I’ve had a fantastic marriage for over 15 years now, but I’m not going to sugar coat the facts that marriage involves life changing sacrifices for men that no woman will ever fully understand or appreciate. I’m not anti-marriage. I’m anti- uninformed, pollyanna, shoulda’-saw-it-coming, ONEitis fueled, shame induced, bound for bankruptcy, scarred my children for life, marriage.
A woman loves you when she takes you for granted. That sounds odd I know, but it’s when she’s not fawning all over you and you’re in your 10th year of marriage and it’s just part of everyday conversation. “OK, love you, bye” is at the end of every phone call. You’re not thinking about it, because you don’t need to. If you’re asking the question “how do you know when she loves you?” You’re not in it. It’s only when that familiarity and regular comfort is removed that she can appreciate it. Once the commonness of love is established women will only rarely express it overtly – in fact the expression will be what’s expected of you – so you have to look for it covertly.
All the flowery crap you read in your Hallmark card on Valentines Day or your Anniversary was written by someone else. And while it’s nice to have these gestures of appreciation occasionally, it’s more important to see the forest for the trees. It’s not individual acts of affection or appreciation so much as it is the whole of what you both do on a regular day-to-day basis. It’s what you and she are all about after your three hundredth bowl of oatmeal together on a Saturday morning and your kids are fighting for control of the TV remote while you’re sitting across the breakfast table discussing which bills need to be paid first this month and how bad the lawn needs mowing that defines love and marriage. Yes, precisely the things you’ll never think about when you’re sarging her or considering moving her up in your plate spinning line up.
This is what marriage is; not necessarily boring per se (although it certainly can be more often than not), but ordinary. It’s normal, common, or becomes so. Think about how many people who’ve lived, married and died on planet earth who did exactly the same things as you. That’s the real test of marriage that no one who hasn’t experienced it can really relate in any meaningful sense. The happy, Oprah-ized idea is that you have to “keep it fresh”, but even after a night of freshening it up and the Wal-Mart lingerie is in the clothes hamper, and you pick up the kids from spending the night at her sisters house the morning after, you go back to the day-to-day marriage you’ve always had. This is the shit no one tells you about when you’re being sold on the Marriage Goal – the “now what?” feeling that comes directly after you’ve found the ONE you’ve been looking for, or “did the right thing” with and married because she suddenly rediscovered religion AFTER you’d had marathon sex with her for 3 months straight and wouldn’t abort the pregnancy (and no, that didn’t happen to me).
I think what most men uniquely deceive themselves of is that they will ultimately be appreciated by women for their sacrifices. Learn this now, you wont. You can’t be because women fundamentally lack the ability to fully realize, much less appreciate the sacrifices a man makes to facilitate her reality. Even the most enlightened, appreciative woman you know still operates in a feminne-centric reality. Men making the personal sacrifices necessary to honor, respect and love her are commonplace. You’re supposed to do those things. You sacrificed your ambitions and potential to provide her with a better life? You were supposed to. You resisted temptation and didn’t cheat on your wife with the hot secretary who was DTF and ready to go? You were supposed to. Your responsibilities to maintaining a marriage, a home, your family, etc. are common – they’re expected. They are only appreciated in their absence.
This is the totality of the feminine-centric reality. Men only exist to facilitate the feminine reality, and any man who disputes this (or even analyzes its aspects) is therefore not a ‘man’. It just IS. Even the most self-serving, maverick among men is still beholden to the feminine imperative in that he’s only defined as a rebel because he doesn’t comply with the common practices of ‘men’ in a female defined reality. And ironically it’s just this maverick who is appreciated by the feminine above those men who would comply with it (or even promote it) as a matter of course.
The concept of appreciation really dovetails into a lot of other aspects of intergender relations.
For instance in The Mature Man thread; assume for a moment that a 40 y.o. Man with the options to pursue younger women “does the right thing” and seeks out a relationship with a woman his own age. Would he be appreciated for essentially giving an aged woman a new lease on life? Or would he be viewed as doing what is to be expected of him?
Would a man who marries a single mother and helps with the parental investment of another man’s child be appreciated more for having done so? Would it even factor into a woman’s estimation of his character, or would he simply doing what’s expected of a man? The question of appreciation is a real quandary for the White Knight.
Relationships aren’t work.
Familiarity does in fact breed contempt,..and mediocrity, and routine, and banality, and commonness,.. which is why so many marriages end up in the shit can. Men and women give up on themselves.
The “Relationships are work” meme is a Social Convention. How often do you hear men say these words? This has filtered into popular consciousness even with men now. For the LTR men who subscribe to this I’d also speculate that many of them are in relationships where THEY are “doing the work” for the women who are giving them the ‘grade’ so to speak. And of the single men who subscribe to this mythology, each had to be conditioned to believe this is the case in LTRs by women. This is rooted in the mistaken belief that men’s actions and sacrifices can ever be appreciated by women.
What would the best method be to get a man to live up to the idealizations a woman has as her perfect mate (however twisted and convoluted this may have been defined for her)? Women love the ‘fixer upper’. “He’d be such a great guy if only he would, _____” or she’ll say “I’m working on him.” It’s when the conditioning goes from “I’m working on him” to “We’re working on our relationship” that he has now internalized her frame control. This is where the mythology of Relationships-as-Work is derived from. How often is it the woman who needs the ‘work’ in the relationship? And if it is her, the terminology of the relationship and the associations change. ‘Work’ implies a man better conforming his identity to her ideal relationship, to better fit the feminine-centric reality. And what better way to initiate this than to psychologically condition him to want to embody her ideal – even before he’s ever met a woman or been involved in a relationship?