Are We Actually Trustworthy in Relationships?: My Radio Interview with Lesli Doares

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radio on air microphone

The concept of trust in relationships and marriage is a funny thing, because whether we say “I trust [insert person here]” is so dependent on whatever we are trusting that person to do.

I trust my mom. I trust her as much or more than anyone I’ve ever known.

But I don’t trust my mom to safely fly and land a helicopter, or perform LASIK eye surgery, or draw up blueprints for a natural gas-fired power plant.

We hear or read the word “trust,” and it means to us whatever it means. But, word to the wise: Maybe it means something else to the people you love.

Men Vs. Women on Trust in Marriage

I’m going to venture bravely into a little Mars/Venus territory, while reminding everyone who gets heartburn over this that I’m NOT saying these things are INHERENTLY true to men and women. I’m saying when you observe men and women, you can observe them to be GENERALLY true.

Growing up, then dating, then being married, I perceived conversations regarding the word “Trust” in relationships to revolve around sexual faithfulness, around physical safety, around financial responsibility RE: reliable employment, around abandonment, and around criminal behavior.

A man who will not cheat on his wife; nor physically strike her; and who will always go work and provide financially for shelter, food, healthcare, etc.; who will never abandon her now or with children, and who can be trusted to not engage in criminal behavior that might lead to incarceration or bringing danger to the family from other criminals, always seemed to me like a guy you could trust.

Thus, I thought my wife could trust me.

But then, I learned the hard way that my wife could NOT trust me, and it was because of a bunch of things I didn’t know could make a person feel unsafe.

When she didn’t feel heard, when she didn’t feel paid-attention-to, when she didn’t feel desired, and when she didn’t feel respected because of behaviors I thought I was entitled to, and that I thought she sucked for getting upset about, she eventually stopped TRUSTING me.

She couldn’t trust me to care about her, because she didn’t feel cared for.

Me saying I cared, or me telling her that my actions indicated I did care despite her “crazy emo-girl feelings” DID NOT solve the problem.

My actions bred mistrust. She told me so. And then I basically told her she was wrong, adding yet ANOTHER incident to her See? I Can’t Trust Him pile.

I think maybe I’m not the only guy to do this.

The excellent people at The Good Men Project ran one of my posts about this trust conversation (which originally ran as Vol. 10 in the An Open Letter to Shitty Husbands series), and then marriage counselor, coach and author Lesli Doares read it at GMP.

Afterward, she reached out to see if I would join her Happily Ever After is Just the Beginning! radio-show podcast to discuss it, and I agreed.

This is the second time Lesli has graciously invited me on her show (you can listen to the first interview here, if you want).

Thanks again, Lesli!

Listen to My Conversation With Lesli About Trust

You can listen to or download the podcast episode here at Web TalkRadio, titled “From ‘You’re My World’ to ‘What Have You Done for Me Lately.'”

153 thoughts on “Are We Actually Trustworthy in Relationships?: My Radio Interview with Lesli Doares”

  1. Awesome, Matt. What you call trust, I call “safety,” but same idea. I think it’s the number one most important thing in marriage, for both men and women, but a guy’s idea of trust is far more likely to revolve around sexual faithfulness, while a woman’s will revolve around emotional faithfulness.

    I suspect many men don’t understand how significant the need for trust and safety is in women’s lives. One might even say that is the very reason why you are there in the first place, to provide safety. So when men fail to provide this it is like a switch that goes off in women’s heads, we’re done, he now serves no useful purpose in this equation.

  2. Matt, the way you describe it, sounds like your wife decided she could do better. “Trade up”, so to speak when it comes to a husband. The (im)morality of that aside for a moment – and remember, we’re talking about blowing up her family – even from the point of view of her own selfish interests i have my doubts. She may find the grass is not necessarily greener.

    After all, she’s significantly older now than when you dated and married her. Plus, she has the baggage of having a small child and the kid’s dad still in the picture. A lot of guys with options will want nothing to do with that. Not to mention she will presumably have to work full time to support herself, even with you paying some child support.

    It will be very interesting to see if she’s able to “stick the landing” and marry up. If she can’t find a new husband (who must be an improvement, keep in mind…because otherwise, what was the whole point?) and remains a single mom, she will face a serious loss of status in the eyes of her fellow women. And happily married women will start to shun her, even if they are fellow moms from the same school, after school activities, etc…if you think women don’t do this kind of thing, you are very naive. I’m seen it with my own eyes.

    Quite a gamble your ex has taken. Let’s see how it develops.

    1. I bet your wife has really taken a dive, Matt. She probably doesn’t bathe as much anymore now that she’s single—I mean, what’s the point? Did she cut her hair short—she did, didn’t she? Those divorcees, they start looking like dykes once they haven’t got a man around to remind them to be girly. Started lagging on those essential feminine body care, like shaving, Lord Almighty, I bet she’s got a big ol’ furry beaver between her legs (lol!) and packing a couple of muskrats in those ex-wife armpits of hers!

      Let her try to get a man looking that that! And dragging that kid of yours around—why, that’s just a damn genetic annoyance in any righteous man’s mind. And geez, with her working all the time, you know she’s feeding that little rugrat all sorts of fast food and sugary stuff, ‘cuz no time for home cooking. I bet she just reheats some slop in between drags off her cigarette and slaps it on a plate. Your kid is lucky to get anything sort of meal, I guess.

      And does your kid get any sleep? He doesn’t, and you know why? Because your foolish ex-wife, with no man in the picture (and no man in the future, most likely) has gone and got herself one of those battery operated machines used by lesbians (hahaha, those dumb lesbians, they repel men so they have to resort to a machine—invented by a man!—for any sort of “marital satisfaction”). I bet your wife has that thing hooked up to a car battery. I know that because my neighbor works in an auto parts store, and he says single moms are always buying car batteries. It’s a fact, because I’ve heard about it. Those things make quite a racket. It’s amazing your kid gets any shut-eye at all!

      That’s exactly the sort of women that other women just love to hate. We never talk to them, only about them, like all the time. We do, we love to hate those single moms. Every damn one. And they are damned too, damned for all eternity for acting selfishly and leaving their husband they vowed to stand behind and slightly below forever. Because that’s the truth—she left you—and that’s against the bible. Not the old parts of the bible, the new parts. The parts that supersede the old parts because the old parts are…well, let’s just say they were wrong. But now they’re right, the new parts, I mean. Those are the truth now because they’re right.

      Your ex-wife has got a rough row to hoe (see what I did there? lol!), and you’re sittin’ pretty. You go, Matt, and you date all those fresh young girls because, dude, you’ve got it made now. You’re gonna be swimming in that stuff, now, buddy. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Let me know how things go, fella.

      1. Yet the funny thing is, Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the “divorce porn” classic “Eat, Pray, Love”, has just announced her second divorce. And now come out as a lesbian! (Mind you, her most recent husband was an elderly, short, balding, Indonesian man who married her for a Green Card – but in the movie, he was of course played by the dashing ladies man Javier Bardem. Got to keep the divorce porn fantasy alive for these women)

        Now, some Neanderthals might say it seems like Gilbert is one seriously screwed up chick who brings nothing but chaos and drama. And that her first husband is better off that she left him, as he is happily remarried to a prettier, younger, mentally stable young lady with whom he now has a family (two kids, I believe).

        But of course, it could just be that he was a shifty husband who left dishes out.

        P.S. From the amount of your sarcasm, I’m guessing this hits pretty close to home for you. But it’s not personal. I’m just describing what I’ve seen myself. I’ve seen plenty of couples divorce after kids, in their late 30’s or 40’s. Most of the newly divorced wives stay single for many years, as it’s quite difficult to “stick the landing” and marry up as divorced single mom.

        The one case I know of where she remarried quickly (largely because she needed help paying her bills), involved the divorced single mom marrying a guy who’s about 300 pounds and was still never-married at 40 because no woman ever wanted him…which is why he was willing to marry her. Now I give that gal credit – she locked him down and got the help the household bills that she needed (esp since in just a couple years her youngest will turn 18 and the child support payments from her ex will stop). So that may actually have been a logical move on her part. But you can’t exactly call that “sticking the landing”, now can you? Settling for a guy who’s so big he can only wear sweatpants when he leaves the house (true story) and who no other woman ever wanted.

        It’s rough out there. Just saying. Don’t shoot the messenger. And yes, Matt is in a much better position than his ex when it comes to the marriage market. (Not talking about just getting laid – woman almost always have the advantage here). Just not sure he realizes it. Maybe it will come with time.

        Again, let’s see how things develop.

        1. I’m not inclined to discuss the finer details of my personal life on this matter, but I’ll say the following:

          1. My marriage stories, and my strong opinions about the conditions which ended mine, are honest. As such, while undesired, I’m able to understand WHY my ex-wife made the choices that she did. They’re not somehow crazy or unreasonable.

          2. She is a person who I care about, respect, and root for. She is an exceptional parent to our son, and frequently (and patiently) helps me be a better parent through thoughtfulness, unselfishness, and good communication. We don’t sabotage one another, and we’re certainly not in any sort of competition with one another RE: dating/mating/etc. We have one, unified goal to raise a child to be the best-possible human being he can grow up to be. Everything else is secondary to that.

          3. If there is a “marriage market,” neither she nor I are participating in it.

          My goal, Jeff, is to live well.

          For me, that means putting my child first.

          Then comes the pursuit of a desired lifestyle. That’s where almost all of my time and energy go.

          Marriage is not a goal.

          Meeting someone I want to marry is not a goal.

          Living well is my goal.

          And along the way, it’s possible I’ll meet someone who will make me rethink everything I just said about time and energy investment.

          Someone might make me desire marriage again one day. But it will be a surprise if that happens. Because there is no part of me intentionally pursuing that.

          I don’t know whether that’s right or wrong. I don’t know to what extent one can “live well” as a single father chasing dreams and helping a child chase his.

          But without major suprises, that’s what’s going to happen.

          “Getting married” seems like a horrible life goal. Because if the desire to get married is great, a person will compromise values and tolerate marriage-damaging behavior in order to make it happen.

          But if we live well. And relationships develop organically. We can’t help but have honest and healthy ones, regardless of length.

          We needn’t perpetuate the cycle of superficialness which plagues so much of our lives.

          Just because a group of people who don’t know better assign value to things that don’t matter (skin color, money, marital status, weight, height, career, educational degrees, etc.) doesn’t mean anyone else has to think it matters.

          We decide for ourselves what matters. You frame most of your ill-mannered commentary about other people through the prism of things you think are valuable, judging everyone and everything by those metrics.

          But Jeff, I reject many of your metrics.

          My life is mine.

          My son’s mother’s life is her’s.

          The lady marrying the 300-pounder has her own shit and reasoning for doing things.

          And you have your’s.

          If you try to score football and basketball and golf and tennis using the same scoring system, things are going to change radically for the players.

          They all have individual scoring systems unique to those games, and the mechanics and conditions involved.

          So too, do our lives work this way.

          Please stop applying your scoring system to other people’s lives.

          Because they’re playing an entirely different sport.

        2. Matt,

          I stand by my larger point about divorced women (esp single mothers) and the problems they face in the dating and marriage market. And that divorced men of the same age (mid 30’s through 40’s) have an easier time of it. This is my opinion based on lifetime experience, and if I’m right, it has serious, real-world consequences. Which are worth discussing.

          Further, I am highly skeptical of the notion that a woman who finds herself divorced at such a young age (say, still in her 30’s) will be content to stay alone the rest of her life and just start adopting the cats (no matter how much she claims she’s “done with men” as she exits the divorce process). Such a woman well knows what an object of pity she will become in the eyes of her female married peers, and that’s not easy to take. And just being lonely for all those years to come? So I do honestly believe there will be an effort on the part of typical divorced women to “stick the landing” and marry up…I just think the vast majority will be unsuccessful in this attempt.

          Having said all that Matt, I understand you’re not comfortable applying this proposition to your ex-wife. For personal reasons. So I will respect that, and if this topics comes up again I’ll try to use general, hypothetical language…or refer to examples I’ve seen in real life. I have no problem doing that, after all its your blog. And while I know you disagree with a lot of my opinions, I hope you see the effort I make to be polite and respectful of your rules. I mean, people can just disagree, right? No biggie. And I am sincere, no doubt about that. If I’m wrong, I’m sincerely wrong, lol.

          By the way, I don’t see how “getting married” is a “horrible life goal”…any more than “having a career in XYZ field” as one of your life goals is horrible. Or become a parent as a life goal is horrible. I don’t see any logic there, sorry. But if getting married is a major life goal one has, then one should definitely work on becoming the best potential husband or wife one can, starting from the teen years at the latest.

          A man should cultivate those traits that make him a good husband in the eyes of women (at least those women who will be good wife material), and a young lady should do likewise. Just like one spends years preparing for a career. What is “horrible” about that? What is wrong with parents raising their tween and teen sons to make good husbands, and their tween and teen daughters to make good wives? I really don’t understand your objection here.

          (Of course, you might say there’s no guarantee your child will actually ever marry. Which is true. But not only do 90%+ of all people in this country marry at least once in their life, but look at it this way. There’s no guarantee your kid won’t end up living in the gutter as a drug addict…so why waste the time encouraging him to get a good education? You have no way of knowing if he’ll ever put that education to use, right? Same concept)

  3. I enjoyed listening to the show. I found the idea of trust being seen differently to be interesting.
    I think IB is right that there is an underlying desire for the male to be protector of even emotional safety.
    When men don’t regard their wife’s emotions as valid, women can not only feel un-protected, but can also feel as though the husband is the one who they need protection from (if those small offenses happen often enough) .

    1. Thanks for checking it out, Linds.

      I totally agree. And I think there’s a dangerously large amount of Regular Guys out there who don’t understand, and who will inevitably accidentally ruin their marriages.

      There’s nothing more tragic to me than this idea.

      That people are accidentally destroying their families. Something must be done.

      1. I agree. Families, relationships…those are some of the most important things on the planet.

        I am more and more convinced that having a psycho-educational curriculum in schools from K-12 needs to be a thing.

        Self awareness, coping skills, interpersonal skills- these need to be common knowledge.

        *Day Dreams*

        1. IF (and that’s a big IF, as all kinds of kids leave school having not learned the actual subjects) that was done well, it would change the world.

          1. Working on it 🙂 …or hoping to work on it.
            Honestly, with the condition most school systems are in it will be an uphill battle that will take many, many decades. But- it is something so obvious, and so doable, that it is worth working towards.

  4. thanks, Matt. You hit the nail on the head and my wife and I are dealing with the same issue: dirty dishe, clothes on floor etc. I never really stopped- really stopped, and tried to understand why it was such a big deal to her. “It’s just a sink.” But not to her. I think I am starting to get it. If I don’t, we’re doomed.
    Thank you for a very thought-provoking dialog.
    a guy that didn’t get it

    1. Awesome of you to give it a listen and take the time to leave this comment, Kent. Thank you.

      If this were obvious to everyone, we would NOT have 50% divorce rates.

      Wishing you and Mrs. Chapman many, many years.

  5. Bravo Matt. Would love to see you as a regular guest on Lesli’s program. You pointed out that spouses owe respect by not causing fights over the small stuff. I couldn’t agree more. Boundaries matter. Also consider the varying degrees of personality nuances. How much more strained a relationship can become when living with say, a narcissist or a sociopath. Often uncovered layer by layer over the years, or suddenly spring by surprise catching you off guard. These are the unavoidables, those peculiar behavioral habits (just rubs you the wrong way) that drive the giant wedge we so valiantly aim to avoid.

    Keep up the great work. Write the book!

    1. Many thanks. 🙂

      I’ve been kicking around ideas RE: adding audio content (me reading each blog post? Because I like the idea of my tone and voice inflection removing some of the ambiguity from what I meant to convey), and also the possibility of something in video, though I’m really damn shy and that would involve an element of courage (along with a concept people might actually care about).

      I appreciate the encouragement very much.

      1. As I wait to get the ticket I earned this am…
        I couldn’t find this comment yesterday- I wanted to suggest a call-in podcast program. You could even have co-hosts,ect. It’d be kind of cool 🙂

          1. 10 over on the Interstate IS the speed limit in Ohio. That’s a garbage ticket.

            Five over in town. 10 over on highway. That’s like Driving Correctly 101.

            That trooper was being a penis. Sorry to hear that, Linds.

            You most definitely did not “EARN” it, as previously stated.

          2. To be clear, that is NOT in the Ohio Revised Code or anything.

            But I’ve lived here for 26 of my 37 years, and I have not once seen someone ticketed for any speeds within 10-ish of the interstate or large highway posted speed limit, or within 5-ish anywhere else.

            You might get a ticket for going 26 in a 20 mph school zone during heavy schoolchildren hours. But that’s just about the only time I’ve heard of such sucky speed-limit enforcement.

          3. I typically drive 5 over and have never had a problem, but yeah- I think youre right, someone can chose to be a d*ck, ..and they did… :/..

  6. I see the dishes by the sink and the jeans on the chair as examples of women’s human need to be treated with RESPECT .

    As the great Aretha Frankin sings respect is very important in a relationship. To be treated as if your needs matter because you are a separate individual and entitled to your own opinions and needs.

    When a husband says directly or indirectly. Your stated opinion does not agree with mine and is therefore invalid and not worthy of my respect, that communicates an important message to his wife.

    “I am in a one person relationship. I will only change my behavior if it meets my needs and if you can justify your needs to me.”

    To generalize, women want a partnership, a two person system. Where both peoples needs and opinions are deemed valid and respected because they are entitled to have separate and different needs from each other.

    I liked the part of the interview where you were talking about trying to find a common emotional pain so I’ll attempt a business analogy.

    Assume you have two colleagues John and Mary sharing an office working together on a project.

    John brings in some microwave popcorn into their shared office. Mary finds the strong smell and John’s loud chewing distracting from her concentration to finish her spreadsheet.

    She asks John to please eat a snack that is less smelly in their shared office space. John says “I don’t have a problem with the smell, you’re wrong to have a problem with the smell.

    After several requests, Mary just quits saying anything about the popcorn. Then John turns music on in their office and she asks that he please lower the volume. A similar thing happens with John leaving his unwashed coffee cups on their shared work table.

    Each time Mary’s requests are batted back as invalid because John does not share them. John not only isn’t willing to work together to find a reasonable solution that takes both of their needs into accounts, he blames HER for being wrong in trying to control him with her requests.

    He is irritated and dismisses her now with quips about hormonal or illogical overly emotional women.

    Now Mary is feeling really disrespected because these small things in their shared office share a pattern of dismissal with her opinions of their work project.

    She suggests an approach and all is well if John agrees but if he doesn’t he dismissed her idea as stupid or wrong.

    After a while, she doesn’t trust John anymore. He is not someone who is truly interested in a partnership to work together to do the best with possible.

    She doesn’t trust him because it is logical to not trust him. He’s demonstrated it again and again with his attitudes and actions.

    And so she starts operating in her own one person system since the two person system is not available.
    She has loud conference calls on speakerphone when John is under deadline to finish a report. She throws all his dirty coffee cup in the trash etc.

    And John finally starts to feel some discomfort and disrespect if his own. If they can’t correct it early enough Mary says “I quit”. I refuse to stay where I am continually disrespected and dismissed.

    I understand this is simplistic and often wives may respond to feelings if disrespect with their own bad behavior that make the situation more difficult to get out of.

    1. Matt,

      Good job on the interview! I agree with your statement that women need to trust their husband. I was writing the respect to clarify what “trust” means from my perspective. Forgot to make that clear so I’m adding this.

    2. It’s a good analogy and I don’t want to open a can of worms here, women definitely need to feel heard and they need to feel safe, but I think to declare that what women need is respect is a bit of a misnomer.

      LOL,I’m sorry, but Mary has major issues. Her entire identity, her very job, how she feels about herself,all revolve around attempting to control John. His very chewing annoys her! The smell of his popcorn annoys her. What next, the sound of his breathing is irritating? There is no amount of respect that John could pour all over Mary that are going to soothe her needs for control.

      I’ve worked with Marys before. The more you try to please her, the more ticked off at you she’s going to get. It’s not really respect that she desires.

      1. That’s a bit cynical, IB.

        The healthy individual can spot the control-freak narcissist, versus the decent human being simply looking for mutual respect.

        1. I don’t know, Matt. I think we all have a a bit of a narcissist inside, a bit of a control freak. If you’ve ever worked in an office made up entirely of women, the one who is feeling disrespected is going to be a bloody nightmare because everything is going to be all about her,all of the time. The more you accommodate her,the more frustrated she will become. Remember it’s not about the dishes by sink,it’s never about the dishes. If you pick the dishes up and show respect, you’ve still failed to address her underlying feelings. The underlying feelings are about her own inability to set boundaries, her own lack of self awareness, her own inability to feel safe.

          I am all about accommodation, pouring on the respect, but I can tell you I’ve made this mistake with women more than once.

          1. I think it’s disingenuous to suggest ALL women are this way, and I hope you’re not. I hope you’re generalizing as I often do.

            Here’s all I meant:

            I am going to work hard to be a good person. I’m going to do my best to treat others with kindness and respect.

            But I’m also going to treat MYSELF kindly and with respect.

            So, after my attempts at kindness and respect are repeatedly met with bullshit, that person will then have me wanting to Orville Redenbacher their dumb popcorn-hating face.

            But until they demonstrate the control-freak, chemically imbalanced narcissism you describe, the default position should be kindness and respect.

            When we are unkind and disrespectful to others, and THEN they respond with shitty behavior, we can’t point and say: “SEE?! SEE?! They’re shitty! They don’t deserve kindness and respect!”

            We generously offer it.

            And ONLY after honest attempts are rejected do we then enforce our boundaries and not tolerate their crap.

            It seems needlessly cynical to ASSUME and behave as if you can’t win with a certain group of people.

            Isn’t that how all racism, bigotry, discrimination, sexism, etc. begins?

          2. It’s somewhat amusing, Matt, respect is so important to men, it is related to honor, kindness, even to human rights themselves. So naturally men will assume that what women want too, is respect. But honestly, what women really desire is emotional safety, protection, provision, being heard. That is our version of what it means to be loved. Men tend to just equate respect with love as if they mean the same thing.

          3. I need to think about that a bit more. It’s interesting.

            So, if you would, marry that to the control-freak popcorn hater at the office.

            How does, in that instance, the desire for emotional safety, protection, etc. feed into the conflict that arises between the male and female co-workers?

            And if you chalk up that scenario as an anamoly, that’s fine. I accept that those exist.

            In which case my question would be: What is it about women’s general desire for emotional safety, protection, provision, being heard, etc., that would lead to the problems you referred to in the work environment composed primarily or entirely of women?

          4. So, if one of my female coworkers complained about my popcorn and I simply respected her opinion and crumpled it up, she would probably start seething. Compliance in this case is actually “disrespect.” What she really desires is emotional safety and the opportunity to be heard. It really is all about her and not about my popcorn at all. So I would completely reverse course, ask her about her weekend, ask her about what’s going on in her life, try to ascertain why she is projecting her popcorn resentment onto me, and hand those feelings back to her. “You sound like you’re feeling a loss of control.”

            If it’s a male coworker, boom, put the popcorn away, and he feels instant respect, the problem is solved, and he’ll probably feel so good about his own sense of power that he’ll bring me a latte.

            Not so with women, not at all. She really needs to have her feeling heard and handed back. That is how you show “respect” for women.

          5. “Not so with women, not at all. She really needs to have her feeling heard and handed back. That is how you show “respect” for women.”

            That is not how I would like to be the respected. It really is about the popcorn for me in my silly example.

            I don’t relate to your authoritative statements about “women”. Doesn’t describe me or most women that I know at all.

          6. IB
            Some places have a ban on certain foods that have really strong odors. Maybe Lisa should have replaced the pop-corn with curry or some re-heated salmon (pop-corn may be too friendly of an example). Strong smelling foods are considered offensive. I think this is the point that Lisa was trying to drive home. There are also medical units that you really shouldn’t bring in pop-corn because the patients cant eat it. It is disrespectful then, too. It really IS about respecting everyone.

            I would not appreciate someone acting disrespectfully and then responded to me pointing that out by acting like I really needed to be emotionally coddled.

            Why would I not be also want basic respect?

          7. Heya! First time poster here.

            Yes, sometimes people do not really say what is bothering them. Their negative emotions simmer and it comes out in something “safe” life talking about a noisy snack, rather than an emotional problem.

            But I feel that to assume that’s how it happens -every- time, and that a woman is never being honest with you about what’s -actually- bothering her, is not only insulting to a woman’s emotional intelligence, but is also taking an on unhealthy burden to yourself.

            In other words, if every time someone voices displeasure with an action you’re doing, for the response to be, “Oh, what’s really bothering you?” Is putting on a therapist hat when you don’t need to do that. Like if a neighbor knocks on my door and says, “your music is too loud,” why would I need to “dig deeper” into the issues and say, “hey, how are you? How have you been doing in life?”

            It also seems passive-aggressive to assume it’s always about something deeper. You’re saying, “I don’t trust that you know how to state your needs. I believe you are wired in a way that you literally cloak your interpersonal problems into things like noisy popcorn. I will never take your words at face value.”

          8. IB,

            I respectfully disagree on this point.

            I am a woman and I value and need respect.

            I think I speak for some subset of women too.

            I am sure your word choice of safety is important as well to many women.

            That’s the problem with generalities about gender, they are necessary to try and get a discussion going.

            But my mantra is “there are more differences within groups than between groups.”

            As you know women and men are very diverse. There will be quite a lot of differences in what women think or want or feel etc based on their personality, age, political views, where they live, all kinds of things.

          9. “But honestly, what women really desire is emotional safety, protection, provision, being heard. That is our version of what it means to be loved. Men tend to just equate respect with love as if they mean the same thing.”

            This is the quote I was responding to above. I don’t believe that there is a monolithic “what women desire” as you stated it here. I’m sure it’s representative of what some or many women want. I don’t relate to it and I’m a woman. I want respect.

          10. “If you’ve ever worked in an office made up entirely of women, the one who is feeling disrespected is going to be a bloody nightmare because everything is going to be all about her,all of the time. The more you accommodate her,the more frustrated she will become.”

            Well there’s quite a lot of variety of men and women and environments out there so experiences will vary.

            I have worked in all women settings and I have worked with all men except me.

            My experience is that there are some style differnces for nature/nurture reasons. Some of it depends on the jobs.

            A room full of engineers is going to most likely behave differentjy than a room full of artists regardless if gender.

            I have found a great variety of good and bad employees and collegues and bosses. Some women are great, some are not. Same with men.

            Most everyone responds to being treated well in the workplace. Having their opinions and contributions valued. Of course there are usually one or a few immature people who make it hard for others to do their best work and take away from a team approach to accomplish common goals. Or just make a pleasant place to work.

            Of course, your experiences are different than mine so your conclusions may be different.

      2. IB,

        Yeah, I agree I don’t think it was one of my better analogies. In my defense I had insomnia last night so my brain was tired and I had Aretha Franklin singing Respect in my head on a loop while typing. Lol

        Based on your previous comments I know you think women don’t need respect (if I understand you) to feel loved loved. I disagree with that point of view.

        Respect is VERY important to me. I need to feel respected to feel appreciated and loved. Moreover I believe that a marriage needs respect and love from both spouses to be heathy.

        The point I was trying to make with my Mary John story was that in an average marriage, getting upset at dishes and jeans are symbols of wanting to be in a interactive partnership.

        And being told that your needs and opinions don’t matter in a marriage is disrespectful to a wife’s (or husband’s) opinions, needs, quirks, being treated as valid no matter if the spouse agrees with them or not.

        No matter if the spouse understands them or not.

        It matters that it matters to them. In a healthy marriage, that’s all that matters to work together to find a reasonable way to try and meet each other’s needs.

        When that happens there’s love, and respect and trust.

        1. “The point I was trying to make with my Mary John story was that in an average marriage, getting upset at dishes and jeans are symbols of wanting to be in a interactive partnership.”

          Yes, I’ll agree with you there. The thing is an “interactive partnership” will not simply comply and put the popcorn away. That does nothing to help the other person cultivate a sense of self respect. What is at the root of feeling disrespected is seeking an external solution for what is an internal problem. Your Mary is actually handing her power away, she is allowing people around her to define her, she is attempting to control someone else, falsely believing that if she succeeds, she’ll feel respected. She won’t, she’ll often feel worse.

          1. I did not mean to be imply that John should simply do exactly as Mary wants. Of course not.

            She was asking him to consider her needs. He rejected that in my story. So no further progress could he made to work out a reasonable solution that takes into account BOTH their needs.

            He blocked the interactive process by saying her needs were “wrong”. That’s what I was trying to say.

          2. Interesting. There are a whole lot of people in the world chewing, making popcorn, and basically doing what they want. Why are we handing John all the power ? He blocked the interactive process? He defined her needs as “wrong” as if he is the be all and end all of truth and reality? Now no farther progress can be made and it’s all because of John?

            It all sounds very co-dependent. Mary must now quit her job because of John? Mary now feels disrespected and unworthy because of John? John has now destroyed a woman’s life by…. disrespectfully chewing popcorn?

            So is it possible that we could teach Mary how to take responsibility for her own feelings? Perhaps help her to become more self aware? Maybe explore why she feels such a need for control?

          3. I usually use the less-mature phrase “own your shit,” AND I’m usually writing about men, but I hope you and others realize that, minus your assertion that the woman in this scenario has an unhealthy need for control (because we don’t know that), I am 100-percent with you on the “take responsibility for one’s own feelings” comment.

            That’s a conversation that gets a little dicey within the context of marriage and intimate relationships as a marriage, by definition is TWO things combined to make ONE thing (thus the actions of another have a direct impact on it, independent of the other person).

            But in Life? Giving others the power to dictate how we feel and experience the world?

            That’s a one-way ticket to misery.

            If you’re not mostly self-aware and in charge of your emotions (if not actually in control of them, AT LEAST being responsible for them), then life is always going to suck and feel hard.

            That’s a life sentence of everyone else deciding how good or bad your experiences will be. A life sentence of everyone else deciding whether you succeed or fail.

            This is our boundaries and values conversation in a nutshell. We usually frame it in relationship terms, but it applies to all other Life situations as well.

          4. “…minus your assertion that the woman in this scenario has an unhealthy need for control (because we don’t know that)”

            Interesting Matt, because I don’t judge that female need for control as healthy or unhealthy. I’m not placing a value judgment on it. It just “is.” As women we are kind of designed to figure out how to control our environments, our inner lives and our outer lives. So we clean, we nest, we bounce off of other people, we engage in activities that reinforce that sense of safety, of having some control over our environment and ourselves.

            What makes Mary’s quest for control unhealthy is that she is harming herself, she is handing all her power over to John, she is making her own health and well being, completely dependent on John’s behavior.

          5. You said “As women we are kind of designed to figure out how to control our environments, our inner lives and our outer lives. So we clean, we nest, we bounce off of other people, we engage in activities that reinforce that sense of safety, of having some control over our environment and ourselves.”

            Another sweeping assertion for ALL women that equally apply to a subset of men.

          6. IB, I don’t really agree with your comment that all women are made to control their

            environment at all.

            Mankind in general does. I mean, we are the ones who create our own environment.

            I have known many men to be very controlling, in fact if you look at who has been

            had more political power over the last 250 years, I would say men have a propensity

            for power and control.

            If “controlling” is a spectrum (Which is shared with men and women) I am way on

            the lower end of the spectrum.

            There are more issues that I will let flow on by than I will actually attempt to alter.

            I cant prove to you that is true, but I am very well aware of my lack of attempt to

            control things that both my male and female friends do spend energy in trying to


            So, in general- I cant agree with your assessment. (And do wonder how you came to

            that conclusion. )

          7. Matt and IB,

            My poor sad analogy is betraying me!

            I do not think others are responsible for my emotions. I do think I need to own my shit. I don’t think people should be co-dependent.

            I do believe that married people are interdependent. Meaning their actions and attitudes, wants and needs will naturally change the relationship in some way. Each person has to set boundaries and also accept their spouses differences without trying to control.

            We are individually responsible for ourselves and also responsible to care in reasonable ways for our spouse.

          8. Of course you believe in individual responsibility! You’re wicked smart.

            I just wanted to clarify to IB that while I believe we are individuallly responsible for treating others in an optimum way, I ALSO, independent of that, believe we must be responsible for our emotional reactions to things, and learn how to process and deal with them in functional ways. And that would include women, too, despite most of my thoughts tending to focus on guys.

            I certainly didn’t think you were advocating that everyone take on the responsibility of everyone else’s feelings.

            So much nuance in these conversations. It’s no damn wonder people have such a hard time getting this stuff right when they’re in the midst of feeling horrible due to the actions of the person who is supposed to love them most.

          9. Hey Matt I’m having empathy to how your intended message sometimes gets misunderstood or miscommunicated. Lol

            I due not mean to imply Mary is a control freak or codependent. She is just asking for her needs to be negotiated with her colleague that shares a common space with her.

            Honestly, I don’t relate to the things IB says that women want. That’s what I’m objecting to. There is no “all women want safety not respect”

            Maybe it speaks to some women but I would never think about it that way. And I’m sure I’m not alone.

            Great variety out there.

          10. IB said “So naturally men will assume that what women want too, is respect. But honestly, what women really desire is emotional safety, protection, provision, being heard. That is our version of what it means to be loved.”\

            This. Times 1,000.

            And there are real world consequences. This is why Ann Coulter questioned the wisdom of women’s suffrage. Not because she hates women, but because if the above is true in large enough part to make a difference, then it means women will tend to vote for a Big Brother/Nanny State kind of gov’t. One that promises to “take care” of all the people, keep them safe (even from hurtful opinions and offensive speech!), give people free shit because it’s “not fair” that some have more than others, etc. And you eventually move towards a police state.

            And I know Gott will say “I’m not like that, and not all women are like that”. And you know what, I have no problem agreeing with her! But she needs to realize that what applies here is the dead weigh of numbers. And when you look at the applicable history and facts, you see that every democracy (when only men could vote) strictly limited gov’t power and gov’t’s role, and emphasized people’s independence and standing on their own two feet. And in every case, once the franchise was extended to women, you begin to see the creeping in of the Nanny State and Big Brother.

            Also, polls continually show women voters favor liberal, big-govt candidates, while men favor conservative, limited-gov’t candidates. And polls show women are more likely to approve of the criminalizing of “offensive” speech. So we have data to back up my hypothesis here.

            This is explosive to point out, because it implies that women’s suffrage is inimical to the freedom of the citizenry. But remember, the women are not setting out to do this deliberately, they are just the way God made them – prioritizing feelings, safety, protection, etc…over independence and freedom.

            Of course, we’re not about to revoke women’s suffrage in this day and age, so perhaps the whole topic is moot. But it is interesting to contemplate. And maybe a reason to consider that when you hear someone questioning whether women’s suffrage was a wise move, you can’t just write that person off as woman-hating caveman. No doubt about it – Ann Coulter has guts to even have brought this topic up.

            P.S. Ann Coulter says she values her right to vote, but she values the freedom of the citizenry and the limiting of gov’t power EVEN MORE. Therefore, she says she would gladly relinquish her right to vote, as long as the same applies to ALL women.

          11. I’m afraid I share some of those concerns, Jeff, the way our interpersonal skills translate into the political world.

            So Mary in our little analogy is now feeling abused and disrespected by someone’s chewing of popcorn. So what else can we do at this point,except remove the offense? Obviously popcorn must be now banned and Jeff must be punished for failing to see the error of his ways. Also, he’s now an abuser and should be put on a list somewhere.

            Hyperbole, exaggeration? Perhaps, but that really is where this little scenario leads us if one is to follow the logic to it’s eventual conclusion.

          12. Well, that is because he shares my understanding of innate gender differences, whereas with the rest of you I must walk on eggshells least you bite my head off.:-)

          13. We share an understanding that their are innate gender differences. I definitely think that. We may disagree about what those biological differences are and how they are influenced by environment.

            I’m sorry if I come across like I’m biting your head off. These are obviously very strongly held beliefs for a lot of us but I don’t want to be disrespectful to you since I value respect ?

            Sorry I couldn’t resist my pathetic respect joke.

          14. “Lol! And I cannot resist pointing out that it is not respect at all that you just zeroed in on, but rather empathy for my desire for safety.”

            Yes,because I know that’s how you feel respected. ?

          15. IB,
            I think there has been an ongoing “Alliance” division that I tried to address WEEKS ago, that you never addressed.

            No, you don’t have to walk on eggshells, and I am sure that you are viewing an “us and them” dichotomy that is incredibly unhappy and not conducive to actually communicating and coming close to actually understanding of what others are saying.

            Jeff Strand says some pretty awful things. Just because you both agree with his gender differentiation, doesn’t mean there is an “us and them”.

            Matt has agreed with Jeff,
            I don’t agree with Lisa about everything
            I don’t agree with you about everything

            I cant even approach Jeff’s idea’s because his approach is so completely offensive.

            What I have seen you do is patronize other peoples valid refutations (if that is a word), by saying you think it is funny, or amusing for someone to have a different idea than you.

            You may point out my confession that I literally cannot stand the things Jeff says and turn it around to make it a weakness.

            You are entitled to do that, but I want to appeal to you as a fellow human and Christian not to minimize my view point, or others view points because they are different.

            I would love for all of us to actually learn somethings, and not just reiterate what we believe we already know.

            There is nothing wrong with having strong, firm beliefs, I really think they are necessary for people to navigate the world in a coherent way.

            But, you cant use your beliefs to hurt other people. or to deny something that is just because it interferes with a small part of what you understand .

            It would be excellent to understand more- about others experience, as well as your own beliefs.

          16. IB-
            I do want to reiterate and clarify my comment that “no, you don’t have to walk on eggshells.”
            I meant that I believe your view is welcomed, and I wanted to articulate that it isn’t necessary for you to feel that way.
            There are people that differ from your POV. I differ from their POV, and vice versa.
            One of the things I deeply admire about the commentators here is that there is a high degree of intellectual honesty, and they do a very good job of fleshing issues out so that many aspects can be seen.
            There are times when an “argument” is very convincing, and a previous understanding is altered.
            I think most of the time, however, everyone has a small piece of “truth”, or understanding, or something that makes tons and tons of sense to them.
            We rely on that stuff to make sense of our selves and the world, ect.
            I think a problem comes in when we cling so tightly to that small piece, that we completely disregard the 13 billion other pieces of truth that could be interlocking, and allow us an even clearer and more complete picture. (I think a puzzle analogy has snuck in here…)
            To put it even more simply- you got chocolate, I got peanut butter. They are fine by themselves, but if put them together we have an even better “whole”…
            (dont like peanut butter? try you got chocolate cookies, I got the creme filled center- together, we have Oreo’s…you got Mac, I got cheese …I think you get the picture 🙂

            That is what I want to do with our ideas.

            Some things dont fit together. I think most people become highly anxious when things are being said that go directly against deeply held beliefs.

            I dont think anyone is trying to evoke anxiety or ill feelings.

            These are opportunities to look at the other persons reasoning and see how it is put together- just for the sake of understanding that person.

            Ideas may be challenged, but it would be up to you (Or me) what to do with that.
            Those challenges could be times to reassess beliefs and gain new ones. (I believe that we DONT have full understanding of who God is, and so I think it is good for us to continue to allow new information in. He has revealed himself to me in huge ways because I have allowed myself to question. My faith grows stronger, not weaker, every time I do that. )
            But because I am not willing to believe just anything (I dont see the value in changing my mind if it isnt actually changed in a way that is for the better) I have to be intellectually honest about the things I believe vs. the things I know, and the things I feel or sense. …

            So, the long and short of this is- There is no doubt that you have a different opinion/understanding of the world. I dont think anyone is opposed to it on principle, but most will want some pretty good reasons why they should believe that truth as well.
            If your logic and understanding doesnt jibe with their own- then that doesnt mean they oppose YOU. Your opinion is still valid, but yours, like mine, can be called into question.
            It isnt to prove you wrong, it is so that there can be a better understanding of the whole.
            At least that is my motivation.

            I have no problem if you genuinely agree with the things that JS stands for. I do have a serious problem with those ideas, but I am not the boss of the world, so I cant do much about that.
            But, if you are agreeing with him because he somehow supports an idea that you feel has been refuted or isnt agreed with, then I have to say that isnt being intellectually honest.
            That would be more about making sure your idea was agreed with over really testing the validity of the idea.

            Have to go. Please let me know if you get what I am saying.
            Let me know if you disagree with it.


          17. Hello good folks!
            I find this discussion very interesting!

            IB, if I understand you correctly, you agree that an interactive partnership is a good thing

            And you also seem to think that in this case, Mary shouldn’t come to John with her problem of his popocorn chewing that is disturbing her work.

            I would agree with you that it’s generally a good thing to not be too bothered by other people’s habits. I would agree that if Mary’s first bothered by the popcorn chewing, then the breathing, then the chair scraping, then the way John sharpens his pencils, Mary (or the relationship) probably has an underlying problem that won’t get adressed by John just agreeing to every new request.

            But even healhy and mature people will still have their preferences and some needs for how they want to live their lives, how they want/need their work station to be, are they early birds or nightowls etc.

            So in your mind, how would the interactive partnership-aspect come into play between John and Mary in Gottmanfan’s analogy (assuming no default submission by either one of the persons)?

          18. “(assuming no default submission by either one of the persons)?”

            LOL! Are you trying to get me into trouble here? You know how much the s-word is disliked in this parts!

            So, I cannot respond to your comment without opening up yet another can of worms. 🙂

          19. Hehe IB! I was trying to avoid getting us both into trouble. 🙂

            Maybe I wasn’t clear enough in what I was trying to say.
            I was wondering about your view on how the interactive partnership would work, if we take default submission out of the equation. I still get that people must submit, compromise etc, so feel free (on my behalf) to talk about submission in that sense. 😉

            But since the analogy was a work example presumably between colleages of equal rank, not between boss-employée, or leader spouse-submissive spouse, how would an interactive partnership work then in your mind, when both people’s preferences should carry equal weight, and taking into account that even mature healthy people will have some preferences for how their work environment (or whatever else) is, and sometimes that will clash with the preferences of another person?

          20. IB,

            Shannon said something further down which maybe will help explain what I’m trying to say:

            “The primary goal and responsibility that they share is to work as employees. Mary asked Joh n not to disrupt her job by his non-job activities – eating popcorn, listening to music, leaving coffee cups in the workplace. John refused to put his job first and instead elevated his desires into the primary position. Thus, John is disrespecting his own job as well as Mary and her job. Is Mary trying to control her job performance, salary, and employer’s regard? I would hope so. John is dragging her down.”

            We could take gender completely out of it, and talk about John and Fred. Fred gets disturbed by John’s smelly popcorn and loud music. He needs a quiet orderly place to work. John prefers to not have to limit what he eats, what he listens to. They’re of equal rank in the workplace (I know you’re big on gender differences, but I think you’d agree that men in between them have different preferences for things too sometimes (as proof, of two of the men I know best, one is a neat freak while the other is a slob)).

            In an interactive partnership, how do you think John and Fred should work out their differences in how they want their workplace to be, so that they both can perform as well as possible?

            I’d also like to ask to raise a concern about something else you said, or possible just get your clarification:

            “What she really desires is emotional safety and the opportunity to be heard. It really is all about her and not about my popcorn at all. So I would completely reverse course, ask her about her weekend, ask her about what’s going on in her life, try to ascertain why she is projecting her popcorn resentment onto me, and hand those feelings back to her. “You sound like you’re feeling a loss of control.””

            I would agree, sometimes it really IS about being heard. And again, the popcorn could be a symptom for something else, either in the relationship with you (in this hypothetical example) or somewhere else in Mary’s life.

            But the thing is, everyone has needs and preferences, even emotionally healthy women. So if your basic stance towards Mary is that the popcorn has little to do with you as long as she feels heard by you, maybe it’s about something else in her life, her mother in law popping over unannouced all the time. But then the mother in law thinks the popping over unnanounced that annoys Mary is really just a symptom of something else, Mary jjust needs to be heard by her and probably feels out of control in another area of her life, maybe because her husband always leaves laundry on the floor. And Mary’s husband’s thinks that Mary’s annoyance about the laundry on the floor is just a symptom of something else, she must be feeling out of control about work, a colleage’s popcorn must be really annoyin her….

            Where does it end?Where does a woman actually get some of her literal needs/preferences met, where does she get *some* control over how the life she shares with others in different areas functions/looks like? If everyone thinks that the popcorn or laundry or whatever is just a symptom of something else, Mary will never get her needs met in any area, no matter how much they “hear” her. Being heard is very important, I agree with you there, but if she’s just heard but don’t get a decent compromise for her preferences when they clash with others, and everyone keeps thinking some other area of her life is where the shoe pinches, I do not think that will be enough for Mary’s well being.

            Your thoughts?

          21. “So in your mind, how would the interactive partnership-aspect come into play between John and Mary in Gottmanfan’s analogy (assuming no default submission by either one of the persons)?”

            Sometimes you just have to make the conscious decision to cut the other person a break, and just keep your mouth shut. I do this regularly when it comes to my spouse – I will be about to criticize something she’s doing that I don’t like or that annoys me, and instead I will consciously say to myself “You know what? I’m gonna cut her some slack and not say anything”. And I can bet she does the same for me.

            Try it. See for yourself. I think it works wonders.

            P.S. You say “assuming no default submission by either person”, but even when there is submission and traditional gender roles (as in my case), you still have to be aware of this. Just because I am the head of the household, and therefore “outrank” my wife, doesn’t mean i’m gonna criticize her excessively. I need to be aware of her sensitive female nature and try to build her up, not knock her down.

            Besides, after 15 years of marriage, she’s earned it. It’s like a 2nd Lt. giving orders to the highest ranking Master Sergeant of the Army. Sure, the Lt. outranks him and both are aware of this, but given the experience and years of service given by the Sgt, you can bet the Lt. is going to show mad respect to the Sgt and is going to be very hesitant to overly-criticize him. I think that’s a good analogy.

    3. I definitely think women need respect, especially as mothers. Children need to respect and obey their parents. They need to contribute to the house by helping with chores (both genders need to pick up after themselves), and speak respectfully to both their parents. Part of this is learned behavior. Both parents need to set an example. It would be helpful if dad didn’t leave clothes and dishes and other messes laying all over the house for mom to pick up. Why should the kids pick up after themselves if dad won’t? If dad doesn’t, the kids shouldn’t have to either, which leaves the burden of the house squarely on mom’s shoulders.

      Another type of respect is how the parents speak to reach other. If dad is constantly belittling mom, the kids are going to pick up on it. If dad nips any backtalk from the kids in the bud and let’s the kids know they can’t speak to their mother disrespectfully, they will grow up respecting their mother.

      I know of one marriage, it lasted 23 years. They were together for 30. The dad did nothing but belittle the mom for almost everything. Her cooking was never good enough, even though she had dinner ready every single night by 6 when he got home. She wasn’t allowed to work because he didn’t want to have to change diapers or deal with little kids. He made her wear her hair long in this ugly 80s haircut until at least 2000. She came into the marriage with an inheritance that paid for their house. He went into business for himself, mortgaged the house, and now its in foreclosure. She tried to talk to him about money but he shot her down. It was not a partnership.

      Now, she did her fair share to ruin the marriage. She was such a nag and expected things to be a certain way. I think a lot of her problem was anxiety about money and security. Everything Matt talks about here.

      Their marriage ended almost 3years ago. He up and left, ditched her and their 3girls. Kicked her out of the house she paid for with her inheritance, moved some chick in he met out of town. He’s losing the house, by the way. He barely pays child support, doesn’t care for their youngest ego is still under age.

      He had his own business and ran it into the ground. He kept her out of the loop, would only give her grunt work for the business. She had a degree in business and was working on an accounting degree.

      Their oldest daughter is so rude to her mom. It actually makes it uncomfortable at get togethers because she is hateful and mean. And she’s turning the youngest against her mom too. Whenever the youngest shows the mom the slightest bit of affection, they tease and harass her. It’s actually really sad.

      So my point is, yes women need respect. Yes it needs too come from their husbands. The husband needs to to show the kids how to respect their mom. They need to know she’s a person too, with needs outside of being the help.

      1. I agree very much with your point about kids modeling what they observe their parents DOING. (as in, action, not words)

        My wife and I are cognizant of this in our marriage, and the kids see us relating to each other with love, respect, and kindness. In our case, we also emphasize and put on display our embracing of traditional gender roles. We never fight in front of the kids (although to be fair, we almost never fight anyway). We try to set a good example for them when it comes to fulfilling one’s responsibilities, whether that is accomplishing household chores, going to work, doing homework, saying your daily prayers, going to Mass and Confession when possible, etc.

        So thanks for bringing this up. It is so important, as the negative example you discussed heart-breakingly shows. Parents have such responsibility!

        1. Yes, parents DO have a huge responsibility! But my main point was specifically a father’s responsibility to show respect for his wife so the kids will show respect to their mother. In the case i shared earlier, the father never respected the mother, no matter what she did.
          I didn’t say she was completely blameless, but she didn’t deserve the constant ridicule she’s endured. Her husband didn’t respect her and now her children dont. It’s really sad. And she refuses to even hold him accountable for any of the mistakes he made. She takes the blame all on herself.

          1. Molly,

            “But my main point was specifically a father’s responsibility to show respect for his wife so the kids will show respect to their mother.”

            I agree with this as well as the mother showing respect to the husband. Mutual respect should be modeled to the kids.

            But even if no kids are involved, it’s important, in my view, for each spouse to show respect to each other.

    4. John brings in some microwave popcorn into their shared office. Mary finds the strong smell”

      You think popcorn has a strong smell, you should check out Corn Nuts. Now those things will stink up the office, big time!! LOL

    1. The irony there is that Katy Perry is not a very good role model for people reading a blog about improving their marriage and having successful marriages.

      I think her marriage lasted maybe one year? My shoes last longer than her marriage!

  7. Interesting. We touched on this briefly yesterday over on the secret island ? how seemingly little things can feel like a breach of trust, like betrayal.

    I think that’s because it IS betrayal.

    When you go to your spouse with an issue, expecting to get understanding, support and respect, but instead get disdain and dismissal, that IS a betrayal.

    It’s a betrayal because you and your spouse got up in front of God and a whole bunch of other people and willingly made solemn vows to NOT do that kind of shit to each other. How else am I supposed to see it then?

    For readers who aren’t familiar with my story, I suffered pretty much the worst betrayal any wife could suffer at the hands of her husband. I got really sick (cancer) and my husband abandoned me to my illness and started a relationship with another woman. Anyone who’s ever recovered from the pain of infidelity knows that in order to heal and restore trust, the offending spouse must be willing to become the faithful spouses’ healer.

    They acknowledge their betrayal.

    They take responsibility for their actions.

    They actively work towards restoring trust with their spouse.

    They put healthy boundaries in place for themselves so that they don’t repeat the offense.

    They create a climate where their spouse can trust that they will not be betrayed in this way again.

    Now, what if we applied this approach to every marriage issue? What if we acknowledged the “little things” for the betrayals that they are, and took the necessary actions to address them as such? What if partners put as much effort into healing the “betrayal” of leaving the dish by the sink as they would the betrayal of an affair?

    At the very end of the interview, you guys touched on the topic of men’s shame, which I think is intimately connected to their (in)ability to acknowledge the little betrayals. I wouldn’t mind digging into that topic a little more at some point.

    1. “I got really sick (cancer) and my husband abandoned me to my illness and started a relationship with another woman”

      Sounds like John Edwards AND Newt Gingrich.

        1. One possible guess which I hope isn’t true:

          Two dipshit high-profile politicians once famously had affairs while their wives were sick.

          Thus, men commonly cheat on their sick spouse who are unable to fulfill their “wifely duties.”

          And maybe we’re supposed to accept that this will happen, and simply grin and bear it.

          And EVEN IF that were somehow the case, I’ll repeat something I said in a previous comment.

          There’s a difference between The Way Things Are, and The Way Things Should Be.

          So, even when someone brings That’s Just the Way It Is! to the discussion, I’m not always willing to accept the premise.

          Sometimes, things should NOT be as they are.

          It seems silly to even exert energy discussing what should and should not be accepted on the marital fidelity front, regardless of health.

          1. Ahh. Ok, thanks…I didn’t get the reference.

            Just for the record, it’s still a really shitty thing to do to your wife.


          2. Right. You don’t have to say “still,” as if somewhere on this planet is an acceptable justification for sleeping with someone else while your spouse struggles through the most-difficult moment of her/his life.

        2. “Jeff – Sorry, but I have no idea what you mean by that…”

          My bad Anita, I thought you would get the reference. Both Edwards and Gingrich were politicians who famously betrayed their wives in he same way you described – cheating on them or abandoning them while they were sick.

          I would say what they did was despicable (and what your husband did too), but I’m sure I’d be admonished for “judging” people. Now that we’re told that anyone has a right to ask for divorce at any time, for any reason (not to exclude leaving dirty dishes by the sink), and no one can “judge” them for it.

          1. Appreciate the clarification, Jeff. I’m not terribly familiar with American politicians, so no, I didn’t get the reference at all.

            And I am in no way offended by your judgement that my husband’s actions were despicable. They were. I have no problem judging the actions of another, saying, “That behaviour goes against my moral code. If find it reprehensible.” We are all entitled to make value judgements about the actions of others, but not about the person themselves, or their intentions.

            Now, if you had said, “Your husband is despicable”, well, then, we’d have a problem. Them’s fightin’ words! ?

            My larger point though, is that maybe we need to take resolving the “little” betrayals between us every bit as seriously (in terms of the damage it does to marriage) as we do the big ones.

    2. I really like this comment Anita! When we enter into an intimate relationship, there’s the assumption that the other person will care about our feelings, our needs, our preferences.

      And so when that doesn’t happen, when you as you say “you go to your spouse with an issue, expecting to get understanding, support and respect, but instead get disdain and dismissal, that IS a betrayal.” Absolutely.

      I’m very inspired by Brent Atkinson’s views on legitimate differences, so I’d have to add that if we go to our spouses vwith the attitude that the other person’s loud music or dish by the sink is wrong, that is a betrayal too. It’s judging the other person’s legitimate difference as wrong/inferior (I’m assuming an overall level of fairness in the relationship and not extreme cases, for instance loud music that damages someone’s hearing etc).

  8. In the John/Mary analogy and the ensuing discussion about feelings, here is what is missed. The primary goal and responsibility that they share is to work as employees. Mary asked Joh n not to disrupt her job by his non-job activities – eating popcorn, listening to music, leaving coffee cups in the workplace. John refused to put his job first and instead elevated his desires into the primary position. Thus, John is disrespecting his own job as well as Mary and her job. Is Mary trying to control her job performance, salary, and employer’s regard? I would hope so. John is dragging her down.

    Take that analogy into a relationship. Its primary goal is to work the job of life and all its problems and responsibilities together, with the assumption that two can do it easier than one. So if one partner does not treat the relationship and his or hers responsibilities within it with respect, they are not respecting the relationship, aka their partner.

    If love allows excusing oneself from responsibility while still proclaiming love, but respect means holding to responsibilities, I will take respect over love anyway. It seems that love and respect should go hand in hand. By that, I do not mean one has to always respect their partner, but needs to respect their obligations to the relationship.

    As to emotional safety, being protected, being heard – doesn’t all that fall under the outcome of being respected?

      1. “Thus, John is disrespecting his own job as well as Mary and her job. Is Mary trying to control her job performance, salary, and employer’s regard? I would hope so. John is dragging her down.”

        Okay, consider the possibility that John and Mary are married. What Mary is doing is just dripping with disrespect, envy, competitiveness, and a need for control. Mary’s complaint is that she does not feel respected, but that is actually Mary projecting her own disrespect for John onto herself.

        Listen to the hatred and disgust so many are expressing towards John, listen to the disrespect towards him, listen to how he is “just dragging her down.”

        So what is the man’s crime in this scenario? He was eating some popcorn. If John’s simple act of eating popcorn causes such offense, such outrage, such indignation, John cannot possibly win in this situation. There is no scenario in which John is able to meet Mary’s requirements to feel respected because those feelings are stemming from Mary herself and are directly related to her own inability to view John with any respect.

        What Mary doesn’t need is “respect,” what Mary needs is for John to help her sort out her feelings. She is feeling unsafe, unable to trust, because for some reason she has no respect for John.

        1. Well I presented my very simplistic and flawed analogy to take it out of the home setting so that two people are sharing an office working together on a project.

          His “crime” was in doing something that is not typical of an office setting (eating) and then dismissing the opinion of the person he shares a space with as “wrong”. Not different but wrong.

          Maybe Lindsey is right I should have used microwaved fish instead of popcorn. The popcorn example was real life experience in an office I used to work at.

          Wearing strong cologne was another one. One person had severe sensitivities and tried to get the person who shared her space to make accommodations.

          Loud talking on the phone was another example. The cubicles we worked in were not good at sound proofing at it was hard to concentrate when kind particular guy talked VERY loudly for hours.

          Like the popcorn, there’s nothing wrong with eating popcorn, wearing cologne, eating smelly fish, or talking loudly on the phone.

          But when you share space with someone mutual accommodations should be made. Brainstorming how to accomodate each other’s needs.

          The person with the cologne sensitivity was able to move one cubicle over abs that helped. The guy wearing the cologne toned it down a bit but kept rocking his old spice.

          That’s what I’m talking about. Trying to find ways that take both peoples needs into account.

        2. “So what is the man’s crime in this scenario? He was eating some popcorn. If John’s simple act of eating popcorn causes such offense, such outrage, such indignation, John cannot possibly win in this situation.”

          Acknowledging that I can’t speak for anyone else, I still feel confident in saying that this isn’t what causes the indignation and offense.

          John’s “crime” is not eating popcorn. It’s refusing to cooperate with Mary in creating a working environment that works for both of them, when his actions of chewing popcorn is making it difficult for Mary to do her job.

          It would likewise be a “crime” by Mary if she were listening to music and this bothered John, and she refused to turn it off. It isn’t the playing music that is the crime, it’s the blowing off of John’s wishes/needs, it’s the refusing to work with John in creating a working environment that works for both of them.

        3. “What Mary doesn’t need is “respect,” what Mary needs is for John to help her sort out her feelings. She is feeling unsafe, unable to trust, because for some reason she has no respect for John.”

          Since I created these characters in my head, I can speak for Mary. She just wants to work out some reasonable accommodations around her shared office space.

          Those are her feelings. She doesn’t need help sorting them. She needs to work with John to figure out a solution to the popcorn differences.

          Maybe John could switch to Doritos (yes John give in to the Dark Side!).

          Maybe Mary could wear earplugs while he eats the popcorn on certain days.

          Maybe the popcorn eating would be limited to certain agreed upon hours so John could still enjoy but Mary had core work hours popcorn free.

          Maybe John could eat the popcorn in the break room instead of his office.

          I don’t know. But they could work out some arrangement that took both of their needs into account if they brainstormed together.

          1. Anita,

            The popcorn was supposed to be innocuous like a dish left by the sink.

            It’s only a problem when they can’t work together to find a solution. If you had two reasonable people who respect each other’s needs it would take 5 minutes top to work out some solution to the actual “problem” with the dishes or the jeans or the popcorn.

          2. It IS innocuous, which is kind of makes it so funny to me.

            Its like we’re the co-workers, having a real row over hypothetical popcorn ?

            There are lots of solutions to problem of the popcorn, and assuming that most reasonable people would want to find a reasonable solution to it, does it really matter whether you’re motivated to do so out of a desire to show respect, or a out of a desire to protect? Aren’t they both acts of love?

            What am I missing here?

          3. You are missing that I am saying I want to be respected and IB is saying that women don’t need to be respected.

            She rejects my need for respect as “cloaking” my true need for safety.

            In my opinion, that’s what this whole comment section has really been discussing while discussing popcorn.

          4. *face palm*

            I’m sort of laughing and shaking my head in resigned defeat. Your attitude and fortitude is greatly appreciated.

          5. Well, I would prefer that the individual be allowed to decide for him or herself what their true need is. And that’s going to vary according to the individual.

            Just a thought…would it be fair to say that you need to feel respected in order to feel safe?

          6. Anita,

            Safety and respect are distinct in my mind. I have had bosses and colleagues who respected me and my talents but who I wouldn’t trust or feel “safe” with.

            My mother in law respects me but doesn’t have good boundaries and therefore is not “safe”.

            Someone can be “safe” in a benevolent dictator kind of way and not respect me as equal in consideration of my needs/wants.

          7. Anita,

            You said: “Gotcha. For me there is a lot of overlap and interconnection between the two.”

            Interesting! How do you see them as overlapping and interconnecting?

          8. Lisa, well generally if someone is disrespecting me, I have a hard time trusting that they have my best interests at heart.

  9. To everyone,

    Matt has explained the issue of trust – from the perspective of the wife– in Volumes 5 and 10 in his “Letters to Shitty Husbands”. Please read both. I’m using a very small portion of the text from Volume 5 below.

    Halfway through the discussion, Matt quotes the husband, “So what you’re saying is, I need to help you around the house and with the kids whether I want to or not?” This is literally, what the husband said to the wife who left him

    Matt follows up with: “Yes…(and) you don’t need to help around the house and with the kids because your wife doesn’t have time to do it all.. ( she’s excellent at multi-tasking) .what she does need is to have her wants and needs validated by you…She needs to feel safe. She needs to feel loved.”

    Explaining how the husband’s failure to follow through on requests for help — that even
    the small tasks go ignored — contributes to her feeling unloved, Matt says,.

    (But) every chance you get to SHOW her that you love her , you choose yourself over her or your family…..she can’t TRUST you …because YOU’RE UNRELIABLE.

    1. Absolutely. She can’t trust you because you’re unreliable. “Trust” here is directly related to safety. So why don’t women just admit that, say that? What’s with all this cloaking it behind a word like “respect” ?

      1. IB,

        I’m trying to understand the disconnect were having here. I’m not “cloaking” my need for anything when I say I want respect.

        I wonder if we have different definitions for “respect”? I don’t know.

        Anyway, I want trust and reliability and respect.

        1. To see if we’re defining it similarly, here’s a definition that’s close to what I’m thinking of.

          Simple Definition of respect
          : a feeling of admiring someone or something that is good, valuable, important, etc.
          : a feeling or understanding that someone or something is important, serious, etc., and should be treated in an appropriate way

        2. @ gottmanfan

          Hopefully, I can shed some light on the Christian paradigm. If you are not familiar with certain Christian terms and their Biblical (Hebrew or Greek) definitions, it could be like listening to and trying to understand Christianese.

          The wife must respect her husband (Eph 5:33). The New Testament was originally written in Greek. The Greek word for respect is phobeo (Strong’s Bible Concordance 5399). It means to fear. Some Bible translations even use the word fear in Eph 5:33: ISV, ASV, Douay-Rheims, ERV, GNV, DRA, Darby. That’s where Christians generally get the idea that men need respect. There’s not a reciprocal verse in the Bible; there is no verse admonishing husbands to respect (fear) their wives. Therefore, it’s inferred that respect (fear) is predominantly a man’s need.

          The Bible infers that everyone needs honor
          (1 Peter 2:17), but wives especially need it from their husbands.
          In a similar way, you husbands must live with your wives in an understanding manner, as with a most delicate partner. HONOR them as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may interfere with your prayers (1 Peter 3:7).

          The Greek word for honor is time’ ( Strong’s Concordance 5092). It means “esteem, value, or great respect.” To honor someone is to value them highly or bestow value upon them.

          Therefore, according to the Christian paradigm, men predominantly need respect (fear) while women especially need honor (to be esteemed and valued).

          I think when people have these types of discussions there is often a disconnect, and PART of that disconnect is related to semantics.

          1. Oh K. Martin!

            If only you knew how much I have been exposed to these ideas. Yes indeed I know ALL about them.

            I really appreciate your helping attitude. I have done quite a lot of research in this area.

            We’ve spent ALL kinds of time discussing this on the blog and I dint want to do that again.

            If you want my real opinion, this men need respect, women need love has much more to do with the rigid framing of the book Love and Respect than exegesis of Ephesians 5 and passages.

            I’ve been exposed to these teachings for a LONG time and it has only been in the last decade that the men need respect, women need love has been applied as proof of complemetarity.

            I don’t find it good exegesis of Ephesians 5 or good marriage advice.

            But hey that’s just me. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. But my opinion is not uniformed.

            But regardless I agree with you that part of the disconnect for discussions like these is related to semantics.

          2. I Peter 3: 7

            7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.

            Just to show I speak fluent Christianese ? the same verse you quoted as “honor” in your version ESV perhaps?) is translated as RESPECT in the NIV.

          3. And I REALLY, REALLY do not wish to engage in a theological discussion on this blog. ???????????

            Though I sincerely appreciate your efforts to help me out. ?

          4. “Therefore, according to the Christian paradigm, men predominantly need respect (fear) while women especially need honor (to be esteemed and valued).”

            This is not THE Christian paradigm. It is a very particular paradigm that belongs to Complementarians. They even have their own translation of the Bible (ESV) that deliberately chooses certain English words to reinforce their point of view.

            I am not a Complemetarian and therefore I am free as a woman to express my need for respect without committing heresy against the particular way they view men and women.

          5. Honestly it is mindblowing to me that a woman can’t say she values being respected. That’s a pretty basic thing.

            If others want to believe that they don’t value respect because they are female, more power to them. I just would like the courtesy of having my views respected. ?

      2. Hello again IB,

        I think maybe people are using the same words but with different meanings?

        What’s the difference, in your mind, between trust and respect?

        Trust and respect are for me very interraleted. I would feel safe with a man who respects me. I would, as a general rule, feel like I could trust him. Respect would mean (among other things, I’m mainly thinking about it in regards to the Mary-John analogy), that as a general rule, my needs/preferences/wishes are of the same importance as his, and when there’s a clash between them, some kind of compromise or third solution would be the order of the day.

        I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts to Gottmanfan’s response a bit further up.

    2. Quoting from Shitty Volume 5 verse 10?,

      “Matt follows up with: “Yes…(and) you don’t need to help around the house and with the kids because your wife doesn’t have time to do it all.. ( she’s excellent at multi-tasking) .what she does need is to have her wants and needs validated by you…She needs to feel safe. She needs to feel loved.””

      I agree with this. I would only add that for me sharing chores and pârenting taking both of our needs/wants into account ON AN EQUAL level of validity and importance communicates respect for me. That is what I am taking about.

      I think it would work even better if “respect” was added in the next version of the Shitty Chronicles for all to study, highlighter in hand. Lol

      Just one woman’s take.

        1. Here’s something to consider gottmanfan. We can have a great respect for our enemies, admire their ability to fight back, and still annihilate them, perhaps with even greater enthusiasm.

          However, we would never do that to someone we love, someone whose safety is our prime responsibility.

          1. Well yes we agree on this! We can also have someone we love but not respect. I have relatives like this. I love them but do not respect them.

            And as I said to Anita, someone can be “safe” in that they are doing what they think is best for you but are treating one like a child rather respecting you as an adult.

          2. Without an ability to recognize our own needs for safety, we can never be strong enough inside to be vulnerable No vulnerability, no real intimacy, either.

          3. I honestly do not understand why my position of preferring respect over “safety” is so perplexing to you. Of course, ideally I’d like both.

            I’m just saying IF I was in a situation where I had to choose between being disrespected but “treated “safely” or respected but not being able to rely on the other person for “safety”, I’d still choose to be respected and rely on myself for safety.

            It is straightforward. You clearly do not agree with it. Cool! We’re different people but my choice doesn’t mean that I don’t value safety only that I would chose to be treated with respect and rely on myself for safety.

            And it seems to me you can’t be truly intimate in either scenario. That’s why you need to have respect, love and trust for true intimacy. That’s my take.

          4. “I honestly do not understand why my position of preferring respect over “safety” is so perplexing to you.”

            I’m not perplexed at all. I simply believe that many people are unable or unwilling to face their own vulnerabilities and have trust issues, which puts up big barriers in a marriage.

            You yourself said you would prefer to “rely on myself for safety.” So, no willingness to trust. So how is that kind of distrust any different from Matt’s unwillingness to trust that his wife knew what she was talking about?

          5. IB,

            I’ve got many issues but not the ones you’re describing. Lol.

            I do not fall into the category of “unable or unwilling to face their own vulnerabilities and have trust issues, which put up big barriers in a marriage.”

            No that’s not my problem. I’m pigheaded, too direct, critical, know it all etc. I’ve got a lot of flaws but trust issues aren’t one of them at least in the way you’re talking about.

            I have a willingness to trust trustworthy people. Really it’s pretty logical. You don’t trust people who aren’t trustworthy.

            You rely on yourself (by setting boundaries etc) with a person who had shown themselves as not trustworthy.

            I did not say I prefer to rely on myself for safety as a blanket statement. It was in the context of having to choose between being disrespected but “safe” ( which may include others making decisions for me like I’m a child not an adult) or being respected but not “safe” because you can’t trust the other person to look after your interests.

            In THAT scenario I would choose to be respected and look after my own interests because the other person would not.

            It’s really quite simple.

            And of course your answer would most likely be different.

            And I respect that. ?

  10. To everyone,

    It seems there is definently a disconnect here between what is meant and IMPLIED by our various meanings and understandings of words like trust, respect, safety, and reliability.

    I used Matt’s “Shitty Husband” blogs to EXTEND our discussion beyond issues of sexual exclusivity, personal responsibility, changing behavior in accordance with requests from spouses,etc. I felt something was missing, something IMPORTANT that I could not verbalize. I still do not know what that missing element might be.

    But I see the by the comments following the quotes from the blog that our different understandings and interpretations of words like RESPECT, TRUST, RELIABILITY, SAFETY etc. might impact our efforts to improve our relationships.

  11. Okay, let’s reverse the genders here. I could never marry a man who vehemently demanded respect, proclaimed his deep seated need for all things to be equal at all times, and who insisted I give up popcorn, curry, or fish, all in order to accommodate his many “needs.”

    That just reeks of a completely self absorbed attitude and a pathological need for control.

    So why then would a man desire a woman who exhibits any of these qualities?

    1. If he weren’t consistently disrespected he wouldn’t need to “vehemently demand respect”…if he had to,I would support him leaving the situation…

      1. Try this one on, Linds. If someone is consistently disrespected, all of those doing the disrespecting just might be on to something. Maybe that person is is untrustworthy, unpredictable, and does not engender anyone’s respect.

        Man or woman, right off the bat, anyone who must “vehemently demand respect,” loses both my trust and respect.

        1. I thought we were discussing 2 people. Not many people disrespecting one person. So you moved it from a personal conflict, and blamed the” “victim” .But even besides that point, no- I don’t think there is even one person who should ” not engender anyone’s respect”. A persons choices are the persons choices, a persons understanding is a persons understanding. I give basic respect to that whether I agree with it or not. Everyone here doesn’t act disrespectfully towards a commenter who has earned a significant amount of mistrust.
          Usually if there is a group that points at one person and castigates him it is because the person doesn’t share the groups values.
          I mean, do I really have to use the most obvious and striking example? (A 33 year old who spoke out against the current religious leadership, that ended up being crucified on a cross…?)
          That includes criminals – even the worst of criminals. That’s what Guantanamo was about. Human being have a right to basic dignity’s, or at least that is the lofty ideal.
          If a group cannot generate enough basic respect for a human being, I would have to say there is something amiss with the group.

          1. And, lets talk about “group think” here.
            I work within groups all the time as a nurse. I have seen a few scenario’s played out that remind me of this discussion/context.
            Say Nurse Ralph is new to the floor. He needs some extra help finding things, and he has wasted a ton of items. Then, at the end of his shift he drops a lab sample on the floor that everyone had been waiting on, including the patient and family, so they could finally go home.

            Nurse Bill is giving report to Nurse Jane. Nurse Jane asks how the new guy was doing, and Nurse Bill rolls his eye and telling her of all the issues and puts his negative opinion of Nurse Ralph out there.

            After a few weeks, Nurse Bill is just really fed up with Nurse Ralph and starts to openly disrespect him. Questioning his actions in front of family members, questioning the information he gives to the doctors.

            The doctors look and think “what’s wrong with THIS guy, that our trusted Bill seems to not trust him?”

            Nurse Ralph has improved, but Bills actions have only worsened. He makes mocking jokes about Ralph…and he’s pretty funny, so other nurses on the unit laugh along. Then, they start making jokes at Ralph’s expense.
            Pretty soon it is “common knowledge” that Ralph is completely inept at his job (though he demonstrates daily that he performs, and performs well), and everyone feels that it is ok to make fun of Ralph and be disrespectful to him.

            Another nurse comes in from another unit. She knows the staff well, but not the floor. She sees that everyone out and out disrespects Ralph, and so, she automatically regards him with disrespect and disdain, though she has never actually worked with him.

            My point is that one persons opinion can influence other peoples opinions, whether they are valid or not.

            If an entire group is looking at someone as if they should not be given any respect, it is likely that something like this has happened.
            It is NOT that the person actually deserves disrespect, it is that many feel it is “ok” to disrespect him, and even that he deserves it.

            I hate to get all cliché and everything, but I will have to say your inability to respect someone says way more about who you are than who they are.

    2. IB,

      You said:

      “Okay, let’s reverse the genders here. I could never marry a man who vehemently demanded respect, proclaimed his deep seated need for all things to be equal at all times, and who insisted I give up popcorn, curry, or fish, all in order to accommodate his many “needs.

      That just reeks of a completely self-absorbed attitude and a pathological need for control.”

      I just don’t see how you are interpreting my John/Mary office scenario this way. I have tried to explain in various comments that Mary and John could easily come to some reasonable accommodation for both of their needs. I listed a few examples in another comment.

      If I reversed the genders and Mary was eating popcorn and playing loud music and John was asking for reasonable accommodations for both their needs I don’t see it as any different.

      They share an office.

      They both need to get work done.

      They have different preferences and styles.

      Because they share an office, they need to find reasonable ways to accomodate each other’s different preferences and styles so that they can both get their work done.

      y analogy as imperfect as it is never has either Mary or John insisting

      1. “Because they share an office, they need to find reasonable ways to accomodate each other’s different preferences and styles so that they can both get their work done.”

        I guess I just really don’t like having something prescribed, mandated, controlled, which is entwined in your language,in your declaration of what they “need to do.” Whose needs are we even addressing here? I am unconvinced that John and Mary’s needs have anything to do with this conversation. I just see a whole lot of others people’s “needs” to make sure Mary forces John to comply.

        Marriage requires sacrifice and a whole lot of grace and a willingness to overlook all these silly things like popcorn and dishes. It is never about the popcorn or the dishes.

        1. I honestly do not understand where you coming from here. Let’s use a different word for “need” to find reasonable ways to accomodate. “It would be helpful” rather than “need” perhaps?

          No one is “forcing” John to comply. It would be the same if the genders were switched as I said in another comment.

          Of course I agree with you that marriage requires sacrifice and grace and overlooking silly things. Yes!

          It also requires, in my view, working together to help each other overlook those silly things by our attitudes towards each other’s differences. Trying to make it easy for each other with willing accommodations.

          1. IB,

            I believe in mutual submission so it’s very consistent with my views.

            Both spouses making willing accommodations for each other.

  12. Because this is a thread about trust and trustworthiness, there’s been a lot of mishandling of the gospel, and so we have people fearful of those words. I could link right now to dozens of blogs using Eph 5:33 and other passages to justify and advocate outright abuse.

    I call these things word fallacies. So there are these Orcs in the world who will take a word like respect, translate it into fear, as if to say men must instill fear in their wives. That is taking things out of context and out of translation.

    “Perfect love casts out fear.” So fear is one of those things I often try to speak to people about. There is the bad kind of fear where one is oppressed, held captive, and there is the liberating kind of fear, the kind you sometimes see in children, where they actually brag delightedly, “my daddy is scarier than yours.” Fear not as terror, but as safety, protection.

    A more accurate definition of “phobeo” is actually awe, wonder.

  13. Sometimes popcorn is just popcorn. Meaning the only emotions being felt by Mary are that her work concentration is being disrupted by an unnecessary, non-work activity on the part of her co-worker (whoever and whatever gender that may be) in their mutual space, which is theirs to work in, not eat in. My feeling about this is that of the boss-if one worker’s work is being disrupted, according to that worker’s viewpoint, by the non-work activity of another worker, then the latter is at fault and has to give over.

    As for relationships, it sure would be easier for everyone, practically and emotionally, if all the work of life was divided equally and each was 90% responsible for carrying out their tasks. The 10% is reserved for emergencies, illness etc. The popcorn analogy covers the problem accurately – one person feels their prime responsibility is optional and can be subjugated to their immediate wants.

    As for emotion, call it “controlling”, “respectful”, “boundary issues” – call the emotion whatever you want, but if one person is carrying on responsibilities while another is not so much, whatever emotion the one carrying the load feels is not good for a relationship. And whatever excuse the one shirking has will eventually wear out a relationship.

    There is a time and a place to “eat popcorn”. Just like your mother said “after your homework is done.” Funny that what most of us learned in childhood seems to be thrown out the window and become the cause of misery in adult relationships. By whomever of whatever gender for whatever underlying emotional reasons.

    1. “Sometimes popcorn is just popcorn. Meaning the only emotions being felt by Mary are that her work concentration is being disrupted by an unnecessary, non-work activity on the part of her co-worker”

      I guess I feel that what is best for Mary is that she learn to concentrate and focus better and stop worrying about what her coworkers are doing. Mary needs to learn how to invest in herself and let go of what others around her are doing. The problem being, first it is the coworker eating popcorn, than it is the guy who cuts you off in traffic, then it is the husband who leaves socks on the floor, and soon it is color coded flow charts designating what percentage of the chores each person must do.

      In a few years Mary has driven herself quite insane because life is not tidy like that, because one cannot control everything, and to spend all your time trying to change the people around you is an exercise in futility.

      Also,if we are going to continue this John and Mary analogy,I really think it is time for them to become romantically involved. I mean obviously John is pushing her buttons because he is desperately seeking her attention, no doubt because he is quite attracted to her….

      1. I think I’ve said everything I can on this subject as respectfully I can.

        However, I’ll close with this comment. I purposefully chose a non romantic setting for my Mary John analogy so that we could examine behavior without marriage “gender role” differences coming up.

        I find it interesting that IB reads romantic interest and gender role stuff into this office analogy. But I’m exhausted by this same stuff over and over and over and over on this blog no matter how it’s framed.

        We could switch the analogy to John and Mary being brother and sister so we could examine behavior without a suspicion of romantic attraction.

        We could make it two men John and Mike.

        We could make it two women Mary and Kate.

        Whatever. The point was to try and examine how one can deal with differences in styles, preferences, work conditions, in a mature way outside of a romantic relationship.

        But I see it’s not possible to have that conversation on these blog comments.

        Live and learn.

        1. I rather enjoy these discussions and I liked the Mary and john analogy because it provides us lots of fodder for our narratives.

          I’m always rather surprised by the distress these conversations engender. No romance, now? Our couple must now be totally platonic? The thing is we are actually speaking of marriage, which is not going to compartmentalize itself as a tidy problem to be easily solved.

          1. No IB we were not speaking of marriage in my analogy.

            I wrote the analogy as I said to try and talk about how people can learn to deal with differences. It was a non romantic office environment.

            I’m glad you enjoy the discussions. I would enjoy the discussions more if there wasn’t such a disconnect in communication. I’ve come to the logical conclusion that my best efforts to explain my meanings in a way we can have real dialogue are ineffective.

            And I’ve come to the conclusion that you are unable/unwilling to acknowledge my opinions as valid without pathologizing my need for respect as oh let me see, cloaking my need for safety under the word respect, or not have a sense of internal safety or something, or not being able to trust.

            No, it’s just that I want respect. And you want safety. The difference is I can see your preference for safety as valid for you in a healthy way even though you can’t seem to see my preference for respect as valid for me in a healthy way.

            I had a long very cordial exchange with OKRickety a couple of posts back. He is a Complementarian, I am not yet we were able to dialogue effectively so this disconnect is not about that.

  14. To All:

    I first thought it was about fear — our problems with TRUST.

    Not the huge “sewer rat” kind of fear that can eat through your pantry door and devour your food but the small “grey rodent” type that persistently gnaws at your willingness and courage to TRUST lavishly and to LOVE exuberantly.

    Then I reconsidered and thought it was more likely to be about shame — fear (to me) is a sort of emotional shroud that covers it up because fear is sometimes felt to be less toxic than shame.

    Later (about 4:40 AM in the morning) I made a connection between shame and keeping secrets. We hide them in closets, attics and cellars hoping they will eventually decompose, turn to dust and blow away. But they never do. What’s worse is the smell sometimes becomes more potent with age.

    So, for the purpose of this discussion , we have links between secret keeping, shame, fear at lack of TRUST and a loss in our ability to experience love at its deepest. If we cannot offer exceptional TRUST to our loved ones does it mean we are — ourselves — somehow
    unworthy of trust?

    Matt courageously wrote about the secret he kept from his wife in one of his blogs (I don’t remember which). For him it was about the passionate sexual urges and feelings he was ashamed to reveal. He was fearful that exposure would open him up to negative judgments and perhaps wreak havoc in his marriage. Because Matt is an exceptional man, he wrote that after his divorce, he realized that such secret-keeping in such an important
    area erodes TRUST. His wife deserved full disclosure and he deserved the freedom from fear that such disclosure would give him.

    So, about the subject at hand, Are we Trustworthy in our Marriages? I don’t have an answer, I think it matters that most of us aspire to be trustworthy. Yet because we are all flawed, too often fighting with the wrong set of weapons to keep our marriages intact and guided by misinformation from well-meaning “experts” that we stumble and end up as statistics in “the war between the sexes”. And I’m still uncertain about whether our lack of courage in extending TRUST, renders us, to some degree, untrustworthy.

    1. “And I’m still uncertain about whether our lack of courage in extending TRUST, renders us, to some degree, untrustworthy.”

      Yes,I love this concept. I really believe there’s a very reflective nature to our relationships,so when one struggles with trust,one is untrustworthy, when one struggles with respect, one is not respectful.

      There is a limit to how much influence we have of course, but if you have a desire for trust, you have to be trusting. If you desire respect,you have to be respectful and so forth.

  15. IB, I see the point you are trying to make, that all of us are completely responsible for how we feel and that we need to give that which we wish to receive. I just do not agree with it. I think that one has to have their own standards of behavior (because we are human, not 100% of the time) That means that, back to the analogy, Mary is not responsible for John’s annoying actions, and his actions are inappropriate and unprofessional in a work setting. Mary does not need to justify anything beyond that his non-work stuff in messing with her work focus. No need to listen to John’s excuses or reasoning.

    Sure, in a marriage setting, things are not going to be so cut and dried. But I still think based on too much experience, that each adult should do the adult thing as agreed, or talk about changing the agreement, even if they don’t feel like it. Even if they are mad at the other. Even if they lack trust in the other, or the other lacks trust in them. Even if there has been disrespect from one to the other through an excess of emotions. Emotions dictate how we feel and they may make us feel really bad, but they do not dictate how we act. So if we could act in a fair and reasonable way, solve problems in a equal burden way, do what we say we will do or request a conversation to come to a change that is equitable and fair, then a lot of the problems couple have will be easier all around.

    And back to old John. Sorry, any non work activity in a work situation means that the co-worker need not put up with it for any reason, good, bad or invalid, if they don’t want to. John doesn’t get a pass just because he wants one. Not in a work environment. Which is why gottmanfan used a work situation and why all the emotions that people are trying to drag into the work situation really don’t belong there. That is the definition of “professional” vs “personal”.

    RIP John and Mary.

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