Ever. Be it video games, fishing, stamp-collecting, or in this case, hunting.
According to rumors, Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan, expressed her disdain of his affinity for hunting. He catered to her, and wound up selling a couple of his rifles, and it’s suggested that they were worth fifty-thousand pounds.
Harry’s selling of the guns is a confirmed fact, but it’s not confirmed that he sold them under pressure from his wife. If it is true, should he have done it? That’s a subject Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker addressed back in 2001 with their book Every Woman’s Desire (now re-published under the title Every Man’s Marriage). In a nutshell, their answer would be yes, Harry should have sold his guns. But I’m going to offer my own running commentary on what Fred Stoeker wrote. This should demosntrate why married Christian men need to unapologetically keep their hobbies no matter how much their wives disapprove.
In one of the end-of-chapter evaluations, they say a husband ought to ask his wife the following (page 82):
Your Evaluation of Me As a Servant
16. To what extent do I understand that my time is not my own? Do I often unilaterally make decisions regarding my time?
17. To what extend do I understand that I don’t have a right to make unilateral decisions regarding hunting, golf, work, my friends, etc.?
Notice how it’s taken as a given that husbands don’t have the right to make unilateral decisions for themselves. A husband must run his decision by his wife first since he is literally, not figuratively, asking for her evaluation of him as a servant. This is critical because when husband’s give up their innocuous hobbies, it’s not because their best friend told them to. Men wouldn’t even think of being so cruel to their own friend. The reason husbands do it is always because his lovely bride objected to it, and he caved to the pressure.
I instantly knew why grown men spent every weekend for two and a half months tromping through frosty fields during pheasant season. I couldn’t wait to return. I was captured.
Lurching through our door at five o’clock that afternoon, I gushed every detail to Brenda. “Honey, you won’t believe this,” I exclaimed. “I’ve finally found a hobby I love! Wow! The guys and I are going out again next Saturday, and I can hardly wait.”
Brenda failed to return my enthusiasm. She couldn’t imagine how climbing hill and dale and stumbling through cornstalks and switch grass could be relaxing. But there was more. Saturdays were family days, and she looked forward to them all week long.”Sweetheart, you can’t imagine how good it makes me feel to know you’ve found a hobby you love,” she began. “You’ve needed one for a long time, but you need to understand what this means to my life. Hunting means I’ll have to handle the kids six days a week all by myself. Besides, what good are Saturdays without the fun you bring to the mix?”
First, there is no way his wife talked the way Fred wrote her. The level of formality in her speech as written isn’t how normal people talk. But let’s take Fred at his word that this is the gist of what she said.
His wife reacts first by lying, since she obviously didn’t feel good about what Fred wanted to do. She complains that she’ll have to take care of the kids by herself more if he indulges in this hobby she knows he needs. Then she condescends to him as though she were persuading a sulking child to come play with the other boys and girls instead of playing by himself.
I glossed over her concerns since I really had fun pheasant hunting. “I know it’s a sacrifice for you,” I admitted. “But it’s a short season—only two-and-a-half-months long. I have to make the most of it now.”
Brenda wasn’t tracking. “I really do wish you could do it every weekend,” she said. “But hunting would steal too much time from me and the kids. With Sunday school and church, they really only see you on Saturdays as it is.”
My position in this conversation was slipping.
Fred classifies his rebuttal to Brenda’s disapproval as glossing over her concerns. Technically, he’s correct. He could have called her out for being passive-aggressive and talking down to him. But this is a man gushing over a newfound passion of his. He is happy. He is joyous. He’s not in a mood to lay a smack down, so he tries a quick appeal to reason.
Brenda rebuts his appeal by saying that the kids only “really” get to see Fred on Saturdays. Sundays don’t count because of Sunday school and church. That stops them from “really” seeing him, whatever that means. The point is that it’s not sufficient in Brenda’s eyes to allow Fred to use Saturdays to indulge a hobby that, again, she knows he needs to indulge in.
She continued, “Since you like hunting this much, we should agree now how many times per year you can go. This way, you won’t be tempted to stretch it when your buddies call.”
Translation: We need to nip this in the bud now before it becomes a bigger problem. You can go hunting, but only after I approve your yearly allowance. Once that’s done, I’ll relax knowing you’ll be too scared of my spanking to step out of line.
This suggestion—a good one—caught me flatfooted. Advantage Brenda.
It wasn’t a suggestion in the first place, never mind a good or bad one. It’s a demand coupled with a back-handed warning.
Thinking rapidly, I knew I should be as “sacrificial” as possible. “How about three times?” I offered. That didn’t seem like much to ask for when pheasant season lasted fifteen weeks.
Fred’s cowardly reaction to Brenda’s disapproval was to freak out. Despite that he only has 15 days out of the entire year to hunt, he was so panicked that he instantly dropped his demands by 80%. Was that enough for Brenda?
“How about two?”
“Two? Come on, sweetheart, be reasonable! Three is already a huge sacrifice for me, and you know it. I have every right to go hunting at least three times a year!”
Tragically, Fred is right. It would be a huge sacrifice for him, and Brenda DID know it. Unfortunately, he was the one who made the mistake in thinking his cowardice would appease his wife, who only wound up telling him that it still wasn’t enough.
Let’s stop the conversation right here. Make a freeze-frame. Why couldn’t I do as I pleased? Hadn’t I earned the right to some relaxation? Wasn’t I the fellow who brought home the bacon twice a month, the leader who could unilaterally end a discussion on my terms and let the chips fall where they may? Besides, wasn’t the pursuit of happiness the right of every American?
Yes. Surprisingly, the answer to all of those rhetorical questions is yes.
Let’s Be Reasonable
So how did my hunting story end? “C’mon, Brenda,” I pleased. “Be reasonable! I don’t think three Saturdays of pheasant hunting is too much to ask for.”
“Okay,” Brenda announced, breaking the stalemate. “I’ll be reasonable and give you the three days. I’m sure you’ll find it just as reasonable to provide me three full days of baby-sitting in return so I can shop with Pam.”
Fred should not be “asking” for anything in the first place. Here’s a perfect reason why you don’t give up your hobbies. A joyous man is broken down, made to think he should only enjoy his hobby less than 1% of the entire year, his wife demands he do it even less than that, and when he finally stands his ground on 3 out of 365 days, she relents only if he sacrifices even more of his own time. And not because she has a hobby of her own to indulge. It’s so she can go SHOPPING, of all things.
Brenda didn’t care a fig about fairness,
Obviously, so maybe you shouldn’t have let her dictate how you run your life.
but she cared dearly that I see the price I was asking them to pay. “Brenda, I really did think I was already sacrificing a ton to ask for only three Saturdays. Now you’re making me look like some weakling who has to ask his wife how often he can hunt.”
Fred, YOU made yourself look like a weakling who has to ask his wife for stuff. She disrespected you, but you’re the one who started negotiating for what you wanted. Why shouldn’t Brenda think she’s in a position to make demands when you treat her as if she is?
“I know that, honey, and I’m not trying to take your authority away. But we have the kids for such a short time, and then they’ll be gone. You’re so valuable to them that it seems crazy to spend so much time hunting, no matter how much fun it is.”
It wasn’t long before I said, “Okay, my dear, two it is.” She gave me a big hug.
Aw, that’s just so sweet. Did she pat you on the head and give you a kiss? Did you get a cookie for being a good little boy?
I can hear you now. But that just didn’t seem right! Maybe. But was it right for me to hinder the primary call on Brenda’s life by hunting whenever it pleased me?
Would hunting every Saturday actually prevent her from raising Godly kids? That’s not the point. If she believes it would, then every time I stepped into the fields, I would be trampling her. That wouldn’t be right.
Behold the sick, miserable rationalizations of the brainwashed Christian cuck. This is a man who just conceded to his wife to only enjoy the one hobby he has ever had two days out of the entire year, and to do so any more? Well, that would be him trampling HER, not vice versa, you see. And if she is wrong to believe his hunting would hinder her motherly duties, that’s irrelevant. What she believes reigns supreme, even if he knows it’s wrong!
If this really is how this confrontation went down, Fred should have kept this entire thing between him and Brenda. At best, this serves as a cautionary tale for why Christian men need to be told BEFORE THEY MARRY to stand their ground against their wife’s disapproval. If they don’t, they’ll wind up like Fred. A man who finally found something to satisfy his need for fun, but guess what his lovely, sweet, reasonable wife decided was a great idea? It was to only let him have it two days out of the year. That’s what you get when you give up your hobbies.
P.S. If Fred or any Fred-like complimentarians want to dispute whether he really “needed” his hobby, then he and they had better think twice. Brenda said that he did. Even if she’s wrong, as Fred said, that’s not the point, so long as she believes it to be so. He wouldn’t want to trample her, now would he?