[T]o teach her husband, Scott, to stop storming around the house when he couldn’t find his keys, she practiced what trainers call Least Reinforcing Scenario, which means she ignored his outbursts, and didn’t offer to help with the search. To prevent Scott from hovering over her while she tried to cook, she engineered “incompatible behaviors” by setting a bowl of chips and salsa at the other end of the room. Soon she had a key-finding, salsa-eating mate and, she says, a happier marriage.
Through the long process of training her husband, however, Sutherland realized that she was the one who changed the most.
[S]he taught herself not to take her husband’s actions personally, and not to react when he did things that annoyed her. [Nina] DiSesa [author of Seducing the Boys Club] also says she retrained herself to stop criticizing and confronting the men she worked with, and instead use “S and M,” seduction and manipulation, to get her way.
Learning to control one’s reactions to everything your husband does is a good thing, however, resorting to seduction and manipulation to get one’s way is wrong. It’s dishonest and disrespectful. I do not know about Amy Sutherland or Nina DiSesa, but Christian women should not turn to underhanded scheming against their husbands for any reason.
The Scriptures are clear that we are to honor one another over ourselves. Wives are to respect their own husbands. To resort to the tactics described by the women in the Newsweek article would demonstrate a too-high opinion of self, disrespect for the other person, and a low regard for God and His perfect plan for husbands and wives. God’s way is not the easiest, but it is good and accompanied with His blessing.
The Newsweek article does not address the fundamental difference between man and beast. Humans possess the God-given ability to reason. Animals are hard-wired by God to do what they do. They don’t question or wonder why their lives progress the way they do. Pavlov’s dog didn’t wonder why he salivated every time he heard a bell ring. Birds do not question migration. Humans, on the other hand, can reason and question and wonder. If you’re married to a man who is smarter than the average bear, he will catch on to what you are doing pretty quickly. Sutherland’s husband did. He even started using Amy’s own tactics to try and change her behavior. The article states, “Now they use the word “shamu” as a verb, as in “Did you just shamu me?” While it sounds humorous, it seems to me that their marriage has devolved to a game of seeing who can better manipulate the other one.
I can understand (somewhat) how some of these tactics can be helpful for changing small things, annoying habits and behaviors. Overcoming socks in the floor, however, is a walk in the park compared to healing more serious marital issues.
To read the article in its entirety, follow the link to Newsweek.