Friday, August 1, 2008

Keep it private: why you should guard your personal matters

Several times, I received emails from young wives who felt pulled in two opposite directions. "My husband and I are thinking about doing this and that," - they say, - "but my parents/his parents/siblings/aunt/uncle (and the list goes on) think we should do something very different". This can refer to anything from buying a house or moving, to employment options, having a baby, children's education, financial investments and any decision you would reasonably think should be between husband and wife alone.

Naturally, a young couple that is just starting out might make mistakes, and can often benefit from loving, gentle advice that comes from more experienced family members. However, one must put a very clear line between advice (acceptable) and rude interference (totally unacceptable). Perhaps you have seen it in action. One woman lives close enough to her in-laws for her mother-in-law to "pop in" unexpectedly several times a day and criticize the way the young wife copes with her chores; another receives backlash from her mother for staying home and homeschooling her children; another woman has to endure unkind remarks from tactless family members for "daring" to become pregnant when others think she and her husband shouldn't have more children... examples are endless.

A young couple needs space to establish their own life, and yes, sometimes it will mean they make mistakes - but there's no other way to learn to live independently as a couple. Individual circumstances and cultural differences must be taken into consideration, of course, but generally, I believe a certain distance can do much good in those first years the couple is getting used to married life. As much as we love our parents and the rest of our family, it should be made clear that no one will take part in decisions the couple must make on their own.

The happenings of your life should be presented as facts: we bought a house; we are moving; we are pregnant; we decided to homeschool this year. If you aren't firm, you might be stuck in the bog of "good advice" given to you by any well-wisher who has a spare minute - sometimes not only your family, but complete strangers.

What about times when husband and wife are debating over which course of action to take? I believe it's very dangerous for a wife to let others know she doubts or mistrusts her husband's decisions - especially if those others aren't known for their love, wisdom, kindness, experience and tact. By doing this, she opens the path to further disagreement and conflict. And complaining about your husband to others? I truly can't think of a worse idea. Now, please understand I'm not talking about abuse and other extreme situations. But consider a woman who tells a friend of hers, "Johnathan thinks we should sell our fancy house and buy something more modest so we can pay off our debt faster. I'm not sure I should agree to this. I don't know how he expects me to manage with only two bedrooms and no garage!" - in response to that, her friend yells indignantly, "What? Only two bedrooms? No garage?! That's crazy - you should put your foot down and tell him you don't agree to this!"

See what's happening here? If the conflict remained between husband and wife, a compromise could be reached - perhaps three bedrooms and not two - but after talking to her friend, the wife is determined to plunge further into conflict with her husband. I will assume the friend meant well, but she didn't hear the husband's side of the story; maybe she doesn't know the size of debt the couple has acquired; perhaps she, herself, is in debt up to her ears and doesn't see anything wrong with that; perhaps she thinks "winning" an argument is more important than peace between husband and wife.

Unfortunately, not everyone we know can be trusted, and not everyone we trust can give reliable, sound, godly advice. Friends or parents might have very good intentions, but they often will automatically side with us and puff up our feelings of self-righteousness. Imagine that a woman complains about her husband always leaving his dirty socks on the floor and not throwing them into the laundry hamper; a well-wisher fans the fire of her irritation: "Oh, poor you. You work so hard, taking care of the home and the baby, you do all the housework - and he can't do something as simple as put his socks in the hamper? You shouldn't let this pass. Next time he does this, just leave his pile of socks where it is and tell him he won't have clean socks until he learns to put them in the hamper!"

A minor (though irritating, I admit) detail blown out of proportion. It might not even be worth mentioning. Most likely the husband might find a thousand things to complain about - the soup is too salty, his shirt is crinkled, the toothpaste has run out - every couple has frictions, coming simply from living together. We can overlook each other's shortcomings and move on, or we can wage war on each other for every little thing. For a happy, peaceful marriage I will gladly pick up my husband's socks off the floor - and remember he didn't say a word when dinner was burned last week!

When talking about your husband to others, be kind, respectful, and discreet. In your heart, learn to think about your husband with praise and admiration. If you consider it, there's so much to be thankful for. Your positive attitude will find its way into your husband's heart, and he will be encouraged, uplifted and inspired. Build your marriage every day with a kind, forgiving and loving spirit.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Agree, ESPECIALLY with the fact a woman (abuse notwithstanding) should never complain about her husband to her friends and family (how would you feel if he complained about you to his mom?)

A few points to consider though:
1) Cultural differences in these issues can be immense. The whole idea of 'privacy' and 'space' is rather western. In many cultures, a young couple has no privacy or space at all, even in matters of the bedroom. It can take years to draw those boundaries, and it takes a lot of tact to do it without hurting feelings.

2) The key word is 'independent'. If a young couple is not wholly independent, they can't really stop others from interfering.
For example, if a woman's parents paid for her entire college education, they do have a right to voice their opinions as to what she does with it. Or if a husband's parents put a huge downpayment down on their house, and now the young couple wants to sell and take the money to surf in Thailand....well, I think the parents are entitled to say what they think. It's not just a matter of money. If a wife relies on her mother for free babysitting every other day, then she can expect her mom to be concerned if she's pregnant again.
Favours often come with a price.

3) I do think a wife should tell her husband that the socks on the floor bother her. Not everyday, and hopefully not in a nagging way. But she shouldn't just ignore this annoyance, or it will build up until she becomes very frustrated. Openess is best, plus it will give her husband a chance to grow and improve.

Finally, I think in some cases it is healthy to discuss major decisions with others (like downsizing to avoid debt). I know that when I have done so I've been exposed to valuable perspectives that really influenced the final decision. One just has to be careful not to be influenced by negative naysayers like the one in your example.
Tammy

Sammybunny said...

Thank you so much for sharing this post, Anna! It is so true and yet, *oftentimes* so hard to follow! This is an absolute must, I feel, in order for a couple to feel their decisions are truly their own--and in their best interest.

TheRetroHousewife said...

Anna this is something I have been struggling with even after being out on my own for 12 years! I have learned, like you said, to present things as fact and not try to justify them. Trying to justify things makes people think you arent solid in your decision and it gives them more information to argue with.

Jenny

lorelei4mc said...

Anna,

It's difficult to believe you are so wise about relationships at only 23 and after being married just a few months. Many women -- and men, too -- still don't 'get it' after many years. They're in it to get, not to give, and they keep score at every turn. They don't understand obligation and are more interested in whatever feels good at the moment. No wonder the divorce rate (at least in the U.S.) is so high these days.

Unlike you, I didn't catch on until I was well over 30. I had a great career, bought two houses on my own...who needs a man's help, anyway?! Fortunately, I didn't get married until it all clicked; my husband never knew me with the old attitude.

There's much to be said about the wisdom of our grandmothers...

Take care!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree! My husband and I went through the whole "crazy cycle" of me not respecting, and him not loving and this aspect that you discussed was only fuel to the fire. I really don't discuss issues in our marriage with others. I know there are times and places to bring in an outside perspective but by and large they are few and far between.

I once heard a mother tell a just married daugher, "I don't want to hear the negative about your husband because it is far easier for me to forgive you, then for me to forgive him." I thought that was sage advice and I've tried to stick with that with my own mother.

If we have a home improvement issue I'll ask my husband first if he would like some advice from my step-father before I call him. This lets my husband know that ultimately the task is for him, but if he would like some outside help that's fine too.

Sorry for rambling, but I just couldn't agree more with this post.

-Jen K.

USAincognito said...

Well said!!
My sister and her husband went thru this when they were first married. His mother would "pop in" all the time and tell my sister how to run her house. (His mother also tried to force my sister to have an abortion!) After 1 year of his mother trying to interfere every day with their marriage, their marriage became an emotional rollercoaster. My parents, who were just watching and hoping my sister would wise up and move, finally stepped in and had a long conversation with both. My parents supported the decision for my sister and her husband to MOVE AWAY from all parents so they could focus on their own family and raising their own children as they saw fit. My sister and her husband finally did move 3 hours away and it was enough of a distance to stop his mother from ruling their lives.
You are so right....newly married couples need to be their own family. The parents of either need to stay out and let the children learn how to be husband and wife.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. T,
I couldn't agree more! My husband and I have been married over 9 years, and this advice from my mom has come in handy for us. Another thing she says about the socks, every time you pick up his socks, thank God for him, for providing you with such a wonderful man who is willing to work until he is exhausted, to provide for his family!
I have really enjoyed your blog! Congratulations on your new baby! What a joy! May you receive the blessing of Rebecca! May you have tens of thousands of children and may they possess the gates of your enemies!
sincerely,
Sara, OK, USA

Anonymous said...

This is good, Anna. The admonishment from my mother when we were growing up was "don't open your mouths & fill other people's"... & I'm also thinking of a line in the song "Sunrise, Sunset", where Tevye & Golde sing "what words of wisdom can I give them....now they must learn from one another, day by day." How true!

Brenda

Anonymous said...

I agree with the premise here, though not with a lot of the specific examples. I have been married for some time, and I think it is in truly bad taste for either a husband or a wife to criticize the other except privately. I can't imagine saying anything negative about my husband to anyone else, and I would be furious if my husband were criticizing me to his friends or family. Another troublesome area is when family members criticize your spouse. I don't tolerate it when my father tells me that he perceives my husband as being less "sophisticated" than I am; when my dad brings this up, I tell him immediately to back off. Of course, I recognize that this can be hard to do depending on your relationship with the critical family member.

Of course, I part ways with this post when it comes to some of the specific examples:

For a happy, peaceful marriage I will gladly pick up my husband's socks off the floor - and remember he didn't say a word when dinner was burned last week!

This hardly seems like a compromise. The wife is happily waiting on her husband and is just grateful that he doesn't criticize her for the quality of her service -- hardly a mutual give-and-take. How about this one: I tolerate my husband's clutter (I don't clean it up after him, but don't insist that he do so either), and he tolerates my penchant for closing doors to rooms and leaving lights on.

-- Pendragon

MInTheGap said...

This is a terrific post. There are times when getting advice is appropriate, and times where it is not.

It's definitely appropriate if you're in the beginning stages of thinking about a topic. Like your example about the house, I think it's entirely appropriate to ask people for advice about the type of house, but what the house should consist of should be entirely the domain of the couple.

You've covered the hardest time-- after the decision that you don't agree with was made. I had a hard time with some decisions recently, but I tried to keep my comments to objective people, and it wasn't a difference of opinion between my wife and I.

A united front needs to be kept up-- united in your family, united in your church, united with your God. Because at each of these points decisions might be made we disagree with, but we must press on.

Bethany Hudson said...

Anna,
In the Christian Bible, there is a verse which says, "And above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'" (1 Peter 4:8) Your post put me in mind of it.
~Bethany

Anonymous said...

You do realize interfering parents/in-laws are still going to offer unwanted advice no matter how the information is presented, right? I don't ask my in-laws for advice, but they feel more than free to tell me what they think we should be doing anyway (not that we do it, but they like to make it clear anyways).

thebridledtongue said...

My Dear Lady, you have nailed what most women will never even consider. Until I am the perfect wife, I can certainly not even consider asking for a perfect husband. (In the Lord's mercy and grace, he gave me the perfect husband anyway.) Thank you for encouraging others in this. What a beautiful world it would be if we all honestly respected our husbands!

Susie said...

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Psalm 1:1

Your post made me think of that verse and if we bring our problems to people who won't put it in the perspective of what scripture says about marriage, then we will get unscriptural/ungodly advice of marriage.

Anonymous said...

AMEN to this entire post.

I wish I'd known not to "muddy the waters" with my parents AND my in-laws when I was first married to my husband. My parents were going through a divorce and the choices they and my siblings were making, I was just appalled at. It was heartbreaking to watch my family disintegrate before my eyes... and who was there with a shoulder to cry on? My new mother-in-law.

Now, almost twenty years later, even though my family has healed, my husband's parents are still convinced that they are superior to my family. It's caused problems over the years. As heartbroken and confused and angry as I was at the time, I wish I had talked to ANYONE but my mother-in-law.

Also - sometimes there needs to be some distance between the parents and newly married couple. We moved a few hours away so we could be free to raise our family the way we saw fit, make our mistakes without anyone checking in daily on us, struggle financially without family members trying to help us out or tell us what we were doing wrong. We're much happier seeing our family when we can, than we would be if they were in the same town.

Alicia M said...

I agree with you. One of the best pieces of advice I received before marriage was to make it a point to leave my parents and cleave to my husband.
However, I do think that there is wisdome in young couples seeking godly counsel from trusted advisers (such as a pastor or godly older couple that has insight into their lives).

Proverbs 11:14
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."

Proverbs 15:22
"Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed."

Joy of Frugal Living said...

A very wise and well-thought-out post, especially for someone pretty new to marriage. Learning to live together is a challenge. Couples must learn to overlook each other's reasonable faults and enjoy the rest. With time, you can kindly and cheerfully help each other to improve (in other words, nagging never does any good). Noone is perfect. Bringing others into a conflict is definitely not helpful.

I have, on occasion, shared more of those sort of troubles with friends, new to marriage, who were distressed at the way they felt and were behaving. Sometimes, sharing our own struggles can be encouraging and help show the way we have learned to deal with something without being preachy.

But when we just complain unproductively, or give unsolicited "advice," this doesn't help us or anyone else. I have found that a good yardstick is to consider whether my husband would find what I am saying about him acceptable. If not, I need to reconsider. I know he does the same concerning me.

Thanks for the reminder, Anna!

Jennifer

Gothelittle Rose said...

Pendragon: I think what you're missing here is that Anna is speaking from the perspective of a traditional gender-roles household. The husband's role is to earn the money and the wife's role is to maintain the household.

His complaining about her burning dinner would be like her complaining about him slacking off at work and not getting a performance raise because of it, not him dropping socks on the floor.

In fact, I pointed this out to my son as we waited for my mother to get through the checkout line. "Daddy works so that we have the money to buy food. So when you waste food, you are wasting Daddy's time."

Of course, personal harmony is still greater when neither of them complain. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post. I was a wife at 19 and married someone from a very different culture. I didn't understand the language and was not welcomed into the family. We moved very far and this was GREAT for our marriage. Neither one of us could run home when ever the other one upset us.

I made a huge mistake at the beginning. Desperate to connect with my MIL and SIL, I was sitting with them while they were talking about their DH's. I jumped in with an example of why my DH was driving me crazy (something stupid, I think about how he didn't take notes when we were in college and I did his papers) I was met with stoney stares and silence. My DH was sitting right there and got really, really MAD.

I thought we were all just chatting and sharing funny stories about things in marriage. Ah, THEY were I WASNT susposed to. Their DH's were "family" and they could make fun of them. I wasn't "family" and couldn't say anything about anyone who was.

Now I don't share ANYTHING unless it is something to praise about him. This has made a HUGE difference between not only me and DH, but me and his family. It is also a way for me to respect, honor and obey him.

I have NEVER EVER shared anything about our intimate life (this was from the start). I have seen countless non-discrete women not only look classless doing this, but offend others. Even worse, peak the curiosity of those without morals who go after the unsuspecting DH and try to get him angry with the wife by repeating these details to his face and then trying to seduce the broken hearted man.

Yes, I said broken hearted. Who wouldn't be to hear second hand such intimate matters you thought were safe between the two of you. Even worse A COMPLAINT!

Great post ! Oh, that I had started my marriage as wise as you are. The only thing that helps is my daughters will.
Many Blessings :)
Ace

Anonymous said...

Wow, re-reading my comment, I sound a little snippy, and I didn't mean to.

Over the years, my husband and I have each accepted that we each have foibles that we can't or won't change. My husband loves clutter and the best he can do is to minimize it rather than get rid of it altogether. I like to leave lights on, but I try to do it less than I would otherwise because my husband doesn't like it. But we each accept that the other will probably not stop these annoying habits altogether. I love the way my husband laughs about my habits and just accepts them as part of the woman he loves. He sees my foibles (some of which are far worse than leaving the lights on) and chooses to love them.

-- Pendragon

Kelly said...

Wow Anna, so well said and I'm totally with you on this.
I was lucky that marrying later I knew this before I married. My DH and I agreed before we married that we would NEVER go to family or friends with critical statements or complaints about the other. And I will admit those first two years it was hard to not go and complain to someone, anyone, but it was a wise decision.
Family or friends are biased and will always be. You make a critical statement and they'll take your side of course.
For us we have rarely asked for advice from family or friends, there are exactly two family members we trust to ask for advice, and we know that not only will they keep quiet (not tell other family members) but they give advice without expecting us to necessarily follow their advice.
I think it is great if a couple can find two people they trust and stick with them for advice. It's never good to ask a lot of people.
And then ultimately it is always the couple's decision, and how you tell others is big. I like your examples of "we decided. . . " always announce your decisions like you mean it.
Kelly

Michelle said...

Hi Anna!

This post came at a perfect time. Please forgive me in advance if I ramble a bit. We're having this problem with my mother.

My parents live on the opposite coast from DH and I, something which mom has had a terrible time dealing with. Her plan was that I'd meet a nice young man from my hometown, get married and live there the rest of our lives. Instead, I met a nice young man from Florida, and we've lived here since we were married. As a side note, she has MS and this has caused her difficulties with deeling with emotions and thinking rationally on occasion. I don't mean to sound rude or anything, I love her very much, but that's the fact of the matter.

Since she found out we're expecting, she has been off-and-on downright verbally abusive, both toward me and my husband. She has convinced herself that "we made promises to them and broke them", (we've never promised them anything). She accuses me of trying to shut them out of our lives and not let them see their grandchild. Again, not true...I have always talked to them at least 3 - 4 times a week, am visiting them twice during my pregnancy (all we can afford), and plan to spend a month with them after the baby comes. I have been called selfish, accused of not caring about them, my husband has been called lazy because "he won't go out there to look for a job". Of course he won't...if he did that, he wouldn't be earning money at his job here! He gets so upset whenever she speaks to me like this. I've tried to tell her that I don't mind if she tells me how she feels, but I do mind when she becomes verbally abusive.

I'm trying so hard to be loving and understanding and respectful toward her, but I believe that DH and I are making good decisions for our family, which is our first responsibility. DH has lost a lot of respect for her, and wants me to give her one warning, then hang up whenever she starts talking like this. I know he has my best interest at heart, but I'm also afraid that if I hang up on her, it may cause irreparable damage to that relationship. My dad knows what she's doing and just says to let her because she can't help it, but I have trouble believing that she really shouldn't have to take responsibility for what she's saying.

Do you, or any readers, have any advice on how to handle this in a way that protects our marriage and yet honors my parents? I know my husband comes first, but I don't know how to gently help my mom understand that. Thanks :) Again, sorry for the long post.

Mrs.KAOS said...

Anna,
Very true, very true. But a young couple can be to far from their family. I have been married a little over a year and live many miles from my mother. There were times that I was in need of her advice and guidance. My mother-in-law is loving, and I am very blessed to have a good relationship with her; and though much closer in physical distance, she can't fill the need for my own mothers advice and hugs. We have much to learn from our mothers, even if we are mothers ourselves.
Blessing be with you,
Kate

Neuropoet said...

I couldn't agree with you more Anna - thanks for such a well-written post!

lady jane said...

The Bible says that a man would leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife. They make a new family void of interference and dependence from parents. I believe it wise for a young couple to move away to establish their home, becoming secure and solid in their joint decisions and life. We've always lived apart from our family and realize the overall wisdom, in our situation.

Throughout our marriage we've experienced ongoing challenges with my MIL. A couple years ago she caused a serious ruckuss. My husband had to "take the bull by the horns" so to speak, dealing with the 'issue' once and for all. By doing this he protected me from his mother's typical onslaught of wicked accusations and manipulations. He defended me. He defended himself. He defended our marriage. He defended our family.

He's my hero and I gladly pick up his socks! :oD

His Wife and Their Mommy said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you.

Michelle Potter said...

I absolutely agree, Anna, especially about not complaining about your husband to others. I always find it very uncomfortable to be in a group of women all complaining about their husbands. I know that my husband's friends all think I'm some kind of saint, because he tells them all the good things about me, but none of the bad. ;)

As for interfering family, it can be a very tricky thing to honor your parents but still draw that firm line. We've had to resort to some things we'd have preferred not to, like ending phone calls when certain inappropriate things were said. But in the end, it's better for everyone not to have all the drama and fighting that happens when family members think they can or should interfere with decisions made by a husband and wife.

Anonymous said...

Amazing post. Excellent, bravo, and wow. Thanks for the timely reminder too :-)

Sincerely
Cristina (Stramenda)

E03 said...

i'm not married, but that last paragraph is precious, not just w/ our husbands but with any man in our lives....or with anyone, really. encouraging is so key. my sister is dating & sometimes when i hear her speak disparagingly of her b/f "i can't believe he didn't remember that..." i have opportunity to remind her to speak with grace. it is good for us to learn to speak respectfully early in our relationships, before our words have done too much damage.

www.eohthree.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

That was an excellent post, Anna.

Our marriage was actually a bit rocky in our early stages because I was a little too eager to complain to my mom about (minor) stuff my husband did or didn't do, such as not helping with the laundry and leaving garbage in the car. I remember complaining that he didn't have a better paying job once, and she brought that up for YEARS (still does!). Once I stopped saying negative things about him to her, and not allowing her to say negative things to me about him (I say, "yes, that's your opinion, but he's my husband and I'm going to stick up for him here" or something similar), things got a lot better between DH and I. Oh, and the relationship between my mother and my DH actually improved!

You are so wise for your years!!

God bless you - I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well and am glad you are past the yucky sick part. :) Lisa

Shelley said...

Dear Mrs. T,
Excellent article. You have so much wisdom at your young age. I am 44, have been married for 21 years, and only in the last five have I learned what you are writing about. We have a wonderful marriage now.

I haven't gotten a chance to read more of your posts, I just found your blog, but I will definitely make time in the near future, as I have only read three, and find such uncommon wisdom- just bursting out of your sentences! May God Bless your marriage and new growing baby.

Shelley

MarkyMark said...

Ladies,

As a man, I have to weigh in on this one. I'm single; yes, I'm a bachelor, and I intend to STAY that way!

You know one reason why I am single? Because I've seen too many women bitch & moan about their husbands, that's why! They just tore their men to shreds behind his back, and it sickened me. Before I found Niceguy's site, before I became familiar and interested in men's issues, I was ALREADY turned off to marriage. It was largely because I heard women (almost all that I've known over the years, BTW) just TEAR THEIR HUSBANDS TO SHREDS! I mean, I seldom, if ever, heard women say good things about their men.

Do you know what my reaction to it was? I said to myself, "Gee, I'm a great guy (or so girls have told me over the years, believe it or not; I wasn't always this cynical about marriage), so I have to ask myself if I want someone talking about ME in this way? The answer was no. Though I may not be perfect, I would have made a good husband; I had a lot to offer someone, and I deserved BETTER than that. So, I more or less refrained from getting involved with women after that. If I did date someone, the moment they started complaining about their ex, I was GONE!

I must thank the women who ripped up their men behind their backs though; they prompted me to take pause, and kept me from making the BIGGEST mistake of my life-getting married to some shrewish harpy.

Uh oh...I can hear the howls now! MarkyMark, not all women are like that-waaahhh! I know that; the fine ladies on here are a breath of fresh air, and are exceptions to the rule. Marrying one of the fine ladies who come here would be like hitting the lottery; you always hear about SOMEONE winning the big jackpot, but it's never YOU (or myself, I should say).

Shelley, I'm glad you FINALLY figured things out; better late than never, I guess. But, that's yet another reason why I'm glad I retained my freedom; that's yet another reason why I'm glad I didn't march down the aisle to my own slavery. Why in blazes would I want to wait for my wife for 10-15 years, if not longer, to GROW UP, act like an adult, and treat me with some semblance of respect? Why would I do that? Why would I subject myself to such misery? I can't think of a good reason...

I'm out of here. Anna, you're 100% right! You have the proper respect, approach, and attitude to your man and marriage. If we could clone another 50-100 million more women like you, I might take the plunge, as I'd have a fighting chance to have a decent marriage. Unfortunately, that is not possible; ladies like you are rarer than gold or precious jewels (Proverbs 31 says that the virtuous wife is more valuable than rubies), and that 9999 out of 10,000 men have NO PRAYER of meeting someone like you. Finding someone like you would be like hitting the lottery; I know SOME lucky SOB will win it, but it won't be me...

MarkyMark

Anonymous said...

Hi, I had a question not related to this post but about Jewish life. I've heard about how Jewish people are not supposed to wear clothing made from different fibers. Is this a true statement and can you explain it? Thanks so much and I've enjoyed learning so much about you life in Israel and being Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Living far away: It's great for the first couple of years. (I actually think it's great for any young adult before marriage too). It gives the couple the time and space to forge their own special connection.

However, once babies come along many young couples find they prefer to live close to one of their parents. Especially if the mother works, it is very practical to live next to family. But even if she stays home, the advice and help from her mother or her husband's when baby is sick or when she needs a rest can be invaluable. Helping out can be as simple as taking the kids out to the park a couple of times a week so mother can rest. Of course, only if the parents respect the couple's 'space'.

Also, it's very special for kids to grow up in the same city as their grandparents.
Finally, sooner than you expect parents age and the young couple will need to take care of them anyway. It's very hard when you live in another city.
Tammy

Mrs. Anna T said...

Anon: you probably refer to the prohibition of wearing a garment made of wool and linen (sha'atnez). Yes it's very true.

ladyakofa said...

Hello Anna,

Although, I'm not yet married, you do have some very good points there.

Most of all, if we have any complains or misgivings about marital decisions, we need to bring them to God in prayer.

Best,
Lady Akofa. :)

Anonymous said...

Anna,

One of your commentors asked a question about dealing with her Mother who is suffering from a disease and is verbally abusing her and trashing her dh. I would like to respond if that is ok because I had a very similar situation.

Dear Michelle,

I do not write this to you lightly. I had a similar situation with my own Mother. Some of it was my own making because I was very young when I married (19) and I thought you were SUSPOSED to complain to your Mom about DH. However, my Mom became destructive in our marriage and when I tried to draw boundaries she made me choose against between them by threatening to do evil to my DH. I should have never let it go that far and should have never complained to her to begin with, never let her into my marriage and never once let her say something mean about my dh. But I did. I saved my marriage by taking a stand and letting her know that if she didn't change her behavior immediatly, she would not be speaking to me as MY MARRIAGE was my first prioirty, not my relationship with her. Anyone who has a problem with that has a problem with the Bible and not me. This was a huge problem for her and SHE CUT ME out of her life. Many women who have browbeaten their dh's into letting them control things cannot stand to see their children leave the nest and their "control". I have a friend whose family is a bitter example of this and all the children still live at home with the parents and pay the parents expenses and have no relationships with anyone. They are all adults! They don't have boyfriend or girlfriends, never got close to anything like marriage and they all just do the Mother's bidding. It is very sad.

If your Mother's disease is causing these outburst, you can tell very easily. Does she treat you this way in front of other people or does she just do it on the phone or only when the two of you are there. If I was a guest, would she act the same way? Some people have so little self control a guest wouldn't matter, but some people blame their lack of self control on diseases and what it is is that everyone in their life allows them to mistreat them.

Your responsibility is to your DH, read the Bible. Allowing your Mom to in anyway trash, make uncomfortable or disrespect your DH is against the Lord's command and YOU have to put her in her place. If she has a problem with that, that is on her.

IF you don't your marriage will suffer and be very bitter if it lasts. Look around you and you will see.

This is hard, I KNOW. But following God isn't easy, it is just right and the Heavenly Father can change hearts and minds. I pray everyday for my poor Mother and pity what SHE has done to her life. I learn from it and will act correctly when my dds marry.

Many Blessings :)
Ace

Laura said...

I'm curious as to why you continue to allow marymark to post here when he uses profanity and is ant-marriage? I wish there was a way I could block just him. He is ruining the comment section of some of my favorite blogs!

Mrs. Anna T said...

Laura,

Mark is just one member of a generation of men who were put down and ruined by feminism. I think his perspective serves as a good reminder to how disappointed men can become in women and marriage, after for decades they had been convinced they aren't needed.

Mrs Slaq said...

Ace, thanks for your input. You're right, she only talks to me this way when we're on the phone, and once when I was visiting. But never in front of anyone but my dad (or DH when it's over the phone). The weird thing is, it's unpredictable. I finally called again last night and she was just fine. Dad said she'd only gotten about 14 hours of sleep during the week she went off on me, and she'd had about 11 hours on Sunday before I talked to her.

Either way, yes, my marriage comes first. I was just hoping to find a loving way of communicating that to my mom. Unfortunately, it seems as though when she's in that mood, it doesn't matter what I say or how I say it, it's wrong.

I'm thankful that we are close to my in-laws. We don't share the same beliefs as they do, but they really are wonderful people and I've so enjoyed getting to know them over the last few years!

Thanks again!

Svetlana said...

It's amazing to me when people, i.e. men, complain that they cannot find a "good woman" when all this time they've been looking in all the wrong places (like bars, college parties, etc.) and/or treating the women they meet as objects. (I am speaking from personal experience, as I have a brother, who's not a Christian and whose lifestyle I do not agree with.)
I try my best to speak only positively about my husband anytime I can, however difficult it may be to do so when talking to your own parents (who want the best for you, but who do not share your faith and agree with your choices). Most of the women I know personally (not just via blogging) do the same, so I know there are women (yes, even single women) out there, but you won't find them at nightclubs or bars.
And, Mark, God has no problem with waiting. In fact, according to the Bible, God is still waiting and withholding the final judgement, so that more people can come to the saving knowledge of Him, and he's doing it out of love.
God bless you Anna, for even if I don't agree with some of the comments I read, they do bring about a civil and respectful discussion about a lot of things. Thank you!

Svetlana said...

It's amazing to me, how often we-humans-think that our singular experience is all there is. In my previous comment, I did not mean to sound as if my friends and I are exceptional, for we're not.

Anonymous said...

And while it's true that there are many women who speak negatively about their DH or SO, I would be very hesitant to conclude that all women therefore are like that...

MarkyMark said...

Laura,

I'm tired, and I just had a long day at work; that said, I don't know if I can properly address your comment, let alone do so in the right spirit.

Having said that, I'll simply say this: guys like me who are still TALKING to women shouldn't concern you; it's the guys who are NOT doing so. Yes, I'm rough & raw; yes, I use some harsh words; yes, I may do a lot of things that upset some of the women who come here. I am more angry than words can say over the damage feminism has caused society-beyond words! During my lifetime, I've seen men & women go from being companions to competitors; I've seen men & women go from being allies (and I do believe that we are natural allies, and God intended this for humanity) to enemies. Do you have ANY idea how that would impact someone? I've LIVED through this transition, and I can't even do justice to this! All I do know is this: I am angry about this; for so many reasons I am angry and hurt over this. And make no mistake about it, we ALL have been affected by feminism-you, me, Anna, everyone.

Why do I submit my comments? Because I don't WANT things to be this way, that's why! I figure it this way: as long as good men & women are TALKING & LISTENING to one another, then we can undo the damage; if we can keep a dialogue open, then, for me, there's hope that things will get better. I may not live to see things turn around, but I want to do my own small part to be part of the SOLUTION, not part of the problem.

Laura, for the record, I don't believe feminism was a spontaneous, grass roots movement that we were led to believe. No, I believe something more sinister, that some very powerful people were behind feminism, and that their ULTIMATE AIM is to enslave the world. Well, if you divide first, then conquer, doing this will be much easier.

Men have always been the creators, builders, and protectors of civilization. Having committed, masculine men willing to take up arms is quite a deterrent to any would-be tyrant. Well, you take men out of the equation, then you take out your main opposition.

If you ruin women, then men have less care and stake in a society. Why? One big reason is that men have no STAKE in doing so; they have no REASON to lay down their lives for a greater cause-mainly the preservation of their freedom, the protection of their families, and to a lesser degree, their nation and its way of life.

Laura, I don't like the status quo. From having read one of your original posts on here, I gather that you don't either. If I'm not mistaken, you're a career woman who's no longer so KEEN on remaining one; if I remember correctly, you wish to emulate Anna's example, even though it's later in life for you (you're what, in your early 30s, right?)to do this.

Well, who do you have to THANK for being thrust into work? Yeah, the feminists. You might wish to check out a certain Simone de Beauvior, authoress of "The Second Sex". In that book, she PLAINLY STATES that women should not be allowed to have the choice to remain at home! Go to some mens' issues sites, and read the feminists' quotes; read what they said; get it STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH!

Who do you have to thank for the lack of available, eligible, willing, and able men? Again, you can thank the feminists. They have worked tirelessly to change the divorce laws, and they were changed; in spite of the fact that there was NO DEMAND FROM THE PUBLIC to do this, the divorce laws were changed, so that they're biased against men. How do you think this will impact eligible, available men? Do you think that, after having seen their friends, relatives, and colleagues cleaned out in an unjust divorce, these men will be willing to take the risk on marriage? Again, this was DELIBERATE.

I would exhort & admonish you to read Nancy Levant, Henry Makow, and others to learn more about what was REALLY behind feminism. Do it! I dare you! You'll have your eyes opened, big time...

No Laura, the problem isn't men like me; after all, we still care enough about the damage that's been wrought by this senseless war of the sexes that we're still TALKING to women. Though I may be far from perfect at doing this, at least I and guys like me are still willing to engage in some sort of dialogue. We are not the problem.

The men who SHOULD concern you are the ones who are NOT talking to women, and sharing their thoughts about how the war of the sexes has affected them. How do you know what such a man is REALLY thinking, hmmmm? How do you know, Laura? Care to answer that one for me? If you're truthful, you cannot answer those questions, and the fact that you cannot do so should scare you senseless; it should scare you to the point of having nightmares!

Why do I say that? How do you know such a man likes women? How do you know if he hates women? Furthermore, do you have ANY idea of if he would ACT on his feelings? If such a man would act on his feelings, how would this affect you? Would he simply do mean things to you, like talk behind your back? Or, does such a man have something more sinister in mind? For example, would such a man hurt you? Would he try to kill you? Again, since he does not talk to women at all and share his feelings with them on anything, how do you REALLY, TRULY KNOW where you stand with such a man? Yeah, that's what I thought...

Laura, before I close this out (I've gone on far longer than I intended), I'm going to ask you some more questions. How would YOU like it if you were bashed, trashed, and criminalized simply for being a woman? Would you like that? Or, how would YOU like to be falsely accused of a serious crime, be dragged out of your house in the middle of the night, and be in danger of losing the life you've built for yourself-all because someone pointed the finger at you? That has happened to me, ok?! Thanks to feminism, a woman can point the finger at me, say I did 'x', and I'll be jailed! If the shoe were on your foot, if a man could point the finger at you, and have YOU arrested, how would YOU like it? Would you be happy and overjoyed? Or, would you be, like me, angry, aghast, perplexed, etc.? How would you like it, Laura?! Better yet, how would YOU like being told that you DESERVE all this? That you DESERVE to lose all your rights and dignity as a human being, simply for being born a woman? If you wouldn't like it, all I can say is welcome to MY LIFE, Darlin'!

Why do I leave comments here and on other, similar sites? For another reason, I often read stuff about how men are unwilling to grow up, get married, etc. I have to tell you, such stuff doesn't go over well with me or a lot of other guys. I offer my perspective on why I'm reluctant to marry because men didn't do this without good reason. We didn't all of a sudden wake up one day, get together amongst ourselves, and concoct ways to upset, anger, and hurt women; we didn't do that at all! No, we have SOUND REASONS for backing off, and if you want things to change, then you'd better know what OUR concerns are. We have real, genuine concerns, and we, as men & human beings (I know, that may be a shock to some women, but men ARE human beings-wow!) want them addressed; until our grievances are addressed, we'll continue to stay away from you. You want men to come back to the table? Fine, give us GOOD REASON to do so, then we'll talk...

I'm out of here, Laura. Guys like me shouldn't be your cause for concern. Though I may be rough and harsh in expressing my views, at least I care enough about the fallout of this war of the sexes to still talk to you and other women about it! That, believe it or not, is a good sign, Laura. No, the guys who you should REALLY worry about are the ones who aren't talking; you have NO IDEA where you stand with them, and your standing may be anything but good with such men. They are the truly dangerous ones.

Anna, let me say thanks for letting me toss in my $.02 now & then. Thanks for being wise & patient enough to look beyond the words, and view me as a human being; you'd be surprised how few women do this anymore. Thanks for letting me show that men as well as women have been hurt by feminism, and that this affects all of us. Indeed, our very survival may depend on it. With that, I shall bid you all good night...

MarkyMark

P.S.-Laura, if you really want to ignore me, here's how you do it: click on the comment, and it'll collapse. I think that this feature was originally installed to allow you to click off those comments you've already read, but it can be used as an 'ignore' feature too.

Laura said...

Markymark, you have me confused with someone else. I am a single woman in my early 20s. I don't think you understood my point. It is not that I don't agree with you. It is that I understood this to be a religious blog- not a place where I would see profanity, anti-children and anti-marriage posts.

Anna, I do hope you will allow this answer since he did take the time to write such a long post.

Buffy said...

I was reading an interesting book on family psychology (with no particular religious or political slant) and it was saying that it was vitally important for children's sense of emotional security to see their mother and father present a united front. Case studies have shown that the child will try to play off one against the other and if they succeed in doing so the child will then become very anxious, hostile and unhappy, even though it appears that got what they were looking for.

Whilst I think talking to a wise and impartial friend or relative can throw much needed light and objectivity on a specific issue, we do need to remember the importance of backing each other up to the hilt, even if we don't always agree 100%.

A Wonderful Life! said...

This is the most eye opening truthful post I have read in a long time. I have come to realize the exact same thing in the past few months and have begun to practice it. I a,m finding the people I used to confide in are acting like "Whats wrong with you? Are you mad at me? Are you sick?" These are some of the questions I have received. I simply state "No" there is nothing wrong. Then why are you so quiet? It goes on and on. Its been a few months and these people have started to stop asking me finally. I have to admit it took a lot of patience on my past to remain calm though with the questioning. The result-A lot less fighting with my husband-a peaceful home and quiet night with my family. Ahhh Its all worth it. Stephanie

MarkyMark said...

Laura,

You're right; I did have you confused with someone else. I stand corrected.

I know that Anna posts with a religious bent, and I do make posts that are mindful of this. That said, could we not agree that religion is affected by the external world, and vice versa? Just because one devotes his or her life to religion doesn't make one IMMUNE to issues affecting the larger world.

For example, if you look at today's Christian church (outside of the fundamentalists), feminist beliefs have infiltrated the church as well as infiltrating the external world; the only difference is that feminist beliefs do not hold as much sway within the church as without, but the beliefs are found in many Christian churches nonetheless.

Secondly, even if one does wish to model his life on a Judeo-Christian template, e.g. one wishes to have a traditional family arrangement for religious reasons (the Bible, in Titus, instructs us that wives are to be keepers of the home), then the external world and issues thereof WILL impact the religious family. How?

Again, I'll go back to the economic angle, since that's a huge deterrent to many people wishing to pursue a traditional family arrangement. When women flooded the workforce 3-4 decades ago, the labor supply basically DOUBLED overnight. Well, when you increase the supply of anything, especially by such a big percentage (and a 50% increase is a big percentage, would you not agree?), then the following things must happen as a result: 1) wages & salaries must go down, as does the price of anything when its supply increases; 2) since competition for any job, especially a good one, is so more fierce, such jobs hard to get; 3) because of factors #1 and #2, a man has a much harder time securing a job that will allow him to SUPPORT a family on his income alone.

Ah, but those aren't the only economic ramifications of women flooding the workforce; there are more! Because you have many two income couples now, rents & housing prices went up. Again, this is in accordance with economic laws. Since a wife's income could now be used for mortgage qualification, the couple could obtain a bigger mortgage, which would allow them to bid more for a house or pay more rent for the same apartment; when this is the norm, then housing prices & rents will go up, since the market will BEAR the increased prices & rents; there are also more dollars chasing the SAME amount of housing too. If sellers & landlords couldn't GET what they were asking, they wouldn't posting the high asking prices or rents now, would they? If they set their prices too high, then folks will look for a more reasonably priced alternative for their housing needs.

I live in NJ, which is among the most expensive states in the USA. Before the housing market collapsed, it was not uncommon for a 3BR bilevel house (rather ordinary, wouldn't you agree?) to be fetching HALF A MILLION BUCKS! Yeah, you read that right-3BR bilevels selling for $500k-ouch! The sellers of these houses wouldn't put the house on the market for that price if they weren't likely to get it. Why do sellers and landlords GET the high asking prices? Because, both the husband & wife work, so they can afford to take out a bigger mortgage.

What's that got to do with the price of tea in China, MarkyMark? What does THAT have to do with Anna's blog, which is about living a traditional lifestyle? It has EVERYTHING to do with it, Laura! If a man wants to live a traditional lifestyle here, he'd better: 1) be independently wealthy; or 2) have a killer job paying in or close to the six figures. Well, only 5% or so of wage earners earn $100,000/yr or more; that means a vast majority of workers earn less, a lot less than that. Even if a man earns $50k/year here, in NJ that will NOT go far at all. This makes it extremely difficult for those wishing to live a traditional lifestyle to actually pull it off. See how external issues affect matters of faith & practice? That is but one example.

Listen, my wash is done, so I'm going to close this out. I didn't realize you agreed with me Laura; your posts seemed to reek of shaming language, so my defenses went up, closing my mind off to any other points you may have made. While I'm aware that Anna has a religious focus here, and while I try to keep that in mind when I post, external issues ALWAYS affect matters of faith and practice-especially practice of one's faith! I try to tie those factors in. I present issues from a man's perspective (I can't help but do so, since I am a man), hoping to show that our actions are not occurring in a vacuum; there's a REASON for us doing what we do, and I wish to share that with women, who I hope will tell others. I hope & pray that I will play some, small part in undoing the damage that's been wrought via the war of the sexes, a war that this man certainly did not want. Have a good night, and I wish you well...

MarkyMark

Svetlana said...

So many people say they cannot live on one income, they "need" such and such. How many of those tried to live on one income before concluding that they cannot? Yes, living on one income will be difficult, but it's not unheard of. I live in MN, and know quite a few families (including young married friends of mine) who live on on income, one small income I might add. One of these couples lives in U of M Student housing while the husband is pursuing his Master's, and his wife is a stay at home mother and wife.
Unfortunately, my husband and I both work currently because he's going to evening school and we just cannot make ends meet on just his income from a full-time job, so I help out by working. But I work towards a future date when I can come home and be a keeper at home, living simply and frugally.
Laura was right, while your thoughts are interesting, profanity is not (nor should it be) an acceptable mode of communicate your feeling, esp. since you write them down Mark and you know what Anna stands for.

MarkyMark said...

Svetlana,

Forgive me for being unclear, for it wasn't my intention to dissuade anyone from living a traditional lifestyle (which I think is best, BTW, and the empirical evidence of history will back me up on this), nor was I trying to say that it's impossible to do so even today. What I was trying to say was that, thanks to changes in society and the judgment of God Almighty (re Deut. 28; read that some time, and you will be scared when you juxtapose that chapter with current events!), it is a lot more DIFFICULT to do so.

Now, if a couple is willing to make the necessary sacrifices to live a traditional lifestyle, it can be done; there's no question it can be done. My former pastor, whose wife stays at home to raise and educate all EIGHT of their children, is living proof that it can be done. However, they have had to make certain sacrifices to live a Godly, traditional lifestyle. For example, they never had a new car when I knew the family.

I think that that's a big part of the problem-unreasonable expectations. I would dare say that most Americans have NO CLUE what real poverty is-no clue at all! As a Navy veteran, I've traveled and seen much of the world; I've seen REAL poverty (I'm talking dirt for a floor, no plumbing, no electric, no nothing but a tin shack for shelter-for an ENTIRE FAMILY!), and that is a life changing experience. After seeing that, I've always been grateful for what I have; even poor people here live like kings compared to most of the world...

Unfortunately, most Americans haven't traveled. If they have, you can bet your bippy that they haven't been away from the nice 'tourist traps' that everyone sees; they haven't seen how MOST people live. All they know is what they see on TV; they want to live like they do on "Friends"; and they don't want to give up any of the trappings of success and affluence.

If you're willing to pay the price, if you're willing to make the requisite sacrifices, then you can have pretty much anything you want. Whether it's living a traditional lifestyle, having a home with a waterfront view, or anything else, if you're willing to make the sacrifices, then you can have it. The trouble is that many Americans are too spoiled to even entertain the notion of sacrifice, let alone actually DO it.

As for profanity, would you kindly show me where I've used it? Perhaps it's a matter of defining terms. I define profanity as one of "the seven dirty words you can't say on TV"; is that your definition too, or do you define it differently? If we go with my definition, then I'd be hard pressed to recall using profanity; if we're using your definition, and that definition includes harsh words, then I'm guilty. However, the words I've used would be found in any dictionary, even one of the older ones which didn't list "the seven dirty words".

Ergo, I don't see them as profanity. Have some of my words been harsh? Guilty as charged, your honor. Do I lack diplomacy and tact? Again, I'm guilty as charged. However, I have made an effort to refrain from using certain words precisely because of where I am, and the audience herein.

Finally, I wish you well in your endeavors. Kudos to you for helping your husband; your support now will help him to help you live the lifestyle you both want. I say go for it; I wish you well; and please let us know how things turn out, ok? Have a good night...

MarkyMark

Svetlana said...

Hi Mark,

The words are in your fist answer to this post, regarding the lucky guys who find Godly wives. I will not repeat them here.
Perhaps it is a matter of definition. If you define profanity as something you cannot say on TV, well, let's just say that they show and say things on TV nowadays that could not and would not have several years ago, so I would not use TV as a standard. The standard I use is God's Word, which exorts us to think pure thoughts and take no part in worldly things.
And living your life simply is a matter of priorities. For one, my husband and I both agree on the following, why buy a new car when as soon as (or even sooner than that) you drive the car off the lot, it loses a lot of its value? Why not get a good dependable used car? Or maybe be able to pay cash up front for the car of your dreams several years down the road (umm, no pun intended) instead of going into debt now? Once again, a matter of priorities.