I almost never use examples from my own life to illustrate things we discuss in the sphere. One time I did it recently I started getting advice on how to handle the situation. That’s not the point of the post. Its to use an example to illustrate something i do not believe i could explain as a concept. here goes:
My wife fades in and out of old habits. Yesterday was the wrong day to fade in, but she did. Some dialog occured that afforded a teaching moment. I decided to show her that she was lying. She perhaps didn’t realize it….I say that’s a “gift” women have, but I insisted that she needed to stop, listen, and know that she, a woman who will offer an hour long impromptu discourse on integrity, uses tricks to lie to herself and to others.
I knew that today, Thursday, she was to have a couple of friends over. In fact, Tuesday night I was going to run to the store and get cat food, she asked that I not bother, because she was going Wednesday, since two of her friends were coming to our house Thursday. I asked, “you sure?” Yes. she said she would go. ( I know she’d be more apt to go because of her friends coming, if it was just general grocering it would be procrastinated) I do not know why, but she occasionally gets very invested in things like this, where she for some reason is adamant I NOT go or do the thing I am about to do, a thing that is a chore I willingly happily would go do. Used to be I’d just not go, keeping the peace. Past 10 years I don’t even tell her where I’m going or what I’m doing, and just go do the errand. But Tuesday evening I did not go.
Yesterday (Wednesday) I came home and found my wife in the back yard working. She had gone to Lowe’s, bought a bunch of mulch and plants, and was creating two new beds in the back yard. We had just, the day before, said we needed to lighten up on spending $. I asked her, “you did that because your friends are coming Thursday (the next day) right?”. “Oh no, you know Ive wanted to do this for a long time, its been on my long term list for awhile”
I said, with a smile, “look at me…..you are lying”. “You may not consider it such, but you are lying. Now, it was about the friends right?” She grins that I’d busted her (in her mind) cute little fib. But she insisted tha,t well, if you were to assign %’s to the reason, the biggest % was NOT about her friends. She was still lying, even more cleverly, because I cannot argue objectively about %’s in that case.
I moved on.
Later I asked about the $. She says yes we discussed that yesterday, BUT, apparently months ago we’d had a conversation and I’d agreed two beds would be nice to add, so, therefore, in her mind, it “didn’t count”. Then I notice tile samples on the counter. “YES”, she said, “I want to put up back splashes in the kitchen”. Same argument, we’d once waxed dreamily about it, hence, not covered. Those old discussions were of the sort you’d have when you say things like “someday it would be nice to have a cabin in the mountains”….concepts, idle chatter, heck I didn’t even know we’d had or not had a talk about flower beds and back splashes, but I guess we did.
Meanwhile I learn from my 8 yr old that the friends cancelled, we’d have no visitors Thursday (today)
So, I asked, “by the way, did you happen to get to the store for cat food”
“No, after all the yard work I decided Id go the next day”
I say, “let me ask, and please be honest, if the friends were still coming tomorrow, you’d be headed there this evening to get groceries right?”‘
In true faded-IN fashion she said, “I’m done with this conversation, you just want to argue” She added, “besides look at how much money you spend on e books from Amazon”….a completely incongruous remark at this point in the conversation as we were discussing the grocery trip, but it served her need to get a work in about $.
Busted in a third lie. I hear this kind of lying a lot from women, even to each other. I hate it. I hate it even more when the women get very animated on the topic of honesty and say “the one thing I cannot stand it lying”
To illustrate how toxic this is, my 23 year old daughter was there and she asked if we’d please just drop the subject, she didn’t like the arguments and would have to leave if it continued because it stressed her out. She saw nothing but arguing. She saw no issue whatsoever in the incident….just two silly people disagreeing. There were no raised voices or harsh words, nevertheless, I don’t want my daughter to feel badly when she is visiting. Besides it was clear there was no outcome to be had in the discourse that would not involve just more meandering tricks that seem to arise from the female mind like instinct.
But the wife had found her weapon. The e book buying thing seemed to have been late, but better late than never, and she wanted me to acknowledge it. I didn’t say anything else on the matter.
Now, suppose this happened all the time. And suppose it led to marriage counseling. Would a counselor call out the lies? Would he or she even think they were lies? If they did, would they wink and chuckle at the innocence of them and ask me to lighten up? Or would the counselor rebuke the man for being argumentative? Heaven forbid she did this daily, cornering the man amidst a growing maelstrom of unrelated statements that the wife’s face reveals she sees as game changers. And he then raised his voice.
ABUUUUZZZERRR, the wife and a chorus of friends would conclude. Soon, like those exercises when you pass a sentence around the room as kids, the woman would be in jeopardy of her very life if she stays one more minute.
This is not about the incident described. its not about some dialog I might have chosen to handle the thing differently. It is me asserting that what I just described is default communication mode for the vast majority of women I’ve ever known. It is me asserting that “would you rather win the argument or stay married” is one of the stupidest pieces of advice ever given. Its stupid because its harmful and toxic, yes, but its also stupid because the person offering that advice up would quickly see the issue as one where the couple involved needed to:
Agree on a budget
Assign grocery shopping more structurally to the parties
Learn how to communicate without harshness
In other words, they would see the most superficial things about the scenario, label it trivial, and offer insights that are basic and inane while delivering it as if they were describing how to diffuse a neutron bomb that’s been left in your driveway.
Oh, and they would remind the man that, after all, women are so much more verbal and better at communicating,….yuk yuk yuk….we should never engage them in disagreement because we cannot compete.
This post describes something that happens in the majority of marriages. It shows the source of the woman’s unhappiness when she files a frivorce. Maybe she is internally conflicted knowing she is being disingenuous. Or, more likely, she and whichever friends hear the stories from her lather each other up spilling this brand of hell on earth into other homes as the women feed off each others righteous anger.
After the church starts telling women, plainly, do not divorce, it would be good for them to wade into this topic. “Women, how to make yourself way less of a pain in the ass to deal with”.