Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't Ask Iyanla To Fix Your Marriage

I've been watching the show "Iyanla: Fix My Life" a little bit lately. In some ways, it is a really great show. It addresses very real things and doesn't shy away from difficult subjects. I think some of Iyanla's techniques are quite interesting and worth looking into. I'm sure quite a few people are helped. I have a serious issue with the way marriages are treated on this show though.

The thing that really bothers me about this show is that there seems to be a whole lot of blaming the woman for the man's actions while coddling the man. Granted, I've only seen three episodes where marriages are addressed but it happened in all three episodes. I'm not saying that the women are never wrong but no woman is responsible for a man's actions. Iyanla refers to men as leaders and kings but then tells the women that these "leaders" are not responsible for their own actions.  What sense does that make? True leaders take responsibility for their actions and often for the actions of the people they are supposed to be leading.

One episode was about Sheree and Bob Whitfield. I won't get into all the details of their relationship because it would take forever and they're celebrities. You can just look it up if you are that interested. But Iyanla told Sheree multiple times that it was her fault that Bob didn't pay child support and wasn't there for their children. She literally said it was her fault. She also said, "A man can't get in the space where there is feminine rage and bitterness because he doesn't know how to navigate it." So what?! That probably has a lot to do with her part in why their relationship failed but what does that have to do with Bob's responsibility. Not to mention that is was his actions that created that rage and bitterness in the first place. Iyanla basically gave Bob a pass on his behavior with that statement, saying that Sheree prevented him from doing his job. I am in no way saying that Sheree isn't wrong. She has a terrible attitude and is incredibly selfish and manipulative. I mean, it was obvious that she only went on the show in hopes that Iyanla would take her side and go after Bob instead of addressing her problems as well. I'm also pretty sure that she was only interested in Bob's money to begin with. But that has nothing to do with Bob's actions. He should have paid child support and he should have been a father to his children. Real men and real fathers push to take care of their children and to spend time with them, no matter how much conflict, anger, hate, or whatever else they have to deal with from the mother. Maybe they don't succeed in the endeavor but they try. Their children are that important to them and clearly Bob didn't think that his children were worth the effort.

Now before anyone who saw the show gets on my case, I am not in their relationship and only know what I've seen on television. I know I don't know all the details. This post isn't so much about their relationship as it is about the message the show was sending out. Also, it did seem like he saw the error of his ways and was going to work to be a better father in the future. That should be acknowledged and commended but it doesn't negate his past actions. Changing your ways doesn't automatically fix the damage you already caused. The scars are already there and scars don't go away.

Like I said earlier, this isn't the only episode where it seemed like the men were getting coddled and the women were getting blamed. One episode, Iyanla blamed the woman for her husband's affair! I couldn't believe it. This has to stop! Women are responsible for our own actions, and our own actions only. When we are wrong we need to admit it, apologize, and change. We are not responsible for any man's actions.

Really, men should be offended as well. Making someone responsible for their own actions is a sign that you think that person is highly capable and worthy of high expectations. It seems that Iyanla doesn't think men are capable of much.

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I would love to know what you think. Constructive criticism is more than welcome.