Patsy Rae Dawson
I begin this journey with you by briefly reviewing how my students changed the focus of my teaching many times over the last 40 years. Our shared past along with my failed marriage established my areas of expertise and made me who I am today. I embrace it as "all things working together for good for those who love God" (Romans 8:28). I am thankful for the opportunity to learn how to study the Bible that my 22 years as a preacher's wife gave me. And I move forward in my service of him who closes some doors while opening others that I could never have imagined or chosen in my youth (Hebrews 5:13-14 and Revelation 3:8).
Copyright © 2011, 2016 by Patsy Rae Dawson, LLC. All rights reserved.
The first thirteen years set the stage for what was to come
In 1972, I taught three very different groups of women who influenced my teaching in their own way. The class of older women in our congregation argued with everything I said. They turned me into a research writer to prove God's marriage laws can stand before modern scientific, medical, and psychological investigation. A second class of women from the community openly shared their marriages. I learned that problems without God are much more severe and hopeless. Finally, I taught newly married college girls whose love for their husbands shone in their eyes. A joy, they taught me the value of learning God's will before or during early marriage for lasting happiness.
The first problem appeared
Soon after I began teaching, the older wives came to class complaining, "Patsy, our husbands are working us over with your handouts. They're saying, I thought so! Patsy says you should be doing such and such, and you're not!"
I went back to the Bible and balanced the wife's part with the husband's half. The class discovered that God doesn't promote supreme male entitlement, as many of the women feared if they practiced subjection. Instead, God obligates husbands to always act in the wives' best interest instead of doing what they want (Ephesians 5:25-33) meaning the wives enjoy ALL the rights. Anything less? God doesn't hear the husbands' prayers (I Peter 3:7). God's love for both husbands and wives enveloped those first classes.
A question changed the direction of my teaching
After I shared my lessons with a visiting friend, she said, "I know this lady who says she doesn't love her husband any more. Can a woman learn to love her husband again?"
I replied, "I don't know." And I began studying the scriptures regarding emotional and sexual love. Students started saying, "I'm falling in love all over again."
I discovered the power of sanctification
Later that year, I read Dr. Marie N. Robinson's book, The Power of Sexual Surrender, teaching women how to overcome extreme sexual problems through educating their minds with scientific facts. I recognized her case histories demonstrated how "sanctification" works by replacing worldly fables and myths about sex with God's word. Inspired truth liberates the body and mind for wonderful lovemaking.
Over the years, I've observed that sanctification reoccurs as a common factor in the different areas of marriage and is the key to lasting marital success. Read my booklet Adultery and Sexual Addiction: A Plan for Healing the Soul and the Marriage to understand the mechanics of sanctification.
I taught the secret for multiple vaginal orgasms
Additionally, Dr. Robinson's portraits of the clitorally orgasmic woman versus the vaginally orgasmic woman paralleled the sexually frustrated wife of Proverbs 7 versus the Woman of Great Price in Proverbs 31. I tested my new understanding on two older women who taught young women. They encouraged me to teach the material.
When I taught wives for the first time how to enjoy a vaginal orgasm, I got so embarrassed saying words aloud I had never spoken before, I could hardly speak. Afterward, a nurse said, "Patsy, you were having such trouble talking, I wondered, What is she trying to say? Then when you said it, I thought, Is that all?" Her medical perspective solved the problem.
At the next class, I asked my students, "Do you want me to hint about sex, or do you want me to be plain?"
They all agreed, "Be plain or we won't get it." And so I have been ever since.
As I began teaching wives how the brain is the most powerful sexual organ for enjoying multiple vaginal orgasms, ecstatic women called saying, "Patsy! Patsy! I did it! I did it!" I still get emails from women exclaiming, "Patsy, you're right! This is the best sex ever!" To God be the glory for creating a wonderful language of love for husbands and wives that transcends human words to bind their hearts together forever!
To my surprise, church leaders all across the country began asking for sets of my handouts for their congregations. This led to publishing God's People Appreciate Marriage, the first edition of Marriage: A Taste of Heaven, in 1977.
Ministers who proofread that first book admonished, "Don't you dare label this material ladies' Bible class material. We all need it."
The enjoyable teaching was not to last
Those first thirteen years proved enjoyable as I studied and taught the marital blessings God reserves for his people who dare to obey him. It was not to last.
Spouse abuse jumped out of the closet
In 1985, when I submitted God's People Make the Best Lovers to reviewers, one woman kept urging me to deal with marriages that don't respond to God's word. Then a close friend confided the misery she suffered. Refusing to work steadily, her husband dominated her spirit while forcing her to appease the creditors. After she talked to the elders, he forbade her to discuss their affairs. The elders wrung their hands, saying they were tied, and continued to use him as a deacon.
A talented teacher in the children's classes, she rejected God to escape an abusive husband and an eldership subservient to sin. By sharing her heart with me, she forever changed my teaching.
Women came to hear How to Survive Marriage to a Jerk
In 1987, I presented a 2-hour, by-invitation-only class to women all over the Seattle area who were familiar with my teaching called How to Survive Marriage to a Jerk. I developed I Samuel 25 where Abigail confronted the sins of both Nabal, whom God described as worthless, and David, the anointed king. The invited women brought their friends and filled the auditorium to help me test the new direction my teaching had just turned.
Fighting spring allergies, I could barely speak as I forced my strained voice. But they listened as I began with a cartoon of a young man on his knees proposing to a young woman. She gave an airhead answer, “I suppose a couple of years of marriage won’t hurt me.”
I continued, “But she’s wrong! A couple of years of marriage can harm you mentally, physically, and spiritually if you make the mistake of marrying a jerk.”
“Jerk” is a Bible word. All through Proverbs, the word “fool” could accurately be translated with our modern word “jerk.” In the 21st century, fool doesn’t mean to us what it meant to the Israelites of Solomon’s day. But we get the picture instantly when we say someone is a jerk.
The women streamed out upset, declaring, "Why have we never heard anything like this when the Bible is so plain? You hit a nerve! Don't turn back from teaching women they don't have to put up with abuse!"
Churches across the country ordered the videotaped class. Church leaders described husbands who were offended when they saw their wives' names on sign up lists.
After the class, I handed out a questionnaire to learn:
- What issues the women were dealing with
- Why many marriages had thrived while others stagnated
- What I needed to study
Their answers revealed the shocking truth and changed my teaching
The women opened their hearts. I learned that the marriages that didn't respond had sin in the home that was either hidden, or when brought before the spiritual leaders, the women were told, "You need to go home and be submissive." Or, "I'll talk to your husband if he brings it up." Even when the wives told their husbands, none of the men asked for help.
The top three sins in the home were:
- Husbands not interested in making love to their wives
- Spouse abuse
- Poor work ethics
My students wouldn't let me stay naïve about spouse abuse
More women began complaining about spouse abuse requesting I teach on it. I trained at two women's shelters and learned the location of the home for Christian women was kept secret because the most violent abusers claim authority from God to mistreat their wives.
The audio classes Challenges in Marriage: What to Do When Sin Inhibits Love resulted from teaching a packed auditorium of women from all over the Seattle area. Women bought sets for their elders, telling them, "This is a problem in our congregation." Citing their examples of religious leaders' condoning abuse provoked me to write "An Open Letter to Elders & Preachers."
Spouse abuse destroys churches
Is it any wonder our old fundamental churches are dying when the leadership continues to use in worship services husbands who mistreat their wives when God says he does not hear their prayers?
Sexual addiction became a household word
Then in 1995, one of the first college wives I taught sat at my table describing her husband's sexual addiction. He openly bragged about visiting his girlfriend. The elders told her to go home and let him come to his senses. She came to her senses first and kicked him out.
Mental adultery came to visit
A week later, a male friend called and asked, "What are you working on?"
I said, "I'm studying about sexual addiction."
He said, "I have that problem." The next evening, he and his wife sat on our deck talking about how he was hitting on women while he taught them how to become Christians.
His wife blurted out, "But I didn't know you were masturbating to them."
Turning red, he quietly said, "That's part of lust."
Immediately, I understood noticing the attractiveness of a woman or man crossed the line into mental adultery through self-masturbation. Obviously, masturbating to lust was performing an illicit sexual act upon one's own body. This wife understood it, too, as she objected to her husband's unfaithfulness.
As a result, I wrote Adultery and Sexual Addiction: A Plan for Healing the Soul and the Marriage to show the role of sanctification as Paul told the Corinthians "and such were some of you" in I Corinthians 6:9-11. I began receiving emails from men saying, "Thank you. This is the first time I've felt loved and have hope for overcoming this problem."
Jesus said, "Cut off the offending hand and pluck out the eye"
Many years later, in studying with a counselor friend, I grasped the reference to lustful masturbation in Jesus' command to cut off the offending hand or pluck out the offending eye to keep from entering into destruction in the context of mental adultery in Matthew 5:27-32.
Porn crossed gender lines
In the 1980s, I taught how following the advice of ladies' magazines telling women to imagine affairs with men sitting next to them on airplanes dulls physical sensations during lovemaking with a husband-that mental adultery inhibits the body's ability to respond with a glorious orgasm. Twenty-five years later, porn crossed gender lines as those same magazines began offering reviews of the best X-rated videos for women.
The most sexually inhibited times are still ahead
I believe we are headed for widespread sexual inhibitions and frustration for both men and women worse than the Victorian Morals Era as mankind's sexual pendulum swings to the opposite extreme of Internet porn with hookups and friends with benefits society.
Three common marriage problems came to stay
The new millennium changed some of mankind's toys for sinning with hard porn coming into people's homes on their computers. But some things stayed the same.
1. Sexual duds still cause the #1 problem among Christians
Today, the number 1 complaint I receive from both men and women is the same as 40 years ago: Physical and emotional pain and anger from fighting constant sexual temptation from being married to an unloving mate-someone who may consent to the physical act, but who withholds emotional love in the act of sex.
A male reader emailed regarding such frustration, "I've read lots of women authors who get part of it, but you get it all."
Sexless marriages and dead bedrooms are also society's #1 problem
Dr. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz is an economist and former quantitative analyst at Google. As a Harvard graduate student he began writing about how Google searches can give “us fresh insights into socially sensitive topics.” In response to numerous requests, he ran the numbers on sex. In his January 2015 article “Searching for Sex,” his statistics show that between a quarter and a third of a million people google each month for one of these key phrases in this order of frequency:
- Sexless marriage
- Sexless relationship
- Sex starved marriage
- No sex marriage
- Won’t have sex with me
His figures reveal that a nearly equal number of husbands and wives suffer in marriages to a sexual dud. These sexless-marriage stats are much higher than searches for “unhappy marriage,” “loveless marriage,” “abusive relationship,” “unhappy relationship,” and “bad relationship.”
2. Spouse abuse still holds the #2 spot
Equal with wives married to sexually defrauding husbands are the women who write regarding emotional abuse and neglect. I hear more about intimidating bullying than physical violence against women. I believe spouse abuse is a natural spin off of a lack of intellectual, emotional, and sexual love between the husband and wife.
3. Financial abuse replaces poor work ethics for #3
The third problem I'm seeing more frequently is financial abuse coupled with these other sins. It takes several forms from unreasonable penny-pinching to make the wife miserable to hiding funds and creating death surprises of secretly changed wills. And it makes sense. Both sexual and emotional abuses reveal a missing or limited attachment to the wife. Financial abuse feeds on these unhealthy living arrangements that ignore emotional love.
Hindsight changed my emphasis
One of the advantages of getting older is being able to look back over 40 years and draw conclusions a person could never foresee looking ahead. The bottom line: The marriages that thrived solved their sexual problems. Those that failed were unable to overcome one mate's hang-ups.
Read Which comes first? Soulmating or Lovemaking? Radical Change in My Teaching to study the scriptures that led to my recommending a couple start with Vol. II: God's People Make the Best Lovers before studying Vol. I: God's People Appreciate Marriage.
It doesn't matter how lovingly a wife submits or how considerately a husband leads. If one mate refuses sanctification in the sexual department, the marriage will fail emotionally even if the couple does not divorce. And their emotional void will grow as their hormones slow down because their mental union is undeveloped.
My students turned me into the most outspoken Christian woman on sex
A male reader recently wrote, "Patsy, you are the most outspoken Christian woman on sex."
That was never my goal, but where my students took me by asking, "Can a woman learn to love her husband again?" and "Can I come talk to you?"
God has always used a woman's voice to teach about love
Interestingly, with our male-dominated religions, God used a woman's voice to teach the world about love in the Song of Solomon! He preserved the words and thoughts of the young Shulammite maiden as she struggled with who to marry: The rich, powerful King Solomon who viewed her only as an exciting new body or the common Shepherd who valued the emotional aspect of lovemaking while looking forward to the physical coupling. The Shepherd "got it," but Solomon never did after making love to 1000 virgins.
Years ago, a counselor friend lamented about wives trying unsuccessfully for years to get their husbands' attention about a problem that was destroying their marriage. He said, "The next thing I knew, the wife did something so outrageous, it would embarrass an alligator, and they were sitting in my office. Only then, the husband was crying while his wife sat stone-faced on her way out the door. The husband had used up all his chances and the wife was emotionally worn out. Finally, she'd gotten his attention. But it was too late."
Over these last couple of years amid efforts to reconcile with my husband, including counseling, I reflected often on why our long-standing marriage problem had not responded to God's word, when I thought it had.
During this time, I continued to hear from you as you faced your own trials. I found myself saying repeatedly:
You need to kick and scream until you embarrass the alligator to get his or her attention that this problem is destroying your marriage. You say you fight about it from time to time. But as soon as you ease up, doesn't your mate go right back to the way he or she was before? I've observed over the years how few wayward spouses are motivated to put in the effort to become sanctified to make lasting changes. The only way I know you might convince your mate is to embarrass the alligator while you still have a chance for saving your marriage.
More older marriages will end in divorce
Carrying that counselor's observation further, I've learned the sinner who plays games in the marriage also eventually becomes emotionally worn out from the pretense.
I believe we are going to see a lot more divorces in older marriages because of this phenomena: As game-playing mates age, working the charade becomes exhausting and they quit trying. Then the innocent spouses, who worked hard to save the marriage, realize what seemed to be, never was. And the abusive mates often begin flaunting their sins.
Embarrass the Alligator is for you and me
I have long since ceased to be surprised by any questions. I want you to know I care, or I would never have accepted the mission God placed on me. I felt his compassion in my personal trials and found my faith and strength growing. I want to help you experience God's love in your situation. God does not trap his people in marriages to unsanctified sinners, but provides multiple ways of escape.
God loves the sinner
Likewise, God loves the sinner. Perhaps one reason my faith never wavered through the suicide of my son and the death of my marriage is that this ministry has allowed me to repeatedly witness firsthand the healing power of God's sanctification for transforming wretched lives into beauty.
I'm here for you. Your privacy is my first concern and your name will never be revealed. Sometimes I change details to further conceal identities. If I use your letter, I will ask for your permission. Those suffering often state they find comfort in knowing their pain helped someone else. That is certainly true in my own life.
One of my goals is to publish annually some of the letters in an Embarrass the Alligator book to increase our awareness and skills for problem solving. If I use your letter in the book to help and teach others, I will ask for your permission. No one's name will be shared.
God cares about our daily lives
God truly cares about our daily lives. To shine the light on his love is my first goal. I covet your prayers in this mission that I might not be distracted by men who try to force all women, including me, into subjection to sin in the home. Your words and questions have given me tremendous insight into God's scriptures over the years and helped me become who I am today. Please pray that together we can continue to grow in our love and service to God.
May God forgive our ignorance as we do better
May God forgive us all for the ignorance of our past and lead us through his marvelous word into greater love for him as we strive to learn what it means to love ourselves so we can know how to love others. To God be the glory forever and ever for his wonderful design of marital love--his crowning act of creation as declared in Proverbs 30:18-19:
There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
And the way of a man with a maid.
Mankind has learned from the eagle how to fly in the sky, from the serpent how to scale the highest mountains, and from ships how to map the shipping lanes. But we still have lots to learn from God about "the way of a man with a maid"--the greatest of God's wonders.
Always in his service,
Patsy Rae Dawson draws on 4 decades of teaching and mentoring both husbands and wives about marriage and the Bible to answer your email questions. Her expertise ranges from the uplifting sexual teaching of the Song of Solomon to dealing with the complex issues of difficult marriages. You can leave comments on her Facebook page and email her at Patsy@AskPatsyRae.com.