Marriage Advice- thou shalt not express your thoughts

The couple that married us gave some advice.

In one illustration, a wife had issues with her husband’s favourite pair of pants.  Instead of voicing her opinion, she began to sew the seams of his pants in little by little.  One day he couldn’t even get them on anymore and decided by himself to get a new pair.  She got what she wanted without saying a word.

I was supposed to learn that nagging was bad but being ‘creative’ was good.  Because a wife expressing a concern must be nagging.  And being sneaky is better than that. 

Some friends of ours, a pastor couple, have demonstrated this principle for us.  He wanted to go to a European country for a short missions trip and insisted his family accompany him.

They have a baby and a toddler.  His wife did not want to go.  They didn’t have the money and she knew what kind of work it would be to take care of the kids in that country.  It wasn’t her call.  He was the man and he decided not to listen to her reasons. 

So they fundraised and went.  And I can just imagine the ‘fun’ they had as she proved her point without saying a word. 

She said that because of how difficult it was, she now has permission not to go next time. 

She now has permission? 

Why is that the ideal of conservative Christian marriages? 

One party feeling threatened by and refusing to listen to the other’s thoughts.  The other party working behind the scenes to get what they want anyways.  Seems both are rather sad ways to relate. 

I’m going to rewrite the advice:

Once a wife didn’t like her husband’s pants.  She told him why they bothered her in private:

 ” They smell like old pig manure, the duct tape patches on the duct tape patches need patching, and they make your butt look fat.”

And how they bothered her:

“When you wear them in public people won’t come near us because of the smell and I feel like it isn’t respectful to me either.”

And what would help:

“I would appreciate if you wore your new pants around me and other people and wore your old ones when alone outside.”

And the results of not listening:

“I can’t sit next to you when you wear them.”

And he listened.  He had no idea other people didn’t like the smell of pig manure and decided to patch them with electricians tape next.  And wore his new pants in public.

4 thoughts on “Marriage Advice- thou shalt not express your thoughts

  1. I told you after the wedding that the sermon wouldn’t have been too bad, had the advice been applied equally to both of you. I am so glad that you laughed at me and said you had that figured out already. I was afraid you both bought into that lunacy of 17th century thought.

  2. theo(il)logical says:

    When my partner and I were getting married, we were told to expect our first year together to be the most difficult. And during our first year more than a few people asked us how we found the transition to married life and shared their frustration of being newly-weds-once-upon-a-time. We would look at each other and answer that we didn’t really feel the transition to be rough. Some family friends would always inquire if we had had our “first big fight.”

    But the “first big fight” never came.

    This doesn’t mean that we agree on everything; we are certainly our on persons. Or that we’re immune to marital problems; that would be a terribly naïve view. What it does it mean, however, is that we recognize that most disagreements don’t really matter in the big picture. And sometimes stepping aside and going along with your partner on whatever is as good as anything else.

    We’ve come to a conclusion while listening in couples arguing about this or that (it’s frickin’ amazing what you hear on the street in Toronto!), or listening to a friends’ relationships woes: When fights arise over little and insignificant things, egos are in the way.

    Everyone always seems to say that communication is to a relationship. Communication is important, but a lot of communication occurs over the course of yelling match, or a husband giving orders, or wife nagging.

    If both partners in a relationship can give up the need to control, to dominate, to lead, a dance ensues. Relationships work best when both partners feel the rhythm of *being* together. And everyone gets lost in the music.

  3. dana says:

    In my prior life, my sister called her preacher to come to our home for we were in crisis. The crisis was that my husband wanted full control and didn’t care how he got it.

    The minister presented this scenario: “If you accept Jesus as your savior, you will discoverer your wife SINGING while doing dishes: she will be that joyful!

    And as the master of the house, you will be placed at the head.

    I can still see my former husband, dropping to his knees to accept the Lord so fast it’s a wonder he didn’t break a leg.

    He got praised for his act. I got berated for not being more submissive to his rules.

    • prairienymph says:

      I used to be proud that our particular church had (slightly) more young guys than young girls. I thought that we were superior because, unlike those other more liberal churches that were feminized, ours attracted men.

      Well, now I’m not proud of it anymore. I think men like your former husband would have liked it too. I talked to one woman in the church who was abused by her husband and given the advice to be more submissive and pray more. When she ended up in Emergency in critical condition, the church leaders finally counselled her to get away from her husband. I don’t think they realized how they were inadvertently contributing to the problem and treated the husband as some kind of aberration.

      How did you get out?

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