Dear Daughter, Please Don’t Burn Your Spouse

Dear Daughter,

I want you to know what other women are telling their girls…and I want you to know it’s very different from what I’ve been teaching you.

Other women are scared their daughters will be walked on and disrespected. They’re afraid their young ladies will be mistreated and won’t have the “strength/courage” or “self-worth” to shout and fight.

But I’ve seen the spirit you were born with–the beauty and the beast both vying for your heart–and I know the greatest struggle facing all humans is not the struggle against other humans.  It’s the struggle for self-control. 

You are strong and fiercely independent–it’s true! And that’s what the World wants me to preach in your ear every, single day.  They don’t recognize it can have a downside…

The World seems to believe, if I do a good enough job empowering you with self-esteem, then you won’t ever have your heart broken by a cheating man.

Or, at least, if a man does prove unfaithful, you’ll have the power and strength to make him grovel:

Parents, WE MUST DO BETTER BY OUR DAUGHTERS. Boys, men, are born with power. [But] girls have to command it for themselves… But you have to teach them to do it… Educate them. Empower them. Give them the tools they need to survive, on their own if they must. Josh Duggar should be cowering in fear of Anna Duggar right now. Cowering. He isn’t, but he should be. He should be quaking in fear that the house might fall down around them if he’s in the same room as she. Please, instill your daughters with the resolve to make a man cower if he must.

At whatever point you’re reading this letter, it doesn’t matter who Josh and Anna Duggar are. Suffice it to say that they’re married and Josh messed up…

…multiple times…

in very big, inexcusable ways.

And, yes, Anna has every right to be angry–on her own behalf and on behalf of their children. (Because, as is always the case when a husband/father chooses selfishness, it has damaged the entire family in immeasurable ways.)

But, because they’re professing Christians, the story has gotten an extra dose of attention.  Because of their faith and values, the World relishes in putting an extra spin on the problem, blaming their families and upbringing for the entire scandal:

“Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. Anna Duggar did that!… She lived up to the standard that men set for her…”Be this,” they told her. She was. It wasn’t enough.

Her beliefs, the very thing she would turn to for comfort in this kind of crisis, are the VERY REASON she is in this predicament in the first place. How can she reconcile this? Her parents have utterly, utterly failed her…

As for my girls, I’ll raise them to think they breathe fire.”

—–

You’re in a tough spot, my love, and I admit I’m the one who put you here. No matter what kind of marriage and family you build for yourself, you will be judged harshly.

If your husband loves you, and if your kids are basically well-behaved and successful, you will be told you got lucky.  It’s not how hard you’ve worked and certainly not because your values are good ones.

You are just rich, white, and privileged.

But if something bad happens–if, Heaven forbid, the man you love proves to be a cheating loser–well, it’s because of everything you believe about God and family.

If you’ve chosen to marry young,

If you decided against a paper diploma,

and if you haven’t at least flipped some burgers for a year or two,

then you’re helpless with “no life experience.”

(Note: knowing how to cook, sew, care for children, and manage a household don’t count as smart, valuable decisions to a fire-breathing woman.)

So, obviously, if you choose to bide your time…to patiently seek guidance and take slow steps and pray for wisdom before “breathing fire” and burning the man you vowed to love–then you’re weak.

And your religion is worthless.

And it will be largely my fault. 

You’re in a lose-lose situation, sweetheart.

———

So: my advice to you is, don’t give too much weight to what your pro-divorce friends say.

You know those women who are always talking about their own value, and how their worthless exes didn’t measure up? The ones sharing inspirational quotes about never settling because of how awesome they are?

You know the ones who think self-assurance means making a man fear your wrath?

Yeah, don’t listen to those dragons.

Instead–PLEASE–have the wisdom to learn the difference between strength and chest-thumping.

Yes, you know how to breath fire.  But, just as I pray you’re never burned by your husband, I pray you never relish the chance to burn him, either. 

I’m not worried about whether you’ll be hot and angry enough.

I know you were born with a very loud voice and a robust sense of self-interest. (As far as the World is concerned, you have nothing to change.)

But it’s not “powerful” to let loose with every natural urge, whenever it wants to go wild.

It takes real strength to cage the beast within.

When you’re hurt and angry and betrayed–and when your “friends” are behind your back, whispering about how you’re a doormat because they don’t get why you won’t join their Single Ladies Club–and when you’re misunderstood as some backward Fundamentalist–and when your entire family and community and RELIGION will be criticized unless you “prove” you’re not brainwashed by unleashing your tongue and burning your husband to the ground…

…to choose instead to treat someone with the love they don’t deserve takes REAL courage and strength.

———-

Through the grace of God, you can do it, my love.  You can keep pouring yourself out when you think there’s nothing left to give. You can show patience and kindness and restraint, when your entire being screams for revenge.

And you will discover a strength that fire-breathing beasts have never known.

Even if no one else understands, I’ll be here for you. Cheering for you.

If there’s ever a time–no, when the time comes–that you have to suffer unfairly for the sake of someone you love, I’ll fight beside you in the thick of it.

Together we’ll take all our energy–all our womanly power and strength and courage–and we will burn away all our selfish desires, until nothing but hard-fought love remains.

I’m so proud of you, baby girl.

-Mom

———-

“This you know, my beloved brethren, but everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger…”

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5 thoughts on “Dear Daughter, Please Don’t Burn Your Spouse

  1. Tim

    Even when their husbands do “inexcusable” things, just keep lovin’ him and I’ll support you. I feel horrible for your girls and women should be very afraid of marrying your sons.

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  2. joiesavage

    I’m sorry, but I respectfully disagree. I don’t think anyone should stay married to and defend a pedophile. What he did was reprehensible.

    I agree that people have made this about Christianity and that is certainly wrong and sad. They totally miss the point.

    But it isn’t any better to make it about empowering one’s daughter’s to breathe fire. I agree that we need to raise our children to be compassionate and forgiving, but forgiveness does not include blind acceptance. Sin is sin. Sexual deviant behavior is sin. Within a loving marriage, that behavior would logically rip it apart. I am sad for the Duggars, but I don’t think there’s a life lesson there for my children other than “don’t sin.”

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    1. mrsmcmommy Post author

      Thanks for commenting, Joie.

      My question: What IS forgiveness? What IS compassion?

      No one is arguing that women should “blindly accept” sexual sin. But the love Christ demonstrated was radical… It’s shockingly sacrificial and it goes against everything we naturally want to do.

      Love is basically the OPPOSITE of worrying about your own protection. Which means, yes, people who don’t know Christ would call Him a doormat and miss the point.

      I’m very, very serious about the vows I took to my husband. Maybe not everybody is THIS serious. But I’m determined all the same. Love isn’t a contract. It’s FOREVER. And that takes radical selflessness…

      http://selfishintoservice.blogspot.com/2012/12/young-people-get-married-only-if-youre.html

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  3. joiesavage

    I appreciate, and admire your commitment. Of course it helps to have a committed partner. In cases where the vows are only serious when it’s convenient for one partner, then I would pray for guidance and strength to do God’s will, not my own. But being human, my natural instinct would move me to protection.

    My thought was not about self protection but that of the children. Their hopes for a relationship with Jesus would be compromised by a lack of real commitment from a parent trapped in a life of immorality.

    I understand what you are saying. I agree with most of it. I don’t think people really work at marriage. DUH Joie. Divorce rate is 51 percent.

    I enjoyed this post so much. You’re a good writer. You make people think.

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