A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

Proverbs 12:4

You hear these statistics all the time that women are much more likely to divorce than men, meaning that women are the ones who file.  They are the ones that are more likely to go talk to their lawyers and say, how can I dump this guy.  The implication in this is that the guy she is dumping deserves to be dumped and she is justified in dumping.  Yea, she is held in high esteem that she finally was able to release herself from this mighty prison.  You go girl.

There are catch phrases for these things, nice little ditties you can say to win the support of your loved ones and girlfriends to show that, indeed, you are right.  If you say these things you will get knowing glances and understanding nods and comments like “I just can’t believe it” and “That’s just terrible” and “What? Are you kidding me?” and “How did you put up with it so long?”  Catch phrases like:

-he was a manipulative control freak
-he was never home
-all he thought about was himself
-he spent all his time on the computer
-he’d never talk to me
-he drank all the time
-he chased other women
-he was verbally abusive
-he’d be doing porn all hours of the night
-all he did was those stupid video games
-he’d never help with cleaning
-I didn’t need another kid
-he’d never talk to me
-he was so selfish
-he spent more than he made on stupid stuff
-I can’t tell him anything without him getting angry
-he’s so jealous

If you say these things enough times to enough other people soon they will all be cheering you on to get a divorce.  “You deserve better.”  “You’ve got to be happy.”  “You’ve no business taking that kind of crap.”

But there’s a missing piece in this scenario.  Marriage is made up of two people.  The two become one flesh.  This means they are in it together.  People in tandem tend to react to each other.  It’s easy to point out the other’s faults.  It’s not so easy to recognize our own.

A lady told me one time that her husband was a very angry man.  She gave me multiple examples of her husband’s anger, sounding very pious and upright as she condemned him.  I asked her, “So when your husband gets angry, what do you do?”  “Well, I get angry!!!” she said, feeling totally justified.  Well, there you go.

If he never comes home, it’s probably for a reason.  What does he think he’s going to come home to?  If he won’t listen to you, what are you telling him?  If he drinks too much, what’s so bad about his life that that would be necessary?

Now, look.  I’m not saying that if your husband’s a jerk that that is all your fault.  All I’m saying is that if your husband is a jerk, there’s a really good chance that you are a jerk, too.  That’s all.  We’re in this together, right?  And if you are consumed with how bad your husband is and how much he needs to change and if he doesn’t you can’t be happy, then you are going to spend a good part of your life in misery.  Which, because you are in this together, if you are in misery, your husband is going to treat you as if you are in misery, so he’s going to be testy or avoid you or whatever, and then you can be in misery about that, too.  But be sure to blame him and let him know in no uncertain terms how much he’s disappointed you.  You have to be honest, right?  That’s the ticket.  That’ll warm the cockles of his heart and he’ll be thrilled to be in your presence.  Just knowing that everything he does drives you crazy will make him all fuzzy and warm inside.

If you base your happiness on how anyone or everyone else treats you, you are giving your happiness away.  Now everyone else is responsible to make you happy.  So if your spouse is in a bad mood, you have to be in a bad mood.  Now you’re both in bad moods.  Now you can both bring each other down and you can blame the other for pushing your buttons.

I think this is one of the reasons why my wife and I have enjoyed our marriage these 34 years.  We take turns being in bad moods.  If one person is down, the other picks him or her up.  And if that’s not possible, the other takes over while the out-of-sorts person puts himself or herself together.  If 1 = good mood and 0 = bad mood, here’s the math:

Scenario 1: Partner A is in a bad mood, but Partner B is still in a good mood = 0 + 1 = 1

Scenario 2: Partner B is in a bad mood, but Partner A is still in a good mood = 0 + 1 = 1

Scenario 3: Both Partner A in a good mood and Partner B in a good mood = 1 + 1 = 2

Scenario 4: Both Partner A and B in bad moods (in our marriage, rare, rare, rare) 0 + 0 = 0

You’ll note that 3 out of 4 scenarios are positive and we avoid like the plague Scenario 4.  In our family it’s the job of the less depressed or forlorn to pull the family together.  We haven’t had this discussion.  It just happens.  Not sure why.  If I could market this I’d have a long line out my door.

But if a couple operates under the principle that if you are in a bad mood, I have to be in a bad mood, too, then the math is a lot more depressing:

Scenario 1: If Partner A is in a bad mood, then Partner B is in a bad mood = 0 + 0 = 0

Scenario 2: If Partner B is in a bad mood, then Partner A is in a bad mood = 0 + 0 = 0

Scenario 3: Both Partner A in a good mood and Partner B in a good mood (in too many couples, rare, rare, rare) = 1 + 1 = 2

Scenario 4: Both Partner A and B in bad moods = 0 + 0 = 0

So in this couple, things can only be going well if both of them are on top of the world.  Scenario 1 and 2 implode into Scenario 4 and this couple walks around in a constant cycle of negativity.

Then, they can divorce each other while never learning to live with someone in a bad mood without deconstructing, and then they can marry someone else, and when that person isn’t happy all the time there will be plenty of blame to go around to tell the next lawyer.  Or if you liked your first lawyer, you can give him your repeat business.

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