An Open Plea for Marital Advice

This post comes from mmiles, who has posted earlier at BCC (here and here), and who appears to have unilaterally extended an invitation to guest post to her husband. The BCC Subcommittee on Guest Blogging Ethics has been convened and is considering formal disciplinary action.

Last night my wife and I went to bed by eleven, but didn’t fall asleep until well after midnight. It began with those subtle hints and gestures back and forth, as each of us tried to determine whether the other had the interest and energy to see it all the way through. But one thing led to another, passion and excitement surged, and we soon found ourselves in the throes of a heated Bible discussion. It got a little rough and uncomfortable at times, and at one point she got sufficiently frustrated to stop everything and go to sleep. There followed a few quiet minutes in which I lay there anxious and unsatisfied. But this time I was persistent, and soon the intensity returned and built further. For her, climax of the discussion came a little earlier that it did for me, but the end result was the same for both of us. When it was all over, we lay side by side in silence, enjoying the lingering sense of intimacy. It had been weeks since we’d been in that place – those moments have become increasingly more infrequent over the last few years. I know what the problem is, I know it’s become widespread in society and in the church, and I hope some of you can help me find a path forward.

We used to have tons of great gospel discussions – sometimes more than once a night. When her interest appeared to dwindle, I thought it might represent a temporary distraction due to the stresses of child rearing, church service, and everything else. But then late one night I awoke to find myself alone. I found her in the dark living room, sitting at the computer, transfixed by images and words that flashed on the screen. That’s how I discovered her addiction to the Bloggernacle, and that she had welcomed a filth into the walls of our sanctuary. She’s tried to quit, but promises and restraint are inevitably stymied by the desire to fill that need that I can apparently no longer satisfy.

My wife’s blog problem erodes her self control and consumes much of her time. When she comes in through the front door, she heads straight to the computer. Sometimes she’s there looking at blog when the rest of us are at the dinner table, or when it’s time to put the kids to bed. Sometimes the kids are even in the room when it’s going on. A couple months ago she got a blackberry, giving her easy access to blog no matter where she is. Since then, I’ve actually caught her sneaking a glimpse in the foyer between sacrament meeting and Sunday school.

I’ve been ashamed to ask for help, but recently the situation has progressed to a disturbing new level. Several times now I’ve walked in on her and found her having scriptural discussions with herself. The first few times (as far as I know), this happened while or just after looking at blog online. But now it’s to the stage that if she can’t get to the computer she can intellectually satisfy herself. Sometimes I hear her, but usually she’s silent and I can only tell what’s going on by the intense look on her face (I apologize for being so graphic, but I think the details illustrate the scope of the problem). Just like when she’s looking at blog, if I catch her and try to say something, she’s so absorbed that she literally does not even hear me.

Blog addiction is a grossly antisocial behavior that corrupts the addict and drives away those that love her. There can be no middle ground. I’ve tried to have the same kind of pseudo-intellectual gospel discussions with her that I imagine she’s seeing online, but it’s always over quickly, and I’m left feeling fake, used, and a little cheap.

Some will say I have unrealistic expectations, or even label me a hypocrite. I’ve heard the claims that everyone, especially every man, has a blog problem to some degree. I’m well aware how pervasive it has become in our society. Sometimes you click on what looks like a link to a harmless news site, but then some blog pops up instead… But I’ve never sought it out, and I’ve certainly never made a habit of it.

So how do I show her that what she’s looking at online is not reality? That she doesn’t know those people, and some of them might not even be real? That blog is no substitute for healthy human relationships, nor does it resemble them? Finally, how do I convince her that blog can never satisfy emotionally and intellectually in the same way our marital relations could if only we would put in the effort?

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Comments

  1. Have you tried watching videos of other couples discussing the gospel? Maybe instead of selfishly expecting her to fight her habit, you should be looking for ways to enjoy it together.

    Just an idea.

  2. Wow. First comment out of the gate and I think we have a winner.

    Comments closed.

  3. yessssss!

  4. Niblet winner, that.

  5. I said closed!

  6. Dang, Scott, why you gotta post at the same time as me?

  7. Only gst can close threads, Sunshine.

  8. Sorry. I forgot about my glaring lack of priesthood.

  9. That was awesome. Bravo.

  10. Mark Brown says:

    I must raise a warning voice about the dangers of watching videotaped discussions of other people discussing the gospel. If you are even considering this, I plead with you to heed my words.

    The other night while flipping through the channels, I came upon a very unseemly show on KBYU TV. It depicted, of all things, several men together engaging in a discussion of Isaiah and they were having at it, right there in front of the camera. It was truly awful, absolutely the worst thing I have seen on TV in at least 6 months, and that is saying something. I wish I could unsee it, but the memory is seared, seared into my brain.

    I have been told by others that now and then these men actually invite a woman to join them in their perversions. It just goes to show that you can’t trust the filth on TV these days, even KBYU.

  11. mmiles husband your talk of addiction and obsessed behavior seems based in what I have at one time or another heard called “the soft sciences” or “pseudo-science”. How can we know the behaviors you are observing are really a problem or if they actually serve a greater purpose. You can’t, you can only know worthless anecdotal evidence, or statistically weak correlations due to the quote, unquote science you are employing. Perhaps you should turn your attention and efforts to a real subject or science like oh I don’t know, Rocket Science or Physics.

    But really, I too am I bloggernacle widower and have been enjoying all the free time it gives me.

  12. “I wish I could unsee it, but the memory is seared, seared into my brain.”

    It’s true. The same channel that allows me to view “The Ark” and other amazingly uplifting materials can, “without filters and controls, allow my children or grandchildren access to a global cesspool of perceptions that could blast a crater in their brains forever.”

  13. Fletcher says:

    Pretty soon, we’ll have to refer to it as “bl0g”, since we don’t want nefarious evil doers stumbling upon an otherwise wholesome BCC by accident via a search for the “other” word.

  14. Mark Brown says:

    Seriously people. Watching other people discuss the gospel is wrong. It starts out with furtive glimpses on TV, maybe late at night or when your spouse is out running errands. But it is like a river of fire which, if not banked and cooled, soon leads its victims to such degrading fleshpots of sin as BYU Education Week. There, in broad daylight, people really do sit for hours at at time watching live acts of flagrant gospel discussion. It’s right there on stage, as big as Dallas. Or so I’ve heard.

  15. (afraid to let sister manaen read this)

  16. Chad Too says:

    My work appears weekdays on KBYU and involves about a dozen young people, but almost always more women than men. And they do what I tell them to. For many this activity becomes a long-term career. I don’t know whether to repent or brag…

  17. mellifera says:

    I take issue with this OP– the author is pathologizing a perfectly normal behavior, to who-knows-what detriment of innocent people. Reading blogs together and the ensuing gospel discussions are one of our favorite things to do as a couple! The only problem I can see would be if it becomes such a significant expenditure of time that it crowds out other wholesome recreational activities. (Crap! Uh… don’t worry, we can quit anytime we want.)

    We take a very blog-positive approach in our lifestyle. In fact, Mr. Mellifera is currently out of country doing dissertation research and we’ve found that one of our favorite ways to stay connected is to read each other blogs over Skype. It’s AWESOME! Skype-blogging has definitely helped us in our efforts to “keep in touch,” wink wink nudge nudge, during this long separation. Forget the haters– we give it two big Bibles up!

  18. Thank you for sharing your perspective, painful as your experience is. All too often we treat gospel discussions and blogging as if they are only a male problem when in reality women are just as susceptible to the dangers of addiction.

  19. Viewing gospel discussions online is perfectly normal. Some people need more gospel interaction than others and, if their spouse isn’t interested in the same kind/frequency of discussions, what is the other spouse to do? Finding a suitable outlet is healthy, whether experienced in private or online. What? Would you rather she start meeting up with study partners in her area?

  20. a random John says:

    I believe this is where DKL would normally step in and state that the Bloggernacle is like a clutch which allows two people who need different frequencies of gospel discussion to mesh nicely.

  21. What I don’t want to hear about is people discussing the gospel with animals.

  22. britt k says:

    I don’t know. I think viewing gospel discussions cheapens the experience. I don’t think you can feel the same emotions when you are merely watching people you don’t know…maybe mentally the experience isn’t that different, but I think it affects you spiritually. When the scriptures say where two or more are gathered in my name, I don’t think they mean virtually gathered.

    Perhaps by watching gospel discussions or participating in blogs on your own you will come to associate the mental stimulation of gospel discussion with something virtual instead of something real and meaningful. Besides by putting so much emphasis on gospel discussion we assume we need gospel discussion and it is our right to have it whenever we want, without taking into account other’s needs and feelings. That selflessness and patience makes for better gospel discussion.

    Are your children interupting your gospel discussion? Maybe you need a weekend away.

  23. mellifera says:

    Well, ’tis truth and reason make us men, after all.

  24. mellifera says:

    (Whoops! Simultaneous post– re #21.)

  25. Melynna says:

    You know, some people feel pretty strongly that things like this (I can’t even bring myself to name it!) are a violation of the marriage contract. You’ve obviously been suffering for quite some time from your wife’s selfish choices. If she won’t change I don’t think anyone would expect you to continue to try to make such a dysfunctional situation work.

    But really, the most important thing is to remember that none of this is your fault. Even if you were having deep, interesting conversations daily it wouldn’t change her behavior. Her mind has been warped by her own choices and the dark path she has gone down. You must not blame yourself. It’s not because of your cliched phrases or stale topics. Really, there’s nothing you can do to make her stop. It’s something she has to choose on her own.

    Also, I must tell you that there’s support out there. A lot of people are suffering just like you — more than you would expect. Find a good therapist or support group to help you find peace. I wish you only the best.

  26. I’m kind of tempted to point out that there is actually a great post in here about the dangers of becoming to involved in the Internet, blogs, etc…but it’s not really worth it. I’d rather continue reading wisecracks about teh bl0g.

  27. There is a troubled mind out there that was posting pictures online of lolkatz behind the general conference podium.

    Admittedly, there was very little (if any) actual gospel discussion being depicted or that was in fact going on at the site at that time … but it’s still very much a step in the wrong direction.

  28. Stephanie says:

    Alright, mmiles, did my husband put you up to this?

  29. Stephanie says:

    maybe late at night or when your spouse is out running errands

    Okay, seriously, you people know too much about me. Where is the video camera?

  30. (29)
    Now you are webcamming your own gospel discussions? Sicko.

  31. Mark Brown,
    I admit, those KBYU broadcasts have grown somewhat stale to me–they just don’t do it for me. Once, I even went to Women’s Conference, but as my addiction has gotten worse, I have delved into more deviant behavior like Dialogue, and even dappled in Sunstone.

  32. I second the recommendation that you find a good therapist or support group. Your bishop may be able to give suggest someone, but don’t expect him to be able to counsel you in these intimate matters.

    Seriously, I’ve heard horror stories about bishops who get too familiar with what goes on behind closed library doors, and even suggest specific acts (e.g. “baring” something or other to each other)!

  33. I must be off my game because I found this to be ew.

    I was going to say that maybe I just need to sleep but now I’m afraid I’ll be haunted in my sleep by images of some woman in the blogosphere in pajamas and a housecoat getting very happy with a wireless mouse, trying not to make noises. *shudder*

  34. Mm, pajamas and a housecoat. I’d bl0g that.

  35. “and even dappled in Sunstone.”

    You dappled?!? Have you no shame?

  36. LOL, Sunny.

  37. Mommie Dearest says:

    “So how do I show her that what she’s looking at online is not reality? That she doesn’t know those people, and some of them might not even be real?”

    I can’t believe we’ve reached 36 comments and no one has called out Mr miles on this. What, you mean this isn’t reality?

    I think you’ve all had your attention diverted by the seductive topic of gospel discussions.

  38. mmiles husband says:

    First let me say that I’m not at all comfortable with the irony of this situation. It’s after 11PM, and I’m laying on the floor in my two-year-old’s room. The light’s off, he’s in bed but not asleep, and I’m using my wife’s laptop to access online blog. She posted my letter while I was at work, then used it to lure me Palpatine-style into the very morasse from which it was meant to help her escape. I watched the discussions that are on this page and, sure, some of them stimulate and arouse, but with others I could only shudder and quickly avert my gaze. And for those of you who are acting in these roles, I can’t imagine how you can associate any depth and meaning with these relations. I mean, first it’s Kyle with Sunny from 3:04-3:30, then Scott jumps in 3 minutes later, then it’s Syphax with Sunny at 3:44, and it just goe on like that all afternoon and into the night…

    Joe, first let me say that you and your wife obvously have a very progressive reationship, but I just don’t think it’s for me. To quote the guy with lame horse, “If I bend that far, I’ll break.” Regarding your comment, I’m pretty sure that the correct usage of the term “soft sciences” is in describing chemistry and biology, while “pseudo-science” is a term used to describe biology, some of the more respectable branches of medicine, and philatelics (That’s right, there’s some overlap). The study of human behavior is technically more of pseudo-soft-science, a class in which personal anecdotal evidence (such as the damaging effects of my wife’s illness on our discussion-life) is more useful than supposed laws of wide applicability.

  39. mmiles husband says:

    Mmmmm, typos…

  40. mmiles husband says:

    “Find a good therapist or support group to help you find peace.”

    Melynna, you do not understand what real love is if you think my situation can be improved by paying someone to have discussions with me.

  41. Maybe new stimulating experiences need to enter into the relationship vocabulary.

  42. I really think the church creates this kind of problem. If they just recognized that this is normal human behavior, it would obviously just go away! How many times have I heard a GA in GC say that bl0gs and facebook are bad! And every time they do, it just creates guilt, and shame, and exacerbates the problem.

    Clearly, mmiles husband is either a scientist, or otherwise not performing up to mmiles’ intellectual Gospel level. Time for him to shape up! In fact, I’d suspect he probably works at some National Lab in California doing research in physics or something. He probably spends so much time thinking about nuclear fusion he has no time to follow the counsel of the prophets to become more well versed in the Gospel. Perhaps if he took better care of his spiritual self, and stopped “letting himself go.” No wonder mmiles is suffering!

    I think we really need to just recognize that it is normal for women to seek elsewhere when their gospel needs are not being met. Bl0gs don’t harm anyone, and we’re only damaging couples by insisting they keep their Gospel discussions between themselves! Bl0gs serve a very important function in our society! Free the intellectuals!! You go mmiles!

  43. Mark Brown says:

    Let’s be clear, people. This is a real problem for many people. Our leaders have told us time and time again that this is an activity which should happen daily. Once a week on Sunday, or even several times a week, is not adequate.

    Confidential word of advice to brother mmiles: You should not be unduly concerned about this problem. As a male, you reached your spiritual peak in your early twenties. That’s why the church calls missionaries that age, because that is when they are spiritual giants. As a man approaches high priest age he gradually loses interest in this sort of thing. I’ve seen commercials on ESPN for a product called Celestial or Cialis or something like that which shows a man and a woman lying in soaking tubs side by side, reading scriptures to each other. Maybe this could help.

    (Not that I would know any of this from personal experience, of course. I plan to be like Moses of old: “And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” Deuteronomy 34:7)

  44. Mark Brown (43),

    I don’t know which part of that comment I loved the most. I thought it was the part about young men reaching their spiritual peak, but then you brought in Celestial. I’m swooning over this comment.

  45. Once you get past the vivid images of housecoats and wireless mouses and contorted faces of… intellectual resolve, this conversation is delightful. And satisfying.

    Someone light me a cigarette.

  46. Glad you’re back, Natasha.

  47. JMB275
    It’s true. I often hear him say, “I believe in science.”
    What’s a girl to do?
    And I am so super spiritual.

  48. What I am gathering here is that those of us who are on teh bl0gs need to involve our spouses more. But what if our spouses say that they just aren’t interested? Is it wrong for me to turn to teh bl0gs in order to meet my natural needs for intellectual discussions about the C word and TMQs?

  49. Thanks, Sunny.

    My spouse would love to be involved in these conversations but he just can’t type fast enough. I think I still would have married him though if I knew it beforehand.

  50. I just want you all to know that I have to keep switching between different browser windows at work so no one sees what is going on here. There’s not much privacy in a cubicle.

  51. kevinf, you sound very experienced at this.

  52. Stephanie says:

    Mark B 43, you win! I actually did laugh out loud reading your comment (for several minutes).

    Clearly, mmiles husband is either a scientist

    Okay, now this is getting just plain scary. What else do you people know about me?

  53. Scott T. says:

    Due to an embarrassing condition I have, I try not to participate in gospel discussions. I prematurely speak before I think and it quickly ruins the experience for all involved. And to make matters worse I usually fall asleep before any discussions are finished.

  54. We discuss the gospel maybe twice a month. I know she closes her eyes and pictures Kevin Barney.

  55. Natasha, clearly I’m conflicted about all this. After all, Elder Ballard seems to encourage bl0gging, and even posting gospel discussion videos to Youtube. Some of my friends are even trying to have gospel discussions with complete strangers. I feel guilty no matter where I turn.

  56. The post and these comments are full of WIN! I haven’t smiled this much since the last Police Beat. =)

  57. I can’t help but think that if you provided your wife with more alluring gospel topics to discuss, then maybe she wouldn’t need to turn to bl0gs. Just an idea.

  58. All I can say is DON’T get her an iPad.

  59. By The Rules says:

    And beyond the obvious, blogging can bring virus’s into the home which can be detrimental to the hard….drive.

  60. Kevinf, since the church is now pimping out displaying members and their information on a church-owned website, I think you can stop furtively hiding your online activity. Let your freak flag fly!

    Sometimes it’s better with strangers– don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. There are no inhibitions. You can be brazen. If they decide they don’t like what you have to offer, you’ll never see them again anyway.

    Let’s get it on.

  61. (blush)

  62. kevinf: (You can even use a fake name and disguises! And if it all goes to hell, you can find a different name and perhaps a sunnier disposition and have better luck.)

  63. Aw, shucks! Someone edited my comments to make me look less stupid (or some other non-self-absorbed reason)! Thanks, Someone!

  64. I’m sorry, but I don’t think anyone, even at the beginning of a temple marriage, has gospel discussions more than once a night. Puh-lease.

  65. Mrs. Mike says:

    I’ve got to say blog disgusts me. I hate how it objectifies priesthood holders and makes me feel cheap. I think part of my hate of blog stems from my own disgusting habit and addiction. I was able to kick it myself once I realized that it was a counterfeit for real life and I should spend my time working on real conversations vs. the falseness that is portrayed in blog.

  66. I have to say, this is by far most clever and funniest post, and conversational thread I have every read. Ever. Kudos to all who participated.

  67. mellifera says:

    I’ll say it again, phone-gospel-discussion has been a real boost in our current long distance relationship.

    *sigh* I still can’t wait until we can Bible-thump in person again.

  68. B. Russ says:

    For the most part I have blocked it out, as if it never happened. I try not to think about it. I think its time to be brave and own the truth.

    There were a couple times on the mission where I would, with my companion, discuss the gospel. We could do it for hours. In some situations, the conversation could stop, and then pick right back up where we left off the next day, as if it had been one long discussion. I did it with more than one of my companions.

    I think this is why gospel discussions with my wife often leave me . . . unfulfilled.

    That is why I turn to the bl0gs. I’m not proud of it, but it holds me over until I have the courage to admit to her, that I have SSDA.

  69. Mmiles – You might sit down with your wife sometime and find out what the problem is. Maybe your brain is just a little too small, or maybe she prefers object lessons.

    And if that doesn’t help, I know a very experienced female Professor who discusses deep gospel principals at a real cheap price!

  70. By the way, best discussion on the bloggernacle – EVER!

  71. Bible-thump! BCC has just now infiltrated the intimacies of my married life. I proclaim that henceforth my man and I shall “bible-thump”. Religiously.

    Congratulations, mellifera.

  72. mellifera says:

    Yesss! Bible-thumping FTW!

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