Provoking a Fight

09/07/2005

Wednesday

Okay, alright. I didn’t provoke any fights. Heaven knows I felt like it. At the same time, I’ve lost a lot of the will to fight. I don’t like fighting and know only one way to do it; fight to win. And there can really be no winner, here. So, I’ll just hunker down and make the best of it.

I have a book called The Joy of a Promise Kept, which is a compilation of writings by 12 wives of various well-known pastors and preachers. Wives of Gary Smalley, John Trent, Max Lucado, Tony Evans and others. At least well-known amongst the evangelical crowd. I thought maybe Arwyn might read this one since it was not about sex at all. She occasionally reads Christian books, although I’m not sure if she ever finishes any of them. To my knowledge she’s never cracked it open. But I’ve been reading it in short bits and pieces.

Jeanne Hendricks (Wife of Howard Hendricks who doesn’t ring a bell with me, either) had written something which struck me this morning. She wrote, “No man is ever too spiritual, too old or too mature to succumb to various sorts of foolishness.” She then talked about the foolishness of Noah, Abraham, Moses and David who were all deeply spiritual men, advanced in years, who nonetheless did dumb, foolish things.

She then goes on to list several things a woman could do to help insulate a man from such foolishness. She pointed out that deep lonliness and sadness seem to precede such foolish acts of dishonesty, anger, adultry, immorality and even murder in the case of David. I thought about this, and it is true. I’m ever more susceptible to doing seemingly stupid (if not dangerous) stuff as when I’m feeling lonely and sad. This may be true of women, as well, but not being a woman I’m not as prone to say. I invite the ladies to think and write on it in their perspective blogs.

And so it is with men; we are prone to doing impulsive foolish things. Ms. Hendricks gives the following suggestions for wives seeking to fortifying a husband against foolishness:

Be a good friend. This is where she mentions that being a pleasant and reliable friend can help generate warmth and energy in a man and anchors him emotionally which minimizes brooding sadness.

Be a faithful lover. That’s self-explainatory. Being loved and being loved well.

Be a woman of excellence. She harkens to Proverbs 31 and the woman described there as being more precious than gems.

Be a fascinating person. She refers to being well-read, growing in creativity and self-expression in order to stimulate him to know her better. Okay, I can only relate marginally to this one but sort of see what she’s driving at.

Be a Godly woman. This is a christian book, written by Christians, so I would expect nothing less. “All of the charm and beauty a woman may have amounts to nothing if her ambitions are self-centered.”

These could all easily be turned around and applied to men, but remember this is a book by women, for women…being read by a man. I do think men might be more prone to impulsivity as that is the darker side of initiative. We do things often without thinking it through. Women have historically had a greater capacity for nurturing while men protected and provided. Do modern women still have that capacity? I don’t know. It seems I’ve come across more that one woman’s blog where she feels overwhelmed by the task of caretaking of a family. Women in the news abandoning their babies or even drowning them. In an era awash with modern appliances and convenience, there appears to be more stress. My grandmother raised 4 kids, and when she wanted dinner, she had to catch the chicken, chop its head off, pluck it, gut it, cook it in a coal-burning stove. And she never cooked small meals. Ever. Meat, potatoes, vegetables and bread. I’m not sure at what stage she quit baking the bread. She canned the vegetables after raising them in a huge garden. The wash machine was a giant tub with an agitator with a hose running to it and a wringer on top. She taught the 3 boys as well as her girl to wash dishes and sew enough to repair their clothing. And she was married for 65 years to the same man. She made crafts and sold them, went to garage sales, had an orchard where she sold apples as well as selling extra eggs from her chickens. She seemed to embody the Proverbs 31 woman. Her biggest weakness was that she was absolutely compulsive about dirt. Amazing she survived the farm, but she thrived. Her home was spotless. On a rainy day you walked in on newspaper until your boots/shoes came off. While she never felt repressed, those around her occasionally did! She wasn’t perfect. When I told her that “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” wasn’t in the Bible I got a good thump on my head for sassing my elders.

Have women really progressed? Are they truly better off today? The job laid out to them is enormous, even without canning vegetables and plucking chickens. Arwyn doesn’t even know how to cook! I see women who prepared to work in the workforce just as ill-prepared as the men they marry for the job of nurturing a family. The glue they once provided that kept everyone together seems to have been lost somewhere.

So is it now up to the men to pick up the slack?

I’m just asking.

D.

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7 Responses to Provoking a Fight

  1. Square1 says:

    Going to work for women has been positive in some repspects, but it has made us more competition and less community focused.

    Women today are more prone to depression in relation to pregnancy and child-birth partially due to hormones… but more due to isolation. It used to be when a woman had a baby, family was there to help, the women in the community stopped by. There were quilting bees, and tea socials… you hardly ever hear of things like that anymore. How many women do you know now can knit, or sew, or do needle point, or crochet. A few may be able to do one or two of those, but women use to have to have ALL of those skills, and in doing so they talked to each other. They helped each other.

    We’ve isolated ourselves. It’s almost too dangerous to leave your kids with someone now. Trustowrthy people are hard to find, and even harder to afford.

    I don’t think I would want to go back to wash boards and wood stoves… but there is a trade off. Being able to do things twice as fast means we are expected to accomplish twice as much… and that is crazy making.

    however women can contribute a great deal being a part of the work force, innovative ideas, intelligent solutions, good work ethic… many of the same things that men can and do bring to the table, but in a different way. However we are an all or nothing society it seems. We know nothing of balance. It seems in our quest to have it all… we come out in the end with nothing but broken dreams and deep disappointment.

    Women need to quit the competition with each other as mothers and wives. In the career field it’s healthy and necessary… but not at home, not at church, not in the community. I talked to my mom about this very thing a bit ago and she a very successful career person… and in my opinnion a succesful mom, said, “They treat motherhood like they do their careers… trying to one up everyone else, and perform, perform, perform… It’s not a career. More like a trade.” It’s something you ply for the advancement and growth of your children, not to vicariously advance yourself through them.

    We have a picture perfect icon of what a good wife and mother look like in June Cleaver… an icon of what the careeer woman should be, an icon of a strong feminine person… and together they do not add up, because they are all extremes. But that fact does not keep us from trying to acheive them either.

  2. Kristen says:

    Well said square1 !!!! I am not a stay at home mom – I did that for 6 years before my divorce and found that it wasn’t really what I “needed” to do – it was what I was “expected” to do. I think had I had the things that would have given me that extra creative, social and emotional outlet of the olden year – I might have felt differently.

  3. Leela Lamore says:

    I honestly don’t think we are any better off now. I would love to have lived in that time in some ways. Life is so easy if you compare what it was for your grandmother. Unfortunatly we cannot turn back time and we have to do the best we can now with the respective lives we have chosen.

  4. C-Marie says:

    I believe that if there are 2 in the household that must be employed, 2 must share the household duties. Not one or the other should have to pick up the slack unless it provides cooperation towards each other. You are employed outside of the home AND you’re employed inside the home with duties to the marriage and the family.
    It’s all a trade off…. as I was home unemployed, JM, the kids and this household overall was completely my task. Dinner on the table, house cleaned, yardwork done, errands taken care of, laundry…(sex if he wanted it) you name it.
    Now that I am back to work, I just need a little bit of help but I do not expect anyone here to take up the slack just because I am working… I work to make ends meet – not to pursue a golden dream career as a woman overcoming stereotyped challenges, competitive work forces and boldly facing off with the man world. I have nothing to prove.
    I come home from work and the suppers are on the table, the laundry is done, the teens are carted here and there, the maintenance to the home is done daily and I still cut the grass and clean the garage on weekends…I am many different things and must play many different roles… But I knew this when I became a wife and a mother. It’s not easy and I never expected it would be. Oh the joys and challenges of it all.

  5. Satan says:

    “In an era awash with modern appliances and convenience, there appears to be more stress.”

    As our technology eases our way into chores, our chores expand at an exponential rate! The standards for cleanliness have been raised astronomically since my grandmother’s time.

    We also have MORE, much more. Which means more to buy (more to work), more to upkeep, more space needed, etc. Modern life has not made things *easier* on anyone, least of all women.

    Just for the record, I know you must have written this somewhere already, but what does Arwyn DO? (Actually not looking for an Arwyn-bash, sincerely curious.)

  6. ~ anne says:

    i agree with c-marie. i don’t think that men need to pick up the slack rather than just being a partner, sharing in the duties that need to be done. we both work outside the home and share the tasks at home. our kids are fairly self-sufficient and do have their assigned chores as well. we all work together.

    stay at home moms with small children still need help from their spouses. small children are a fulltime job and many times leave no time for all the other things that need to be done. i remember the days flying by when the kids were little and at the end of the day wondering why i didn’t get anything accomplished.

    it’s got to be give and take on both sides.

    ~anne

  7. The Wife says:

    My comment was getting too long, so I posted it in my blog. I think it’s a very interesting topic, I was glad to read a man’s point of view.

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