I’m a bit amused today and somewhat befuddled about how much resistance I can encounter in the blogging world. I often speak of marriage in very simple, broad terms but even that tends to freak people out. I do it because I had to learn these things myself, the hard way, through trial and error. I wish I’d had someone speaking simple truths to me, but instead I had the precise opposite, I had really bad marriage advisors. Lots of feminism, lots of atheism, and lots of resentful people who thought marriage was something we as a culture needed to dismantle, not to build and create.
Three simple truths were absolutely ground breaking for me, they were like discovering rocket science or something. My whole world went tilt, or rather it turned right side up, but things had been upside down for so long, it felt like a tilt.
So first was the idea that men and women are different. That may seem self-evident and somewhat obvious, but we live in a culture full of political correctness and you just aren’t supposed to say that…or even think it anymore. I’m a girl, so when I perceived my husband as the same, it made a real mess of things. As a girl he is totally a defective unit. With all good humor, he’s just an epic failure at womanhood. When hubby would look at me as if I was just one of the guys, he often just concluded I was insane. Apparently I’m an epic failure at manhood, too. Once you realize and accept that there are genuine gender differences, suddenly you can start communicating, begin to speak one another’s language.
So, because men and women are different, we actually have different needs and desires in relationships, in marriage. Men tend to need respect, women tend to need safety. People are individuals, we all have different personalities, but those are two very common ones that always pop up. Show me a woman in distress and it always comes down to safety, she is not feeling safe, emotionally, psychologically, sexually. Men in distress are usually feeling disrespected. A sense of honor can be important to men, they like to feel as if they have engendered some respect, as if they matter. Men tend to fear insignificance, not feeling respected. Women tend to need safety, security, protection, connection, relationship.
It’s sad, in some circles these ideas cause great offense. Women say things like, “I shouldn’t have to respect him, respect has to be earned.” Men will say something like, “it’s not my job to make her happy.” Ai yi yi. My thoughts on the matter are suit yourself, but the fact that people get so ticked off at me suggests I’ve hit a nerve somewhere.
Hubby and I began to catch on about ten years into marriage. When I’m making him feel respected, he’s happy. When he’s making me feel safe, I’m happy. We’re happy.