The two most important questions asked relating to the dynamics between the genders are: what do men and women want from each other? It is one thing to know the answer and make a decision on how to respond to it. It is also a whole different ball game, as it is mostly the case, not to have a clue.
When we strip away all the confusion and complexities of the 21st century living where gender roles are not so defined, 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.
Women primarily want a strong man to protect them and provide strong genes to father their offspring. Men want a woman with child-bearing hips to produce their babies and they want their women to be a mother to the children and to them. That is as complex as it got in the early days.
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 and that is why relations are in so much chaos because couple are trying to go against the grain and are fighting against their basic nature. I must admit things get a bit confusing from time to time. There are a lot of factors that impact on men and women in today’s world and it would appear it is no longer the simple equation it once was.
Having said all of that, what would make the most sense for most couples is to find and agree on what works for them. One size does not fit all and every couple has their own unique circumstances that pertain specifically to them. The biggest mistake couples can make is to compare what pertains in their relationship to what they perceive occurs in others they see. You never know the real truth of what happens between a man and woman behind closed doors.
Women now appear to be demanding a whole new set of conditions which focus on economics, sexual fulfilment or liberation, equality, excitement and risks. Therein lays a lot of the upsets observed in relationships today. On the other hand, men appear to have lost the plot and do not seem to have a clue to 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 recall speaking to a group of men and women sometime ago on the topic of relationships and one of the gentlemen said he knew 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 should be. He said he knew of young wives who had no concept of compromise, responsibility and self- restraint. He added that he had heard women say they could not cook and did not 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, were infantile in their thought process, and seemed to believe all that ‘all that glitters was gold.’
When asked to expatiate on it, she said she felt that it did not 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 wives withholding sex from their husbands as a means of controlling or punishing them; not fighting fair. He said he felt it such 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 was over. I’m not sure women should agree 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. He also went on to say that he felt involving other person in their marriage was humiliating and felt it was a form of betrayal.
More recently, I had a visit from some good friends; married and single. It’s not very difficult to pick up on tension between couples. The body language alone could tell one all one needed to know. From the minute the married couple walked through the door, it was clear that all was not well. In less than half an hour, the husband had received a phone call and was out of the door. My friend was furious and complained bitterly about her husband’s ‘lack of respect, his insensitivity, selfishness’ and a lot more. I asked her if she was comfortable with the tension between them in the room and the fact that they were attacking each other with every word they said while he was there.
She said she was not happy about it but she was prepared to accept it so they could be together for the visit. She said he did not have to go regardless of how bad things were between them. Under normal circumstances, I probably would agree with her but on reflection as an observer, I could see how her husband was possibly thinking. They were not getting along on the visit so it probably did not make any sense to him to continue with the facade.
He probably decided it would be more beneficial to both of them if she enjoyed her visit with me while he went off to do something more productive.
What is evident from these discussions is overwhelmingly that men and women are wired differently. A case in point is when a guy calls up his mates and invites them to meet up 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 emails). 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 one can’t make head or tail of it and possibly the most important is to talk to each other. You can find out a lot when you just ask. I invite comments and suggestions on this topic. I am sure readers have a lot to say on it.