The big Heidi Stone shake up

Occasionally, someone writes a manosphere post that hits a nerve. It causes a seismic shift that creates a stark division among commenters who are normally in agreement on most things. Dalrocks link to this post from Heidi Stone was one of them this week. Here are his thoughts on it.

The rift, occurred along a dimension that goes something like this:

If a woman [extrapolated to all women] can only appeal to her acquaintances considering divorcing their husbands on the grounds that they will likely do worse in the after-divorce market, than this validates Rollos “men love ldealistically/Women love opportunistically” axiom. Women suck.

vs.

Maybe, but she is only telling women the exact same thing the manosphere is shouting at them all the time, and at least she is telling women to stick it out. 

And so you don’t have to drill down into the comments, I’ll remind readers that my own initial reaction was in the first camp:

I have to admit. I wanted this to be a beautiful, idealistic approach to reasoning in favor of staying, but as Mandy points out it falls short of that.

“Stay because you will probably not do well in the after-divorce market” is not exactly inspiring.

I stay in my marriage because it honors a commitment I made and I look forward to growing old with her, and having a house full of grandbabies running around when I am old.

An Orthodox priest/scholar who I read a lot talks about the folly of the “true love” argument. I can’t find the quote now but he basically you can’t “know” if it was “true love” until one of you is dead. Until that point, you are just perfecting your love for each other.

Lying on your death bed, you look back at the entire story and realize you accomplished “true love” rather than having it be something that hits you like cupids arrow. I hope all those little faces are the last thing I see before I close my eyes for the last time. Why is that so hard to understand?

 The conversation went on for a long time, and nobody really seemed to budge from their position, even after Heidi herself came and clarified. I made a couple more comments but stopped.

I found the exchange between Carlotta and others to be obnoxious. MGTOW is just bunch of closeted homosexuals? Come on.

But my stopping is part of my personality. Because, generally when something like that happens, it is my policy to step back and think–for as long as it takes to figure out why the conflict is happening.

It drives my wife crazy actually–the fact that I can put something on the back burner for weeks or even months before I say another word about it. I think its because she thinks I am hoping it will just go away, but I always come back to it–eventually. 

In that thread, even Cane Caldo, love him or hate him (and is not known for his subtlety or equivocation) brain farted:

A lot of men don’t like to hear Heidi’s cold, calculated, and right-on message because it’s not a romanticized view of husbands. Honestly, It’s not something I want to hear either, and for the same reason.

Life is tough, Cane Caldo. Get over it.

That’s when I knew it was time to reevaluate.

I processed Dalrocks comments as well, which were compelling. And I realized, yes depending on the audience–the message must be tailored to where the recipient is at the time. I saw nothing in Heidis follow up comments to suggest she does not deeply love her husband. But I also remember my own divorce and the loving, gracious members of my church family at the time making the exact same argument to my ex– “you are not going to do better. Scott is a decent guy, young, inexperienced, but good. You will regret this.”

And at the time, I was so desperate that I just wanted her to listen to any argument that would work.

I have used the exact same argument with couples who are divorcing in the 17 years since my divorce. 

There is a second matter. One that does challenge the Rollo axiom. If women [writ large–“AWALT”] are incapable of loving idealistically then all of scripture requiring them to love is a sham. I think its definitely true that women, in general have a difficult time seeing the big picture, and using those idealistic measures to make decisions, but that is their cross. Mens cross(es) are different, but not insurmountable.

And so, Heidi–I apologize. I think I misread your original intent. I don’t have any insight into the motivations that make people stay together when things get rough–because all the external messaging is indeed “Eat, Pray Love” “your husband gained weight? He must be wrong for you” “not feeling the tingles? Probably not meant to be” and so on. It’s a wonder any modern marriage stays intact after the first bump in the road. They probably do it for whatever reasons are rolling around in their head at that particular time. If staying together for any old reason gets them to a place of deeper love later, then ultimately that is a good thing.

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33 thoughts on “The big Heidi Stone shake up

  1. The comments section at Dalrock was too long, but I read enough to get the gist of the debate, and I did read Heidi Stone’s post. My feelings on the matter are conflicted.

    I adore my husband, can’t ever think of a time when I haven’t adored him, and have taken my share of criticism -offline and certainly online- for having an idealized view of him bordering on unhealthy. That does not mean I liked him every moment of the past 23 years, which should go without saying, but nothing does.

    I am a firm proponent of sticking it our when you make a vow because you made the vow and your commitment to God demands that you suffer long and bear your cross because this is what Christians are called to do.

    That said (and yes, I am fully cognizant of the order in which I offered my first two conditions), there is nothing wrong with pointing out to women who are on a destructive path that they stand to lose a lot if they stay on that path.

    If someone has already determined that love and commitment are not reason enough to get on the right course, there is nothing left to persuade that person but the reality of what they are facing if they don’t change course. Once they have been persuaded to do what’s right, then there is room for the one doing the persuading to help the wife with her heart work. But like it or not, in the cases of those particular women, the first course of action is a hard cold dose of reality.

    The whole deal reminded me of a conversation I had once with my cards relatively close to the vest husband.

    Him (leaving for work one morning): ‘”Love you”

    Me: “Love you more”

    Him: (kissing me as he walked out the door): “I doubt that“.

    Totally threw me for a loop.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sounds like a case of a woman actually using logic rather than emotion to reach the same conclusion logical manospherian men had already reached a long time ago (as you pointed out). I tried to follow the thread, but comments built up rather quickly and I was unable to keep up. It is tough to hear because we men do like being looked up to and revered, whereas Heidi’s conclusion seemed strictly logical (though I saw somewhere in the thread that she came forward and indicated she very much did love and adore her husband, which is good). Her logical conclusion, however, is one that a lot of ladies could stand to hear. The older ladies do have it in their head, thanks to social media and television programming, that they have just a good a chance of landing a hot Chad as a girl twenty years their junior or that they can live life as a fulfilled cougar, and it just isn’t going to happen to the majority of them. A rude awakening is still an awakening.

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  3. I don’t see why it caused so much controversy. Pragmatism isn’t the best thing, but it’s usually a good thing. In fact, I’ve heard men give each other similar advice a million times:

    “It’s cheaper to keep her.”

    Couples often stay together for practical reasons, then learn to love each other later. What’s wrong with that?

    Men (myself included) often complain that women make perfection the enemy of the good. In that thread, a bunch of men with no skin in the game behaved like women.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All the things that E said, I cosign.

    Have a totally different perspective to twist Stone’s article in, however. I think the argument she’s making is an emotional one – or, at any rate, is aimed at the emotions.

    First principles: I’ve heard that women emotionally leave their marriages 18mo before physically leaving. That seems about right, in the online boards I’ve read where I’ve seen women get divorced. Here we are ONLY discussing women-motivated divorces for reasons other than abandonment/adultery/abuse. Women do make most decisions based on emotional states – but we can manipulate those as well as allowing them to be manipulated from outside. Emotional suppression is something we’re experts at.

    So, Stone’s article is really written to the women in that 18mo period who are trying to psych themselves up into leaving for greener pastures. It is a written slap-to-the-face. It’s not written to appeal to their religious convictions or sense of honor, because the women themselves have already slapped duct tape on the mouths of those inner voices and left them chained in the basement. It’s not written to appeal to their love/gratitude/respect for their husbands, because that set of emotions has been the primary target of all their greener pastures arguments since day one.

    It is an direct attack on their daydreams, with just enough facts behind to make it really sting. It’s supposed to remind them of their friends who haven’t gotten remarried yet – after 10 years. It’s supposed to remind them of their friend who confided about what mom’s boyfriend did to her, back in the day. It’s also playing heavily on generalized fears for the future.

    And so those daydream arguments get weak and confused… then, then you start re-habbing the love/gratitude/respect. “Do you remember…” “Look at how he…” “Isn’t that wonderful?” It takes a while, those emotions are pretty battered. But it can be done – once she’s willing to start the work.

    And Heidi Stone’s article was aimed at making her willing to start working on opening her heart once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did the same thing you did, Scott. I eventually realized that she was a woman, speaking to women, in their own language. And women’s own language appeals to self interest. It says you stay in your less-than-perfect marriage because it’s not better “out there”, Mr. Hunky Millionaire Handyman is NOT coming with a marriage proposal, it’s all pump and dumps from here on out “out there”, your children’s lives will be ruined, and you’ll lose a lot of money, property, and assets. It will not get better. It will get worse.

    That’s hard for men to hear – they stay with us not because they are sexually attracted to us (notable exceptions upthread excepted), because they love us or care about us, or because they love their lives with us. They stay with us for much more practical reasons. It’s not about love, or sex, or affection. It’s about her own self-interest. And that’s hard to, ahem, swallow.

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  6. It’s not written to appeal to their religious convictions or sense of honor, because the women themselves have already slapped duct tape on the mouths of those inner voices and left them chained in the basement.

    This was good. It is a word picture I will not soon forget, my friend. Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s also worth noting that scripture itself has pragmatic counsel.
    In Proverbs 7, the son is instructed to avoid the adultress woman. The final verse of the chapter says that her house is the way to death. That is a pragmatic appeal: The father could have said to his son, avoid the adultress woman, because the seventh commandment says so. But he went the pragmatic route.
    Which is fine, because God inspired both scriptures. He inspired the one that says do not commit adultery because God said, and He inspired the one that said don’t commit adultery, because it’s in your best interests not to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve said my piece at Dalrock’s on this issue so I’m not going to rehash the whole lot but I think you guys are 100% wrong. You’re letting women off the hook so easily that of course they will agree with you, it’s too easy not to. Now you just need to be absolutely sure that she knows all the time that you are the best she can ever do because you, you yourselves guys not society or Church, let them off their own vows with not a peep.

    It borders on the surreal. It you truly believe what Heidi said then women have no business getting married.

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  9. Feministhater-
    For what it’s worth, even though you and I don’t agree on this issue, I admire how you stuck to your guns at Dalrock’s and weren’t swayed by being an unpopular opinion.

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  10. I don’t get FH sudden switcheroo…he’s been fully versed in female nature, especially hypergamy, and then suddenly thinks they should be held to the same standards as men. Part of Heidi’s rationale was the intending divorcee thought she could do better in the dating market. Whereas staying with the person who committed to you and you committed too makes a lot more sense in the long run.

    I don’t mind using both idealistic and pragmatic arguments when it comes to keeping marriages together and avoiding divorce.

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  11. I don’t get FH sudden switcheroo…he’s been fully versed in female nature, especially hypergamy, and then suddenly thinks they should be held to the same standards as men.

    Come on Earl, this is not true. Every single time the issue of holding women to account on their vows, I’ve been pretty damn consistent. I’ve said the same thing time and time again, when it comes to vows, you either hold women to account on them or you are wasting your time. It’s specifically this area I’ve focused on. Vows mean something, they’re more than just a promise to break and either we think women are capable of keeping to them or we don’t. If we don’t then asking women to get married is as stupid as asking a minor to sign a contract without a guardian.

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  13. @ Heartie, all

    It is a written slap-to-the-face. It’s not written to appeal to their religious convictions or sense of honor, because the women themselves have already slapped duct tape on the mouths of those inner voices and left them chained in the basement. It’s not written to appeal to their love/gratitude/respect for their husbands, because that set of emotions has been the primary target of all their greener pastures arguments since day one.

    I disagree. It’s a very “wise” statement of fact that is in line with the Scriptures.

    Humans were given free will by God. Part of free will to to be able to think and understand the consequences of our actions. Appealing to the terrible consequences of divorce is a perfectly legitimate way to help people understand that there is no real upside to divorce. Only more pain and suffering.

    For those who cannot see the upside of choosing the righteous action (often because they are already starting to check out), appealing to the consequences of poor decisions is the opposite side that can shock them out of their idyllic fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Every single time the issue of holding women to account on their vows, I’ve been pretty damn consistent.

    You’ve been even more consistent overall in what you think female nature is about. For example…anytime Dalrock posts anything about female nature gone bad.

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  15. These are some random thoughts that sprang to mind from being reminded of the Dalrock thread by the comments above:

    “I’ve heard that women emotionally leave their marriages 18 mo before physically leaving.”

    When did Eve decide that there were benefits to be had from disobeying God? Before she bit into the apple? Or after?

    That is, which comes first: the emotions? or the behavior?

    Consequences? What consequences? I don’t see no damn consequences. That would mean I am thinking. I’m not. I’m emoting. Like Eve, I see that the fruit is lovely to behold. So I act. Don’t talk to me about vows to God (you made them; I didn’t) Talk to me about the worms in the apple. Use your words so that the fruit is not so lovely to behold. It’s that loveliness that I am perceiving that is attractive. Make that loveliness go away, and so will my attraction to it.

    Love is a verb. A hard-working verb, that gets dirty and sweaty. What’s love got to do with anything in the preceding paragraph?

    The fact most pertinent that was ignored by the guys at Dalrock’s during the referenced conversation is this:

    We don’t respond to “what is”.
    We can only respond to “what is perceived”.

    (Eve perceived the fruit as lovely to behold; there is no mention that she perceived the consequences that God said would follow the eating of the fruit.)

    Heidi was addressing exactly the thing that needed to be addressed: perceptions. Perceptions that the apple is lovely. Change the perception and you stand a chance to change the behavior. (Isn’t that actually the concept upon which establishing “frame” is based?)

    Guys can be so dense sometimes. I saw that the minute the thread started. Cause guys have certain perceptions too. And many will fight to the death to maintain them. Mostly because they can’t perceive anything else. And, if we can’t perceive it, it is not likely that we can ever imagine it. Like the love that Heidi actually has for her husband. It may not be what I want. Or can imagine. But it is what she can give. And that is all anyone is ever capable of. Regardless of our ability to perceive it.

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  17. No apology needed. I appreciate your thoughtful and generous response. I am no expert. Just a wife who has been broken, who broke things, who has been forgiven and seen how God redeems and restores. My heart is that others could experience this measure of grace. My sadness is that so few women understand they need it.

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  19. feministhater
    You’re letting women off the hook so easily that of course they will agree with you, it’s too easy not to.

    Neither Scott nor Deti nor Elspeth nor Hearthie are letting women off of the hook. That’s your projection.

    Now you just need to be absolutely sure that she knows all the time that you are the best she can ever do because you, you yourselves guys not society or Church, let them off their own vows with not a peep.

    FH, you are still stuck in the anger phase. So you are still stuck in the binary mode of “any woman not perfect is evil” thinking. So you still expect women to be like men, even though the reality is all around you.

    You’re also being a lousy general. Read Sun Tzu, where the superior man knows himself, knows his opponents, knows his subordinates and the capabilities of all. He cannot be defeated in 100 battles, if he knows these things.

    Refusing to accept the reality of what women are, and thus are not, is a huge weakness. Why do you want to be so weak?

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  20. feministhater
    Every single time the issue of holding women to account on their vows, I’ve been pretty damn consistent.

    Yes, you consistently demand that women act like men.
    If you had a cat, you’d consistently demand that it bark.
    Because cats and dogs are exactly alike except for something or other.

    FH, you are parroting feminist lies every time you demand that women actually behave like men. Why do you want to chain yourself to that failed ideology?

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  21. @ AR:

    Lest I was misunderstood, it is perfectly reasonable to expect a Christian woman to override her feelings and stick to her vows purely on the strength of understanding that this is what we are called to do. As much as it pains me to say this, I actually agree with feminist hater on that point.

    Where I think the Heidi haters are going astray is in discarding the reality that for some women (those who in a moment of weakness or despair) have slapped duct tape on their inner voices of righteousness and chained them in the basement, a cold hard dose of reality is a better way to go than just leaving her on the road to destruction. The greater good is not ol=nly served by this reality check, it offers the opportunity for the wife in question to repent and have her heart overhauled by God in the meantime.

    In other words, let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good, especially since none of us is perfect and we are all in the war of the flesh vs the Spirit. Women are presently and unfortunately rewarded for following our hearts wherever they lead, and so are more inclined to do so. This is the topic Heide appears to be trying to address. However, men are not any more exempt from the flesh vs Spirit war simply by virtue of being men.

    Let’s not skip off into theological masculinist fairy tale here.

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  22. FH:

    I’m not letting Heidi or other women off the hook. Women are all accountable for their vows to God and to their husbands. Women have full agency here – they can choose to honor their vows, or not.

    I don’t really care that much why she honors those vows. I care much more that she does honor them. She can work out the “why” on her own, between her and God, so long as she does so with grace, dignity, and obedience to those in authority over her.

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  23. Only one verse in all Scripture tells women to love their husbands (Tit 2:4). The dozen others tell the husband to love her, and tell her to respect and obey him. I am not one to do numerology on word counts but it is a reasonable inference that loving a spouse is less important (and, possibly, more difficult, less connatural) for women than it is for men.

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  24. FH, you are parroting feminist lies every time you demand that women actually behave like men. Why do you want to chain yourself to that failed ideology?

    Only ever said that should be kept to their vows the same as men. You keep meandering and stating this I never said. Anyway, I’m done here, you guys all have the solutions and know everything, have at it and get busy.

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  25. Ioannes:

    Yes. It’s a lot easier for men to “respect” their wives than it is to love them , whether that be phileo or agape. It IS easy for men to eros love their wives, most of the time.

    And it’s a lot easier for women to “love” their husbands than it is to “respect” (i.e. submit, “fear”) them (in the same way we are to submit to God and fear Him. Remember the old phrase “God-fearing”? It means we really are to be in awe of Him, we are to understand His power, and understand what that power can be used for.). Women just aren’t built to respect and submit to their husbands – unless those men are sexually attractive.

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  26. I disagree. Nature impels men to love the women they have sex with, and women to respect and obey the men they have sex with. Societies, personalities, or virginities have to be actively broken to alter that, as they are presently here but once largely were not. There’s a reason arranged marriage has always been the most common. It’s easy to get men to love their wives most of the time, and wives to respect their husbands most of the time. Our abnormal mores and laws are the only reason that’s not more evident.

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  27. Nature impels men to love the women they have sex with, and women to respect and obey the men they have sex with

    That’s how men start out. Then when the relationship starts breaking, she tells him things he needs to do so she will “respect” him. He does them. She loses respect for him. She tells him things he needs to do so she will respect him. He does them. She loses respect for him. She tells him things…..

    Lather rinse repeat.

    Women respect and obey the men they have sex with if and only if those women find their men sexually attractive. Women date, have sex with, and marry men they aren’t attracted to, or are not very attracted to, all the time. Women can have sex with men they aren’t all that attracted to if the man offers “other things” (usually provisioning) and goes all in with all his commitment immediately.

    Women are WILLING to have sex with those men. They can hold their noses, puke in their mouths a little, and let him have sex with her while she walls her emotions off and dissociates. Women are WILLING to do it. For a while, until they can’t do it anymore. And that’s where the problems start, with her telling him he needs to do all these various and sundry things to “make their marriage better”.

    But they don’t WANT TO have sex with their men. And that’s all the difference.

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  28. Laws and mores set the bar extremely low for the man to be and remain attractive to his wife. If she was disobedient the whole society would come down on his side. He could beat her, keep her wherever he wanted her to be, etc. He could prevent her from getting into circumstances where other men could entice her. His judgment is what she wakes up to and goes to sleep to – not the morals on TV or romance novels. Etc. Situational alpha where the situation is her whole life. Generally more than enough to make up for failing a shit test here and there. Not to mention the subconscious effects of little/no hope for provision from another man.

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  29. Ioannes:

    Agree with all you said, but we don’t live in that world anymore (if we ever did in the first place). We need to prepare for the world we’re in, not the world we would like to be in. We need to prepare for the world we are in now, not the world we were in 100 years ago or even 20 years ago.

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  30. (if we ever did in the first place)

    Has there really ever been a time in the Christan west when a man could, “…beat her, keep her wherever he wanted her to be, etc. He could prevent her from getting into circumstances where other men could entice her. ”

    I don’t think so, as my reading of history indicates a slightly different narrative.

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  31. Elspeth/Deep Strength

    Its actually difficult to even know now. The narrative of wives chained to the refrigerator, unable to have friends, barefoot and pregnant until some massive needed correction by baby boomers in the 1960s is impossible to verify. I have never met a woman–no matter how old–who would describe her life that way.

    Patriarchal? Yes. Husband was in charge? Sure. But the rest of that stuff seems like fairy tales to me. I have searched in vain for any evidence of it. Even that stupid article in Good Housekeeping that makes the FB rounds once in a while has been shown to be a hoax.

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  32. If you are referring to this:

    http://www.primermagazine.com/2009/love/the-good-wifes-guide

    I failed to see what was so far-fetched about it, frankly. A couple of things* were pretty over the top, things even my staunchly patriarchal husband would balk at. But for the most part, it was fine.

    Most of the women over 70 that I have known speak of a life where they enjoyed a fair amount of autonomy (separate sex spheres were an actual thing up until the 70’s) and a couple I know are pretty open about being the neck turning the heads in their marriages.

    So those anecdote, coupled with the reading I have done from turn of the century writers both fiction and non fiction lead to me to dismiss the notion that there was ever a time (especially in America) when women were oppressed en masse. But you can’t tell anyone that and be taken seriously. Most of them don’t even know that plenty of women had the vote prior to 1920.

    *SAM says unless a man is on a fishing/hunting/business trip, he can’t think of anything that would keep him from his own woman’s bed but another woman’s bed. Staying out all night should be a huge red flag and not ignored. Also, he rather enjoys the kids running up to him enthusiastically. A house where the children are seen but not heard doesn’t appeal to him at all.

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