So here's the situation. Marriage is hard. And these days more and more couples are calling it quits without really ever giving marriage a shot. I don't profess to be any kind of an expert but I do have some personal experience living, and even being happy in an imperfect marriage. I have learned that its not a fairy tale and to live happily-ever-after means marrying the frog, warts and all. You'll have to slowly help him realize the prince he always was, and can become, then let him be free to choose wither or not he will. But what's funny, is that its the same for him. You're no princess yourself, not just yet anyway. That will take time, some tears, some frustration, and bit of makeup sex (but you'll like that part).


So lets start by taking the wool off your eyes. 

Men are animals. Yes, your husband too. I don't mean that they all are messy or wild, though some of them certainly are.  I mean that men are, as most people will tell you, simple creatures. They care about food, sex, and comfort.  Obviously there are other things they care about but lets stick to the basics for the moment. After the wedding your husband doesn't just naturally know what to say to you when you're having a bad day, assuming he even noticed. Just like you don't automatically know how to manage a household, or raise a child, or cook just because that lovely man put a ring on your finger. If you want your husband to do something, you HAVE to tell him. You may even need to tell him multiple times. You may have to remind him on a monthly basis of what your basic requirements and expectations of your marriage are. Men are, for the most part, single minded. They create compartments for each aspect of their life. Each different role they play has its own room in the house that is his life. Work has its own room. So does baseball, football and any other activity he enjoys. Being dad has its own room, and so does being husband and lover. When he is in that room that is all he focuses on. This is why it is common for a wife to complain that her husband will not let her be part of his life outside the home. Men, especially the emotionally retarded/deficient/illiterate ones, do not talk to their wives very much about what goes on in the other rooms of his life. He will feel that doing so is letting her into that room. When rooms start merging men have a hard time clearly defining how it is that is supposed to behave in that room. Its difficult for men to be multiple roles at the same time. It is a man's responsibility in marriage to open himself up to letting his wife be a part of all aspects of his life. I do not mean to say that he cannot have any privacy, this is very much not the case. Trust me, a total lack of privacy will destroy a marriage faster than any other issue. No privacy leads to a feeling of distrust. Where there is no trust love will wither and die, but we'll get into that later. So just be willing to discuss your day with your family and let them help and support you in any way they can. It is not necessary for the father and husband to bare all the weight of the family on his own. His wife is there to share the load. So let her help, and learn to be ok with it.

However, for women, the house that is their life is just one big room with one or two small compartments for roles such as career woman, the avid reader, and other such roles that women prefer to do alone. This does not mean that women cannot be organized. In fact some of the world's top professional organizers are female. This just means that women have a faster and more complicated view of how her various roles are interconnected and are usually better suited to multitasking. This gift that allows women to care for multiple children, clean the house and make dinner all at the same time as watching her favorite daytime television show is what prevents many women from being able to let go and be a companion and attentive lover to their husband. I know for me it is difficult to surrender to my husband's embrace when I can hear my daughter crying, know that there are dishes to be done and laundry to be folded. I view those things as being pressing and immediate concerns. It is my job as a wife and lover to learn to shut out those thoughts so I can be present in the moment with my husband. But as is often the case, when your attention is divided one thing or another is bound to not get the amount of attention it needs and deserves. When it comes to house work versus the kids, women usually are good at making sure the kids get more attention than the dishes. However, our system of ranking things by level of importance and urgency needs to, on occasion, be revised. Our kids are tremendously important to us, but the most important thing we can give them is a happy, healthy example of what a good marriage is like. We can do this by ensuring we meet the needs of not only ourselves but also of our husband, sometimes even before we meet the needs of our children. Yes, ladies, I'm telling you its ok to be selfish. Because by doing a few things each month that are just for you, you're ensuring that you will be a happy and well balanced person, someone your family will want to be around.

So now that we know a little bit about what the basic differences are between the way men and women think you can see a little more clearly why marriage takes so much work. Women are complex and emotional, as where men are usually so simple they seem complicated to us. Its through dealing with each other as we would someone of the same sex that we encounter many of the issues that drive people to divorce. To have a happy marriage means challenging the way you have always done things, and learning a new method for handling conflict. I love the book The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman, so to give a little shout out to my favorite author, you have to learn to speak in a language that your spouse understands. Its like only talking to a Japanese person in English and expecting them to know what you're saying. It's just not going to work until one or the other person, hopefully both, make an effort to learn the other language. 

Marriage takes work. Yes! Its a job. And just like any job we should always strive to be the best at what we do. Marriage can be just as wonderful and as glorious as it is imperfect. In fact, its the our differences and our imperfections that make love so beautiful. So come along with me on my journey through my own imperfect marriage, and together we can learn how to be happy and have fun with it! 
 


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