CTNAHM: Only Men Have Dreams

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally Posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 53—54

I Need Her to Support My Vision

Every man has a vision, and visions are tenuous and iffy by nature.  A man with a vision hopes to surmount difficult circumstances, doing what others think is impossible.  A vision will waver like a mirage, sometimes promising cool water and other times looking like shifting sand.  Most men lose hope of fulfilling their dreams and settle for a TV series.  If you have a vision, you need a helper suited to that vision.  It is not necessary for her to believe in it as you do, but she must believe in you.  A man can keep his own vision alive if his wife runs his supply line and praises his endeavors.

First thing I noticed is that it’s only MEN with visions.  Nowhere does it talk about supporting a wife’s visions, or a wife’s dream.  Another thing that stuck out to me is how flowery Michael’s language can get. I’ve noticed it before, but never commented.  But he sure uses lots of analogies, idioms, and other comparison tools. I don’t know how many men actually give up on their dreams, but perhaps some men just flat out like TV?  Being interested in TV doesn’t mean you’ve given up on a vision.

I wonder what Michael thinks the criteria for a “suitable” helper is.  Oh wait. There it is.  She will believe in you, praise you, and be your supply line. What the heck is a supply line??  I also don’t like the implication that a man without his wife’s support can’t achieve his own vision.  Yes, support is nice, but it’s not necessary.

Most of us aim for more than we will ever accomplish, but in aiming we accomplish much more than our high school teachers ever dreamed.  It is not the end that makes a man successful; it is all the many joyous days of trying.  A help meet that supports our vision will make life a journey worth the effort, and we will be remembered for our humanity if not our accomplishments.

Interesting.  While I agree that most people have bigger dreams than reality will allow, I don’t think that aiming for far out visions is the best possible solution.  For example, I weigh about 325lbs.  I could set a goal to get down to 150.  But every time I exercise and eat right, if I were to look at the scale, and it still read 315ish, I would get discouraged and say “Screw that! I’ll be happy and fat!”  I think that having more realistic, smaller goals would be the better way to accomplish more things. If nothing else, it helps stave off burnout!  I’ve heard before “it’s not the destination, it’s the journey”, but if the journey is fraught with disappointment and failure, it would be hard to maintain confidence and support in the journeyer.

Another interesting thing I noticed was the bit about high school teachers.  The demographic this book aims at is Christian Homeschooling families.  So I think it’s funny phrasing.  I’m also amused by the mild threat that an unsuitable helper will make life not worth living.  Though I have absolutely no idea what he means when he says “remembered for our humanity”.  He is close to the last person I would consider humane.  I just don’t get it.

If your wife denigrates your vision, it indicates she is not being fulfilled as a person   Tend to her needs and she will get so contented she will tell you that you sing well, you are talented, smarter than everyone else, and should be promoted to work at the cash register instead of cooking the french fries.

Ah. Here we are again.  If your wife doesn’t do A, it’s because she’s not being fulfilled.  And how does the man fulfill his wife’s needs? By letting her be his help meet. And once again, Michael points out that if a man will let his wife fulfill her desire to be needed, the man will get the reward.  This is like the 4th or 5th time his advice has been “do this for her and she’ll go craaaaazy trying to make you happy.”  Nothing about supporting your wife because she deserves it.  Nothing about wanting to make her happy because you love her.  Nope. You want your wife to support you, nag less, and give more. And what’s with the little dig about french fries?  Personally, having worked in fast food,  I would prefer to hang out by the fryer. No annoying customers there!  And what is up with what Michael says wives will say to their husbands? It reminds me of how people talk to babies or puppies.  “Who’s the smartest? Who’s the bestest?  You are, cutesy SnugglyPup”.

You need your woman to support your vision.  If you have no vision, I suspect you are not in good standing with your help meet.  As encouraging woman makes a man think he is taller, stronger, and smarter than he is.  And coupled with her wisdom he will be smarter.  You cannot leave her sitting at the kitchen table griping and be successful at life without her.  You may be manager at work, but that has nothing to do with life more abundant.  If you will devote your energies to building her as a person, you will have more time and energy to pursue your dreams.

Here we are again. Men deserve women that will do XYZ for them.  Without reciprocation, because we all know silly womenz don’t have enough brains for dreamin’.  Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like when he says “if you have no vision, I suspect you are not in good standing with your help meet”, it seems like he’s saying “Change your wife’s attitude, because this is who you are without her support”.  Does that even make sense? Like saying it’s the wife’s fault.  I enjoyed that he gave a shout-out to wifely wisdom, but was a bit irritated how the only real point of a wife having that wisdom is to make the husband look better.

Gack! There we are again!  “Build you wife up as a person”.  WTF? Pretty sure she was a person before she even met you, Michael! Her person hood has nothing to do with being a wife.  Especially since Christians are anti-abortion because it kills a person (It’s a child, not a choice).  What I really feel he’s saying her is the more you make your wife into what you want her to be, the less time you will have to spend figuring out what she wants.  Did anyone else get that?

Overall, while this section wasn’t as toxic as some, it still left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve said it before, but I never, ever, ever want to be a wife like what Michael says women should be. I want my husband to encourage me to have dreams, and the support me in them.  I want to feel like my husband tries to make me happy because he loves me and wants me to feel loved, not because he wants me to change more to his liking.  Honestly? I feel terrible for the poor wives and husbands who read the Pearl’s books and take them as gospel.  They don’t really stand a chance to have a happy marriage following this advice. At best, you get a roommate with benefits relationship. At worst, you have a martyr and a tyrant. Neither of which sound very appealing.

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.


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