OK, I started with the title “Why LDS Men Suck,” which I don’t in fact think at all, but it’s really easy to get that impression sometimes, especially in contrast to the praise heaped on the women in the church. I have met a few rare LDS men I couldn’t stand, but on the whole, LDS men are far better than the average Joe.
The inspiration for today’s post is that I was reading an OP at Put on the Armor of Light about the number one complaint LDS men had that they took to their bishop: that their wives, lovely doe-eyed creatures though they are, tend to be excessively critical of them. I was actually really surprised. I totally expected it to be something like “I can’t pay my tithing” or “I can’t stop looking at porn” or “why can’t I wear a blue shirt?” or “I’m secretly gay.” I think this is perhaps colored by my bloggernacle participation. So, the nagging wife thing, which is really kind of obvious, was new information about what troubles the less fair (darker? uglier? what do we call people not of the “fair sex”?) sex at church. I wanted to consider why this might be so. Here are my best theories.
- Men are crap. It’s possible. Supposedly the Celestial Kingdom is going to be brimming with women, all of whom will be glomming on to the one or two available males whose lives of Ghandi-like selfless service render them barely on the level of your average woman in terms of spirituality. I sure hope they’ve worked out the plumbing situation for that because it’s a proven fact that women take 72 seconds longer than men to do the needful. It’s not going to be very heavenly if there’s a line for the bathroom.
- Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. Basically, it’s a communication / expectations gap. Maybe women judge men based on a specific set of female standards (initially financial potential, but eventually things like how much they express their emotions, how intuitive they are, and whether or not they know how to cook), and men judge women based on a specific set of male standards (initially looks, but eventually things like ability to fix a lawnmower or troubleshoot a computer). Women, you can’t criticize your husband for not relishing weepy rom-coms. Men, you can’t criticize your wife for not being able to lift as much weight as you. I sometimes think people would be happier marrying someone of their own sex! The difference is that women are more expressive than men about their criticism because men are either afraid women will withhold sex if they tell the truth or they are too inarticulate to be able to get their feedback across. Is that enough stereotypes for one paragraph?
- The church coddles women and tears men a new one. Similar to #1 above, but perhaps the criticism of men is not justified. Perhaps the church just coddles women due to romantic paternalism, not because women are really superior to men. To hear some leaders talks, you would think most men are barely able to walk down the street without stopping to view pornography or exercise unrighteous dominion or otherwise breaking the hearts of their tender wives. Yet when I go to church, I see men who routinely change diapers, support their wives in their callings, and go out of their way to render service like helping people move and buying loaves of bread on Sunday so we can take the sacrament and renew our covenants not to buy things on Sunday. Where is the “LDS Men are Incredible” talk in General Conference?
- Mormons are perfectionists. There can be a lot of pressure when someone thinks everyone around them is perfect, but they don’t stack up. SAHMs especially can have unrealistic expectations of perfection if they consider the home and children (and husband) a direct reflection of themselves. The Mormon tendency to white-wash both our church history and even our personal histories can also result in a mistaken belief that everyone around us is perfect, but we have to hide our imperfections to fit in. Women may be worried that a less-than-perfect husband is a poor reflection on them by association. Personally, I say be proud of your slovenly mate!
- Women are resentful of limited roles. It’s been said that those who can’t do, teach; maybe those who can’t teach, criticize. Men are often told that they should offer to take the kids for a night or offer to do the dishes to give their wife a needed break. Of course, this assumes that the woman is a SAHM and the man the sole breadwinner who comes home nightly like Fred Flintstone demanding his dinner be on the table when he walks through the door. Clearly parenting is an equal responsibility. Yet even among dual-income households, studies (even studies by men!) show that women shoulder twice the housework. This doesn’t mean we’re happy about it, mind you. People have to own our own choices in order to be happy. Telling people what choices are acceptable (e.g. being a SAHM with a brood of young ‘uns) reduces our personal responsibility for those choices, and over time, resentment builds. If a wife feels that her husband has either limited her choices or benefited from her limited choices, that’s an issue the couple is going to have to work through. To me, this is the most likely root cause.
- Only whiners with bad marriages go to the bishop. Clearly, there’s a limited sample at play here. We can’t draw generalities about all men and women or even all LDS men and women based on the sample of those who go to the bishop with marital problems. Your results may vary. Frankly, I hope they do!
So, what do you think? Are LDS women more critical of men than the other way around? If so, why is this? If not, what is your experience? Is this also true of marriages in general? Discuss.
Or people are given high expectations and so try to fulfill them.
The McConkie talk that was widely interpreted as an attack on George Pace was an assignment given to respond to a trend where people had extremely high expectations of the men in their lives and were critical of those who could not meet them.
So, not so much perfectionism, but more a baseline.
It can be driven by group dynamics where women sit around and complain about their spouses or about their fathers and how they are going to make certain that their husbands are not the same.
I’m curious to see what others have to say in response to this.
hehe, you left the “why men suck” in the URL. 😛
I think this is a consequence of the nature of religious organizations that are constantly berating their membership for not keeping their standard. I’m sure LDS women also have, at least near the top, the same complaint, that their husbands are excessively critical of them. When you belong to a religion that is excessively critical of YOU and everyone around you, that tends to alter your behavior to also be excessively critical of those around you, for not being up to par. If you wish to see a change in behavior at the bottom, then change the behavior at the top.
I saw the post you referenced and didn’t get it. When I was bishop, I never heard this complaint from a man in either of the two wards where I was bishop. Ever.
I suppose that doesn’t mean that wives didn’t complain to their husbands (one in one ward complained to me; two in the other), but the husbands didn’t tell me about it.
I’m very fortunate to have a wife who does not nag. (Maybe she feels fortunate to feel she doesn’t need to, or maybe she’s given up all hope.)
I see an additional possibility in addition to your list:
The men are too sensitive to the wife’s input. They take a request from their wife as an intrusion on their freedom or agency or something instead of coming to the table for a conversation. Elder Hales once suggested to men that they should ASK their wives what they (the men) could do to improve, and that they should allow plenty of time for the conversation. A healthy relationship would allow both partners to have a calm and loving conversation about these things rather than nagging, arguing, stomping about the house or withholding sex.
Your post seems to put the blame for the men’s complain on the nagging wives. Maybe some of it belongs with the men, too.
Paul – I don’t think I’m putting the blame on the nagging wives in all or even most of the reasons above. Here are the root causes being blamed:
1 – the church’s coddling of women (because I don’t buy that men are crap)
2 – both spouses are prone to criticize each other unfairly based on unrealistic criteria
3 – church’s coddling of women to make us feel better about our limited roles
4 – cultural expectations (and the wife’s pride)
5 – the church for making it difficult for women to own their choices, men who benefit from women’s limited roles, and women who don’t own their choices
6 – it’s a flawed sample; these men are atypically whiny
So, #4 is really the only one that is mostly blaming the wives. The clip art, I grant you, is a nagging wife.
what do we call people not of the “fair sex”?
Based on Frodo’s first impressions of Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, I propose that the opposite of “fairer” should be “fouler”, which would make men the fouler sex.
Thinking about the type of man who would complain to his bishop that his wife is overly critical…..he probably deserves it.
HG, fair point.
In that case, I have the following additional thoughts:
1 – the church’s coddling of women (because I don’t buy that men are crap) — most women I know are too busy to feel coddled. My wife for years felt guilty leaving church because she felt she wasn’t doing enough. I don’t think she has ever felt coddled.
2 – both spouses are prone to criticize each other unfairly based on unrealistic criteria — I don’t think this is what your #2 does. You say it yourself: you’ve listed a gazillion stereotypes and blamed the problem on poor communication (which is basically the one thing I agreed with: healthy couples can communicate their needs to one another without the other feeling defensive).
3 – church’s coddling of women to make us feel better about our limited roles — See my comments to your #1.
4 – cultural expectations (and the wife’s pride) — I think you’re onto something here, and i agree it’s why many women (my wife included for many years) leave church feeling more burdened and less uplifted (or coddled). Whether this is Mormon culture or US middle class culture is not clear to me, since I know non-LDS women among our friends who also feel inadequate in a women-can-have-or-do-it-all kind of way. Again: unhealthy. It took our going through a year of rehab with an addicted son and working our own 12-step program for my wife and me to move beyond unrealistic expectations. (They’re there for men and women, BTW.)
5 – the church for making it difficult for women to own their choices, men who benefit from women’s limited roles, and women who don’t own their choices — I’m not seeing this one personally, but then you probably wouldn’t expect me to. I do acknowledge that others have suggested this, as well.
6 – it’s a flawed sample; these men are atypically whiny — which is kinda what I said, too.
Interesting list, hawkgrrrl. The problem with #5 as an explanation is that women’s roles are increasingly less limited, but the criticism you are referring to doesn’t seem to be going away. So it’s unlikely there’s a strong correlation there.
Personally, I’d go with #3. The “LDS men suck” theme is consistent with the habit of LDS leaders to motivate through guilt, and whether or not the charge is supported in fact, it is an effective motivator, so it persists. Guilt rhetoric is rarely directed at women because they don’t need motivating.
The opposite of “fairer” is “coarser”.
There are a couple of other possibilities which make the men’s complaints seem less like whining.
Possibility 1) Inability to articulate the actual problem:
What the men are really trying to say may be, “My wife has ceased to love me.”
(See Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”)
Possibility 2) The Dynamics of Human Relationships:
Individuals in intimate relationships tend to develop empathy for one another. When one party desires to end the relationship, this empathy must be overcome. One of the ways of doing this is through criticism. By criticizing one’s partner, one party is able to distance himself/herself from the other, and more easily facilitate the demise of the relationship.
A sudden increase in criticism from a partner can signal the imminent end of an intimate relationship.
(This was, in fact, apparent in the case of my wife: She has always had a very close and loving relationship with each of our children. But as they entered their Senior years of High School, her personal criticism of their actions at home increased, so that when they were prepared to leave for college or a mission, it was something of a relief for both mother and child for them to go.)
I was at a golf tournament the week before I got married 22 years ago. I was in a four-some with my Bishop and one of his counselors, who later became the Bishop, then the Stake President – both really great men. As we were waiting to tee-off on one of the holes, my Bishop (just out of the blue) said looking at me “you take a perfectly well adjusted young man, get him married and screw up the rest of his life”. No follow-up laugh. No I’m kidding, or any other hedging. His counselor and I just looked at each other like: “Wow, did he just say that?”
I saw him about a year ago and reminded him of that experience. He stood by it and lamented how hard women are to live with. His experience as a Bishop no doubt influenced this sentiment.
In my experience #4 (perfectionism) is a real problem, or perhaps, more accurately stated, unrealistically high expections by Church leaders for men (and women). Men are supposed to fulfill all Church responsibilities unfailingly, lead out in the home in FHE, scripture study, provide for the family, attend the temple regularly, be a great member missionary, fellowship their neighbors and coworkers, research their family history and do all the temple work for them, be a compassionate home teacher, a caring husband and father (of preferably a large family).
As a feminist, I won’t even discuss the pressure applied to women in this Church by Church leaders. No wonder so many women and men feel frustrated with one another. I believe much of the pressure comes from Church leadership, who expect members to shoulder super-human responsibities without any input or feedback.
I never thought of myself as a nag until my husband complained about me nagging him. Then I realized that “nagging” was asking him to do anything he didn’t feel like doing. So I stopped asking him to do anything, and he stopped complaining about my nagging, and we’ve been happily married ever since.
“I’m a man and I can change, if I have to, I guess.” Uncle Red’s Lodge prayer.
“I’m a man. I suck. Point taken.” Me
I frequently hear both my Mormon and non-Mormon friends complain that wives are overly critical of them. So I wouldn’t think the Church has much to do with it.
Excellent posts all! Even Dan! Now I’m looking for the four dudes on horseback…
The Church has simply gone along with the cultural feminism that has infested the Western world over the past fifty years. To which I jocularly reply, “male I am, therefore I oink”, and keep the waller moist and cool.
It’s useless to generalize as to whether the husband or the wife is to blame. Cloddishness, insensitivity, ignorance, immaturity, and/or sinfulness may play a role for either or both. And at times mental illness may be a factor. Supposedly that’s what being guided by the Spirit and professional help, where warranted, would ferret out.
Brethren, if you’re truly doing your best and your “eternal companion” is still a trial to live with, blessed are you if your bishop is supportive. It’s my experience that most would rather not hear your complaints; rather, you’re supposed to suck it up, endure to the end, and proverbially put your shoulder to the wheel. To be fair to bishops, though, perhaps the dear sisters, whether they have just cause or not, take so much of their time and energy that it’s all they can do. Criticize AFTER you’ve served as one.
From the first comment: “It can be driven by group dynamics where women sit around and complain about their spouses or about their fathers and how they are going to make certain that their husbands are not the same.”
I second this statement. Only whenever I go to book group do I feel weird for not having a reason to complain.
Plus, it may have something to do with the whole “men shall preside” philosophy. If I know it’s my husband that should be leading our scripture reading and suggesting family prayer I might eventually grow to resent it.
Nagging is a brother to Criticism. They are all part of the same family. This family can be used for good and bad. Sometimes the family is used to gain some form of self confidence by putting others down.
Perhaps, because women are not being valued as much by their husbands or they feel bad that they are not doing everything on the massive list that Mormonism says that a good women should be doing, they feel the need to criticise their husbands to compensate for this. By pointing out their husbands flaws it makes them feel better about the flaws they have themselves. I find that many women in the church suffer from perfectionism and feel guilty if they are not doing everything that is required of them.
I sometimes think people would be happier marrying someone of their own sex!
I always think that. This is the fundamental flaw in the argument from those who think homosexuality is a choice. If it were a choice, we would all be homosexuals.
Yet even among dual-income households, studies (even studies by men!) show that women shoulder twice the housework.
If I had time to waste my life doing studies, I would do a follow up study to see if this is because women care twice as much about the housework getting done.
sorry everyone for sniping one line in one comment and providing little substantial to the discussion, but I was going to have a friendly wager with hawkgrrrl that her one line was bound to lead to some comment about homosexuality.
But then I decided not to even it, which I now regret, because I would’ve so won that wager.
In any case, for a serious comment, I would probably echo something like comment 14, then comment 12.
I have to teach in HP group this Sunday. The topic is Elder Cook’s talk about Incredible LDS Women! I’m dreading it for several reasons. First, I didn’t like the talk. Second, I’m already imagining the lamebrained platitudes that will be dredged up by it. Third, I really want to talk honestly about how we put women on a pedestal in the church and how it is bad for men and for women but I know it won’t work.
Although it’s nice to read the word “incredible”, most of us would be happy just to be perceived as “credible”.
Andrew, that was amazingly prescient of you to predict that a line about same-sex marriage would lead to a comment about homosexuality. What’s next, a prediction that this post will lead to some comments about gender issues?
Dang, way to perpetuate the myths, hawk! Seriously though, do people still believe this? This has been debunked so many times in the past decade. The myth was started by a book by Arlie Hochschild that came out of Berkeley in the 70’s and the myth has been perpetuated by virtually every man-hating overstressed woman to come into existence. But in this day and age, it has pretty much no merit as near as I can tell.
The gist is, when total number of hours of time spent contributing to the family unit are added up for husbands and wives, they’re within a few minutes of each other. In fact, of all the people in the demographic, it’s the SAHM who contributes the fewest number of total hours to the family. Additionally, men across the nation are increasingly helping with meals, dishes, laundry, and kids, to the point where some are pointing out that women ought to stop complaining.
At least in this TIME article, it’s pointed out that the myth probably shouldn’t have begun. Men spent longer then at work than they do now, and men have filled that time with house chores, not time on the golf course.
Now, let the flaming begin!!
Oh, and one more reference:
Click to access newmalemystique.pdf
Just read the “Highlights” section for a nice overview.
Dang it, sorry, I made a mistake. I said:
which isn’t quite accurate. Men are expected to work as long as they have in the past (sometimes even more in high stress jobs) but now spend more time with their kids and time on house work.
I would settle with being “credible” in my wife’s eyes. I happen to have no authority – real or imagined – when it comes to issues relating to the church, and elsewhere. If there’s a point of disagreement between what I believe and what the church teaches, the church wins every time.
For example, we just started a business this past year and she’s still mad that we haven’t paid tithing on anything we’ve made up to this point (again, business income). She went so far as to ask the bishop this past week if we’d yet paid tithing on that money (instead of asking me). My point to her is that the business is still approximately ~$4k in the red from all the upfront costs we paid… so even if it appears as though we’re making money now, we’re still trying to pay off the initial investment. Didn’t work, she still claims we need to pay tithing on anything we make.
So if I spend $20k starting a business, I pay tithing on every penny I make after that regardless of the initial business. Talk about a sunk cost. 😉
My wife also happens to be heading to speak with the bishop tonight about my unorthodox ways (2nd time in the past 4 months). She got mad that the bishop didn’t call me to repentance the last time, so she’s returning this time hoping to make some headway on that front.
Color me as one of the less than incredible LDS men.
NO WAY. WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.
But serious talks: I actually suspected far worse. That one of our notorious anti-same-sex-marriage commenters would come out of the woodwork and post a tirade about it.
So, in actuality, I’m pleasantly surprised.
There’s an old joke that when men and women get married, the woman wants her husband to change, and the man hopes his wife never will, and they both end up disappointed.
There are women in the church who feel that when their men won’t listen to them, it’s the bishop’s job to change them. It’s hell for the man, and it’s no picnic for the bishop either. “Bishop, punish him!”
There’s a faithful, well-intentioned woman in our ward whose second marriage has just failed, and her constant need to “change” people is one of the reasons. And she just can’t see it.
I’m sure this phenomenon isn’t strictly Mormon, but the appeal to priesthood authority is. Good luck, John.
This seems to be more of an American cultural phenomenon than one of the church. The idea that the man is useless around the home and all around inept with women is a general theme that commercials and sitcoms play off of over and over again. Whether it’s in a group of members of the Church or not, my wife is often baffled at the amount of criticism women level at their husbands. This activity seems pretty universal, too, across almost every ethnic and socioeconomic strata.
This isn’t to say that every wife my wife has run into is ruthless and critical to their husbands. Whether or not this criticism bleeds into the rest of the marriage I don’t know the statistics for, but at least the sharing of criticism/gossip about husbands in women-only social settings seems more like a ritual of belonging rather than some kind of unwanted offshoot behavior stemming from bad Christian/Mormon theology.
John #26 — Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sorry to hear about that family/church dynamic you have [I’ve heard it from other LDS men in person, as well as online].
I’ve found many LDS women seem tempted to by-pass their husbands and go straight to ecclesiastical authorities for direction on things.
My guess is they may feel justified in talking to their bishop, or to a stake president, about their husband because they feel that the husband-in-question’s beliefs about and/or actions concerning the gospel are not correct/justified.
Thus, since they feel that the men are breaking gospel covenants in some way, shape, or form — or perhaps the man no longer believes in the gospel — whatever, they see their husbands as sinners and go to a bishop or stake president for guidance and direction, by-passing the husband to tattle-tell on him.
But I think this behavior has the family/church dynamic backwards. Men and women are free to believe what they will and act however they want. They are free to accept the gospel, modify the gospel, or reject it. As long as a husband is following the proper manner of influence in the home — in other words, as long as there is no unrighteous dominion — then his wife is to follow him. At least that’s what the gospel says.
A man could start drinking and smoking, he could start growing a beard and stop wearing ties, he could comment at Wheat and Tares or LDS Anarchy [lol] — he could do all sorts of things that his wife may think are incompatible with the gospel, but as long as he is not exercising unrighteous dominion — she is bound by the gospel law to him, and is not justified in circumventing him to go get ecclesiastical leaders involved.
The reason why there is no gospel justification in holding a bishop or stake president’s authority over a husband’s is that the Lord considers the authority of a husband as carrying more weight than the authority of a bishop or stake president. The bishop or stake president is under no covenant relationship with the wife. They have no vested interest in her. They have not become one with her. The husband, on the other hand, has become one with her and has a vested interest in her, and she in him.
Even without the priesthood, the husband still acts in the tribal office of bishop and common judge. The Lord looks upon him as if he were [essentially] an un-ordained priest, as if he possessed priesthood. And the Lord fully recognizes the authority of that man. Which is why we see home teachers and missionaries, etc. submitting to the authority of non-member husbands in matters pertaining to the gospel.
So I hate to see when a wife goes to a priesthood holder who has no covenantal relationship to her, for leadership and guidance — showing by her actions that she has no respect for her husband’s tribal office, nor for the gospel law, or their marriage covenant.
Proper priesthood protocol is to go through the lines of jurisdiction. The first line of authority that a wife has access to is her husband with whom she is living. This line is created by her covenantal relationship to him. Her next lines of authority are to any other husbands, who she does not live, but who also have covenantal relationship with her. The next line of authority would be the wives of her live-in husband [what some call the “sister wives”]. These wives are linked to her through covenants they have in common with her husband.
An ecclesiastical leader, who has no covenantal ties to wives, should be the very last line of authority she should resort to — and that only after all other tribal lines have been exhausted.
And, as jmb275 put it, “Now, let the flaming begin!!”
I’ve heard quite a bit about husband bashing, but I haven’t seen much of it first hand. This may be because I tend to gush about how great my husband is, and I suspect that puts them off.
Jacob J – “If I had time to waste my life doing studies, I would do a follow up study to see if this is because women care twice as much about the housework getting done.” Actually no need because this is true as studies have shown. The reason behind that is that women have higher standards for housework (and the appearance of the children) because they perceive societal judgment of the same to be directly about them, not a reflection on the husband. The perceive that because it is probably true.
jmb275 – yes, I read the Time article referenced when it came out, and that is a very valid point about division of labor. There are household tasks often relegated to the husband (e.g. tech support, yardwork, car maintenance) that are not traditionally counted in household chores.
Those 2 factors are good at neutralizing how I feel about housework: that my husband does loads of non-housework that contributes, and that my standards are sometimes higher because on some level I feel that housework and having a daughter who doesn’t have visible fist-sized knots in her hair is going to be seen as a reflection on me.
Actually, I should also say that I must not be in the ward gossip girl cliques because I honestly never hear women bashing their husbands. On the contrary, I hear women talking about how lucky they are because their husband is so great, such an equal partner, or whatever.
I can’t even imagine what kind of person (male or female) goes to tattle on their spouse to the bishop. Your bishop is not the dad in your marriage. People need to grow up. Perhaps before they get married.
I agree that reason 5 is the most likely culprit of the various causes of nagging. Complaining and nagging are “low power strategies”–in a patriarchal system women can’t simply make changes they have to persuade others to make changes. Nagging is also driven by levels of social anxiety
I wonder if men are just bad at taking crititism (i.e. “nagging”) from women and can accept it from men. I’ve observed that in at least a few cases, where men want to improve and do better after being told to step up when another man tells them to and accuses women of “nagging” when told the same thing.
Just one observation.
I’m surprised a man would go to his bishop about his wife being extremely critical. It seems that a marriage counselor would be a much better choice and an option that could bring about real solutions. It is strange to me that people run to their bishops for so many issues when they don’t have any formal training to really help. And, if my husband was extremely critical, I wouldn’t want my bishop to know, I would want it to be confidential and work it through with a therapist. After all, a bishop will someday not be a bishop any longer and not all of them know how to be quiet about the things that come into their office.
My wife has been told – in a separate conversation with a former stake president – something along the lines that “an inspired bishop or stake president is 1000x better than a marriage counselor”.
Ever since that conversation, my wife has been much more willing to go to church leadership with marital issues than a marriage counselor…
“an inspired bishop or stake president is 1000x better than a marriage counselor”.
I don’t believe you have to be a bishop or a stake president to get inspiration when helping others. God loves us and wants to help us, is there any reason why He wouldn’t be willing to inspire a marriage counselor who is trying to help a couple?
And, if an inspired bishop or stake president is 1000x better than a marriage counselor, how much worse is an uninspired one than a skilled marriage counselor, inspired or not?
I think it is wise to be careful and not assume that bishops and stake presidents are the answer to all of our problems. LDS social services is there for a reason. 🙂
Perhaps, Jen, but you also have to realize that for the majority of members it’s unfathomable that a bishop could be uninspired.
To be sure, I agree with you, but most members see inspiration as part & parcel of the calling itself, regardless of skills.
“you also have to realize that for the majority of members it’s unfathomable that a bishop could be uninspired”
Oh, I know that for sure…I used to be the same way. Live and learn.
I should also add that an individual complaining about their spouse to the bishop is not marriage counseling. It just looks like tattling to me.
#42: Right you are, Hawk. Looking for someone else to fix what (s)he cannot fix.
#40: “Perhaps, Jen, but you also have to realize that for the majority of members it’s unfathomable that a bishop could be uninspired.” Given high inactivity rates, I’d guess this is not true, except perhaps among active members (which may be what you meant).
I think another reason people start with the bishop is because he’s free. A smart bishop (nevermind inspired) will send those folks to a competent counselor.
#42 – and the “Hawk” hits another one into the bleachers! Methinks I know where you got the inspiration for your handle, HG….
I would agree with most posters that Bishops, in spite of their great love for their ward family and dedication, are not necessarily qualified to render effective marriage counseling. As another poster pointed out, that’s WHY LDS Family Services. The bishop should be seen as like a “gatekeeper” in an HMO setup. Deals with the whining and minor “boo-boos”, leaves the specialists to focus on their respective jobs. That’s not to denigrate their service, indeed, having to put up with whiney members, while it probably ranks down there with cleaning out the cat box, will earn the “brownie points” for these fine brethren. The fault is as much with unrealistic expectations on the part of the members as it is normal hu(man) fallibilities.
Finally, it’s all to easy to generalize that men are clods/insensitives/pigs/reprobates..and women are whiney/bitchey/catty…in truth, there had to be something attractive in either as mates in the first place, AND…generalisations typically fail. If nothing else, there are as many flavors of personality as their are persons! An analogy can be drawn from a disclaimer to one of my favourite movies (Caine Mutiny)..
“There has never been a mutiny in a ship of the United States Navy. The truths of this film lie not in its incidents, but in the way a few men meet the crisis of their lives.”
Likewise for us, the “truth” lies in how we deal with our mates’ foibles as well as our own.
I am teaching the lesson on “LDS Women Are Incredible” tomorrow so I was looking for a discussion like this one. I actually believe that LDS men are good men on the whole and wondered why it would be strange to hear a conference talk called “LDS Men Are Incredible”. Anyway, I could have joined in this discussion with great gusto 20 or 30 years ago but my husband reached perfection in a stunning way when he retired from his job. Suddenly, he is able and willing to do everything on my Honey Do list and everything that he always wanted to do in church and just didn’t have time for. He takes his church job very seriously and spends many hours a week on it. He takes his home chores very seriously and he listens to me non-stop, which is all I ever wanted. He still has time to read all the science fiction he can handle. He is in the garage souping up his scooter as I write. So, my point is, you are all in the hardest part of your lives with many things pulling you in different directions. It will all end someday and I think you will find you are all incredible and always have been.
“Are LDS women more critical of men than the other way around? If so, why is this? If not, what is your experience? Is this also true of marriages in general?”
In my experience, both from my former marriage and what I hear from others, more women seem to be critical in general. I feel this stems from different expectations and assumptions going into marriage. Some realistic counseling before marriage and less rushing to get people to the alter asap might help.