PODCAST: Scary Body Language — and Believe When people Admit They’re Scary

by | Oct 20, 2022 | Abuse, Podcasts | 47 comments

Podcast on Scary Body Language Paul and Morgan Abuse
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The evangelical church needs more discernment. 

I’ve been saying this for years, but we have a huge problem with celebrity culture, where people who are unqualified and spreading toxic teachings are believed and followed because they are charismatic or popular for some other reason.

I often have readers send me concerning posts by others, and while I was on vacation I had several things sent to me that really needed to be commented on. So today we’re going to walk through how to handle different categories of people being toxic on social media–case study examples on what we talked about in the podcast about how to decide who to listen to. 

 

Or, as always, you can watch on YouTube:

(please note: we’ve moved the transcript to the bottom of the post because it works better for those who receive the daily blog through email. You can sign up to get our posts everyday, too!).

Timeline of the Podcast

0:10 Sheila is back!
2:45 Dealing with comments on the blog/internet (and how YOU can help!)
10:20 Dennis Prager: “Just be grateful he doesn’t cheat!”
20:45 You can still be popular and wrong
25:55 A = B, but B doesn’t always = A
27:45 Breaking down our concerns with the Paul & Morgan video
36:15 How important is body language?
50:20 Why this is tough to talk about
57:30 Letters about GSR’s impact

Dennis Prager saying it’s in men’s nature to cheat, but not women’s

I have never had so many people send me one piece of content to comment on as I did with Dennis Prager’s video

Note how he used no evidence for his claims. When we looked at the actual numbers for who cheats more, we found that while men cheat more overall, women still cheat! Looking at a recent cohort study, people aged 18-29 have MORE women cheating than men (11% vs. 10%), with older people cheating more. Interestingly, the oldest women cheated less over their lifetime than women in their 60s, meaning that a certain generation of women was more likely to cheat. For men, however, the numbers kept going up as men got older. This doesn’t mean 80-year-olds were cheating, though; it’s just that at the time of the study, those who were 80 were more likely to have cheated when they were 40 than those who were currently 70. 

Sum it all up, older men have the highest rates of cheating because that generation (of which Dennis Prager is close to being part of) had the highest degree of sexual entitlement. Younger men do not cheat in their 40s as much men who are currently in their 80s cheated in their 40s. 

There’s lots of info on this, and if people want more of a deep dive into it, we can give it in another podcast. Just let us know!

So, Dennis Prager, when you say things like you did in this video, you are telling on yourself (and I hope you all liked Rebecca’s song!). 

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What about social media influencers who recommend toxic books?

How do you handle a lifestyle blogger or influencer who doesn’t normally talk about marriage but recommends toxic books? Leave a kind comment, point out the harm the book has done–and then unfollow. If they’ll step out of their lane and say something harmful on something you do know about, chances are they’ll also do it on something you may not be able to spot as easily. Follow people who stay in their lane!

And now, for a difficult conversation about body language–and educating our young people on who they follow.

The last example we had was a difficult one, because I generally don’t like addressing people who aren’t thought leaders and who are just parroting back what they’ve been taught. But there are a significant number of young influencers trying to build a brand and make a living giving marriage advice when they have no qualifications or credentials. 

One such couple is Paul and Morgan, and while they’ve been on our radar for a number of years we’ve never talked about them before. But a number of people sent me a video where they were very concerned that they were glossing over marital coercion, but also that Paul was demonstrating dangerous behaviour. That video was inundated by comments from people who saw the same thing and expressed great concern for Morgan’s safety.

Rebecca and I analyze the body language (I’ve never seen such a good example of the “fawning” response), and Paul’s aggressive behaviour when Morgan admitted she knew Paul was upset about her not having sex, but since they had just had a fight she felt like she couldn’t.

The main reason we want to talk about this is that this couple has a very large following among young people. We need to help our teens and young adults be more discerning. And this is also an excellent example to teach young people, who may not follow them, what coercion and fawning look like.

You're telling me WHAT goes WHERE?!

Talking about sex with your kids doesn't always go smoothly. 

That's why we created The Whole Story, our online course that walks parents through the tough conversations and does the hard parts for you!

It is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and so being able to identify unhealthy dynamics is worth talking about.

Again, as we stressed over and over in the video, unhealthy dynamics do not necessarily mean abuse is happening, but all abuse is preceded by unhealthy dynamics. So we need to be aware, and here’s a great way to educate those around you.

Things Mentioned in the Podcast

And if you believe that you may be a victim of domestic violence, but you’re not sure, please call one of these numbers, or Google one that applies to where you live.

If you believe you may be a vitim of abuse, please contact your local Domestic Violence Hotline

  • Canada: 800.799.SAFE (7233)
  • United States: 1-800-621-HOPE (4673).
  • United Kingdom: 08 08 16 89 111
  • Australia: 1 800 737 732
  • New Zealand: 0800 456 450
  • Kenya: 0-800-720-072
  • Nigeria: 0800 033 3333
  • South Africa: 0800 428 428

Podcast Dennis Prager Paul and Morgan Abuse

What’s your strategy when a social media influencer gives really bad advice? Have you ever been around a couple where fawning behaviour is prevalent? How do you handle it in a social situation? Let’s talk in the comments!

Transcript

Sheila: Welcome to The Bare Marriage podcast.  I’m Sheila Wray Gregoire from baremarriage.com where we like to talk about healthy, evidence-based, biblical advice for your sex life and your marriage.  And I am home.

Rebecca: I’m going to be honest I don’t think that I got the intro right a single time when I had to host while you were gone.  I don’t think I got it right once.  I think it was different every time.  We’ll see.

Sheila: Well, you did a stellar job.  I am here with my daughter, Rebecca Lindenbach, who stood in for us when we were on vacation for a couple of weeks.  Keith and I just got back from a wonderful time away.  And I wanted to do a podcast where we kind of wrap up some of the things that have happened while I’ve been away because I’ve been inundated by emails of stuff that’s been going on in various parts of the Internet.  And I wasn’t able to respond because I was in the middle of the Mediterranean.  So let me open this podcast—are you ready?  With an email that we received awhile ago from someone, and I think it’s a great framing for what we’re going to talk about today.  So a woman writes, “Sheila, I was in tears as I finished The Great Sex Rescue.  My husband asked if we needed to talk, but I was crying because I was given a man that wants our lovemaking to be mutual.  He respects me and my needs.  He serves.  Yet, so many other women don’t have this.  I asked him how do they survive it.  And his response was they often don’t.  So thank you for exposing the messages the church culture has been perpetuating.  Now I need to encourage my adult children with this knowledge.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

Rebecca: Aww.  That’s so sweet.

Sheila: I know.  But isn’t that true?  It’s like we read.  And that’s kind of where I’m coming from too.  I’m in a good marriage.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  Me too.

Sheila: And yet, I am overwhelmed by the pain that so many people are going through.  And so I thought today we could talk about what all of you who are listening can do to be a part of the healing that is happening and the healing that needs to happen in our church communities because so many of you have sent me things in the last few weeks that I want to talk about.  We’re going to talk about Dennis Prager.  We’re going to talk about Paul and Morgan.  We’re going to talk about some other influencers that have said problematic things.  And we want to point you to how we can be a healing force on the Internet and with our friends as we talk about this stuff because this is what this woman was overwhelmed with.  There is all this pain.  How can I help?  And so let’s just fill you in on how you can help when you feel overwhelmed by all the negativity.  So let’s start with some of the negativity that you went through in the last three and a half weeks, Rebecca, as you were moderating comments on Bare Marriage.

Rebecca: I knew this was coming.  Yeah.  And I knew this was coming because every time I have to moderate comments I always—I even warned you before you left that I was probably not going to put up with anything while you were gone.  But we get so many comments from—I’m going to be honest.  We get comments from men who come on, and they’ll say things like, “I’m so in support of what you do but,”—and then there’s always a big but.  And it’s always something where they’re trying to minimize the pain of women.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: Like I put a post up talking about the research about how unequal households—households where the woman is carrying more of the emotional labor, more of the mental labor, she doesn’t have the same level of free time or mental space as the husband.  Her libido just disintegrates over time.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: And the study authors are saying that it’s washing the dishes day after day after day.  That he should be washing.  That was kind of what they were talking about in this article that I was reading.  It makes a woman resentful, not grateful for the spouse that she has.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  Well, I think it sets up a weird dynamic where she is the maid.  And you don’t feel sexual attraction to someone that isn’t a partner.

Rebecca: Well, and that’s exactly what they’re saying is it causes resentment not because the woman shouldn’t feel resentful but because that’s natural.  We’re supposed to have an equal partner.  It’s all over Scripture, right?  We’re supposed to be equally yoked.  We’re supposed to be—two is better than one.  We’re supposed to be able to do more together.  It’s not that she does more so he can do less.  But both of us are able to do more together, right?  Anyway, that’s that whole thing.  And then, of course, we get the comments about things like, “Well, remember that women might feel like they do more work.  But remember that perception is not always reality.  So let’s make sure that we’re not over blowing this,” in essence, was the purpose of the comment.  And it’s just frustrating.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: It’s just frustrating here.  So I was like, “No.  You know what?  It’s not actually perception.  This is reality.  There are so many stats that show this.”  But even if it was perception, what’s the goal in those comments, right?  And here’s what I want to kind of let people know as we’re talking about how to make the world a better place.  There are going to be a lot of people out there who say the right things.  They say things like I believe in equality in marriage.  I believe that women are no less equal than men.  I believe that men should be able to carry their fair share.  I believe that inequality is bad.  I believe women should enjoy sex.  I believe all these different things.  But then the actual crux of what they’re arguing or the actual way that they act in life is the opposite.  

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: You don’t have to believe someone is actually doing good work because they say they are.  You believe someone is doing good work because they do good work.  

Sheila: Yes.

Rebecca: So someone can say things like, “I believe that women and men—you should not—men should not be taking advantage of women.  Totally.  But then if they spend the rest of the time arguing about how why men aren’t actually taking advantage of women and how women are over blowing this—now women kind of need to figure out how to make this not as much of a problem, it’s like no.  You know what?  You can say you’re on the right side of this all you want.  But this is just frustrating.  And women are so used to be gas lit by so many people that, “Your experiences aren’t that bad.  We men have it worse,” all that kind of stuff that I think it’s easy for us to just accept it and treat these arguments like they actually have weight instead of just saying, “No.  I’m not putting up with this anymore.”

Sheila: Well, especially when what you’re doing is you’re sharing peer reviewed research, and in January, we’re going to look at some more of the peer reviewed research about cognitive labor.  We’re not only going to focus on that.  We’re going to focus on how women can be entitled, how kids can be entitled, but we are going to look at, again, some of the peer reviewed research on cognitive labor.  And when we see some of the time study research which shows that women tend to do a—if you add up unpaid and paid labor, women still do more work than men.  But some of the time, studies say it’s not a huge difference.  But those studies do not—often do not take into consideration childcare.  They don’t take into consideration who is the default parent.  So she can’t leave the house because she has to be the one to care for the kids.  They don’t take into account cognitive labor.  And that’s what studies are starting to measure.  So it’s like we’re sharing peer reviewed research.  And what we often get in the comments is men pushing back saying, “Yeah.  Perception is not reality.  Or that’s just your opinion.”  It’s like, “No.  It’s not our opinion because this is peer reviewed research.”

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.  Or they’ll do things like compare the experiences of men and women as if they’re comparable.  It’s like, “Well, both men and women are disappointed by sex sometimes.”  It’s like okay.  But when women are disappointed by sex, it typically means that it hurt or they were assaulted.  When men are disappointed by sex, it’s like, “Oh, but I really wanted to try that kinky thing, and we just had vanilla sex today.  But I still had an orgasm.”  Totally [cross talk].

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  Of course, there are men who, obviously, do want sex, and their wives are not having sex at all.  And that is a big disappointment.

Rebecca: No.  I mean by actually having sex.  In a sexual encounter, that’s what I mean.  People say this all the time.  “Well, I’ve had bad sex before.”  Okay.  But statistically speaking what you’re talking about is not the same.  So, anyway, all I’m saying is—

Sheila: Mm-hmm.  Yes.  And, again, there’s been studies on the definition of bad sex to both men and women.  And it is quite different.  Yeah.

Rebecca: And so our first step of making the world a better place is you are just allowed to not take arguments seriously when they’re clearly done in bad faith.  Or when they’re pandering to what they know you want to hear and then trying to still promote misogyny.  You’re just allowed to say no.

Sheila: Yep.  And sometimes people think that the comment section, especially on the blog, not as much on Facebook but especially on the blog, gets really negative.  But you know why the comment section sounds negative?  It’s because people who agree don’t comment.  Here’s just a little thing you can do.  And it’s not just on our blog, okay?  Everyone who is listening.

Rebecca: Oh, it’s everywhere.

Sheila: This is true wherever you are.  If you’re in a space online where people are saying courageous things that often get a lot of pushback, some of the best things you can do is just leave a quick comment saying, “Totally agree.   You’re right on the money.”  You don’t even have to engage more than that.  But the more comments there are saying, “I completely agree with you,” or sharing a quick story or something that matters so much because if there is more of those then these weird guys don’t stand out.  And you know what?  The weird guys are not as numerous as you think.  

Rebecca: Yep.  And a big thing is I know that we get people saying all the time that they worry about the people in our comments like, “Oh, there are just so many—the men who say this.”  I’m going to be honest.  There’s not that many men. 

Sheila: A lot of them are the same people.

Rebecca: You know what they do?  They are.  And we will never call out who exactly it is because we have a strict privacy settings.  We’re never going to let people know anything that would let you identify anyone.  But a lot of the men who all post the same things I’m just going to let you figure it out.  But yeah.  You can always comment under a new name on our website, and a lot of dudes do.

Sheila: We see your IP address.  We know who it is.

Rebecca: We do see the IP addresses, and we know who it is.  Exactly.

Sheila: Okay.  So thank you for doing that incredibly—I know how tiring it is to moderate comments.  So thank you for doing that while I was away.  I now want to talk about the thing that I’m in the middle of the Mediterranean.  And I’m getting constant Facebook and Instagram messages and emails telling me I need to watch this particular video.  I have never had people send me a video.  Remember the Missouri pastor who was talking about women?  That one was sent to me by hundreds of people.  This was off the charts.  And it was Dennis Prager.

Rebecca: Of course, it was.

Sheila: From Prager University on a fireside chat talking about how women should be grateful when their husbands are faithful.  And we’re actually just going to listen to what he said.

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.

Dennis Prager: Every so often just as he will have to thank you every so often for the sacrifices you make to make a home and a marriage—it doesn’t hurt every so often for the wife to say, “Honey, I know that your nature is to want a variety of women.  And I just want you to know I’m grateful for the fact that you control it.”  And it can –told me they did that and how much it meant to their husband that she appreciated that about him.  When a husband and a wife love each other, it is harder for the man to be faithful the whole time than for a woman.  She is not struggling with, “Oh, I’d like another man,” if she loves her husband.  But no matter how much he loves if his wife, if he is in touch with his nature and isn’t in denial—and it may not be true in 5% of the cases.  But in 95% of the cases, he still wants variety which is why she catches him looking.  Now you’ll say, “Oh, women look at other men too.”  Yes.  But it’s not the same.

Sheila: Well, that’s a thing.  

Rebecca: I mean if I could put bleach in my ears and then shake my head around to let it clear out my brain.  It’s so ridiculous.

Sheila: Well, and what’s so interesting too is that he is sharing these things without any proof or research to back it up.

Rebecca: Of course not.

Sheila: He even uses that stat, “Sure.  Maybe 5% of men aren’t like this.  But 95% are.”  Actually, Dennis—

Rebecca: Let’s look at the stats.

Sheila: In our studies, we found that only about half of men truly struggle with lust.  Only about half.  And even a lot of those who do, they don’t struggle the way he’s talking about it.

Rebecca: No.  The idea of struggling with your thought life versus actively having to fight to not go out and have an affair with multiple women, holy moly.  But what I found interesting is we actually—because Mom and I were talking about this.  And we started asking, “Okay.  But how many men do actually have affairs?”

Sheila: Yes.  We said, “Let’s turn to the research.”

Rebecca: Let’s look at the research.  So the general social survey is done out of the University of Chicago.  It’s a huge survey.  It’s done, I think, every 10 years.  Something like that.  It’s done every certain number of years though.  This isn’t like a one off study.  It’s a whole program that gets information for research.

Sheila: Yes.  Very, very well done.  Very, very large.

Rebecca: Yes.  Okay.  So what they did is they asked people of varying ages if they have ever had an affair when they were married.  Okay?  So we’re not talking about cheating when you’re dating, which is also a risk factor.

Sheila: And we’re not talking about a single person having sleeping with a marriage person.  We’re talking about when you’re married you sleeping with someone else.

Rebecca: Yeah.  The question was, “Percentage who reported having sex with someone other than their spouse while they were married.”

Sheila: Right.

Rebecca: And so let’s look at the actual numbers of who cheats based on the social—the general social survey, okay?

Sheila: And interestingly, we found this link at the Institute for Family Studies, which tends to be something that Dennis Prager would like.  So it tends to be political in the same direction as Dennis Prager.  

Rebecca: It does.

Sheila: So this is what he would agree with.  So here’s what they found.  

Rebecca: So what this found is that the gender cheating gap is wider among older adults than it is younger.  So at younger adults—so at the point that they researched this, people who are 18 to 29—so today’s millenials, okay?  11% of women and 10% of men had ever cheated on their spouse.  

Sheila: Right.  So they were studying this.  This data is from 5 to 10 years ago.  

Rebecca: No.  It’s from 2010 to 2016.

Sheila: Oh my gosh.  That’s more than 5 to 10 years ago now, isn’t it?

Rebecca: I know.  Isn’t it crazy?  Isn’t it that crazy?  But the thing is that these large studies—there’s always a bit of a gap.  So it’s about 10-year-old data.  Hopefully, we’ll get the next one out soon.

Sheila: Right.  So the people who would have been in that age category then are millenials today.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  And so some of them may have cheated since then.  But at the point that they were maximum 29 years old, they had about 11% of women and 10% of men had cheated by then.  Okay?

Sheila: So women more than men although they are basically neck and neck.

Rebecca: They are basically neck and neck.  Yeah.  And then by 30 years old, the gender had flipped and men had cheated more.  And it never changed since then.  Okay?  It’s like after that.  The older they get men just cheat more than women.  

Sheila: I still think it’s because like women are busy with the kids more.

Rebecca: Oh, they have absolutely no time.  

Sheila: Yes.  Okay.

Rebecca: Yeah. To be completely honest, it’s just—women have no time.  Here’s what they said on the Institute of Family Studies which is interesting.  “This gap quickly reverses,”—mean that men cheat more than women now—“among those ages 30 to 34 and grows wider in older age groups.  Infidelity for both men and women increases during the middle ages.  Women in their 60s report the highest rate of infidelity.  16% is the highest that women ever reach.  But their share goes down sharply among women in their 70s and 80s.  By comparison, the infidelity rate among men in their 70s is the highest.  26%.  And it remains high among men ages 80 and older.  24%.”

Sheila: Right.  Now let’s just clarify what this is saying.  This isn’t saying that women in their 70s are suddenly less likely—if you had an affair, you’re not showing up anymore.  It’s just that it’s measuring age cohorts.  So the women who are in their 70s at that time were less likely to have had affairs than the women who were in their 60s at that time whereas the older men were the most likely to have affairs.

Rebecca: Were just as likely practically.  Yeah.  So 60s, 70s, and 80s were all between 24% and 26%.  Had had an affair.  

Sheila: Of men.

Rebecca: Of men.  Thank you.  Yeah.  Of married men.  So really what this study found is that men Dennis Prager’s age are the most likely to have had affairs.  

Sheila: Yes.

Rebecca: So, Dennis, you and your buddies may really want to have affairs.

Sheila: Yes.  May really think that you want to have sex with multiple people, as you said, and that this is natural.  And if people usually have affairs when they’re younger, it’s just that the older generations were more likely to have the affair.

Rebecca: Sexually entitled.  Well, there’s more sexual entitlement among the older generations.  Men, like Dennis Prager, were raised in a generation where they’ve had full on sexual entitlement.  For pity’s sake, read The Act of Marriage.  Read all these books.  It’s ridiculous the kinds of stuff they got away with saying.  And yeah.

Sheila: Yeah.  And he’s still getting away with saying that 95% of men—it’s really hard for them not just to—to settle for one women because they want to have sex with lots of other women.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  And it’s like you know what, Dennis?  Again, stats say that might be true for you but not for the younger men who are watching.

Sheila: So basically what you’re doing is you are telling on yourself.

Rebecca: Yes.  And I made up a song to sing for Dennis.  Are you ready?  Because I am a toddler mom and so everything immediately goes into nursery rhymes.  You’re telling on yourself.  You’re telling on yourself.  Go to therapy.  Get off the web.  You’re telling on yourself.  Anyway, that is my song for Dennis Prager.  You’re telling on yourself.

Sheila: Yes.  So thank you to everyone who sent me that video.  I was horrified when I got home and was able to watch it.

Rebecca: And I do want to say I have no problem with the idea of being grateful for your spouse doing the bare minimum.  I actually think that’s a really good practice.  To not lose sight of the things we should be grateful for.  We know that gratitude is important.  That’s why we say grace before our meals even though we happen to live in a country where most of us are not food poor.  Most of us know we’re going to have another meal. 

Sheila: Right.

Rebecca: We still say thanks because it’s a good practice.  It is a good practice to be like thank you for the security of fidelity.  Thank you that I don’t have to worry about this.  Thank you for loving me and for loving only me and for cherishing me.  The issue is that we should be seeing this as the bare minimum.  And it should be an exercise in gratitude rather than you’re actually lucky to have that.  That’s the issue.

Sheila: What I’m grateful for for your dad is not that he’s faithful although he is faithful.  What I’m grateful for is that he doesn’t think being faithful is an extraordinary thing.

Rebecca: There’s also that.  It’s like I’m grateful that you’re the kind of person who I don’t need to worry about being like, “Man, I wish I could bang 74 hot chicks a year.”  There’s also that.  There’s that.

Sheila: You’re telling on yourself.  

Rebecca: Exactly.  I’m just saying.  Gratitude is great.  But let’s remember that the bare minimum is the bare minimum.

Sheila: Right.  And we—and it’s okay to expect more.  So my big message—how can we make the world a better place?  Is let’s start—when these big names start spreading harmful things, stop following them.  

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: Or push back or tell other people, whatever it might be.  But remember that the more that you share and comment on these posts the more they will get seen by people.  So you need to starve it of oxygen.  And that’s we’re not—I will link to the video because you all do need to see the proof.  

Rebecca: We don’t ever want to make claims—when we name someone, we never want to make claims that we don’t then back up with a way people can check it out.

Sheila: Right.  But on the whole, this is just a good thing not to share on your Facebook page and say, “Can you believe he said this?”

Rebecca: Exactly.

Sheila: Let’s just starve it of oxygen.  So thank you for sending that to me.  Now a few weeks ago before I left on my vacation we did talk about how to handle different categories of people that you see giving bad advice online.  And we talked about the people like Dennis Prager, who are thought leaders.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  And we’re like they’re fair game.

Sheila: He’s not a thought leader necessarily in evangelical circles, but he is in the conservative space.  And he does talk a lot about marriage.  And so he is someone who is very legitimate to criticize, I think, about this.  

Rebecca: Oh yeah.

Sheila: Then we also talked about people who might say really dumb things, who have huge audiences, and who might say really dumb things or promote really bad books, but they’re not thought leaders.

Rebecca: Yeah.  And they’re not trying to be.  

Sheila: Right.  And we had another instance of a whole ton of people sending me a post that—and Instagram DIY person who has about a quarter of a million followers—she had shared about Love and Respect and how great a book that was.  And a bunch of people sent this to me or tagged me and wanted me to respond to that.  So let’s talk about how to make the world a better place when something like that happens.  The thing about this person is that she is not a marriage influencer.  And like we said on that podcast a few weeks ago, you are allowed to be popular and wrong.  

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: And she was just wrong.  And so here’s how I would handle this.  I would just leave a comment that was very kind and said something like, “I’m so glad that that book helped you.  That’s wonderful.  However, I am concerned because there’s been a lot of research on how harmful that book has been especially for people in destructive marriages and how it has actually enabled abuse.  And if you want more information, go look up The Great Sex Rescue or just Google Emerson Eggerichs and abuse.  And you’ll find a lot of things there.”  

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: And then turn off notifications.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  That’s a big one.  If you’re like, “Man, I want to say something, but I can’t handle seeing the comments that come back,” you can always just turn off notifications on that post.

Sheila: Yeah.  Turn off notifications for that post.  But then I would also recommend unfollowing.  Okay?  And maybe this isn’t—this may not be the case for everybody because this person is not known for marriage.  She is known for DIY stuff.  But here is my issue.  If they’re going to post something like that about marriage, it means they’re willing to step outside their lane and say stuff that they don’t know anything about.  And you reading that, you notice Love and Respect.  And you’re like, “Oh, I know that’s a bad book.”  And so you see that that’s wrong.  And you recognize this is problematic.  But what if she shares stuff about nutrition or sleep or—I don’t even know.  Finances.

Rebecca: Or what if it’s a homesteading channel and they’re sharing stuff about canning practices.  And you don’t know if they’re doing it according to the book or not.  

Sheila: If she’s willing to step outside her lane on this one thing that you do know about, then are you going to notice if she steps outside her lane on something you don’t know as much about?  And that’s why I think it’s really important for influencers to stay in their lane.  Talk about what you do know about.  And when you’re going to talk about stuff that you’re not as knowledgeable about, then share peer reviewed research.  

Rebecca: Yep.  Or just say here are some other people who are knowledgeable.  There’s also that.

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  And so that’s how I would handle that one.  And I think that we would do a lot better.  I don’t know that I would get into a protracted fight about it necessarily.

Rebecca: No.

Sheila: And I do think leaving a kind comment is more likely to stay up because I know that people have left snarky comments on other people’s stuff.  And then they just get blocked and deleted.

Rebecca: And it’s like you know what?  At some point, if someone is being ridiculous and mean, you’re allowed to just be honest.  And if you get blocked, that’s on them.  But I think that if you actually want to get through to someone it’s often nice just to leave a giving them the benefit of the doubt comment.  Giving it that way, right?  It’s giving the benefit of the doubt comment.  And if they respond badly, then okay.  I guess you’re done there.  You’re done.

Sheila: Yeah.  But remember the aim is not actually to change the influencer because you probably won’t.  The aim is to tell all the other people who might be reading the comments another side of the story.  And so you’re not actually writing the comment for the influencer.  And you can’t judge how well your comment performed by whether you change the influencer’s mind.  Just remember that there’s other people reading the comment thread, and that’s who you’re leaving your comment for.

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.  Exactly.  

Sheila: Okay.  So there’s how to make the world a better place when people step outside their lane.

Rebecca: We’re not going to give you her name.  We’re not going to give you her Instagram handle.  And if you figure out who she is, please don’t say, “Hey, the Bare Marriage podcast talked about you.  They think it’s ridiculous too.”  That’s okay.  Because this is the kind of person who—she’s just popular and wrong.  And we don’t want to be actively going after her.  We’re just using this as an example of one of the people who we’re not going to call out by name.  We’re not going to dwell on whatever they say. 

Sheila: Yeah.  Exactly.  Okay.  Now for the far more problematic one—and this is hard to talk about.  But I’m going to give a preamble.  October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  And I really want people to start being able to recognize unhealthy patterns in marriage.  Unhealthy patterns in marriage do not necessarily lead to abuse.  But all abuse is preceded by unhealthy patterns, okay?  So A equals B even if B doesn’t necessarily equal A.  Okay?  All abuse has unhealthy patterns as part of it.  That doesn’t mean that all unhealthy patterns lead to abuse.  

Rebecca: Yes.  All poodles are dogs.  Not all dogs are poodles.

Sheila: Exactly.  So when marriage influencers are displaying unhealthy patterns in public, I find that very worrying.  And I think that we do need to call it out.  And like we talked about in the podcast earlier, there are a lot of people in evangelicalism who are trying to build platforms and income about marriage when they have absolutely no credentials other than the fact that they’re personable.  They’re good on the camera.  And that’s really it.  

Rebecca: Yep.  They’re trying to get famous.  They’re putting out books.  They’re trying to become marriage speakers.  They’re trying to become marriage mentors.  They want to be the next XO Marriage couple.  They want to be the next—that kind of thing. 

Sheila: Yeah.  And by the way, just as an aside, be careful of XO Marriage.  They platform Mark Driscoll, and they’ve never apologized for it.  So not safe.  Okay.  So yes.  There are a lot of people who are doing this.  And one of them is the couple Paul and Morgan.  And we’ve never called them out before.  To tell you the honest truth, I’ve never even watched through a video before.

Rebecca: We’re not going to.  No.

Sheila: But this one was sent to us by people who were concerned because of the dynamics that were present in the video.  And because it corresponded so much with what we talk about, we thought it was worth just discussing a few things.  Now one of the big reasons I want to talk about them is because so many teenagers and young adults follow them.  

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: And so probably a lot of you listening to us don’t follow them because I think they—I could be wrong on this.  But I think they tend to have a younger audience.  They’re talking about their dating relationship, how to have good relationships, et cetera.  And do what I would really encourage you all to do, if you’re listening, if you’re teenagers or young adult children or people in your youth group watch Paul and Morgan, please let them listen or invite them or grab them or bring them and listen to this podcast together.  Listen to the rest of this podcast because I really want them to see the unhealthy dynamics so that they can recognize how a lot of the YouTube and Instagram influencers that we follow in the evangelical world about marriage are actually displaying really problematic stuff.  Not just teaching problematic stuff but displaying some really problematic relationship dynamics.

Rebecca: Yeah.  And Paul and Morgan are one of the—they’re kind of the in between.  Between the Dennis Pragers and the little cutesy DIY channels, right?  Because they’re not currently seen as a major thought leader, but they’re trying to be.  But additionally, we’re not—you’re seeing us talk about them here.  We’re not going to talk about their marriage advice.  We’re not going to talk about their teachings.  Nothing like that because, quite frankly—and I’m going to say this with all gentleness.  At some point, the responsibility to not digest harmful content does come to the actual person looking at the content.  If you’re getting your advice from a bunch of 20 something year olds whose only qualifications are that they are hot and have been married, I’m going to be very honest.  This is a discernment issue.  You should not be getting your advice from people who don’t have any real reason to be giving it.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: And so I—because I think they’re like my age.  

Sheila: I think Paul might be a little older.  I’m honestly not sure.  But they’re quite young.

Rebecca: They’re the kind of people who we’d be buds with at church.  And I do not give personal marriage advice the way that they do.  I tend to do it by research.  This is the thing is we just need discernment.  And so we’re not going to go into their teachings and their marriage teachings in the future.  We’re only talking about this because they did such an unintentionally good job of showing so many red flags for, quite frankly—and we don’t know what’s going on.  We don’t know if anything is even going on.  But they just showed so many red flags for an abusive dynamic that we just wanted to talk about it.

Sheila: Yeah.  And not necessarily abusive, but certainly unhealthy.  And like I said, unhealthy can lead to abuse but doesn’t necessarily.  But all abuse is preceded by unhealthy.  So let’s take a look at some of these unhealthy dynamics.  Now in this particular video—and we’re going to show a couple of clips from it.  They have seven things that they wish they had known about sex before they got married.  And I think Paul had four, and Morgan had three.  And they hadn’t shared them with each other before they talked about it on camera.  And we’re not going to go over all seven.  But I do want to bring attention to a few of the weird dynamics as they’re talking about it.  So let me set up this clip that we’re about to show.  Paul’s number one thing that he said was that he wished that he had understood that your level sexiness and adventure doesn’t go from 0 to 100 right off the bat.  It takes awhile to grow that.  Which is actually true.  I mean that’s true.  

Rebecca: I think a lot of guys wish they would have known that, right?  Because male and female sexuality is very different.

Sheila: Right.  But here’s the problem.  He gives an example of how he brought whipped cream on their honeymoon, and he made her cry.  And she agrees.  And I just you to notice her body language in this clip.

Paul: Don’t expect the sexiness and the adventuresome, crazy, awesome stuff to go from 0 to 100 right out of the gate.  Realize that is going to take some time.  And if I had realized that before getting married, I wouldn’t have brought out the whipped cream on our honeymoon.  It was a bad idea.  It made Morgan cry.

Morgan: Yes.  It did.  We were like three days into our marriage in Miami, Florida on our honeymoon.  And he brings out a can of whipped cream.  And I’m like—

Paul: And here’s the thing.  It sounds—take that however you want.  You’re shocked.  You’re appalled.  You’re laughing.  But in all reality, in my mind, it was I’m finally married.  Now I welcome everything and the kitchen sink into our sex life.  Let’s go wild.  And Morgan is like—

Morgan: I’m like, “Bro, I barely know you.”

Sheila: Now Becca, what was she doing?

Rebecca: She was laughing.

Sheila: She was talking about crying, but she was laughing. 

Rebecca: Yeah.  It’s so funny that he made her cry, and she was traumatized and all that stuff.

Sheila: And I notice this.  And I thought, “Well, that’s kind of odd,” because this clip appears at the beginning of the video.  But if you watch the whole thing through—and it’s about 25 minutes—what you’ll notice is that over and over and over again whenever she is talking about being disappointed or hurt or angry or anything, she laughs.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Anytime there’s any negative emotion towards her husband or because of her husband, she glosses over it with laughter.  And that’s a very—it’s called fawn response.  We know that there is fight or flight when we’re approached with something that we find stressful or threatening.  There’s also the freeze, which also happens.  And then we’ve also realized that there is one called fawn, which is when you feel threatened or you feel uncomfortable as a protective measure you do something to break tension, to make the person who is threatening you feel good so that they stop threatening you anymore, right?  So if you’re someone who you can’t feel safe expressing your emotions around someone else—if there is someone who is in the work place, for instance, who is harassing you as a woman and they’re making all these really crude comments, and you just laugh it off saying, “Ha, ha.  You’re being so silly.”  That’s a fawn response.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: That’s an I’m uncomfortable.  And then usually when, afterwards, it’s like, “Man, why did I laugh at his jokes?”  Well, because it’s the fawn response.  It’s totally normal.  And that, to me, is what this looks like is it’s a fawn response.  We don’t know what’s actually going on.  But when someone is pasting over their negative emotions towards a person with fawning in some word like laughing it off or making their person who is threatening them make them feel safe, that’s a fawn response.  It’s like, “Hey, I’m good.  I’m not a threat to you,” right?

Sheila: Right.

Rebecca: Even though they’re the one who is threatening you. 

Sheila: Yeah.  And she does this throughout the video.  I don’t know if she does it in other videos.  I’ve never seen her other videos.  But I found this very, very strange.  I remember when you were in university, and you called me.  And you said, “Oh my gosh, Mom.  There’s this new program.  You’ve just got to stream it.  Connor and I have just streamed the whole thing.  It’s so good.  You’ve got to stream it.”  And it was the show Lie to Me.

Rebecca: Yes.  Oh, and it’s utter and complete pseudo psychology.  I will be completely honest.  I actually studied body language reading as part of my—one of my psychology courses.  And my prof was like, “I know you all are going to bring up Lie to Me.  It’s kind of right.  It’s mostly crap.”  But it was this amazing Netflix show about this guy, who, of course, this body language analyst who could read whether people were lying. 

Sheila: Who could tell if people were lying or not.

Rebecca: Right.  So you all—it’s a fantastic show.  It’s completely an over exaggeration of what goes on.  But the truth behind it is that if you understand—there are some people who seem to be more attuned to body language versus others.  And people can actually predict with crazy high accuracy whether or not something is up.  The way the show was kind of crazy is they could not only figure out if something was up, but they could say, “It’s in the third box to the left above the map of the underground tunnels because his eyes flickered when I mentioned a subway.  And where he is from subways are called tubes.”  That’s why it was a little bit much.  But what we’re saying is body language does actually matter.  It doesn’t tell you exactly what’s going on, but it can tell you that something is going on.

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: And when you’re watching stuff like this and you’re watching how people are interacting, looking at things like, hey, her actions are really not—they’re not what you’d expect with the kinds of seriousness that they’re talking about.

Sheila: Yeah.  The emotions that she’s talking about are not matching what her face and what her body language is displaying.  And there’s some awesome YouTube channels that talk about—that analyze the Duggars’ interviews.

Rebecca: Yeah.  It’s quite interesting.

Sheila: Yeah.  And you may think, “Okay.  Well, why are you going on about body language?”  But it’s actually latter in this video that there is some quite disturbing things that are talked about.  So to set the stage for this—the more scary stuff that we do want to share about, in the previous six things that they were mentioning that they wish they knew before, there was this common theme where Paul had very high expectations about how great sex was going to be.  And Morgan—it wasn’t what she wanted.  It didn’t quite—she wasn’t quite living up to his expectations and what she really, really wanted was more intimacy.  Emotional connection.  And so she was talking about she wouldn’t—sometimes sex was just blah, but what she really needed was to feel close first.  Or one of her things was she said that no matter how she communicated about sex she needed to communicate more because this is a hard thing to talk about.  And she was saying how she would think her sex life was good, but then they would do a video where Paul would say it was just okay.  And I found that really telling because this was the theme that kept coming up is that Paul was always finding problems with their sex life because she was the one who admitted she didn’t enjoy sex physically that much all the time.  And yet, she thought their sex life was okay.

Rebecca: And that’s what we found over and over again in our study.

Sheila: Not just okay but good.

Rebecca: But we found that over and over again as well is there are lots of women who are not enjoying sex physically who rate their sex life as really great.  And we have to ask why.  

Sheila: Our theory—and it seems to be what is going on here too—is that women decide whether or not their sex life is good based on how they think their husband is enjoying it.  And if their husband—if they think that they are being the good wife and performing enough and having enough sex and he’s getting release then they think, “Well, then my sex life is good,” because he’s the focus of the sex life.  Not her.

Rebecca: Yeah.  When you ask a man how good is your sex life, what he hears is how much do you enjoy your sex life.  When a woman hears how good is your sex life, what she hears is how much does your husband enjoy your sex life.

Sheila: Yeah.  And that seems to be what’s happening.  And so he talked about several things.  There were several things he talked about which gave us some real red flags.  He talked about before he was married—it’s funny because his number three started out so good.  It was like be careful of the books you read about sex.  And I’m like yes.  They’re saying—yes.  That’s exactly what we’re saying.  But what he meant was don’t read super sexually explicit stuff before you’re married because he was talking about reading Cosmic.  And it can put these expectations way up there like why he thought there’d be whipping cream on their honeymoon.  And she was—she said that the books he was reading before they were married made her uncomfortable.

Rebecca: Oh, yeah.

Sheila: But, again, laughing, right?

Rebecca: Yeah.  It was like, “Oh, he was crossing my boundaries.  Isn’t that funny?”  Poor woman.

Sheila: And with the whole whipping cream, with the whole—and I’m not saying whipping cream is bad.  Oh my gosh.

Rebecca: No.

Sheila: Have fun.  Go for it.  Chocolate sauce probably tastes better.

Rebecca: If you want to have whipping cream on your honeymoon, you both want to have fun, you go for it.  It’s just there is this idea—

Sheila: Although whipping cream in a can, I just—there’s—I think I’m getting too healthy, and my body can’t take stuff like that anymore.

Rebecca: Okay.  We are starting to be—cross boundaries.

Sheila: We’re crossing boundaries.  And I’m laughing.  Okay.

Rebecca: We’re moving on. 

Sheila: But yeah.  We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with that.  But it just seemed like he was focusing on his experience of hot sex.  And everything she said was like, “What I really wanted was the emotional connection.  What I really wanted was to feel loved,” and she wasn’t feeling that.  And they were both very open about how difficult sex was in the first few years.  And then we get to this part.

Rebecca: This is where the body language really comes in.  So we are going to play a clip that—it’s a little bit longer because you have to see the lead in so that you understand how his body language changes.  We’re going to tell you what the question is going into it and then we’ll show you what happens.  But pretty much he was talking about how they get into a fight, and he was—they were expecting to have sex that night.  And he was all jazzed and excited for it.  And then they—something would happen.  She’d be too tired, or they’d get into a fight.  And instead of having sex, he’d just roll over and have to go to bed.  His wife is right there, and he’s just all kind of mad and frustrated.  And it was really emotionally hard for him.  And then Morgan—

Sheila: Yeah.  Here were his exact words.  I’ll just read you his exact words.  “Sometimes I just want to get in my car and drive.  I’m just angry.  Sex is supposed to be pleasurable and intimate.  And now it’s being taken from me.”  It’s being taken away.

Rebecca: Yeah.  Which is yucky.  Because it’s because she’s either exhausted or because they’re having a fight, and that’s yucky to be seeing your spouse as taking sex away from you when you’ve done something to harm your spouse or your spouse is exhausted.  That’s icky, and it’s incredibly entitled.  And I don’t really have any problem.  That is just entitled regardless of what the rest of the relationship is like.  If you’re seeing it that way, that is entitlement.

Sheila: Yeah.  And Morgan is explaining how she wasn’t feeling intimate right then because they were in the middle of a fight.  And he was saying, “Well, sex is intimate.  Now it’s being taken from me.”  And so in the middle of this fight, he still wants sex.  And what he’s really upset about is we’re not getting sex whereas what she’s upset about is that we’re not connecting.

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.  Exactly.

Sheila: As we’ve talked about on this podcast so many times, a lot of men have channeled their need for connection into sex.  

Rebecca: Well, and not only that, they channel it into sex.  But then on top of that, they have a full pornographic style of relating when it comes to sex.  The idea that sex is intimate so I should be able to have you do it for me even if you don’t want to do.  And to force intimacy that way that is a pornographic style of relating.

Sheila: Right.

Rebecca: The pornographic style of relating says sex comes first.  An intimate relationship for style of relating is that you—sex comes out of a healthy relationship.  Not you force sex in no matter what because you feel entitled to it.

Sheila: Yeah.  Now at this point, the comment section is largely relating to what we have just told you about.  And there are actually comments—there’s several comments with more likes than the entire video saying that he has a very entitled view of sex and that this is dangerous.

Rebecca: Yeah.  And so then Morgan actually admits that she knew that this was bothering Paul so much, but she still just couldn’t have sex anyway.  And she often knew.  And then this is how he responds.

Paul: Like okay.  Morgan is mad at me, or we got—something happened.  I’m not going to have sex.  I was expecting it, and now I just want to—it hits you in a way that I don’t think I had ever experienced.  The feeling of being let down, of sad, of upset.  I just want to go get in my car and just drive.  I just want to not be here.  I’m angry.  Literally, so many emotions because I think it’s a combination of sex is just so pleasurable, but it’s also so intimate and so beautiful.  And suddenly, that’s being taken away.

Morgan: Yeah.  Yeah.  It definitely—if Paul and I get into an argument and sex doesn’t end up being on the table that night or whatever, in the first few years of our marriage, I knew that it hit Paul way harder than it hit me.  I would just roll over and be like, “Good night.”

Paul: So you knew.

Morgan: Of course, I knew.

Paul: So you were aware?  And you just rolled over.

Morgan: Yeah.  I wasn’t having sex with you.  I was mad at you.  Now I will say there are times—there are going to be times in your marriage—

Paul: Wow.

Morgan: – where you guys are mad at each other, you should still have sex.

Paul: Wow.

Morgan: But sometimes you shouldn’t.  Or sometimes it’s just impossible because you’re just like—

Paul: So maybe that’s more of a guy thing.  But I think it could definitely be similar to the woman, and there are different levels of sex drives.  And that can fluctuate.

Morgan: Well, yeah.  For me, I was less sad that we were not going to have sex, but more—but sad that we just got into a fight.  I’m like, “Oh, we had had a really good day all day long, and now we just got into a fight.  What the heck?  Okay.  Good night.”  I’m going to sleep this off.  We’ll figure it out tomorrow.

Paul: Morgan, I will say hearing you so brazenly say you just ignored my emotions even though you were aware of them there were times when I would be laying there just so hurt realizing okay.  I get it.  We’re in a fight or whatever.  It’s valid.  But man, it would mean a lot to me if you were to just kind of turn—roll over and touch my arm and say, “I know that we’re upset at each other.”

Morgan: You know how absolutely hard that is when you’ve been a butt head to me.

Paul: I get it.  I get it.  I get it.  And I could have done the same thing sometimes.  

Morgan: Yeah.  (Cross talk)

Paul: But there’s just that thing of like I don’t want to budge on this.  I don’t want to budge.  But man—just for you guys watching, maybe married people, getting ready to be married, if you can just humble yourself and turn over to your partner and scratch their back and say, “Hey, we may not get this worked out tonight.  But I love you, and let’s go ahead and have sex.”

Morgan: And we have done that.

Paul: And we’ve definitely done that.

Morgan: Yes.

Rebecca: I know a lot of you might find it weird that we’re so into the whole body language thing because we’re so research and evidence based.  And I know that this is a very, very tricky area of psychology, and people really don’t know how much is accurate.  But this is what body language reading is for.  

Sheila: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca: It’s not about telling you what’s up.  It’s about telling you when something might be up.  It’s about teaching us that we’re allowed to trust our intuition when we see things that make us pause and say, “Wait.  That was not an appropriate or normal response to what just happened.”  So I’m really curious if anyone else noticed how when Morgan admitted that she knew what Paul was feeling—did you notice how Paul immediately squared his shoulders?

Sheila: Yeah.  

Rebecca: And his whole muscles went tense.  And he just started looking at her.  It was less of the whole—the whole way before it was kind of like bouncing between Morgan, then the camera, and kind of looking around.  And his body language was really loose.  All of a sudden it got like—quite frankly, it got like a cat stalking prey kind of thing.  It was like he was just honed in.  We are now against each other. 

Sheila: Yeah.

Rebecca: And that was—when I saw that for the first time, I was like, “Holy crap.”  That is scary.

Sheila: And again, we are not the only ones to see this.  The comment section is full of people saying, “Wow.  That was a huge red flag.  That was a huge red flag.”  

Rebecca: Yeah.  But the idea that—then after he’s—he does this.  And he kind of regains his composure.  He regains his camera face again.  You know what his response to all this is?  Is he says that every now and then we should just—you should humble yourself and just have sex anyway.  He says humble yourself.  So he learns that his wife was in such turmoil that she couldn’t bring herself to having sex with him.  And his response was not, “Yeah.  We had a lot to work, and I’m so glad we’re in a better place now.”  His response is, “Humble yourself and have sex anyway,” to people in that scenario.  He doesn’t say, “Husbands, learn that you need recognize that connection is important.  And if you’re not connecting, then it’s not her fault if she doesn’t want to jump in bed with you.”  Of course, she doesn’t want to jump in bed with a stranger.  She even says—Morgan even says in the thing, “I barely know you,” when she was talking earlier about the honeymoon.  Women do not want to jump in bed with a stranger.  It’s a healthy thing.  

Sheila: Yeah.  And you know what?  It’s not totally comfortable talking about this because they are a young couple.  I don’t expect them to know as much as we do today.  I was on a large learning curve, and there were times that I probably believed very much like they do now.  But the difference is they’re actually trying to build a platform on this.  And this is where the evangelical world needs to wake up, and we need to get away from celebrities and enabling celebrities.  And we need to stop idolizing people who have the kind of life that we think we want.  And we need to start being wise.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  Trust your gut.  When you see something that’s not quite right, trust your gut.  When you see a man who looks like he’s kind of controlling and not that healthy, trust your gut.  Don’t brush it off.

Sheila: And we don’t know if this is an abusive situation.  Most of the comments talked like it was.  We have no idea.  Okay.  We do not know what goes on behind the scenes.  But what I will say is that their body langue shows a couple where it is very likely that this is an abusive situation.  And so if this is not an abusive situation, they need to take this video down because—

Rebecca: Well, it’s not just this video either.  There’s a lot of videos where this is the kind of body language going on.

Sheila: Okay.  Because this is normalizing unhealthy dynamics.

Rebecca: Yeah.  And the problem is they have such a young fan base.  And when you’re a 18, 19 year old, and you’re getting into your first real relationship, and your idols are people like Paul and Morgan where this is what’s normal in the relationship dynamic, are you really going to be able to identify what’s a healthy or unhealthy relationship?  That’s why, if you’re someone who has any influence over what your really young teens are watching around you, please use it.  Let them double guess when someone is being healthy or not.  Don’t just say, “Oh, well, they’re Christians.  So it’s great.”  Take the blinders off.  Take off the rose colored glasses and recognize that if anyone treats you that way in such a manipulative and entitled and controlling way it doesn’t matter how many Bible verses know.  It doesn’t matter how many T-shirts with, “In the world but not of it,” they’re wearing.  They can just be a bad guy.  And I don’t know what’s happening with Paul and Morgan.  We don’t know.  What I’m saying is that if I had a friend whose husband was talking to her and treating her the way that Paul talked about how he treated Morgan.  I would immediately be pulling her aside on her own and making sure that she knew that she could come and stay with me if she needed to.

Sheila: Yeah.  And if Morgan were my daughter because she is the same age as my daughters, I would be very concerned.  And that doesn’t mean that there is necessarily anything going on in their marriage.  But what we are seeing is a woman who does not feel confident sharing what she’s really feeling because she is laughing every time she has a negative emotion.  And we’re seeing a man who reacted very negatively—

Rebecca: With anger.  Very aggressively.  I will say that was aggressive.

Sheila: Yeah.  And so this is where please, please, evangelical community, let’s stop with idolizing Christian young celebrities who really have no credentials for teaching because they are the ones who are teaching our kids what relationships are supposed to look like far more so than Emerson Eggerichs or Gary Thomas or Shaunti Feldhahn or whatever.  Paul and Morgan and all of you listening can probably think of more—I’m not going to name them.  But other people with huge Instagram and YouTube following where the only credentials they have is that—

Rebecca: They’re married.

Sheila: In the evangelical world, they tend to be good looking, and they’re good behind the camera.  And that’s it.  And a lot of them are setting our kids up for not recognizing what is truly unhealthy and normalizing what is unhealthy.  And we need to stop.  We need to stop.  So I hope Paul and Morgan are okay.  

Rebecca: I’m really glad to see that the comments were so kind to Morgan for the most part.  Most of them were really kind to Morgan.  More like, “I’m worried about you.  I hope that you’re safe.”  And I hope that their young, impressionable viewers really saw that and that they can be educated that this was not normal and this was not good and maybe this isn’t someone you should be emulating.

Sheila: And we’ve also had on the podcast—lately we had Alyssa Wakefield talking about her experiences growing up in the Bill Gothard cult and how she used to have a blog where she would teach about how to have a great marriage at the same time as she was being horribly abused.  Natalie Hoffman.

Rebecca: Yeah.  She’s been pretty open about that.

Sheila: Yeah.  How at the height of her abuse, she had a blog too where she was talking about how to be a good Christian wife.  And when I started blogging in 2008, there was a whole group of us that were like the Christian mom blogs.  And the majority of them are now divorced because of abuse or infidelity of their husbands.  So I think that people who are in these unhealthy dynamics are often drawn to having these kinds of presences online because it helps them feel like they have some control.

Rebecca: Well, it helps—the narcissist likes it because they’re in the spotlight.  And the victim—it helps the victim because they get constant reassurance that, “Okay.  Maybe I am doing okay,” right?  This is okay.  This is okay, right?

Sheila: So again, we’re not saying that there’s definitely abuse here.  But what we are saying is that we need to be very aware that abuse is common among people who are talking like they have it all together.  And we need to start recognizing unhealthy dynamics and not normalizing them.

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.

Sheila: And so I do hope Paul and Morgan are okay.  And if they are and they didn’t mean this, then I hope they take the video down because it is normalizing unhealthy patterns.

Rebecca: It really is.  It really is.

Sheila: And if they’re not okay, I have shared this before on a more private level.  But I will share it on the podcast too.  Morgan can reach out to me at any time, and I will never tell another soul about it.  I won’t even tell you, Rebecca.  

Rebecca: Yeah.  And I can actually attest.  There’s lots of stuff that I don’t learn about until years later when the person says, “Oh, yeah,” to me—“Didn’t you know that already?”  “No.  Mom never told me.”  

Sheila: Yep.  And so I did—I just want people to know that.  If you are an influencer whether you’re Morgan or whether you’re Sarah Eggerichs or whether you’re any—the wife of some of these really difficult people who I’ve been critiquing, if you reach out to me, I will never tell another living soul.  But I can help get you in contact with some help.  So just want you all to know that.  Okay.  As we are wrapping up, can I share a few more letters that have come in about how our work has impacted people?

Rebecca: Sure.

Sheila: And where we can go from here.  So here is a woman who wrote—and I want to share some good ones and some difficult ones.  Here is a woman who wrote, “I have just finished reading The Great Sex Rescue, and I burst into tears.  And I cried like I haven’t in a long time.  Over the years, I have read and tried to implement almost all of the books that you say are harmful, and I can see how much damage it has done.  I wanted to be the good Christian wife, but I got a rude awakening when my husband didn’t want to have sex very often after the first few months of marriage.  What was wrong with me?  Was I not attractive enough?  Why couldn’t I turn him on?  At the same time, I was aware of his struggle with porn, and I was told he would need sex every 72 hours.  But he didn’t seem to need it from me.  So where was he getting it from?  Our communication around this area has always been hard.  I will bring something up, and then he will go quiet.  And he’ll sulk.  Once he gets over it, we never talk about the issue until the next time I have just had enough again.  I tried everything in the books, but nothing would work.  I would like to say that we have worked through our issues and things are going really well.  But alas, I feel like we are at the same place we were in in our first year of marriage.  I feel like I have no real intimacy with him and that my needs don’t matter to him.  Yes.  I know his past has a lot to say with the way he is, but I just wish he would want to put the work in to have a more intimate marriage.  That being said, today I felt a bit of hope that it really isn’t all my fault.  Actually, maybe it isn’t my fault at all.  I’m going to try and let the Bible’s truth really sink into my heart and change what I think about me.  That I am worth it.  Then I guess it’s just one step at a time.  Not really sure where to go from here but praying that just as I have come across this book at a perfect time that God will show me the next step to take.”  And then she talks about how she’s a very creative person in a certain area of the arts.  And she hasn’t been able to create anything in about a decade.  And so she’s hoping that she will have the confidence to do that again.

Rebecca: Aww.

Sheila: Yeah.

Rebecca: Yeah.  I think whenever you’re in those kinds of situations just being able to be reminded of your worth in Christ is really the first step in making whatever changes or big choices you need to make to make sure you can be healthy in the long term.  

Sheila: Yeah.  Yeah.  And in November, just to give you a heads up of what’s coming in November on the blog, we’re going to talk about how to dig out of the hole that you dug for yourself or that your spouse has dug for your marriage.

Rebecca: Yeah.  In this case, as your spouse has dug for your marriage.  Yeah.

Sheila: Yeah.  When you are deep in this hole—you want to talk about it.  Every time you bring it up he sulks.  So then you just leave it until the next time, and this pattern keeps happening over and over again.  And so we are going to talk about how to get out of that hole and how to actually try to make some progress.  And I do want to say for a lot of women in this exact situation—this is why I wanted to read this letter.  A lot of women have said that having their husbands listen to the audio book of The Great Sex Rescue has really helped.  He may not want to read it.  But often men are willing to listen.  And that’s not a—I don’t mean—we just know that women read more books than men.  Okay?  That’s not a sexist thing.  Women read—I think it’s 74% of self help and relationship books according to Nielsen Research or something.  So but we have heard that a lot of guys are listening to the audio book.  And maybe if he will listen to the audio book he just might realize what he’s missing and get the help and do the work.  The Great Sex Rescue is not going to fix him.  No.  Because he needs to do some serious work, but it might wake him up that he actually does need to do it and that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Rebecca: And if he’s not willing to do any work to wake up, that’s not on you.  

Sheila: Nope.  Exactly.

Rebecca: It’s not because you didn’t convince him.  It’s not because you didn’t say it nice enough.  It’s not because you should have done something else first.  No.  That’s just not on you.  Some people just do not want to change and do not want to be better.  And there is nothing that you can do as the wife to fix that.  And despite what all the other evangelical messages have given you for years and years and years.  It’s just not true.  It’s just true.

Sheila: Yeah.  Exactly.  Here’s another one that I want to read to you.  And he says this, “I’m a minister who focuses mostly on inner healing and deliverance.  But yesterday I found myself in a couple’s counseling session, and the wife had shut down due to wounds from her husband.  And he then had had emotional affairs.  Your blogs helped me shift from some unhelpful teaching.  It’s not that this is entirely new.  But just hearing someone else simply state that men are not out of control beasts of the field who can’t control themselves but instead do have control even when their wives aren’t giving them what they want and seeing that she is not opening up because of unresolved things in her or their past and so the sex stuff is all rooted in deeper stuff.  It was all confirmed by your stuff.”

Rebecca: That’s great.

Sheila: “And so what you are saying is surely tough to say, and I cannot imagine all of the curses and warfare that you have been having to put up with just for upholding God’s ideals.  But just hearing someone else saying it and affirming things that I believed already or just needed confirmation on or even just hearing for the first time, gosh, it just saved me from playing the Christian mockingbird that repeats the old, tired, and true lies that are messing up families even more.  So thanks.  Keep it up.  We all need to hear this.”

Rebecca: Mm-hmm.  

Sheila: I think that’s my favorite is when I hear from counselors and pastors because you think, “Okay.  This is going to get—we’re going to stop with the unhealthy teaching, and we’re going to start telling people healthy stuff.”  

Rebecca: Yeah.  Exactly.

Sheila: And that’s what’s going to stop.  That’s what’s going to stop the cycles here.  So that was really good to hear.  Again, the great sex rescue is not a panacea that can fix everything.

Rebecca: No.  But it starts the conversations.  

Sheila: It starts the conversations.

Rebecca: It starts the conversations.  Yeah.

Sheila: And for so many women, they just say, “It’s like—it’s just so validating.  It’s just so validating to know that I’m not crazy.”

Rebecca: The other thing too which is—I mean it’s a less happy way of seeing it too is that if—we’ve heard from a lot of women who are married to, frankly, bad men, who they got to listen to The Great Sex Rescue.  And the men didn’t agree with it.  They didn’t agree that women needed—that women deserved pleasure.  They didn’t agree that obligation sex was bad.  They didn’t agree that marital rape was really even a thing.  And it helped those women get out of the marriages they otherwise may have stayed in for years and realize the depth of their abuse.  And so we’re always going to be grateful that we were able to help set women free as well.  And I know that’s not always—that’s not always what people want to hear.  But it’s like, “Yeah.  Get your husband to listen.  And if he doesn’t want to, that’s a red flag.  And if he does and he doesn’t get it, that’s a red flag.”  That is a red flag.

Sheila: Yeah.  But what we’re looking for is we just want to lead people to Jesus and to health—to greater and greater wholeness.  And for some people, that’s going to mean in the marriage.  And for some people, it’s going to mean outside of the marriage.  And one of the things that I’m really grateful for that I feel very honored by that I was not expecting was how many divorced people have read The Great Sex Rescue and have come away saying, “Okay.  God was angry at what I went through too.”  That was never (cross talk).

Rebecca: Yep.  He’s not angry at me for not being able to live with it.  He’s angry that I was mistreated for so long.

Sheila: Yeah.  And to have them have that healthy view of God, that’s just everything to me.  So to all of you, if you are wondering how you can be the change in the world that we need to see, we just—we wanted to give you those ideas today.  So when it’s a big person, speak up.  

Rebecca: Yes.

Sheila: When it’s not a big though leader, leave a kind comment, but then it’s okay to unfollow.  And then let’s do some basic educating at church and especially with our young people about what unhealthy dynamic look like and why it’s important not to feed celebrity culture.

Rebecca: Exactly.

Sheila: And as always, keep commenting on the blog and on Facebook because the more you comment the more the comment section is positive, not negative.

Rebecca: Thank you.  I would really appreciate that.

Sheila: And we already appreciate that too.  And thank you for all the encouraging emails that we’ve had and for sending me all of these things that I need to check out because I never learn about this stuff from anyone else.  I learn it all from readers because I don’t have time to follow everyone on social media.  So you guys all send me the greatest stuff.  So thank you for joining us.  Next week as we wrap up Bare Marriage—in October, we’ve been talking about deep dives into research.  We’re going to wrap up everything that we have talked about libido.  And it’s going to be a fun podcast.  I hope anyway.  We’ll be going into all the different ways of measuring libido.  And then in November, we’re going to talk about how to get out of the hole that we have dug for ourselves in our marriages.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Sheila: You’re thinking I need to rename that too.

Rebecca: Rut is a way better word than hole for the context of what we talk about on this blog.  How to get out of a rut.

Sheila: Okay.  We will work on that.  If people have suggestions—

Rebecca: I just got very uncomfortable with that.  So getting out of the rut.  Yeah.

Sheila: If anyone has suggestions, send us a comment.

Rebecca: Breaking the cycle.  Anything else.  Literally anything else.  On that note—

Sheila: And again, you know what?  Great Sex Rescue is almost up to 2,000 reviews on Amazon.  So go check them out.  I love seeing your reviews.  Thank you for encouraging us that way.  And thank you for spreading the word about The Great Sex Rescue because we are changing marriages one marriage at a time.  We will see you again next week.  Bye-bye.

Rebecca: Bye.

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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47 Comments

  1. Angharad

    “Honey, I know that your nature is to want a variety of women. And I just want you to know I’m grateful for the fact that you control it.”

    Ever noticed how these guys encourage wives to thank their husbands for being faithful to their marriage vows, but they don’t tell them to praise them for not shoplifting, or lying, or murdering their annoying neighbour, or cheating on their tax returns?

    I read a blog recently that was talking about how a lot of Christians are mixing up ‘obedience’ and ‘sacrifice’ and how living a life of obedience to God will mean denying ourselves some things that we want and that can be hard, but how we should be viewing that as a normal part of Christian life, not some huge sacrifice that we need lots of praise for doing. It was aimed at singles who talk about ‘sacrificing’ having sex, but I think it applies equally (or even more) to guys like Prager. He seems to have lost sight of the fact that avoiding adultery is an act of obedience to God, not some amazing and undeserved gift to our spouse that we need to be praised and honoured for giving!!!

    Reply
    • À2bbethany

      My sister used to talk like that and how jealous she was. And then she told me how elated and happy when a random stranger hit on her. Well now that they’ve gotten out of that dynamic, it was completely him trying to cheat. Those women likely were flirting heavily, because of him inviting it. And she was just busy trying to “respect” him back to health, that includes thanking him for not cheating.

      I didn’t actually see anything change in his shoulders, but everyone can see that he visibly changes, focusing completely on her. And the comments directly after that, was a complete emotional response. He was angry that she’d intentionally “denied him his rights”. But tried to sound wise and godly while saying it. It’s not normal to laugh that much, and you can see it’s wearing on her energy. Because she’s trying to keep it light, otherwise it’s going to turn serious.

      Reply
      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’m sorry about your sister, Bethany. I hope she’s gotten out of that!

        And, yes, I think Morgan was just trying to keep everything light. It was really sad.

        Reply
      • Laura

        I’ve seen quite a few clips of Paul and Morgan’s video through other youtube channels (mainly the Fundie snarkers and one from licensed therapist Mickey Atkins) and notice that Morgan always has that nervous laugh. She looks uncomfortable in all those video clips and Paul is such a misogynist.

        I felt livid when Paul talked about being “denied his rights” (there’s that male sexual entitlement typical of church attitudes) and said that “you [not sure who he was speaking to] should humble yourselves and just have sex even though you are mad at each other.” Seriously? That was the last thing I wanted when I was married to my ex and we had just had an argument or fight.

        Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Well said! Thoroughly agree.

      Reply
  2. Mindy

    I’d be really curious to see a follow-up or side-by-side study that assesses millennials beliefs and behaviors on open marriages or sex outside of marriage that both partners equally agreed to. I wonder if those practices are replacing cheating to a certain extent. Not that I condone such practices, but it may be that the same behavior (sex with someone other than a marriage partner) is still happening at the same rate but under a different name.

    Reply
  3. Phil

    Ok so I wont be able to finish the podcast til late in the day today. But that Prager dude is gross. Even as a recovering sex addict I get that thinking. That is exactly what I used to think. Everyone else thinks and does the same way I do. Uh – no – so this guys thinks that God – right? God made man in his own image and thats his nature? Uh dude: NO! Because of sin some maybe even many have that nature….but 95%. Whats your resource? Where did you get that number? My best guess is Prager is telling us that that is his nature and he doesnt know what to do with it so he tells us everyone is like that to justify his own behavior. Thats my best guess anyway. His Jesus is not mine. Mine smiles 😃

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think you’re exactly right, Phil!

      Reply
    • Jo

      That’s a very helpful explanation of the “fawning” response. I’ve seen that in a close family marriage and couldn’t describe it with precision. It was alarming.

      Reply
    • Noel

      Dennis Prager is not a Christian. He makes no claim of being one. He is ethnically Jewish, I am not sure if religiously he follows Judaism. Something I read years ago made me think that he appreciates Judaism culturally, but he may be somewhat agnostic in assuming it is mythologically true, but not essentially true. Something like Jordan Peterson, who is similarly conflicted about Christianity. I could be wrong about that. I actually think Dennis Prager’s views are more influenced by popular evolutionary theory, though he may not recognize that. From an evolutionary mindset, the desire to propagate the species results in insatiable sexual appetites, while a woman’s relative caution develops from the physical risks of pregnancy/childbirth, and the difficulty of feeding the resulting child. At least, this is the position I have seen put forward in a variety of secular media.

      Reply
      • Shannon

        I read that he isn’t a Christian as well. However, so many Christians follow him and repost his stuff on social media (which is probably why I thought he was a Christian). But I’m glad you pointed out that he doesn’t claim to follow Christ!

        Reply
        • Laura

          I think a lot of Christians follow Prager because his political views align with those of the white Evangelical Republicans.

          Reply
  4. Krz

    Hey wanted to say I love your podcast and love what you are doing!
    Been listening for about a 1.5 years and you have legit transformed my marriage. Thanks!

    Also shout out from Vancouver!

    Reply
  5. Joy

    Could we get the time stamps for the parts of the Paul and Morgan video that you are discussing?

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      The main one where he’s angry starts around the 18:00 mark of their video.

      Reply
      • Joy

        Thank you!

        Reply
  6. Cynthia

    Just wanted to emphasize that “PragerU” isn’t actually any sort of university. It’s just the branding of a YouTube channel of a guy on his 3rd wife after getting divorced from the previous 2. He has a large audience, but no actual qualifications to give marriage advice or say what is normal and healthy. Sounds like he is really trying to normalize his own urge to stray by suggesting that almost all men feel the same way.

    Also – just how insulting would that advice be to a normal husband? Mine would be horrified if I said that! It isn’t “appreciation” to basically accuse your spouse of being a creep.

    Reply
  7. Michelle Cook

    First of all-Love Bare Marriage. Recently found you guys on Facebook (definitely a God thing) You guys have no idea how much you are now impacting my husband too. The cheating study bothers me. Why does it have to be full blown sex to be cheating? My husband is a recovering sex addict. We have a long road ahead of us. But he’s “cheated” on me for 21 years (many various ways) but never once gone all the way and had sex with anyone else. So by the studies parameters-he hasn’t cheated. So I’m sure the actual numbers of “cheating” are much much higher. Just something to think about

    Reply
    • Rebecca Lindenbach

      Oh completely, cheating isn’t just literally having sex, and I agree that the numbers for unfaithfulness broadly are higher. And I’m so sorry you experienced such betrayal and infidelity in your marriage. But since Prager was talking about how men want to physically have sex with multiple women and have to hold themselves back from doing so, we used a study that looked at exactly that.

      What we need is fewer men like Dennis talking about how the bar should be lower for men and instead have a cultural shift where the bar is raised so that relationships are healthy and faithful, not just getting a passing grade when they manage to not physically have sex. Because like your story shows, there are many ways to betray a spouse.

      Reply
  8. Bernadette Thompson

    Dennis Prager is, well, indescribable and just gross. I hope he thanks his wife for not committing homicide as well.

    Reply
  9. Hannah

    I thought it was really interesting that Paul described sex as pleasurable and intimate (like the Bare Marriage team) but missed out mutual (unlike the Bare Marriage team). And I wonder how something can be truly intimate if it’s not mutual? And I think this takes us back to Rebecca’s point about entitlement.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Good catch!

      Reply
    • Faith

      Oh my gosh! You are SO right. It bothers me how (mostly men) talk about how great and intimate sex is and never, ever talk about how it’s supposed to feel good for women! Or, if they do, they still think she can’t say “no.” If it’s not mutual, it’s not intimate.

      Reply
  10. Nessie

    Watching M & P was so disturbing, uncomfortable, and dark. I’ve had sex when mad and it made me feel dirty, like I had used my body to manipulate (calm/placate) him even though he was manipulating me just as much if not more. It was sickening. He just wanted what he wanted and only HIS feelings mattered (just like Paul’s). It also associated intercourse with anger. Trust me, you don’t want to yoke those two things together!

    I sure don’t like how much his mouth was twitching after she shared that she knew he was “hurt!” Dude, why don’t you try reconciling before you want intercourse?? If you can be aroused sexually when you are mad to the point of that being your reason for being “hurt” and wanting to leave a while, there is something else going on that is unhealthy. Obviously they not talk about it the next day.

    Reading the M & P video’s comments, I pray she gets out if he doesn’t get the help he needs!

    Do you have suggested resources for learning body language, etc.? I didn’t officially know the fawning thing before but it makes sense. I’ve witnessed this, usually along with, “Oh dear, I’m such a ditzy wife and he’s so wise,” behavior, too. A former, abusive pastor held very similar beliefs to this guy.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I think reading books on trauma can be helpful! I don’t know any specifically that talk about fawn–Rebecca I know learned about in her psychology degree–but I’m sure if you googled it there would be a lot of example videos on YouTube!

      Reply
  11. Julie

    Lots of good stuff as always.
    Except calling out Paul and Morgan seems to be the exact opposite of what y’all said on the October 7 blog.

    “These influencers are propping up a culture already there, yes, but they are also products of the culture. They are not culture forming in the same way. So although it can be easy to go after the people on your social media feed, they’re getting their advice from the same places you are: the big names in evangelicalism. So let’s not let influencers distract from the false teachers who are actually creating the culture.”

    “I don’t feel comfortable going after people in particular when they are really more of an influencer than a thought leader. Because they’re drinking from the poisoned well, their message would likely change if the big-names changed, and you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. ”

    Paul and Morgan share publicly and make money off of it. I don’t care about them one way or the other. But it feels really dishonest to write that you’d “Never Call Out” an influencer, and then weeks later call out an influencer.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      We really did struggle with this one. We normally don’t call out people who are simply spreading harmful teaching.

      The difference in this one is that it wasn’t the teaching that was problematic, but the unhealthy dynamics. And the fact that they are actually watched and listened to by so many young people. It was a hard call and we went back and forth a lot, but the abuse dynamics were just too much to ignore, and we thought it needed to be highlighted.

      What we wouldn’t do is dissect their videos for bad teaching.

      Reply
      • Rebecca Lindenbach

        Yeah, I get what you’re saying Julie, we literally had the exact same conversation!

        The issue that caused us to think it was important to talk about this was that these guys AREN’T just influencers. They’re actually trying to be thought leaders. They have published a book, their youtube is all advice, they are trying to teach people from a position of spiritual authority, rather than “here’s what happened last Thursday” and it just happens to be toxic.

        But when it comes to the thought leader –> influencer spectrum, there’s going to be some grey areas. For the most part, since I agree they’re right on that line between influencer and thought leader, we’re not going to be calling out their particular teaching. But since it was domestic violence awareness month and they ARE trying to teach from an area of spiritual authority, we felt it was valid and important to address.

        Reply
      • Mara R

        Julie, I get what you are saying.

        But overall, I’m glad they did this video on the body language. The Bible tells us to be as shrewd and serpents but harmless as doves. Yet, I think the church has taught women to be gullible and has hampered their ability to recognize the toxic in toxic men. And the church may have also led some men to believe that their toxic isn’t toxic but normal male behavior.

        It is my hope that Paul and Morgan get the help they need.

        It is also my hope that blog posts like this will continue to be written so that people in the church can stop normalizing unhealthy dynamics and start recognizing them for what they are. Unhealthy at best, And at worse, potentially dangerous.

        We as the church need to wise up to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors and to stop supporting those who continue to spread toxic teachings and attitudes.

        Reply
        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Thank you, Mara! Also, Emily at Thriving Forward posted an except from one of Gary Smalley’s books which was recommending what is essentially fawning behaviour, as if that is the most biblical way to be a woman. You can read it here. But there is a huge issue in the church with toxic behaviour being normalized and Christianized, and we need to speak out about it.

          Reply
  12. Chris

    I had never heard of these Paul & Morgan people before. So after I watched the Youtube version of the podcast I went and looked up other videos of theirs on YouTube. (So thanks a heap Sheila and Rebecca for sending me down that internet bunny trail 🤣).
    I have a lot of concerns about this couple. A lot. The first thing that hit me was that she is clearly uncomfortable with these details about their sex life being broadcast. Deep down I mean, she does not want to be talking about this stuff all over the internet. I don’t think he is making her do this in an emotionally abusive way, but rather he doesn’t have the emotional maturity needed to recognize her discomfort. Or he doesn’t care. Which is possible because he seems to be convinced of his own wonderfulness.
    I think Paul has some anxiety and control issues he needs some help with, but based off this video alone, I would hesitate to say that he is beyond help. That said, I would not want him as a brother in law.

    Reply
  13. Jen

    This comment is so healing! ->”He’s not angry at me for not being able to live with it. He’s angry that I was mistreated for so long.”

    Reply
  14. Cynthia

    After listening to the podcast, I decided to look up the actual Paul and Morgan video to see if I saw the scary body language that was mentioned. Let me just say, this is MILD compared to the scary body language I saw in my own marriage, especially in later years. If I had only known to notice the subtle signs that my boyfriend/fiancé/new husband wasn’t a safe man…in the last 10 years of our 29-year marriage, he would visibly puff up, throw his shoulders back, clench his jaw, and glare at me if I even tried to gently suggest that his behavior might not be perfect (and I mean something as simple as “we agreed that you were going to do the hand-wash dishes, and I couldn’t cook dinner tonight because every pan was dirty.” ). It would lead into hours-long one-sided conversations with him berating me for things that didn’t even make sense. When I was dealing with the grief of losing my father and also his sexual abuse of me, my husband claimed I thought he was a “bad lover” because I wasn’t up to having sex as often, and he thought I would “be over it” by then (3 months). Thank you for bringing this to light–maybe we need to include information on reading body language in marriage and sex books! I definitely relate to the fawning response–trying to appease the abuser by telling him what a great husband he was, “sandwiching” criticism between compliments, laughing to hide my embarrassment when he humiliated me in front of others. Women need to know that this behavior always escalates. What might be a quirk of the eyebrow in the first years of marriage can lead to threats and violence later.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’m so sorry for what you went through, Cynthia. Yes, I hope that we can start educating younger people so that this isn’t their story.

      Reply
  15. Chris

    When I first saw the Paul and Morgan video, I thought maybe we had gone down an internet time warp back to the early 1970s and were really watching a video of a young Emmerson and Sarah. 🤔

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Ha! That’s a good analogy.

      Reply
  16. Eileen

    Here’s what I saw. I got the feeling the topic was embarrassing and probably much too personal for both of them, and they didn’t want to admit that (to themselves? to each other? They were so “sure” it was a good video topic).

    Anyway, for some reason they thought it would be cute to not reveal to each other what they were going to say. So when Morgan, who dealt with her embarrassment by being giddy, began to reveal her “wish I’d knowns” … her husband–who was trying to play the “adult” who could “handle” this difficult topic–was embarrassed and hurt/angered by what she was saying, and trying not to show it. What you’re seeing as potential for (or even evidence of) abuse could just be two foolish and immature people trying to deal with their increasing discomfort without actually admitting that they were upset with each other. I think he was acting like a guy who was blindsided, and trying to protect himself without showing it (haha nice try).

    In my opinion, it was really, really, stupid of these two to share such intimate insights with the world, without working thorough them together first. In fact, if they had done so, they probably would’ve scrapped the whole thing (if their marriage is as healthy as they claim, anyway). The whole video was awash in complex emotions, not suitable for public viewing. I’m guessing the whole thing left them feeling awkward, icky, and alienated from each other. It’s a possible alternate explanation, anyway.

    Moral of the story: be discerning in how, when, and with whom you share intimate details of your life together, and be especially (!!!) careful if what you want to share could be hurtful!

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I think you’re right. It may not be abuse–it may just be unhealthy/immature ways of dealing with emotions.

      Regardless, the video should come down!

      Reply
    • Angharad

      Possible, but there are two problems with that explanation. The first is that unless they were doing this as a live video, they had the option not to post it or to redo the topic after discussing it first. And the second is that it doesn’t really matter whether anger and manipulation are caught on camera or not, it is still anger and manipulation. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that the video has gone out, since so many people are now able to tell that poor lass that being coerced into having sex with your husband when he is angry with you is not good or normal, and neither is being told that you need to ‘humble yourself’ to have sex with him.

      So yes, a lot of the awkwardness and tense body language may have been due to embarrassment at over-sharing, but assuming they were being factual about how they behaved, that still leaves some deeply worrying concerns over his treatment o her.

      Reply
  17. Phil

    Sheila and Becca,

    I had this brain fart just now 🤣 on That couple Paul and Morgan. Here is what I realized. They are sharing their feelings not facts. It is good to share your feelings. As we see too they also do not know what to do with their feelings. The trouble is as you say they share their feelings and thoughts as though it is the answer and they want people to believe they have solved the problem and they are the example. Actually? They are still processing. So good for them It is good they are sharing their feelings. It is probably helping their marriage. I do recognize The problem is as you say they are building a platform as if they have the answers and people are interpreting it that way. What they are doing should really be done in private.

    Reply
  18. Sandra M

    Thank you for sharing these…you guys are the voice of reason in an ocean of sick selfish sexuality.

    I was so disturbed by the video of Paul and Morgan – from the very start of the clip, the demonstrated immaturity made me wonder how this couple was even old enough to be married. I know they are young, but still…! The obvious emotional discomfort on her part, and the unhealthy imbalance revealed by their communication patterns were bad enough, but worse still were his blatant selfishness, aggressive responses, and his entitled attitude about sex. SO icky. It all made me wonder about what kind of sad intimate life or sex life this couple must have. She was showing a more healthy response in NOT having sex while angry and hurt. He was behaving like a pouty child. So, so troubling, and I do hope they will be okay. I wish they would read your books and listen to your podcasts!

    Reply
  19. Unicorn

    I have been deeply researching pornography/addiction affects, Christian ideology surrounding marital sexuality, and development of people raised and trained in conservative evangelical homes. My marriage has been devastated by addiction, lies, and sexual betrayal. My gross naïveté and lack of emotional/adaptive skills (due to my raising) is what helped lead me blindly into this relationship and left me for the better part of a year and a half hemorrhaging. First of all, your voices have been salve for my wounded and weary and wondering soul. Your research, knowledge and insights have calmed my nervous system and given me oxygen. Overnight my life changed and my identity was gone, my head felt like it split in 2 and here I was left in the harshest of realities I never knew I could even survive- take care of and listen to myself or die. I don’t mean die in the literal sense, but the day of reckoning came upon me like a wrecking ball. I could give up myself to this monster that I didn’t know was controlling my life for so long (people pleasing, husband pleasing, church pleasing, etc!) or say in a teeny small voice at first, actually I matter and I should not have been treated like this. And allow myself the extremely scary freedom of walking towards my true Father and letting His love heal and transform me into a woman my family and church doesn’t want. It’s brutal to have lived inside of a cult- you will lose just about everything to walk away and the “world” (the small world one lives in in a cult) will turn their backs on you, and quickly. They will not even want to hear the full story. It’s amazing, but this is a clear sign of the unhealth of family or organization who has an agenda more important than your story and experience. Wow, didn’t meant to say all of that. I came to say I think I clearly see the problem with sexually entitled men. They never matured sexually and have never been forced to and don’t have any consequences. A 5 year old wants m&ms and icecream for dinner. It matters not if they have a cavity, a cold, anything negative from all the sugar and unhealthy food they want to eat. They’re too immature to make the connection or care about the consequence. There is one thing they focus on- what feels/tastes good. And for a 5 year old, that’s expected and why they have parents. But these entitled, sexually immature men get married and sex for them is still at the m&ms for breakfast stage. Of course, the damage is great and now involves another human soul who unfortunately, has not, many times, been told that she has the right and responsibility to speak up and there is actually a problem if there is a problem. A problem is ok. There are solutions! But dismissing or avoiding or pretending there isn’t a problem will only lead to bigger problems and worse pain. I wish I wasn’t speaking from experience! There was nowhere and nobody to go to for me- I was dealing with a unicorn in my mind so I like so many women pretended my sex life was good in the company of other women. I didn’t want to be a unicorn and God forbid infidelity be a part of my marriage because that’s a reflection of me and my lack of ability to perform like a prostitute for my husband. God bless you in your work. Praying for your ministry.

    Reply
  20. Anonymous305

    For a moment, Paul reminded of earlier in my marriage, but after reading a little more about him, I concluded he’s worse more demanding than my husband ever was.

    AND my husband never made me talk about it on the INTERNET!!!!

    Reply
  21. M

    I have seen fawning my whole life. I never had a name for it though. Thank you for giving me a name for this behavior. I was raised to think this is the way to deal with men. NEVER ever let them know you dislike what they say. Women are less than.
    Thankfully my husband is not this way. I have come a looong way in decade we have been married. This was shown a few weeks ago when we had family visiting. My male relative made a very sexist awful comment in front of my 3 young children. My female relative fawned. I did not. I response was oh no! We are not doing this. I confronted him and refused to let it go. He backed down and the woman looked at me in shock. I doubt I changed anything with them, but hope my sons realized it is not ok to treat women that way and my daughter got to see a woman standing up and saying this is not acceptable, so she can too later. Breaking the family cycles for our children is so important.

    Reply
    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Good for you for speaking up! I’m notoriously bad at that in person. I just freeze.

      Reply

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