5 Ways for Women to Make a Relationship Last
(Not for the Faint of Heart)
- First, forget the “Prince Charming” image. He doesn’t exist. And, if he did, he might look like the ones in the fairy tales with bleached blond hair and tights. No thank you, please! Instead, allow looks to be secondary to how your man treats you. Is he thoughtful? Does he remember how you take your coffee, or that you’re allergic to that oily substance they call butter at the movie theater? These are the types of things that matter 20 years down the line
2. Next, develop a thick skin. The man you are dating and the man you married are polar opposites. While dating, men take the time to find out how to treat a woman (specifically, one who isn’t mandated to love him, like his mother). Once he’s married, he thinks with his stomach and his other head. And, worst than that, the main method he’ll use for keeping track of important dates and times is the football and basketball season schedule (which he somehow has memorized, though he forgets to show up at the first sonogram appointment, where the gender of his baby will be revealed). It takes a lifetime to make the average man care about anything that isn’t somehow related to one of the aforementioned things. But don’t let that deter you from forging ahead. He really doesn’t mean to offend or hurt your feelings. He’s just wired differently and hasn’t been looking forward to having a baby since he was 8 years old like you have. So, instead of spending time being hurt and wondering how you ever ended up with the most inconsiderate man on the face of the earth just let it go. Then make him a weekly or monthly schedule and post it in the 3 places you know he’ll look: the refrigerator, the TV screen, and below your waist. A little forethought on your part goes a long way.
3. Third on my list is to speak his language. Marriage is full of challenges. It involves what sometimes feels like a toxic mix of feelings, emotions, opinions, and a little bit of logic. A very little bit. Women have a natural tendency towards nurturing. Whether it’s a baby or a relationship, a woman will usually lean toward a gentler side of working through things. Just the fact that women tend to use more than twice as many words per day than men do gives them an advantage. At the end of the day, when it’s time to wind down, a woman enjoys nothing better than sitting with her husband to talk about the day, share funny anecdotes, and get feedback on any issues which may have come up. She actually looks forward to this time of connecting with her husband. He has also been looking forward to this time of day, but for other reasons. He wants to shut- down, shut- off, and most importantly, he wants you to shut- up! Not in a mean way, exactly, it’s just that he’s used most of his words and brain-power by this time of day. To him, conversing with and relating to his wife is work and he feels like he’s already put in a full day. He needs to relax. So, instead of trying to force what seems perfectly logical and sensible to you onto him, speak his language. Choose the most important 1 topic that you need his input on, and introduce it in an “Oh-by-the-way” format. This will help to not trigger the panic that comes from those dreaded 4 words, “We need to talk,” which will render him defensive, which will lead to an argument, hurt feelings, and most importantly, no resolution. If you still have “emotional leftovers,” discuss them with your girlfriends or your sister. Believe me. You’ll avoid many potential arguments over 20 years this way.
4. This one took me a while to master, but it has saved me (and my family) many times! Always maintain a financial account that ONLY YOU are aware of and have access to! My grandmother told me this before I was married, but I Poo-pooed it. I thought, “We’ve shared our money since we first started dating. I would never need to hide money (or anything else) from him.” WRONG! It’s not, so much, that you need to hide things. It’s really more about the empowerment, control, and self-affirmation that come from having something over which you have total control. A successful and long-lasting marriage is almost completely about sharing. A decision can rarely be made without consulting your spouse. But, believe me, the time will come when you want to, or more accurately, need to, do or buy something that no one else need know about. I’m not referring to anything illegal, immoral, or that your spouse would, necessarily, disapprove of. Rather something like a spa day, a day at the Cineplex, or lunch with a friend. It’s just that women take care of so many others, and rarely get taken care of, so it’s nice to revitalize with something that is all your idea and all for you.
5. Last (but not least) is about establishing the roles that you and your mate will play for the rest of your life. In the beginning, everyone wants to be seen in their best light. We don’t usually down-right lie (like learning to cook 1 or 2 meals flawlessly while you date, sticking with those until you say “I do,” then revealing that before the wedding you could only make microwave popcorn). That’s a bit extreme. But, on the other hand, because girls are taught, as they grow up, that they must learn how to do many practical things, they seem to be naturals at taking care of the daily tasks which make a household run more smoothly. And, if they had a particularly smart or ambitious mother, they were taught that a woman does NOT need a man to survive. This is quite true in most cases but, (and this is crucial), if a woman takes care of everything herself, she teaches her man that she doesn’t need his help. And once that happens, he won’t change a diaper, he won’t change a lightbulb, and he certainly will have a hard time changing his mindset that you don’t need him. Instead, feel free to be the accomplished and brilliant woman that you are, just let him know that you would love to perform chores on ladders, it’s just that you fell off one when you were a child and they make you nervous. Plus he just does it better! You would also do the dishes every, single night, but whenever you put the dishes away, on those high shelves, you get dizzy and strain your back. This way, he helps because you need his strength and expertise. It’s much easier to set these precedents in the beginning, than 10 years and three or four kids down the road! We would all like to think that love is all two people need to make a marriage last, and that is true. But, what many don’t realize is that love is a verb, not a noun. It is kept alive by actions, not feelings. And though it may seem counterintuitive, especially to women, it is what we do, and not how we feel that determines the success and longevity of a marriage. That is all.