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Helen Smith

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July 3, 2013 - 4:00 pm

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Psychology Today has an article on hen-pecked husbands by psychiatrist Jerry. R. Bruns (thanks to the reader who emailed this link):

A new study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships by researchers at the University of Arizona assessed the sex differences in communication styles of heterosexual couples. It confirmed a 2011 study headed up by Neil Warner of Creative Conflict Resolutions that found that appeasement by the male is not the way to relational peace in our time.

The Creative Conflict Resolution study found that 68% of men preferred to say, “yes dear” or “uh huh” instead of sharing their true feelings to please their quarreling mate. The Arizona study found that girlfriends and wives are not fooled by this capitulation and that this “no mas” defense actually antagonizes and frustrates these women, who then have a lower opinion of the relationship because there is no real satisfactory resolution of the conflict.

The author starts off okay with the article but descends into blaming men for the problem:

After the thrill of the physical part of the relationship fades, many women discover they have bonded with a compliant wimp who observes the letter of the marriage or cohabitation and secretly years for just a little peace from a woman of clashing temperaments and few if any shared interests or goals. These hen-pecked men will kindle a simmering resentment from living with an incompatible mate, but rarely openly voice their true feelings. They will attempt to find opportunities to covertly do the things they really like such as hiding out in their “man caves” or volunteering for business trips so they can find a quiet refuge where they can eat pork rinds and corn nuts and watch their beloved ESPN in peace. Eventually many women discover that their one time Prince Charming has no core beliefs besides pleasing her. These wives and girlfriends will lose all respect for their spineless men who stand for nothing. Then the magic of the marriage or cohabitation will be over.

So close, but the author had to go and ruin what could have been a decent piece. Yes, hen-pecking doesn’t work and men are resentful, but in today’s modern marriage, what is he to do? If he raises his voice, he might be charged with domestic abuse. He doesn’t want to get mad because he might lose control — which society frowns on. Finally, if the wife wants to fight back, she has the force of the state, the legal system, and the culture on her side. He has little recourse. I definitely think there are ways to engage in more productive communication with one’s wife than stewing in the basement, but men are not taught these skills, any more than women are taught the boundaries of aggression. The author claims men are wimps but offers no solutions.

****

Cross-posted from Dr. Helen

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

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Top Rated Comments   
The truth is that men marry too often for beauty or sexual attractiveness. Chalk that up to men being visual. But by choosing the visual over someone that's easy to get along with, we obey our passions, ignoring our best interests. Of course, the writer of Proverbs had it right so many centuries ago when he wrote "It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife." If the writer was indeed King Solomon, then he ought to know, having a thousand wives....

Choose wisely....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a rather one-sided study. If it gets to that "yes dear" phase a lot has gone on already to get things to that point.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (20)
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Thanks to Miss Lolly for a woman's post on this subject. Thing is, relationships are all different, for both spouses. I know a bunch of men who deserve their fate.

Then we have the Govt' stick their huge foot in the middle of it , and they take sides. Instinct and family history play a large role in our relationships. Then the squeakiest wheel gets to make the rules that the Govt' follows. Both genders have a part in that squeak. Men can take advantage of there strength, both physical and verbally, to bring fear and pain to a woman. The courts find that easier to articulate. Women can take a man and manipulate his resolve as a care taker and or caring partner, if she is over the sexual or take care of me attraction, and say I'm bored with him and the courts have no laws to protect him.

The man has more economic opportunities, can take more hardship, the kids need Mom for nurturing, not Dad. So if she doesn't break any laws, she can be the most horrific mate and irresponsible Mother, and the Govt' will support her life.

I survived the horrific relationship and I pray my children can survive their Mother. I tried for 12 years to take all she could throw at me for the sake of my children and still didn't leave. No cheating, no bar hopping, but I lost my business. Instead of helping us, by working to get by, she borrowed 5,000 from her sister to sue me for divorce for money or assets we didn't have. Her lawyer became more of a representative of me than her because she knew I lost everything. I love my children. I want the best for them. The court doesn't give S**t about them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The headline bothers me: "Hen-Pecking Does Not Work." Liberals have hectored and hen-pecked the nation all the way to the top. Of course it works; the hen-pecker wins all the time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" If he raises his voice, he might be charged with domestic abuse."

Nonsense.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All she's got to say is that he caused her to become fearful and he leaves the house in most states without even the opportunity to get his toothbrush with a temporary injunction against having any contact with her or coming to the house. Under some laws causing her to become fearful is assault and he is arrested. While enjoined, if he's a LEO, he can't carry a weapon so he can't perform his normal duties. Domestic violence laws are nonsense alright!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
One more reason to Just Say "NO!"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
When considering the notion of getting married, one is faced with the myriad of choices. Not the least of which is deciding whether to be married...or happy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Women are conflicted about what they want. They want a man they can respect and a man that doesn't disagree with them on important things. You can't have both. I realized the conundrum not very long ago when pressured to give in on a core belief of mine (I'm a man), and I recalled my own father bringing me up and how mom and dad had different views at certain critical times of certain things. I then realized that I had a good model for a strong man leading the home from my father, and so I turned away from my pastor's advice to just give in. I'd lose her respect and my own, and sacrifice a primary obligation I have which isn't mine to sacrifice.

Some things you just have to agree to disagree on, and if no one is upset enough to get a divorce then that's just a normal marriage. The problem is that nowadays the normal marriage is presented as the romantic-feminine ideal of it, and that means no conflict, which is a fantasy in fact. But the conflict aforementioned just gets transferred from out of a woman's mind and onto the public marriage where men are slugs and women unhappy as the article cited.

Men need to learn how to say no on certain important things (and no to trivial things elevated to high importance unnecessarily) and face down an entire culture pressuring them so say yes all the time. The world won't end. Men aren't supposed to care what other people think who don't get it, and women aren't supposed to think they know best on every damn thing. Men can be perfectly well kind and giving husbands in this paradigm, the same as it ever was. If this sounds like cruel and unusual punishment, then hand in your man card. I got mugged by reality, but I learned.

Everybody has on the tip of their tongues the harshest model of men's behavior from movies and TV they'll throw out as what to avoid. Fair enough, but I've never even seen any man in my extended family from childhood until now ever behave like any of those negative models, so why should I be that fearful I'm doing that in case of differences of opinion in marriage? It's absurd, but we men have been cowed into trying too hard not to be something negative, when most of us can't even imagine doing that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have "yes, dear" down, and I'm as good as any teenager at making "yes dear" sound just like "b*tch."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
if i remember right, solomon only had 300 wives, and 700 concubines. it good to be king-one would think. he too loved the ladies. however, the lesson from solomon is one of appeasement, just like today's host of manginas. he talked to the Almighty, built the Temple, yet he died worshipping the idols of his foreign wives. big time lesson for today's men there, for he who has ears to hear, or maybe I should say, he who is allowed by his mistress to listen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is my strong impression that a great many women are bullies: they want everything their way. Even if they get that, they are not necessarily going to be happy because they know that he resents her for at least some of those demands. They will tolerate men having occasional interests outside of her and the necessity of going to work but only if she is free to seethe with anger whenever he tries to exercise those needs. For instance, her man might be allowed a Guys Night Out on occasion a few times a year but she reserves the right to snark at him for not doing something else she claims to need him to do that night. If she needs him at home for something, even him going to work may provoke feelings of resentment to her man for not putting her first. The leash may loosen a bit over the years as she gets tired of him and prefers to be alone but the man is inevitably wrong in any situation if she wants him to be. When she's fed up with him, a divorce (or split if they're not legally encumbered with one another) will surely follow and she will milk him for everything she possibly can, both financially and in terms of any children or pets they have. The courts inevitably find in favor of the woman in these cases so any hope you have that the courts will see things your way are just so much fantasy.

Some enjoyable sex isn't worth all the rest of the nonsense you have to deal with. It just isn't. I rather have a long relationship with Rosie Palm and her Five Sisters than endure the virtual slavery of a relationship to this kind of woman. Bitter? Yeah, maybe a little. Or maybe I just haven't met the right woman. That's also possible. But since many women are adept at hiding their natures until it's very hard to disengage from them, I feel safer avoiding them altogether except on a platonic level.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Everybody wants to get married, but nobody wants to be the wife.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Have you read "The Manipulated Man?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I haven't, but it has a good title. In the old days girls were not only taught how to run a household in preparation of marriage, they were also taught how to manipulate their husbands (honey, you're so big and strong - can you open this jar of pickles for me?) while letting their husbands believe they were the lord of the manor.

Men, OTOH, were taught to provide for their family's material needs.

It worked well for several thousands of years. Maybe we're not as smart as we think we are?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sarcasm. We can resort (and I often do) to sarcasm.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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