Amy Chua’s article “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior” in the Wall Street Journal has erupted a firestorm of dialogue about cultural parenting strategies. In her article, Chua makes the argument that the tough, no-nonsense parenting of Chinese parents is far superior to the laissez-faire, self-esteem focus of American parents.
Chua admits to generalizing Eastern and Western parenting styles to prove her point. The point at which I disagree with Chua is not these generalizations, but the assumptions she has about success. How do we define success for our children? Chua seems to define success as A’s in school and confidence. What happens when our children don’t succeed in school? Is our love for our children conditional on their success in school?
Confidence is a good thing but is it the ultimate trait we want to see in our children? As a follower of Christ, my hope is that my daughters will find their confidence in God, not in their own abilities. I don’t want them to give into the Disney lie that they can achieve anything they believe. I do want them to understand that their gifts and abilities are God given and all the glory goes to God.
I want my daughters to experience grace from my wife and me. The same grace that God shows us. His love isn’t based on what I do or my success. He loves me because I am his child. God loves me even when I willfully go against his desires. His love is unconditional.
So I don’t want to follow the Chinese paradigm for parenting or the American version. I want to pursue parenting my children as God the Father loves me.
Sex is a taboo subject in church. Sure there are pastors that encourage church members to have sex with their spouses every day for the month of February. The pastors giving these sermons are male which shouldn’t come as a surprise. I wonder how the wives in those congregations feel about the challenge. These sermons are the exception though.
We don’t talk about sex in church. The only message is to wait until you get married to have sex with your spouse. I would argue that we need to talk more about sex at church because it is an important part of marital intimacy (but not the only part, men). I have chosen the bedroom for obvious reasons as we talk about how men can take leadership in their marriage.
How can we experience sex in the pure, euphoric way that God intended it? How can we as men lead our wives sexually?
Sex is a taboo subject in too many Christian marriages. Honesty is the foundation of a healthy marriage and this means we need to be honest with our partner. It is hard to start conversations about sex with your spouse but the more you talk about it, the easier it gets. Men, we need to take the lead and start this conversation. Just start with the question, “How satisfied are you with our sex life?” Encourage your spouse to be brutally honest. Don’t defend yourself. Just listen.
It is sad to me that some women think their role is to submit to their husband whenever he wants it. This is not the biblical idea of submission. Husbands need to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph 5:25). This radical, selfless love is different than the male chauvinism that is present in some Christian circles. Men, how often do we serve our wives in the bedroom? Have we ever asked our wives what they liked and followed through on their desires? I dare you to serve your wife in the bedroom and see what happens.
All right men this is where it gets tough. Is your wife the sole object of your sexual desires or is she competing with others? In this oversexed culture, temptation is everywhere. Advertisers know what gets us going. Just watch ESPN and count how many of the commercials show off alluring women. It is said that 95% of Christian men struggle with pornography and the other 5% are lying. Pornography ruins the pure sexual experience that God created for us to enjoy.
We need to be honest with our wives if we struggle with pornography. If you thought it was hard to talk about sex with your wife, it is even harder to talk about our struggles with pornography. But we need to be honest with our wives. The love and grace that can come when your wife loves you in spite of your struggles can be transformational in your life. It will take time though. Find other men who can keep you accountable to your commitment to purity. Get an internet filter or accountability software like x3watch. Encourage your pastor to dedicate one Sunday as Porn Sunday (see video below). We have to work together to find freedom from the chains of pornography. The health of our marriages depends on it.
It is easier to talk about sex with our buddies than it is with our wives. We need to man up and lead our wives in the bedroom. The journey is tough and awkward at times, but a pure, honest sex life is worth the journey it took to get there. You will not have any regrets.