3 Protestant Lies That Are Ruining Your Relationship

Set aside that bowl of self-loathing for some love stew

Andrew R. French

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Listen, we are all messed up weirdos. Pretending otherwise is just lying to ourselves.

Regardless of our own personal beliefs, our country was founded on a bubbling pot of Protestant values. This means that beating ourselves up over every little thing we do wrong is a cultural pastime. We love dishing up bowls of self-loathing, and only serve love stew when we feel worthy.

Case in point: How much time per day do you beat yourself up for not working harder, for not cleaning the house more thoroughly, for not getting a better education, or owning a better house, or being a better partner?

I mean, it’s endless, right? Where do you think all this comes from?

There are plenty of other cultures that reinforce this type of self-loathing, but Protestants seem to have cornered the market on connecting self-worth with productivity. In the Protestant mindset, being poor is equal to being lazy is equal to being a sinner, and sinners are damned to hell.

I, for one, am not inclined to burn in the fiery pits of hell.

In America we feel guilty about taking our measly two weeks of vacation (while the rest of the developed nations enjoy a month or more), we feel terrible about not working those extra hours every day JUST so that we can attend our kids ballgames and recitals.

We feel bad about attending to our actual real lives! This is changing, but its been a long journey from the cocaine-fueled work ethic of the 1980s to today. Now we know that a well-balanced work, personal, and social life is key to a productive and happy time on this planet.

There are three Protestant lies that tend to screw up our relationships.

1. Work is more important than your family.

Let’s get real. Work helps define who you are. Your passions help to define you even more so. Hopefully they overlap, but for most people in American they…

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Andrew R. French

Writer at the Intersection of Earth Science and Culture