Marriage is a tricky thing. We’re supposed to think of our partner’s welfare more than our own, which is not natural. We want to look out for ourselves and what we want. However, if both parties actively seek out what’s best for the other then the marriage has a lot better chance of surviving.
I agree with this principle and believe it necessary to make marriage great. And I don’t think I have to give up anything that I want for myself in order to do it. But I do have a problem with how we all typically have to go about it.
It seems to me that in many life scenarios (marriage, work, friendships, peer relationships of all sorts) it’s women who shoulder the bulk of the burden to “understand” men and thereby accommodate them. Men typically think a certain way and approach life in a certain fashion that is different from women. It’s why there are so many books out there attempting to decode the myriad differences between the sexes. And although there is a lot of overlap, there is certainly a reason Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and books of that ilk have been so popular. However, I want to bet that the VAST majority of those books are read by women, and not just because women are more wired to want to work on relationships.
I have discussed all sorts of male-female relationships with friends and even counselors and the one thing I have heard so often is, “Laura, if men (your husband included) approach this problem in XYZ fashion, how can you tailor your behaviour to accommodate them?”
I heard one form of this or another so many times that at one point I started to wonder, how come the woman has to accommodate so much more for the man? Why are we always told we have to understand men and how they are wired and to make allowances for that and suit our behaviour accordingly? How come nobody says that to men?
I don’t mean to say men are never told that they have to seek to understand women, but the situation is seriously lopsided. Women are always presenting information in a certain way, lilting their voice just so, analyzing their man at length so they know what to expect and not be offended. We say men have to feel like they’re in control, like they’re right. We say men don’t pick up their socks because when they were growing up they had other chores like mowing the lawn and painting the house. We say that men just need sex because it’s part of their DNA. We say that men are natural navel gazers so ask them lots of questions about themselves and don’t be annoyed when they don’t ask your opinion. Women are told to understand men correctly in order to not get hurt or be fine with how a man behaves. And women do all of this really, really well, even without taking acting lessons.
Okay. That’s totally fine, but ONLY IF MEN HAVE TO DO ALL THAT AS WELL. It is true that men are told that women are more emotional, that they like to talk things through, that they need to feel cared for, and that they will need to feel romanced to want to have sex. And it’s true a lot of men understand that and accommodate the women in their lives. But I don’t think they have to do it nearly as often as women, and I think more often than not women are ALL IN with their efforts at accommodating men, whereas men tend to give this tedious responsibility a cursory nod. It’s as though women see the tendencies of men as adventurous codes to decipher for the greater good, whereas men see the tendencies of women as irritants they must endure.
Maybe women are beaten over their heads with the message of accommodating men’s tendencies because they are simply better at it, and that for relationships to work it’s women who simply have to bear the bulk of that burden. Hmm. I guess all us gals can rail against the reality, but…yeah, we’ll probably just keep accommodating. It’s not worth it.
Don’t misunderstand that I wish men were more like women. The good Lord made men different from women and I celebrate that. It would just be better if the efforts on both sides were more equal.