Created To Need A Help Meet, pp. 131—132
We are still contrasting the three types of men. Today, though, we’re going into depth about the weaknesses and strengths of Mr. Command, the Visionary, and Mr. Steady. Michael even makes some decent points.
Contrasting the Three Types
Each type has extremes in how he relates to his wife. Good advice to one type would be inappropriate for a man of a different nature. It is important that you come to know yourself so you will understand your natural strengths and weaknesses.
It’s true that advice for some is not OK for others. It’s also true that it is important to know yourself. What Michael doesn’t add is that it’s important to know your strengths/weaknesses so you can work on making your weaknesses less weak (the phrase “turning weakness into strength”, while it comes to mind, seems a bit too ideal. For most people, making their weaknesses not as debilitating or harmful is as good as it gets.), and make sure that your strengths aren’t so out of control they turn into stumbling blocks.
Mr. Command will see men as sheep without a shepherd and organize them into a working body, helping them make use of their talents to their full potential. He is the overseer and commander where one is needed.
Ah, yes. People are sheep. And Mr. Command is just the one to organise them-into whatever HE sees fit. I have re-read the chapter on Command Men, and strangely enough, nowhere in there does it talk about helping people make use of their talents. The chapter talks about the importance of Command Men, descriptions of Mr. C, warnings about pride, vague generalities and threats, how to “mold” one’s wife into the proper help meet, and Michael’s boasts. Nothing that I could find backs up his idea that Mr. C’s help people use their talents. Actually, the way I understand it, Mr. C doesn’t care what you’re good at-unless it directly effects him-he just wants people that do what he says, when he says! (If you think I’ve misunderstood, please do let me know)
Mr. Visionary will be focused. He will see things other people don’t notice. He is a fountain of ideas; nothing is impossible. He makes himself the conscience of society, judging and attempting to change things for the better. He is often radical and ready to march to his own drum. Women are rarely so focused unless they are sharing a dream with their man.
Those darn unfocused wimmin, it’s pry their lady hormonez gettin’ in the way. I am holding back the tide of sarcastic/snarky things I want to say. Except this. I decorate cakes, and let me tell you, it takes INSANE focus to spend 15+hours on a 500 serving cake that has to be perfect for a wedding. And no, cake decorating isn’t my husband’s dream-it’s my own. He doesn’t share my dream, but he supports me in it. That’s because we’re a team, not just 2 people that live together and agree that only the ideas and needs of the man matter.
Mr. Steady is the man everybody likes. He is agreeable and not outwardly judgmental. He is the last to change and the first to decline getting in the public eye-appearing humble. He is the priest ready to show compassion and care for the wounded. He is the muscle and the patience that builds a house, a city, or a nation. Without him the world would have many visions, few leaders, and no one to materialize the dreams.
It’s interesting that Michael added “appearing humble” and “not outwardly judgmental” to Mr. Steady’s lists of strengths. Apparently Steadies are secretly arrogant, proud, judging jerks in private, but play the nice guy in public. Which really seems to go against comparing Mr. Steadies to Jesus (the priest).
Mr. Command, if he doesn’t succeed, can become an obnoxious tyrant in a very small circle that may be no larger than his family. Dictators are Command Men gone awry. He expects to be honored and to hold a place of prominence, even when he doesn’t deserve it. He is arrogant and proud. He will boss his wife like he bosses his yardmen and expect her to jump to attention.
I have known a few “Command Men” in my life, and success really had very little impact on their obnoxious tyranny. Michael makes it sound like the only reason Mr.C’s go bad is because they don’t get their way. He doesn’t mention anything about ultimate authority. I mean, in this culture, men are taught that they are basically God in their family. They only answer to God (and speak for him), or the authority of Elders in the church. Considering home-churching is something that’s encouraged, it makes potential oversight almost impossible. Dictators aren’t Command Men gone awry. They are people who answer to no one, and can do what they like to whomever they like. Until a rebellion or death stops them, at least.
Mr. Visionary will jump from one fantastic plan to another, succeed wildly, and then fail miserably, blaming someone else for it, possibly becoming radical, even violent, maybe a revolutionary. He does not always give his best energies to his family, sometimes sacrificing their comfort and security in pursuit of his vision. He reaches for the stars while she mops the floors.
The weaknesses of a Visionary are all over the board, aren’t they? And it sounds like being Mrs. Visionary would be truly awful. And still, I’m reminded of the story that Michael moved his family far away from their home, with no job, and they ate cabbage and animal-grade corn for a winter. It seems that Michael should heed his own advice about knowing his weaknesses.
Mr. Steady can waste away in mediocrity if he does not stir himself to creativity, and he can become a shadow to his wife’s dominance if he doesn’t take the reins and lead the family. He will talk when he should be working and work when he should be at home ministering to his wife and children. He will sacrifice truth for peace, and will lie to keep from hurting someone’s feelings.
Some people just aren’t creative. My husband, for example. He is sweet, hard working, patient, and gentle. But a butter knife is only a butter knife, never a screwdriver or crowbar. There is no outside of the box for him. Yet he is not mediocre. Mediocrity and creativity are not opposite ends of the spectrum. That’s like comparing apples to napkins! They are two completely different traits, and really shouldn’t be compared. And again, I feel the need to stress, it’s OK for the woman to lead. Or the couple to lead together. Every family is different, has a different dynamic, and different things work for them. It’s not a bad thing! I think it’s funny that Michael says “good advice for one type would be inappropriate for another” at the beginning of this section, and yet is fine with pigeonholing every marital relationship into “Man lead, women follow.”
I wish Michael would explain what he means by “ministering”.
Road to Ruin
Mr. Command can ruin his marriage by not showing love and compassion toward his wife. If he gets irritated and shows his disdain by refusing to talk or just fails to appreciate her, he is shutting the door to his marriage. No woman can continue being shut out. She will break or leave; either way it is a lose-lose marriage for both. The Command Man will think he can do better without her, but he is establishing a pattern that will follow him all the days of his life.
Hallelujah! Women (or anyone) need love and compassion and appreciation. I will even throw in an amen, because I am quite happy that Michael included this line. Though I have a feeling what Michael sees as appreciation and what I see it as are very different. And I have to wonder, how many times has Michael told Debi he could do better without her.
Mr. Visionary can ruin his marriage by being focused on his own dreams, thus not responsible. If he fails to put her needs before his visions he is proving he loves himself more than he loves his wife. A woman’s natural drive is to have a safe haven for her children. If she feels too swamped she will leave for safer ground. He will not do well losing his family.
Um…Isn’t it possible for a wife to say “Honey, I am feeling overwhelmed by all of your ideas and decisions. I am feeling unsafe and a bit scared. Could you please focus on the family for a bit, and maybe we can help you with your ideas?” Why is communication never an option? Just “You’ll lose your wife/kingdom if you don’t do this!” Also, what is “safer ground” if a wife (with no work experience, money, job prospects, and a passel of children) leaves her Visionary husband? Moving back in with her parents? Mooching off of a friend? Because it sure seems, to a wife in that situation, the devil she knows would be better than the devil she doesn’t.
Mr. Steady probably will not ruin his marriage; instead he will just make it miserable for himself and his wife, as well as the community and the church. If he feels too uncomfortable to talk, teach, or share his feelings he will just retreat to a place he feels safe, leaving his family miserably unfulfilled. Their lives will be unexceptional.
I’m unsure how Mr. Steady’s social awkwardness (isn’t that what it sounds like it is?) would make the church miserable. My husband felt too uncomfortable to talk, teach, or share his feelings in church-and you know what happened? People pretty much ignored him. Nobody was hurt, nobody felt awkward. It is possible to have happy mediums in life, but I guess not in PearlWorld.
And I would like to say, again, Mrs. Steady should be able to say “Honey, it really bothers me that you don’t stand up for yourself or for me. I need to feel like I’m important enough to you that you will defend me when your mother makes snide comments.” Or something. Though living with someone who constantly retreats to a “safe place” would probably be unhealthy.
Oh, one more thing. Who is Michael to judge what is exceptional and not?
Throughout this book, I am consistently amazed how Michael can take good advice and surround it by toxic teachings, and his lack of introspection.