The theme recurs, again (is that redundant?)…woman marries man, fast forward, woman unhappy and identifying the problem as her husbands unwillingness to be emotionally intimate with her, she even has a book and maybe a ministry to back her up! In evangelical circles emotional intimacy is conflated with loving as Christ the church. Wives don’t need to move a relational muscle until he is loving as Christ the church…..buster.
The following set of links were included in a thread from my old online haunt (which is for intents an evangelical feminist flash mob now), and this all dovetails well with Yahsar Ali and his self effacing musings, as he attempts to become whatever it is women want men to become.
These are so full of material that it may require several posts to fully unpack them.
In the first one I read, “The Emotionally Distant Husband” I found some surprisingly reasonable advice buried amidst the typical male accountability stuff, so much so that I had to wonder if the woman on CF even read the whole article before she decided to include it in her list of references..
The author frames the problem with sufficient import:
Over twenty-five thousand counseling sessions have shown me that the single most common marital problem I encounter is the case of an emotionally eager wife whose husband will not engage with her on a deep, meaningful, and personal level
How unusual. We keep being told that women are not seeking counseling and ultimately divorcing due to feelings of unhappiness, yet the hard divorce data, and this writer’s impressive anecdotal data show otherwise. (Forgive me….I forget that this emotional deprivation is considered horrid abuse, not mere unhappiness which is represented universally as a toilet seat up or socks on the floor triviality in the denials of the evangelical gynocentrics).
There is a problem with emotionality in our culture. Experiencing emotion….feeling empathy for example….has been elevated to a high exalted place. Words are defined up again, and thrown into a descriptive with little concern for what they actually mean, and much care for the feelings they elicit when used in context. In that way proclaiming the virtue of emotionality is circular. Emotions/feelings are wonderful because it feels good to say and believe that emotions/feelings are wonderful:
But because she recognizes and even nurtures her emotional side, the wife can enjoy life in its richest, fullest dimension.
What does that even MEAN? And why must it be foist, even forced on everyone, even those for whom that declaration seems, well, meaningless? The whole of our culture seems to be in an emotional dumbing down using these words like richness and fullness and well rounded. They appear in places where there is essentially nothing real to say. Diversity and multiculturalism are claimed to increase the richness and fullness of life’s experience, in the work place, in the neighborhood, and in academic settings. These things, when they occur (diversity, multiculturalism) naturally are perfectly fine, but because of how they make people FEEL when talking about them, we try and force them to occur. Oddly, elites especially like it from their homogeneous enclaves while watching the unwashed live richer fuller lives.
Back on topic, I have a pat question based on this excerpt:
The emotionally eager wives are usually the type who devour self-help books, enjoy stimulating philosophical discussions, and flock to seminars. They invite growth. They like being challenged about what can be done to create a fuller life and why they need to make the needed adjustments. Result: They grow and expand intellectually as their husbands tune in still another football game
I have to say it….how is that working out these days? How many women that have fully embraced all that Oprah has to offer seem to be in a state of enjoying life in fullness and richness? How many women finish the latest relationship book or return from the seminar floating in a cloud of emotional richness? Compare that number to what really happens. How many women magically find problems in their lives and marriages that were raised topically in the books and seminars, creating an insatiable need for drama? She reads about issue X in marriages, and the “5 Ways to Identify X”, odd that every one of those vague attributes screams to the surface in her own relationship, leading her to pre-order the new book, “9 Steps to Solving X”.
These books and seminars, just like marriage counseling, are death to marriage. They create demand for themselves, repackaging the same issues using different jargon, and offering new solutions. She explains why this works here:
Whereas women enjoy the process of doing something
What an absolutely perfect set up. The code is not hard to break here. She claims that men like to get to solutions while women enjoy process, that process and the feelings garnered during process afford the wife richness and fullness in life. This is code for drama and attention getting, for attracting sympathy and poor me empathy from friends. The writer says as much:
the emotionally eager wife will be prone toward responses such as crying, persuading, calling friends for support, acting moody, repeating the same requests, accusing, and giving up. Once the cycle gets going it can be difficult to break
There you have it.
Emotionality is inherently something women like; empathy is something women like. Here the writer unintentionally lays out the cycle that destroys marriages. She has conflated emotional banter with “stimulating philosophical discussions” giving pseudo intellectual cover to emotional orgies and the pursuit of more input. (imagine Number 5 in the movie Short Circuit, speed reading books saying he needed more input) The woman SEEKS the drama that juices the experience by reading books and attending seminars, she finds issues, some real, many imagined, based on what she reads. She has marriage problems! She calls everyone she knows to tell them and garner sympathy. She throws fits at home making the man even less likely to be able to accommodate her ever present cloud of irreconcilable emotions, rinse, repeat…and so on, and so on.
This is chipping directly at the cornerstone of the modern church, the modern churches take on relationship with other people, and sadly the modern churches take on the relationship humans have with our creator. Nothing means anything anymore. There are no side rails, no definitional boundaries, nothing is hard and fast. Lacking something tangible to which we can tether ourselves, what do we do? We flail about loosely attaching temporarily to the next thing that comes along that FEELS right.
Nothing was ever built to last using brick and mortar made of fickle emotions. Even the cornerstone of the modern church is vapor. The real, true cornerstone is still there though, but sometimes finding Him and staying tethered there can make us feel content. There is no drama in contentment, nothing to phone a friend about (“Julie, I am feeling so wonderfully content today”), in other words, emotionally boring.
A quick marital issue will sort that out right away, now what was the name of that new best seller?