Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ask Gemma'sRavisher (GR)

Gemma has been after me for some time to show my face on her blog. Well, here I am! Why have I not been here sooner? Good question. A tight bedroom schedule with a certain little lady we all know and a busy work schedule has been eating up all my time. But today Gemma cornered me again and pressed hard so I finally relented. (I try to keep her happy.)

The last three years have been the hottest years of our entire marriage. My own attitude changed through the years but then Gemma did a complete turn-around in December 2006 and our marriage bed was restored. Most of you know the story, I think. Since then we have only moved forward in our relationship not bothering to look back and dwell on the horrible past, but choosing instead to focus on the present and our future together.

What do I hope to do here on Gemma's blog? I hope to learn a few things from others and to be available once or twice a month to offer helpful comments or advice to anyone who might need it. Do not feel like I will have all the answers because I will not, but maybe my age and experience can benefit some of you.

Please be patient with my replies since I cannot always be here but I will do my best. Typically, I will drop in here on the weekends. Any comments? Questions? At this time I do not have a separate gmail account so just post your comments here or if you would rather send them more privately, email them to Gemma's addy and she will see that I get them.

49 comments:

Lisa said...

Nice to hear from you GR (never knew what GR stood for).

Ancient Mariner said...

GR, I won’t say ‘welcome” because you have been a presence--albeit in the background--on this blog from the start. I realize that any venture like this, in order to be successful, requires the full agreement of both partners in a marriage. So instead, I say “thank you.” My marriage has benefitted immensely from reading this blog. It has introduced concepts and ideas that I would never have thought of on my own. My dw and I are a few years behind you, but the heat and passion are building up with us too.

I do have a couple of questions. First, I have always been bothered by the linearity (in time) of blogs. Lets say I was reading something originally posted in the summer, and wanted to reply to a comment. Do you know if there is a mechanism to make all the blog subscribers aware that there is new activity on an old posting? Or are old postings and their associated comments considered “dead,” unless astute readers know to go looking?

My second question is, given the simultaneous blossoming of your sex lives and your marriage, what do you see as the relationship between the two? Do you see physical intensity (not just intimacy) as a prerequisite? And how do you see a man’s role (and a woman’s role) in such a marriage?

Mizer said...

Hello GR, I look forward to reading your words of wisdom in the future.

Anonymous said...

What first attracted you to Gemma?

Anonymous said...

GR,

I'm well aware of Gemma's and your life story. You guys verify hope's necessary place in every life. Thanks for opening up your lives.

Smilemaker

job29man said...

Dear GR,

It is an honor to speak with you here. Your dear wife has always spoken of you with such high praise, I'm sure we'll all learn a lot from you.

Thank you for being a faithful man to Gemma, a man who has stood by her when it was difficult to do so. I'm inspired by your example of integrity.

As a fellow gent in his 50s I personally am interested in continuing to develop my sexual stamina and ability. Gemma talks about how you often go twice or three times in a night. Sarah and I are working on that too, but are not very regular at that yet. So sometime if you could discuss what helps you in this area I'd appreciate it. You don't need to feel like you need to dump it all on us right now, but as you reflect a bit on it and come up with thoughts in that way, that would be very helpful to me.

jamesagain said...

To both you GR, and Gemma thanks for making yourselves open and available to those of us that would choose to interact.
jamesagain

Who am I said...

Dear GR,

Thank you for giving your wife freedom to blog so openly and authentically about your relationship including some very personal stuff.

Thanks for making an appearance, look forward to knowing you more.

My question is how much you read the blog? Do you see most of Gemma's posts and the responses or do you just glance once in awhile?

What do you believe the most effective thing was that you did that led to Gemma's sexual awakening, and what did you find most helpful to survive the years of refusal?

Life_Learner said...

GR,
A lot of us here in "read blog" land would like to know how you did it. We want the same thing in our marriages that is happening in yours.
All shared counsel would be appreciated.
Lifelong Learner

Hiswildcherry46 said...

Hey, hey, hey GR :-)

What a wonderful surprise. So cool to read from you.

Most importantly to me, my husband is in total agreement with my involvement on your wife's blog. We have a daily discussion about Gemma's topics. Without my man's support, I would not feel free to post when I do.

Thank you for supporting your wife in this venture. Our marriage is growing as we embrace the many aspects of a passionate marriage.

Gemma said...

Wow, you guys are going to have to be patient with GR. He hasn't seen your comments yet. Last night he was working very late and then this morning he had to leave at 4:30am to go out of town for the day. I think he will be surprised to see your comments. When I first asked him to do this he looked at me like I had 2 heads, lol. The poor man didn't understand why I thought he could maybe help others by coming here 1-2 times a week. He will soon find out, though, won't he?

Gemma said...

Ancient Mariner asked:
Given the simultaneous blossoming of your sex lives and your marriage, what do you see as the relationship between the two?

GR said:
>>>>>>>>>>Without the sex there was a big wall between us. When our sex lives improved our communication improved because the sex took the wall down.

Do you see physical intensity (not just intimacy) as a prerequisite?

>>>>>>>>>>If you mean "a prerequisite" to a passionate marriage, then I would say that high level of frequency is more important because it keeps both spouses emotionally and physically drawn towards each other.

And how do you see a man’s role (and a woman’s role) in such a marriage?

>>>>>>>>>Each person does their best to satisfy the other. Both spouses need to be willing to serve each other with one difference-- In my marriage bed it works best with me leading and Gemma submitting.

Gemma said...

Just a short note here, folks...

To keep this simple, I'll make sure GR always identifies himself here. Otherwise, assume it's me, Gemma. GR began replying to all your comments and was interrupted soon after he began. I feel bad about this. He came on here Saturday and has hardly been home since. In the morning he leaves at 5:30 to work out of town and won't be back until Thursday evening. Until then, his replies will have to wait.

Love,
Gemma

P.S. He did read all your comments today :-).

Hiswildcherry46 said...

Hi Gemma,

No pressure from this end.

You have opened my eyes towards building purposeful marriage passion, from a Christian standpoint, and I am grateful.

I am sure GR's writings will equally inspire me.

I have fed from a marvelous well of mutual, married bliss whilst reading about what you and your husband share. Extremely timely for our marriage.

Take special time for yourself to stoke your fires for your man's return. HWC naughty grin...

verticaldistance said...

I know that the primary reason males marry is for the promise of regular, frequent, easy sexual access to a female. Why is it that the vast majority of women are kept in the dark about that?

Gemma said...

GR here with a few comments and replies.

Anon asked:
“What first attracted you to Gemma?”

GR:
Her beauty! And we were in classes together four nights a week, Technical Writing and Engineering Economics. Both of us usually arrived early for class and just started talking. We had a library assignment so we agreed to do it together and then that night, we went out on our first date.


///////////////


Job asked:
“As a fellow gent in his 50s I personally am interested in continuing to develop my sexual stamina and ability. Gemma talks about how you often go twice or three times in a night. Sarah and I are working on that too, but are not very regular at that yet. So sometime if you could discuss what helps you in this area I'd appreciate it. You don't need to feel like you need to dump it all on us right now, but as you reflect a bit on it and come up with thoughts in that way, that would be very helpful to me.”

GR:
Take your vitamins Even after my first O, I try to keep going to get Gemma to O. I do that first O, stop for a few seconds to catch my breath staying inside her and then I continue thrusting. Sometimes I have a second or on more rare occasions, a third O; other times I don’t. That’s my story. I’m sticking to it.


//////


Who am I asked:
“My question is how much you read the blog? Do you see most of Gemma's posts and the responses or do you just glance once in awhile? What do you believe the most effective thing was that you did that led to Gemma's sexual awakening, and what did you find most helpful to survive the years of refusal?”

GR:
I only glance at her blog once in a while. My work schedule keeps me busy. During the years of refusal I prayed a lot and tried to stay focused on the commitment to stay with Gemma for better or for worse. Unfortunately “the worse” goes on longer than we care to see so it’s not always an easy thing to do. Aggravation often set in me so I had to fight it with prayer and staying focused. What led to Gemma’s sexual awakening? Number 1- changing churches. We went from Protestant Nondenominational clear over to Christian Orthodox. Number 2- From 2004-2006 my aggravation and persistence increased where we were constantly discussing and arguing about it. Those last two years I never let up.


//////////


verticaldistance asked:
“I know that the primary reason males marry is for the promise of regular, frequent, easy sexual access to a female. Why is it that the vast majority of women are kept in the dark about that?”

GR:
Because God didn’t wire the majority of females to think about sex the way males do. That’s my honest opinion.

Because of my busy work schedule my time here will mostly be limited to once a week and will likely be on the weekends. Feel free to post comments and questions throughout the week. I may read them ahead but it will be on the weekends when I get around to replying. Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Hiswildcherry46 said...

Thank you GR. I truly appreciate your replies.

Life_Learner said...

GR,
How does a man turn his marriage around. There is a very long list of actions that a husband can do. But most of them are wrong. The first thing we are inclinded to do will be the wrong thing and make matters worse. Somewhere along the way you learned something. Perhaps you read something; or perhaps God spoke to you directly. It seems reasonable to me now that the first person that needs to change is the husband. But he must be careful to (a) do the right thing, and (b) avoid doing the wrong thing.
So who or what inspired you take the actions that created the environment for your wife's turnaround.
Please do not feel pressured to respond. I will be praying for a quick recovery from your hernia surgery.
In Christ,
Lifelong Learner

Gemma said...

Hi Life Learner,

Gemma and I both read your comment and we are sitting here discussing what we feel happened in our marriage to finally turn things around. It was a number of things. I'll try to list them for you.

-both of us maturing. Earlier in our marriage we were both on the young and dumb side. It wasn't until about 10 years ago that we finally began wising up.

-making a drastic change in churches. For 20 years we were in churches that never mentioned sex other than to say how evil it was. Marital sex was never talked about in a positive light. From the pastor on down, sex was a taboo subject. Gemma wrongly assumed that even marital sex was sinful since nobody would address it. Ten years ago we finally said "enough already" and totally walked away from those legalistic churches. For a month we stayed home on Sunday mornings because we left our comfort zone but then we didn't know where to go until we discovered the Christian Orthodox Faith. In Orthodoxy we were forced to face the sins which we previously clung to. Our Orthodox priests were more concerned about our heart issues rather than keeping up phony appearances of being spiritual.

I'll have to list these in 2 comments so it will post.

Gemma said...

-I saw that Gemma wasn't responding well with me pursuing her so I began backing off and leaving her be. I stopped most physical affects towards her. Hugs and kisses were scarce and never sexual. Gemma asked me to stop sleeping in our bedroom so I agreed and began sleeping on the sofa downstairs. The silver lining in this was that it gave both of us more time to reflect on what we were doing to and for our marriage.

-Then we began working harder on communicating better. I began getting right in her face and asking her what was wrong and I demanded answers. In the past she'd give me vague answers which didn't help. Now I was demanding that she give me straight answers. Gemma tells me that at this point I was persistent, relentless and in her face all the time pushing for answers and when she wouldn't give them, our discussions turned into arguments. We were arguing all the time. Things got really ugly before they got better.

-Gemma finally saw she needed to change because, in her words, "you would not get off my back". She told me later that she knew she was losing me. It was me pushing and pushing, her reading Schlessinger's book and then ultimately her finding TMB forum. Once she discovered TMB she finally began understanding what I had been saying all along. Next thing I knew Gemma was sexually pursuing me. I was still sleeping downstairs but she began inviting me to the bedroom. One thing led to another and we began having sex.

Recapping---

-both of us maturing
-church changes, leaving comfort zone, leaving the familiar
-me emotionally and sexually backing off giving both of us space and time to reflect
-me being persistent and in her face all the time about it. I admitted that things couldn't continue as they were. CHANGE HAD TO HAPPEN.
-and finally her putting it all together and seeing where her thinking had been wrong

Gemma said...

Hi, this is Gemma speaking----- Just wanted to explain in case we need to clear up any confusion.

GR only has time to come here on the weekends. At least for now we're thinking that having him reply on my gmail account would better assure that one of us will daily see all incoming comments and emails addressed to him. Since I'm the one of the two of us who’s always here, each day I organize everything addressed to him in a separate area so when he comes here on the weekends he can quickly see what’s there for him and easily get to the business of replying. I want him to be able to focus all his time here on writing; I can do the organizing for him. I’m trying to make this as easy as possible for him so I’m like his secretary, only with benefits, iykwim ;-) ;-).

The alternative would be for him to open his own account but then if he did that, it would be double work for me since he’s only here on the weekends. Daily, I would have to check 2 separate accounts in order to keep his stuff organized. If you guys are OK with this system for now it would keep things simpler for me. Early in each comment and email which GR writes, he will identify himself as the writer. I try to edit for clarity all that he writes. (ie, He’s a better speaker than writer.) If he forgets to identify himself and it's confusing, feel free to ask which of us it is. So the rule of thumb-- If neither of us is identified, it is likely me writing. Otherwise, it's GR. If anyone has a better idea which would be low maintenance for us, I’m all ears.

Thanks to all...

TrashCanFoundling said...

GR,

You are to be commended for having the courage of David facing Goliath, and the patience of Job when suffering under Gemma's refusal. I'm sure you were told that you had every right to leave her when she refused you for so long, but I must congratulate you for sticking with it long enough to help Gemma learn something better.

I would like to think that every couple with "mismatched libidos" or where one partner is "sexually refusing" can muster the will and the love (why would learning to love your partner in a new and better way not be loving?) to overcome the prejudices/psychological trauma/mistaken beliefs that stand in the way of a lovingly romantic AND lovingly sexual relationship.

You and Gemma are living proof that such a positive turnaround is possible, and I hope that you keep your blog up so as to serve as an example of how such a change can happen or how it might be done for others.

Signed,

TrashCanFoundling

Gemma said...

TrashCanFoundling said:

"I'm sure you were told that you had every right to leave her when she refused you for so long, but I must congratulate you for sticking with it long enough to help Gemma learn something better."

Actually from the early 80's until the year 2000 we never discussed our marriage bed issues with anyone. Gemma always wanted to keep it secret and, unfortunately, I went along with the plan to keep peace at home. In 2000 we began attending the (Christian) Eastern Orthodox Church. That's when we finally felt free enough to admit to our pastor what we were going through and thus began the healing process. Like Gemma has shared, the complete healing didn't come about until 2006.

Gemma said...

That last comment was from GR, not Gemma.

job29man said...

GR,

Why didn't you divorce Gemma during 25 years of chronic refusal?

Why didn't you "out her" to the pastors/elders in your church for church discipline?

Job

job29man said...

GR,

Let me start by saying that you are a hero to me. A man who would stand by his vows through 25 years of refusal is... well.... heroic.

Second. I admire your wife for who she has become and for her selfless ministry to others with a level of honesty and transparency which is extraordinary. Her self-criticism is the kind of honesty that speaks to many!

I just felt like I had to say that bro'.

Now... eroticism... spanking ... bondage ... etc. In a few short years you seem to have compressed a lifetime of sexual maturation. It seems like you are making up for a lifetime of loss by going into hyperdrive to explore new sexual territory.

Bravo for you, I say! (grin) But also I'm interested... Gemma says that you are by nature a gentle soul... but it seems you explore together a more aggressive, and even "edgy" side of married sexuality.

What is going through your head? Are you acting out of character? Or are you realizing a suppressed side of your character? Or are you simply being to your wife what she needs you to be, or how does all that work?

What's going through your heart and head?

Love,

Job

Gemma said...

[A reply from GR]

>>>>>>Why didn't you divorce Gemma during 25 years of chronic refusal?

Job,

The reason I didn’t divorce Gemma was because I made a commitment to her and I vowed to keep it. The “D” word didn’t even come up in my thoughts. She and I are both glad now that we didn’t divorce but she still doesn’t fully understand why I chose to put up with her all those years.

>>>>>>>Why didn't you "out her" to the pastors/elders in your church for church discipline?

Our pastors/elders then wouldn’t have done anything if I had brought it before them. We were in a cult. It was a large, nondenominational church which was not ‘marriage-friendly’. Their main agenda was to grow the cult/church. If a couple had to spend time at home working on marriage or family issues, the church saw it as interference in ‘God’s work’. The words ‘God’ and ‘church’ were used interchangeably so if you missed a service or backed away from ministry for personal reasons you were letting God down. You were considered ‘lukewarm’ or even considered to be in a ‘backslidden’ state. Helping marriages and families didn’t exactly fit in with their plan. Especially the pastors and elders there had major problems on the home front but it was assumed that if the problems were just put it in God’s hands leaving time and energy to devote to church ministries, God would bless them. That’s the nature of cults. A large number of those couples are now divorced and many of their kids are totally immersed in the most wicked lifestyles you can imagine. The church was not a good place to fix marriage issues.

Kindest regards,
GR

Gemma said...

[A reply from GR]

>>>>>>>>>>>Now... eroticism... spanking ... bondage ... etc. Gemma says that you are by nature a gentle soul... but it seems you explore together a more aggressive, and even "edgy" side of married sexuality. What is going through your head?

Job,

Several years ago Gemma and I decided together to not put those limits on our sexuality so we could explore more things together. A person can be gentle overall while still having an aggressive side in bed. I am typically calm, easy going, and in control of my emotions [German dad, Scottish mom] so sometimes it feels good to let inhibitions go and allow another side of me to come out in the safety and privacy of our marriage bed. I grew up the oldest of three boys and often enjoyed bullying and dominating my brothers. I’d take their shoes and hide them in the snow. We’d rough house and I’d pin them down. As a school project I made a set of stocks in our basement. One day while our parents weren’t home I got one of my brothers to get in the stocks so I could see if they’d work. I locked him in place and told him he was in my dungeon. Then I turned off the lights and left him in the dark basement for a couple of hours. We were always trying to come up with new ways to intimidate each other but I was the oldest, biggest and strongest so I usually had the upper hand.

I don’t bully Gemma but I do like to dominate her in bed and maybe it goes back to the childhood ways, who knows? I was a dominating brother, now I’m a dominating husband who likes to call the shots in bed. My wife likes being the "naughty slave/wife" calling me "master" when we're in bed. She actually tells me, “Thank you, Master,” when she orgasms and even whenever we have sex. She and I see a heightened eroticism in our roles of sub and dom. It keeps our marriage bed lively. Gemma has told me that part of her comfort in the sub role goes back to all the years she had to have control as it kept her miserable and exhausted. Giving up that control has given her new freedoms and enjoyment. Being a sub is her way of relaxing and of feeling love and security from me. She initiates sex as often as I do but she is a sub through and through.

Some marriage beds are always in crisis because both couples want to dominate, like all chiefs and no Indians. It doesn’t work. When a wife regularly controls in bed it usually makes the husband out to be a wuss or wimp and the wife is often miserable because she can’t look up to her husband with respect. It just goes against the way God created man and woman. I learned this the long, hard way. Wives who love their marriage bed want and need a husband who is not afraid to take charge in a loving, proactive way. Not all couples want a D/s relationship but most couples have a healthy, passionate marriage bed when the husband takes his rightful place. As you can tell Gemma and I do not buy into feminism. We are both secure in our roles.

If there are other questions about this, just go ahead and ask. Gemma tells me I’m a man of few words. She’s right, I don’t ramble much but if I’m not explaining well enough just ask more questions.

Kindest regards,
GR

job29man said...

Thanks for taking the time to give those thorough answers GR!

Gemma said...

--------GR here----------

It's been a long time since I have been here. Gemma and I have been busy hanging out at hospitals and recuperating at home.

Please accept my sincere thanks, all of you who have thought good thoughts for us and who have kept us in your prayers these past couple of months.

It seems that we are finally on the mend, not 100% back to normal, but we are getting there. Gemma even asked for sex night before last, which we did, so I know she's getting back to her frisky self. I was waiting for her to let me know when she was up to it after her surgery. Her one incision is way larger and more painful than my two. We haven't measured them but on a guess I'd say that my two incisions total about 5 inches in length. Hers may be more like 15-18 inches, a big one!

Now that we’re no longer commuting to hospitals every day Gemma and I hope to be more active here on her blog. I know that this is one of her passions in life.

See ya,
GR

ivan said...

Hello,
Thank you two for your openness and honesty.
My question/request for more info.
GR, how did you make remaining a refuser less comfortable in a way that didn't cause more damage than healing. I understand that it wasn't a fun process, and like physical therapy it hurt. But it was constructive.

Gemma said...

ivan, we didn't forget about you here. Since you posted your comment GR has been up to his earlobes with job-related projects and has not been home a whole lot. I'll have him get to your comment asap.

Commited Husband said...

I stumbled upon Dr. Laura Schlessinger's book: _The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands_ and had a rude awakening when reading it. Later, I ran into the forum at themarriagebed.com , where I lurked for weeks trying to understand how sex in a Christian marriage could be fun and fulfilling and how it could lead our relationship into healing and restoration.


How did you "stumble on to " Dr. Laura's book? I bought this book and left it in my office. My wife saw it and exploded with anger.
Yes we have issues and working on myself more than my wife is working on herself

job29man said...

I'll bet GR has something to say about how he confronted Gemma with her behavior. Committed Husband, you probably need to confront your wife even more. There is certainly no reason to explode in anger.

Gemma said...

Dear Readers,

My sincere apologies for my husband and I neglecting this portion of my blog. Our original plan was for me to regularly check it for comments/questions, bring them to GR's attention and then for him to reply.

Well, that hasn't happens. GR's work responsibilities at his job have hugely changed. His salary has gone up, which I can't deny that we are pleased about, but with the increased salary came increased work hours and responsibilities. We knew that his hours would increase when he accepted the change so it has not been a surprise.

Although the increased work load will always be there for GR, we hope that some of it will level off as he continues to get those job-related problems in order. I wish I could say when that will happen but we won't know until he "gets there". Meanwhile, I cannot in good faith place added pressure on my dh to devote his little free time in answering questions here. If and when he is able to get back to this I will let everyone know with an announcement on the main portion of my blog.

There are times when a reader will ask me questions pertaining to GR's POV and if I can honestly answer it I will. The only times I would do that would be when I truly know the answer or if I can slip the question to him during the little bits of time we're together and get his answer. Otherwise I'd have to just say "dunno" because I never want to misrepresent my husband.

Thank you all so much for your support and your dedication to reading and making comments on my blog. Continue to feel free to email me anytime you have comments or questions which you'd prefer to keep private.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Gemma

Leftmost said...

I was just wondering what you have to say about contraception. Some of us would like to have healthy sex lives, but...maybe not 14 kids.

I once heard an Orthodox Priest give a talk on contraception, but he seemed to think contraception was just the other side of abortion and that it was a conspiracy to kill off the human race. I don't think it ever occurred to him that there might be people who actually want to limit their offspring.
In case you want to know who I'm referring to:
bit.ly/a1bpRL

I just wonder if this guy is speaking for a majority, or the whole Church, when he refers to it as, "contraception culture" and condemns any kind of sex which is barren.

What are your thoughts on this?

Gemma said...

This is me, Gemma, writing not GR.

GR and I have no problem with folks using contraceptive methods as long as the method does not cause a fetal abortion. This is also the stance that our priest and his wife take.

As for your OrthodoxyToday.org link and Fr. Johannes Jacobse, who maintains the site... I am not familiar with the site or with him.

Leftmost said...

Unfortunately, Fr. Josiah Trenham, who wrote that article is a favorite of my parish priest so he comes and speaks every year (I try to avoid him). He's against contraception, he insults small, "dinky" families, seems to be against women in the work place, and is upset that more women don't wear skirts on college campuses.

Unfortunately, this has been my Orthodox experience. Outside of this Orthodox speaker who seems to condemn just about everything that isn't procreative, including non-intercourse sex I haven't really been able to find as much as I would like about the Orthodox Church's position on sex.

Do you know of any valuable resources? Can you recommend any speakers?

Gemma said...

Leftmost,

This is Gemma speaking.

Are you part of the Antiochian Orthodox Church or another? I have to ask because GR and I have sat under 4-5 different Antiochian priests in 2 different parishes (ie, we moved once) and neither of them ever pushed Fr. Trenham's agendas. Also, since you don't seem to agree with his theology, is it possible for you to attend a different Orthodox Church? If we wanted to, and we don't, we could choose from among at least 6-8 good Orthodox Churches in our area. Do you have that option? I am no feminist but if my parish priest backed up someone like this Fr. Trenham, I would run far away and my dh would tell you the same thing. He is NOT offering Christian Orthodox teachings. Instead, he is teaching his own agenda.

Orthodox resources and speakers? A couple of my favorite speakers for adults are Fr. Peter E. Gillquist and Fr. Thomas Hopko.

Fr. Peter E. Gillquist: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_E._Gillquist , former minister of Campus Crusade for Christ, ordained Orthodox priest in 1987. Fr. Gillquist, among other things, wrote Becoming Orthodox. When he spoke to the teens at our church he was so right to the point that he even had some of the teens blushing. There are many Orthodox priests who have a healthy sexual POV regarding the marriage bed. You happened to have stumbled upon a bad one. His son, Fr. Peter Jon Gillquist, was ordained in 2005 and is a favorite speaker among teens and young adults.

Fr. Thomas Hopko: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Thomas_Hopko , wrote the 4-vol series The Orthodox Faith (ie, Doctrin, Worship, Bible & Church History, Spirituality).

Ancient Faith Radio: http://ancientfaith.com/ is an excellent resource. I often keep it running when I'm doing other things on my laptop.

I’m not familiar with Orthodox Speakers Bureau: http://www.orthodoxspeakers.com/ but you may find it useful.

I hope some of this will be useful to you.

Gemma

Leftmost said...

"Are you part of the Antiochian Orthodox Church or another?"

I'm Antiochian.

"I have to ask because GR and I have sat under 4-5 different Antiochian priests in 2 different parishes (ie, we moved once) and neither of them ever pushed Fr. Trenham's agendas."

Yes, well, unfortunately in my experience his views are quite popular, so much that I just sort of figured they were the mainstream opinion for a long time.

"Also, since you don't seem to agree with his theology, is it possible for you to attend a different Orthodox Church? If we wanted to, and we don't, we could choose from among at least 6-8 good Orthodox Churches in our area. Do you have that option?"
No. There is only one Mission Church about an hour away, and it is run by our own two priests.

"I am no feminist but if my parish priest backed up someone like this Fr. Trenham, I would run far away and my dh would tell you the same thing. He is NOT offering Christian Orthodox teachings. Instead, he is teaching his own agenda."
Yes, he has bothered me on several occasions. Sometimes with his remarks that women should only mind their own home, other times but suggesting families with fewer than 5-7 kids are "dinky". I was bothered by how much of his opinions he backed up with tradition and theology, to the point where I would wonder if he was teaching mainstream Orthodoxy and I was the only one who didn't agree with him.
Although since his emphasis on procreation was so high, I have to wonder if his thinking isn't a little more RC than EO and his understanding of biology a little more medieval than modern. He condemned the wasting of "seed" as sacrifice to the devil. So you can imagine what it was like to be 18 and have to hold it in, with such a strong condemnation.

Anyway thanks for the recommendations I am familiar with those priests, although I haven't heard them speak much on sex. I'll look them up and see what they have to say.

Gemma said...

"Also, since you don't seem to agree with his theology, is it possible for you to attend a different Orthodox Church? If we wanted to, and we don't, we could choose from among at least 6-8 good Orthodox Churches in our area. Do you have that option?"

>>>>>>>>>>>>No. There is only one Mission Church about an hour away, and it is run by our own two priests.

Oh, man, that’s too bad. I have to tell you, our last move was clear across the U.S. continent. GR needed a better job but we lived in an area where the economy was far worse than it is in Michigan and there were only 2 Christian Orthodox Churches, ours and a Greek church. When he began searching for a new job we purposely chose this area, one of the reasons was for the abundance of Christian Orthodox Churches… the other reason was for the lakes ;-).

>>>>>>>>>>>>I was bothered by how much of his opinions he backed up with tradition and theology, to the point where I would wonder if he was teaching mainstream Orthodoxy and I was the only one who didn't agree with him.

Without accountability anybody can make their spiritual and/or moral opinions *seem to* line up with tradition, theology, scripture, etc. I am a firm believer in pastors/priests being under spiritual authority which brings me to my next question. How can this priest be recognized by the Antiochian Archdiocese when he is clearly not teaching true Christian Orthodox theology? Our current priest and the priests we’ve had in the past could not teach anything that was not true Orthodox theology. They can have opinions about things but if it is not true Orthodox theology they cannot teach it as such. If they talk about anything that is merely their opinion it has to be presented as opinion.

Leftmost said...

Hey, I've been looking for something about Orthodox sexual ethics from the people you mentioned, Fr. Thomas Hopko, Fr. Peter but I can't find anything that I'm looking for. In fact a lot of the stuff I'm finding is strangely in agreement with Fr. Josiah with an exception of contraception...sort of...as can be evidenced on the goarch website.

What does your own priest say? Just out of curiosity, I'm guessing he's much more liberal, given your sidebar links.

I remember searching Orthodox teachings on things like, masturbation. I found an article that called it, "self-abuse" and suggested for that reason alone it's obviously sinful, then an Archbishop Chrysostomos, said that it can cause you to turn gay. No evidence just...you know it's bad...I mean, it's called "self-abuse" so it MUST turn you gay. How could it NOT. Oh, and of course it's selfish, which raises the question of mutual masturbation but I don't wanna blow his mind.

Then there's the apparent judgment call on couples who've decided not to have children, they must obviously be selfish. I mean, why else would a couple not want children? Even if they donated more of their time to the Church and worked with other people's kids, if they don't have any of their own, GASP! Those selfish people!

Anyway, I'm trying to find information but it's sparse and depressing. Maybe it's better to avoid marriage completely.

Anonymous said...

I've heard, secondhand, that there is a teaching in orthodox circles that masturbation is being a 'malakos', which means 'soft' and is the word translated 'effiminate' in I Corinthians 6 in the KJV.

There are two words for practicters of homosexuality in I Corinthians 6, arsenokoites, and malakos (forgive me if I butcher the Greek.) One probably refers to the dominant man in a homosexual act-- the arsenokoite, the 'man-bedder'--the one getting attention to a certain organ. The other probably refers to the one giving attention to the other guy's organ.

My guess is that the argument is that if you are doing something a homosexual would do to another guy-- to yourself, that you are supposed to be a malakos. I am not saying its true. I am just guessing at the reasoning.

Gemma said...

This is Gemma here.

GR and I wouldn't know about that teaching. We have never heard of it.

Husband Lover Friend (from TMB) said...

I really appreciate the both of you bringing hope to me by what you've overcome and your willingness to be open.

My DW doesn't refuse but I rarely feel desired by or connected to her. She thinks we have a great relationship.

I'm wondering, specifically, what GR prayed? What work/lesson did God do on his heart?

Thank you and God bless you both.

Gemma said...

This is Gemma here. GR is away from the house right now. My response got a bit lengthy so I'm posting it as 2 comments.

People get so technical about the phrase "sexual refusal". I guess nobody wants to admit to themselves or to others that there is something missing in their sexual relationship with their spouse. Just like here you say “my dw doesn’t refuse” but in that same breath you also say “I rarely feel desired or connected to her”. Well, just because a spouse doesn’t verbally say ‘no’ doesn’t mean they are ‘off the hook’. To GR and me, sexual refusal is way more than just a spouse saying 'no' to sex all or most of the time. Equally as important, refusal pertains to attitudes and issues of the heart and those are the things which end up manifesting in a spouse causing them to either be sexually selfish or sexually generous.

Typically, a sexually selfish spouse is blinded to their selfishness. I’ll speak for myself here so as not to offend anyone. I didn’t think I was selfish. I thought I was a good Christian and a good wife because, after all, I was always praying and reading my bible at home, always encouraging dh to pray and read with me, always at church whenever the doors were open, always busy with church ministries, etc, etc. How could I possibly be selfish? Everyone who knew us including our pastors only saw how I was outside of our bedroom. I would put on a front even to the point of pretending to be affectionate towards dh when we were around church friends. And yes, I thought we had a good relationship. It was good for me- I didn’t care that we weren’t having sex. Why should that bother my dh? Do you see what I mean? A selfish spouse doesn’t want to see themselves in a bad light so therefore they don’t see what their selfishness is doing to their spouse. My pride kept me thinking that everything was great. If I wouldn’t have been hanging on to my pride, I would have seen much sooner that we were having serious problems and that I was doing a terrible disservice to my dh.

All that to say this- Just like you accept your wife’s behavior and don’t want to think of her as being a refuser because she agrees to go through the motions of having sex with you even though emotionally she “checks out”… your wife also feels that her behavior is acceptable because after all, you can’t tell her, “You won’t have sex with me.” She’s agreeing to the sex but along with it she’s ignoring her attitudes and issues of her heart. Our actions always reveal our heart condition, ALWAYS. Whether or not we speak of that which is in our heart, is irrelevant. Our actions tell all.

Gemma said...

The rest of my response...

You asked me what GR prayed and what lesson did God do on his heart. At the point in our marriage where we both began to see more clearly what we needed to do…. was when we left the Protestant Faith and began attending a Christian Orthodox church in the year 2000. (Not pushing Orthdoxy here but you asked.) In the Orthodox Faith we no longer were able to hide behind pride. The sin of pride is a biggie in the Orthodox Faith. It wasn’t so in the Protestant churches we were in and I’m not saying that all Protestant churches are that way but the non-denominational ones we were in encouraged pride rather than discouraged it, especially spiritual pride. If we looked spiritual to others in the church than we were indeed spiritual. Didn’t matter how we were at home and in our bedrooms behind closed doors. We looked good in front of others. We knew how to talk the talk but secretly we weren’t walking the walk.

This: http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Prayer%20Rule.html is just a sample prayer rule and is way more than what most Christian Orthodox pray each day.

Here are some other links which detail how we now pray:

http://www.antiochian.org/orthodox-prayers (This is the little prayer book that GR and I always keep handy.)

http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/

http://www.orthodoxprayer.org/Prayers%20for%20All%20Occasions.html

When I was praying “made up” prayers I always overlooked my deepest sins because I was so busy puffing myself up with “who I was in Christ”. That sort of praying may work for many of you but it didn't work for us and it certainly didn't work for me. Now that GR and I pray from written prayers, these prayers take us to the deepest, darkest places of our heart so we can do a thorough housecleaning.

Husband Lover Friend (from TMB) said...

Thanks for the fast and detailed response. (I did say specific :-)

I agree wholeheartedly with your's and GR's definition of "refuser". I know something has been missing for 18 of our 20 years (DW gets offended each time I say that). Part of it has to do with BetaBlockers. Part is I can get depressed and be pretty dark/needy to be around if I feel slighted (my area for growth) but am generally not a wimp and can confront her when needed. And as I've learned reading your blog and TMB, part is DW's selfishness. In her defense DW does try to accomodate many of my requests but I know she's not that into them, just trying to bless me, but then I can tell by her actions (which don't match her words) that she's only half there. Can't tell you how many times I've told her that her actions is what I believe, not her words (she doesn't see any discrepancy). She loves but only up to a point. I love, but conditionally. Our standoff.

I will look up those links you mentioned. DW and I have had some exposure to Antiochian Orthodoxy. We were attending Vinyard church in San Jose, CA when Pastor Chuck (Charles) Bell converted the church to Orthodoxy. Quite a switch. I was raised Catholic (I did the Altar Boy bit) and got a good lesson in church history during the switchover.

I think Orthodoxy is fine but was really creeped out by the whole "venerating the icons" thing. Felt too much like the bondage in Catholic church (yes, there are many good Catholics), kissing things made by man. I fully agree that it is not worship of the image or the person in the icon but it feels borderline to me. I also agree that we are praying with the whole company of saints that have gone before us. From what you've described based on where you and GR were and are now, the Orthodox church must be doing something right!

I lose hope at times but am now back to hoping and praying God will bless us with the relationship that each of us longs for.

Again, thank you both so much for the blessing of this ministry that you do.

Gemma said...

Please know that I am not trying to convert you to Christian Orthodoxy. The way we practice our Christian faith is very personal and nobody should try and bulldoze us into following their beliefs.

I am well acquainted with Vineyard Church and yes, I agree, it is a huge switch to go from Vineyard to Christian Orthodoxy. My dh and I were both raised Roman Catholic and were in the RC church for about 20 years. He, too, was an altar boy. At one time my dh thought about becoming a RC priest and I had thought about becoming a RC nun. GR and I spent about 20 years as RC, 20 years as Protestants and now it’s been 10 years as Christian Orthodox in the Antiochian Archdiocese. I hear you on the Church History. In all my life I never learned so much Church History as I did when we converted to Orthodoxy. We now have an extensive home library of books on Early Church History.

Our first Orthodox priest/pastor was an ex-Southern Baptist guy. He was the one who initially helped me to see that my refusing was wrong. Then we moved across the country. Our current pastor is an ex-RC priest and his wife is an ex-RC nun. They are the most wonderful pastors I have ever had. When I shared with them about my refusing years they were extremely vocal about letting me know how I could not be that way anymore… that my refusing had to stay in the past. Now, I couldn’t agree with them more. They live only a few blocks from us so my pastor’s wife and I get to visit each other on a regular basis. Our relationship is very cool.

To be honest, I was sort of creeped out the first time I first attended an Orthodox Liturgy with all the icons, incense and stuff. My dh and I both have negative feelings about our time spent in the RCChurch. But the more we learned about Orthodoxy, the more we realized how so far removed it is from RCChurch practices. The kissing, lol, yeah it is different if you’re not used to it but I did come to terms with it because I have photos of my deceased mom and I regularly kiss the photos simply out of love and respect for my mom. My reasoning was this—What is the difference between kissing my mom’s photos and kissing the icons of the Saints who have gone before us? So in the very beginning, becoming Orthodox almost felt like RCChurch bondage but once we learned the Church History it was like finally, FINALLY coming home. Orthodoxy has saved my marriage… I can now say that without a doubt. But I always say that Orthodoxy is not for everyone. If you can’t love and worship God in the Orthodox Church then you don’t belong in it. Each of us need to stay in the church where we can flourish as Christians. For me, I could not see my sexual sins towards my dh while in the Protest Church. Once we became Orthodox, it all became so clear.

Enough of my babbling. I pray that you and your wife will soon come to an agreeable understanding of what you guys want for your marriage bed.