I’ve made no secret of the fact that my husband and I are often at odds with each other but I am not alarmed because I note that men in general, everywhere, are at odds with most women (except the gay ones – they totally understand us, all of us!) We seem to hit the same peaks at different times. Men are at their sexual peak in their late teens and early twenties, women don’t peak until their thirties (I think this is where God is messing with us)
Women are hot, men are always cold. Women love to shop, men don’t (I suspect they could be missing a vital chromosome here) We think with our hearts, they think with……ok, we all know what they think with but let’s pretend it’s.….their ‘brains’. Could men and women be any further apart? It’s a wonder we get along at all. So what is the attraction? Could it really be that opposites really do gravitate to each other? (Or are we just gluttons for punishment?)
I used to stress over trying to find things in common with my husband. I thought that’s what a good marriage was supposed to be about, lots of ‘together’ time. When we dated he couldn’t get enough of me, romantic evenings, dinner, long walks, and endless talking, about nothing and everything. He was enamored of me and couldn’t get enough ‘together’ time.
When we were married he couldn’t wait to get away, anywhere, golf with the boys, hockey practice, working late, even pretending to clean out the garage (like he’d recognize anything in there) Anything to get away from a tired wife and three screaming kids. No more did we walk for the sake of walking, dinner, usually leftovers, was purely functional, and when we talked it was about the kids or money, because both caused us typical stress. (this is the point when a lot of marriages break up) Times were tough but we survived, and I’m not sure if we did because we actually knew how to move past this stage or if we were just oblivious and reluctant to explore other options.
But then the kids grew up and moved out and suddenly he was ‘interested’ again. I wasn’t so tired anymore. I had time to dress a little nicer, plan more exotic meals, I ventured out more, met people, tried new things,,,,,and he came to realize that over the years I had become more interesting to be with. I was now comfortable in my own skin; confident, and I was ok with my own company …..and it no longer mattered if he wanted to spend time with me because I was ok with being with me. And this is when he started to make the effort to rejuvenate those early days before we married.
Suddenly a romantic dinner was ‘on the menu’ (ok, I cooked everything but he did the dishes) and he managed to muster up the energy to hike with me periodically (ok, he complained incessantly but when I told him he could bring his 9 iron he seemed to brighten up a little) It’s all about compromise (And women seem to be the ones to make it) I came to realize that we had come full circle,,,,and survived. Relationships aren’t easy. Compromise isn’t easy, especially when you’re stressed with mortgages, children, jobs, and aging parents. Life… isn’t easy.
Now that we’re retired we’ve finally found our groove. I live for the rare opportunities to be alone; when he takes a shower, bathroom breaks, and the not as frequent as I’d like ‘lunch with the boys’. He doesn’t walk with me (can’t keep up) and I’m ok with that because it only matters that he wants to. (Oddly enough he struggles to get off the couch without a lot of groaning but boy tell him you booked a tee time for 5am and he leaps out of bed like Superman at 4am to polish his clubs) He has ‘rediscovered’ his libido (thanks to a host of vitamins and medications) but it no longer matters cause thanks to menopause, I’ve lost mine, so we just watch tv…..and we’re ok with that too. I still love to shop, he’s just learned to complain about it less (Finally, compromise! Was that so hard?) And I am no longer hot, YAY! Sadly he now is, or rather he craves it, and we fight over the thermostat because I refuse to live in a nursing home environment (aka, petri dish)
We are so very different and the divide has never seemed greater because over the span of a lifetime we both grew in different directions, as all relationships do. The only difference is in how you accept it or rather ‘if’ you accept it. People grow and change. Relationships are work and it’s hard. Marriage, is murder. And if you can survive any one of the above you will have fulfilled your destiny ( And potentially spared the life of an unwitting male….. because the alternative is to kill him)