Boundless blogger considers first anniversary a “miracle.”

10 Jan

Does the Boundless blogger consider his first anniversary a “miracle” because he or his spouse nearly died last year and only miraculously survived?  No.  Did one of them commit adultery and then repent, restoring the marriage?  No.

No, our Boundless blogger considers his first anniversary a “miracle” because, basically, his wife didn’t divorce him for being imperfect.

Very early in this blog’s existence, I wrote a post in which I said:

I’ve noticed that it’s fairly common in evangelical circles for a man to more or less prostrate himself at the feet of his wife’s saintly goodness, proclaiming some mixture of the following:

  • I don’t deserve my wife.
  • I was a mess before I met my wife.
  • If it weren’t for my wife, I don’t know where I’d be right now.
  • I don’t know what she sees in me.
  • I’m an idiot, but for some reason, she married me.

Lo and behold, Boundless has provided us with a real-life example of this type of talk!  Blogger Nathan Zacharias commemorated his first anniversary with a post disparaging himself and extolling the beneficence of his wife for not divorcing him already.  Says he:

Sarah and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. She’s stuck with me 367 days, and that’s a miracle. No, seriously, it is.


No longer can I focus on just caring for my needs. No longer can I get by with looking at a situation by how I see it. [AH:  Syntax doctor says what?] Instead, I look at it through her eyes, too. That means I see myself from her perspective. And I have to say, the view isn’t always pretty.

I long to serve Sarah in any way, but that doesn’t mean that my selfishness doesn’t rear its ugly head often. There are plenty of times when I have to tell Sarah I’m sorry for something I did or didn’t do.

The ring on my finger and the vow in my heart sheds light on my negative traits often. And so when I tell people I don’t deserve Sarah, I’m not joking.


Why Sarah chose me, I’ll never know. And as a I told someone close to me the other day, I deserve Sarah even less now than I did a year ago. But she loves me anyway.


I don’t like seeing my finger without the ring. My finger looks bare without it. And that’s what I’d be without Sarah. [AH:  He would be bare without his wife? “Bare” as in exposed, or “bare” as in I-meant-to-say-lost-or-lonely?]

There’s more, but you get the picture.

Okay, I am not married, so maybe I’m just being a Neanderthal on this topic, but is it not possible to express gratefulness for a spouse without TOTALLY PROSTRATING ONESELF AT HER FEET?

More importantly, does Nathan Zacharias believe that his wife would write a similar article expressing the following?

  • how unworthy she is of her husband
  • that she has no idea why he married her
  • that their one-year anniversary is a miracle
  • that she deserves him even less than she did at the time of their wedding
  • how ugly she sees herself when she looks at herself from his point of view
  • that she often has to apologize to him for things she did or didn’t do

I mean, maybe she would.  Maybe she does see herself as so unworthy of her husband that she would make a public proclamation of it.  Maybe she considers her husband a prince without equal.  Or…maybe she agrees with him.  (As a point of comparison, I don’t recall Suzanne Gosselin, Boundless’s most recently married female blogger, ever writing a comparable post at her one-year anniversary.  I also don’t ever recall Candice Watters opining similarly about her marriage with Steve back when they wrote for Boundless.  Chelsey Munneke, Boundless’s recently engaged blogger who believes weight loss for a wedding is an unnecessary stress, has never spoken of her fiance this way, either.  Rather, she believes her man should love her for her, daughter of the King that she is.  Google-fu experts, feel free to prove my memory wrong.)

I know that it’s popular in evangelical circles to speak of everything in terms of being “sacrificial.”  Sacrificial love, sacrificial serving, no one deserves anything, we’re all sanctified losers, boo hoo hoo, etc.  But this just isn’t a healthy attitude to have in a functional, earth-bound relationship.  Of course no one “deserves” anything; that’s a given.  Humility and tolerance are important in a marriage for sure.  But acting like those traits in a spouse are miraculous is a problem.  Not all that long ago, those were expected in a marriage.  That these are no longer givens but miracles just speaks to how weak marriage has become in America and in the American church.

Furthermore, even if Zacharias used “miracle” for hyperbolic effect, it is still problematic because it accepts modern divorce culture as legitimate.  If he is joking that he is grateful that his wife didn’t frivolously divorce him, then he accepts that this is a realistic possibility for him.  His wording at least suggests this:  he doesn’t mention anything about her honoring her vows despite having to live with his imperfections.  Instead, he chalks up the endurance of their marriage to her love for him.  Well, Nathan, what is going to happen when your wife doesn’t feel “love” anymore?  And are you expecting to be even less worthy of her after two years of marriage, or does the unworthiness sort of level off after a while?  What happens when your wife realizes that she’s been loving someone so unworthy of her affection?  Time to start apologizing for more things you didn’t do, I guess.

Do Christians really want to see stronger families?  Do Christians really want to see positive changes in society?  Less poverty, less abortion, less welfare, fewer single moms, fewer divorces?  Then they really need to begin with marriage, and not just badgering unmarried 28-year-olds about joining eHarmz or making all the husbands do “The Love Dare” or giving purity rings to 15-year-olds who will not realistically marry for twenty more years.


86 Responses to “Boundless blogger considers first anniversary a “miracle.””

  1. DW January 10, 2012 at 8:26 am #

    Whenever I refer to Christianity and Christian manliness on my blog, I almost always have to refer to a time prior to the last 50 years. The sheer quantity and quality of pussified men today is pathetic and shows just how much the Church has bought into feminism. This isn’t how the Church should be.

  2. y81 January 10, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    I totally agree. In fact, it seems to me that evangelicals focus all their energies on teenagers and gays, while giving a free pass to the divorcing adult men and women who do the most damage to the institution of marriage. Not quite the behavior Our Lord displayed during his time with us.

    And that stuff about “my wife is a saint” makes my flesh crawl. Politicians do it too. Does that resonate with some set of women? I mostly aim not to talk about my wife, but when I do, I tell people how hot she is, not how saintly.

  3. y81 January 10, 2012 at 8:54 am #

    P.S. Here’s a book that might be worth reading: “The Meaning of Marriage” by Tim Keller. I haven’t read it, but when he preaches, he often speaks fondly of his wife, without the “she’s a saint and I’m so unworthy” stuff that you get in some evangelical circles.

  4. Jennifer January 10, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    I almost fell over when I read this. Are you KIDDING me? Did he marry her as some kind of repentent, self-flaggelation practice?

    One woman at least left a smart commenon the article:

    “This is very sweet, but remember: you are both in the same boat. She also has a mirror held in front of her every day, struggles with selfishness, and must try to see things from your perspective instead of hers. It goes both ways. Don’t hold her up as perfect, as someone to be worshiped. Be very, very careful with that, as it can lead to putting your trust in Sarah, instead of in your Savior, Jesus.”

  5. Toz January 10, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    This guy needs to stop worshiping his wife. I’m unworthy of this gift? I was a mess before I met her? I’m a moron compared to her? That’s stuff you say about God, not your wife.

    Someone point out to this guy you’re not supposed to have worship idols.

  6. Io January 10, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Wow, it must be nearly impossible for you find a marriage you approve of, if a man praising his wife and celebrating his first anniversary elicits this amount of cynicism and scorn. Poor guy. He was just trying to say something nice. I think it’s sweet.

    And there’s something odd about people who immediately, whenever they see man doing or saying something nice with respect to the woman he loves, jump all over him demanding if the woman has done the exact same thing for him. Maybe she’s done something just as nice for him. A man going out of his way to show that he loves and respects his wife, and is willing to make sacrifices her, while not extracting the same declarations from her (which she may have given already, anyway) is not showing weakness. He is showing a great deal of strength. Sounds like this couple is on the right track.

  7. Aunt Haley January 10, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    Please make sure you’re not confusing the things that I wrote in my original post with the things that Zacharias actually wrote. To his credit, he did not call himself a moron and did not claim he was a mess before he met her.

    No one’s stopping you from running to Boundless’s comments and telling Zacharias how sweet you think it is that he feels he’s unworthy of his wife.

  8. Io January 10, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I addressed your post because it was the one that struck me as odd. If you prefer that I not comment, I’ll leave and not bother you again, but why have a blog if you don’t want people to respond to your ideas?

    What would you have preferred this man to say? “We’ve been married a year now and she sure as hell better start showing some gratitude for my awesome self”?

    Men say stuff like “I’m not worthy of my wife” all the time–most people are able to understand what they mean by that.

    I was looking for a conclusion of your post and didn’t find it. Instead of stating what the point was of your harangue against this man, you veered off and starting talking about how to make Christian marriages stronger. Should I conclude from that you didn’t actually have a point to make about in what way men should show they love their wives on their blogs? Because it just looks like you felt personally irritated by his praise and tried to spin it, rather unsuccessfully, into some kind of point about the state of Christian marriage.

  9. y81 January 10, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    What a Christian man should say is “I’m not worthy of what God has given me: neither my wife, nor my children, nor my income, nor being able to live in a free country, nor, what is more and most of all, salvation unto eternal life. It is all unmerited grace. I am a sinner but God loves me anyway.”

    What he should not say is “I’m not worthy of what my wife has given me. I’m a sinner but she loves me anyway.” That is idolatry.

  10. mywomanlywork January 10, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    I think words are cheap. If he really feels that inferior to her he should work on changing himself. It seems like what many people do when they look at their own shortcomings – they think if they just admit the shortcoming that all will be forgiven. It isn’t that easy. It’s like people who say “I’m just being honest” or “No offense” as if that negates whatever negative confession they made.

    I don’t know a lot of Christian marriages, but the two evangelical ones I do know of are just like this. In the older couple the woman is horribly mean to her husband, and in the younger couple the guy seems like a parasite. I don’t see this dynamic in non-“Christian” marriages, but my sample size isn’t small. I get the gut feeling that Christianity has been feminized to a large degree.

    I think it would get really old to be with someone who didn’t consider themselves your equal. You’d start to think, why am I with this person? Obviously I can do better.

    Love your blog. I hope to write as well as you do someday!

  11. jack January 10, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    What is clear is that this man is a. Complete p—y.

    Maybe some sort of Christian sexual Stockholm syndrome affects young Christian males who finally have glorious access to steady, rationalization-free sex for the first time, and it make them see the supplier as goddess-like.

    It is hard to blame American women for being such narcissists when a phalanx of beta enablers are acting like this pitiful tool.

  12. jack January 10, 2012 at 11:20 am #


    Clearly you are a female, or a man that thinks like a female.

    Your. Comment that the only other alternative was for him to belligerently demand his wife show gratitude only demonstrates that you are arguing in bad faith and that you are immature in the extreme.





  13. Io January 10, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Jack: yes, I’m female. I didn’t say that was his “only other alternative.” I was asking Haleyshalo if that’s what she would prefer. You must not have been reading very carefully.

    From the aggressive nature of the rest of your comment I can only conclude that you don’t have any other point to make in response to what I said, so I will assume you agree with the parts you didn’t comment on.

    What I find interesting about all of this is that there is a lack of acknowledgement of the differences between the sexes. If a woman said what “Boundless” said, it would be degrading for her, because women are more naturally disposed to self-sacrifice than men are. This isn’t to say women are better than men, and in fact that tendency to self-sacrifice often leads them astray, but it is a fundamental difference.

    Men, on the other hand, have a much greater sense of self-preservation. This is a strength that allows them to be leaders, protect their families, succeed in their careers, etc. If applied badly, it can lead to selfishness and disregard towards the people they should be caring for. So when I see a man talking about self-sacrifice and implying that his wife “puts up with him,” I see that as him making an effort to not let his strong sense of self-preservation lead to him thinking only of himself. Again, by doing this, he is showing strength–not weakness, because he is exercising his ability to love and protect his wife.

    But of course if you think men and women are exactly the same, you will think that what is degrading for a woman is also degrading for a man, and you are effectively judging a man by a standard set for women. Interesting, if you really think about it.

  14. LibertyBelle January 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm #


    “Again, by doing this, he is showing strength–not weakness,”. It is interesting to me that I had a similar thought, though I don’t think I am arriving at it from the same direction. My first impression was that this was a round-about way of puffing himself up. Something like, “Thank You, Lord, that I am so humble. So humble that I will write this for the whole world to see.”

    And I wonder how many women sighed to themselves upon reading it, hoping that someday their man would say the same thing about them.

  15. Io January 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Ha ha, there may be something to that, LibertyBelle.

  16. jack January 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm #


    Your comments about self-sacrfice and self-preservation show how good a job men are doing in not whining about sacrifice.

    While neither gender is completely one ay or the other, you have the general assumption exactly inverted from the current gender dynamic in the US.

    And your adolescent comment about “what did you want him to say” was an example of being aggressive, albeit in typical female style.

    welcome to the Internet, princess, where not everyone is going to respond to your juvenile challenges with the same immediate deference that the cowering men in your life obviously show you.

    In other words, I don’t care if you’re a girl, toughen up.

  17. y81 January 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    “And I wonder how many women sighed to themselves upon reading it, hoping that someday their man would say the same thing about them.”

    That is really fascinating, and relates to one of my questions above. Is there a set of women who want their man to say stuff like that? My wife would gag if I spoke about her that way. But my wife may be the exception. Certainly weepy evangelical speakers and maudlin politicians prove themselves in the marketplace every day, and don’t seem to lack for audiences.

  18. Aunt Haley January 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    I am going to assume that you aren’t a regular reader of this blog and therefore aren’t familiar with its general viewpoints. I often assume that others understand these viewpoints, and therefore I sometimes write conclusory posts.

    Churches today tend to view men as morally inferior to women and that men must work hard to remain in women’s good graces. This is a byproduct of the wider cultural acceptance of feminist ideology, in which women’s imperatives are good while men’s are bad and need to be corrected to be more like women’s. Men are taught that they need to be more sacrificial, more humble, more romantic, more supportive, and more understanding of women. They need to be better listeners. They need to man up. They need to step up to the plate. They need to stop playing video games. They need to apologize more. They need to be friends first. They need to see women’s inner beauty. They need to not judge women for their sexual history.

    Meanwhile, women are precious daughters of the King who deserve to be loved for who they are!

    The result of these disparate teachings is that you get guys like Nathan Zacharias recounting on his first anniversary how he is unworthy of being married to his wife, who apparently only through her graciousness and irrational love has permitted the marriage to continue. In Zacharias’s defense, he’s not the only one I’ve heard express this sort of viewpoint; I just used him as an example since his blog post was pretty much textbook. The issue is not really Zacharias’s sincerity or the depth of his devotion to his wife (it’s pretty obvious he means what he says); it’s his choice of wording and by extension the frame he accepts for his marriage.

    This frame is bad for marriage. Maybe not so bad for Zacharias’s individual marriage, depending on the extent of his wife’s magnanimity, but this is bad for marriage on a large scale. Why? Because this frame puts the power of the marriage into the wife’s hands. She is superior, he is inferior. And because women tend to make decisions emotionally, and because the law permits divorce for no reason, this greatly destabilizes marriage.

    More men get served divorce papers today simply for the reason that their wives stopped feeling in love with them, than for any other reason. The reason that most wives stop feeling in love with their husbands is because the husbands do not fulfill the women’s biological need to submit to a psychologically powerful man. But how can a man demonstrate psychological strength when he considers it miraculous that his wife would have him as a husband? When he consistently tries to put himself in her place and views himself as lacking? When he regularly apologizes for things he did not do? Too often the answer is that he can’t, and once the wife starts suspecting weakness, it can be very difficult for the man to ever recover from that demotion. Yet the church cultivates these attitudes in men (and the “daughter of the King” attitude in women) and doesn’t do much to distinguish humility from prostration. The great irony is that in trying to improve men for marriage, the church is actually reducing the probability of marital success.

    If you believe that words mean anything, and if you believe that marriage means anything, then Zacharias’s choice of words is troubling because it implicitly accepts a divorce paradigm on the grounds of not feeling love anymore, and it also connotes supplication. Overall, it’s just not the language of someone who has a strong inner frame. I would like to see more Christian men own their position as husbands and stop beating themselves up because they’re imperfect. And I would also like to see them appreciate their wives without acting like their wives are holy saints. Is there not a substantive difference between a man praising his wife, saying “Throughout this first year of marriage I have discovered that my wife possesses even greater character and integrity and capacity to love than on our wedding day, and that I love her and cherish her more every day”, as opposed to “I’m not worthy of her, I don’t even know why she married me, it’s a miracle we’re still together!”?

    Furthermore, the lack of Zacharias’s type of post from women suggests that women have just as wholly absorbed the church’s cultural meme as the men. At most, women tend to express gratefulness and love for a useful husband, but I can’t remember ever seeing a woman write seriously that she didn’t deserve her husband and that if she looked at herself from his perspective, she would see ugliness of character. That’s pretty telling about how the sexes have been conditioned to view themselves, too. In fact, if a woman said such things, all of her friends would gather around her giving her self-esteem speeches about how worthy she is of love and a great man and that she is so, so special to God, that the husband is actually the lucky one, etc.

    Overall the position of this blog is that churches and parachurch organizations today offer poor-to-mediocre advice for enduring and satisfying marriages. This is due to a lack of understanding of fundamental male and female sexual psychology, mainly because the feminist ideology of such has been accepted. Until this problem is corrected, attempts to encourage and strengthen marriage will continue to fail on a large scale, and we will all pay the social price for that misunderstanding. This blog was started in order to chronicle and discuss this from the viewpoint of an unmarried person who has grown up in the church and seen most of these phenomena firsthand.

  19. LibertyBelle January 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm #


    I can only think of two women IRL who MIGHT want their man to express such things and they are both over 40 and never married. I cannot imagine any of my married Christian friends desiring such and I would likely throw up if it happened to me. However, based on my reading in the wide world, and the popularity of romance films/books, I imagine it would be a popular desire.

  20. modernguy January 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    This guy is going a bit overboard and he needs to be corrected, but you guys need to get a grip. You read a couple of posts at Roissy’s and suddenly you’re going around acting like youre an action hero. Loosen the grip on your sack a bit and stop lookin so hard, you’re not Eminem.

    This guy clearly doesn’t have a good conception of how he should define himself as a husband but that’s a common enough problem these days. It doesn’t automatically make him a pussy. And it’s not like women know their roles any better either.

  21. modernguy January 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

    “Overall, it’s just not the language of someone who has a strong inner frame. ”

    Haley, you spend two paragraphs telling us how all of society and the church is trying to feminize men and then you blame they guy for not having a strong enough “inner frame”. How strong exactly do you expect this “inner frame” to be? Should we just go around not listening to anyone about anything? Would criminals make good role models? What examples should we take? Women themselves pushed for the feminization of society and you got it. Whether out of magnanimity from men or from weakness, you don’t like what you ended up with. What you yourselves asked for. How about a few posts on the incorrigible stupidity of women.

  22. David January 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    @ y81 & LibertyBelle

    Like most things women say they want in men, women want high praises… from Alphas!

    If Zacharias was an alpha, I’m sure he could indulge in this sort of foolishness. Unfortunately for him (and the rest of the Christian beta males) he is not. If he keeps this sort of thing up, his wife will eventually see him as a low ranking.beta and start looking at her options.

    This matches up well with the romance novel cliche. The guys who prostrate themselves in your typical romance novels are buff, secret millionaire handymen. What woman wouldn’t want a guy like that to worship her?

  23. David January 10, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    @ Modern Guy

    Read the archives. She rips up women plenty.

  24. Anna January 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    To him, his wife loves him despite of his unworthiness, not because of he treats her well, acts like a good husband, etc. He is unable to define his value outside of his wife. That he does so is not sweet or humble, but deeply narcissistic.

  25. Jennifer January 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

    “Churches today tend to view men as morally inferior to women and that men must work hard to remain in women’s good graces”

    That all depends on the churches; some still believe women are lesser, and even crow of feminism as proof.

  26. jack January 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    The correction of this trend will need to be BY men, and directed TO men.

    While it would be nice if we could get the gals to get tingly over supplicating betas while we wait to turn the ship around, I think it is unlikely.

    Therefore, men need to hold other men accountable and help them destroy their inner White Knight.

    Theoretically, women could assist in this, but then once again men would be taking direction from women.

    If a man “mans ups” because a woman told him to, is he still masculine?

    I say no.

    The best that can probably be done is for women to passively reject beta white knight supplication (we’re home free there), but ALSO reject men that do not measure up to Christian standards either.

    No one is suggesting that women date a bunch of wussy men. But Christian women should not date “bad boys” either.

  27. Anon January 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    If he acts like that all the time, then I suppose it is something of a miracle that she hasn’t divorced him.

  28. Jennifer January 10, 2012 at 5:05 pm #

    Those are wise suggestions, Jack. And both sexes would indeed need to be involved. Nothing pisses me off more than Christian girls going for bad boys. Honestly, if anything, by now the whole bad boy gig should be old and over.

  29. Io January 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    Haley, I see what you’re saying, but what you described is not my idea of Christian marriage. This conversation is all about the power struggle; all I’m seeing on here is the dichotomy that either men have the power or women have the power. I don’t doubt that in certain churches the attitude towards men is as you describe, but I’m a Catholic and believe that both the husband and wife are supposed to sacrifice for each other and not worry constantly about who is getting how much and when. The happily married couples that I know put this into practice and no one gets tramples or ends up worrying that they’re being brainwashed. So I’m going to assume that by “Christian” you mean “Protestant.” In any case I may not be returning, because I think you’re coming from a very different place.

    Jack, I am far from being a stranger to internet arguments. I am also far from being someone who has been treated with kid gloves by men in real life. So you can take your silly, predictable tantrum back under your rock with you now that the sun is up and the creepy-crawlies are going back into their holes.

  30. y81 January 10, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I had never thought of this before, but Io raises a good point, that the Catholic church doesn’t seem to be afflicted by the whole “women are better” syndrome of today’s popular culture to which evangelicalism has largely succumbed. Possibly this is because, unlike the evangelical churches, they have an actual intellectual tradition (recall that there are no Protestant Supreme Court justices today), whereas the evangelical churches have mostly psychobabble.

    Of course, the Catholic church has an ultimately misguided intellectual tradition, which fails to recognize the Five Points, but that is a topic for a different forum.

  31. Io January 10, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    The Catholic Church doesn’t treat women as morally superior because it teaches that everyone is made in God’s image, and yet everyone is also sinful and is responsible for their own sins. There’s really no room for either men or women to be considered “better.” It’s obvious that, for whatever reason, humans have shown a tendency throughout history to mistreat women, but the way to fix this isn’t to denigrate men or tell them they should be more like women. It’s to recognise that everyone has equal worth in God’s eyes. Do all Catholics put this into practice? No, but they should.

  32. jack January 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Once again, Io, you have stated the inverse of reality.

    You have much maturing to do, and I could care less about your personal life.

    Clearly, you are – in a very reactionary and predictable manner – validating my opinion of you in the most satisfactory way imaginable.

    You just can’t help yourself. I understand. Which was kind of my whole point. Don’t expect much from most Christian women. You can’t defeat or override the programming. Better to ignore it altogether.

  33. Jennifer January 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    Those are brilliant points, Io. I don’t see a power struggle here, but indeed, many men see one in every marriage.

  34. van Rooinek January 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    I don’t deserve my wife. I was a mess before I met my wife. If it weren’t for my wife, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I don’t know what she sees in me. I’m an idiot, but for some reason, she married me

    Well, of course he is correct. He’s a total jerk, a total mess, and all these self criticisms are (gasp). In fact, she married him…..BECAUSE…… he’s such a jerk.

    If he had been a good man, who had his life more or less all together, who wasn’t a mess, who wasn’t an idiot, and who deserved a chance to marry a fine upstanding Christian wife… she would never have dated him. All together now…”Let’s just be friends”.

  35. Random Angeleno January 11, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    @Jennifer, if men see a power struggle, perhaps that’s because there IS a power struggle.

    @Io, I too am Catholic. While it is true that Catholicism does not give either sex priority over the other, that’s not how most priests/parishes are going at it in my experience. I’ve traveled across the country a few times in recent years and have attended Mass all over the country so I know what I’m talking about. If there’s any calling out going on in the homily, it’s always the men who get the brunt of it, very rarely the women. As an older single man, I do not feel all that welcome even in my own parish. Which is really not as it should be. The only reason I remain Catholic is because I choose to believe in the Message; I sure don’t do it for the Catholic women.

  36. Jennifer January 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Yes, sometimes there is. But I’ve become wary in just the past several months, esp., of seeing men warning others grimly that they must stay on top or be dethroned.

  37. jack January 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    So men think the situation is grim?

    Perhaps it is.

    Just because a man thinks something doesn’t mean it is wrong or illegitimate.

  38. Brendan January 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Great post, Haley.

    In reality, there’s always a power struggle taking place. It may be sublimated, but it’s still there. All human relationships are about power on some level. Most of the time, in the more stable relationships, the power relationship can be stated or maintained “as a given”, in which case it runs a lesser risk of being struggled against (e.g., in office hierarchies or even in the hierarchy of, say, the Catholic Church), but the respective power relations are nevertheless present and color the relationship. This is particularly the case for relationships between men and women, and husbands and wives. Haley’s post merely takes these power aspects of the relationship into account appropriately, precisely because we are so very apt, in our post-modern, feminist age, to sweep such power elements under the rug, pretend they “don’t exist in healthy relationships” and the like, thereby doing a tremendous disservice to people who are actually living and working through these relationships.

    It’s okay to acknowledge that marriages are about power, and at times a power struggle, That doesn’t mean it’s the only think they are about — they are also about love and sacrifice and commitment and the like. But what Haley is very rightly saying is that when we deliberately choose to overlook the power relationship — in all of its aspects, including the sexual attraction one — we run the very high risk of drastically undermining the relationship’s long-term viability. And this is, in many ways, the greatest risk of marriage today, because it is the one aspect of things that in almost every case goes ignored (or deliberately overlooked/ shoved under the rug).

  39. Jennifer January 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    “Just because a man thinks something doesn’t mean it is wrong or illegitimate”

    No one remotely suggested that, Jack.

  40. samsonsjawbone January 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    From the most recent Boundless email newsletter, here’s Lisa Anderson recounting her recent interview with Mark Driscoll:

    Mark, an introvert, looked uncomfortable in his forced role as host. Grace was quiet, too—a sweet woman with a great laugh—the type of woman of whom Mark would certainly say, “Yep, I got the better end of the deal.”

  41. Herbie January 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    That seems like a classless thing for Ms. Anderson to say even if it was done light-heartedly.

  42. Jennifer January 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

    Driscoll’s often regarded as a jerk; seems almost funny that even the only slightly toothed Boundless would snap at him.

  43. TimP January 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm #

    I think the worst example of this sort of thing I’ve ever seen was at the engagement party for one of my cousins. During the speeches the man (and to a limited extent the father of the bride) was joking about how lucky he was that she was taking him in even though he was a slob and basically faulty merchandise. When it came up to the brides turn to speak she basically just laughed about it and said something like we’re working on it, and she’d already “trained” him how to make the bed, and that was the extent of her “speech”.

    In her defence she seemed uncomfortable about them talking her up, and I think she might have actually been trying to defend him, but it was pathetically weak if so.

    She’s not really someone I’d describe as highly introverted either, though I don’t know her real well.

    Even if she didn’t want to say much she could have said something like:
    “Ha, you guys flatter me; I’m not exactly perfect myself.”
    “Honey, despite your faults you’re really a wonderful guy, your my rock, the world feels like a better place with you by my side” (or insert other complement)
    “Don’t worry honey, you build the house, and I’ll keep it clean” (He’s a builder, and built their house)
    or “I’m just worried about what’s going to happen once the honeymoon period wears off and he realizes that I’m not actually perfect”

    The main problem with this sort of thing isn’t that men are aware of their faults and feel fortunate that their wives are willing to overlook them, but rather that it’s totally one way. The men feel like scum who are privileged to be with their wonderful women, and no one anywhere seems to have any real awareness of the faults of the women.

  44. OffTheCuff January 14, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Epic comment at 12:55 Hails, and I hate saying that word. Sorry about your Dad.

    IO, we all know what the “official” position is… Haley’s point is that churches are pretty freakin’ horrible at getting this across to men, Catholic or Protestant. What’s the divorce rate in your church?

    Never in my worst, most beta churchgoing days did I spew this crap publicly, and with such a weak frame. If this guy keeps it up, there are two possible outcomes… divorce, or separate beds. I’m serious. Find me an actual man who thinks like this and actually has sex.

  45. Jennifer January 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

    I still know of plenty masculine, even macho, church men. And as someone who loves sweet men, I was appalled by this article.

  46. OffTheCuff January 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    J, they’re probably masculine *despite* church, not because of it.

  47. Jennifer January 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    Nope, you haven’t seen what they practice or teach.

  48. OffTheCuff January 15, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    OK, Jen. Describe it. Describe what they practice and teach, and then show that they learned those ideas from the official policy of their church, and didn’t learn it elsewhere. Examples, with people and what they do and say.

  49. Jennifer January 15, 2012 at 8:15 am #

    Good Lord, OTC. They study men from the Bible and teach men to be leaders, and focus on Christ’s assertive qualities as well as His Love. The men I know are confident, funny, and have not once given a supplicatory spirit; they are simply normal people. I’m sorry you seem to require proof from me, but if you don’t take me at my word, frankly I don’t care.

  50. Jennifer January 15, 2012 at 9:29 am #

    John Piper, Michael Pearl, the Harris brothers of “The Rebelution”, John Eldredge, Billy Graham, Jim Elliot, G. K. Chesterton, Luke Reynolds, C. S. Lewis, Max Lucado, and Jim George are all excellent examples of men who exhort masculine spirit and strong manhood.

  51. OffTheCuff January 16, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    I believe that you know these men in your own life, and that they exist. I do *not* believe they are representative of how most churches are run today.

    The names you present are irrelevant to what I’m saying here. Dead authors, Christian lay lectures, and leaders from churches 2000 miles away aren’t going to be a part of a person’s developing spirituality life, unless someone personally guides a child to their writings.

  52. Jennifer January 16, 2012 at 10:39 am #

    Many do, and I don’t just mean people I know, OTC. Most of the men I mentioned are LIVING (only three are dead), and some are pastors who run their churches accordingly. The entire sphere of the Southern area where I live is like this, and I’ve spoken to numerous people online who live like this. Very few men I’ve ever spoken to, in person or online, reflect the air of our poor Mr. Zacharias. Very few Christian books I’ve come across, in fact, have this kind of sickly air; those who do are usually the more unusual, weird New Age sort. The Harris brothers are young men who published two extremely popular books about teens acting like adults. Nor can we always equate beliefs with masculinity; some of the men who promote very traditional ideas of masculinity are incredibly gooey in their sentimental talk on familial issues.

  53. Becca January 19, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    I gotta say I am overwhelmed with disappointment as I read this blog. Instead if focusing on how amazing it is that someone has found a love they can not fathom, you focus on the fact of how he chooses to express that love. No we don’t know that his wife is.saying the same things, but you also don’t know that she isn’t. The world we live n now is so selfish in every way, how does this decision effect me? How do I look? What do they think of my personalty? The fact that there are men, women, evangelical or not in this world looking passed themselves and seeing the gift that God has given them is promising to me as a mother of a young son. I pray my son finds a women someday that he loves and adores so much that he can’t assume it was less then a miracle that he ever found her. I am thankful that my son has examples in this world other then his own father of what live can really be. I know you mentioned that you are not married well I will say I am married and since the day I met my husband when we were both under 18 I have seen myself, relationships, marriage, family, priorities all in a different light. I pray God places someone in your life that treats you this way and loves you more then he can express. And that you feel the same love and maybe only then can you judge someone for the way they express their love.

  54. IRoberts January 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    Wow. This blog is so hateful and so bitter I think you might want to consider removing the word halo from your title.

    Are you honestly proud to have scripted such venomous words that you actually encourage people to fault a man for being grateful to his wife, admitting that he is flawed, celebrating a year of marriage, and recognizing love and his marriage as a miracle to be treasured? That’s who you want to attack? If he’s an enemy deserving of such vitriol, the world isn’t nearly as bad as I thought.

    The fact that you would find it more miraculous if this couple had had an affair and repented, than that they had a first year of marriage where they learned to see themselves a human and love each other, is actually a sad statement about your view of marriage, not his. You define miracle to be the opposite of “normal,” or what “ought” to be. A friend of mine recently lost a baby. Do you want to tell her that a healthy baby is not a miracle? Because healthy is more “normal,” and it is what “ought” to be, right? A miracle is not defined by an ought, it is defined by something supernatural. And two flawed human beings who build a loving marriage (loving being the operative word) together are part of something miraculous whether it should be normal or not.

    You make a huge assumption when you read Zacharias’s words and somehow actually slander him by saying his words “implicitly accept a divorce paradigm on the grounds of not feeling love anymore.” It is misrepresentation and an illogical deduction from what he he does say. Incidentally, it also contradicts what you go on to say…that “the majority” of marriages ending today are women serving divorce papers because they don’t feel love anymore (can you please site your source for this academic research?) If what you say is true, than apparently that does happen not just often but according to you, most often, so any man should I guess be glad when his wife doesn’t do that. To say that, then, wouldn’t be saying he thinks it is acceptable, but merely a recognition of what, according to you, is normal, and does happen…most often.

    I would ask that you refrain from using so many categorical statements of what women are, want, think, need. Because I can’t say I identify with many of your views, including the fact you state that we women need a man who is psychologically powerful. You have reduced marriage to a relationship of power, and a game to play to keep the balance of power in order. If you want to speak for yourself, by all means do so. But please don’t drag your gender and femininity down that path with you to speak for all of us, and blame the majority of the problems for divorce, and the church as a whole for that matter, on all things so horribly feminine.

    I must say I find it can only be either outrageous or genius that you and a few others can read 400 words from someone and then have them so figured out psychologically. I’m pretty confident Zacharias has a life of experiences beyond the 400 words or so you are privy to, yet you are full of premature diagnoses and the box you put him into, attributing various insecurities, idolatry, needs, etc. If you are able to figure someone- and their marriage- out after this limited insight, you should all stop blogging and be very accomplished psychologists. I doubt either Zacharias or his wife attribute one reason for the success of their marriage. He’s writing about ONE THING. It’s ONE ARTICLE and limited insight into a relationship that is extremely layered and complex with many intricacies that cannot be included in one article, and others that are actually no one else’s business. He is talking about one facet, one that acknowledges his limitations, and his wife’s love. Somehow, this is horribly offensive to you.

    When you read the comments of affirmation on your blog, do you wonder if you need to reconsider your words? You have comments that call him a p—-y- a horribly base, degrading, and disrespectful word not only to Zacharias but to women- all because he says his wife loves a flawed human and he is grateful to her. Incidentally, it would be inappropriate for him to write publicly about his wife’s flaws and and how he loves her anyway, and if he did that someone else would launch an attack on their blog to object to that. You have a comment from a male who supports you and says he doesn’t lower himself to something as terrible as that great offense Zacharias committed, instead he just tells people how hot she is. Classy. You have support from another who can also only articulate his response with the word p—–y, and by repeatedly disrespecting and dismissing the female gender as a whole, and his only response in dialogue is to verbally abuse anyone who disagrees with him and repeatedly call them immature (and yes, Jack, I am a female. So go ahead and launch your verbal assault, your masculinity rests on the foundation of trying to reduce a female to something to be crushed under your foot. I think I dated you or your brother once so I know the drill. And by the way, “immature, to the extreme,” is that like immature times infinity? Just wondering, since your grade school terminology might be different from what I remember of mine.) If you cannot articulate your perspective intelligently, either you or the opinion needs some work to be taken seriously. And Haley, this is your support base. It reminds me of when Chavez told a presidential candidate he was to the left his ideology. When Chavez thinks that, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. I think you are in a similar situation- when members of your support base are demeaning, offensive, misogynistic, and inarticulate, perhaps you want to reevaluate the perspective you share.

    There is so much that could be said, but let me just say that I find most of this dialogue to be offensive and sad. If anyone were to read this, I doubt they would want to join a Christian community. What is tragic here is that this is such a misrepresentation of the Christian faith and any sense of community (Christian or otherwise for that matter) at all. I don’t understand why you seem to have so much bitterness toward Zacharias, or to marriage, or relationships. He wrote a well written article from his personal experience, that he is grateful for a year of marriage where he learned to see himself more realistically, and he appreciates his wife’s unconditional love. My goodness, have we grown so cynical that we can’t see that as a strength and something that can contribute positively to our view of the personal growth and commitment involved in marriage. I am married. Every day I feel like the luckier one (sorry to burst your view of wives), and my husband tells me the same. It’s called mutual respect and admiration, and deep gratitude. It’s not insecurity, it’s not weakness, it’s not false humility. It’s actually something called happiness. I’ve never really understood why Christians act like it is taking the high road to pretend divorce is not a reality in the world we live in. I don’t need my husband to pretend it doesn’t exist. It is a reality that is present in the world and in over 50% of Christian marriages. Let me be clear that doesn’t mean I think it is right, or endorse it, before you jump to that conclusion. But it is a reality that happens to over 50% of married people whether they believed it was an option or not. Each day he chooses marriage, our marriage, and me, and I am not going to be ungrateful for that because people represented here seem to want married people to behave with arrogance and entitlement. Your desire to convince married people like Zacharias that they are idiots, or insecure, or not “real men,” is not just offensive, it is wrong, both morally and practically.

    For you and any of you girls that agree, I fear for you if you choose to marry. If you can find Zacharias so awfully offensive, you will likely end up in a marriage that is not mutually respectful of you as a woman or a human being. And by your definition of miracle and norms, it will be a miracle if it does not fatally destroy you and if it survives at all. However, if you want to find someone psychologically more powerful, who finds all things feminine so repulsive, the good news is there are plenty of guys like Jack out there who will be more than happy to agree with you and keep you in your “less-powerful” place.

    And for all of the banter, name calling, psycho analysis, moral judgements, blame and accusations found here on your blog… I think Zacharias and his wife prove to be the happy winners in the end of this debate. Perhaps that is actually what is making you all so angry?

  55. Jennifer January 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Oh please. Roberts, I agree strongly with some of your words. But this guy remains very cushy and sappy rather than sounding genuine, and above all is his statement that “I’ve had to apologize for things I did and didn’t do” after admitting that his wife’s view of him was “not pretty”. I find that fairly nauseating and very unbalanced.

  56. IRoberts January 19, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    I think you are interpreting something different from his words than what I take them to mean. I understand him to say he apologized for things he did wrong, and things he didnt do (meaning, things he should have done). You interpret what he said as meaning his wife looks down on him; I didn’t read it that way. You call it “sappy,” and the thing is, if that isn’t your style, that is of course your prerogative. That’s the good thing about marriage- you pick the person that fits you, not the one who fits everyone else. So if you don’t like it you don’t have to choose it, but some of the hateful responses are just so inappropriate. Not liking something sappy doesn’t mean people have to ridicule, give them psychological labels and use them as an example for all things wrong with the degradation of marriage and the church. I mean, seriously? There’s some deeper problem here with some of the over the top reactions, and that is what is nauseating and unbalanced to me.

  57. Kris January 19, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    What an interesting read…

    I actually know the author you so vehemently destroy in your blog. I know his wife too. Quite well actually.

    Let me make a few things clear, YOU do not know him nor his wife, so be careful in the ways you decide someone is or is not in real life. Several comments you take as him apparently being a despicable man he is actually saying with a sense of humor (which he actually has quite a funny one that you seem to have missed entirely).

    So, let’s actually talk about the content in the post shall we? He loves her dearly, but he is definitely the head of their household. She loves him dearly, and she is definitely submissive in a perfectly biblical sense. To be sure you understand, his comment about the number of days she has stayed with him is said in jest… They are both in it for the long haul. To be clear, she is just as humbled by the fact that he chose HER. She has said on numerous occasions to me how amazed she is that God would bless her in this way, how totally undeserving of him she is. So, in no way is he kissing her feet, he is actually washing her feet, just like Jesus did the disciples. He was taking a moment, and a few written words to edify her, not idolize her. He loves her dearly, flaws and all he sees in her the woman that God has created her to be, and she in turn sees the man that God has made him to be.

    Speaking as someone who knows both of them, I can say, they honestly do make each other better. They serve the Lord better together than apart, and they push each other towards Christ more every day.

    Hope that helps clear up your disdain for Nathan and his actually very loving post towards his beautiful wife that you do not know but assume to.

  58. imnobody January 20, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    Come on! Give me a break! This is disgusting! “I am mess, I am a jerk and I don’t deserve to tie my wife’s shoelaces”. After years of thinking about pedestalization of women in American culture, you think you have seen it all and nothing can surprise you. And then, it comes this pathetic letter.

    Of course, in a feminist culture like America, there will always be women who think that this is normal and we have seen some of them here. There are people who think that a men painting himself like a worm an painting his wife like a goddess is sweet, good and “love” Love for them is to be worshiped and to have a supplicating husband. They call this “equality” .

    It would be equally disgusting to me if a wife wrote this letter, telling how inferior is about his husband and how she is grateful for his not divorcing her for one year. A letter like that would have never been published in Boundless. And if it had been published, the screams of outrage on women’s behalf would be huge.

    Replace “my wife” by “my Lord” in this letter and it can be read like a confession of faith: “I don’t deserve the goods my God gives me, because I am such a sinner. So I am so grateful and yaddah, yaddah, yaddah”.

    This is another evidence that American Christianity has stopped worshiping God and now worships women. As I have said at Dalrock’s place, feminism stems from evangelicalism. Catholic countries (not the pussy-whipped American Catholic Church) venerate Mary as the perfect women no other woman can compare. The rejection of Mary during the Reformation means that men now worship “normal” women.

  59. Jennifer January 20, 2012 at 6:49 am #

    Nobody, you’re unaware of many branches of Christianity, which do anything but worship women. Venerating Mary was a step down for women, making an impossible and ridiculous role model. Glad to know they’re good, Kris. However, I actually find this “He loves her dearly, but he is definitely the head of their household”, to be very unappealing as well, the picture of the man who’s the sweet boss yet still falls over her anyway. Maybe I’m just being picky, but at the end of the day it was, as others have said, simply a poorly wirtten letter.

  60. Herbie January 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm #


    Role models are supposed to possess those traits we lack or are in short supply of. That’s why we look up to them. If Mary makes some women uncomfortable, its more a reflection of their own shortcomings rather than her(Mary) being a “ridiculous” role model. Besides, all Christians are called to imitate Christ even if we can’t do it perfectly.

  61. Jennifer January 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

    Herbie, Mary in general is NOT a ridiculous role model. The Catholic version of her, as a sinless human being, is.

  62. Aquila January 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    That article he wrote was so corny and, well, totally gay, that it was extremely hard to read. I am ashamed we have men like that in the Christian church, and it’s embarrassing to identify as an Evangelical in light of such pansies.

    BTW Kris – the letter was not funny bro.

  63. y81 January 21, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Kris, what you say is interesting, but you are basically defending Nathan the person by condemning Nathan the writer. Nathan may well be a strong and godly man in a Christian marriage, but the column Haley writes about is sappy and intellectually misguided, for the reasons she identifies. If Nathan means to express thankfulness to God for a loving yokefellow, rather than idolatrous idealization of his wife, he needs to learn to write more clearly. And if he means to bring Jesus’s message about divorce being forbidden to readers, he needs to write columns that don’t imply that dissolving a marriage is a present option.

  64. PT Barnum January 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Kris wrote:

    I actually know the author you so vehemently destroy in your blog. I know his wife too. Quite well actually.

    Let me make a few things clear, YOU do not know him nor his wife, so be careful in the ways you decide someone is or is not in real life. Several comments you take as him apparently being a despicable man he is actually saying with a sense of humor (which he actually has quite a funny one that you seem to have missed entirely).

    So, let’s actually talk about the content in the post shall we? He loves her dearly, but he is definitely the head of their household. She loves him dearly, and she is definitely submissive in a perfectly biblical sense.

    Let me be clear, here, Kris. So we all can understand. If the writers marriage is as you claim, then he is a lying when he writes as he writes. Simply lying. Now, playing the female readership of Boundless to make them happy may benefit him in many ways. Sure it sows discord in marriage and hurts men who are stupid enough to believe his lies, but I’m sure it benefits him.

    So, I guess he is a liar, and not a fool. That makes more sense. I always assume Malice before Stupidity for just that reason. Thanks for clearing things up.

    And I was actually believing he was a ball-less wonder! I feel really stupid for ignoring my own rules! Thanks for clearing that up! Remember, never attribute to stupidity what can be explained by malice!

  65. Drew January 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    This blog is unbelievable. I am not a regular here, and don’t really want to be, but I’m fascinated by the dynamics of this little online community so I keep coming back to see what other absurdities get posted. I am astounded at the twisted perspective this group seems to have on what is acceptable and unacceptable for proper manliness.

    I’m floored by the whole concept that it’s ok to rip a guy apart so mercilessly for just writing a blog post about how a year of marriage has helped him see his own weaknesses – an entirely biblical concept – and out of that comes a reflection on how great his wife is for not holding those weaknesses against him. The internet is a funny thing, because I’m willing to bet every single criticism of the author would be far less harsh and likely censored entirely if it had to be delivered to his face. As Christians, why is it ok to slam someone so viciously on a blog, when we’d never dream of doing it in person? Or maybe I’m wrong on that point, and the people contributing to this discussion really are that hateful face to face. I prefer to believe that’s not true.

    But it’s not just that Zacharias gets railed on for his views, but the fact that his manhood is being judged so harshly by both men and women who use really inappropriate language. I’m shocked that the women on here despise him so much for being so ‘weak’. But I’m more appalled that it’s ok for the male critics to use crass language, childish insults and gross generalizations in their judgments, and no one seems to have a problem with it.

    Maybe some people grew up in different environments and can offer justification for this, but I can’t see any valid reason for any man who has a shred of respect for women to use the p- word as a derogatory term for another man. Are you kidding me? The guys who use words like that are welcome contributors to this blog, but not a guy who unashamedly talks about loving his wife just because he apparently puts her up on a pedestal. Is that really worse than degrading women, viciously attacking another’s opinion, or making condescending remarks to people of differing viewpoints.

    Jack, I genuinely don’t mean this to be inflammatory, but most of your posts really bothered me. They were insensitive, inappropriate, and immature. You jumped all over Io who was making legitimate points that just happened to oppose your own opinion. You defamed Zacharias’ character because you don’t like his blog post. And you told someone to grow. up. little. child. I’m not attacking you here. I’m asking you to consider your words, and evaluate if a real man is loving or condescending.

    If I weren’t a Christian, I would be disgusted by this representation and probably want nothing to do with Christianity. Apart from not agreeing with the whole premise of this blog – Christian feminism may exist and may need to be addressed, but it is by no means among the greatest threats to marriage in our society- I just feel like the conversation is pure gossip, entirely disrespectful and certainly does not reflect the love of Christ. What benefit does all of this have? How is this discussion not more harmful than helpful?

    Based on my understanding of the definitions in play here, I think most people in my life would consider me an alpha rather than a beta. I generally find myself in leadership roles for whatever group I’m in, and I don’t back down from challenges. But I’m absolutely nuts about my wife, and I definitely got the better end of the deal. And I’ll tell that to anyone who will listen. God brought her into my life. I see that she is exactly his provision for me. And I believe that I am his provision for her. The list of things she does better than me is very very long. Much much longer than my list. That’s not pedestaling. It’s reality. But does saying that really make me less of a man? Being married to an amazing woman diminishes my manhood? That’s not logical. It’s actually sexist.

    It seems that the audience of this blog has a very narrow definition of what makes a man a man. But why do all men need to be alike? Why do all men need to be alphas? That doesn’t even make sense? If all men are supposed to be alphas then alpha no longer means anything. Diversity is ok. Men who follow instead of lead are entirely within their Biblical calling. It’s illogical to think otherwise because without anyone to follow who are the alphas going to lead? I understand the frustration with men never growing up or being responsible, and I understand the argument about Christian feminism, but the answer is not to make every man psychologically powerful and dominant. I promise you that’s not the answer.

    I’m not just trying to stir things up with this post. Writing these things down actually helped calm my initial reaction a little. So I don’t mean to incite anyone to anger. But I do think those who have unleashed their harsh words on a blogger who isn’t present to defend himself should reconsider whether their posts are beneficial to anyone. Maybe you’ll find this perspective helpful and maybe you won’t. But as an outsider, I think it needs to be said that this community just feels bitter and angry and judgmental. I’m happy to hear you out if I’ve come to the wrong conclusion. But that’s my opinion for now.

  66. samsonsjawbone January 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Jack, I genuinely don’t mean this to be inflammatory, but most of your posts really bothered me. They were insensitive, inappropriate, and immature.

    Well, this is the internet; there are going to be jerks. Let me be more polite: your comment is a good one (particularly the bit about writing things online that would not be said face-to-face), but if you really disagree with the essence of Haley’s entry, I urge you to think it over some more. There *is* a crisis of masculinity in the church, and Zacharias’ post *does* set a bad example for young men, at least in certain important respects (he may set a good example in other ways).

  67. The Reluctant Monogamist January 23, 2012 at 4:05 pm #

    This idea of prostrating oneself in marriage, of slavishly devoting to another without regard for oneself, for believing that you are so “lucky” to even be tolerated, much less loved by this deity really skeeves me out. In marriage, aren’t we supposed to see each other as partners, as equals that are lucky to have found each other?

  68. Aunt Haley January 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm #

    I have a brown paper bag you can breathe into.

    Couldn’t I just as easily point out that YOU do not know ME and that you should be just as careful in deciding how you think about me as you exhort me to do for your friend and his wife? You are evaluating me on my written word, just as I drew conclusions about Nathan Zacharias based on his written word. However, he has the benefit of being your personal acquaintance, while I do not, and therefore you are reading things into my post that I didn’t necessarily imply.

    So, let’s actually talk about the content in the post shall we? He loves her dearly, but he is definitely the head of their household. She loves him dearly, and she is definitely submissive in a perfectly biblical sense. To be sure you understand, his comment about the number of days she has stayed with him is said in jest… They are both in it for the long haul. To be clear, she is just as humbled by the fact that he chose HER. She has said on numerous occasions to me how amazed she is that God would bless her in this way, how totally undeserving of him she is. So, in no way is he kissing her feet, he is actually washing her feet, just like Jesus did the disciples. He was taking a moment, and a few written words to edify her, not idolize her. He loves her dearly, flaws and all he sees in her the woman that God has created her to be, and she in turn sees the man that God has made him to be.

    If all of this is true, then it would have been nice for this information to be conveyed in the actual article and not by you. As y81 pointed out, in defending Nathan the person, you have inadvertently maligned Nathan the writer.

    I’m floored by the whole concept that it’s ok to rip a guy apart so mercilessly for just writing a blog post about how a year of marriage has helped him see his own weaknesses – an entirely biblical concept – and out of that comes a reflection on how great his wife is for not holding those weaknesses against him.

    It’s not so much what he said as how he said it (and also what he didn’t say). If he had expressed himself as you just paraphrased him in this paragraph, I wouldn’t have written the blog post that I did.

    Basically, he should have written a better blog post…although it often seems that professional writers who love Jesus and sincerely express a positive sentiment somehow must be exempt from any critical analysis.

    As Christians, why is it ok to slam someone so viciously on a blog, when we’d never dream of doing it in person?

    I take it you’ve never gone online and expressed a negative opinion about a politician that you wouldn’t say to that person’s face? Or gone online and expressed a negative opinion about a rock star that you wouldn’t say to that person’s face? Or gone online and expressed a negative opinion about a professional athlete that you wouldn’t say to that person’s face? Or even sent an email expressing such opinions? Or even made offhand comments to friends or family?

  69. A January 24, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    So, Christian alpha goes way over the top with beta hyperbole. Christian betas imitate him, get brutally crushed.

    Guys like Zacharias and Josh Harris set a terrible example for the average Christian guy.

  70. A January 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    While blogs like this and blog commenters are occasionally a bit harsh, the Christian world is in desperate need of criticism from within on the areas of dating, marriage and sex.

  71. Drew January 25, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Thanks for engaging with all the comments. I do want to clarify that while I still disagree with your post, my disbelief at the tone of the discussion was mostly (but not entirely) directed at several of the commenters’ hostility and inappropriateness.

    That being said, I still feel like your post is unfair. I realize that you disagree with the tone of his words, and find it in violation of what you consider to be appropriate masculine principles, but your analysis is not fair to the author. I think your sensitivity to this issue has caused you to read things from his post that aren’t there. To be honest with you, I was completely unaware that anyone felt concern over this type of mindset being destructive to marriage and family values. My guess is that Nathan is unaware as well. That’s in no way intended to say your concerns aren’t valid. I’m just saying that I had no clue people felt so strongly about this issue. If I were to write a post about marriage I might say some of the same things Nathan did. But I agree that self abasement and prostrating are to be avoided. If I write under the assumption that more men in the audience undervalue women and fail to recognize their own weaknesses and appreciate their wives, then my writing will have a very different tone than if I shared your view that men have been feminized. If that’s what Nathan did, then I think you assume too much about his own character and masculinity based on his tone.

    Having understood to an extent what your concerns are about this issue, I have to say that I see it from an opposite perspective. While I certainly agree that many men today, especially younger men, don’t know how to be responsible and mature and committed, I would disagree that the problem is the feminization of the church. We do need more strong male leaders in our culture, but that doesn’t mean every man needs to be a strong alpha leader. We also need examples of humility, of honesty, of men who treasure their wives – though obviously not to the point of idolatry. But part of the problem is a self-centeredness that leads to attitudes of entitlement, disrespect, laziness, and fickleness. If we teach that men who confess their own weaknesses and say that their wives deserve better are not masculine, then we risk pushing some men further into the false entitlement and selfishness and create a culture of misogynists.

    I say that just to present an opposite view, not to say you’re wrong. But the existence of an opposite view ought to make us hesitant to criticize someone too harshly based on limited exposure to his or her actual beliefs.

    I guess that’s my point. To be honest, I don’t engage in these forums very much. I remember my first two years in college (about 1 years ago), I would participate in inflammatory discussions, and I would say some strong things. I don’t think i ever attacked someone’s character or resorted to name calling. I’d like to think that my contributions to the discussion were based on fact more than assumption or mischaracterizing the opposing viewpoint. But, then, I really don’t remember. If you showed me some of those post I might be really embarrassed. So I can’t say that I’ve never expressed negative opinions about someone that I wouldn’t say to their faces. But I can say that I wouldn’t do it now.

    Can I ask why it’s ok to do that? You assume that I have, and that’s fine – odds were in your favor that you were right. But I wonder if your thinking it’s perfectly normal and therefore justified is a consequence of electronic vitriol being so commonplace in todays online world. I still don’t see how that makes it acceptable for Christian to do.

    I know it happens all the time. I know abstaining would likely go entirely unnoticed and have no impact. But… I still question whether that makes it ok to engage in the same unloving tactics just because everyone else does it. I think dialogue on this issue would be very valuable. But if there’s any hope for mutual understanding, the antagonism has to be sidelined.

  72. Drew January 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    that was supposed to be 15 years ago, not 1 years ago. Sorry for the error.

    Also Haley I think you should give IRoberts a little more of a response. She makes some good points.

  73. an observer January 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I thought io put it nicely. . .

    “It’s obvious that, for whatever reason, humans have shown a tendency throughout history to mistreat women. . . ”

    … until the glorious dawn of feminism, nofault divorce, and ready access to abortion?the

    Here we see the solipsism, the willing belief that civilisation was an evil patriarchy just waiting for reform and improvement by the equalitarian brigade. This is the victim mindset that says i am women, i am entitled to whatever i damn well want, and you knuckledraggers better get with the program to make it happen.

    Even dna testing now shows that men are often oerced into paying for the bastard spawn of other men. That is if the law even allows dna testing to determine lineage.

    Summary: women are the superior moral beings, crushed under the heel of the evil patriarchy, victims that deserve privilege, entitlement and special treatment to right the scales.

    Dream on, princesses.

  74. an observer February 1, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Well, there you go, Jack. Apparently being truthful is not enough. Avoiding being ‘inappropriate’ and ‘insensitive’ is far more important. . .

  75. Mike T February 7, 2012 at 6:09 am #

    It seems to me that some of the later commenters cannot grasp the concept that staying with your spouse and loving them isn’t optional unless doing so literally puts your health or your children’s health at risk. Even then, divorce and remarriage is not biblical. As a Christian, it ought to be normal for them to love each other despite their flaws and to chalk up their capacity to stay married to God’s grace and love delivered to them through the sacrament of marriage. The gratitude that rightfully belongs to God is being given to a woman instead.

  76. Drew February 7, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    Even then, divorce and remarriage is not biblical…

    Mike – be careful here. That’s a strong statement. I understand your interpretation of Scripture on divorce, but I don’t agree with it. I would encourage you to read some of the other scholarship on that issue. I’m not saying divorce is ever a good thing. But I hope you get the chance to talk to a woman who is or has been in an abusive relationship – getting beaten regularly by her husband – and then decide whether you still think for her to leave is a sin. Do you really think that’s what God intended for marriage? If this couple has a son, and the wife stays out of principle or because people in the church tell them the Bible won’t allow her to leave, it’s almost certain that the son will end up abusing his wife as well. And you’re saying God prefers that over divorce? He would rather have two men who beat their wives and two women who feel trapped and hate their own existence most days than have one broken marriage? I just can’t reconcile that with the rest of Scripture based on a very rigid interpretation of a few verses.

    Divorce is a horrible thing. No one should ever have to experience it. But sometimes it’s the lesser of two evils, and until you’ve been in that place, you should be very careful telling someone it’s not an option. That’s not a decision you want to make for anyone but yourself because you don’t have to live with the consequences.

    Sometimes our understanding of Scripture causes us to believe things that just don’t seem right when applied to extreme circumstances. We should never ignore Scripture over our emotionally preferred understanding, but in this case, it’s definitely worth further study. David Innstone-Brewer has a good book available if you’re willing to engage in the discussion. You might not change your views at all, but at least you’ll be more informed in your decision.

  77. Drew February 7, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    an observer – why does being truthful have to come at the expense of being appropriate or respectful? Those things shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Jack’s posts in this thread are condescending and antagonistic. This could be a useful dialogue, but when comments are made, whether true or not, in a manner that is divisive, then the discussion becomes an argument, and that type of idea exchange is rarely beneficial to anyone. Truth is what is needed, but if it’s inappropriate and insensitive, then it doesn’t really help. So… yeah, I guess I would say that it’s more important to avoid being insensitive and inappropriate.

  78. an observer February 13, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    Hey Drew,

    Assuming you actually wanted an answer, not a thoughtless, off-the-cuff comment.

    A couple of thoughts then …

    You asked …why does being truthful have to come at the expense of being appropriate or respectful?

    I would imagine that truth, unlike perception, is by definition not relative to culture of context. Truth can be inappropriate, insensitive, inconvenient even. However, the perception of inappropriate or disrespectful changes with time and with culture. Whilst truth remains, our perception of it can be quite different from one age, and one culture, to another.

    But ok, let’s assume for a second that in this instance we have a statement that we agree is offensive, but truthful. What was the intent of the statement? To tell the truth? To annoy? To enjoy a moment of schaudenfreude? With blogging its hard to tell.

    Dialogue can be useful. It can also create great offence. This offence can be real, imagined or anywhere in between. Readers might very well be offended, but what if the statement itself is true, despite the writers clumsy attempts to express it. Should the statement be discarded? Should it be described another way? Changing the words might be sensitive and appropriate, but does that make the concept as clearly expressed? I have to express doubts with that.

    Jacks posts might be as you describe .. as offensive. Are they less truthful for being offensive? I could rewrite his posts into lengthy snatches of pretty, inoffensive prose that is logical, internally consistent and entirely truthful. I suspect many a reader’s eyes would glaze over well before the ending. Would that be more sensitive?

    I don’t know Jack personally, and can’t speak to his experiences or background. But what if his name was Jacquie? Would his posts be perceived any differently?

    Lastly in this series of somewhat random thoughts, I was part of evangelical protestant churches for over two decades. I have seen first hand the shenanigans that pass for the dating scene. It’s not pretty. Whilst Jacks words may seem offensive, he is neither alone nor being particularly untruthful about what he sees and has experienced. Just rather blunt … and to some, insensitive. If it’s the Jack I have read elsewhere, I gather that women who rejected him 10 or 15 years ago now seek out his company in the hope of ‘reversing their fortunes’, so to speak. Such as it is seems all rather unsavoury, and a breeding ground for ‘insensitivity.’ But if this is the realith then his experience of truth whilst expressed clumsily, and not knowing his intent on writing, is still truth regardless of how it is expressed.

    At one church, I well remember a single young woman with a media career. Archetypally feminist career, I know, but let’s move on. I made the mistake of accepting a lift with her one day, when I was carless. The next hour was a long 60 minutes of gossip, trashtalking and misbeliefs about men. Being in the middle of nowehere I couldn’t exactly jump out and walk. (this was in the days before mobile phones too, in case you were wondering …).

    Having gotten to the destination, I muttered thanks for the ride and avoided her as much as possible the rest of the time I was at that church. Most of the single men soon picked up the same vibe, with hardly a word said. It was so strong I privately raised it as an issue with the church counsellor, who obviously had had professional dealings with her.

    “If only you knew what she’d been through …” he said. I didn’t want to know any more. Apparently her behaviour was sanctioned as acceptable because of her past. Her statements were a mixture of gossipy trash talking, lies and falsehoods, but her past experiences made her opinion off limits even to church staff. Her attitude was not edifying nor respectful for men; but hardly raised any eyebrows amongst the women. Man up, was probably the underlying thought …

    Applying that here, Jacks behavior may well be unacceptable to a number of readers too. But if the tone of his statements simply reflects his experiences, and are logically true, should he be censored for expressing them?

    Reluctantly, I suspect a large number of readers will say, yes. Sensitivity trumps truth telling.

    And at that point, we lose the capacity to learn because we are offended. That is not a philosophical place I want to be at.

    Enough for one night …

  79. Drew February 18, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    an observer – I really appreciate your well thought reply.
    This is the type of dialogue that I think could be productive and beneficial. You weren’t antagonistic, though it seems we disagree on some points. You weren’t inappropriate or insensitive at any point. And it has the feel of a conversation that could serve some purpose.

    I see a strong distinction between this type of discussion and the exchange between Jack and Io from the beginning of this thread. Not knowing either of them, I think I’m being objective in saying that Io was raising valid points, doing so respectfully, and Jack was responding by attacking her character and saying things like “grow. up. little. child.” I don’t think that’s a statement that has any bearing on truth – it’s purely antagonistic and only reflects Jack’s emotion on the topic. Right or wrong, that didn’t make anything more clear except the fact that Jack is antagonistic and not willing to engage in mature conversation. I don’t have a problem with accepting that sometimes truth is more clearly perceived if expressed more strongly. But I think you can still express your points strongly without being downright mean.

    You are right that appropriateness and respect vary with culture and context, while Truth does not. But I think the point of the dialogue is to determine what is actually true and what is not. So we can’t really presume that what Jack says is true, nor what anyone says who disagrees with him. That’s the point of the dialogue.

    I don’t disagree that there is an issue with masculinity that needs to be addressed. I think this small community represents a very interesting perspective. But if I disagree, or want to offer a different opinion, I’m not likely to stay engaged in the conversation if I’m welcomed with the “truth” that posters like Jack offer. If you have to cut through the interpretation of emotion and are only welcome to disagree if your skin is tough enough, then you miss the opportunity to hear other points of view from people who aren’t looking to argue, but would be willing to engage in an intelligent discussion.

    I know that we can’t understand what someone else has been through. I know this is a very personal topic for some, and if there’s deep emotion then I think it’s fine to let that be apparent. But I still think it can be done with respect for others. If Jack has been hurt by this issue in the past, that might make him express himself more strongly, but that doesn’t make him more right about the issue. Life is rarely so simple.

    I would elaborate more, but am short on time. Happy to clarify later if my quick stab at a response turns out to be less coherent than I intended.

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