Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wives letting themselves go

The blogosphere has been all abuzz about the Ted Haggard scandal. In the wake of that, Mark Driscoll (yet another "celebrity pastor") posted about the problem of sexual temptation for clergy. Apparently Mr. Driscoll is quite some exciting hunk of a man, because his female parishioners like to slip him notes soliciting sex. However, it is this comment of his that is raising the most concern:

Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives. At the risk of being even more widely despised than I currently am, I will lean over the plate and take one for the team on this. It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.

The first question that struck me is "Who is the team?" I'm assuming he means the team of guys who like to blame their wives for their own problems with porn and other forms of emotional or physical infidelity.

It seems that there is good reason that Driscoll is, as he admits, "widely despised". Apparently he has a habit of making insulting, demeaning public comments about women.

I posted the following to a guy-oriented blog, but it seems my comment was either deleted or not approved. I guess I shouldn't be surprised:

“It is not uncommon to meet pastors’ wives who really let themselves go; they sometimes feel that because their husband is a pastor, he is therefore trapped into fidelity, which gives them cause for laziness. A wife who lets herself go and is not sexually available to her husband in the ways that the Song of Songs is so frank about is not responsible for her husband’s sin, but she may not be helping him either.”

It is also not uncommon to meet pastors who really let themselves go. In fact, in my experience, I have met far more of these, and most of them have been married to women who took far better care of their personal appearance and health than did their husbands. In fact, the last two pastors at our church have been (and still are) obese. [Note: they are not unusual. Although I've not read any studies, I have encountered evidence that obesity is as much, if not more, of a problem among male clergy as among the American population at large. Pun intended.] Obviously this presents issues in a marriage, especially when the wife takes far better care of herself. She may not have men slipping notes in her pocket asking her for massages and sex, but it is really hard to want to go all "Song of Solomon" with a fat guy who is a selfish slave to his appetities --- and any nice guy without a huge belly can look awfully attractive in comparison.

Now, it's probably true that fat pastors face less temptation from women trying to have flings with them, but they are hardly setting an example for healthy marriages, or for loving their wives. And a lot of guys who overly indulge their appetite for food will also be weak when it comes to controlling their other sensual appetities, such as for porn. Plus, I've known obese men who felt a huge need to affirm their masculinity by agressively chasing women. (Trust me; when I was single I used to get sick of the fat old guys at work who seemed to think I would actually be receptive to their nauseating attempts to proposition me and any other woman around.)

Obviously that was not Ted Haggard's issue. But I'm tired of pastor's wives being raked over the coals for not being attractive enough, when their husbands have far, far less excuse.
What I failed to mention was the obvious: There is no way that Ted Haggard's wife could have been beautiful enough or "Song of Solomon" enough to keep her husband from wanting to have sex with a male prostitute.


  1. I'm really not surprised your comment was removed from the site. Any woman that would DARE say that there might be something wrong with the male gender...ESPECIALLY the male gender of the pastoral sort...has no business blogging their thoughts.

    Women probably have no business blogging anyway -- I'm sure it reeks of lack of subservience. Or something.

    Besides, Rebecca, you are so much more intelligent and articulate than most of these men -- it absolutely is a study in contrast between rational logical thinking -- and, um, patriarchial manspeak.

  2. Ahhh, I was wondering what you thought about this.

    I totally agree. And I love your phrase "go all Song of Solomon"!!! LOL

    Truthfully, the comment he made was to pastors and it wasn't advice to wives as he claims. It was a slam. It was stated as truth when anyone can look around and see that it is usually the opposite.

    Why didn't Mark tell these pastors that if they were not getting sex with their wives that they had better make sure they are loving their wives, practicing good hygeine and physically pleasing to their wives. What wife would want to "go all Song of Solomon" (I assume that is a euphemism for oral sex?) on their husbands when they don't take regular showers and refuse to brush their teeth? I know many women married to men who rarely brush their teeth and they have bleeding, puss-filled gums and who take a shower a couple of times a week. They have admitted that sex is the last thing on their minds and is physically repulsive to them. In spite of their pleadings, their husbands refuse to bathe and brush.

    But, Mark's supporters praise him because he told the truth. Really? Another couple of Mark's supporters said that if Ted's wife would have been available and offered her anus to Ted, he wouldn't have had to look outside the marriage for such things. One of these men, raked women who refuse to have anal sex with their husbands as being selfish. A couple of men went to a conference where they came home with the idea that if their wife was vaginally unavailable for sex, they should offer their anus up for "intimacy". I was appalled. A husband who was at this retreat and his wife even came forward to say this is what it sounded like Mark was teaching. I wrote to a deacon at that church and he said that Mark didn't teach that and that Mark discourages anal sex but if two people want to do it, then it is okay.

    I was told that men do not have to have self-control when it comes to sex in marriage.

    Mark once told, during a sermon, his congregation that his wife was looking too much like a "mom" (she has 4 children) and that he made her go out shopping for new clothes.

    What am I left to understand? Moms are supposed to look like?????? I mean, I don't like frumpy but I think Mark's view of women comes more from sexual fantasies portrayed in R rated movies than it does from the Bible.

    To be fair, he did tack on "it isn't your fault that he cheats, but you might not help, either." (paraphrase) to the end of his statement. That way he had an out when people called him on his demeaning statements.

    I wonder if all the wives of the pastors that know Mark are now wondering if Mark looks at them as "letting themselves go"? After all, he did say it was actual women he knew that have let themselves go.

    I know are world and society doesn't put any emphasis on how a woman looks but thankfully Mark and other pastors like him do. We women have gotten off the hook for too long by letting ourselves go in a world that puts no emphasis on outer appearance. No, there is no wordly thoughts there. There is no double standard.

    Women aren't turned on by sight, only guys are. So, we women don't understand. We like a guy no matter how disgusting and sloppy he is. After all, men are made by God to be sexually stimulated by the sight of a pretty woman. Isn't that what the Bible teaches?

  3. Driscoll is one of those guys that really "hits the nail on the head" when it comes proclaiming Christ through what he preaches. But then he goes and says something stupid like this. But, perhaps he is learning...

  4. Brian, thanks for the link. I posted it more prominently on my blog.

    Corrie...I'm flabbergasted at some of the stuff that you wrote. I probably shouldn't be shocked, but I'll admit that I still find it difficult to deal with men in the church being so quick to embrace some of the worst of the world's attitudes towards women.

    I think it is ungodly for anyone to speculate what specific acts did or didn't go on in the Haggard's bedroom. Apparently Driscoll is very frank about this sort of thing (he seems to swap sex stories with fellow pastors, or how would he know that "Most pastors I know do not have satisfying, free, sexual conversations and liberties with their wives"?) but I think such an interest is misguided if not downright wrong.

    What we do know is that Haggard repeatedly sought out a male prostitute. I don't think it would be right or pleasing to God for any woman to try to pretend to be a male prostitute. Besides, that would just be futile. If a man wants sex with a male prostitute, nothing his wife does is going to make him stop wanting that.

  5. Wow...he was probably a tad more innocent than what his post came across. But what I've often found is that it is always far easier to focus on what I can do rather that what my spouse can do better. Mark needs to learn that lesson. Unless I'm being hurt physically, or safety is an issue, I can always point the finger at myself for the problems going on in my marriage whether they are sexual, emotional, or spiritual.

    Great post on this topic ;-)

  6. When I read his comments the first time about pastors wives, all I could think about was his poor wife. I pictured her running 10 miles a day, getting facelifts and tummy tucks all trying to please Mark.

    Then I thought, what if she got a horrible disease? Or was disfigured in an accident? Would those words he wrote in that statement ever leave her mind no matter what he said to her? I think not.

    That one comment about pastors wives probably hurt more marriages than it helped.