Is marriage for you? Supporters, critics respond to viral blog post
"Of course, there are benefits to it — I don't think he's denying that — but you can't go into marriage with the mindset of demanding to be catered to and making everything all about you and expect it to work out."
One criticism that has been mentioned by several bloggers is the interpretation that only one person in a relationship needs to do the serving.
"Focusing solely on your spouse’s happiness — without regard to your own — leaves you wide open to being bulldozed," Aaron Anderson wrote on goodmenproject.com. "As a marriage counselor, I have seen so many spouses who are so wrapped up in making their spouse happy that they don’t recognize that they’re being bulldozed."
Other critics believe only one spouse in most relationships needs to hear Smith's advice. Emma Cueto at Bustle.com expressed her opinion that Smith's piece should be geared toward men.
"I don’t disagree with Smith’s advice, per se, but I do think that the issue of selflessness in relationships is a very gendered one, and to suggest uniformly that all people need to think less about themselves is to ignore the fact that, historically, selflessness has been demanded of women in relationships," Cueto wrote.
"Women have been expected not only to stay home to look after the house and raise the children, but people assumed that such a selfless role would be fulfilling for women because they are women."
Amid the critiques, blogger Matt Walsh responded positively to Smith's post, offering encouragement.
"Seth, stay strong, brother. Your message was true, urgent, and 'old fashioned,' which is why it’s met with so much anger by all of these tolerant, 'open-minded' folks," Walsh wrote.
"I understand what you were trying to say. It was easy to understand because you stated it pretty clearly. And, sure, married people are still selfish. Married people in successful marriages still struggle with the urge to be self-absorbed. Nobody is making any Utopianist claims here. But the point — not just Seth’s point, but THE point — is that we have to fight that inclination and always work to serve and love the person we’ve married."
After an appearance on "Good Morning America," Smith's relationship advice was also evaluated and supported by relationship coach Donna Barnes.
"First of all, this guy got great advice from his father because I think anytime you're feeling anxiety and that kind of stress, if you can take the attention off of you it will help relieve that anxiety," Barnes said.
"If you're constantly trying to make your partner happy, and your partner's doing the same, you'll both always be happy, and it'll be the best relationship you ever had."
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