Growing, Not Dying

Welcome to my insights, ponderings, and experiences. Hopefully they will enrich you in some small way, or at least make you laugh.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Women and Men Love Differently

Do you ever find yourself lost in thought pondering things as you drive? Tonight as I drove I was pondering what makes my marriage so great; specifically, how can I help others have better marriages too?

This lead me to an interesting insight, one of those things you know but don't know how to tell other people. Tonight I figured it out. Men and Women "love" differently. I don't mean cards and flowers versus ball game tickets. It's like this. A woman meets a man and sees "something in him." She sees the Prince Charming inside of him, the man "he is meant to be," his true potential. She falls in love. She will continue to live in this dreamy world, believeing he is the Prince as long as he is making any progress along this line. As long as he is growing and moving, we continue to believe in him and love him.

When he stops, in time, so does the magic. Even the words we use to describe him show what is going on for us. "He's a deadbeat. He's not going anywhere. He's a loser." These all show stagnation, death, the opposite of growth. Then the most grand-daddy of them all, "He's not the man I fell in love with." Because you fell in love expecting growth and now he has failed to meet your unstated, elusive, hidden expectations. Most of the time women don't even realize they are thinking this way! We only know we like this guy and not that one and usually couldn't tell you exactly what it is. "He's really got his act together. That's a guy who knows where he's going." "He's such a loser. He will never acomplish anything."

Men, on the other hand, love "as is." They are not as complex as women force things to be. What do men charish? Men love beat-up shirts, old cars, and other "pointless junk." They don't love these things because they are still so wonderful but because of what they mean to him. They don't care if it's not perfect right now because to them it is. This goes for the women in their lives too. A man can look at a woman he loves first thing in the morning with the hair and no make-up and think she is very attractive. To him, she is because he loves her "as is."

Now a woman in the same moment is thinking, "How can he say I am beautiful right now? My hair is a mess. I have no make-up on. I probably have those red marks on the side of my face. Who does he think he's kidding? He's just wanting some." Do you see what she is doing? She can not accept that he can just admire her in this natural state because she feels she is not measuring up. She is not doing her best. She isn't thin enough. Beautiful enough. Sophisticated enough. Stong enough. Sensual enough. The house isn't clean enough. The food's not good enough. And a hundred other ways she is tearing herself apart in her mind for not progressing at some arbitrary unrealistic made-up pace. Because we love growth in them and are excited for them to be their personal best, we think they expect it from every moment!

We think they are judging us, critisizing us. In fact we are doing it all to ourselves. The worst part is, while we are beating ourselves up, we are blocking out all the love, caring and kindness the man might be trying to send us. Plus, we make them feel judged. We make them feel like they are not up to par...and might never be, so why try.

I have come to realize Jim put a lot of effort into recreating our marriage after the divorce. I actually didn't put a lot of work into it when we first remarried. So...what did I do? It does take two people to have a great marriage. I learned to recieve. When Jim says he loves me, I know he really does. When he looks at me in the morning and tells me how beautiful I am, I know to him, in that moment, I am. I allow me to feel what he is sending without analyzing it, judging it, or tearing myself down.

Additionally, I encourage his growth. I celebrate his accomplishments. I let him know he IS my Prince Charming. He knows he's not perfect. I know it too. But he is striving and growing, and really, that is what being the Prince is really all about.

Update: LemmingLord was kind enough to point out these comments do lump by gender. I should point out "men" and "women" are used as generalities. There are always excetions and sliding scales when talking about personalities. Thank you, LemmingLord. :)


Blogger LemmingLord said...

You have such good insights into your own marriage.

I'm not sure I agree that all men fall into the one category and all women fall into the other, but I certainly have seen those two categories. Of course there may be more!

I think I'm more of a "where are they are going" kind of person. Of course I've always felt that I shared some good qualities with women that many other men might not.

Wed Mar 01, 10:27:00 AM MST  

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