Let’s review the biggest posts from 2023!
Happy New Year, everybody! I’m so grateful to those who follow the blog diligently, but also excited about those of you who have just found me. And at the beginning of each year, I like to look back and see what posts made splashes the year before–what really resonated. It helps me see what people are really interested in.
Now, if you’re one of the 45,000 people who are signed up for our emails, you will have received Rebecca’s email last week on the most commented on posts in 2023! And if you’re not signed up, you really should be, because her Friday thoughts are awesome.
But I’m going to list here the top 10 posts in terms of traffic. These are posts that tend to be shared a lot, and those that Google ends up liking. So here goes!
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Let’s count down the biggest posts for 2023!
10. The Problems with the Book For Women Only
I’m glad that two of my book synopses made it into the top 10! When we did our analysis of the best-selling marriage books when writing The Great Sex Rescue, For Women Only was one of the worst offenders. In our focus groups, women told us that the book that they were most likely to learn that “all men struggle with lust” was For Women Only (even though Shaunti Feldhahn denies teaching this).
Though I’ve written about the book before, in this post I summarize all of my issues with the book, and provide a downloadable copy so that you can share it with your ministry leader, small group leader, or pastor.
9. A Summary of the Issues With Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs (with Download)
Love & Respect is the most-used marriage curriculum in North American churches. It came on our radar in 2019, and when we read it we saw some major problems. We created a report of our findings and sent it to Focus on the Family (which publishes the book), but they ignored us.
In the course of that research, we created a rubric of healthy sexuality teaching and applied it to evangelical best-sellers.
8. Sex is Important in Marriage
When sex is mutual, intimate, and pleasurable for both, sex makes you feel connected. It minimizes minor tensions and makes you laugh. It helps you sleep and makes you feel more relaxed. And it contributes significantly to marital satisfaction.
7. You Deserve a Grown-Up Spouse: Let’s Talk Weaponized Incompetence
Weaponized incompetence is a form of entitlement that says, “Even though I could do this myself, I’m going to do less than my capabilities because I know that my partner will pick up my slack.”
And it’s not how grown ups act.
6. How Can the Higher Drive Spouse Avoid Giving the Obligation Sex Message?
This was the last post in the obligation sex series, and I wanted to answer the most common question I had from this series–can we look at it from the other point of view?
Most of the series has been looking at the lower-drive spouse and the effects of pressure and obligation. But what if you’re the higher drive spouse, you don’t want to pressure your spouse, but you’re also really frustrated?
5. It’s Not All Sin: The Problem with Over-Spiritualizing Our Problems
Sin isn’t the cause of all the bad or counterproductive things we do.
And blaming it on sin does harm.
When you have the wrong diagnosis, you’re going to have the wrong solution. And that can actually compound the problem.
4. Obligation Sex Series: 10 Things to Know About Obligation Sex
Obligation sex is the idea that a wife is obligated to have sex when her husband wants to. It’s that simple.
I’ve talked about all of these before in posts and podcasts, but I want to put them all together in one place for easy reference, and for new readers.
3. The Kissing Series: 7 Reasons Kissing in Marriage Can Stop!
Most of us (over 90%) kissed breathlessly before we were married, according to our surveys. But not all of us enjoy kissing now. That may not be a problem, of course.
If you’re someone who just doesn’t like swapping salivia, but you still enjoy touch, and your spouse does too, then that’s great! You don’t need to feel like you’re doing anything wrong, and keep doing just what you’re doing!
But often kissing falls to the wayside for other reasons.
2. Does John MacArthur Think Husbands Are Their Wives’ Saviors?
I recently saw a meme on social media of a terrible take by John MacArthur who was insinuating that just as Christ is our savior, so the husband is the wife’s savior.
And that is just a terribly blasphemous thing to say.
And now the biggest post on Bare Marriage for 2023!
1. The ESV Bible Translation is Terribly Sexist- And It was Designed to Be!
They even said that when they were translating it! It was commissioned in order to counteract the TNIV translation, which tried to be gender neutral in all places where the Greek was gender neutral, replacing words like “men” and “man” with people, human, humanity, etc.
Wayne Grudem, who headed up the ESV translation team, doesn’t like things being gender neutral, and so they endeavoured to make a translation that was not gender neutral–even if the Greek or other original languages were.
Now let’s turn to the top podcasts of 2023!
Most of the top ones are from the beginning of the year, so that they’ve had more time to be downloaded! And once again, in reverse order, we have:
5. How Emerson Eggerichs Misuses Scripture in Love & Respect
Honestly, when you look at how Emerson Eggerichs distorts and actually changes Scripture in Love & Respect, I’m amazed that pastors didn’t stand up and say, “this book isn’t okay.” But instead it became a best-seller because pastors liked the message that gave men authority over women.
Here, professor Nijay Gupta joins Joanna and me to talk about instances of Scripture misuse in the book (and there are many).
4. How the Modesty Message Affects Us Long-Term
3. Philip Payne and The Bible vs. Biblical Womanhood
This was such a refreshing interview as Philip Payne explains why studying history, Scripture, and ancient languages convinced him that God created women to be fully equal partners in the gospel and in marriage. Here he goes over some of the major Scriptural supports for seeing women as equals, and seeing marriage as mutual. A super informative interview!
2. How Every Young Man’s Battle Makes Everything Worse
Honestly, this was a horrific podcast to prepare for. I had to pick out all kinds of quotes from Every Young Man’s Battle to discuss, and they were awful. Pornographic. Objectifying. Demeaning.
Yet this was the main book churches were using to teach teen boys about lust and porn.
Church, we simply MUST do better. This was a great interview!
And now the biggest Podcast on Bare Marriage for 2023!
1. What’s the Problem with Power of a Praying Wife?
Power of a Praying Wife has sold more than 10,000,000 copies–and it’s a super harmful book.
In this podcast, my friends Sarah McDugal and Gretchen Baskerville show why the theology is so dangerous for those in destructive marriages (a large percentage of those who read the book), and why we need to stop teaching that fixing a husband’s addictions, infidelity, or abusive rages is up to a wife’s prayers.
I’m glad this one was my #1 podcast, because it’s an important one!
So there you go, the best of 2023!
What will 2024 bring? I’m excited to find out. And I’m glad you’re on this journey with me!
On Monday we’ll be starting a new series on coming up with a new sexual ethic for Christians that better embodies what it means to keep Jesus at the center. And our podcast begins next Thursday, with a call to let men be men (and stop infantilizing them in evangelical literature!).
What would you like to hear more about in 2024? Let me know in the comments!