Why I Prefer Not to Give Advice to Women with Jerk Husbands
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2007 Dec 17
A while ago I wrote a post entitled, "Surprise (Or Not!) Men Are Spoiled!" in which I made the case that it's natural enough for men to be spoiled and generally feel entitled. At the end of that piece I promised to write a follow-up piece that would address the question of what a woman can do with the fact that her man is spoiled.
Afterwards, I thought about what I would actually say to women who are involved with, engaged or married to men who are spoiled or clearly feel too entitled. Then I thought I wouldn't write that piece after all.
Whoo-hoo! It's good to be King of Your Blogmain.
But now, a month after the fact, a woman has left a comment on "Surprise (Or Not!) Men Are Spoiled!" in which she relates her ongoing struggle to act in a loving enough way to satisfy her husband. "I give and I give," she writes, "and I get overwhelmed. I can usually go to God for more energy to keep giving, however when my husband comes to me and says basically, 'the job your doing is still not good enough, ' I break down .... I really, really need the next article, John!!!"
And there it is: Three exclamation points!!!
So now I'm stuck. I have to respond. That poor woman!
Do let me just start off, however, by saying that the natural sympathy I have for "Amy-DaughterOfTheKing" is definitly mitigated by the fact that, after all, she married the guy. Not to be obnoxious, but it kind of drives me crazy when a person chooses to get into a relationship with someone who isn't capable of maintaining a decent, loving relationships, and then complains because they're in a relationship with someone who isn't capable of maintaining a decent, loving relationship. To such people I always want to say, "But did you not know this person before you married them? If so, why did you marry them ? If not, why did you get married to someone you didn't know very well?" (And then what you often hear is, "But he [or she] changed!"Which is the same as saying, "Throughout our courtship the character qualities that now dominate my partner's personality were in no way evident." Which is a word I can't use here on a Christian blog.)
And, effectively enough, this brings me to both of the big reasons I don't actually want to give relationship advice to this woman, or any other woman in a situation similar to hers. First, I lack subtley on these matters; I am a complete relationship Nazi. I think everyone in a committed relationship should either start acting like the other person is more interesting to them than anything else in the world and live their lives as if they want to be worthy of the greatness of their partner, or get outof that relationship, and stop dragging the universe down with their lame, selfish, uncommitted ambiguity.
See? Entirely too Nazi-like. I mean, I think what I've said is true, but ... but I understand that people tend to think stuff is a lot more complicated than that. Which of course it is. Except that it really isn't. But people think it is. And that's good enough for me.
Anyhoo, the second Big Reason I'm not too keen on giving relationship advice via this blog is that this blog is read mainly by Christian conservatives. I love Christian conservatives; some of my best friends, as they say, are Christian conservatives. I also love Christian liberals.
Basically, if you believe in the reality of the risen Christ, you and I are friends.
That said, though, you know how sometimes, in certain circles, people can use the Bible to basically impress upon women that it's sort of their job in life to be "subservient" to their husbands? And you know how sometimes -- not usually, of course, and certainly not by anyone with a normal, healthy understanding of what the Bible says about marital relationships -- that whole "Women! Submit to your man!" thing can work to keep women in marriages that they really shouldn't be in?
Well, so do I. So the other big reason I'm disinclined to offer Marriage Advice in this blog is because I know that if I do so I'll run smack into a whole bunch of people's passion about what they think the Bible says about this, that, and everything else in the world.
And within the vaporous, murky swamp of that conversation lie too many quicksand traps and snapping alligators for li'l ol' me.
You see what I mean: I'm afraid that too much of the advice I'd give to Ms. Amy-DaughterOfTheKing would be taken by too many people as being un-Biblical. And then those people, I know, would be moved to write me and say and imply terrible things about me. And it's extremely unpleasant to be told you're not really a Christian. Believe me, this is something I know about. (And you would too, if you'd ever written a book for Christians called, I'm OK -- You're Not: The Message We're Sending Nonbeleivers, and Why We Should Stop.Talk about ... discovering the ugly underbelly of people who claim the Prince of Peace as their savior. Yikers.)
And I don't want that kind of unpleasantness in my life right now. It's Christmas!
Ahh ... Christmas. Just feel the ... weight going on, actually. But that's really a whole other concern.
Anyway, Amy, I'm sorry, but I can't help you. That's the bad news. The good news is that I couldn't have helped you anyway. And the really good news is that you already know that. Let's face it, Amy: You already know everything you need to know about what you should do to make yourself peaceful and happy. You just have to do what you know you should. And, of course, it's in the gap between what we know and what we do that all of the world's troubles lie.
To read a follow-up to this post, go here.