CTBHHM: In Which Mike Spills the Garbage

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 40-42

Debi’s goal in this passage is to show how thanksgiving produces joy. She starts with a story called “My Jolly Playmate.” This story is sort of divided into three parts: the first part continues Debi’s pattern of urging women to just be happy rather than actually dealing with things that irritate or bother them; the second part involves a heavy dose of gender essentialism; and the third part takes a bizarre turn as Debi makes light of the idea of marital rape.

Part I: Never Get Irritated

As a rule, my husband just doesn’t take the trash out. I could be annoyed, or I could learn to enjoy taking the trash out. I’m smart; I have learned to really enjoy taking the trash out.

When we first got married, my husband Sean and I sat down and split up the chores. I’ll be honest: Sean doesn’t always remember to do the chores that we decided would be his area. And sometimes, when he doesn’t do those chores, I get really annoyed. Given that I didn’t see communication modeled very well growing up, my tendency is to get angry and be passive aggressive. Sometimes I simply don’t mention any of this, and do his chores with some bitterness, anger building up inside of me over time. Debi suggests that if I’m “smart” I should just do those chores that Sean is supposed to do but do them happily. That strategy would probably work best for me if my husband were unreasonable, not open to listening, or prone to getting angry. Fortunately, my husband is none of these things. So when I’m being “smart,” I follow a very different strategy: I talk to my husband about the fact that he is not doing his share of the chores, and about my feelings, and we work things out. This would, however, go against Debi’s apparent vendetta against communication.

One day recently, my husband saw me struggling out the door with  huge sack of trash in one hand and several empty boxes in the other. Since he was headed in that direction, he volunteered to carry the heavy sack. He walked about ten feet ahead of me, holding the sack out from his body with one hand. I knew he was just showing me how strong he was. I was amused, as usual, with his display of manhood. After nearly thirty-five years of having me appreciate his muscles, you would think he would tire of showing off, but he knows that I have never tired of watching him perform.

Actually, this part kind of makes sense to me. From, uh, personal experience. :-P

When he got near the large trash trailer, he was really getting into his macho thing. With great fanfare, he flung the large trash bag as if it were a cement block instead of a thin plastic bag too loaded down for its own strength. Of course, the string broke, allowing the bag to hit the side of the trailer, bursting open and dumping trash all over the ground. I could tell he was a little embarrassed as I rushed over to clean up his mess, but he continued on his merry way. I remember a time when all this would have irritated me to the point of bitterness. I would have made sure he felt my irritation, and our relationship would have been strained, all for a bag of trash. Such a stupid waste of our lives.

As I said above, I understand what Debi is talking about when she speaks of how she used to get “irritated” to “the point of bitterness.” Let me offer a specific example. What with two children now, it takes a lot to get out of the door. They both need coats, and Sally needs shoes while Bobby needs a clean diaper. We also need a bag to take with us with diapers, extra clothes in case they get messy, and a bag of cheerios or jar of baby food. The thing is, Sean isn’t used to having to think about this. For a while, I just did it myself, and stewed about the fact that Sean did nothing more than get himself ready. And then I realized that that was a completely pointless way to go about things. So instead of continuing to stew, I talked to Sean about it. And guess what? He hadn’t even thought about the work I was doing to get the kids ready! Since then he has made an effort to help, and things have gotten a lot better.

The point I’m trying to make is that while at one point Mike making a mess and leaving it for her to clean up would have “irritated” Debi to “the point of bitterness,” she solved this problem not by talking to Mike about it but rather by just deciding not to let it bother her. This is very much like what we talked about last week as Debi argued that women can become happier if they just purpose to be content where they are rather than working to change or improve their situations. So, without further ado, I give you:

Debi’s Rule #3: If you are irritated or discontent, just smile and be happy. 

I’m adding this to my “Debi’s Rules” list.

Part II: That’s Just How Men Are

But now, as I watched him humbly slink off, I had to grin. I think I have finally come to understand the male psyche, at least this male’s. I know that the dumped trash bag was hard on the old boy. It is funny to think that men think women are so difficult to understand, but can you imagine a woman flinging a heavy garbage sack to prove how strong she is and then, having spilled it, leaving it for someone else to clean up?

Throughout her book Debi engages in this sort of gender essentialism. The thing is, her simple dichotomies don’t describe the world I live in.

None of the men I know today would do what Debi describes, and that I know plenty of women who would feel embarrassed if an attempt to show off didn’t work out. There are two things going on here, I think. First, the men Debi knows are not the men I know today. When I think about it, I could see some of the men I knew when I lived in circles influenced by Christian Patriarchy doing just what Debi describes. But the men I know now? No. This isn’t an essential male attribute or something here. It’s cultural. Second, Debi comes from a long line of authors explaining that men and women are so very different from each other that one woman practically needs a decoder ring to figure out anything about her significant other, and vice versa. The strong gender essentialism she’s preaching, while it might not be natural or describe the world I live in today, is not new.

And besides all that, the picture Debi paints of men isn’t very pretty. For example, if Sean had thrown a heavy trash bag just to have it miss the mark, split open, and spill all over, the two of us probably would have just laughed. Yes, Sean would have been embarrassed, but he’s pretty good at laughing at himself in this kind of situation. He wouldn’t have retreated out of embarrassment, and he certainly wouldn’t have left me to clean up his mess! That actually strikes me as extremely immature and juvenile, on top of being extremely thoughtless, unkind, and selfish. For all her emphasis on men needing respect, the picture she paints of men is one that doesn’t make them look like they deserve much respect.

Part III: Make a Run for It

Debi says that she knew that Mike would be looking for a chance to redeem himself in her eyes – not by doing extra cleaning to make up for the mess he left for her, but by taking out the trash the next time to prove his strength and discredited ability to throw straight. And sure enough, the next time Mike caught Debi heading out with a heavy trash bag (two weeks later, she says), he offered to take it out.

Just as he stepped out the door, I raced for the laundry room window. This time he carefully and gently pitched the heavy sack, and I was ready. Just as the sack left his hand, I let out a bloodcurdling scream. You would think he would get used to my tricks all these years, but I got him again. I wish you could have seen his reaction. His T-shirt shook as if a strong wind had hit it, as every inch of his body quivered with shock. Of course, my own body was in spasms of wild laughter.

I bet you didn’t see that coming.

Oh, it was a grand moment — until he turned to meet me eye to laughing eyes, and I knew I would have to pay for my rowdy entertainment. His addled brain came quickly back to the present, and he took off running back to the house at a speed the likes of which I thought he had long since become incapable. I knew there was no sense in trying to hide, because he would find me sooner or later, so I decided to use my “innocent lady” pose.

So when Mike came barging in the door, he found Debi calmly washing dishes.

My demure stance did not stop him. He grabbed me by the arm and started pulling me into the bedroom. Since he outweighs me by a hundred pounds, it was no contest, although he had to drag me all the way. I could only imagine what the office staff (right next door) might think if they happened to drop in at that moment. I was ready with another scream just in case our very reserved business manager appeared. It would have been really funny to see the manager’s horrified face. I can just imagine him thinking in horror, “And THEY teach marriage relationships.”

Mike thought he was going to scare me with his show of force, but he was dragging me to my favorite winning spot: the bedroom. While he shut and locked the door, I quickly arranged myself in a very inviting seductive pose. It gets him every time. It sure his handy being a woman. So he started smooching on me, while I continued giggling for a little longer. He smooches better than he throws a garbage sack. Well, that’s enough of this story! But can you see how much better a merry heart is than an ugly pile of hurt feelings?

I understand that Debi means this as a light-hearted story about how smiling and laughing is better than becoming angry and bitter. I also understand that this sort of banter, practical joking, and horsing around is normal, healthy, and enjoyable. In my reading of the second half of the story, Mike and Debi were just playing around and having some from. But.

This whole section makes me very uncomfortable. First, marital rape isn’t a subject that should be treated lightly. Second, talking about the bedroom in terms of “winning” and “losing” makes me uncomfortable as well (and confused as to where speaking of the bedroom as her “favorite winning spot” meshes with her description of sex as her way of “ministering” to her husband). Finally, I’m bothered by Debi’s use of language as she describes how Mike tried to “scare” her “with his show of force” and then speaks of him “dragging” her to the bedroom.

I get that this anecdote is supposed to be humorous and sweet. I also get the whole thing where a practical joke plus lots of laughter can lead to some pretty good sex. I really do! But I’m not sure the way Debi discusses this is very responsible. Why? Because the feeling I’m getting so far is that the advice Debi gives will probably have the greatest appeal to women stuck in bad relationships. And somehow I think laughing at the idea of marital rape, along with some of the terminology Debi uses to describe this situation, may not come across the way Debi intends when it is read by someone in an abusive relationship.

Conclusion

All this said, I get that regardless of how her piece comes across Debi’s goal in this section is not to make light of marital rape or marital abuse. Her point is that rather than becoming upset or angry, wives should simply clean up after their husbands with a smile, tolerate their husbands’ eccentricities, and make sure not to let the joy or fun go out of their marriages. I’m absolutely agree that it’s important not to get stuck in a cycle of bitterness, but I don’t like Debi’s way of avoiding this. I don’t think that, as was voiced in the previous installment, the solution is to simply stop demanding to be treated fairly. I think instead that the solution is open communication, especially about frustrations and hurt feelings.

But then, as I mentioned earlier, Debi appears to see men as in some sense alien, and perhaps that helps explain her avoidance of communication. If the men Debi knows can’t laugh at themselves when they spill a bag of trash while showing off, perhaps they wouldn’t respond well to their wives approaching them about the things that bother them. And if Debi views men as so completely different from women, that might explain why she doesn’t seem to see building marital partnerships based on communication and compromise as something to strive for. Debi’s goal, after all, is to help women learn to live more fulfilled existences as “helpers” to their husbands. And a helper would definitely clean up spilled trash.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://www.mymusingcorner.wordpress.com/ Lana

    I remember this chapter. Sometimes the only thing I can do is laugh my head off at her.

  • http://yewnique.wordpress.com/ Kathy

    I’ve heard this book widely and loudly lauded within certain Christian homeschooling circles, but this is the first ever time I’ve had a chance to read anything in it.

    I am shocked and appalled and can’t imagine why anyone would suggest this book as helpful and encouraging to women, much less recommend it and even buy for or lend it out to friends.

    I feel positively ill now.

  • Anonymouse

    Once again we’re shown how grown men have the maturity of toddlers, as Debi’s husband shirks his duty, then shows of, then embarrasses himself, then runs off so someone else has to clean up the mess he made. What in the world would make a woman want to marry a man like that? She’s his mother, not his wife.

  • http://noadi.etsy.com Noadi

    That last bit with the practical joke is something I would do to my boyfriend and it would probably end much the same way. I think that’s the only bit of this book so far I’ve been able to relate to since I enjoy a good joke and rough sex (combined is even better). However when contrasted with the rest of her advice it is really, really, creepy.
    Leaving the trash for her to pick up? If my boyfriend did that then it’s quite possible the next thing he’d be doing was looking for a new place to live. He’s not a child so I refuse to act like his mommy and clean up after him.

  • Saraquill

    Ugh, the first 2 parts rather remind me of a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship.

  • Stony

    The beginning of the end of one of my relationships: my bf’s chore was to take out the trash, but he eventually got so slack about it that I started doing it. No biggie, since my idea of a clean house was stricter than his. One day, with poorly concealed disdain and condescension he asks, “Are you incapable of removing the trash from the office?!”. So I’m doing his chore, but I’m not including the trash from a room that only he uses, so he feels he can berate me? I’m afraid Debi would not approve of my reaction, which was to say, “Are your freaking arms broken??”. When I realized (more and more) that I was in a relationship with a man-child, I extracted myself. Unlike Debi, I didn’t take him to raise.

  • Gail

    Debi’s weird ideas about gender roles remind me of an Evangelical women’s Bible study video I once saw my mother watching. The woman in the video was saying that women like to be told “I love you” but that men like to be told “I’m proud of you.” I’m not sure what world she’s living in. Because I think both people in a relationship, regardless of gender, would like to know that their partner loved them and was proud of them as well. It seems to me like the Evangelical culture constructs really odd gender roles.

    • J-Rex

      I’m in a worse-off situation than my boyfriend. He’s able to go to school and work occasionally with his dad when he has the time, and his major generally requires less homework. I absolutely have to work every day I have off of school. I am so busy and stressed all the time. I know my boyfriend loves me and we tell each other that all the time. It would mean so much to hear him say he’s proud of me…

  • Rosie

    Given the context, Debi’s “practical joke” looks more like passive-aggressive behavior to me.

    Her little anecdotes bring back a lot of memories of a very bad relationship I was once in, thankfully for less than a year. I keep having to shake my head and remind myself that her preacher-named-Mike is about 20 years older than the one I dated. But not only do they act enough alike to be clones, Debi acts and talks just like I did when I was in that relationship. *shudder*

    • Nea

      Debi is extremely passive-aggressive. It’s precisely what she sells – no communication, but a lot of manipulation, both of self and of other. What, precisely, was the point of her scream routine? To make her husband make another mess (which she will, again, have to clean up?) To get him to have sex with her without her having the ability to say “I’m in the mood, wanna have a bit of chase and tickle?”

      To be honest, I’m completely confused as to why she thinks her stunt was funny in the least. They both come off like 3-year-olds – him for refusing to clean up his own mess, her for distracting him when he’s actually doing a basic chore properly.

  • Niemand

    As a rule, my husband just doesn’t take the trash out. I could be annoyed, or I could learn to enjoy taking the trash out.

    Or you could think, “I’m taking out all the trash. If I got divorced, I’d only have to take out the trash for one person” and come to the logical conclusion that the best next step is to talk to a divorce lawyer. From a hotel.

    • Monica

      Ah, but Debi would surely point out that if you were divorced, you’d never have time to take out the garbage because you’d have to (gasp!) work and (double gasp!) leave your house for most of the day. You’d inevitably be too tired to want to take out the trash, so you’d ask one of your children to do it. Your child would then resent you for giving them responsibilities, and probably refuse to listen. So you’d have to do it yourself anyway, and THEN wouldn’t you be sorry your husband wasn’t around. To also not take out the garbage.

      Debi’s outlook on life seems to be, “Men have the right to piss you off. Any attempt to understand their actions is sinful, so just put up with it.”

  • Rachel

    I can’t figure out if that’s her mental defense against what sounds very much like an abusive husband, or if this is a really intensely weird and kinky sex game they play. Like, honestly, would this be out of place in 50 Shades?

    And Libby, there’s something really weird and forced about her tone. I think you’re right, she fabricates the letters, or maybe severely edits and rewrites letters — they’re all way too close to her tone and authorial voice, which is distinctive.

    • Niemand

      A safe and egalitarian kinky sex game includes boundaries. It’s possible that she just didn’t bother to write in the bits about negotiating the boundaries, but it sounds like she doesn’t have them. And if she and her husband do have explicit rules and boundaries to keep these games safe, it’s highly irresponsible of her to not describe them as part of her advice.

      • ScottInOH

        I would bet anything and everything that there are no negotiated boundaries. She doesn’t describe any in other areas of her relationship either, and instead sees male-female relationships as games to be won or lost. The man wins through physical strength and God-given authority, and the woman wins through conniving and manipulation. It’s possible that this works OK for her and her husband, but you could hardly design a better system for encouraging abuse, including rape.

      • Nea

        Someone whose entire advice boils down to “you’ll get only what he gives and you’ll like it or else” is not someone who believes in either negotiation or boundaries. If I recall correctly, this is the book that goes on to say that a woman should say absolutely nothing bad about a husband, even a husband who threatens his wife with a knife. There’s nothing consensual, safe, or even sane about that.

      • Petticoat Philosopher

        Yeah, nothing wrong or “intensely weird” about a little kinky role-play but it has to include boundaries. And I’m with ScottInOH here, I highly doubt that they have such boundaries. I don’t think a woman having boundaries is consistent with their worldview. After all, a woman has to be available to her husband for sex all the time and she has to act like she wants it even if she doesn’t. That doesn’t jibe with the idea of setting limits or having agreed up on “outs” if she gets uncomfortable. So things like “I knew there was no sense in trying to hide” or “he had to drag me all the way” could just be part of the role-play and she could be enjoying them (and I suspect that’s the case here), or they could genuinely be expressions of fear and lack of consent. There’d be no way for a woman following Debi’s marriage philosophy to communicate which was which and, anyway, it wouldn’t even matter–her feelings and desires aren’t relevant.

        Also, um… “I decided to use my ‘innocent lady’ pose.” “I quickly arranged myself in a very inviting seductive pose.” “I continued giggling a little longer.” Wow, this woman seems to analyze every second of her behavior towards her husband to make sure she displays maximum coyness and demure “sexiness” at all times. Look, everyone’s probably got their playful little things that they do sometimes just because it turns their partner on and it’s fun but, for heaven’s sake, when I’m about to have steamy sex, I’m not arranging myself in poses or making sure that I giggle for the appropriate period of time. What about spontaneity? All that internalized male gaze has got to be exhausting!

        At the same time, with all the disturbing elements here, she kind of reminds of one of those narcissistic people (often half of a teenage or college age couple that most of us had to deal with at some point) who is so just so utterly taken with her incredible adorableness and how incredibly adorable she and her and incredibly adorable boyfriend are together that she just needs to broadcast this to the entire world. “Hey everybody! Aren’t we just sooooo the best?” While everyone else rolls their eyes and kind of wants them to break up and grow up so they don’t need to deal with the sugar shock anymore.

    • Christine

      If it wouldn’t be out of place in 50 Shades, it’s abusive. The BDSM community is very upset at the fact that the book portrays BDSM as just being abuse.

  • wanderer

    I sat here with mouth agape as I read that he threw an entire bag of trash against a dumpster and walked away, assuming it’s Debbie’s job to clean it up. And he’s a minister? Supposed to show “Christ’s sacrificial love for the church” by his treatment of his wife? Those actions show that he obviously thinks picking up trash is WHAT SHE’S MADE FOR. I’m appalled at his disrespect for women, and his wife in particular.
    Also…it seems like he thinks he’s kind of doing HER a favor by taking out the trash either time. It’s for HIS sake that he’s doing it (he wants to show off), not because he lives in this house, he helps create the trash, and part of living there is doing some of the work.
    I’m truly shocked that christians look up to people like him as examples.
    As an aside, I find her writing style very difficult to follow. It took me a while to figure out why she was screaming when she was watching him take out the trash the second time.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Making someone get down on the ground to pick up trash that you spilled is just disrespectful to…humans. I mean, how degrading can you get? I would never dream of doing that to anybody. That’s how a master would treat a slave.

      • LeftWingFox

        I couldn’t believe that one either. That goes so completely against my moral upbringing, that I just cant process the level of disregard for others necessary for that to happen.

  • ScottInOH

    The only sentence I liked was

    I think I have finally come to understand the male psyche, at least this male’s [emphasis added].

    For the briefest of moments, I thought she was going to recognize people as individuals, not as undifferentiated members of groups. Alas, it was not to be.

  • Don Gwinn

    “So when I’m being “smart,” I follow a very different strategy: I talk to my husband about the fact that he is not doing his share of the chores, and about my feelings, and we work things out.”

    MADNESS!

    My wife and I have been married for 12 years, and we’re still learning to do this. Much like math, it’s not necessarily easy, but it works.

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucrezaborgia lucrezaborgia

      Learning not to be passive-aggressive has taken a lot of work, especially since, as a child, I was surrounded by that mindset that this is how one does relationships as a woman. It’s a fight to make myself tell my husband right away when I am upset about something and I have to work at having him do the same. It’s definitely worth it!

  • That Other Jean

    I don’t think I get it. If the “very reserved business manager” showed up as a husband was dragging his screaming wife into the bedroom, wouldn’t the reasonable response be for him to call the police and let them sort out what was going on? Kinky sex games really shouldn’t include people who don’t know they’re playing. The Perls have one creepy, bordering on abusive, relationship.

  • el

    Wow. A simple, embarrassing mistake isn’t something to laugh off or a simple annoyance, this guy takes it as a challenge to his entire manhood. Maybe this is what you get when you train a man from childhood that he must always be dominant or else: a fragile ego.

    I can’t help wondering what the consequences might have been in a different situation if the sexy poses didn’t work out or the guy got enraged at being manipulated (which he was) and was more willing to hit a woman than Mike was.

  • http://ripeningreason.com/ Bix

    He made a mess and didn’t clean it up? Did he miss learning this basic principle during toddlerhood?

    • Notreligious

      Well, why would he clean it up? He knew full well she would clean it, and with a smile, too. Part of the problem with the “smile no matter what” beliefs she has, is that theres no way he can correctly gauge what her reaction really is, or what she really thinks, even if he wanted to. When Debi acts like picking up his trash is a happy job for her, she sends him the message that it is OK to do such things. Do this enough, and you can’t expect the other person to think anything but what you show them. Mike may be a jerk, but she doesn’t give him the chance to act any differently, all he sees is that she likes the way he acts as he is. He probably thinks all is well.
      Maybe he wouldn’t care if she wanted to be treated differently, maybe he was so mean when she tried to show feelings other than contentment that she gave up, I don’t know.
      But I do know that if you act this way, you will rob yourself of the opportunity to be treated better, with love and respect; if your partner doesn’t respond to you in a way that improves things, you can always leave. Keep on smiling and not only will your partner never know what bugs you, they will learn not to care.

      • Kodie

        Your post made me wonder if Mike ever read her book. From the few chapters I’ve gotten via Libby Anne, Debi is constantly talking about how unhappy she is but acts happy. In this way, instead of directly to her husband, she is communicating very clearly (to me) how she really feels and how she fakes her job-as-wife as cheerfully as she can and not take the other choice. She has a lot of extra chores to do, her husband is a selfish doofus, but whattayagonnado, right? Smile smile smile. Actually she just seems to complain non-stop in this book, it is her outlet and just really creepy.

        I know it’s supposed to be advice for really Christian wives, but it feels like I am reading her very painful diary/playbook. “Mike did this thoughtless act and that prideful thing, and instead of stewing about it like I wanted to, I played a joke on him, struck pose #23, giggled for 12.5 seconds, and he was going to have to punish me by dragging me like a cavewoman to the bedroom, which means I have succeeded in making a happy marriage.” It’s hard for me to understand how warped they both are. How she acts and how he perceives that act may be a complete mystery to a husband, but she spells it out in the book – how she constantly monitors her mood so as not to let on how miserable she seems to be. I do realize some men, particularly if they are brought up in the same rigid gender roles, expect a wife’s whole job to adore him no matter what he does. It is not an equal partnership of friends, she is a groupie who does chores and has sex whenever he says go and he doesn’t care about her inner thoughts at all. She is completely fixated on her marriage looking like it works well, which seems to be entirely her responsibility. Every chapter I have read so far leads me to think of this as a cry for help. A passive aggressive article of suppressed rage at her idiot thankless husband and not glorifying the relationship past the surface.

        On one level, it should be fairly simple, but she doesn’t make it sound simple. It’s supposed to sound like it’s working, as long as he’s happy, but she sounds so much like she wants to take the easy way out and gripe, and is consumed at every moment if her marriage appears, not is, happy, and that’s all that matters. Her advice amounts to embarrassing herself gladly inside the 4 walls of the house to avoid the embarrassment of being rejected by this ahole for having a spine. Christianity sounds twisted – when I think of how they think of this as a real god-given sacred marriage, what those vows really mean and what god really wants, I both realize why they think it’s not for gay couples, and then wonder why this is what little girls should save themselves for. Their idea why this is healthy for children to see? I keep forgetting they advise beating your kids to sleep too.

  • sara maimon

    Mike began to violently abuse Debi so she had to have sex in order to spare herself further abuse and possible injury. “Winning” means escaping the encounter without bruises.

    She tried to convince herself to just be happy after being abused. She convinced herself that it worked.
    Can’t believe her readers buy this. It would be really scary if they do.

    • Kodie

      Not that I don’t believe it, but that makes no sense to me. Explain it. Her whole part of the relationship is calculated for cause and effect and if she knew he would beat her, why did she scream out the window? She knew she would be “in trouble” so she acted casual washing dishes while posing innocently. It doesn’t seem she would do something funny/annoying/naughty or whatever to get him to exert physical force by punching her around. And sort of going by her other chapters, she pretended to resist, and pretended to go along with the “punishment” of being taken to the bedroom because that’s something they do. Ordinarily, I’d guess if he said “ok woman, now I have to show you who’s boss” she would get in there in a hurry on her own feet, like the merry jolly obedient wifey she keeps claiming makes her husband happy and her marriage solid.

      It just doesn’t seem to make sense that if he would have beat her, she would have done anything on purpose to make him unhappy. In an abusive relationship, I’m pretty sure it’s all eggshells and tiptoeing and no laughing at someone’s mistakes. Cleaning up yes, laughing no. Screaming as a joke, no no no. I think that playfully angering someone as a roleplay where he gets “angry” and then takes her “roughly” to the bedroom – her favorite place – was her way of saying when she wants to have sex, she even has to coordinate that so he can still be the man, dominate, initiate, and take her by force, which she embellishes by pretending to resist. I don’t know if she likes it but she doesn’t care what she likes.

  • sara maimon

    I really think the trash issue completely pales next to the explicit description of physical abuse.

  • sara maimon

    Re-reading, it’s clear to me that this isn’t the first time this has happened- Debi calls it her “winning” room, by which she means she is able to lead Mike to take out his aggression against her in a less lethal fashion via sexual intercourse. Seems like it’s a habit. In fact all along she describes it has something commonplace, a regular method of hers.
    Most likely, worse has happened because when people tell you the dark dirty details its usually only the tip of the iceberg.
    The artificial fake laugh at imagining what if the manager had seen this- too artificial for words. It doesn’t take away the real import of the words which she is not letting herself hear “and you teach about marriage.” In fact if Debi had been bruised she would have probably tried to laugh it off too. “Look what happened by accident, ha ha!”
    Debi seems to have convinced herself that she can’t be abused because she is submissive, she actually engineered it, after all if you submit to it willingly than you weren’t abused! Poor thing. I wish though she’d be more honest so she can stop trying to influence other people to join her in her b oat of misery.

  • Monika

    I feel bad now. I have been indulging in passive aggression rather than just talking to my husband about minor household annoyances. I have not been doing his chores I have just been leaving them to see how long (if ever) it takes for him to notice or do them himself. It annoys me a lot less than doing them for him does but the mature thing would be to talk it out I suppose.

  • saramaimon

    She didn’t.know he would respond that way until.she. saw him do it. she miscalculated the impact of her passive aggressive joke. as she sai her first impulse was to hide but she knew he would find her ha ha. and forcibly dragging someone to.a.room is violent abuse already even if it just ends there ha ha. These outbursta are probably infrequent though, i agree.

  • Pingback: CTBHHM: On Being Your Husband’s “Playmate”

  • http://www.kisarita.blogspot.com ki sarita

    Frightening link here which eerily echoes Debi and Mike’s relationship- with the violent bedroom scene nearly identical. Trigger warning…. Although it doesn’t come from a religious perspective, very frightening that such influences are spreading in society at large, not just extremist enclaves.
    http://www.salon.com/2013/01/11/alisa_valdes_anti_feminist_romance_not_so_romantic/

    • http://www.kisarita.blogspot.com ki sarita

      what’s most disturbing is the societal response- lauding her book and silencing the reality. true anti woman propaganda.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kelly.crawford.182 Kelly Crawford

    The last part is seriously disturbing. I didn’t get the sense that they were joking around or being playful, in fact, I honestly thought he was coming to scream at her or hit her. And when he talks about how much more he weighs it became more disturbing. I actually got the feeling that she “gave in” because he was going to take what he wanted no matter what. Absolutely sickening.

  • Rilian Sharp

    “I was ready with another scream just in case our very reserved business manager appeared. ”
    HUH??? She wanted to get michael in trouble?

  • Rilian Sharp

    Also. Is this meant to imply that when michael is angry at debi, his response is to rape her?


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