Toxic Marriage Advice for Straights

MSN Lifestyle section devoted a column to incredibly old-fashioned and frankly gross advice for women married to men. (I guess now that the rainbow flags are up, we can go back to ignoring all other relationship possibilities). Having married a man in my past, I couldn’t help but read the advice with that specific relationship in mind.

This piece was published in April but i was too busy fleeing an escalating domestic dysfunction situation to heed the advice then. From the “liberal” mainstream media,  wives are to never expect these nine things from their supposed partners in life:

1. To choose between you and his mother. It goes on to specify “whatever your issue is with his mother… drop it.” Somehow I suspect the “relationship experts” and authors who contributed quotes for this piece were not thinking of my ex-mother-in-law attempting to kidnap my infant son, but it does say “whatever your issue” so maybe felony crimes are just something you overlook for marital harmony. 

2. To listen to you like a female friend would.  Gosh I love my female friends – badgers and cats and alpacas. Oh did you mean to say human females? I think we’re calling them “women” these days. According to MSN females communicate by “expressing feelings and connecting emotionally” and yet for inexplicable reasons have chosen to share our deepest intimacy with someone evidently incapable of such “gossip”.

3. To never notice another woman. It goes on to say “it’s unreasonable to expect your husband to divert his glance whenever a pretty female walks by.” I admit, if a glorious and gorgeous she-elephant came striding down Main Street, I’d wanna look too. Oh wait, I see you used the interspersed generic term “females” when you meant “women”. Again.

4. To give up his passions, whether professional or personal.  Gosh what was I thinking, asking my husband’s priorities to change somewhat as we got married and were expecting a baby? I should have left his personal passions for drinking to excess and pretending to be twenty-one forever be.

5. To be a different man. By god, I got knocked up by an alcoholic abuser and that’s who I should have stayed with, by this advice. And no expecting things to ever change! I’m suddenly reminded of the suicide rates for American wives before the advent of accessible divorce.
6. To stop seeing his friends.  Apparently only guy friends are actually needed; women don’t count and are the kind of threat you should force him to cut out. Because that’s super healthy.

7. To remember every moment in your relationship that was special to you. Well sure “every” moment is a bit much but this clarifies that husbands shouldn’t be expected to remember their anniversaries.  If he’s capable of remembering player stats well enough to play Fantasy Football, he can remember one date.

8. To share all your interests. Oh my god, we finally agree! But there’s no reason this should be gendered.

9. To be the bigger person when you’re acting childish.  Well gee, I guess that depends on what’s being labelled that way. “Giving silent treatment and withholding affection (especially sex) is juvenile.” Now I know why no author was willing to have their name on this byline, because they knew what a nuclear reactor of rage this would awaken in the breasts of millions of abused women. I don’t wanna distress my readers but the worst moments of my life happened when my then-husband decided withholding my own body wasn’t a right I had. This isn’t just bad advice, it’s rape advice. 

Some of these points work if balanced with awareness for abuse and danger – like getting a long with a difficult in-law for a day. Some work if we ignore the unnecessary gendering – like having friends,  passions, and interests outside the marriage.  But this last one is horrible through and through.

Your body is yours to “withhold” as much and as often as you damn well please. Don’t let any guru, priest or patriarch tell you otherwise. 

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One thought on “Toxic Marriage Advice for Straights

  1. I also “love” how the first one assumes I HAVE an issue with his mother that I need to drop (e.g., my current husband). Or that, in the choice between me and his mother, he wouldn’t drop her like a hot rock for being a narcissistic abuser (e.g., my ex).

    And, yeah, that last one gives me the supercreeps. My body, my damn business.

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