Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Apologies to those who check in here on a semi-regular basis. I'm caught up in the family holiday fun and freneticisms, like so many others, but look forward to resuming posting shortly after New Year's. In fact, I'm resolving to be quicken the pace a bit.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
The other day, while paging through my archives of wife-worship postings, I found an exact phrase cropping up again and again. The phrase was “peace and contentment,” and in every instance it was applied to the masculine side of the romantic equation.
Lucky husbands and boyfriends were basically “blissing out,” utterly losing themselves in the “Feminine Mystique,” overwhelmed and enveloped by goddess-like womanhood.
Here is a short and sweet sampling from men and women alike:
“A wife [may punish] her husband, but afterwards she nurtures him, which brings him peace and contentment.” [From Elise Sutton]
“My husband likes being in a constant state of sexual arousal. After I have been sexually satisfied from his body worship and oral servitude, he will lay next to me, exhausted but with the most incredible look of peace and contentment on his face. He is like a helpless puppy dog around me.”
“When a man totally surrenders to his wife, he experiences a sense of peace and contentment that he's never known before. I know because I have experienced it.”
“I can sense and see the anger and frustration leaving my husband’s body when I physically take charge of him, and I see the look of peace and contentment on his face when I am done.”
“Let your wife know that you enjoy her power and the more she exercises it, the more it yields the fruit of peace and contentment for you.”
“I have been transformed into a happy househusband who has found total peace and contentment in my servitude to my Queen. I never thought I could be this happy and often wonder what took me so long get on the right page.”
“When my husband bows before me and worships me as his Queen, and vows to obey me in all things, I feel so powerful and he radiates with peace and contentment. Then I take him in my arms and we both become full of passion.”
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Actress Marlo Thomas recalled how annoyed she would get when her husband, TV perennial Phil Donahue, would walk into their bedroom and demand in his resonant on-air voice, “Honey, where are my shoes?”
What annoyed her the most, Thomas recalled, was not her husband interrupting her with this childish demand, but that she always knew exactly where he had left his size-12 wingtips.
Apparently even celebrity wives are used to playing mommy to childish husbands, used to being interrupted with self-centered, impatient, even infantile demands—“Find my shoes,” “Tie my tie,” “Sew my button,” “What happened to my leftover pepperoni slice?”
It’s true, our wives do know everything, including where we left our wallet, our shoes, our car keys, our cell phone. But barging in on the wife with me-first demands, derailing her train of thought, not respecting whatever activity, or inactivity, she may be engaged in, is emphatically not courtship behavior.
Knocking on Heaven’s Door
So knock it off, guys! But do knock—if you do need to speak to her and she has closed the bedroom door. Never barge in, Lord of the Manor-style.
In many wife-led marriages, this is pretty standard protocol, as per this message board sequence (on which I have altered names):
George: “Do other guys have to knock on the bedroom door, before they are allowed in? My wife now insists that I knock before I can enter. Recently on holiday in a villa we rented with the rest of the family I didn't knock and she wanted to know why. I said I didn't want anyone to know I had to knock first, and she replied that she didn't care and I was to knock in future. Sometimes she lets me in and other times she refuses until she finishes changing. I have to wait at the door until it's my turn to change. This makes me feel how much she is in control."
Wife No. 1: “I agree, you shouldn’t automatically enter when you feel like it. I don't much like being interrupted unexpectedly either. It also places you in a ‘asking' mindset before barging in. It tells you that you are NOT in control in the bedroom, SHE is! If others ask you about it, you can say, 'My wife asked me to not unexpectedly open the door with other people in the villa, and I respect her wishes.' Then you sound like the most thoughtful man around.”
Wife No. 2: “You sound very thoughtful - Keep up the good service. Just knock in all situations and neither one of you will have to give it much thought.”
Wife No. 3: “Of course you should knock on her bedroom door, George. When my sweet hubby brings me my morning tea, or at other times he wishes to enter, he always knocks first and does not enter until I say so.”
George: “Thank you for replying, ladies. I'm glad I am not alone.”
One More Step
Not interrupting one’s spouse is a good first step in wife worship. But some husbands, practicing perpetual courtship, take it a step farther… letting themselves be interrupted by their wives.
As I wrote in my book (Chapter 6, “Daring to Be Known by Her”): “If this seems a bit extreme, remember, I’m trying to alter lifelong habits, and it’s not easy. And, anyway, isn’t this the kind of attention that a spouse deserves?... Most important, isn’t this the way you listen to someone you’re madly in love with?”
The answer is emphatically “Yes!”—at least according to this “Amen Chorus” of dutiful husbands:
“Allow yourself to be interrupted.”
“When she speaks now, or asks for my attention for something she wants to tell me, or even off-handedly, I don’t give her half an ear.”
“Whenever your wife says something to you, stop what you’re doing and listen up. Don’t overdo, don’t be servile, but pay careful attention.”
“I might be reading a book or doing whatever, but when my wife speaks, I immediately attend to her.”
“I really, really want to pay attention to her every word. When she does make a request of me, I treat it as a command. I have no sense of a mental debate in my mind like I have in the past.”
“My wife isn't all that bossy but when she has something to say, I listen, and when she even hints at something for me to do, I do it.”
In some female-led households, of course, the wife is encouraged to be more than a bit bossy. One such matriarchal wife instituted the following conversational rule for her mate: “If I speak, you must be silent, even if you are speaking first.”
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Pretty much I’m a quiet guy, shy in social situations. But every once in a while, who knows why, out pops Jack-the-Chatterbox, not listening to, or simply talking over others, including my wife, in my eagerness to blurt out my next bon mot. Could be a quip. Could be something better left unsaid.
There’s that baggy-pants guy with the squirting selzer bottle again, high-stepping across the stage through the spotlight. Get the hook.
My wife has seen this act many times before. She may boot me in the shins under the table at the time, or rebuke me later in the car. She may let it pass.
I’m not as incorrigible as I used to be, Lord knows. Over the years I’ve tried to keep a lid on what Alan Greenspan (in another context) termed “irrational exuberance.” Way back in elementary school, I was one of those first-one-with-the-answer kids, like the “grade-grubbing,” precocious girl “Summer” in the movie School of Rock.
But, clearly, I can still act like that attention-seeking second-grader.
Wife worship—serious wife worship, the kind that evolves into a committed wife-led marriage—offers me a chance to finally outgrow this juvenile behavior.
In fact, on the various wife-worship and female-led message boards and forums, you will find many husbands struggling with this kind of conversational boorishness, in order to show greater respect for their leading wives. Here is an example of a guy sharing some New Year’s Resolves:
“I will not back talk to my wife. I will not interrupt. I will not comment on everything. I will listen carefully so she does not have to repeat things. When she says to stop something that is annoying her, I will stop immediately, no whining, no moping, no bad attitude. I will not disagree with her in public.”
As I wrote in my book (Chapter 6,
"Being Known by Her": “I mean, really, how can you worship your wife if you won’t even stop and listen to her? If you can’t turn down the volume of your own thoughts and preoccupations long enough for her voice to get through to you?”
Another husband offers a few conversational specifics: “Yes, we need to watch what we say. In private, it is best to listen more and speak less. Consider her feelings, answer her questions directly and honestly, be open about your emotions and pay attention to her verbal and non-verbal clues. In public, show deference to her ideas and views, do not interrupt or use foul language. She will love it if you stand up for her opinions.”
“I make it a practice to sit and listen with total focus to whatever my wife is saying,” recommends another husband.
I came up with almost identical advice in my book: “Now when my wife speaks, even offhandedly, a little bell rings, reminding me, ‘This is not background noise, this is the woman you love and adore.’ Especially if she speaks in a tone that signals she really need my attention, I stop—whatever I’m doing. If I’m standing, I often sit down, to concentrate on what she’s saying.”
But I especially like this prescription for husbandly comportment posted on the old Spouseclub message board by a “Mr. Louise,” describing his matriarchal home:
“My greatest thrill in our social life is when we have a few friends over and the wives all talk openly to each other and the men are finally lulled by Ms. Louise's dominance and their own wives into quiet, sensible submission. The sound of male quiet during female conversation is the music of a matriarchal home. If I excitedly offer my opinion Ms. Louise often returns me to my place with a loving chide: ‘Honey, please, the women are speaking now.’ And that is the motto of our matriarchy: the women are speaking now; men, you've had your chance, and please be silent.”
Curbing one’s conversational excesses is obviously more difficult lacking a no-nonsense wife like Ms. Louise, or this authoritarian wife: “In my home, my husband is forbidden to interrupt the feminine talk, nor to command any conversation, except with my explicit consent.”
At our house, I have to do the self-scolding, or self-reminding: Don't give her the benefit of your opinions on everything, don't sound off or weigh in before she has a chance to speak. Find out what she thinks.
And don’t, for heaven’s sake, interrupt her. No matter how much you feel compelled to share some cosmic thought. Don’t interrupt if she’s on the phone, or chatting with someone, including our kids, or reading a book, or watching TV. Unless the sky is genuinely falling.
In other words, respect what she’s doing. Let your urgency wait. And don’t just stand there, silently importuning. Back out of the room, go away, try again later.
As this wife counsels, “My hubby learned that when he got ‘the look’ while I was working on a project that it was best for him not to interrupt but to find something else to do—fast.”
So, what I do with my conversational enthusiasm these days is—blog! And I’ve got a bit more to say on this topic, but I’ll save it for Part Two.