Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Six ways for women to stamp out the risk of divorce

From the liberal Huffington Post, of all places.

First, here’s the list of skills for women to develop to avoid divorce:

  • Skill #1: Do at Least Three Things a Day for Your Own Pleasure
  • Skill #2: Relinquish Control of People You Can’t Control
  • Skill #3: Receive Gifts, Compliments and Help Graciously
  • Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose
  • Skill #5: Express Gratitude Three Times Daily
  • Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable

And here’s the detail on one that I think is the most important:

Skill #4: Respect The Man You Chose

Being respectful will resurrect the man you fell in love with. You’re too smart to have married a dumb guy, so if he seems dumb now, it’s because you’re focused on his shortcomings. It’s not that you made a mistake in marrying him, it’s that you’ve been focused on his mistakes since you married him. A man who feels respected by the woman who knows him best also feels self-respect, which is far more attractive than cowering and hostility.

Lack of respect causes more divorces than cheating does because for men, respect is like oxygen. They need it more than sex. Respect means that you don’t dismiss, criticize, contradict or try to teach him anything. Of course he won’t do things the same way you do; for that, you could have just married yourself. But with your respect, he will once again do the things that amazed and delighted you to begin with — so much so that you married him.

And here’s the detail on the one that I think is the most neglected:

Skill #6: Strive to be Vulnerable

Intimacy and vulnerability are directly connected. If you want intimacy, then you’ll need to take the risk of admitting that you’re lonely, embarrassed or hurt. This is not the same as weakness; it actually requires great strength.

When you’re vulnerable you don’t care about being right, you’re just open and trusting enough to say “I miss you” instead of “you never spend time with me.” It means you simply say, “ouch!” when he’s insensitive instead of retaliating. That vulnerability completely changes the way he responds to you.

Vulnerability is not only attractive, it’s the only way to get to that incredible feeling of being loved just the way you are by someone who knows you well. There’s nothing like the joy of intimacy that results from vulnerability. It really is worth dropping the burden of being an efficient, overscheduled superwoman to have it.

Before I get started,  a piece of advice for men. I really, really recommend that single men take the time to read ALL the comments by the women underneath that post before they even think about getting married. It’s important for single men to realize that your old-fashioned ideas about marriage and what women should do in a marriage are often not accepted by modern women – even modern Christian women. Most churches don’t emphasize the things in the list above, because they are trying to make women feel good, and not to tell them what needs doing and how to do it. When you read the comments by women blaming men and attacking the 6 points, that will help you to see what you should be looking for, so you know how to make sound judgments about who to marry and whether to marry at all.

Right. Let’s begin with the 6 points.

From that list above, the ones I have personally encountered are #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6.

For #1, many unmarried women think that relationships are more about being happy than achieving things. If the woman gets into a relationship for happiness, and is not happy, then she may blame the man for failing to make her happy. The solution is to have a more realistic balance between happiness and self-sacrificial service. An unmarried women should focus on finding out what the man’s plans and goals are, and why he needs her. She has to focus on showing him that she wants to be informed and engaged in helping him. That is the best way for her to learn how to balance the need for happiness with the need to handle her relationship obligations (to children, as well as her spouse). Another way to lower the need for happiness provided by the man is for the woman to have her own interests. For example, my favorite single woman likes to spend time in the evening decompressing with stuff like cross-stitching, reading, playing with her cat, etc. before we do stuff together. She has her own sources of happiness and that means that I am not overburdened every day as the sole source of happiness. That can be overwhelming on days where she is stressed out from work.

For #3 and #5, I have to tell a funny story about what I have been doing lately with my favorite single woman. I have been busy trying to get her to tell me all about what her life is like from day to day and then buying her small things to help her out with her daily struggles. For example, I bought her an ice scraper so that she wouldn’t have to scrape ice off her windshield with her gloves. I bought her kitchen shears so that she wouldn’t have to fuss with raw chicken. I got her a new corded hand-vacuum for Christmas because she had to lug her heavy one up and down the stairs to clean them. Why am I fussing so much about this woman? Because she is the most grateful woman I know. Whenever I do anything for her, she tells everyone about it and I hear about how helpful I’ve been every time she uses whatever I bought her. Women, get it clear: men prefer to help grateful women.

For #4, I think the scariest thing for a woman is thinking that she will have to respect a bad men, even when he is bad. But women like that are looking at marriage wrong. The respect is non-negotiable. You will respect your husband or you will be cheated on or divorced. So with that in mind, choose a man who you do respect. That’s the solution – test the men carefully and effectively and choose one who is easy to respect and then marry that man. Make the respectability of the man the main criteria. The time to make the decision is before the marriage, because divorce is out of the question. And women really need to work at this, in my experience, because they typically let feelings dominate their decision-making, instead of being practical about finding the right man to do the work that men do in a marriage. The appearance of the man tends to be their only criteria, these days. Instead of choosing on appearances, women should test men out during the courtship to see if they like the way he leads, persuades and makes decisions. Instead of letting feelings and peer-approval decide, just think of what a man does and prefer men who can do those things.

For #6, I think that women really need to realize the power of vulnerability. My view, which is controversial, is that the reason why women are focusing so much on their appearance and sexuality is because feminism has made it illegal for them to attract men with traditional femininity. Vulnerability, trust, modesty, nurturing, care, concern, attention, support, etc. are all viewed by unmarried women as prohibited by feminism – even though they work on men very well. Men treat women nicely when they see how sensitive women are to good treatment and bad treatment. Men are motivated by the desire to make a difference and to be appreciated by a woman who needs them. Women need to practice being vulnerable, and to protect their ability to be vulnerable by avoiding premarital sex and messy breakups. Women need to learn to control their feelings and not batter themselves up on a sequence of men who are not ready for marriage. The most common thing I am seeing with women these days, including Christian women, is that their ability to trust a man, and to let a good man lead them, have been completely wrecked because they’ve dashed themselves to pieces over and over on men who looked good and impressed their friends, but who were not qualified for marriage. Marriage, for a man, is a faithful, life-long self-sacrificial commitment to provide for and serve a spouse and to train up children. Pick the right man for that job.

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20 Responses

  1. anon says:

    Mine disabled me and the kids. I chose wrongly. But, I still pray for him.

  2. Stan says:

    Just an observation, Wintery, without making even the slightest attempt to disagree with your thoughts here. You told us, ” I am planning to get her a new corded hand-vacuum for Christmas.” I just thought someone should point out that this is the classic mistake men make. The scraper and the shears are all well and good given as gifts for no particular purpose but to be kind. But a gift given at a point where more than courtesy is in mind (such as birthdays, Christmas, etc.) cannot be done in such a practical manner. While we guys LOVE practical gifts at times like this because it says, “I care about you,” women don’t see practical gifts as well considered. To guys it says, “Honey, I love you; here’s a solution to the problem you’re facing.” To women it says, “Honey, I love you; now clean the house while I eat a sandwich.” (The New York Post listed “Vacuum Cleaner” as the third worst gift to give a woman for the holidays. Another lists it as only #9.) I suppose if there is something more … personal and the vacuum is added in, it might work. Just sayin’.

    • Oh my gosh, this woman loves to clean all the time, and has recently had surgery that makes it harder for her to lift heavy things. She cleans for fun, the vacuum is like a toy. The vacuum was her last year’s present so we know it was a big hit already.

    • Ken in NH says:

      Depends on the woman. Some will be upset that you gave them a “get off the couch and clean” gift, some will be upset that you didn’t give them what they requested (assuming they requested the household gadget), and some will be upset either way because they love the drama of it.

      • Alien & Stranger says:

        I only learned most of those skills after I came to know the Lord, as he worked in my life and dealt with baggage from my dysfunctional childhood background. It’s a wonder our marriage survived, but through it all we still loved each other.
        On the birthday gift topic, when we were setting up house, I didn’t mind getting gifts like a nice set of saucepans, or casseroles. I don’t think I would have appreciated an iron (I hate ironing!). However, after I stopped working to start a family, we had little money to spare, I was exhausted with a sleepless baby and had no time to myself. By the time my birthday came around, I just wanted to have a quiet dinner date (nothing fancy) with my husband. Guess what? He forgot my birthday! I didn’t know the Lord then, and for the next two years I got in a knot as my birthday approached, so I told him of my anxiety and said that he just needed to know that in future I would not be cooking on my birthday! The ball was in his court and I stopped stressing. (He’s never forgotten since).
        P.S. I always try to do something special for my husband’s and children’s birthdays, so it’s not as though it’s a one-way street.

        • Forgotten birthday is a very serious offense, so I am glad that he’s been better now. I do get The Elusive M nice things like handbags and flowers and such.

    • The Elusive M says:

      As the recipient of the hand held hoover, I have to defend WK in his choice of gift. I am a cat owner with ocd, so my fur covered house gets cleaned much easier with this little vacuum cleaner. As WK said, I recently had surgery on my hands and am unable to carry a big vacuum cleaner at the moment. It is one of my favourite things from WK’s practical gift collection.

      He is practical & sensible at his core, just as I am unpredictable, impractical & emotional at mine.

      I am yet to convince him that Chanel No.5 IS worth £100 a bottle, however he does spoil me with handbags, dvd’s and other girly things. Watching his boy brain try to understand why perfume, handbags & creams are better than screwdrivers, energy saving bulbs and torches is quite amusing. He has never given me anything that was a disappointment & I am looking forward to whatever comes this Christmas :).

      • Thanks, Elusive M. And yes, you will get many wonderful presents, and something for your cat as well.

        • WorldGoneCrazy says:

          Get her both! This isn’t either-or thinking. She can have the vacuum and the gift card for dinner. What’s better than “here’s something which will make your day – and evening – more enjoyable?!?”

  3. Ken in NH says:

    Here’s a shorter list:

    1) Don’t expect your husband (or other people) to complete the list of items in your head; you will be consistently disappointed.
    2) Look for the things that your husband (or other people) do for you, even if they were not on your internal list or done to your specification, and appreciate them for that.

    Doing those two things will make every woman (and that applies to men too) much more satisfied in life.

    [Even that could probably be boiled down to this: do not look externally, particularly to other people, for happiness and contentment; only you can make yourself happy and content.]

  4. lauratheringmistress says:

    #1 really it’s quite important, especially once women become mothers. There is a kind of martyr complex women well take on where they put everyone first and begin to resent it. They’re not putting on their oxygen mask before helping their children. And that means by the end of the day, they resent serving their spouse rather than delighting in it. Rather than being selfless, they act “not selfish”, a recipe for anger, resentment, and exhaustion.

    Outstanding list, and great commentary on it. Thanks.

    • Alien & Stranger says:

      You make a valid point. I know it was especially true once I started a family, some years before I knew the Lord. I’d also learned to be a blamer and a narcissist from my mother, and I found myself becoming angry, bitter and resentful like her. I think this is why so many marriages end up on the rocks, because it’s “all about me”, “what’s in it for me” and not really about love. Selflessness does not come naturally. I learned that men need respect, as WK says, and women need love, but even when we don’t feel loved, we can work “as unto the Lord”, knowing that he loves us. I’m just thankful for what the Lord’s done in my life, including bringing inner healing, although it took some years as he dealt with the issues as they surfaced.

  5. Totally weird, but when I got to this page, an ad popped up asking if I needed a divorce attorney. Uh, no. Never ever going to need one of those. Is this ad from this blog? Because, if so, it might be a good idea to review the ads and avoid this one. There’s nothing like suggesting divorce to someone who’s reading about how to prevent it.

  6. […] Advice for women to avoid temptation. Related: Advice for women feeling neglected. Related: Women: Why you’re on the bang, don’t marry list. Related: Six ways for women to stamp out the risk of divorce. […]

  7. Great post! Two books I think everyone should read when considering a relationship are “For women only: what you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For men only: a straight forward guidebook to the inner lives of women” by Shaunti and Jeff Feldham. These books were EYE OPENING about the way men and women differ in their mental lives. I read “For women only” and was so blown away that I had to read “For men only” to make sure they hadn’t been making it all up. It was even insightful to read how Jeff explained the thought life of women, as the way he broke us down for men revealed more about the way men think as well!

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