Some excellent discussion over at Scott’s on the impasse.
Snapper writes about the problem of “open rebellion,” reinforced by the Church:
A woman will use the “settled” tactic if it will gain her points for control or sympathy. Within the church it’s regarded as disrespectful for a woman to say such a thing, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t feel that way. In the privacy of their own home a woman who feels she settled will absolutely make sure her husband knows this because it gives them the power of control over their husbands through guilt and shame. In private she may let one or more of her friends know her feelings because it will gain her sympathy and affirmation (“We understand you settled, you are worth SO much more than what he is giving you.”).
I recall a conversation between two of my aunts. I was young and overheard my parents talking about it. One of my aunts, married but a few years, complained to the other about how she “settled” for my uncle (my dads brother). She came from an affluent family and my dads family was anything but. My uncle was a good man, Christian, a hard worker, but didn’t make the kind of money she was used to, so she was considering divorce. Unfortunately for her she aired her complaints to the wrong lady, as my other aunt was a strong Christian woman. She called her out and let her have it, reminding her that SHE made the choice to marry her husband, and how, as a Christian woman, she shouldn’t even be entertaining the idea of divorce. She was a feisty woman, and I have no doubt the conversation was probably a lot less cordial than it was made out to be, but to this day the couple in peril remain married, and happy.
A woman who married her beta comfort doesn’t want to see him change into a confident alpha. Not with her, anyway. Sure if he becomes more confident in the workplace or more confident with the waiter at the restaurant, that’s all fine and good: But to stand up against his wife! Let it never be! Sure he can “lead”, so long as his “leading” doesn’t require her to actually submit to him. So long as he doesn’t ask her to do something she really doesn’t want to do, he can lead all he wants! As long as he doesn’t put his foot down everything is a-ok, but, boy-howdy, he’d better not dare tell me “because I said so” or try to make a direct order of something. Once this happens it becomes a problem because it requires her to let go of her power over him, and he cannot be alpha enough for her to allow that to happen.
Again I use my life as a perfect example of this. I had to lay down the law in a situation last week. I had to tell my wife “no” on something and it had to escalate to “because I said your not going to”. I don’t typically have to do this, but in this situation I had to assert my authority to avoid future problems and because she was devoid of all the facts of a situation. That didn’t matter. Suddenly all her Godly obedience and submission goes out the window and it might not be much longer until she is, again, reminding me that OUR marriage was a mistake. That she “settled”. That maybe “God intended for her to marry someone else, but she was young and stupid and maybe she married before she was supposed to”.
I was not her alpha, I was her beta comfort, and she wants me to remain that way, even if it means insulting me and belittling me by telling me that I was a mistake, or reminding me that I am the leftovers. The only defense I have now is to stop caring.
ys also comments:
Your situation puts reality to what I have seen from some I know, that is, one can’t simply “apply” the magic of the manosphere to one’s marriage. Your problem is not that you are “gaming” her wrong, it’s that you started your marriage off on the wrong foot. You have acknowledged this, but it’s a good reminder for men in their 30s or 40s just discovering the manosphere, who were beta comfort: They might change their marriage. They might not. Prayer and wisdom are needed. Totally different than starting off in your 20s. I hope it goes well for you, and I thank you for your real-world example.
To be quite frank this is not strictly true.
There is truth to the notion that starting out on the right foot is much better, although we do not necessarily know that is the case here. Women/wives will often “rewrite history” to fit whatever emotions they are feeling at the moment. She doesn’t love you now? Oh, she never loved you in the first place. In any case, however a husband got into this position is somewhat irrelevant. It is simply the case that he’s facing an open rebellion now, history rewritten or not.
The case of “open rebellion” is almost exactly like the “friend zone.”
It’s all well and good when you agree on things and you get along fine, but God forbid you do something she doesn’t like. Then she’ll start to claim that “you’re not my boss” (when you are) or “stop trying to control me” or “I’ll do what I want” and things like that. She’ll gladly accept your friendship, but if you’re not affirming her actions that are separate from you then you’re going to get an earful.
It is worth noting that sex tends to be wane as a wife loses attraction for her husband for various reasons.
The “friend zone” is something that is quite difficult to escape from. I’ve written on it before though, and it is possible to escape from it. Understanding the friend zone and escaping it. If you are single, there are four different ways that a man escapes the friend zone, but some of them don’t apply if you’re married. Let’s go through them.
First, the girl likes you all along: You’re already attractive enough for her, and she was waiting for you to pull the trigger. This jives with Scott’s experiences. Over the course of said relationship, the woman will often hint that you “finally asked her out” or “it was about time” or “I’m so happy that you eventually asked me out” which means that she was interested in you for a while before you asked her out. The keywords that show you that she was attracted prior are “finally” and “about time” and “eventually” signifying a period of time where she was attracted before you pulled the trigger.
The other way you can figure this by straight up asking her when she was first attracted to you. If she’s in a relationship with you sometimes she tells you straight up: “When I first laid eyes on you I liked you.” Well, for most men that doesn’t usually happen. The vast majority of women are not attracted at first sight as we know from the OKCupid studies women rate 80% of men as below average.
Obviously, this does not apply to married men.
Second, you have to change significantly (e.g. raise your SMV/sexual attractiveness or become more masculine) in a time gap. This scenario manifests if you don’t see the woman for a while, and you make significant changes to your life such as the example that FBNF discusses. For example, if a woman is a female “6” and you’re a male “5”. However, you start lifting, get your stuff together, have a growth spurt, and whatnot and then you come back as a male “7” or “8” she’ll reevaluate you as a potential interest whereas before you were “just a friend.”
A real world example of this aside from FBNF’s example is that most of the men approaching 30 and into their mid 30s will see women who were formerly not interested in their 20s start to become more interested in them because they become more attractive. Part of this is their own declining attractiveness tied in with men’s increasing attractiveness into their 30s. The woman may have gone from a 7->6 whereas the man goes from a 6->8. Since the man is now a “8” and she is a “6” (or may perceive herself as still a “7”), she is then interested in him.
There are a couple of other scenarios which are much less common. I’ll describe them now.
Third, it is possible to where you’re with her the whole time and she gradually notices you. This is the same thing that happens to wives when a fat husband starts working out, getting his crap together, and whatnot. She sees him becoming more attractive — although she’ll only admit that it makes her “uncomfortable” or “unhappy” that you’re doing it — and makes her mind go at 100 miles per hour trying to figure it out. However, this discomfort makes the man more sexually attractive to her, so the bedroom antics will heat up. This is part of what is encompassed under “dread game” although I would disagree specifically of making it seem like you’re going to leave or cheat.
Alternatively, usually some random event in a woman’s life wakes her up to the fact that you‘re now attractive. For example, a woman’s girlfriends could make a passing comment that “she’s single and how you’re looking like a good catch nowadays.” The woman would then laugh and dismiss what her friend says: “nah, he’s just a friend” or “haha, he’s not really my type.” But it will pique her curiosity, and when she reexamines you and you’re now more attractive than you were in the past. She then comes around and agree with her friend’s assessment that you’re now a catch.
Both 2 and 3 are essentially the same for married men.
It tends to be a long(er) term fix because men’s attraction does not necessarily raise just like that.
- Becoming significantly more fit and finding a solid style all take time.
- Grooming and hairstyle are more short term.
- Becoming increasingly masculine via confidence, independence, and other traits take time as well.
- Acting more like a leader takes time as well.
- Learning to be cool under conflict and other pressure situations takes time and discipline.
Overall, typically you have to become at least significantly more attractive and/or manly such that other women will start to notice you and give you attention and/or mentioning it to your wife what a good catch you are.
This does not necessarily solve the problem(s) either. You can be the “best” leader in the world like God and/or Jesus and someone who claims they are a Christian can still choose to go off the reservation and rebel against them. Becoming a strong masculine leader only makes submission easier, but a wife can still choose to rebel regardless. A husband must accept that he does it because he wants to obey God, not because it will make his wife change.
Fourth, it is possible that a girl has put you in the “friend zone” or “undecided” where being undecided on you is not enough information for her to make a decision. Typically, this happens if you’re a strong silent type. Then a major incident wakes her up to the fact that you’re a man.
For example, usually some powerful act of bravery or leadership wakes her up. One such instance would be if someone starts choking and everyone is panicking. But you know what to do. You calmly run over to the situation, and do the heimlich maneuver and the person is fine. Then you take control of the situation and calm everyone down from panicking. You saved a life and exhibited leadership under pressure. A woman is now attracted to you.
Alternatively, a different such situation is a man displaying social dominance. If a girl is giving you crap or gossiping and then you tell her to stop. You two get in an “argument” and then you ream her out until she apologizes. This type of social dominance over other women (or potentially men as well) will make women take interest and be attracted to you. The power of your personality and your status rises to where she is attracted.
Another such example would be you’re in the same church. You’re mere acquaintances. However, a Bible study is being started up soon and you’re picked as a leader. You facilitate an awesome discussion while being charismatic and funny. She becomes interested in you after this. You were merely “meh” before, but you’ve displayed a significant aspect of social charisma that she didn’t know you had before.
These situations tend to be more rare for married men simply because they know you very well.
In general, a male friend to a woman is a friend because he is not attractive. If he were attractive, then she has a stronger compulsion to be more submissive to him. However, she still must choose whether to submit or not to him. If wives are constantly being bombarded to be rebellious, it is also potentially likely that they would continue being rebellious.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
In Snapper’s case, the “Church” “friends” who keep poisoning his wife to be rebellious are a large part of the problem that are literally destroying his marriage.
I used to believe the “if you’re attractive to her, she’ll want to submit to you” line, but I’ve observed too many cases of attractive men who take care of themselves physically – who are good providers and good fathers – who are shackled to ungrateful, disrespectful, contentious, rebellious wives who look like beach balls stuffed with lard.
There’s very little a man can do to get his wife to submit to him. Either she obeys God and submits to her husband, or she doesn’t. The best a Christian man can do is avoid marrying a contentious, rebellious woman, because once he’s married to her, he’s stuck dealing with her rebelliousness and contentiousness.
Part of being a good leader via Ephesians 5 is to constantly sanctify the wife with the washing of the water of the word — this is the sacrificial love that Jesus did for us. This is not “capitulating to your wife’s demands” to “make her happy” like a lot of modern Christian preachers claim. It’s actually holding her accountable to her bad behavior, just like Adam did not tell Eve that she shouldn’t have eaten the fruit in the garden (and ate it himself).
A lot of husbands avoid calling out bad behavior because it creates conflict, but this is where leadership is born. Holding both yourself and her to a higher standard when it is difficult is the epitome of good leadership, even when it consistently brings whining and emotional reactions from her. Reigning in your own emotions and reactions is easier said than done, but it is critical for demonstrating that tantrums don’t get results.
For the husband that is in this particular situation, it is often better to lead by example than try to explain and/or argue about why you should take a particular action. This means just doing what you think is best in the situation, especially if she doesn’t want to “be the role of helpmeet.” This will help to start to set the standard subtly that you are a man of action rather than words, which will help to reverse her impression of you as her “friend” and may eventually lead to her to reconsider her open rebellion. Or succinctly: Do rather than say, most of the time.
Anyway, a chunk of similar analysis was in the other thread, but not everyone reads Scott so it’s worth compiling over all. There are other components of leadership that are important as well, but those can be discussed more in other topics.