PODCAST: What Is the U.S. Military Teaching about Marriage?

by | May 27, 2021 | Marriage, Podcasts, Theology of Marriage and Sex | 48 comments

Podcast Mark Gungor and Military Teaching
Merchandise is Here!

Mark Gungor claims to be the #1 marriage teacher in the U.S. military, and I think it’s important to know what he is teaching.

As many of you know, last week an audio recording was published on The Wartburg Watch between pastor, comedian, and marriage teacher Mark Gungor, and a young woman from his congregation whose sexual abuse allegation he mishandled about 5 years ago.

Lexi (the young woman) saw me call Mark out on Twitter in early April for his behavior online, and for the first time since her assault felt emboldened to talk about it. She phoned him the next day and recorded the conversation, and it has now been published.

I wrote on Monday about that conversation; I’m a big part of it because Mark keeps trying to steer the conversation towards how much he’s being persecuted by my followers.

In today’s podcast, rather than talk about that audio, what we wanted to do was to look at what Mark actually teaches at his marriage retreats. His “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage” and “A Tale of Two Brains” are big parts of the Strong Bonds weekends in the military, and we thought it was worth asking if THIS is what the military believes is good for their troops to hear.

After this, I would like to let go of this and move on. However, given how influential Mark Gungor is in a very vulnerable group (military marriages have a 70% divorce rate, apparently), it’s worth asking this question. And I hope military chaplains may listen.

So listen in!

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

 

Main Segment: Is it healthy to portray sex as transactional and the sexes as polar opposites?

Mark’s messages can be whittled down to two main things:

  • Men mostly want sex. That’s why they deal with women–to get sex. Women, on the other hand, want connection. For men to get what they want, they need to be nice to the girl. For women to get what they want, they need to give him sex.
  • Men and women have different brains. Men’s brains are boxes. They’re compartmentalized. And the biggest box is the “nothing box.” Women think about everything all the time.

We analyzed two of his videos for this:

As you listen to the clips in the podcast, listen to how he depicts women–to the voices that he does. Listen to how he refers to women. And listen to how he frames the relationship between the sexes–that women are only good for sex, and men wouldn’t have anything to do with us if it weren’t for sex.

Is “The Nothing Box” a Thing?

Connor says the nothing box is actually a “privilege” box. As Rebecca said, “It’s easy to think about nothing if you don’t feel like you have to remember everything.”

The reason women’s brains have so much in them at all times is a function of mental load. When men carry less mental load for the family, they have a nothing box. When men become more involved with the kids and the family, or when they have very stressful work, they’re less likely to have nothing to think about. Thinking about nothing is a luxury.

The question, then, is this: Even if it’s true that most men have a nothing box, that does not mean that this is a good thing or that we should be teaching people how to deal with it. 

What if it’s a reflection of an unhealthy dynamic in the marriage?

I’d point people to my series on Mental Load here.

How does the military hire Mark?

On Facebook, a woman did some digging about the military contracts.

Many were awarded with no competitive bidding–they just hired Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage.

Mark Gungor Military Marriage

She further writes:

 

 

And we have a trail of contracts awarded to Gungor for his speaking services and/or published materials made available through the US Army, Navy, and Coast Guard. He has profited well from his brand of … ‘humor’. No wonder he feels powerful – he has been validated by the world’s biggest government.

Not to drive a wooden stake into a man, but as you can see here, the contracts were awarded to ‘strengthen’ the modern day warrior force – with the goal of stabilizing relationships, as described in the sole-source solicitation for services. In other words, Gungor had a direct ‘tap’ into the US DOD for buying his content – there was no competitive bid engaged and his material was unvetted for competence/rigor/performance/validity. His ongoing award of money from US taxpayers was unchallenged.

Contract Description:

“The Army Chief of Chaplains is the proponent for the Army’s Strong Bonds Program. It is a preventative skills based relationship building program, led by Army Chaplains designed to assist commanders in building, strengthening, preserving and restoring Army Families. Specialized training for single Soldiers and units being deployed or redeployed is also conducted by Unit Ministry Teams (UMTs). The curriculum identified below is the only authorized material to be utilized by UMTs when conducting Strong Bonds events. Modules from the primary authorized course i.e. Laugh Your Way to a Better

Marriage combined with PREP, PICKS, LINKS and Family Wellness will be used. Interested persons may identify their interest and capability to respond to the requirement or submit proposals.

This notice of intent is not a request for competitive proposals. However, all proposals received within two (2) calendar days after date of publication of this synopsis will be considered by the Government. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed contract base upon responses to this notice is solely within the discretion of the Government. Information received will normally be considered solely for the purpose of determining whether to conduct a competitive procurement. Requests can be emailed to David.Brown.14@ang.af.mil.

The 108th Wing requires the following items:

LI 001, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage DVD Set with Mark Gungor DVD Set includes the following DVDs:
1. The Tale of Two Brains (session 1- 73 min, session 2- 55 min
2. The #1 Key to Incredible Sex (session 1- 39 min, session 2- 35 min)
3. How to Stay Married and Not Kill Anyone (35 min)
4. FAQs with Mark (60 min)
Total running time = 6~ hrs,
LI 002, Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage Book ISBN-13: 1416536051 ISBN-10: 1416536051,
LI 003, Sex,Dating,Relating DVD Teen Edition By: Mark Gungor Four DVDs, approx. 4.5 hours total
The DVD set Sex, Dating and Relating contains four discs.
DISC 1: Mark explains the basic differences in how men and women are wired and how to better understand and work with those differences.
DISC 2: Mark explains the keys to dating smart and what to avoid during the process of dating in order to steer clear of trouble.
DISC 3: Contains information on sex from nation abstinence speaker Pam Stenzel teaching youth about the consequences of sex outside of marriage as well as Mark explaining more of the emotional impact it can have on people. He also addresses the issue of pornography use and masturbation.
DISC 4: Q & A session with Mark where he answers some of the commonly asked questions regarding sex and dating in his straight-forward manner.

Contracting Office Address:
108th Wing, 3369 Wonnacott Avenue, Room 10, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ 08641-5406
Point of Contact(s):
David A. Brown

I’m in Canada, not in the U.S., and I have no U.S. military contacts. But since most of my audience is American, I thought you may be interested in what your government is purchasing for their soldiers to learn.

And then…I get emotional.

I recorded part of this podcast on the weekend, right after I heard the audio, and learned that Shaunti Feldhahn, Kevin Leman, and Emerson Eggerichs were all talking with Mark about how to handle me, and were considering writing a joint statement. I was really emotional. I debated not including it in the podcast, but here’s the thing. I’m often told how I “should” react to all of this when authors call me out. How I should drop it, or else go to them personally, or “don’t put my pearls before swine.” And I understand all that, and I try to do that. 

But I don’t think you all understand the emotional toll of what it’s like behind the scenes. I’m still a person. And I’ve become so disillusioned with evangelicalism at large this year. These are my people–the evangelical world. And when we conduct high quality research that shows that women are being hurt, what’s the response? To attack me, to paint themselves as the victims, and to ignore the women and couples who are hurting.  I’m just really sad.

My birthday was this week, and I guess I thought that for my birthday, I was allowed to just say what I was really thinking. I’ll put the mask back on and be better again soon. But sometimes it’s a lot, and I wanted to let you know that. 

 

The Great Sex Rescue

Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.

What if you’re NOT the problem with your sex life?

What if the things that you’ve been taught have messed things up–and what if there’s a way to escape these messages?

Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.

Things Mentioned in This Podcast:

Mark Gungor Military Teaching on Marriage

Do you think the “nothing box” is about mental load? What do you think of calling women “chicks”? Are gender stereotypes helpful? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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48 Comments

  1. Kelly Ann

    Best podcast YET!!
    Sheila, when you were being vulnerable, I was crying along with you. I’ve followed this whole saga as a staunch supporter of you and your works. And I could hear the pain in your voice. I felt that! And I’m sorry. Bravo to you for standing up for yourself as you have EVERY right to do!
    Thank you for bringing Keith on as I was curious to know his response to all of this! I 100000% agree with him!! And I have defended you to those naysayers who tell you to let it go. We have a right to respond when we are being attacked without provocation.
    Finally, congratulations again to Rebecca and Connor on baby #2! Seeing a happy toddler was a great ending to a difficult week! 😁
    Thank you Sheila for fighting the good fight! Always remember that your ‘Army’ has your back!❤️

    Reply
    • Kelly Ann

      Another thought I had is that those authors are more interested in protecting their brand than an actually trying to help improve marriages. And that’s why they are attacking you.. Because you are calling them out on their BS(sorry, can’t think of a better term).
      I’ve had the absolute privilege to meet you and Keith in person. Hope to have the same privilege again someday!❤️

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        You likely will! It’s a logical way to drive from our house to Texas or somewhere–south via PA!

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Thank you, Kelly! (and wasn’t that last 10 seconds perfect? I can’t believe he screamed like that! So terribly cute).
      Yes, I originally wasn’t going to have Keith on this episode. I had a whole outtro recorded with Rebecca, but then Keith and I went for a walk and he said some things I really wanted in the podcast, so I asked him to say them again for the camera!

      Reply
      • Kelly Ann

        It was. I’m in Warren Ohio now but it’s not that far from Erie PA😁
        Little Alex is soo cute! I miss my son being that age❤️

        Reply
    • Whitney

      Sheila, I appreciate you and your podcast. As a military spouse of who has taken this strong bond class three times I know how little help it is and very cringy. Thank you for bringing light to it! There needs to be real resources for military marriages. Maybe to bring more light to the context of the purpose of “Strong Bonds”, these marriage retreats are for families who are about to deploy or high stress military jobs. Mark’s curriculum doesn’t really prepare our marriages for the stress the military lifestyle endures. I remember my first marriage retreat my husband and I spent so much time talking about, “the nothing box”, and his lack of having one. Also, how this curriculum gave soldiers a free pass to not participate in their marriages which already feels like a lonely experience.
      I do want to encourage you that in the U. S. women have an organization called, PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) where we gather and study the Bible together. I do know you book has been talked about in our organization through out many duty stations. Your work is important, and I thank you for helping us milspouses try to better our marriages. We need more brave leaders like you. Thank you.
      Happy Birthday! Praying for peace and unconditional love to be felt!

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Oh, that’s amazing, Whitney! What an encouragement! If there’s ever anything military spouses could use, do let me know. I have a heart for military wives now that my youngest daughter is one! And Tammy, my #1 assistant on the blog, is married to a Canadian military chaplain. So we really do want to help.

        Reply
  2. S

    My husband and I went to see a counselor a few years back. She gave us Mark’s DVDs to watch together. It never sat well with me. In fact, it crushed me as I am the higher drive spouse in my marriage. These teachings are heartbreaking.
    My husband was not nearly as bothered and that somehow made it worse for me.
    Overall though I have a good husband. His primary desire from me is clearly not sex. (I’ve never felt that way and it’s always made me feel less than.) But he helps around the house naturally as part of the team, we have great conversation, we love doing things together. Clearly I’m not just here for his sexual benefit.
    I’m grateful to you taking on these false teachings Sheila and team. They have been soul crushing to me at times. The new messages you share are so healing.
    Wishing you a happy belated birthday, Sheila!

    Reply
  3. Jo

    Several random thoughts:
    If a woman can’t have an emotional connection to a man without sex, what in the world does Mark Gungor think couples are doing during the dating and engagement phases of their relationship, since as a (theoretically) Christian pastor he presumably holds a biblical stance of no sex before marriage?
    If he’s going to refer to women as “chicks,” well, I can think of a couple of words to use to refer to men, or at least Mark Gungor specifically, both of which happen to rhyme with “chick.”
    If a husband doesn’t have to emotionally connect with his wife aside from sex, with the common example being “Well, honey, I told you I loved you on the day we got married, so why do you need me to say it over and over?,” then my response is for the wife to say “Well, honey, I had sex with you on the day we got married, so why do you need me to do it over and over?”
    Just because men and women are typically this way or that, whether by nature or nurture, does that excuse or allow both men and women to simply let their natural selves run on in their natural direction? Or do we have a higher calling to overcome those negative aspects of our natural selves to reach for better, as human beings and as spouses?
    To those who might think Sheila was crying because she’s just “an overwrought, emotional woman,” though there may be some amount of sadness there (and rightly so), her tears are a manifestation of anger and frustration (those are my main underlying emotions on those few occasions I cry).
    Keith’s comment that not rocking the boat is more important than doing what’s right is the exact teaching that so many of these awful books preach to women: “Be quiet, honey, because your husband is too stressed to have you point out that the boat is on the verge of actually sinking.”
    As I commented the other day, if you’re suffering from lead poisoning, you do need to take the appropriate medications to remove the lead already in your body. But you also need to get the lead out of your environment so that you stop ingesting it in the first place. Sheila’s books and blog are the medicine, but there’s lots of lead still out in the Christian marriage advice environment.

    Reply
    • MM

      Jo – best message of the day! Loved the humor and spoken truth – had me smiling and in agreement from start to finish…

      Reply
    • Jo

      A couple more random thoughts.
      If men aren’t emotional, I guess that explains the utter stoicism they display in sports bars, stadiums, and in front of their own TVs when their favorite team/player wins…or loses. Let’s face it. Men are emotional, but there are only certain, very limited channels in which those emotions are allowed to flow. And Mark himself doesn’t present his…material…in a monotone.
      Does Mark Gungor think women are made in the image of God? How does he explain his blatant disregard for women, and particularly wives, in light of every pastor’s favorite marriage passage, Ephesians 5? How does a barely human person, who, in his mind, clearly doesn’t bear God’s own image, match up to representing in some way the bride of Christ? Jesus didn’t die a horrible death to save those kangaroos he thinks are so cute.
      If he really thinks that men only get married for sex, and that women really are nothing but life-support systems for vaginas, then by all means, men should get a dog…and pay prostitutes, which would at least be honest on the men’s part. Why do we women tolerate such utter crap and marry men who give even the slightest indications that they agree with this…philosophy? Jane Eyre (commenting below) is absolutely right about the emotional connection with her car compared to sex with a jerk masquerading as a boyfriend, let alone a husband. (I actually am quite fond of my reciprocating saw, in addition to my five speed, so to each her own, and even multiple such nonsexual pleasure givers!!!)
      I’d like to hear stories of deprived wives (looking at you, orgasm gap) doing an experiment of daily giving their husbands half a dozen PIV thrusts, then stopping the proceedings at that point, perhaps with a big smile and a “That was great, honey, thanks! I feel so close to you.” The husbands couldn’t complain about sexless marriage, since they are getting to poke their wives every day, and the wives would have the satisfaction of doing unto others what they’ve been having done to them—sometimes for decades. (Uh, that’s orgasm-free “sex” for BOTH partners, for those in the back row.) Oh, sorry, is that “un-Christian”? Well, so is depriving the person with the clitoris.
      /sarcasm

      Reply
      • Dorthea

        😆 I love it! Keep bringing the sarcasm!

        Reply
  4. Phil

    And when we conduct high quality research that shows that women are being hurt, what’s the response? To attack me, to paint themselves as the victims, and to ignore the women and couples who are hurting. This is exactly what Abusers do! They make themselves the victim! When you call that out it often seems like you are loosing or you loose. It happened to me recently and I got fired from my job for that! I am reminded of the following verse: 2 Corinthians 12:9 – My grace is enough for you because power is made perfect in weakness. Paul was weak and he bragged about it to point to Jesus! God’s power is displayed by weakness! Thank you Shiela for what you are doing.

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Phil, that is so true. Thank you. I always appreciate your thoughts.

      Reply
  5. Bethany#2

    I was recently invited to join a young couples group and go through marriage books over the course of 2 years. Part of me wants to, because I could try and talk about the problematic teachings and what sheila recommends instead. But I don’t think that would necessarily come over very well. I’ve been married only 3yrs and am not an expert. But it’d be nice to fellowship with other couples. I don’t know.
    I look forward to 20years from now when your concepts about a healthy marriage are the prevelant teaching and these current ones have faded out. Its just a matter of time!

    Reply
    • Lisa

      Are you able to suggest a book for the study? Or two? I’d suggest TGSR! The Five Love Languages is also a good book. Or any book by John Gottman. There are some great marriage books out there.

      Reply
  6. Laura

    Keep speaking out Sheila and team!
    Later, I will listen to the podcast which I always look forward to. Years ago, as a divorced woman I listened to Gungor’s Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage and though I do not fully recall everything he taught, there were some things that did not sit well with me.
    When he talked about singles and dating, he highly recommended that 18-year-olds should marry because they don’t have self-control so they need to get married in order to act out their human desires. I don’t agree that everyone should get married so young because at that age, you have just finished or are finishing high school and many don’t know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Gungor also criticized people for delaying marriage until their 30’s because that’s when women’s fertility rates drop. He thought it was selfish for women to delay marriage so they could focus on their careers.
    I got the impression that Gungor was stuck in the 1950’s and was chauvinistic. He did have a few funny things to say, but I didn’t rely on his teachings as the right way for marriage.
    Thank you a million for the lengthy research you have put into discovering the large number of women who have been negatively affected by the marriage teachings in “Christian” books. I put the word Christian in quotes, because it’s just used as a label to sell books to the Christian population. Jesus was rarely mentioned in these books.
    What we need to do is use discernment when we read these books. God gave all of us brains and expects us to know how to use them. Also, READ THE BIBLE! Don’t rely on a pastor or Christian author to spoon feed you.

    Reply
  7. Jane Eyre

    Stupid question: if women’s primary motivation for marriage is emotional connection, why bother getting married? You can emotionally connect without marriage, emotionally connect to your woman friends, and, when in doubt, emotionally connect with your golden retriever. (See what I did there?)
    Further, if men only value us for our vaginas, aren’t they the last people we would want to emotionally connect with? I dated men who were just out for sex and let me tell you, I have a better emotional connection with my car.

    Reply
    • M

      Good point!

      Reply
    • Lisa

      Exactly. When I read Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, I knew it wasn’t true. But I said to my husband, “If this was true, I would never have married. I would’ve adopted kids and just had a string of boyfriends when I felt the need.”
      Frankly, if men are only after one thing, or if they ALL struggle with lust, here’s my ring, there’s the door. See ya. No hard feelings.

      Reply
    • exwifeofasexaddict

      Your last paragraph…. that was the last few years of my marriage. He once asked me, did I not want to have sex…. or not want to have sex with HIM. The answer was the latter. I’m so glad that marriage is over.

      Reply
  8. Dawn

    Shelia and team, thank you for leading the way. I can only imagine how difficult it is for you. But, you are encouraging me to speak up in my little corner. You are providing tools for me to strengthen my own marriage and words and resources to share with others. Thank you for being faithful and humble.

    Reply
  9. Sarah

    Thank you Sheila and team for speaking out! I’m so glad you are. As a teenager I fell for Mark’s teaching but simultaneously wondered at the fact the men around me weren’t actually as misogynistic as he claims, lol. The concept of the nothing box resonated with me and I thought ‘well, as a girl I must be odd because I have a nothing box’ – but of course I did because I was a teenager with no responsibilities! Mark’s teaching was among the first I thought of when I happened across your blog and I’m so glad you are confronting it. I’m thankful for you! Hope you have had a lovely birthday 🙂

    Reply
  10. Melissa

    “Not to drive a wooden stake into a man…”
    I’ll do it!!! Someone get me a mallet!!!
    As an American with a brother in the armed forces I have skin in this game. Our troops deserve better than the drivel they’ve been getting. They deserve actual proven clinical support for the mental and emotional – and often physical – extreme stressors they experience. Those dollars going to Mark Gungor could be better spent. Excuse me while I go strap on my crusading armor.

    Reply
  11. Cameron

    Sheila, I can’t thank you enough for your work. I am 25 years old set to marry in November. Growing up I watched my mom get divorced twice and with each time get more aggressive in finding marriage advice. I also grew up in the church.
    I was shown one of Mark’s teachings at 16 and felt HORRIBLE after. I was the little girl that cringed hearing the “s” word in church, so you can imagine how his teaching made me feel as a headstrong teenager that also really wanted to honor the Lord and have a successful marriage .
    His teaching sent me into a tizzy. Trying to back track it I scoured the internet and my parents library and found all of the other books you mentioned and more.. it only made things worse.
    I fell into a deep depression and truly believed God loved men more than women, and that men were more valuable. I also learned that men couldn’t be trusted and had zero capacity for emotions.
    This gave me a distant relationship with God and a fiery hatred for men.
    I would purposely get into relationships with men, manipulate them into falling in love with me and then rip their hearts out to try and prove to myself that men weren’t the robots Mark and everyone else described. Oh and all the while flaunting my virginity. I hated God. I hated men. I hated myself for being a woman.
    Eventually I stumbled upon a lot of really great teaching that explained many of the “touchy” Bible verses and mended my relationship with God and my faith.
    I met my fiancé and he was the first man to stand up to me and tell me I wasn’t going to treat him like he didn’t have emotions.
    We have an amazing relationship and he is the most caring, kind, loving, and emotional man I’ve ever met. Most of the problems we have had were surrounding my incorrect beliefs about men and emotions and sex! I’m having to unlearn absolutely everything. My partner is horribly offended by my notion that he is only after me for sex and has no emotions and a nothing box and all this other BS! (It is worth noting he did not grow up in the church)
    It’s just so interesting to be engaged having to unlearn all of the wrong beliefs I was taught about how to make marriage successful. These speakers and authors caused me so much trauma, and the people in my life as well. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for being brave and courageous enough to seek out the truth on what God and science really says about how things are supposed to work.
    My heart is so angered at how they treat you, but please don’t let it scare you off from paving the way for a new generation to experience true love and freedom in marriage. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s amazing, Cameron. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I really appreciate it. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage! That’s amazing. It sounds like you have an incredibly great guy.

      Reply
  12. Dorthea

    I think it is high time we drive the wooden stack through this toxic, misogynistic crap! Drive it right through it’s heart nailing it to the ground so it’ll never come back to life again. Ever! Mark Gungor is just another fallen, frightened, immature little boy masquerading as an adult Christian pastor. He and the other authors are showing us who they truly are and who they truly represent. And they will reap what they are sowing.
    Thank you Sheila for being vulnerable and emotional letting us know how you’re really feeling. Authenticity is always the better path. We’re here for you. We love you and were praying for you all. Keep living for Jesus. And besides it’s your birthday and you can cry if you want to. (At least I think those are the lyrics to the song 😉)

    Reply
  13. Wild Honey

    Sheila, if I could take your emotional and stick it in a frame on my wall, I’d do it, because I think more church goers need to hear that kind of thing.

    Reply
    • Tohu va-Vohu

      Sheila, What you are running up against is that churchianity (the way we, in the West anyway, practice church; and have exported it to a lot of the world) has a very unbiblical understanding of authority. Churchianity thinks that Mark Gungor has authority because he is a Pastor, and that he has authority because he is a popular teacher; and a professional in both cases. His legitimacy is “proven” by both his popularity and that he is professional.
      This all is directly counter to Jesus’ words, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”
      The misunderstanding that Kingdom leadership and Worldly leadership are fundamentally at odds has poisoned our churches (where we think that our Pastors are to tell us what to do and how to think) and our marriages (where we teach that husbands are to lord it over their wives).
      We have been trained to be dependent on our teachers’ milk (pre-digested food / sermons) and not to be lead to green pastures to feed ourselves. Because of this, we are not very critical of what we read or are taught. We are more worried about things like, Are they a Pastor? Are they a trusted author? Are they a christian author/counselor/etc.? What school did they go to? If we know that, we will swallow whatever is given us.
      There is a right way to lead and to teach, but that’s not what you are coming up against. You are threatening peoples identity (and I think you are right to do so). Watch your heart, beware of pride, and keep going!

      Reply
      • Tohu va-Vohu

        don’t know how that got to be a reply to someone else’s post; I didn’t hit reply, I just filled in the form at the bottom

        Reply
  14. Lisa

    Best podcast yet! Thank you team! Shelia, I am weeping with you. I am disappointed, although not surprised, by the reaction of these authors and speakers. I consider myself post-evangelical in some ways for this very reason. The institution of evangelical money-making machines (marriage books, speaking engagements, and marriage conferences) if far more important to them than taking a good honest look at this information. I’m sickened but not surprised.
    I want you to come and speak at our church! I am giving 10 copies of TGSR to our church staff and I’m going to suggest you and Keith come (when you’re ready to cross the border again) and give a marriage talk. There are many, many churches that don’t subscribe to the false teachings and lies of these other authors.
    I hope you had a wonderful birthday weekend!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’d LOVE that, Lisa! We’re hoping to bring our RV down next year, if the borders open. We’ll see!

      Reply
  15. EOF

    What a powerful podcast. It brought me to tears, and I don’t cry easily. I hope this gets shared far and wide!

    Reply
  16. Anonymous for this one

    My spouse and I grew up in a very “Archie Bunker” culture, and we both accepted it as normal because it was pretty much all we knew and saw. This was also the height of the era of dolt dads on sitcoms and capable moms bearing all the mental load. Both sides of the feminist line were all about proving women could do it all and be happy and fulfilled about it.
    All it did was burn me out and stunt his maturity. We’ve made progress. For example, 15 years ago he would have been miffed that I needed time and headspace to remember all the things one does when getting children out the door. Today, he recognizes that I have things to do and remember and gives me the space and time, but he couldn’t tell you what needs to be considered and done. It’s a step in the right direction for his upbringing and generation, but not like Connor’s understanding.
    But, it shows this isn’t something only found on the leg of the second X chromosome. It was taught and even expected. It can be untaught. I need to be untaught. I still hold on to these errors and when he takes steps forward sometimes I’m the one in his way as if my femininity is threatened by his acting like a parent should or a spouse should.

    Reply
  17. Mara R

    “Shaunti Feldhahn, Kevin Leman, and Emerson Eggerichs were all talking with Mark”
    Pfft. Petty tyrants on a sinking ship.
    They had their chance to make things right. They are not interested. All they want is the Pharisee places of honor in a system that has been financially beneficial to them. They are no friends to the average evangelical woman and they have little concern over the stumbling blocks they put in the paths of babes in the faith.
    You are better off with real friends, like the ones here and the ones over at The Wartburg Watch. Have you had any interaction with Warren Throckmorton? He’s busy, right now, with the Post Cards from Phoenix concerning Driscoll’s little fiefdom in Scottsdale, Arizona. But he might be interested in exposing the above mentioned bullies to a greater audience.
    https://www.wthrockmorton.com/
    If they (the above mentioned Pharisee bullies) want to play hardball, then perhaps you need another ally?

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  18. Amy

    “Why to do you thing it’s more important for men to be entitled to sex than for women to not be abused? How does the evangelical church let this go on?”
    **mic drop**
    THANK YOU for championing this cause!!!
    I met my abuser through volunteering with a church children’s ministry program. I’ve been divorced for years and am still dealing with the trauma of my abuse and the subsequent further abuse from my church when I divorced. As I continue to peel through the layers of the onion I’m having to deconstruct so many of the unhealthy marriage teaching I acquired from evangelical church culture. I have no expectations of ever marrying again, however I realize that the unhealthy views of marriage are hurting me and if I don’t change them I will pass them on to my daughter. The TLHV blogs, podcasts and TGSR book have been so valuable in helping me see that men can be decent humans and that marriage can be a good thing.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so glad we can point you to something healthy! And I’m glad you’re in a better place now. I’m sorry that the church contributed to your pain. That’s really the saddest of all.

      Reply
  19. Jane Eyre

    Happy birthday week, Sheila!
    I made it through about 15 minutes of the podcast until it was too much. Power to the three of you for the work you do.
    The whole thing about “not putting out” so that he will marry you is wrong on many levels. We – men and women – are commanded to save sex for marriage because God says that the sexual relationship is exclusive to marriage. Like all of God’s commandments, there are good, pragmatic reasons for following them; however, it is first and always about God.
    While some men will string along women who are having sex, others refuse to go on a fourth date with women without sex. Many times, lovely Christian women sit alone at wedding after wedding, watching their friends get married – friends who were open about having premarital sex.
    What do we tell those young women? If it’s about the most expeditious route to marriage, the message she receives is “put out.” I guess the Christian solution has been to browbeat her about tattoo-less virgins. The reality is that she might never get married or might marry far too late to have kids, because our society is completely messed up.
    Do we giggle at her about how awesome sex is and how it’s “worth the wait,” ignorant of how that just drives the knife in deeper?
    Can we actually acknowledge that there are adult, Christian singles who really try to live Biblical lives and hear how married people talk about sex?

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  20. Jane

    Just an FYI: those contracts above are for someone to actually teach the course material, but reading the entire RFP is needed to know more. The material had already been bought by chaplains. Perhaps they had a bid prior, perhaps they scoured materials or contacted publishers, that is unknown.
    Not saying it is good material to use, just FYI about that. (My husband was military and is now a civilian that has written (and won), and now helps award billion dollar contracts. He also says please don’t let someone off of Facebook try and read government contracts 🙂 )

    Reply
  21. Gisele Noel

    Great job Sheila!
    I hope to encourage you by pointing out that when it comes to debate strategies, silence is consent. So when someone avoids engaging in an argument by resorting to personal attacks, they are admitting defeat against the primary argument in an attempt to redirect to another subject intended to dismiss the message by dismissing the messenger. So when I see a debate where 1 person is presenting arguments & the other is responding with the logical fallacy of ad hominems, I recognize that as one of the most valuable kinds of testimony, namely an endorsement from a hostile witness.
    Given Mr. Unger’s record of self-promotion, I’m not surprised that personal attacks are his primary means of responding to challenges — especially towards a woman that he openly & categorically looks down on. I’m grateful that someone with an audience like you is able to challenge the ideological sources that provide the foundation & raw building materials for abuse to be erected on (Eph 6:12).
    I personally am tired of the culturanity convention that allows idolatrous marital & marriage headship theology to go unchallenged to exclusively focus on quietly bandaging the wounded behind closed doors. These self-serving lucrative, man-exalting & sex addict theologies function like a strong army shooting from protected towers on high ground taking easy shots at unarmed civilians forming lines on the low ground. I am so grateful that you are having success at pointing out these towers for the people to look at & I am hopeful that as more people survey the scene, this will eventually result in the enemy losing the high ground so they lose the ability to fleece God’s people as they open fire on them all in the name of Jesus.
    We should continue to have compassion for & treat the wounded, but I want the waves of fresh victims to be minimized, if not eliminated. Your public challenges are helping to do exactly that…even if everyone in all the towers conspire to set all their fire power on you in the meantime. God bless you, His word and His people.

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  22. Donna

    This is great! I observe misogyny more and more all the time the older I get. My principal believed an 8th-grade boy over 2 female teachers, a student said there are a lot of men in jail for rape they didn’t do, he also said you can’t listen to women because they overdo the situation. The voices Gungor does for women is so degrading. And his overdoing the situation with his hurt feelings that he is not the expert on everything like he thinks. Oh, I could just go on and on. I am fighting for my daughters and granddaughters and female students. I feel really emotional, too, Sheila!!

    Reply
  23. Christ's Kintsugi

    If a husband doesn’t have to emotionally connect with his wife aside from sex, with the common example being “Well, honey, I told you I loved you on the day we got married, so why do you need me to say it over and over?,” then my response is for the wife to say “Well, honey, I had sex with you on the day we got married, so why do you need me to do it over and over?”
    Thanks, Jo!! This puts – in a dark humor sort of way – words to what I felt was “off” in all the marriage advice/self-help I perused looking for real help with my married sex life. EVERYTHING was about the husband’s need for sex (framed with various Scriptures so I, as a good wife, would not dare to contradict it). Of COURSE men need sex – and so do their wives!! That’s WHY we’re the ones buying all these books, because WE want a great experience, too, and we’re NOT having one, and we WANT things to be better! Sadly, all the advice I read made me feel uncomfortable and even condemned (and I was one of the “good wives”), but because ALL the advice (at least what I read) in the evangelical church was the same, and it all used Scripture as “backup”, I felt I must be failing, somehow, because sex wasn’t fun for me and to ask for something different would move me from “good wife” to “selfish unbiblical wife.” *gasp*
    Thank GOD I found this website, Sheila, and finally shared it and my thoughts with my husband who was SHOCKED I was stuck on the “if you’re a godly woman you’ll shut up and put up” garbage. He was like, “You’ve been believing WHAT? You’ve been faking enjoyment to “please your husband”? That’s a bunch of garbage. Where did you hear that??” God love him.
    Let them have their “council”, Sheila. God is not mocked. If they DO publish something, let us know and let us loose on their social media pages!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Oh, I’m so glad you found this blog and that you find it helpful! And it sounds like you’ve got a great guy, too. So many women in our focus groups told similar stories. They read all the books. They tried to be a good wife. And in desperation they finally talked to their husbands and their husbands were shocked at the messages the wives had internalized.

      Reply

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