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Men: Save Your Marriage
June 2, 2004
by K. C. Wilson

Women probably have a better idea of the male world and male values than men do of women's. Women are more required to deal with structure and facts as they are external, than are men with women's relating and emotional truths. You can avoid stepping inside; we all have to step outside. So I suspect men are more ignorant of women's orientation and the real gender differences.

This hardly means women understand men any better than men do women. Neither gender makes much sense to the other, and every individual is as prone to ignoring other's needs and context. Some- times this is humorous (comedians make a good living with it), but often it results in tragedies such as divorce. This has only become worse as society sees equality as sameness. Denying gender differences is "Correct."

Speaking for myself, the "girl world" was best brought home by reading Rachel Simmons' book Odd Girl Out. We men find our meaning in structure and orient to the external world. If the facts are wrong, you're wrong. So it took a bit to realize the degree to which women live in an entirely different world of personal relating and connections, structure and facts having little meaning. It's a whole different value system and orientation. While both men and women can be ambitious or greedy, or kind and saintly, it can be for different reasons and using different tools. Both may seek the same truth, but the terms they use and routes taken can have little to do with each other. It makes truly hearing each other, difficult.

Apply this to marriage.

Men take their satisfaction from the structure itself: there simply being a family of which he is a part. It is an unspoken but constantly present satisfaction, whatever may happen within it.

But male satisfaction is female taken-for-granted. The most common reason women give for ending a marriage is not abuse or infidelity, but their being little relationship to it.

You should hear how men howl at this finding: What a trivial excuse, how silly.

IT'S NOT TRIVIAL TO THEM. Relating is what women live for. Relationships are air.

For a man, what gives your existence meaning? If your job or career is unrewarding and does not make you feel like you matter, you find another. Same for women and relationships. Relating is what makes them part of something and therefore, matter. They do not orient to structures (maps) but landmarks (people). Success is friends and closeness, evidenced by knowing their secrets.

If you want that structure, marriage, to be the permanence you seek, make sure *you* exist as far as *she* is concerned. Put aside some time each day or week to just shut up and listen. Let her tell you things, then tell her some of your private thoughts and fears. "Women Can't Hear What Men Don't Say," and they need to, or you don't exist irrespective of how comforting to you is the routine she manages and the context for that you provide.

After all, that emotion and relating stuff -- that warmth and human thing -- being what men lack is what we seek in women. Use it or lose it.

If it is uncomfortable to do this because some women's demands are endless and others worm inside for control, making personal contact painful, you need another wife.

If this is uncomfortable because you do, in fact, ignore your feelings and hardly know what they are, seek a men's group or therapeutic support before your marriage ends.

Copyright © 2004 K.C.Wilson. K.C. Wilson is the author of Co-parenting for Everyone, Male Nurturing, and other books on family and men's issues, available as e-books at http://harbpress.com.

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