jon & kate: breaking the silence

Just to clarify, it’s not Jon and Kate breaking the silence; it’s me. And to clarify further, I wasn’t really being silent on purpose (much); I just don’t talk a whole lot about celebrity sagas on my blog. Or maybe I do and just can’t remember. My brain feels a little foggy tonight.

This should be good.

If you don’t know who Jon and Kate are, you live under an even bigger rock than I do. They’re a couple in their 30’s with 8-year-old (I think) twin girls and 5-year-old (I think) sextuplets–3 boys, 3 girls. Hence, the name of their reality TV show–Jon & Kate Plus 8. (Very catchy, by the way.) A few months ago, they filed for divorce.

If you were a faithful J&K+8 watcher (I’ve watched 10-12 episodes over the years), you probably have some strong emotions about the whole thing. Maybe–Kate is not very nice, and it’s her fault that her marriage failed. Or–if only Jon would’ve bucked up and taken responsibility as a husband and father instead of going out to bars. Or–how heartbreaking for these kiddos that their parents are broken up.

I’ve read bits and pieces here and there, and I’m sure I don’t have all the facts, but a couple days ago, I watched a clip of an interview with Jon. He talked about how abusive Kate was. How she was mean and rude and disrespectful to him and just kept beating, beating, beating him down. He couldn’t take it anymore, he said. And now he’s found a girl who loves and respects him and treats him like he’s longed to be treated for so long.

His cry for respect is universal among guys. And as a culture, as a whole, we women are answering that cry with a cackling laugh and a, “Shut up and sit down!” I’m sure I’ve soapboxed on here before about the chronic lack of respect I see ALL over the place. Women disrespecting men. And, in particular, wives disrespecting husbands.

It’s not only culturally acceptable–it’s encouraged, applauded. Men have “tiny husband brains” (thank you, Brian Regan), and it’s our feminine duty to make our guys feel even smaller every chance we get.

I read a book recently that I’m going to share from when I resume the modesty discussion. The author starts off by saying that Satan is very, very interested in “sowing seeds of disrespect toward men in the hearts of women of all ages.” I couldn’t agree more. God has a beautiful plan for male-female relationships, and the devil is out to undermine and sabotage it at every turn.

And we buy his stupid lies.

I’ve written about respecting our husbands in three of my four books. I wish I could just hand out those chapters free of charge, because I’m desperately passionate about this topic. If you have the books and haven’t looked at them in ages, I’d love for you to dust them off and open up to Chapter 6 in Blushing, Chapter 5 in Diapers, and Chapter (I’m not sure because I’m all out of copies at the moment) of Is That All?

Now, I’m not perfect. As much as I love to encourage women to respect their husbands (and men in general), my recent record isn’t spotless (ask Gabe). But I am always, always conscious of the respect issue, and when I do disrespect my husband, I recognize it immediately and feel completely convicted. It breaks my heart (or irks me like crazy–depends on my mood) when I hear women doing this. Some of them don’t even have a clue that they’re being completely disrespectful. Sinful. Some of them are godly women who long to follow hard after Jesus, and don’t for a second make the connection between being obedient to the Lord and showing respect to the guy they married.

And can I just take a minute to publicly praise my girlfriends from church for the way they honor and respect their husbands? Again, they’re not perfect. But, as a whole, the gals I hang with, do life with, love their husbands and speak to them (and about them) with deep respect. These hubbies aren’t beaten down or degraded and don’t feel embarrassed every time they’re in public with their oh-so-vocal wives. You go, Vista Girls!

Back to Jon & Kate. (Digression is one of my love languages. Or something.) In most of the episodes I’ve seen of the show, Kate is verbally disrespectful/abusive to Jon. She’s called him dumb and essentially worthless. She yells at him, berates him, rolls her eyes at him, the works. I found myself cringing time and time again, wishing she had waited until the cameras were off and discussed their issues in a respectful tone. (Boring TV, I know.)

Like I said, I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know what all Jon has done. Just like I don’t know YOUR whole story. I don’t know what your marriage is like. Maybe your husband is the one who’s rude and mean and unloving. I had a sweet gal come up to me after one of my Sex Talks, and she was not happy. Not one little bit. There I was, telling wives that they should unselfishly meet their husband’s physical needs, and I had no idea what her husband put her through.

I told her what I’ll tell you. I have no easy answer for that. We talked, I prayed with her, and I pray even now that God worked some mighty miracles in that marriage.

What I do know is this: many, many, many of us have a problem in this area. The guy in our life isn’t the trouble; it’s us. We’ve bought the lie that it’s okay to get laughs at the expense of another person–as long as it’s just a guy.

Any thoughts?

33 thoughts on “jon & kate: breaking the silence

  1. Carrie

    This is a great post. Hubby & I are just starting to go through a marriage book called “Love and Respect” which focuses on the man’s innate need for respect from his wife. And I think it’s so important to remember that we need to work on ourselves, and not on the other person when there’s a problem.

  2. Pingback: Marla Taviano | Christian author and speaker » Blog Archive » letting the guys off too easy?

  3. Kimberly

    Well, I’m not commenting on that show because they already get enough press, I’m not feeding them. But I’ll never forget my mom not letting us watch Everybody Love’s Raymond when I was younger. When I asked why, she said they are trying to convince you its ok for the mom to make fun of the dad and berate him in front of his children. Wow, what a witness, I have never forgotten that.

  4. Morgan

    Jon and Kate should have stopped the show a long time ago. If they wanted to make it work at all, they would have put the fame aside.
    Also, so many shows these days make light of women disrespecting their husbands, making them seem like idiots. I just look forward to being married one day and finding a partner. Although, I know I will have lots to learn. Luckily, I do have some amazing role model relationships in my life to look at 🙂 ( Including yours Marla!) Thank You!

  5. Lisa R-p

    Interesting post — I find it interesting and am trying not to be offended that all the focus is on Kate and women respecting their husbands. By no means am I saying I think that Kate appeared to be kind, gentle, and nice to Jon. The issue for me is one of mutual respect between husband and wife, being an example to one another and to others. Focusing only on the behavior of the woman without expecting accountability to the man for the same, changes the focus of this discussion to be about power and control vs. respect, compassion, and partnership.

  6. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia

    Thank you for this post, Marla! This is something in my life that God is specifically working in me on; I love my husband so much, but I tend to disrespect him, particularly when I’m not getting my way. Such an important topic for us women! And praise the Lord He can change us, wants to change us, and will not give up on us!

  7. krisco

    So….anyone borrowing that book you just read??? *cough* Maybe somebody in Kentucky might be interested in it. *cough* 🙂

    I feel so terribly for the kids because they will one day google their parents and see this mess played out all over the internet. They’ll see their dad mingling with other women while still married. They’ll see their mom disrespecting their dad on National Television. 🙁

    Another thing cause I forgot to comment before. What I like to read about in your blog is what’s going on in your heart. Nothing too intimate or personal but just what you are willing to share. I’ve known you for over a decade and I like what God does in your heart and it encourages me to see God moving when you share. 🙂


  8. Jennifer

    I wonder what their relationship was like before the “plus eight.” Because there are days with “plus two” where I can begin to treat Wes like a dimwit just because I’m stressed and need help. Not that I’m right to do so and not that Kate was right for doing so, but I really want to believe (especially now that Jon is proving to be such a tool with his poor choices as a grown man and father of eight children) that Kate once treated him with respect back when she wasn’t wanting to pull her hair out.

    But who knows? I stopped watching the show when they announced their separation. I wish they would stop production completely and focus all their energy on trying to save their marriage.

  9. Elizabeth

    OOOh, I have lots to say about J and K and it’s hard to keep it to myself sometimes. We watched Jon’s interview the other night and I thought many of the same things you did. It makes me so sad for their kids-they’ve both been terrible examples in many ways.

    I haven’t always been good about showing respect to my husband, to his face or behind his back. I never realized how important it is until I’d been married a few years. Respect is the ONE thing (well, sex too) that my husband says he must have to be happy in our marriage. When there’s genuine respect the other healthy things come naturally for both of us.

    I read those chapters in your books and they’re right on. One of the things I always did with couples in pre-marital counseling is talk with them about mutual respect and honoring each other with their words. A marriage can’t succeed with it.

  10. whimzie

    This was such a great reminder, Marla. Thank you.

    My husband and I like to kid, which is fine, but I have to make sure that I don’t take it too far. OR much worse, that I play out my frustration with him under the guise of “just kidding.”

    As for J&K, I watched the interview with Jon and I watched his countenance completely change when he started talking about his new girlfriend and he said that she respects him and encourages him. I didn’t live them so I can’t say what Kate did or didn’t do, but that moment in the interview stuck out in my mind even before I read your post today.

    I hurt for those children watching the people who are supposed to be their safe places to fall. I’m afraid the two grown ups are too busy making sure everyone know who’s right and who’s wrong to notice that this story could really use a hero.

  11. Ashley

    I couldn’t get into the show due to the attitudes I saw the parents have – I know most people only watched it due to the “cute kids”.

    As for the respecting the husband thing, I feel VERY strongly about this topic. One of the things I was taught before I got married was that a man’s respect (especially my husband’s) was the most important thing to him. I just CRINGE every time I hear a woman talk poorly about her husband (or other man in her life) w/ or w/o him present. There is a time for “venting” in the privacy and confidence of a trusted friend, but NEVER should you air your grievances about your significant other in public or in a group setting! ESPECIALLY not he is around to hear it. UGGGG!!! I can’t say enough about this! Just this weekend, I was sitting in the midst of a group of people from our church when one of the ladies WENT OFF on her significant other with NO care as to the shame the rest of us (or at least me) was feeling. I felt SO badly for the poor guy at that moment. It is SOO embarrassing to see ANYBODY berated, let alone a woman berating her husband/boyfriend/significant other.

    Thanks for addressing this issue!! It is a MUCH needed issue to be addressed in society today!!

  12. Kelsie

    It is truly sad to see a family separate, to see a marriage end and eight children lose their Mommy & Daddy as a couple. We should pray for this family.
    What a wonderful post and an EXCELLENT topic. And great comments, ladies…
    I am convicted, knowing how easy it can be for that seed of discontentment, disrespect, selfishness, WHATEVER, to take root without my realizing it. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:3 (read on, great stuff follows…)
    The book that I recommend is The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. This woman doesn’t mess around. I’ve recently picked this book up, and all it takes is a few pages to remind me of my role. I also want to say that my sweet Mother-in-Law reminded me before we were married, of the fragility of the male ego. God created them that way. We must appreciate the uniqueness and value that our husbands hold, for us and for our children.

  13. Conny

    So many thoughts about this one because I’ve struggled with it myself! After 15ish years of marriage, my husband sat me down & told me a few things about reality – that he’d endured my selfishness for 15 years because he loved me so much – but finally he had to tell me that HE HAS FEELINGS TOO and the disrespect was killing him inside. OUCH!! But I took it to heart -and started considering HIS feelings more than my own sometimes. Wow – what a difference the last 2 years have made – we have an AWESOME marriage beyond what it ever was!! Open communication & mutual respect.
    One more thought from Sarah Mae at – she did a series of guest writers who talked about avoiding affairs – and one of them said that if you think your husband isn’t worthy of respect, you will likely find a man who is (ie easy prey for an affair). Even though I think “I’ll NEVER have an affair”, I took it to heart because my pastor often reminds us that NO ONE is the exception. Protect your marriage!!

  14. Carissa@ExcitingTimes

    I’ve watched the show. Not regularly, but enough to see the dynamic of their marriage. I think it’s a pit that a lot of people fall into. Marriage is a challenge in itself, even before you add the obstacles that come with parenting. And parenting EIGHT kids? That’s a mine field, my friends. Somewhere along the way, they got their roles reversed. HE became submissive. Even passive. SHE took over the leadership of the household. I think that her frustration in this role is largely due to the fact that this isn’t who God designed her to be. Actually, that’s probably true for both of them.

    Charity, I think you’re right. Men have the more difficult calling in marriage. They are called to feel love, and put action behind it. They are called to be the leaders of the home, in every aspect imaginable. WOW. My little mopping of floors and preparing of meals and smooching of lips seems like a tiny offering in return, all the while knowing that there is great power in what I do. The wife has the ability to build up her husband, or tear him down. Though my track record isn’t perfect (In fact I made fun of him on twitter just yesterday. Ouch. Conviction hurts.), I like to think I do a pretty good job. And I give great thanks to God and my wonderful husband, who offer me grace when I fall short.

  15. Annie Luidhardt

    I don’t have cable and have only watched a few minutes of a show once but my sister was a fan of the show… so I know the basics of it.
    I totally agree with what you are saying about being disrespectful in our marriages! It is sooo important for husbands to feel respected just as it is so important for us, as women, to feel loved. I also think that it is important to point out that we are not just blaming the women …..but that we, as women, can only fix ourselves…. not our husbands. Only God can do that!! I’m all about fixing what we can fix in our lives and letting God do the other work elsewhere.

  16. Stephanie your sister

    Amen, amen, and amen.

    The wives-respecting-husbands issue is one of my many soapboxes too. While I’m definitely not perfect either, I (like you) am always aware of it and what might come out of my mouth or what my facial expressions might convey. I will say, however, that I have been especially blessed with a husband very deserving of much respect, and so in many ways it is probably easier for me to obey God in this way than it is for some women. But still.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I think it is SO crucial for women (before they get married) to be surrounded by other women who respect and honor their husbands, and hear speakers and read books dealing with topics of marriage like this one, and most importantly, LISTEN to it and LEARN from it. I was blessed to have great parents, older married siblings, and access to a hundred classes and seminars in college that prepared me for potential problems in marriage. My marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s a million times better than I ever imagined it could be. And I know that’s the reason. Restoration from past marital problems is a beautiful thing, but I’m so thankful that I learned so much before marriage that we’ve never had to face that kind of pain, but started off with a great relationship that’s only gotten way better.

    Okay, that’s another one of my soapboxes. 🙂

  17. Megan

    My husband and I just went through a smallgroup study of the book by Eggerichs (I probably butchered that name) called The Love She Wants, The Respect He Needs (or something like that….sorry, I’m rushing this morning), and it was such an eye-opener to me on the subject. I agree with you on this post….100%.

  18. janelle taviano

    What you just wrote would SAVE alot of marriages…would let husbands LOVE their wives, like they want to…but can’t get past the “self” of the wife.
    You got it…it started in the garden and not the bedroom! The power of influence in women is incredible and satan knows it. God teaches us to respect them…and what will they do in return…love us as Christ loves the church…. are women STUPID ~ if they don’t ? Your saving your daughters true happiness by showing them this Biblical aspect …..The Bible says they can be SAVED….by wives showing them love…how deep do you think it works ? Didn’t see J&K+8 – probably cause I had 2 and I am done , smile.

  19. Marla Taviano

    Very good points, Ali. I don’t know much about the events surrounding the separation/divorce. I only know that I had seen her be so mean to him on the show in the past, then heard him say, “she was so mean to me.” So, that’s the part that stood out to me.

  20. Ali

    No one is really defending Kate . . . hmmm, not sure what that’s about.

    Anyway, here is what makes me uncomfortable:

    * Abuse in any form.
    * Talking about your girlfriend and how great she is when you are STILL married.
    * Turning to celebrity gossip magazines, tv, and publicity rather than God.
    * Claiming that you only want what is best for your kids as you are blatantly “seen” doing things that, in my opinion, will surely harm them in their future.

    Those are just a few of the things that I have witnessed in this debacle that make me cringe.

    And I agree with Megan, how can I even begin to judge a family of 10?! Wowsers. (Although I’m far from innocent, I’ve definitely cast judgment, unfortunately.)

    Thanks for posting about this, Marla. It certainly has helped me better understand God’s will for me as a wife.

  21. deanna

    I totally agree that wives should respect their husbands, but in order to have a healthy, well-balanced marriage, the husband must also show love and respect towards the wife. This sets a Godly example of the way a marriage is suppose to be for the kids involved.

    Thanks Marla for speaking out on this issue. Its something thats been needing to be addressed for a while now.

  22. Jamie Nygaard

    I’ve learned a lot from your example Marla. Respect is something I struggle with. I recall being at your home mutliple times and noticed some little (yet big) things, like making Gabe a sandwich for lunch, and not making him make one for himself even though we weren’t going to be around for lunch. My example growing up was have your husbands fend for themselves.

    YOU may not be perfect but have been a big encouragement and great example to me!

  23. Crissy

    I have to admit I am not a big fan of that show. I have only watched part of 1 or 2 episodes. However, I am big on the issue of respect too! It is so easy to “husband bash”. I am guilty of this at times. I think it is so important to support and build up our husbands. I often have to check my attitude and be prayerful about this subject. Funny the timing of this post because just last evening I was apologizing to my husband for not showing him the appreciation and respect he deserves. I think this is an issue (at least for me) that needs constant vigilance and prayer.

  24. jess

    right on the money. I just read a book-
    THe Power of Femininity: rediscovering the art of being a woman…and it really dives into the respect/submission issues in a way that I’ve never heard it explained before.

    It’s hard some days…but it’s essential for women to respect their husbands. I know some women who are absolutely miserable in their marriages–and I just want to say…But don’t you see? You belittle him and berate him all the time….just stop……….


  25. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    J&K began in a time when we didn’t have cable, so I missed much of the first seasons of the show. I caught up on it all last summer when we lived with our ILs for a few months, and from the first episode when I saw the dynamic between J&K, I said, “This is a problem.” I am in no way judging Kate (I cannot even fathom what day-to-day life is like for her!) – but I think you are so right, Marla. Our culture encourages and applauds and makes light of women displaying disrespect towards our husbands. Even some of our closest Christian girlfriends will whisper “You go, girl – put him in his PLACE!” if we are in a particularly bad spot with our men. It’s all so VERY clearly from the enemy and it is something we must counter with truth.

    Thank you for shining the light of truth on this subject, friend.

  26. Shannon

    I cannot agree more! Unfortunately, all of us (even those of us who work really hard at it) fall into disrespect because it is so prevalent around us! I have to be SOOOO careful. If we could only remember that it was God who provided the exact husband for us to take care of us and shepherd us exactly how He wanted, I think our respect meter would be much better!

  27. Liz

    I am blessed that I grew up with women who treated their husbands, and men in general, with respect. My mom, even after divorcing my dad (his idea), was always respectful of him. Of course I’ve had my far too often moments with my husband and I have been let down by men that I respect but who hasn’t? Thanks for the reminder of what is means to be the kind of wives and ladies God meant for us to be.

  28. Charity

    I don’t watch enough J&K to speak about that, except for i did cringe a few times when she yelled at him, but TV in general portrays men/husbands/fathers as the dumb, useless ones in the family and I can’t stand it. I try to be my husband’s biggest fan and cheerleader. Men are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church, which I think is harder than what women are commanded to do. Who can love like Christ does? So I agree that respecting, loving and supporting our men is not too much to ask for.

  29. Lisa H

    Thanks for this post, Marla. I have struggled with disrespect for the last 9 years that I have been married. I’m not as bad as Kate, but I know God isn’t interested in how I measure up to Kate but how I measure up to Him.

    I have heard great things about “Love and Respect” by Dr. Eggerichs.

    Although I have improved in the area of respect, I think God is nudging me to gain more victory in it.

    Thanks again for the great challenge.

  30. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates

    Excellent post!! I’m blessed to be friends with women who do respect their husbands, but I see it all over the place in public and on TV. I get so tired of it and I also would cringe at the way Kate treated Jon, though I think there are 2 sides and it did not give him an excuse to have an affair.

    The interesting thing about it is that we don’t want our husbands to treat us this way – so why would we think it’s OK to treat them like that? I agree very much with your post!!

  31. Emily Kay

    Right on! I’m not perfect either (far from it…I have a lot of my mother in me) but it’s also a pet peeve of mine to see women denegrade their husbands in public. Respect is probably the MOST important ingredient in a healthy marriage. And you know what, ladies? If you think your husband treats you horribly and doesn’t deserve your respect, try giving it to him anyway and I’ll bet you anything his attitude towards you will change DRASTICALLY.

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