Bliss Parenting Seminars
Married to a wimp Print

If we asked 100 wives, "Are you married to a wimp?" how many do you think would say "Yes."

Take a guess.

In my totally unscientific study based on 20 years in marriage counseling, I estimate 99 out of 100 would answer in the affirmative.

The other one would have to consult her lawyer.

From where did this malady arise?

It's easy to blame your in-laws. Mostly because it’s just easy.

But there is a very deep and meaningful reason your hubby’s parents raised a wimp.


It’s also easy. At least easier.

In parenting, it's so much easier to accept children than it is to bring out the best in them. 

Parents are great at raising wimps. They just don't want to be married to one.

When your son can't find himself, it's a sympathetic tragedy. Your in-laws might annoyingly tell you it’s about time their grandson grew up, and that you coddle the children too much, and you might comment, “He’s going through a stage,” however, what you really mean is, “If you are such an expert, then why didn’t you get your son (my husband) to grow up!”

But the truth is, one day you will be answering to your own daughter-in-law for all the qualities you failed to instill in your son. It’s at that point you will think back to your own mother-in-law and realize, it’s a circle of life!

We have forgotten how to bring out the best in others, even our children. In fact, we don't really know how to do it in ourselves too well either. It’s so much easier to praise our children for any thing they do rather than work on eliminating their faults.

We are high on sympathy and low on understanding. We are great at forgiving but poor at correcting. Correcting is tough; criticizing is a piece of cake, but those two are very different animals.

While it may be true that you are married to a wimp, what's more important is that you might be raising wimps, too. 

I have never heard a mother say, "My son is a loser."

That husband of yours is someone's son. It may be true your husband should be more responsible than your son, but the truth is, unless someone teaches either of them how to grow up, neither is going to. It’s one of those immutable laws of nature: Things don’t spontaneously combust, money doesn’t grow on trees, and men don’t figure it all out on their own.

Even G-d had to recognize this fact: “It’s not good for man to bealone” (Genesis 2:18). For man “to get his act together” G-d needed some new technology, Woman.

No child is a loser, and any parent who thinks so is the one who has really lost. Our spouses similarly, aren't losers. It's us; we just gave up.


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Rabbi Baars - re: re: re:   | | 05-04-2011 11:40 pm
Lost wrote:
Thank you for the reply. I've had a hard time even knowing who to talk to about this. My family avoids this type of topic....

Dear Lost,
You are most welcome, and glad I can help.
You have started a great road and you will see many good things.
These are some more things to be aware of, from what you just told me.

"My family avoids this type of topic"
This tells me you didn't grow up talking about emotions and inadequacies. Which means that the way you deal with things you don't like is to get resentful and angry/frustrated.
These emotions don't help.
Talk to your husband about how you feel without blaming him. Tell him you don't know how to deal with your emotions and ask him for help.

"Change is hard"
So true. For you and your husband. Be as sympathetic to him, as you are for yourself in how hard it is to change.
Your husband isn't your enemy, he's a fellow traveler on this road to find a better way.
Ask him to join with you as we try and change to be the people each of you deserve.
Good luck,
and let us know how it is going,
Rabbi Baars
Lost - re: re:   | | 05-04-2011 4:56 pm
Thank you for the reply. I've had a hard time even knowing who to talk to about this. My family avoids this type of topic and my friends are all single and don't see how something that was once good can be so twisted. They can only provide sympathy, which is nice, but ultimately not helping.

Probably the hardest part of what you suggest is trying to be understanding and supportive when I feel so frustrated, angry, and yes, like a victim. I never considered that he might feel beaten by the world too. But he's made some comments lately that could definitely be interpreted like that now that the idea is in my mind.
Change is hard, but I will try.
Thanks again for your advice, Rabbi.
Rabbi Baars - re:   | | 05-04-2011 11:32 pm
Lost wrote:
I hear what 'Tired' is saying. My husband doesn't stand up for me when people are being critical....

Dear Lost,
I really do sympathize with your situation. Being in what you perceive as a dead-end is very debilitating.

However, you are really far from a dead-end. There are a number of things I can suggest just from what you wrote. Be very clear though, if you just want sympathy, you aren't going to go anywhere. You have to do something different than what you have been doing up till now.

1) Be on his side. Stop attacking him because you are the victim, instead talk to him to help him. If you married him because he was a world beater, then he knows he's been beaten down too. He hates where he is now more than you. So help him because you feel bad for him.
2) If he really works extra hours for other people, then he's not the wimp you think of him as.
3) If all this sounds right, but you find it hard to change, then don't blame your husband for the same inadequacies.
We all have baggage, we all have to change, it's just as hard for him as it is for you.

Hope this helps,
Rabbi Baars
Lost   | | 05-03-2011 11:04 am
I hear what 'Tired' is saying. My husband doesn't stand up for me when people are being critical. He just tells me they were teasing and I'm too sensitive. He is always saying how he feels bad for others, to the point where he gives in and works extra hours for them or in the case of business won't call our insurance agent for iffy hail damage, because of what the agent will think. He is constantly telling me he 'can't' do things, like get a new job with insurance so I can quit the one I hate and stay home without our children. I just can't believe this was the world beater I married. He used to be so motivated, he could do anything.
Our 3 year old daughter is the only one he doesn't have a problem telling off -- he yells at her, but doesn't tell her how he expects her to act. I would be completely confused and think dad is just grumpy all the time.
It might be that I now think he's a wimp, but how do I change how I feel? I'm willing to try, but the little things in our daily life just seem to reaffirm my negative feelings about him.
Rabbi Baars - re: friend   | | 01-24-2011 11:01 am
annette wrote:
, That was extremely unhelpful advice.

Dear Annette,
I would be glad to try and be more helpful. Can you tell me more about what was so unhelpful?
Rabbi Baars
annette - friend   | | 01-21-2011 5:13 pm
Rabbi, That was extremely unhelpful advice.
Rabbi Stephen Baars   | | 09-14-2009 9:44 pm
Dear Tired,

As much as I sympathize with you, since what you are experiencing is extremely frustrating, it's nevertheless important that you hear the words your mouth is saying.

If your spouse were a wimp, then he would not stand up to your children.

I don't know why your spouse doesn't defend you, but I will tell you this, people will nearly always defend something that is important to them. I suspect he knows you don't think highly of him, and so you have created your own demise.

He won't defend you as long as you think of him as a wimp.

You might argue he started it, and he might argue the opposite, whatever the truth is, you can end it.

If this is not the answer you were looking for, I well can understand, but I hope this helps anyway,

Rabbi Baars
Tired   | | 09-12-2009 6:57 am
I must say that my husband is a BIG wimp! It has nothing to do with our children, they are the only people he stands up to. In fact, I yell at him for being mean to them. He simply doesn't have a backbone. Also, he has NEVER defended me in any way. I defend myself and the kids.
Betsy Sansby, Licensed Marriag - When he can't say no to Susie   | | 07-08-2008 9:44 pm
What I noticed early in my marriage was that my husband had a terrible time saying no to our daughter--even when he knew I felt it was critical to her development. As you might imagine, this tendency to "wimp out" has caused countless behind-the-scenes arguments between my husband and me over the past 21 years of parenting.

As a family therapist I felt--and still feel--that it is critical for children to learn and respect reasonable limits, and important for them to hear a firm "No!" from their parents from time to time.

What I didn't notice until much more recently is that the same tendency in my husband which I have found so infuriating when applied to our daughter--namely, his inability to say no--I have come to count on and appreciate when applied to me.

It is true: Al can't or won't say no Molly--which drives me crazy. But he also can't or won't say no to me--which I'm embarrassed to admit, I quite like. He doesn't say no to either of his girls.

I have to admit, it doesn't bother me in the least that my husband bends over backwards to please me, humor me, excuse my bad behavior, and give chance after chance to be a better person.

So maybe I need to lighten up. Maybe I need to appreciate that while my husband may not be perfect at limit-setting, he is truly a master at kindly, generously, and patiently putting up with two often difficult women. ;)

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