LIVING WITH WOMEN
 

GOOD HUSBANDS


GOOD ENOUGH


A man can never be good enough

for a woman with a private belief

that he could make her secure

if only he lived up to her wishes


Any more than any woman

can ever make a man happy

who doesn't yet know she is not

a goddess like he once thought

his mother was before he gave up

on growing up himself


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GOOD HUSBAND DANGERS


Beware of becoming a "good husband" in the popular sense of this term, especially as oft intended by wives with unconscious tongue-in-cheek. Such "good husbands" may indeed succeed in reducing verbal controversies and open confrontations, but at cost of deeper long range divisions, including cloaked or unconscious disrespect by one they are trying hard to please. Such marriages may look good to others, but "behind closed doors" deeper problems can be festering.

The error is, of course, by implication rather than definition. Certainly a husband may wisely aspire to be "good" literally–that is, to live up to his best knowledge of a man's role in this honored social institution. But all too often, "good" male knowledge about masculinity is repressed in favor of female definitions based in conscious thinking rather than instinctive femininity.

When so, what males know "in our bones" is denied in awareness in favor of what females "say they want," namely, compliant, obedient, supportive, "nice," "polite," "well behaved," "well dressed," men who are also clean and "helpful around the house." All this, of course, without "getting under foot" or otherwise interfering with a wife's freedoms.

The problem lies below levels of common female consciousness where the above noted definitions of "good" are correctly applicable. At issue is the ancient male conundrum, "What does a woman really want?" Easily a husband may know what a wife says and/or implies she wants from him. Many of these are even stated in marriage vows; but, unfortunately for us word-oriented guys, expressed "wants" may conceal deeper desires, including real, cross-gender needs.

Well recognizing my presumptions in speculating about what any woman "really wants," I chance to state what I have deducted so far, namely, a "real man," not a boy in a grown up suit who is still trying to please his mother unconsciously cloaked in a wife's body. When such a well intentioned husband tries his hardest to live up to a wife's, for instance, cleanliness standards, et al, he may eventually realize that even his best efforts tend to backfire in time. In terms of an old saying, "the harder he tries, the behinder he gets."

Not that wives with "good husbands" consciously "mean to have" these predictable reactions, such as, deep resentments about wimpy, "pussy whipped," underfoot, "nice boy" husbands, who they can easily manage, even run over; but rather, as I analyze, their own deeper feminine needs, not yet consciously embraced, are disturbingly reflected in the "mirrors" of such compliant males.

In my understanding, a "good woman" needs and deeply desires a "good man" for a truly successful relationship–to be sharply distinguished from one characterized by tenure alone. Certainly there are many surface advantages to "staying married at all costs," for example, "for sake of the kids," or long term financial security; but these "reasons" may be small compensation for missing primal satisfactions needed for a healthy cross-gender relationship–such as, marriage.

I italicized woman and man in the above paragraph to imply something more than anatomical differences, especially as may be cloaked by "nice," good boy males and often resentful females.

The ancient drama of replication, where instincts and equipment essential for species survival are complementary, namely, for reception and penetration ("being soft" and "getting hard"), may be a good mirror for glimpsing later-to-evolve psychological needs in cross-gender relationships far removed from baby-making alone–that is, in typical marriages where issues other than child-rearing are concerned.

In either case, my presumptuous conclusions about what women really want, often in contrast to what they say (and may even believe), are threefold: sex, safety, and security.


First, most primally, rarely, and less consciously, a good woman needs a man for good sex–that is, strong sperm and a firm "hard" for a few impregnations, plus possible-but-biologically-unnecessary occasional personal pleasures (where a "slow hand" may be ever more necessary than a "fast hard").

Next, she needs his strength for protection and safety in this dangerous world, given her lesser physical powers and greater involvement in vulnerable child-rearing concerns.

Then and overall, she needs security–comfortable circumstances for rearing offspring to maturity, and herself beyond child bearing years. In practice, security needs include "enough" money (wealth), housing, and, ideally, male dependability for the long haul.


When either or all of these primal needs go unmet, as with a "good-but-weak husband," a wife may predictably react, often unconsciously, with covert resistance, deep resentment, and even overt rejection. She may, for example, with unconscious wisdom, "play hard to get, to get it hard (to get)" in quest of good sex.

Then, well beyond the bedroom, she may criticize, complain, and otherwise "put down" on her compliant "good husband" in an unconscious attempt to force him to "stand up" like a really good man would–that is, to respond to her deeper needs (as noted above) rather than continually currying her favors like a son might do with his mother.

Unaware husbands may try hard and do their best to "be good," only to discover in time that their best is "not good enough," perhaps because they had missed the deeper point of a wife's "put downs."

Finally, longer term and often more hidden resentments may arise when a wife's  primal security needs seem threatened, as when a husband is undependable ("can't be counted on") or otherwise acts irresponsibly (e.g., not "bringing home enough bacon" or giving threatening attentions to other females).

Even deeper than these noted physical needs for a healthy cross-gender relationship–at least as I have learned so far, is a psychological situation which plays out in each of them, namely, a balance of powers, especially on emotional/spiritual levels. Nothing, it seems to me, is more primally crucial to a successful male/female relationship than "keeping the power balanced," with neither partner able to "get the best" of the other–that is, to physically and/or emotionally overwhelm the other, to "do the other in" insofar is personal integrity is concerned.

When either partner is easily able to overcome the other, to literally "put them down" spiritually, then a primary basis for any successful male/female relationship is gone (or never existed). I focus here on the male side of this requirement, but the same is true with females who cannot "stand up" to chauvinistic males without "being done in."

Point: psychological success in a male/female relationship is predicated on the embraced ability of each partner to maintain personal integrity in the presence of the other–that is, to keep power relatively balanced in all situations. Certainly there are specific events when gender-specific powers of one are more needed and operative than those of the other partner; but even then, acceding to pragmatic powers of the other is wisely done with personal integrity.

For example, "taking directions" in such instances is done without "giving in"–as occurs when integrity is sacrificed.

Bottom line: For living well with a woman, a man may wisely beware of becoming a "good husband" who negates his own manhood in the process, leaving a woman married to a wimp rather than a "good man" who is capable and willing to respond to her deeper needs as a truly good woman.


ADVICE


Convey security without fostering dependence; act kingly, but be careful about "doing too much for," or unwittingly catering to female fantasies of being a "Rescuing Prince" for all her needs.


Give the appearance of "unqualified acceptance"--everyone's infantile dream, but always with recognized private limitations. Don't tell your limits and thereby invite rebellion or give power away. Instead, know your limits without showing them.


"Take care of" a woman when feasible and as best you can, but be careful of undermining her individuality with illusions of more security than you can in truth ever guarantee. Don't promise, even by implication, more than you can actually give (e.g., the moon or everlasting love, etc.).


BEING NICE BACKFIRES

OR

LET 'EM BITCH


Initially, and soon after falling in love, "being nice" to/for a woman works; later, however, if not sooner, such well-intended, self-denying efforts predictably backfire, defeating their desired purposes.

Reason: Past a woman's real need for a few sperm and limited security for baby making and raising kids, her deeper desires for individuation and openly using her own left brain, may be delayed, if not thwarted by a man's obsequious attempts to please her by "being nice."

His "help," for instance "around the house," beyond a few strength-requiring deeds, such as, openings stuck jar lids and taking out the trash, may be appreciated on the surface, but evoke deeper frustrations, because men seldom know and rarely learn "how to do it right." Often a woman, if respectful, will have to come along behind such a man, and, for instance, fix the bed or load the dishwasher "right"--to her higher levels of discrimination.

Or, as related to security, even though she may pragmatically need a man's money and protection, especially while busy keeping house and raising children, her deeper needs for individuation ("supporting herself"), along with personal freedoms inherent in economic independence, may reflect in resentment about "needing him," or "having to be taken care of."

Even more relevantly, using her good left brain for creative thinking, rather than rationalizing and making up reasons to explain herself to him, may go undeveloped as she "gives in" to his limited thinking "for sake of peace" and "not making him mad."

So long as a man "does her thinking for her"–as in, making critical decisions about spending money, jobs, and long range plans, or she relies on his limited logic, she is failing to develop her own left brain reasoning capacities (e.g., for prioritizing values). And, I think, brains, like selves, "cry out," as it were, for wholeness, that is, full activation and usage.


Rather than supporting and unwittingly undermining a female's deeper desires to be a whole person instead of "just a housewife" or "the little woman (man's 'helpmate')" by well-intended niceness–and thereby delaying if not preventing her natural individuation into personhood, a wiser man (should there ever be one) might opt for "letting her bitch" rather than continually trying to placate her by "being nice" after the honeymoon is over.

Sometimes, after registering her dissatisfactions in words–or "bitching" as we left brainers may hear it, a woman may quickly move on to developing aspects of herself suppressed when she tries to "be nice" in return.

All this, of course, if a man stays present, listening to predictable complaints, without falling for them ("taking them personally").


The deeper and even less recognized issue in "being nice" is "loss of balls"–that is, embraced masculinity in the relationship. Unwittingly, while "trying to be nice" to women, men may, in effect, blindly sacrifice our symbolic balls, becoming "Yes men ('pussy whipped')," and thereby losing much of what attracts females to begin with.

No matter how hard a woman may try, usually unconsciously, I think, to dominate a man ("castrate him")--and such efforts are often gargantuan and consistent, something significant to every successful cross gender relationship is lost, to whatever degree she succeeds. A woman cannot help, I conclude, but deeply resent a man she can reduce to a wimp.

Best gender relationships remain as men with women, not wimps with witches.


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