Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Games We Play

Movies, books and pop culture has talked about the games we play between men and women.  Everyone has an opinion too.  'Never play games'  'The only way to get them to like you is to...' 'If you don't'll never get what you want'   I'm not going to speak for guys but I think as girls we have grown up in a society that teaches us to manipulate in order to survive.  If you want to be in control (which we all ache for daily) then you have to work the system(your husband, kids, job).  Coming into my marriage, I didn't consciously think like that - "I have to manipulate Randy to have the life I want" but that was ultimately how I acted.

In chapter 6 "games women play" (of Every Woman's Marriage by S & G Ethridge), she discusses 4 games we commonly find ourselves in that sabotage the good we might think we're doing.

-The Mommy-Child Game: The mothering instinct goes into overdrive and we treat them like a child, going beyond simply helping them, but caring for them as though they could not ever for themselves. Men will find it humiliating, especially in public.  They need a wife, not a mother. (I'm paraphrasing her)

-The Spoiled Child-Sugar Daddy Game: Acting like a spoiled child way into adulthood, throwing fits until getting your way, with such phrases like "Am I not worth it?" "I've given him my whole life, the least he can do is buy me ______" "Why don't you splurge on me like you did when we were dating?"  Money being an issue in almost every marriage, manipulating your husband to squeeze more out of him is never healthy.

-The Holy Spirit-Wretched Sinner Game: The assumption many women make is that they are more spiritual than their husbands and as such, males should default to their moral decisions and judgements.  This reminds us that as women we can only model the abundant Christian life, not force them to live and experience it the way we see best.

-The Patient-Psychotherapist Game: Even though the task is enormous, we often expect our spouse to be our therapist.  A good listener, loving advice - yeah, but sometimes if there are deep issues, it is unreasonable to expect one (untrained, emotionally involved) person to be responsible for your emotional turmoil.

And wouldn't you know, I've played all 4? A lot of this is behavior that we mimic with consciousness of it, which makes it some of the most dangerous.  I have smothered Randy with my mothering insults, demanded physical manifestations of his love, claimed I had more spiritual knowledge or a better barometer, and demanded he help me deal with any or all of my issues!  The reality is, habitually acting in any one of these ways will complicate any relationship and never bring out the real fruit we are after.  It takes a long time I think to undo the habits.  For me, I have to remind myself what is manipulating, taking personal inventory to see if what I'm saying is really what is happening or if I'm ultimately trying to prearrange the end result.  What I wonder is if there are some other games we play, especially in girl/friend relationships.  Any thoughts?

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