I am engaged to be married. People give you unsolicited marriage advice when you’re engaged. I expected to have to tell the story of how we met and plan the wedding. I did not expect people I barely know to comment on my relationship. It gets annoying quickly, and the advice is never good. Usually, they start with a prying question, how many kids are you planning to have, and then end with cliched advice.
The worst advice without question is:
I despise this advice.
The advice is usually given by men who are in no position to be giving out marriage advice. These are the men who have been married for over a decade and have given up. They might own a home and have created a dungeon for themselves that they call a “man cave.” After dinner, they put on their New Balance shoes grab a Coors Light, and head out to the garage to admire their ’76 Chevelle. The car they rarely drive but just stare at imagining freedom. These men have imprisoned themselves; I am not interested in their advice.
There’s a way to interpret this saying that makes women look terrible. The implication being that if you cannot make your wife happy, she will vindictively make your life miserable. The saying gives women permission to nag and torment to get the happiness owed to them. It frames women as an impediment to a man’s happiness, which isn’t true. You are responsible for your own happiness.
The main reason I despise this cliched piece of advice is that it makes the man subservient. Here’s a list of Bible verses that should show why this is dumb. “Happy Wife Happy Life” is a direct inversion of Ephesians 5:22, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.” The saying suggests that men need to submit to their wives.
But even looking at it secularly, this is terrible advice. The saying strips men of the authority to pursue their own desires. Rollo Tomassi, a prominent figure in the manosphere, talks about how men need to make themselves the mental point of origin. Nice Christian men will immediately confuse this with being self-centered or selfish. And while selfishness can happen when you make yourself the mental point of origin, that’s not what it means.
To make yourself the mental point of origin is to do what you want to do. Too often, when it comes to women, men do what women want them to do. And to be clear, we’ve all been there. It seems like every guy has at least one relationship where he’s “whipped.” Unfortunately, not all men learn from the mistakes of that relationship.
When it comes to making decisions, who do you think about first? It should be you. You are responsible for your life.
This is not selfishness. Selfishness is defined as “(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.” In decision making, you should consider others. Nice Christians will purposefully misconstrue my point. They’ll say I don’t believe in being nice or kind to people or only doing it for utilitarian reasons. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying when you are nice and kind, do it because you chose to be nice and kind, not because you think they want you to be. The outcomes look similar, but one comes from a place of power, while the other comes from a place of submission.
This concept of mental point of origin is heavily related to the idea of frame. As a man, you should work on establishing a good frame. It’s not easy. Society and ideas of chivalry have conditioned western men to have weak frames. But frame is something you can be worked on, but that’s an article for another time.
Also, women don’t like “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” Here’s a post from a relatively mainstream source. She can’t quite articulate it. How could she? It would go against her feminist principles. She gets close and adequately shows her displeasure. Essentially, she overhears two men discussing how they submit to their wives, and they justify it using “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” It disgusts her.
The point being “Happy Wife Happy Life” is the motto of the man who has surrendered life. He’s given authority to his wife. He’s a man who’s no longer in control of his own destiny but instead is relegated to servitude.