Samson Syndrome

I have been reading The Samson Syndrome, by Mark Atteberry. It’s the most relevant and helpful book for unfaithful husbands I have ever read. I recommend it to cheaters so they can use it as a guide for preventing future infidelity and for understanding the true nature and origins of their past infidelity. I recommend it for betrayed wives because it may shed light on questions about their husbands such as: “How could you be so stupid?” “Why would you take such obviously stupid risks?” “How did you not learn those lessons long ago?”

The book is sometimes distracting for non-Christians because it is so intertwined with a Christian world view. As a Jew, I had to mentally replace the noun “Christian” with the word “mensch” every time I encountered it, and use the word “spiritual” in place of the adjective “Christian.”  Otherwise, the book would have been useless to me. I also had to mentally tune-out – not difficult – each reference to the Christian New Testament.

After mentally de-Christianizing the book, I found it very useful. It talks about failings that are common for men: lust, repeating mistakes, dumb risks, ego, ignoring advice, difficulty with intimacy, breaking rules, ignoring boundaries, overestimating one’s own cleverness, employing anger, taking things for granted, and losing sight of the big picture.

Atteberry very briefly says that some people may be addicted to sex. But, overwhelmingly, he talks about how infidelity and other sins flow mostly from men’s own bad choices, choices that too often flow from one or more of the twelve failings described in the book. For each of the twelve failings, Atteberry describes how they dogged Samson, gives examples of how they often challenge ordinary guys all the time, and gives a few suggestions on how to avoid following these failings into bad or disastrous decisions.

Next, I might take a closer look at some of the study questions in the back of Atteberry’s book, and then move on to other books. I will perhaps be even more selective about what I read in the future, now that I know it is possible to find books that go beyond sex addict dogma for infidelity.

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11 thoughts on “Samson Syndrome

    1. Yes, it would be distracting for an atheist. Maybe it would help to remember that, God or no God, the Bible is just literature. From our family’s perspective, even believing in God, it seems too simplistic to think the book was the literal word of some tangible supernatural being. God or not, the Bible is clearly the combination of several writings on history, fiction, law, social prescriptions, and other thoughts compiled by several people over the course of hundreds of years.

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  1. When things are written with such religious bents – rather than spiritual – it really causes me to question the writer’s judgement and intentions behind authoring it. Even at the most topical level of making a product marketable, you’d think that the author would want it to have a broader appeal.

    I was hoping to find something appropriately shocking for the cheating, disengaged wife of a friend of ours – their divorce is going to be ugly, especially with preschool-aged sons, several businesses, and extensive properties – to open her eyes and see what she’s about to lose… but this sounds like commentary on an American stereotype of a manly-man who cheats to conquer, which is not something she could use.

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    1. Oddly enough, I do not have this issue with St. Augustine’s writings… as much as he talks about God, it is more raw and true than religious. The intention is more of the importance in exposing one’s darkest self than bending it into religious “decency.”

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        1. Everything, for $1.99.

          The Confessions of St. Augustine would be best, I think. It’s a reflection of himself and notoriously, his sex life.

          Having grown up severely Catholic, we had many such books and punishments would often be to read a classic – or an excerpt – and write a paper pinpointing where we had sinned, how we would address the fallen parts of our human nature, and what our goals were, moving forward. I once stayed after a soccer game too long and my parents saw me talking to a boy alone. I had to read Confessions and write a paper. Looking back, I’m sure they had no idea how much they overshot on that one. 😛

          My parents often only read AT these sorts of writings and didn’t actually know the content… and where we saw that the philosopher or theologian didn’t even agree with our parents, we made it up… and, not knowing, they took it gladly. It made everything easier for us…

          As a side note: We all learned to be very artful, good liars… knowing exactly where to stop the truth and begin the lie, and how much of it to give. Ironic, considering the upbringing our parents *hoped* we’d have.

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    2. As a non-Christian, I have to remark that it seems the most devout Evangelical Christians do not separate proselytizing, marketing, and daily life. They do it subconsciously, like breathing. It is not an exaggeration to say it is “baked into” their religion. It’s a feature, not a bug.

      I do suspect the Samson Syndrome would not be so helpful for a cheating woman as for a cheating man. It’s written for men and about men.

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