tendencies who actually wants to live that way. Look around the world — weirder things happen every day!

        • anna lisa

          But that is a *distortion*. God is love and love is God. God is not a masochist. That is the opposite of what God is.

          • $1028912

            I thought we were talking about what MARRIAGE is. The notion that marriages should be based on love is a relatively new one, in human history. (And I would agree with it — it’s love that makes me want to stay with my particular partner, with whom I hope to live again one day.)

            Think about it, though: Some cultures have conditioned their men to think like Issues Guy, and condition their women to think like his description of his ideal wife. It is possible that a man can love a woman who conforms to his narrow world view, and it is also possible a woman can love a man and enjoy showing her love by living according to his expectations.

            My main point is that even if these two people find each other, and freely decide to live this way, their particular (and peculiar) relationship does NOT offer a model for the rest of us!

          • anna lisa

            There are caricatures of marriage, and then there is true marriage.
            The problem with the model that you propose is that it doesn’t account for things like cancer, duress, hormonal imbalances, extreme over-work…
            It’s simply not sustainable.
            What he is describing is a strange fairy tale. But hey–I have teens and up (four) . I deal in b.s. every day. That’s why I never have the heart to throw the baby out with the bath water.

          • $1028912

            I live in a country where arranged marriages were the norm, a few generations ago. (In fact, my own in-laws’ marriage was arranged.) Some of these marriages began with a set of expectations — and then love grew. Others might have remained simply practical partnerships, but if the participants were satisfied with these arrangements, I wouldn’t call them less than “true.”

            I think the definition of whether a marriage is “true” should be left up to the two people involved. Really, does anyone else matter?

          • simchafisher

            I actually agree with Lisa T, up to a point. It’s entirely possible, especially if there is strong cultural support. for two people to build a strong, if not especially profound, relationship based on the dumb things IG thinks he is looking for. What galled me was that he was describing his plan as an ideal _Catholic_ marriage, which it certainly ain’t.

          • anna lisa

            And that is why I said that I hope he falls in love in the process. That is entirely possible.

          • anna lisa

            I think that we all do that.

          • simchafisher

            That would be nice. And kind of hilarious. Some Rosie the Riveter type that he just can’t take his eyes off of.

          • anna lisa

            I have found that God does indeed have a sense of humor. I have been the butt of his joke on occasions–nothing I din’t surely deserve..

          • $1028912

            ….who will expect him to actually change diapers.

          • donttouchme

            Well confound it. Because nothing I wrote even in the selective quotes is untrue or unCatholic. It’s all in Casti Connubii except for the reading to me and the treating her alternately like a girl and a grown-up. But I know from experience that women like both of those. Normal women, not masochists.

          • anna lisa

            My in-laws’ marriage was basically arranged too–and then the 70s happened.

          • Sheila C.

            The thing is, I know a number of people with marriages like this. The woman really did expect to be submissive and so forth, and wanted that. But ten, fifteen years later, she’s drowning under all the work that all those kids give her (and of course all on her own, the husband does not stoop to caring for kids), struggling with anxiety or depression, complaining to everyone who will listen about her husband’s unreasonable demands …. and yet when you say “you don’t have to do all that, you know,” she doesn’t believe you. Because she’s still convinced that this is God’s Way. And anyway having no responsibility for anything is easier.

            Where it gets really scary is when her doctor says, “Please, please, don’t get pregnant again, your odds of death are extremely high” and her husband says “Oh, I’m sure you’re fine,” and she chooses to obey her husband. Or when she has a serious health problem and the husband says, “You’re just a hypochondriac, you’re not sick and I’m not paying for a doctor,” and so she doesn’t go. THIS HAPPENS. And I spend my time worrying what the rest of us are going to do to help out with all those kids when these women finally lose their lives to this madness.

    • Anna

      I agree with your later clarification about marriages still being “true” in cultures where they’re arranged, and based on entirely different expectations. But I don’t agree that it would be “not a bad thing” for IG to find the woman he expects and raise a family. Partly because it’s not a good thing for IG as a human being, to live his life being given permission to exploit and devalue another human being. Partly because it won’t be a good thing for the wife, to live her life being told she is inferior. And can you imagine being this guy’s daughter? (Or son, for that matter, since the kids are included in IG’s category of “inferior creature under obligation to me.”) Oy. Each individual matters, IG included, which is why some on this thread (not me, really, since I mostly haven’t engaged him directly) have tried so hard to get it through to him.

      • $1028912

        I agree it’s less than ideal for kids raised with this kind of marriage as an example — but on the other hand, I think it’s entirely possible for them to look at their parents’ relationship and reject it as a model to live by. Kids from unhealthy backgrounds often grow into healthy adults.
        Issues Guy is commenting here under a pseudonym, so perhaps we shouldn’t even take what he says seriously. He might really believe what he says, or he might just be throwing out extreme opinions for fun.

  • Lucie

    Did anyone really think they were going to enlighten Issues Guy? Sounds like a lot of time was wasted on an Internet troll.

    • anna lisa

      He didn’t actually fulfill all the criteria for an internet troll. I’m at home with “issues guy” types. He’s a walk in the park compared to some of my relatives. Plus, it distracted me from my other kid who played hooky from school to watch the Germany v. Brasil game. Believe it or not I actually played host to nine kids today–not counting anyone on the internet. Issues guy kind of helped me out. It’s like having someone telling you knock knock jokes while you’re in labor.

  • Lena

    Dear Single Guy Who Wants Lots of Sex on Demand When Married: What if your wife needs a colonoscopy? Will you be there at the hospital with her? That’s part of marriage. What if you become disabled and you can’t have sex, nor support wife? What happens then? Will your wife be allowed to have friends? What if your neighbors have a medical emergency and someone needs to watch their children and you can’t have sex that night? What if wife’s best friend is single, lives 5 hours away and has surgery and your wife is going to spend the week helping single friend recover and you want to have sex? What if your beloved godchild lives out of state and is graduating from high school, and you and your wife have to sleep in the family room of the hosts’ house and there’s no privacy for sex? What if a tornado takes the roof off your house and you have to spend the night in the community center with 100 other people also sleeping on cots and you can’t have sex? What if you and your wife are traveling and the flight is cancelled and you are stranded at the airport and you want to have sex? What if your 17 year-old is out past curfew and didn’t call or text and you are worried child is dead in a ditch, and your wife is worried sick? What if adoring nephew wants you to join him and his dad on a weekend camping trip and you won’t be able to have sex that weekend? What if wife and her friends want to go away on a spa weekend to celebrate their 40th birthdays and you want sex that weekend?

  • Eileen

    And there can be no doubt that cluelessness is not limited to the male of the species. Check out this woman’s musings/fears on marriage and parenthood. http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2014/07/pre_pregnancy_contract_signing_on_the_dotted_line_to_avoid_household_conflict.2.html


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