The Proverb of the Milk and the Cow

Originally published 5th December 2011
See details about the free ebook version of this post here

Today I am going to write a blog post that I have been meaning and wanting to write for a LONG time. It concerns this saying – I don’t know how many of you will be familiar with it: “Why should a man (or “he”) buy the cow, if he can get the milk for free?!!” This is a saying that is popular in some churches as a kind of slangy way to encourage ladies to not sleep with guys before marriage (or “give them their milk”) as this then removes the incentive to get married (“buy the cow”). This is the kind of phrase or saying that pops up for instance in Christian online forums among young cool Christians, a kind of colloquial way to express a common-sense message, without resorting to the “thees and thous” of quoting from the King James Version of the Bible, for instance.

Now let me make it clear, yet again, that I am TOTALLY committed to sexual purity before and during marriage. I certainly hope that there won’t be any substantial period of my life after marriage, but if so, then after marriage too. If there is any boundary of what is considered “acceptable”, then I aggressively monitor my behaviour to make sure it remains 10 degrees higher, so that it never even strays near the boundary. Two weeks ago I confessed how I once crossed my own boundaries of conduct with a very provocative dance – but thankfully this did not stray into any genuinely dangerous territory. The dance in question remained very fully clothed and in a very public place with very very many people there. It was unspeakably embarrassing to apologise to the guy afterwards. I still wince whenever I think of it. But regarding girls and guys, there are many far worse things that can happen than embarrassment.
So yes, I am fully committed to sexual purity.
And yet, I absolutely DETEST this proverb of the cow and milk. Why? For a number of reasons. Some of them will probably be quite simple for anyone who really knows me to work out. However, the reason that I hate it most, is because it does not NEARLY go near enough.

The first few reasons I hate it: reasons of sexism.
Hello, let me get this straight – I am not a dumb animal waiting for a man, any man to “purchase” me. When you are trying to sell something, do you care who will buy it? All you want is that the person should put down their money. And yet in marriage, I definitely do care about whom I will marry. A few men might walk forward, clutching their wallets, and I will say “Put away your money! You are not a suitable candidate!”

I am not a dumb animal. I am a fully functioning human being, with human initiative. I can make my own decisions, and draw my own conclusions. I am also not passive. I am not just sitting here waiting for someone (anyone) to decide my life for me, or come to claim me. I exercise judgement in making my own decisions, and the right guy must be walking along the path that I too have chosen in life.

Also, it’s not the case that he is going to be the only one doing the “buying”, or making the commitment. I too am making a commitment to him, after all. I am also making a commitment not just to him, out of all the guys in the world, but also to remain married – even if there were no other guys in the whole world. So I am also “putting my money down”. If anything, a better analogy would be an exchange of cattle – “Why would you expect him to give you his bull, if you will let him have your cow’s milk for free” – or something better – except of course that I am not going to take any bull from anyone!So in short this marriage between us will be a mutual exchange between two equals; I am making just as much of an investment as he is, and instead of just sitting there desperately waiting for him to marry me I am also investing just as much thought into whether or not he is worth marrying.  Yeah baby!  Better believe it!
Secondly, more importantly…
OK, I appreciate that some people might be thinking “OK girl, it’s an analogy!” Ladies, this one is directed at you particularly. If someone, a Christian man, would take your milk (or sex) from you, for free – then he is not the husband you want. (I appreciate that this next bit is quite radical!) The analogy seems to suggest that you should not be giving him sex but trying to get him to marry you. Let’s think about that for a minute. If he accepts sex from you or if he WOULD accept sex from you (for free, when he knows he shouldn’t), then do you think the act of marriage would suddenly wave a magic wand over him (or a magic Bible, rather!) and make him into a pillar of sexual propriety? If he would accept sexual offers before marriage, why would you imagine that he would suddenly stop accepting these, just because he is now married?
It is a sad fact that many people do not pursue any standards whatsoever in their relationships. Some women, even some supposedly “Christian” women, have not the slightest qualms about chasing after married men. Some other women might feel guilty to some extent – but would still go ahead and do it anyway. (Ditto guys and married women). I think that we should just accept that other people are going to make up their minds to seduce our spouses – or us – and just accept that as a fact of life. This is all the more true as illicit sex is one of the weapons that the devil seems to use very successfully against Christians, and he hates Christian marriages as he knows the power that two people can have when they stand together in unity. And yet I dare to dream of a marriage that is full yes, of sexual passion, but also, by God’s grace, unassailable sexual purity and fidelity on both sides – mine and my husband’s.
So what difference then do you think that marriage is going to make to who your husband is? Let me tell you – absolutely nothing. The only difference it is going to make is to you – because you are now going to be stuck – or tied or sewn, or bound, or glued or “yoked” – for the rest of your life, to him and his philandering ways (unless you divorce, which can never really be a life aim). Imagine this – if your husband were to come to you crying about the latest “mistake” he’s made. And who is going to have to put up with it? You, that’s who. Or you might even be blessed if he considered it a cryable offence. Imagine if you were to catch them in the act (perhaps on your very own marital bed…) and he were to just shrug and say “You knew who I was before you married me.” And this, then is the man that you are currently desperately trying to force into a lifelong bind with you?
And this of course is assuming not even that he is asking you for it, but would “only” happily take it from you if the situation arose, and is not taking sufficient pains to make sure the situation does not arise. Imagine now if a man is actually pressurising you for sex – so you’re going to say “No, no, you must marry me” – is that your plan? If he is pressurising you now, do you think he would throw off a lady who later flings herself on him? No, ladies – do you need me to shout at you?! NO NO NO! When a lady manages to get a guy like this to marry her, I always suspect that she must feel so clever. “He was trying to pressurise me into sleeping with him, but I prevailed in the end, and I insisted that he should marry me!” or “I managed to tame the player!” You know how that sounds to me? Like this: “Look at this huge idiot that I managed to unescapably tie my life to forever! Am I not clever?!” or “I went out and looked for the biggest idiot that I could find – and I made him marry me! What a cunning genius I am!!!”
So then, frankly ladies, if someone is pressurising you sexually, or not taking every step to promote absolute sexual purity in your relationship, please ladies, listen to me, listen to your future, DUMP HIM! DITCH HIM! DON’T EVEN LOOK BACK! Unless you are happy with the thought of your husband possibly fathering a number of children outside your marriage, or the thought of his reckless adultery (and his possibly exposing you to the risk of sexually transmitted diseases….) RUN AWAY AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!!!
After initially writing this post, it occurred to me that someone might not be explicitly be pressurising you for sex, but rather he might be pressurising you to put yourself into a risky situation where sexual mistakes are more likely. For instance he might be pressurising you to come to spend some time at his place, where the two of you will be alone, or he might be asking you to go away with him. When you protest, because you don’t feel comfortable, he might say “Don’t you trust me?!” Or he might say “I just want to spend some quality time with you!” So the point is that sex might never be mentioned – and yet he is still trying to pressurise you into doing something in which you feel uncomfortable. If you ask me, this essentially still boils down to the same thing, even if he genuinely is not thinking about sex at all.
I would still ditch him; I would still advise you to ditch him, and to instead run away as fast as you possibly can. I cannot think of any wise man who would pressurise a woman into doing what she feels uncomfortable with in a relationship – even if if what he is requesting is completely innocent. Instead wise and considerate men respect it when their girlfriends or wives say “No”. Or he might say “If you loved me…” My sisters, never let him say this to you again. Just ditch him right there and then – or wait until you are a safe distance away. This is emotional manipulation, not what you want in a husband at all. What it boils down to is that he is trying to get you to potentially throw away your entire future for the sake of gratifying his own desires in that moment, without making any corresponding commitment to you. The truth is that if he loved you, he would not dream of asking you to potentially ruin your future this way.
If someone tried this with me, I would say “Well as it happens, I don’t love you…I love myself! I love my future! I love my future children! Now please move out of my face, joker!” (I would not try this in a private place – actually, in person I am just too polite to ever actually say anything like this.) However, it is unlikely that someone would try this with me…because they know they would never be able to get away with it. The sad truth is that guys size up women to estimate what they might be able to get away with for each woman. I also avoid this situation by refusing to go out with anyone I’ve just met, but rather carefully evaluating someone’s character in a non-threatening environment for an extended period of time before I would let myself go anywhere near him romantically.
But Tosin, you don’t understand… I do love him…we’re in love…. OK, so how desperately in love do you think you would feel if you knew you had been not only one hundred percent, but even one thousand percent faithful, and yet you still tested positive for something nasty and itchy – or even deadly? If because of his deep love – not only for you – but for women in general – you found you would not easily be able to have children, as can be the consequence with some “silent” STDs (Because you as an individual live in purity, and you trust your husband, you don’t even think of getting checked until it is too late…or the issue only shows up when it has already progressed enough to cause you to have trouble conceiving)?
Think how overflowing your feelings for him would be if you caught his amorous text messages to another woman – perhaps even criticising you – or promising to leave you. These are not exaggerations. These are things that every day, real women have to face around the world. Love can come at a very high price. The fact that someone is – or claims to be – a Christian does not necessarily have the slightest influence on his behaviour. So if you want someone who behaves like a Christian, then er, you have to look for someone who behaves like a Christian!

This then is the man that you are looking for – certainly the man that I am looking for: A man who is even stricter concerning sexual purity than you are. A man who is running away from even the slightest mention of “milk”, let alone appearance of it, let alone stooping to drink it. A man who is possibly over fussy regarding this issue so that even you roll your eyes. (I would be very impressed to meet a man who caused me to roll my eyes at his over-fussiness regarding sexual purity) – What would you prefer once you are married – a man who is over-fussy with other women regarding his sexual purity and commitment to his wife, or a man who is under-fussy? Now the thing is, you also have to be quite careful and prayerful, because some men are capable of pretending to be like this, for the sake of deceiving you into marriage – after which you might discover that they are actually just as bad, if not worse than others in this respect – so you have to look for a man who is doing all these things SINCERELY.

Lots of moos…and also some moose!
(That is, a man might know that you are committed to purity, and might want a wife like you, so he might pretend to be like you, to tick all your boxes, or satisfy all your requirements. As he genuinely wants to marry you, he might not act this way around you like he might act around other women…until you are finally fully deceived, and you take the oath, and he can reveal his truly colours, knowing that your commitment to Christ would make you unwilling to divorce him…) Also, a man who is not trusting in his own strength for all of this, but is trusting in God. A man whose focus is utterly on God.
Here I am going to demonstrate that I am a hypocrite, but frankly I would prefer a man who had not participated in – or even stayed to watch – any weird kind of dance. A man who has made up his mind, that by the grace of God, he must NEVER even look towards the boundary of sexual propriety – but is running as hard as he possibly can in the opposite direction. A man who has thrown himself upon God’s mercy to empower him for this determination. A man whose determination is reflected in his actions. And not because he does not want “it” at all (this too would be quite bad – not nearly as bad, of course (I can after all always do my dance on him…) – but still quite bad!), but rather because he only wants it in God’s way – that is, bound by the confines of a holy, legal, faithful marriage between two responsible adults committed to one another in a lifelong covenant that is “rock-solid” because it is built on the Rock, that is, Jesus Christ, His love, His word, His teachings, pursuit of Him.
When I say “whose determination is reflected in his actions”, this is what I mean. What is the point of doing all this then filling your ears with sexually suggestive music, or your eyes with sexually suggestive films? I love cinema and I have twice now subscribed to a cinema card for unlimited cinema movies for a low monthly fee. But I have both times cancelled the contracts because what would happen is that I would sit and fill my head with all these romantic comedies – some of which show very explicit sex scenes – and I know that this is not good for me. Or how about the hundreds of very erotic and very, very sexually explicit novels books that I used to devour up until just a few years ago?
Ladies, I think you know the ones I mean! These are not actions that correspond to a determination for sexual purity. After reading an article celebrating Beyoncé’s 30th birthday, I put up a link on my Facebook wall acknowledging that this woman is definitely a champion in life, by virtue of her work ethic, and a resolutely positive attitude. And yet, I have never deliberately listened to a single Beyoncé song in my life, and I don’t plan that that should change any time soon. Her music is so sexually charged that sometimes I have had to physically run away whenever it is played. I think we can all learn from her general attitude but I would NEVER encourage anyone to listen to her music. In fact, that link on Facebook was the first time I ever recognised that there was anything good to be learned from her.
So these are all things to bear in mind then when assessing the character of a potential spouse. Also, you don’t want someone naïve who believes that everyone is nice, and does not understand his own capacity for sin or know that some women might deliberately want to break up his marriage and ruin his life… And when you have found someone like this, suitable in this and every other way, then you have to just start praying and never stop; not only for him but also for yourself, and not only for yourself but also for him. Pray, and pray and pray and pray…..
None of these things guarantee (of course) that you or your husband will not commit adultery; even holy and wise people fall – look at King David in the Bible. However, the probability of a serious mistake is obviously going to be much much lower than if you have not made this determination 😉

Bible Verses:

Hebrews 13v4:
4 Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

2 Timothy 2v22:
22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Romans 12v1-2
12 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

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