“While preaching against the prevailing feminism of our day from 1 Peter, I was accused by a member with an egalitarian disposition of having a low view of women and a dismal view of marriage… A month later I was deposed from office, the church was disbanded and I was informally exiled from the denomination… I have been and am being defrauded by my wife, betrayed by my son, removed from my career along with over a decade of preparation, education and experience…” – this is just part of a story I received from a former minister in response to my post “How a husband can enjoy sex that is grudgingly given by his wife”.
It gets worse, much worse as you read this man’s story.
Jonadab the Rechabite’s Story
Warning: what follows is a verbose, blubbering, whiny tale of a beta’s misfortune and malfeasance. Read at your own risk and don’t say I didn’t warn you!
You write on an issue that is a very present and painful agony in my life. I too know well the pain of sexual rejection; it is my constant companion that accompanies me like my shadow. It brings with it many bitter fruits. In my case my wife said that she did not want to have sex with me, because she did not respect me (she just could not have sex with a man she did not respect). That was over 25 years ago and the situation has not really improved.
Back then I, thinking of myself as a Christian man of honor and valor convinced myself of three things:
1) That I was called to love my wife no matter what; better or worse till death.
2) Suffering was often a part of love. That to take up my cross daily and that being rejected and despised was simply my sharing in the fellowship with the suffering of Christ, which He did out of love for His bride. So if Christ suffered for a church that would not honor Him or worship Him in Spirit and truth, then I could suffer for my bride who would not respond to me sexually or give me due honor and respect. So I recommitted to love my wife, even when she was unlovely, to be patient, caring and helpful, hoping that she would repent if I gave her time and space.
3) I would honor my vows unto death and that meant I would not be a rapist nor a beggar for sex, I would neither abandon my wife by divorce nor have an adulterous affair, so I was left with either a life as a eunuch or finding sexual release on my own, alone. I chose the latter and found that the use of visual aids were helpful. Mind you, if my wife responded to my overtures positively, she was my only sexual object, and she had all of my love and attention, but if she did not desire me, then I granted to her, her wish and I discretely found release and pleasure on my own.
I struggled with the accusation that visual aids were the same thing as adultery. I was concerned at the thought of the deceitfulness of my own heart in the matter, but I reasoned that my use was not to covet another women, but to remain with the woman I married. Still, the continuous outcry by the Christian community against porn had my spirit often vexed and confused. The church was screaming condemnations against male sexuality and porn while welcoming divorce and mute on defrauding. Women were viewed as holy and men as sinners, I knew if I went to the church to help my marriage, they would fail miserably to correct my wife and most likely point her to the path of divorce.
We would have sex a few times a year (2-6) and as a result I have five children. But as she got wind of my porn use and she became even more bitter toward me. I was/ am confounded about her anger of my porn use, she didn’t want sex with me, but she also did not want me to have a sex-drive. I believe that it was her desire to control me and control my desires, that provoked her to scorn me and despise me even more.
On the rare occasions we would have sex, I judged that she was “sand-bagging”. I believe she was intentionally making it as bad as she could so I would cease my overtures, while avoiding the charge of totally defrauding me. She resisted my attempts at foreplay, she would not touch me below the navel, would not kiss back etc. It seemed that her approach was “get on – get off -and get off —and make it fast!” In time I came to look at her as the destruction and desolation of my sex, she was the miserly and uptight killjoy – constantly on the prowl lest I have any enjoyment in life. She would not have sex with me and I had to be out of her presence have even a modicum of pleasure from the sexual consolation of masturbation. I realized that porn was not primarily about me desiring hot T and A, but me wanting to be desired. Paul said better to marry than to burn, I was married and I was burning with no way to quench the fire, only escape the flames for a short while.
It wasn’t always a total desert. During a time that she was a little more responsive, I as a result went porn free and I believed that we were on the road to lasting improvement. At the end of that extended time things were more tolerable and I became an elder in my church with a clear conscience. Eight years later the church commissioned me to plant a church and to become fully ordained, which I did. Things were going well, in fact a survey of the congregation had each household reporting that the prior year of participation at the church plant was the most intense year of spiritual growth of their life.
While preaching against the prevailing feminism of our day from 1 Peter, I was accused by a member with an egalitarian disposition of having a low view of women and a dismal view of marriage. That accusation was escalated to my presbytery would have gone nowhere, (my exegesis and application were biblically solid), except that at the same time my oldest son was feeling distressed about his mother’s growing expressions of contempt toward me.
A man who is fancies himself a “white knight” and super husband, liked to go hunting with my son, convinced him that the only possible reason for my wife’s discontent was that I was a lousy, unloving husband and therefore unfit for the ministry. That same man who had previously played a role in the destruction of two other churches, called a member of my presbytery accusing me of a “porn addiction”. An investigation ensued which was little more than just a few phone calls and when I was asked about my sex life, my wife or porn, I spoke the truth as plainly and forthright as I knew how with as little spin and humility as I could muster.
A month later I was deposed from office, the church was disbanded and I was informally exiled from the denomination. When I was first ordained, I vowed to submit to my presbytery and so I have heeded their discipline, even if I have disagreements with the process. (If I cannot submit to the church how can I expect my wife to submit to her husband?) Besides I no longer believe that I rule my household well, which is a biblical qualification to enter the ministry and some contend to remain in it.
To sum up: I have been and am being defrauded by my wife, betrayed by my son, removed from my career along with over a decade of preparation, education and experience, and most of the same people I prayed and agonized over daily will not talk to me. The blame me for the destruction of a very tight knit church.
One of the former members of the church was tried and convicted for an offense committed years ago when he was a minor and he had to go through the courts, jail and now prison with no pastor to comfort him, because I was deemed unfit to be a minister of the word and sacrament. I get teary eyed every time I think of that loneliness and doubt he had to endure and no one was not there for him when he really needed a pastor.
My wife and I went to a nouthetic counselor who just validated my wife’s feelings of contempt and condemned me as a “porn addict”, even though I hadn’t used porn for a over a year and a half. He dropped us after a few visits, never admonishing her to repent of her 25 years of sexual defrauding. She became convinced that she has grounds for a biblical divorce because the white knight community has bellowed their scripture abuse in her ear: that to look another woman with any sexual desire is the same as committing acts of adultery and any act of adultery is grounds for a christian wife to divorce her husband and destroy the home.
Except for an anonymous blog using a pseudonym, I cannot repeat what I just described to anyone including my family, the former members of my church or even my current church; to do so would constitute a catastrophic failure to protect my wife and my son’s reputation. My mother and siblings think I am a failure and maybe some kind of pervert. I cannot correct them or defend myself, I must let them think what they will, even if I am a reproach to them. I am now woefully insufficiently employed, working a job with long hours for low pay, mostly alone and that requires me to miss worship most weeks.
A deposed pastor even with graduate degrees in computer science and in pursuit of a doctorate of ministry is not in market demand. Nobody really cares that I taught church history, christian worldview, was published or preached to large crowds. My public positions against popular sins of the day have made me anathema to many potential employers. Add to that a downcast spirit and … well you get the idea. I have lost the role of head in my home and live under the threat of divorce.
I live in a sexless marriage where the marriage bed is defiled and cold, a symbol of decades of defrauding. Unlike the divorced man who has to pick up the pieces and get on with a broken life, I live daily feeling anew the fresh agony of a ongoing defrauding and a life lost of purpose. In moments of weakness, I feel alone, unwanted and useless. This is the fruit of a defrauded marriage. I wonder if I broken my vows and had gotten a divorce if I would be nearly so despised.
I know that all things work together for good, but right now I am having a difficult time seeing how it will all work out.
Lord I believe! Help thou my unbelief!”
My response to Jonadab
Jonadab – I am so very sorry to hear how the poisonous influences of feminism in both your church and your marriage have essentially destroyed the life you once had.
After I read your story this passage of Scripture came to mind:
“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” – Psalm 27:10 (KJV)
Just substitute mother and father with wife, son and church. The Lord will take you up my friend. He can be a comfort to you during this difficult time.
I have a dear friend who some years back lost his ministry to false accusations. I knew him from high school. He got a degree in ministry and was so excited about serving the Lord and then he like you was betrayed.
I too have experienced and I know many who have experienced the unbiblical counseling that often goes on in Churches and other Christian ministries.
But believe it or not there are still some Bible preaching churches that would give you comfort and support. You might need to change denominations to do it, but they are out there. If you told your story to my Pastor you would have a very sympathetic ear. He would have issues with the porn, but everything else you have stated he would be right with you. He takes a hard stand against sexual denial in marriage when he does marriage counseling and he believes very strongly in Biblical authority in marriage.
Your story shows how feminism is not only destroying marriages, it is destroying churches as well. It has seeped into every area of our lives in America and Western cultures. That is why we must take a stand against it.
You can’t go back and undo the past, but you can influence the direction of the future. You may not be able to save your own marriage or your church, but you might be able to save other people’s marriages or other churches with these warnings.
You need to take a stand
Jonadab – there is something more that you can do. Yes we need to warn others and yes there are some things we can’t change. You won’t get your old ministry or old church back.
But you still have a marriage that needs you to be its head. We are all sinners and we all make mistakes. I am sure you have made other mistakes in your marriage and parenting but just from reading your story here are things that were NOT sin and NOT mistakes:
You preaching against feminism from I Peter was NOT a sin. You followed God’s Word and his leading. You have nothing to apologize for.
You using “visual aids” to give yourself sexual release because your wife was failing to meet your sexual needs was NOT a sin. The Bible lust which is covetousness, it does not condemn sexual arousal or sexual imagination or use of images.
It sounds to me like you tried to serve your wife and please her to the best of your ability and I am sure you were not always perfect in this, but this in no way justifies her behavior or her contempt toward you as her husband.
Your wife is acting in wicked rebellion toward you and God. In her selfish and self-conceited sin she thinks she is the only woman you may look at and she is determiner of where and when you are allowed to experience you God given sexuality as a man. She is completely wrong on this.
You need to get off your knees stand up and be the man God has called you to be. You must take back the leadership and authority in your home that you have abandoned for years.
If you want to know the area you have sinned in (based on your story) – it is in the abandonment of your duty to be the leader and authority in your home. I do not say this to shame you, but to encourage you to get up and do what is right. You have enabled sin in your wife and son’s life. Even if they do not recognize your authority to lead – you must lead anyway.
So the first thing you must do is a full self-examination with the Lord. Allow God to search your heart and reveal any sins you have committed and confess those to him. If you need to confess some actual sins (as opposed to perceived sins) against your wife or son then confess that to them as well.
Ask the Lord to give you courage because you are going to need it my friend.
“stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” – I Corinthians 16:13 (NASB)
You stood firm in the faith in your church and lost your church because of it. But you have not stood firm in the faith in your home – because I think you might fear to lose that as well.
But you must be prepared to take a strong stand that may result in your wife divorcing you (or you divorcing her) and further alienation of your son. But you must put God’s ways first. You must take a strong stand against sin.
I know in the beginning you believed that God called you to suffer with your wife’s sin of disrespect and denial. But I think now you realize that you have been enabling sin all these years. You have not used the tools that God gives to husband as the head of his wife and his home. Now you have the knowledge of what is right – you have only to act on it.
Find a Bible preaching church in your area – one where feminism is preached against without fear. Find support there and then begin the hard work of disciplining your wife.
See these two posts I wrote on the subject of Biblical discipline.
May God be with you brother. Remember – even when your own family stands against you, God will be there to lift you up.