A woman must know that her man cares
With rare exceptions, I have found that specific rules create more problems than they solve. Being a husband is not about being a warden.
There are some times and places where taking a stand is very important. At other times, it does not much matter.
While leadership and accompanying rules are important in those occasional storms that beset any marriage, micromanagement may prove counterproductive in seasons of less stress. Unless he is an absolute fool, no man thinks that he is going to be in charge of everything all of the time. It does not happen with children. It most certainly never happens with wives.
Beneath all the hocus-pocus, what women want in a man is someone able to put them first. Sometimes it may amount to no more than holding and listening. At other times, it may involve helping her unload a ton of emotional baggage. Still, at other times, it may be to keep her from becoming her own worst enemy.
Being a husband is more art than science. That which husbands do is difficult to measure and quantify. While I am sure someone will try, to my knowledge, no one has yet written the Idiot's Guide to Being a Husband. (Being a groom is the easy part.)
Being a husband is about knowing one woman well rather than a thousand women superficially – the secret being that to know one woman well is to understand the thousand. To have slept with a hundred women is no better than to have read the first chapter of a hundred books and never finished a single one. It is like being born a hundred times without living a single life.
Every woman is unique. All are mysterious. Yet, all are transparent. At their core, they are very much the same. Understanding a woman requires more common sense than gnostic-style knowledge. That about which a woman speaks is not always what is really on her mind.
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A husband must have patience and empathy as well as a firm hand. It is on the job training. Women do test . It is normal. It is natural. It is a self-protection mechanism for women to find out whether they are – as if questioning a magic mirror – still “the fairest (most desirable, most important) in the land.”
Men lose women because they fail to pay them attention. The trick is to know what type of attention a woman requires at a particular moment. Seldom will a woman tell a man her specific needs. She expects him to figure that out for himself – and will come to despise him if he does not do so!
It is not the rules that matter so much as the woman whom they are designed to protect. Rules change. For example, because of where we once lived, I required my wife to carry a large aluminum-shell flashlight if she walked out to check the mailbox at night or walked across the street to visit neighbors on that side of the house.
(The roadside mailbox was different side of the corner lot than the driveway and necessitated walking a tree-laden lawn in an urban environment where the streetlights did not illuminate. Even I carried a flashlight – which can be a devastating weapon – with me.)
I once spanked my wife because she failed to take a flashlight with her after dark. What she did not want me to know about could have hurt her.
Of course, she would not have told me if I did not ask. I happened to ask because she inadvertently told me she went over the see the neighbors for a moment and, not seeing it, I wondered if she had forgotten the flashlight. She said that she did not think she needed it. That is typical.
Now, we live in a different place. Carrying a flashlight for self-protection is not longer important. The rule itself was never important. Getting the mail was not that important. Visiting the neighbors was important to her. Her safety, however, was very important to me. I cared.
Whether by rules or less formal means, a woman must know that a man cares. In the end, that is all that matters.
The Inside Knowledge
This was a very thoughtful post and what I completely appreciated was that Noone knows that there are times that we (women) want you to know what we want, even when it may not be particularly clear to us.
Gary does not have 'rules' all over the map. He has guidelines and some of those are less flexible than others. But Gary is very watchful of how I behave and what I seem to want or need. He did that this week and this story is in complete support of what I am responding to in Noone's post.
Gary had been traveling for a longer than normal time. And in his absence, I began to crave change. So in my own way trying to live within the framework, I picked decorating as my change. But I did way more than I should have without him. I moved rugs, I put bookcases together, I went all over town picking things up and carrying them home. In itself not 'bad' things. But things that are much better left to someone who doesn't have physical limitations that I plow right through. Now because I was able to accomplish what I did and was very pleased with my results, my mind took a turn. I wondered if perhaps I am just as happy being independent. Maybe Gary needn't put all those limits in place. Am I growing apart?? Or is this a good thing I am doing. But it did bring confusion and nothing like we have been doing for years.
Fortunately Gary can read my mind and as he came and we settled and connected he was well aware of my feelings. He asked me to verbalize them as well. Funny how I kept faltering when I was trying to get to the meat of my feelings. When I was questioning my independence and being happy about it. But in true Gary style, he listened, he probed and he accepted.
Then he took me into the bedroom, spoke quietly to me, kissed me took off my clothes made sure I was comfortable and then he spanked me! Not a hard relentless spanking, but more of a hard determined 'you belong to me and I can do this' spanking. And as a result, he connected me to him and all those confusing thoughts drifted away and once again I knew my place in the scheme of it all.
So really it isn't about rules at all. It's about connection, understanding and mutual love and caring. If limits come as a result of that, then on occasion, we must have something called a rule.
All women much the same?
If you read only the first chapter of most books, you will find that they are very different. Similarly, I do not believe that all women are the same 'at the core' any more than are all men. People are all different. You cannot assume that because you know one woman that means you know them all.
My husband, for instance, knows me well enough that he can pick out the curtains of my choice from a catalogue without me saying a word about them, but a lot of other women would not want those curtains anywhere near them. Likewise, he couldn't tell what other, more intimate needs other women might have simply by going by what I like.
As George Bernard Shaw said "Don't do unto others as you would they should do unto you, their tastes may not be the same as yours". You can't just assume that what your woman wants is what all women want.
A man who cares!!!
Noone, this is a wonderful article! It seems that you have a certain knack for that. Since beginning the relationship, my wife and I have really enjoyed reading your posts. I don't know how many people have read your story about how you and your wife's relationship began. We have! My wife and I consider you a pioneer of this type of relationship.
Pushing at the walls, I am sure happens in every relationship. From the beginning, it has been a dynamic in my wife's and my relationship. I think that women push at the walls for many different reasons. As you say it is a natural.
When the leader of the relationship has the undeniable control and sets what my wife and I call guidelines, if I do not stay consistent and reinforce these guidelines, that's when we experience this.
This is not to say that following these or not following these guidelines causes pushing at the walls and that it isn't connecting, because I believe that the pushing at the walls is probably the most connecting dynamic in our relationship.
Your sentence about every woman being unique I find very intriguing, as I have only had one woman to learn and understand from the start, and there is certainly no comparing her habits and being to any other.
Setting guidelines for the purpose of surrounding and protecting a woman is a very good way to let the woman know that you are present and in control of the relationship. It also leads to connection which I feel is the main ingredient in a successful relationship.