In Praise of Male-Female Differences

In Praise of Male-Female Differences

First off: this quote is a bit unfair.  There are certainly men who simply aren’t chatty, no matter who they are talking to.  And there are wives who are good at expressing their opinions in ways that are engaging and helpful and insightful and their husbands are totally fine.  What this quote is talking about are those situations that get a little off kilter. One of the biggest complaints of wives I hear is their husband’s won’t talk to them.  One of the biggest complaints of husbands is their wives are never happy. The more he feels she’s complaining, the more criticized he feels, the more criticized he feels, the more he quits talking, the more disconnected she feels and around and around they go.  This is why marital counseling can help: with a third person there he or she can help you get outside yourselves and look down on this pattern. You can look at it objectively and instead of blaming each other you can start to figure things out. Or, you can divorce each other, marry somebody else, and do the same thing.

The average wife speaks two to ten times more words a day than her husband.  Certainly, there are exceptions to this “average” where some guys are more talkative than their wives.  But let’s look at the more common pattern:

When they are dating these two differences are appealing.  He likes it that she gabs about these simple things and helps him see things he’s never seen.  He thinks it’s cute. She likes how she feels secure in his strong demeanor, that there’s something about his quietness that feels reassuring, even safe.  But human nature is such that every good personality trait has a bad, opposite personality trait to go along with it: He’s pleasantly shy, but he’s rude; she’s engaging, but she’s obnoxious.  When you marry each other you have to take the good with the bad.

A lady once told me she was divorcing her husband because he wouldn’t talk to her.  I knew her husband and pointed out to her that her husband was a pretty shy guy. She said, “I don’t care. I’ll find a guy who will talk to me.”  I feel sorry for that guy, if she ever found him.

Whether we talk or don’t talk, a little mutual respect would be good.  We could all probably use a little of that. It’s good men might not have to talk about everything, but work hard even when it’d be easy to give up.  It’s good women like to explain what they are feeling and work out what’s rattling around in their heads. Some wisdom and solutions can float to the top.  We can connect around silence or talking. We can disconnect around silence or talking. Neither is good or bad. The attitude you bring to the table, whether you are him or her, might be the more determining factor.

The Power of Long-Term Savings

The Power of Long-Term Savings

People who are married do much better financially than single, divorced or cohabiting couples.  The principle difference?

Married people are both in and if they are wise will compare notes and help each other NOT spend foolishly and save a bit here and there and if they do so, over time, it adds up.  A bunch.  A lot.  A ton. (Obviously there are foolish married people when it comes to money.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t stop being foolish and turn the corner and start being wise.)

Single people have no one to save for so they tend to just spend everything. A wise single person has an accountability partner to talk to about money issues so the single person doesn’t just go spend money on a whim.  Married people have each other to talk to (HOPEFULLY!  If you don’t come see us!).  It’s difficult for single people because they don’t have a built in accountability person to talk to about money.

Divorce is the number one cause of poverty in our country so that’s a bust financially, more than most people who fantasize about divorce realize.  It’s not just cutting your income in half or whatever your spouse made or dividing up the retirement.  It’s taking an atom bomb and blowing the whole thing up.  Most divorcees end up in ungodly amounts of debt that can take years (decades?) to dig out of.

Cohabiting couples nearly all (I haven’t seen an exception.  It’s a question I ask if the couple doesn’t say) keep their money separate so they live financially as single roommates (one of the key reasons cohabiting sucks to high heaven.  The next biggest reason is they are setting their patterns for life when they cohabit and when they marry most will still keep their money separate, living as single people even though they are called “married” now.  This is a sad, sad, deal.).

I came across the article below about compound interest this morning and thought I’d share it with you.  Take a look, be encouraged, and have a chat with your spouse how you can spur each other on to kick that debt out the window and start building your savings.  ASAP!!

Here’s the article: Investing: Money Plus (Lots of) Time Equals Excitement

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

9 Things Saying Sorry To Your Children Teaches Them

Even kids understand this. How many of us have told our kids to go apologize? What normally is their reaction?  They look down, speak softly, put their hand in their mouth, or, if they are like my boy, just says sorry really fast and proceeds kicking the ball, while the child he hurt is still lying on the ground crying.

For good parents, this is where we step in. We tell them to look up, speak louder, take their hands out of their month, and at lest attempt to mean it. We do this because we understand as parents that cultivating character in our children is important.

This type of training is important but has limits. What is also needed is for them to see humility and remorse in those that they look up to—i.e., you.

That’s right. If you want your children to learn how to say sorry and really mean it, then you are going to have to model it for them. And one of the ways to model humility and remorse is by you saying sorry to them when you’ve wronged them.

Here are 9 things your children learn when you say sorry:

1) That adults make mistakes

2) There is a standard of morality above adults (you are also held accountable)

3) Teaches them to own up to their faults

4) Teaches them the way to say sorry

5) Teach them that authority can’t do whatever they please—i.e., might doesn’t equal right

6) Models humility to them

7) Teaches them not to cover up their wrong doings

8) Teaches them to not be stubborn when wrong

9) Teaches them how to forgive

So here’s the question that you need to ask yourself: when is the last time you apologized to your kids? And by the way, buying or spoiling your kids after you do something wrong is not an apology. You’re just teaching your children they can be bought. Saying you’re sorry is an apology. It’s fine to take your children out for ice cream, but first say your sorry and reconcile with them. Then ice cream is a joy you both can partake in.

It doesn’t matter the age either. Saying sorry to a teenager teaches him or her that adults are not necessarily hypocrites.

Did you yell when you didn’t have too? Apologize.

Where you too harsh? Apologize.

Where you lazy today and ignored your kids? Apologize.

Did you not follow through with a promise? Apologize.

We all want our kids to be humble and empathic to others. Start modeling this behavior yourself.

The Power of Long-Term Savings

The Power of an Affair to Delude: The Foolishness of Bobby Petrino

Really, I’m a pretty nice guy and I’m not too mean.  I’ll even let a bunch of stuff slide if I think we can get somewhere from a different route.  But I’m having a hard time just sitting back and let Coach Petrino’s explanation of his affair fall without first tossing it in the air a bit.

If you remember the coach was caught having an affair with a lady 26 years younger than him (Jessica Dorrell), whom he hired.  It all came out after he got into a motorcycle accident with her on the back and tried to hide it.  He ended up losing his job over the lies and deception, not to say the hurt he caused his wife and four children and his fellow coaches, players and the Razorback Nation.

The explanation of his affair from Petrino I’d like to comment on was released to the Associated Press and reported in USA Today after a request using the Freedom of Information Act and included the notes Razorback Athletic Director Jeff Long kept while he questioned Petrino after Long found out about Petrino’s coverup.   The USA Today reported:

Petrino told his boss that his affair with Dorrell began with a kiss last fall and ended sometime in February when the two decided to simply be friends.

Let’s clear this up:  Affairs don’t start with a kiss.  And they don’t end when two affairees decide to just be friends.

Affairs start long before the kiss.  It started the first time he felt his heart crossing a line in his thoughts about Dorrell or the first time she crossed a line in how she treated him and he did not tell his wife about it.

When I ask my clients, when did it cross “the line,” most know immediately what I mean.  Either Patino or Dorrell may have crossed a line.

Actually, you don’t want to even be close to the line.  You don’t play Frisbee right next to the edge of a cliff.  You play far far away.

This is one of the benefits of being married.  You can talk with each other about crazy people that are seeking to cross lines with you and the temptations you face at your work and life and the two of you can talk about how to handle these crazy people and the temptations and you can keep your dignity instead of crossing a line, because the vultures are circling looking for an opportunity to come down and pluck out your eyes.

In therapy I liken the temptation to have an affair to a slippery slide.  Every step up the ladder is one more decision closer to an affair going beyond emotional to sexual.  By the time you are kissing your affairee, you are more than likely dancing on the top of the slide.  For most there have been dozens of decisions they didn’t talk about with their spouse, all of which are secrets.  The power of the secret is the secret and delusion reigns.  The fact that Petrino says his affair began with a kiss is a sign of that delusion.

The second mistake Petrino made was thinking if we stopped the affair sexually, we can remain friends.

Ah, no.  If someone led you down the road to an affair (a devastating road strewn with the bodies of your loved ones, friends, colleagues and your dignity trampled underfoot), the last thing you are going to want to do is chum around with that person.  No.  That would be, like, you know…..stupid.  The two of you have proven that together you can’t respect boundaries so, no, we aren’t going to tempt each other to cross boundaries again.  The affairee needs to be off your list, off your contacts, off your cell phone, off your email list and all the old emails and gifts and pictures and mementos destroyed.  We are done with that lifestyle.  Done.  Done and Done.  If your affairee refuses to honor these boundaries, you change your email and/or cell phone number.  We don’t mess around with this stuff.

If they still refuse, you may have to call the police.

I’m not kidding.

The reason we don’t mess around with this stuff is not to appease your spouse who is understandably pretty upset by this if you’ve had the courage to face it with him or her.  That’s a byproduct.  No.  The reason you don’t mess around with it is because you don’t want to tempt yourself again.  Affairs that are over sometimes do heat up again.  Keep all the logs off the fire.  The embers are still there.

Telling your spouse about all these things before you end up going up the slide is the way to go.  Then you’d never go down the slide in the first place!

If you are on the slide and don’t know what to do, give us a call.  We’ll help you face these things so you can deal with it and learn from it and have the courage to face your spouse honestly, so that, over time, you can get your life, marriage and dignity back.

The Power of Long-Term Savings

In Marriage: Secrets = Lies; In Cohabitation: Secrets = Well, Ahh….

Your mom might care, but it’s your life and if you want to drink yourself silly or stay out all hours of the night or play video games til your fingers are sore or spend all your money and the money from next year and the decade after that on purses or 4-wheelers, or buy lotto tickets or sleep all hours of the day or live in a trash heap, nobody gives a crap.

If you are married a secret equals a lie.  What?  That’s right.  There is no room for a secret in marriage.  Period.  Why’s that?  When you get married (you know, a wedding where you publically declare your fidelity to each other til death us do part and you tell that to God, to the Church, to the State, to your relatives, to your friends, to the dog (a dog snuck in the church when Mary Sue and I got married 36 years ago and slept under a pew), to each other and to your very self and later when you literally become one sexually, at that moment God unites you into a new family, a new social organism with a skin around the both of you called a boundary and this boundary is primarily a boundary of protection and He instills in you the Mother Bear Instinct, whereby you protect each other because you are both:

IN.

That’s right.  You might not agree on everything, but you let each other know what’s going on, where you are, what you are spending or thinking of spending, how work went, how you are feeling about your life, your future, your dreams, worries, and  concerns.

YOU LET EACH OTHER KNOW.

BECAUSE YOU ARE BOTH IN.

AND WHAT YOU DO AFFECTS WHAT YOUR PARTNER DOES OR THINKS OR WORRIES ABOUT OR HOPES OR FEARS.  AND LIKEWISE FOR YOUR SPOUSE, SO YOU

LET EACH OTHER KNOW.

It’s a little worrisome for some at first, because, you know, these newly married folk may have lived single-y for a decade or more and they are used to doing whatever whenever and not answering to anybody so marriage might seem a tad cumbersome.  It might take a while to get used to.  It can be irritating to hear one’s spouse say, “What’s the deal with that?”  Over time, you learn how to say these things, how to bring them up, what to bring up, what to let slide, how to express it so  your husband or wife can actually hear it.  It would be good to figure that out.  It takes about 15 years.  Minimum.  Some people need help figuring that out, so they come see me and we talk about how to actually be a husband and a wife.  A lot of people have no idea.

The average divorce is at 7.2 years, so most people never even ever discover the major reason they got married, which was to help them both grow up.  It takes a little humility to be married.

Humility would be good.  You don’t know everything.  Some of your habits are bad, even destructive, and if you keep doing them you are literally going to die, get fired, get arrested or eventually live under a bridge (“The rats were particularly friendly today.”).

Your husband or wife has an opinion about you systematically destroying yourself so more than likely your spouse might say something about it here and there and if you are wife or a husband, over time, the seeds your spouse planted will bear fruit and you will slowly overcome these little “foxes” (as the Song of Song calls them) and become a better person and couple.

OVER TIME.

If you have enough humility to realize you don’t know everything.  If you have the finesse to convey your insights to your spouse without a club.

Those are two big IFS.

Since nobody wants to be told what to do (when they are 13) and nobody has any people skills (when they are 13), most people who divorce do so at the emotional maturity of a 13-year old and since divorce is so traumatic they stay at this same emotional level the rest of their lives.

If you aren’t open to some input in your first marriage you more than likely won’t be open to input on your second (or third, etc.)

If you don’t know how to convey your opinion without a little suger in your first marriage you more than likely won’t have clue in your second.

Divorce does NOT enhance either of these maturing, life-enhancing skills.  If anything it makes a person more self-absorbed and self-protective and angry and offputting and defensive and guarded and suspicious because who wants to be hurt again?

My prayer for you, if you divorced or your spouse divorced you, is that you will bow before the Father and pray He will take away your bitterness of heart and that he would instill in you a forgiving and humble spirit, so that someday you may actually be able to put aside childish things.

That would be a good thing.

If you think about it, people who divorce at 7.2 years (the average marriage length at divorce) are newlyweds, if you consider you are supposed to be married to that one person the rest of your life.

Let’s see: 7.2 divided by 62 years (how long my mom and dad are currently married and still counting) equals: 11.6 percent.

I am totally convinced that the vast majority (all?) of folk who divorce do so without ever discovering the art of being a husband or wife and are basically divorcing their roommate.  They divorce still not knowing how to be a husband or a wife so then they do the roommate thing all over again in the next marriage or they tire of marriage altogether (so they think), see it as a burden and a snare, and live serially with a number of other would be partners, roommates with benefits, if you know what I mean.

NOT friends with benefits.  There’s no way you can be friends with someone you are sexual with if they are not your husband or wife.  This so-called “partner” (what should this person be called?) will slowly become a stench and you will eventually end up hating him, and the hatred with which you hate him will be stronger than the love with which you loved him, to quote a verse in the Bible that tells a similar story from 3000 years ago, I kid you not.  I’m not making this stuff up.

Which brings us to secrets in cohabiting.  If there are no secrets if you are single and therefore no lies, because you have no one to lie to and if in marriage if your secrets equal a lie, because you both depend upon each other for your present, your future and your well being, than in cohabiting secrets equal?  What?

I’ll tell you how a secret feels in cohabiting:  It feels like a lie.  But the problem is this other person is not your husband or wife and you have no claim upon her and she has no claim upon you.  Technically you are both single.  Even though you are living with each other, bought a house together, even had a kid or two together, if you are not married, you are at most business partners.

Which is the same relationship divorced people have. Their relationship is strictly business.  In cohabiting your relationship is strictly business.  You both pay half of the rent, right?  That’s a business relationship.  Roommates.

I had a roommate from college.  I never told him where I was going, who I was with, what I was thinking, fearing, worried or concerned about.  Neither did he.  He could care less.  Roommates.  And with roommates, that’s fine.

But with cohabitation how can you ever be more than roommates or a business relationship?  Sex just makes you in bondage to each other.  It’s, ahhh, immoral, for one thing.  But you tell each other it’s fine and wipe your mouths and tell yourselves you’ve done nothing wrong.  You can tell yourself whatever you want.  It means nothing.  You aren’t married.  No one made a public pronouncement you are both in.  You are both using each other.  Love does not seek it’s own and that’s all both of you do: seek your own.  Sex outside of marriage is not only immoral, it’s an act of selfishness and self-promotion and soon the whole business will grow wearisome and after a while you will grow tired of each other, kids or no kids, and you will break up and go your separate ways because he was so this or that or she was so this or that and everyone will understand and you will do it again because you are lonely and the next person will have an opinion one day and you will scoff at him, too, because you ain’t gonna take no crap.  You ain’t gonna settle.  You don’t want no one telling you what to do.  That’s why you never married in the first place, right?

Cohabiting people don’t make very good husbands and wives because it takes a little humility and honesty and integrity to be a wife or a husband and these two cohabiting people are just getting what both of them want from each other right now for nothing and screw integrity (no pun intended), I can do what I want, propriety be damned.  And now all of a sudden you marry and now all of a sudden you are going to be humble enough to tell the truth and be honest and make right decisions going forward?  How is your new spouse that you just sucked the life out of while you were living together without marriage supposed to ever trust you in that?

And now your cohabiting person (what do you call this person?  Roommate?  Potential wife or husband? Likely engagee?  Girlfriend or boyfriend would be insulting.  You just had a kid with this person.  The father of my child?  The body on the other side of the bed?) tells you a lie and you freak and he says to you, “You are not my wife.  I can do what I want.  It’s none of your business,” and other insulting things and you realize you have NO SAY.  She’s not your wife, buddy.  Your opinion ain’t worth squat.

So in cohabiting: secrets =????

No wonder cohabiting folk break up in spades.  Romantic feelings of love, so strong in the beginning, quickly wane without the structure of marriage to protect it and nurture it.

One time I asked a young couple who lived together what prevented them from getting married.  They both laughed and slapped their knees while both of them said in near unison:

“Oh, we’re not mature enough to do that.”

Ain’t that the truth.