Oh, this is one of my favorite topics! Men. Women. Relationships. Marriage. I have a lot to say about this topic, so grab your coffee… this is gonna be a longie. Considering our divorce rate is something like 50-60%, it’s not a crazy question to ask if men and women really get along.
One of my favorite times spent with my hubby, is when we’re out for dinner. I am a horrible cook (stems from years as a career women and a mother who hated to cook) but I LOVE food. I live for food and a nice glass of red wine. My metabolism so far, all these years hasn’t given out on me yet, so for the amount of food I consume I shouldn’t be my current 5’8″, 117 lbs. My husband on the other hand, can survive on a bowl of Life cereal and a banana.
Anyhow, back to dining together… If we’re dining alone, I always love to look around the restaurant, and try and challenge myself. In my opinion, I am a very intuitive person. I like to try and guess how long couples have been together just by watching the way they interact with each other and get along. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure this out either. You just have to watch body language, eye contact, physical distance and I think one can tell. “Oh my god, this is for sure their first or second date,” or “They have been married at least 15 years… he couldn’t be more disinterested in her. Look at that!”
I especially love to watch the dynamics of new relationships. Brand new relationships… ooohh… I envy that sometimes. That spark, the discovery of someone new, a first kiss, hours of getting to know each other on the phone or on a park bench late at night. It’s all so… romantic. And I am a hopeless romantic.
Which leads me back to Venus and Mars. Do we truly understand each other? Can we really get along?
Well, if you actually read the book above, Gray states that men and women have such different needs and expectations, that we may as well be from different planets. We don’t understand what the other wants or needs. We give what WE would want, not what the other gender would want. He explains how UNDERSTANDING the other sex is the key to a great relationship.
I have to tell you, sometimes UNDERSTANDING ain’t my strong point. I often don’t know when to give or take in marriage. If my husband comes home tired at the end of the day, or in a bad mood, my mother (my best friend and therapist for 25 years) tells me I should be understanding. After all, he the breadwinner of the family, has been out all day hunting for his family, and I should, in her words, “cut him a little slack.” But sometimes, I can’t help not being a little pissed off. Why should I always nurture him? Maybe HE should make a little effort. Maybe he needs to be a little understanding of me, and FAKE IT or something. I never quite know where my needs come into the equation. I actually hear this from my girlfriends a lot. We want to be supportive of our husbands, but what about our own needs? Shouldn’t they make the effort right back? I never know when I’m justified to be resentful, and when I’m acting selfish (one of the unfortunate character traits of my only child syndrome). Most men love to come home to a yummy aroma in the house, a nice home cooked meal, happy and well behaved children, and miss happy wifey. I definitely try… just a little appreciation and thank you once in a while would be nice. C’mon honey, throw me a bone.
I sit on the fence with this constantly.
Ok, he’s gonna kill me. I’m making him sound terrible and ungrateful, which he really is not. In fact, he’s delicious, my best friend (second to my mom of course), and my best life partner and sex partner for that matter. But this is really how I feel sometimes. Just callin’ it as I see it.
So, regardless of what planet we come from, there are a few secrets I’ve read about to having a happy relationship, and bringing the planets together:
1. Communicate. Right? We hear this all the time, but it’s true. The more shit you slide under the rug, the dirtier the room becomes. I really think we gotta have it out when the issues arise. There are so many facets to life, that we have to try and be on the same page. This isn’t always easy for me, as my husband is not the best communicator. I of course, am! 🙂
2. Listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we could listen more than we speak. Just let that sink in for a minute. I have to admit, this is not my strong point. I could go on for hours if I’m upset about something. We’re told to give our spouses the same courtesy you would a complete stranger, and let them finish their point. Ok, I know you’re all gonna try and listen!
3. Date Night. Can you drop the kids off at your sister’s house, or parents’? Can you financially swing a babysitter once a month or so? Hell, I’ll take your kids! But just, GET OUT. GET OUT together when you can. Dinner, a movie, a bike ride, a cup of coffee, whatever. Do something you both like to do, and do it together. Sans enfants, as we say here in Montreal. Bring the spark back. Revisit what first brought you together… together.
4, Love and Respect. These are those clichés we’ve heard for many years; never go to bed angry, fight fairly, kiss each other whenever you leave or come home, say “I love you” every single day. And also “do something for the one you love every day.” Just because. A lot of research out there that mutual respect is one of the most important ingredients to a successful marriage.
5. Commit to your marriage. Really, try not to be another stat. Quitters suck. I hate quitters. And, I am not saying to stay in a loveless or abusive relationship. Hell no! I am saying, we often give up too easily. Kids, money, work… it all takes its toll. But, if you commit to each other that your marriage comes first, no matter what, you’ll be a better team. Change your perspective, change your world.
“I love being married. It’s so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” ~Rita Rudner