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Men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus

25 May 2015, 09:24

Nairobi - Ladies! Did you know you’re unknowingly destroying your husband and killing your marriage?

That’s right, if you’ve noticed some relationship problems in your marriage the chances are you are at fault.

At least, that’s what a million articles like this one would have you believe, and I’m sick of it.

In this particular article, the author lists five ways wives are unknowingly wreaking havoc on their marriages. It’s supposed to be OK, because the site the article appears on has a similar article for men.

The only problem? These articles combined are a recipe for disaster. I should know. I used to buy into this bullshit, and guess how that turned out.

Let me do a breakdown for you, explaining what’s wrong with articles like these, as well as what would be (and has been for me) much better advice.

In the article directed at wives, ladies are gently chided for spending vast amounts of money on their "lavish desires". As for husbands, they’re firmly reminded that, whether or not their wives work as well, it is their responsibility to provide for their families as men.

Here’s a revolutionary thought: All adults in a relationship are responsible to both pull their weight financially and to be careful with their spending no matter what gender they happen to be.

Do your finances together. You are both equally responsible for the money you have to spend together, and for how you spend it.

While it’s unlikely that you both will be earning exactly the same amount, try to make sure you both feel that you are putting in an equal and fair amount of work, and are receiving an equal and fair amount of reward.

It can be difficult, because you’ll probably need to take into consideration a lot more than simple numbers, and you probably won’t be able to split everything from chores to how much money you bring in exactly down the middle, but it’s worth it.

Stop believing that men and women can never understand each other.

In the articles, wives are accused of making their husbands unhappy by selfishly telling them about problems that their husbands can’t fix. It’s advised that they try to be more optimistic instead.

Husbands, meanwhile, are told that their wives sometimes need a shoulder to cry on rather than being told just to get over things.

Also read: Men are the cause of menopause, study claims

Later, women are scolded for loving to drop subtle hints rather than being direct with their husbands when something’s on their minds. Men, meanwhile, are reminded that women need to be told that they are loved.

While encouraging people in a relationship to be honest and direct with each other is always a good thing, all adults in a relationship are, in fact, responsible for open and honest communication with each other. They’re also responsible to demand open and honest communication from each other.

Instead of learning little tricks on how to keep your husband or wife happy based on gender stereotypes, learn how to listen to and communicate with each other.

It doesn’t matter how many books or articles you read explaining how men or women’s minds work. If you never actually talk to your partner, you’re never going to understand how he or she thinks.

All this "he feels frustrated if he can’t help her fix the problem she’s complaining about while she just wants him to be a shoulder to cry on" nonsense could be sorted out a lot sooner if "he" and "she" just told each other these things.

Your partner is not a puzzle. Stop trying to figure him or her out. Just ask.

Stop acting like only men want sex and only women want affection.

Both of the articles tell men and women not to withhold physical affection from each other, but wives are told not to withhold sex, while husbands are told not to withhold hugs and cuddles.

The problem with advice like this is it carries with it the unspoken but very clear implication that sex is something men want and affection is something women want.

This is one of the worst prejudices you can have if you’re in a relationship.

Learn that you and your partner want and need both affection and sex.

Let me be clear here, and I’ve said this before: Sex is not something you exchange for affection. Affection is not something you exchange for sex. Both need to be things both of you want and share with each other.

One of the worst things you can do to your partner is assume they’re not nearly as interested in affection or sex as you are.

One of the worst things you can do to yourself is expect yourself to only care about what society says you care about.

Men are not heartless sexbots. Women are not asexual emotional vampires. There is absolutely no need to inflict these stereotypes onto each other or yourself.

Stop acting like men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Both articles have advice about putting your husband or wife first, but of course the one aimed at women cautions them against putting their "children, mom, best friends, talents, or career" in front of their husbands, while the one directed at men reminds them that, while their work is important, their wives matter too.

And that’s the thing right there. Throughout these articles, men are treated as one-dimensional beings, with simple understanding, simple desires, and a simple purpose.

Women, meanwhile, are treated as multi-faceted, almost over-complicated, but relied on to look after all those things men can’t really care about because they’re too busy working.

It’s unfair to both.

Men and women are humans from Earth.

I’m not saying men and women are all the same. Instead, I’m saying all men are not the same and all women are not the same. I’m saying people tend to be different to each other, for many different reasons from the society and culture they grow up in to the experiences they’ve had throughout life.

Any successful relationship with another person relies on learning what they are like, how they think and feel, and for them learning the same about you. If you’re worried your relationship is breaking, clear, honest communication is your only hope.

If you keep on viewing each other as "other", some alien species that needs you to follow some weird guide you found on the Internet to be happy, you’ll never be joined as one.

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- Women24


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