Marriage was a special kind of hell for me, and here’s why:
No matter how hard I tried to make her happy, it never ended well.
It’s not that I married a bad woman – she’s a really good person and a good mother.
I misunderstood the basic dynamics of how grown men and grown women need to deal with each other. Let me give you some background:
As a little boy who was raised in a traditional family (stay at home mom, dad went to work all day), Mom was the gatekeeper for everything I wanted during most of the day.
Permission to play with friends.
If I wanted it, Mom would have to grant it.
Our relationship with the parent of the opposite sex as a child, is, for the most part, the template we use to relate to the opposite sex as adults.
As adult men, we still want “cookies”, “toys”, and, to play with our friends.
…. and SEX. Let’s be honest. Sex is the ultimate prize that the woman in your life is the supreme gatekeeper for. If she’s not in the mood to give it to you, you aren’t getting it.
The temptation to do whatever it takes to “make your woman happy” is rooted in the most fundamental drive of our species. A mature, healthy sexual relationship is the supreme challenge and holy grail of human connections, for this reason. It pits you against your strongest impulses – impulses that may not actually serve you well.
In my 20’s, (my married years), I was still operating from this unchanged paradigm from my childhood – “make the woman happy by doing what she says”.
There were many times when my truth was quite different from her truth. I found it really difficult to tell her my personal truth when I felt like it would upset her, and jeopardize my access to cookies, toys, and playtime. This misguided pursuit of “making her happy” led to the decay of our relationship.
I had never been so frustrated and defeated in my life – how in the world could all of my good efforts have led to so much destruction and unhappiness? It caused me to even go so far as to think about suicide. I felt completely broken and hopelessly flawed.
Guys – how many times have you “sacrificed” your personal truth for her, thinking you were acting selflessly?
I can’t speak for you, but I will tell you my experience:
Sacrificing my personal truth to “make her happy” is a supremely selfish and immature act. The only thing motivating it, was my desire to maintain access to cookies, toys, and play time. There’s nothing selfless about it.
She doesn’t want your “obedience”.
She wants your TRUTH.
She wants to be able to trust you.
She wants to feel safe with you.
She wants to know that no matter what crazy mood swing she comes at you with, you will remain stable.
She wants to know that when you are out in the world, you will be the same man she loves at home.
When she can count on you to be real, authentic, and firmly rooted in your own truth – she feels free to be fully feminine.
(By the way fellas – this is why women “put the pants on” in a relationship – if they can’t trust your masculinity, they’ll just do it themselves and drag you along for a while).
A real woman doesn’t want your obedience.
A real woman wants your strength.
You don’t have to be a jerk to be strong in your truths. It’s possible to be kind, AND strong.
That’s the magic combination.
If you think kindness means sacrificing your authentic feelings – you’ve misunderstood the word. You’ll need to learn what true kindness is before you will be able to deeply satisfy a mature, healthy woman.
True kindness is the utmost kind of strength.
Kindness doesn’t’ show up when you are agreeing with each other.
Kindness doesn’t show up when you feel lovey-dovey.
Kindness doesn’t show up when you are in a great mood.
True kindness shows up when you are sick, angry, disappointed, or otherwise really don’t feel like showing up….
…and you do it anyway.
That is serious manly strength.
much love –
I came across your article and wanted to thank you for such inspiring words. I have 5 brothers and was raised in the same manner as you. Myself and two of my brothers have gone through similar situations. It’s challenging sharing personal stories and keeping a healthy perspective. (Especially if ure lds) but you expressed beautifully how many of us feel. hang in there and thanks again.
Thank you Shannon! I’m so glad this resonated with you.