Sunday, August 14, 2016

How to Wreck Your Marriage

Ostensibly, the story is about the ravages caused by the current presidential election campaign. Just as clearly, it offers a picture of married adults who function like fanatics. They threaten, they bully, they intimidate … and then they wonder whether their marriage can be saved.

The New York Times reports first on the perfectly egalitarian marriage of Dr. Thomas Stossel and Dr. Kerry Maguire. No name change for Dr. Mag. One day their domestic tranquility was shattered by the following exchange:

In early May, when Dr. Thomas Stossel told his wife, Dr. Kerry Maguire, of his plan to vote for Donald J. Trump in the general election, she hit him with an ultimatum.

“If you vote for Trump, I will divorce you and move to Canada,” she recalled telling him. He tried to laugh it off.

“I’m serious,” Dr. Maguire told him.

Before this spat, through nearly 20 years of marriage, politics had never caused much friction between Dr. Maguire, a dentist who is the director of the children’s outreach program at the Forsyth Institute in Cambridge, Mass., and Dr. Stossel, a hematologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

OK, it’s not that egalitarian. Dr. Stossel is higher up on the medical hierarchy than Dr. Maguire.

Be that as it may, we note Dr. Maguire’s rhetorical tactic. She cannot stand the fact that her husband thinks differently. But she does not try to discuss the matter, to reason with him, to present her point of view. Not at all. She threatens him; she bullies him; she tries to beat him down. When all is said and done we have a rational man trying to deal with a wife who is an ideological zealot.

The fault is clear: this woman is a witch. One wonders why Dr. Stossel does not just walk out on her.

But she is convinced. She is convinced beyond the shadow of any doubt. And her passionate commitment to an idea—or a candidate—outdistances her commitment to her marriage.

She ought to have learned the following rule, rule that should be inscribed over the doorway to every therapist’s office: The fact that you believe very strongly in something means that you believe in it very strongly. Nothing more. It also means that you have dispensed with liberality and the marketplace of ideas. It means that you have dispensed with pragmatic and rational thought. It also means that you are most likely wrong.

As Hamlet put it: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” He sees her protest as a sign of culpability, not a sign that she has accessed a transcendent truth.

The Times asks the salient question, with a dash of irony: “Can this marriage be saved?”

The only way for it to be saved is for Dr. Maguire to grow up and pretend that she is an adult. She will also need to dispense with her feminist rage. Good luck with that.

If you have ever wondered how it happened that second-wave feminism produced a spike in divorces in the 1970s, here you have it. For the record, these people are not children: Dr. Maguire is 59. Dr. Stossel is 74.

One might say that Dr. Stossel should just call her bluff. He chose a different path. He decided not to discuss the matter anymore. Why bait your unhinged wife, he might have said to himself.

But then, when Dr. Stossel was interviewed by the Times reporter he averred that he was likely to vote for Trump. When the reporter relayed the information to Dr. Maguire, she reacted as you might expect:

In a separate interview later that afternoon, Dr. Maguire seemed unaware of her husband’s stance. She sounded confident that Dr. Stossel had been dissuaded from his support by friends, as well as her quasi-threat to leave him. When told by this reporter of her husband’s intent to go through with voting for Mr. Trump, she seemed shocked, if not angry.

“That is news to me,” Dr. Maguire said. “And I’ll be calling my attorney.”

After a pause, she went on: “I don’t think he will vote for him. But if he does, I hope he never tells me about it. For someone who is so reasonable in every other part of his life, and who expects people to have expertise, it doesn’t really link with the Tom Stossel that I know.

“I would just be disgusted on every level,” she continued. “And also a little fearful. Disgusted on the marriage level, but fearful for our society.”

As for respecting a difference of opinion, forget that. As for knowing how to behave as an adult in a marriage, Dr. Maguire does not have a clue. As I said, the solution is for him to call the bluff and file for divorce. Or, perhaps some serious counseling might help.

Just in case you thought that the Times was going to be fair and was going to show us another couple where the man was unhinged and the woman was rational, you will be disappointed. The reporter then offers us a picture of the marriage of Matt Latimer and Anna Sproul-Latimer. She is a literary agent and he runs a communications company. He worked in the George W. Bush administration. She has libertarian leanings. At the least, neither is a crazed leftist.

Latimer is not exactly a Trumpophile. He does not know whom he will be voting for, but he provoked some domestic discord by suggesting that he was entertaining the possibility of supporting Trump. His wife was horrified. Then, he wrote an article recently in which he suggested that Mike Pence should persuade Trump to drop out of the race.

Sproul-Latimer was relieved.  His column restored domestic harmony and got her off her high moral horse. If he had not been persuaded to take a more nuanced position she would have doubted the basis for her marriage. I am not exaggerating:

“At several points in our marriage, I’ve wondered if our political views reveal fundamental differences in what we believe, what’s right and what’s wrong,” she said. “But that’s swiftly been followed by moments of relief where I realize that we do have the same moral code. Knowing Trump’s recent behavior has cast doubt in Matt’s mind was that kind of moment.”

For his part, Mr. Latimer said, “I never viewed my support or lack of support for Mr. Trump as something that would affect my marriage.

“But if she thinks by not supporting Trump I’ll be moving in her direction, she’s incorrect. We’ve supported different candidates before and will continue to do so. That said, if for any reason I would join the ‘Trump Train,’ it would disturb her. My joining it now is not impossible. But it is extremely unlikely.”

The same moral code… take a little time to digest that nugget. Sproul-Latimer believes that someone who would vote for Trump lacks the most basic moral code. And someone who threatens to divorce her husband over a difference of political of opinion has what kind of moral code herself?

Returning to the Stossel-Maguire marriage, Dr. Stossel also came around. He decided that he would vote for Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate. Faced with implacable foes who were enraged-- Maguire was far more consumed than Sproul-Latimer--both men chose domestic harmony.

Of course, the truth of the matter is, each man can go into the polling booth and vote for whomever he pleases. He can then go home and lie to his wife. Relationship counselors will tell him that lying is bad, but when you are dealing with a harridan, what choice do you have? Tell a white lie or get a divorce?

Note that these women are willing to put their marriages on the line for something that they cannot verify objectively. This is not a very clever tactic.

In both cases the women are being insufferable. They might feel that they have gained a victory, but the victory might very be pyrrhic. While feminists will surely cheer these instances of empowered female fanaticism, we note that these women are acting very, very badly.

They might reflect on the fact that their bad behavior—their awful behavior—is one of the reasons why men find Donald Trump appealing. Would the Donald every put up with such shrewishness?

Do you want to know why these men are considering voting for Trump? Look at their wives… don’t they both resemble Hillary, the wicked witch of Chappaqua?


Trigger Warning said...

“Can this marriage be saved?”

What "marriage"? Sounds more like a business contract to me, where each partner has the right to force liquidation and exit the business.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The New Tork Times likes insufferable women. And the NYT likes shaming eduated people into voting their way. Smart people, after all, are NYT readers. And we all know smart people are ardent Democrats.

"But she is convinced. She is convinced beyond the shadow of any doubt."

Indeed, there are a great many who are convinced. All you have to do is follow the news. The "fair and balanced" and "objective" journalists are all convinced Trump is the antichrist. It's as monolithic as happy people at Disney Wolrd.

I hope Stosael still has a job. I don't think Harvard likes the Trumpster, and political views do not make one a protected class. I doubt hematologists for Trump get the benefit of academic freedom, not to mention the benefit of being an ideological minority on campus.

"Relationship counselors will tell him lying is bad..."
And most relationship counselors are going to vote for Hillary, who has taken lying to a whole new level. That makes sense: we are telling people it's okay for people we support and agree with to lie, but it's bad for everyone else. There's a name for that.

If think that Hillary rides a broom, but I doubt she can stay on it much these days.

And I love respectable, reasonable Republicans going the Gary Johnson route. I guess they want to be principled losers, so that wicked witch and her flying monkeys get to do for gender relations what The One has done for race relations. This article appears to be a prophecy.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

The Times offered an objective report, in which the women look very, very bad.

Ed in Kanata said...

See Martin can Crevelds latest blog post for more confirmation.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Stuart, I was saying they are convinced. And, as for the NYT, I can assure you that every member of the NYT editorial board would say that these women are taking principled stands. And the NYT ombudsman would say their coverage of Trump is shoddy at best.

And yes, to us the women look very, very bad. I'm wondering what the average NYT reader thinks. Imagine what Dr. Stossel will encounter at work tomorrow. I hardly think they'll be saying what a witch he's married to.

Anonymous said...

Just to be accurate Doc

When Queen Gertrude says "The lady doth protest much .. methinks" she is referring to a female character in Hamlet's skit (who is a thinly veiled allusion to Gertrude herself) being too vociferous in her protestations of love for the male character; that the dialogue is forced and unnatural

In other words, she is inferring that Hamlet's skit has a hidden agenda in it. And, of course she's right

David said...

I left my wife, my dogs and cats (and the home I paid for) 4 years ago. I silently tolerated the NPR and the PBS liberal BS coming from every radio and TV in the house for close to 30 years. I was too busy earning a living and paying taxes and supporting this non-working feminist with a law degree to worry a lot about politics. I had my own and kept those conservative, traditional values to myself. Sometime in October 2012, some friend of mine posted an "I like Mitt Romney" political ad on my Facebook page without my knowledge. One night I was upstairs working on some project when I was angrily confronted by my wife who demanded to know why I wasn't voting for Barack Obama. I told her that at age 57, I could damn well vote for who I wanted. That was apparently not the "correct" answer. As she continued her 30-minute harangue, I went downstairs, packed a few clothes and walked out the door. Liberalism IS a mental disorder. When I began dating again, my only rigid requirement was that I will never date a liberal woman.

David Foster said...

Basically, they believe that their husbands are committing blasphemy...that is the root of their rage.

Very much like the reaction you might have gotten from a woman in Spain in 1870 whose husband was thinking about becoming an atheist.

Deana said...

Sir, I wish you the best in finding a wonderful, loving conservative wife. I am 47 and with the exception of maybe four women I know who are my age, most women are raging progressives. I have lost girlfriends of mine because I am conservative and refused to declare my love for all that progressive women insist all women MUST support (how very progressive, no?). I distinctly recall being assured that I was being closed minded and prudish for not being particularly interested in seeing The Vagina Monologues. I can't imagine spending good money to hear a bunch of women complaining and talking about their genitals. Whatever.
The vast majority of women have simply taken leave of their senses. I admit I wish I had more women friends who enjoy their jobs but love their husbands and home life more. I wish I knew more women who see themselves as special not because they are women but because they compliment men.

Ares Olympus said...

My Mom was a life long urban democrat and my rural born dad a life long republican. Opposites attract sometimes but it was religion that split them.

I like Jung's idea of the shadow so we project parts of ourselves outside. And that's why extremes can be closer than the middle, both sides take an extreme position that shuts out a part of life. So atheists become true believers and vice versa.

In my 20s I thought only smoking or addictions are potential deal breakers, but I'd still care, just need some distance so their self destructiveness doesn't take me down too.

I see a tension between connection and autonomy, and both genders fight those battles in different directions and timings.

Blame is easy on all sides and is contagious.

Denny said...

If he can still get it up, I hope she is good in bed. I would have simply told her, "Call your lawyer. I can no longer stay married to someone stupid enough to vote for Barry Soetero twice (As I'm sure she did) or for Crooked Cankles who is a fake feminist and everything she has achieved is because she has been married to BJ Clinton."

Anonymous said...

I am an older woman, who was involved in the early feminist movement in the 60's. Our goal then was to get equality of pay, get rid of the conditions where a woman had to have a man's permission and backing to get a loan, get rape in marriage recognised, and get rid of rules that said a woman who married had to leave her job, and a few other things like that. Unfortunately, the sensible movement was gradually taken leftwards, until the next generation of women, and up to the present generation, took on vengeance against men, mainly white men, as a leading cause. The current feminist ideology is pure Marxist.
We used to think that if only more women would get into positions of power, the world would be a gentler, softer, safer place. What has been proved (and Hillary is a prime example) is that women are just as bad in power as men.
The irony of all this is, that by championing Islam, and by promoting working at a job as being better for women than child bearing, these feminists are signing the death warrants and slavery warrants for all western women, as we are not replacing ourselves. Already in the UK and Europe, the most popular boys name is Mohammed. Within two generations, there will be no more feminists, and women will be flogged for not obeying their husbands.

Adele said...
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