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November 21, 2016

The 5th Worst Piece of Relationship Advice Ever Given

“No enemy is worse than bad advice.”
(Sophocles)

Time for another week-long list. This time, we’re counting down the five worst pieces of relationship advice ever given. Some of these concern romantic relationships, and others have to do with parenting and other family connections.

Here’s the 5th worst: “The two most important words a husband needs to learn are ‘Yes, Dear.’”

The horrible, but prevalent thinking behind this is as follows:

Wives are impossible nags if they don’t get their way, and of course, if Momma ain’t happy, no one’s happy. Husbands, on the other hand, are by nature inconsiderate, pigs, and they need to be reined in. These are the facts of the case, and they are indisputable.

Husbands, therefore, need to learn two all-important words: “Yes, Dear.”

  • The wife wants to spend Christmas with her family from now on? “Yes, Dear.”
  • The wife wants you to stop spending time with your friends? “Yes, Dear.”
  • The wife wants you to accept your boring, infrequent sex the way it is, and feel lucky you get even that? “Yes, Dear.”

Good Lord, this is awful. I’m not exactly sure where to begin my critique here. First of all, women are not naturally nags, and men are not innately selfish pigs.

Secondly, if you do believe your wife is a horrible person if she doesn’t get her way, then trying to placate her insecurity and immaturity, in the name of keeping the peace, is just as insecure and immature.

Thirdly—and most importantly—marriage is meant for adults. In a hetero marriage, a wife wants to marry a man, willing to stand up with a little testosterone and clearly represent himself and his desires. Her worst, most fearful self may get demanding every once in a while (as may his), but this is not a time to cower out of deference, like a little boy to his mommy. “Yes, Dear” is another way of saying “Yes, Ma’am,” which is something we said to our mothers growing up. (And our wives do not find this attractive).

As grownups, though, we are not afraid of competing desires, nor are we terrified of our spouses being upset with us if we disagree. Grownups can handle conflicts with calm conversation and negotiation, without pouting, shouting, or placating to keep the peace.

Never forget this bedrock ScreamFree principle: In marriage, it is better to get rubbed the wrong way than to never get rubbed at all.

Peace begins with pause,

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