First Family Frustrations

January 25th, 2018

The first time I found out my sweet, little, brown eyed, brown haired bride might not be so happy in the marriage as me. It was in the course of a Sunday school class, the teacher tried to make a point by sharing the results of a poll. Instead of just making a statement, she asked the class the question to see how we compared to the national finding.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you overall in your marriage.?

Nearly all the guys gave it a 9 or 10. Not a single woman gave it more than 4, and when she saw that most claimed only 2 or 3, and even a 1... she lowered her score.

The teacher was taken aback for a moment that the Christian adults in her little class would score so divergent, yet clear cut between men and women. certainly the moral fiber of a group of nice Christians ought to do better than the general secular population. The what was the result of this national poll? Pretty much the same.

I can't even remember what the lesson of the day was about. Just that result. How could my bride score our marriage so low on the scale? How could I be so totally unaware?

differing expectations are the reason. Guys don't expect a lot. They work. They come home. If the house is generally kept, and there's food to eat, that's about it. They appreciate the added niceties that a feminine touch brings. Decorations on the walls, stylish furnishings. A place that smells nice, and not like the aroma of a dorm filled with sweat socks. Then of course, girls are soft, smell nice, and interesting in the bedroom.

Ladies on the other hand go into it with lots of expectations, right from the wedding day. The perfect dress, the perfect reception, the guy they've been dreaming about all those years of playing house, and the romantic life they'll lead once Prince Charming tends to their every need to complete them. A guy who automatically knows what they want and need as well as she does. Someone who will be there to share equally in the housework, and understand her moods.

All this is news to a guy. Sure, he has lived alone. Maybe he can handle his own housekeeping, but usually barely enough to get by. As long as the clothes are washed, who cares if they're sorted. Cooking means knowing how long to set the microwave for popcorn, or how to toast pop tarts. The nuance of having it smell clean is lost, as long as a broom is dragged across the floor. Guys have spent their lives playing ball and getting sweaty, not playing house. They need retraining. There's a whole host of girl things that come as a shock to them. They don't know that they don't know.

It's frustrating to do the retraining. Often the woman takes up the slack. Doing the drudge work that falls on her when her guy doesn't know. Some guys are more resistant to bother to learn. A matter that complicates female frustrations. Others would be willing to learn, but when the wife doesn't tell them, they continue on their course of not knowing.

Should he try to be the pretty pink princess girlfriend to make the woman's life ideal? No, if you wanted to marry a woman you should have. These days its legal, but assuming the typical, traditional marriage, that's not an option. Women need to be women, and men need to be men. It doesn't mean they shouldn't try to bend for the sake of the other. There are lots of rough, or sharp edges that need to be worn away.

There's nothing wrong with doing your own thing, being your own person, having your expectations. Find complimentary things where the other person "completes" you, and enjoy them. Other opposing areas may be those things that cause opposites to attract. They make life interesting, but can be the source of conflict. Having conflict isn't bad, but use those areas to at least understand the other person if a compromise can't be arrived at. Agree to disagree. For any area you feel they are dropping the ball, think of the many things they do well, or take initiative in doing. Try that ageless exercise in counting your blessings. Focus on the good things they bring to the relationship.

Is the sadness, or drudgery still there? Before resigning yourself to carrying a personal burden of dissatisfaction alone, and in the silence of neglect, tell the other person. What would it take to at least partly relieve the situation? Is your spouse simply incapable of rising to the need? Then there will always be some measure of hope. Until then, keep counting the blessings they bring in other areas. It's an ongoing thing. The incident wasn't my only time in realizing all was not happy in our ever after, just the first indication for me.

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