When You Say I’m Not Happy, Why Do You Do It?

You can go ahead and consider today a non-post post. I’ve written before about how writing “controversial” posts wears me out emotionally and so I let the comments sit (yep, haven’t even read them all myself yet) and I tell myself I should wait to respond to them when I am feeling more like myself. Not like a raging emotional mess whose been told she will send her children to therapy and that her husband abuses her.

If I wrote a post about how I felt pretty, would you comment and say I looked ugly?

If I wrote about how wonderful my mom was, would you comment and say she was  really a witch?

If I said I loved the way I look when I am pregnant, would you tell me I look fat?

Is there really anything wrong with a person writing about how they feel they are in a healthy, happy, safe, committed, loving and secure relationship? What good do naysayers feel they are doing by commenting and telling me how wrong I am? If I truly, genuinely feel I am happy right now, is attempting to destroy that happiness really going to make my life better?

I don’t write in this public space because I want all of you to agree with me, but what does writing the phrase “He does not love you!” really accomplish? Please. Just help me understand.

118 thoughts on “When You Say I’m Not Happy, Why Do You Do It?

  1. So it’s okay to change yourself so much for a man but ‘Don’t marry a man expecting to change him’? The hell, woman? You can’t change him, but he can change you? What happened to your spine and sense of self-worth?

    protip: love is accepting the person with their faults, not being told ‘change to do what I approve of or else I don’t want you’.

    ‘or else I don’t want you’ isn’t a part of love last time I checked!

    Pink Helicopter Reply:

    Engine, my mister and I spent a bit of time discussing this particular portion of TW’s post last night. We felt that there are two kinds of change, really. “Not expecting to change a man,” we think, refers to BIG stuff. For example, we know that TW and TH have a strong Mormon faith. But consider this: what if TW did not have that faith, and she married TH with the thought “well, I’ll change him so he’s not Mormon anymore.” That is a huge change of his belief system and basis of life. He’s probably not going to make that change – so it’s wrong of her to expect to change it. However, something as trivial as “let’s better ourselves by eating healthy and staying active, rather than allowing ourselves to be overweight and sedentary,” is a worthy change a couple can agree to make together. We’ve seen photos of TH. He’s not fat. Looks pretty trim and healthy to me. So it’s not like he’s sitting around on the couch eating donuts while waggling his finger at TW and telling her to jog another lap around the neighborhood!! Is it wrong that his wife wishes to change herself to reflect his same lifestyle? I think not. It’s better for her back, her self-esteem, and her overall health. A worthy change she chooses to make. (Yet, as TH said in comment to the previous post, he would still love her if she chose to gain 100 lbs. Doesn’t seem too controlling to me.)

    Kelli Nicole Reply:

    When people say “Don’t marry a man expecting him to change” it’s talking about personality traits and deeply held beliefs or bad habits you *think* will change. You don’t marry someone who has a different religion and who has said “I will not change to your religion” and think that because you marry him he’ll change religions. You don’t marry a man that says “I never want children” and expect him to change his mind because YOU want children. You don’t marry a man that hits you because you think he’ll stop when you get married. You don’t marry a man who’s addicted to alcohol and unwilling to change and think he’ll change once you’re safely in the bonds of marriage. You don’t even marry a man who hates doing laundry and expect him to do it with a smile after you’re married. Yes, sometimes people make huge changes like that after marriage, but it should not be expected. That’s why people date. They figure out what they can and can’t live with, make their expectations known, and if the other person isn’t willing or able to meet the necessary expectations they don’t get married. I think it’s clear that Jenna has repeatedly stated that TH HAS made several changes in his life for her as she has done for him. While love may be accepting a person’s faults, it does NOT mean loving their faults if it’s detrimental to their well-being or the well-being of the family. Love is about looking out for that person’s well-being and HELPING them. Haven’t you seen those people who are 700 lbs and haven’t been able to move from the couch for 10 years? Someone who loves them is feeding them fast food and cookies every day because “it makes them happy.” Just because something brings temporary gratification does not mean it brings them joy.

    Personally, I won’t marry someone who plays video games every day. That’s one of my issues. If someone CHANGED so they could marry me, is that really so bad? If they didn’t change I wouldn’t marry them. That’s one thing that I know I wouldn’t be able to get over and it would cause many many problems in a marriage. Trivial to most I’m sure, but from personal experience it’s something I know I couldn’t handle. Some of my other requirements deal with not drinking alcohol or corporal punishment for children. With divorced parents and a divorce rate above 50% in this country, I wish more people handled their relationship like Jenna and TH. Maybe people should talk about what is and isn’t important to them in a relationship before getting married. I don’t think LOVE is enough of a reason to get married. But that’s just me.

    Ashley (not the OP) Reply:

    Yay, Engine!! I’m glad that other people understand how messed up this is.

    It’s important that women reading this blog don’t start to think that the way TH treats TW is acceptable.

    TH Reply:

    For those of you who have a bad memory like I do, Ashley has a history with TW: http://thatwifeblog.com/2009/03/ashley-is-my-new-troll/

    A long history of constructive comments. I do admit they’re getting better though.

    Kathryn Speyer Reply:

    I would like to re-iterate my comment from the last thread, fully noting that Ashley is trolling. I think these things need to be said here too, to set a precedent:

    When I first read Jenna’s other post my immediate gut reaction to TH’s “limits” was, “Wow, that wouldn’t be OK with ME.” The idea of someone making decisions FOR me doesn’t sit right. But, one of my life tenets is “different strokes for different folks,” so I sat down and had a think.

    I would like to add a few points that I think some people, particularly those in the vocal minority are obviously overlooking because they are reacting instinctively to something that wouldn’t work for THEM.

    FIRST: Controlling does not equal abusive. Domineering does not equal abusive. Jerk doesn’t even equal abusive. There are many levels and types of abuse, it’s true, but generalizing demeans the experience of those who have been truly abused.

    SECOND AND MOST IMPORTANTLY: You MUST consider the issue of consent. Jenna and TH are adults and they have made a CONSENTUAL decision about the type of relationship that works for them. This type of relationship makes them happy. Nothing is happening that is NOT OK with either party. Consent. Consent. Consent.

    There are many, many relationships in this world that do NOT follow strictly speaking “normal” guidelines. Because they break the heteronormative rules does NOT mean that they are wrong for the people who have chosen them, or that they are abusive.

    Please allow me to draw a parallel that may make some of you uncomfortable. There are many types of relationships with dominant/submissive or patriarchal/matriarchal overtones. Some are backed by a religious viewpoint, others are not.

    Many people have made the conscious choice to be in relationships where they make the decisions or where the decisions are made for them. As long as there is consent between both parties, your assertion that it is wrong is only correct insomuch as it is “wrong” for YOU or “wrong” in your concept of how the world works/should work.

    I’m not talking about things that are against the law, here. I’m definitely not talking about forcefully removing someone’s basic human rights. I’m just talking about consent.

    Just remember that there is a HUGE distinction between consensual and non-consensual behavior in relationships. Please make it when considering your condemnations of other people’s choices.

    Jenna Reply:

    I haven’t even been reading her comments anymore, just approving. Has it hit the point where I should just start deleting? I don’t mind censoring “trolls” but I I’ve been censored myself when making genuine comments or defenses and I’m hesitant to go overboard in case I do the same thing to another person based on an emotional reaction.

    Kathryn Speyer Reply:

    Me? Well, I’m not the best person to ask, because I do love a good argument on the Internet, even though I know it’s stupid.

    But yes, I’d start by banning IP ranges (I think WordPress admin should give you that ability, if you need help, IM me) and delete anything posted from here on out if something gets through.

    It’s easy to ignore inflammatory comments on your own, but once trolls get threads started with other people, it’s harder to ignore. Deleting them will prevent that from happening.

    Trolls will usually clamor “FREE SPEECH, FREE SPEECH!” but a blog, by nature, is not a democracy. Trolls are like the terrorists of the blog world, and you basically have to raise the security level to red for a while and lock things down until it settles.

    MrsW Reply:

    I haven’t seen anything come through that breaks the policy you’ve drawn our attention to in the next post, but there are definitely some that I wouldn’t want to have read about me. I’d say when/if you ever go through them, do so with your favorite comfort food and a friend or TH there with you to help you laugh at how stupid and petty people can be, rather than taking anything to heart.

    And um.. psst.. visit the WB boards today. ;)

    Mandy Reply:

    Personally, I tend to agree with Kathryn. While I understand that you don’t want to go overboard, it IS your blog, and it is not a democracy. Comments like Ashley’s don’t deserve to be heard. She has the same thing to say almost every time she comments, and is rude and hurtful. Furthermore, her mind is made up, and there is no changing it. (Though I did appreciate TH’s attempt at explaining to her in the comments of yesterday’s post). Personally, I don’t think her comments are constructive to the conversation.

    Not much else to say here, except hang in there Jenna. We all appreciate your openness and it’s a shame that some people can be so hurtful.

    Rachael Reply:

    Blogs are definitely not a democracy. I find it gross in nature that Ashley claims abuse to Jenna from TH, yet one might claim that her comments to Jenna were verbal abuse and harrassment.

    That is great about banning certain IP ranges. I recently shut down my own blog due to a cyber-stalker harrassing me. And I had not been tech-savvy enough to know you could do that.

  2. Jenna, don’t get yourself too down about it. As long as you know the truth, then it shouldn’t bother you what other people may think. Someone will always think negatively, regardless of what the situation is. I think this post is just asking for trouble (ie. more rude comments), but I understand that this is how you feel.
    Your life is wonderful. Just forget about it and be happy. :)

  3. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there on a blog, especially to reveal as much about your personal life as you do. Being in a relationship takes, in addition to love and kindness, sacrifice, teamwork and a common goal. What that means to an individual couple is as unique as people themselves. I don’t understand how people can say you’re not happy or that your husband does not love you…

  4. Jenna –

    I too get emotionally wrung out, and it often happens whether I get negative comments or not. The act of blogging honestly is tiring for me, so I know where you’re coming from.

    The answer depends on why you blog. I blog because I consistently find that the things I fear are feared by other women, the fears I have have been surmounted by other women, and, if my experience is felt by other women, then my blogging about my fears might make other women feel less alone, less hopeless, less broken. I expect people to disagree with me because my experience isn’t mainstream (and if it is, we try not to admit it).

    I think your blog is valuable for the same reason. Many of us don’t have direct experience with anyone of your faith and it’s enlightening. I love it. I also value your perspective because I admire your directness AND your confidence. I like hearing about how you interact with your husband because it gives me another example to learn from, and I pick and choose what I take into my own life.

    So, I appreciate your last post, tough though it was to put out there. I found it incredibly interesting and helpful to read your husband’s responses, though I know he didn’t particularly like it. I am heartened to read about a strong woman choosing to adapt for her husband, because I’m a strong women faced with those choices every day, and seeing how you make your choices helps me figure out how to make mine.

    We all change for other people, good or bad. We all think it’s okay to ask a man to stop smoking or start dressing better; we all think it’s admirable for a wife to insist her husband get medical care and “take better care of himself”; we all want our mates to care more about weddings, care less about video games, and care at all about paint colors. We’re human, and humans aren’t static, and we shouldn’t be.

    No, you shouldn’t marry a man EXPECTING him to change, but you should certainly expect adaptations to happen as you find your way as a couple. Otherwise, you’re just asking for a painful bursting of the fairytale.

    Teresa S. Reply:


    CeCe Reply:

    I couldn’t agree more….exactly what I had been trying to figure out how to say.

  5. Jenna, I don’t know you personally, and I’m not much of a hugger in real life, but I would definitely give you a hug right now if I was there with you.

    They say what they do because they can’t wrap their minds around the fact that something hidden does not mean something bad. I don’t really agree with this in the context of religion (I believe Jesus has opened the Way to all He calls to follow Him and there is no more seperation or secrets known only to those who follow) but I do agree in the context of marriage — you don’t talk publicly about what is sacred. My husband and I do not talk about our bedroom activities unless it is with a counselor because we need help. I don’t have a blog because he is just as private as TH and I am not as good as comparmentalizing as you are.

    I would bet you that these people feel entitled to know everything they want about you, TH, and your relationship, and feel that when you don’t give way, there must be something wrong.
    I bet you they also feel like they know best, and that they are smarter than everyone else in being able to “read between the lines” to discover a monster that doesn’t exist.

    And you know what: THEY DO NOT MATTER. That is the beauty of this crazy construct of blogging and sharing personal lives over the internet — at the end of the day, unless you actually have a relationship with them (through conversations, online or IRL, not comments left on blogs), you can feel free to tune them out as armchair pyschologists and people who feel self-righteous about blasting what they do not and cannot understand. They have taken the bits of your life that you choose to give them and desecrated them — don’t believe that if you give them more that they will see the beauty. They’re not worth it. Keep doing what you’re doing and know that you are a GOOD wife who has a GOOD husband and a GOOD marriage.

    I would advise, if you’re looking for it at this point (I understand if you’re not) to revise the can/can’t change statement just for clarity. People will run with that and bash you with it. I truly don’t believe that you are really saying that you can’t change TH but he can change you — what I heard was that the “I won’t marry you until” statements were legitimate on BOTH your parts because you can’t marry a person expecting that they will just change on their own. If you know you want something in a spouse, ask for it from the person you’re dating and if they can’t deliver, find someone else. You two both decided that you WOULD change for each other, and you made those changes BEFORE marriage. Am I making sense? Did I get what you were saying?

    I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this — it is part of the heartache that comes with living a little publicly through a blog, is that people will misinterpret and will use their feelings of superiority to try to beat you down. Don’t listen.

  6. I’m not much of a responder but I have been reading for awhile. Yesterday’s post was so honest and open and I respect that you can do that. I’ve never thought your husband was a jerk but I did figure he was different; just like mine is different. (by the way condensed milk is awesome and I used to sneak it when my mom was cooking with it.). My answer to your question is that people who are unhappy really want to bring those who are happy down. They hate to see our joy. And continuing to be happy makes them try harder. I’ve always been taught that this is a tool Satan uses to try to keep us from showing our love of the Lord.

    Only you can determine if you are happy. Like you said, we don’t know you and all the juicy details of your life. I hope you have a better, less contraversal day.

  7. Jenna I don’t think that the point these commenters have in mind is to get you to change yours, rather to make their own opinions known, regardless of how opposite they are of your own. I’ve learned a lot from reading your blog, including that the comments are not necessarily always a forum for my own personal opinions about things you write about , but rather a place for constructive and nondiscursive points on what you’ve expounded upon. In this instance, my opinons on TH were no really solicited and I think that the respectful thing to do would be to either address you directly {via email} or leave their comments to themselves. I think a lot of these women felt really good about their “no one tells me what to do” stances and opinions and just wanted to share them {somtimes hurtfully}.

  8. Yeah, Writing a blog post titled, “My Husband is Not a Jerk” just opens up the opportunity for people to call him one.

    Also, you say you don’t want to reveal private details about your husband but I have more personal knowledge about your sex life than my close friends know about mine….

    MrsW Reply:

    What, that they’re trying to have a baby and Jenna used to be on the pill? Whoop-de-doo. Get a life.

    Cristin Reply:

    Or… that they have a healthy physical relationship in which they openly communicate about needs? Yeah – that’s pretty personal.

    (sarcasm intended)

    WHY do people feel the need to COACH TW? If you disagree with the blog to the point that you want to change Jenna, then move along and find a like-minded person to follow on the internet.

  9. Can I make just a small suggestion. I don’t know if you read the blog Cjane but she is a wonderful author like your self and she has turned comments off on her blog. I am not saying turn comments off on all your post because we all love to give feed back and sometimes as a writer you need feedback , but when you make a statement post like “MY HUSBAND IS NOT A JERK” which he isn’t i don’t think you need any personal opinions from your readers your telling them something not asking them right so just turn them off make your statement and then when you post about yummy food, or modestly dressing you can turn them back on so we can all ooo and ahhh. I think this would be easier on your heart!

    Jenny Reply:

    I think I might have to agree with this. Too many people want to say things that could potentially hurt you and none of us want that.

    HamiHarri Reply:

    Don’t turn the comments off! Other then a few, I really enjoy reading them, and think they really add to the blog! Plus cjane has a forum which us really a back and forth form of commenting.

    Sarah Reply:

    I don’t think turning comments off forever is a justified I just think turning comments off on a subject that does not require reader feedback would help. I mean really she is saying to us my husband isn’t a jerk i don’t really think its any of our place to say anything back to her especially no he is a jerk. Its just one of those subjects and Cjane used to do this before she did have her forum . … i had forgotten that she had added that as i have never ventured over there i like to read the articles she rights not the comments readers leave

  10. Sweetheart,
    People who commented negatively on your previous post (and I mean NEGATIVELY, not constructively) simply do not understand what works for you and TH and your marriage. And since they don’t understand, why should they respect it? My man and I frequently witness public scenes between couples who make us wonder what the average american relationship is like. I’m sadly thinking it’s not nearly as healthy as yours with TH, or mine with my guy, or anyone elses’ relationship which contains give-and-take, compromise and change. That said… if we lived closer I’d totally bring you a big ol tub of chocolate Fro Yo today. :)

  11. Although I don’t agree with everything you and your husband have set as family rules, I know there are some rules at my house that would appal you. It’s a fact – not everyone is the same nor do they share the same beliefs.

    I’m sorry that people feel that it’s OK to take what makes you a better person and trample all over it.

    I agree with Sarah, for posts that you know will trigger emotional responses, turn off the comment function.

    Keep doing your thing Jenna!

  12. I think sometimes the word “change” really means “grow”. If once you get married, you stop progressing and growing, then you are left stagnant and no better off than you were before. I don’t think he is asking you to change things, I think he is teaching you how to be a better version of yourself, and you are learning from him (I would bet that he is even learning from you! whether or not we hear about it). Isn’t learning from one another and feeling motivated to be the best version of yourself you can be, one big reason why you choose for them to be your spouse? As you learn and grow together, you are bettering yourselves. You share the things he teaches you (not “makes you change”) on this blog, but not the other side, per TH’s request. What’s wrong with that? Respecting wishes and marking your progress in a public forum?

    By the way, people don’t have to agree, but they also don’t have to demean you or TH!!

    Katie Reply:

    By the way, isn’t Ashley your same troll from before??? Hey Ashley: Get a life!

  13. Hi there, I have been reading your blog for awhile now and really enjoy reading somone’s different point of view (I am much older than you and of a different religion for starters) and all I would like to say is that with the good come the bad and that seems to be the case with blogging, however set your boundries so that you don’t get emotionally wrung out because someone doesn;t agree. It’s just not worth it to your and your husband and the quality of the life you are building together.
    At the end of the day, this is your life, your choices to live and you are the ONLY one responsible for that. If those others don’t like what you have to say or how you live your life, then they should just not read your blog. Life is short to be filling it with recriminations against others for their choices and lives.

    Move on as best you can and just know that you are living your life with the best of your intentions.

  14. When I logged on this morning I was so sad to see that you are sad :( Yesterday was great! You wrote a very eloquent, thought-provoking post that generated a very interesting dialogue. Part of why I read your blog is because you have courted and maintained a very diverse group of readers and it makes comments diverse and interesting. With the exception of one commenter, yesterdays comments were all very constructive and I’d say more than a majority were incredibly supportive. Do not stop posting controversial or even divisive posts (you had to know banning Friends would stir the pot) – they are part of what make your blog so great. Today’s post is directed at just one commenter – don’t make the other 100+ of us feel forgotten – we may not all agree with you, understand you, or do things the same, but we gave polite constructive comments and would like to keep having interesting posts to comment on. Now go put on the red shoes (he said just not at church) and dance around in your apartment and feel better! Have a great day!

    Turtle Reply:

    Well said, Erin.

    Thanks for weathering the storm, Jenna. I really appreciate thinking about the big issues you throw out there.

  15. Jenna,
    I think some people just want to complain and make others feel bad. Honestly those who left really negative non-constructive replys to your post are the abusive ones and hurt you more than TH would ever do.

  16. Jenna,
    I am not going to take sides in yesterday’s post. Your life is your life and I am happy that you are happy. However, I think your youth shines through at times (that is not a criticism). You write, at times, in a very inflammatory tone, and I think you do so to inspire debate. When that happens, I find it difficult to believe that you are surprised by it.

    Cristin Reply:

    There’s a difference between intelligently formed debate and inflammatory, swear-filled hateful remarks. Jenna (and many of us) are surprised at the impassioned and aggressive ill-spirited unconstructive comments.

  17. I really tried to explain the answers to all of those questions in the comments I left you, because as a blogger for 10 years now, I am very seasoned with the asshole comments that get left.

    First of all – a lot of the comments left for you were way out of line. WAY out of line. However, that’s pretty much the norm. Not on your website – on everyone’s website. Give me a blogger (that posts about controversial topics) that hasn’t had to read a comment that is over the top, and I will seriously give them a million bucks. ;) It’s just part of blogging.

    Secondly – the more you fight against this, the worse it usually becomes. It feeds into what these people want – which is argument, attention, and power. I know it’s hard to resist defending yourself, but as I said in some of my previous comments – it’s almost pointless. People who really know you know what’s true & what’s not, people who don’t know you are going to draw on what you allow them to see. Unfortunately you don’t allow them to see a lot of TH, and you often phrase things horridly. I can recall you saying, “He doesn’t let me wear these shoes” and things like that. Just… re-phrase. I think your words get you into trouble – notice how many people are quoting the “You can’t change a man” thing, etc.

    Thirdly – I don’t know how sensitive your heart is, but mine is quite sensitive, and when people leave me these types of comments, I usually don’t allow them to fester. The main reason is that if their opinions aren’t constructive, then they’re hurtful, and they need to go. No one needs to give them attention. So I delete them.

    Sometimes I keep them up, let a few of my defenders reply, and block them so they can see the responses but can’t talk any more. Does it make me close-minded? No. It makes me in control of the content on MY blog.

    Don’t be afraid to take a little control if you want, Jenna. :\ I’m so sorry people really took your last post & ran with it. Very unfortunate. It could also be bad for your business, so you might consider censoring some stuff here & there that could really freak a newcomer out.

    But that’s just my advice :) You don’t have to take a bit of it, cause once again – your blog & your world, lil mama!

    Hope it didn’t get to you too much, pretty. <3

  18. I would feel emotionally wrung out too. I think you need Sprinkles and a good chick flick. Try their banana it is actually really good. Hugs!

  19. I thought a lot about yesterday’s post this morning while I was in the shower.

    Is that too much information? I’m sorry. ;)

    Anyway, my thoughts essentially boiled down to this- that when you open your relationship up to anyone that isn’t in it- your friends, your family, the internet- you open yourself to criticism and the opinions of others. I’ve sat many times listening to friends talk about their relationships and thought, “Gee, her husband/boyfriend is a real jerk.”

    But I’m not in that relationship. And I’m sure if I told you and my friends and the three people that actually read my blog about the things I gave up or changed about myself to grow and strengthen my own relationship, you’d say, “Gee. Her boyfriend sounds like a real jerk.”

    The only opinions that matter regarding your relationship are that of you, your husband, and God. You may take into careful consideration the thoughts of your close family and friends, but the internet and general public at large?

    We really don’t matter.

    I think closing comments is a great idea, but (and I say this gently…) if you know that the comments you receive will hurt your feelings, maybe don’t post about that subject in the first place. You don’t need to defend your life choices to us, and you’ve said that yourself before. So why do it?

  20. I’m sad that you’re sad, I’d offer you a hug if you lived closer. That said, from the second I read your post I knew the trolls would come out. If you are going to put yourself out there, defending against negative thoughts or perceptions, you have to expect, and know, that some people won’t agree. In the end, there will always be negative people in the world, the internet is the perfect playground for bullies.

    I know that others have said this too, but turn off comments on posts where you can’t emotionally handle negative feedback; otherwise you have to expect that people are going to voice their own opinions, as everyone ALWAYS has an opinion. If all you want is to ONLY hear everyone’s affirmation and a pat on the back then don’t share it with the world because that is a rare occurence indeed. You can defend to your grave and you still won’t always be able to convince everyone on all your opinions-particularly in an area where you choose to only write one-sided. I respect your’s and your husbands decision to maintain the privacy of your marriage. Keep in mind though, that if you are only going to share part of the story then you have to expect miscommunication and differing opinions from others sometimes.

    *Please note, these are general statements, not a defense of any disagreement on my part*

    Chin up! <3

  21. Jenna,
    I read your post all the time and at first thought of your post yesterday as just another regular post about your life. UNTIL..the comments! I am so sorry that people are trying to bring you down. You shouldn’t let them.

    I agree with the saying, “You can’t change a man” but I think this is for larger things. Like I married my husband knowning that he likes hunting and going to the camp but I’m not going to change the fact that he spends fall weekends at the camp. I can on the other hand change how much he puts on the credit card, wear he puts his shoes, and even what he eats (depending on what groceries I buy or what I cook).
    It’s more like you can change little things but you can’t change who he is. He also has changed how carefree I can be about things and how often I do laundry. Again, these are smaller things.

    If you know that you are in a good relationship….that’s what matters. People don’t want to see people happy. There is always someone trying to bring you down. Trust in your faith, yourself, and TH to make sure everything is the way you want it!
    Congrats on truly believing that you have a happy and healthy relationship. If you feel this way…that’s all that matters!

  22. I am right there with kay – her answer is perfection. I hope you can come to be at peace with these negative comments. Take a lesson from dooce and make fun of them. :)
    Here’s a quick story for you: I once made a joke about Blogger getting sued sometime by someone taking their life after receiving no comments when Blogger was having a technical difficulty. Everyone that read it saw the sarcasm but an extended family member of my husbands that doesn’t know me proceeded to, in all caps, yell and curse at me in a comment and made crazy assumptions about me that were not true. The woman didn’t know me but when on and on about me being selfish, living in a fantasy world, having a huge ego etc – non of which I believe to be true. She had her own problems that she projected to me and because of that she lost a few family members that no longer want to speak to her. Point is, people have their own issues that they feel is better to take out on someone else and we can never change that. I deleted that comment (is contained MANY curse words) and have become stronger because of it. You will be stronger because of these and the next time it won’t hurt as bad. At least these people are strangers! :)

  23. A lot of commenters are saying Jenna should expect the backlash, and that’s valid, but I think a big part of this post was to ask the trolls about their motivation. I’m not talking about the constructive comments, I’m talking about the Ashley’s (blue icon) of the world.

    Do they really get satisfaction from putting someone else down? If so, we wouldn’t expect them to write that here, but TW was probably hoping at least some of them were genuine.

    Pink Helicopter Reply:

    I’m pretty sure there is a big lesson many people missed somewhere along the line:

    If you can’t say something nice [or at least, constructive], don’t say anything at all.

    haza Reply:

    Honestly, it’s not a put down. This relationship screams controlling and potentially abusive to me. This relationship screams denial, despair, trying to live up to a completely unattainable–and TW herself said, boring–standard of June Cleaver. That woman is not real. You are a real woman, TW, and a wife, and those things mean exactly what YOU say they mean, not what TH says they mean, not what TV moms say they mean, it means what YOU WANT IT TO MEAN.

    It’s not trolling to say that asking your wife to pick all the celery out of tuna salad is insane and controlling and neurotic. It’s symptomatic of a larger illness in the relationship.

    MrsW Reply:

    Did I miss something?? Where on earth is the tuna salad comment coming from? And if that is a true story, then what of it? I ask my husband to pick the olives off my pizza. I ask him to get me a glass of water from the kitchen. He asks me to drive him to work at 6 in the morning when he’s too tired to ride his bike. It’s called SACRIFICE and people in healthy relationships do it for each other as a way of showing their love. Just because you can use the word symptomatic does not make you a relationship expert.

    MrsW Reply:

    I tried to remove that last sentence before the comment went through, it didn’t work. I apologize for the nastiness — I am getting pretty mad because I think this whole thing is ridiculous and way out of hand, but I don’t need to get petty back.

    But it really IS ridiculous. If you’re so concerned about women being abused, go volunteer at a local battered women’s shelter or answer phones for a help hotline and stop being an armchair psychologist for this random internet lady in Texas.

    haza Reply:

    The worst abuse is the sort you can’t see in bruises. Emotional abuse is horrific and pervasive. TW posted about the tuna salad thing a while back, by the way, I’m not making it up.

    There is also a difference when one person is doing all the sacrificing. If TW told TH that a few of his shirts were ugly and that he shouldn’t wear them, I daresay his reaction would be different than her total compliance. Asking her to lose weight is another. She can’t wear purple tights? My SO hates one dress that I love dearly and he can put up with me wearing it for a day because it makes me happy and it’s not harming him at all. Controlling what your SO wears is UNHEALTHY in all cases except extenuating circumstances, like color blindness. Their relationship, as I see it through this blog, does NOT read as a loving pair of equals. It reads as one person trying to live up to incredible and unattainable standards, and he loves the woman he’s made her into, and she loves him. Does that work? Yes. Is it healthy? No.

    MrsW Reply:

    I used to have a pair of purple knee socks that I loved that my husband (then boyfriend) thought were the ugliest things on the face of the earth. I got rid of them. Am I abused?

    haza Reply:

    Does that extend to your entire wardrobe? His completely flimsy justification for asking her to lose weight is so she’ll live longer and he’ll DIE FIRST? What about her feelings, she’s totally fine with LIVING A MINUTE WITHOUT HIM?

    Also, judging by her overall attitude, I sincerely doubt she exercises her “veto” as often as he clearly does.

    The very fact that there NEEDED TO BE a post saying “my husband is NOT a jerk” tells me that she’s not just justifying it to readers, but also to herself.

    MrsW Reply:

    Honestly, I’m not sure if it was totally smart for Jenna to make the original post, as it was essentially an invitation for trolls to come out and play. But I think that it is more realistic to chalk up her making the post as a gesture of her love and loyalty to TH, not as trying to justify their relationship to herself. Certainly less dramatic and prone to righteous wringing of the hands and claims of abuse. If I received emails about how my husband was a jerk because I refused to go against his wishes for privacy by spilling every little annoying, humanizing detail about him, I’d be pretty upset, and I don’t think I would have thought through the ramifications of what jerks on the internet would make of it.

    As to the clothes — I respect my husband’s statements of like and dislike on all of my clothes. I don’t wear heavy earrings anymore because he doesn’t like to see my ear stretched out. He doesn’t wear a-shirts to dinner at people’s houses anymore because I told him nobody wants to see his armpit hair.

    And as to TH’s statement that he wants Jenna to live longer than him, he doesn’t want to live a minute without her… something tells me that in a different context, with different prejudices, most people would find that to be incredibly romantic. There is an unspoken better feeling to a widow left behind than a widower — still sad, but less pathetic. Same thing with parents and children… what if Jenna’s mom said “I want to die first, I don’t want to live a minute without you” — I don’t think anyone would be concerned about what if Jenna doesn’t want to live without her mom, and hence should die first? And quite honestly, I think TH saying that is one of those silly/serious things people in love say to each other, like “I think we should just stay in bed holding each other forever.”

    haza Reply:

    I don’t think the emails were “he’s a jerk because he doesn’t want you to blog about him extensively.” I was under the impression that the emails would probably be something like, “he’s a jerk because he says you can’t watch certain TV programs.” Not “we can’t watch them together, I hate that show,” she sold the DVDs. Not to mention the fact that it’s been drilled into her mind to not expect to change him–and yet he expects her to change so many of her tastes and preferences. Or the fact that she feels she SHOULD be crying when he leaves for a few days. That strikes me as a truly unhealthy level of dependence that he has singlehandedly cultivated. She has infinite loyalty to him–an interesting word choice, by the way–but does he really have loyalty to her?

    Also, your argument about widow versus widower is insane. When your loved one dies you feel intense greif, no matter WHAT your gender is. I find it disgusting that you belittle a widow’s pain that way.

    MrsW Reply:

    I never meant to insinuate that your gender changes your grief. I meant that *I* feel that when a couple has grown old together, it feels more right when the man goes first. Not that it is less sad — which I in fact said in the first place. Right now I’m faced with a very real possibility that my mother-in-law will die before my father-in-law. It feels wrong. My MIL would indeed feel a lot of grief if she survived her husband, but at least to her children, they would find it somehow easier to understand or to bear.

    I hope that you can rein your feelings of disgust back in, because I NEVER belittled the pain of a widow.

    haza Reply:

    Death is horrible and inevitable. No couple is going to be together in love forever, because one of them will die. It’s the truth, and it’s horrifying and depressing to many. But saying that a man should die before the woman is absurd. Saying YOU FEEL it is more “right” when this occurs is valid, but you said that a widower seems pathetic, and to avoid that he should die first. That’s why I took offense.

    haza Reply:

    Death is horrible and inevitable. No couple is going to be together in love forever, because one of them will die. It’s the truth, and it’s horrifying and depressing to many. But saying that a man should die before the woman is absurd and pretty solidly sexist. Saying YOU FEEL it is more “right” when this occurs is valid, but you said that a widower seems pathetic, and to avoid that he should die first. That’s why I took offense.

    MrsW Reply:

    I retract the universal portion of my original comment. It was presumptive of me, and I apologize.

    MrsW Reply:

    And also, TH and TW both said in comments on the last post that they both have total clothing veto over each other.
    *You* are the one who has made the assumption that he would get upset about TW telling him not to wear things. This assumption has no actual basis in reality, and in fact has been refuted.

    Kathryn Speyer Reply:

    You need to go read my comment in the first thread of this post. You are missing some critical issues in this whole story.

    You also seem to be missing the parts where Jenna has openly explained that they are mutually placing “limits” on each other but that she does not share the limits she places on TH because he has (reasonably) asked that nothing personal about him be placed on a blog.

    I understand that it is easy to be quick to judge when we see something that does not sit right with us because it would not work for us, but you need to be careful with throwing around accusations of abuse.

    haza Reply:

    The sad situation is, we cannot have a full picture of this relationship due to that constraint, and the fact that it’s just text over the internet.

    However, I am not saying this just because it might rub me the wrong way. I’m saying this because she has said MANY things that sound exactly like textbook rationalizations of someone who is being emotionally abused. First and foremost: her most recent post about how he’s not a jerk. Those who are currently in those relationships ALWAYS rationalize their abuse and their abuser, or they just wouldn’t be in the relationship at all.

    Kathryn Speyer Reply:

    Fair enough. :)

    Cristin Reply:

    “The sad situation is, we cannot have a full picture of this relationship due to that constraint, and the fact that it’s just text over the internet.”

    WHY is this sad?! Oh my gosh. Jenna has invited you into her life (virtually) to share with you what she’d like to share. She has chosen to share only part of her life with us. Now people who have been invited in are being rude guests, offering inappropriate “advice” on how Jenna should live her life.

    For those who have offered their counsel on “abuse” – great, you’ve said what you need to say. Now, please, find a new blog so we can all just enjoy this space. Don’t lurk and say it again next week, either!

    haza Reply:

    And what she’s shared has led me to believe that she needs help, and is inclined to deny that she needs help.

    Wow, I’m such a terrible person to be concerned for someone else who appears to be in a controlling and emotionally abusive relationship! How dare I express concern for other human beings!

    Please. I wouldn’t be writing here if it wasn’t out of concern for another human being. Kindly get off your high horse.

    Cristin Reply:

    To be clear – I was not referring to any particular individual when I suggested people shouldn’t lurk and then continue to harrass Jenna about her alleged abuse.

    But Haza, sheesh. You have to admit that you are rude and sarcastic. “Kindly get off your high horse.” You didn’t mean that kindly at all, and it was extremely abrasive.

    My point in the above post is that once a posted has shared their abuse concerns with Jenna (and, well, the rest of the world), I do not understand why s/he continues to reiterate it in this forum. The point’s been made – Jenna (and many others) disagree, but by continuing to sit on the boards and be rude to others, what do you hope to accomplish? At what threshold will you move on? After you’ve said it 5 times? 10? Because she’s not leaving TH, so if you’re sitting around waiting for that to happen, I hope you have a good book.

    haza Reply:

    Your comment was in response to mine, and I’m not going to apologize for taking your words of “Don’t lurk and come post it again, either!” as directed at me, telling me to get out.

    Also, I am NOT seeking for her to get a divorce AT ALL. I want to encourage her to not follow her husband unthinkingly or stay in the marraige unthinkingly or even treat her husband poorly unthinkingly. Relationships take WORK and incredible amounts of communication. When they sat to make a plan about her weight loss, she looked away and twirled her hair–she didn’t want to confront it head on and communicate directly, so she relied on TH to do it for her. To just unthinkingly snap at someone, or avoid a topic, or avoid someone can create a huge chasm in a formerly loving relationship. If TW finds herself resenting the weight-loss plan, does she feel she can reach out to TH? If TH oversteps himself and puts a bound on TW that she’s not comfortable with, does she feel confident enough to say no? THAT, to me, is the most important thing here, that she doesn’t just follow blindly. Your husband absolutely does NOT always know best for you.

    Erin Reply:

    I’m not a blogger, and I’m confused about who is a troll and who isn’t. I think Ashley is a troll – she doesn’t let things go, says the same thing in multiple threads, gets nasty, stops being constructive (though Ashley had 2 good-to-read comments yesterday and I liked reading TH’s respons). But Haza – I don’t think that counts as trolling – her comments are interesting and add to discussion. From a readers perspective, I’ve enjoyed reading this thread by Haza, even if it is opposite to the comments I’ve been making. So, not a troll?

    Kathryn Speyer Reply:

    Correct. Trolls are intentionally inflammatory, hurtful, and insulting and do not participate constructively in discussion. Their aim is to incite “flame wars” (non-constructive arguments based on personal insult) generally because it’s thrilling.

    It’s possible to disagree and state your disagreement without being a troll. You can even be provocative without being a troll. Being constructive and personable is the key.

    Meg Reply:

    TH- Sad truth, but yes. People do get satisfaction from putting other people down.

    Children, teenagers, gossip bloggers, water-cooler chatters at work. It’s fuelled by insecurity, jealousy and sometimes, just blind hate. That’s the world we live in, not everyone likes it, and it breaks my heart.

    The anonymity of the internet just increases the ease of building oneself up by tearing another down.

    kay Reply:

    And I think a lot of people’s point was that Jenna is currently playing their game without realizing it. I think a lot of other bloggers are trying to yell, “Stop Jenna!!!!” cause we know she is fueling the fire & she has a business to be worried about.

    You aren’t going to get empathy from them, TH or TW – you really aren’t. What’s that saying? Resistance is futile… lol.

  24. So, I just went back and read through all of the comments on that last post. If she truly believes what she claims, why does Ashley even still read this blog? I personally wouldn’t feel that I could gain anything from reading the thoughts/expressions of a person of whom I held so low an opinion as Ashley obviously does of Jenna. Is this the same Ashley from “Ashley is my new troll” post? Seriously, find something more productive to do with your time.

    Ashley (that one) Reply:

    Because other women read this blog. And when they read this, they start internalizing things like “it’s okay to for your man to tell you what you can and cannot wear, to tell you to lose weight, to control all of your finances, and to tell you what you can watch on TV.”

    And I think it’s important that someone say that it’s not right. Because blogging is a media that leads to a definition of a more global culture. Someone should argue against this hegemonic masculine view of the world. I assume that most consumers of this particular blog are females between the ages of 18 and 34. It is very important that they do not internalize nor normalize this controlling kind of behavior.

    MrsW Reply:

    I admire your bravery in standing up for what you believe is right, but both TH and TW and their personal friends have said quite enough for any of us to realize that the type of behavior you’re worried about is NOT going on. Also, a large portion of those who are responding are saying “Well, I’d never do that, but it doesn’t bother me that you do” so our filters ARE well engaged.

    However, you give the lie to your professed desire to just be helpful when you resort to the personal attacks that you did on the last post (if you are indeed that same Ashley). I suggest if you are truly concerned that you retract those statements, as most people will not value what you say until you do.

    Amber Reply:

    If what you are saying is true, and you are not just trying to be snarky, can you please explain exactly how telling someone, “I think it’s so wonderful how you don’t feel self-conscious posting pictures of yourself on here! If my face looked like that, I’d probably put a bag over my head and never go out, but you just smile anyways! Bless your heart!” helps counter a perceived “hegemonic masculine view of the world”?

    Ashley (that one) Reply:

    To be perfectly honest, that comment was meant to hurt. I was extremely angry that so many listen to TW, because her views are consistently backwards, uneducated, and send a terrible message to readers. I lashed out in anger. I also thought that TW was most likely incapable of intelligent dialog.

    Plus, I find it humorous that she posts so many pictures of herself, and is obviously quite enamored with herself.

    I apologize for my mean comments. If TW wishes to remove them, then that is certainly her right to do so. “Free Speech” does not cover commenters on blogs, since she pays for this bandwidth, and it could be argued that this space is in fact personal property. She already removes comments that are negative to the cult of Mormonism. Censorship is something she can certainly do, although I think it’s quite admirable that she leaves the negative comments up.

    Lauren Reply:

    I just don’t understand why you read and comment? I can say with utmost certainty that we readers of TW aren’t here because we find her posts some sort of gospel that should be followed blindly, but rather because we appreciate her candor and insight and enjoy her style. You aren’t doing us any favors by trolling and helping expose the truth, I don’t think.

    TH Reply:

    You make a valid point. For me the issue here is not sexist, because I grew up in a household where both of my parents have equal amount of say and responsibility. But I understand that especially in American and Christian cultures there is still a lot of the “man in charge” attitude.

    In our house we both can tell each other to do or not to do things and there isn’t really one party who has the final say.

    I hope readers who come here can internalize a different kind of behavior – let’s talk about principles that will guide our marriage, agree on those, and then compromise. That’s how TW and I run our house, and so far it’s been remarkably fulfilling for both of us.

    Starry-Eyed Barefoot Bride Reply:

    HAHAHAH!! Am I the only one who finds it hilarious that Ashley says all these cruel things to protect the women who read this blog?? I mean, thank goodness there is someone out there making sure that I don’t internalize TW’s thoughts or opinions!! If only we had that for the news and politics. HA!

    Ashley, you wanting to protect all of us who have chosen to subscribe to this blog from TW’s opinions is ridiculous. She doesn’t proclaim any of what she writes to be the one and only truth. TW is putting to the keyboard her experiences and opinions and thats it.

    I am not LDS and I personally don’t agree with some of the teachings and TW’s opinions… but so what? I am not being forced to read this, and she is not beating anyone over the head with a mormon book. I have friends who are jewish and muslim. They have blogs and I REALLY don’t agree with some of their teachings. Should I shield myself from their teachings and opinions? Or are you going to save us all with your nasty comments and hateful posts?

    We are not brain dead women. We can read what we want without being turned into subservient zombies or whatever it is you think will become of us. Diversity is not a vice… but your poisonous cruelty is. Just leave.

  25. Some people are so just like that. No matter what you say they will FIND a way to disagree. Some people just LIKE to disagree with other people…just because. The other day, someone I know posted about using one of those harness/backpack/’leash’ things for her 2 year old because he was crazy running all over the place when they went places. She knew people would judge her, so she asked us blog friends what we thought…well, someone made a great point. She said:

    “The same people that would criticize you for using the harness, would also criticize you for having a child that was running all over and out of control. Some people just love to judge and criticize.”

    I know this particular point about harnesses doesn’t have to do with you, but I hope you get my point.

    At least know that someone out here in crazy online world knows and understands your life and choices (because it’s so similar to mine) and has no desire to criticize you – just read the funny, interesting things you have to say. And look at the gorgeous pictures.

    BTW, tell TH that he is incredibly articulate! I enjoy reading whatever he has to say whenever he comments (though it’s a shame it had to be in defense of him and you).

    And BTW, why is it physically impossible for me to leave a brief comment??

  26. Oh my gosh!! Jenna, those comments (and the ones on this entry as well) are just horrid, I’m so sorry! I for one applaud you for your honesty, your wonderful marriage and your commitment to the gospel. I know with 1,000,000 positive comments and even one negative one, it’s possible to still feel the sting of that negative one keenly, so I totally understand your mental state right now. Just focus on the positive – you have an awesome marriage, and many people that love you.

    Side note – 2 years ago I had something stupid happen – my daughter threw up on a bra at a Victoria’s secret while I was shopping with a friend (and taking a pic of her at the same time) and I was os embarassed, I ran out of the store and couldn’t go back in. It was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done! So I blogged about it – with the pic – telling people how ashamed I was and how stupid it was, but I just needed to try and laugh. WELL, my brother took offense (he lives on the other side of the country and we have no relationship!) and posted my entry on some chatroom, and I woke up to over 1,000 comments of strangers telling me I should be forcefully sterilized, people posting my address and telling me they were coming to come kill my family – everything hateful you can imagine. The only thing that got me out of it was stopping for a moment to focus – knowing that these people were just trolls, didn’t know me, and that my allowing them to hurt me would only hurt my family – I had to brush it off and focus on how much I love my husband and daughter and just that. It actually was an amazing experience because I left it feeling filled with gratitude as I counted my blessings and realized how rich my life really is. Heavenly Father wanted that – I could feel it. He blessed me and didn’t want me to spend a minute focusing on something and someone’s ideas that were so out of His plan for me. And you really are one very blessed lady:)

  27. I was going to comment yesterday but there were already 8353 comments, so I refrained.

    I find it crazy that EVEN on this post people are still putting TW and TH down. Um hello, if you don’t like what you read or you don’t like their relationship, here’s a novel idea, QUIT READING. There are about 2.5 million blogs out there. Pick another one. Or better yet, spit your venom on your own blog and quit leaving hurtful comments on other people’s blogs.

    I’m not a Morman, but I know that faith plays a huge part in media choices, clothing choices, etc. So don’t rag on them for that. You wouldn’t hate on a Catholic for giving up something for lent, or on Jew for keeping kosher.

    TW and TH seem like a happy, caring couple and if they like their relationship the way it is, then good! Let them be happy. If you really care about abused wives, how about starting with volunteering at or donating to your local battered women’s shelter.

    Anyway, sending lots of virtual hugs your way, TW!

    Alison (New Wife) Reply:

    couldn’t agree more:

    “I’m not a Morman, but I know that faith plays a huge part in media choices, clothing choices, etc. So don’t rag on them for that”.

  28. My personal opinion (on your question, not on your relationship – your relationship is your business) is that the people who read your website feel that you are mistaken (misguided, misdirected?) and that you do not understand what love really is, and that you are trying to convince us of a falsehood. They are trying to help/save/inform you, get you to see that you are wrong, that what you see as love is actually not. At least some of them, I think, really are written because people care about you and want you to be happy, and think that once you are made to see the error of your ways you will ultimately be happier.

    Other people are just jerks who like to say mean things to people in an attempt to upset them.

    Erin Reply:

    MY business. Your relationship is totally your business, none of MY business. That’s what I meant to say.

    haza Reply:

    This is a much more articulate version of what I was trying to say. Thanks, Erin.

  29. Jenna,

    I’ll have to admit, I’ve had my doubts about TH. Some of the things that I’ve read just didn’t added up. I think, however, those doubts were initiated when I found out that a close friend of mine, who I saw 5 days a week for at least 4 hours at a time, was in an abusive marriage. It scared me how oblivious I was to her situation. So I became hypersensitive to the way people discussed their marriages.

    So thank you Jenna, I needed that post yesterday. It was reassuring for me on many levels. It showed me that you and TH have a marriage that is mature, and healthy. It also inspired me to re-stabilize the standards that I have for my marriage and home. I know that I don’t need to worry about you anymore, because TH is providing and protecting, just like he should, in a way that is perfect for you.

    Everybody Else,

    If you have doubts about TH still, know this: as a long time personal friend of Jenna I know that she is strong, smart, and outspoken. She would absolutely never tolerate an abusive relationship.

    TH has agreed to be Jenna’s main support and motivation for staying healthy physically, spiritually, and financially. I know that with or without TH, Jenna would have those same goals. TH just makes those goals more attainable for Jenna, which is a true testament of the strength and goodness of their marriage.

    I’ve tried to keep this comment one sided, just like Jenna’s blog. Although I do trust that there has been equal give and take in this marriage, or it never would have happened. And I believe that Jenna serves as motivator for TH to reach his personal goals and goals they’ve set together in order to keep their marriage healthy.

    Love you Jenna.

  30. I think you have a lovely blog and I love how eloquently you voice your beliefs. It takes a strong person to do that and I appreciate your honesty with us!

  31. Jenna, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but never commented. I just wanted to say I appreciated your post yesterday and that I am so sorry you are feeling discouraged by all the negative comments. It has to be so hard to feel like your life it being picked apart by strangers. My husband and I have a similar relationship–one where he lovingly leads me. That isn’t to say I have no opinion—as I’m sure it is with you. But that I have chosen to submit to him in many areas, trusting that God has given him wisdom to lead our family. I just wanted to encourage you to continue what you are doing. I love your blog. I love reading about a marriage and a perspective and values that are fairly similar to my own. (I am a conservative Christian) It has been a means of encouragement to me in knowing that there are other people my age out there making similar choices and doing or not doing similar things. And it has convicted me of how I am not bold enough about my beliefs. I love how you will talk about what you believe and not shy from topics that might offend people. I really appreciate this blog and how you have opened up your life to all of us! Thank you!

  32. First, I have to say that I think that Jenna changing her spending and weight are wonderful, no matter what the motivation was. It sounds like she had some serious issues in both of those areas and I agree with TH that she really needed to change her ways and I am glad he convinced her to do so. Overall, from what Jenna has said on her site, she seems like a very immature girl who depended on her parents and had no real responsibilities until she was married and therefore now depends on her husband. She did not seem to have an idea of what real life was like until she was married and therefore I am glad she has a strong, responsible husband that recognizes how to build a financially stable marriage. Without him, they would probably be in thousands of dollars of debt! I think Jenna is truly happy in her marriage and feels safe and secure to still have someone else taking care of her and handling the important responsibilities like a full time job and being the breadwinner – that is a lot of pressure on TH. I think Jenna is happy in the wife/mother role, husband makes all the decisions, and another type of relationship where she has to make serious decisions and be responsible for her own life would not work for her. I think this statement from her “about us” sums up her goals pretty well, “I am finishing up my degree in English through the distance learning program at BYU a prove to my husband that I will actually finish I plan on getting the one thing I want most, a baby.”

    MrsW Reply:

    I’m sorry, but isn’t raising a baby into a responsible, mature adult involve serious decision making and responsibility?

    This just makes my blood boil.

    Kathryn Speyer Reply:


    You know what they say happens when you assume…

  33. I completely agree, raising a baby involves serious decision making and responsibility. And just as Jenna is learning what responsibility is through her marriage to TH, I hope she continues to grow and become more mature in her next step of life when she becomes a mother.

  34. Jenna, I’ve had to stop reading this, because it’s just continuing the train wreck from yesterday. While I don’t agree with everything about your and TH’s relationship becauase it wouldn’t work for me, it clearly works for you, and no one has the right to say your husband doesn’t love you and similar. It takes a lot to blog about personal things like this (which is why I just blog about very generic things; the one time I didn’t it turned out very badly) and I’m sorry you’ve been beaten up by so many people. I don’t know how you’re coping; I’d also feel very wrung out. I’m sending you a mental hug with sprinkles. *hug*

  35. Hi Jenna-
    I have never commented before but I have been following you since weddingbee… I don’t have time to read the tons of comments so forgive me if I am repeating other’s comments, but I just want to show you my support. I think sometimes things are hard to hear, and so perhaps that is why some people might see your husband as a “jerk”. However, he would not be doing you any favors if he didn’t speak up about his concerns for your health or your spending. And the fact that you can recognize that as him loving you and supporting you and not him trying to hurt you shows the maturity of your relationship. You don’t share your conversations word for word but it has everything to do with how it is said, where, in what tone, etc. We should all just take your word for it that it was done in a loving way.
    I think instead of looking for problems we should recognize the positive lessons from what you are sharing – communication is key!

  36. If you constantly have to state how happy you are, how stable your relationship, how utterly-not-jerk-like your husband is, something is amiss. These things should not have to said over and over. If you are happy, if your relationship is stable, if your husband is not a jerk, your actions, your life events, your thoughts will all reflect this.

    When you talk about how you wear purple tights and mess up your hair when he’s gone, how you can’t wear red shoes or watch Friends, when you’re really really really really super happy to have him tell you to lose weight so that you’ll die sooner (and he repeats this), really, it blindingly obvious to a lot of people that this is not okay.

    These people may have been in controlling relationships, seen their sisters, mothers, friends, or daughters have their self worth and identity stripped away from them for their so-called own happiness. That is why people say these things.

    Cristin Reply:

    But truly – does anyone think their comments are going to make Jenna smack herself in the forehead and say, “oh my gosh! all those Ashleys are right! I’m heading for the hills!” Seriously. I just do not understand what impact people think their comments will make – these are comments from STRANGERS and will surely not inspire the changes the commenters are aiming for. Don’t y’all GET that?!

    Becky Reply:

    I don’t think the motivation is to change Jenna, it is to voice one’s opinion. When you have a blog, and have your content open for comments, you take the good with the bad, and the agree with the disagree. If you don’t want to have any other opinions other than your own expressed, close the comments sections.

    Becky Reply:

    I have to clarify after re-reading what I wrote. I feel like it came out sounding not-as-nice as it could have.

    “If you don’t want to have any other opinions other than your own expressed, close the comments sections.”

    The “you” I’m talking about isn’t necessarily Jenna, but all those who blog. I do think there is a definite difference between nasty commenters who comment to be nasty and those who are expressing their own opinion.

  37. So sad for TW today. A blog I look forward too and yet to see her getting slammed. Not cool.

    Shouldn’t it go without saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”

    Sophia Reply:

    In life, yes that’s true, and on the internet hopefully it can be said nicely. But when it comes down to it, Jenna wrote a post about it because on numerous occasions different readers have written her and said they were concerned about TH’s behavior. This implies that, when she writes a post about how people should *not* be concerned about his behavior, a lot of those original concerned readers are going to read it and think “well, I e-mailed her privately, but now that she’s written a post about it, I guess I can comment on it”. This does *not* give ANYONE the right to verbally abuse someone, but it does imply the right to disagree and express concern publicly once Jenna opened those gates.

    Honestly, Jenna’s most controversial posts get the most hits/comments, probably get forwarded around, and in the end she ends up getting new readers. And with her photography business doing well enough, in this economy, to fund travel, I think she’s gained much, much more from this blog than she has lost in the form of the random mean comment.
    It’s also worth taking the other side- those people calling TH abusive are clearly very worried that there is a big thing wrong in the marriage. Is it silly to rabble rouse in the comments? Yes. A devout temple-married Mormon woman will not “head for the hills” as one commenter said just because a random reader states a dissenting opinion. But there is clearly concern nonetheless. And again, for all the things Jenna has gained from her blog, I think putting up with a random Ashley, while no doubt very stressful and emotional, is in the grand scheme of things a small price to pay.

    Kat Forsyth Reply:

    Hear hear, Sophia. Jenna’s photography business is doing so incredibly well, partly because she puts herself out there and people feel like they know who is she is, and like her. That’s such a great positive way to look at this icky situation. Who cares about some trolling Ashleys when you look at the bigger picture?

    Jenna Reply:

    You are dead right Sophia! Jenna Cole has had a ton of hits today, my page views are at an all time high on That Wife, and TH even decided to guest post! So much good has come out of this. On top of all that, I’ve had emails, comments, instant messages, blog posts, Facebook messages, tweets, and more written in support and for people to show they care. That means a lot, and the emotional stress of the attacks was definitely worth all of that.

    And you’re right. It’s going to take a lot more than a comment from a random stranger to “head for the hills!”

  38. My heart goes out to you Jenn and TH.

    There is a big difference from stating your opposing opinion and being cruel and hateful. I may not agree with 100% of everything I read on every blog I read (and I read a lot) but if I can’t say something nice or constructive, I don’t say anything at all.

    Your marriage is exactly that-your marriage. I think you have proven that you and TH communicate about the things that matter to each of you. And no one goes into a marriage as a perfect partner. The point of the journey is to learn from one another and to help each other become better people. Since I do not know you personally, what goes on privately in your marriage is your business. If you choose to blog about it in the hopes that someone will benefit from it some way, kudos to you. But it’s still not for me to judge.

    I’m so sorry others don’t see it that way. I believe-from what I’ve read-that you are a strong, independent, and intelligent woman. In a few days, all of this will die down. Until then, don’t let them get you down. You have more supports than haters.

  39. Jenna,

    I absolutely LOVE reading your blog EVERY DAY!! Please don’t be discouraged. Not everyone has a love like yours. I am happy to say I do, and I understand and very happy to know that other couples talk things out as much as my husband and I.

    We too have had similar talks about debt, weight, children, etc. And I really enjoy reading your blog as you seem to be in the same place as myself.

    (((hugs))) and love,

  40. Jenna, I know you are swamped with tons of comments – some kind and helpful and many extremely hurtful. I don’t know if you will even have the chance or desire to read all of them or if you will get to this one, but I wanted to be completely open and honest with you, so here goes:

    Honestly, I have some of my own personal issues with the place of women in the LDS church. These issues aren’t huge – I’m a Christian and fully support the man being the authority very his wife and such, I just feel that the LDS church takes that further and makes the man essential to a woman’s salvation, and that does not sit right with me. That being said, I discovered your blog even before you were blogging on weddingbee, and loved it. Somehow, I stumbled upon many LDS brides sites and wedding info all at once, and you stood out to me as being so very different than the rest. You were a strong woman who did not just go with the flow, but had deep convictions, a strong personality, and a desire to live life to the fullest. I have greatly admired many things you have said and done through the course of your blogging. You, in many ways, are one of my very favorite bees on weddingbee, and I have taken so much inspiration from your wedding. I feel that I have seen a deeper connection in you than many other bloggers because you are so open and honest, and I admire that. While we have some major differences in our beliefs, I greatly admire that you have not been ashamed to be totally upfront and open about your beliefs and that you’ve become known among all types of people for your convictions and your style simultaneously.

    Back in your wedding planning days, I did notice that you seemed to be making excuses for TH often. I fund myself wondering who exactly this guy is and why you seemed to dance around topics that mentioned specifics about his life. I accepted your explanation that he was a very private person and forgot about any doubts I had. I think that one of the reasons people seem to be doubting you now is simply the contrast between someone so public and open and their private, hidden spouse. Everything about TH on your blog kinda becomes a mystery simply because we know so much more about you than him. I honestly think that TH will always be a mystery to me – I don’t quite “get” him or some of the things you’ve said about him – but, that’s okay. I have no right to question your relationship nor do I have a need to understand your husband.

    This situation you’re dealing with hits me close to home because my fiance is also very strong-willed and absolute about things he believes in and desires. This is something I love about him, but it is also very trying at times. If he has made a decision that I’m still unsure about, it’s difficult to come to a mutual decision. That being said, I greatly admire him and know that the things he’s stubborn about (for the most part) are admirable things that are certainly worth being stubborn about. I know that he is a Godly man, so I have chosen to follow him as the leader in our relationship. He really has helped me become a better person with things that he believed strongly in and I didn’t as much until I knew him. Those things are all things that I have come to agree with him about on my own, however. I believe your explanation that you see TH’s reasons for his unmoving opinions, and I only take issue with it IF you at any time feel that these are not things you would have chosen on your own.

    I believe you. I believe that you are happy in your relationship. I believe that both individuals change naturally for the person they marry, and that it is not an expectation but a natural evolution. I am sorry you are dealing with so many hurtful comments and I hope nothing I’ve said has offended you, but truly been a note of total honesty and understanding.

  41. wow jenna, i’m so sorry you’re getting all this negatives responses… i’ve followed you since weddingbee but never commented before and
    i just wanted to show you my support, to you an TH. i cannot understand why people insist over and over again on a (wrong) fact that you should change and NEVER let your husband decide over things you should/shouldn’t do and even put in doubt his love for you.

    why is so hard to understand that every healthy, and God-centered marriage is not about two persons, but that they’re only ONE?

    it’s true and even if your not Christian, you can’t deny that this is also called ‘compromise’. I, as a wife, cannot make MY own decisions, ’cause i’ll need my husband’s approval or reject, and so it works for him.

    As you said, this is a one-sided blog, and you want to respect TH privacy, so that’s why you don’t share his name or his faults or his goals or the things he has made/changed for you, and for your marriage. I accept that, and i love reading from you, your struggles as a newlywed, your business and even once in a while about TH, but i completely get that this is THAT WIFE’s blog, not THAT MARRIAGE’s blog.

  42. Jenna,

    It is very unfortunate that there are some people who cannot express their views in a mature fashion and then let it go.

    98% of us on here know you rock (including me!). The other 2% are “Ashley’s” and need to get a life.

    Hubby and I discussed this in length last night (as we are nerds that love to discuss moral and ethical issues) and he is even more excited about our session with you! :)

  43. Oh my goodness negative people! TW and TH are *gasp* happy together! Leave them alone already.

    Whether you realize it or not, everyone in some way or another asks their partner to change somehow. What’s wrong with wanting your husband or wife to be healthy so they don’t have to face problems later? Nothing?

    What’s wrong with wanting to set a standard for your family that you can be proud of? Nothing.

    They made these decisions together, it wasn’t a “you MUST do/not do this!”

    Jenna I commend you on keeping your high caliber and TH, I respect the way you reply to posts.

    Cheers to you two!

  44. blah blah drama blah blah

    Dude, seriously. These people keep telling you these things because they’ve either been in a relationship that turned abusive or saw someone who did, and they see the precursors in what you have. They’re telling you these things because they CARE. They’re WORRIED. They don’t want ANYONE to suffer like they or someone they know did.

    Don’t think they’re telling you OH NO YOU ARE BAD because they’re not. They’re telling you WE ARE KINDA WORRIED THIS REMINDS ME OF me or my mom or my sister and we don’t want that to happen to you so be careful ok :C

    (as an aside I’m so jealous of your kitchen it kicks my kitchen’s butt up and down the street.)

  45. You know what, I think everyone needs to realize that what works for one couple does not work for the next. If it works for YOU that is all that matters. Jenna’s faith very strongly guides her choices, and while they may not be mine or someone else’s, that’s perfectly ok. Just as I’m sure if she was looking at MY choices, she’d go “hmm, not for me!”. I am very much the opposite of you and I admire your relationship and devotion to your husband. Her husband would be a bad fit for me, just as mine would be a bad fit for her. Why can’t everyone acknowledge that every person needs a spouse for THEM. Very individualized?

    And just so you know, my husband is very adamant about how he doesn’t want me to get fat, either. Believe me, if I gained 70 pounds, he’d not find me as attractive and I’m totally ok with that. Why should I expect him to find me attractive if I don’t find myself attractive? Is it unreasonable for us to expect our spouses to remain attractive to us? NO! I think it’s perfectly OK to acknowledge that, Jenna. I think we should all care as much about what our spouses think about our personal appearances in order to keep the sparks going. I didn’t marry a slob and I’ll be darned if he just turns into one now! And he’ll agree with me! =]

  46. Jenna – I’m another fan of yours from weddingbee. I just wanted to show my support for you and TH.

    From your blog, I can tell you are an intelligent, beautiful, thoughtful, creative, and generous person…and I believe TH sounds like an equally wonderful person.

    People who leave judgmental and unconstructive comments are usually close minded, selfish and immature…they think they know what’s best for everyone else in the world…don’t let them get to you! I know you will continue to be happy and confident in yourself and your marriage!

  47. This is all very overwhelming, but I just had to tell you that I think you’re great, and I have actually always admired the way you portray your husband. I think he’s come across as being a spiritual leader and, as your dad said, a man of principles. Some people who don’t share your faith won’t understand these things and it might sound crazy to them. But you and TH follow your own consciences and no one should question that.

  48. I’m going to defend some of the commentors (not the trolls, but some of the others) because there are some times that people feel that they owe it to somebody else to intervene.
    Some people think your husband is controlling. They want you to know that it’s not okay for a man to tell you what to do, how to act, and how to think or feel.
    They may be tactless about how they do it, but consider this: there are women out there in truly abusive relationships, and I hope these people are doing exactly the same thing for their friends that need that kind of a wakeup call.
    Think of it this way, in the style of your examples. If you were writing on this blog about how you’re using drugs and how good it makes you feel, would you expect your readers to be supportive of your habit, or tell you that they are bad for you and you aren’t actually happy?
    Accept what you’ve been saying all along: we don’t know the full truth of your relationship, and so we can’t really comment on it. Consider the well-meaning commentors as people who don’t know you or your relationship well enough to comment, and be grateful that people out there in the world love you enough to try to help, even if they go about doing it all the wrong ways.

  49. I don’t have anything to say other than that I don’t see why people keep reading if they have an issue with your life. Sending you patronising and nasty emails is hardly helpful and doing it anonymously is simply indicative of people projecting their opinions onto your situation. This is one of the downsides of the internet unfortunately.

    I often disagree with a lot of your beliefs on certain issues but I think engaging with people of different views and perspectives is essential to being a well rounded and tolerant human being.

    Try not to let them get you down. The vast majority of people feel you are an intelligent woman making her own choices in a relationship with an equally strong willed man. xo

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