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I recently read a couple of articles that left me scratching my head. The first was,

5 Ways you are unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage.

The second was… you guessed it…

5 Ways you are unknowingly destroying your wife and killing your marriage.

These articles struck a nerve or two for a variety of reasons, as they were obviously meant to, given the incredibly dramatic titles. Destroy and Kill? Wowza! Anyway, I’ve got issues with the articles in a million different ways, beginning with the fact that the husband article was written by a woman and the wife article, by a man. In my mind, I think it would be better flip-flopped. I would much prefer to hear how I am destroying my husband from a male’s perspective. After all, how does this chick know any more about my husband than I do? Additionally, the man that wrote the article on how my husband is destroying me, is waaaayyyy off the mark. The blind are leading the blind again. I’d prefer my husband listen to a woman’s opinion (a married woman!) more so than a man’s when it comes to ideas about keeping me happy.

The biggest issue I have is the appalling gender bias displayed in these articles. The first makes women out to be disgusting, whiny, ungrateful, lazy, game playing bitches, and the second article makes women out to be weak, sappy, needy, incapable children. The worst part is that men everywhere are jumping on this bandwagon and shoving this crap under their wife’s nose, “See! See! You’re destroying me and killing us and hurting everyone! You are a failure as a wife and a partner, and now I have proof!” (The first article has 10,795,319 views and the second has 3,570,719 views. Obviously, some men out there are doing some sharing!) Meanwhile, women can’t even use the counter post about the husbands because everything written there places blame on us as well! Great! Gotta love a lose-lose situation for the ladies, right? Ugh.

This is not a new idea people. Women have been taking the fall for centuries. Everything from not producing enough male children to run the farm, to distracting men with our evil seductive ways, to the breakdown of the family unit by pursuing our dreams outside of the home; it has all been pinned on us. We are condemned constantly. We are too weak, too strong, too sexy, too prudish, too vocal, too brazen, too driven, too lazy, too manly, too ditzy, too smart, too needy, too independent, too thin, too fat… every woman in the world is “too something,” for someone on a constant basis. It has taken it’s toll on us, and trust me when I say that guilt and shame and responsibility are already running rampant through the female population, without garbage like these articles making it worse. I’m over it. If the blatant blame wasn’t bad enough in the first article, the disguised blame in the second article throws me right over the edge. I am not claiming that men and women are exactly the same. They are not. But one isn’t better than the other, and the so-called rules and norms are not consistent across the board. People are people, they are alike and different in many ways, gender be damned.

The #1 way I’m killing my marriage, according to the first article is that my husband is toiling away all week at work while I sit at home bitching at him about how little I have in the way of material belongings. Then, on payday I run off to the mall with his check to spend, spend, spend! Meanwhile, according to the second article he is killing our marriage by not sucking it up at a job he’s miserable at in order to make more money… for me to spend. What?!?!? While I know that some households have one person working and the other staying home, more often both parents are working or doing something to create income. If they aren’t, they are doing their best to preserve and stretch what money they have. I have never been unemployed in my life, and at different times in our relationship, my income alone has kept us alive. How dare these people suggest that it is inherently a woman’s nature to be greedy, ungrateful consumers? Women do not need encouragement to be decent human beings, and not spend up all the household funds. We work for what we have too, and we don’t want to see it wasted anymore than our husbands do. If my husband is miserable at his job, I encourage him to find something else. It is also mentioned that it a man’s responsibility to provide the basic necessities for his family. What about the mom-only households? What do they do? How about the households who have Dad stay home with the kids while Mom goes off to work? Are his contributions to the household substandard? Guess what? It is equally the responsibility of both people to provide for the household and spend within their means. Whether we need groceries or we need a new car, I do not put any more pressure on my husband to provide it than I put on myself. In my marriage, my husband is the spender and I am the frugal one. I take huge issue with the stereotypical belief that to keep the “little wifey” happy, she must be allowed to shop till she drops. That does not describe all women, or even a significant portion of us. Most moms I know go without everything; hair cuts, jewelry, make-up, evenings out and new clothes or shoes to make sure their family’s needs are taken care of.

The second points suggest that I’m constantly placing all of my problems on my husband’s head and he doesn’t need all of that worry. I’m keeping him down when all he wants to do is make me happy. The second article reminds him that while he has been conditioned to suck it up and deal, I have not. Therefore, I need a strong shoulder to cry on and he needs to be an eternal optimist to balance out my naturally pessimistic state. I’m calling bullshit. Loud and clear and strong from the top of any mountain I can find, Bullshit! Women are chided constantly about our “mood swings,” that we are “being hormonal,” or that we must have “PMS.” While all of those things can be true, they are also true for guys! Every man I know, from my father to my husband to my tiny little sons, have mood swings, bouts of anger or sadness, and every symptom of PMS I’ve ever had (minus the uterine cramps.) Having emotion is not a female characteristic. It is a human characteristic. It is not up to either partner to conceal their feelings for the benefit of the other partner. It is the opposite. Be forthcoming and honest about your emotions and help one another through them. There are times when my husband has to be strong for me because I’m in a weakened state. There are times I have to be strong for him because he is in a weakened state.

The third points are about physical affection. I agree with a few things said here, mostly that physical affection is not equivalent to sex. A look, a kiss, a touch, a hug here and there is extremely important for a healthy relationship, as is a healthy sex life. Where it all goes horribly wrong, is when the author of the first article suggests that “Even though you might not be in the mood, it’s worth it to give in when you can…” Even typing this made me throw up in my mouth a little. This would NEVER be suggested to a man. Why should any woman, wife or not, have sex unless she wants to? Getting married does not mean giving control of your body to your husband! There seems to be this belief that because men may want sex more than women, they are automatically entitled to it. Sex should be enjoyed by both people. If your wife is exhausted, distracted, feeling ignored or just not feeling sexy, it makes far more sense that you help resolve the root issue, rather than blame her for not just “giving in.” Why should she be obligated to allow you to use her body for your pleasure, while she is going to get nothing out of it? Furthermore, what kind of husband wants to have sex with his wife when she is clearly not in the mood? When you have full time jobs, kids, and a household to run it is hard to find the time and energy for sex. You do it whenever you can and when it is mutually desirable for both parties. If I’m expected to have sex just because my husband wants to, (even if I don’t) does that mean that he should have to give me full body massages whenever I want them, even if he doesn’t want to? Of course not! There is not one single scenario I can imagine where a man would be encouraged to give of his body when he isn’t willingly offering it. In a country where 1 out of every 6 women have been raped or sexually assaulted, this ideology is not only gross, it is dangerous. Under no circumstances – marriage included – should a woman be encouraged to have sex against her will.

Fourth points warn not to put other things in front of your spouse. Agreed. I think maintaining a healthy marriage means choosing your spouse over everyone else, and acting as a team. Except that the author of the first article suggests that I should put my husband before my kids, the house, my family, my work, and everything else under the sun. The author of the second article suggests that since he picked me, (All this time I was under the impression that we picked each other!) he should put me before… his cell phone. Really? I should certainly f’ing hope that I come before an electronic device, without him needing to be told. Good grief! Meanwhile, my kids can’t do anything for themselves right now. I seriously hope my husband would expect their needs to come before his. The house is barely holding on, so if he doesn’t mind living in squalor, I’ll ignore the housework. Instead, he usually jumps in and helps with the kids and the house so we can spend time together while handling our business. Thankfully, I don’t have a needy, whiny husband who insists I give up everything in order to stare at him while he watches baseball and he in return, knows I am completely content with some alone time now and then too. We don’t need to be up each other’s butt every second of the day to know we are in the #1 spot.

Finally, the last point says we should speak each other’s language, which I also agree with. That is if we are talking about Love Languages. If you don’t know about the five love languages, I strongly suggest looking into it. That theory makes perfect sense. That theory is what I was hoping to read about from these two yayhoos, but no. The author of the first article says that my husband (Neanderthal that he is) is incapable of picking up a hint, and needs me to speak clearly without the use of fancy words that he won’t understand. The second article suggests that while I only love my husband for his paycheck, (here we go again with the money grabbing females!) he should also bring me flowers so I really know that he loves me. While flowers once on awhile look pretty on my table, it will take much more than tossing a bouquet of roses at me once in awhile for me to feel like he cares. Also, my husband has a brain. He’s really quick witted and extremely intuitive. If I’m throwing it down, he’s picking it up. Can we stop pretending that men are superior in everything, yet somehow completely ignorant when it comes to understanding suggestion or interpreting body language? Men, you should be really tired of people making the, “Oh well, he’s just a silly, stupid man” claim. Having a penis absolves you of nothing.

Sweet jumping Jehoshaphat, were these articles written in the 1950’s? I’d laugh if it wasn’t so sad. Listen, real love is being up to your elbows in the holy-crap chaos of life together, side by side. You may be bitching at each other or laughing your asses off, but you’re doing it all honestly, equally, respectfully, and most importantly; without the stupid titles, “Man’s Job” and “Woman’s Job.” Men and women are both capable of handling all of the various responsibilities in life, so if it needs to be done, just do it! Expect to receive nothing more from your spouse than you are giving, and accept nothing less. Husbands and wives, let’s start by offering a hand with the dishes and bringing your spouse a nice cold beer (or lemonade for you non-drinkers!) then, sit down and talk. Tell her all about the guy at the office that pissed you off and listen to her complain about the girl that cut her off in traffic today. You do bath time and pass the kids off to him to get them dressed. Take the really messy diaper or midnight wake up without being asked. Laugh, cry, talk, work out, watch T.V., cuddle, cook, eat, clean, plan, or commute together whenever possible. Bring your problems to each other and help one another solve them. Leave the labels behind. Stop treating your significant other like a “husband” or a “wife” and start treating them like the best, most loved person in your world. Please, understand that if ANYONE is being destroyed and your marriage is being KILLED, your spouse isn’t the only one at fault… you both are.