[Not too long ago I published one of my blog’s early posts about what men want from women. One of my lurking female readers made an incredible comment that I’m publishing, with her permission, below. I’m not adding any commentary because the comment’s value stands by itself. It’s a very personal comment and I’m tremendously thankful for her input into my blog.
Oh, and she thinks I’m cute.]
I relish this blog. I read the posts and reader comments that truthfully make me wince, but, provide perspective on a topic that is personally relevant for a couple reasons.
The first, is relevance with regards to my future. I am a 46 year old woman who has been married and has grown children. Frankly, I did not manage my marital relationship well as a young woman who married a man who was 30 when I was 19. He treated me well, was an excellent provider and good father. 10 years into the marriage, at 29, I was guilty of having many of the traits echoed within the words I read, here. Despite having recognized it, the damage had been done. Today, I am willing to accept that I will likely never marry, again. Since I am of the opinion that marriage is the domain for establishing a family and home, marrying at this stage in my life or beyond wouldn’t serve any social purpose. Perhaps, it would be offered as a gesture of some other kind, but, even if it were, I would need to consider carefully.
I don’t believe I was fit to marry when I did with what I knew. The role model I had was a woman who embraced the values of pop culture circa 1969-1979. I was a latch-key kid. My mother was the epitome of the disasters of feminism. To an extent, I was a casualty of her example. At some point, information became available and if I was given sufficient intelligence to evaluate this information, then it was my responsibility to determine what I would do with it.
Truth is often not palatable. It is easy enough to rationalize oneself all around it without ever aligning to it. The problem of course is that a person unaligned with the truth is by definition off point. The truth is a straight line that doesn’t deviate. It serves as the ultimate measure of oneself. No wonder it’s not often a welcome visitor.
In any event, by failing in marriage I failed as a mother. That’s simply the truth. My children suffered as a result of my not being competent for marriage and raising a family within it. I cannot go back in time and apply the information I have, today, to what was already done. However, what I can do is raise my voice and tell my daughters what they must know if they expect to successfully marry and raise children of their own. This is an example of some of what I have actually instructed to my daughters:
1. Have and show respect for yourself and for others. Don’t waste anyone’s time, including your own, indulging what is in fact petty and unimportant. Feelings are not facts. Emotions are fluid. They change sometimes for reasons that are unrelated to whatever it is you have assigned them to. Therefore, check yourself before demanding anyone spend time addressing your emotional states. You’re confused when emotional and will only confuse the other person. Get clear on managing your feelings before attempting to introduce facts. Remember, feelings are not facts. Your feeling bad does not make it fact that what you have bad feelings about is bad.
It may or may not be. Feelings are useful as instruments to guide your initial sense of direction towards that discovery but they are only as useful as they are correctly understood.
2. If you want to have a happy marriage to a man you find desireable, you cannot expect from him what you should be finding in your relationships with other women. Your husband is not your best girl friend. If he is, you can expect that eventually the marriage will fail because one day you will think you married someone you no longer desire. This will be your fault. You married a man and then expected him to perform as a woman. What did you expect would happen once the man you once desired for being masculine was emasculated by your demands from him to be more like a woman? Don’t go to the hardware store to buy bread. Whatever it is that is satisfied by your friendships with women needs to remain there. Not in your marriage. Similarly, don’t expect to fulfill the role of being a man’s best buddy. Men need to have relationships with other men and you don’t need to like or understand them. You do need to honor and respect those that are made.
3. Sex is not a weapon. It is not a bargaining device. Sex is not owned by you once you marry because you can refuse it. You better get this straight in your head: during marriage, sex is a mutually owned venture. It feeds the engine of your marriage. If you intend on staying married to a man you desire and who wants to remain married to you, you will be generous when feeding the marriage. Sex is the gift of renewal to a married man. It tells him he is on track. He’s man enough for the job. He can slay tigers and conquer enemies. Refuse a man this and you can expect him to eventually leave where he isn’t appreciated.
4. Men and women desire one another for their differences. Men, generally, are attracted to women because of their femininity. Being feminine is neither a weakness nor a tool for manipulation. To be feminine, simply, is to embrace those unique qualities inherent to being female: soft, relationship conscious, loving & alluring. This isn’t to suggest that men are not loving, alluring, etc.. It is to emphasize that men do not desire (generally, and this is speaking to heterosexual men) what is considered masculine, such as physical strength, competetiveness, solution oriented and territorial. It is counter-productive to compete with a man you are in a committed relationship with. Men compete to win. That means a man is wired to crush his opponent. Avoid being your partner’s opponent.
5. Emotional blackmail, like desperation, is not a good look on anyone. Check your motives. Check your words and behavior. Have integrity. Sometimes, women may resort to verbal weapons because this is perceived as a substitute strength. Most women would be at a physical disadvantage if they managed their disputes with men via fist fights. Men, in general, are simply physically larger and stronger. However, consider this: if the relationship requires your employing weapons to manage it, you may be failing your relationship by being the creator of discord that was avoidable. Just think about it when you find yourself sabotaging your relationship with your words.
Would you rather be right or would you rather be happy? What’s actually important?
I appreciate the forum and thank you for the opportunity to contribute an additional voice.