Thursday, August 31, 2006

Games women play

I try to be objective and fair, even with offensive sell-out trainwrecks like Christianity Today.

So when I saw an article titled Playing for Keeps, the introduction had me preparing myself emotionally to laud CT, if merited:
What follows are some of the most common games wives play in their marriages. If one of these has been a flame-killer in your relationship, take heart. You can begin to inspire, rather than require, intimacy in your relationship.
Promising start, eh? Yet I thought the article that followed fell short of my hopes. So it gets a mention, but not heaps of praise.

So here are my purposes in tossing it out to-you-wards:
  1. What do you think of the article?
  2. This blog's blessed with some regular visitors who strike me as pretty neat, practicing-Christian wives. Blog your own Biblically-oriented version of the premise, and I'll feature links to it, at least.

Over to you.


Kim said...

I've only read the article once, but I plan on reading it again. Just off the top of my head, I'd have to say that it sounds more like something from Oprah than from a Christian publication.

If I play any "mind games" with my husband, I'm not aware of them, and I certainly wasn't aware that they came with labels. When I'm at fault, it's the old standby mindgame called "I'm Selfish."

I want to read it again and really think about it.

DJP said...

It doesn't have to be about, or exclusively about, games you play, Kim.

You guys are being quieter than I expected on this one!

Libbie said...

I haven't blogged it, because I'm lazy. It would have been nice if some of the more obvious biblical references to some of the things mentioned were highlighted - nagging wives, for example.

But I wasn't impressed with that last one. I do not think it's at all healthy to dwell endlessly on past sufferings anyway, but it's also unhealthy to take intimate husband and wife conversations and put them in the context of an extra-marital relationship - be that a trained counsellor or anyone else. There have been times when I have talked through past hurts with my husband, but there does come a point when dwelling on it any further becomes self-indulgent, and it won't do good to speak endlessly about it anymore - to anyone, husband or counsellor.

Anyway, there's me, all controversial, I'm sure, but I do believe that there should not be something you would share with a counsellor that you wouldn't share with your husband.

Gordon Cloud said...

I, personally, thought the article was insightful. I have seen these "games" wreak havoc on many marriages.

As far as recommending therapy goes, I felt like the author was proposing that people encourage their spouse to seek counselling on areas where they couldn't help them themselves.

I would point out though, that a lot of these shenanigans would either be nipped in the bud, or never even played to begin with, if the husband would just be the godly man that he should be.

Kim said...

Oh, I love games. Scrabble is my favourite! Okay, I'll be serious now.

You guys are being quieter than I expected on this one!

I find my self lately with commentaphobia. I'm really afraid to comment lately because I feel dumb these days, and I don't want to say something stupid.

The one "game" that was mentioned, about being a "mother" type. I don't know if that's an issue for every man. Buggy likes being "mothered" to some extent because domestic things aren't his favorite thing to do. He likes it when I keep him on track with things because he doesn't have a good memory for certain kinds of detail, and he likes my help. The idea of nagging isn't a mother thing to me. It sounds more like a control issue. Some women nag because they're at their wits' end and want help; some women nag because their mothers nagged. Some women watched their fathers nagged and assume it's the way it should be. Some women just nag because it makes them feel like they're doing their job. I don't know if it's a game.

Some of thos things don't sound like "games" at all. Games suggest a motive. Some situations simply evolve over time.

Daniel Portela said...

CT's third suggestion is kinda shady... Don't talk to your husband, find a counselor... Uhm, do they mean biblical counselor? Shouldn't they go to counseling together as her problem affects him?

just wondering...

Carla said...

If there is one thing I'd have to say I loathe (seriously) it's "games". Mind games, heart-games, etc.

I'll read the article today, time permitting.

However, asking your readers to go to CT is nothing short of being cruel. (just kidding, sort of).


candyinsierras said...

I heard once that when the scriptures state "Husbands love your wife as Christ loved the Church" it is because it is the hardest thing for a man to do in the flesh, and depends on the grace of God to accomplish it. Likewise, when the scriptures state, "Wives, submit to your husbands as unto the Lord", it is because in the flesh, women tend to try and usurp the authority of the man, and takes the grace of God to accomplish this. In other words, God is asking what is definitely against our human nature to we constantly need to rely on God and his grace. The article doesn't even touch on this aspect. It just uses manmade psychology. It looks like an article out of Good Housekeeping except for the one mention of the Holy Spirit.

DJP said...

Carla -- you're right about CT, but every now and then they accidentally hit near the target. I hoped this might be such a case; it did start promisingly.

I honestly put it up partly for interaction, but partly in the hopes that some Biblically-oriented ladies like you, Kim, Libbie, Candy, others, would write your own articles -- and show how a Biblically-oriented practicing Christian wife might have taken the premise and hit it out of the park.

Candy -- thoughtful observation. I'd also think that a believing approach would take this to indicate what a woman and man chiefly would thrive on in the marriage; akin to Christine's observation to which I linked earlier, "a man feels most loved when he knows that he is respected."

Carla said...

Okay, I blogged it Dan.

Maybe in another 20 or 30 years I'll have more insightful answers, but this is where I am right now. :o)

Thanks for pointing this article out, it really gave me some good stuff to think about.


Daniel Portela said...

A bit off-topic (but not really since we are still talking about women).

Here is the Christianity Today that we all know:

Kim said...


I'm hoping to put something on my blog about this for Monday.

I don't know how much I can add to this conversation, but I'm going to give it a try.

DJP said...

Daniel - ex-ACT-ly.

Carla -- thanks so much! First out of the gate!

Kim -- excellent, looking forward to it. If you don't think much of the CT writer's games, what games do you see Christian wives playing?

Kim said...


I have been thinking about exactly what you just asked me.

Rebecca said...

Like most of these kinds of articles, YMMV. When we were first married, my husband wanted a lot of mothering. This frankly baffled me. First of all, I'm not one of those types of women who want to mother everyone. Secondly, it didn't dawn on me to do some of the mothering stuff he secretly wanted me to do, because it would have annoyed me if someone had treated me like such a baby. He, on the other hand, would say, "But my mother always did thus-and-so for me," and I'd chuckle, "What? When you were five?" only to discover she still did whatever for him up until we were married...the sort of stuff that my mother (who is the baby-ing sort in many respects) stopped doing for me in my childhood while my father told me, "Don't be such a helpless ninny."

My poor husband had a tough time giving up on being mothered. In retrospect, if I had realized how much many men really DO want to be mothered, I might have tried a bit harder. Maybe. Although it kinda creeps me out to be mothering my husband rather than "wifing" him...

Speaking of helpless ninnies, I'm surprised the author didn't mention that game that I've seen wives play. Instead, she wrote:

"When you see him doing a particular chore, say, "I'm so thankful to have a guy who's willing to do that!" He'll feel more like your hero than your rebellious child; chances are good he'll want to play that heroic role more often in the future."

On the surface, that doesn't sound too awful. But really --- "heroic role"? He's a hero because he cleared his plate off the table? We're supposed to manipulate our husbands by gushing, "I'm so thankful to have a guy who's willing to do that!" ??? That reminds me of the women who get their husbands to do anything by pretending to be weak little sissies. "Oh, I couldn't possibly lift that big old hammer to put that nail in the wall. I'm so glad I married a man with such strong biceps. Oooh, and look how you picked up that photograph and hung it up on the nail you put in the wall! You are such a he-man!"

Kathryn said...

"Submitting yourselves one to another out of the fear of God". So wrote the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 5:21. Peter echoes the same thing in I Peter 5:5. "Submission" means "to make yourselves available". Sometimes people manipulate others out of a sense of powerlessness, or a sense that they cannot get attention any other way. Mutual submission may be the key to communication in your marital life. Putting the above verses into your marriage might just eliminate or cut down on such games.

DJP said...

Kathryn -- "Submission" means "to make yourselves available"

Where in the world did you get that? It means nothing of the sort.

First, the Greek word in Ephesians 5:21 means "subordinating," as in putting yourself under the authority of another.

Second, Ephesians 5:21 doesn't stand alone, or it'd be nonsense. It is a heading for what follows. There is no verb in v. 22. Paul is specifying where subordination takes place in marriage. "Subordinating yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, to your own husbands, as to the Lord."

Third, whatever. In marriage vows, the wife promises to obey, submit to, subordinate herself to, and respect her husband. She removes power from the table as an issue.

4given said...

Okay... so I just found this post. It's a sleepless night and I would actually like to write something on this next week in my Wednesday Womanhood post.