709. Make Mr. Promiscuous Faithful — Part 3

Before we get to wife’s role, let’s explore her first line of defense: husband’s conscience. Like the rest of us, husband wants to feel good about himself and preferably all the time. Conscience alerts him when he shouldn’t or doesn’t.

  • Definition: Conscience is the internal message center that backs up the respect we have for our self and others. It provides the uh-oh when we violate our self-respect, respect for others, or both. Weak respect, weak conscience. Strong respect, strong conscience.
  • Conscience is the debt we owe to those we respect, including Self. He creates a guilty conscience, when he offends those he respects. Offense without respect stirs no guilt.
  • The stronger is one’s conscience, the more earnest the motivation to both prevent and restore lost respect for others and Self. A weak conscience does little to curb husband’s cheating. A strong conscience helps him cope with the natural urge to both conquer and spread seed.
  • Conscience makes character count more than good looks when searching for husband candidates. If already married, building greater respect strengthens a man’s conscience and her belief in it.
  • Husband’s conscience detects and springs forth from violations of his self-respect, because it stimulates doubt about his self-image. Phrased in reverse, if his picture of whom and what he is crumbles, his self-respect wilts. His natural reaction calls for restoration of it, and the stronger his conscience—which means greater respect for Self and others—the more highly motivated his effort.
  • If he lacks respect for females generally, he doesn’t picture himself as wrong when he mistreats one.
  • To the extent that he respects females, mistreatment of one causes his conscience to send signals of regret to him more than to her. However, lacking respect for her gender at least equal to or greater than his respect for the male gender means he can disrespect, mistreat, and even harm women with no conscience alerts, no loss of self-respect.  
  • To the extent that he respects wife, mistreatment of her causes loss of self-respect. It contradicts his picture of him as husband and his ideals of what marriage means. But worse, if he lacks respect for her, mistreatment doesn’t make him feel bad about himself. It disturbs neither his self-image nor self-respect.

Describing the many roles of conscience has expanded. More tomorrow.


Filed under The mind

14 responses to “709. Make Mr. Promiscuous Faithful — Part 3

  1. Jill F.

    I remember reading in a marriage book that allowing men to give us gifts and “splurge” on us increases our value in their eyes. This went against my natural inclination to be sacrificial and try to “help” my husband by curbing spending. My husband tends to buy “big” and I try to buy “cheap” (ie., a perfume that costs less in contrast to allowing him to buy me the more expensive perfume I really want…even when we can’t afford it). I’m not really sure why or how it works but accepting his gifts with joy seems to make me more valuable to him.

    Your Princesstial Highness Jill F.,
    The marriage book is right. View it this way: Why give someone something of value, if we don’t hold them in high regard? But, it goes further. When giving, we can’t dislike the receiver. It’s called cognitive dissonance, or reason disagreeing with feelings. We don’t tolerate CD very long, and some can’t live with at all. In the end, each gift reinforces in our mind that the receiver is highly valued, and the more costly the gift to the giver, the more it reinforces the receiver’s value.

  2. Jill,

    I’ll have to remember this. I’m just this way — trying to “tone down” my husband’s gifts (in fact, just the other day, he ordered me a new monitor, since mine seems to be giving evidence of going bad, and I asked him to get me a smaller, rather than a larger one — *but* I merely mentioned it and acquiesced). Frugality comes naturally to me, and I have increased my natural bent as well.

    But I do worry about money. Since my husband has essentially made me in charge of the family finances, I don’t know if he has a total grasp of the monthly bills vs. monthly income. So, it’s a balancing act for me — to accept gifts I feel we can’t afford, vs. making him feel bad.

  3. Princess Rita

    Kathy, maybe it is best in the long run to take the gift and let the chips fall where they may. Worst case scenario, if you can’t pay your household bills next month (because of the purchase), you can tell him about the problem and I’m sure he’ll be able to figure out why. Perhaps he’ll surprise you with a solution. At the very least, he can learn from his mistakes without you being the bad guy.

    • True. It’s just *so* difficult for me to do that. Partly because I don’t want to be short, and partly because I think he’d end up blaming me for having regular expenses being higher than he thinks we should (although he complains about my frugality from time to time — things like too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter), and us not having more of a cushion from month to month. But who knows? — maybe he would surprise me positively after all!

      Living and learning… living and learning (or at least, trying to). 🙂

  4. Princess Rita

    Hi Kathy,

    Well it’s easy for me to say since I’m not married and don’t have to deal with this particular issue but I AM learning to let the chips fall more often in my own life. Like learning not to stress about my job but just do my best and if (worse case scenario) I get fired, knowing that God will get me through.

    I think most women would give their eye-tooth to have a husband that gives them gifts frequently so it’s a good quality problem to have. 🙂

    • Well, it’s not “frequently,” so don’t be *too* jealous. But part of me feels guilty for accepting gifts, because I think the money could be either saved or better spent elsewhere. I know I need to lighten up on that — and I’m sure Guy would say that if I “lighten up” then my husband will “step up”…. I’m just afraid that I’ll lighten up, and he won’t. 😦

      Where does “good” gifting end and “extravagance” begin? [Mostly a rhetorical question — I’m sure it depends on income and expenses, and is a percentage of income, rather than a fixed amount.]

      • Princess Rita

        Even though your husband has put you in charge of the finances, maybe you could type up a sort of report to give him every week or month, showing the income that came in, the bills and expenses you paid out, how much went into savings and what was left over for “play money”. That way he would have an accounting in black and white and by you just handing him this report, you are allowing him to be an adult and make spending decisions based on fact rather than on the fuzzy math that sometimes happens when we don’t know exactly what’s going out. And you won’t be nagging him. If he still spends too much, when he shouldn’t, it will be in black and white, the following month. A report may take some of the emotionalism out of things–of course you can still discuss items in the report as well…in a positive way.

        It might help if the two of you can determine specifically how much (dollar amount) you want the cushion to be-that way you’ll have something to shoot for. And when the goal isn’t met that month, you can search the report together for the “problem” like a couple of business partners (except of course, you’ll be more feminine and sweet than most business partners)

      • I’ve tried printing out a budget (mostly showing that his income minus our regular expenses left not much over, so any “little” extra expenses he had would put us over budget), and he acted like it was a straight-jacket or something. So, I’ll have to try to find some other way. “Dave Ramsey” is a cuss word to him; but that’s okay — I listen to all three hours every day (if I can), so at least my kids will be properly indoctrinated. 😉 I’m having to tone it down a bit, and just hoping he’ll step up — maybe he’s trying to balance me, and if I’m “too strict” he’ll be “too lenient,” and if I loosen up, he’ll tighten up. I’m hoping anyway!

        Your Princesstial Exceptionalness Kathy,
        You repeatedly prove that you’re a highly qualified relationship expert aka highly admired female. You deserve a pay raise.

  5. Jill F.

    Hey ladies,

    We’ve been married 27 years and we still haven’t worked out a way to balance the spending /frugality differences the two of us have. We havc a large family (eight children), I have always stayed home with the children and my husband has just about always been self-employed and/or changed jobs frequently. You can image that expenses in our household can get high(groceries mostly).
    As a woman who is more of a “planner” than my husband it can be quite challenging to accept his splurges as genuine love gifts. But I do accept them and I thank him. My husband has no hobbies and he really loves to spend money on his family. It gives him a great deal of joy! Since he earns it and sees most of it used up quickly for basic living expenses I try not to think of a splurgy gift as a “waste.” After all, if our children grow up seeing a beautiful, loving example of married love that isn’t wasteful, is it?
    My part of the equation is to trust in God, manage the money as best as I can without being a nag (always a challenge:) and being thankful for the little and big things.
    The one thing my husband and I are in total agreement on is to keep out of debt. There is a great deal of freedom in this.

  6. Princess Rita

    Sounds like you’re doing a lot right. I’ll look you up if I ever remarry!

  7. LB

    You to husband: “Honey, I am pleased to be the accountant for our family and I know that you appreciate my effort and I am grateful. However, it is a little stressful at times for me and I could really use a short break. It would mean the world to me if you would please take over the accounting for 3 months or so so I could take a little vacation from it… aw, thanks Honey. You’re the BEST!”

    After a few months husband knows firsthand how close things can be at the end of every month, how stressful it is to you for income/expenses to not match up, and how much $$ he can spend to spoil his beautiful wife 🙂 and you haven’t had to say a word.

  8. Hush


    Great advice! I was given that advice when I was married; and when the checkbook was handed over, he promptly handed it back and told me there was a reason he never had a checking account! It is definitely an eye-opener, and much better than also being told that I “stole” from my husband because he never saw the checkbook even though every one of them was balanced in front of him and sat in a desk drawer rubber banded and easily accessible (and I had a bigger paycheck)!


    I’m now a bit confused, as my boyfriend (though not so sure how much, if any, longer) did just buy me a very extravagant gift. Albeit, he wasn’t doing so before or for most of our relationship other than a couple years ago when he did put thought and money into my birthday and last Valentine’s Day, as well as on a summer vacation (a first with just the two of us). But he just spent nearly $1k on a birthday gift, definitely the most he has ever spent on me for anything! I know the recent issue sent us on a short hiatus and left me seeking help and a decision to not break up but also not have sex anymore because I think it has hindered relationship progress; but you say above to:

    “View it this way: Why give someone something of value, if we don’t hold them in high regard? But, it goes further. When giving, we can’t dislike the receiver. . .In the end, each gift reinforces in our mind that the receiver is highly valued, and the more costly the gift to the giver, the more it reinforces the receiver’s value.”

    So is he not starting to see more value in me by going out of his way to do this for my birthday, and to do it early as well as bigger than ever? He said he wanted to do it for me because I’ve done so much for him, that I really deserved it and he doesn’t do enough for me. Maybe I’m confused and taking something out of context? Could he be starting to see more value in me since I’ve backed off? Is it possible to gain respect or renew respect for someone after conquering for sex?

    Your Sparkleness Hush,

    Next to last question: He probably does see you as more promising to him. However, don’t reward him for doing so. Accept gifts as your due and not as triggers for you to favor him more. See, it takes the first part to ensure that the second part doesn’t happen and release him from trying harder.

    Last question: Sure, and virtual virginity does it best. But other things work too. Such as the first part of the answer mentioned above. You accept gifts as your due, and it symbolizes greater self-respect, which makes you more respectable, more promising to him, and more worthy of unearned gifts. Remember, men don’t appreciate receiving unearned gifts, but they know that women differ and modern men are reminded when women accept gifts as what’s due them just for being female. More gifts symbolize greater respect, and that precedes greater love.


  9. Anne

    If THIS (from #708): “He’s not sensitive about emotional infidelity, and so he lacks understanding of wife’s inability to forget even if she forgives”
    AND this (from last point in #709): “To the extent that he respects wife, mistreatment of her causes loss of self-respect. It contradicts his picture of him as husband and his ideals of what marriage means.”
    THEN it seems to me that only the wife can put emotional infidelity on the man’s radar screen because it is not “naturally” in the “cheating and unfaithfulness” category in his book. And she must somehow link it to “respect for wife” (I’m assuming, at least… since the conscience is already formed in the man and so is his sense of how to respect other women generally…)
    SO… how can a wife do this?!

    Your Highness Anne,

    I’m unsure of what you seek. Why put emotional infidelity on his radar screen? He can’t or won’t try to comprehend your arguments. It’s a non-starter so why bring it up? You can only presume his emotional fidelity by his physical faithfulness.

    Now, for example, if you mean that he flirts with every chick in front of you, you need another approach. Such as, I refuse to be seen in public with you. You embarrass me and I can no longer tolerate it. Why am I embarrassed? Because you make yourself look good at my expense. Because my public image is not respected since I associate with someone that embarrasses me routinely.

    I’m not saying do it that way, but it does describe another approach to deal with emotional infidelity without bringing it up as something he doesn’t understand. In short, not on his radar screen for him to detect but up front, blunt, and candid so he can’t miss it.


  10. Sis

    So I should let him buy me expensive gifts and not reciprocate anything for them, what else increases our respect in the eyes of our husband.

    Your Highness Sis,
    May I suggest articles in the CONTENTS page at blog top that start with “Respect” and “Respectable.”

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