Yesterday, while mailing one of our books out to a customer, the post master was curious about the name on our return address, “Creating Ideal Relationships, LLC.” He was friendly as well as inquisitive, so I told him my husband and I are relationship coaches. Immediately, he shared with me that earlier in the day a friend of his had come in to mail something and the friend’s response to the question, “Did you have a good Christmas?” was, “My wife divorced me after 27 years.”
Not even knowing the gentleman in question, I was stunned and said, “Ouch! That’s hurtful. That’s a lifetime without a greater number of years on the other side to create a new relationship and new lifetime.” The post master agreed and admitted he wanted to call the wife a name reserved for female dogs and certain kinds of women. We agreed that it was probably more complicated than that.
Why Leave After So Many Years Invested In Marriage?
I thought about that man today whose wife left him over the holidays after 27 years of marriage. I’ve known other men whose wives left them at about the 27 year mark. With that many years invested in a marriage and a family, it seems like such a waste to call it quits. Surely, what’s wrong after 27 years was wrong when you were both much younger and had a better chance of finding better love and a new life.
Wondering what it was all about, my mind flashed on something that may answer the question. I believe that many marriages that end after that many years invested do so because the differences between the sexes were never accepted, much less embraced.
If that is true, you have the opportunity to make a difference for yourself before you invest that much time in a marriage, finding yourself dumped when you’re nearing or past sixty years old. And if you’ve already invested a life time in a relationship, it may not be too late to provide the preventive care that embracing the differences between the sexes can provide!
It is so easy, as time goes by and the honeymoon fades, to fall into ruts of resentment and impatience over the differences between the sexes. It shows up in internal conversations that go something like the following.
“He’s always trying to fix what isn’t broken. Why can’t he just listen to me?”
“I can’t stand her nagging me.”
“It’s always all about him. He interrupts because he’s not listening. He never pays attention to what I’m feeling or what might be in my best interest in any given situation. He’s such a child!”
“She talks so much. I’ve learned how to tune her out and pretend to listen without getting caught. I don’t even feel guilty about it anymore.”
“I know how I want it done. The way I do it works best. Why can’t he just do what I want him to do, the way I want it done, when I want it done?”
“You try to give a woman advice, really help her, and all of sudden you’re her worst enemy. I cannot win with this woman!”
All these conversations and more are clues that you carry resentment for your spouse and they are all about the differences between the sexes.
Understanding The Difference Between Men And Women
You can’t change the opposite sex to be more like you. It doesn’t matter how much of a tom boy and one of the guys she was when you first fell in love. It doesn’t matter how easy it was to be with her in the beginning. It doesn’t matter how thoughtful he was, available to listen for hours when you were first falling in love. Those personality traits that made him or her seem like a twin were anomalies born of the rush of passion, lust, and attraction that accompany falling in love.
The thing you can’t do anything about is rewire his or her brain to be more like yours. Truth be told, you wouldn’t want to. The wiring differences between the male and female brain play a large part in creating the chemistry that makes us attracted to each other in the first place. Without the differences, there is no sexual tension, there are no babies made, life doesn’t continue!
What you can do something about is your attitude towards those differences. The men and women who remain happy in the relationship throughout their lives, appreciate the differences between them, continuing to find each other fascinating mysteries with so much left to be discovered.
There are lots of books on the subject of the differences between men and women and how it’s a brain thing that dates back to before the beginning of history. You can learn how these differences worked perfectly 5,000 years ago but don’t work nearly as well here in 2010.
The really short version is men are focused. That’s why it often seems to be “all about him!” He sees everything in relation to himself and his surroundings. That focus is meant to protect you from immediate harm. Women are big picture folk. That’s why she nags, because she can see further into the future, anticipating consequences that he is truly blind to. The ability to see the big picture also makes her thoughtful, caring, and nurturing.
The bottom line is this. If you have any conversations about what’s wrong with men or what’s wrong with women, whether it is with your friends or inside your head, it means you harbor resentment that can grow into a poison, resulting in an abrupt and bitter end to your relationship in the near or distant future. Those conversations are also opportunities to wake up, learning to accept and embrace the differences between you. Best of luck to you to do so!