dear readers: agreeing in principle disagreeing in practice

Readers, here's a conundrum that doesn't seem to fall under any principle of Fascinating Womanhood. What do you think a woman should do in the following situation?

Dear Readers,

What should a woman do when, in compromise between husband and wife, a husband agrees to x thing but then when x thing occurs becomes upset. On the woman's side this is a "but you promised" situation, on the man's side it is a "yes, but that was before" situation.

For example, suppose Jerry asks his wife, Nancy, if it's okay for him to go on an optional business conference. In the course of making the decision Jerry agrees that Nancy may go to a retreat she wants to attend later in the year. As the time approaches to finalize plans for Nancy's trip another business conference comes up. Jerry would love to go, it's an amazing chance for his career, much better than the business conference he went to earlier in the year. Unfortunately, they can only pay for one of the trips. Now Nancy is torn because if she allows Jerry to go to this business conference she will be resentful. On the other hand, Jerry is very upset about not going to this business conference which is making life unpleasant for Nancy - and may continue to do so once she returns.

Keeping in mind that Nancy really wants both her and Jerry to be pleased, what should Nancy do?

Thank you readers, male or female, for your comments.

~ Miss Liss
Disclaimer: this example is a piece of fiction, a hypothetical example.

  1. I am grateful for my readers.
  2. I am grateful for the colors of fall - here in my temperate climate.
  3. I am grateful for crunchy leaves.
  4. I am grateful my husband will run errands for me.
  5. I am grateful for hugs.


Kate the Great said...

I think the most difficult part of any marriage is determining how to equalize situations between two genders with two needs that are vastly different.

Is it fair that I, as the fascinating woman, can do many tasks at the same time and so, can complete a lot of housework at one time? Especially when my dear husband focuses his energies on one task at a time, and so has less time to complete tasks?

In the case of Jerry and Nancy, I think it would help Nancy a lot to choose to view the situation differently. Yes, she wants very much to go on that trip. And yes, her husband is now withdrawing a previous promise. That is a difficult situation and I believe where the resentment is coming from - she resents that her previously reliable husband has become unreliable in her eyes.

There are two parts to her viewing the situation differently. I recommend first, that Nancy make a list of the times her darling Jerry has put her needs before his. Perhaps she could even ask his help with this - 'Honey, I'm putting in writing all the times you've done sweet things for me that were a sacrifice for you. I know how modest you are, but are there any that were particularly difficult for you? I'd like to write some of the things you were feeling..."
He gets to 'help' and she gets to hear those things from his perspective.

Another change in view may happen when Nancy shares her feelings with Jerry about the broken promise. Just talking this out (and being vulnerable in the process) may help her feel less like the victim (ie, the one who has lost something) She can see that as a couple they are losing something - her trip that they agreed on. The loss is theirs, together - not just hers. By viewing it this way and being able to 'restore' her view of her husband to reliability, she may feel more content about the disappointment they are both facing.

No husband is perfect, and I may be infusing Jerry with qualities of my own husband (who isn't perfect, and still tries to keep his promises.) Still, I strongly believe most husbands want to be the hero.

I hope that helps! Please let us know how it works out for Nancy and Jerry.

miss liss said...

This comment is a posting of the response sent via email to me from Gaile:

oh well the thing there is wife should submit to their husband as of the Lord anyway, i know it would be unfair to nancy's part if she won't be going to the said retreat of her in exchange to jerry's another business conference...

Men think bigger things than women does and Men are the one who does for the's their role
Let's use our sympathetic understanding Make way for jerry(your husband)

In due time He will realize how understanding are you and appreciate the patience and understanding you have implanted...
support him instead of murmuring
Besides. our Basic role- wives is to take care of our family; children, husband, home, house and last? OURSELVES... having that retreat is just our second priority

God Bless Your Heart woman of the LORD :)

miss liss said...

Reader, Pearl, and her husband, Adrian, discussed the situation. This is their response:

In my husband and I's opinion it would depend on the situation. Is Jerry's business trip beneficial to the family? If so, then Jerry should go but that does not give him the right to act stupid about it. If it is not truly beneficial, then the original plans should be kept and Nancy should be able to go to her retreat. There are usually several business conferences in corporate America businesses. One similar if not exactly the same will come back around.

When asked if I could post her response, Pearl included this clarification:

I just wanted to clear one point up about Jerry not acting stupid. I meant it as he should not act out or make her feel bad about him not being able to go if it does not benefit them. Nancy more than likely truly desires to go on this retreat and Jerry should place her needs at this time above his own especially when she did that for him.

Buffy said...

Presumably the husband's job is supporting both of them?

If so then I would think the best course would be for her husband to attend the businss conference which will be of benefit to the family. The retreat should be postponed, but made the next priority when they have the money. The husband should make sure he starts putting away any spare money he has for the retreat, rather than spending it on himself. The wife should be gracious about the postponement and encourage her husband in going to the conference.

cavamil said...

Can she go with him? There might be a little extra cost, but if she goes with she could see the sights and have her very own self-created retreat while he attends the conference. Then, in the evening, they could go out and spend some time together if they chose. I can't think of an employer that would discourage this as long as there is no extra cost to the company. My husband's employer even let whole families go along on one conference... as long as they didn't have to pay for the family, just the employed.

If going along is discouraged or there isn't enough money for her to join him then... if the conference is truly beneficial to the family, or his employer is pressuring him to attend, I feel the wife should postpone her retreat.

If it is just a "fun trip" with no benefit to his job, or if the wife has truly approached burnout in her job as domestic goddess and really, truly needs this retreat to keep her sanity (literally) then she should go and he should feel thrilled that he's helping her wife take care of herself and their family.