Tag Archives: Strong Friendships can form in similar circumstances

What do women want from marriage? Oh, everything. Is that so much to ask?

26 Apr

In the past five years on our street, we have seen two marriages disintegrate.

I’ll preface all of this by saying no one really knows what’s going on in any marriage except the two people in it, but it’s fun to speculate!  Up close and personal, these two marriages seem rather instructive.

highschool

The first couple were highschool sweethearts who had been together for 18 years, married for 10 of those.  They went away to college together, both became geologists, graduated, got married and had a daughter. The original plan was that GeoGal would stay home with the baby and GeoGuy would continue to work and support them.

Sadly, maternal instinct seemed to have passed GeoGal by, and she hated being at home with the baby.  Absolutely hated it.  GeoGuy, on the other hand, was utterly smitten with his little Peanut and couldn’t bear to part with her, so they switched places, and GeoGuy became a full time stay at home daddy with a baby.

stay at home

We moved in next door when Peanut was 8 months old.  GeoGuy is a huge nerd and we bonded instantly over our love of Star Trek costumes and crocheted baby Yoda hats and our mutual dislike of housework. I was pregnant with LittleDude when we came to this town, and soon we both had babies and each other for company, which was really, really nice.

yoda

We also live on a street with a superhuge blabby-mouthed busy-body who had me and GeoGuy involved in a sordid love affair in no time flat.  That irritated the shit out of me mostly because by the time she really started yapping, we had four children under six between us!  I seriously doubt there was one single day of those first few years that one or the other of us did not have babypuke, urine, snot or dried food stuck on us somewhere.  One baby produces an enormous amount of disgusting fluids.  Four takes “gross” to a whole new level.

puke

So sexy.

And just when, exactly, did Blabby think me and GeoGuy were getting it on?  And who was taking care of the children while this was happening?

Actually, GeoGuy had the best response to that little rumour!  He said, “yeah, we’re homeschooling.  The kids are majoring in sex ed”.

laughing

Well, I thought it was funny.

GeoGuy was and IS a really great father, but the more domestic he became, the more invested in his child and his home, the more his wife started to despise him. She was jealous of the bond he had with their daughter and eventually, she asked him to put the baby in daycare and go back to work so she could respect him again.

He refused.

And that pretty much spelled the end of the marriage.  Five months before Peanut was ready to go off to the first grade, and GeoGuy was ready to go back to work, GeoGal filed for divorce. It was completely devastating for Peanut, who had never experienced daycare before and she was suddenly thrust into it because Mommy threw Daddy out and he had to go to work.

He had no trouble finding a job, but it killed him that GeoGal wouldn’t wait five months for their daughter to start school and let him help her make that transition.

school

It’s not uncommon, though.  Women scream that they want men more involved in their children’s lives and then show nothing but contempt when men do exactly that.  The stay-at-home dad is great in feminist THEORY, but in practice, those men get nothing but scorn and disrespect.

Man up, you lazy fuckers.  Get a job!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/02/12-things-not-to-say-to-a-stay-at-home-dad_n_1910757.html

http://goodmenproject.com/families/the-day-i-acted-like-a-sexist-jerk-to-a-stay-at-home-dad/

The truth is that once a woman loses respect for a man, she loses attraction for him, too, and that pretty much spells the end of the fairytale.  Young women are being sold a version of marriage and relationships that is pretty much guaranteed to end with women despising their male partners.

http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/dont-split-the-housework-if-you-want-the-love-to-last/

contempt

They get advice like make men sign contracts to do housework:

http://www.netplaces.com/happy-marriage/power-sharing-in-marriage/sharing-housework-make-a-contract.htm

Or trick your man into doing what you want, the way you want it done:

http://jezebel.com/5989991/from-the-dept-of-finally-how-to-make-a-dude-sweep-the-kitchen-floor-correctly-without-you-even-having-to-tell-him

Reward him with sex if he follows your orders:

http://www.projecthappilyeverafter.com/2009/04/how-to-train-a-man-to-do-housework/

good dog

Aaaaaaand, in the shock of the century, men hate that shit and pretty much won’t put up with it. Leading to the second shock of the century:  women aren’t happy. Single women aren’t happy because they aren’t married and married women aren’t happy because oops, they married an actual person, and not a Ken Doll they can use as a perfect accessory to complement both their outfit and the curtains in the living room of their DreamHouse!

ken

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/his-hers-marriage_b_3129269.html

According to sociologists Karyn Loscocco and Susan Walzer in Gender and the Culture of Heterosexual Marriage in the United States, women are pissy about marriage because MEN, obviously.

Forget about “two becoming one” when a man and woman marry; in fact, what we really experience is a “his” and a “hers” marriage — a husband’s and a wife’s. In general… …marriage generally benefits the hubby more than the wife.

I’ll let all the guys who have been through the divorce ringer have a good chuckle over than one.  Marriage benefits men more than women?

No. It makes men happier than women because men approach marriage as realists.  They understand that marriage isn’t going to be a Disney story.  Parts of it are great and parts of it suck, and that’s life.

dance

Women see marriage as a home improvement project, with hubby being the project that needs improving.  I think a lot of this stems from the fact that so much of marriage occurs in the domestic sphere, which women tend to define as their own.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1361787/Three-quarters-important-household-decisions-women.html

True story:  about five years into my marriage, I realized that all the things I found irritating and annoying about Mr. JB were NOT going to change.  I honestly thought they would.  Part of me was sold on the idea that I would be able to mold my husband into the perfect little wedding cake-topper groom that I wanted him to be.

groom

And, like most women, I couldn’t do that, because it turns out that my husband is a person with his own characteristics and traits and his own reasons for doing the things I find annoying.

And I was frustrated and unhappy.  Almost ready to swallow the idea that I deserved more.  I deserved better. I deserved a husband who would just do whatever the fuck I told him to do, and do it with a goddamn smile, too!

Looking back, it seems so ridiculously petty, but at the time, it felt like a serious issue. Mr. JB, you see, is super uptight about his stuff. His clothes, his books, his papers, his shoes, his glasses … you name it.  He is careful with his stuff and if I happened to treat his things a little roughly, he will get really angry with me.

One day I threw his shoes down the stairs.  I was going to put them in the closet, so I chucked them down and planned on getting to them later.  And then he was mean and yelled at me.

shoes

I took that to mean waaaaah – he doesn’t love me!  He loves his stuff more than me!  He cares more about his fucking shoes than me! Waaaaah!

And I was getting more and more sulky.  You don’t take care of me the way you take care of your dress shirts! And why are all your shirts blue?  Can’t you buy another color for fuck’s sake?  Ignoring, of course, the fact that he spends his entire life taking care of me.  By paying all the bills.  All of them.  No matter what color they are.

Hamster logic!

Then one day, we were going out somewhere, and at the last moment, I couldn’t find the coat I wanted to wear. Or my wallet. Or my keys.

Which is normal.  I never put stuff in the same place twice.  I don’t know why. I just don’t. I never have any idea where my sunglasses are or where the cordless phones are or what I did with the book I was reading.  I have to go looking for them, and when we are in a rush to get somewhere, that’s annoying.

On this particular day, Mr. JB flipped out on me.  He was furious and just lit into me.  “Why don’t you ever put any of your shit in the proper place?  You would think after five years you might have picked up at least ONE good habit from me!”.

Bingo!

I remember laughing hysterically when he said that.  He had been hoping that I would change, that his habits might rub off on me, just as I had been hoping he might learn to be a little less uptight.

And we were both wrong.  We spent the next few days talking about the fact that we needed to accept that the other person was not going to change, and in realizing that I was just as annoying to him as he was to me, all my bad feelings disappeared.

It helped so much to talk about the things we can’t stand about each other.  First, it makes it really obvious that most of this shit is just so petty.  Second, it makes both of us understand that we aren’t being ourselves for the express purpose of annoying one another.  It’s just who we are. He needs to know where his things are.  It unsettles his mind if he doesn’t know where his keys are.  I could care less where my keys are.  I just assume I’ll find them when I need them.

keys

And in those flaws are the things we love about one another.  He is calm and centered and stable and he orders our world with precision and makes sure that everything is taken care of properly and reliably. I never have to worry about any of the practical details of how our life works, because he takes care of all of that.  I am flexible and cheerful and optimistic and I assume that everything will work out and I just go with the flow of everything around me for the most part, and that makes it very easy for me to accommodate changes in plans or the conversation we had just ten minutes ago:  “Six people are coming for dinner in four hours.  Is that okay?”

Yep.  It’s fine.  No worries.  I got it covered.

What it takes for women to be happy in marriage is to look in the mirror and understand that WE ARE NOT PERFECT.  That’s hard to do, and women get no encouragement from the wider culture to understand themselves as personally flawed.  It’s quite the opposite.  Women are encouraged to believe that what they want, how they see the world, what they expect from relationships – all those things are automatically correct and a woman should sacrifice everything to ensure that she has what she wants.

Thereby guaranteeing she gets nothing she wants.

It starts and ends with the very simple concept of respect.  Respect for your partner, as a person. That means you understand that he or she is a completely different person than you are, and it is NOT up to you to change or alter who that person is, even if you find some aspects really irritating.  No one is perfect, including yourself.

Women who don’t respect men, in particular, are not going to be able to love them. If you force your partner into behaving in a way you can’t respect, you are quite literally destroying your love for him.

http://judgybitch.com/2012/10/27/no-my-husband-doesnt-do-any-housework-why-the-fuck-should-he/

That’s the mistake that is making so many women unhappy.

That second marriage on our street that collapsed?  Let’s call them Brad and Susan.  Susan enrolled in college, got a degree, got a promotion, started earning way more money than Brad, cultivated interests like theatre and shopping trips to the Big Apple and found she just couldn’t respect Brad anymore.  So she traded Brad in….

For GeoGuy.

Yep. GeoGuy and Susan are now living together.  So Blabby was right about GeoGuy getting busy with one of the wives on the street.  She just had the wrong wife.  We’ll see how that relationship works out.  Any guesses?

Holy shit, I have six people coming for dinner tonight!  I should probably run out and get a bit more wine.

wine

Now where the hell are my keys?  Anyone seen my wallet?  Dammit!

Lots of love,

JB

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