Posted by: thewoobdog | March 23, 2007


I found this quote both amusing and, frighteningly enough, partially true…  In a sort of twisted way… So I’m posting yet another bit of Agatha Christie insight.  This is a conversation between Harry Rayburn and Anne Beddingfield:

“Do you always do what you like, Miss Beddingfield?”

“Usually,” I replied cautiously.  To anyone else I would have said “Always.”

“I pity your husband,” he said unexpectedly.

“You needn’t,” I retorted.  “I shouldn’t dream of marrying anyone unless I was madly in love with them.  And of course there is really nothing a woman enjoys so much as doing all the things she doesn’t like for the sake of some one she does like.  And the more self-willed she is, the more she likes it.”

“I’m afraid I disagree with you.  The boot is on the other leg [I’m thinking this is the antiquated English for ‘The shoe is on the other foot’] as a rule.”  He spoke with a slight sneer.

“Exactly,” I cried eagerly.  “And that’s why there are so many unhappy marriages.  It’s all the fault of the men.  Either they give way to their women – and then the women despise them, or else they are utterly selfish, insist on their own way and never say ‘thank you.’  Successful husbands make their wives do just what they want, and then make a frightful fuss of them for doing it.  Women like to be mastered, but they hate not to have their sacrifices appreciated.  On the other hand, men don’t really appreciate women who are nice to them all the time.  When I am married, I shall be a devil most of the time, but every now and then, when my husband least expects it, I shall show him what a perfect angel I can be!”

Okay, I’m not saying I agree with all of that or anything, but I do notice a tendency toward martyrdom in the female of the human race, particularly – not being a male, I can’t really speak for them, so I won’t attempt to make that generalization on their behalf.  At any rate, the woman in a relationship does often seem to take pleasure in self-sacrifice, especially initially, but too often we seem to let that real pleasure in doing something for someone else and meeting their needs (yes, yes, I am aware that no one can meet your needs but God, blah, blah, blah, but that’s not my point, here, so don’t get your knickers in a twist, okay?)  So, to begin again – too often we let that very real pleasure and sense of joy in focusing on someone else’s needs over our own turn into resentment – ‘Well, fine, I’ll just do it all again.  I’m the only one that ever does.  He doesn’t even realize all I do for him, but that’s okay, I’m not doing it to be recognized, blah, blah, blah, blah, BLAH.’  Things proceed to get more self-pitying and trod-upon as the mental loop replays, and eventually everything you do for the other person is done with this attitude – it’s no longer about love or joy, it’s about just how put-upon you are.  Well, that stinks. 

If I can’t do something for my husband out of love, I really probably shouldn’t do it.  Or if I do do it, I should at least have the decency to admit to myself that I’m not doing it out of willing self-sacrifice, but rather for purely selfish motives (and, as the Word says, in that case I have forfeited any heavenly reward because my heart is in the wrong place!).  Those selfish motives can be insidious and actually very difficult to put a finger on – a lot of times it’s easier to determine what my motive is not (ie, love) than to determine what it is.  Is it manipulation – am I doing this so I can make sure he knows by tone or minute change in expression just how self-sacrificing and wonderful I am, so he can be sufficiently in awe and grateful to have such a lovely wife that he so doesn’t deserve, perhaps feeling slightly guilty that he is not as supremely self-sacrificing as I? <insert angelic and slightly superior expression here>  Maybe I’m doing it so I feel self-sacrificing and ‘good’ about myself – ie, proof to myself that I really am a wonderful wife and I only do this out of love and…  Maybe I’m building up ‘credit’ – I do this and this and this and this and eventually he owes me big!  Whatever it is, if it’s not love then it’s not right and it will only bring you heartache, bitterness, and resentment.

I should mention that this doesn’t just apply to married relationships – I know that I myself am just as apt to fall into this trap with other family and friends.  So, ladies, in all your relationships, just remember – if it’s not done out of love, don’t pretend it is.  Have the courage to face up to yourself (and others, if need be) about your motives, and don’t use your actions and ‘sacrifices’ to manipulate those around you.  If you see this tendency in any of your relationships, then the good news is – identifying it is the first step to stopping it!  Get back to the pure motive of love and you’ll be surprised what a joy it is to really esteem others more than yourself.  (the other, even better news is – God is always willing and eager to help you in becoming that person of love.  He already sees you that way.)

Hmmm… I feel a message coming on…



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