Men who like women understand women and don’t need them to change very much. Women who like men understand men and don’t need them to change very much. This lack of need or even desire for your partner to make changes is a primary reason for marital happiness.
Carin Rubenstein, author of The Superior Wife Syndrome, says that two out of three marriages suffer from a set up between men and women where the wives feel as though it’s all up to them because they can do it all so much better. And the men let them do it all, giving up and giving in to the women’s superiority. Those marriages are not happy unions because the wives feel like martyrs and the husbands experience themselves as inadequate.
Do Lower Expectations Mean A Happier Marriage?
In the third of marriages that don’t suffer from this syndrome, Carin has observed that the wives in those marriages have lower expectations of their husbands than do the superior wives. Expectations such as how perfect the house is, when and how the lawn is maintained, when and how the family cars are serviced and cleaned, how the little children in the family are fed, bathed, and put to bed, etc. Rather than a lowering of expectations around the family’s morals or values, it has to do with the details of life that are aggravated by the differences between the sexes.
Joseph and I recently interviewed Carin Rubenstein for our podcast. As a result, we wound up in an on-air conversation about how understanding I am about the coffee rings I frequently find on the kitchen counter. In our house, Joseph is the only coffee drinker, by the way.
Later, a listener fired off a bunch of questions about why can’t a man just finally learn to clean off the counter? Although she was used to listening to us talk about the benefits of taking 100% responsibility for the results that show up in a relationship, as well as hearing us discuss the natural differences between the sexes, it frustrates her no end for men to be sloppy housekeepers and the women to have to either nag them about it, surrender to it, or clean up after them. It turns out this is a major source of conversation among her and her friends. They’re all suffering from it!
We talked with her about men we know who are excellent housekeepers but emotionally absent from their wives and children. That no one is perfect and there is always the necessity for compromise and letting go. With our perspective of taking 100% responsibility for the results of your relationships, a natural question for us to ask her was, “Why have you created a string of romantic relationships with men who were all sloppy housekeepers; and, if that matters to you, are you ready to create a different kind of man with which to fall in love?”
You Create Your Own Reality
As creator of your own reality, if you bear a grudge in general against the opposite sex, the universe will conspire to prove you correct and only bring men and women into your life who will confirm your worst beliefs about them! Which brings us back to my first paragraph, men and women who like the opposite sex understand the opposite sex and don’t need them to change very much. This very much affects living with the opposite sex.
Women who like men know that men think differently than they do and they don’t usually lose patience with that fact. Men are more focused than women. They like communication to get to the bottom line quickly. Whether they are good or sloppy housekeepers, there are always things they just don’t see because their focus is centralized, whereas women naturally see a bigger picture.
Men live in the present moment. Women anticipate the future. And so when a snow storm hits at Christmas and he’s tracking in snow, grit, and mud to free up the driveway and take care of downed branches, he isn’t thinking about Christmas coming and the need to have the house cleaned and picked up for the sake of the holidays and company coming. After all that hard work, he wants to relax with the paper and call it a day.
How Superior Wife Syndrome Can Ruin Your Relationship
If his woman has the superior wife syndrome, it makes her nuts that he can’t read her mind, understand what’s required to get comfortably through the holidays, anticipate her needs, the children’s needs, and the soon to be company’s needs. If his marriage is one of the happy third not suffering from this syndrome, his wife appreciates all the hard work going into freeing the driveway of snow and the yard of branches and, frankly, happily works around him.
She’ll ask for a helping hand here and there but not with an attitude that, were it put into words, would sound something like, “Listen, you jerk. There’s a lot to get done around here, can’t you see that?” That martyred mind-set is the purview of superior wives whose husbands have given up because they can neither read their wives’ minds nor think like women think. It just isn’t in their DNA. They do not have access to it.
Happily married people understand the differences between the sexes and either accept it and get used to it or they celebrate those differences. Either way, their expectations, compared to the folks suffering from the superior wife syndrome, are lower. I’d rather be happy than have expectations met that will really only satisfy my desire to be right and not contribute to the health or happiness of the relationship. How about you?