Emotional Needs, Secular vs. Churchian Boldness

What if it was affirmed that emotional neediness causes marital problems. What if preachers and Christian ministry leaders started using a real biblical view of happiness and steadfastness and boldly telling women that they have ramped up their expectations to a level that will never be met, indeed that the level of expectations will rise with the attempts to meet them. What if Christian counselors actually looked into the words being spoken instead of falling back on the same old “we need to get you two communicating”?

If that happened they would uncover what an article I found shows secular counselors have already discovered  to a larger degree than their Christian counterparts.

These are things we have written and commented about in the sphere for years. The article lists “6 Mistakes Women Make That Lead to Divorce”. I have pasted the list below and some of the commentary that follows each item. There is more in the link. The take away is that this is far closer to reality than any of the main stream Christian thinking on the subject.

The title boldly states that women CAN cause divorce. That  is a deviation from the way Christian articles are written, where the examples of misbehavior are men, the examples of redemption and “getting fixed” are men, and the examples of saved marriages are due to the efforts of men and the examples of divorce causes are men and our sins, which include not pandering to emotional needs. Have a look at some better information than you will find at church:

1. You talk to friends about the rotten thing you think your husband did to you. Research suggests that friends are often more upset when they think their bestie is being mistreated than when they’re experiencing the same mistreatment themselves. [ ]

The article doesn’t mention the compelling effect that the drive for empathy has on these interactions. The friends actually want to feel what the one complaining feels, and they want it to be really bad so that the feelings are intense. This makes the empathogasm more intense when it is achieved.

2. You think that talking about these problems with your husband is the answer.  [ ] One of the biggest pet peeves for men is that feeling of being nagged or badgered,  [ ] Also, the rules of polite, kind, nice conversation that women try to follow often come off as indirect, manipulative and mysterious to men. [ ] The solution: learn communication skills designed specifically to talk with men

[ ] . 

3. You believe that your happiness depends on your husband changing.

[ ] Research has shown that happiness does increase when your husband changes for the better, but that change originates with you.[ ] 

4. You live parallel lives. [ ] Couples who are trying to reconnect after their children have left home often come to realize that they don’t know each other anymore. [ ]

5. You focus on what’s wrong. 

6. You utter these deadly words: “I deserve … . [ ] It’s very different from knowing internally that you are worth more, and having the communication skills necessary to ask for more. Knowing what you’re worth helps you inspire your husband to cherish you. The solution: focus on knowing your own worth.[  ]

Lets compare that with some blog entries written by Dennis Rainy as well as a radio interview that included Rainy and Bob Lepine. They are talking about how women can help men step up. I will frame this with a couple of quotes from the interview:

Bob: So, I‟m thinking of a wife who is planning for that weekend. She‟s got the option of either her husband, on Saturday, doing all the projects around the house so that he can watch the game on Sunday; or she can send him to the Stepping Up® Super Saturday event, down at the church

[ ]

She has the option, she can send him. Then after, wax on wax off circles.

Bob:You talk about the fact that the men‟s culture in America is a broken culture. Do you think it‟s always been that way? Do you think it‟s true in other cultures?[ ] But has there ever been a time when you‟ve looked back and say, “They understood masculinity, back there, or over here, or—”? You know?

Kenny: I think it‟s just more visible now. I think broken male culture is just more visible in this age of technology, and smart phones, and cause, and internet, and the tsunami of information that‟s becoming available [ ] For 20 centuries, men have had broken, male subculture to deal with power, and pressure, and responsibilities.
[ ] it‟s a news bite, almost on a daily-basis—some celebrity man, some athlete, some politician who has either cheated on his wife—

When you start from such a premise it is clear why they go where they go. In an article called Becoming the Man of Her Dreams Dennis Rainy explains:

I’m convinced we have a generation of married men who are confused and lonely; they’re stuck in a lifeless marriage because they never learned how to cultivate a relationship with a woman that speaks to her romantic need for intimacy.

Reader Sandy offers a (sort of) specific complaint:

Dennis, I’m afraid that I am losing respect for him as a man. He is not really contributing to our marriage or even to his own life, so it’s like having a dependent rather than a husband, a partner.

Can we assume Dennis did any investigation as to what this even means? Not that it would matter, because his response is canned:

Men have been led to believe that great sex, like fresh fruit, is hanging off every tree, ripe and waiting to be picked. All they have to do is reach out and grab some. They’ve been duped into thinking the same should be true in a marriage.

Correct me if I am wrong. Rainy is telling men that in marriage, sex is not there, available. Rather its a result of his continued performance, and as he shows later in the article, the performance is about meeting elusive emotional needs:

because God hard-wired a woman to desire relationship. Just as your wife has the power to affirm you sexually, you’ll have tremendous power to provide her with the relationship she longs for, namely, a connectedness to your heart and soul.

So, she has the power to affirm you sexually, and you have the power to provide her with the relationship she longs for. So far so good, until either one is prerequisite for the other. Here is where it goes in a direction I’d not picked up on before:

God, in His wisdom, created Eve to be the companion that Adam didn’t even recognize he needed. She was created to remove Adam’s aloneness. No wonder God placed in Eve an intense drive toward relationship

Adam needed relationship too, but didn’t even know it. So, God put Eve there with these relational cravings that Adam will have to meet, all in order to meet emotional cravings Adam didn’t even know he had? These folks will say ANYTHING to create more and more biblical backing for unfettered neediness. He explains why.

I believe God wants to knock the edges off me, as a man

Because we know that men have edges, oddly God given and God created edges that then God created woman as the tool with which to sort the man out. Some of the other “edges” God created in men, those of, say, provision, those are OK, but not to be recognized as germane in this dance he describes.

I think if I just knock off about a half dozen items on her “honey do” list—cooking breakfast, weeding the garden, and so on—then Barbara will feel romantic when we go to bed at night.But points are irrelevant to Barbara if she feels disconnected from me. In my way of thinking, a little sexual intimacy will connect us. But that may not even be on her radar screen as a woman. Romance for her begins heart to heart and is consummated body to body. In her way of thinking, she wants me to be her friend first, then her lover. Giving her a relationship first is how I become the man of her dreams.

The result? The problems listed above in the secular article, and rampant sexual denial to go along with it.

Rainy exacerbates the creation of needs by actually spelling out what he calls “5 Romantic Needs of a Woman”

I have made a partial list of some things that I think any husband could use in complimenting and praising his wife: charm; femininity; faithfulness to God, you, your children; hard work; beauty; personality; her love, including her receptivity and responsiveness to you as a man; her advice and counsel; character; desirability; friendship—and that’s just a start. What wife won’t respond to a husband who praises her regularly with gentle words for all these qualities?

The circle is complete. He creates the needs, the man meets the needs in order that the wife be receptive to him, then the man compliments the woman’s receptivity. I just know there has to be a term for that circular thinking, i just don’t know what it is.

Compare the ease in understanding the secular admonishments to women to the nonsensical instructions from Family Like, specifically from the Men Stepping Up blog. Setting aside which gender is doing what, which of the two is easier to understand and act upon?

This is why the  confession Dalrock refers to is so crucial. When secular relational advice is better, and easier to understand, and Christian advice is wholly destructive, only a tidal wave of resistance born of confession can begin to turn this around. To answer the questions I posed in the first paragraph, we’d have a situation where secular interests invade the church in a good way.

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15 thoughts on “Emotional Needs, Secular vs. Churchian Boldness

  1. In advertising aimed at women, you notice how the woman is often depicted as being serene. She’s looking at the seashore, she is sitting looking really happy and serene holding a coffee cup or has a dreamy expression on her face as she looks out a window. This ties in with the endless laundry lists women come up with.

    A woman lecturer once said that women’s shame is to some extent tied in to all the things they think they should be doing or should have happening. That kind of advertising ties into that. The background either shows freedom from responsibility–the beach for instance–or it shows a perfectly neat, clean, tidy home and no responsibility but sitting on the couch looking beautiful drinking coffee.

    And so you can see how this is tied in to the sin of Eve–Eve isn’t content to believe what God has said, Eve wants more. Its’ like it’s hard to get people like Rainey to recognize that Adam and Eve both sinned, each was responsible for their own sin, and that we have inherited that. It is unchristian to say that women would be doing fine if it were not for men. It’s a lie.

  2. Good catch. Yes, one of my favorite comments, ever, by a woman in the sphere was when SSM once said something about how, when seeing her husband relax she would immediately approach him “usually with a list”.

    Let me tie that together.

    The emotional needs are also these “needs” to have that exact situation you describe from the Ads. It could reasonably be said that THAT is “to feel safe” put to picture. Knowing that there is a bulb burned out in the cabinet in the garage would ruin the entire flipping Sears-White -Sale-ness of the Ad. If a man is relaxing he is by definition leaving things undone. That would apply to coddling emotions as well as changing light bulbs.

  3. @Empath

    It’s fundamental problem with marketing in-and-of-itself; even for good things.

    Wanting to help marriages is a good thing. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a good thing to make a living doing. Men, however, don’t buy stuff because of marketing. They just don’t. Even Coors ads that sell men on beer with bikini girls don’t really work. The closest connection that can be made is “Beer and girls are fun”. No duh. Men already knew that. It has never sold a case of Coors itself; though it has probably perpetuated the idea that beer should be involved in good times.

    Women, though, lacking judgment, eat that up. They don’t know why hardly anything works, so the connection is cemented more strongly in their minds: Buy Victoria Secret and get looks. Meanwhile: Men know it’s the boobs that get the looks; not the bra.

    To a marriage/relationship marketer it helps to imagine EVERYBODY is a potential woman because that validates what they do. Women “make the connection” of: “Buy this book, get this relationship.” So, in their mind, and believing that their system is a good thing to sell, they treat everyone as if they were women…you know, because women buy stuff. They even bough the Fruit in the Eden.

    What’s a marketer going to do? Is he going downsize himself because what he does is not only meaningless, but ultimately erecting idols in women’s minds? Is he going to accept that his product isn’t all that great? Hardly. Instead, he invents that there MUST be this need inside of men for their product, but that they’re afraid to show it, or they’re ignorant of it. That’s begins the process of generating dumb-ass concepts like “emotional needs”.

    It turns out all marketing is aimed at women, and all marketing’s aim to to make women. That’s the circular conceit. That’s Game, too; the psychology of women; the marketing of women; for women.

  4. Sojourner:
    I’ve noticed this too in advertising, but I think it stems from a different reason. The women in ads are depicted, as you said—the reality of American women is completely though. Generally, they’re walking around with scowls and complaining about anything and everything. Similarly, TV shows and movies depict American women as slim, sexy, smart: not even 1 Amerobitch in a 1/2 million comes even close to that depiction.

    IOW, I think the media is aiming these images moreso at men than at women. They want men to believe that it’s possible for any average normal guy to net a high-quality female, and shame them into feeling like losers if they don’t.

    http://www.kshatriya-anglobitch.blogspot.com/2012/09/beauty-and-geek.html

  5. Empath:
    While I think that the points listed in the article are positive steps forward, what I really read into them is how pathetic most American women have become; and how unsuitable for any kind of relationship. When you have to advise a WIFE to do things like ‘learn communication skills with men’ or ‘not to depend on your husband changing’ or ‘not to live parallel lives’—it’s very obvious that women who need this kind of advice ought not to have married in the first place. It’s somewhat like a judge who’s never been to law school; or a minister who’s never read the Bible.

  6. Im not self or cyber high fiving about anything. Its not a step in any direction actually, their attention span is nil. It was written that day and forgotten that evening.

    99.999% of the things most women like to read are banal painfully obvious advice when they are even about advice. They have been recycling the same 10 things for 40 years. Not to boost up men too much, the average guy can sit and listen to two talking heads on ESPN debate, endlessly, who was the greatest this or that or speculate on things about who will be the greatest.

  7. Men, however, don’t buy stuff because of marketing. They just don’t.

    I said as much at TC yesterday, and was told that I was wrong about that. So which is it?

  8. Elspeth, its both, because it depends on what they mean by marketing.
    Men do not buy stuff because of marketing in the sense of the pleased looking woman in the white room, or beer and hot girls, etc.
    Men will see information, features, benefits, prices, and act on that. I don’t see the sort of manipulation we were discussing applying nearly as much to men. I never say never though.

  9. I think it‟s just more visible now. I think broken male culture is just more visible in this age of technology, and smart phones, and cause, and internet, and the tsunami of information that‟s becoming available [ ] For 20 centuries, men have had broken, male subculture to deal with power, and pressure, and responsibilities.

    This is fascinating because not only does it conspicuously deny the feminist rebellion now in the final mopping up stages (how in the world do they manage to overlook that so consistently?) but it also explains why they and men like them believe they need to fill in the gaps ostensibly missed by the Apostle Paul, his peers, as well as Christ Himself. They make this painfully clear with the 20 centuries bit. This is the excuse for ignoring the foundation of Christianity and making up something new to replace it with. Paul and the rest of them had to rely on Holy Spirit 1.0, because the internet and smartphones hadn’t been invented yet*. Now of course we know better, and it turns out what Christianity was all along meant to be repackaged feminism. When Paul wrote in Ephesians that wives are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to wash their wives in the water of the word, that must have been his male privilege speaking. What he was supposed to write (according to the modern sensitive new age guys) was that husbands are to submit to their wives so the wife can use the wisdom of her tingle to purify him.

    And yet as you point out even secular science is moving against them. That is the worst part. Soon even Oprah won’t be on their side anymore. And because of the internet and smartphones, the world will forever remember how truly foolish these men were.

    *I can only imagine that once these men are done we will change our calendar to BGJ and AGJ, referring to the time period Before Gore & Jobs, and After Gore & Jobs.

  10. “And yet as you point out even secular science is moving against them. That is the worst part. Soon even Oprah won’t be on their side anymore. ”

    You are being a little too optimistic here, Dalrock. Feminists won’t want to give up the power they have amassed in the last few decades, or even to slow down the rate at which it is still being acquired. They will fight against science as fiercely and vociferously as they have fought against Biblical teaching. The Curse of Eve bows to nothing.

  11. Empath:
    ‘Their attention span is nil.’

    Good point. Most of them probably forgot whatever good advice they read within a half an hour; and then onto some bozo like Peter Breggin or Mark Driscoll who confirms their prejudices! LOL

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