Chapter 5-8 Deal
Deal, R. (2014). The Smart Stepfamily. Baker Publishing Group. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781441264206
Chapter 14-17 Dobson
Dobson, J. C. (2010). Love Must Be Tough. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781414355771
Papernow, P. L. (2013). Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships. Taylor & Francis. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781136701542
Chapter 3-4 ( Papernow)
Describe what divorce teaches children. Describe 3-4 ways to help parents build resiliency in their kids following divorce. If you are a child of divorce, did anything in the readings or presentations relate to you? What helped you personally as a child? If you are a divorced parent, what did you do to help build resiliency in your kids? Integrate personal examples with this week’s reading.
thread of at least 400 words APA FORMAT. 3 scholarly resources which are attached including a biblically resource
Chapter 14-17 Dobson
Dobson, J. C. (2010). Love Must Be Tough. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com/books/9781414355771
Angry Women and Passive Men
There is another classic pattern of marital disharmony occurring so commonly today that I feel I should devote an entire chapter to its cause and effect. Many of you will find yourselves described on the next few pages. Others will recognize parents, friends, or perhaps that divorced couple that used to live next door.
The problem has its origins in childhood, long before a young man and woman stand at the altar to say, “I do.” For her part, the girl is taught subtly by her culture that marriage is a lifelong romantic experience; that loving husbands are entirely responsible for the happiness of their wives; that a good relationship between a man and woman should be sufficient to meet all needs and desires; and that any sadness or depression that a woman might encounter is her husband’s fault. At least, he has the power to eradicate it if he cares enough. In other words, many American women come into marriage with unrealistically romantic expectations which are certain to be dashed. Not only does this orientation set up a bride for disappointment and agitation in the future, it also places enormous pressure on her husband to deliver the impossible.
Unfortunately, the man of the house was taught some misconceptions in his formative years, too. He learned, perhaps from his father, that his only responsibility is to provide materially for his family. He must enter a business or profession and succeed at all costs, climbing the ladder of success and achieving an ever-increasing standard of living as proof of manhood. It never occurs to him that he is supposed to “carry” his wife emotionally. For Pete’s sake! If he pays his family’s bills and is a loyal husband, what more could any woman ask for? He simply doesn’t understand what she wants.
Inevitably, these differing assumptions collide head-on during the early years of marriage. Young John is out there competing like crazy in the marketplace, thinking his successes are automatically appreciated by the lady at home. To his shock, she not only fails to notice, but even seems to resent the work that takes him from her. “I’m doing it for you, babe!” he says. Diane isn’t convinced.
What gradually develops from that misunderstanding is a deep, abiding anger on Diane’s part, and a bewildered disgust from John. This pattern has been responsible for a million divorces in the past decade. The wife is convinced that her low self-esteem and her unhappiness are the result of her husband’s romantic failures. With every year that passes, she becomes more bitter and hostile at him for giving so little of himself to his family. She attacks him viciously for what she considers to be his deliberate insults, and bludgeons him for refusing to change.
John, on the other hand, does not have it within him to satisfy her needs. He didn’t see it modeled by his father, and his masculine, competitive temperament is not given to romantic endeavors. Besides, his work takes every ounce of energy in his body. It is a total impasse. There seems to be no way around it.
In the early years, John tries to accommodate Diane occasionally. At other times, he becomes angry and they slug it out in a verbal brawl. The following morning, he feels terrible about those fights. Gradually, his personality begins to change. He hates conflict with his wife and withdraws as a means of avoidance. What he needs most from his home (like the majority of men) is tranquility. Thus, he finds ways of escaping. He reads the paper, watches television, works in his shop, goes fishing, cuts the grass, plays golf, works at his desk, goes to a ball game—anything to stay out of the way of his hostile wife. Does this pacify her? Hardly! It is even more infuriating to have one’s anger ignored.
Here she is, screaming for attention and venting her hostility for his husbandly failures. And what does he do in return? He hides. He becomes more silent. He runs. The cycle has become a vicious one. The more anger she displays for his uninvolvement, the more detached he becomes. This inflames his wife with even greater hostility. She has said everything there is to say and it produced no response. Now she feels powerless and disrespected. Every morning he goes off to work where he can socialize with his friends, but she is stuck in this state of emotional deprivation.
When a relationship has deteriorated to this point, the wife often resorts to some very unfortunate tactics. She begins to look for ways to hurt her husband in return. She embarrasses him by telling his business associates what a cad he is at home. She refuses to attend office functions or provide any other support for his occupation. She tells stories about him to their church associates. She shuts him down sexually and undermines his relationship with the children. To be sure, she can be a formidable opponent in the art of infighting. No one on the face of the earth could hurt John more deeply than his own wife.
Let me make it clear that I’m not condemning this woman out of hand. She has a good case against her husband. He doesn’t meet her needs properly and he’s an inveterate workaholic. To that extent, the man is guilty as charged. I attempted to express this feminine perspective in my book What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women, because I believe it is valid.
But every story has two sides, and John’s version should also be told. His wife is wrong to believe that her contentment is exclusively his burden. No one should be expected to carry another person emotionally. Only Diane can make herself happy! She has no right to lay that total load on John. A good marriage is one in which the dominant needs are met within the relationship, but where each spouse develops individual identity, interests, and friendships. This may be the most delicate tightrope act in marriage. Extreme independence is as destructive to a relationship as total dependence.
To summarize my concern, American women tend to be more unrealistic about marriage than their sisters around the world. Movies and television have made them feel that romantic excitement is not only a birthright, but the most important aspect of marriage. When this “feeling” component of the relationship is missing, the family is doomed. It’ll just have to be scrapped. Not even the welfare of the children is important enough to preserve the marriage, and that is tragic.
Let me speak directly and boldly to the women who have seen themselves in this chapter. With all due respect, my most difficult task may be to help you recognize yourselves as part of the problem. The angry women I’ve counseled in the past have been so consumed by their husbands’ disrespect and failures that they couldn’t acknowledge their role in his inability to respond. But certainly, they had helped to make him what he was.
Look at it this way. Verbal bludgeoning never made anyone more loving or sensitive. You simply can’t tear a guy to pieces and then expect him to meet your emotional needs. He’s not made that way. Rather than attacking an unresponsive man and driving him away, there is a method of drawing him in your direction. It is accomplished by taking the pressure off him—by pulling backward a bit—by avoiding the worn-out accusations and complaints—by appearing to need him less—by showing appreciation for what he does right and for being fun to be with. Happiness is a marvelous magnet to the human personality.
Sometimes it is necessary to interject a challenge into the relationship in order to motivate a disengaged spouse. According to the love must be tough philosophy, a demeanor of self-confidence, mysterious quietness, and independence is far more effective in getting attention than a frontal assault.
I remember counseling a bright young lady whom I’ll call Janet. She came to me because she seemed to be losing the affection of her husband. Frank appeared bored when he was at home, and he refused to take her out with him. On weekends, he went sailing with his friends despite the bitter protests of his wife. She had begged for his attention for months, but the slippage continued.
I hypothesized that Janet was invading Frank’s territory and needed to recapture the challenge that made him want to marry her. Thus, I suggested that she retreat into her own world—stop “reaching” for him when he was at home—schedule some personal activities independently of his availability, etc. Simultaneously, I urged her to give him vague explanations about why her personality had changed. She was instructed not to display anger or discontent, allowing Frank to draw his own conclusions about what she was thinking. My purpose was to change his frame of reference. Instead of his thinking, “How can I escape from this woman who is driving me crazy?” I wanted him to wonder, “What’s going on? Am I losing Janet? Have I pushed her too far? Has she found someone else?”
The results were dramatic. About a week after the change of manner was instituted, Janet and Frank were at home together one evening. After several hours of uninspired conversation and yawns, Janet told her husband that she was rather tired and wanted to go to bed. She said good night matter-of-factly and went to her bedroom. About thirty minutes later, Frank threw open the door and turned on the light. He proceeded to make passionate love to her, later saying that he couldn’t stand the barrier that had come between them. It was precisely that barrier which Janet had complained about for months. Her approach had been so overbearing that she was driving him away from her. When she changed her direction, Frank also threw his truck in reverse. It often happens that way.
Having raised the subject of sex, let me ask you an interesting question. Which marriage is likely to enjoy the greatest physical attraction, the steady-as-a-rock relationship or the one that runs hot and cold? Surprisingly, it is the one that varies from time to time. The highest voltage does not occur in the static marriage that is characterized by overfamiliarity, overexposure, and demystification. According to Kinsey researchers, the healthiest relationship is one that “breathes”—one that drifts from a time of closeness and tenderness to a more distant posture. That sets up another exciting reunion as the cycle continues. Couples that work or play together day after day are at a disadvantage compared to husbands and wives whose lifestyle takes them apart briefly and then brings them back together.
Do you see the relevance to our discussion? Those individuals who constantly hover over their partners, drawing their complete reason for existence from that one person, actually handicap the relationship. They interfere with the natural “breathing” that proves to be so healthy over the years.
I’ll conclude with an enlightening interview with my good friend Jean Lush, respected marriage, family, and child counselor. She spoke these words on our Focus on the Family radio program.
LUSH: Over-closeness can cause a marriage to become very dry. When a couple becomes tied to one another in this way, when they feed off each other exclusively, they lose some of the magic. You see, I feel a woman should preserve what I call the “mystique” that is uniquely hers. There should always be a bit of “mystery” in her personality.
DOBSON: Do you think it is possible for a husband and wife to destroy this sense of mystery by overcommunicating?
LUSH: I certainly do. I have counseled couples that complained about not loving each other anymore, even though they communicated beautifully. When they told me how they communicated, I then understood why love had died. They had destroyed the mystique and left only the bare ugliness. That’s why I hate to see absolute honesty in marriage.
DOBSON: Explain what you mean by that.
LUSH: Well, let’s consider what happens to a woman throughout the menstrual cycle. She can have some pretty depressing days, especially during the premenstrual stage. Speaking personally, I had a very biting, vicious tongue at that time, and that is not unusual. Now, if a woman believes she has a right—even an obligation—to be totally honest even when she knows her perception is distorted, she can say some horrid things that she doesn’t really mean. That can be very hard on a marriage. It is simply not healthy to dump all the ugliness on your partner. We need to exercise some discipline in what we say to one another.
DOBSON: When you say you are opposed to total honesty in a marriage, you’re not suggesting that husbands and wives be dishonest with one another, are you?
LUSH: No. But I am saying we don’t have to verbalize every thought that comes in our heads. Love is a delicate flower that must be nurtured. It doesn’t like heat, and it doesn’t like cold. Remember that husbands and wives live in fleshly bodies; we are not saints, and too much ugly reality can take the edge off our affection for one another.
DOBSON: You also worry about women who lean too heavily on their husbands in their thirties, expecting them to carry them emotionally—
LUSH: I know of no better way to set up a midlife crisis ten years later than for a woman to demand more of her husband than he can give in his thirties.
I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Loving Toughness for Singles
An entire book could be written on the love must be tough principles as related to unmarried men and women. The problem, quite frankly, is that many singles want so desperately to be married that they violate the laws of freedom and respect in romantic relationships. That is like turning a firehose on a flickering flame. All that remains is black smoke and ashes.
I heard of one young man who was determined to win the affection of a girl who refused to even see him. He decided that the way to her heart was through the mail, so he began writing her a love letter every day. When she did not respond, he increased his output to three notes every twenty-four hours. In all, he wrote her more than seven hundred letters, and she married the postman.
That is the way the system works. Romantic love is one of those rare human endeavors that succeeds best when it requires the least effort. Those who work the hardest at it are the most likely to fail. And speaking of people who try harder, no one beats a dude named Keith Ruff whose story was told in the Los Angeles Times, February 21, 1982, by Betty Cuniberti. The headline read, “Man Spends $20,000 Trying to Win Hand of Girl Who Can Say No.”
A love-struck man holed up in a $200-a-day Washington hotel has spent, at latest estimate, close to $20,000 demonstrating to his beloved that he won’t take “no” for an answer to his marriage proposal.
On bended knee on Christmas Day, 35-year-old Keith Ruff, once a stockbroker in Beverly Hills, proposed marriage to 20-year-old Karine Bolstein, a cocktail waitress at a Washington restaurant. He met her in a shoe store last summer. The pair had gone out a few times over a two-month period before the proposal.
To his proposal, she looked down and said, “No.”
Since then, Ruff has remained in Washington and demonstrated his wish that she reconsider by sending her everything but a partridge in a pear tree.
That may be next.
He is, he thinks, “close to spending all of my money. I’m not an Arab sheik.”
Shower of Gifts
The tokens of his affection include:
—A Learjet, placed on standby at the airport, “in case she wanted to ride around.”
—Between 3,000 and 5,000 flowers.
—A limousine equipped with a bar and television, parked outside her door.
—A gold ring.
—$200 worth of champagne.
—Catered lobster dinners.
—Musicians to serenade her.
—A clown to amuse her younger brother.
—A man dressed as Prince Charming, bearing a glass slipper.
—Cookies, candy, and perfume.
—Sandwich-sign wearers walking around her home and the restaurant where Bolstein works, conveying the message “Mr. Dennis Keith Ruff LOVES Ms. Karine Bolstein.”
—Balloons, which she promptly popped. “What else would she do?” said the undaunted Ruff. “The house was so full of flowers there was no room to walk around.”
—For her father, a basket of nuts and $300 worth of cigars “to pass out to his friends at the Labor Department. It may sound goofy, but I like him.”
—For her mother, flowers at the French Embassy, where she works. “I don’t think her mother likes me. She called the police,” Ruff said. “But I’ll keep sending gifts to her also. How could anyone be so mad?”
—For both her parents, a stepladder, “so they might look at the relationship from a different angle.”
Unsurprisingly, Ruff said he has “a very, very strange monetary situation.”
He has not worked in some time, describing himself as being of independent means.
“I don’t care how many job offers I get. I’m not interested in any of them,” Ruff said. “I’d rather think about her than sit at a job.”
He said he will spend his last dime and will beg for money if he has to, that he will “keep on trying for 10 years, 20 years. I’ll ask her to marry me 50,000 times.”
Nothing Stops Him
“It doesn’t matter how many times she says no. I will do everything in my power that’s not absurd or against a reasonable law. I wouldn’t stop if she became a nun.
“I’ve never felt this way before!”
Bolstein, meanwhile, said she is flattered, but too young to get married. She also said the house looks like a funeral parlor.
Ruff said, “I don’t want to force her to love me, but I can’t stop.
“Maybe this makes her nervous, but at least she gets to smile along with being nervous. Anybody would like it somewhat.”
Ruff said many people he talks to are skeptical.
“People would say my love is strange,” he said, “but our whole society is falling apart because of the way people love. What is dating? Some guy putting his paws all over you?
“My friends in L.A. know how many women I’ve gone out with. I didn’t like being a womanizer. I believe in the old values. I found the woman I love.”
Ruff said he spends a lot of time in his hotel room planning what to do next and occasionally crying. Bolstein, meanwhile, has been getting asked for her autograph where she works and has had a drink there named after her, a concoction of gin, vodka and rum entitled She Won’t.
Ruff said Bolstein called him once. “But I hung up on her. I didn’t like what she said.
“Reality, to me, is disturbing,” Ruff said. “I’d rather close my eyes and see her face.
“Fantasy is where I’m living. I’m living with hope.
“And some very big bills.”16
There are several things ol’ Ruff needs to know about women, assuming Miss Bolstein hasn’t gotten the message across by now. He could cry in his hotel room for the next fifty years without generating the tiniest bit of sympathy from her. And that jet airplane doesn’t mean a hill of beans to her either. Very few women are attracted to sniveling men who crawl, who bribe, who whine, and make donkeys of themselves in view of the whole world. Tell me, who wants to marry an unambitious weirdo who grovels in the dirt like a whipped puppy? Good-bye, romance! Hello, poorhouse.
On a much smaller scale, of course, the same mistake is made by singles in other places. They reveal their hopes and dreams too early in the game and scare the socks off potential lovers. Divorcées fall into the same trap—especially single women who need a man to support them and their children. Male candidates for that assignment are rarities and are sometimes recruited like All-American athletes. I’ve seen no better illustration than the following item, also appearing in the Los Angeles Times. It was submitted to Virginia Doody Klein for use in her column “Living with Divorce”:
Q. I am a recently divorced, professional man with an unusual problem. I hope you can help me. A woman I dated once called me before I even had a chance to make a second date with her and wanted to know why I hadn’t called her again. After our second date she began to call almost daily with offers for dinner, something funny she’d read and thought I’d enjoy, etc. The crazy part is that this same routine has started with another woman I’m just beginning to ask out. If such behavior is typical, maybe I should have stayed married! How do I extricate myself from this frenzied dating and have a nice, quiet social life?17
Isn’t it obvious what is occurring here? The women being dated by this “professional man” are chasing him like a hound after a rabbit. And predictably, his natural impulse is to run. If they are interested in pulling him toward them, they simply must not invade his territory. Instead, they should maintain a sense of decorum in their responses to him.
I attempted to explain the “how to” of this recommendation during the mid-seventies when I was writing What Wives Wish Their Husbands Knew About Women. The concepts I was formulating then have withstood intensive scrutiny since that time and provide the foundation for the book you are reading. This is what I wrote:
It is of highest priority to maintain a distinct element of dignity and self-respect in all romantic encounters. I have observed that many relationships suffer from a failure to recognize a universal characteristic of human nature. We value that which we are fortunate to get; we discredit that with which we are stuck! We lust for the very thing which is beyond our grasp; we disdain that same item when it becomes a permanent possession. No toy is ever as much fun to play with as it appeared to a wide-eyed child in a store. Seldom does an expensive automobile provide the satisfaction anticipated by the man who dreamed of its ownership. This principle is even more dramatically accurate in romantic affairs, particularly with reference to men. Let’s look at the extreme case of a Don Juan, the perpetual lover who buzzes from one feminine flower to another.
His heart throbs and pants after the elusive princess who drops her glass slipper as she flees. Every ounce of energy is focused on her capture. However, the intensity of his desire is dependent on her unavailability. The moment his passionate dreams materialize, he begins to ask himself, “Is this what I really want?” Farther down the line as the relationship progresses toward the routine circumstances of everyday life, he is attracted by new princesses and begins to wonder how he can escape the older model.
Now, I would not imply that all men, or even the majority of them, are as exploitative and impermanent as the gadabout I described. But to a lesser degree, most men and women are impelled by the same urges. How many times have I seen a bored, tired relationship become a torrent of desire and longing the moment one partner rejects the other and walks out. After years of apathy, the “dumpee” suddenly burns with romantic desire and desperate hope.
This principle hits even closer to home for me at this moment. Right now, as I am writing these words, I am sitting in the waiting room of a large hospital while my wife is undergoing major abdominal surgery. I am writing to ease my tension and anxiety. While I have always been close to Shirley, my appreciation and tender love for her are maximal this morning. Less than five minutes ago, a surgeon emerged from the operating room with a grim face, informing the man near me that his wife is consumed with cancer. He spoke in unguarded terms of the unfavorable pathological report and the malignant infestation. I will be speaking to Shirley’s surgeon within the hour and my vulnerability is keenly felt. While my love for my wife has never flagged through our fourteen years together, it has rarely been as intense as in this moment of threat. You see, not only are our emotions affected by the challenge of pursuit, but also by the possibility of irrevocable loss. (The surgeon arrived as I was writing the sentence above, saying my wife came through the operation with no complications, and the pathologist recognized no abnormal tissue. I am indeed a grateful man! My deepest sympathy is with the less fortunate family whose tragedy I witnessed today.)
A better example of fickle emotions is illustrated by my early relationship with Shirley. When we first met, she was a lowly sophomore in college and I was a lofty senior. I viewed myself as a big man on campus, and my relationship with this young coed mattered little to me. She, in turn, had been very successful with boys, and was greatly challenged by the independence I demonstrated. She wanted to win me primarily because she wasn’t sure she could, but her enthusiasm inhibited my own interest in return. After graduation, we had one of those lengthy conversations well known to lovers the world over, when I said I wanted her to date other fellows while I was in the Army because I didn’t plan to get married soon. I’ll never forget her reaction. I expected Shirley to cry and hold on to me. Instead, she said, “I’ve been thinking the same thoughts, and I would like to date other guys. Why don’t we just go our separate ways for now?” Her answer rocked me. For the first time in our relationship, she was moving away from me. What I didn’t know was that Shirley stoically closed her front door and then cried all night.
I went away to the Army and returned to the University of Southern California for my graduate training. By this time, Shirley was an exalted senior and I was a collegiate has-been. She was homecoming queen, senior class president, a member of Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities, and one of the most popular girls in her class. And as might be expected, she suddenly looked very attractive to me. I began to call several times a day, complain about who she was spending her time with, and try to find ways to please my dream girl. However, the moment Shirley saw my enthusiasm and anxiety, her affection began to die. Gone was the challenge which had attracted her two years before. Instead, I had become just another fellow pounding on her door and asking for favors.
One day after a particularly uninspiring date, I sat down at a desk and spent two solid hours thinking about what was happening. And during the course of the introspection, I realized the mistake I was making. A light flashed in my head and I grabbed a pen and wrote ten changes I was going to make in our relationship. First, I was determined to demonstrate self-respect and dignity, even if I lost the one I now loved so deeply. Second, I decided to convey this attitude every time I got the chance: “I am going somewhere in life, and I’m anxious to get there. I love you and hope you choose to go with me. If you do, I’ll give myself to you and try to make you happy. However, if you choose not to make the journey with me, then I can’t force my will on you. The decision is yours and I’ll accept it.” There were other elements to my new manner, but they all centered on self-confidence and independence.
The first night that I applied the new formula was one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. The girl who is now my wife saw me starting to slip away on that evening, and she reacted with alarm. We were riding in silence in my car, and Shirley asked me to pull over to the curb and stop. When I did she put her arms around my neck and said, “I’m afraid I’m losing you and I don’t know why. Do you still love me?” I noticed by the reflected light of the moon that she had tears in her eyes. She obviously didn’t hear my thumping heart as I made a little speech about my solitary journey in life. You see, I had reestablished the challenge for Shirley, and she responded beautifully.
The psychological force which produced our see-saw relationship is an important one, since it is almost universal in human nature. Forgive the redundancy, but I must restate the principle: we crave that which we can’t attain, but we disrespect that whi