Frame is everything, because frame determines what is in the picture and what isn’t. What you can see and what you cannot see. Frame determines what fits in and what doesn’t. What is allowed and what isn’t. Frame is everything. Nothing illustrates this better than how marriage is framed these days as a strictly monogamous affair. Because that’s not the way God designed it.
The Law of Marriage (Genesis 2:24) says a lot in a mere 24 words, but what it doesn’t say is just as important as what it does say. We know this because Jesus pointed it out in Matthew 19. Then, as now, people look at the three elements of that passage (shall leave, shall cleave, shall become one flesh) and assume that all of these are the actions of the man. Not so. When the Pharisees asked what the grounds for divorce were, Jesus quoted Genesis 2:24, and pointedly explained “they shall become one flesh” was something God did, not the man, saying “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let no man separate.”
But Christ was making two points here, not one. The first was the real interpretation of what Genesis 2:24 says, the second was to juxtapose what the passage says with what it does not say. He was subtle, but He emphasized what the passage did not say with what He said next, still referring to the Law of Marriage. “For hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been this way.” From the beginning. Why would that be? Because the Law of marriage granted the authority to the man to initiate marriage and explained the procedure of how marriage is initiated, but that law contained no grant of authority to the man to end the marriage.
And what does that point to? If one thinks about it for a moment, it becomes obvious that it didn’t contain a restriction on the number of wives a man could initiate marriage with.
Under God’s design, a man can have more than one wife because divorce is not permitted.
Under Churchianism, divorce is permitted because a man can have only one wife.
Under God’s design, if things don’t work out in the marriage, regardless of what kind of problems there are with the wife, her husband is still stuck with her because he made a vow and entered into a covenant with her. She’s his wife and will be until the day he dies, but he isn’t limited to her. How this would be interpreted is flexible. Everyone understands menopause and the problems that causes, so if it was a wife of a certain age and the husband took a much younger second wife, well, probably not such a big deal. There’s no shame in the changes a woman goes through and the fact that the changes can have a serious impact on marital relations.
But if this was a case of a wife refusing to meet his needs or was known to be rebellious and contentious to the point that her husband hated her, it stands to reason that everyone knows that this wife was hated by her husband. It isn’t something that can be hidden. If he took another wife, that would be open to a much different interpretation than if it were the case that he was taking another wife to meet a need his first wife could no longer meet. Especially if she had not given him a son, because inheritance was very much an issue of importance. We know this because Moses made a ruling (Deuteronomy 21:15-17) on the matter that bears our attention.
“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other hated, and both the loved and the hated have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the hated, then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the hated, who is the firstborn. But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn.
Two wives, one loved and the other hated. The question of why the wife might be hated is open to interpretation, but anyone with any observational skills can probably provide a list without thinking about it too hard.
Should he take another wife under such conditions his first wife gets the shame of being publicly identified as such a poor wife that her husband had to take a second wife. Which isn’t going to help with her attitude problem. And everyone understood that bringing in a rival wife would increase the level of conflict in the home. So, if a husband chose to go that route it meant his wife must have been a special kind of failure when it came to doing her job. There was no way to blame anyone else but herself.
In other words, complete accountability for the woman, the vows of marriage are honored (the MAN kept his vows) and the family was preserved, intact. Regardless of what a poor wife she was, she wasn’t kicked to the curb, she continued to be supported and honored as his wife. Because he kept his word even when it hurt. Because that’s what God expects out of men. Under God’s design, the success or failure of a family rests solely on the shoulders of the husband and father. His wife can be a helpmeet or a hindrance, but the responsibility belongs to the man.
Under the rubric of modern monogamous marriage, if a woman is such a poor excuse for a wife that her husband can’t tolerate it, his only “legitimate” option is to set aside his vows of marriage and divorce her because keeping a mistress on the side is considered to be a horrible sin of adultery, an offense to all decent women everywhere. Yes, far better to destroy the family than allow a husband to be honored by a woman who vowed to “love, honor and obey” him. It’s a hell of a twist on morality.
So now we’ve got a divorce and the modern legal theory that women can do no wrong applies, so he will lose his children, half his assets and be sentenced to regular payments for years to come. Because he made a bad choice in who to marry. More importantly, if a divorce occurs it’s generally held that the man had at least some portion of responsibility in that happening, which has the effect of removing some portion of accountability from the woman. Because men are expected to keep their word and honor their vows even when women don’t.
But, it’s worse than that. A wife is under the authority of her husband and even after Moses allowed divorce, a woman had no authority to divorce her husband and there are no grounds for a woman to divorce her husband regardless of his behavior. 1st Peter 3:1 commands wives to submit to their husband even if he is disobedient to the word and win him over, without a word, by their quiet and chaste conduct. Not much of that in the church today.
In the frame of modern monogamish marriage, women use divorce to shift accountability for their own failures onto their husband, destroy the family, ruin their children’s lives and avoid any accountability in the entire process. And they use divorce proactively to steal their husband’s assets and rob him of his children and rob their children of their father.
The monogamy – polygyny issue is all about how to frame marriage in order to allow women to avoid any accountability for their behavior, but it’s also a false dichotomy. The Biblical standard is the man gives permanent, non-exclusive commitment. That means all marriages (unless maybe you’re a king) start off with just one wife. If she does a great job, why add another one? However, the man is permitted to take another wife no matter what the reason, even if it’s only because he wants sexual variety and he can afford it.
With God’s definition of commitment a woman cannot avoid accountability for her behavior because she does not have a monopoly on her husband. She’s exposed to the competition of other women and if she does not compete (do her job well) she can find another woman brought in and promoted above her within the marriage.
With churchian cuck “equal” commitment, a woman cannot be held accountable for her behavior because of the monopoly conditions that allow her to act with impunity. She has no competition within the marriage and the only way around her monopoly is to destroy the family with a divorce.
Again, under God’s design, the majority of marriages have always been and will always be monogamous. The problem enters when marriage is framed as “Monogamy ONLY” because that usurps the authority God granted to the husband at Genesis 2:24 and transfers power to the wife. Polygyny is acceptable under God’s design and as an available option it creates an environment in which women are accountable for their actions.
Women say “I cannot stand the thought of having to share my husband!”
Well, honey, make sure the thought never crosses his mind by being such a successful wife that he doesn’t have the time, energy or inclination to look at other women. It’s called accountability for a reason.
And… don’t take this the wrong way, but your vagina isn’t nearly as special as you think it is. Sex is not this mystical holy grail of marriage. After a while, it’s just sex. Your husband has a need for sex but you can’t fathom that because monogamy puts the woman in charge of sex in the same way an owner is in charge of feeding a dog.
Does It Really Matter Who Feeds The Dog?
Let’s say you have a dog. You have to feed the dog or the dog will die, but feeding the dog is just the most basic task in having a dog. The dog has to be trained and disciplined and cared for and all that takes time and energy. And if you don’t feed the dog regularly with the right food in the right amount, that dog isn’t going to be healthy and won’t respond well no matter what else you do. The dog is going to be cranky and temperamental and will probably do things you don’t want him to do (like digging through the trash) because he’s hungry. And there was a time when everyone knew this.
Yet, you were taught to make a major ceremony out of feeding the dog because the act of feeding him is somehow oh-so-special. That’s what you were always told, because your bowl is special. And you have to be in the right mood for for the ceremony… because you were taught that pouring dogfood out of a bag is just so damn special. Because it’s all about you and your special bowl. But when the dog is cranky and temperamental and isn’t a good dog because he hasn’t been fed, well… that just kills your mood to have the ceremony and feed the dog. Everyone understands that a woman just has to be in the right mood before she can be bothered to feed the dog. He can howl all he wants, she has to be in the mood.
Besides, feeding the dog is messy and it take a whole 5 minutes out of your day to give the dog what he needs. And sometimes he wants to lick the bowl and play with the handles! Who has time for that? While it may feel good for him to be eating out of your bowl, getting fed is something he needs and he really wants it… but that doesn’t matter to you because feeding the dog is not that special to you, it’s just a chore. Sure, sometimes it’s special for you and you enjoy it, but day in and day out it’s just a chore. And a woman has to be in the mood. Everyone knows that.
What you really like to do is play fetch with the dog because that’s all about you and having your desires met. Especially when your friends are around to see how the dog tries to please you. That makes you feel really good. But, it was too much of a chore to feed him and the dog is starving and doesn’t have the energy or the motivation to play fetch. So you complain to all your friends about how horrible your dog is and you don’t understand it at all because the dog has such a wonderful home and such a loving master but he won’t fetch the damn ball when you want him to.
And you spend your time complaining to your friends while you starve your dog of one of the most basic elements of what he needs.
What the dog needs doesn’t require a ceremony with a special spot and a special bowl. Starve the dog and he’ll try to find what he needs in the trash and make a mess of things or wander out on the street looking for food. And naturally you’ll blame the dog for looking in the trash for something you were supposed to be providing for him, not recognizing the fact that under this scheme of things he’s only supposed to be getting his food from you. Well, of course you know that. Everybody knows your bowl is special and he’s only supposed to get what he needs from your bowl. But you’ve got this insane notion that while he’s always hungry and everybody knows dogs are always hungry, he only needs food if you’re in the mood to give it to him.
But, what if your dog had
the right to choose who feeds him?
“Oh… how horrid that would be! My roommate has a bowl too, and hers might be much nicer than mine! I’d hate to have any comparison because my bowl is special!”
News flash: he wants to be fed. Nice bowls are great, but they don’t mean a thing if they aren’t providing him with food on a regular basis… and every woman has a bowl. Once he’s been fed it’s all about how he’s treated. Her bowl isn’t the issue: it’s how she treats him. Treat him right and take care of him and he’ll be too busy watching the place and making sure those damn coons don’t come in the yard to care what the food bowl is like. As long as the bowl has got food in it when he’s hungry. And treats? Treats are wonderful. They motivate. But you can’t confuse food, which is a regular requirement, with treats. You can decide when he gets a treat but don’t make the mistake of thinking his food is a treat. Dog’s know the difference and when he’s well-fed, treats make all the difference.
“Gosh. TREATS! How do I get more treats? I know! I’ll add squirrels to the list! You gave me treats? Now you don’t have squirrels. Wait… fetch? You want to play fetch? OK! Let me go find the ball!”
What did a little kindness and consideration cost you? Now he fetches the hell out of that ball every time you want to play. Every. Single. Time. He has the energy because he is well fed. He has the motivation because you gave him a treat.
Guess who else is motivated? You are. The thought that some other woman would be feeding your dog has a remarkable effect on your mood. Everyone knows a woman has to be in the mood, but it’s amazing how fast she gets in the mood to feed the dog when her roommate is also available to feed him. Because her bowl is special. She’d hate for the dog to get fed from another woman’s bowl. “Gosh, what a GOOD DOG! Want more? I can do that.”
The thing is, if your dog got to choose who fed him, would it really matter who fed him? He’d be getting fed regularly and he’d get his treats on top of that and he’d be keeping the coons and squirrels out of your yard. You could even work out a deal with your roommate and she feeds him and you give him treats, since obviously 5 minutes a day is just too much for you to handle. But if it’s such a huge deal because your bowl is so damn special, either feed the dog or she will.
That’s called accountability and it’s produced by competition. And believe it or not, your roommates’ bowl doesn’t have anything to do with it. It doesn’t matter that you both have a bowl, it’s how often somebody’s bowl gets used to meet his needs. But if you took the responsibility to do your job and fed him regularly (that’s when HE needs it, not you), then your yard would be coon and squirrel free and all your friends would be amazed at how he fetched the ball for you and he’d never even look at your roommate. And when one of the snakes that walk around on two legs shows up, that dog is going to be there to defend you. Why? You think it has anything to do with how special your bowl is? Because you have a magic bowl? If that’s what you think you know nothing about dogs.
THE REASON GOD GAVE YOU THE BOWL
IS SO YOU CAN USE IT TO FEED HIM!
But you can’t comprehend that. You threw your roommate out because she has a bowl and he was hungry and started looking longingly at her. You’re too upset with your dog because he’s starved and temperamental and cranky and won’t make you look good in front of your friends when you want him to fetch the ball. And he’s not in good shape and not exactly motivated to please you because you’re starving him. And the idea that he should be able to get his food from someone else? “OMG! That’s HORRIBLE! I can’t STAND the thought! There needs to be A LAW AGAINST THAT!!!” Because he belongs to you and you alone. Because the system says that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
God said to feed the dog whenever he wants food, that your bowl belongs to him. But that’s crazy fundamentalist wacko talk. The government and the church say you own your dog. You and nobody else, and he isn’t supposed to be fed by anyone else. Even if he’s starving. Because you think your bowl is so special. And you get away with it because the dog belongs to you. He doesn’t get a choice. Because those are the rules.
And you’d think that the dog would run away after he’d had enough, and sometimes they do. But they’re usually so loyal they put up with incredible abuse and stick around until they get sent to the pound.
So you get tired of listening to him howl when he’s hungry and blame him for not being a good dog and ship him off to the pound because obviously it’s all his fault. It can’t be your fault, you’re a woman. He was supposed to be there for you to fetch the ball when you wanted to play but he was too busy howling with hunger. Maybe that’s all it took or maybe you caught him eating out of your neighbor’s bowl after you’d starved him long enough. It doesn’t matter, he wasn’t a good dog so you got rid of him.
When the snakes show up (and sooner or later they always do), it won’t matter whether your ball got fetched. The dog won’t be there to sound the alarm and he won’t be there to defend you. If he was there he’d defend you even if he was half-starved and abused. Because that’s what dogs do. It’s their job to defend you from snakes. But he’s not there. You put him into the system to be ground up and destroyed because he was too starved to be motivated to fetch your ball when you wanted to show off for your friends.
And when they find your body they’ll find that damn ball of yours stuffed in your mouth… but everyone who knows the truth will be too polite to call it poetic justice. The snakes did that so you couldn’t make any noise while they did nasty things to you. And they took their time enjoying themselves while you suffered. The dog would have died defending you from that, but you got rid of him. And all your friends will say how horrible it was that you had such a bad dog that you had to get rid of him and then he wasn’t there to defend you. And it will be sad because if you’d had some accountability you’d have fed that dog and he’d have been a good dog and he’d have been there, willing to die for you.
But you couldn’t stand the thought of accountability and you only fed the dog when you felt like it… because he didn’t have a choice… and now you’re dead. Because you were wrong. It’s not about your bowl, it’s about you, and your fantastic special bowl is worthless if the dog doesn’t get fed.
And the most amazing thing is that some women will think that story is about a dog.