Do Not Serve Cold

A female reader asks for advice.

There is a situation which has become so serious that a marriage is literally hanging by a thread.  It is a situation close to home, and one which I have been puzzling over for a number of days in hopes that there may be a way to address it.  After discussing it with family members, I thought it would be one which I would like to put forth to you and gentlemen on your blog, should you choose to share it.

This is a situation in which the husband and wife were well-prepared for marriage, so it seemed, and they apparently thought they were also.  Despite baggage on the part of the wife (severely low self-esteem), she was deeply religious, very modest and feminine in dress, did all the right things in preparing for marriage.  The husband was likewise, both of them devout and deeply committed to their Christian faith.

The husband, unknown to the wife, had struggled in the past with alcohol.  He had worked hard to overcome this defect, and thought he had done so.  They married.  They had difficulties from the beginning with certain aspects of their married life, which they partially attributed to the fact that they had had very high standards of chastity as single people, and they struggled with this.  They found they couldn’t talk about it, so they ignored it.

The wife one day found her husband to be drunk, and this shocked her.  She didn’t know what to make of it, so she blamed herself.  Her husband kept assuring her it was not her fault, but she didn’t believe him.  She internalized it and it has taken years for her to change her mindset and allow him to own his responsibility for his use of alcohol.

The wife was home with two small children and pregnant with a third when she received a phone call from a collection agency.  She was in collections for unpaid bills from the birth of their second child.  She told the husband, who said he would take care of it.  The calls continued to come, she continued to refer them to him.  He continued to drink, and finally the wife decided it was time to do something about the problems.  She arranged to pay the creditors, then, in preparation for the birth of the third child, read the medical insurance policy thoroughly, shopped around for a doctor and a hospital that would cost them the minimum out-of-pocket, and after the birth talked to the billing department personally to arrange a payment plan.  Prior to this, she had left everything to her husband, but now she took over.

The couple had debts on several credit cards.  She began writing the checks every month for all the bills, making minimum payments on all the bills, and then paying off a bill here and there with such things as tax refunds, etc.  Over several years, all debt in her husband’s name was paid off.  Meanwhile, she had accrued debt from a failed home business, plus they had made home improvements which she had carried on her credit card.  These bills she found hard to pay off, but she kept working at it.  They did not communicate about these much at all.  The husband continued to drink and he would frequently have a violent temper.  After several scenarios in which he had become very violent, she learned what she had to do in order to stay safe and keep him from exploding.

The husband was a conscientious provider.  Even during the Recession, he was among the lucky ones who was not laid off.  Frequently he worried about this, and this contributed in no small way to his anxiety and temper outbursts, as well as consumption of alcohol.

Occasionally the husband would ask how much debt they had.  On several occasions, the wife would show him the statements, only to have him become irate and blame her for leaching money from him.  Being overly sensitive, she would cry for hours sometimes over harsh words from him and remember it forever.  She finally started lying to him, saying that they were just fine; meanwhile, she would keep paying everything on the sly.

The truth came out when they refinanced their home and the credit report had to be verified.  The husband was enraged over his wife’s deception and became furious with her.  This put the finishing touches on what they have now.  Beginning with a lack of ability to communicate about intimacy, to lack of ability to communicate about various pressures, including children’s education and finances, it has now come to the marriage close to blowing apart.  Both are committed to their marriage vows and would not think of divorcing, but it is obvious that the marriage is holding together solely for the sake of the children.  The husband works copious amounts of overtime, the wife is deathly afraid of him, he spends most of his spare time brooding, surfing the Internet and reading, while she spends most of her spare time crying.

The husband informed her on one occasion that from that point on, he would handle all the bills.  She acquiesced.  It worked for a while, until one day a creditor called to report a missed payment on a bill.  She relayed the message to him, then a few days later she requested that they might purchase pizza for dinner, as she had had a very full day with the homeschooling of their children, and they had to attend church that night.  When they got home, he lectured her about her inability to prepare dinner, followed by a threat to reduce her allowance since she was spending his money on pizza.  Two weeks after that, he became furious with her because she had paid a piano teacher for the previous month’s lessons.  With explosions seeming to happen over and over, she decided she could not emotionally handle the yelling, and took over the bill paying once again, telling him why she was doing it and that she could not handle being yelled at and cursed at, nor did she want to receive phone calls saying that bills were late.

It is heartrending.  Having given you the bare bones of the entire thing, I would like to hear some of the manosphere/red pill take on this.  I realize you only have one side of the story, but the wife’s repeated requests that they get third party help have been refused.  He will not consider counseling with anybody, even though she said that she would be fine with him making the decision without her input so that the person would be somebody “on his side” so to speak.

This man is at the very core a good man.  He continues to be a devout Christian, and is a second-to-none father.  In fact, the wife says that when she is most discouraged with the situation, something will happen with the children that makes her realize what an excellent father they have.  Strict, but fair, he raises his children to settle for nothing less than excellence.  He is known for how well-behaved his children are and how strongly he guides them.  The other fathers all around have far fewer expectations for their children, and it shows.  Yet the marriage is crumbling.

I am assisting this lady inasmuch as I can — I do babysitting for her sometimes, and am the only person she really talks to about this, because we have known each other for years and can relate on certain issues.  If you present this to the general public, please leave all references to any particular person out of it, for obvious reasons.

Observations, takes, advice you could give the wife — all would be welcome.

My impression and general advice is all I can give as I don’t know these people. The reader has provided a lot of details but without being able to see the individual details–or even hear their delivery of them–it is difficult to know how to interpret them and determine the causes.

So, what is my impression? These people are really normal and need to deal with really normal problems. Deal with them they must, though. Frankly: They sound vain and undisciplined…very much like my wife and I can be. A slight by one is quickly greeted by hurt feelings in the other. She wants to be lead under her control, and he wants her to leave him alone and follow him. (stet)

You asked specifically for advice for the wife. Here it is:

  1. Stop crying. Is she in America? No one here but a man in arrears for child support goes to jail for debt. Her husband (according to the missive) is a conscientious provider (even if undisciplined) and will not let them starve or go homeless. Credit is a profoundly corrupting influence, and the loss of it is not worth crying about.
  2. If she must cry (and sometimes we must) then she absolutely should go cry to her husband, or make very sure that he is totally unaware. If she is too ashamed to cry to him directly, then she probably should not do it at all. Under other circumstances Crying within earshot or his knowledge him is a terrible idea, and is essentially passive-aggressive. It destroys trust within him if he is aware of the crying, and it destroys her ability to decide to trust him because she’s telling herself that she cannot; feeling sorry for herself. It sounds as if she has told herself that too many times already.
  3. She should ask him to make a budget for her to manage, and she should swear like a pagan on her favorite granny’s grave that she will hold to it come Hell or high water; that except that he tells her different she will do what he says, and that she will always welcome his guidance in this even if he gets angry. Has he hit her? Words can hurt, but it sounds as if she is too on-guard, and perhaps a bit precious to start with.  I know a lot of conservative/traditional people think that money or finance is the man’s domain, but I believe the responsibility should be held together: He makes it, and says where it is spent, and she takes it, and spends it the way he says…even if every fiber of her being tells her its wrong. Chances are, she’s not anymore right than him and doing it her “right way” only adds rebellion to the mix. Just like he must walk with her through her life, she must walk with him through his. It might be wise for her to never answer a creditor’s call again. No past-due bill is worth an unhappy home.
  4. When, as with the pizza incident, her husband goes on a rant about her shortcomings, she should say nothing except: “I will do what you tell me.” In all likelihood, it’s not about her dinner preparations (as I’m sure she acutely feels), but then the thing to do is push those feelings to the side and take a strong stance on what she knows are her duties; which is to obey her husband. If he is a good man, it will burn him like fire.
  5. She should pray for him, but she should NOT pray for him to improve! She should pray he has a blessed day; for him to have peace at work; that she would be pleasing to him. Women often praise themselves on their ability to intuit problems. She should put that to use here to intuit her husbands concerns, and pray specifically for those concerns to be removed, resolved, or blessed for him.
  6. She should never miss an opportunity to forget that she’s unhappy with him; to kiss him and thank him for providing food and shelter. There was no mention of issues with the hierarchy of the children, but she should make an effort to let him know that he comes before the children. Women can be bad about this, and kind or nice men (not the same thing) won’t know how to address it. It can make them angry though they don’t know why, and then angry at themselves for being angry about it. If he protests, it gives her an opportunity to say, “I like to serve you.” Prepare his plate before the children’s; without his asking bring him coffee at the times he likes coffee; announce the completion of tasks that he gave her; that sort of thing. Employees do this sort of thing for their bosses all the time (kissing notwithstanding). Those employees are favored.
  7. No yelling. Period.

We are told there is wisdom in the counsel of many, so I encourage my readers to offer their suggestions in the comments. Please do be respectful.

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “Do Not Serve Cold

  1. With explosions seeming to happen over and over, she decided she could not emotionally handle the yelling, and took over the bill paying once again, telling him why she was doing it and that she could not handle being yelled at and cursed at, nor did she want to receive phone calls saying that bills were late.

    I don’t care who writes the checks that pay the bills, but this shows that she cannot give up control. In fact, it reminded me of a mainstream, popular church video.

    Trust Fall from worshiphousemedia on GodTube.

    My advice to her would be to find whatever bridge she has left standing as a means of taking back control, and burn it in the most solemn and symbolic manner she can think of. Pull a Cortes. This will have a profoundly positive effect on both her and her husband.

    And I have a feeling that the failed home business and home improvements mentioned briefly in passing are important parts of this story.

  2. My first impression is though I don’t believe in the “Disease-ing” of things like alcoholism, I do tend to think of the husband as disabled, if only in this one area, but it seems not to be a real problem. The wife may not like it when her husband gets drunk, but it isn’t her fault, it is the devil and her husband giving into temptation.

    The wife might be upset at the drinking, but apparently it is not something that sets up a quarrel. The finances are – he isn’t able to handle them (I won’t judge why, just state facts).

    If they are missing payments, they probably are paying a very high interest. They seem to need a credit counselor (and this is the kind of thing the wife may want to go to). They may not be able to get out without cutting up the credit cards. There are a lot of scams, so it would require care, but I think the credit addiction is worse than the drinking. If the credit cards are all cut up, temptation may be cut off – and the interest costs will fall. And the extra hundreds in interest each month is his fault (this is not blame, but stating the fact – you can’t leave bills unpaid). He is providing income, but is not acting as a good steward. She should cut up her cards and arrange repayment even if he doesn’t cut up his.

    I’m not sure how available he is during the day, but I would suggest the wife give the creditors the husband’s contact number. If he is supposed to handle it, the wife’s role would be to forward the call. If he is bothered by it, then tough. The husband is supposed to provide for and protect the wife, not use her as a shield for creditors. If he is the head, the person is calling for the head, and it isn’t reasonable to ask the wife to deflect such things – unless he has fully delegated his authority.

    Normally I wouldn’t suggest jumping the hierarchy, but they are already reaching out here. Maybe the man’s parents, or the church’s pastor, or if the man has a male friend he respects (I’d approach via a 3rd party), they can talk to him. The reality is when he handles the finances, the bills go unpaid and he yells at every expense, even those which are needed – no matter what his wife does. When she does, things get paid off. Somehow the budget is getting blown up.

    She homeschools, but if the husband is going to be irresponsible, then the children need to go to public school and she needs to get a job to pay down the bills. Reality. What does the husband want? He yells at her when she tells him the truth, ok, let him set a budget for her and check for one month to see if she can actually do things like buy groceries. If he doesn’t want to pay for piano lessons, then he should not hire a teacher in the first place instead of refusing to pay on time. (There may be something on the wife’s side too – but again, here, having a third party look at the previous month’s expenses might help – how much is his booze bill?).

    He is supposed to be the more rational one, but someone needs to show him reality. Scrooge had Marley and the three ghosts.
    And point things away from blame and toward the goal – they must get rid of their debt. They are being burned by paying interest. They must be able to have a cash cushion. They must pay their bills on time. Let some neutral party judge, but let the husband decide. Let the husband yell at the credit counselor instead of his wife. Let there be a goal, a purpose, and let him decide how to get there – and let him be held responsible – by the counselor, his pastor, the church, but let his wife just stay out of the picture unless he fully delegates things to her – and if he does, let him respect his own decision.

    (In some ways, I can appreciate such, I hate financial things, I hate doing taxes. I’m out of debt, but still don’t like doing anything involving valuation, figures, legal forms and such – so either my wife, CPA, or someone else needs to do them for me, but I realize it).

    The husband has the responsibility. But that means he either has to handle it himself, find someone outside the family to handle it, or delegate it to the wife. If he isn’t meeting his responsibility, it isn’t up to the wife, except to the extent to involve the authorities the husband is responsible to of the situation, then go back and let divine providence work. Above all pray, and as was suggested, not for improvement, but God’s mercy and wisdom for all involved.

  3. Sounds like the female who sent in the request needs to be doing some serious praying for them both. Prayer is the root of change. Beyond that, any advice is speculative, so caveat emptor, but I’ll share some gut reactions.

    I would question that the husband is a great a man as claimed. He sounds like he has a serious drinking problem. Drunkenness is objectively a sin. (I’m assuming he’s legitimately drunk here). I know we all hate it when husbands are undermined by focusing on their faults, but we can’t ignore cases where someone is outside the lines. Dittos if by “violent” he is being physically abusive (a criminal act and thus objectively sinful).

    Contra CC, I think the wife very much should be praying for her husband to change in areas where he’s indisputably in sin. Drunkenness is clearly and objectively a sin, so she should not feel in the slightest any hesitancy to pray that he’s delivered from it. Otherwise, I agree with your take on the prayer.

    As with many alcoholics, the wife appears to be over-functioning for her husband (co-dependent). Presumably there are plenty of best practices here, but the advice I’ve generally heard is simply to stop doing that and let the chips fall where they may, which may require the wife to confront her own control issues.

    What else could she do to demonstrate her respect and trust for him and encourage him to engage in stepping up, knowing that she’s in the boat with him? What I’m getting at here is, what can she do to help build up her husband’s confidence in facing their problems rather than turning to the bottle? It’s the old Chesterton observation: “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”

    Also, the wife should seek out some external critique to find out where else she needs to clean up her own act. If there’s a competent pastor, he’s ideal for this. I’m reminded of previous manosphere posts on how “lack of self-esteem” (aka pride) is seen as a female vice in Christian circles these days. The fact that the female commenter says this trope up front and the post is saturated with this type of analysis is a reason it would be best to have a male pastor doing the assessment, assuming there’s one nearby who can do it properly. I’m not convinced the questioner is objectively assessing her friend.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and play pop psychologist. The questioner wrote: “Despite baggage on the part of the wife (severely low self-esteem), she was deeply religious, very modest and feminine in dress.” Shame, excessive modesty, and problems with intimacy are all consistent with a history of sexual abuse. Obviously I can’t know for sure, but it’s worth considering. I might similarly wonder about why the husband is exhibiting a lack of sexual interest in the wife (if that’s what’s happening). They obviously didn’t have a thorough discussion of past issues. Whatever it’s cause, this is strong evidence of some type of dysfunction, and it seems to predate marriage if I’m interpreting this correctly (the email is vague on the specifics). There’s a heckuva lot we don’t know here.

    Oh, and why are there piano lessons if you are deep in debt and can’t pay your bills? There are financial red flags all over the place here.

  4. I can only speak from my own experience here, but what stands out to me is not the drunkenness, or the yelling or the finances.

    It’s this:

    “They had difficulties from the beginning with certain aspects of their married life, which they partially attributed to the fact that they had had very high standards of chastity as single people, and they struggled with this. They found they couldn’t talk about it, so they ignored it.”

    This screams at me: he wants sexual intimacy with his wife, she is unwilling (or unable) to give it and he wants to curl up and die. But God hasn’t granted him that mercy, so he’s finding solace in a bottle.

    I’ve been there (well, not the bottle part, but the curl up and die part). To some extent I’m still there, but finally digging myself out.

    Women have absolutely no ability to comprehend how important this part of marriage is to most men. To be rejected in this manner is incredibly painful and difficult to deal with. It sounds to me like the brother in question just can’t deal with this foundational rejection from his wife and it is manifesting itself in a myriad of ways.

    Fix this and you’ll fix a lot of other things as well.

    But fixing that? That can be hard, particularly if she has lost trust and respect for him. She will want to avoid him, not draw near to him. Vicious, meet circle.

    If the wife wants to get an insight into a man, I would recommend Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” which comes closer than anything else I’ve read, despite it not being from a Christian perspective. It will at least give a basic framework to understand what most men find important.

    On the finance side of things, her taking it on and succeeding with it when he was failing is a slap in the face to him, whether she intended it to be or not.

    The best thing this wife could do? Take her husband in her arms, tell him that she loves him with all her heart, admit that she has made many mistakes, but that she knows he is a good father and a good provider (and whatever good things she can think of), that she believes in him and that she is behind him in whatever he wants to do. That she is going to go to individual counseling and get the sex thing fixed (not to “fix their marriage”). Then she should look at all those good things about her husband and start bragging about him to others, whenever she has the chance. She should endeavor to not say anything bad to her husband to anyone, but turn to God for support in the difficult times. And she should have grace. Lots and lots of grace. Because he is going to screw up.

    This is not a magic pill. But it will begin to build a foundation that could lead to success.

    And I know that this is not fair that she has to be the rock in this and it sucks that her husband hasn’t “manned up,” or whatever. Doesn’t matter. She must fulfill her wifely stuff regardless of whether he fulfills his husbandly stuff.

    1 Peter 3:1 applies here: “Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct.”

    Some popular translations say “do not BELIEVE the word,” and indeed, that’s how I’ve thought of it in the past – that this verse was referring to Christian wives that were married to unbelievers. But obey is proper – wives, if your husband is screwing up, keep your mouth shut, be awesome, and trust in God’s word.

  5. @ KingProphetPriest

    “They had difficulties from the beginning with certain aspects of their married life, which they partially attributed to the fact that they had had very high standards of chastity as single people, and they struggled with this. They found they couldn’t talk about it, so they ignored it.”

    This screams at me: he wants sexual intimacy with his wife, she is unwilling (or unable) to give it and he wants to curl up and die. But God hasn’t granted him that mercy, so he’s finding solace in a bottle.

    I’ve been there (well, not the bottle part, but the curl up and die part). To some extent I’m still there, but finally digging myself out.

    Agreed on this point.

    Generally, from what I’ve seen echoed all throughout time… married men who are not receiving sexual intimacy in a relationship will turn to other things. For some it’s time by themselves or away from the wife. For others it’s doing more and more work instead of being at home. For some it’s pornography. For others it’s drinking. For others its drugs. For others its adultery.

    Sex clears a lot of ills because it fosters intimacy. The fact that the wife doesn’t even mention sex after that but other problems means there’s probably not much if at all of any going on. If there was a lot of sex still going on and there was problems, then she would’ve probably said something about how she hated having sex with her husband with all of the strife in the marriage. This is likely a major issue that is not being addressed.

    Cane’s advice is very good. Better than I would’ve advised.

  6. @Anon

    Contra CC, I think the wife very much should be praying for her husband to change in areas where he’s indisputably in sin. Drunkenness is clearly and objectively a sin, so she should not feel in the slightest any hesitancy to pray that he’s delivered from it. Otherwise, I agree with your take on the prayer.

    As with many alcoholics, the wife appears to be over-functioning for her husband (co-dependent). Presumably there are plenty of best practices here, but the advice I’ve generally heard is simply to stop doing that and let the chips fall where they may, which may require the wife to confront her own control issues.

    It isn’t clear to me that the husband has a “drinking problem”. It was said that once he got drunk, and in the past he “had a problem” with alcohol. Please excuse the heavy use of quotes. I don’t mean to minimize, but I have seen this overstated, too.

    What we do have multiple evidence of is that the wife feels like it is her responsibility to correct her husband and his mistakes. As you say: She’ll need to confront her control issues. I meant it when I said that the advice was for the wife; as in “for her benefit”. Like with all good things, good begets good and will surely help her husband, but that is secondary to my mind. The email was from a female asking how she might advise the wife.

    The fact that the female commenter says [her friend lacks self-esteem] up front and the post is saturated with this type of analysis is a reason it would be best to have a male pastor doing the assessment, assuming there’s one nearby who can do it properly.

    Per St. Paul, old women would be best (hence my post title) to deliver, but pastoral supervision wouldn’t hurt. Your overall point here is not lost on me, though: Are there truth-telling Yiayias around to perform this service?

    I’m not convinced the questioner is objectively assessing her friend.

    Probably true, and why I am not convinced that the husband is given to drunkenness. Women are for companionship rather than observing, so I don’t fault her for this. Anyways, I could just be wrong.

  7. It isn’t clear to me that the husband has a “drinking problem”. It was said that once he got drunk, and in the past he “had a problem” with alcohol. Please excuse the heavy use of quotes. I don’t mean to minimize, but I have seen this overstated, too.

    I’m with Cane here. With how many times drinking and alcohol were mentioned, it is remarkable that there is no claim that he got drunk more than once. In fact, I tend to read the “but he drinks!” as an excuse constructed to retain control.

  8. Cane as a side note, how would a woman know if she should do the right thing if it goes against her husband? For example in the story of Abigail, where she feeds David’s men against her husband’s wishes, yet it saves his husband and his servants from dying (at least until she tells him and he dies). Was Abigail in the wrong in that scenario?

    Likewise is the wife wrong with this credit scenario? If debtors are calling day and night and the husband is putting his head in the sand and saying there are no troubles, is he not like the husband who ignore David’s war band on his own property? The only alternative I can see if she should try to encourage him to lead and pray for him. I feel like she’s not telling the entire story, something is keeping that man from doing basic budgeting and what causes the financial problems is probably some bigger problem between the husband and wife. For example, how can they not agree on things like hiring a pianonteacher when they are tight on money? The wife may be tired sure, but why is she deciding for pizza that night? As much as she worked did she not mention her husband worked overtime as well?

    I think they both need to reevaluate a lot of things and the examples they are setting for their children. I had an alcoholic father (actually not like the maybe case here) and a mother who always cried but also fought with him making everything worse. Let’s just say their kids are in a bad situation from hearing constant crying and fighting.

    I assume they are married for many years if they have children. How in the many years have they not figured out how to solve problems, who is in authority, etc? My parents were the same way, my mother would rebel and not submit because following him would bring the family to ruin, my father would not share the marital bed with her because she did not deserve it.

    These type of people are children in adult bodies. They married but did not accept God’s model of marriage. They did not put away childish things, they did not take up the enormous responsibility of marriage. My only advice would be for the wife to go to her husband every time there is a bill she wants to pay, show him the numbers, explain to him why the bill is important (not stuff she wants like piano lessons) and ask him for the money. That way she still may be able to pay the bills but not in secret, and it was his say that made things happen. If the wife wants to amend it she’s got to put away her stubborness, Paul said wives win over their husbands not by whining, crying or fighting, but by being showing her quietness, submissiveness. I assure you as much as the wife hates crying so does the husband. Stop adding stress to each others lives, you two already have enough from the world.

  9. Forgive my jumping in as a mere lurker but I also get behind the “she’s not willing/able/wanting to put out and it’s killing him” idea. Not only does she seem to be a bit controlling (huge turnoff) but this is energy of his being put elsewhere: anger, a bit of drinking, etc.

    I also had the thought that perhaps he’s hoping she’ll detonate the marriage for him as a result of lack of sex. Yell, be cranky and a general ass, be broke and maybe she’ll leave him. In this world, going to a pastor might come back to bite him unless it’s a pastor who firmly believes in male headship.

  10. @James

    Cane as a side note, how would a woman know if she should do the right thing if it goes against her husband? For example in the story of Abigail, where she feeds David’s men against her husband’s wishes, yet it saves his husband and his servants from dying (at least until she tells him and he dies). Was Abigail in the wrong in that scenario?

    Likewise is the wife wrong with this credit scenario? If debtors are calling day and night and the husband is putting his head in the sand and saying there are no troubles, is he not like the husband who ignore David’s war band on his own property?

    The situation of the couple in the post and that of Abigail and Nabal are very different. David was the rightful king. Debtors are more like hyenas than kings, and they certainly have no authority over the couple. If, for example, the sheriff shows up then that is a different matter and more akin to David and his warband.

    Nabal is also a very rich man, and Abigail didn’t take much. She made a very small trespass against Nabal for his sake and for the sake of others; putting herself in great danger to do it. Additionally, I think it is key that Nabal’s name is Nabal (fool) and that the Lord struck Nabal dead. That’s a lot of assurance that Abigail did right. How many wives have such assurance before or after the fact? How many put themselves in lethal danger for others? Paying creditors doesn’t rise to that level. Very few things do.

    @Sean

    Forgive my jumping in as a mere lurker

    There’s nothing to forgive. Thanks!

  11. Praying for your husband is fine, but as Cane points out this can only be done while submitting and not used as an out. We’ve talked about invalid commands here before and nothing here falls near, “wifey go kill that guy.”

    It is also reasonable and right to appeal to the various local authorities who _should already be working this_. The yiayias and the pastor should be taking action and helping the two grow together. Who knows though, they may already have.

    And I am very sympathetic to alcohol induced poverty. It is a miserable thing, but it also isn’t an escape. Probably the best thing that come from this story for a third party audience is a reminder that “small” impediments at the beginning of a marriage should be taken with all due seriousness.

  12. @GKC

    Probably the best thing that come from this story for a third party audience is a reminder that “small” impediments at the beginning of a marriage should be taken with all due seriousness.

    Good point, and what I was saying with “These people are really normal and need to deal with really normal problems. Deal with them they must, though.” It’s so easy for small problems to get blown waaaaaay out of proportion when they are intimate. Happily, the reverse is also true: Trivial triumphs can be elating out of all proportion.

    Eventually we learn that we can choose to have big reactions to small things; we learn that we have been choosing them all along.

  13. @MtC

    The advice I gave was based upon hearing the wife’s perspective, as delivered through her friend. A conversation with the husband very well might reveal a whole other set of issues of which the wife is either unaware, or does not think is important because she does not understand the male perspective. If he or his friend had emailed me, then I might begin to have something to say.

    I really didn’t give very much advice to the wife. Suggestions 1 and 2 can be combined into “be earnest with your husband”. I gave advice to seek her husband’s will on the budget, and then to obey it. Those are points 3 and 4. Finances are one of those things that are important in how they are handled; not in how big they are. All indicators say she is not in submission about their finances; that her heart is not turned towards him. It doesn’t matter whether he is good at finance or not. Ultimately the Lord provides for us. If she believes that, then why is she struggling against her husband?

    Points 5, 6, and 7 are “best practices” so that she might be blameless. All the better for her husband and others to see where the problems lie.

    There are several issues I don’t address at all. Since I don’t know them, and won’t be able to walk through this with them I only give advice that is generally good, but tailored to fit the specific complaint. All wives should be earnest. All wives should submit to their husbands. All wives should do good works.

  14. Didnt read comments so as to not be biased by them

    This man is at the very core a good man. He continues to be a devout Christian, and is a second-to-none father. In fact, the wife says that when she is most discouraged with the situation, something will happen with the children that makes her realize what an excellent father they have.

    When I read the above I immediately see emotional coding language. Its language where he is a good guy BUT… Its used to communicate in a manner that allows those prone to rationalization and who have a predisposition to female righteousness to sort of see the story end with a positive note.

    I also saw the ghosted words that, if they were visible and could be made cogent they would explain how the man has run into the verbal tricks employed by wives who are experts in passive aggressive control. The man would be unable to truly even explain it because it is’nt a thing like, she yells, she lies, she refuses sex….those are things easy to understand. The simplest way to say what he may say sounds insignificant. he would say, “she confounds me”. When they discuss things her discourse is not just non-linear, it is in the LaPlacian Domain, something so obscure its like the Higgs Boson….cant be observed save for its effect on other things. this keeps it well hidden from all but him as he suffers it alone knowing he will find not only no succor but glazed looks from folks who cannot even imagine this woman doing anything that could so send him into avoidance and a certain form of overt apathy. he is cornered between lose and lose, which is a perfect example of the type of discourse i am referencing. His wife would say, and be correct, “its not about winning and losing” These statements of truths that are utter truth while being completely irrelevant at the moment are one of myriad techniques she does by instinct, not with forethought or malice. he thinks, how can we address something that is like an involuntary muscle in her…..where she cannot even fathom what he is on about.

    Strong spiritual meds are needed because its deception only the patriarch of lies could orchestrate in a human.

    All of this is based on what an alleged third party has written, and how Ive seen this sort of thing, first, second and third hand repeated before. The cord is long and serpentine but I followed it all the way to the wall

  15. Your advice was wise and biblical. Hard Truth is the only thing that will convict and change. Anything else accomplishes nothing beneficial. I would ask her if she is continually respecting, obeying, submitting to, pleasing, and serving him. Does she have a meek and quiet spirit? So many unanswered questions.

  16. I don’t consider myself wise enough to provide advice regarding the primary topic of this post, but this particular section caught my attention:

    “There was no mention of issues with the hierarchy of the children, but she should make an effort to let him know that he comes before the children. Women can be bad about this, and kind or nice men (not the same thing) won’t know how to address it. It can make them angry though they don’t know why, and then angry at themselves for being angry about it.”

    I understand the nature of this problem and I see it occurring in families I consider dear to me, but I have trouble articulating my feelings on it properly enough to not be (oftentimes purposefully) misconstrued as having selfishness regarding a woman’s attention and/or supporting the neglect of children. I would very much appreciate your expanding on this particular topic in the future.

  17. @TGW

    Welcome.

    I understand the nature of this problem and I see it occurring in families I consider dear to me, but I have trouble articulating my feelings on it properly enough to not be (oftentimes purposefully) misconstrued as having selfishness regarding a woman’s attention and/or supporting the neglect of children. I would very much appreciate your expanding on this particular topic in the future.

    I’m not sure there is a good way for someone to articulate it to those women. By “good” I mean “instructions to which they will listen”. However; I do plan to write more about that fact.

  18. If, as another contributor suggests, he has an alcohol problem, that has to be met head on or things will only get worse.

    Maybe it was an oversight, but she does not mention any intimate relations. Reading between the lines, I’m guessing there is not much going on there, which could be a major part of the problem

  19. The mention of alcohol in the way it was mentioned is suggestive that it is exaggerated. Cane said he has seen this overstated before. I’d put it that Ive seen it overstated nearly every time its been stated. Its used here like fodder.

    I realize I am focusing on things I cannot know. I’m taking subtext, which female writing is rich with, and interpreting it my way. I have some license for this when it comes to both alcohol and to the word abuse (Not used here I realize). They are functionally interchangeable in these narratives.

    IF he is objectively an alcoholic and his use of alcohol is directly correlated to the financial situation, full stop, that’s one thing. Here is the part where people get weird. If he is those things and there has been the type of frustration and neutering of him….gentle ribbon wrapped neutering of course…..the work is bilateral as is the responsibility. Missing this is the scandal of our times in terms of marital healing.

  20. I can’t really offer much in the way of advice here that hasn’t already been suggested, but whenever I hear someone talking about how a person, particularly a woman, suffers from lack of self-esteem, I think of this:
    http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/Do.Women.sin.htm

    Hopefully the wife would not agree with her friend that her biggest failing is not thinking highly enough of herself. Blessed are the meek and all that.

  21. What does the scripture actually state? That a wife is subject to her husband as a descriptive state or that a wife is supposed to trust in herself to be submissive? The way I see it, when a wife trusts in her own ability to be good, it will inspire her husband to harden his heart against her, so as to prevent his own self-trust to be drained. A hardened or tyrannical dynamic will eventually crack under its own pressure.

    Some say that feminism and traditionalism is the same thing and I tend to agree to a certain extent.

  22. What does the scripture actually state? That a wife is subject to her husband as a descriptive state or that a wife is supposed to trust in herself to be submissive?

    Here, let’s read it. Ephesians 5:

    22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

    It says submit to their husbands in everything. Not “be submissive”, a descriptive state, but “submit”, an act.

    1 Peter:

    3 Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God.

    Wives, obey your husbands even if they do not obey the word of God.

    This is pretty much black and white. Wives, obey your husband whether or not they obey God’s word. Submit to him.

    “What the Scriptures actually say” is right there in front of us.

  23. Is subjection a matter of jurisdictional fact and obligation or is it voluntary? The way I see it, there is headship that irresistibly attracts submission and then there is headship that legalistically imposes submission. I’d say that these things work in tandem though, one is based upon personal effort and the other is based upon the finished work of Christ. If God is for you, who can be against you?

    Many are a bit unstable or double-minded about the voluntary and involuntary aspect of things, I’d say. Suffice to say that anyone who exercises authority from a mindset of doubt is only going to bring forth more doubt. And a wife who is solely obedient from a place of obligation is only going to inspire wrath in her husband because the law worketh wrath. Eternal life is a free gift.

    The one flesh mystery should not be over-simplified is all I’m saying.

  24. The one flesh mystery should not be over-simplified is all I’m saying.

    Nobody is simplifying the one flesh mystery. But the thing is, wives are to obey their husbands. It’s right there. There are not only no exceptions, Paul expressly addresses the most obvious exception and specifically nixes it.

  25. Pingback: Cold Service is the Revenge Dish of Vanity | Things that We have Heard and Known

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s