CTBHHM: The Butter Churn, the Carrot, and the Stick

Created To Be His Help Meet, pp. 94-98

Debi starts off this section by discussing the 1989 movie Dad. I haven’t seen it so I have only the wikipedia summary to go off of. Basically, a busy young executive is called home to help his ailing parents, and he ends up helping his dad, who had been growing senile, live more fully and learns to live more fully himself in the process. Upon waking up from a coma, the father suffers delusions that he spent his life on a dairy farm, rather than as an aerospace industry worker, and keeps speaking of people who never existed. Debi’s interpretation is that “because of his wife’s controlling hand and his desire to ‘do his duty’ and please her, he had failed to live his dreams.” While what I have found online about the movie confirms that the wife in the movie was definitely controlling, I can’t find anything saying for sure that the father’s delusions were meant to be seen as what he wished he had spent his life doing, rather than just something he found compelling and attractive at that moment. If someone wants to take the time to watch the movie and write up a proper summary, with Debi’s interpretation in mind, I’d be glad to add that here.

Debi follows this up with a letter from a reader, but this letter appears to be tailor made to follow up on her interpretation of the movie Dad:

Dear Pearls,

I have been married for 19 years, and my husband really is a great guy. He knows the Lord, but has not been as consistent with his Bible reading as I’d like to see. I am not saying anything to him about it yet. Our problems really stem from a change he made for our family that started about three years ago.

When we married, he was studying to be a CPA. I helped him through the last year of his schooling and spent 15 years with him going through long hours of tax seasons. I didn’t like it much, but I knew that was his career. He wanted to find a job that would let him stay at home and be his own boss. I thought that was a noble cause, and I wanted him to be with our sons as they grew up.

Well, what he has decided to do now, I can hardly handle! He decided to become a dairy farmer. We are city people. I told him all along, I really didn’t have a desire to be a dairy farmer. For three years, all he has done is read and research on it. I know he can make it work; it is just not something I want to do. I have had to cope with a lot. He still works in town and rushes home to go work in the barn. I had to wait dinner on him last night until 7 PM, and then he rushes home and goes straight to the barn. I was really hurt. I am tired of working and feeling as though we are getting nowhere. This is tearing the family apart. I know I must be submissive, but I truly do not want to do this. It is not my dream. There was no talk of farming 19 years ago!


Here’s the thing. It’s fine to change your dreams and your life’s trajectory, but if you’re married to someone, those changes don’t affect just you. If you suddenly really really want to run a dairy farm and your wife—or your husband—finds the idea repelling, well, you’ve got some thinking to do. If your dreams have become incompatible, you will have irreconcilable differences and it may be best for you both to split. However, you can also look for ways where your dreams and your partner’s dreams still overlap and come together. Yolanda is a city girl, she isn’t into dairy farming. Perhaps her husband could get into gardening and farming as a hobby in the city? It’s a new and growing trend. You get my point. But Debi actually thinks that my point is the problem.

Yolanda’s concept of marriage is all wrong, not at all like God’s intention for marriage. God didn’t create Adam and Eve at the same time and then tell them to work out some compromise on how they would each achieve their personal goals in an cooperative endeavor. he created Adam, gave him an occupation, appointed him as ruler of the planet, endowed him with a spiritual outlook, gave him commands, and specified his occupational duties. Adam commenced his rule of the planet before God created Eve to help him in his life’s goals. Adam didn’t need to get Eve’s consent. Eve gave her to Adam to be HIS helper, not his partner. She was designed to serve, not to be served, to assist, not to veto his decisions!

In this passage, Debi comes right out and speaks directly against the idea that a couple should “work out some compromise” or find a way to “each achieve their personal goals in a cooperative endeavor.” These are pretty much the core of my approach to marriage. For Debi, they’re not just not something that’s on her radar, they’re wrong.

If he does go back to being a full-time CPA, I wonder if he will spend the rest of his life dreaming of a different kind of lady for a wife, a bunch of happy children, and a barn full of milk cows? Life is now. Don’t make him ruin his life by being forced to count someone else’s money. Find your life in his.

Find your life in his. It’s hard to explain just how problematic I find that suggestion. In fact, that sounds very much like co-dependency—which is generally seem as a bad thing. I don’t find my life in my husband, or live through him and his dreams. I don’t find my life in my children, either. There are plenty of people around me who matter a great deal to me, and whose lives have a continuing impact on me and are in some ways entwined with mine, but I find my own purpose and meaning within myself, through getting to know who I am and through self-care. But then, Debi is speaking to a tradition in which women are expected to give, and give, and give, and never really take the time to learn who they are, and what they want out of life.

When we fight God’s will and our husband’s dreams, we are frustrated and disappointed. If our husbands are kind, Steady Men, like Yolanda’s husband, they will eventually become discouraged and give up trying to please us. If our husbands are Command Men, they may leave us behind and find a dairy-loving woman. If our husbands are Visionaries, they will yell and make our life miserable until we run back to mama and end up sleeping in a cold bed and living on food stamps.

More threats, of course, and laid on heavy. If you don’t adopt your husband’s dreams as yours and give up any dreams you might have had, Debi says, your husband will react badly and you may find yourself alone and on food stamps. But the other thing that’s interesting here is that Debi seems to conflate “God’s will” with “husband’s dreams.” But then, that’s what she does throughout her series, over and over and over. It’s just not usually quite so direct. But for Debi, husband and God elide, and husband’s will and God’s will become one.

Life is full of choices. How you choose to respond will help decide your fate in life. Life is now. Learn to enjoy taking out the trash or milking a cow.

This thing about the trash? The more times she mentions it the more curious it makes me.

God is not looking for happy women to make them into help meets for good men. He is looking for women willing to be true help meets to the men whom they married, so He can fill them full of joy.

Shortly before this, Debi says that women who do God’s will—and learn to enjoy taking out the trash—will look happy and will have people complement them on their happy personalities. Her basic argument here is to assure women like Yolanda that if they just give up their own dreams and find their lives in their husbands, God will make them happy—even if they don’t feel happy starting out. In other words, Debi knows that giving up your personhood may feel like crap, but she’s insisting to her readers that if they just do it and keep at it, God will fill them with joy.

In other words, Debi is very much applying both the carrot and the stick. If you give up yourself and your own dreams and desires, Debi says, God will make you happier than you can imagine. In contrast, if you maintain your own selfhood and dreams and desires, your husband will abuse or leave you, and you will find yourself bitter, miserable, alone, and, yes, on food stamps. Debi holds out both promises—and threats.

CTBHHM: A Young Wife Should Be "Bored and Lonely"
CTBHHM: Blessings and Vessels
CTBHHM: Playing Telephone with God
CTBHHM: Why Was Marian's Husband So Loving?
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://tinygrainofrice.wordpress.com Kristycat

    That’s not a real letter, Debi just watched Green Acres before writing this chapter.That’s not a real letter, Debi just watched Green Acres before writing this chapter.

    • http://tinygrainofrice.wordpress.com Kristycat

      …ok, that was weird

      • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

        Hey, whatever gets you through the day.

  • Imperious Dakar

    I honestly think creatures such as Debi do men like me a disservice.
    Because she describes being with a man as being so awful that no woman in her right mind would actually do it (if what Debi describes was really true).

    Frankly, if I were a woman and I thought being with a man automatically made me his slave, I would either be alone or try hooking up with a woman.

  • Julia

    I’m a former fundamentalist (still Christian) and Ive been trolling fundie blogs lately to try to understand my past and other women who still maintain fundie beliefs.

    Debi’s philosophy that women should abandon their desires and dreams to embrace their husbands’ ambitions is a common theme on blogs I read such as Dalrock, sunshinemary and the dragon, and Sarah’s Daughter. It’s a tough pill to swallow and I wonder why so many women, especially well-educated, former feminist women, have embraced it.

    • minuteye

      I don’t claim to understand why women embrace it, but I can see how it might seem like a good idea from one angle. Being in charge of your own life and decisions is… kinda terrifying. It’s also fulfilling and awesome and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, but when things get really overwhelming, the thought of just having somebody else be responsible can be a pretty appealing one.

  • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

    In addition to everything else that’s INCREDIBLY WRONG about this section, I am kind of wondering in what decade Debi last saw a working dairy farm …

  • J-Rex

    Doesn’t being a dairy farmer take up a lot of time? I can’t see that possibly working as an after work hobby.

    • Stony

      My dad’s family were all dairy. The animals have to be fed and their health maintained daily, as well as the fields they’re in. If you’re lucky you have enough land to rotate your stock in and out so that the ground recovers. The cows have to stay pregnant or with calf to give milk, so you have an insemination plan for all cows. The milking barn has to be maintained. The cows are brought in and washed down twice a day, milked and turned back out. All the milking equipment is sterilized and maintained daily. The milk has to be homogenized, pasteurized and stored until the distributor makes his rounds. The homogenizing and pasteurizing equipment must be broken down and sterilized. Oh, and all the shit shoveled out of the milking parlor. Oh and you’ll need new stock and possibly breeding stock to maintain a herd as it ages. And you’ll need to make sure no poisonous weeds grow in your pastures. And keep any sick cows segregated. And shovel shit some more.

      It seems like some people (cough..Debi…) think that a lovely milkmaid sits on her pert little stool and hand milks her pet cow Bessie each morning to make a lovely pat of homemade butter for her adoring husband’s homemade biscuits. Nice fantasy. Dairy is hard danged work.

    • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

      I don’t know about dairy, but a lot of people who consider themselves farmers have day jobs. It just doesn’t cover all the bills for a lot of people, so at least around here in my rural community, a lot of farmers are seed dealers, insurance agents, stuff like that. They tend to try to have flexible hours or seasonal work, but not always. I teach school with a guy who has cattle and crops in.
      Dairy might be too scheduled and time-intensive for that, I don’t know. Around here it’s mostly hogs, corn and beans.

  • http://iamcoleslaw.blogspot.com/ Coleslaw

    Here’s a review of the movie by Roger Ebert:

    (BTW, I get a “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow Down.” screen a lot whenever I post my first comment in days.)

  • http://iamcoleslaw.blogspot.com/ Coleslaw

    And another review. She may have been right about the wife:

  • http://iamcoleslaw.blogspot.com/ Coleslaw

    Last review, I promise, this from Christian Spotlight on Entertainment:

  • Angela

    Also notice how Debi talks about rooting up your life and moving to a dairy farm as though it’s an equivalent sacrifice to taking out the trash?

    • Anna

      It is insane! Didn’t God (if you believe in Him) give us brains for a reason? So we could think and plan and make the best decision? Throwing everything into a dairy farm and risking it failing is a HUGE and dangerous step to take. Like the previous commenter said, there’s a lot involved in dairy farming, and if you’ve never had hands on experience with it I can’t imagine it ending well. It’s ridiculous to me that Debi thinks you should just follow every whim and pray that nothing horrible happens to devastate your family…

    • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

      Look, let’s be honest. This lady should just be counting her blessings that her husband isn’t hearing Yahweh’s voice demanding that he sacrifice their children on an altar.
      Because (still being honest) if that happened, her job would be to support her man and accept that he and his relationship with Yahweh know best.

  • Stony

    I do remember the movie and Debi gets it partially right. The psychologist in the movie speculates that the Dad character has created this dream life of a dairy farm in Cape May, New Jersey that includes an adoring soft-focus wife and a house full of kids as a way to counter his less Disneyish real life. But no one then suggests that they try to create the fantasy, they find ways for the dad to cope with his new reality of encroaching senility and cancer.

    There are folks out there who want nothing more than to live a farming life, and aren’t we lucky that’s the case. Yolanda is not one such person, and I dare say that if her husband is hell bent on becoming a dairy farmer at the expense of all others around him, they need to start looking for new spouses immediately, and support each other in the process. Just the idea of my husband coming to me out of the blue and suggesting we….let’s say move to Saudi for him to pursue a job fighting oil fires, because he’s a firefighter and a soldier at heart…. Well, I’d say I love you, wish you the best of luck, and you’ll be missed. I have the luxury of that since I have my own degree, and my own career, and do not see food stamps or a cold bed in my future. But you know what, if I had to rely on food stamps for awhile to get by, that would be highly preferable to living in a country where I’m not allowed to drive.

  • http://genderhash.blogspot.co.uk/ genderhash

    It’s always interesting to me that those making these arguments conveniently forget that there are TWO accounts of creation in genesis and in one of them god create Adam and Eve at the same time

    • Kelly

      Yep, I was yelling this at the monitor during that whole paragraph :/

  • http://happysimplefree.blogspot.com Zadi

    As always, your points are spot on. But this little unhighlighted tidbit is what caught my eye the most in Debi’s writing here:

    Adam didn’t need to get Eve’s consent.

    Adam DIDN’T NEED to get Eve’s CONSENT. Holy flaming crapmonkies, Batman. This is beyond just ‘as a woman you should submit and deny all your dreams and pretend not to be a real person,’ straight into implying that your husband is truly and completely ENTITLED to you without even bothering with CONSENT.

    I know this is nothing new here, and shows up a lot, particularly in the God’s will == husband’s whims thing. I guess I was just startled to see it said so bluntly. Creepy.

    • sylvia

      Good point. Hello, marital rape.

      • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

        Totally OT: Hello, other-person-named Sylvia!!

        And what you said. Ugh.

  • KristinMH

    They could always get some miniature cows and keep them in the backyard.


    (This is a real thing. There seriously are cows that are like the size of a Golden Retriever.)

    • Karen

      My church’s youth group raises money for the Heifer Project. HP provides animals, especially mini cows, to people in the 3rd world becuase they provide so much milk for very little feed and space. One breed, mini Brahmas*, has the advantage of usually producing twins.

      *Mini Brahmas are only mini in comparison to regular Brahmas, whic are one of the largest types of cattle. The minis are about the size of a Shetland pony.

    • http://tellmewhytheworldisweird.blogspot.com/ perfectnumber628

      So, I know I say this every week but: This book. It gets worse every week. Just when we all thought it couldn’t get any worse, Debi surpasses our expectations.

    • A Reader

      Those are too cute. I can’t even.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    So Yolanda and her husband are city people. With a barn. To which her husband rushes home every day to do some kind of ill-defined “work,” although I can’t think of what kind of work it could be. Obviously not dairy farming, since that’s not something you do for a few hours after your full-time day job or something that can be confined to a barn. And if he’s just reading about dairy farming, couldn’t he do that more comfortably in the house?

    If there was any remaining doubt in my mind that Debi makes up her letters to fit whatever topic she feels like rambling about to make her point*, in this case a not particularly well-known movie from the 80s, it is surely gone now. Honestly Debi, a little more stealth and subtlety? You might have at least chosen a slightly different pastoral occupation.

    *There really wasn’t.

  • smrnda

    I don’t get where Debi described Yolanda’s husband as a “Mr Steady.” It seems that he *was* a Mr Steady accountant and is not in her ‘visionary man’ phase where he thinks any idea that passes through his mind is worth changing the whole trajectory of his life to follow.

    The more I look at what she writes, I realize that she places No Obligations on men whatsoever. If a man has a bunch of ridiculous get-rich schemes in his head and fails at all of them, he’s just a “Mr Visionary” – so the male obligation to ‘provide’ can be escaped pretty easily by just assigning a man to a particular type.

  • Leum

    I have an alternative theory about the trash: This is the one area where Debbi still has a tiny bit of resistance. And so Michael made her put it in at every opportunity to remind her that she will take out the goddamned trash or suffer the consequences.

  • Kit

    When I read this post, I had 2 thoughts: first, I felt sorry for Debi and all the women who followed her because evidently they may not really have much of a choice; If I got married and decided that hey, you want to be a dairy farmer, I’d be out of there so fast (I grew up on a farm – allergies make going back hell and after 3 hours I start sneezing and don’t stop) because I have a degree in a high-paying area and will likely contribute 50% or more to my future family income. Divorce? Being left for another woman? Sure, it would suck, but there would be no food stamps or moving back in with the parents or anything. These options are just not available to Debi, and that makes me sad.

    And then I remember she’s writing this to counsel other women to be just as powerless and option-less, and then I’m not so sad anymore.

    • Tracey

      Don’t feel sorry for Debi and her ilk; they’re trying to ensure that women have no other choice but to be dependent on their husbands for support, no matter how abusive their husbands may be. That’s the whole point of the stay-at-home daughter/broodmare homeschooling wife.

  • Vivian

    Why does she have to delay dinner until 7 PM?! Emotionally abusive & controlling as he was, my ex NEVER “made” me hold dinner for him if he was running late. He **always** told me & the kids to go ahead & eat, & he’d eat the leftovers whenever he made it home. (Or get fast food on his way home….. but woe to me if *I* ever decided on a whim to grab burgers or even sodas for me & the kids while running errands! Nope, I’d better run that by him first… but that’s a whole ‘nother subject! And it wasn’t the health issues of burgers or sodas, either, it was the fact that I was spending money that *he* didn’t approve.)

    As for the city/barn thing – it’s possible that the “change he made” 3 years ago was that they’d move to the country. He still works “in town” but comes home to the farm in the country & then works in the barn so that part could be accurate & real. I don’t see how dairy farming can be an “evening/weekend” job, as previous commenters have pointed out, so that part of this situation still doesn’t make sense.

    Another thought – everything this “Yolanda” (whether “Yolanda” really exists or whether it’s Debi, I have my doubts like many of you!) says about her husband is negative after the first sentence. He doesn’t read his Bible enough. He worked (works?) long hours during tax season. (Duh, all accountants do!) Now he’s late getting home for dinner (she doesn’t specify whether he communicated that to her – “honey, there was a late client/traffic jam/co-worker who needed a jump-start so I’m going to be late getting home tonight” – or whether he just shows up at 7 PM…. plus, she doesn’t say whether 7 PM is way late or just a little late… maybe he has a long drive home from “town” & usually isn’t home until 6:30 PM, in which case getting home at 7 shouldn’t be that big of a deal) & makes her live on a farm. I ***DO NOT*** subscribe to the “everything’s her fault” theory, but *I* wouldn’t be happy living with someone that judgmental. I know… I’ve lived with controlling & judgmental people from the time I was born until a year ago when I left the ex. So in this case – and if this is indeed a real situation, I acknowledge that I don’t have all the facts & am only hearing her side – a big part of the problem might actually be her this time. She needs to make a choice here… is she going to stay with this man AND CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY (doesn’t sound like there’s any actual *abuse* or *affairs* taking place, just his new-found hobby/preference) or is city life important enough to her that she’s going to leave him & make her own way in life? Either way, it needs to be *her* choice. If she chooses to stay with him, I hope for his sake that she **chooses** to be happy & quits griping about everything!!! If she leaves, it’s *her* choice and she’d better not spend the rest of her life blaming *him* for ruining her life!!

    “He knows the Lord, but has not been as consistent with his Bible reading as I’d like to see. I am not saying anything to him about it yet.” How much you wanna bet that she’s somehow expressed her disappointment at his lack of spirituality?! And she’s using that to manipulate or guilt-trip him? Abuse is abuse no matter which spouse is doing the abusing, so if *she* is being the emotional abuser in this case, then SHE’S WRONG for that! (So you know that I’m not woman-bashing… even in my fundiest of days, when I read the Mr. Command Man section, I was horrified that anyone would put up with such abuse! Again, abuse is abuse no matter who’s doing the abusing!! Man, woman, kid, friend, employer, neighbor, cop… abuse is abuse!)

    I wonder if “Yolanda” has ever tried actually *talking* to her husband about this… although actual communication, cooperation, and/or compromise would be unsubmissive and therefore sinful. :P

  • http://elliha.blogspot.com Elin

    An interesting side note, my sister actually faced this situation. She married a man who was a farmer’s son but who had no wish to become a farmer and who at the time would gladly give up his enheritance to his brother but once his parents asked him to take over the farm he changed his mind. He wanted it after all and my sister was shocked. They did in the end follow his wishes and he is a dairy farmer now. My sister still works in town although the commute is long and she doesn’t make that much money with all that driving but she has not needed to give up her job and some of her city things and they are in fact happy both of them.

    • Vivian

      Weird… they communicated & compromised & they’re HAPPY? How evil of them! LOL

      Too bad that a black-and-white system like Debi’s can’t allow for something like this. Neither of them had to give up everything, and while your sister might prefer living closer to her job, it sounds like she’s HAPPY because she chose to stay with her man *and* still have her own life. She didn’t have to become a doormat simply so *he* could have *his* dream.

      • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

        They *think* they’re happy. They may never learn the truth about how miserable they are, the poor saps. Might die thinking they’re happy and in love. And then where will they be?

  • Conuly

    On a tangent, I kinda wonder what her opinion is of The Giving Tree.

    • Whirlwitch

      It’s OK as long as the tree is female?

      • Noelle

        the tree is female in that story. It starts: Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.

    • http://sylvia-rachel.livejournal.com sylvia_rachel

      She probably thinks it has a romantic fairy-tale ending.

      (I bought that book for my daughter when she was younger, and tried to read it out loud to her. I never managed to get all the way through it without sobbing. Not sure what lesson she took from the experience…)

    • http://republic-of-gilead.blogspot.com Ahab

      Ugh. That book is a blueprint for abuse, and I’ve never understood why people praise it. I suspect Debi loves it.

      • Noelle

        You’ve misjudged Silverstein’s work. “The Giving Tree” is not meant to be a happy fairy tale story. It is meant to be sad and tragic. If you’re interested, here’s a very nice article on his work: http://performingsongwriter.com/shel-silverstein/

        I can’t get through reading “The Giving Tree” out loud to my children without getting all choked up, and it’s not tears of joy. It’s a hard book, but that can be a good thing. My favorite books from childhood and adolescence had haunting or sad themes. I love Silverstein’s poetry books. My kids like to go through Where the Sidewalk Ends” and “The Light in the Attic” and find their favorites.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

        It’s supposed to be a bittersweet story, I think. The boy grows up and the tree continually meets his changing needs, and at the end of his life the tree is still perfect for what the old man needs (a seat) so isn’t that sweet!

        Really, though, it’s a story of exploitation. The tree gives up everything to the boy, including her life. She never asks anything of him, just gives and gives and gives. This is the book’s definition of love. He takes continual advantage of her, never thanking her or appreciating her sacrifices. Indeed, she seemingly exists to cater to his whims, to the point of actually killing herself when he needs a minor convenience. That’s … not a good message.

    • A Reader

      I’m sure Debi loves it. My school read it to us when I was little…I never realized how creepy it was until recently. It’s like Twiglight for little kids, normalizing abusive relationships, even idealizing them as “romantic”. *shivvers*
      Anyway, if you like questionable greenscreen and fabulously sassy gay guys, this is Sassy Gay Friend doing an intervention for the Giving Tree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYQavD9mSIc

      • A Reader

        Although “Twiglight” would be a sweet mashup :)

  • Whirlwitch

    “Don’t make him ruin his life” Let him ruin yours instead!

    This is a core message, and I find it appallingly awful, as I’m sure most people do. Women must learn to enjoy milking a cow, even if that’s something they never wanted out of life and never worked toward; but asking a man to learn to enjoy “counting other people’s money”, even though THAT’S THE CAREER PATH HE CHOSE, is unthinkable.

    Also, Debi’s summation of the Genesis creation myth and what it’s supposed to mean? All I can do is shudder.

  • alr

    1–There is no possibility that Debi did not make that letter up. Seriously. She just happened to get a letter exactly illustrating the point she wanted to make using that movie as a reference? Sure, she did.
    2–Raising fruits and vegetables in your own backyard garden in town is so far from a “new” trend that I crack up every time I see it referred to as such. Everyone in my family has had such gardens for the entire span of my 40+ year memory. My husband’s 80+ year old grandfather has had a huge garden every summer of his life which is fenced off from his neighbors equally large one. This has always been common in the Midwest at least, but suddenly a bunch of neo-hippies in East coast cities think planting a tomato in a pot makes them “farmers” and participants in a new and innovative activity. Sorry, but we are laughing at you.
    3–I, too, get the “slow down, you’re posting too fast” comment every time I post lately.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      Heh, yeah, my grandparents remember victory gardens in WWII, and some of them lived in Boston at the time! It’s only new because it fell out of fashion for awhile.

      I am also getting the “you’re posting too fast” comment whenever I try to post. If I wait about 5 minutes, I can usually post something, but then if I try to post another comment I have to wait another 5 minutes or so. Fair warning, I haven’t actually timed it to figure out the exact time I have to wait between initial attempt and successful post, so my internal “5 minutes” could definitely be off.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      I was born in the 80s (not on the East Coast) and also don’t remember a time when we did not grow tomatoes, squashes and herbs in my dad’s small garden (a large one was not an option for us). I really don’t understand your contempt for urban gardeners though. I live in an East Coast city now, among plenty of the kind of people who like to grow tomatoes on their porches and none I know call themselves “farmers” are expect accolades. They just like eating free tomatoes that actually have flavor and may also like the opportunity to be healthier and more environmentally conscious in a small way. Also, need I point out that gardening in a town where you have the space for big gardens is very different from gardening in larger cities where a lot of people don’t even have their own land, or very little land? Gardening IS on the rise in such places. It’s just a fact. More people are trying it, more community garden projects are popping up, etc. That IS “new.” Maybe you should support people who are trying to do something good instead of laughing at them?

      Despite being transplant, I like taking the piss out of the Northeast as much as the next midwesterner. But seriously, chill out.

    • Noelle

      My family always had gardens when I was a kid. I’ve tried to grow edible stuff myself as an adult, but my yard doesn’t get enough sun. The shade is wonderful in the summer though.

      • Conuly

        Have you tried redirecting sun with mirrors? My grandmother used to do that in Belgium, where they need all the help they can get!

    • Christine

      I’ve never heard “urban farming” referring to straight gardens – it’s generally once you add chickens, etc into the mix that people start calling it that. What I like about gardening being more in the public eye (aside from getting an allotment garden because a new one started up so we could skip the queues everywhere else) is that if my landlord tried to complain about the number of planters we have out by our window (we’re a basement apartment, so we don’t have a balcony) we could potentially have a valid case that it counts as “reasonable use”. Or at least a good enough claim to a valid case that our landlord isn’t going to say anything.

  • saraquill

    So if a husband has dreams, you must twist yourself into knots to satisfy them. If wife has dreams, kill them with fire. I do not approve of Debi’s conclusions.

    Another thing about that letter bothered me. If he’s a CPA, but has a presumably uncertified person doing some of his work, won’t that get him into trouble with the law?

    • ako

      Yeah, my life is now, too, and I don’t see how it’d be any less sad if I spent it all pleasing other people and never doing what I really wanted.

      But Debi seems to think that when a man has an unfulfilled dream, it’s a tragedy, but when a woman has an unfulfilled dream, it’s a sin that she’s dreaming in the first place.

  • Katherine A.

    Of course in Debi’s mind marriage is not about compromise, communication, or give and take because she’s advocating unequal and abusive marriages. She sees abuse as normal.

  • KarenH

    Okay, I’m a 52 year old single woman. I’d like to hear more about this thing called “a cold bed”–where is MINE??????????

  • Holly

    I think all her references to “taking out the trash” are subtle hints to her readers to throw out the trash that is her book.

  • http://pushthepulldoor.blogspot.com Don Gwinn

    You know, I have this dream of leaving my big, expensive money pit in this small town behind. I want to live outside a bigger city. I want some space, I want to be able to do some things on my own land that you can’t do in the city.
    But I’m married, and my wife counts, too. She doesn’t mind the idea of the small house in the country, but there are locations and lifestyles she likes and some she doesn’t. I know this because we’ve discussed it over and over. We haven’t actually made a decision about where to go yet. The furthest we’ve made it is that we will continue to pay off debt, finish off the mortgage on this place and fix it up just enough to sell for a decent return, and then we’ll look around at our options. We’ve discussed specific states, specific regions and cities. By the time we’re ready to make the decision, I expect it to be pretty clearly narrowed down to a few options we’re both happy about, and then we’ll choose from those. Together. If it tears our marriage apart to respect my wife, that’ll be too bad, but I’m the guy, so if I’m reading this right, I won’t be the one on food stamps in a cold bed, correct?