Heroes Getting Hitched
When a man gets married, he makes a promise to the woman he has chosen, that he will protect her and provide for her – and their children – for as long as he lives. I repeat: this is serious stuff. He is taking on the responsibility for her financial, emotional and physical wellbeing, for the rest of their lives. Therefore if he is not yet capable of the financial, emotional or physical means to take on this enormous task, he is NOT READY. “But I will work too and with our combined salaries we can make it, and we can rent a cheap apartment and share a car, or we can stay with my parents…” whine the starry-eyed young girls. “And there you go, sweetheart, telling him what to do, and planning his life for him, which is exactly the reason why he does not want to get married,” I answer them. “But I just want to be with him,” they sigh. “And what can you offer him?” I ask.I remind the girls of the Jane Austen novels. In order to get married, a woman had to be accomplished. She needed to be proficient in playing the piano-forte, singing, dancing, letter writing, prose and poetry, embroidery, bookkeeping and running a large household with an army of employees. Many things have changed since the Victorian era, but the fact that a man requires certain “accomplishments” in his wife, has not. He is not going to marry a woman just for her looks.
Men seek different qualities in a woman they marry than in the girls they date. One man told me when choosing a long term life partner a man looks for a woman with class, (classy, not sexy) she must be presentable, intelligent and original. A wife has to have dignity. She wears the crown as his queen. His friends must approve of her.
(His girl buddy too.) A man wants to be proud of his wife. He has a certain benchmark for the appearance, level of education, knowledge, image and inner qualities that he searches for in a wife. It is an idiosyncratic choice for every man.
Another said: “My life partner must have my back when things go bad. I need to feel safe with her, I can trust her. She supports me. She gets my quest. She is financially responsible.” When I asked him what he meant by having his back, he answered: “It’s not just in the big things, but also in the smaller things. She won’t divulge my secrets or vulnerabilities.
If I go to bed at 7pm some nights because I am just dog tired, she won’t mind or tell anybody. If I am self-conscious about my stomach, she keeps it a secret and buys me health food without making a fuss about it. She does not tease me about my baldness. She does not make a fool of me in public. Many women think it’s funny to tell quirks about their men at dinner parties. It is actually deeply embarrassing. If she has my back in the small things, she has my back in the bigger things too. When things go bad I need to know I can count on her to stay positive, to support me, not blame me and not leave me.”
Many of the very wealthy men I spoke to told me they are acutely aware that they can lose their fortunes in a flash. Circumstances change and the world economy is precarious. Making money involves high risk taking behaviour. This makes them vulnerable. (Not insecure). They need wives who can understand this, without taking advantage of their deep seated vulnerabilities, wives who will stick to them, even if they lose the money and wives who will trust them to come up trumps once again.
It often happens that wives’ intuition warns them regarding some of their husbands’ business deals or business partners. Unfortunately then the man perceives his wife’s warning as criticism. Please view her as a resource in your camp, with your best interest at heart, watching your back and scanning the grass for snakes. She is good at this. Heed her instinct. She is your wife and your ally, not your enemy.
Let us take an in depth look at men’s so-called fear of commitment
A wise man explained the difference between being committed and being involved. “If we have a breakfast of bacon and eggs,” he said, “the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.” That is why men are so scared of commitment.
One man explained it as follows: “When you get married it means you are willingly entering into a contract with another person, which entails you are going to have to do things you don’t feel like doing, every single day for the rest of your life. Those are the expectations.
For that kind of commitment, you want a reward. It needs to be worthwhile.” “What about being with the woman you love, about making love, laughing together and not being lonely,” I asked. “Is that a reward?” “No” he said. “I can just live with her or just have a relationship with her and still get all of that.” “Then what is the reward?” I asked. “The reward is knowing she has my best interest at heart, knowing she adds value to my life, she has my back and I am safe with her. Also every man wants to protect his woman, and to know she really needs me. She also needs to know what I am giving up for her.” “Is she not giving something up for you?” “No. She is gaining security. I am losing my freedom.”
Sometimes a man just fears committing to the wrong woman.
Another man explained expectations: “Expectations are like overtime at work; the first time you do it, it is appreciated, the second time it is expected. When you woo a woman, you take her out weekly, when you marry her, she expects it.” Many men have told me they resent the fact that the wives are no longer the girls they dated, because wives expect more. Perhaps the husbands are no longer the men they dated either? Becoming a husband actually entails giving up bachelorhood.
One man said men only get married and settle down because they enjoy the comfort of it. Someone tends to them. Their laundry is sorted, there are groceries in the cupboard and food on the table. Of course, he conceded, the husband does his part too. He checks her car’s tyres, mows the lawn and such. Marriage is purely the dual comfort zone that a relationship moves into. “Also, when you date, you have to work hard. When you are married you can let go a little and you are off the hook. You know she won’t leave if you relax. A girlfriend may just leave if you grow lax.” So marriage is the space where we can all grow fat and lax?
What I noticed about men’s description of marriage is the almost absolute lack of mention of romance. Men need seduction, women need romance. Maintain the balance and we have a win-win situation. One man advised: “Keep him lusting for you and he will provide the romance.”
Why do some men marry brainless chicks?
When a man asks a woman to marry him, he is acknowledging that he respects her intelligence and independent autonomous ability to make one of the most important decisions of her adult life. Yet some men tend to think the moment he puts that ring on her finger, somehow it causes a lobotomy to her cerebral cortex and she is incapable of
making decisions, or not even worthy of having an opinion on the decisions he makes for her? Some men really treat their wives as brainless chattel. Some men assume the moment he marries her, he inherits a right to condescending behaviour.
The majority of men concur they dislike a yes-and-amen girl who agrees with him all the time, yet the moment she differs from him and voices her opinion, he calls her opinionated? Men explain they like a woman who voices her own opinion as long as it is not done vociferously and as long as she can still acknowledge his point of view and does not tell him he is wrong. He is still going to act on his conviction. When she continuously differs from him on every single topic, he begins to wonder if they have anything in common and whether it is time to move on. Then she is opinionated.
A mature woman does not expect her husband or partner to report his every move to her. However it would be considerate of him if he communicates his movements to her, just as he would appreciate her informing him of her whereabouts.
It is not checking up or restricting, it is called communication and caring. If he behaves secretively, he may be the one sowing seeds of suspicion. Just tell her.
Marriage is a partnership where both parties do things they don’t feel like doing every day. When they were single they could skip doing the dishes now and then, go to bed at 7pm if they were really tired, feed the dog from the plate or wear jocks two days in a row. When married they have to consider another person sharing a very intimate space.
Sometimes it is fine in a marriage just to say: “I don’t feel like cooking tonight.” And it’s wonderful if the partner says: “That’s ok, we’ll just get take-aways.” Sometimes it’s fine to say: “Can we do the dishes tomorrow morning, let’s just go to bed early tonight.” Two adults can compromise and accommodate each other. But things change once they have children. You can’t say: “Let’s just skip bathing the baby tonight and go to bed early.” Manning-up to the task, walking the extra mile and really committing to doing something you don’t feel like doing, increases tenfold when there are children, but apparently the rewards are ten times better too. So they say.
A man has a plan
Men are much more pragmatic than romantic when it comes to marriage. Men also think and plan much further ahead than what women give them credit for. Men just don’t always tell women about these plans. They first want to see if the plans work out and surprise her, rather than disappoint her when they do not achieve what they had planned. The majority of men have a plan – many plans.
Our engineer finally landed a job in Dubai. Very excitedly, he informed his girlfriend. She was happy for him, but not elated. He a sked her what was wrong.“What about us?” she asked. “You are coming along of course,” he answered.
“Arab countries do not allow men and women to live together, you know this,” she said. “You are coming along as my wife then.” “I am not going to marry you under these circumstances,” she said. He left. Later he asked her again why she would not marry him. “You only want to marry me because it is convenient for you and it is unlawful to live together.” “No,” he answered, “I planned to ask you to marry me anyway in a year’s time when I had saved up enough money. Getting the job in Dubai, just brought it forward. It is more practical this way.” She had no idea that he had plans to marry her. She said yes.