X- Rated Counterfeit Grace and Impact of Spectacularly Boring Monogamy
August 22, 2016
“Speechless.” That’s what Todd Pruitt titled as the subject of an email he sent with an attached article, ‘Sex Outside of Marriage Makes Me a Fabulous Mother’: Woman Has Unusual Reason for Cheating. And the article breaks it all down, an interview with a 49-year-old mom who is part of “an ‘ethical non-monogamy’ community – where members openly indulge in extramarital sex with the full knowledge of their spouse.” Well isn’t that an oxymoron---“‘ethical non-monogamy.’
We could read this article and brush it off, shaking our heads that this is just someone in the fringes. Yet, I actually know people who may not be part of an organized community, but do openly indulge in extramarital sex with the full knowledge of their spouse. And I’ve been reading more and more articles like this, where cheaters openly celebrate their lifestyle, actually making a case for others to join them.
This woman, Gracie ‘X’, is open and upfront with her 11-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter about her lifestyle, bragging, “Having sex outside my marriage makes me a fabulous mother. Anything that keeps me happy and gives me energy makes me a better mother.” Her next comment may sound typical, but was the one that stood out the most for me:
“Domestic life can get spectacularly boring and I need a separate adult life. The downside of monogamy is monotony.”
It’s interesting she put those two words together: spectacularly boring. It reminded me of something I read in Hillbilly Elegy. After reading two great reviews* of J. D. Vance’s memoir, I knew I had to read it for myself. I took it along with me on vacation, but didn’t even get to crack it open at the beach. I read the whole thing during the car ride there. Now working as a biotech executive in Silicon Valley, Vance tells his story of growing up in the working-poor class of hillbillies. And it is a page turner. He writes about his mamaw who almost shot a man, lit her abusive husband on fire, and who was also Vance’s safe haven from a drug addicted, abusive mom who rotated husbands on a regular basis. He writes about hunger, shame, and the mentality upon a community that enables “learned helplessness.” He writes with compassion and tough love. Here is Vance’s explanation for writing this memoir:
“I want people to understand what happens in the lives of the poor, and the psychological impact that spiritual and material poverty has on their children.”
That impact comes through loud and clear in his writing. But the comment above by Gracie “X” reminded me of a line in the book that stuck out to me. Vance recalled a conversation he had with his uncle who had also escaped his hillbilly lifestyle and poor hometown. The uncle commented that he had “’a typical middle class life.’ Kind of boring, by some standards, but happy in a way you appreciate only when you understand the consequences of not being boring.”
Make no mistake, Gracie “X’s” children are paying the consequences of not being boring. They are living in spiritual poverty. Once again, it is the vulnerable picking up the tab for those who think they can afford to make their own rules. A monogamous marriage would have been spectacularly boring for Vance. That is the lifestyle that he would like to have with his own wife now. If he has children, I’m sure that is what he wants to offer them as a gift, a mom and dad who are spectacularly boring because they are committed to one another. What a marriage to behold!
I’m not sure what a happy mom is. Does it take multiple sex partners to be happy? Does it take drug addiction? No, these are enslavement. I am not always happy, but I have the eternal joy of being redeemed from my sin, no longer a slave, and living under the reign of true grace. Gracie “X” is a counterfeit---one that promises fulfillment and excitement but delivers poverty and pain. The counterfeit will never provide true joy and ultimate fulfillment.
A woman doesn’t need to get in bed with men to be happy. That is another counterfeit message of Gracie “X.” But a married woman living under the reign of grace is equipped to have a spectacular love life, one that is faithful in the mountaintop moments as well as the valleys of despair. And that is something beautiful to give to her children.
*Two great Reviews:
Where the White Working Class Went Wrong, by Hannah Anderson
Hillbilly America: Do White Lives Matter?, by Rod Dreher