You Can’t Fix Your Marriage by Being Mad at the Opposite Sex

Backstory: College friend, nice girl, feminist chip on her shoulder.

I was somewhat interested in her and we were friendly, but we never dated because in a three second burst of anger she killed my interest completely. She came from a quite conservative religious group where women were banned from leadership… and she yelled at me, something about men in general, related to the specifics of her church.

The irony was that when she included in me the “evil men” group deserving of being yelled at, I actually agreed with her on the specifics of her complaint. So she took a current soft ally for her issue, demonized me and achieved nothing for her outburst other than the loss of my interest in her. As in even back in college days, I wasn’t going to submit myself to a relationship where I got randomly yelled at, for shit totally unrelated to anything I had done in specific.

Not that we were dating or anything, but ultimately her anger at a Societal issue, damaged her Personal relationships. I don’t recall her dating anyone in college.

Anyway…

That division of Personal and Societal problems is important. Most people come to MMSL with the Personal issue of their marriage sucking somehow. So that’s what I try and fix.

However there are wider Societal issues creating external pressures on your marriage – such as the economy, socialization of men and women, gender issues and marriage law. Seriously, I get it, there really are all sorts of problems making it hard to be married and otherwise a functional, productive happy adult.

Societal problems are worth dealing with, but the difficulties of resolving Societal problems are well beyond any one person. So if you are having an Personal problem in your marriage, trying to fix the Societal pressures on your marriage will not provide a solution. Even as you make some tiny sliver of progress on the Societal issues, your Personal issues will continue to worsen. We might get some social change over the next 20-30 years, but your marriage may not make it that long.

In addition, the frustration of trying to fix Societal problems can generate a lot of negative emotion. When you become an angry frustrated person, you become less fun to be with, which worsens your marriage decline further. If you then also begin transferring the frustration of the Societal problems directly onto your spouse, you become toxic to live with. So if your relationship is in trouble, now is not the time to enmesh yourself in wider gender politics unless you simply want the relationship to accelerate toward the ground.

It’s completely normal to see something unjust and be angry about it. It’s also normal to want to change it for the better. It’s also normal to feel defensive if there’s a chance that the same unjust thing might happen to you. However your emotional state is an important factor in your marriage.

You can’t let yourself become a darkly brooding cynic about the opposite sex, without that beginning to eat away your relationship from the inside.

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Comments

  1. L says:

    So true! I am constantly amazed at how much other women will completely bash their husbands and men in general! Either get over it or get out! Ironically it’s often concerning matters that they themselves cause to be problematic, like complaining he never changes the baby’s diapers but then totally nit-picking their every attempt to and not giving them a chance to figure it out. If you made the choice to mate with someone who’s too stupid to manage baby poop, maybe the problem is NOT them…

  2. Adam says:

    A young woman in our Sunday School class admitted yesterday that she had adopted a non-submissive “I am woman hear me roar” mindset in response to watching her mother and other relatives of that generation choose to submit themselves to their husbands in marriage.

    Now in her mid-20′s with two small children, she is beginning to see that there is very little benefit to wanting to be in charge. It runs her ragged. Her husband is a great guy and most of their fighting stems from him not bowing to her pressure to run roughshod over him.

    I suspect that before much longer, she will understand that her mother had it right. She will be much more content when she reaches that realization.

  3. Elspeth says:

    Like.

  4. misty's dad says:

    Your church girl is the perfect example of the issue men face.

    It was her group, not yours.
    To stay associated with them was her choice not yours.
    To deal with the issue she chose anger over action.

    Yet somehow her Hamster made you the focal point of her unrealistic expectations.
    You were a man, it is your fault, whatever the “it” may be.

  5. His Lady says:

    (Oh, nuts, I used the wrong name; someone at your forum uses this one. Athol, if I’m okay to post here, could you delete the one previous and pass this one instead?)

    The irony was that when she included in me the “evil men” group deserving of being yelled at, I actually agreed with her on the specifics of her complaint. So she took a current soft ally for her issue, demonized me and achieved nothing for her outburst other than the loss of my interest in her.

    This, 100%, and this applies to both sexes. Spitting on the choir is even less effective than preaching to them.

  6. Beth says:

    I agree 100 percent.
    An unproductive sport bitching isn’t just for women anymore, and it isn’t ipso facto more productive when a man does it.

  7. mgwk says:

    Social cf. Personal issues…

    I was laid off eight months ago; Mrs. mgwk works part-time. Thankfully, she was able to pull in more shifts (though at some personal cost, in her all-female workplace). While gender issues are big, try the dollars-and-cents one of dropping from 1.3 incomes to 0.5. Not easy and not fun. “The soft economy” isn’t an abstraction once the pink slip arrives.

    Seven months of pavement pounding has brought me back into the work force, to a job that’s even a better fit than the one I lost.

    During that time, I can’t count the number of times I thought, “Thank God we’ve already moved so far from a Blue Pill marriage into Red Pill mode.” I don’t know if our old feminist arrangement would have withstood the strain.

    I certainly have my own opinions about the Big Picture — e.g. immigration “reform” pushing down middle and working class earnings to the benefit of billionaires — and I respect people who act on their convictions in an effort to make the world a better place.

    But meanwhile, closer to home: work smart, recognize that rainy days do arrive, run the MAP…

  8. whatever says:

    Everyone keeps rambling about “productive”.

    I’d like to ask one question. Do you think the current leaders and rich people of America care one tiny bit if they are “productive”?

    Of course they care if they are “making” money, but do they care one tiny, microscopic little bit if they are “productive”?

    So why do you all scream, non-stop about whether someone is “productive” or not?

    And spare me the “leach” stuff. It is relatively easy to be neutral, or very marginal either way. And the poor are actually more productive than the middle class considering all the social security and medicate and sales taxes they pay while consuming almost nothing.

  9. Trimegistus says:

    Whatever: what the FUCK are you talking about?

  10. whatever says:


    and otherwise a functional, productive happy adult.

    And EVERYONE puts that in. They don’t even bother to say productive for WHO.

  11. His Lady says:

    I don’t know; I said “effective”. If your (generic “you”) intention is to alienate people, then yeah, I’ll concede that what AK described is very effective. But if not…what would be the point of going off like that?

  12. GC says:

    I’m glad you pointed out this distinction. Both men and women can get caught up in “gender politics” and forget to have a nice, happy marriage. I have to stay away from it most of the time, as it tends to suck the life out of me.

    People also tend to think in black and white dichotomies, e.g., I’m either a doormat like my grandmother and mother or I’m “woman hear me roar/trampling all over my husband,” when the best marriages are neither extreme but somewhere in between, the balance depending on the personalities, etc. of the spouses.

  13. enlightened1 says:

    Once again you have sensed and identified a major polarizing trend. I appreciate that you have resisted bashing women (or men) and hold both adults in relationships accountable; it would be so much easier for you if you went with the flow! It’s really why I quit reading a lot of blogs except yours. I would add that “You Really Can’t Change Your ‘Single Life’ By Being Mad At The Opposite Sex” either.

  14. ozymandias says:

    I often wish that, when I discovered this community a few years ago, there had been an MMSL forum to read instead of three years of Roissy’s archives. I would be a happier person today.

  15. holdingallthecards says:

    The only way of making a societal cause work in your marriage or dating life is if you match up with a fellow activist.

    And while I think that religion and the politics within churches will wreak havok on any relationship in the long run, you’ll still be okay if your spouse is on the same page as you. Unfortunately, because religion is such a deeply personal thing, it’s difficult to find someone who exactly agrees with your interpretations and beliefs so that the two of you don’t wind up arguing over ridiculous things.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Kay – You can’t fix your marriage by being mad at the opposite sex,   Fun [...]

  2. [...] 11. You Can’t Fix Your Marriage by Being Mad at the Opposite Sex, Athol Kay points out: Societal problems are worth dealing with, but the difficulties of resolving Societal problems are well beyond any one person. So if you are having an Personal problem in your marriage, trying to fix the Societal pressures on your marriage will not provide a solution. Even as you make some tiny sliver of progress on the Societal issues, your Personal issues will continue to worsen. We might get some social change over the next 20-30 years, but your marriage may not make it that long. [...]

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