When I started blogging in December 2010, I’d already learned quite a bit about sex, but I’ve gained far more knowledge since. I’ve read books and articles, done deep-dive Bible study, discovered interesting research, gained information and insight from fellow authors and speakers, and heard from many spouses through the years who shared their stories and struggles.
So when I pulled up a post from 2013 and read it recently, I winced a few times at my wording. While I stand behind the principles of what I said, I’d say it differently now.
Could my words be harmful?
At times I wonder whether I should take old posts down altogether…except that I still get messages from a spouse now and then who gained something important and helpful from an older post.
Someday soon, I hope to go back through all my posts, re-read them, and correct what I’d say differently now. But I’ve been blogging for 10 years and have published over 950 posts. How long will that project take? And I don’t want to spend all my time revisiting old posts but also writing new ones based on current issues.
It’s a conundrum. Something I said way back might be harmful if read by someone without the context of all I’ve written around or since then. Or it could be used by an ill-willed spouse to pressure or demand sex they feel owed in their marriage.
The weight hangs over me, wondering if and when something I said could hurt a marriage rather than help it. That would obviously be the opposite of my intention, my hope, my prayer!
Will I be mischaracterized?
It doesn’t help that we live in a culture currently in which some will take a snippet of text out of what someone wrote, share and criticize the excerpt, and mischaracterize the author’s intent.
Now that’s just a hazard of being a writer, so I’m not asking for some special sympathy. If I can’t take that heat, I need to leave the kitchen. But I would prefer our society to operate more __ like Hell’s Kitchen.
Just as an example, I finally got a one-star review for my book, Hot, Holy, and Humorous: Sex in Marriage by God’s Design. Not from someone who read the book, but felt it necessary to share her opinion of me on Amazon anyway.
I’m fine with having a bad review, but I wondered what made her say “her behavior and beliefs are crazy and abusive towards women.” What exactly made her believe that I was such a hazard? Hey, I could accept I’m a little crazy at times, but “abusive towards women” is a definite mischaracterization of me and my ministry. After some background research, I concluded the reviewer saw a single Facebook post from me she disagreed with and decided I was bad news. (Oh, and my book is based on blog posts, but expanded and edited. Just so you know.)
It’s possible to lift out something I said, reframe it, and mischaracterize who I am and what I stand for.
What would I say differently?
When I started blogging, I was mostly trying to encourage wives to prioritize physical intimacy, increase their sexual knowledge and confidence, and enjoy the experience. My personal conversations had largely been with lower desire wives who had either liked sex before but let it fall by the wayside or who had struggled with embracing sexual delights due to “good girl syndrome.”
Among the things I was off about:
- I emphasized the need to keep sex going in marriage without always addressing some good reasons for it not happening.
- I focused on sex tips and techniques at times in a way that perhaps minimized theology and relationship.
- I used lighthearted terminology when more serious and compassionate language might have been better.
And I’m sure there’s plenty else.
May I have some mercy?
It’s easy to read or see something and become outraged. I do it too! But most of the time, I try to step back and ask why I’m getting so riled up. Is what I saw really that bad, or am I blowing it out of proportion? Did I read it accurately or add something based on my own experience or biases? Does the person have bad motives or did they just get something wrong?
Also, what if everyone treated my wrong, bad, or oops stuff the same way I treat theirs? Would I survive the same kind of scrutiny I give others?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that Jesus said, “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matthew 7:2). And later, He shared a parable with the moral being: “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33).
May I simply ask for your mercy too? And for you to help me out? If you read something here or elsewhere that seems uncharacteristic of my ministry or that seems harmful to you, reach out and ask me about it. Give me a chance to clarify or reword.
In fact, extend that mercy to others when and where you can. Ask bloggers privately and/or directly rather than lambasting them publicly.
With so many words written, we’re bound to get some wrong. Please help us improve our message and ministry.