For What it’s Worth, I Think She’s Selfish Too.

A few recent comments have suggested I’m all about telling men how bad they are, and that I think women are just about perfect.

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If someone said, “I’m disappointed you now support abortion” I would say I don’t support abortion, and might provide a link to where I recently said I didn’t. I wouldn’t argue it much beyond that, because if someone doesn’t believe my words, more words won’t change anything. I also wouldn’t worry I might be starting to think abortion is okay; I know my thoughts. However, I might wonder why someone would think I support abortion. I would wonder if I said something to give this impression, or if I’d failed to say I was opposed to abortion when it seemed like a good opportunity to take a stand.

Much of what has been said in the comments is about what I think, which is not a matter of opinion. However, how I come across is a matter of opinion, and I may not be doing the best job communicating what I think. So, a few clarifications:

  • When I started TGH almost a dozen years ago, it was simple tips on being more loving and generous. I still do some of those, but I realised years ago I was often offering Band-Aids and aspirin to marriages suffering from deep cuts, malaria, cancer, lost limbs, and other life threatening issues. So yes, I’ve changed what I say, and sometimes my intention is to provoke.
  • My theological understanding is all of us are deeply selfish, regardless of whether our gonads are inside or outside our bodies. I don’t know if you or your wife is more selfish, could be either way, but I know both of you have problems that boil down to being selfish. I also know your marriage would benefit from either of you dealing with any of your own issues.
  • When I talk about male selfishness and problems, I’m not talking about y’all – I am talking about us. I’ve owned up to plenty of the things I have suggested are evil stupid a bad plan. Some of those I’ve beat, some I have not.
  • This blog is aimed at men, so I speak to men about what they might be able to do better. Agreeing with you your wife is horrible will not help you, or her, or your marriage, or your kids. (May God have mercy on the children!)
  • Your dad was right – life ain’t fair. Your wife will at least occasionally do things she shouldn’t, and she will at times ignore wise advice. Telling her she’s wrong is almost never a solution, and getting others to tell her she’s wrong is usually even worse. You can work on you or you can work on her, but only the first has any real chance of bringing about change.
  • Life ain’t fair #2: Your wife brought a lot of baggage into your marriage, and you’re stuck with the consequences of that stuff. Not being the one who hurt her doesn’t mean you’re immune to the fallout. You can be patient with her, or you can be nasty about it, but again only one of those has any real chance at bringing about positive change.
  • I am a pragmatist. As long as it is not immoral or illegal, I’ll gladly do “something I shouldn’t have to do” if it will make my life better. I will also do something “I shouldn’t have to do” if it will make my wife’s life easier. I will do this partly because I know it will ultimately help me, but mostly because I love her.
  • There is also the “little matter” of what Jesus thinks I should do. I think most of what Jesus said to us about relationships in general applies to marriage. I have long thought about doing a series on Sermon on the Mount – I think it is time.

By the way, I am happy to hear from any of you about any of this. I think email is a better place for such things, but use the comments if you prefer.

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21 Comments on “For What it’s Worth, I Think She’s Selfish Too.

  1. Paul,
    I think you are absolutely right in the way you justified your thoughts and actions. I think what people fail to realize is that you are writing to a broad audience with many different issues suffered by many different people. There are days when I tune into TGH and there are days when I simply tune out. I read the beginning of all your articles and if I realize that what you are writing about doesn’t really apply to my marriage situation, I skip to the next blog in my reader. However, there are many who that particular thought will speak to. Because you are writing to men, you are going to focus on the issues men struggle with in their marriages. You are going to spend time helping resolve those issues, no matter how many different ones you will be addressing. Your bride does the opposite on her blog each day. I think you do a fair job of representing the accurate portrayal of the problems men face and that you do a fair job of making your readers aware that you are working to help improve the husbands end of things. That is who your audience is. From my stand point as a reader the issue you addressed has never occurred to me. Those who commented must simply be reading their hurt(s) into the words you type on the screen.

  2. I wanted to chime in on the “understandable” line of commenting. I am a wife so I can’t ever claim to completely understand my husband – but I do try to be the person who most understands him. We had a lot of trouble with sexual sin in the beginning of our marriage. My refusal and his pornography – until we really started trying to understand each others sinful reactions, and where they came from, we essentially demonized the other because what they were doing was wrong. When I found my husbands pornography it was very easy to label him as a pervert or an animal. Only with starting to understand why he needed sex and what void he was trying to fill with pornography did I start to see him as a vulnerable person who sinned. I don’t think anyone here (I could be wrong) would say that by me starting to understand why he sinned, I have redefined pornography as not sinful.
    Just my 2 cents

  3. Paul, I have the same issue, just switch the genders, on my blog. When people are hurt, they often are looking for justification for their hurt–but my husband/wife is so horrible! And the truth is they may very well be right. But concentrating on how horrid your spouse is will not do your marriage a whit of good. Jesus says to look first to our own sins and attitudes, and that is how positive change in a marriage starts. You are doing just what you need to do here.

  4. It’s truly impossible to address everything in a single blog post. I often get the “but you didn’t say ___” line of thinking too. Essentially, a marriage bloggers chooses what to talk about and who they’re talking to on any given day and pray that the message reaches those it needs to reach.
    Thanks, Paul, for clarifying!

    • @HotHolyHumorous And then there is always the outlier who shows up to say “I/we are not that way.” (Of course I have been known to do that – done it at least once on your blog!)

  5. Paul, I have (generally speaking) never had a problem with the things you say or how you say them. Your target audience is “husbands”. Therefore, the sins of the husband should be maximized, while the sins of the wife should be minimized. The focus should be on “taking the log out of your own eye”. In the same way, I expect Lori to maximize the sins of the wife, while minimizing those of the husband. We can only change OURSELVES. We are only responsible for ourselves. It’s by our OWN change that we can ‘influence’ our spouse to make their own change. Call sin, sin. But what good is it to point out how big another persons sins are, for who is able to cast the first stone?
    Keep up the good work for Christ! :)

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