Last post was chock-full of ways and reasons for a man to mold his wife into what he wants. I was expecting more of the same today, but was (cautiously) pleasantly surprised. Today, we get to talk about the Visionaries that aren't successful.
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Visionaries are much more likely to have mood swings and even depression than are the other two types of men, for they have high hopes and great expectations that are sometimes impossible to realize, and they judge themselves by the same standards they judge others. It is self-flagellation, punishment for failure. I ask, who made you responsible for righting all the wrongs and achieve great things? I am not telling you to be content with less than the realization of impossible dram. I say dream on and take your failures personally. The man who climbs high falls back to earth more than the man who picks from the lower branches. Have fun aspiring to great things, just be sure to feed, clothe, and minister to your family along the way, and don't view yourself through the lens of your imagined greatness.
OK. Mood swings and depression are usually chemically-based. Yes, there are some circumstances that can cause depression and swings, but a lot of the time these disorders are caused by faulty brain chemistry or serotonin/dopamine receptors. Simply saying "Oh, you're a Visionary, no wonder you're depressed. Just stop dogging on yourself, man.", isn't helpful or accurate. Though I do agree that sometimes people need to realize they are not capable of fixing all of the wrongs in the world, and that they should stop beating themselves up for not being as good as they think they should be. And it was a very good point to tell men that their family should come first. Although it makes me sad that Michael's audience need that reminder.
Having a wife with a positive and cheerful outlook is priceless. And an understanding of the peculiar propensities of your nature will enable you to laugh at the caricature you present. The bottom line is you will need to bring your wife alongside in an emotionally supporting role. You need her to believe in you. Everyone finds satisfaction in being needed, but for your gal it's life. It gives her worth; it makes her feel truly loved, and her encouragement can keep you from experiencing the great mood swings that come from occasional failure.
Oh, Michael. Must we go through this again? Women need more than just to be needed. They need to be listened to, respected, valued, treated fairly, encouraged, loved...I could go on. Literally this whole book has been about bringing one's wife to the point where she knows she is needed, and somehow that magically turns her into a bright ray of sunshine that always gets dinner ready on time and puts out like crazy. Grrrr.
If you don't have a productive relationship with your wife, then chances are you are just sitting around the house complaining while wanting to change the world in some way. Don't blame her! Remember, Visionaries have a tendency to blame others. Talk to her about how you can change the direction you are going. Then go somewhere together, even if you must stop short of the crest. It is all about traveling together, not just reaching the top.
For Michael, this is pretty good advice. If you are inclined to sit around and complain all the time, stop griping and stop blaming! And oh my stars, Michael actually said "talk to your wife". Though I'm sure he means to tell your wife what you want, and how you need her to support you while you get there. I do like that he emphasizes that traveling together is more important than reaching the top. An excellent point. Marriage, or any relationship, should be about cooperation, compromise, and being there for each other. If a relationship takes two (or more) people, then two (or more) people should decide together where they want to end up.
Letter from a Visionary's Wife
Dear Mrs. Pearl
Thank you so much for writing your book, "Created to Be His Help Meet". I have read it through twice and it still hurts! Something I have been greatly blessed by is your section on the different kinds of men. I had no idea, but it sure helped me understand my husband. He is 100% certified Visionary. He is an awesome man. He has a brilliant business idea at least once a day. I'm sure if we had the capital to invest we would be rich. But we don't. Basically we are broke, and my husband doesn't seem to care. I think he is discouraged. We are living in a beautiful house rent-free until we are able to pay our good friends who wanted to help up us out since we have little ones. So far we have not paid them a a dime I feel so guilty using their friendship that I can't stand to even look at them. We haven't paid our water bill in months, we use food stamps and last winter we didn't have heat due to unpaid bills. My widowed mother has helped us out in the past, but I really feel guilty that she has to give up her little mite for us. The car notes are overdue as well, so soon it will be gone.
My husband has his own shop. He always thinks that what he is doing will suddenly succeed, but months, years, have passed and it is not happening. No one has shown any interest in what he sells. I want him to be successful. I don't want to destroy his vision, but I am expecting another baby. I wonder if we will have electricity when it is born. We almost froze last winter. I would treasure any advice or encouragement you could offer.
Please pray for us
Here is how I would respond to this letter.
Dear Cathy, I'm sorry to hear how bad things are. I'm a bit confused why you would love Debi's book if you say "it hurts" like it's a good thing. Please write back and explain. Now onto your present circumstance. Let me get this straight. You are living off of the goodwill of your friends-who you can't even look in the eye. You have (it seems) a good number of children, and are pregnant again. Your husband doesn't have a steady job, instead likes to tinker around and hatch grandiose schemes. All of your bills are overdue, and you had no heat last winter.
Cathy, I'm going to be blunt. Things need to change in your house fast. The type of living conditions you've described can get your children taken away. Food insecurity, no heat, water threatening to be shut off at any time? Most states call that neglect. Regardless of how much you love your children, this is not a healthy environment for them to grow up. You claim you almost froze last winter. That's not safe or healthy for your kids.
I have plenty of advice for you. First, talk to your friend. She's letting you live rent-free. It sounds like you've been there for a while. Tell her what's going on. Offer to clean her house, cook her meals, weed her garden. Do something to show that you are grateful for her help. Next, talk to your husband. Tell him that this type of lifestyle is unacceptable. Mention how it's not safe for the kids to live in a freezing house. Explain that he has a family to provide for and that he needs to get a job. Compromise and say he can tinker in his shop in his spare time, and that what you need, instead of a grand idea that will make millions, is a steady paycheck. Encourage him to attend counseling, maybe even get a prescription for anti-depressants. If he doesn't listen to you, talk to a pastor or friend who will intercede on your behalf.
If he still doesn't listen, you have three options. Option one, stay with him and hope things will get better. It seems you've been doing that for awhile, so I don't know how viable this option is. Option two, your husband can tinker and you can get a job somewhere. Finding childcare would be an issue, but if you're already on food stamps, getting state-sponsored childcare shouldn't be that much more difficult. Option three, issue your husband an ultimatum. Tell him that either he gets a job and starts providing for his family, or he will have to find other housing. If he isn't fulfilling his job as breadwinner, then something has to change. I wish you the best. I know it's a hard choice.
But that was my response. Let's see what Michael has to say.
Not-So-Dear Mr. Visionary,
You have one very great weakness, and you are allowing it to control you like a substance addiction. If you allow your dreams to rule your common sense, while walking with your head int eh clouds you will step on your family. Your despondence and discouragement are the results of making yourself a slave to your impulses to achieve success in areas that have proven unproductive.
Once when I was young, I asked an investor where I could best invest the $40K I had on hand. He answered wisely, telling me to never invest money that I needed for the substinence of my family or the upkeep of my lifestyle. "If you can't afford to lose it, don't invest it," he said.
You, Mr. Visionary, are investing time and energy on things that are a losing endeavor. They are not turning a profit. You are pouring your life and the souls of your wife and children down the drain of a vain belief that what hasn't worked in a number of years will suddenly become a paying venture. Stop investing what you cannot afford to lose. Your first duty is not to fulfill your dreams, but to provide for your house. If you have to work at an assembly line sorting screws and bolts to keep the family comfortable, than swallow your pride and shelve your vision until the family is secure. You can experiment with fulfilling your vision in the evenings and on weekends, but it is morally unacceptable to spend your wife's emotions on failed dreams. If you think she should just shut up and make the best of it, you , Sir, are a double-dog jerk.
Well, Michael's answer is different than mine! Considering Michael wrote a self-help book, he was kind of short on the "helping" advice. Instead of browbeating and shaming the guy, I think he should have stuck to more practical examples. Calling someone a "double-dog jerk" is really not the best way to get them to see your point of view. I would think, for someone who claims to be a "take my advice or leave it" kind of guy, he would be more...pointed in his advice. Attacking the character of a person really won't make them want to change. Instead, they will feel victimized and more depressed. I've found that giving people who ask for advice a few options, and letting them pick what they're most comfortable with, is better than saying "OMG. You=teh stupidz0r. Change!"
I think it's interesting that the wife wrote the original letter (to Debi), but Michael wrote the response to the husband. I wonder how Debi would have responded to the wife. Oh wait...here's how she responded in a close situation. Basically "God created you (the wife) to be his helper, not his partner! How dare you question what your man wants!" So perhaps it's best that Michael responded to the man.
This section makes me wonder how many wives are in this situation. Are there really that many men who let their family live in poverty, or on charity, to fulfill their own dreams? I would think if someone has grown up with the understanding that they should provide for their family, then they would learn skills early in life that would allow them to accomplish that. Hmmm...