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A look at men, women and marriage; can it work ?

A look at men, woman and marriage
Can it work ??

Over the past several weeks I've observed a disturbing trend concerning the friends that I've accrued over the years as well as the acquaintances I've made at work. My observation is thus; none of them are happily married or happy in their current relationship. This also includes friends that have either broken up and/or divorced. I've listened intently during our lunchtime wrap sessions, and confess to taking my turn ranting about things I'm not too happy about in my current living situation. To the readers who are female, let me confess freely; I am far, far from perfect and don't envision myself sitting high upon the mountaintops looking down upon the unwashed. My poop stinks just like everybody else's. I'm merely observing a trend and a pattern that's occurred in the dataset available to me. Also, I can say with a fair sense of confidence that the other halves of these relationships are just as miserable.

I offered up a hypothesis at one male bonding session that seemed to get flamed rather quickly. Could we be part of the problem? Have we changed somehow in our behavior or our attitudes concerning our relationships, whether they be marriage or steady partner? It was a unanimous vote; we, as the male species were not at fault. We don't understand the fairer sex and we never will, and at this current point in time have no further desire to understand what makes our spouse/girlfriend tick. Well, I have some bad news for my male friends. As a data analyst I'm always curious, I wanted to know the reason behind this observed war of X's and Y's. I needed the other side of the equation. I hit a goldmine getting my morning coffee today. A woman that I am very close with at work broke off her engagement over the weekend. She confided this to me in between tears. I took 'Lisa' back up to my office, closed the door and told her to let it out. To my amazement she did. Damn!! I got an earful in between the sobbing and nose blowing. Now I'm not faulting Lisa for her tears, a breakup of this sort is emotional and tragic, I was just stunned that she decided to let fly like she did. And I was glad to be there with her to lend a supporting ear

Lisa and I talked for about a half an hour and I gave her the best advice that my Middle Aged wisdom could impart on someone in their early twenties. But, I heard what Lisa said and analyzed the main foci of her complaints. Here it is; HE STOPPED CARING! Okay three words, but what do they mean, really? How much detail can be ascribed to these three simple words? Plenty if you listened to Lisa.

1. He stopped telling me he loved me.
2. He stopped surprising me with flowers
3. Sex became more about him getting off than being close to me. (There was more here, but this is a PG-13 column)
4. He seemed to want to spend more times with his friends then with me.
5. We stopped talking and he seemed to lose interest in our wedding.
6. He kept looking at internet porn and then expected me to be receptive to his advances. (Yup, this one grossed me out too)

I admit to capitalizing on this unique opportunity to delve into the female psyche a bit and began asking some questions in very gory detail. To my delight, Lisa was straightforward and often direct in her responses. For every gripe and complaint we as guys had about woman, they had an equal, just as valid gripe about us!! The nerve of them!! <> we, as guys, are perfect, just ask us. :) :).

I won't get into all of it here, but woman are just as unhappy with us as we are with them. How does the bloom fall off the rose? Something had to go right at one time because we hook up, marry, have kids etc. So somewhere along the line some of us are getting it right. My parents were married for over 30 years, my grandparents nearly fifty years, it can work. Why are so many finding it so difficult to keep a relationship going? Let me take the guy's responses since I'm guilty of a lot of these things and then defend myself and my gender.

1. He stopped telling me he loved me. As did she, after awhile I figured she just accepted that as fact and we both moved on.

2. He stopped surprising me with flowers. She stopped surprising me with teddies and lingerie long before the roses stopped coming. However, a few roses here and there are always a good thing and may eventually lead to a nightie or teddy surprise.

3. Sex became about him.' I honestly don't have an answer for this, I've always wanted to both give and receive, I admit there have been times when I've been more interested being on the receiving end, but I've always made sure my partner went to sleep with a smile on her face. As I said earlier there is a big difference between making LOVE and having SEX. LOVE cannot be a selfish act, SEX, however can be. Therein lies the problem. HE wanted SEX and SHE wanted LOVE. That's a problem that needs to be addressed. (Although in Lisa's case not anymore)

4. More time with friends; I used to be guilty of that and I truly regret it. But I found that I had more in common with my friends than my wife after 17 years of marriage. I could talk to my friends more freely than I could communicate with my wife without fear of reprisal. Women seem to want communication but seldom like what we have to say. When we had discussions it was usually what she wanted to talk about and why she was right. After awhile it seemed safer just to not talk about anything relevant. This is an affliction that affects most couples after a fixed period of time. I remember when I could talk to my wife during the newly wed stage up to about two to three years into our relationship. Now discussions seem to be short and shallow. Anything deeper than that results in an argument sixty percent of the time. This is something that I/we as a couple need to work on and improve.

A good marriage is able to balance his AND her time with their friends. Finding the right balance is a tightrope each potential couple needs to discover together. Hopefully years will not diminish the desire to spend time together rather than be with friends only. If this is already occurring before the wedding the marriage is already doomed

5. Interest in the wedding. I'm sorry, I'm sure his mind was on the honeymoon. Still, A groom should be expected to express some interest in the wedding, but to be honest, the wedding is really for the bride. Ask any guy, and he'll say he didn't get too involved in the wedding planning. It was the bride, the bridesmaids and the brides' mother and future mother in law. This is really not a guy thing. I looked at reception halls and cakes etc, but my wife and her friends were more involved in the planning stages than me. I booked and planned and paid for the Honeymoon though. Is that being stereotypical??

6. He kept looking at internet porn and then expected me to be receptive to his advances. I have no defense for this. I can't even try to build a defense for this one. Lisa shouldn't be receptive to his lust brought about through porn viewing. Hand him a jar of Vaseline and a towel and wish him a good one. Two words; NO CLASS.

Well, as I said, I don't have all of the answers. I however was able to glean some insight from Lisa into how woman want things and compare and contrast that to how men want as view things. I've looked it all over and gave myself a migraine. How do things get so far apart? Why don't we as mature men and woman recognize the warning signs and sit down as a couple and work through them without the emotional baggage or the accusatory tone of you're wrong and I'm right. Upon careful examination of all the data, I've come to realize that it's a miracle anybody stays married. Hell, I still don't know how I've lasted 17 years. There are still more times than not that I've felt like packing it in and still may do so one day or I may be asked to hit the road by my wife, who knows? I know my wife has issues with me that frustrate her to no end. Our relationship is far from perfect and we have issues that neither of us is willing to give on, it's these issues that may one day break us up. But for now I still walk that tightrope day by day until I either decide that I want to get off or get pushed off.

If I could offer advice to my young married friends and those who are in relationships and those who are simply newlyweds of any age. Why is it that the strongest Oak Tree will break under the wrath of the storm yet the fragile willow perseveres the wrath of nature? The answer is simple; the mighty Oak is firm and rigid, unbending before the storm, while the fragile willow is pliable and flexible enough to bend with the oncoming wind. In the end it is the flexible Willow tree that survives the storm while the rigid, unbending oak is felled and broken. This is the best analogy from the Tao that I can apply to relationships; be like the willow bending upon strife; in flexibility there is longevity.

Take it for what it's worth, from a man struggling to figure it all out just like everybody else.

-Nuff said. (I need some Excedrin Migraine. This figuring out the sexes has given me a headache.)

-Esper of The Round Table

About the Author
Greg Ballan is a published Science Fiction Novelest and blogger. He can be reached art

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