One of my favorite tweets that I retweeted to my followers recently was this one by Women’s Humor (for those of you on Twitter, follow her, she’s hilarious): “Disney gave me unrealistic expectations about men.” The reasons why I retweeted it was (a) it’s funny, and (b) it’s so true.
Like most girls, I too grew up with a diet of Hollywood-laden romantic comedies and fairytale storybooks of happily ever after. You sort of grow throughout your teens and twenties expecting to meet Prince Charming who will sweep you off your feet. In other words, as my sister said, you sort of assume you will get “nothing less than fireworks”. With the bar set so high, is it any wonder we sometimes get disappointed with the men that we decide to marry? And even worse, we don’t realize that they may be equally disappointed with us?
I read in a book once that a major problem is that wives and husbands have a completely different language and definition when it comes to love. Women define love as having her husband tell her how much he loves her (the more often the better) and behaving in a romantic and loving manner at all times. The problem is, men don’t think those two things should matter at all because they’re already loving their ladies the way they deem fit. And that is: working hard, keeping her safe and making the best decisions for her and the family.
If a normal day in a marriage consists of a tired husband coming home from work (usually to a wife who is also tired from her daily work or chores), eating his dinner, watching TV and then turning in to sleep, all the while saying very little to his wife, it is highly likely the wife will think (after hundreds of the same said normal day in a row) that he doesn’t love her. At least not the way she would like it. She would like him to come home, give her a kiss, talk to her about his day, ask about her day (and actually listen and respond, too).
So she nags or picks on him for the little things he did – say, not washing the dishes or forgetting to take out the garbage. She may also unhelpfully add fuel to the fire by saying something negative like “You never want to talk to me anymore” or “You just don’t care”. The husband would probably roll his eyes, march off to bed without doing the things she asked him to do (in rebellion) and feel like this is not the dream wife he thought he had married. He wanted someone who respects him and doesn’t talk down to him since he’s the leader of the household.
The solution seems obvious – just put the two together in a room for an hour and force them to talk to each other about their feelings and expectations, how they don’t match and what can be done to bridge the gap. Unfortunately this is usually easier said than done. For anyone out there who is having this problem, I don’t have the solutions, but I do know one thing about men, and they can’t be forced to sit down and talk about something that they don’t feel like they wanna talk about. What you can do is just to create a good environment where he feels like you’re really respecting him as a husband, and just maybe, one day he will open up to you.
What I’ve learned in this process of tarik tali in my own marriage is that you have to be patient, be respectful, realize that your husband really is a good man and that he really does love you – even if it is in his own way (and usually much more than you know). And just hold on to that. If not, you may be falling in danger of expecting too much from your man – when actually, you already have your Prince Charming who loves you the way you are.