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Sunshine Mary has no idea what egalitarian marriage means


2xx1xy1JD

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I found this older post on how SSM and HHG experimented with "egalitarian marriage" for 3 days, without having a clue what it meant:

leticiamary.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/role-swap-part-iii-sunshine-mary-and-holy-hand-grenade-try-to-go-egal/

I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t really define what an egalitarian marriage is very easily. At the simplest, I might say it’s just trading back and forth who is in charge. The thing is, I have doubts about how well this really works in the real world; what I suspect happens is that the spouses either end up in a defacto captain/co-pilot type of marriage or end up as two separate individuals who are in charge of themselves, with no one in charge of or particularly invested in directing the course of the marriage.

No, that's not what a functional egalitarian marriage looks like. You are just describing two self-centred individuals with no skills in communication or cooperation.

The first difference was in an area of housework. HHG likes the sharp knives to be washed by hand because he feels that the heat from the dishwasher is damaging to them. I don’t agree, and we’ve argued about this for years. About a year ago, he finally just issued an edict – knives in our household are never to be placed in the dishwasher. The very first thing I did under the egalitarian experiment was stick those knives right into the dishwasher; he gave me the evil eye, of course, but I just smiled sweetly and said, “I’m the one who does the housework, so I get to decide how it gets done.â€

I don't think that dishwasher issues earth-shattering, but here's how it could have played out in a genuinely egalitarian relationship.

For starters, egalitarian doesn't just mean "no boss". In a functional relationship, it means that each partner loves and respects the other, and acts in a way that reflects that love and respect. One expression of love for someone else is to show "if it's important to you, it's important to me".

So, in a genuinely egalitarian scenario, one spouse could say, "Oh, please don't put the knives in the dishwasher. I like using good knives, and they require proper care. The heat of the dishwasher tends to damage them." This is a polite request and a communication, not an order. The other spouse, recognizing that this is something that is important to their partners, has no desire to turn this into a power struggle. Since it is important to one partner, whom they love and respect, there is some effort made to follow the request. If it is inconvenient, this can be communicated. "I know you don't like knives in the dishwasher, but we have a whole pile of them in the sink and guests coming over in a few minutes." Having a clean kitchen and some help is therefore important to that spouse. The first spouse, responding to what is important to their partner, may say, "I'll give you a hand and everything will be clean in a minute". That partner may even take over knife washing duty, since doing it right is a priority for them.

A second unanticipated issue came up with parenting. Our eldest daughter can be quite strong-willed and she’s very perceptive. She figured out that something was afoot pretty quickly and turned it to her advantage on the last day; she took my smart phone out to the trampoline so she could listen to music on it whilst jumping. HHG told her to put my phone back in the house so that it wouldn’t get broken. She came into the house and said, “Mom, can I take your phone on the trampoline?†I told her she could, not realizing that HHG had just told her no. As she headed back out the door, she said to him, “Mom said I can, so I can.†Needless to say, that didn’t go over too terribly well, and the experiment was brought to a screeching halt

.

Again, not an example of what egalitarian parents do.

In functional egalitarian relationships, the rule is that parents may consult with each other privately before giving an answer, they try to be on the same page when it comes to rules, they don't openly contradict each other, and kids are told that a "no" from one parent is to be respected and they are not allowed to ask the same question to the other parent. Each parent respects the other ones position as a parent, and realizes that children do better when parents present a united front and do not undermine each other. They also encourage the kids to respect the other parent.

Third, in terms of appearance, I didn’t dress up or put on make-up as I usually try to do. I try to make myself look nice for HHG, and if I’m only considering myself, I’m not going to put any effort into doing my make-up unless I’m going out somewhere. I used be sort of bad about that in my 20s – for example, I had no qualms about wearing sweatpants, which are of course the ugliest item of clothing ever invented. I no longer own any sweatpants, but I might have worn them if I’d had them.

Again, "egalitarian" does not mean "only considering myself". It means that both spouses love and respect the other, and show mutual regard for the other one's POV. Someone doesn't HAVE to put on makeup and dress up, but they may do that if they know that the other spouse would appreciate it. Similarly, a spouse may shave and choose not to wear a ratty t-shirt.

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Okay, I realize maybe my husband and I are doing it all wrong as I have yet to encounter all the "hard work" I've been told relationships require and we suck at fighting over stupid stuff that I've been told we must fight over...but we've been together for six and half years and married for four, so maybe we are doing okay in spite of it. (This is where someone tells me we haven't had any troubles and we'll find out when we do...but we've had more than our share so if you want to tell me that...well, then you will have to hear about our three years and counting of crises).

That said, why does someone need to (in SM's words) "direct the course of the marriage"? Why can't a couple live together, communicate and navigate life together? How is that not enough? Why does the marriage need a directed course?

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Okay, I realize maybe my husband and I are doing it all wrong as I have yet to encounter all the "hard work" I've been told relationships require and we suck at fighting over stupid stuff that I've been told we must fight over...but we've been together for six and half years and married for four, so maybe we are doing okay in spite of it. (This is where someone tells me we haven't had any troubles and we'll find out when we do...but we've had more than our share so if you want to tell me that...well, then you will have to hear about our three years and counting of crises).

That said, why does someone need to (in SM's words) "direct the course of the marriage"? Why can't a couple live together, communicate and navigate life together? How is that not enough? Why does the marriage need a directed course?

Mr Atheist and I have been married for more than 20 years, and it's not a struggle for us either. I guess you're not the only one doing something "wrong."

Now, more importantly: why does she call her husband the Holy Hand Grenade? Is his temper that awful? Does he hate vicious rabbits?

From what I've heard of this woman, it seems unlikely that she's a Monty Python fan, so what gives?

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She doesnt understand it, and she has no intention of trying.

An egalitarian marriage is that instead of there being one in charge and the other obeying, both parties are equals and work together.

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She doesnt understand it, and she has no intention of trying.

An egalitarian marriage is that instead of there being one in charge and the other obeying, both parties are equals and work together.

In her world, there is no such thing as "equals." She views relationships as power struggles, and one side must always "win" for there to even be a relationship. I actually feel a bit sorry for her; she must be miserable, and her poor kids must be seeing this and learning all kinds of twisted stuff.

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Basically she didn't do full research and had a pre concieved notion that the system was wrong. Therfore said experiment failed and must be true for all. Sounds very a typical of the fundie mindset.

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In other words shitstain and Mr.shitstain didn't even try.

I bet she thinks all feminist and homosexual marriages are full of nothing, but fights and arguments, and of course no sex. UNless in, a pagan act of blasphmey with the Bible is cummed on.

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Wait, wait, wait. Because she has years long simmering resentment over the crucial issue of how to wash the knives, this proves that egalitarian relationships are worse than hers?

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For starters, egalitarian doesn't just mean "no boss". In a functional relationship, it means that each partner loves and respects the other, and acts in a way that reflects that love and respect. One expression of love for someone else is to show "if it's important to you, it's important to me".

2xx1xy1JD, thanks very much for cutting through all that BS. I can scarcely believe the examples SSM conjured up to illustrate "egalitarian" marriage. Apparently she thinks "egalitarian" means "acting like as selfish asshole, never communicating about anything with your partner, and flouting your disregard for your partner's wishes at all times." ZOMG, who is dickish enough to ruin the good kitchen knives out of spite?

Little does she realize it, but she makes both of them look very bad through this description of "egalitarianism," as if without "obedience" they would transform into people who are cruel, selfish and inconsiderate. I think it mimics the line that some conservative Christians crow about the effect religion has on their life: "If I wasn't saved, I would be a bank robber, I'd be sexually promiscuous and an adulterer, and I'd be mean to everyone, because I'd have no reason to be good and moral." Human nature is not really like that in most cases, but, false as it is to posit "I'm only good because of Christianity," it is not comforting to think that religion is all that is standing between your friend/loved one and a felony conviction. Most humans have inherent empathy, compassion and good judgment, and it's extremely weird to caricature "egalitarianism within marriage" as exclusive of these qualities.

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The funny thing is, the knife thing actually came up in my actually egalitarian marriage.

My husband does all the cooking, so I do all the cleanup after dinner, as is fair. He first mentioned this to me in the winter, and I started hand washing and drying the knives right away. During the Spring/Summer, I develop dishydrosis, which causes an eczema-like rash on my hands. The resultant peeling causes sores and doing things like washing dishes becomes quite painful by July, so I just stick everything, including pots and pans I wouldn't normally, in the dishwasher.

So, I explained this issue to my husband and he immediately started washing the knives himself.

That's an egalitarian marriage. My husband explained why it was important to hand wash knives so I hand washed them. When hand washing knives became difficult for me, I explained why and my husband took over hand washing the knives.

The phone thing? Something similar happened last night. I took the fan upstairs with me. I told my niece to use her cousin's fan until her cousin came home. (My husband had the other fan downstairs as he was working.) My husband came upstairs and asked about the fan my niece was using. I walked in and said that I had told her to grab the fan, and my husband said "okay". Later, he did mention that he was somewhat uncomfortable with using another person's things without asking and I explained that the cousin had told me she was fine with people using her fan or hair straightener, etc., as long as they put it back when they were done. My husband didn't know that, which explained his hesitation.

Again, we talked. That's how egalitarian marriages work. Nobody's "in charge", nobody's playing stupid, passive aggressive games, nobody's contradicting anyone with the kids. You just talk.

I'm so sorry Mary can't do that, but it doesn't invalidate egalitarian marriages.

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Yes, how often do people in these patriarchal marriages just sit and talk?

I am very happy to be married to a man who has nothing to prove. He knows he's a man already; he doesn't have to go around declaiming, ordering, recoiling from womany stuff, flourishing his man-card, etc., etc. He's just as much a man while having a tea party with his youngest daughter as he is while chopping wood for the stove. He never looks anxious in family photos and he never strikes a pose, because he isn't an insecure man-boy standing on a stack of Bibles.

And "directing the course of the marriage?" What the heck does that even mean? Course toward what? How much control over the future do these patriarchal couples think they have? We have some definite goals and some hopes for our shared future, and we work to realize them--together. But there is no guarantee that we will get there. We have to be ready to face the bad stuff that can happen--together. No checklists of proper spousal spheres could possibly help us if the tsunami siren blows five minutes from now.

Oh, right, 200-year plans, generational faithfulness, etc. I am reminded of a remark by C.S. Lewis to the effect that a lot of claims we mortals make about our power and AUTHORITAH sound equally funny in Heaven and Hell.

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There isn't a kid in the world who hasn't tried to play one parent against the other. At our house as soon as one of us finds out the other parent said "no", the other parent respects that and goes along with it. To quote the Botkin sisters, it's not that complicated.

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So because her daughter went behind the dad's back, this is a sign that egalitarian marriage is bad?

Seems to me they need to be taking more time parenting. My kids learned early on that if one parent says no, we both say no (and if we happen to disagree, we'll discuss it later on, but it doesn't change the "no" into "yes").

As far as the knives, geez. Grow up, SSM. Dishwashers *do ruin nice knives. If you don't want to hand wash (and goodness knows, I don't have a dishwasher so I do empathize), let the Horrible Hellish Gishnut do it.

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So because her daughter went behind the dad's back, this is a sign that egalitarian marriage is bad?

Seems to me they need to be taking more time parenting. My kids learned early on that if one parent says no, we both say no (and if we happen to disagree, we'll discuss it later on, but it doesn't change the "no" into "yes").

As far as the knives, geez. Grow up, SSM. Dishwashers *do ruin nice knives. If you don't want to hand wash (and goodness knows, I don't have a dishwasher so I do empathize), let the Horrible Hellish Gishnut do it.

This has come up often in her posts. Recently Holy Hand Grenade decided to punish her. When their dishwasher broke he told her that he wouldn't buy a new one because she had disobeyed him by placing the knives in it. She has to hand wash everything now until she learns her lesson. She agrees that she was naughty and deserves to be punished though she's written that she would prefer to be spanked.

I'm all for egalitarian marriage. It's worked for me for 20-something years. But, sadly it probably wouldn't work for Sunshine. Holy Hand Grenade cheated on her and didn't show love to her until she began submitting to him completely. She's said many times that she enjoys "being owned" by him because it makes her feel safe and "like a cat in heat." To each his/her own I guess. I just hope that her daughters don't see this as the only workable model for a happy marriage.

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Here's how it works when two people care about each other:

My closest male friend and I occasionally share a bed when we are single (I think her head just exploded right there). Looooooong story. Anyway, since we've known each other for 17 plus years, sometimes when we get to my house (not for sexy times, just hanging out/porch drinking - which may lead to sexy times), I've been known to put on comfy clothes as soon as we walk in the door - leisure pants, a tank top, etc. Nothing ratty, but certainly not a cocktail dress and full make-up. One time, this friend told me "I always think you're pretty, but I feel like I'm not important to you when you put on your pajamas as soon as we get here." Of course, it took me a minute to get over my eye-rolling, but what have I done since then? Changed into jeans (if I change) and left my mascara on rather than get into pjs & night cream the second we get home. Because he's right - I wouldn't immediately change clothes with anyone else, he's still a man I want to look nice for, and at the very least I want to treat our friendship with the respect I give my other friendships. At the same time, he managed to phrase this in a flattering way, and every now and then he makes a point of telling me I look great (even with drunkenly smeared mascara at 3 in the morning).

So, you can make an effort to look nice for your partner (or whatever this guy is lol ... like I said, loooooong story) without being a submissive, whiny housewife who can't make adult decisions for herself. Oh, and your partner can make requests without being a controlling ass-clown (can we get an emoticon for that please??).

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I'm not sure if Sunshine Mary understands the concept of partnership. Does she also disapprove of business partnerships? Corporate teamwork? Given her understanding of an egalitarian marriage, she must just think anytime two people on equal footing are to work together, they must be similarly dysfunctional. Perhaps the problem is it never occurs to her that people in good marriages will talk to each other and compromise. The difference between how my (egalitarian) marriage works, and how her patriarchal marriage is that my husband listens to my input and make concessions whereas her husband does not. I'm not sure why she feels my marriage is chaotic or dysfunctional. The examples she gives says more about her marriage than a mythical egalitarian one. I guess poor Mary does not do much talking with her husband. Either he tells her what to do or she goes off on her own. The idea of talking to each other and discussing a situation must be a foreign concept.

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Why in the hell does she keep giving her husband grief about the knives? It sounds like despite all her waxing poetic regarding "respecting" her alpha husband, she doesn't respect him in the least bit.

Although I would have a hard time respecting a serial cheater myself. But really, she doesn't sound particularly submissive to me. Rather quite passive-aggressive. She is exactly the type of woman she complains about incessantly in her blog.

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