Jasmyne from The Unhappy Wife book

Jasmyne was the fifth wife that I’d interviewed, but I decided to use her story first because I thought it offered a blatant message. Her entire relationship seemed to be based on Bible-based therapy and ill advice from friends and family. Each of these demonstrated one of the themes I’d intended to convey with this book: It is important to listen to yourself and your inner voice.

Concept: During our interview, Jasmyne told me about a couple’s retreat that her two therapists wanted her to attend before she divorced Eddie. “You invited us into this marriage. Now, you have to invite us to its divorce” is a direct quote from the counselors. She felt as if she couldn’t leave the guy based on her own feelings.

When she mentioned the retreat, I knew that would be the focal point of the narrative. I wanted her character to flashback several times to illustrate how she knew Eddie wasn’t the right husband for her. It was important for me to show these feelings existed before she got married and way before she ended up at a weekend session.

Although all of the details of her marriage are true, I made up the part about vomiting. Again, I wanted her intuition to be obvious, so I thought associating her gut feelings with a stomachache would send a clear message to the reader.

Commentary: There are two things that stood out as I listened to Jasmyne’s story. The first was her description of Eddie. I speak with many people who have abandonment issues in one way or another, so it was natural for me to ask, “Where are his parents?” Due to therapy, Jasmyne understood Eddie’s issues stemmed from two deceased parents. In her answer, I heard about a good guy who wanted to give and receive love; however, he seemed to be a little boy who never learned how to be a man. She felt that she could remedy this with her love. This is a common relationship pattern, but I’m not sure what the success rate is for working out childhood problems in this way.

The second thing that stood out is something Jasmyne’s friends, family and therapists continued to tell her: Nobody’s perfect and he’s not that bad. Although I was sad to hear this, I was glad that it was a theme for her story. This is something that women tend to do. We encourage one another to remain in unhealthy relationships, simply because the man “isn’t that bad.” In my opinion, the tolerance level lies within each person. For example, a friend of mine texted that she would’ve left Eddie once the hot water was turned off. There are plenty of women who would stay. My point is that it’s not for me or anyone else to suggest staying or leaving, but rather, it’s up to the person to learn to listen to her inner voice and make the best possible decision for her situation.

Let me know what you thought about Jasmyne and Eddie, what I’ve said here, or anything else that you felt was important about this story.

And if you haven’t ordered a copy of The Unhappy Wife, then please do so here. We’ll be discussing Gina in February.

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32 thoughts on “Jasmyne from The Unhappy Wife book

  1. Everyone’s comments above were so spot on! One thing that stood out to me the most (maybe because I wrote about my own issues with this last year) was Eddie’s emotional availability and how it impacted his relationship with Jasmyne. I wondered whether Eddie’s emotional availability wasn’t discovered during premarital counseling…or if it was ignored. That, to me was the biggest red flag in suggesting that the couple needed to put their relationship on pause.

    Functioning in a healthy relationship when you don’t love yourself is nearly (if not completely) impossible. And its even harder to provide your partner with a healthy love in cases where you can’t even identity a healthy love for yourself. Eddie refusing to work on himself speaks volumes about his lack of self-love as well as his unwillingness to truly work on his relationship.

    I’m so glad I got my book in time to join the conversation! I’ve never been in a real book club *giggle*

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    1. Thanks Josie! Yes, emotional unavailability seems to be a big issue with men and women. I suspect it comes from relationships with parents of the opposite sex, but I’m not psychologist. I agree (from experience) that we can never have a high functioning relationship without self love.

      Eddie’s issues actually did come out in their counseling sessions, which is why i found it even stranger that the therapists would push harder for Jasmyne to not only try, but also MARRY him! Hadn’t thought about this until right now, but I guess it shows my question from the Monday Notes about men. This is one way that women come to learn that we should try no matter what the circumstances.

      I’m glad you got the book in time too! I know these are topics you tackle in your own way on your blog. You can kind of thank Tareau for this blossoming “book club” idea lol I was kicking around different ideas and he suggested talking about one woman each month. Happy to have you here giving the book, relationships and everything else some real thought 🙂

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  2. Commentary on Jasmyne from The Unhappy Wife!!

    YAASSS, I have come to the party-albeit late- to talk about Ms. Jasmyne.

    Jasmyne, who is listed under the category of “The Voiceless Wife,” actually had a voice; but she simply could not hear it!
    Flat out, her inner voice was on point but it was constantly being shut down by counselors and family.

    IMO, all of that fuss caused her to second guess her own common sense.

    I mean, seriously, her fiancé play-acted during premarital counseling sessions, participated in inappropriate communications with other women—which he admitted that he could not forgive had the shoe been on the other foot—and to top it off he had been in trouble with the law.
    Did I mention that his work history was shady?
    Ah…but according to the people: “He’s. Not. That. Bad!”
    Clearly, the brother had impulse and maturity issues 😦
    Well, in spite of all that, midday turned into midnight turned into morning and Jasmyne’s dear fiance Eddie, pulled a massive proposal stunt-using one of my favorite jams by Common featuring Mary J Blige.
    Umm hmmmmm!
    To Ms. Jasmyne’s chagrin, things got no better after the marriage—(But I’ll guarantee you she was NOT surprised by that!)
    Anyway…
    All I gotta say is that I hope she stuck to her guns in the end!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Finally, right??? Thanks for commenting Gwin! You’re right. She had intuition, but she was being told it wasn’t right. I forgot all about Eddie’s work history. That’s something else that I think many women wouldn’t deal with. I think Tikeetha even posted a question about a man making less and if that would be a factor to date. I wonder how she’d feel about Eddie lol

      This part “Well, in spite of all that, midday turned into midnight turned into morning and Jasmyne’s dear fiance Eddie, pulled a massive proposal stunt-using one of my favorite jams by Common featuring Mary J Blige” had me over here cracking up. You’re right though. It was a STUNT! Sometimes we get so caught up in the fairy tale of it all…well, you know the rest lol

      Wish I could give you a followup…;-)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL!!! You are welcome Doc.
        I enjoyed it and will be reading more, of course.
        I just got a lot going on these days.
        But I will commenting on these ladies as you school us on them 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The Jasmyne story was quite despairing. Although it’s hard to understand how someone can be pressured into trying to make something work, those of us with faith will abide by the words from the bible. Christianity guides women into that submissive role. We tend to be led to believe we have to stay the course and believe in those vows of “til death do us part” but sometimes it truly is impossible. This book showed us so many real stories that hit home and made us feel something. An outstanding read and lessons to be learned for women and men.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Lennon! I know that Jasmyne touched your heart. I thought it was going to be difficult to write without trying to bash religion, Christianity or the bible, so I’m glad that you (and others) were able to read it without taking offense, you know? I think it helped that a lot of the conversations were direct quotes, so a lot women were able to say, “Yep. That sounds like what someone told me too.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. The pressures and expectations of society so often drive our decisions in life and none more so than in marriage and our decisions within that existence. I couldn’t believe of the retreat wanting to discuss her divorce. However I have heard others being told ‘he’s not too bad’ etc as if that is justification to stay and to accept the behaviour. As you say every case is individual but surely ‘not too bad’ is no cause to stay, rather a case to run. I’m not saying marriage can be a constant utopia but it should be at times and content, safe and kind for the rest! This is an interesting and thought provoking post, Kathy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Annika! The retreat shocked me too. Although I’ve heard of bible-based therapy/counseling, I had no idea that people were kind of pressuring couples to stay together, no matter what. I agree with everything you’ve said here and yes, marriage and relationships in general should be content, safe and kind MOST times 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Somebody just posted on FB “Be still and know,” and for some reason this reminds me of what you’ve just said. I know the rest of it is “I am God,” but part of what helps is for us to first, “be still…” then we can hear 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Of course it’s unhealthy to ignore your gut feelings; I’m guilty of it. Aren’t we all? But it’s also unhealthy to have so many people “in” your relationship. I know sometimes the church or even just family can be completely ignorant + conditioned to perpetuate living in a way that they honestly think is best; regardless of feelings, you stay. You work it out.

    And sometimes, like Tareau commented, it can be jealousy, envy or hatred fueling their ill advise.

    Jasmyne might have had better luck asking strangers for relationship advice with a Twitter poll. But who knows if she would have ever made it out if she hadn’t sought counsel.

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Jasmyne’s story seemed so unreal (I don’t mean the vomiting part). I was seriously wondering if such people exist (her church advisors). Really interesting though because those kind of voices that make us question our intuition are there for many of us, just not necessarily in such an extreme, overt way that it was for Jasmyne- those voices are found in lessons we observe from the dynamics of our parents’ relationship to one another and with us that dictate how a relationship should be, what’s acceptable, and what we feel we deserve. It was great that jasmyne left that complicated multi person marriage where no one was interested in her wellbeing…but I hope she recognised the choices she willingly made to get there in the first place.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know what you mean Mek! That was part of my concern. I thought that people wouldn’t believe that this was someone’s life. I do like that you mention those voices are there, “not necessarily in such an extreme, overt way,” because that’s what I was hoping people would begin to think about. I hoped that at some point readers might wonder, “how have I ignored my intuition?”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it was hard to read the book without doing some self examination…my life doesn’t have the same degree of drama as a lot of these women, but the underlying drivers for choices made and behaviours etc is a common human experience- including listening (or not) to one’s intuition.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. This chapter actually made me think of your comment on Dr.Garland’s ‘Monday Notes:Men’ post. You said:

      “I agree that women lean more towards working with what’s in front of them, having an ideal in mind, and men tend towards searching forevermore for that ideal to appear fully formed.”

      This speaks so much to Jasmyne’s approach to her relationship with Eddie. Even with Eddie admitting his emotional unavailability, Jasmyne still didn’t see that as a reason to pull back. Instead, she felt compelled to go to bat even harder for Eddie. “Compassion filled my heart,” she said. “He just needed love. I could do that.” Just as you said – she leaned more toward working with what was in front of her rather than separating herself from an unhealthy relationship.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Josie! I have to admit, I am shocking at remembering details of films and books, but what stuck with me from Jasmyne’s story was the influence of her church advisors and her friend (or friends?). I’d say in that case, it was not really compassion that filled her heart but more likely fear (of being alone, of dissapointing the onlookers, of failing at a relationship). Easier to dress it up as a virtue though. I’ll be sure to re-read whatever chapter we talk about next to jog my memory 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think it was a little bit of both what you and Mek mention. She was willing to work with him, no matter what because (I suspect) she feared being a single mother with no support. I say I suspect because she never really said she feared being alone, I assumed that because of the details of her life. She did, however, actually say that she felt she could give him what he needed…what he lacked.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Yaaaasssss. Finally. Gosh. Hahahaah. Yes I was happy that Jasmyne did what she did. It’s what I said about the conditioning of women to trick them to think that they need to be married. I was shocked that she was met with so much resistance from her peers and therapist. In a subliminal way, it felt like those women who were peers of Jasmyne, wanted Eddie for themselves. Like “ohhh girl he’s not that bad, he’s a man and men will do those things.” But behind her back they were probably giving him that “look.” Or maybe it could of been that they felt Jasmyne wasn’t pretty enough to be with Eddie. You know what I’m saying? When I read her story I was like there might be some jealousy from outside sources. But who knows. It’s all subjective but fun to dissect.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I don’t know what’s going on with WP! I answered this a loooong time ago! Anywho, I see Lady G has you using, “Yaaaaassss!!!” lol
      I hadn’t thought about her friends actually wanting him, but that’s probably not too much of a stretch, considering he was sexting people online too. I still haven’t figured out why the therapists would encourage her to stay with him though…maybe it looks better for them to have a couple stay together, rather than break up, no matter what?

      Liked by 3 people

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