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Relationship Matters


What do Men and Women Want From Each Other?

What do Men and Women Want From Each Other?

I had the good fortune to celebrate a wedding anniversary and birthday last weekend. The former was a quarter of a century and twelve moons as a dear friend so beautifully put it in a card and the latter was five decades and a half. While the numbers are a little unnerving, they are certainly something to be very proud of.

What is even more significant to me is that I can still remember the emotions I felt on the day I got married and comparing it to how I feel today about my spouse, the only difference is in the depth, quality and understanding, all of which are much richer, heightened and of a superior quality. I find this indeed something to celebrate. People tend to ask couples who have been married for long periods what their secrets are. I always find it an odd question because by virtue of the word secret, that would suggest it is not something you want to share. Besides, one couple’s successful ingredients may not work for another couple.

We were further blessed to have our wonderful children, close family and dear friends share this happy time with us. As the evening wore on and we got more relaxed and happier (if you know what I mean), the conversations also got more interesting and polarised. There were different camps, some spoke about politics and the state of the nation. While others held dialogue about family life and the difficulties in making ends meet. The camp I belonged (which I considered the most interesting), entered into that murky, complex discourse about how men and women relate.

The two most important questions asked relating to the dynamics between the genders are what do men want from women and what do women want from men? It’s one thing to know the answer and make a decision how to respond to it, however it’s a whole different ball game as it’s mostly the case not to have a clue!

When we strip away all the confusion and complexities of 21st century living where gender roles are not so defined, sometimes tipping the balance to the point of non recognition, there have been and will continue to be some basic primordial impulses and needs between the sexes.

Women primarily want a strong man to protect them, to provide strong genes to father their offspring. Men want a woman with child bearing hips to produce their babies and they want their women to be a mother to the children and to them.

Fast forward to modern day living where we would all agree the story and attitudes are somewhat different. Although some argue that the intentions and needs are really still the same and that is why relations are in so much chaos because coupled are trying to go against the grain and are fighting their basic nature. I am being somewhat of a coward here and putting all cases of the argument in this article, trying not to pitch my tent on any particular side (I will probably fail in this attempt).

Women now appear to be demanding a whole new set of conditions, which focus on economics, sexual fulfilment or liberation, equality, excitement, risks. Therein lies a lot of the upsets observed in relationships today. On the other hand, men appear to have lost the plot and don’t seem to have a clue to what exactly they want or seem to feel they have endless options, as a result they seem unable to focus on maintaining a stable home.

One of the young gentlemen in my camp said he happened to know a lot of young women who were completely clueless about what it meant to be a wife. Naturally I was intrigued and enquired what his opinion was of what a wife was meant to be. He said he knew of young wives who had no concept of compromise, responsibility and self restraint .He said he had heard women saying they didn’t cook and didn’t see anything wrong with that. He said a lot of the women entered into marriage completely naive about the institution and with the belief that if there were problems in the marriage, they would just up and leave, or the man would have to deal with it.

One of the women (of an older generation), in the discussion said in her opinion she felt men had the emotions of children (regardless of their ages). She said she felt men were ‘easily led, were infantile in their thought process, and seemed to believe that ‘all that glitters was gold’. Asking her to expand on this, she went on to say that she felt that it didn’t take much to convince a man that the ‘grass was greener elsewhere and that they were gullible,’ which was why a lot of men ended up in compromising and messy situations they cannot extricate themselves from.

Another male discussant said his pet peeve was wives withholding sex from their husbands as a means of controlling or punishing them, not fighting fair. He said he felt this was a big mistake women made and it usually did not have the desired effect they thought it would. He said to him it was a deep rejection and left him feeling hurt much longer after the quarrel is over. I’m not sure women should agree to physical intimacy if they are not feeling emotionally good themselves. Women need emotional intimacy in order to make love, while men express emotional intimacy through sex. He also went on to say that he felt involving other person in their marriage was humiliating and felt it was a form of betrayal.

What is evident from these discussions is that men and women are wired differently. A case in point is when a guy calls up his mates and invites them for a pint later on. This is exactly what he means and they hook up for a drink later in the day. When a woman arranges to meet with her girlfriends there is less spontaneity, it takes lots of forward planning (sometimes weeks), and emails (sometimes group emails). Then again she has many more things to consider before she can get away. The challenge for both sexes is to continuously attempt to understand the other’s perspective, compromise when you can’t make head or tail of it and possibly the most important is to talk to each other. You can find out a lot when you just ask. I invite comments and suggestions on this topic. I’m sure readers have a lot to say on it.

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