MAKING IT BETTER: Are Men Really From Mars And Women From Venus?
People tend to ask couples who have been married for long periods what their secrets are. I always find it an odd question because by virtue of the word secret,that would suggest it is not something you want to share. Besides one couple’s successful ingredients may not work for another.
The two most important questions asked relating to the dynamics between the genders are what do men want from women and what do women want from men? It’s one thing to know the answer and make a decision how to respond to it, however it’s a whole different ball game as it’s mostly the case, not to have a clue!
When we strip away all the confusion and complexities of 21st century living where gender roles are not so defined and sometimes tipping the balance to the point of non recognition, there have been and will continue to be some basic primordial impulses and needs between the sexes.
Nature set up women primarily to want a strong man to protect them, to provide strong genes to father their offspring. Nature also set men up to want a woman with child bearing hips to produce their babies. Some have taken it a bit further and they want their women to be a mother to the children and to them too ( i know i’m intentionally being provocative here).
Fast forward to modern day living where we would all agree the story and attitudes are somewhat different. Although some argue that the intentions and needs are really still the same (the way nature intended it), and that is why relationships are in so much chaos because couples are trying to go against the grain and are fighting their basic nature. While i agree with some of this hypothesis to a point, it is quite obvious we are living in very complex times and the gender roles today are not as clearly defined as it was in our fore fathers/mothers days.
Women now appear to be demanding a whole new set of conditions, which, focus on economics, sexual fulfilment or liberation, equality, excitement, risks. Therein lays a lot of the upsets observed in relationships today. On the other hand men appear to have lost the plot and don’t seem to have a clue what exactly they want or seem to feel they have endless options, as a result they seem unable to focus on maintaining a stable home.
I spoke to a group of youngish men and women to get their take on this topic. The result was a very spirited, enlightening and sometimes rather comical (to me) views.
One of the gentlemen in the group said he happened to know a lot of young women who were completely clueless about what it meant to be a wife. Naturally I was intrigued and enquired what his opinion was of what a wife was meant to be. He said he knew of young wives who had no concept of compromise, responsibility, self restraint, he said he had heard women say they don’t cook and don’t see anything wrong with that. He said a lot of the women entered into marriage completely naive about the institution and with the belief that if there were problems in the marriage they would just up and leave, or the man would have to deal with it!
One of the women (of an older generation), in the discussion said in her opinion she felt men had the emotions of children (regardless of their ages). She said she felt men were ‘easily led, and were infantile in their thought process’ and seemed to believe all that ‘all that glitters was gold’. Asking her to expand on this she went on to say that she felt that it didn’t take much to convince a man that the ‘grass was greener elsewhere’ and that they were ‘gullible’, which was why a lot of men ended up in compromising and messy situations they cannot extricate themselves from.
Another male discussant said his pet peeve was wive’s withholding sex from their husbands as a means of controlling or punishing them, not fighting fair. He said he felt this was a big mistake women made and it usually did not have the desired effect they thought it would. He said to him it was a deep rejection and left him feeling hurt much longer after the quarrel is over.
I’m quite sure women should not consent to physical intimacy if they are not feeling emotionally good themselves. Women need emotional intimacy in order to make love, while men express emotional intimacy through sex.
One of the discussants also went on to say that he felt involving another person in their marriage was humiliating and he felt it was a form of betrayal.
What is evident from these discussions overwhelmingly is that men and women are wired differently. A case in point is when a guy calls up his mates and invites them for a drink later on. This is exactly what he means and they hook up for a drink later in the day. When a woman arranges to meet with her girlfriends there is less spontaneity, it takes lots of forward planning (sometimes weeks), and emails (sometimes group e mails). Then again she has many more things to consider before she can get away.
The challenge for both sexes is to continuously attempt to understand the others perspective, compromise when you can’t make head or tail of it and possibly the most important aspect is to talk to each other. You can find out a lot when you just ask. I also believe that if a couple agree on formal gender roles in their relationship and it works for them then kudos to them. No one has a right to cast any aspersions on how they go about their business.
I invite comments and suggestions on this topic. I’m sure readers have a lot to say on it.