People have asked how it happens that a woman like me – who knows so much about men and romance – isn’t married.
Maybe they don’t realize that I have been married. Twice.
And divorced. Twice.
Sitting through hour after hour of marriage counseling (with me as the counselor), I’ve often envied women whose husbands were enduring so much.
Men who were fighting for their marriages.
Even when their wives were fighting so hard against them.
And I’ve thought of many women I’ve known.
Some of them have been pretty mean.
But they still have husbands.
And I don’t.
One might begin to think that being a Mean Girl is the only way to get and keep a husband. How do they do it?
Never take another woman’s advice. Never ever.
A few years back, a female acquaintance offered her advice. “Expert advice” because she once worked as a receptionist in a counselor’s office (not mine, fortunately). Therefore, she felt compelled to share her own love story as a “good example” of how to keep a man.
As a young teenager, she’d become infatuated with a boy who was several years older. He didn’t treat her well. But she hung around anyway. Like a lovesick puppy.
When all of his friends had deserted him because he was so self-centered, she was still there. And he started being kind to her. Spending all his time with her. By then, there wasn’t anybody else for him to hang out with.
Once she’d “set the hook,” however, she changed her approach. After he’d declared his love and married her, she announced – out loud, I believe – that she was going to “make him pay” for all the time he’d treated her badly when she was following him around.
She gleefully reported, “I treat him like $#@!. Then when he feels really bad, I do something really nice for him. Like cook his favorite meal. Or have sex with him. And that’s how I keep him in line. He can flirt with other women. They don’t intimidate me. I’m the one he’s always going to come home to.”
They’ve been married for nearly 30 years.
Does that mean she has it figured out?
Her husband had been dealing with some pretty serious digestive problems. He ended up in surgery. A few months after that, I was standing next to him at a talk about Victorian costuming when someone asked why they never had any workshops for men’s costumes.
He turned to me and mumbled sarcastically, “Ya. ‘How to Make Armor.'”
And I wonder if she cares that – in that same conversation – he referred to wives as “blood-suckers.”
As a psychologist, I’m convinced there’s a connection with his poor health. Being treated badly would make anyone’s stomach hurt.
On the other hand, some men have no better advice than women.
I was carpooling with a group of friends and sat next to a middle-aged single man. He was aware of my interest in the Psychology of Men and took the opportunity to tell me “an insider’s secret” about men.
“Guys don’t like to date a woman they see as too perfect. It makes them nervous that they’ll never be able to deserve her. So they’ll dump her.”
So … it seems I’ve been going about this all wrong. I should be a Mean Girl who flaunts her flaws as virtues and treats men as slaves?
I just can’t see me doing that.
And I have absolutely no desire to even try to pull that off. As a Christian, my goal is to become more like Christ. Whether any man ever loves me or not, I want to be governed by
- and self-control.
And I most certainly don’t want to be the kind of woman that makes a man feel like he needs to wear armor when he’s around her.
Compared to other girls … I need a man who has the same goal I do – to be more like Christ.