What would you want to share in your 7.9 seconds?

I generally don’t do topical commentary. It is difficult to not seem insincere or opportunistic when writing about current issues…nonetheless, that is were I find myself at 1:19AM this Sunday morning. I was ready to go to bed after a day of annoyingly chronic pain but was compelled to write this Quickie. Though that is the category to which this post will be assigned, the word “quicke” suggests unintended offense and disrespect but I ask that you please forgive that unfortunate circumstance.

If you have been in the job-hunting market recently and have brushed up on your résumé writing skills you likely have been encouraged to also develop your elevator pitch.

DEFINITION of ‘Elevator Pitch
A slang term used to describe a brief speech that outlines an idea for a product, service or project. The name comes from the notion that the speech should be delivered in the short time period of an elevator ride, usually 20-60 seconds. Source
Those 20-60 seconds on the ride up before your target audience leaves the elevator for the sequestered privacy of their office is all the time you have to tell them what matters most to you at that very moment. The heat is at your back and time is running out fast. What is it you would want them to know at that moment? What would you want them to hear?

What if you are going down instead of up…and you only have 7.9 seconds to make a plea from your heart? A plea no one may hear other than God, but that has to be spoken still. Maybe you spend those 7.9 seconds wondering where God is and why He is letting this happen. I can’t say what people would think; I can only wonder.

But the flames are at your back and time is fast running out. Fate offers no option, only a choice of how to reconcile that fate. You choose to step out of the smoking inferno, through a window and begin the 1000 ft. decent to the street below.  You have 7.9 seconds to speak your last words. What would you want someone to hear? To know? To remember? Whom would you want to forgive? Whose forgiveness would you seek?

On September 11, 2001, this was the tragic fate of more than one person. I cannot in good conscience call their deaths suicides. They felt rescue had become an impossibility before the fire would consume them. They could go neither up nor down within the building. They felt their fate was sealed and the only control they had left was when and how they would die. And then some chose to be alone for their last 7.9 seconds.

I’m sure they never thought it would happen to them. They probably thought they’d die of old age in a nursing home someday and have time to make peace with whomever necessary.  But that is not the way things went. Things may not go that way for you or me either.

Do you know what you would say if you only had 7.9 seconds left? Is that enough time for all you would need to say? If you don’t know what you would want to say, it’s time to give it some thought. If you think you will need more time, I suggest that you start speaking now. You may have more time than 7.9 seconds or only the time it takes to skid cross the median and into oncoming traffic.

I am certain of one thing though: you will be wishing for more time no matter how long you have. You will be seeking to die in peace and want enough time to find it.

Don’t wait for that last 7.9 seconds to finally seek peace. There’s nothing that says you can’t start now. Do what needs to be done. Say what needs to be said.  To die in merciful peace is desired; but, to live in peace by grace is a blessing.  Show mercy and make peace now. Find peace now and live a blessed life. May God’s grace be upon all those lost on 9/11, and His peace be upon those who were left to mourn them.

Owning Her Sexuality Part 1—Whoreman? Me?

I have had a then-new visitor read my If Duty Sex Isn’t Her Duty, What Is? Part 2 post and leave this comment—

“This made me sad 😦. So many whore-men that think porn is reality and want their wives to act like porn whores. Men trying to change women into men. Why don’t men just have sex with other men – that way both will have the same attitude.”

“Whore-men?” I wasn’t even sure what “whore-men” meant but I was sure my being defined as a whore-man, if that was what the writer meant to do, made me sad. Does it also define as whoremen by extension those who read and found that particular post agreeable to them and commented their agreement? I would hope not. There was also a possibility which further upset me that the use of such a term could put the blog as a whole in a bad light.

To be honest with my community and other readers, I was upset enough to hold that comment and one other deelmo made on another post in moderation a while. Both left me wondering how to reply. The other comment has now been replied to and published. This one I chose to answer in post format. Being a card-carrying introvert and someone who tries to practice James 1: 19, I am not by habit a “knee-jerk” writer or speaker when confronted with comments I find upsetting. I prefer to try and think through things said by others before responding, especially when I find them unfavorable. It’s a good habit to develop, but after a particularly unpleasant confrontation it can lead to “What I shoulda’ said was…” thoughts bombarding you and keeping you awake nights.

This wasn’t the case with deelmo since there was no confrontation, but how to reply to the remark kept me in study for quite a while. I knew my position but had never had to explain it to anyone before or defend it. When speaking about something in person, there are facial, body and vocal cues which help to define your intent. With writing, all of that context is missing so you have to carefully choose your words and supply context in other ways which usually means research and deeper thought about content and structure. That is something I generally have no problem with, it can just take a lot of time which I normally have. But life took over and dealt a long-term demand on my time with ER visits, hospital ICU and rehab stays that by the end of the year resulted in a deep personal loss. Responding to Deelmo and contributing to this blog was not a priority in my life during that time. Even now I find myself having a difficult time focusing at length in the way I have in the past when writing here. It’s challenging to spend 5 or more hours daily at this keyboard as I did in the first year researching and writing fifty-two 3-5,000 word posts.

In all fairness to deelmo, I can’t say that what he wrote was meant to be directed toward me or this blog in a malicious or destructive way. I don’t know his motivations and have not asked him to explain the comment. Instead, I have chosen to reply with this post giving me the opportunity to add to the current discourse concerning sexuality, particularly that of women and wives, and how I feel it is addressed in the Bible. If you are not a Bible believer I encourage you to read this series of posts anyway. I promise not to proselytize you, but I will try to illustrate how what I feel are misguided interpretations of the Bible and how they have influenced our western culture’s view of sexuality and sexual practices, specifically within marriage.

Whether you believe in God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Bible or not, being aware of the influence of the teachings of some churches and their leadership may help to understand your wife or husband’s interpretation of sex and it’s place in your marriage— what it is; how we do it; why we do it; what’s permissible; even what is defined as “normal.” I am not speaking from a position of formal authority attested to by a sheepskin on the wall, I’m just a guy giving his opinion for your consideration and hoping that opinion leads to greater understanding between spouses. I’m also hoping that those who see the Bible as being oppressive and regressive when it comes to contemporary sexuality will see that view as the result of egregious misinterpretations of scripture and God’s design and purpose for sex as He created it and it’s place in our marriages.

I need to begin by first defining a couple of things and one of them is how I choose to interpret and apply the term feminism—

“the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state:”

Source

Source This source can be a bit sketchy.

Obviously an uber feminist female kitten. Source This source can be a bit sketchy.

Being allowed the same rights, power and opportunities as men in no way precludes or exempts a wife from being in biblical submission to the authority of her husband. She ultimately is responsible for how she exercises her rights and powers just as her husband is responsible for how he exercises his authority in the protection and treatment of her and their family. I urge you if you have strong feminist views to not let the term “submission” be a thorn that prevents you from reading further. If you feel you have the right to equality in your sexuality with your spouse then there is much here that will speak to you, especially if you are a Christian. If you are not a Christian, consider that how you experience sexuality is still influenced by our monotheistic western culture and specific interpretations of the Bible. There is something here for you also.

I think feminism has led to some not-so-positive things for women and some positive. One of those positive things vis–à–vis this discussion is women are becoming more aware that they are sexual creatures in their own unique way just as we men are and that sex isn’t only for the pleasure of men. Women no longer have to “lie back and think of  England” as was the advice of the Victorians (An attribution that may be significantly erroneous. See here.)

Lie back pillow

Women no longer have to experience sex in this way. Source

Women are now able to openly own their sexuality and enjoy exercising what may be their only-recently discovered more sensual nature for their own pleasure as well as that of their husbands. They are realizing sex isn’t only about meeting the needs or wants of their husbands, especially if that means neglecting or denying their own. Women are not only experimenting with and acknowledging suppressed desires, but also discovering new ones. Sexual desire is not static. It evolves and what we desire will change for any number of reasons; sometimes by our choosing but at other times by necessities beyond our control.

More importantly though, women are giving themselves permission speak out and ask that the wants and needs behind their desires be met. They may be cruising marriage blogs like the excellent, though egdedly-named and now shuttered but archived, Christian Nymphos or its temporarily shuttered but archived spin-off sister site MonogaBliss. They may even be researching specific information through internet searches using tag words. Even if they are not actively searching out information, they frequently find themselves standing in a checkout lane where displayed are the covers of Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Elle, Vogue, Women’s Health, Women’s Weekly and the like which promise to reveal within the secrets of greater sexual fulfillment for them and even their husbands. While overblown and sensational articles have the potential to create feelings of inadequacy, on the whole the curiosity that spurs their creation is a good and healthy thing for women both emotionally and physically, and if it’s good for them it will be good for us husbands and good for our marriages.

Another term I think I need to make my readers aware of is “mysogony”—

hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women, or prejudice against women.

I am not a misogynist; I am very far from it. I adore and respect women. I wouldn’t want to live without at least one other woman in my life that wasn’t my mother. I like women being women. That’s not as sexist as it may sound. What I’m really saying is I like the ways in which women are not like men. I like how they are different in ways beyond just the obvious physical ones. I appreciate how they can be a moderating force in life in general and a nurturing influence. We task-oriented men don’t always exercise those qualities effectively in our work and particularly in our home-lives as husbands and parents. I am thankful women are there to stand in the gap to intervene and promote domestic tranquility while providing valued counsel from their own unique perspective. As they might with any man, women and their ways are able to frustrate and exasperate me; however, I’m sure they feel the same about me and the rest of us men at times. The rose garden we both wish our relationship was is somewhere back in Eden.

Proverbs 31:10 New Living Translation
Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.

Proverbs 3:15 New Living Translation
Wisdom (she) is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. [authors underline]

I don’t see it as coincidental that a good wife and wisdom are both as valued as rubies, diamonds or jewels and that wisdom is identified as “her” and “she” in so many translations of the Bible throughout the wisdom books. The name Sophia is derived from sophia which is Greek for wisdom.

A Good Wife—Proverbs 31:10

Her worth is “far above rubies.”

King James Bible

King James 2000 Bible

American King James Version

American Standard Version

Darby Bible Translation

English Revised Version

Webster’s Bible Translation

World English Bible

Young’s Literal Translation

“…far more precious than jewels; far above jewels;  far exceeds the finest jewels; worth far more than jewels.”

English Standard Version

Holman Christian Standard Bible

New American Standard 1977

New American Standard Bible

International Standard Version

“…far above precious stones.”

Jubilee Bible 2000

 

Wisdom—Proverbs 3:15

“She is more precious than rubies…”

New International Version

King James Bible

International Standard Version

NET Bible

American Standard Version

World English Bible

English Revised Version

“She is more precious than jewels…”

English Standard Version

New American Standard Bible

Holman Christian Standard Bible

New American Standard 1977

As you have noticed by now, much of what I say in this post will be drawn from a biblical perspective. I am not doing this to proselytize though. The reason I have chosen to ground my response in the Bible is because I feel the church is responsible for so much of the negativity concerning sexuality in general and specifically that of women. This negativity and resulting confusion is a product of crimes of omission as much as commission. I do not use that word “crime” casually. I feel that the lack of Bible-based church leadership regarding the sexual conduct of our marriages is helping to grow and perpetuate the divorce rate in our churches that some report now equals that of the secular world. Be advised though that Harvard-trained researcher and Christian writer Shaunti Feldhahn disputes that claim in this article. Whatever the church-going divorce rate, we believers can do a better job of creating and sustaining marriages in which the relationship within them is more fulfilling and satisfying. Church leadership should be in the forefront of that effort. It’s time for the church to stand and deliver in the fight for successful and fulfilled marriages. They need to put some “money” where their mouth is.

In all fairness, I will admit that training for the clergy may involve way less about psychology and sexuality than is necessary to achieve this educational end and that many in the clergy may not be comfortable discussing or teaching about sexuality and intimacy with their congregants. Let’s face it, they’re people too just like us and may also have been raised in similar church environments that were repressive toward sexuality or at the least did not openly discuss it. It can be difficult for them too to turn on the proverbial dime and begin teaching something entirely different than their past and current life experience. If married clergy, their wives may be “old school” too so they are living the problems of old teachings, or the lack of any teachings, in their marriages as well.

However, this lack of past education and repressive teachings does not excuse them from learning more current information and helping their congregants have more vital and sustainable marriages. Marriages which are necessary to building stronger families. It is my position that these necessary core teachings and available counseling could help damaged marriages recover and further enhance viable well-functioning ones. They could also get soon-t0-be marrieds off on the right foot. I would agree that good marriages aren’t built only on sex, but a marriage without good sexual intimacy, however that couple agrees to define that intimacy, is not a house well-built on a rock. Sex is often described as the glue that holds marriages together. I would add that good sex can provide a strong foundation to help weather the inevitable storms because good sex means there can be good communication happening within the marriage elsewhere. And a really good part about good sex…? It can always become GREAT SEX as the marriage relationship matures.

So, what does the Bible have to say about sexuality and sex within marriage? Let’s begin with something very simple:

Nudity.

It is widely reported and pretty much accepted that we men are visually oriented in our nature. We find extreme pleasure in looking at our wives nude bodies. Naked was God’s intent when he originally dressed us. It’s not that we don’t appreciate when they are nicely clothed too, but we are particularly fond of seeing their bare flesh. I say flesh because I mean to include parts or their bodies that are not typically looked upon as sexually titillating or erogenous—their stomachs, their backs, their shoulders, their hands, their arms, their cheeks and chin and so much more. And yes, we love the mind and heart we see behind all that flesh, but it is the flesh our eyes crave. We want to delight in the pleasure of seeing you naked…all of you and often. That would appear simple enough to achieve, but appearances can be deceiving.

It is also widely reported and pretty much accepted that women have body image issues and don’t like to, or are hesitant to, display their bodies for their husbands’ pleasure. Wives, if not ashamed of their bodies as a whole, are well-practiced in finding specific features with which to be unhappy if not down right disgusted and ashamed. Even if a husband’s primary interests are focused on areas she is happy with, their proximity to an area she is not pleased with will keep her from enthusiastically showing off what she feels are her more perfect parts.

What they don’t realize is we men have and use an automatic ability to laser-focus on what areas interest us most in the moment and our husband goggles fog out the rest. This is why we can have sex in what for you would be disruptive circumstances that would either not permit your arousal or bring it to a aggravatingly frustrating halt in midstream. Like the soup Nazi—

https://memegenerator.net/instance/57217482

Come back some other time! Source

Frankly Speaking, as an example, if your nipples fascinate us as an area of laser-like focus, whether your breasts are bodacious or otherwise, perky or otherwise, symmetrical or otherwise, tanned or otherwise, firm or otherwise, is all otherwise to us. Likewise, if the whole of your breasts fascinate us, whether your nipples are rosey or otherwise, inverted or otherwise, puffy or otherwise, oval or otherwise, quarter-sized or otherwise will again be all otherwise to us. Our focus can be that specific and that focus can “blind” us men to what you women feel are obvious faults, flaws or limitations.

Song of Solomon 4:7All beautiful you are, my darling, there is no flaw in you.

Wondering why I would choose nipples for this example and not some other body parts like the breasts themselves? It seemed a logical lead-in for the next paragraph. Our culture has made women very aware of their breasts: their shape and placement on their chest, but their size in particular. Still, even if women get naturally or surgically comfortable with their breasts’ size on the whole, they will then begin to be concerned about their nipples as if there were a perfect one out there that they do not possess: one that has no Montgomery glands or that lone errant hair protruding from the areola surrounding the nipple. In that way, they are like men and their penis size which leads us in to that next paragraph.

Women can also find pleasure in viewing their husbands’ bodies, albeit in a different way for the most part. Their areas of focus may be arousing to them, but they tend not to focus so much on the primary erogenous zones as we men may. If they are not already aroused, our smile, eyes, hands, firm butts, biceps and chests mean more to them visually than our penis, erect or other wise, lengthy or otherwise, girthy or otherwise. Until they are sufficiently aroused, all of that will be otherwise. Even once aroused, not many women are hoping to be presented with an overly expansive male member. But, like us they do look and, like us, there is much they overlook.

But, isn’t looking upon your mate’s body, and perhaps having thoughts of sexual desire, lusting and not biblical? Should we be running around naked in front of others, even if married to them? Shouldn’t couples be more modest and discrete with their bodies? I mean, after all, how did the Bible feel about a couple, man and woman, being naked in the presence of one another and modesty between them? Let’s check out the source and see what it says.

Genesis 2:22, 25 (NIV)— 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the ribh he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man…25Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

God clothed neither Adam nor his wife but created them and presented them to each other totally nude. God had no shame in their nakedness. He created them in a way that was divinely designed, acceptable, and approved of Him. God’s original plan was for them to enjoy the visual pleasure of gazing upon each others bodies and not hiding them from one another.

Only after the fall did God fashion clothing for them and subsequently banish them from the garden, and that clothing had nothing to do with modesty. To provide the skins to make the clothes, an animal life had to be sacrificed and death to cover sin entered the world. Blood was shed. This act of a blood sacrifice to cover their sin of disobeying God was a precursor to Christ’s work on the cross: His future blood sacrifice to cover the sins of all mankind that would repent and accept him as Lord. That God-made clothing was not about modesty or in a direct response to their being naked. It was about their sin of disobedience. That clothing was a symbolic harbinger of Christ’s blood covering our sins, not skins covering our nakedness.

Genesis 2:25 (NIV)—  25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

Naked and felt no shame? How could they not feel shame?

Well they were alone with each other so that’s why. And for all practical purposes they were husband and wife by God’s intent.

Really? Those were the only reasons they should not have felt shame being naked in the presence of one another? Consider this:

Genesis 3:8-11 (NIV)— Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” (My emphasis.)

God was walking in the Garden and noticed the absence of Adam and Eve and desiring their fellowship called out to Adam. The nakedness of them was to be so natural and normal that when they hid God instinctively knew something was amiss. He knew they should feel no fear of Him or shame in their nakedness. Shame felt over our nude bodies was never His intent or part of His plan for us. We should exercise modesty when and where appropriate but not because of a feeling of shame. Wives should not deny their husbands by proclaiming modesty when shame is what is keeping them from flaunting their bodies before their appreciative husbands. Yes wives, you are allowed to flanunt: to display yourselves to your husbands in a way that is sexually provocative. If you have doubts, look here.

Body shame has no place between a husband and wife. As to shame in general, I would direct you to—

Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)—  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death.

We should not be condemning our bodies for what we perceive as their lack of perfection anymore than we should be condemning ourselves for not being perfect Christians. The naked body is something over which we should not feel shame or that nudity in and of itself is sinful.

Genesis 2:22, 25 (NIV)— 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the ribh he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man…25Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

God created Adam and Eve and they were both naked and felt no shame. Think about that for a moment: created by God and naked without shame. If nakedness in and of itself was sinful, God would not have so created Adam and Eve. God may define and condemn sin and even allow it to exist as part of His plan to establish His glory, but He does not create it. Being naked before your spouse is not sinful. The problem is we associate sinful things that we think about when we see someone nude or of sinful things we may do when nude with the state of being naked. It is not our bodies that are sinful by their nakedness, but our minds. It’s as if we somehow feel if we hide our bodies from view, we are preventing sins of the body.

His plan for us as a man and woman sharing ourselves in marriage is very different from how many of us have been taught and subsequently choose to live. We limit our pleasure, our joy and our bliss by not choosing to allow ourselves to commonly share in sensuous experiences with our spouse. Somehow, we have adopted the attitude that sensuousness is not approved of God and having a sensual or sexual experience is a thing to be ashamed of and not to be desired and sought after though both are promoted in the Bible in the Song of Songs or the Song of Solomon as it is also known.

Keep in mind, sensuousness is not only defined as exclusive to sex. Sensuous also means marked by the appetites and passions of the body which can involve non-sexual sensations.  Eating, listening to music and smelling flowers can be a sensuous experience. There is no scriptural reason I can see that precludes a wife from expressing her sensuous nature in a sexual way with her spouse within marriage though.

In Part 2 of this series, we’ll be talking about the very special way in which God created women different from men and how that affects their desire and their sexuality. If any of my women readers wish to inform me of something germane to that but not as a comment, feel free to email me from the About page. All emails are confidential and your address is not published.

“Phantom”: A Ghost of Its Former Self

This blog posts article about marriage, relationships and sex for the most part, but I have strayed from that format on occasion. This is one of those occasions.

Recently, I went to an evening performance of the North American tour of Phantom of the Opera, the world-wide longest running theater production which has been in continuous performance since September 1986 in London and January 1988 in New York, where it received 7 Tony awards, one for Best Musical.

PhantomOPera

Source

In a word, this particular tour has been downsized…significantly.

The original show in London has 130 cast, crew and orchestra members and the touring production takes 27 semi-trucks to move it from one theater to the next. The original U.S. production took 25 trucks. Perhaps we were better experienced at packing after the Mayflower learning curve of September 1660 and numerous Conestoga wagon trains over the Midwest prairies and Western Continental Divide in the 19th century.

Apparently, we have become so expert at loading and packing that we are able to shoe-horn “Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s phenomenal musical success, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA now on tour across North America” into only 16 53-foot-long semi-trailers.

We have also become so efficient that we are able to stage the show with a touring cast, crew and orchestra of 82 plus 30 or so local IATSE members. That’s a cast, crew and orchestra of 112, give or take with specific dates and venues. We are also the model of efficiency in that we are able to do the show in 19 scenes instead of 22.

If you have never seen The Phantom of the Opera, you won’t be seeing it now. I have seen it three times in the same theater. I know someone who has seen it four times over the years, two of them being in New York and two here. She says the Broadway productions in our local theater exceed what they are capable of doing in New York simply because the New York venue is smaller. The larger theaters are occupied by the newer shows in hopes that they can reach profitability quicker. Phantom has no problem with being profitable. It has been produced in 151 cities and 30 countries and translated into no fewer than 13 languages. World-wide box office is estimated to exceed $5.6 billion from more than 11,600 performances. Andrew Lloyd Webber could live an extremely comfortable life on the returns from only this one show of his creation.

This new production by Cameron Mackintosh is nowhere near as grand, magical, or technically astounding as the original. There have been favorable reviews by critics. I am not a critic nor am I trained in theater arts, voice or music, but I do know what I once saw and heard and what I recently experienced. In this case. less is not more, it truly is less. The comments of many who have see both are in agreement with mine. Even some who have seen only this one are leaving the theater disappointed by what amounts to a bait-and-switch.

Normally I would have to issue a spoiler alert, but since there is no longer anything to spoil there is no need. The first time I saw Phantom a few years ago it was indeed magical. As I sat about 7 rows back from the very large stage of the venue I did not notice all of the burlap and rope wrapping across the proscenium beside and above the stage. At the end of the auction scene opening the first act, the pipe organ began to blast away with those now universally known chords while the ropes began to slip loose and the burlap disappeared and revealed the very Baroque, very gilt and very ornate proscenium of The Paris Opera House.

I. was. astounded. It was the first of many truly magical moments that night. That bit of magic is now gone. They still introduce a proscenium, but it is three moving stage pieces, the legs of which are rolled into place by stagehands with the top of the proscenium being lowered in on a pipe to mesh with the legs. Minor magic at best and far from astounding. Also, nowhere near as decadently ornate.

In the first act, the Phantom takes Christine Daaé to his lair in the Paris sewer deep below the opera house. He does this in a small gondola of sorts. It has a nice flaming torch effect high on an extended bow to light the way as he stands and poles the boat through the low mist over the water. We assume there is water anyway. I mean, it is a boat and it is moving so… So, in the original you saw “water”, and their way was illuminated by lit candles that rose up from out of that water as he poled the boat through a very circuitous mechanically-driven route that was designed to allow time to reach a certain point in Phantom of the Opera, the title song. The new boat ride was twenty feet at most, but the timing worked out somehow with the addition of new staging of the action after the boat lands at the lair. Well, that and the fact that all night long it seemed as if someone had adjusted the sliding weight on the metronome pendulum downward to speed the tempo of the music in an effort to end the show 15 minutes early. Even The Music of the Night and Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again seemed rushed and cruelly robbed of their evocative poignancy.

The vocals were audible though, which was not the case with the volume of most of the dialog. It suffered from being nearly inaudible, but with audio there is a worse sin. That sin is called lack of intelligibility. Even if the sound is loud enough, you have to perceive what is being said or sung. Many times throughout the night, an audience member would ask of their seatmate, “What did s/he say?” which was replied to with “I don’t know?” Among other reasons, this can be caused by poor microphone placement on the talent, poor diction on the part of the talent, poor audio equipment incapable of delivering a clean, intelligible signal and poor theater acoustics. Whatever the cause, the production was plagued with a poor front-of-house vocal mix the entire evening.

At one point in the second act, the audience is surprised and shocked as the chandelier that has been hanging above their heads all evening swings forward, down and comes perilously crashing onto the stage floor…in the original. In this diminished Phantom, sparks shoot from it as if it is failing electrically and it merely drops to a point, then stops, dangling above the audience.

Not all was disappointing though. There were two bright stars in that evening performance that poor audio did not ruin. Often, the orchestra mix is done by a different engineer who places the acoustically correct microphones in their proper places and operates the audio console during the show. I can only feel this was the case that night. The small 14-piece orchestra led by director Dale Rieling, comprised of 4 touring musicians and 10 local pickup musicians, was the highlight of the evening. Sorry cast. It sounded as if there were twice that complement in the pit and they were spot on with every note and beat. The pipe organ effect was superbly majestic and helped with periodically attempting to create some sorely needed mood and magic in the show.

The second bright star of the evening was another technical one. It was the costumes as originally designed by the late Maria Björnson. They were brilliantly colorful and suitably spectacular.

As we seated ourselves and opened our programs, a small slip of paper contained therein slid into the laps of audience members and created some dismay. In an interesting twist of irony missed by most of the audience, the note said the lead role of Christine Daaé was to be played that night by an understudy — life imitating art it would seem.

In The Phantom of the Opera, Christine is a dancer in the corps de ballet. She is chosen to replace Carlotta Guidicelli, the lead singer whom the Phantom is surreptitiously forcing out of the show. Christine’s best friend in the corps de ballet is Meg Giry. In yet another intriguing bit of irony with the touring company, the young woman playing the dancer Meg actually had what I felt was a more traditionally suitable voice for the Christine Daaé role. Her voice was a stronger equivalent for what we have all become accustomed to hearing as Ms Daaé in the original production, the subsequent movie and the CD’s of Phantom. I don’t mean to diminish the performance of the understudy. I’m only pointing out how the nature of the voice of the actress playing the Meg character was more recognizable as a “Christine” to my ear, especially after so many years of hearing so few other voices which all had a desirable and common familiarity to them.

In my opinion, I think a significant contributor to any disappointment was that so many paid so much for so little. The mid-price orchestra seats were $75.00 while the most expensive orchestra seats were $145.00. Don’t even ask about the box seats. I didn’t look since I knew I didn’t plan on paying any more for a third viewing of what has become known in the biz as Baby Phantom, Junior Phantom, Son of Phantom, and Phantom II. Its reputation precedes it. In all fairness, I will admit to knowing people in the business and having knowledge that it was now a 16-truck show and that some things would be missing. The missing magic and grandeur was left behind in the other 11 trucks it seems.

Again in fairness, not feeling qualified to judge the actors on technical merit, where I have given my personal opinion of performances I have included none of their names.

Sources for this review of sorts:

Facts & Figures

http://www.nashvilleparent.com/reviews/review-the-phantom-of-the-opera

Welcome

http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/arts/2016-02-11/story/phantom-opera-cast-crew-are-whole-traveling-village?utm_source=story_footer_recommendations&utm_medium=web&utm_campaign=cxense

Quickie: When size doesn’t matter — Valentine Gifts That Last

I know I owe on some previous posts but I wanted to address Valentine’s day because I am in the mood to write today. You may have noticed I share much of my opinion on this blog, but am cautious with sharing much of my personal life. Today, I’ll very briefly break with that. I lost my first and dearest long-time valentine shortly before Christmas last year. She had suffered through two strokes during the year and while her heart health was slowly declining, her death was not anticipated with such immediacy. As a consequence, I have not often been in the mood to contribute much to this blog over the past few months. It’s not for a shortage of ideas or reader questions but the result of emotional heart issues besetting me and stealing the usual joy of writing. I’m slowly coming back around and will try to do better this year. I have missed our community. Thank all of you for your continuing patience. Moving on—

 

Heart For me there is only you

Awww. Source

 

That’s what you want to tell her, isn’t it? You want her to read it in a card or, who knows, you may even work up the courage to say it to her. She certainly wants to hear it. You want her to know that. And why wouldn’t she know it? After all, you did marry her and commit to spending the rest of your life with her. How could she not know you love her? You know she loves you even if she isn’t saying it all the time. What else is there to know? What guy can’t see the logic in that?

And therein lies the rub of it all (perpetuating the continued misquoting of Bill Shakespeare’s, “Aye, there’s the rub,” line, from his Hamlet soliloquy). Unlike men, with women it’s not only about logic and what they know, it’s also about what they feel. Truth be told, knowing they are loved is not enough. “Knowing” is a mind thing. “Feeling” is a heart thing. They have to feel they are loved—in their hearts.

If they don’t feel loved in their hearts, what they may feel at best is only adequate as a wife and uncertain of their efforts to meet your heart’s desires and wants.   Worse though, they may feel taken for granted.  They may feel that you are missing the best they have to offer and they will begin to feel disconnected and unloved. Unlike the image above, their heart will be filled with the feeling of the  one to the right. But sadly, it can get still worse…much worse.

It is wise to bear in mind that the romance of love is in the eye of the beholder.  Spouses may differ in what each perceives and feels as romantic. This is the premise of Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages: different love strokes for different folks. By now, few of us in this community have not heard much about how men’s and women’s desire for sex differs. The argument is men need sex to feel loved, while current thought from the women’s point of view is they need to feel loved to want sex. Remember, it’s one thing to know you are loved, but another to feel loved. Both spouses want to feel a loved and connected, but this is experienced uniquely in gender-specific ways, and so it is with romance.

In many marriages there is a “romantic” tradition of dining out on Valentine’s day with both partners imbibing leading him to hope for his thrice annual melt-in-her-mouth-like-a-candy-heart experience and her hoping when the time comes the alcohol which fueled his desire for sex will also soften his ability. As to his oral hopes, there’s still his birthday and their anniversary. “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.”

It’s time to take Elizabeth Barret Browning for quick spin in her grave as I borrow from and adulterate her Sonnets from the Portuguese.

How Do I Love Thee (Sonnet 43)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  1 red satin cardboard heart of assorted chocolates.

2 thigh-high stockings to go with last year’s lingerie

12 outrageously priced, out-of-season red roses.

4 hours of a babysitter’s high-priced  time.

2 reservations for an overly-rich and filling dinner.

6 flutes of a moderately priced champagne.

3 minutes of foreplay

2 minutes of sex

1 orgasm (his)

In what ways are you letting your valentine feel she counts? Female members of this community have told me “Wives either feel loved or used ” and that if they feel loved they can be okay with being valued for sex BUT if they don’t feel loved, they see it as being valued only for sex which feels like being used. They want to be wanted, but need to feel loved also or they feel merely convenient. I propose it is not unlike a husband being valued by his wife for his being a good provider for his family. He still needs to feel he isn’t valued only for his money and what it can buy. Both spouses want to feel appreciated and loved. What this means to you as a husband is you shouldn’t feel that supplying financial provision is an adequate expression of your love or be reason enough for her to feel obliged to supply sex.

Not how she wants to feel. Source

Not how you want her to feel.  Source

A member of this community once told me, “both spouses need to feel loved more often than on the Hallmark© occasions.”  I think we men have too complex a view of romance causing us to look at it as to be reserved for special occasions where we have to pull out all the stops and hit all the keys. For your wife, romance most often can be much simpler than that and we should be practicing it as a lifestyle. Like all lifestyle changes, the trick is developing those good changes into good habits.

It can be as simple as thinking to daily call, text or email her during the work week when you’re apart which assures her you are thinking of her and miss her company.  Frequent kissing is another easy habit to develop and also fun to do. Short kisses; long kisses; deep kisses; lip kisses; cheek kisses; forehead kisses and especially sneaky back-of-the-neck kisses—she needs to be kissed more than just “goodbye” at your leaving and “Honey, I’m home,” upon your return.  If she is asking when was the last time you kissed me or hugged me, she’s telling you the last time was too long ago.

Wives crave our touch, and boy, do we love touching them; so many warm, curvaceous, soft, sweet smelling spots waiting for our attention. What our wives would like us to know is there are other parts of their bodies that crave our touching attention but in a non-sexual way. Women desire non-sexual touch on a regular basis.

 I hear all of you husbands: “NST is a difficult thing for us men, especially if the time between sexually sharing with our wives is greater than we desire.”  Here is what I’m hearing from the community though, gentlemen. More attentive NST leads to their feeling loved which will lead to more sex because they won’t feel like only a convenience we attend to when we want something. To me, this sounds like a win/win for both spouses.

I’ll tell you what I also hear from some of our wives who are comfortable with and more accepting of their sexuality, and this may be of interest to wives who are concerned because their desire seems low compared to that of their husband’s: More frequent sex leads to a greater desire for sex on the part of wives which leads to leads to more marital satisfaction all around. It’s easy to see what that means to husbands. What is not so obvious is what it means to wives. A more sexually satisfied husband is more attentive to his wife in non-sexual ways that can be more satisfying to her than sex. And that is how more frequent sex makes for a more satisfied marriage all around.

How can you show your wife NST? When walking someplace with your wife, offer your arm or hold her hand, even if you are only going from the car to a store. When sitting, put your arm around her shoulder, rest your hand on her knee, or hold her hand. If she’s on the couch or bed, sit with her and have her place her feet in your lap and give her a foot rub or stroke her legs while you talk or watch television with her.  Even something as simple as scratching her back will feel welcome and be non-intentional from a sexual expectation standpoint. If she is cooking or doing dishes, give her shoulders a squeeze or wrap her in a hug from behind and kiss her neck…then offer to finish the dishes…or help fold the laundry…or vacuum the carpets…or get the kids ready for bed. Share the load so she isn’t so tired and give her some relaxation time. Like NST, working with her as a team is a way of showing your love.

What are you doing this Valentine day and between those other Hallmark© occasions to let your wife know you love her? I suggest giving her the gifts of NST, appreciation and helping to share her load throughout the year.  Like the last line of the song says, “Each day is Valentine’s Day.”

While written to be sung by a woman to a man,  I love Frank Sinatra’s voice and his phrasing of My Funny Valentine by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the 1937 Broadway musical Babes in Arms. But I have to say, I more enjoy Linda Ronstadt’s version from her album, For Sentimental Reasons, lushly arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle. Below is not that exact version, but it’s still Linda at her best. If you love standards and torch songs, I encourage you to buy that album and it’s sister, Lush Life.  Also good is What’s New. I don’t get a cut from Amazon. I’m just providing the links for your convenience.



 

Quickie: When size doesn’t matter — Stop Bullying Perfection

 

I encourage you to click through to this source for an excellent article on bullying.I encourage you to click through to this source for an excellent article on bullying.

I encourage you to click through to this source for another insightful article on bullying.



 
 
There has been much in the media lately about bullying of younger people in schools and hate speech over the social media for just about everyone else. Among other things, the bullying and hate speech includes intimidation and shaming over weight, race, religion, sexual preference, and gender identity. Some of the harassment was tragically directed at persons whose emotional state was delicate enough that they could not cope with the repeated battering they were subjected to and they took their own lives. Others have been subjected to physical abuse by their bullies. Every time we read, hear or see another instance of a person being bullied, we want someone to do something about it. We want it stopped. We don’t want them bullied and beaten anymore, especially kids. We don’t want them wounded and scarred. We don’t want people subjected to hate speech which destroys their confidence robbing them of any feeling of self-worth and stealing the joy from their lives.  We don’t want to see those people needlessly suffering. We especially don’t want it happening when it is someone whose life we are deeply invested in; when it is someone we love.

Is there a bully in your life? Someone who beats you down instead of lifts you up? Someone who sees your flaws but is blind to your potential. Someone who pulls from your grasp and then pushes the joy of life just beyond your reach? No, there isn’t? Are you certain? Take another look around. Especially if you are a woman. Still don’t see the bully? Look in the mirror.

Photo source.

This is Paula’s Twitter. This is the photo source.

Oh, there they are: That person who is so constantly critical of you; most often sees the negative about you; denies you your peace and joy and defines your self-worth. And they didn’t even fell the need to hide from you. They’re always right there in your face. Don’t you just hate them? “Really!” Or is it really that you just hate the way “they” make you feel? After all, what is the point in hating yourself? What does that do to honor your creator, yourself and being perfectly created?

Psalm 139:13-16 ESV /  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Oh, you’re not perfectly made? By whose definition? Who is it that knows so well the purpose for which you have been created that they can determine were you are lacking and not adequately equipped? You have flaws of face, form and thought? Flaws that present trials and tests of your faith in the perfection of your creation? Who is it that knows in what way all of your past and future tests and trials are designed to continue forming and equipping you? It isn’t your parents, significant other, best friend or even your pastor. And it certainly isn’t you.

You cannot develop into a concert-level violinist without the steadfast “trails” of daily practice that you may look upon as interfering with your young social life at the time, or succeed at a thing without enduring the sometimes staggering number of failures that accompany a success. All these “trials” though are not for naught, and simply because you feel you can see “glaring imperfections” in yourself which others may not doesn’t obviate your being perfectly formed for a perfect purpose.

James 1:2-4 ESV /  Count it all joy, my brothers, [and sisters I’m sure] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

So, what is it about you that is perfect and complete, lacking in nothing? What are those perfect and complete things, and why are you gifted with those things and not others that would better suit your purpose as you suppose it to be?  Perhaps those “perfect and complete” things that you would not choose are placed within you to adequately equip you for God’s plan and purpose for you: the plan that will bring you the most joy and peace; the plan that will give you a sense of fulfillment; the plan with a passion that you will live out and that will not burn out.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV /  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) / Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

What is this “purpose” for which you have been created? You may feel you know, or you may not and that’s okay. It is my belief most people don’t recognize their divine purpose until they are well into living it. They live into it through small, barely noticeable moments: a deed done here; an encouragement there, a challenge overcome. In those moments, they may find joy, peace, satisfaction, contentment or simply a feeling of rightness. At some point in time, they slow down, take a breath and reflect upon their life and realize what they are doing is what they were always meant to do. They find a sense of fulfillment in the doing and then desire to do more. They are on purpose and on task.

Philippians 2:13 (ISV) /

For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him.

I would tell you that being equipped with what you need to fulfill your divine purpose is wherein lies the perfection of your creation, not being created perfect without flaws. The Bible speaks of being made perfect—

The Meaning of Perfect

The word “perfect,” in the Bible, can and does mean “complete” or “finished.” Jesus was made “perfect” through suffering (Heb. 2:10; 5:8–9). He completed or fulfilled God’s plan for Him as our Savior by suffering for us.

“Perfect” can also have the meaning of “mature” or “grown up.” In Philippians 3:15, the apostle Paul speaks to “as many as be perfect” (KJV). The NKJV translates this phrase “as many as are mature.”

Source

2 Timothy 3:17 (KJV) / That the man (or ‘servant” NIV) of God may be perfect (or “complete” ESV), thoroughly furnished (or “equipped” ESV) unto (or “for” ESV) all good works

“But if Christ is the only perfectly created being where does that leave me,” you ask? And if I am created in the image of a perfect God, why am I not “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing,” you wonder. You feel you are lacking in so many ways. How can you begin to achieve the perfection of God? In what way does God’s perfection manifest itself in you?

When Jesus said, “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), He was saying, “Let your love be complete as God’s love.” God loves all people, even evil ones. This is how we can be as “perfect” as God. Our love for our fellow-man needs to grow and mature — including loving our enemies. If we do not love our enemies, we are not acting as sons of God ought to act.

Source

The next time you look at that person in the mirror, show them kindness and acceptance. Extend the same mercy to yourself that you would another. Extend the same encouragement to yourself you would another. Extend the same forgiveness to yourself you should another. Most importantly though, extend love to yourself. Extend the same love to your perfect self that God extends to all.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (TLB) /

There are three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

Don’t bully God’s perfect creation.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV /  Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

You don’t have to agree with my theology. I only ask that you consider that there is a design and reason for your being here, that your presence is not by chance but that there is a purpose behind it and that you have been or will be adequately equipped to achieve it.

It is not necessary for you to believe scripture for it to be true. For me though, not only is it necessary but it is required of me as a Christian to support my belief of certain things through scripture. As a Christian, to deny God and Christ would ultimately be at my peril so there will always be times in this blog when I will on occasion buttress a point with applicable scripture, but we all, believers included, have free will to believe as we wish.



 

The topic of this post was inspired by an insightful article authored by Shannon Wooten and published on Elephant Journal. I suspect  Ms. Wooten, Elephant Journal and I have a degree of theological and sociopolitical differences, but I think she won’t mind my taking inspiration from her.

Quickie: When size doesn’t matter — Feel His Pain

I have been around a few decades now. As a result of my profession, I have experienced many things; some unique, some not so unique. Recently, I had an experience unique to me but sadly not so to some others.

I was at a funeral home that had two chapels. In Chapel 1 reposed a woman in her mid-50s survived by 11 brothers and sisters. Between them, their families and her other relatives and friends there was quite a crowd for her first day of visitation. The room the funeral home sat aside for them to gather in apart from the chapel was set up for arranging food and refreshments for the family and friends attending visitation. It had two long counters, a full refrigerator with ice maker, an automatic coffee dispenser, a small sink and tables and chairs. There was a monitor in the room so they could watch the memorial DVD presentation there as well as in the chapel. Often the food and drink is provided by the attendees, their church or both. In this case, the family had a caterer supply the room. It was quite an abundance of food including vegetable tray appetizers to start and cookies to finish.

The woman being honored must have been a collector of angel statuettes because it seemed everyone brought one and many were also delivered by florists throughout the day. If anyone is thinking of buying one as a Christmas gift this year for a loved one, I’m sure they will find them all to be on back order over the entire city as the supply must surely be depleted.

They had put together their own DVD of the life they had shared with her and brought poster photo arrays and various family albums galore. Some of the siblings had small mementos they wanted placed in the casket with their sister. They had personalized them by writing their names or messages on them. Some of the others hadn’t thought in advance about doing so. Those siblings who had remembered offered space on their mementos for them to write something.

Distance and circumstance had kept some of them apart for many years so the celebration of a passed life and their shared past lives eventually took on some of the characteristics of a family reunion as visitations often do. Family and friends were all trading addresses and phone numbers and making plans for the upcoming holidays. It was the type of family you found yourself wishing you were part of. It got to be a bit noisy with so many of them reminiscing about the times they had shared together and with the decedent; not disrespectfully so, but in the way 30 or more people talking in the rooms and halls at the same time naturally will as their spirits begin to pick up through the sharing of their grief. The doors to their chapel were left propped open as they traveled constantly between the two rooms when new visitors arrived to pay their respects.

Only about 30 feet away in Chapel 2 eventually would be a young couple in their late 20’s joined by barely more than a dozen friends and no family. All families don’t get along all the time, and at this time, they weren’t. The only surviving grandparent, a grandmother of the couple’s five children was unable to be there. She had very recently had a stroke and they felt it better for her poor health and mental condition to not tell her of the death at the time. It was a difficult decision for them.

A single small but very pretty arrangement of yellow roses in a shallow bowl-like pot had been delivered. There were no photos. No statuettes. No items to be placed in the casket. Their matching gathering room went almost unused since they were only at the funeral home barely two hours. Shoved deed into a corner of one of the two counters sat a Big Gulp soda in a styrofoam cup they had brought with them and a baby bottle filled with formula. The counter corner was next to the door of the room nearest to the chapel so they could easily access it without being too exposed in their travels from one room to the other. There was no food. No refreshments. No pleasantries exchanged. No future plans for the up-coming holidays.

The couple had arrived a little early for the scheduled family-only visitation and the funeral director was still preparing the room and body for the viewing. It was a closed casket visitation for the “public” but a brief open casket visitation for the immediate family which was pretty much just the young couple. My brother-in-law had died after a year-long battle with cancer nearly two years to the day before and it physically devastated him to the point that he and his wife decided prior to his death to have a closed casket only visitation and service. This young couple too had made that same decision. Now they stood in sad patience waiting for the funeral director to open the chapel doors and escort them to the open casket for their private last looks. He opened the doors, ushered them in and walked them over while offering condolences I did not overhear and told them if there was anything else they needed to let him or the staff know. He would later be the one to drive the coach to the graveside service. He then left them to their grief and strained efforts to comfort one another.

There before them lay the casket of their precious fifth loved one atop a bier no larger than 24 x 32 inches. You don’t need much room for an infant, an innocent little girl called home the day of her earthly arrival; her purpose here so soon fulfilled. What could that purpose possibly have been? What could her parents possibly be told that would make them feel that purpose was worth the immediate loss of their newborn daughter? What could her parents possibly tell the baby’s brother and sisters that would make sense to them? No explanation framed in the present moment would make it sound reasonable or purposeful or fair. Parents do not bury their children. To a parent, the loss of a child is a perverse and unnatural occurrence within the order of life.

I know they were saddened and heartsick. Anyone could easily see that written on their faces and evidenced by their body language. Later at home, I wondered if they were mad at God? If anything beyond being sad seems reasonable in all of this, being mad certainly does. How could God allow this to happen to an innocent baby who had done no harm to anyone and up until this had been a source of anticipated joy and happiness? It seems understandable that they would be mad at God. How many time have you heard someone express that feeling upon losing a loved one? “Why God? Why them? Why now? It’s not fair! Damn right I’m mad at you!”

Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people? No. I don’t have that answer. Greater-educated minds than mine have tried to answer that question and I’ll let you sort that out with their help. If you have ever shared this feeling and asked those questions, I do have another question though that I will ask you.

In your moment of grief, did you at some point find the compassion to share in the grief of another? Did you finally understand the deep sorrow of another who had lost a loved one; the inconsolable sorrow of a parent who had lost their child, especially an innocent infant?

Of course, the Bible tells us we are all born with a sinful nature so to what degree is an infant truly innocent? Again, it isn’t my purpose to debate this here and now either. I don’t have a sure answer for that at this time. I do have one sure suggestion though.

The next time you are feeling life or a particular loss is unfair, pray for grace to cover your feelings. You’ll be needing it. When you are asking God why death took your loved one now, took them like it did and are protesting how unfair it all is, you might want to remember to ask Him to forgive you for your lack of compassion. I hope you have remembered to thank Him before, but did you think to tell him how sorry you are that His only completely innocent child was sacrificed for a higher purpose; a purpose you continue to benefit from and which history will prove in time; a purpose with a promise you have built your faith upon? He feels your pain. Do you feel His?

John 3:16 MSG

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

Quickie: When size doesn’t matter — When Was the Last Time You Told Your Wife She Was Unattractive?

While catching up on a significant amount of accumulated email and neglected blog reading, I came across a post on Passionate Christian Wives authored by Jenny and titled “When Your Husband Tells You You’re Not Attractive.”

On first reading of the post, I wondered what insensitive lout of a husband would ever say such a thing to his wife. How terribly demoralizing and hurtful it must be to be verbally assaulted in such a way by someone you love and you feel loves you. I was focused on the “...Tells…” part of Jenny’s title and not seeing beyond to other ways in which a husband might be saying to his wife, “I don’t find you attractive,” even if done unintentionally.

I need new sheets for my California King waterbed insert mattress. I was looking for a 6-pocket set because I was tired of how the attached set would become all wound in a bundle in the wash. I found a store in Minnesota on the internet that had them and had very positive reviews from previous buyers who all seemed to like the owner, Bob, and the quality of the items they purchased. He isn’t set up to do actual purchases over the internet so I gave him a call. I like him too. In discussing what colors I wanted and how tall my insert mattress  was to size the pockets, he told me he has a little old lady in Conyers, Georgia who hand-makes his 6-pocket sheets for him.You gotta like a guy who goes to that kind of trouble for his customers and tries to keep the work in America.

As I was talking with him, he asked about my profession. He thought I made a living with my voice as a speaker or DJ. I told him he was hearing my man-talk voice and that (according to my wife, and she’s right) I have a woman-talk voice I use when speaking with women on the phone. It’s even lower and smoother and without any aggression to it. It has a very inviting, relaxing and caring intonation.

After getting off the phone, I told my wife about the exchange and that I sampled my woman-talk voice for Bob. She then remarked she seldom hears it. *ouch* I thought maybe I don’t use it with her on the phone or perhaps even in person. Either way, she feels slighted. *ouch*. Can you say, “I don’t feel that same special-ness when you talk to me. Am I not as attractive as those other women must be?” My wife certainly said as much in a round-about way.

It got me to thinking about the effort she puts into her hair and makeup and in choosing what to wear on a daily basis. She always looks nice but I seldom say so. Often, when I do, it’s in response to her telling me how nice I look *Oops*, especially Sunday morning when I am in a suit. It’s not that I don’t appreciate her effort, I just don’t notice it. I’m the type of guy who can get up in the morning and not look into a mirror until I feel like shaving and then still not notice the mess my hair is. I’ll be ready to leave the house and she’ll suggest, “You might want to do something with your hair.” I like looking nice, but it isn’t always on my radar to do so or, worse, notice when she has made a special effort to look exceptionally nice.

How do you compound this of lack of attention to your wife’s considerable time and effort spent to appear attractive for her and your benefit? How do you “tell” her she’s not attractive, even if it is not your intent to do so? How do you put a hurt in her soul, on her face and in her eyes so deep she can’t begin to mask it? How? Take too long a look or, worse, take a second longing look at another women in her presence. That’s how. Yeah, this is a tough one for us guys, especially being the visually-oriented creatures we are. Whether you believe our visual nature is a biological evolutionary development from being the alert hunter/provider for the family or is part of God’s design to create desire in us for a woman to fulfill His decree in Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 9:7 to be fruitful and multiply to propagate the earth, we still have to deal with controlling it and focusing our visual attentions on our wife.

As one of those guys, I can relate well to the male point of view that it would certainly be helpful if she would please remember that once-upon-a-time you chose her above all others to be that very special someone in your life forever. If they could just give us that little break when we mess up. BUT, on the other hand, I can also understand how her point of view is “I want and need to be (not feel) special forever. I need to know (not feel) I am still attractive to you.”

What she doesn’t need is for you to tell her how she compares to someone else. At first blush, it may seem like a good idea to tell her how her assets exceed those of other women you are familiar with. At some point though, she may begin to feel you are noticing too much about too many other women to have so many statistics so readily available. This is one of those cases where less is definitely more.

Getting our wandering eyes under control is not an easy task. Those same media images of pulchritudinous perfection that bombard our wives into a near depressive state questioning their beauty, batter their confidence and bewilder their sense of sexuality also literally hold sway over us men with abundant swaying breasts, hips and hair. We are both being led into believing that what we are or what we have is not as good as it could be. And it’s true. Both of you may find yourselves wishing something about you or your partner was longer, shorter, firmer, bigger, smaller, perkier, more, less, flatter, rounder, tanner, softer, harder, less hairy, or less messy. But, it’s also true that on this earth we, or what we have, never will be perfect; BUT, we and what we have can be good enough. That does not mean we should have a sense of settling for less, but that we find contentment with our spouse and the relationship we currently share with them [Originally written “our lot in this place and this time.” See my August 26, 10:21 AM comment below.] Focus on what is most attractive to you about your spouse. Neither of us is perfect and if we focus only on what we feel is lacking, we will never find contentment and peace.

Philippians 4:8 NLT—And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.



As most of you are well-aware, I have been extremely busy with my career for the last month. The hours have been very long at 14 to 16 hours daily 6 days a week. That particular production has come to a close and I now have time to catch up on some of my blog visiting and writing. I will be publishing Part 3 of the Oral Sex series shortly. (Yeah, I know, “We’ve heard that before,” but it will happen.)  The more research I do on it, the more complex I find it to write. I am being cautious with it because I want to be unequivocal as to how I feel and what I believe, especially from a Christian scriptural and spiritual perspective as I interpret it. Whether you agree with my interpretation or not, it will be the third truth that will be soundly based on my Fourth Truth©, why I believe what I believe.