CTNAHM: Your Woman Should Be Glad to Put Up With Your Eccentric Ways

A Guest Post by Aletha

Originally posted on Yllom Mormon

Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 84—86

We are nearing the close of the Visionary man chapter. I hope you’ve learned a lot. This section is Michael summing up the main points from the chapter.

Exhortation to Visionaries

Don’t let your drive drive her away. Demonstrate a soundness of judgement by first meeting the needs of the family, and then when you share your daring vision with her she will have the emotional energy to dream with you. You will then be emotionally free to actually do something out of the ordinary. Talk to others about how great she is to stand with you. A wife will put up with a good deal of nonsense if her man makes her feel secure and appreciated.

It’s a good point. Meet the needs of your family first before spending energy on schemes and dreams. What I don’t like is his instance is if you do X for the wife, she will do Y for you. A commentator in one of the earlier posts likened this to a vending machine. You put in coins and get out treats. That’s the way Michael seems to think relationships work. Put in some compliments and back rubs, get out unlimited sex and no nagging.  In case you are curious, that’s not how mature relationships should work. Yes, it’s nice to do things for your spouse. But if the only reason you are doing them is to “encourage” your spouse to do nice things for you, it’s a selfish endeavor.

If you are a Visionary, you probably enjoy talking about radical things. You often hash over ideas, plans, and dreams. There will be a thousand ideas for every project attempted, and most of those attempted will never be finished  and most of those that are completed will not matter to anyone but you. Solomon said, “I behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Eccl 1:14)”.

I’m really not sure what I think about this exhortation.  On one hand, it seems to be solid advice. On the other, I feel like Michael’s been saying the whole chapter “Visionaries are prophets, movers, and shakers! They are important to changing things!”, and then in this snippet, he’s saying “most of what you do won’t matter, even if you—against all odds—finish something.” I find those two ideas don’t really mesh, and it’s bugging me.

If we spend our lives dreaming and scheming but fail to impart meaning to the life of that one special woman, our existence is a failure  Over time, a wise Visionary will become more practical. The world needs the Visionary Man, for he is the one who seeks out hypocrisy and injustice and slays the dragons. He calls himself and those around him to a higher standard. He knows how to do nearly everything, or thinks he does, and is ready to advise others. In time, if he maintains his integrity, he will be quite accomplished in many things.

Interesting. The first two exhortations, Michael used the term “you”. As in “all you other Visionaries”. And he painted those Visionaries in not a very pleasant light. Yet with this one, he used “we”, and it’s a very complimentary (and idealistic) picture. It’s lines like these that make me feel like Michael has used these very ideas as ammunition when/if his wife says something like “when are you going to stop dreaming and do something??” I’m also wondering what Michael views as injustice, because he seems to have no qualms about beating children or telling men to pretend to listen to their wives.  Another thing. The previous exhortation, Michael said how Visionaries won’t finish many things. Yet in this one, he says if a man “maintains his integrity” (with no explanation of how to do this), he will be accomplished in many things. That seems to be quite the disconnect.

You are a man with a mission. As a Visionary you will be subjective, thinking about feelings, moods, and spiritual insights. You will spend your life looking through a telescope or microscope, and will be stunned that what you see is of little interest to others. Looking through your microscope, little things that others cannot see will look large to you, and small things so far away that no one else considers them will be large in your perspective. You will not be understood, and you will be blamed for your lack of practicality. You are not balanced. No man is. It is knowing yourself that enables you to be patient with others and cautious with yourself.

It’s really weird to me how Michael seems to flip between loving and loathing the Visionary Man. Does anyone else notice this?

You need to find balance. Sometimes that is only achieved by bumping into hard realities. The Old Testament prophets of God must surely have been the Visionary types. Remember Elijah, Jeremiah  and Ezekiel and all of their trials? A wise man will know that he has a large hole in his thinking and needs his wife to help him keep his feet from rising too far above solid ground. He needs to have a very balanced, steady friend that is not afraid to laugh at his newest idea and then offer some commonsense suggestions. Every visionary needs to be open to the wisdom of a good friend, especially in regard to relationships, finances or health.

It’s true that sometimes the only way to learn is through the school of hard knocks. Though I’m unsure of whether saying all these OT prophets were visionaries because they had a lot of trials. Doesn’t everyone have lots of hard times? And, hooray. We’ve now come back to the idea that wives are to manage the negative emotions/actions of their men. What’s interesting, though, is while it’s wives that should keep the Visionary’s feet on the ground, Michael makes it seem like wives aren’t the “friend” the Visionary needs to be open to. I can’t imagine Michael saying it’s OK for wives to laugh at the newest idea…

As a Visionary, you will be the initiator  the point man, trailblazer, and voice calling others to a mission. With your enthusiasm and faith you will start and keep the movement going until the Command Man gets there to organize the troops into practical action.

Oh, you Visionaries! You get people all riled up for change, but don’t know how to make things happen.  Good thing Command Men can lead people!

As a Visionary, you expect others to believe with the same fervency as you. When they don’t understand or they resist your vision, you will be prone to push harder and may have a tendency to become bitter with blame. It is important that you keep a good attitude toward others and resist becoming unteachable. A bitter Visionary can be dangerous like a broken tool. You must keep your spirit free from criticism and judgement of others. Be content to pursue your vision alone if necessary. Respect the right of others to ignore you or believe differently.

I’m finding it laughable that the same Michael Pearl that calls men “double-dog jerks” is handing out advice like “respect the rights of others to ignore you or believe differently”. All you have to do is read anything from his website, or one of his books to realize that he has no tolerance for people that are different. Can you imagine his reaction if his wife started ignoring him, and then pointed out that his own book told her it’s OK?

Teach your wife the passage found in 1 Peter 3:1-2 concerning chaste conversation. Remind her to be positive in her conversation and outlook so as not to stir your ire. Ask her to help you by not speaking negatively of others. Stop her in the middle of her conversation if she encourages your criticism of others. Remind her of your tendencies to brood. Ask her to pray with and for you. When she sees you are serious, she will change her conversation.

So it’s OK for men to talk bad about others and brood, but not women? And that line about reminding her to be positive? That sounds like victim-blaming to me. “I wouldn’t have shouted and gotten mad if you would just be positive! Why can’t you support me?” Ugh. It is a good idea, though, for people in general not to talk bad about others. It seldom fixes problems and makes people more sure that their stance is correct.

As a Visionary you will need your lady to be patient and filled with joy. A wise man will cultivate his wife so she stands ready with a smile and a cautioning word as is needed.

A visionary needs a Stepford wife, apparently. Patient, positive, filled with joy, always smiling, and will toss out the occasional (well worded) caution. Again, with no steps how to help men “cultivate” this prized ideal of womanhood.

As a Visionary you can be a leader. Similar to a Command Man, if you are making sense your passion will draw others to your cause  but because of your tunnel vision, your leadership will have a more narrow focus. A wise man will know both his strengths and his weaknesses.

One thing I am learning is that Michael has never heard of, or believes in, a self-fulfilled prophecy. If you tell people they are a certain way, and these are the characteristics of that way, then that is all they will fulfill. They will internalize and become this. You can see this in abused children. Kids who are told they are stupid will, regardless of IQ, perform to that standard. Similarly, telling men who believe that they are Visionary that they won’t make good leaders, will make them not good leaders!  Though it’s interesting that apparently Visionaries aren’t good enough leaders of men, but are just fine as leaders of their family. Weird.

Of the three types of men you most naturally kindle in a woman what she most needs—to be needed. This is why your woman should be glad to put up with your eccentric ways. She will know her input in your life is priceless. You need a friend, a buddy, someone to listen to your newest idea and to appreciate your heart. You, of all the images, most need a help meet.

Every time Michael repeats that drivel that women most need to be needed, I want to break something. I think that, if I had to choose only one things that women most needed, it would be respect. As in personal respect, like respect for the individual woman; her talents, her needs, her feelings, her weaknesses. Seeing a woman as a person, and wanting to help that person become better. That’s what I, at least, need most. And I don’t know about you, but I saw red when I got to the line about women should be glad to put up with eccentric ways. It sounds like Michael is saying “Because you can make her feel needed, she’ll be happy to put up with whatever you throw her way.” Which, even if you take the first half of that at face value, doesn’t make the second half true! Especially when Michael spent a good part of this chapter on lazy Visionaries who lead their family to ruin.

I still can’t get over how this book is about men. Yes, it’s called “Created to Need a Help Meet”, and that should have tipped me off, but I’m still in shock. It’s like me writing a book about Bipolar, and the main point is that my mood swings are natural and appropriate- and people deserve to cater to my whims, because I was blessed with a mental illness and they weren’t.  Writing a marriage-help book that is really only about helping 1/2 of the people involved in that marriage seems…wrong and weird.

Anyway, we finish up the chapter next post. It includes a priceless list of things wives of Visionaries wish their husbands knew/would do. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out!

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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