Taming the She-beast

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11 mins read

Editor’s Note: We have promised some articles from Ladies of the West, and here we present our first one. Our good friend, Erika Andersen, shares valuable insight about marriage relationships, from the female perspective. Of course, we mean a Western Female Perspective. This is an honest, gritty, powerful look at how she came to understand how marriage should work. Both men and women will benefit from carefully considering her story and what she has to say. For the record, Erika describes herself as “Wife, mother, employed part-time in R&D, and makes great sandwiches.” We approve.

Karl applauded sarcastically as I lay crumpled on the floor. He was propped up in his bed, half-naked, slightly hung over, and not in the slightest moved by my performance.

He’d been out all night with friends, and I was annoyed that he hadn’t caved in to my pleading to spend the evening with me. I’d stewed about it all night and all the next morning. I’d waited until I knew he’d be awake so I could go over to his apartment and confront him. I had no idea what I was going to say. I figured once he saw how upset I was, he’d apologize, ask for forgiveness, and find some way to make it up to me.

I was taken aback when no apology was forthcoming. I decided to play the “concern” card. No sale. Scrambling for my next move, I finally flung myself back against the wall and slid down until I landed on the floor, hands over my face, groaning pitifully, certain that such an emotional display would get some kind of reaction.

It got a reaction all right, but not the one I’d hoped for. Karl slow-clapped. I peeked through my fingers and saw his expressionless face. He saw through my act. He knew it was a manipulation. It was humiliating, and yet it was precisely the reaction I’d wanted from him, even if I wasn’t conscious of it.

Karl is now my husband of fifteen years, but we had only been dating a month when I’d given him this dramatic performance. (“Dramatic performance” is code for “shit test,” in case that wasn’t obvious.) I didn’t yet know him well, but I had a strong feeling that here was a man I could trust to protect me.

Could I also trust him to protect our future children? I asked Karl what he would do if I got pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. He said he’d tie me to a chair for nine months, and once the baby was born, he would throw me out and raise his child by himself. No discussion. No concessions about women’s bodies, women’s choices.

I wanted to marry him on the spot.

Karl proposed two months later, and we were married six months after that. As compatible as we were in many ways, our marriage was rocky from the start, because I still hadn’t got it into my head that he would not be moved by female manipulation. At least, not the destructive kind—he was pretty malleable after a sandwich, a back rub, and some lovin’.

There were outside factors—one of my parents died shortly after Karl and I got married, and my new job was miserably stressful—but these didn’t change the nature of my marriage. I saw with my own eyes that positive behavior was far more fruitful in getting what I wanted, which was a loving, attentive husband, and yet I was still resorting to the usual manipulative tricks that had worked on other men. None of it worked on Karl. He wanted to have hobbies, and he wanted to go out with his friends. It was entirely reasonable, but I resisted, because I felt the need to try to control him. He kept his hobbies and he went out with his friends. The more I fussed, the longer he’d stay out. In the past, other men had given in to manipulation, and I had come to despise them for it. My husband, however, was resisting, but our marriage was still failing.
backrub
The more unhappy and unpleasant I got, the more distant Karl became. It was as though he’d gone back to being a single man, and was living his life without me. I wanted him back. Out of desperation, I mumbled something about divorce, thinking that might snap him into line. Instead, he gave me a cold look, and said he’d call a lawyer in the morning. I was devastated. I didn’t want a divorce, but I didn’t want to go on like this either.

It took some intervention by my sister-in-law to help me realize that it was my own bad behavior that was destroying my marriage. Needing some time to think, I’d gone up north to visit her and my brother, and had the opportunity to observe their daily life together. What I saw was a solid, Christian marriage between two calm and happy people. I wanted to know their secret. She sat me down, prayed with me, and then gave me two books. One was The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian. The other was a manual instructing wives on how to surrender control to their husbands. She told me to read these if I wanted to save my marriage.

The provocative copy on the surrender book was intriguing. Surrender. There was something about the word that was exciting, almost titillating. I read the book in two days. It made me realize that what my husband needed was for me to place my full trust in him, to surrender control. The book promised marital peace if I would just let go. So that’s what I did.

When I let go of trying to have control over my husband, a miracle happened. I got the loving, attentive man I wanted. And we both got the sense of peace we needed, because we were both finally carrying out our God-given roles—the husband as the leader and the wife as the helper. It was difficult to accept, but I was the one who had been failing. My husband had been carrying out his duties as a leader all along. I thank God for Karl’s strength and resilience, because they forced me to confront how immature and out of control I was. His strength allowed me to grow in my capacity as a wife, and I am much happier because of it.

Years ago, when we were preparing to sleep-train our small child, I read Dr. Ferber’s book and came across a piece of wisdom that applies as much to husbands and wives as it does to parents and children. Ferber, arming parents with the resolve they need to stay the course, warns that parents must not give in to their children’s demands, no matter how egregiously or desperately they behave. He says it is imperative that parents win the struggle, because the alternative—giving in and losing—is actually terrifying to children. Knowing this made it much easier to stick to our plan. Not only was it not hurting our child for us to stand our ground, it was in her best interest.

Husbands, you must win the struggle with your wives for the same reason. Women are instinctively repulsed by weakness, because weakness is terrifying. No amount of blather about equality can overcome the reality that women are the physically weaker sex and that we crave masculine security. We all know it whether we admit it or not. And, as unflattering as it sounds, we need your strength to help tame the she-beast. If you cannot muster the strength to win the struggle for your own peace of mind, then do it for your wife’s.

And, wives, stop struggling with your husbands. Let go. Trust me, you’ll be happier. And any time you feel like you’re not getting what you want, don’t say a word. Just make him a sandwich, rub his back, and give him some lovin’.
wink

53 Comments

  1. This is absolutely true.
    And I need to be constantly vigilant regarding that “she-beast.” Any issues in our marriage is because of it. Because of me letting it have sway over me.
    Thanks for writing, Erika.

  2. Excellent. I will only point out one flaw. your husband doesn’t need you to surrender control and place your trust in him.
    You need that for you.
    it sounds like hair-splitting but it really isn’t. You don’t give up control because your man requires it. You give up control because your own peace of mind requires it.

    • Excellent point. It’s good to spell this out given how tragically astray we have all been brainwashed into going. The zeitgeist assault on women has been particularly vicious and it is by such subtle manipulations and whispers “do it for him….” that the tiny snake head of resentment squeezes in. And eventually poisons everything.
      Indeed the truth is not that a woman needs to do it for her husband (the implication being she’s quietly suffering nobly), but rather that she needs to do it for her own good and peace of mind.
      Realising that fundamental distinction is what will help a woman see the truth of this.
      I’m not one given to despair but sometimes I feel sad looking at the devastation of deception that has been done on most women today. And the consequences are tragic for all of us.

  3. This is excellent advice. Every wife and soon to be married woman would benefit greatly from your wisdom and candor. I hope this article is shared far and wide. And hopefully you will be writing more excellent pieces for the Ladies of the West.

  4. Thanks for writing this, Mrs. Anderson. I heard something earlier this week from a friend about her marriage that rather disheartened me.
    Maybe I should share this with her.

  5. My wife and I have a good marriage. It isn’t happily ever after, but few marriages ever live up to that silly Disney standard. I am glad to hear the testimony of a wife who is happy with her marriage. We need more of that today. I am convinced that the more happy marriages we have the better this world will be. Your husband sounds like a great guy and I am glad for him that you both seem to appreciate each other. God bless you.

    • After over 40 years of being with the same wonderful fellow, I could not imagine one of those “happily ever after” kind of marriages. A good relationship takes effort and work to last. You also have to stay united together in the face of the evils that are out there, just waiting to trip one of you up too. Having each other’s back is part of the package, I am convinced of that.

      • I don’t want to give the wrong impression. I just think happily ever after is boring. I like the adventures that my hubby and I still take in our lives. We have a great life together, and I would not exchange it for anything.

    • “The Surrendered Wife” by Laura Doyle. I also recommend “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. (What is it with Lauras?)

  6. I recently had a conversation with my son about the difference between serving, as an esoteric ideal, and the concept of being a servant, ie. one who lives to please their master.
    One who serves simply for the ideal of serving will find themselves frustrated and annoyed by anyone who doesn’t recognize that whatever they do, regardless of quality or integrity, is done to Serve (big S on purpose). However, a servant who lives to please the master will rarely find it offensive if the master asks the servant to modify, improve the behavior, or even re-do a task to reach the master’s specifications.
    I believe this paradigm is inherently integral to a good marriage.
    I don’t submit to my husband as an ideal. I submit to him as a person, which means that my efforts to achieve a complementary status to him includes being a woman who does exactly that. Complements him. Not the ideal of who I think he should be.

  7. I really need the advice of a godly woman like you, Erika. I have been married for five years, and I want what you have, but I don’t know how to get it. I really wanted to stay at home with our son when he was born, but my husband pointed out that I have much higher income potential–which is true, so I went to work and he stays home with our children (we have two now). I hate being away from them, and I think it wouldn’t be so bad except that I know he gives them minimal care during the day. He is really tied up in computer games—my kids have horrible diaper rashes because I doesn’t change them during the day. I feel like I have to choose between my husband and my kids–they would get better care in daycare. It is just killing me. I don’t know how I can submit better or surrender more control–I really need a woman’s advice. I really like your website. Thanks.

    • Lindsay, it sounds like you have a difficult situation on your hands. I understand your desire to be home with your babies. It’s a natural, healthy desire.
      The problem with giving advice over the Internet is that I’m not in a position to know what’s really going on. Ideally, you would take this problem to your pastor or another trusted authority who is in a position to get the perspectives of both you and your husband. The best I can do is take your side of the story at face value and tell you what I would do in a similar situation.
      Before I say anything else, consider that there may be situations in which it works out best for the wife to be the breadwinner — e.g. if your family would be severely financially compromised otherwise, if your husband is physically unable to work, etc. That said, here is what I personally would do if my husband was capable of working and earning an income that would provide the necessities for our family. I would quit my job, stay home with my babies, and let my husband do what God created him to do — provide and protect.
      It sounds scary to turn control over to a man who is currently not inspiring you with confidence, but in the “Surrender” book I recommended above, the author explains that most men will rise to the occasion when you let go of the burden of doing his job for him.
      If this were my husband, I would tell him that I can no longer be the breadwinner of the family and that I need to stay home with our babies. Not, “I don’t want to be,” but “I can’t.” I would tell him that I’m quitting my job in one month, and will be staying home with our babies after that. I would resist the urge to tell him it’s up to him to get a job or that he has to figure out what to do — he’d know that without me telling him, and that’s part of surrendering — I would just give him the facts. “I can’t be the breadwinner, and I need to stay home with our babies.” Then I’d turn it over to God through prayer.
      I’ve invited some trusted friends to comment here with their perspectives, so you’ll hopefully get a chance to consider some other points of view. Meanwhile, whatever you choose to do, read the books I recommended above and be sure to pray daily for your husband.

    • Your situation is in rebellion to God. See Gen 3:17-19.
      You may have to give up creature comforts. Move to a more affordable place, etc etc. But I imagine your situation not surviving long because it is against both of your nature’s.
      Does your husband love the Lord? That’s the starting point in all this. If you make a drastic change without his commitment to God it could be just as disastrous.

      • I have some bad news for you donner. Biblically speaking… women were often the primary bread winners. In terms of the biblical life.. women ran business… and made the money while husbands tended to the church and the government.
        This daddy works mommy stays home thing isn’t biblical. Its 50s america propoganda that is based more on tv than reality.

        • Horse crap. That’s only true in as much as women having to work because they were single or their husbands were disabled. And helping around the farm or with the flocks or selling the goods from them doesn’t count. The early church made collections for widows and orphans, but “if a man doesn’t work he doesn’t eat”

          • Donner… you need to be looking at the context of that scripture before you throwing it around. For example… apply that principle to the parable Jesus told Lazurus.
            I’m sorry… I know a lot of us have sacred cows and male providers are a big one for americans. But culturally speaking and bibilically speaking its complete bullshit.
            Go read about how proverbs describes a wife. You’ll note it talks a lot about earning money. Running businesses and such.
            Take a look at the story of the desciple matthew… he was a tax collector so he made good money… yet he lived in his mother’s home. She was rich. Very rich. in fact its likely that she actually paid for peter’s ministry.

        • Lector is apparently a man of West Africa–you can catch him lying in the shade pondering philosophy and the gods while his pregnant wives do all of the hard labor.

    • Lindsey… allow me to be the counterpoint to Donner. The problem is not your husband’s. The problem is our fallen society that has set up systems that devalue masculinity to the point that is now common for women to have much higher earning potential than their husbands.
      This isn’t just going to be common 15 years from now. It will be the norm.
      I would say that step one is to remember your job. Your job is to love and support your husband. its not to see him fail. Its to recognize when he needs help and figure out how to help him succeed. This is a much more complex situation than we can deal with here in a few comments… but I am confident in saying that your husband is making a sacrifice. it may sound strange coming from some place like Men of the West… but it is the truth. Being a stay-at-home-dad is hard. Very hard. And if your kids are both young… well…
      its not at all uncommon for stay-at-home-moms with multiple young kids to be clinically depressed. And its far more common for men in that same situation. Stay-at-home-dad’s feel extremely isolated. They also feel judged everywhere by everyone… and they often have little or no support system.
      Have you thought about any of this or are you just thinking about the video games you see him playing?
      That sounds harsh… but its not meant to be. Its meant to make sure you’re coming at this from a position of love

      • interesting that you instantly see the husbands point of view…where I am from, both parents work, but until recently it was safe to use daycare services. nowadays i’d rather live in poverty to let my wife take care of teh kids than put them in the care of daycares in the city.

        • Yes, daycares are incredibly prone to being cesspools where children are either neglected, brainwashed, or abused. The minds of children is the next target of the demented Left.

      • Lector, I must disagree. Video games are the same as porn & addiction to FB, twitter, etc. They are an addition to the traditional vices of booze, drugs & gambling, and exert the exact same kind of short-term-reward, long-term-cost associated with all vices.
        It has nothing to do with devaluing the role of men. A man masters himself or he is enslaved to his impulsive mind, it really is both that simple and that difficult. Addicts of any kind live in a state of denial, a state of believing that they can both indulge in the immediate dopamine high of their vice AND not reap the consequences in their marital, family and social relationships as well as on their health. AA has a lot of good insight, applicable to vices outside of alcohol as well. If the situation is as this young wife describes, it is a very difficult situation for which she may not have the solution. If it truly is a vice, the solution must bubble up from within the addict. Depending on his personality, intelligence, state of mind, etc., reframing his impact on the family in just the right way might help, but it might also have no impart or even boomerang. As noted before, internet help is worth what you pay for it.

    • Lindsey, I am a man, but i want to give you a little help because i was in your kind of spot when our kids (I am married 15 years now) were small. I hired a nanny housekeeper to take care of the kids and told my wife she needed to get a job to pay for her. I f she wanted to stay home with the kids, fine, stay WITH them and be the mother to them. If she ignored them to do other things, she must not really want to be with them. My wife went to work for a year and a half to pay for the nanny and it gave her a new view of being a mother. She left work to have one more baby and she stayed at home until our youngest was old enough for school.

  8. I’m 63, and somewhat disheartened that I spent my life as a beta-male, not giving a woman what her soul and mine required. And thus a train of confusion and turmoil followed. Isn’t it tragic young men and women today are even worse off than my generation was. At least I had the choice, few men today do. The pressures on men to not stand up to this treatment are Promethean. I admire her husband and see how I started out with the right instincts, but got sidetracked into not standing my ground.

  9. Excellent piece.
    Being truthful with the SO is core to a good marriage. Manipulation is always a lie as the presenters true motivations remain hidden to the recipient. The other useful attribute is both parties play to their strengths and work out who does what in the household. My wife is a CPA so I am fool not to leverage that training. She does all the financials and we go thru a what we did right or wrong for the month and review needs for the next. She can do in an hour what take me three to four. Last, think of something new to do together at least once a year. Boredom can eat away a marriage as fast as lies can.

    • Truth is mandatory, yes, but the problem is that we all are capable of lying to ourselves. Therein resides the seed of great hardship and the foundation for rationalizing indulgence in vice. Happiness is a choice, however. Those who think they’re unhappy are certainly correct, and those who consciously enjoy what they have are happy.

  10. Reading this adds to my view that not all of us are wired the same.
    My wife of 34 years doesn’t really “submit” to me. We each simply fill out the roles that need filling. We tag-team raised three highly successful, happy sons who are all married and on track to do the same with their kids. My two daughters-in-law who have children quit their jobs to nurture their kids…but not because my sons insisted (as far as I know), but because it “makes sense.”
    I may not understand all this alpha, beta, etc., stuff because it never applied. I’m masculine by nature, no cultivation required, and my wife, while lacking the “shop ’til you drop,” catty behavior of many women is the picture of femininity (slim, relatively soft-spoken, albeit a 4th grade teacher nowadays.) The traditional sex roles were kind of automatic for us.
    The things I see as key are recognizing that today’s cesspool breaks the bond between physical and emotional intimacy. Husbands don’t want well-practiced courtesans for wives, heck, sex isn’t that difficult and a devoted couple who cultivate mutual trust can explore all the novelties of sexual fun that don’t violate common sense, without anyone coming to the marriage with “experience.”
    Honor, trust & loyalty are the three ingredients of marital devotion IMO. People must give up adolescent “grass is greener” syndrome and see what they have as the foundation of what they’ll get…so work on improving oneself and one’s honor, trust and loyalty. I find it sad that in these times of pervasive vice (alcohol, drugs and gambling, but also now video games, social media and porn addictions), so many people make choices that render them miserable. Persons caught in the vortex of such an addiction have great difficulty realizing the harm they spread. The alternative is devoted marriage, partnership, devotion to children, to community and such in pyramidal fashion.
    PS: I told my sons to cultivate who they are and what they brought to a prospective mate. Two of the three had to use the drift net of EHarmony.com to find suitable girls, the other met a nice girl in college. All come from parents who are still married. That says something.
    PPS: It remains my view that people who “date around” (with intimacy) too much radically reduce the likelihood they’ll be happy in marriage. The ideal number of prior intimate relationships for either men or women is zero, and getting above a very small number is a very, very bad idea to me.

  11. Does this article mean that a man can go out and cheat on his wife, and she should suffer in silence and say nothing about it and pretend it is not happening? I am confused on how this article applies to a man who wants to cheat.

    • You are “confused” because you are a troll and an asshole looking to distract and misdirect honest truthseekers and those who have chosen to take a stand against the poisonous anti-male zeitgeist.
      I hope that clears things up for you.

    • Agreed, Dragnet. It is not helpful to provide inane comments that try to obfuscate the actual intent of the article. Erika is a strong Christian woman, as is her husband, and neither would support infidelity. That is a totally different issue than the one being discussed. Hbomb, in the future, if you try to derail the issue, you will be spammed.

  12. Thank you, Erika. This exact same thing happened to me, although it did not end as well, because I did not see the signs.
    My college sweetheart and I married right after I graduated, and as I had been in ROTC, we entered the life of a newly-married Army couple. We moved to my first duty station in El Paso, Texas, and after a short honeymoon phase, things got tough. As a brand-new 2LT, I wasn’t making much money, and I was the sole breadwinner, paying for her school and covering the bills. All I did outside the home other than work was to go bird hunting with my buddies one day on the weekend (in season), and get a beer at the O-Club on Fridays after work.
    So as we struggled to make ends meet, I asked if she could maybe help out by getting a part-time job. She responded by suggesting I give up my Friday afternoon beer call, as if me not buying one pitcher a week was going to make a difference. I refused, and she refused to get part-time work, saying that if she had to work, she’d see even less of me than she did already. (It was a peacetime Army then, and with the exception of those Friday beer calls, I was home pretty much every night.)
    I should have seen it for the manipulation that it was, since she had made it a practice when we were dating to periodically find something to get upset about and run away from me. As it turns out, she was just doing it to get me to chase…which I did. I was young and in love, and I thought that’s what you did. But what I didn’t realize is that she was intentionally testing me by pushing to see what I would tolerate…which is not what you do to someone you love.
    I figured it out too late, though. After three years of marriage, I finally stood my ground when she did exactly what you said you did to Jack, and asked me for a divorce. I didn’t go along at first, wanting to try and salvage something, but she kept asking and I eventually got tired of it and called her on it…just like Jack did. But I suspect that those years of me putting up with her antics hadn’t prepared her for me standing my ground, and when I followed through and gave her what she asked for, I think she was shocked. We got divorced, and that was that.
    That was 1989. For a long time, I felt no remorse over it. I felt like I had done my part, and she had let me down. Years later, I began to feel guilty that I had not done more to save the marriage. Now almost 30 years after the fact I can see the way she worked me over…and the fact that I felt that way might have been her final manipulation. But thanks to your story, I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. Thank you for sharing your story, helping me let go of it.

  13. My wife and I don’t play the gender game of whos role is what.. for one, we have been married too long, and for another, we didnt get the Manuel. After 31 yrs of sleeping with the same person, eating each others cooking , cleaning up after each other, entertaining each other, and raising the kid we had..we have come to the conclusion that gender wars are for people who are focused on everything else other than the person they picked to live life with.
    Distractions and outside influences are the main reason why marriages fail, and gender wars prevail. Pussy footing around with signs and hints about problems has no place in a marriage. If you cant be honest with the person you are with, it means you arent close enough.. My wife and I were living in our car in the early 80’s.. every problem we had just brought us closer together, gas, food, a place to sleep was discussed openly.. in fact, every crisis we ever had, brought us closer together, and we had some major ones..including going to jail..
    There really is no way to convincingly explain a bond between 2 people who are committed to each other. except to say crisis and adversity plays a big role in keeping you both focused on each other. When there are no other avenues, and you are forced to depend on each other for everything, it builds an amazing relationship.

  14. Appreciate the value of a personal confession. I sense a genuine and humble one.
    Feminism and radical feminist ideologies hurt men, women and children. Sponsored Women’s Studies programs across this country, in almost every academic institution, continue to confuse the conscience of young women. Radical feminism is tied to abortion, divorce, broken families, needless plastic surgery and the current identity crises in our youth today. it is directly responsible for the “Disgruntled Man Epidemic.”
    Women need help transitioning from feminist to recovering feminist. A Christian book works for some but in most cases, they need a nonjudgmental mentor who can help them learn to respect their husbands and listen to their maternal nudge. It can be a painful process for some and I have found that Christians are the most judgmental of feminist women who want to change but don’t know how.

  15. Does anyone know the name of the book about Surrender? There is at least one book with that name (maybe more), but it’s a smutty romance novel.
    I found one named “The Surrendered Wife”; is that it?

  16. Every marriage is different and what works for some couples doesn’t work for others but there are some bedrock principles that don’t change. For example, mutual respect as well as love. Putting the other person first. Being an honorable person. And so on.
    I have neighbors who are very happy that fit the mold of “traditional” marriage – he is obviously dominant. And that works for them. My husband and I have a different dynamic, but we are also very happy. We have much more of an equal partnership BUT my husband sets boundaries and I don’t cross them. But I also have my boundaries that he does not cross. We are both strong people who scored very high on IQ tests – he went to Cornell (an Ivy) and I went to MIT.
    We are sorta different from most people – we don’t have a formal dining room, we have a library instead. We would rather earn less money but have more time so we both left corporate jobs – we earn about 40% less than we used to but are much happier and more relaxed. We listen to classical music most of the time. We don’t have children – my husband didn’t want children and I was OK with that, I like children but never felt the need for them. I have 2 pairs of shoes, plus a pair of sneakers and some hiking boots – I hate the mall and would rather buy books or season tickets to the symphony than clothes. My husband doesn’t watch sports, he’d rather build things or fix things. So would I, actually… we both like reading good books, taking off on a beautiful day to go on a picnic in the wildflowers with our dog, or go for a hike and then cook a really good meal. We have one vehicle, a 20 year old car that my husband keeps running and most of our furniture is 20 years old as well. We have opted out of the rat race.
    Anyway, we don’t really fit in with most people, but there are some things that are immutable. Men have a stronger ego need than women, women are more flexible. Women have greater security needs than men, men are more willing to take risks. Men crave respect, women crave love. Whatever my husband chooses to do, I let him know I support him and I have his back. Whatever I choose to do, he encourages me and assures me of his love. So we are happier now, 20 years into our marriage, then we were when we first started…

  17. BTW, just to be clear, I think women do need to submit to their husbands. If you are a woman and don’t want to do that, it’s fine, just don’t get married. You can live a very happy, fulfilled life without being married.
    But submitting to your husband is not burdensome if you pick the right man, because there is mutual service in a marriage. I submit to my husband but he puts me and my needs first. I see it all the time, and in so many ways. He was genuinely in love with me and he is constantly doing things to make my life better. For example, he cleans the litter box because I hate things that smell bad. And he is very protective of me – the only time I saw him in a full on rage was when someone threatened me. He sleeps closer to the bedroom door so if someone breaks in, he’s the one they have to deal with. Of course, I do things for him too – I iron his handkerchiefs because that makes him happy, and I took over buying presents for his mother and nieces and nephews when we got married, as well as sending Christmas cards and managing our social calendar. I give him neck rubs most nights and make the foods that he likes. If I want Chinese (which he doesn’t like) I go out to lunch with a friend or cook it when he’s traveling, when he is at home I only cook the stuff I know he likes.
    It’s actually not that hard to have a good marriage – be honest with each other, be considerate and kind and put the other person’s needs before your own.

  18. I’m a Christian, and a self-described conservative. But I’m also a Yankee who grew up in the South, and have some…obedience issues. I instruced the priest that married us to use the older fashioned prayer, but skip to the new wording of the vows, where we both nebulously promise to “submit” to eachother. I didn’t want the old vows, where I unequivocally promised to “obey”.
    Well, either from forgetfulness, or the hand of God, the priest messed up, and I ended up swearing to obey.
    FF 10 yrs (and many fights later), things I realized.
    Marriage is a working relationship meant to handle real life in real time.
    6 weeks after our wedding, we were thrown into a very high stress situation…and my husband almost had a nervous breakdown…months/yrs of unemployment…cute babies showing up at interesting times….money trouble….family trouble….battling depression…lots of ups and downs—basically I realized, marriage is a working relationship, like in the army, having to make decisions on the battlefield, in the heat of the battle, as it were, when sometimes you don’t have all the time in the world to rationally figure things out in comittee.
    So, just like in the military, there needs to be a hierarchy of authority/command.
    Ideally, we talk it out. But sometimes, like in a battle, you both have given your ideas/reasoning/advice, and you still have not reached a consensus, and you need to make a decision NOW. And also, votes are all 1-1, so that doesn’t work.
    And like being in the military, someone has to obey, and someone has to lead.
    So after 10 yrs, I finally realized why I have to obey him, because life is a mission in a war zone, and we are in it together.

    • That’s wonderful, Hannah! Some wives never figure this out even after many decades of marriage. I like your analogy about life as a mission in a war zone. It sounds like you’re on the right track. Blessings to you and your family.

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Matter of Morale

Editor’s note: The following is extracted from Jungle Warfare with the Australian Army in the South-West

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“These people were not peaceful,” Newton said. “In my experience, they were physically violent. And I