I guess I’m really no relationship advice expert. I am, after all, single—albeit happily single, but I do have a failed marriage, and I’m well aware of my mistakes during that time. Since I do know where I both went wrong and right in my marriage, and since time has given me the experience of witnessing so many marriages of close friends, I think I have a good idea of what one really needs to do and avoid in a relationship, at least most of the time. When I read this article fed to me via Facebook telling us women how horrible we all are at keeping our marriages together, I nearly projectile vomited.
To be honest, the article does have strands of truth running through its bull-crap, but what it mostly does is degrade women, and perpetuate a gender divide.
The five things this article lists describe how women are single-handedly ruining their marriages. All of them are old ideas men have used to stereotype women for decades, and although the author does make a caveat stating that it also applies to men, the article largely misses the point about maintaining a relationship.
Complaints in the article range from a woman spending all her husband’s hard earned money to withholding physical affection. It’s true, these things will cause marital problems, but only the fifth item on the list gets to the root of relationship woes: “Not speaking his language,” which I translate to: Breakdown in communication.
See, there are usually reasons people fail to make a significant other a priority, refuse sexual affection, and find solace in things like binge shopping. Those reasons vary from a person being narcissistic, to being stressed, all the way to seeking revenge for being wronged. What we can’t overlook is that if the partners could come together and talk about these issues, they might be resolved.
It seems to me what this author really wants to articulate isn’t about one gender wronging the other as much as it’s about a breakdown in relationships completely. There is a common thread, and that thread does not include having specific genitals.
I could certainly harp on the fact that speaking about a woman wanting to live above her family’s means, being indignant about a budget, and not thanking her husband for “what he works hard every day to provide” smacks of outdated gender roles, because this isn’t 1950 anymore. Women work just as hard or even harder than men and are increasingly becoming the breadwinners. Don’t even get me started on the stereotype of women “withholding affection,” but I need to put my ranty pants aside, and address this in a way that benefits everyone involved—including nontraditional relationships, because HELLO! Not all relationships are male/female.
Relationships are tough, man. They require a great deal of diplomacy and negotiation. I can’t count the number of times I sacrificed my desires to keep my marriage alive, and it still failed. Of course, that brings me full circle back to why relationships fail. My ex-husband and I knew exactly two forms of communication: Scream or get naked. That did not make for a good marriage.
I love that the internet is so full of information. One tap of a key, and a person can find practically anything they need to know. On the other hand, there is so much misinformation it’s mind boggling. For a new couple starting out, or for a couple struggling to hold their relationship together, advice like what is in the aforementioned article could be devastating.
Personally, if I were to write an article offering relationship advice, number one would be “Don’t treat each other like shit,” and number two would say “Listen to each other.” Among a few other things like “Know who you’re getting involved with before you commit,” those are the real secrets to a successful relationship.
We won’t go into why I’m single. My mother speculates about that enough for all of us. Truth of the matter is, when it’s time for me to take the plunge again, I will not be my 18 year old self, allowing bad advice that places the burden of a successful relationship on only my shoulders and faults my non-conformity into outdated gender stereotypes if the relationship fails, to be my guide. Rather, I’ll learn from past mistakes, and use some common sense. Not all men behave certain way, and neither do all women. We’re all a little to blame for our failed relationships.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!