Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on The Truth About Cheating

Here's part of a pastor's review of Dr. Gary Neuman's book The Truth About Cheating that's very positive:

How can a woman to affair proof her marriage? It is not deviant-proof, but a woman can work at her marriage in ways that will keep 98% of men from having affairs. You can learn to understand your husband's emotional needs and how to meet them. They are not really any different than yours in essence. He wants from you want from him. But the forms are different. It sounds crass but the intimacy and care that women feel from sharing, flowers, attention to detail, which take incredible effort from men, men feel from sex. Wives need to initiate sex and increase the frequency. Wives also need to be more involved in their husbands lives (work and play) and they need to make some romantic, alone time. But initiating and increasing the frequency of sex is number one. I realize that might sound terrible. But Neuman lines it out well in his book. Download and read it. And if you missed the deadline for the free download, it is worth buying. This is a good book. It could save you a lot of pain.
What about keeping wives from having affairs? Neuman doesn't address this as directly. It is not as big of a problem statistically. But he gets at it when he advises women about how to talk to their husbands and explain what they need. What wives need is the same as men, they just need it differently. What we all need is a strong emotional connection to our spouse and a feeling of being loved, of appreciation, etc. We also all need to work at our marriages, to not be so naive as to think it couldn't happen to us. We need something close to jealousy and suspicion. I am not advocating actual jealousy and suspicion, but we do need to watch and keep guard. We need to be involved with our spouses' work, play, and friends. We should not live separate lives. (Cyberstones)
When he suggests you can affair-proof your marriage but that it's not "deviant-proof," he's speaking of a small group of men who women women would probably call pigs, the ones who can't stop cheating and will never be faithful. What I notice is an idea that fewer women have affairs and so not much is written mainstream to tell men how to stop them. Wait. I bet they'd tell us the same thing we've been telling them: Just don't do it. See, no work or blame there for husbands with unhappy wives.

Neuman's book will resonate with partners in practicing Christian marriages and other traditional, patriarchal belief systems as it does with this pastor. The reverend connects with what Neuman is saying because it fits snugly with Christian concepts about the man's place in marriage and the woman's place.

In his comment section, he doesn't answer the first commenter, an anonymous person who seems to be female and talks about wives being in submission to their husbands, but he does answer a woman who feels the way I do, that despite Neuman's declaration that it's not the woman's fault if her husband cheats, you still walk away feeling like the onus is on the woman. Perhaps he felt no need to comment to the first person because she's on biblical track.

Some people less familiar with Christianity or who attend Christian churches who don't believe scripture is inerrant think this kind of thinking, that the wife must be in submission to the husband, is fringe Christian thinking, but it's very mainstream among some major Christian denominations. Pastors in more liberal churches avoid this topic because, well, they don't want pews full of angry women.

I'm not criticizing the pastor I've quoted. He's coming from a traditional biblical perspective and is entitled to follow his faith like anyone else, and there's wisdom in understanding that one person needs to have the final say when two people are involved as in a marriage. If you reach a problem and you disagree, what breaks the tie? (I know someone's reading this who has an answer.)

I chose his blog because he reviewed Neuman's book, and he has comments that aren't all one-sided. I applaud him for taking the time to explain and not lord over the people.

And one more time for the record, since I may not have said it in this part of the post, Neuman insists that it's not the woman's fault if her husband cheats. Thanks to the pastor who reviewed the book, I found an older interview with Neuman at Newsweek Magazine where the reporter asks him off the bat about how women will most likely react to his book.

This post was originally part of a BlogHer post about cheating and saving marriage, but I removed this section to shorten that post.

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