When two people meet and the timing is right, they like each other and enjoy being together. One thing leads to the other, and Cupid strikes. Officially or secretly, the duo call themselves a couple, and are visibly and self-admittedly mad about each other.
As time passes and the relation grows old, novelty and enthusiasm fades. Complaints are commonplace as are silly, exaggerated arguments and meaningless yet terminal fights. Each thinks he/she has made more sacrifices for the relation, and each confesses of having unfulfilled expectations. What was initially endearing and adorable now becomes irritating and appalling. “I am not at fault, and even if I am, my mistake is pardonable as compared to yours” or “How COULD you do that?!!” or “You should be more understanding and tolerant” dominate daily conversation, that ranges from 2-200 calls a day. Sometimes pleasant and mushy, sometimes not so nice, and at times bordering on the civil.
Having been through a lengthy love-hate relationship myself, as well as several deep friendships, I know exactly how this works. How frustrating and depressing such cycles can be. How things get blown up, and the girl feels “you’re not the man I loved” while the man frets over the futility of any kind of justification or constructive effort.
We tend to think it’s over, that the love has died. But refer the brilliant tale about fires and relationships that I shared with you last August, and you’ll be crammed with hope and exultation.
And even as I ponder over relationships, the surrounding annoyance and disappointment, the setting is just right for what I found while rummaging through Abba’s recently updated bookshelf – Why Mars and Venus Collide by John Gray. The book says it is an “essential companion to the multi-million-copy bestseller Men are from Mars and Women from Venus” by Allan and Barbara Pease. (You may recall I’ve written a post in October on their sequel Why Men won’t listen and Women can’t read maps)
So, the current book essentially talks about how the genders cope differently with stress, and how this awareness can improve relationships. As I was flicking the pages, I caught these interesting lines:
- Women today are so tired and stressed, they too want a happy wife to greet them at home.
- A man loses interest when he sees that he can’t continue to meet a woman’s expectations.
- The problem is never just our partner but our own inability to cope with stress.
- If a man forgets a woman’s need or a woman remembers his mistakes, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other.
- It is inconceivable to women that a man can effortlessly sit and not think about things.
- When a woman is not getting what she needs, she feels an urge to give more.
- And remember the post I wrote on shopping and dressing? Here’s one related to that – Men shopping with their partners may feel exhausted as if they are wandering in the dessert!
Then there was this entire section on what mistakes men and women make in a fight. For example, women keep comparing the man to another or to how he was in the past, and they expect the man to make them feel good instead of just doing it on their own. (Jeez! I didn’t know this was a gender thing! I thought it was a case with just me! I am SO glad!!) A man, on the other hand, justifies his actions by proving her interpretation wrong, and corrects her priorities instead of supporting her values.
Towards the end of the book is this interesting part on “”In the Beginning and Later”. Some fragments:
Men : Before – He plans dates / After – He waits to find out what she wants to do.
Women : Before – She is delighted by his plans / After – She seeks to improve on his plans.
Men : Before – He showers her with love and affection / After – He becomes engrossed in his work.
Women : Before – She happily gives her love and support / After – When her support is not reciprocated, she feels taken for granted and resentful.
Whew! Looks like I’ve summarized the entire paperback in this post! Hope it puts the zing back in your relationships!