Saturday, January 21, 2012

Low expectations for men, low standards for women.

I'm going to do something I seldom do on this blog and write from an immediate reaction. Considering the serious and personal nature of my faith (and that of others to be honest), I normally let the topics marinate and stew. This one though...

So today someone close to me sent me a link to the blog at Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage...a marriage ministry headed up by Mark Gungor, something I'd never heard of until today. I'm not going to critique his advice to those that are married--his specialty. This though, was sent to me by a single friend and I WILL critique his treatment of women and men...and before anyone cries "You have to read his stuff and attend his lectures and watch his DVDs 20 times in slo-mo before you really get what he's saying!", I charge that if, after reading 10 blog posts, I don't understand the root of what he's trying to say, the fault is his, not mine.


The two posts that stuck out to me were

I'm not going to debate the role of a woman in marriage or how women should conduct themselves sexually outside of the marital relationship (or even within), because in this discussion, neither is relevant. What I want to discuss is the low expectations of men and efforts to lower the standards of women. Why is that bad? Because nowhere in the Bible does it say we're to settle for low standards. 

The first one. To echo a great point brought up by one commenter, how come when men go to the military to become neat, it makes them more manly but when it's at the impetus of someone they're supposed to love like Christ love the church, someone's trying to change their gender? Do we really think Jesus would take the stance that "I just wasn't raised to appreciate these things, so I'm going to ignore your obvious, emotional suffering that you've expressed to me multiple times."? Admittedly, he does, in a few other posts, say that men should pay attention to their wives' feelings and complaints, but what are these frustrated women supposed to do? Just stop feeling? Are they just supposed to ignore the issue because they "imagined" it or because they're "crazy" or just stop because they're wrong for trying to give their husbands the mental equivalent of gender reassignment surgery? I read that he gives techniques for handling these situations in his lectures and seminars, but if that was a commercial, it was in poor taste. 

The second...I...straight up, he doesn't even mention gender that is known to be the bigger proponent of sex. The gender that funds the prostitution industry. Are they not prostitutes too when they engage in sex outside of marriage? Perhaps a bigger deal than that though, the nature of the post makes me question his intentions. It's harsh. There's a disclaimer a bit of the way through, but even prior to that, the words and accusations are heavy ESPECIALLY considering that most of his audience will look very harshly on prostitution.

Me personally, I'm not easily offended and am far from one to shrink at satire. I freaked a former boyfriend out at my admiration of Swift's "A Modest Proposal"...which I kinda get...joking about roasting young children for dinner is pretty harsh...but through it all, I never doubted that Swift's extreme sarcasm was a direct and proportionate response to the horrible treatment of children in his time. Mr. Gungor though, I have to doubt his intentions. Why? Because he's admitted in other posts that women are sensitive and emotional. If you want to help someone out of a situation you see as damning, you don't do it with language like that. Swift was talking to his enemies. Gungor is speaking to his flock and I see no hint of concern for the heart of the women who may be reading.

After spending some good time on his site, I thought of a video I'd run across in the currently hot but fading "Sh*t X Says" meme. The one in question is "Sh*t Guys Don't Say". (Warnings on a bit of profanity and simulated sex.) Basically, men don't pick up after themselves, talk about their feelings and only eat unhealthy food...tired old stereotypes that I hope more men will be offended by. I also though, found a response from a man who supports breaking the presentation of male stereotypes in the media (both the video and response can be found here). I find the correlation disturbing...the secular and the sacred defending and supporting the same bad behavior.

I find his writing dangerous. Why? Because there are bits of truth mixed in with I think is an ulterior motive. I know there's a movement within the Church now against wives holding jobs (completely ignoring Proverbs 31) and I do believe that the subtext that set me on edge stems out of that same vein. 


  1. Awesome...awesome post. Right now, as usual, after having read one of your CC posts, I have a flurry of thoughts, personal experiences on the matter, and opinions all rushing around in a maze trying to funnel themselves into coherent language.

    Years ago I was married to an infuriating man, ahem, male person who was technically considered an adult. It sounds so silly to write about it now, this was so long ago...but I swear, if I had a dime for every time I asked "could you help with X, " and I was blown off....good grief I would be a wealthy woman. The fights that ensued over the dumbest crap just boggle my mind. I always thought, okay, this is easy no brainer marriage stuff! I made breakfast, made coffee, and the bed. So HOW HARD IS IT to wash ONLY the coffee pot when I ask?


  2. See...that's the problem. Things seem small in insignificant and yes, an unwashed coffee pot by itself is. We have this issue at my office over toilet paper. At a certain point, not seeing a roll in the bathroom could have started WWIII...the coffee pot, the toilet paper are just manifestations of other inequalities going on in relationships.

    I would appreciate it if Mr. Gungor would simply encourage women to take their own emotional states seriously and not just dismiss them because "boys will be boys".

  3. O M G. I just read the Ezekiel 16 passage and his follow-up post. What...I...what the...I have no words. You are so right! What about the men!!??!! Ugh!!! I mean, did he actually WRITE that? I applaud your post again. What that guy wrote is so beyond appalling and offensive, and you wrote a clear, concise response.

  4. Yeah...the insensitivity is really shocking. His writing makes me think of bullying...just the kind that grownups do who have enough time under their belts to know how to disguise it as something else.