100 Things About Pete

1. I had a girlfriend in Kindergarten named Jill. She was my last girlfriend till I got to college.

2. I quit drinking alcohol 10 years ago.

3. My first alcoholic drink was in Hawaii when I was 20. They didn’t check my ID.

4. My hair fell out when I was still in high school and I had a combover by my senior year.

5. I didn’t shave my head until I was 22.

6. Yes, that means I had a combover for five years.

7. For most of my childhood I went to a home-based church with about 25 members. And it met in my house.

8. I went to a Christian school and my graduating class had 11 kids.

9. I once hazed my brother so he could join my club. Once he made it in, he realized I was the only member of the club.

10. I was a finalist in a science symposium sponsored by KU and the US Army when I was a senior in high school.

11. My project was so stupid, to this day I can’t figure out why I was selected.

12. While at the symposium, our sponsor from the Christian school rented us a movie that had about 9 sex scenes. I’m not making that up.

13. I have seen virtually all sci-fi and action movies made between 1980 and 2010.

14. Our family of six lived on my mom’s salary as a check-out clerk at the grocery store when my dad quit his job to become a writer.

15. We ate a lot of beenie weenie.

16. Almost my entire life I planned on going to the University of Kansas. Go Jayhawks.

17. I didn’t take one single class at KU.

18. I took 205 hours of college courses. I’m pretty sure that would have equaled a Ph.D. if I’d planned better.

19. My favorite kind of food is Japanese.

20. In 2009, I made more money doing freelance photography than I made at my job.

21. My siblings all moved out of state. They suck.

22. I am paying alimony to my ex, not because she is incapable of work, but because she DIDN’T work the last two years before the divorce.

23. I lost a full-term baby to a drunk driver when I was just 19 years old.

24. Sometime between the time I was 18 and now, I killed off enough of my swimmers that my wife and I had to try IVF.

25. My favorite place to visit is San Diego, CA. 2

6. Two of my long-term girlfriends, I never kissed. I thought kissing was nasty.

27. When I met Nicole, I realized kissing rocks if it’s the right person!

28. I used to be able to get computers to behave just by being in the same room with them. I’ve lost that touch. I must be getting old.

29. I prefer contemporary design. I’m far too lazy to do anything about it, though.

30. I met my wife online. eHarmony works.

31. My favorite vegetable is cauliflower.

32. Even as an adult, the smell and taste of broccoli makes me gag.

33. I work with a full-grown adult who tattles on me on a regular basis.

34. When I was growing up, I was certain I’d be a professional musician.

35. I have been cheated on in every relationship I’ve had thus far, except for my current marriage.

36. I’ve been far to passive about my feelings, wants, needs, and desires for the majority of my life.

37. I don’t feel like I have a right to ask for what I want.

38. I’ve been truly raging angry only two times in my life.

39. Usually I just simmer inside, which is probably why I’m such an anxious person.

40. I used to be a boob man. Then I was a “depends which way she’s walking” man. Now I’m a butt man. I think it’s a sign of maturity.

41. I think there’s nothing sexier on a woman than a smile.

42. I think I’m very smart and I’m frequently reminded that I’m totally wrong.

43. I spend more time on Pinterest than any straight man should spend.

44. I decided when I first saw Nicole that I was going to kiss her at the end of the date, before we sat down and talked.

45. My first time on a roller coaster was Space Mountain and it was because my grandpa lied to me about what it was.

46. I have about 20 pairs of wingtips.

47. I only wear argyle socks.

48. I have 20+ suits but only 2 pairs of jeans (only one of which fits me).

49. I overthink things way too much.

50. If everyone who ever “borrowed” money from me paid me back, I could retire.

51. I naively assume that if I am good to people, they will be good back.

52. Being a dad has been a new found joy in my life.

53. I frequently wonder how a dad could walk out on his kids.

54. I have obstructive sleep apnea.

55. I used to have a heart syncope, but I grew out of it.

56. The baby I lost would have just turned 13 years old.

57. There are four people on the planet that I truly detest. My wife says I should forgive and forget. She’s probably right.

58. It has taken me 34 years to start learning to set boundaries.

59. I’m not stupid. Just foolishly optimistic.

60. I’ve been in 6 churches since I was 18. George McDowell is the best pastor bar none.

61. I am the girl in my relationship. So I’m told.

62. I need glasses to read, but I haven’t worn them in years.

63. The smell of beer is great… the taste, not so much.

64. I can remember long strings of numbers, but I can’t remember anything else.

65. The best part of waking up, is Pepsi in my cup.

66. When I was 23, the Senior VP of HR at my company labeled me Pete the Hatchet.

67. I have a Master’s degree in supply chain management and forecasting. Most people don’t know or care what that is.

68. My IQ is somewhere between 100 and 200.

69. According to the DISC personality assessment, I am high D followed by C. I just don’t see it.

70. I prefer Nikon over Canon, not because of the camera bodies, but because of the optics.

71. At one time, I owned 12 guitars.

72. There isn’t enough persuasive power, begging, or money on the planet to get me to be a worship leader again.

73. I think yellow gold looks tacky and outdated.

74. I am a medical device patent holder.

75. I have fired more than 50 people in my career, and all of them have made me nervous.

76. One time I fired a lady and she told me to watch out, because she has a high-powered rifle and knows how to use it.

77. I was once surrounded by angry union members and threatened, and was only saved by the cops.

78. I worked with a woman at my old job that propositioned me almost daily for 6 years. I never gave in. And no, she wasn’t fat or old.

79. I am frequently tempted to edit my old posts to make them align with my current viewpoints, but I never do it.

80. I will always choose salty over sweet.

81. When I was eight I zipped my manhood up in my shorts and had to go to the hospital.

82. The nurse who looked at it was so nice and understanding, that’s probably why I ended up marrying a nurse.

83. I once put a nail through my hand on accident. It hurt.

84. My eyebrows grow at an alarming rate.

85. If I roll onto my back when I’m asleep, it instantly wakes me up.

86. If I wake up in the night, it takes me an hour or more to go back to sleep.

87. I pee more often than anyone I know, and I don’t have anything wrong with my prostate.

88. Before my first marriage, my ex’s best friend called me and tried to talk me out of it. I sure wish I’d listened to her.

89. The taste of mint makes me gag.

90. For nine years, not a day went by I didn’t think about my lost baby. For the past 3-4, it hardly crosses my mind.

91. I have written more than 433,000 words on this blog. Most books are around 90,000.

92. I like dogs.

93. I’m allergic to cats but I think they’re hilarious.

94. Nicole turned my entire life upside down when we met, and I’ve never been happier.

95. Pessimistic people irritate the bajeezus out of me.

96. Chicken is my preferred form of meat.

97. I never liked the nightlife, and I never liked to boogie.

98. My iTunes has everything from Mozart to Metallica to Garth Brooks to Chaka Khan to Chris Tomin.

99. When I first met Nicole, my “shuffle” setting during my commute played Kenny G’s “Wedding Song” almost daily. I have more than 5,000 songs. I took it as a sign.

100. My BMI is 27.5, which is apparently “overweight” but not “obese.” Suck it, BMI chart.

Pete Peeves

The things that annoy me are a fascinating topic to me. I’m sure it will be quite boring for you, so I suggest you stop reading now. I have pet peeves.

People who spit in the sink and don’t rinse it down. Really any foreign substance left in the sink, actually. I have chairs being left out when you get up from the table. I feel like everywhere I go I am pushing in chairs. I hate it when people dispute my facts and assertions. Especially when they’re right and I’m wrong. Dumb people who are condescending to me are a big one. Bad design or typography make me want to gouge my eyes out. Dirty things where they don’t belong – shoes on the kitchen counter, dirty underwear on the sink or on the bed… gross. I’m sure each and every one of you could list off 20 pet peeves of your own, so please don’t even think about judging me for mine. But I have to wonder about the origins of my pet peeves.

Why the heck does it bother me if people don’t rinse their spit? Is it pure germaphobia? Was I spit on as a child and scarred for life? Maybe I’ll never know. But I know it hits my gag reflex. As in, spit in the sink makes me want to buy a new house. I don’t want to clean it, look at it, or even acknowledge that it’s there. And it’s not just spit – I have the same reaction to soap overspray from a pump bottle. Why is there soap drool in the sink?!

The chair thing – I think I may be the only person on the planet that pushes chairs in. It makes no matter what context, they just don’t. It’s probably the same mental defect that makes people leave their shopping cart next to the cart return instead of in it. Pure laziness. I really don’t know why this bothers me. Is it simply OCD? Was it all the time I spent sitting in time out? Everyone dislikes being disagreed with, so I won’t analyze that one. But the condescension… so frickin annoying. It’s one thing when a Ph.D. or a subject matter expert talks down to me. I can live with that. I, right or wrong, respect when people have devoted a lifetime to learning about a topic. I wish they weren’t butts about it, but whatever. They’ve earned the right to be a butt.

Dumb people, on the other hand, have not earned that right and I want to punch them. I am fully aware I am not a professional designer. I bombed out of design school. But… I was exposed to a great deal of really incredible design work. I know good design when I see it. And typography – I took 18 hours of college typography. It’s the one thing I actually got good at. Comic Sans doesn’t even enter the equation. If you don’t know what kerning and leading are, you sure as hell shouldn’t be doing any design work and calling it “design.”

Ok, I just looked at my list of pet peeves and I am coming to the realization there’s a theme. Germs. Gross things being left where they don’t belong is just another example. Poop goes in the toilet. Dirty clothes go in the hamper. Shoes go on the floor. Anything less would be uncivilized. And now I need to go increase my dose of OCD medicine, cuz wow. Those are some dumb pet peeves.

Infertility

This is pretty personal, but I’ve never shied away from using this blog as therapy. Please do not use this post as a forum for discussing the ethics or medical risks of IVF. As many of you know, my wife and I are beginning the IVF process this month. But things really started happening months ago. We both knew that we wanted to have babies together right from the start. We both were ready to start right away. We tried the old fashioned way beginning when we first got married, but a couple months in we read an article that said my anxiety meds could cause problems with fertility. It’s super cheap to test the guy, so we thought what the heck.

Well, it wasn’t good news. My numbers were all bad… low count, low motility, bad morphology. Basically, I had 12 million retarded swimmers that were stupid and going in circles like a dog with three legs. The threshold for “low” is 20 million, with normal being more than 60 million. Nicole’s had a baby before. We knew she was OK. I’d gotten a girl pregnant, but that was 15 years ago. So here we were three months or so into our marriage and I found out that for some reason or another, I was broken. I know the folks out there that have been through this already can relate to how I felt. Defective. Inadequate. Worthless.

And then angry – angry that others that don’t want babies can accidentally get women pregnant while I can’t get my wife pregnant within the bounds of a loving marriage. That’s a pretty wide spectrum of feelings, none of which are good. Being sad, depressed, and angry all at the same time is not exactly healthy. If I’m being honest, although I’ve come to accept that this must be part of a grander plan, I still sometimes struggle with those feelings, particularly the feelings of inadequacy. I hate feeling like I’ve let my wife down (although she has NEVER been anything but supportive to me).

Even after we found out I had low numbers, we still continued to try. I was diagnosed quickly – vascular, and surgically fixable (although the fertility doctor scoffed at this option). The urologist recommended other things. I started taking a “fertility” supplement, and I switched to boxers, cut out caffeine… and we prayed. After three more months I returned for a follow-up test. My numbers had fallen to 5 million, and they were still retarded circle swimmers. IVF was our only viable option. IVF has very good success rates these days… upwards of 70%.

There are no guarantees, and it costs a lot of money. But given the biology, I had to accept that we needed intervention. I struggle with the fact that Nicole has to take so many risks because of my medical issues. She has all of the nasty meds, surgical procedures, and associated risks. The risks to me are, ummm, very low. Through the process we’ve come to find out that we are both contributing to the infertility, but I still feel solely responsible.

If I was normal, we’d be able to conceive with just a few meds – no IVF would be required. I do believe there’s a plan. We’ve been blessed with the ability to try IVF, and we’re learning plenty about ourselves and each other through the process. In this new year my desire to live in the moment means I can no longer obsess about my feelings of inadequacy or my anger.

We will take this process one day at a time, do what the doctors tell us to, and the rest is up to God.

2012 Christmas Letter

This letter will be epic in length, so please allow yourself plenty of time. I suggest a bathroom break before beginning. Or if you’re really smart, you’ll just skip reading this bad boy altogether and simply comment something like “have a happy new year” or some such nonsense.

2011 Addendum

The end of 2011 really wasn’t official enough to report in last year’s Christmas letter, so here’s the wrap up. As I had mentioned, I filed for divorce in 2011, and the final divorce decree arrived in my mail, signed by the judge, at the beginning of January, 2012. I honestly celebrated the day it came through. Things had been bad for a long time… years, and the events of last summer put a fork in it. Which was good, because I was going to need a back transplant if I kept sleeping on the pull-out sofa in the basement much longer. It seemed a bit silly to have a three bedroom home which I was paying for 100%, and be relegated to the basement. But as Proverbs 21:9 says, “Better to live on the corner of a roof, than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” My roof was too slanted to sleep on, so the basement was it. I hoped there was something better waiting for me around the corner, and that corner just happened to be the new year. Very convenient actually, when your fiscal year and calendar year align.

2012

2012 was a year of changes. In fact, almost everything in my life changed in the course of one year. All for the better. I had spent about 2 weeks right before Christmas emailing on eHarmony to a girl named Petunia, who I knew was a nurse, was smart, compassionate, and who had a daughter, but who I had no idea what she looked like thanks to her microscopic photos. Literally, the large versions of her photos were about 20 pixels across. But I liked her from the conversation, and we had a first date on December 30, 2011. I realize that should have been included in LAST year’s summary, but at Christmas it hadn’t yet happened. It turned out, much to my delight, that in addition to her numerous positive qualities, she was also the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Sparks flew that first night as we closed down Bo Lings and walked together to our cars where we would share what would be the first of countless kisses.

On New Year’s Eve 2011, I sat at my parent’s house texting her, and she was at her house hosting a “kid party” (not to be confused with a Stewie Griffin “sexy party”) and texting me. January 2nd, we had our second date, this time at Cheesecake Factory. I would later find out that it was after this second date that she was sure I was the one. I was sure after the first date, but don’t tell her I said so. After that second date, we were virtually inseparable. We saw each other the 3rd, 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 19th…. and every day after that. One of the more momentous occasions was on the 14th when I met Lu and Momma White for the first time. Little Lu had NO idea that I would end up being her dad. I will admit, I had a hard time biting my tongue on the whole “I love you” thing with Petunia. That cat got out of the bag on the 13th. Yes, I realize that’s only two weeks. I wanted to tell her on the 3rd, if that makes it any better… Thankfully, she reciprocated, and the rest is history.

My “friends” told me I was crazy and that I was stupid and that it would never work. Ironically, the friends who made these dire predictions are hopelessly and permanently single. Perhaps there was a bit of projection happening? I digress. January included an outing to the T-Rex Cafe’, numerous trips to Research Medical to have lunch with Petunia and the nurses of the Transplant Institute, and a first trip to a new church, Gashland Baptist. On the 28th (yes, we’re still in January), I bought a ring, but she didn’t get it just yet. I knew it was a good sign when Petunia asked if I’d go with her and Lu to Florida in April and take Lu to Disney while she was at a nephrology conference. I took that to mean she thought we’d still be together in April, and that she trusted me with her daughter. The beginning of February is a bit of a blur to me, because a random virus gave me a 103.5 fever for 7 days and landed me in the hospital to get IV fluids. Petunia was by my side, keeping my parents updated and watching over the activities to make sure they didn’t kill or maim me on accident. Fortunately (for me anyhow), I recovered and didn’t have any lasting issues. My white count came back to normal after about 2 weeks. Once I was finally healthy again, I was ready to pop the question. I snuck into the Transplant Institute at Research and gathered her coworkers in the conference room. Her boss, Becky, called her to have her come join the “meeting” and then I walked in, flowers and ring in hand. I got on one knee and prayed the answer would be yes. And it was.

The next day, I officially moved into her house in Liberty, leaving my Olathe house to be destroyed by my “roomies” (or rather, the people who lived there but didn’t pay rent, let their pets destroy everything, and then skipped town instead of being an adult). My “roomies” left a cat to wander the house and pee, poop, and scratch everything in sight, virtually ensuring it would cost a fortune to sell my house. The wedding plans commenced immediately, with most of the details arranged and deposits posted before the end of February. We booked the Pilgrim Chapel and the Event Space at Nara for our September wedding. Petunia pushed for a fall wedding because she “wanted to make sure I wasn’t a psycho pretending to be nice.”

March was filled with bonding activities for the soon-to-be family. We spent the first weekend at Coco Keys indoor water park where we discovered the joy of an 11th floor walk up. Two days later, we went roller skating. And by roller skating, I mean Lu skated on the carpet, I skated like a boss, and Petunia fell on her butt and bruised her tailbone, rendering her unable to sit without screeching in pain. The weekend before St. Patrick’s day, we went to the Snake Saturday parade where we donned our gay green apparel and enjoyed the nice weather. In the interest of keeping up the pace, the next weekend, we visited St. Louis to enjoy the sights and let Petunia meet my extended family. It also gave us the opportunity to use the City Museum as a litmus test, since that’s where Petunia’s first engagement from several years ago ended. Thankfully, I passed the test and we made it through the museum without breaking up. On the 22nd, Petunia had to assist at a surgery, which gave Lu and I an opportunity for our first solo date. Needless to say, we went toy shopping. What else would we do?

The 30th of March, Petunia and I spent the day at Children’s Mercy with Lu trying to determine why she was having double vision. It was a scary day, but it turned out to be eye fatigue. We also celebrated three months together, meaning I had passed another of Petunia’s tests – apparently a psycho can only pretend to be nice for three months. With that test under our belts, it was time to get crazy. Petunia applied for a job working in Obstetrics, and not surprisingly, was offered the position, which she was to start the first week of May. Needless to say, that rendered the nephrology conference in Florida completely moot.

The second week of April, we decided to scrap our big wedding plans, and elope to Florida, using the tickets we’d already bought for the conference. We spent the following two weeks making plans and tiara shopping, and on the 27th, we hopped a plane to Orlando. We spent the 28th at the Magic Kingdom, which should actually be called the Crazed Cattle Chute from Hell. It’s basically a 140 degree parking lot stuffed with people and $95.00 bottles of water. Even Amber was like “Disney isn’t really that great.” Fortunately we had fun plans for the next day. I woke up on the 29th at about 3:30 AM and got dressed to meet with the hair stylist who was coming to do Petunia and Lu’s hair. At 5:00 AM I met the minister and went out to t

Sandy Hook

Three days ago, a crazed 20 year old shot his way into an elementary school and killed 20 kindergartners and 7 adults. The country has been left reeling, trying to make sense of why someone would do such a thing. It feels worse than other school shootings because these children were so young. It doesn’t make sense – not to any rational person. We will never know this coward’s motivation. What we do know is that he spent enough time planning it to gather a bunch of guns, kill the only person who could have stopped him (his mother) and then drive to a place where he had previously had confrontations with staff – Sandy Hook Elementary.

This was clearly premeditated. Most states have laws on the books that make punishments more lenient on people when they commit a crime of passion (i.e. man walks in on his wife with another man in the bed, man freaks out and kills the other guy, or the wife, or both). It’s something done in the moment out of intense anger and sadness, not done with any planning. This school shooting can in no way be justified or said to be a fit of rage. From everything we know so far, there was no emotion whatsoever. Just methodical execution of helpless little kids.

The perpetrator of this crime was too much of a coward to face the consequences for his crimes, so we will never get to ask him what his motivations were. I’m positive we would not be satisfied with the answers even if we knew them. Of course, any time this type of massacre happens, the national debate always turns immediately to gun control. It’s really a distraction from the real issue, but apparently it’s a knee-jerk reaction. Guns do kill innocent people when they’re in the hand of a nut. But the nut is the one pulling the trigger. Ban guns and all of the “responsible” citizens will forfeit their guns. The nuts and bad guys won’t.

There are over 300 million guns already in the hands of citizens in the United States. It’s a genie you can never put back into the bottle. Regardless your views on guns, it’s a moot point. Even if 80% of the citizens turned in their guns (almost 100% of which are unregistered because most states don’t require registration), you’d still have tens of millions of guns available on the black market. We don’t live in a country where the feds are going to go door-to-door searching for guns. And we don’t WANT to live in that country. Think about how well banning alcohol went. Drugs. We already have all the laws on the books we could ever need. It’s illegal to carry a gun or any weapon into a school. It’s illegal to kill people. It’s illegal to shoot people. It’s illegal to assault people. It’s illegal to buy a gun if you have a history of mental illness or a felony conviction. We don’t need more laws.

We need to find a way to treat and or lock up sadistic mentally ill sociopaths BEFORE they commit a crime. I’m sure my more liberal friends will object to that thought. But really, look at this guy. His mother knew he was dangerous. His neighbors, classmates, acquaintances all knew he was “creepy,” “scary,” and “dangerous.” But we literally don’t have any options as to preventing him from committing this crime. It’s not difficult for a trained psychologist to diagnose a sociopath. His family knew. Everyone seemed to know. So why, knowing that someone is a sadistic nut would we NOT do something, proactively, to limit the damage they can do? I personally know a guy that is a sadistic (if not evil) sociopath. Is there anything I can do PRIOR to him shooting up a school? Or is that the only litmus test we are willing to accept for criminal insanity?

I sat across from a man at my previous job who laughed hysterically about Columbine and how all of those kids had it coming. Would I be surprised if he shot up a school? Not really. Since we clearly have no intention of being proactive about mental health – and yes – to be proactive we MUST include involuntary commitment, the only recourse we have as a society is to protect our schools, malls, churches, movie theaters, and other public places.

I hate big government, but regardless, here is what I propose. Metal detectors in EVERY school regardless of age range. Armed off-duty police officers at EVERY school with instructions to shoot first and ask questions later. Total lockdown of our schools, every day, all day. Parents will be given an access card AND a code that must be entered to get into the school, and even parents with their card and code must go through security. Do we care enough to protect our children? The coming weeks will test our collective will to do just that.

Stepping Up

Being a stepdad is the most difficult, most rewarding thing I’ve ever undertaken. I never really thought much about it before… but it’s an uphill battle. Kids naturally want their “real” dad. That relationship, at least from the young child perspective, is automatic. It’s also been a massive change to simply have a child at all. I spent 33 years without a kid, and now I have an 8 year old.

Being a parent is WAY different from how I was living before. It’s good different. I’m certainly not complaining, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. But wow… so much of my daily routine is completely changed now. For example, I used to walk around naked and think nothing of it. I can’t do that now unless I want to irreparably scar a child. I used to lay around doing hardly anything, now I hardly ever lay around doing nothing. I used to sleep till 8:30 AM (at least) every single weekday, and 10 or 11 AM on the weekend. I haven’t slept past 7 AM in 2012 (except for yesterday, man I was tired). I used to watch 4-5 hours of TV a day. I would estimate I watch 20-40 minutes of TV on average. Many days it’s none.

The point is, I was basically living a selfish, lazy life. And you can’t do either of those if you’re a dad. And honestly, that was no way to live. I was miserable. I want more kids. I’m confident of that. I know that eventually I’ll be a good dad or die trying. And I am sure this new lifestyle will become “the norm” to me. Nicole had a 7 year head start on getting used to the parent lifestyle, and I must say she’s incredible at it. She’s the most loving, patient, giving mom you could ever meet. She never puts herself first. That’s her normal. She’s been very patient with me as well while I get used to (and find) my role in this new little family.

Being a stepdad means taking on all of the care, love, support, discipline, and relationship of a biological dad, without having ANY clue how to do it, and not wanting to “blow up” the poor kid’s normal – she didn’t choose me… Nicole did. I want to follow my wife’s lead as to how she parents, because I love her and I believe she’s a great mom. But it’s all very different from how I was raised, and so my natural tendencies as a new parent are to revert to those things. But you can’t just thrust a whole new paradigm on an 8 year old. That’s very unfair to her. It would be different if we’d co-parented her from when she was a baby, but we didn’t.

So I know how to love Olivia. I do love her. I know how to care for her and support her. I have no idea how to discipline and correct her. My inclination is to NOT discipline, because I want every interaction to be positive. I don’t want to “undo” the connection I’ve made with her. But then I get frustrated and (apparently) I get snippy. I told Nicole months ago and again yesterday – the most important things I want to do in my life is be an awesome husband and an awesome dad. Everything else is secondary. Just got to figure out what that means exactly. smile

Everyone Gets Something Out of It

I considered posting about the nut in Colorado that killed all those people last night, but that would inevitably spiral into a gun control debate. You already know where I stand on that issue (guns kill people in the same way a spoon makes you fat), so I’ll just let it go this time. Instead, let’s talk about boobies. I’m kidding, but I probably got your attention. In every relationship, each person plays a role.

Relationships stay together as long as both parties are content to play their role. If one party changes, chances are it won’t work anymore. Some relationships that means that one person gives and the other takes. The giver never says they don’t want to give without reciprocation, and the taker never feels the need to reciprocate. Eventually the giver feels like a victim and the taker loses respect for the giver. But a lot of the time, they just keep right on trucking, because both of them are used to it. Nothing will ever change. And if the giver really was getting NOTHING out of the relationship, they’d leave. So we have to assume that they get something out of it (even if it’s simply the ability to play the victim).

In other relationships, one person is dominate and the other is submissive. Usually the man is the type A pushy guy who expects his wife to tow the line. Have dinner on the table when I get home or I’ll be pissed. You handle all that “kid” stuff because I work hard and it’s not my problem. Satisfy me in the bedroom whether you feel like it or not, and if you happen to enjoy it too that’s not really my problem. Even in a case like this, the submissive partner is getting something out of it, or she’d leave. Maybe it’s security. Maybe she sees potential or thinks she sees the “good in him” that no one else sees. I’m not saying I could ever tell you what it is she gets, but she gets something.

Some men let their wives push them around. Their wives don’t respect them, because not many women out there want a husband who’s a big fat pansy or a doormat. The man gets something out of it or he wouldn’t stay. Often what he gets is the ability to never have to think or make any decisions, because she’s more than happy to do all the thinking for both of them. I honestly believed that relationship problems could be totally one-sided. Then I modified my belief to maybe the “victim” has a LITTLE bit of responsibility.

Now, I believe that it’s usually close to 50-50 (obvious exception being a man who physically beats his wife). People don’t hang around for emotional abuse unless the relationship is providing something they think they need. I don’t know what it is. Maybe you do. Discuss.

More Sex

I received more feedback than expected from yesterday’s post. Of course, most people are sissies and sent me emails instead of commenting. Apparently people get nervous talking about it in public. Let me address some of the commentary that I received. Primarily, people quoted the same verse to me: “Let the marriage bed be kept pure.” It’s a verse in Hebrews that often gets quoted by Christians in defense of the “sex is only OK if you do it missionary and neither of you enjoy it…” approach to sex.

These respondents basically contend that the verse means keep your genitals where they belong – together – and keep all other forms of “perversion” (their word, not mine) out of the Christian marriage. I hate to rain on their parade with context and logic, but here goes anyway.

Firstly – every single person that replied and quoted this verse only quoted the part above. Fantastic if you’re trying to make an incorrect point. The entire verse says “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.” This verse isn’t about sexual positions or where you should put your mouth versus your genitals. It’s talking about adultery and/or having an extra person sexually involved.

It says “marriage should be honored by all.” In other words, people should respect the union between husband and wife. The gist of the verse is that the “marriage bed” is literally and metaphorically a place where the husband and wife have a sacred union. They are bonded by vows before they are bonded as one flesh. There’s a reason it goes in that order. A man who sees a married woman should not be thinking “hmmm, her husband is a jerk, I will put the moves on her.” THAT would violate this passage.

A married woman who sees a sexy man and decides there’s no harm in ‘seeing where it leads’ is violating this passage. A spouse that cheats is violating this passage. And I believe that is without exception. It doesn’t matter if both parties in the marriage agree that the cheating is OK (although that would be nuts on its face), it’s still in violation of the Bible.

OK The second topic that was a hot one was anal sex. Here were your (stupid) arguments:

1. Gay men have anal sex and it’s wrong to be gay so anal sex is wrong always

2. People poo out of their butts and it wasn’t designed for anything else (funniest argument of the day)

3. It hurts the recipient and hurting is wrong

I will address them in order. Gay men do have anal sex. The Bible says homosexuality is wrong. The Bible does NOT say that anal sex is wrong. I’ll wait while you look…. …and what did you find? Yah. I’m right, and you’re stupid. It’s simply not in there. Argument two. People poo out of their butts. Wow. Just wow. I can’t believe I’m talking about this. By this logic, men should have sex using their penis because they pee out of it. I can’t even come up with a good argument on this one because it’s so stupid.

Argument three. This one has some validity. And by some I mean it depends. Some women (yes, really) enjoy anal sex. Some women even ADMIT to enjoying it. Most say it hurts at first and then it’s good. A lot of women probably just think it totally sucks 100% of the time. You shouldn’t hurt your spouse. Sex should be pleasurable for both partners. I’m just not sure I buy that 100% of women in 100% of circumstances would not enjoy it. Gay men seem to like it OK.

Yes, I just used objection two to refute argument three!

NOW Finally we get to oral sex. Here were the arguments as to why oral sex is wrong:

1. You aren’t face to face, and God wants us face to face.

2. Genitals are dirty and you’ll die if you have oral sex

3. Oral sex is degrading (I’m assuming they are talking about women performing oral)

Here goes. Argument one, I challenge you to make a Biblical argument to support this. And do it without taking anything out of context. If you can make this argument, I will bow to your superior knowledge of the Bible. Argument two. For the love of Pete. Take a shower. Soap is a wonderful thing. Immune systems are pretty awesome, too. If you’re engaging in this activity with multiple partners, then you’re probably right, you’ll get sick. But this article is about marriage. You and your spouse, if you’ve been together more than about a week (sexually) have already shared every germ you have with each other. Your immune systems will figure it out, and you’ll be fine. By the same argument we shouldn’t kiss. Mouths are the most bacteria-ridden part of the human body. Google it.

Argument three. Oral sex is degrading. Hmmm. I’ve heard this one a few times. I’m not sure why, except maybe some women felt like they HAD to do this for guys they were dating to keep them interested? I have NO idea. We’re talking about spouses making love. We aren’t talking about one partner making some sort of a power play and trying to make his wife subservient. No one should be forcing their wife to do ANYTHING she’s not comfortable doing. But if that’s not the case, the Bible certainly doesn’t have any restrictions.

And then, my favorite argument I received. I saved the best for last. God made sex strictly for procreation, it should only be done for that purpose, and it was not God’s plan for women to have an orgasm. Remember how I said the phrase “genital union” made me laugh snot out of my nose? This one was WAY funnier. His premise hinged on sex being only for procreation. The man HAS to have an orgasm in order to inseminate his wife, but a wife’s orgasm would be strictly for pleasure and that’s wrong. OBVIOUSLY.

First off… you’re an IDIOT. Second, it sucks to be you… and it sucks more to be your wife (yes, the email was from a man). Where the HECK did someone get such a nutty notion? It sure ain’t in the Bible. And I’ve never even heard this crock of hooey preached in a church.

Read this: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 If the Bible is telling husband and wife to give to each other sexually except “for a time by mutual consent for prayer” but that they should not wait too long to have sex again so “Satan will not tempt you…”

Doesn’t that sound like this is talking about fulfilling sexual desires? It certainly doesn’t say “come together again so that you can make babies, but by all means don’t feel good doing it.” I think of all the verses in the Bible that talk about sex within marriage, this one is the most interesting to me. It virtually commands us to give to each other, not for babymaking, but for the strength of the marriage.

I can’t wait to hear your rebuttals to today’s post. Sheesh. Please, at least make your argument coherent, logical, and Biblical. Thanks!

Sex

It’s always fun to talk about topics that are slightly taboo, which for most Christians, sex most certainly is. It’s not because Christians don’t have sex, it’s because they are taught from birth that sex is dirty and wrong, and then that when they get married it’s magically not dirty or wrong anymore. That leaves Christians feeling weird about sex and uncomfortable discussing it, especially with any frankness or detail. In the interest of stepping wildly all over your shoes and making you squirm, here goes!

Sex is not dirty or wrong. God invented it, intended for it to rock, and didn’t only create sex to make babies, although that’s a happy natural side effect. If the only point of sex was to make babies, he wouldn’t have given us the bonding chemicals in our brain that are released during and after sex. I’ve heard all SORTS of cockamamie stuff taught in churches and in Christian books about sex within marriage.

One of my favorites perpetrated by some of the more traditional churches is that “missionary” is the only acceptable position. The idea is that being face to face is the only appropriate way to have sex, and the man should be on top because he’s, well, “the man.” I’m not knocking missionary. Eye contact is not a trivial thing. But man, that’s leaving so much good stuff off the table. Some churches teach that birth control is wrong (and in some, even “rhythm” and “retraction” are considered birth control). That leaves couples to either hope for the best or just plan on having a jillion kids. Meaning that sex can’t be for bonding or as an expression of passion or for fun between playful lovers. It’s basically just something you do to make babies (all the while hoping you don’t get pregnant every single time).

Again, this is a completely stupid construct by the church. Abortion is wrong (killing a fertilized embryo). Birth control does nothing of the sort. And then there’s oral sex (yes, some churches teach this is wrong). Many Christians feel that this is something that isn’t “natural”. I recently read an article that made me laugh snot bubbles out of my nose. It said that within marriage, frequent “genital union” is required. Now, I’m not even disagreeing with that statement, but the phrase “genital union” has got to be the most hilarious thing I’ve ever heard.

But does that mean that oral sex isn’t natural? I don’t think so. And I certainly see no such restriction in the Bible. What about anal sex? Oh boy. I’m gonna get it from the Christian right-wing now. Is anal sex wrong between a husband and wife? Do both parties want to engage in it? If the answer is yes, then by all means, go right ahead. But Pete, that’s not natural….!!!! To that I say “… you’re retarded.” You find a place in the Bible that places ANY sexual restrictions on married couples. Go ahead, I’ll wait. What did you find?

WELL, if you’re being completely honest, you did find a restriction… No extra people. Sorry guys – you can’t invite another woman into the bed with your wife. Sorry wives – you can’t invite another guy (or gal) into bed with your husband. Not if you want to remain inside the bounds of a Christian marriage. Yes, I realize that this is the prevalent fantasy for most guys. Yes, I realize that some wives (even some Christian wives) are willing to allow this to make their husbands happy. But it’s wrong, so steer clear. What about other fetishes?

I have no idea what to say on this one. Here’s what I think. I’m sure you all will correct me if I’m wrong. Harming your lover is not in keeping with what God would have us do. On the other hand, some people (I hear) find that pain and other things I don’t understand increases their pleasure. Am I going to say that’s wrong? Nope. All I’d say about fetishes is that both partners should be totally on board, both partners should be open with communication, and neither partner should come out with an injury. I’m not talking about the accidental “I fell off you during sex” injury. I’m talking about – hmmm – don’t put out cigarettes on your partner. And don’t punch her in the face.

Some churches teach that a wife has “duties” which of course pretty much always means “sex.” I don’t agree with that line of thinking at all. The moment sex goes from being fun to be a job is the moment you’re in deep poop. I think that in a marriage, both partners should want to, and try to, give the other what they want and need. Often that means compromise, doing one thing when we’d rather do another, etc. That’s exactly how marriage should work. Give and take. <strong>HOWEVER</strong>, a husband demanding that his wife “perform her duties” is FAR different than a wife choosing to make love to her husband because she loves him and wants to fulfill his desires.

It is never appropriate to demand sex or insist on it. Not even if you’re married. The moment you are telling her to give you what you want when she doesn’t want to, you’ve crossed the line. Many wives, I’d imagine, would try to say yes to their husbands even in those circumstances. That doesn’t make it right, guys. She doesn’t owe you anything. You do your job (love her as Christ loves the church) and do your best to fulfill her emotional needs. If you do that, you won’t have to demand sex.

To summarize. If you and your lover absolutely adore missionary position and you’re perfectly content doing that every single time, by all means, carry on. If you and your lover are more adventurous, the go for it. God gave you to each other as lovers (assuming you’re married) and He wants that bond to be strong. He made it so that the sexual chemistry both in our hormones and in our brains would make us WANT each other and make us chemically bond when we make love. That’s not an accident. The Bible says that a husband and wife become one flesh. Think about how in tune you are with your own body, with your own thoughts, desires, fantasies, and emotions.

You should want (and try) to be just as in tune with your spouse… taking the time to understand her emotions, her thoughts, fantasies, desires, and yes, her body. That’s how you become one flesh. Ultimately whatever brings you closer to each other is what you should be doing together. That may mean you hardly ever have sex. If the way you bond and feel closer is through conversation, then you should do that. If it’s through doing activities together, then join a bowling league. And if it’s sex, then have sex. More than likely, it’s a combination of things.

So go grab your spouse and have some fun! I promise not to judge you.

Rationalization

I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about rationalization. Almost without exception, people are able to rationalize the things they do no matter how bad. If they want to continue doing something they shouldn’t, they will find reasons that it’s OK to continue. As I’ve talked about this topic with a variety of people (thanks to Dono, Keith, David, Nicole, Darlene, Mike, Laura, Heather, Tami), a pattern has emerged. In almost all cases, the rationalization follows this pattern:

1. I have some unmet “need”

2. I deserve to have all my needs met because I’m special

3. God wants me to be happy, obviously

4. If God wants me to be happy and this makes me happy, it MUST be OK

5. If God thinks it’s OK, then people who disagree are just dense

6. If people look down on me for it, then I will cut them off, because God is all that matters

And so, in six simple steps, we go from blatant sin, to God wanting us to do it and rejecting anyone who disagrees. I know it seems ridiculous, but think about it. You can probably think of examples of this in people you personally know. Feel free to substitute “God” for “Nature” if you’re one of those anti-God people. The argument works just as well. I’ve witnessed some outrageous behavior justified through this thought process. To the non-rationalizer, it seems absurd. To the rationalizer, it seems like such simple logic that anyone incapable of understanding must be stupid. Or judgmental. Or fill in your own word.

As people rationalize, they become entrenched in their ridiculous thought process. Over time, they become completely impervious to logic, common sense, Biblical wisdom, or any other form of thought that challenges their house of cards. By the time someone has engaged in this for 5 or 10 years or more, the chance of them ever seeing the error of their ways is practically zilch. I’m not saying the Holy Spirit can’t move in someone that’s hardened themselves… just that it’s very rare.

The hardest part for the rationalizer isn’t acknowledging the foolish arguments they’ve used to rationalize – it’s that if they admit the error, they’d have to stop engaging in the behavior… and, well… they LIKE doing it (whatever it is). Never mind that such behavior is almost always selfish/self-destructive/other-destructive/obnoxious/etc. The rationalizer assumes that they are justified and that their actions don’t affect anyone else. And like with all other silly notions that go with this thought process, they’re dead wrong.

Sin is sin. Sin always affects those surrounding you in negative ways, whether you acknowledge it or even care. It leaves a wake of hurt and pain behind you that you’re completely oblivious to. I am by no means perfect. Ask my wife (of course she’d be nice and tell you I’m awesome). But I assure you, I do plenty of things wrong. I bottle things up till they bubble out in negative ways. I hurt her feelings because I say things poorly or without thinking. I act in immature and manipulative ways sometimes without even realizing I’m doing it. But I don’t make excuses. I acknowledge my mistakes (once I become aware) and I apologize.

Rationalization is the perfect way to never grow as a person. To heck with that.