Well Being

Marriage Tips: Have Unwanted Sex, Spend Too Much Money & Blame Yourself For All Issues

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Obviously, everything is your fault.

It's rare that I pick apart another writer's opinions on what makes something good or bad because we are all entitled to our opinions, just as we are all plenty able to disagree with one another's ideas. Marriage, for example, is extremely subjective. Everybody's got their own thoughts on what makes it work, what can be detrimental and how people should behave.

However.

Sometimes, people's opinions get a little too frustrating for me to not say anything, whether it's because they're doling out just plain terrible advice that could hurt somebody or because their thoughts are unfairly critical of one group over another. Unfortunately, Jackie Morgan MacDougall did just that on Huffington Post today when she asked, “Can a good mother be a bad wife?” While her phrasing didn't need to be directed at women (“Can a good parent be a bad spouse?” would've made just as much sense and had the same impact), it's not the question that bothered me so much as the examination and answers.

MacDougall goes on to explain something that can certainly be true: parents who almost exclusively pay attention to their children can somewhat ignore their significant others. Again, it can be either parent, though MacDougall primarily focuses this on the “traditional” idea of a woman being the PTA-running, stay-at-home soccer mom (of course, there is nothing wrong with this role; it's just annoying how frequently people use it as the primary example of how marriages are despite the notion of a “typical” family being deeply outdated).

Every classroom has one. Maybe she's even you. She's the mom who lives and breathes all things motherhood, using every ounce of energy to provide the precious little ones with the ultimate childhood experience. She bakes from scratch, has dinner on the table every night at 5:00 p.m. sharp and can whip together homemade costumes for the entire 5th grade cast of Wizard of Oz faster than you can say “And your little dog, too.”

Don't even get me started on her crafting skills. While I try to avoid eye contact when I see that my son's teacher needs tiny fall trees cut out, that lady knows her way around a glue gun like nobody's business. She's like a cross between Martha Stewart and MacGyver, using pipe cleaner and a rock to create memorable holiday gifts.

Um, okay, so she's good at cooking and likes doing crafts? She is clever! Fuck clever women! Let's resent her! But she goes on…

Sure, most of us struggle with the simple task of juggling homework and soccer practice — there's no shame in that, right? Nope, not her. She not only gets it all done but heads up the carnival committee and organizes the next class party at the same time. I want to scream at her…

But for every other mom who thinks that she's perfect, setting the bar the rest of us can't even come close to, there's a certain someone who's anything but impressed… her husband. Because while she's spending sleepless nights frosting cupcakes and sewing costumes, he's feeling neglected and going to bed alone.

So, not only is she seemingly bitter and angry at any woman who manages to accomplish these tasks (by the way, I am 100% certain I could not, but that doesn't mean I would resent somebody who can), she's assuming that because this woman has done a lot of baking and sewing, she's ignoring her husband. And that there's no way that a man could be ignoring his wife by doing, say, baking and sewing, too, because maintaining gender stereotypes is fun!

She goes on to give some bad marriage advice — which, by the way, does next to nothing to mention how responsible the woman's partner is for their marital issues. Some of the rather stupid tips include “forsaking all others” (including the kids) and going out to eat regardless of your budget and expenses because “the price of dinner and a sitter is nothing compared to the cost of divorce.” After all, prioritizing your retirement, mortgage, health, children, college funds and debt are all less important than going to dinner when, in fact, there are hundreds of ways you can show somebody you care without spending more than a few dollars, if anything at all.

My least favorite advice, however, came from her thoughts on sex:

Just say yes. Rumor has it, men often lose interest in alone time after hitting a certain age. Turn him down time after time and I guarantee he'll lose it with you much earlier. Just sayin'.

Basically, make sure you have sex with him even if you don't want to because otherwise, he'll cheat and it'll be all your fault. Just sayin'.

I'm not sure whether or not the rest of you agree with MacDougall's advice, but I think I'll stick to my fully consensual — i.e. not merely compliant — sex life and see where it takes me. Oh, and if I'm on a budget, I'll stick to that, because being in debt due to insecurity over my marriage sounds more expensive than just figuring out price-free ways to show affection. Just sayin'.

Photo: Shutterstock

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