There is a most annoying tendency to reduce relationships with generalizations about the people in those relationships. Marriage is particularly vulnerable to this because it consists of one male and one female person. Oh, what fun we can have with our gender stereotypes! Thus come the His Need, Her Needs, Love and Respect, For Women Only, etc. etc. etc.
I suppose that these sorts of things may be fine for some things (like mocking?;-) but they are at least useless when it comes to actually living marriage. Honestly, if one needs broad generalizations in order to understand the man she lives with, it is a sad, sad day for marriage. Of course the generalizations will be correct in some instances, but even in those cases, why would one rely on “oh, men are motivated by x” rather than “from personal experience I know that my husband is motivated by x”?!
My great sin so far in marriage is that I tend to assume differences where none exist.
Me: Oh, husband, should I spend more time on appearance so that you can glory in my beauty?
Husband: ::thinking to self:: Dear Lord, what does she think I am? One of those mythical beasts who notices these things?
Recently I have really, really wanted more time alone. I am drained from all the constant interaction at work and then coming home to a small apartment with no me-space means that I am almost always around someone. For an uber-introvert this is no good!
But I didn’t realize how my husband felt until we were talking about our upcoming walk one morning. I asked when he would be ready and his face made his disappointment clear. The poor guy had been anticipating the upcoming 3 miles as a chance to be alone with his thoughts and suddenly felt as though he had to be with me. Ha! I was equally happy to have some time alone and after clarifying that immediately left so that we could walk separately.
As I alternated between walking and running (yes, I am still that out of shape) I contemplated how similar my husband and I are. Of course we have our differences in the ways that all humans do, but my struggles to understand him typically come from foolish assumptions that his needs are different from mine.
Who knew? It turns out that most of us need to eat and sleep and want to be loved and respected.
- Time to check some things off the 101 in 1001 list!
- Our Lady’s Churches in Montreal