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Ask the Rock Doc
Sound Advice for a Song
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT

Certain details and other aspects of the following correspondence may be altered to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and/or to emphasize certain core principles of psychology and scripture to the Phantom Tollbooth visitor.

The ďOther ManĒ is Jesus, the one-song ďsoundtrackĒ and original musical prescription offered to the inquiring party in this case, in response to his inquiry, is also available as a free downloadable mp3 to Phantom Tollbooth listeners, and can be accessed via the following link:

The ďOther ManĒ is Jesus

Words and music by Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT

Dear Rock Doc:

Iím writing from my home town of Vancouver, Canada.  I read your column all the time, and my kids like to download your tunes.  

Iím 55 years of age, Iíve been married 7 times before, and Iím now on my eight marriage.  As a running joke around my band mates, they quote the line from the song, Henry the 8th, made popular by Hermanís Hermits, where it says, ďHeís been married 7 times before.Ē

Many of my early marital problems had to do with my band and myself getting basically too famous too fast, and all of the excess that comes with life as a rock star, you know?  But another problem took over after I discovered my 4th and 5th wives were no good cheats, kind of like the dames in your Christmas song, Your Not the Kind of Ho That Santa Had in Mind.      

Ever since I caught each of them, Marcella, and Jan, cheating with other men, Iíve grown to mistrust women, and Iíve become overly controlling.  My current wife is a Christian and it is obvious that she is close to the Lord.  (I am too, BTW, but it doesnít show in my jealous spirit and mean temper).  I rarely let Johnna out by herself, and sheís a stay-at-home mom.  But just a couple of weeks ago, she left for what she told me was a womanís  Bible study at our church.  She dressed up for it a little too fancy, if you know what I mean, and she spent a little too much time doing her make-up.  After about an hour of her being gone, I became terribly suspicious and let my mind run wild on me.  I ended up having a detective friend of mine with all sorts of spying equipment check up on her, and her story panned out, so I felt real stupid.  My wife is getting very annoyed over my not trusting her, and I guess Iím annoyed with myself.  What can I do about this jealousy thing, doc?  

Mr. N.V. Green

Dear Mr. Green:

Your unfortunate history with women in your life that were unfaithful seems to be contributing significantly to your present heightened state of awareness around issues of infidelity.  I would suggest exploring your memories and emotions that go with them, with a trusted therapist in your neighborhood.  In addition, I would suggest joining a support group for men who have had problems in their relationships with women, and I would suggest couples counseling.  If you let me know which area of Vancouver you reside in, I will try to track down some referrals for you.  

Second, in terms of your jealousy issues, you must realize that, your feelings of wanting to protect the relationship from something that has destroyed it in the past, are quite normal and healthy.  It is the extent that you go to in order to ensure that infidelity will not interfere, that has become problematic.  So in terms of your relationship with your wife, Johnna, I would suggest identifying it as a problem with her, and exploring solutions together, as a couple.  It sounds like your present wife has not given you any specific reasons to be worried about her commitment to be faithful to you, so it is a matter of what you are telling yourself about her, and about the situation.

To put the situation into perspective, I would ask you to listen to the song, linked above, and then reflect upon it, because it applies to your situation.  The fact that your wife has a close relationship with Jesus does not guarantee that she will never be tempted, or even that she will never cheat on you.  However, her commitment to God, and her devotion to Jesus, especially if it is something you share together, will provide a foundation that will make the relationship stronger.  If your relationship is grounded on Jesus, and the principles contained in the scriptures, your love will grow, and thus, any perceived need to be unfaithful, will diminish.  

People cheat on one another for a number of reasons, none of which should serve as excuses, because marital partners are adults, and thus, each member of the dyad is responsible for his/her behavior.  But many times people who cheat suffer from emotional and spiritual deprivation, and, instead of turning to the Lord, to a trusted therapist, or to their mate, in an effort to fill the void, they turn to someone of the opposite sex, as a means of escape from their present situation.  Folks who follow Jesus are not immune from the same sorts of temptations, but they have an avenue in which to resolve their problems and strengthen their marriage, that non-believers donít have access to.  

This is a matter of acknowledging what it is that you have control over, and what it is that you do not have control over.  Once youíve recognized all that is outside of your control, turn that part over to Jesus, and have your wife help you to shoulder the burden.  If you need Johnna to reassure you of her commitment to you, then, rather than restricting her, let her know about your need to be reassured, based on your problematic past.  She canít be expected to fill a bottomless pit of insecurity, but receiving reassuring words from her can be a source of some degree of comfort for you.  

So, in summary, seek professional help in the form of individual psychotherapy, couples therapy and group therapy.  Identify the problem with your wife and explore, with her, strategies to help you overcome the problem.  And instead of trying to control your wife, turn to her for reassurance and let your needs be known to her, overwhelming though they may be at certain times.   Iíd like to see this relationship be the one that lasts.  After taking the steps Iíve offered, let me know how things are going.  And BTW, though for confidentiality reasons, I canít let the readers of this correspondence know who you are, Iím a huge fan.  Keep up the great music, and keep growing in the Lord. 

Dr. BLT, The Rock Doc

If you are a musician in distress, or a family member of friend of one, please write me at 

Dr. BLT, aka Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, is a Christ-centered licensed clinical psychologist and university instructor who specializes in the psychology of modern music.  He uses his original songs as well as those of other artists to address the problems of his patients, including his biggest, sickest, most challenging patient--society.

His face and name recognition, particularly with teens, comes from his short part on a long Cake music video--the Cake video for ďShort Skirt/Long JacketĒ that earned the band a nomination for Ground Breaking Music Video of the Year on the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards. 



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