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Marriage and Parenting

Joe Carter on marriage:

While I have no idea what women can do to make a marriage work, I do know what men can do better. All of the following suggestions, therefore, are specifically for husbands:

Close the bathroom door – Some people will tell you that being able to go to the bathroom in front of your wife shows how comfortable you are with each other. These people are idiots. Allowing your wife to see you on the toilet doesn’t show you are comfortable, it just shows you’re nasty.

The reason your wife finds Brad Pitt sexier than you isn’t just because he’s better looking (though he is that) but also because she’s never seen him doing his business. If you want to keep any mystery and romance in your marriage then close the bathroom door. And while you’re in there, make her happy and put the lid down on the toilet. That’s what she thinks Brad would do.

Call her bluff – Women like to talk about ‘feelings’ and say that they want us to talk about them too. The truth is that women have no interest in really knowing how we feel. What they really want is for us to shut up and to listen to them talk about how they feel. After all, real men have three dominant ‘feelings’– hungry, randy, and gassy —none of which wives care to hear about.

When your wife starts using phrases such as ‘opening up’, ‘getting in touch with your softer side’, and other nonsense she picked up from watching Oprah, just tell her what she thinks she wants to hear. Explain to her that you have issues with your body-image, that you don’t feel appreciated, and that you occasionally feel the need to eat chocolate after your catty co-workers hurt your feelings. Finish this off by asking her to hold you while you ‘have a good cry.’

James Lileks on parenting:

But candy in plain sight leads to begging, begging leads to whining, whining leads to suffering, as Yoda said. No, you cannot have it, because A) it’s a candy bar, more or less, and B) dinner is nigh. BUT YOU HAD ONE. No, I had a bite. Then I disposed of the rest. BUT WHY CAN’T I HAVE A BITE. Because dinner is coming in ten minutes, and for some strange arbitrary reason that makes me feel like a good parent, you cannot have a tiny portion of chocolate the size of a caterpillar eyeball before dinner, lest a precedent be set.

Because once the precedent is set, it only expands. They remember everything. They will forget 17 minus 6 if they learned it that day, but remember when you gave them buttered popcorn on a Thursday night in 2005 . . .

As any parent knows, every day is a series of negotiations and compromises, bargains and rewards. You have to maintain authority, but authority without the sense of justice breeds resentment; they have to know your reasons, they have to internalize your logic. You cannot be arbitrary. Likewise, you cannot be weak. Usually when we enter negotiations, and she makes a counteroffer – four grapes, not five – I shrug up the states to six grapes, and thus are five grapes consumed. But once you’ve established a reputation for an iron will, you can bend the rules in situations when no bending was requested, just to let them know you’re reasonable. If the rule is, say, a dish of ice cream on Friday night for a perfect spelling test, then every so often you scoop up  dish for a less-than-perfect test, because she got a hard word right. You don’t want fear; you don’t want slavish robotic response; you want to hand down an idea that’s immutable in its purest form, and mutable when mercy intercedes. (emphasis added)

And hope you’re not teaching them how to work the system.

(HT: Hugh Hewitt)




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