Have you checked out the Between Carpools website lately?
You may have seen the article I posted a few weeks ago, In it, I listed some advice commonly taught and widely accepted as "givens" in marriage classes and counseling - and why I believe that the opposite is actually true.
I was gratified by the positive response to the article - mostly in the form of hundreds of requests for the recording of my recent webinar.
I was surprised, though, (although maybe I shouldn't have been) at the negative and even caustic comments that started appearing - so much so, in fact, that Between Carpools ended up deleting and closing the comments on the website, and removing the article from Instagram altogether.
It's sometimes hard for me to remember that there are some women (and men!) who are violently allergic to anything implying that men and women have different needs in marriage. And especially - gasp! - the idea that most men crave respect in order to be able to feel loved in their most precious relationship.
So when I suggest that wives shouldn't "be helpful", but should allow their husbands to figure things out on their own (like the mature adults that they are), some people feel the need to protest - as if I have just advocated withdrawing women's rights to vote and own property.
Or when suggesting that wives learn to express their desires without tacking on subtle (or not-so-subtle) negativity - some apparently took that as a affront to men's ability to accept criticism.
But I think the clincher came with the implication that a woman can change her marriage on her own - even without her husband's active involvement or awareness.
There's an underlying assumption, I think, that if we let husband "off the hook" in terms of "working on the marriage", the wife will end up doing all the heavy lifting in the relationship, presumably fetching her husband's slippers and giving in to his every whim while stuffing her own desires and emotions in an attempt to appease him.
In reality, though, nothing could be further from the truth.
Would we love all husbands to learn how to be good spouses, take care of their wives, and sense what women really want (and pitch in equally with housework and childcare, of course)? Sure we would!
But the reality is, (get ready for your head to explode here....)
You can't actually change anyone other than yourself.
Not only that, but it really is true that many men actively resist direct attempts to change them through criticism, nagging, or helpful hints. Not because they are bad or inconsiderate or clueless. But because they are individuals with their their own needs, wants, and natural tendencies.
And the good news is - as attested to by the many women applying the Skills in their own marriages - it really is possible - and powerful - to change the dynamic in your relationship, just by changing the way YOU act, speak and think.
(It goes without saying - but I will say it here anyway - that some individuals are so mentally unhealthy that it would not be possible for a woman to change the relationship on her own. BUT. Before you assume that you are one of those exceptions, why not get some guidance and see if the Skills can work for you?)
So to all the women (and men) who indignantly and vociferously disagreed with my article - you are certainly entitled to your opinions. And if you already happy in your own marriages, doing what you have always done - more power to you.
But if you took offense at advice to "relinquish control, receive what your husband has to offer, and show him appreciation for it," does that mean that you're advocating controlling your husband, rejecting what he offers, and taking him for granted?
Because if that's the case, consider the possibility that you might never know the sweetness of the emotional intimacy that could have been available to you - if you hadn't sacrificed it on the altar of "equality" and "women's rights".
What did YOU think of the article? Do you have any questions for me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.