Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Annals of Bad Advice 1

I am happy to inaugurate what I intend to make an ongoing topic on this blog with an exemplary instance of abysmally bad advice. In an article entitled "Chores for Two: Why Men Don't Pitch In," journalist Leslie Bennetts explains how she conducts her marriage. Unfortunately, it sounds more like cultural warfare.

Beginning with the observation that all of her friends find hers to be the most cooperative husband they have ever seen, she offers an explanation for his good behavior: She does not give him a "choice." (I do not want to imagine what anyone would reply to a man who wanted to deprive a woman of her "choice.") By that Bennetts means that she has used threats, intimidation, bribery, yelling, complaining, and withholding "nooky" to beat her husband into submission.

Now she has added public humiliation to the mix. Unbeknownst to her she has presented a situation that resembles the relationship between a dominatrix and a submissive. One can only second the outrage of Dr. Helen Smith, through whose blog I found this article.The real problem is that Leslie Bennetts does not make herself look like a person of character. That is the problem.

Of course, domestic and non-domestic responsibilities should be distributed equitably in a marriage. The question is how to get from here to there. If you are a sentient adult you must know that the answer involves the complex give and take of negotiation... something that is utterly lacking in Bennetts' dramaturgy.

The problem is. You cannot negotiate effectively unless you have good character.

Surely a husband will be more willingly to help a wife who exhibits good character than one who tries to manipulate him by yelling, complaining, threatening, and withholding "nooky." Maybe Bennetts simply lacks character. Maybe she is doing the best she can with what she has. If so, she would have done better by her readers and her marriage had she kept it to herself.


1 comment:

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