This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
YoUDI will too if you team how to handle her
Have £on, Dad
The Twentieth LeIter:
TROUBLES AU FOR SHARING
Doc Wilkinson gave me an hDportant lesson
about how to treat a woman. What he did was to convince me that a man better leam to share his problems with his wife at the right time-and totally.
We were riding together that night to see a who had frantically phoned both of us-her .'IntOI ....... and her minister. This gal wanted to be good and ready. She claimed that she was "about to this vale of tears." (Her words.)
I was a ymmg pastor fresh out of setlllinllU'}',,' Doc had stopped to pick me IlP, as he was to do later because we became the best of manos,.
I wisb you could have known him. He had a
like the old oaken bucket, but his heart was tfful To my knowledge be never turned an'\l'ou«. down wbo needed help; it would probably taken a computer to total what people owed in unpaid accounts. and when he died it was
a familiar old tree going down outside your dow. He loved people and he could read tbrongb them. He was one of the greatest tea1cbedll of "country psychology I have known.
He was reading me that night. I was nervous a green rookie up to bat for the Brst time in training. "Relax preacher." be drawled. Then in
taOUlLES All R)I. SItMtNG • 19 dow. deep voice he went OD,. *She'. DOl: goiDg to die. Well .fi.J: her up. you and me toget:he.:. Oh I doD'tm~ sbe's. got DO treubles, She'. got pkmty. but they re all 1maginary."
Then he went OD to spin her story. Her husbaDd had died the year before, and Doc summedtbat up like this: 'Though I don't lib to speak ~ respectful of the dead. he really ruined her.-
Seems that Heary was a good man. but "'he babied her something awfuL" Once the cholera wiped out his herd. but he never told her. If his £eedeIs lost money he kept that from he.- too. 'Ibe year the bam burned Doc allowed she would DeVer' have known that either ucept Ihe couJd see it going up in smoke.
"It's a real mistake to do a woman. like that,Doc contended. "Sooner or .later shell dream up aUergies811d headaches and even female trouble just to give her mind something to do. A woman Deeds drama, that"s what, and if she dmtt get it where she should shell get it where she shouldn·t."
The yearsrince I heard him say this have proven how right he was. I have actually seen women tab to their beds for what looked like asslIr1UlCe that their lives really mattered. In several of these cases
.my mind went back to Doc Wilkinson"s lessou, and, sure enough, there Willi aD. overprotective husband trying to be 8. hero.
The reason why I wanted you to have tbia letter ill that I hear too many men saying "But I don't want to concern her with my problems. Aftm.aD. the has enough to worry about" ('They usually 18)' this as if they were expecting some kind of medal)
If you ever catch yourself at thls or anythiag "-Ike it, I hope you'll do a retake. You stood ODe
80 • rae "" ....... &.Ifw
day with Marilyn and prCIIIlIsed to share your life "ill plenty and in want,. III joy and In sorrow."" The husband who foqetsthis may be in for l11OI"U trouble tomorrow than he would have today if he simply optmed up and gave it to her straJght.
Of course there are right and wrong ways to let our sorrow.s be known and there wUl be times when a brief postponement may be in order. But the rule has got to be that troubleB are for sharing" and you deny your wife a lot if you dDIit believe it.
For one thing. you have cu.t her out of that sense of partnership. which is among the deeper reasons for marriage. -rogether" is ODe of the most beauHful words in om vocabu1ary and it takes on special beauty when it indicates that two people are closing the gaps between them by drawing shoulder to shoulder against all comers.
'I1aen" too. you iDsult her intelligence when you don't let her help you think your troubles through. Being as sonut as Marilyn is she is very likely to sense that something is bothering you. H she has to dig this out of you time after time, sooner or later she's going to be bothered with a bunch of quertloDs coming from that place in a woman"s heart where questions congregate.
"'What's the matte!" with mer Doesn't be trbst me?" •. , "'Does he think fm Dot wise enough to help him figure things ontr ... "Is there someone else he's telling his troubles to?" ••• And so on to a real tizzy.
We both know that there are some women whose intelligence quotient is not exactly overwhelming. But if we were to trace their lack of wisdom back to its origin, we might find it was not that they were innately lacking. They were never given a chance to develop what they had.
'rIlOUILB AU 1'01 SILOING •• ,
Yet: eveD where there is a wide gaP. this can be closed by a wise husband. I have known SOIIIC couples whare he was brilliant and, to borrow ODe of your own phrases, '"she didn't know from oothin·... But he found help from. thinking out loud in her prmence and she felt honored to be his listening post.
If you are mHllt In areas she im't, she may be all the more thrilled if yoo take her into your ICOIIfidence. Shell ruck these happy momenb in a oorner of her mmd far later reference-just think. my clever. gifted husband asked me what I thoughtJ-
There is one further wrong you do her if you refrain from sharing your troubles at the right time in the right way. H you come through your difficulties with banners flying snd tell her about it afterward you have denied her the thrlll of partieipation in success. Of course it's nice when friends hit it big on their own. 'Three cheers for theml But there isa special glow in the celebration if we fee] that we made even a small conbibutlon to their success.
So put it all together and what does it say? It 18.ys what Doc said, "It's a real mistake to do a woman like that," Strange as it may seem, in the long run sharing your unhappiness with your wife II one way to keep her happy.
"Bear ye one another's burdens,'" Dad
The TWfmty-/inf Letter:
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT Dear Phil.
In one town where I lived twa rivetS met. There
was a bluff high above them where you could sit and watch their coming together. It was a WODderlul place for lovers to park and study miscellaneous matters of roromunicatian.
I am not thinking right naw what you think I am thinking. What I BlD wishing is that I could take you and Marilyn there and then leave you to watch those two rivers in their meeting.
You would observe that well upstream. before they united, each river Sowed gently along. But right at the point of their uniOn. look out!
those two nice streams came at each other
fury. I have actually seen them on days wh.en was almost frightening to watch. They clashed in II. wild commotion of frenzy and confusion. They hm:ledthemselve5 head on as if each was determined that the other shoQld end its eJ:ll'rteIIC81
Then, as you watched, you could almost see angry white caps pair off. bow iu respect to each other, and join forces as if to say "Let us get DOW. Ahead of us there is something better."
Sure enough. on downstream. at some distance, the river swept steadily on once more. It broader there, more majestic, and it gave you feeling that something good had been fashioned
out of the con8ict.
A. good marriage is often like that. When
.IQMT TH.E GOOD FIGHT • U independent streams of existence come together, there will probably be some dashing of life against life at the juncture. Personalities rush against each other. Preferences clash. Ideas contend for power and habits vie for position. Sometimes, like the waves, they throw up a spray that leaves you breathless and makes you wonder where has the loveliness gone.
But that's all right. Like the tworfven, what comes out of their struggle may be something deeper, more powerful than what they were 011 their own.
So the first thing you and Marilyn should do about hostility is to accept it a8 a. naMal part of Ufe for two retJ...bloodsd young people building a hom8 together. Many Dewlyweds panic at the first indication that there may be things somebody doesn't li1ce around here. One youn~ bride put it like this when she wrote to decribe their Brst quarrel. L guess we ezpected the last verse of 'How Many Ways Do I Love Thee' to go on sfDging itself forever,"
It won't. The truth :Is that life would be some-
what dull if it did No small part of the zest in a good marriage comes from wor1dng through diHerenees, Learning to zig end zag with the ~tangle-meats, studying each other's emotions intelligently; aD these offer a challenge that simply can't be beat £or sheer fun and excitement.
The rule you grew up under at home W8liI"'Never be ashamed of anger. It is a natural part of being a rueful person. The only thing you need to regret b when you handle it badly .... If I were you, I would pass that bit of philosophy a19Jlg to Marilyn and rnake it part of your thinking tdgether. It will be 8. blessing to your marriage and make you both
M • , •• TwenIV-Rtsf IAfh,r
healthier. Ulcers come from repressed ill will, So do allergies, headaches, high blood pressure. moods. nagging. iDfidelity, divoroe. aDd a lot o£ other
things you can do without.
The second thing you should do about hostility
is to work up some kind of cooenam under which you will agree to settk !lour difference'.
You will remember that in LetferB w Kart;n I set down what yO\O' mother and I call "Our Seven Official Rules for a Good. Clean Fight." We decided to make these public Dot because they are the last word, but because they have done so much for us. I am repeating them here with. a. few commenb
for your consideration.
1. BEPOBE WE BF.CIN 'WE MUST BOTH ACREE THAT
THE TJlI!E IS B,lGKl'. The Bible warns that we are foolish to say "peace. peace, when there is DO peace." But it also offers US this beautiful prayer:
"Set a watch before my lips. Keep the door of my mouth... 1 have found that an excellent petition. Tb.ere are da,ys when all she wants is tender. loving care. Then there are other times when the light of battle leaps to her eyes aDd you can sense that she is ready. So, unless you are totally exhausted yourself, push on back to where She has bivouacked her troops and sound the ba.ttle cry. Let her ~ow that you love her and if what your love needs right nOW is war, you're ready too.
~ WE WIU. JlEMEMBER 'l'iIAT OUR ONL'I' AIM 19
m;El"EI\ UNDERSTANDING. One sure test for maturity is the ability to react with sympathy toward tility sent our way. 'I'bis obviOUSly is no accomplishment, but it should be a personal goal toward which you move at a steady pace. some brickbat hits, our nonnal reactiOD is to for something to throw ba.clt. But the great
FIGHT THI! GOOD "GMT • as band disciplines himself to say "'Maybe she's got a probleml How can I help herr"" You can do tWa partially by remembering that most anger j:;j the result of a whole lOt: which hat gone before. Sometimes ber rage hal!! such a long history that you actually had very little to do with it. In this sense she's not angry at you. as much Il!li she is at those whom you·ve recalled by whatever it is you've done. So, never ask yomself how some innocent little remark. or some iDsigoillcant act, could came such fuxor. This was only the match that lit the keg where me's been stashing her frustration. What she needs now is venti1atian. The big man even learns to postpone his defense until his WOIlllW has thoroughly .rid herself of whatever it is that's bugging her. Some moments aren't for explanation. but for listening. One of these is when she"s oo1y half through.
3. WE WJLL CEIXCK: ODB WEAFONS OFTEN TO BE SUBE T.HEY"BE Nor DEADLY. Have you noticed. the nuclear war tacticl..am using the inter$l:ing term ·over-Idlf'? What they are talking about is slaughtering mom than necessary to win the war. 1 think that ~ an important warning for the handling of conHict at home. One thing you sure don"t want to destroy is her pride. When a woman's pride is damaged, her sense of values gets warped and that leI::5 loose a cage full of monsters. Yau will avoid this serious error if you aim to attack the problem,
not the person! Any con£Iict between you should leave you both intact at heart. Keep always before you the thought that you're not :G.ghting to obliterate each other. This isn't Antietam or some other struggle to death. Then make it)'CtW aim to hold the battle 6.resto just the right intensity. If yon do this with sldll,. the heat you generate may serve
16 • , .. rw.ntv~'" t.tt.,
to wann YOW' marriage later toB very nice
4. WE WJLL LOWER OUB VOICES ONE NOTCH INSTEAJJ
Ol!' lWSING THEM TWO, One of the nicest things your mother taught me was that we could get the job done as well by whispering it through rather than shouting it down.
Try this just once and I think youl1 Hke it.
Obviously, this calls Eor considerable discipline, but you can bet it's worth the effort. Pulverizing each other with words can be good, Getting it aU out is also important, But you better learn some neuter nOUDS. a few sterile adjectives, and certain phrases that can be interpreted several ways, 'I'he tone of yoUI' voice. end especially the volume, is something else, The tendency is for the sound to go bigher and higher with the mounting ire. So, if you've got what j.t takes to do this, live by the agreement that you will say it softly BS you say
5, WE WU.L NEVEB QuABHEL DB JIEV]tAL PBIV ATE
')(ATJ'£IIS IN PUBUo. We've been over this road before. but let's note BDother thing in passing. It's a good idea when you're quarreling to stay away from your main source of sympathy outside the ' Your best friend. fishing partner, somebody at office, or your mother may build up your ego assure you that anyone as fine as you just has be one hundred percent in the clear, But are two things Wl"ong with running this way you're waunded: (a) every time you tell it, probably make it a little bit worse than it is; (b) going to them" keeps you from. going to one person you'll finally have to settle it
6. WE wn.L DISCO'SS AN AJ(MIS'l'ICE
RGHT THE GOOD RGHT • 17 EI'IBEII OF US CALLS "'K.u.T.'" This, too. requires a delicate sense of judgment If she waves even a drooping olive branch. you'd better open yom ~ and welcome her there, Because each person 15 different and every combination of individuals is unique, you must leam by trial and error your own.6ne line of "enough" and "too much," One couple I know does a clever thing, They have what tbeycall "The Committee!" This Is not some outside in8uence. It is rather their pre-agreed signal that whenever one of them says '"I think we should refer. it now to The Commitee," this is their moment for -cease-fire,""
7. WHEN WE HAVE COME 'to 'I'EBMS, WE W1LL PIr1' II' AWAY TILL WE BOTH AGREZ rr NEEDS MOllE msC05SING, 'I'his is especially important for newlyweds, Many young couples I know operate under the delusion that everything has to be settled this very day. There is one thing wrong with that-it isn't sol Some questions can fall to the floor unanswered and you can still love to the maximum even if there ue matters you intend to take up later for further consideration. Point to remember; Don't try to force mDrB uoonlmity than your f1Ulrriage is prepared to handle at any gitlen stage of YOUT deuez... opmentl A great husband-wife relationship does not mean that these two have reached the peak of h~ coalescing. It more likely indicates that they ~ Jivmg up to their capacity for oneness this day Wlth the understanding that tomorrow will give tbem. more capacity for more total togetherness,
We have said that to fight the good 6ght •• , HO~ EVERYTHING! Mark Abadie just fell ont ~ his tree hO,use and we've got'to go to the hospItal If I don t make it back here today. I'll give you a rundown tomorrow ...•
8. • fir. Tw.nty'-lItst lItH., . 'ter
. . Here I am back at my typewn
Same ev~. S Lukes. The poor kid broke
after a rush trip to _ t, d one elbow. He's really
both heels, several nbs. an
hurting. fuel' and I were sitting
Just lost week your, me Mark shinny up the tree
on our love seat. watching trai ... l.t over to the
. by the rope S <U£r"
and then ~ si . t, but he makes it look
doorway. It s, a scary bt though. I say a prayer easy. Every time I see • . d with no major
of thariks that we got you raise uldn't et to see the tree you CO
accidents. I have Y ak me believe there
. b . d could never m e
cUm: an you ,_~~ t little boys. Come
, __ ~1,,1 angels asSI",~ 0 'ght
aren t ~~ Mark has one too. He rru
to think of it, I ~es~ead when the rope broke and have landed on his all fall So like most such thirty-five feet is no sm thin . to 'be glad about. times, there are some ~ derstand when 1
. man, I'm sure you J.I. un •
Being a . I'm ad about is that it wasn t OlD" say one thing gl ust have a whole bunch of tree house. That one m
............. 1 angels, . kn .. ";..,0' you
'IJ~ • 1 ng digression, but ._ o .. .._,
Well. that sao I1thy I lmew you'd
have a large ~easur:f ~:~~y will give you want to be thinking d since be got in here. that a fuller account,. an fro thankful for. At nine he's makes another thing limb many more feet up than already too heavy to c
be is years old. b ' e I was
' b ck to our usm ·
But we better get a .
saying that to fight lh:_e, ga: :~~ part of life you must accept hOstilityrul £or surfacing things
d will need some es
you don't.11ke. oth ail-important consideration in
There 15 an 6I' .-rl..'_' the Q(fering of apol.-
fighting the good fight. .I. pUj IS
fIGHT IIRi GOOD RGHT • 19 ogles, the reqtusf fOf' fOTgivenen. and the assurance that you wiU do your· best to fmget.
These things are especially important for busbands because the words "I'm sorry" end the language of forgiveness seem more difficult for men than women. One poor wife told me recently, "My husband's idea. of settling a quarrel is to put me in his sweat box until I say, 'You were all rightl It was my fault completelyr The truth is," she went on, "I've just about had it! He thinb that he and God. are the only perfect beings and he may even have some questions about God, ..
So help me. that's what the lady said. Marriage for her is an ezcruciating experience. One mark of pure hell is the absence of mercy, and for this particular gal, life has become pure hell
Remember then that the meaurement of bigness in a man is never taken at the point of a bowed neck. It is rather determined from the spot where he can unbend in true humility to pay his honest debts with these five words: "1 was wrong. Forgive me,"
But suppose it was all her fault She really did it this time. Now what will you do? One thing you can do is to give her an opening. How about lUlying 'Tm sony we're having trouble. I don't like it this way. Let's stick together, what do you say?'" What she will probably say is 'Well, I was a little bit foolisb myseH.'" A woman never forget! things like this. You have opened the gate where she can come through to set the matter straight. &ben love you forever for that
This movement-to-get-tbings-settled is always much more important than who sbirted it. Tell younelf that pointing up the origin doesn't matter Dearly as much as how to make things right once
of c::learlng the hoI'ffllty MJ t1uzt • .1 1M lcve which u oJ ~ tnake 1'OOm few Do you believe way, mooing ''''
DStions wiIllive to the time is comtng when the
will be tb gether 10 pel1IUlnent
. e day. won't it? W n,. peace? That
unless it n...... e it sure can't ft ...
"' ...., somewhere. ~
It is some goal for
dage as a contribul:ion,8af couple to see their mar
to that -
92 • u. "..,."...,., ... ...,..,
~. PIn yOOR WISBBONE WBEBB TOtTB BACZ·
BONE OUGHT TO ..
The T~·third Letter:
Dear Phil, . c1 de
Any survey of marital problems will In u
money bighOD the list of trouble causers. There are several reasons why this :is true. For one thing. every husband-wife combination bringI to the marriage different concepts. One may have been brought up by parents who indulged fM!tY want. The other may be tied up inside with a roverty compls. 'l'his persoD might have been nised OD the i:DStallment plan. Perhaps the other h~ over and over '"Strictly eashl Save ~ then buyt There are dozens of other dlHerences out of your backgrounds that may need to be analyzed.
So early in your marriage you should COtIS10.er, whY' you each think like you do and work out philosophy for the future that you can ~tb with. A basic thought structure can undergird family financially and help to secure your maJmrr.01lagtle~.
Toward this end, I present here three muims that your mother and 1 have de'"elc.pe~
through the years. Maxim 1: Attitude counts more than IlfJlOtIntl
The question is Dot how much you have or . have. What matters most hi how you look at It. have known some people who ~ Ios.ded-yet they were inwardly uuserable. I
MONEY MAXIMS • n brown others who had very litt1e-yet there was a song .in their hearts.
Make up your mind that you're not going to be pec.sonally happy until you get control of your money. Note I didn't say "get money" but -get amtroL .. There is one whale of a difference. Getting control doesn't mean sitting like a watchdog guarding expenditures. Neither is it a matter of having big chunks to total up or to invest at six percent. What munts is that you take charge mentally of what you do have rather than vice versa. A. whole lot of folks let their money manage them, direct their thinking and rule their hearts.
Some anonymous country poet puts it liIc.e this:
It's not how well I'd be doing
1£ a million should fall to my lot:; But what am I thinking today
About the dollar and a quart~ rve gotf Maxim 2: Live today before tomorrowl
This ODe we adopted because so many people we know are operating with a delusion. They thin1c that when they get IDOl"B dollars then they wUl eDjoy life.
I hear this often in the consultation room: "'When we get the house paid for . . • the kids through college .•. a little hit more in our savings ••• one more promotion . • • when business doubles • • • IIld we can carpet the living room . • • or build Obr own swimming pool ••• 01' buy that summer house we·ve dreamed about • • . or afford fine clothes ••• or join the better clubs ••• that will IJe really livingl-
lu ODe sense it is easy to see why so many people faD into this b'ap. Every media ofi.bommunication fa harnessed to make us want what we don't have ad be dissat:isBed until we get more things. With
M • Jh Twenf'I-IAlrrll.IIbr
aD the gusto of an old-time evangelist, the announcer dins in om ears that we will never arrive until we drive this sports car or fly this lUXUl'Y airliner to somewhere.~e nice to number onel"Give yourself a treat'" "'You owe it to . your familyl- Thus the gimme' guys blather on. and before
we know it we're hooked.
Of course, ifs fun to look forward. Anticipation adds zest. I hope you'D. adopt a savings plan and keep some goals out there ahead of you. But don't let your dreams of tomorrow sweep today a.ud aD of its pleasures oft to one side.
Here are some great worm for young couples hom the Bible: '"Thu ill the day which the Lord hath made:. We w.i1l rejoice and be glad in itl" Maxim 3: Outgo aHec13lncomel
Sounds crazy. doesu.'t it, to say that one way to have more is to give morei' But this is how we've found it in our marriage. With DO _ception, every time we increased om giving to help others beyond our own doors, some blessing followed that we hadn't expected. It has happened so often we have come to this conclusion: The secret to family finance is to qun worryfng 10 much about the In:t.ab: and open up the outlets until they Me what
they ought to be.
A3 you bow, we have operated our family bud-
get..oo this policy: "Give teD percent" save ten percent. and spend the rest with thanksgiving and
Of course it isn't true that everybody who tithes
gets rich, and it isn't so that all who get rich are good, gi:vers. Bul it is a fact that life for us :is only what it ought to be when our giving is whal it
ought to be.
So, if I were you.. I would establish some rule
CLOTHES, HAIl. AND
of 1i£ I. MISCElLANY • 941
e ear y in your mania d
sense of stewardship. When ge an grow in your
as a means of heJpiDg oth.e.rs you see your money
help others, you have: (a) , ortectedfor helping God
&om the . . pro .~ •. __ 1,
IDISerI.e5 of selBshn . (b) bui : ......... serves against losing yom bearin 65$,. oilt in a guard
put yowself in a ~ti' gs as you prosper; (c)
Iif • ,r-. on. to .......... rien
e s greatest lL_m_th of ~~.. oe ODe of
• LI.ICUIS- at knowin b
mgs because you are a bl-~~-- g many less-
You are sh ~ to many.
d . ~ enough to observe that .. .
or er to get 15 not what this· bo grvmg m in order to <ri IS a ut. But gAHinll'
'. grve touches the v -~~
meanmg. Those who will d . my core of life s
this point wiD Bnd that th ~ to launch out at looJdng for places thrau e . of abundance is riches to hi th gh which he can pour his
ass 0 ers, At the heart of His .
He has written certain. laws umverse, that love comes b ck th "and ODe of these is the aiver and a t to e lover, joy retums to
0". con entment t· full
those whose aceounts are righ~ Its est is far
Happy spending, Dad
The Twenty-fourth Lettm-:
ClOTHES, HAIR, AND MISCELLANY Dear Phil,
In my last letter I told .
your mother and I discovered ~ certam principles:
Here are some thoughts on ogether about money, can do with a few dollars wha~ you as a husband "'lucky me" feeling. which :Jve y~ur wife that both of you. . es things nice for
Let's start with clothes
In your budget for M~ Wh~tevel' yOIl can allow yns mentionahle:s and
otherwise wiD bring ezee]lent returns on the in~ ment. Every good woman goes for nice things to wear. She Uk4!llll sJdrtoJ, sweaters .. sla.c'ks. shorts. amocb. frocks. dresses. gQWD.S, robes, coat (winter. spring. petti-. hO'US6, raiD-these are aD coats). pajamas. scarves, wraps. shawls. shoes. slippers.. sandals, ~umps, bormeb, caps. hats, fonnals, infonnals. and so on indeSnitely. She likes aD these plus a lot of additional items to go on these,. with these, over and under,
Some men see aD this as a threat to the Eamily eEhequer. Others make friends with the whole business and we the facts to cozy up the relationship and make their marriage merrier.
There are certain "how to's" and some "'how not teN' you'd better learn and remember. One is that every woman is diHerent. Some prefer to shop alone, and if tJili is how it is, you see that she has time for it and send ber off with a bumming heart. Let her know she has full freedom to decide for herself what she likes. And when she retums, you Jind something nice to say about it. Even if it's downright ludicrous. you can begin with "We~ now, that is a hatl I can hardly wait to see you m. itl" (Be sure it isn't B handbag.)
In other words check what you are about to say IODg enough to be sure it will sound like you want it to sound. How you want it to sound is a bit like the Liberty BeD. You also want your words to ca.rry the message that you believe in her even if you aren't exactly takeu with her latest purchase.
Thiok manl You can find something to praise, U it really is awful. maybe it was a bargain and you can praise that. Women go nuts at the bargain counter, and if you don't think so keep your eyes opeD and youll see. You'll also see that she re-
CLOTHES. HAIl. AND MISaU.ANY • 97 sponds well :if you tell her she'stbe best bird dog you ever saw, praise her ingenuity, and pat her on . the back for saVing your money.
If you do give her the wherewithal to buy by herself, go by hersolf. choose by herself-if you give all this and a spirit that says '"If you like it. I'D like it,'" you have done a great thing. You have let her know that you know togetherness :is never compressed. You also build yourself up in her eyes. A lot of her friends don't have husbands with hearts that generous, and aren't yO'll the nice one?
Then there are other women who like for you to shop with them. Some prefer your company on every buying occasion and others part of the time If she's one of these for heaven's sake go willingl; ~d not like a sheep to the slaughter. There is, illeidentally, one short line I'd never forget for these forays. It's for those moments when she steps out of the dressing room and you can tell she's wondering ", H you don~t li1ce it and you loath to see your eammgs go for things like this, now is the time to .ay "1 don't think it does you justicer- (Here we are once more at the same old rule: It isn't always what you do. it's how you do it that countsl)
It would seem that this is enough on clothes but there is yet a bit of miscellany which might eome m handy .. One such is to always notice what she's wearing. Come an DOW, just one small thing like Ityle, fit, color. It never ceases to amaze me how lOme men C3J1 remember the color of both teams' uniforms, or the color of every car in the block, OJ' what color lipstick some new glamor doll wore at last month's oHioe party, yet this sameilriIliant dullard couldn't possibly tell you the color of his wife's latest purchase or what she had OJ] Jast night.
And speaking of what she wears "'.hen you go
,. • Tire rwanly-l_rth ...".,
out, remember another thing. H she asks you beforehand what to wear, it's all right for you to tell her. but if she has spent thirty minutes getting it on. and then she asks you. here's one more time to cogitate be:Eore you speculate. ..
Another miscellany is actually one of the "nevers.
This is that you must neDBr tell her you never did like that dress she's been wearing fOT months (hats, shoes, blouses, coats, hairdos-same thingl). "I always did think it was awful" constitutes one of .the poorest arrangements of words you could posslbly put together from a WOIIUlll'S standpoint.. There is only one way the female mind can work if yon do this. She pictures herseH practically naked every time she's worn this outHt you never did like. That kind of feeling is enough to give any woman the vapors. So, if you really can't stand it any lon~er, then go buy something new or take her shopping this week and tell her anyone as lovely as she is needs a few moee things for her wardrobe.
That should be enough on this except for a tip of the hat to those small items you pick up DOW and then as happy surprises, It is weD to learn her sizes. Carry them in yOUT wallet or in your head, and when yon see something that has her name. on it, buy it. Shelllove you for all these unneeessanes, Even more important, she'll love you. The cute little womanly trill "Oh, you didn't have to" is a whole lot mter than you think. What it means is that she feels she's somebody 'special because you did something special and you didn't have to!
Now let's bear about halr. It may seem odd to include Ihis, too, in our thoughts on money, but this is where it belongs. Most women are trained from .infancy to take great pride in their hair. They have spent hours combing it, brushing it, rolling it,
«OTHES, HAIl, AND MISC!lLANV • " rearranging it, and many other things we'd call -fussing'" over it
If you don't think hair means something special to women, the D.ext tiIne you drive across town and stop at the lights you notice how many women (particularly those driving alone) pat their hair, twist their hair, fondle their hair, and look at their hair in the rearview mirror.
My psychiatri'lt mends teU me this goes back to the mother-attention syndrome, whatever that means, Tm not really sure what it means, but one thing it means is that you can do great things for your life together if you: (a) notice it; (h) praise it: ( c) allow her enough money to do witn it whatever it is that women do at the beauty parlor.
I'm not sure about that either, except that there must be a .lot of things going on in there besides hair. News, gossip, the latest OD the latest is certainly one item that comes &ee with the washing and rinsing and. drying and setting, But there's another extra they don't get elsewhere. This is the wann sensation a woman feels in her heart about a man who earns enough and cares enough and loves her enough to provide her this blessing.
Take it from me, it is a blessing. How do I know?
Ilmow because I have seen YOlU' mother go off to the beauty shop worn down, nerves on edge. beat, mly to return restored and radiant. Perhaps right now you can aHord 1:hia only monthly. All rightme'll look forward to that with bigh anticipation. But when you can, push it up to twice 11 month and, Jina.IlY. weekly, and, whatever you do. don't muff tbk line. H 8he has to suggest it, you've lost it forever. H you remind her that you're in charge around here and she deserves it,. and you insist, she'll sit there basking under the heat waves singing a
100 • 1'h T_nty-I.ur"t a..tte,
bymn inside for a man so delightfully domineering. You do it and you'll see what I mean. The hairdresser is a husband's best friend I
Now here again say something when she comes home. Of course if yon think it looks like a bird's nest that's another thing. But don't be too hasty. Maybe something within her is struggling for expression. Perhaps this week she's trying to impress one of her lady mends. U you look long enough, you can find some good words to say about it. Perhaps she11 frighten olf salesmen or turn down some amorous neighbor, or somethingl The wain thing is not to commit the prize blunder. This is to ignore itl Nothing gives a woman the sensation of falling from great heights quite like getting all refurbished, and then the man she lives with doesn't even noticel
There is another bit of miscellany worth mentioning on this theme. For example, you can tell a lot about some women by the way they do their hair. Changes may indicate something. They might even tell you things she's thinking that she doesn't know she's thinking but you should. I'd give it a bit of study.
Then you ought to ponder how you handle her hair. Sometimes she likes you to fondle it. sometimes to pat it, sometimes to muss it. But sometimes she wants you to leave it alone, like when she's just come from the beauty shop. Only she never wants you to overlook it. everl
Before we close tWi down. there are a few other things about women and men and money that might wen be added. We've already discussed giving and saving and enjoyiDg. I have purposely said little about managing.
DfHerent couples need difIerent ways to keep
CLOTHES, HArl, AND MISCEllANY. 101 books, draw up budgets, handle hank accounts and allow for expenditures, The main thing is t~ have some agreement. At the outset. you may need to know to the penny what comes in. what goes out, and whatever it takes to see where it all went. Perhaps whol1 do the bookwork is a matter of ego for you. You earn it, by golly, so you have the rightl Later on, you may want to work out some arrangement by which She manages her part, you manage your part, and another part you manage together. Then. perhaps, when your id has had the full treatment" you11 prefer to say "'HOlley, you take over the books, w:Ill you? I have so many important things to dol"
But however you do it, be sure you do it fairlyl I oouIdn"t tell you the number of WOmen rYe lis. tened to who complained about their husband's double money standard. Here are a few quotes I remember:
"He buys a twenty-dollar putter and has a fit if I spend two doUars for bath oil, ..... "'1 bought a new dress the _other day and you"d have thought it was an Italian original He really raised cain. Of course it's all right if he buys the best tailored suits. Those he needs for buslness." ... "He complains that Tm getting dutchy. but he WOD'~ give me one thin dime to COITect the situation." .. , "Before we married. he said he believed in 'share and share alike: Then I found out what he meant. You know, like the famous horse and rabbit sausage-one horse IDd one rabbitl'"
All this may sound a bit overdone and it probably ... But that's another thing we learn. Exaggerations 1IIUally mean that problems have been nretched -y out 01 proportion to the way things should be. And how they should be is fairl
102 • J'h. Tw.nty.4Iff" "'Her
This is interesting. I waS trying to think of one exception to the rule of fairness. I've known many B woman who left her man because he spent too much, drank too much, gambled too much, or eveD saved too much. But 1 have, Rever known one woman who left because they were POlK, 'I he was fa'" when they did have it, or if she thought he would be when they got it.
Which says what? Which says that a woman loves II. man she can count on. I hope yours can count on you to be fair, to be thoughtful. to be generous, and to be smart. What that last means is that a wise husband learns to draw his wife closer by the WBY he handles his dollars to handle her right.
Think, man, thinkl Dad
The Twenty-(rftJt. LettM':
Some wag comes up with this whimsical observation: "Behind every successful young husband there $tands a surprised mother-in-law!'"
I like that because it has such an interesting twist halfway through the saying. But the fact is that in consultation I see this problem a whole lot less than I hear jokes about it. Maybe I've been lucky. Or perhaps I've beeD. blinded by a mother-in-law relatioruhip that is one of the bright lights of my own life.
Your grandmother. being one of the Lord"s wise women, has thanked me a thousand times for taking her daughter to love, and each time she does it
rN-LAWS • 103 I determine that much more to love her daughter more. The truth is that, if you can win yoill' motherin-law over to your side. she'll give you a whole lot more credit than you deserve. There is an old line that goes,'"From a man she creates a god." and one place it applies is right bere.
There are a couple of reasons why she does this.
For one thing,. when you have children of your own you'll Ieam that nobody stands higher with you than those who are nice to your children. So if you're good to her daughter. youl1 warm. her heart evezy time she thinks in the direction of your house which, for most parenb, is ill whole lot. '
Then there is another reason why you'll have this automatic halo working for you if you are an effective husband. Every time she recites the latest about how well you two are getting along. she is sJmply reaffirming the fact that her daughter is a very smart girl to have chosen so well from all those suitors. And where did she get her smart? Wen. everyone knows we first learn to think under our parents' inBuence.
So you see you have a whole lot going £or you if you can get things started right. I can't tell you all the ways to do this because every situation ealls for diHereut treatment. But you won't go far wrong if you take eveIY opportunity to tell your in-laws how much you appreciate their daughter; how tbankful you are for the great job they did; you know you are reaping the benefits of their good work, etc. Believe me, parents love those who love their own. and they can't help reacting positively to thls.
Sure, there may be times when the ice is SOJIl&. what thin and you had better walk qircumspect1y. But when that happens, keep yom brains tumfng
104 • rile r.,.,.ty.fllt,., letf.,
over, your heart sending out all the love you. can manage, your mind still grateful, and. YOUT mouth shut.
Like I said, I amrea11y somewhat handicapped here due to my own good fortune and because most of the in-law problems I've seen close up have been of a diHerent type. The sticky ones I've gotten into involved how his mother felt about her daughter-in-law. Some of these have been downright 'brutal and their gory details would add very little to how anyone, male OT female, should behave themselves in any relationship.
Except for these things about getting oH on the right foot, I've just about shot my wad on this subject. Only, I do have one thing in my files I'd like to pass along before I sign off. It is a letter from one who knew the problem firsthand and worked it through to a good conclusion. In part. the letter reads:
In-laws are people, only they are people who have had the advantage of being close to the one you love before you came along. Right off the bat that could place you in an unpopular spot with them and vice versa.
Looking back over some of roy own experiences, I would say that since in-laws are people, they should be treated as you treat other people. If you just aw·t tolerate them, you can be as courtoous as pollSl'ble when vou are forced to be with them. This ought not to be impossible. If you work with people you don't like, you usually manage to tolerate them. Perhaps it might help to think of them that way while you pray for a breakthrough.
Another thing I would do is try Dever to initiate the negative. I£ they really are impossible, your
IN-lAWS. 105 mate will probably bring that up often enough to assure you that you might be thinking straight if you don't like them. In your early days together, chances are good that a few "Yes, dears" are about all that will be needed from your side. One uf the main requirements is sympathy. There should be sympathy for your mate who has suffered a whole tot longer than you have with this kind of people. Then there should also be that kind of sympathy which recognizes that ugly people have ugly problems causing them to do what they do. You might get some help if you think how tough it must be to feel like they feel Another big need is the kind of inner honesty which faces the mct that nobody likes everybody. Maybe you wouldn't like you either if you thought like they did. And if you don't like them. there's a whole lot less turmoil inside yon if you take it phi1~5ophically and determine you will not be a hypocrite. The hypocrlsy that pretends too much finally becomes a terrible hurden, It eventually does you in because it has a million tendons reachfng out to every comer of your heart. If you let their nastiness and your dishonesty about it grow unrlerground without ever exposing it to the light, it finally destroys your peace and ends in self-hatred.
If 9. husband and wife can learn to share these things together at the right time in a nice way, they can usually work out some mutual means of helping each other. If they will do this, then all the people who would divide them and B1l the things that pull others apart can actually work the other way.
Great think:in.g there, isn"t it? Keep still when JOn sheuld, speak up when yOll have to, and de-
The Twenty-sb:th Letter:
ARMUP SEX-THE TWENTY-YEAR W .
Dear Phil,. in this letter is that
What I want you to see. h
time to bring a WODlaIl to er
takes a long .' . ble with SD many men
glory sexqally. The troube "out of this world"
that they expect sex to thin
. . at its greatest is some g
mediately. But sex ,. th years pass,
te by careful attention as e how
erea . e thoughts on.
hI ofEer you now som ' n d of
is w Y f maximum sez at th.e en
treat a woman 01'
first two decades together., t fact that
Let"s begin with the all-imporlan it
. . will respond foyOUt' manlines" more
woman . tihe is a woman. In other
116'Oer forgel that . the difEerence
you must educate yomse1f m
the sexes. . . la Is to remember that
A good starting P ce much slower than
responses are. general1If Y are a normW. husband Let's get specific. _ you deal more will be thinking iibout SeJ: a great reading this
wife. For instance. you are
in which the author uses someel begin
his message. hnmedia.t y y~ the
convey . Marilyn, reading
with the ~ 'eel· .. 'or "How
d . ti th:iDJa; .now D1
escnp on ho will inherit Auot Phcl608
ac "I won~ w
lionsr . lies to pictures.
The same t1Dng app
SEX-IlIE TWEN1'Y-YEAIt WARMUP. 107 geous nudes and near-nudes all over the place these days may drive us wild with desire. All the while our mate, reacting like a true woman, .might be thinking "Such a ridiculous hairdo]"
Ditto for what we see in the flesh. FollOwing an .Ifternool) at the beach we may be in a frenzy to elhnh into bed. What is she feeling? She may be musing "I hope I didn't get too sunburned" Dr -rhat was a flne new recipe for fried chiclren~ Dr
-Pdn't the children have funr"
It isn't that sex is less important to her. In fact. die paradox is that it may be more so. We see it • a momentary blast, a great, exciting release .. For .. it's an aU-inclusive relationship that takes in .acb more than what happew in the act itseH. -lD one sense everything we have been saying in previous letters represents sex for a woman: compliments, the fragments of devohow you treat her in public, whether you. her new blouse, that telephone call this lillIling, some unexpected gift you bought her. way you treat the children, whether you let her
-"""IJL-O .... these are apart of her sa lifel For Jt may be It biological matter of the moment. her it's more likely to be the total union of Jives culmJnaliog right now in full espression belonging.
other words, if you are typically male, sex is
to be a dominant feature of your attitude maniage. Sure. there are other nice things, roads lead to sex. But for her. marriage is totality of relationships, one expression ol
Js the sa- act. 11ris understanding is imp or)'Our long-range thinking. Treatfilg her right is partially a matter of re-educating your understand hers.
106 • ,It. TtnnfY4l:dh leffer wiD make aD. family ~e together that you
mak our love stronger.
problems ... e Y and having good in-laws,
Yams for being Dad
Ial • fh T .. ftty.sJxtfll r..tt.r
With this background it will be obvious that two key wmw for !lour own sa fnrinlng are "nm-alnf'" and "timing,-
I have a Fren.chman friend who says, -eet ees better to make luf wnce a veek for seven h~ zan sewn times a veek for vun hour." I have always thought him somewhat addled and a bit too lady-like. Here it seems to me he is leaning to his feminine side. But what he says is worth thinking through. He is emphasizing the point that for a woman quality matters more than quat'atity.
Not so for you. eqleCially during your early days 85 a husband. You"re making up for lost time. You have a great reserve of pent-up feeling. During your early days together, and perhaps for a long time. you1l bave trouble holding yourself back. But the day should come when your mind turns to hot.o rather than how often, and that will be the day you begin moviog your maniage toward long-range
Some young husbands take it as a personal insult
if their wife isn't one hundred percent enthusiastic one hundred percent of the time •. Part of this may have its origin in those stories we have read where every woman in the afBee is some kind of nympha hardly able to wait till Bve o'clock to burst into Sames.
Whenever you read or hear things like this will do well to 0001 it with a couple of facts. is that these tales are often put together by sex-starved male who is, getting his jollies his fantasies. Or be may be so aberrant that only .satisfaction he can experience is via his nation. You better remember also that these OIl girls who do toss their torsos aD over the or over-paint or undar-dress, may actually be
SEX-THE TWENTY·YfAJ, W.AJlMUP • 109 fuI people who have no other sex life than what you see. (I will never fo.rget that day in the barbershop when the headlines were ma\ing a great hulabaloo about this American millionaire who had married an Egyptian belly dancer. The gang was discussing. as barbenilioppers are prone to do, what this was about. Whereupon the old barber droned. "If he wanted what I think he wanted he should have married some country girl from Iowa''')
RigbtI Sex flaunted in public is probably nothing more than that-flaunted sexl But if you hope someday to be where the 'action is, then take it from Dle--sex at its greatest is likely to be the do-it-yourself project of a thinking hus band,
There are several "timing'" secrets I have observed among the ~erts. One is that they are willing to let half pleasure ga for full pleasure later. They know that in even the best marriages there will be ups and downs, Sometimes all a wife wants is to be left alone. SOP So the wise loV6f' learns to control his exuberance while the fool proceeds full Iteam ahead. By forcing the issue he gets what he wanted tonight. But what does that prove? To himself it may prove his virility. But what does it prove to her? H it only proves to her that he's selIsh, or a bore. he hasn't gained one thing-he's lost I whole loti
Another thing the wise husband knows is that eobody gets the same results every time. So th.i.t particular session was something less than a wow. What does he do now? He refuses to panic. He laDs himself that there will still be high-voltage days and other nighb to go native.
Then, too, the expert at love recognizes that a w.nan can enjoy sex in an entirely diBerent way - her man. Let me share with you here some-
110 • rIM rwenry-sbt" Leffel'
thing a young wife said to me in consultation, She had come for help because her husband was one of those pushers who leept b:asisting that there .was only one manner of sex satisfaction, name?, hisl
What she said was. "'I wish be would qmt pressiDg me to get as excited as he does. I. could enjoy it so much more if he would let me enJOY the closeness while he enjoys the excitement. Is it SO WI~g for me sometimes to think of sex purely as my ministry to his needs? MUlit I alwa!ls feel like he feels?"
The right answer is a great big :resounding ,"No'" T et ~en some of the marriage manuals stick to the premise that a man is something l~ than all man unless he can bring his wife to climax every
In my experience as a oounselor rd have to take
issue with their assumption. I know that there are DUDlel'OUS happy marriages, where the wife, . at least part of the time, gets her thrills from thrilling h~ husband. H you do badger your woman at this poiDt you may drive her into a frustration that can only work one way-negative, Rule: Never let. your neurotic needs take precedence over her feelings I
Freedom to express your desireS is II. great but. for the Brst twenty years, remember it's goal than reality. Sure an 1IIlinlu"hited sex life what you want. But you won't get it by crushil18 her ideas of how it. should be with your ideas how it should be. The eventual aim is: total dom to experiment and let yourself go. There in6nite variations in a full sex life and. nU:lDberl~:lSI approaches. The fact is that nothing you do in rlage is wrong provided U iloesn'j hurt either bBf' to the union physfcaUy or emoffonDlly, But last word is loaded. Unless you bring her slowly you may destroy more in one night than
SEX-THE TWENTY-YEAR WUMUP • III would t::ab years to recover. So the wise husband paces himself with in6nite tenderness I He moves toWard harmony, slowly. He knows that with some things it isn't how much OJ" how often. but how well Sex is one of thesel
Here is another thin:gthe good lover knows, He " aware that he can warm his woman with words before he et)OO lays d hand on her.
I am not taIJting here about the £act that you must let each other know what you like and don't like semally; the things you are .feeling; the thougbl3 yOU.1lr6 thinking What I would IiIre to coovey is th.estimulating power of language pr0perly used as a part of good foreplay in sex.
I once asked a group of women to write down their thoughts on compliments. Some amazing Ihingt turned up. I suppose it was because they were doing thi<J anonymously, but several included their favQJj.te phrases of praise from the bedroom.
Out of more than fifty entries I pass along here «De solid note of warning, which appeared several times, and a few sure wiDners.
Warning: Women resent compliments if the ~y .. they hear are sex gimmicks. Here are some pools to the point:
"'How' can men be such UDimaginative moroD!l? 'DIe only time my husband tells me rm nice is when lie wants SaL" ..• "'Whenever he get rhetorical, I IiDow what's coming, ..... "He never :flatters me un... we're in bed." •.. "'My husband has a string of What I caD 'bedtime lyrics." Just once I wish he Would teD me I'm nice without an ulterior motive," 'Ibat: sound you heat may be a snos:t from the of Casanova. No expert lover would make
stupid misblkes. Tell yourself repeatedly that must avoid anything that smacks of "using'"
"ther thm loving. The surest safeguard. obviously. b to praise her biscuits and ber housekeeping; how wen she manages yourmooey; bCIW Dice she ~ at the party; the new' BpI'OD she made; and snything else yOU like about her.
Sm: for a woman 15 one of those ult:raseDSitive things in which it is ahnost impossible to hide false
motives. Therefore, if you want your sez ~e to rank with the best. you'd better keep checking to be, sure that sincerity is a big part of the total re-
Now let's tum to seme SIlf8 winDers.
One woman wrote: "I think the little secret compliments you have together mean more to a woman than anything eke. I love those intimate assurances that I have been thrilli:ng to my hus-
Some. of the more darlDg entries prove that this
lady thinks like a true woman.
"SometimeS when we are done making love my
husband says. 'I, too, have livedl' That's JOy favorite." ... "One of his cutest compliments is, 'Wh~ever I look at, you in that, it's like all roy evll thoughts put together in onel'" ... -Would you believe it? Sometimes he reads me The Song of Solomon before we make love. Times like these mean everything to me.-
Note how these center on II man"s assurance ~at
he is being satisfied. This is terribly important to ~ woman. Not only does she want to feel that she 15 ful6lling the basic female function of 1?leasing her mate but she Ioves to know that he will be carrying ~velY memories to feed back into his thoughts.
While we're talking about language and thinp to say. it is well to touch also on what shouldn t said. If I were you I would put away forever
SEX-ntl1WEN1Y-YEAI WAIIMIJII • lla my vocabulary such words as ~frigid," "cold. JO IX' anything frosty that you might be tempted to hurl in a moment of letdown. As we have said, a woman has a way of becoming what you tell her she is. The language you use aha has twenty~yesr ramifications.
Guard your words for propriety. Modesty is terribly important for some. Others react favorably to a sptitlIdiDg of "earthy expressions. Some girls are terribly nalVo. Others have heard too much. If I were you I would give same thought to the vocabulary of sex. You make B serious mistake whenever you build up defenses- in her at any point" where you should be leaving thoughts of high expectation.
While we're on the praise and propriety theme be sure you make a swing by the store occasionally on your way home. How about some bewitching odeur or a gossamer wisp of something? A smaD remembrance like this now and then may be just the thing to back your words. You've got to save money someplace. but ODe place never to do it :is on women's lingerie. Make your purchase and rhapsodize. Even with the high cost of beefsteak shell love you for such extravagance.
Before I sign off let me remind you again what we've taught you at home as the basic fact about sex. This is that sex is a gift at God and there II absolutely nothing negative about it when 1(8 right.
That. I'm sure you have discovered. is much easier to say than to practice. For more than twenty years the negative has been hurled at you from all points of the compass. All these things have left their imprint. Sometimes your imaginaticm went wild and you wondered if you weren't one of the devil's angels with Se.J: where your braiIw ought to be.
114 • TIM ' .... n,.,....v.llfh Utt.,.
Then you met Marilyn end yall kneW that was good. But here, too, there was negative in the positive. You fought to control yourself aDd it was one grim battle for sure.
At last you were married1 Great day1 Suddenly
it was legal1 You were free to let yOUJself go. BUi there were still these old hangers-On. and bow can a man view as all-good what he bas been lighting as half-bad? The answer. of course, is that it wiD. take time and patience and a gradual reori8lltation
of your attitudes and hers.. .
So that's yOW' aim. In my judgment It is one of
the highest goals any husband can set £00: ~elf. To tram yourself in the art of total maPliness 15 a . noble undertaking. To educate the woman you love in fuD expression of her womanline5s, well, that's a privilege too great to describe in woros.
I,wish you the best. If you do give it your best,
beginning right now, and stay ~ it ~efnlly for soroething like twenty years, the timfl will come when yOU will know what the Bible means when it says, "male and female created he them ... and God saw everything that he had made. and. behold.
it was very good,"
Keep the home fires burnin& Vad
The Twenty-seventh r.etter=
INFIDEL1TY Dear Phil.
It is Late. but before 1 go to bed I want to tel
you som.ething I heard this evening. It follows hard on the heels of what I wrote you today about seL This man phoned while we were having dinner
INPIDEUIY • 115 and he had to see me right then. So we met at
. ted our
appom spot and it was plain to see he
He wasted no time getting to his problem. Defore I could ask him the usual questiOWI about ~Y' business, or eveo. "'What's opr he began pounog out his story •
. Same song. next verse! Anyone who rotm.Sels Wlthpeople hean it over and over mW. over-and ~'ve already caught an. The poor dev:fl too8 in ~ous ~uble. ~ wile found out today that he 1& playmg around (his words). When be anived home this evening,. there were his bags on the hont step, Sbe had packed them thoroughly and attached a note. lfu hand shook as he banded It to me. What it said was that she was through; to'morrow she would see a lawyer; she didn"t care if she never laid eyes on him again; she would do aD she could to :fix it so he" d never see the children. She also said she hated him and, for an .w cared, he could "drop deadJ'"
He was totally shattered. My heart went out to ~. It always gets me to see a grown man cry and this was no ett:eption. He admitted he had it c0ming. She had caught him in a carefolly laid trap and was there anything 1 could doP
Time was when I thought the rigbtlhing at times ~e ~ was a sermon on the text "Be sure your I1DJl will find you out," But that day is long gone. When a man confesses IUs guilt that:freely what he needs is an ear to bear him through; 8 fumd to help him put the pieces back together; and a couple of feet headed in the direction of his hoose to see if shell reconsider. She usually 'Will if she is given lOme lime to get her temperature down. When her rage subsides, the road looks terribly desolate as
116 • The 'wenty-seveltfft L.Her
she sees herself going it alone with. the children. Then, too, she begins to ask herself some questions about her place in their marriage and is she partly
So, III wait for a. hunch that this is the hour and
then I'll move in. You add your prayers to mine that we caD get this nest back up there where it
But the things he kept saying that I wanted to
pasS' on were these agonizing cries from deep inside:
"How could I be such an assi' I don't blame her. I don't hate her. But I sure do hate mer
In all my counseling with adulterers, it seems to me that this shame turned in on oneself is the major penalty. This is why the man who admits his guilt needs no lecturing from me, Hell give himself the full treatment, and it's pure hell for the fellow whose conscience is jumping up and down on his broken spirit. Of cou.rse if he won't admit it, that's something else. But even the refusal to come clean is often only a smoke screen to avoid facing the terrible truth.
This is how we are. When we were put together. our Creator wrote certain irrefutable laws in the heart of us men. One of these is that wrong must first be settled with Him before it can be made ri~t elsewhere. No matter bow we try to dodge it,. the truth is that what we think of ourselves matters more in the long run than what other people think. 'This includes friends, enemies, employers, employees. neighbors, kinfolk. .. the boys," "those go:ys," other women. and irate wives. We can go to the ends of the earth, or a million other places, to put distance between ourselves and anyone else. But because we are made as we am, we caD never, ever, get away from usl
Th~ say it is possible for B man to kill his CODSClence. But do you think he can? I've met a lew who seemed to have that job done. Yet for each of. these rve known dozens who had on1y push~ It so far down inside they Simply couldn't hear It any more. Then one day it pushed over the tombstone where they thought they had buried it ~anently. And from what I've seen there is DO~.wOJ'Se than these inner voices of integrity wbispeti.ng, shouting, leering "Boo. remember me?'"
This has to be one of the worst features of In£ideUty. No matter how much a man rationaliz . his position, he knows he has taken a route th: lea~ away from. the real. problem. He may be looking Only for biological release. He may be ge~ sympathy .&om the other woman, which he ~'t feel from his wife. It may be that he is lillIDply swept up in the excitement of clandestine amour, There may be numerous other satisfactions. But somehow they can never balance his failure to work things out right where he knows be should. He's £ailed at the ODe place where he wanted to succeed. and this depreciate& his opinion of himself. He has taken the coward's way out, and men don't like cowards. At the heart of any male worthy of his name is the knowledge that great victo~ don't come cheap.
The further down life's road you go, the more you will learn that discipline, commitment, and plain. oJd~fasbion~, manly guts are no small part of the thrill of livmg. The real prize comes only to the man who works things through until he can stand at the mirror and say, ""Well, it wasn't easyl But I like what I see looking back at me."
It was foolish of me to overlook ~ part of the sex theme when I wrote you earlier today. The
half. . INFIDEUTY • 119
won. It was a great reaJiza .
caught on to the fact th non for me when I
relationship is to be ho at r: of the perfect sex
eluding th nes a out evervthin .
e part that bamboozl ..,. r .... LLLlg. m-
him feel Uk . • es a man and makes
e something out of th . gl
Of course you mwt go t this ~ jun e.
whole thing properl B a nght and pace the women brought al y. ut you can believe me. good
facility for sh . ODthg carefully. have a wonderful
anng ese tht E
do not feel th . . ,mgs. ven though they
. e sex urge like w feel I
equipped.th . .. e ee It, they ... -
WI· somethin th ~ '"
understand al. g at enables them to
_1..__ IlIl e tendencies if we <ri. th
1'1IM.1.lC6. The woman wh truI . b'" ve em a
to .know what h' L\.'_~"_ Y loves her man wants
e s I..W:llJU.l.lg-all of 't,
Your ther - 1
mo er is a real ace at this
feeling Mari1yn will be too if • and I have a
One way to do it right . ~ou do your part.
honest versions of wh t 1S to evelop your own
a ever it tak t .
message through : "All lis Ides a get this
Eo J....~~_~ roa ea home! Thank
r ~ so great that ali the interestin tu
meet make me want to J.. , g peop e I
you are. _ " back: to where
Then when you .
authenti CODVlDce her that this is
C, you can develop a nice littl
tween you In' h . e game be-
. It s e says what she thinb
you do. She encourages you to talk £reel band types you prefer. who you find interestinY a ~ut
:7 you on, and the whole biL She has '!:o;inat
ear now. Neither do you. Your m ' . g
of the rare ones where nobod . arliage as one how healthy I y hides, and, oh boy,
Sex at its best is based
a spiritual _1_' • on truth. At its best it Is
relattonshtp in which bod '
soul respond honestl ith y, mmd, and
Creator, who loves y~ ~ a s:g of praise to the to love each other mue that' He made you
11 a • Til. TW.nty...-en,II ~r
reason, you will realize, is a compliment to you. It never even crossed my mind that you would take the easy way. Knowing you as I do, rm sure you'll work things out right where they should be worked out. But as I look back honestly on my own days of early marriage, I realize there were lots of t:bings in my head that surprised and bothered me. Being a chip off the old block. the same thing may happen to you. It does to a lot of fellows. In fact. I've known plenty of men wen enough to know that this is actually standard equipment on some; of the best models.
When a man mllJTi.es, he ties himself up to one
woman because be has decided that she has what he wants, what he Deeds, what he longs for. Then, of all the crazy things-other women are still
at1:xactive. Maybe his sex life with his chosen isn't everything he thought it would be. Or, perhaps it is just great, thank yout Yet his n::rind continues to wander. 1'here are still good-looking legs besides his wife's, and other feminine foI1IlS going by with devastating allure. Sometimes his thoughts are enough to make him wonder. Is he some kind of freak. maybe the number-one evil mind of all
He isn'tl Neither are you. You're a red-blooded,
aU-American. virile youth, and the more you're getting at home, the more thoughts of sex may be right up there at the fore in your head, your veins,
your whole bei.J;l.gl
So, what can you do about it? I mean after you
accept it as natural and see it as a real challenge to your total manhood. what can you do?
One of the finest things you can do is to share your struggle with Marilyn. With me, inner battles shared with the person I love most are aheady
IV I htlt letter
120 • T"e Twelt -<It D' , . tiful. It is holy, But it
This kind of sex 15 beau all part
h for 'You that no sm
is also fua, and I o~ 'g thingS at home so you
of the fun will be deve °hPm because the real thing
, d to go elsew ere,
won t nee. d thing could be finer.
is right there, an no Faithfu]ly,
, . thin your mother ever
P S One of the nieest gs h "ng all these
' . . aft we began s an
for roe was shortly . er he dug up this old provthings From somewhere s
. lt D my heart;
erb and wrote 1 0 . • ds . f tem...hotion &om
• k the bir 0 l:'~
God doem teep H only asks that we keep
B.ym' g over our heads. e, hair!
building nests In our
them Erom _. good to bow that this
N- Isn't it? And it 15 so
is bow it is.
The Twenty-eighth Letter: ,.
.'EXCEPT THl: LORD BUILD THE HOUSE
Dear Phil. . ibl 'ten suggests that
On £ the anCIent B e wn ,~L __ ...... l. eo· ith lantern, gomg Ull ..... UOU
God is like a. man WI 3. h he can build
1-,_ fa people on w om. .
time, loolUUg il" e. . ou and Marilyn IS
his kingdom. Our hope far r been looking £or that he might one day say, "I ve
you a long m:ne,... ee down the road oE hirtor)'
Even a q~ck ~o civilization bas qualiHed to makes it plain that the place are solemn date. Bleaching bones all ~ver ho thought they had evidence that lots of peep e w
it made clidn't. . of men will ever get
Do you suppose any ra~ One way we can be the job do?e? If S?, ;;wa lucky row of numbed
sure it won t come IS e
MEXan THE LORD lUnD THE.HOUSI" • 121 on a bingo card. Strength. of Qhara.cter doesn't develop by chance.
So where is our hope? Is it in churches more honest and up to date, Gner schools, new forms of government? WiD the kingdom come when our economy is finally balanced? Does it wait for an end of poverty, seoond-dass citizenship, war? Or does it depend on greater technology, faster space craft, some fresh new inHuences from beyond our own planet?
Doubtless some combination of all these fnfIu. eaces will be part of the eventual answer, But you can put me down as one who believes that when Ufe is finally what it ought to be. the mafor sourceaf man's new greatness will be the home. IiI put my money on' this possibility-that the King_ dom of God will rome when the family is all it should be and marriage between the soru; and daughters of the Lord has reached its full potential.
It does make sense, doesn't it? This is the place of our earliest influence. Over- a normal life span most of us put in 9. major portion of our time at home. We ~ence our most intimate relationships there. From t:1m base we learn most 01 our habits. develop most of our emotional reactions, ma1ce oW' Brst decisions on values, Small wonder tell us that this :is life's number one shaper of destiny. It is,
What I hope I have given you here is the feeling how well you succeed in your marriage may an. effect far down into eternity.
Yet a serious study of maniage these days does us wonder. There are too many breaks in ought to be solid, and cracks that shouldn't be. does thi's happen? Nearly one hundred per-
of those with whom I stand at the altar expect
122 • Til. Tw."", .. ,,,h,,. an.,
to live haPPily ever after. When they promise to cherish each other forever they really mean what they say. But one day the honeymoon ends and there are bills to pay and diShes to do and bosses to please and floors to scrub and more bills and more dishes and more bills and ~gadl Did you see this bill for i:nsm'BIICeP'" and she's talldng about a new dishwasher and "'Who spent $10:90 at the drugstoreP'" and "Why does he just sit there watchmg his stupid game,. never making one move to help me with these dishesr
So this is the real. ever a£teri' What became of his ~eet talk and where did her glamor go and -why should I work so hard if he's not going to try?'" and "'Ibis time it's her turn to apolc:tgi2et ..
Thus, little by little the foundation begins to weaken. Then one day she comes, or he comes, or they both rome wanting to know what can be done to seal the rift and get things back like they were at the time of their lovely beginning.
Most nti:nisters these days spend baum counseling with couples in some kind of 1rOuble. You can take my word for it, those of us. who deal with marital difficulties hear everything iDlagiDable and some things you would hardly believe. To show you what I mean here are a few common and Dotso-common quotes how my study-notebook:
'"He won't talk." • • . "She never shuts up." . . .
"Hls folb never COOle over.· . • . Her's won't go away." •..• "He drinks too much," ••.• "She overeats." , • . "'His manners are atrocious," . • . "She thinks she's Lady Astor" ••• "He thinks every move I make is a sex move." . • . !'be only thing she makes is excuses.'" ••• "He needs a pSYChiatrist."
• • . "She"s obviOusly all her rockerl"
I could go on like this for hours. Sometimes their
''Oem THE LORD BUILD THE' HOUSE" • '21 prob!ems are bivial. We wonder why they can't laugh. Others are rather simple. With adjustments here and there these breaks are easily mended. But then. there are those irl which _~H-..._ h
far. ..- .. .....,c~" ave gone
too • There is little to do but weep now. These
~ps are dreadfully wide and can anyone close this Wisure?
Because f:h.i.g is how it is. I have come to beli that my part as third person at the altar is to sav some things loud and clear before we get th y I am. ~e marrying couples who want a big cb.;: wedding _ only bemuse that's how they always ~~ It, or because some member of the family IS sentimental, or because everybody who is anybody does it like this. From here on in I intend to my at the rehearsal:
:"Except the Lord build the house they labor in vam who build it! Tomorrow this wedding begins with ~e words 'Dearly beloved we are assembled her.e m the presence of God to inin this d
this. I~ man an
~ in holy wedlock. which is instituted of God. Don t ever forget it. This is no fashion show D?~ a. gathering of high society, nor a tip of tra: dition s hat before we adjourn fOI cocktails. We are coming together to establish a new home where
:: ~ .. can accomplish his purpose and establish
Of course there will be those who wonder '"What·, bugging himP'" U anyone should voice the question, I could teD them wha~s bugging him. It is the ~dy parade of those who come with the brobo pecos and broken vows and broken hearts
Like I say. I really do think they meaGt it' when they pledged their love "Till death do us partfBut here they are pointing the Bnger. blaming each
1%4 • TIle 'Fwanfr4l .. ",. ...,...
other. excusing themselves. ratilmaljziug, justilyiDg the breakup-
-.: shnply dan't care 8llY more." ••• ~y feelings
are tharoogbly dead." ... ""But you did care once. didn't you?" •.• -You promised to love forever'-
. . . .0 sure. tba.tlll _ • • "But we were so immature'- , . . -We didn't know all the involvementsl" • • , "'I really don't think it could possibly
They're right. It couldn't. It never could. f!/!Iet,
the way they'w been building.. 'The trouble is no f)ef'ticalsl Nothing but horizontals. No upward
This is why I spend CODSidemb1e time in mar-
riage consultation talking about prayer. In my opinion nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, mattei'S more than this: Can these two children of God accept: the £act that he made them and brought them together to create something not first for themselves but lint for hbD? And it they can believe drls then the next question is: -wm you open the cb.anDels daily for his spirit to touch your spirib and his love to come into your homer
I have seen marriages that looked for aD the world 1ikethey were shattered beyond any earthly power to put them back together. And they were. But some of these are still going on and going greater tbm ever because they learned .to ~y. So help me, this is a fact. I have never knOwn couple who prayed together woo didn't find f1J4TriagB moving toWtU'd deeper growing inner- toy, and a fiRet'. fuller love.
There wiD. be days when you simply won't time for an you would like to do. Almost .. "",-nrnni I know who has a. living to earn and a home manage feels baIried and Jmn;ied more than
"EXCEPT THE LOID BUIlD THi HOUSE"
. • 125
wishes he did But the truth is that
do manage to live with a kind of inne~o~ple
How. do they do this? H you were to ask them they might tell you that they don't do it t all Th~ secret is that everything they do is do a
an Inner center of reference. ne from
d Your. bom~ can know this presence and set itself
own m this peace. But it won't come without effort. This is why jf I were you I would detlH"l"n;y.,
that nothing will talc ~ ........ e
look e precedence over this-that
you to the Lord together at least once
. Sometimes it should be an unhnnied block of tu:ne when you hold hands and discuss what you WISh to pray about. Then you bow your beads and one of you prays aloud, 01" you both do, or maybe even better you pray silently, each talking to God as you understand him. Then them can be other days when you spend only a few moments for the vertical thrust
The truth is that "How to pray?" isn't nearly as important as "Do you pray?" If you do pray and ~y re~ly, yon will be led to ways of p:.ayer t are nght for you and this is what matters.
So the rule for married prayer is: "We will
for each other and with each other E _L pray will .. very uay we
pray and the more we have to do the
... __ -',. be mare
...e WLLI remem r to pray'"
Sure there. are homes where God is left out and
they never pray and still they hold t........... :r
.... 1"..:1 th J o"' ........ er, m
........ at II true. It is obvious that we need perma-
of every kind. But from what I've seen this holds: The kind of h0tne8 we most need are where two Uvea ate being drawn tl;Jgethe1- by holy love greater than their own.
So we hope your rea leaves read well, and your
126 • Th. Twenty-rdn, .. ...".r the sign of your stars crystal ball looks g~ an! smooth sailing, calm is pramising. We wish y. smile. May you
b .,""· ... te. May fortune waters, on ....... l:I .....
have good luck. d Marilyn plus every
All these we want for you an d uld possibly
h the human min co eed
other happy ope ft. true we would n
t ,£ as so 0 en IS. • h
concoct Bu. lX, th great W1S we
. ish th eone
to limit our WlS es, en 1 to be open to
have for you is that you may earn
Divine love. . that God never quits loving.
Actually the truth L5 . t of the time, knock-
He's there one hundr&d percen
iDg. waitin~, hopin~ truth. what any ma,rriage
In the light of .th th .. Infinite, When
• tune WI '"
needs is to. keep m d his And wbat he does
part he oes· ed'
you do your. his in a saCI' trIune
is to draw your love to
relationship, .' ced this canteU you
Those who have expenen
there is DO greater love. Prayerfully,
The TwenffI..ninth Letter:
MAN WHO HAD A L'THING" THE
Dear Phil. . .th a man who. had a
I used to hunt ducks rals had a .. thing" about .. thing about his guns. ~e wi~ some special kind my gun. He polished ;:s bananas. And he ate of oil, which smelled e th ducks weren't
, th blind whenever . e In
out.l.O e didn't smell like bananas.
because my gunhad scratches on the
gun even same
THE MAN WHO HAD A "THINO ABOUT GUNS" • 127 part. It also had some terrible stuff called "pitting" in the bane} and he said tb.is was because I didn't clean it 6rst thing when I got home after a hunt.
But there were some good reasons why I kept bunting with this firearm pedectionist. He WQS a member of the best: duck lease on the river and I wasn't. He was also chairman of the board at our church and we could talk business to and fro. The third reason wasn't so good. He was having trouble with his wife and I hoped we might be able to save the maniage.
But we couldn't, Finally. she gave up. They got a divorce. It was one of those cases that would make a grown man cry .. There he wouJd sit in his beautiful den-antelope heads. stuffed pheasants, lush white rug made from the hide of a mountain goat. cabinet full of beautiful guru all polished with oil that smelled like bananas.
He would stand there by the case taking them out and handling them with tender, loving care. Then he would remember the way my gun looked and take olE 'again on one of his diatribes about the care of guns. This never failed to shame me and I wouJd go home determined to get out my gun and clean it like it had never been cleaned before.
But do you know what happened? When I arrived she would be waiting for me at the dOOI"". we would sit down on our rocking love seat, hands, visit,. and like that. In less time than takes to look ]nto her eyes, I completely forgot noble resolve to love my gun with more
The other day as I was thinking back qn all this, idea occurred to me. Funny, isn't it, how SO often get these brilliant thoughts too Iate?
121 • f". r-JStr-I'I'ntfJ ........
What happened was that my banana-o.ll brother would always iDclude in his lectures at least one reference like this: "1 just can't understand how B man could invest so much :in B. gun and then let it go to potl"
The thought that came to me was, "'Why didn't
I Hgure up how much it east him to get his wife? Courtship expenses-movies. flowers. dinners, gifts: postage, the wedding.' All the food she's eaten through the years. clothes she's bought, medicine, It really would be a tidy sum, wouldn't it?'"
Then I could have said "My dear Whoozitl You are absolutely rightl Let us now tum your brilliant observation to other things. Isn't a man a fool to invest so much in marriage and then let it go
He sure would be, wouldn't heP
Carry on, Dad
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