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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On Being a Better Wife

Women should come with instructions - but when did any man last read instructions?

Men, on the other hand, merely need a disclaimer - "caution - fragile ego ahead".

When you read the list, you may be surprised - are men really like that? In an intimate relationship, they are, because while women have been conditioned to take pride in nurturing, men never made the transition. They went from feeling respected for being 'warriors and providers' to feeling like their strengths are not needed, and their weaknesses are valid subjects for public ridicule - and ridicule within the intimacy of marriage.

That said, to follow yesterday's suggestions for men, here are some for the other side of the aisle -

  1. Your husband's ego is large, but very brittle - if you remember that fact you'll save both of you a lot of trouble
  2. Your husband never quite believes he's good enough for you
  3. Compliment your husband on 'man stuff' - strength or endurance. But have a care, because men are surprisingly good at reading condescension. If you feel your comment could sound patronizing - don't make it.
  4. The best way to support your husband is never to second-guess him, even when you feel you really, really need to
  5. If criticism is needed, once is enough. Restating a point three or four times will leave you wondering why he's withdrawn into a monosyllabic mutter
  6. For women, friendships in adulthood are possible. For men, they're rare - you are your husband's best friend, and very possibly his only friend
  7. Women will make suggestions to improve a situation they already like, to make it even better - men will assume that this is dissatisfaction, and criticism
  8. Your husband is always trying to impress you - if he stops, something is seriously wrong, either with the relationship or in his heart
  9. While women tend to find sexually-tinged touch at 'nonsexual' times irritating, for men it's always a pleasant surprise - they want to be wanted, and are always afraid that they are only tolerated
  10. Sex should be neither reward nor punishment - both manipulate male fears of inadequacy
  11. If you die, your husband will fall apart. If he dies, he thinks you'll carry on quite well. Years of phrases like "The Merry Widow" and "A Woman Needs a Man Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle" leave many husbands feeling expendable
  12. For a man, a good marriage is "me and you" - for a woman, it's "us", and men find this terrifying

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