Monday, February 3, 2014

CTNAHM-Contrasting the Types Part 6 (Force Yourself to Listen to Your Wife's Concerns)

pp 134-136

We are finishing up the chapter on contrasting the three types of men. More specifically, Michael tells us how to fix broken marriages.
Text is in purple.

Healing Your Marriage
Mr. Command can heal his marriage by focusing on loving and verbally appreciating his wife. Cherish her to the point of serving her and she will have the energy to stand beside you in all things. You must court your little lady and make yourself vulnerable before her. I know this is hard, but it becomes much easier when you can bring her to the place where you can trust her with the guarded areas of your heart. Both of you need to be assured that each has absolute goodwill toward the other. You will do well to encourage her to tell you how you make her feel. It is not about your intentions; it is about what she receives on the other end. You are never right on any issue until she is secure in love.
   There is so much here that Michael got right! Love and verbally appreciate your wife! Have goodwill towards her! Have her tell you how you make her feel! It's not about intentions; it's about how the other person sees it!  If he had just said this, it would have been an amazing paragraph. But this is Michael, and if we truly wanted good marriage advice, we would find another book.
   I thought it was weird that he phrased "Cherish her to the point of serving her." As if a man serving a woman is unheard of or an awful idea. Frankly, both partners should serve each other. Though not the serve that Michael thinks Command Men deserve! I mean serve by basically treating them like a person who deserves your respect and love. (Which they are...or at least should be)  And once again, Michael includes a sound bite at the end of that sentence to make sure that men know if they "cherish" their wife (how?), they get something out of it. He also never specifies how to bring her to the place where the husband can trust her. Shouldn't that be something the couple worked out in dating? "Can I trust this person enough to be vulnerable? No? Hmmm...Is it me? OK. I'll work on that. Is it her? OK. Not a good match." It just makes so much more sense to figure these things out before there's a commitment and kids.
   One other thing I noticed was that the man is supposed to encourage the little lady to tell him how he makes her feel. Debi's book says not to challenge, confront, or question. So I don't know how well that will work. If Mr.C says "How does it make you feel when I expect you to wait on me hand and foot?" (If he would ever care enough to ask), if Mrs. C is following Debi's book, pretty much her only answer is "You make me feel needed." Then again, that's the only thing Michael thinks women need, so perhaps I've just proved his point. Oh dear.
Mr. Visionary can heal his marriage by attending to his wife's needs and security first. You need to regularly put aside  your wild ideas long enough to make sure she knows you are doing what is best for the family. You must force yourself to patiently listen to her concerns. Your good arguments make cold bed partners. Your zeal and vision will not feed the family or assure them of their importance. Learn to sit on your "brilliant brainstorms" and trust your wife's caution. You don't have to disassemble the only family car to construct a tractor. Give it a few days and discuss it with her. You might change your mind before you cause too much consternation.
   Again, decent advice mixed in with trash. Attend to one's wife's needs and security first! Make sure she knows you're doing what's best for the family! (Though Michael has made it clear that the man knows what's best for the family-no discussion needed with anyone else). Zeal and vision do not equal love! Trust your wife's caution!
  At first, I was irritated at the "force yourself" line. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that, in some instances, it's right on. I have to force myself to be patient and kind to the foster kids when they are being TERRIBLE. I have to force myself to not say hurtful things to my husband whenever I get upset. Sometimes forcing one's self to do things is the only way things get done. However, listening to your wife's concerns shouldn't' be something you feel forced to do. If you are married (or living together, or dating, or whatever), then you are in a partnership. That means both people should feel free to speak their minds and let their needs be known. A healthy relationship is one where everyone's concerns and needs have equal merit.
   Oh, and as one who lives and Kansas and has seen a lot of tractors; please don't take apart your car to build one. The engines are different sizes to accomplish different things. You don't need to go 80mph through your wheat field, and you don't need your minivan to plow or dig post holes!
Is it worth the trouble for couples to learn to function as one? Yes! God designed her to be your helper. Remember, she came to you as a kit to be assembled. You took her out of the box and complained that she did not work properly. God gave you the directions in Ephesians 5. You must sanctify and cleanse her so you can present her to yourself as a fully functioning help meet. She wants to be your helper. "...but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:34)".
   You can't see it, but my head has exploded from nonsense overload. Yes, it is important for a partnership to function together. But the idea that women come unassembled to men is insane. Are females empty heads until they are "properly bedded" on their wedding night? I may be just full of wimmin hormonz, but I'm fairly certain I had a personality and desires and needs and education before I even met my husband. And though I have things I need to work on (a lot of things), my husband has never once complained that I "didn't work properly". What it sounds like Michael is saying is that men get married and then cry "But she's not obeying! She's not doing it how I want! Waaaaah!" Which is odd, because he was talking all kinds of "be one". But I guess being one means being what the man wants. I think I'll opt of of that type of marriage, thank you very much.
   I want to be more than my husband's helper. I want to be his friend, confidante, and equal. When I think of helper, I think of someone that takes care of the busywork so I can get things done that I want to. Hmmm. I think I just stumbled on the point Michael is really trying to make. "How to make your wife deal with the stupid or un-manly stuff to leave you, sir, alone to rule as God in your household."
   And I don't even know what he's talking about when he says "You must sanctify and cleanse her so you can present her to yourself as a fully functioning help meet." He's mentioned sanctifying and cleansing before, but hasn't really explained what it means, or how to do it. I'm assuming we'll get to it later on in the book.
Mr. Steady can heal his marriage by first stepping forward to take the lead and then teaching his wife to be productive, resourceful, and successful. She will be happy when you take her by the hand and lead her to become a productive individual.
   What if the husband isn't productive or successful? What if the husband isn't a good teacher, or doesn't have the self-confidence to step forward and take the lead? What if the husband flat out doesn't want to lead? Or picks something the wife hates and expects her to be productive at it? Ugh. There are so many ways for these teachings to go wrong, and Michael refuses to acknowledge any of them!
Unless the wife of a Steady Man is rather laid back and steady herself with not much ambition, she will not find enough self-expression just sitting around waiting on her husband to bring a little excitement into her life. So if you don't want her using her energies criticizing you, you should encourage her to develop productive hobbies or activities that enhance the family in some way.
   Uh-oh! Mister, if you don't find something for your wife to do (because she can't think of it for herself), then she'll have PLENTY of time to critique you! Or she might *gasp* find something herself! And you might not approve of it! Egads! Doom!
Mr. Steady wants to be nice to his wife, so he leaves her at home sitting and feeling useless. You are not being nice; you are abdicating responsibility. She might get her way, but it will not satisfy her. Your lack of leadership will frustrate her. She will either get nasty-spirited, try to control others, or go out and get her own projects going that leave you at home to cook for yourself.
   See? I called it! Pick something or your wife will! There are other ways to be nice to a spouse than "leaving them at home". Learn their love language, that's a good start.
   When my husband and I first got married, this was a problem we had. He thought he was being nice by letting me stay at home, and I thought I was going crazy by being there. The problem was we were both trying to pigeon hole ourselves into gender roles that everyone said we should fill. I hated being at home! I got a job a local pizza place, and within 4 months was literally running the store. I felt validated, smart, competent, and needed. All the things that I was missing trying to play Happy Housewife.
   It seems like through a lot of this book, Michael actually CREATES the problems that he "tries" to help solve. You can't spend half the book telling men they deserve to be honored and served, have a book for women telling them that their husbands deserve to be honored and served, and then say "But you have to earn that honor!" Though it's a good system, if your goal is to make money. Create a problem, claim your way is the only right way (Call on God and scripture to back you up doesn't hurt either), rinse and repeat. Cash cow! Because the wife can never give enough, the husband never sees her as capable or an equal. Recipe for disaster right here!
I will say again, God calls a wife a "help meet" for a reason. A woman was designed to be doing something productive, something that will make her feel she has value beyond housemaid and baby birther. She was created to be your helper. Are you helping her help?
   O.o  Call me crazy, but hasn't Michael said in this very book that women aren't capable of making good decisions because of their lady hormones? Said to keep your wife pregnant to avoid the inconvenience of menstrual cycles? Basically anything that a woman can do to show independence is not allowed in PearlWorld. In Debi's book, anything other than cooking, cleaning, sexing, and birthing is a sin. So how are men supposed to treat their wives like they have value beyond those things, if those are the only things recognised as "Good" in this culture??

Wish List
This is a wish list drawn from our letters
*I wish that when I talk he would listen, hear what I am saying, and then communicate and empathize.
*I wish he would give 100% to the marriage and family, not just work and play.
*I wish my husband would lead us in prayer and family devotion.
*I wish he were more spontaneous, more dates with me, and talk to me.
*I wish he would talk more about feelings, not just concrete statements.
*He doesn't take time alone with me. He makes me feel pushed away.
*I would love it if he would look into my eyes and listen with interest when I talk to him.
*I wish he would not apologize too soon, and not use the words "If I did that, I'm sorry...Well, if I did that...if that's what you thought I meant...I'm sorry you took it that way..."

It's sad. All these wives want is to be treated like a person. And yet Michael makes sure to say that women are trucks, children, defective boxed-products. Basically anything but a person with wants and needs and desires. Now I'm upset.

4 comments:

  1. The entire body of Debi and Mike Pearl's works are really weird. I grew up in a 'liberal' household, I guess. My mom and dad trust each other and are genuinely proud of each others accomplishments. I can't imagine Dad sitting down and telling Mom exactly what she needs to do from chores through hobbies. They each have their own talents and their own areas of excellence. This has followed through into my marriage. My husband and I both work full-time. I'd go nuts if I didn't have a job - shoot, during the summer when I'm not teaching I manage a large family garden and work part-time as a field worker just to keep from going nuts. My husband lets me manage my own career. I divide up the household chores between the two of us; I do a few more than he does, but he works about 10 hours a week more than I do.

    We're a team. The Pearls don't seem to understand team work. They seem more like feral cats - cautiously marking out territory and waiting to attack anyone who gets too close.

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  2. Wow. He actually was coming close there for a bit. Oh well. Also, am I the only one who thinks it's a bit pathetic that I feel compelled to give Michael credit for acknowledging things that are so extremely basic to human interactions, setting the bar very, very low? Like 'Yes, we women are human beings, thanks for noticing.'

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    Replies
    1. No, I felt the exact same way.
      "Hooray, Michael! Women ARE people! I'm so glad you finally get it!"

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