This isn’t just a question I’ve received before via email or in a comment, it’s a criticism that many people have pointed out whenever there’s a woman teaching (in real life or online) other women how to treat their husbands better in order to have a happy marriage. I’ve seen it time and time again throughout the 4 years of blogging at this site. And yes, I’ve been accused of selling “snake oil” to wives – manipulative feminine behaviors and techniques to get their husbands to give them what they want. In reality, anything considered to be “snake oil,” would prove to be false over-time. And I’ve many men and women tell me that these things are truth. Manipulative techniques don’t actually work long-term in a marriage for producing good. So no, I’m not selling “snake-oil” to wives.
This accusation always comes up though… always. Even when I’ve come across women teaching others about simple femininity (not for wives but in general, how to be a woman), there’s always a few sour women who seem to scream from the sidelines, “MANIPULATION!!!!!! You’re just manipulating your husband into doing what you want him to do!!!”
Here is where a woman I love and admire, and have talked to privately in the past concerning what to do over these accusations (been meaning to email her again soon for daughter advice – if you’re reading this sweet Stingray, heads up for an incoming email), Stingray, has also confronted this accusation (albeit in a totally different way of accepting these tactics as manipulation)! I’ve emailed with her a few times in the past, and respect her opinion greatly, so I’m adding it in to give you more insight into how like-minded women view this topic. Click the link above if you want her specific take on this accusation that we’re teaching women to “manipulate” men.
I thought it would be good to go into this on my own blog, and go ahead and answer this question and criticism I’ve had off and on, because it IS important and women have a right to know an answer.
I hope this proves to be a thought-provoking post for you, no matter which side of the fence you sit on.
The Feminine wiles
Even by definition, the feminine wiles are described as clever talk or tricks, used to persuade someone to do what you want. I’ve seen many women say behaving in a feminine manner that brings out the best in men (your husband, but also your dad, brother, even sons are affected by this!), is just tricking him into behaving the way you want him to behave. Using your femininity in order to inspire masculine virtues to come out in any man, is supposed to be a beautiful and good thing.
But yes… to answer the critics… it CAN fall into manipulation IF the woman’s heart isn’t pure, and into it for the pure motivations of loving her husband.
Manipulation is ugly. Manipulating men to get them to do what we want is horrible.
No. I am not trying to teach women how to “manipulate men,” with what I write or offer up here. I don’t believe it is even possible long-term, for a wife, or even a single girl, to keep up a manipulative act. Eventually the act will fall away, and her real self – her terrible character – will come out and chase men (even her husband in a multitude of small ways) away.
This criticism is only looking at the ugly side, and ugly heart motives, when it comes to using these behaviors and actions. So while yes, a woman CAN use my advice to manipulate a man into falling in love with her or marrying her even, it’s intended to help women who have a pure heart, who genuinely want to love their husbands better and build a beautiful marriage.
I can’t help a woman whose heart is bent on seeing things only through a filter of sinful thinking. Only she can lift that veil with prayer and making the choice to ask God to give her a clean and pure heart toward her husband. So since I can’t really help a harpy screaming from the sidelines “MANIPULATION!!!!!!” I’ve gotten used to this false accusation (like Stingray had as well back when she was blogging) that it’s all “snake oil” and “unethical.” This used to bother me, but now that I’ve talked to more women and have had the chance to see (in real life) the difference in their attitudes when presented with this stuff, I “get it.” It all comes down to whether or not their heart is pure in wanting to love and be good to their husbands. The sad thing is that a lot of women really don’t have pure intentions.
I’ve also seen women try to implement these things when their husband is already divorcing them. If they’ve treated him terribly for 20+ years, and then suddenly try to implement these behaviors and techniques, yea he’s going to have a hard time believing his wife is sincere. Then I’ve seen the wife (after becoming divorced and getting very bitter) usually complain that applying these techniques only made things much worse for her. These are often the ones screaming “MANIPULATION!!!” the loudest. If it didn’t work for her, it can’t work for anyone else! Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!
Her husband’s strong negative reactions are actually explainable in a psychological way – it’s called “The Pandora’s Box.” Sometimes it’s salvageable, but often it’s just not. Usually there’s just been way too much nastiness there, and for decades long. You can’t just easily undo that kind of trauma you’ve done to your husband, by acting kind and respectful now. Even if you are sincere now, he has to work through MAJOR forgiveness issues, trust issues, etc. and a lot of men find it too painful. A lot of men get angry that you’ve wasted so many years treating them horribly, and are only now just “waking up,” and taking responsibility for how you’ve damaged his soul. It’s all very ugly and dark… but it’s reality when you reap what you’ve been sowing for decades in the heart of your husband.
I may write on that more (I do love to write!), but to me that is why these things are so crucial for women to know before they even start dating! How many marriages would have been saved if women were only taught these crucial things about what men want when they were teens? This is why I was motivated to start writing, and why I often target the younger crowd.
This is why your Character is important
Your character is talked about a lot on my blog. Who you are – if you are truly all these things women teach about (including many posts on my blog) – others will understand and take note that you’re consistent. This is best displayed in real life – with the real life men around you – whether it’s your father, husband, sons, etc, they will be the ones who ultimately know you and your character, especially over time.
I guarantee that your husband is already aware of who you truly are, and you’re either working to have a beautiful character and implementing these behaviors in your marriage to make it flourish, or you’ve let these things slide and you live with a somewhat happy marriage – but with no idea how great it actually could be.
Either way, your “real self” will always be exposed to the people you live with, especially your husband. I’ve written before that who you are online, when no one is looking or holding you accountable – that’s who you really are.
Having a beautiful character is what will make these teachings work. Having a pure heart is what will make your actions not seen as manipulative, but instead, sincere and they will inspire your husband’s love for you to grow immensely.
No matter how good you look on the outside (physically and in behavior like when practicing being kind or respectful to your husband), if you don’t have it together on the inside, if your heart isn’t in it, he will know, and he will hate it.
He will hate it because he will feel manipulated by you. Hence why if I was really selling you “snake oil,” it just wouldn’t work for the long-haul of a marriage.
Your actions will always be manipulation on your part if it’s not coupled together with your heart intentions – in other words, if you aren’t loving him with purity and sincerity, you may as well not be loving him at all.