Identity in Marriage and Life

DelMarMisty

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
I'm not sure whether anybody can relate to this but I find it difficult to find my 'identity' in marriage and life in general. Living in the secular world has confused me about what it means to be in a marriage and I find myself questioning the way I view things and whether I have been too indoctrinated to view married life in a traditional way as a Christian. The dichotomy sometimes really bothers me and I don't know how to deal with it.

Some of the areas I struggle with:
- I have always been a somewhat 'creative'. My mindset throughout my 20's was that I am some sort of an artists and I possibly cannot live a 'boring' married life. To some extent, this still lingers. I don't know how to separate myself from this mindset, I pray and really do my best to live the truth, some days are more difficult than others.
- My priest advised that sex is really mostly for having children. I don't really know how to go about sex in marriage and I find myself avoiding it because I've spent many years of my life building up an image of what married life and sex should be (secular way), and I feel lost now.
- I am only interested in conversation that has to either do with Orthodoxy, God, Truth, Conspiracy etc. Anything everyday, of the world, bores me and it is impacting my communication with my husband because he isn't so much into it deeply as I am. I literally zone out. On the phone to my mum, colleagues, friends etc.

The dichotomy is that I am heavily into my faith and truth etc, yet I still fantasise about being a free nomadic bohemian?
 

messaggera

Woodpecker
Woman
have been too indoctrinated to view married life in a traditional way as a Christian. The dichotomy sometimes really bothers me and I don't know how to deal with it.

I chose 14 years of a secular relationship with a hedonist nonbeliever, along with solo globe trotting to "find myself," employment saturated in secularism indoctrination, and then take another three years after the nonsexual relationship ended to "date," for the first time. Three months seemed to be the ending time for these monogamous relationships.

Looking back on those years I am very ashamed (and sad for ) who I was - and I am embarrassed because this is not how I was raised by my grandparents to behave. What I have learned were many things but the most important was how to make sure my children will not be lead astray by this world.

- I have always been a somewhat 'creative'. My mindset throughout my 20's was that I am some sort of an artists and I possibly cannot live a 'boring' married life. To some extent, this still lingers. I don't know how to separate myself from this mindset, I pray and really do my best to live the truth, some days are more difficult than others.
- My priest advised that sex is really mostly for having children. I don't really know how to go about sex in marriage and I find myself avoiding it because I've spent many years of my life building up an image of what married life and sex should be (secular way), and I feel lost now.

I would really like to go more into the first two points you have made where you struggle, because I was there too. But I am not sure sharing personal private experiences will help much. Will say this husbands and wives I feel (opposed to think) see intimacy different in a marriage, and our needs are different - there could be a whole conversation about that topic. Men and women are not equal by design.

My husband brought me off the path of secularism and back onto the path to Christ (along with other Christians). But there were some issues while dating - one was premarital sex, and sex for pleasure. I share your struggle because I was heavy into secularism ideas while performing premarital sex with my future husband. What was once comfortable and satisfying during dating lingers and reminds me of secularism days (my struggle and obstacle) The premarital sex tainted the intimacy. It is more than that, but it the simplest way to describe.

For what it is worth I found this interesting - Sexual Problems in Marriage: The Intimate Marriage with R.C. Sproul
Disclaimer: This is a Presbyterian view with historical research of the New Testament.

I know this will not be a popular opinion, but sex and intimacy are not the same.
A marriage can be healthy and successful without sex, but not without intimacy.
 
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DanielH

Pelican
Orthodox
My wife and I listened to Fr. Josiah Trenham's The Good Wife and The Good Husband series before we got married which I highly recommend. Many truths that clergy are too afraid to tell people now, for fear of driving people away from church. He also has a two part lecture series titled Christian Marriage and Secular Culture: What it Should be and What it has Become which I haven't listened to but sounds pertinent to your question. They are available at this link: https://patristicnectar.org/store_lectures unfortunately they do cost a small amount of money. He has 10 children which I take into account when I say he is an authority on the matter.

These free lectures cover a lot of those same topics and I also highly recommend these:
 

Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
- I am only interested in conversation that has to either do with Orthodoxy, God, Truth, Conspiracy etc. Anything everyday, of the world, bores me and it is impacting my communication with my husband because he isn't so much into it deeply as I am. I literally zone out. On the phone to my mum, colleagues, friends etc.

GIRL SAME hahaha. I'm not really interested in nitpicking theological points, and my dad and brother are liturgical subject matter experta so I'm kinda over it. But I spent baby nap time last week reading a 700 page pdf about the CIA/Jim Jones/MK ultra connection; I think about God, the soul, and all things eternal a lot.

I'm not interested in suburban life and my husband is-- at least that's where he's "comfortable." His family is extremely comfort oriented and I think despite being Orthodox they don't believe in in God in any functional or objective way.

For the sex thing-- I don't know-- depending on your priest you might get bad advice (my old priest had some marriage difficulties, which can lead to some projection, but he also occasionally gave some good advice because of it). I think anything that brings you and your husband closer together is good, as long as you're not doing anything perverted. It's a bonding experience.

My husband and I are running on different schedules a lot so sometimes we don't match up (one of us is dead tired and one is ready to go).

I sometimes feel like I should have gotten involved with some kind of intellectual work. But that's life, maybe-- it's just a part of your personality. Being creative is good!

I wish I could write a better response but I only got 3 hours of sleep last night. I know the feeling, though.
 

DelMarMisty

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
I chose 14 years of a secular relationship with a hedonist nonbeliever, along with solo globe trotting to "find myself," employment saturated in secularism indoctrination, and then take another three years after the nonsexual relationship ended to "date," for the first time. Three months seemed to be the ending time for these monogamous relationships.

Looking back on those years I am very ashamed (and sad for ) who I was - and I am embarrassed because this is not how I was raised by my grandparents to behave. What I have learned were many things but the most important was how to make sure my children will not be lead astray by this world.



I would really like to go more into the first two points you have made where you struggle, because I was there too. But I am not sure sharing personal private experiences will help much. Will say this husbands and wives I feel (opposed to think) see intimacy different in a marriage, and our needs are different - there could be a whole conversation about that topic. Men and women are not equal by design.

My husband brought me off the path of secularism and back onto the path to Christ (along with other Christians). But there were some issues while dating - one was premarital sex, and sex for pleasure. I share your struggle because I was heavy into secularism ideas while performing premarital sex with my future husband. What was once comfortable and satisfying during dating lingers and reminds me of secularism days (my struggle and obstacle) The premarital sex tainted the intimacy. It is more than that, but it the simplest way to describe.

For what it is worth I found this interesting - Sexual Problems in Marriage: The Intimate Marriage with R.C. Sproul
Disclaimer: This is a Presbyterian view with historical research of the New Testament.

I know this will not be a popular opinion, but sex and intimacy are not the same.
A marriage can be healthy and successful without sex, but not without intimacy.
I think the point you made about premarital sex tainting intimacy is absolutely spot on. The secular mind gets so deeply embedded within that sometimes I feel like a fake in terms of my faith and views. Thanks for sharing this.

The two points I made are basically the dual mindedness I have about my life. In many ways, I am lucky that COVID happened and I saw more of the warped reality I was living in (even as a Christian).
 

DelMarMisty

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
My wife and I listened to Fr. Josiah Trenham's The Good Wife and The Good Husband series before we got married which I highly recommend. Many truths that clergy are too afraid to tell people now, for fear of driving people away from church. He also has a two part lecture series titled Christian Marriage and Secular Culture: What it Should be and What it has Become which I haven't listened to but sounds pertinent to your question. They are available at this link: https://patristicnectar.org/store_lectures unfortunately they do cost a small amount of money. He has 10 children which I take into account when I say he is an authority on the matter.

These free lectures cover a lot of those same topics and I also highly recommend these:
wow. I listened to the second one, really amazing. His puts things in words so well. Thank you so much for sharing.
 

DelMarMisty

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
GIRL SAME hahaha. I'm not really interested in nitpicking theological points, and my dad and brother are liturgical subject matter experta so I'm kinda over it. But I spent baby nap time last week reading a 700 page pdf about the CIA/Jim Jones/MK ultra connection; I think about God, the soul, and all things eternal a lot.

I'm not interested in suburban life and my husband is-- at least that's where he's "comfortable." His family is extremely comfort oriented and I think despite being Orthodox they don't believe in in God in any functional or objective way.

For the sex thing-- I don't know-- depending on your priest you might get bad advice (my old priest had some marriage difficulties, which can lead to some projection, but he also occasionally gave some good advice because of it). I think anything that brings you and your husband closer together is good, as long as you're not doing anything perverted. It's a bonding experience.

My husband and I are running on different schedules a lot so sometimes we don't match up (one of us is dead tired and one is ready to go).

I sometimes feel like I should have gotten involved with some kind of intellectual work. But that's life, maybe-- it's just a part of your personality. Being creative is good!

I wish I could write a better response but I only got 3 hours of sleep last night. I know the feeling, though.
hahahah. This is so funny! We are very much on the same page.
 

PVW

Sparrow
Woman
What I find striking is the mindset that creativity requires a bohemian lifestyle and that everything else is boring, or that to talk about anything outside of Orthodoxy, God, Truth or conspiracy is boring.

Most of life is full of the every day and mundane, what you would call the boring. Recognizing that is what keeps people grounded. Living each day with a sense of purpose, in building a marriage and life together is what matters. Your husband isn't as strongly interested in what interests you. Well what does interest him? Is is something that you could be interested in? Is it something that matters to your life together? Why isn't that important?

To demand more than the every day living of life together is to demand a high out of life that isn't always there. Are there exciting moments, of course, and they are great when they come, but to demand a diet of that every day would be like demanding ice cream and cake for every meal--bad for the health and wellbeing. It just doesn't sound normal. Exciting moments, dull moments, sad moments, they are all part of the package of life.

There are plenty of creative women who write, paint, draw, etc., and who marry and raise families. There's no reason to believe the two are mutually exclusive.

Plus, the endless freedom of a bohemian lifestlyle, where does it get anyone? Free from all that might bind, free from all commitment? That's a recipe for loneliness and lack of community.

As for the purpose of sex being to have a family, I think what's at stake there is that if a couple are capable of having children, they should be thinking and planning for that.

Now how to get out of these harmful mindset? I think that reading devotionals written by devout women of faith might be helpful, or even spiritual biographies. The best I've seen have been a set of devotionals devoted to living the life of a Proverbs 31 wife.

Tish Harrison Warren has written some great devotionals--the one that speaks most to this is Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Every Day Life: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30010106-liturgy-of-the-ordinary

Here is a list of all her books: https://www.amazon.com/Tish-Harrison-Warren/e/B01N9MA1WH?ref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
 
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Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
What I find striking is the mindset that creativity requires a bohemian lifestyle and that everything else is boring, or that to talk about anything outside of Orthodoxy, God, Truth or conspiracy is boring.

Most of life is full of the every day and mundane, what you would call the boring. Recognizing that is what keeps people grounded. Living each day with a sense of purpose, in building a marriage and life together is what matters. Your husband isn't as strongly interested in what interests you. Well what does interest him? Is is something that you could be interested in? Is it something that matters to your life together? Why isn't that important?

To demand more than the every day living of life together is to demand a high out of life that isn't always there. Are there exciting moments, of course, and they are great when they come, but to demand a diet of that every day would be like demanding ice cream and cake for every meal--bad for the health and wellbeing. It just doesn't sound normal. Exciting moments, dull moments, sad moments, they are all part of the package of life.

I don't think op is unhappy or wanting a different life-- I think it has to do more with having niche interests and needing people to talk to.

For whatever reason we often get along with one person better than another. I have friends from 20 years ago that I haven't seen in awhile that I click with more than my coworkers.
 

PVW

Sparrow
Woman
I don't think op is unhappy or wanting a different life-- I think it has to do more with having niche interests and needing people to talk to.

For whatever reason we often get along with one person better than another. I have friends from 20 years ago that I haven't seen in awhile that I click with more than my coworkers.

It's certainly plausible, but I based my reply upon--among other things--the last sentence of the post, which says a lot:

"The dichotomy is that I am heavily into my faith and truth etc, yet I still fantasise about being a free nomadic bohemian?"

As for merely wanting people to talk to, she might have people to talk to already, but the implications of it are significant:

"I am only interested in conversation that has to either do with Orthodoxy, God, Truth, Conspiracy etc. Anything everyday, of the world, bores me and it is impacting my communication with my husband because he isn't so much into it deeply as I am. I literally zone out. On the phone to my mum, colleagues, friends etc."
 
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DelMarMisty

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
I guess it's a confusing place to be. I pray for clarity and that one day I will be free of this 'double-mindedness'. The term double-minded comes from the Greek word dipsuchos, meaning “a person with two minds or souls." This is what I feel. And yes, partly it is finding people with the same interests etc as it is very difficult where I live. But we know what the Bible says about double-mindedness. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (Jms. 1:8).
 
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Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
It's certainly plausible, but I based my reply upon--among other things--the last sentence of the post, which says a lot:

"The dichotomy is that I am heavily into my faith and truth etc, yet I still fantasise about being a free nomadic bohemian?"

As for merely wanting people to talk to, she might have people to talk to already, but the implications of it are significant

Maybe. I typed my original comment while hiding in the bathroom on vacation with my in-laws, because my MIL comes out with gems like "Greece deserves to be crushed economically because they're all lazy" or "blacks can't afford salmon." (This is the same woman who blocked my brother-in-law from visiting us a few months ago because I work out in the world and might be a cojona carrier, and she will have permanent organ damage, "I'm not saying I would have DIED, I just don't want to risk it." Also when we were at the beach she had disinfectant wipes because she was afraid of getting an infection from a fish. I try to zone out when she talks because my cortisol levels go through the roof otherwise.)

I think occasionally fantasizing about doing something else if you're stuck in a rut is normal. It's not healthy if it's wrecking your marriage or other relationships, or if it's a self-defeating loop that prevents one from living in the present.

I don't even like to travel, but I missed out on some trips in my 20s because I didn't want to go at it alone. I don't think we're going back to 2011-era travel freedom any time soon.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
I think the point you made about premarital sex tainting intimacy is absolutely spot on
If one is a new creature in Christ and one acknowledges this past as soul tie bondage, all one has to do is simply ask God to release you from it and all memories of it.
It really works.
 

PVW

Sparrow
Woman
Maybe. I typed my original comment while hiding in the bathroom on vacation with my in-laws, because my MIL comes out with gems like "Greece deserves to be crushed economically because they're all lazy" or "blacks can't afford salmon." (This is the same woman who blocked my brother-in-law from visiting us a few months ago because I work out in the world and might be a cojona carrier, and she will have permanent organ damage, "I'm not saying I would have DIED, I just don't want to risk it." Also when we were at the beach she had disinfectant wipes because she was afraid of getting an infection from a fish. I try to zone out when she talks because my cortisol levels go through the roof otherwise.)

I think occasionally fantasizing about doing something else if you're stuck in a rut is normal. It's not healthy if it's wrecking your marriage or other relationships, or if it's a self-defeating loop that prevents one from living in the present.

I don't even like to travel, but I missed out on some trips in my 20s because I didn't want to go at it alone. I don't think we're going back to 2011-era travel freedom any time soon.
I hear you, but in her recent post it seems she's concerned that her fantasies are more problematic than anyone might realize.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
I'm not sure whether anybody can relate to this but I find it difficult to find my 'identity' in marriage and life in general. Living in the secular world has confused me about what it means to be in a marriage and I find myself questioning the way I view things and whether I have been too indoctrinated to view married life in a traditional way as a Christian. The dichotomy sometimes really bothers me and I don't know how to deal with it.

Some of the areas I struggle with:
- I have always been a somewhat 'creative'. My mindset throughout my 20's was that I am some sort of an artists and I possibly cannot live a 'boring' married life. To some extent, this still lingers. I don't know how to separate myself from this mindset, I pray and really do my best to live the truth, some days are more difficult than others.
- My priest advised that sex is really mostly for having children. I don't really know how to go about sex in marriage and I find myself avoiding it because I've spent many years of my life building up an image of what married life and sex should be (secular way), and I feel lost now.
- I am only interested in conversation that has to either do with Orthodoxy, God, Truth, Conspiracy etc. Anything everyday, of the world, bores me and it is impacting my communication with my husband because he isn't so much into it deeply as I am. I literally zone out. On the phone to my mum, colleagues, friends etc.

The dichotomy is that I am heavily into my faith and truth etc, yet I still fantasise about being a free nomadic bohemian?
I want you to know that every frustration you mentioned is valid and are symptoms of a deeper issue and therefore worthy to be healed.

We women are broken links of God's design of a hijacked culture because the men have also broken ties to God and His order through multi generational abdication of the dominion mandate to continue building Christendom.

We women, like mirrors reflect that back at men.

When we do, men get frustrated and blame us, like Adam against Eve, not accepting responsibility, and on the crazy cycles goes.

Adam could have turned to God for help but instead followed Eve in her sin like a cuck.
Sin only became complete when Adam refused God's intervention.


The healthy tried and tested way, which I believe will eventually become the main culture:

A daughter's identity is found reflecting her godly father, then the father entrusts his daughter over to a godly man like himself in all the essential attributes and a husband that he knows will suit his precious daughter in every way possible.
The daughter then finds it an easy transfer to continue in reflecting patriarchy but now under her husband.
Once this is in place all areas of the marriage matures, including sexual intimacy being a blessing.
The wife will reflect her husband's male brained needs by being willing to give and get inside his brain because being one with him she shares his mind's sexual expectations in every way, including frequency he needs, and whether drawn out love making or purely for quick ones, for example.
There will be at times mutual abstinence when biblically called for, like for eg during a women's bleeding cycle, after childbirth or sickness, etc.
The bible actually regulates this within marriage.

Sexual intimacy is not just for producing children, it is a gift for enjoyment in a God fearing marriage.
 

Vigilant

Kingfisher
Woman
I guess it's a confusing place to be. I pray for clarity and that one day I will be free of this 'double-mindedness'. The term double-minded comes from the Greek word dipsuchos, meaning “a person with two minds or souls." This is what I feel. And yes, partly it is finding people with the same interests etc as it is very difficult where I live. But we know what the Bible says about double-mindedness. “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (Jms. 1:8).
If one doesn't use the double-minded sign to investigate why, then it could become worse than unstable.
 

Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
The other thing, too; I think the term "free-spirited bohemian" might have multiple meanings, like "hippie" has multiple meanings (not wanting an experimental gene therapy shot makes you a hippie, for example). So it may represent wanting to live free, not worry about "societal" conventions like Make Money, Buy a Giant House, etc (not staying out late with absinthe and cigarettes and sleeping around while saying I AM ARTISTE! Or whatever, my brain doesn't work right.)

Sometimes lately I feel like my husband is mentally not "here" (and he isn't, he's frustrated with job hunting and is bummed out about the housing market). But we spent a few days away and it recharged our batteries, so to speak.

I guess my point being that sometimes thoughts and fantasies represent something that is lacking, and taking them at face value is where most people go wrong (I must be unhappy, I need a new life!).
 

DelMarMisty

Robin
Woman
Orthodox
Maybe. I typed my original comment while hiding in the bathroom on vacation with my in-laws, because my MIL comes out with gems like "Greece deserves to be crushed economically because they're all lazy" or "blacks can't afford salmon." (This is the same woman who blocked my brother-in-law from visiting us a few months ago because I work out in the world and might be a cojona carrier, and she will have permanent organ damage, "I'm not saying I would have DIED, I just don't want to risk it." Also when we were at the beach she had disinfectant wipes because she was afraid of getting an infection from a fish. I try to zone out when she talks because my cortisol levels go through the roof otherwise.)

I think occasionally fantasizing about doing something else if you're stuck in a rut is normal. It's not healthy if it's wrecking your marriage or other relationships, or if it's a self-defeating loop that prevents one from living in the present.

I don't even like to travel, but I missed out on some trips in my 20s because I didn't want to go at it alone. I don't think we're going back to 2011-era travel freedom any time soon.
I remember the first day I met my MIL, I got hot from head to toe and wanted to run. Says similar stuff.
 

Ah_Tibor

Kingfisher
Woman
Orthodox
I remember the first day I met my MIL, I got hot from head to toe and wanted to run. Says similar stuff.

We used to get along, but marriage/baby/coof brought out some interesting sides, lol. I think we're just different; ex: my sister-in-law and her husband brought a bunch of cucumbers from his parent's garden, and she said "ohh normally I don't like cucumbers at all, but I just had a tiny, very thin slice and that was wonderful." Yup. (She has the typical boomer lady food aversions to eggs, milk with any kind of fat, and butter, but then makes fun of people with food allergies or dietary restrictions.)

I like my FIL and all my husband's siblings, though. They good people.
 

IconWriter

Pigeon
Woman
Orthodox
To DelMarMisty: Perhaps you would be interested in the book: Marriage as a Path to Holiness, Lives of Married Saints, by David and Mary Ford, (From St. Tikon's).
 
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