Tag Archives: respect

Why are Women Less Happy than Men in Marriage?

Men are generally happier in their marriages than women are. A survey of men taken by the Chicago Sun-Times showed 78 percent of men would remarry their wives. Another survey by Women’s Day Magazine showed only half of women would choose to remarry their husbands.

Why do you there is such a wide disparity? Some may say it’s because women do more of the work at home and increasingly bring in a second income for the family. Some experts believe that men experience fulfillment more easily than women. Women, on the other hand, have high expectations and romantic inclinations.

Mark Gungor, speaker and author of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage writes that he used to put the blame on men’s shoulders for thoughtless or insensitive. However, he says women file for 80 percent of all divorces and are usually the ones frustrated with the relationship, the disappointed ones. He writes that women’s unrealistic expectations are often responsible for divorce, not inept men.

I’ll say I agree up to a point. Just because a man is happy with the situation doesn’t mean that it’s a positive environment for his wife. However, I will agree that I as a wife have struggled with having unrealistic expectations, and I know other wives do as well. Despite having excellent husbands, we sometimes wish life were a little more romantic. And, truth be told, we wish our husbands could read our minds and know (and fulfill) our deepest longings.

I also agree that women look to their husband to meet too many of their needs, especially with family often living at a distance. While generations ago, women lived and worked together and supported one another, today’s families are much more isolated. So, we expect our husbands to be our confidants, our lovers, our best friends, our emotional supports, and more. We also want them to be good providers and share the workload at home.

Our spouse shouldn’t be expected to meet all of our needs, and he or she cannot be our source of hope or happiness.

“A successful marriage is possible only when two complete and happy people get together for the purpose of building a life together. They do not need the other to be truly happy, complete or emotionally whole,” says Gungor.

This is where I wholeheartedly agree. Yes, men need to feel respected, and women need to feel loved. We need to express our needs and our feelings to our spouse, but we also need to be responsible for creating our own fulfilled and joy-filled lives.

For a better perspective on this, read What if Today Were Your Last Day With Your Spouse; Patty Newbold learns the hard way about dropping unnecessary expectations. Also, check out What Do You Expect From Your Marriage and Mate, especially if you feel life and marriage for you hasn’t been entirely fair lately for you.

LINKS:
Read from the Washington Post about how delaying divorce can save marriages, and how new legislation may be coming to your state. It’s a very interesting proposal by two well-qualified individuals.

Photo by Photostock courtesty of freedigitalphotos.net

What Women and Men Want

In much of my research about marriage, a couple of words pop up frequently—love and respect. I recently heard a discussion that gave these concepts some fresh understanding. That is: Men primarily desire respect, and women primarily desire love. If a man doesn’t feel respected, it is difficult for him to provide love. If a woman doesn’t feel loved, it is difficult for her to provide respect.

So, there’s the rub. You’re telling your friends that your husband is not fulfilling your needs for love and affection, but you find yourself exasperated and rolling your eyes when he opens his mouth to speak to you. (Marriage researcher Dr. Gottman talks about that eye rolling stage as a dreadful sign.) Guess, what? He won’t feel respected and will be virtually unable to provide the love you desire.

Honestly, I knew a man who used to yell at his family, “I demand respect!” It’s almost laughable today, but rather sad when you think of it. Of course he didn’t get the respect he wanted. The way to earn respect is to provide for the needs of your family in a loving way. Still, a mature wife goes into marriage not telling her husband to earn her respect, but rather offering it to him because it’s a necessary ingredient in a happy marriage.

Respect is a gift that is given not because the husband deserves it, but because the wife has decided she will provide it unconditionally. She will respect him whether he fails or succeeds, when he is unemployed or at the height of a successful career. The wife does not have to endorse all of his behavior, nor does she have to agree with him on every matter. However, she disagrees in a respectful manner (as does he).

I’ll bet if you found 10  men who felt truly respected at home, you would find 10 men who are bending over backwards to make their wives happy. If you don’t believe me, do your best to make your man feel respected and see what happens. Don’t be subtle; tell him outright that you respect him and why. Compliment him to other people, especially when he is within earshot. (One of my interviewees says she can always tell the unhappy couples when they go out, because they are tearing one another down. She says she and her husband work to build one another up to others, “because if I don’t, who will?”)

Now men, you are not off the hook. Men should make a similar decision upon marrying the woman of their dreams that they will love her and always treat her lovingly as an unconditional gift. Your wife doesn’t earn your love by taking care of your children, cooking a nice meal and making sure the dry cleaning is picked up. If husbands behave faithfully (let’s not look for any positive role models in the news today!) and lovingly, they are sowing the seeds of lasting joy in their relationships. Do you think the men who treat their wives with such care and love benefit from a happier homes and better love lives? Try it out and see.

This is not the time for blame. Start with yourself.

Tell us, how does your wife make you feel respected? How does your husband make you feel loved? When you increase the love and respect you give, what happens to your mate?