Friday, December 18, 2009

Husbands (and Wives) In Need of Mercy

I heartily recommend Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother by Carolyn Mahaney. When I read this, I knew I had to share it with you. In a chapter entitled "The Pleasure of Purity," Mrs. Mahaney quotes from an unbelievable text called Instruction and Advice for The Young Bride. It was written in 1894 by Ruth Smythers--a minister's wife, of all people. It sounds more like "Satan's Tips and Techniques to Ruin What Otherwise Could Have Been a Great Marriage." Ready? Read on.
"To the sensitive young woman who has had the benefits of proper upbringing, the wedding day is ironically, both the happiest and most terrifying day of her life. On the positive side, there is the wedding itself, in which the bride is the central attraction in a beautiful and inspiring ceremony, symbolizing her triumph in securing a male to provide for all her needs for the rest of her life. On the negative side, there is the wedding night, during which the bride must 'pay the piper,' so to speak, by facing for the first time the terrible experience of sex.

At this point, dear reader, let me concede one shocking truth. Some young women actually anticipate the wedding night ordeal with curiosity and pleasure! Beware such an attitude! A selfish and sensual husband can easily take advantage of such a bride. One cardinal rule of marriage should never be forgotten: GIVE LITTLE, GIVE SELDOM, AND ABOVE ALL, GIVE GRUDINGLY [doesn't that sound so opposite of  biblical advice?] Otherwise what could have been a proper marriage could become an orgy of sexual lust.
On the other hand, the bride's terror need not be extreme. While sex is at best revolting and at worst rather painful, it has to be endured, and has been by women since the beginning of time, and is compensated for by the monogamous home and by the children produced through it.
It is useless, in most cases, for the bride to prevail upon the groom to forgo the sexual initiation. While the ideal husband would be one who would approach his bride only at her request, and only for the purpose of begetting offspring, such nobility and unselfishness cannot be expected from the average man.
Most men, if not denied, would demand sex almost every day. The wise bride will permit a maximum of two brief sexual experiences weekly during the first months of marriage. As time goes by she should make every effort to reduce this frequency. Feigned illness, sleepiness and headaches are among the wife's best friends in this matter. Arguments, nagging, scolding and bickering also prove very effective if used in the late evening about one hour before the husband would normally commence his seduction.
Clever wives are on the alert for new and better methods of denying and discouraging the amorous overtures of the husband. A good wife should expect to have reduced sexual contacts to once a week by the end of the first year of marriage and to once a month by the end of the fifth year of marriage. By their tenth anniversary many wives have managed to complete their child bearing and have achieved the ultimate goal of terminating all sexual contacts with the husband. By this time, she can depend upon his love for the children and social pressures to hold the husband in the home." [as a forlorn prisoner, I might add.]

Can you believe it? This ridiculous advice would almost be funny if it weren't so awful. Provoke arguments, start nagging, scolding and bickering to avoid intimacy? Her pathetic advice is definitely not Christian. For God's greatest command is to love Him and then each other. 1 John tells us we know (and show) we love God by how well we love one another.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5). Mrs. Smythers sure had the self-control area down, but that seems to be about all!

"Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." (1 Cor. 7:5)

Another quote from Feminine Appeal--"I've heard many excuses for not having sex--not in the mood, headache, too tired, don't have time. Prayer and fasting has never been one of them."

So without getting too personal, let's do something Mrs. Smythers wouldn't do this weekend. :) I'm sure our husbands won't mind.


  1. I don't know whether to laugh or to cringe at what Mrs. Smythers wrote! Definitely not Biblical advice. And I think my husband would like your suggestion much more. :) I know I do!

  2. Well, if this is the kind of thing women were reading, and the kind of attitude they had toward intimacy in marriage it sheds a whole new light on the whole idea of wives for duty and mistresses for pleasure. Insane.

  3. love this post. IT's all a little shocking to have in a blog, hehe! :0) but it is so true! I was crawling into bed for several months because I was so tired, but maybe I can change my attitude now that I am feeling so much better. Good reminder! Thanks :0)