Archive for June, 2012
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership, a fifty-fifty proposition. It rarely is, but even when it is, an inherent flaw in a partnership between two individuals, is how to break a tie–or deal with a stalemate. There are times when compromise is the only option and times when it is the worst of options. However, many issues can be solved or avoided using a simple rule. It is the “Who Cares Most” rule.
The “Who Cares Most” rule is works best when one party has an opinion, but isn’t passionate about it. It works like this. On many smaller matters, one partner is often more heavily invested in the outcome than the other. In those cases, the other partner defers to the whims of the one “Who Cares Most”.
For instance, if a woman decides it’s time for a new shade of paint, drapes or a couch, it is likely she has her heart set on something specific. She has an idyllic vision, which is not likely shared by the man who shares the space. Though he is not nearly as committed to the outcome, he may second-guess or oppose her choices. This is when a smart person allows the “Who Cares Most” rule settle the disagreement.
Example: I recently changed the curtains in my living room. I chose beautiful chocolate velvet drapes with Beloved Soul Mate’s full agreement. As soon as they were hung, he loved them, but I found them to be oppressively dark. Had I asked him for input, he would have opposed changing them, but when I switched them out for something bright & airy, he failed to notice the change for almost three months.
The inexperienced me, might have entertained an argument over the matter, but the older, wiser me, knows he wants to be heard, even when he doesn’t really care much. After his initial protests, he almost always likes my choices. Invoking the “Who Cares Most” rule, I staged the window covering coup unbeknownst to him, without feeling duplicitous or overbearing, precisely because having the right curtains means more to me, than it does to him.
However, when it comes to autos, he cares WAY more about cars than I do. What I NEED from a car is simple.
1. Should respond favorably to a key in the ignition.
2. Must be comfortable and spacious enough to be practical.
3. Good color a plus.
Because of the “Who Cares Most” rule, I spent a regrettable year driving a Cadillac El Dorado, with a hinky electrical system. I would have preferred an SUV, but I simply wasn’t invested enough to wage a battle over it. The over-sized car didn’t appeal to me, but Beloved Soul Mate fell in love with it. I agreed to the car, because it mattered more to him & made him happy. Fortunately for me, the two-door Caddy quickly became impractical when we had children in carseats, providing a reason to sell it to another man who fell in love with it.
Using the above rule, many problems are avoided, but it is of no use in resolving the issue of how often to have sex. By this rule, the partner who wanted it most, would be allowed to control when & how to have it, but craving sex is like being hungry for pizza. When you want pizza, you want pizza; but as anyone who has found themselves in a the desperate-for-pizza-mood knows, there is great pizza and eat-it-only-in-a-pinch-pizza. Nevertheless, pizza is pizza. When we are desperate, we may settle for something that isn’t exactly what we wanted. It satisfies the urge, but doesn’t leaving us wanting the same thing the next day.
The definition of good sex, like the definition of good pizza is different things to different people. When us gals are dreaming of sex, we may be imagining something completely different from what men imagine we’re imagining. Women dream of something sweet, tender, and memorable. That isn’t to say it can’t be naughty, gratifying, monkey love, but it’s the kind of sex, that is still appealing at breakfast the next day.
Most of us are happy enough with the kind delivered in 30 minutes or less, even when we know the difference between a made to order brick-oven pie and the pizza that comes out of a freezer box. This is one situation when the “Who Cares Most” rule causes more problems than it solves, because it is rather like trying to force A Meat Lover’s Special on a vegetarian. The invoking of the “Who Cares Most” rule guarantees a stale mate.
Thick or thin–is isn’t possible to agree on everything. The compromise can be noble or counterproductive, because if one partner is continually compromising, resentment is inevitable. In pizza terms, it is exactly why you can order pizza made with half what she likes, and half what he wants. Not everything in marriage is fifty-fifty, but love-making is an area that should strive to be. If you can’t figure out how His & Hers is supposed to work, you might find yourself alone with a whole pizza to yourself. You’ll have it your way, but it won’t be nearly as fun as having someone to share it with.
Deb’s Note: One friend says writing about relationships is hackneyed, another friend says writing about sex is boring. Everywhere I look, people are trying to start relationships, fix relationships or end failing relationships. Therefore, I do hereby vow to stop writing about both sex and relationships when everybody stops having them.
Another friend says there is no comparison between sex and pizza. I think she just needs to try better pizza.
It’s probably only a matter of time before someone authors “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from my Girlfriends” if they haven’t already. The lessons we learn from the women in our lives, pick up where Mother’s lessons left off. Often they are lessons we wished we’d learned sooner.
For several years, I have enjoyed rereading the words on the framed poster in my grooming area. Posters, like tattoos, are often outgrown after a few years, but I’ve yet to outgrow this one. Most of us are not fans of aging, but the years have a way of making us realize how much we don’t know and help us appreciate having been around long enough to have learned a few life lessons. Perhaps one day, I’ll grow tired of the poster, but for now, it serves to remind me that youth & beauty are replaced by a something more substantial–a sense of self.
Though they are not mine, I share the words here.
Every woman should
know how to use a stick shift;
understand the difference between
don’t tell and soul and
don’t tell a soul i mean it;
know her mind; change it;
have protection handy;
but not too handy;
use special china;
and special underwear
for no special reason;
over commit; come through;
refuse to do it again; do it again;
be able to discuss first and ten;
have better things to do;
set boundaries; go camping;
grow something; dance crazy all alone;
stare at a phone;
get dressed in five minutes;
be a princess; get over it;
believe in the perfect man;
get over it; read; walk; flirt;
shock; listen; sing; thank God;
be single and like it; a lot;
raise a child; or not;
see a wrinkle and be reminded
of her youth; not her age.
I’ve love the lines about keeping confidences. Any woman worth her latte, knows how and when to keep secrets.
I can relate to the line about knowing how to use a plunger or drive a stick shift. Whether it’s unclogging a drain or jump-starting your car, it’s good to know what to do when you wish there was a man around. Even though men love to be needed, they aren’t that crazy about needy women. When a man knows what it means to be needed by a woman who doesn’t need him, he knows what it means to be loved.
I’ve also been amused to ponder exactly what “protection” meant. Contraception? Pepper spray or something high caliber at the bottom of the purse? I would venture “protection” means something different to an Arizona girl like myself, than it might to others, but no matter, the message is clear. It’s always good to look out for yourself.
Within the lines above, there are things you can probably relate to, but between the lines is the idea of accepting and appreciating who you are. You can put your life on hold while you wait for a fantasy, or you can learn to love yourself and get on with your life.
Marriage is great, but a woman isn’t incomplete without a man. It is okay to be single. It is okay to be childless. If you find yourself in a difficult marriage, you alone will know whether the decision to stay married or to divorce is the right one for you. You alone will know whether or not life was better or worse because of having been a mother, or choosing not to be one.
You were meant to be who you are. The decisions that determine the course of your life, are yours alone to make, because at the end of your days, you alone will know whether you lived an worthwhile and authentic life.
To view or purchase, click here: EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW poster by Portal Press
Linda is a lesbian. She would tell you she prefers women, because she hates men. Several years ago, she said to me, “How can you not hate men? They’re such predators.”
Perhaps I was too busy enjoying the fun of being man-prey, to have thought of men as predators. In my experience, men were protectors, providers and heroes. Like a fish seeing a sparkly lure, I found their attractiveness irresistible. This made it easy for me to be ensnared by The Beloved Soul Mate. Alas, I am now the feminist nightmare–having been used as a vehicle for reproduction, a sexual plaything, and held hostage in the home, despite untapped career potential.
What kind of trickery caused me to believe men were amazing? There must have been a male conspiracy to brainwash me. My father and brothers were obviously in on it, because they had successfully convinced me men were strong, brave, kind, funny, generous, and self-sacrificing. I am probably suffering from Stockholm syndrome, because I have grown fond of my captor and my captivity. I live comfortably, and my needs are met. There have been times I felt I wasn’t treated as well as I should have been, but all that changed last week, when I discovered the book.
How could I have known the book held the power to change me??? The book made me feel ashamed and repentant. I didn’t realize, my faith in men had been diluted by the gospel of feminism. I’d come to accept that men are largely motivated by sex, and sometimes boorish, but I still held on to some romantic notions. Before the book, I was convinced I understood men, and was as fond of them as any female on the planet. I never dreamed I, like Linda, could be indicted as an accomplice in the crime of man-hating. Fortunately, the book, opened my eyes. The book, Why Men Are the Way They Are, which was written by Warren Farrell, a former feminist, made me realize it is men who are often powerless in our society.
Feminism propagated the idea of men as oppressors. We are supposed to believe that without feminism, we’d all be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen. We were convinced men had all the power. They had power over our bodies, impregnating us with children, whether we wanted them or not. We were to believe men controlled industry and business, leaving women at economic disadvantage. We were told to we’d been devalued by men, because they saw us as little more than sex objects.
For decades, women fought for the right to choose between home and career, the right to choose whether or not to give birth, the right to compete for jobs and be fairly compensated for them. It was all about fairness and equality–unless one considers how women’s choices increased, but men’s didn’t.
Men are blamed for carelessly fathering children, but women get away with setting pregnancy traps. A woman on The Pill is somehow deemed more reliable than a man with a condom, despite an improbable number of men becoming fathers after having slept with women who said they were on The Pill. No matter who is responsible, men are expected to support the child.
During conception, half the genetic matter comes from each partner, but after conception, men are expected to supply the majority of the support, in return for the smallest part in decision making. The mother decides whether or not to have the child, she decides whether or not to disclose the paternity of the child, she decides whether or not the father has access to the child. She can marry the father, divorce the father, and still expect child support. A man may have slept with a willing woman, but if she should become pregnant, he becomes powerless.
For years feminists have bristled against the traditional marriage vows, which employed the phrase “love, honor and obey”, but written between the lines, is an order for men to love honor & support. Men are still expected to be the primary breadwinner. We do not think less of women who choose to stay home while men support them, but men who stay home, while women support them are seen as freeloaders or losers.
Feminism would convince us marriage is an oppressive, opportunity-limiting situation for women, ignoring how limiting marriage is to men. It is perfectly acceptable for women to reject traditional roles, but men are still defined by them. Despite economic opportunities now available, women still favor men who can provide them the greatest security–in other words, the best earners.
This sets up a no-win situation for men, who often choose between time spent at home with family, to win admiration; or time spent at work, lest he fail as provider. As a result men are often seen as vacant or inattentive by the woman who is depending on his income. While her husband is out doing what he thinks is expected, if a woman misses the affection of the husband who is largely absent, she is easily enticed by the attention of other men. Is it any wonder men die younger than women?
Author Warren Farrell says just as men objectify women as sex objects, women objectify men as “success-objects”. Is it any more sexist for men to pass over women who aren’t attractive, than it is for women to disqualify men who can’t provide them the level of security they desire? Farrell suggests that if the male fantasy is sex and more of it, the female fantasy is stuff & more of it–or as he says “better homes & gardens”.
I once was blind, but now I see. The book changed me. Reading Why Men Are the Way They Are, I was surprised and saddened to consider society’s contempt for men. We should be glad boys are taught early to keep their feelings inside, and not to pick fights with girls, or we’d have seen a revolt by now. Every chapter gave me more reasons to admire men and made me wonder why I’d never heard of this book. Perhaps the book, like men, fell victim to political correctness, as it exposes how feminist notions have put us at odds with men, making men vulnerable, distrustful and afraid of commitment. (Unless you, like Linda, hate men; this is not a good thing.)
Deb’s Note: This post doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of the ideas put forth in “Why Men Are the Way They Are”. There was so much in it, even though I’ve just read it, I plan to reread it soon. I would recommend this book to every man and woman. Women will understand man and appreciate them more, men will appreciate feeling understood. Below are links to some good interviews with the author, but I wholeheartedly recommend this book and can’t wait to read his other titles, including “The Myth of Male Power”.