“Males have a tendency to wander a little bit. And what you want to do is make a home so wonderful he doesn’t want to wander.” – Pat Robertson
INFIDELITY is expected of men, according to Pat Robertson. But that really wasn’t the worst of his advice to a woman having a hard time grappling with forgiving her husband. Pat Robertson looks to the woman, blaming her for why it happened.
The furor inspired big reaction over at the Huffington Post: 51,000 Facebook “likes”; 10,400+ Facebook shares; and over 7000 comments and counting. A snippet:
While Robertson’s co-host hedged on the question, calling forgiveness “difficult” and spousal infidelity “one of the ultimate betrayals,” Robertson got right to the point.
“Here’s the secret,” the famous evangelical said. “Stop talking the cheating. He cheated on you, well, he’s a man.”
The wife needs to focus on the reasons she married her spouse, he continued.
“Does he provide a home for you to live in,” Robertson said. ‘Does he provide food for you to eat? Does he provide clothes for you to wear? Is he nice to the children… Is he handsome?”
The Christian Broadcasting Network has been in clean-up mode ever since.
The Christian Broadcasting Network released a statement, saying, “As a first step in the process, Dr. Robertson stated that she should stop dwelling on the cheating. Next, he recommended that she remind herself of all the reasons she fell in love with him in the first place so that she might try to fall back in love with him all over again.”
“Lastly, his point was that everyone is human and there is much temptation outside of the home, so she should do whatever she can to strengthen their home and relationship. His intent was not to condone infidelity or to cast blame. We regret any misunderstanding,” the statement concluded.
There’s no “misunderstanding.”
Pat Robertson is a throw back from the post-WWII, Freudian fetish American society, in the lull before the sexual and feminist revolution; that time in our country when Alfred Kinsey was dropping a bombshell about the sexuality of American women, while Betty Friedan was preparing to blow the roof off of the “feminine mystique.” That idea that women can cuddle up to their appliances and just be, instead of actually doing anything.
This is that era Republicans and conservatives want to relive, because it gives power back to the old boys club, instead of the new Lean In moderns.
The Pat Robertson philosophy is also seen in the writings of conservatives on relationships, people like Phyllis Schlafly’s daughter Suzanne Venker, who declared there’s a “war on men.” The notion that if women would relinquish our power to men, all would be right, because then men could do what they’re supposed to do, which is provide for women, while we center our focus on home and when providing, make sure the man still has that as his primary purpose in our partnerships.
Feminism and women’s rise economically is not a “war on men.” What our independence reveals is that traditional men, conservatives in particular, especially religious males, haven’t accepted the sharing of economic strength, thinking that women being equal is emasculating. Women, of course, have to understand that when we make equal to our husbands and boyfriends this doesn’t negate his foundational belief that to provide and protect is his job. We still must acknowledge what he does, appreciate him for providing, something that is revealed in a simple “thank you” when he does it. When he takes you out to dinner or buys you something. It may sound corny, but nothing is more important than taking the time to acknowledge a man’s contribution. That doesn’t require we relinquish our power, but instead take turns sharing it.
It’s why Sheryl Sandberg wrote that the most important decision a woman makes is the man she marries. For modern women, nothing could be truer. A man who wants to protect and provide, but relishes allowing a woman to produce and be treated equally, without robbing him of his own joy to care for her. It’s really not that difficult if you simply honor one anther.
There is no “misunderstanding” the message from Pat Robertson. He has said these things before and will again, because for religiously conservative men, traditionalists, this is what they believe. From ABC News:
Robertson, 83, gave a similar answer when he spoke about Gen. David Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell last year.
“The man’s off in a foreign land and he’s lonely and here’s a good-looking lady throwing herself at him. I mean, he’s a man,” Robertson said on an episode of “The 700 Club.”
Earlier this year Robertson was criticized when he suggested a woman’s looks might be to blame for her marital problems. Robertson told a story about a woman who asked a reverend how to stop her husband’s drinking problem.
“She was awful looking. The preacher looked at her and said, ‘Madam, if I was married to you I’d start to drink too,’” Robertson said.