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December 30, 2008

A Wee Thought Experiment

In Part I, I made the argument that any man who is married to a good woman and wants a happy marriage ought to accommodate her by talking with her as often as possible. (Women, however, must understand that getting the man to acknowledge she is right should not necessarily be the climactic end to every conversation, though of course it is extremely enjoyable for the female of the species.)

In Part II, I advance the argument that a husband should do so even when he is not in the mood for a bunch of pointless chit-chat. I am talking about mood, not about times of emotional distress, tiredness or illness.

Why?

Here are eight reasons why a man should not allow “needing time to hear himself think” or “not being in the mood for all this yakking” to determine whether he refuses to engage in regular, wholesome marital banter.

1. Most men, if they wait until they are in the mood before talking with their wives, will wait a month or more until they next have a complete and deeply satisfying conversation. When most women are young, and for some older women, spontaneously getting in the mood for conversations with the man they love easily occurs. But most men, for myriad reasons -- male nature, repressed childhood trauma, not feeling talkative, preoccupation with some problem, fatigue after at work, March Madness, just not being interested in what their wife has to say – feel nothing comparable to a woman’s “out of nowhere,” (and seemingly constant) desire for conversation.

Especially when they could doing something really rewarding. Like flipping through all 237 cable channels in quick succession with the remote control.

2. Why would a loving, wise man allow mood to determine whether or not he gives his wife one of the most important expressions of love he can show her? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?

What if your wife woke up one day and announced that she was not in the mood to clean the house, feed the kids, or go to work? If this happened a few times a year, any husband would feel sympathy for his hardworking wife. But what if this happened as often as many husbands tune their wives out or refuse to talk altogether? Most men would gradually stop respecting and therefore eventually stop loving such a woman.

What woman would love a man who was so governed by feelings and moods that he allowed them to determine whether he would do something as important as go to work? Why do we assume it is terribly irresponsible for a woman to refuse to care for her children, clean the house, or go to work because she is “not in the mood”, but a man has a perfect right to refuse to talk because he is not in the mood? Why?

This brings us to the next reasons.

3. The baby boom generation elevated feelings to a status higher than codes of behavior. In determining how one ought to act, feelings, not some code higher than one’s feelings, became decisive: “No shoulds, no oughts.” In the case of talking, therefore, the only right time for a husband to talk to his wife is when he feels like it. He should never “have to” talk to her. But marriage and life are filled with “shoulds.”

4. Thus, in the past generation we have witnessed the demise of the concept of obligation in personal relations. We have been nurtured in a culture of rights, not a culture of obligations. To many men, especially the best educated, the notion that a man owes his wife the emotional intimacy afforded by conversation seems like an absurd intrusion on his personal space, if not something downright immoral. They have been taught that giving in to such illogical demands will cause other men to conclude that he is “whipped.” Of course, the very fact that he can simply walk away renders the “whipped” argument absurd. A man is not “whipped” simply because he loves his wife enough to try to satisfy her need for emotional intimacy. He is simply wise enough to recognize that marriages based on mutual obligations -- as opposed to rights alone and certainly as opposed to moods -- are likely to be the best marriages.

5. Partially in response to the historical denigration of women’s worth, since the 1960s there has been a compensating overemphasis on women and their feelings. Understandably, this was followed by a backlash from men who resented the sudden change in status. As a consequence, if a woman is in the mood for talking and her husband is not, it is popular to argue that men must resist the PC urge to please their wives, lest the woman become a Feminazi and come to wear the pants in the family. As women are essentially irrational, the woman’s silly emotions should never be viewed as having the same importance as a man’s entirely logical and reasonable needs.

6. Yet another outgrowth of ’60s thinking is the notion that it is “hypocritical” or wrong in some other way to act contrary to one’s basic instincts. One should always act, post-’60s theory teaches, consistent with one’s animal nature. Therefore, many men believe that it is both pointless and somehow “unnatural” to have conversations with their wives when they are not in the mood to. Of course, most men never regard it as hypocritical (indeed, they rightly regard it as admirable) to accommodate their boss’s, co-worker’s or parent’s or friend’s needs - even when they are not in the mood to do so. They do what is right in those cases, rather than what their mood dictates. Why not apply this attitude to talking with one’s wife? Given how important communication is to most wives, isn’t the payoff -- a happier, more communicative, and loving wife and a happier home -- worth it?

7. Many contemporary men have unrealistic and rigid ideas about the need for communication: It should always be mutually desired and equally satisfying or one should not engage in it. Therefore, if a couple engages in talking when she wants it and he does not, the act becomes “empty”, “meaningless” “emasculating” and “mechanical.” Now, ideally, every time a husband and wife talk, they would equally desire it and equally enjoy it. But, given the different lingual natures of women and women, this cannot always be the case. If it is sex a man seeks -- and he has every reason to seek it -- it would help him to realize how much more exciting his wife and his marriage are likely to be if she is not regularly denied talking, even of the boring and non-essential variety.

8. In the rest of life, not just in marital talking, it is almost always a poor idea to allow feelings or mood to determine one’s behavior. Far wiser is to use behavior to shape one’s feelings. Act happy no matter what your mood and you will feel happier. Act loving and you will feel more loving. Act religious, no matter how deep your religious doubts, and you will feel more religious. Act generous even if you have a selfish nature, and you will end with a more a generous nature. With regard to virtually anything in life that is good for us, if we wait until we are in the mood to do it, we will wait too long.

The best solution to the problem of a man not being in the mood to talk is so simple that many men, after thinking about it, react with profound regret that they had not thought of it earlier in their marriage. As one bright and attractive man in his 50s ruefully said to me, “Had I known this while I was married, she would never have divorced me.”

That solution is for a husband who loves his wife -- if he doesn’t love her, mood is not the problem -- to be guided by his mind, not his mood, in deciding whether to deny his wife the emotional intimacy she needs. If his wife is a decent woman -- if she is not, nothing written here applies -- a man will be rewarded many times over outside the kitchen (and if his woman is smart, in the bedroom as well) with a happy, open, grateful, loving, and faithful wife. That is a prospect that should get any rational man into the talking mood more often.

Posted by Cassandra at December 30, 2008 02:59 PM

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Comments

Approaching it from another angle, are we? :-)

I liked your presentation better in Getting along with Women 101. Great solution, but the problem as you pointed out before is in assuming we think and respond alike. I figured that part out quite a while ago. I do like your essays on the subject because they give me some idea of how and why women (or at least one woman) think the way they do. One thing that I've noticed is that it really helps to have interests and activities in common - that gives us something to talk about that isn't quite the emotional mine field relationship issues can be. Being able to have a conversation that's just fun makes the serious ones much easier to open up to.

I've started a lot of comments here over the years and probably deleted 90% of them before posting since they mostly end up agreeing with you without adding much to the topic - but I'll post this one anyway.

Posted by: Pogue at December 30, 2008 03:59 PM

Actually, I started reading Prager's latest essay and it just struck me that it would make a funny parody :p

Perhaps also with a bit of a point to it, but primarily I was enjoying poking fun at both sides :)

That's a good point about common interests. You're right - it gets wearing if every conversation is deadly serious! Or laden with emotion/estrogen.

Anyway, thank you for commenting. I'm glad you did.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2008 04:16 PM

Also, thank you for telling me the other posts on this subject are at least somewhat interesting/useful, some of the time.

I am pretty self-confident, but sometimes I get very discouraged too and wonder whether I should have bothered?

So, while I don't always handle it very well when a post gets a whole lot of compliments (I don't know what to say), in general it is nice to have some idea of whether a post was a waste of time or not :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2008 04:21 PM

I'd say something, but I'm too used to not being able to get a word in edgewise at home.

However, rather than a wee thought experiment, I propose that a wee physical experiment for the gentlemen in the audience to determine who really *is* your best friend: your wife or your dog.

Lock your wife and your dog in the trunk of your car. An hour later, open it up.

Who's *happy* to see you?

*skittering for the bunker*

Posted by: BillT at December 30, 2008 04:40 PM

I suppose that I fall somewhere in between that callously neanderthal husband who doesn't listen to anything that his wife might say and that poor schlep who silently allows himself to be subjected to endless one-sided debates about the length of the new drapes.

The fact of the matter is, I really don't care. It's her house, her kids, and her everything else. I'm just a suit-wearing bobblehead doll nodding my way through life in hopes that I don't get bundled into the Goodwill bags along with the old curtains. It is abundantly clear to me that I was placed here on earth to make my wife happy, as were all 23 of my children. I see no need to examine my marital purpose further, or to question the unerring judgment of a woman who hasn't yet found cause to murder me.

Of course, I could be wrong. But, then, so have I ever been. :-)

Posted by: spd rdr at December 30, 2008 05:17 PM

OK, so maybe the exact same arguments are not so persuasive when the shoe is on the other foot. Not sure what that says, or maybe more accurately, I have no opinion :p

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2008 05:49 PM

I long ago became resigned to being responsible for everything that's gone wrong with the world since Adam gave Eve the apple in the Garden.

I know it's fiction, KtLW knows it's fiction, but it lets her get it out of her system -- and eventually she'll tell me what's really bothering her.

Posted by: BillT at December 30, 2008 05:49 PM

I don't know why she does that. It almost certainly has nothing to do with you. Some people, when they get scared, just rail against everything. Or they pick a safe target.

There are things about me that bother my husband. They have for years and unlike minor things I do, they will probably never change very much because they are part of who I am and I can't - and arguably shouldn't - change who I am just to please someone else. If I did, I'd cease being myself.

There are aspects of his personality that bug me. After 32 years together, I am pretty sure he won't change either. They're just the way he is.

So, we cut each other some slack. I still love him. I think he still loves me. He acts like he does. He seems happy to see me when he comes home from work. I hope he is, because if I ever found out I was making him miserable I think that would just about kill me.

And I would want him to be free.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 30, 2008 06:11 PM

Oh, I *know* why she does it, which is why I let her carry on. When she's scared, or upset with something over which she has no control, or with something she's done, she has to let it out, and she knows that when she's finished, I won't go all metrosexual and harrumpf out the door.

Of course, KtLW being chemically menopausal for fifteen years and physically so for eight might have a bit to do with it...

Posted by: BillT at December 30, 2008 06:23 PM

...plus, I promised.

That whole "for better or worse...in sickness and in health..." thing.

Yanno?

Posted by: BillT at December 30, 2008 06:30 PM

Or they pick a safe target.


That, right there, being the key.


2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Bill...you were the serpent???

Posted by: Sly's Wardrobe Mistress at December 30, 2008 06:42 PM

Pogue nailed it. Common interests are the key. It gives you something substantial and interesting to talk about. I happen to like art and music, so a date with a girlfriend or female friend (platonic) to see an art exhibition or go to a concert/symphony/jazz club is always enjoyable. During my last trip to Chicago, I took a female friend to the Art Institute and we talked the whole day away. I wasn't bored or defensive in the least; it was a great outing.

Now, if I had to spend the day just hearing about the 79 different moods of her cats, the length of the drapes, or the giant scroll of personal improvements I need to make to my life, then just shoot me now and end the misery. I believe the Constitution protects me from application of any cruel and unusual punishments. A quick death is all I ask for.:)

Posted by: a former european at December 31, 2008 01:39 AM

Bill...you were the serpent???

HF6...you were happy to see MacG when he opened the trunk?

I am not now and never have been a serpent, nor do I play one on TV. I *do* fly Cobras, though.

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 02:04 AM

"I am pretty self-confident, but sometimes I get very discouraged too and wonder whether I should have bothered?"

You should have bothered!

I read you almost daily and would comment more, except, as you noticed in my last comment attempt, my use of the English language tends to be barbaric.

Posted by: Russ at December 31, 2008 03:08 AM

I happen to like art and music, so a date with a girlfriend or female friend (platonic) to see an art exhibition or go to a concert/symphony/jazz club is always enjoyable. During my last trip to Chicago, I took a female friend to the Art Institute and we talked the whole day away. I wasn't bored or defensive in the least; it was a great outing.

Those are the best kind of dates.

I like to go places or see new things. It gives you something new to talk about. Sometimes I have to be nudged a bit after working all week (it is so much easier to stay home and veg) but it is always worth it. I really enjoyed traveling when my husband was in Iraq.

It gave me something to talk about when he got back, and I enjoyed hearing about the places he had been and things he saw.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 08:26 AM

...plus, I promised. That whole "for better or worse...in sickness and in health..." thing. Yanno?

Yep.

I was pretty depressed when I went to bed last night. That was nice to read. It made me feel like I'm not a complete idiot for believing in promises.

Thanks.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 08:31 AM

*sweeping extended bow with flourish of plumed cavalier's hat*

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 08:38 AM

BillT~

Do you have sons? I figure if you did, you raised them right - apple not falling far from the tree and all...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 31, 2008 09:25 AM

I'm sorry, were you saying something? I was busy seeing what was on the TV.

Oh, look. Football. How about some chili for dinner? Thanks, hon.

Would you mind getting me a coke while you're up? Oh, never mind, I see you're going out for a while. Well, have fun!

What's that? I missed it. I was trying to see if they got the first down or not. Lawyer? No, that's Ty Law. He's a cornerback, not a lawyer.

Discourse? Huh? Hon, I'm watching the game here, I don't want to get into that right now. Oh, divorce! Who's getting divorced? Wait, it's third and long again, we'll talk after the play.

Okay, now what were you saying? Hon? Where'd that damn woman go now. Never around when I want to talk about something...

Posted by: Jim Armstrong at December 31, 2008 09:30 AM

:)

I do understand why men tune us out sometimes.

Sometimes, we talk too much and don't listen enough. And sometimes, I think all those words and emotion are probably too much of an intrusion - to deal with - at the end of a long work day.

But by the same token, sometimes sex seems like one more demand on her emotions - one more situation where she's being asked to open herself up - for a woman after dealing with small children or other people's problems all day and she wants to retreat and keep something to herself, finally. I think there was a comment to this effect (rather less delicately stated) on the other thread from a mother. I have to say that even though I happen like sex and she said she did too, I can remember feeling this way at times when my kids were small. It was simple exhaustion, and being overwhelmed.

That's why I said what I said about being considerate - trying to be kind - even when you don't feel like it. It's hard, sometimes.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 09:39 AM

Do you have sons?

No kids. Right after we were married, KtLW was diagnosed with uterine tumors, and the surgery was pretty radical. It also aggravated an existing case of RSD, one of the first identified and confirmed.

Which is one of the reasons she gets upset -- she can't let go of the fact that we couldn't have kids, and blames herself for that -- and if she internalizes it, it'll sometimes kick off one of her RSD cycles. I watched that happen, and I'll take being hollered at.

Did years of counseling, looked into adoption, got all the horror stories, know all about the heavy-duty meds, know all about hormone replacement therapy, biofeedback, TENS units, nerve blocks, yadda-yadda.

It is what it is...

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 10:13 AM

Damn, Bill, I thought my respect for you was at a maximum before...

Posted by: Pogue at December 31, 2008 10:51 AM

I had to Google RSD.

I had never heard of it. Good Lord, Bill. Chronic pain is no fun. I am so lucky - during those rare episodes when I have day after day of migraines it is hard not to get down when I have so many things to do and it seems it won't end anytime soon. But I do know that it will end, and that is a huge comfort.

I always feel for people who have to deal with that every day, and wonder how they cope with it?

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 10:57 AM

2. Why would a loving, wise man allow mood to determine whether or not he gives his wife one of the most important expressions of love he can show her? What else in life, of such significance, do we allow to be governed by mood?

Was this a trick question? Why whether a wife consents to sex or not, of course. :)

Posted by: Tony at December 31, 2008 11:02 AM

Bada boom... bada bing!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 11:13 AM

Your post is interesting, but flawed in the duality you are looking at. To the extent that Marriage has a tit for tat going on, it is home and support from the man and sex from the woman. Your desire for men to listen and affirm woman's whining ( I know that's a charged term, but to the extent that women what men to listen to their problems but not help fix them, that's what it sounds like) is good, but on a secondary level. What do you see men getting on this level? If it's just "one more hoop" men have to jump through to "get lucky" then there is not Marriage, just a dog being trained.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 31, 2008 12:25 PM

I always feel for people who have to deal with that every day, and wonder how they cope with it?

A combination of ways -- a lot of meds in the beginning, but these days, KtLW's coping is mostly mental. I taught her a little mind trick I use when I need to ignore pain, which is basically concentrating on something else until the pain subsides into background noise. She's had to learn that she does have limitations, and if she ignores them (and my reminders), she'll pay the price. Took her about twenty years to realize she wasn't Supergirl anymore, though.

And don't get the idea that she's an invalid -- she's a Type Quadruple-A personality, and if she's not involved in five different projects, she'll start some from scratch.

The opening phrase for which always begins, "You know, they could *really* use your help over at..."

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 12:30 PM

To the extent that Marriage has a tit for tat going on, it is home and support from the man and sex from the woman. Your desire for men to listen and affirm woman's whining ( I know that's a charged term, but to the extent that women what men to listen to their problems but not help fix them, that's what it sounds like) is good, but on a secondary level. What do you see men getting on this level?

Wow. Where to start?

First of all, I suppose I could begin with the obvious flaw in your - and Prager's - reasoning my husband pointed out exactly 3 seconds after reading his article.

When we got married, my husband went to work to put a roof over our heads. I agreed to stay home, clean the house and raise our children, manage the budget, cook his food, do the laundry... in his words, "I left home to work and you stayed home to work, but WE BOTH WORKED".

Many women also work and contribute to the family income. I know I do now that our children are grown, and I also continue to clean house, cook dinner, etc.

Sex and talking are not "work". They are part of your personal relationship.

He gets it. You don't.

Marriage isn't prostitution. And to the extent that you and Prager seem to think it is, you're going to have real problems getting along with women. Maybe you should be paying for sex, since you seem to view it as a transaction.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 12:34 PM

I taught her a little mind trick I use when I need to ignore pain, which is basically concentrating on something else until the pain subsides into background noise.

This is essentially how Lamaze works. And how I deal with migraines most of the time.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 12:35 PM

FWIW, I didn't think she was an invalid, because I think if she were I would have picked up on that from you :)

I think I was more expressing admiration for her obvious ability to cope with it.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 12:37 PM

And regarding, What do you see men getting on this level?

Try a wife who feels loved and appreciated, and consequently will reciprocate by trying her hardest to make you happy. I know that's the way it works in my house. Because my husband obviously tries to make me happy, I bust my butt to make him happy.

It's called reciprocity.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 12:39 PM

I'd like to add one more thing to that last.

I agreed to stay home and care for the house and raise the kids even though it meant giving up a career I wanted. That was not my first choice. But it was the smartest choice, given the alternatives, to help our partnership succeed.

And so I did it. And the world did not end because my every fantasy wasn't fulfilled. Oddly, it turned out that the world doesn't really revolve around me after all.

You give up some things, you get others you may never have anticipated. Looking back, I am not sure I would change a thing even knowing what I know now. I wasn't always contented. Most of the time though, I decided to be (and I ended up being) very happy. I have had a wonderful and interesting life, though it didn't turn out the way I thought it would when I was young.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 12:46 PM

He gets it. You don't.

That may be the problem.

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 03:06 PM

OK, that took me a while to get :p

Bad, bad chopper pilot.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 03:22 PM

I agreed to stay home and care for the house and raise the kids even though it meant giving up a career I wanted. That was not my first choice. But it was the smartest choice, given the alternatives, to help our partnership succeed.

And so I did it. And the world did not end because my every fantasy wasn't fulfilled. Oddly, it turned out that the world doesn't really revolve around me after all.

You give up some things, you get others you may never have anticipated. Looking back, I am not sure I would change a thing even knowing what I know now. I wasn't always contented. Most of the time though, I decided to be (and I ended up being) very happy. I have had a wonderful and interesting life, though it didn't turn out the way I thought it would when I was young.


AMEN.


Bill ~ Yes, I was happy. Always am when MacGyver shows up. As for the Cobras, everyone has a shortcoming or two. ;~P We love you anyway.

Posted by: Sly's Wardrobe Mistress at December 31, 2008 03:29 PM

I've been following this and resisting the urge to chime in, but my notion of piping up won out over being wisely silent here.

Several years ago, David Friedman (Milton Friedman's son) was on CSPAN talking about a book that he wrote about using economic analysis in understanding human relationships.
Specifically about marriage: It is a "dual bargain" or agreement, in that both parties are bargaining and both parties have to be satisfied with the outcome. Otherwise, the agreement (bargain), or marriage fails.
When men and women are young, their ideas and needs may be few and simple, and it is easier to reach an "agreement" that satisfies both parties, or they are simply overcome with passion ( not a bad thing, but not a complete basis for a lifetime relationship). However, as they age, the nature of the bargain(s) change and get more complicated.
"Why aren't you the women I married?"
"Why can't you become the man I want you to be?"

In other words, expectations change over time. Some people work through this; statistics tell us about 50% of marriages don't. Periodically, people in good marriages have to consciously re-negotiate the terms of their relationship. This can be hard for either party to openly acknowledge; "It's not my fault we'er having problems!"
Shared experiences, successes and joys (like raising kids together) can strengthen a marriage. Failure, strife and a perceived unequal division of labor can cause a lot of bitterness.

Where does "love" and "romance" figure into this? Love accepts all things, forgives all things. Love can sustain a marriage when the bargain temporarily breaks down. But love will die if there is not a mutually satisfying agreement between both partners. I know of more than a few marriages in which either the man or woman (or both) is very miserable; there is no love there (unless it is for the children involved), only an unwillingness to let go or "re-negotiate", unless the marriage itself was premised on a lie.
Shotgun marriages; A women I worked with years ago was in one such loveless marriage; she was having a lengthy affair with another man, and divorced her husband once her last son graduated from high school (she was a good mother to her sons, they all adored her). The marriage to the "other man", who was abusive, ended up with her in a mental institution.
Society is full of pathetic emotional cripples; singles bars and the Internet are full of them.

So in a troubled marriage, or to avoid more trouble than you can handle, at least be open to the notion that there can be an agreement about what wife and husband expect of each other. That is more specific that just "communication" and "talking", which can degenerate into the status of the housepets and such.

But that doesn't mean I'm right or anything. I still can't quite figure out how I've stayed married for 18 years.

Happy New Year, to all. It should be close to midnight in Iraq, ain't it, Bill?

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 31, 2008 03:48 PM

"Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life"
-David D. Friedman

Thanks, you're welcome. And thanks for not smoking.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at December 31, 2008 04:02 PM

Marriage isn't prostitution. And to the extent that you and Prager seem to think it is, you're going to have real problems getting along with women. Maybe you should be paying for sex, since you seem to view it as a transaction.

I had one of those 50/50 feminists explain that she'd have sex with her wife much more often if he'd do the dishes more.

I asked her how many dishes would he have to do to just get a bl*w job?

Needless to say, that conversation didn't go to well.

(BTW, 50/50 is a recipe for failure in a relationship. It ought yo be 100/100).

Posted by: Tony at December 31, 2008 04:04 PM

Whoops, that should have read "sex with her husband!!!

Posted by: Tony at December 31, 2008 04:05 PM

I am glad you did speak up, Don. I always find your comments insightful.

Shoot. I married when I was 19. The Unit was only 20, poor guy Even though we had dated for a while, you can't tell me we knew what we wanted out of life then. No one thought we would last.

You can't tell me we both haven't changed over the years. There is a corny song. You will have heard it many, many times on the radio:

Mirror in the sky
What is love?
Can the child in my heart rise above?

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

I don't know.

Oh I've been afraid of changin'
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
And I'm getting older too...

Yes I'm getting older
Too

The only thing certain in a marriage is that things will change and you will have to change with them. But then life is like that too.

Another year. All kinda hopey and changey :p

Happy New Year.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 04:15 PM

This is essentially how Lamaze works.

Yeah, but I'd look silly puffing and pushing while bleeding profusely.

And now, using secret mercenary technology allowing me to bring you a message from the future -- Happy New Year!

*idea shamelessly stolen from Aussie buddy*

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 04:15 PM

Bad, bad chopper pilot.

I'm quite *good* at it, actually.

Among other things...

Posted by: BillT at December 31, 2008 04:22 PM

Thanks for your thoughts, Cassandra. I don't think of Marriage as prostitution. I do get that vibe every time I see people writing about "what you need to do to keep your wife happy" where "happy" means you are getting some. I was pointing out that your "tit for tat" seemed to involve more demands from the man and nothing extra from the woman. I see the dog training on a regular basis, and it bothers me. Just another version of "Men are pigs", and a big part of the amazing drop in marriage rates we have seen. Good for me, bad for the country.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at December 31, 2008 04:44 PM

I just ordered some kewl tools from Grizzly for the Engineer for his birthday. Does that count?

He listens to me, and then he interrupts me with something totally irrelevant such as "I cut myself and am bleeding from a major artery. Could you take me to the doctor?"

What's up with that?

Posted by: Self Centered Cricket at December 31, 2008 05:29 PM

Well, I don't t think you saw anything approaching "men are pigs" on this site, Robert. Though I objected to Prager's "men are animals" because I thought it was pretty insulting (as did several guys).

I can't see how just talking to your wife is "something extra" and sex isn't. They are the same - forms of communication. It kind of astounds me that you would expect a woman to have sex with a man who doesn't t think she's important enough to talk to.

That would never fly if the couple were single and you know it. The only thing that can explain it is complacency (and the assumption that sex is "paid for" by working. Which, as I already explained, is not only bunk since women contribute work to the partnership, but also makes it prostitution.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 05:46 PM

He listens to me, and then he interrupts me with something totally irrelevant such as "I cut myself and am bleeding from a major artery.

You know, my spouse does that same annoying thing after I've been yammering on for about 3 or 4 hours. Worse, he actually expects me to stop talking and do something about it!

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 05:48 PM

FWIW Robert, I see a general lack of respect for men in modern culture and I've written about it many times. But young women don't respect themselves either, so that's not really surprising.

Sometimes, I think the entire concept of respect is a lost art.

Posted by: Cassandra at December 31, 2008 05:51 PM

BillT~

I'm sorry about what you and your wife had to deal with, in regard to children. I'm sure any children you would have raised - be they biological children or adopted - would have grow into fine adults. Of course with my luck, any sons you'd have had would already be taken...

Happy New Year!

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at December 31, 2008 08:53 PM

Thanks again for responding to my ignorant prattling. I don't know that, when it comes to single couples. I have witnessed a "player" cheat on his wife with seven women who were all competing to be the "other woman". He didn't talk to them or listen to them in the fashion you are talking about, but he seemed to get plenty of sex. Some very accomplished and kind young men were trying to court the "ladies", and they did listen and try to talk to them, and they got pegged as "just friends" quickly to my thinking. And in my business, I've seen a couple of women who shared their partners hobby, until they were married, and not because kids showed up and got in the way. Much in the same way that you are having this dialogue about "not being in the mood", now that I think on it. Manipulation to "get him" or do many modern women see a husband as less then a friend? I don't know. Just what I see and hear, and bad advertising for Marriage today. I think that your take that women having a duty to provide sex for their husbands is prostitution is a common one, and I think, part of the problem. I can't think that many women would want to see themselves that way, and could explain why so many women seem lose the flame once they're married. But the idea that women add to the equation without the sex is a hard sell. I have never begun the dance, let alone finished, and I am probably the most secure of my peer group. I don't see the married couples having more money or time before the kids show up, and forget it once the kids arrive. Not that kids are not a blessing, but that blessing is a mercurial one for modern men. I have had to deal with several freaking young men, who didn't know if their child would be allowed to live. And several husbands, ex, who found that their families had moved on while they were deployed. So I treat women with as much respect as I can, while thinking of them as landmines. So it goes.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 1, 2009 12:01 AM

The secret to landmines, Robert, is finding them, keeping them close, and, above all, treating them with the tenderness and respect they require. Not surprisingly, this is also the difficult personal choice between entanglement and embrace.

I can't explain any of this in certain terms, as I am as blind as any other when it comes to understanding trust and love. But, thankfully, I can still recognize it when it comes right up and bites me in the ass.

Take heart, Robert. Those landmines have teeth.

And Happy New Year.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 1, 2009 12:32 AM

Thank you, Miss Ladybug!

I suspect you're right -- Sib Three tells me my nephew's still talking about "being just like you or Uncle Bill" when he grows up, and it doesn't seem to scare him.

Could just be that whole "born and grew up in Alaska" thing, though...

Posted by: BillT at January 1, 2009 02:28 AM

Robert:

A few observations:

1. Why don't you knock off the snide remarks (e.g., 'ignorant prattling', etc.)? I am taking the time to respond to you seriously and don't appreciate them. If you have a problem with something I've said in a response, try addressing it directly and we'll move on from there.

2. One thing about a 'player' (your example) is that players almost univerally DO pay a lot of superficial attention to women. They flatter them and appear to listen to them and to be interested in them. That's how they get them into bed. It's only after that happens that the woman finds out what he was really after when he loses interest and stops making the effort. Sound familiar?

And yes, it's "unfair" that these women pegged the "nice" guys who paid attention to them as just friends... just as it's unfair that there are plenty of smart, nice women out there who would never fall for a player in the first place, but whom the "nice guys" in your example have pegged as "not hittable" or "just friends".

Biology is a bitch sometimes, isn't it? Maybe they should try looking in the mirror if they don't like how their lives are playing out and think about their values a bit. Maybe they need to learn to look a bit deeper than the wrapper.

2. Much in the same way that you are having this dialogue about "not being in the mood", now that I think on it. Huh???

I don't even know what this means.

*sigh*

3. I think that your take that women having a duty to provide sex for their husbands is prostitution is a common one, and I think, part of the problem.

What is "my take" on women having a duty to provide sex for their husbands?

You need to read far more carefully than you have done, Robert. This is a parody of PRAGER'S essay. All I did was substitute communication/emotional intimacy (a thing women desire greatly - as much as men desire sex, and something researchers have found women need to be happy and enjoy as much as men enjoy sex) for sex in PRAGER's argument to see how HIS argument holds up when turned on its face.

MY argument was actually made in the preceding essay (part I), and it was that although Prager is correct in saying women should rarely if ever refuse sex to their husbands, he is 100% wrong in the reason he gave them for not refusing their husbands.

The reason women should not refuse men sex is that men need sex to be happy.

If you love a man, you don't want him to be unhappy. If more women truly understood how desperately unhappy it made their husbands to be refused sex, they wouldn't say no. But they really don't (and Prager agrees with me on this point - women don't get it because we assume men are like we are).

And I used the example of talking to show this to women. I said "How would you feel if your husband said to you, 'Hey - I don't need to talk to be happy. Therefore, I feel perfectly comfortable refusing to talk to you even if that makes you desperately unhappy."

And that, Robert, is the argument you are making.

That's a selfish and self centered argument (I will only give if *I* see the point). It's a damned poor basis for any marriage or relationship.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 1, 2009 09:41 AM

Good morning, Princess!
Happy New Year.

Posted by: spd rdr at January 1, 2009 10:13 AM

Happy New Year, spd :)

I have an enormous mountain of leaves outside my front door, but at least that crazy wind has stopped blowing and the sun is shining.

It's 2009. And so we begin again.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 1, 2009 10:22 AM

Let me try this one more time, Robert.

You can't compel something like sex that has such an enormous emotional component adduced to it, nor that involves opening yourself up and making yourself vulnerable. And yet that is just what you are trying to do.

It has to be voluntary - a gift given with no strings attached. I do think in a very real sense that it's wrong to think of this whole thing as a tit for tat. Couples should try to make each other happy.

Women should try to make their husbands happy in the bedroom, not because it's their "job", or because (as you want to maintain) he "paid for" sex with a home and a paycheck. After all, she works too. What about her contributions? If he has a "right" to expect sex in return for his working, why wouldn't she have a "right" to expect communication in return for her contributions to the marital partnership if that is what she prizes most? But according to you, only the man can expect something for what he does.

The woman can expect no return on investment :p

But that's really what's wrong with Prager's reasoning. Marriage *isn't* a tit for tat. It's a partnership in which both parties must be able to set aside, to some extent, their selfish desires for the good of the marriage and yet have some confidence their partner will have their back - that he or she will reciprocate their selflessness with devotion, love, and a genuine desire to make them happy.

Part of this, obviously, means you had better pick the right person - a person of good character and integrity.

If you choose based on looks, if you never talk to this person enough during courtship to find out what their values are, if you don't spend enough time getting to know her to find out whether it's window dressing or whether she lives her values (this is why, statistically speaking, long engagements lead to successful marriages), if you are blinded by the sexual side of a relationship (and hey, I like sex plenty but in the end it isn't enough to salvage an otherwise unhealthy or disrespectful relationship), you are headed for trouble.

More and more as I get older, I realize how right the generations before us had many things. I see the wisdom of a lot of rules I thought were stupid and restrictive.

No, I didn't do things that way myself. I made a some mistakes when I was young and so I had to deal with the consequences. But the basic values my parents taught me were sound and they haved served me well. I passed them to my sons.

They married women whose parents raised them according to those same values (and their wives treat them extremely well from what I can see - both my sons seem very much in love and very happy in their marriages). But then both my sons are considerate and kind husbands, so that is not surprising. They had a good father who taught them well and respect begets reciprocal respect... if you pick a woman with good values.

If you are "courting" women who are willing to fool around with married men, it's a safe bet you're on the wrong track. It's also a safe bet you're not bothering to look below the surface. There are plenty of decent women around. I know plenty of women who (frankly) are waiting to have sex until they are married. I wonder if these "decent" young men would even give such a girl a chance? At least two of these girls of my acquaintance are stunningly pretty, but if they won't "put out", what chance do they have with guys who think women want men for the material things they provide and have a duty to provide them sex on demand in return (but God forbid, they should not presume to try and talk to the man because any communication he doesn't understand is deemed whining)?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 1, 2009 10:49 AM

And out of fairness, everything I said above goes for the man talking to a woman, too. It, like sex, has a personal component. That is why it can't be compelled. But in the context of a loving relationship, to deny it is just incredibly hurtful, and not something anyone who cares about their partner would ever do.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 1, 2009 10:53 AM

Thanks again for responding, Cassandra. I'm sorry I was not clear. The "ignorant prattling" comment referred to my comments, not you or your post. I try to be humble in the face of the Great game, given that I have happily to avoid the whole mess.

Nope, didn't see that. Probably because the player was married. As to the good women being snubbed, didn't see that either. Not a lot of women gamers out there, they seem to get plenty of clumsy attention.

"Not in the mood" doesn't just cover sex, but other things she seemed to enjoy with him before the marriage. I have heard more then once "you need to give up this hobby now that we're married", and I don't understand where this idea comes from. I would think a couple would do more together once they are married, rather then less. Again, no kids have shown up to eat the time, just this idea that married people don't do this things.

Yes, I did understand your point. It just seems to me that one of the current problems with marriage and the decoupling of sex from it has lead some of our modern young ladies into a perverse spiral. They have been told by older successfully married women that sex is a duty they should look forward to, much as you have here. I think this might be heard as "you have to have sex with your husband" which becomes "you are a prostitute, having sex to get the things that you want". Which, I think we agree, would be the death of desire for most women. I think the problem here is communication between Mothers and Daughters, not Men vs. Women.

As to "my argument", I don't really have one. I'm just trying to fit my head around modern "Marriage". Sex has been decoupled from Marriage and many modern people seem to see marriage as a rest stop now, a quite spot away from the sexual rat race. There is no binding commitment anymore, and so the sharing of efforts and funds is seen as reckless. So much time and effort spent by people to redefine what appears to me to be a empty institution, that appears, from what little I can feel of the elephant, to have died when Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 1, 2009 03:43 PM

I try to avoid discussing sex with my mother at all costs. I was mortified when - about to leave home for my freshman year of college - my mom warned me against letting some guy "sweep me off my feet and into bed". ICK! That's not a talk I have ever or will ever want to have with Mom...

I must be one of the nice, smart girls who can't capture a man's attention in a romantic way because I don't put out. I am that way as a safety mechanism for myself - I think I've always known I can't separate "The Act" from thinking "Forever", but part of me knows that not all men would think the same way. So, I find myself where I am, still single, and without a real date in more years than I care to admit. I would never feign interest in something just to get a guy's attention, let alone a ring.

Now, my mom thinks my much younger sisters are being immoral. My oldest sister, who is recently engaged, has been living with - and sharing a bed with (I don't ask what goes on in it, as I really don't want to know - she's my baby sister) for several years. The other sister recently moved into her very first apartment, and my mom isn't pleased that the boyfriend stays over (or that my sister will stay over at his place sometimes, too).

Although my sisters live in a way I'm not sure I could, they don't pretend common interest with their SOs. It was that common interest (baseball) that brought them together in the first place...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 1, 2009 08:37 PM

BillT, here is a hug for you and KtLW (). You are both stellar in my book.

Posted by: Cricket at January 2, 2009 12:15 AM

Good grief. Y'all just can't fall into bed when the mood strikes?

Oh...waitaminnit...there's the door, there's a kid hollering; dad has to work; mom is taking a child somewhere, both parents are coming home from something to touch base and start all over again.

Quality time, when scheduled, can be productive for both parties.

I had my chat with the Engineer this am as we were wrestling Stuff Into The Teeny Tiny garage built for 1 and 1/2 Austins and where we now have to fit the Precious and the Captain's Yacht in addition to the woodworking tools, the canning supplies and the Extended Pantry, aka Food Storage.

Oh, and the furniture that he is restoring; namely a cedar dresser...

We will make up for lost time.

*grins from ear to ear*

Posted by: Cricket at January 2, 2009 12:25 AM

Cass, sorry I didn't get to this sooner, but you said something very interesting earlier:

Sometimes, we talk too much and don't listen enough. And sometimes, I think all those words and emotion are probably too much of an intrusion - to deal with - at the end of a long work day.

And let me tell you, it's EXTREMELY tricky trying to figure out when the Lovely Bride wishes to 'vent' (i.e. talk about a problem but woe unto me if I try to help the problem or offer suggestions regarding the problem) or when she wishes to 'discuss' (in which case, nodding sympathetically is likely to invoke ire). As you so well point out, men and woman do not communicate in the same ways. When a man brings up a problem to another man, he's either looking for suggestions/advice or it is clearly obvious from the nature of the problem that he is merely sharing pain (i.e. "My dog died" is not something that can be 'fixed'). With women, it's not NECESSARILY the same. If she brings up the problems with picking out new drapes, she might be looking for input, or she might be looking for sympathy. And you won't know until you nod sympathetically and get a dirty look, or offer your opinion and get the edge of her tongue.

Please don't misunderstand, I am long past minding not reading her mood correctly to figure out if she's looking for sympathy or advice. I offer the advice so at worst I get told why I'm wrong (and thus know she's not looking for input) rather than nod sympathetically and risk looking like I don't care. As well, I attempt to demonstrate to her that when she wants my input on something (the color of new paint for the bathroom) I do NOT respond with "I don't care, whatever you want is fine." She doesn't believe that. Instead I will simply tell her "Well, I'm actually ok with whatever you pick as long as it isn't pink, lime green, or chartreuse." She laughs, but then she has the input she wanted, and I don't have to make a decision on something that I don't really have an opinion on.

Coping mechanisms. That's what it's about. I have learned what behaviors to use when, and even while I choose wrong occasionally, I try to choose the behavior most likely to imply my concern for her feelings rather than "Get out of the way, the Steelers are on."

Posted by: MikeD at January 2, 2009 09:23 AM

Well, I agree - that can be a problem with women :) We're not even always sure what we want from you guys...

We just know when we don't get what we want!(joke...)

Seriously, a lot of the time, we are trying to feel our way around too. I hear guys complain a LOT that their wives act as if their opinions on the house are unimportant or irrelevant. But then out of the same side of their mouths they say they don't care about anything related to the house.

I think there's a bit of a feedback loop going on on both sides. Guys genuinely are less interested than women in decorating, etc. But they'd still like to think they had a say in what went on under their own roofs. They just don't really want us to go on and on and onnnnnnnnn about it - sometimes the female decision-making cycle can be wearisome for a man. And they get miffed when they do pipe up and we proceed to disregard their opinions and do whatever the helk we were planning on doing before we asked for their superfluous opinion in the first place :p

But we get miffed too. We'd often like more help around the house. And when we do ask for input we get a lot of "I don't care... do whatever you want"... and then we do and we hear, "Aw ferpetessake whatinthehelldidjadoTHATfor - Ilikeditjustfinethewayitwasnowcan'tyoupleasejustputitthehellback?" :p

And we think, "But I *did* ask him..." :)

Posted by: Cassandra at January 2, 2009 10:06 AM

To be fair, all I would like is "this is what I'd like to do here, what do you think?" IF she actually cares what I think, that is. If she doesn't really want to use my input after it's given, I'd rather she not ask. But I do understand that sometimes she doesn't know she's going to ignore my input until I've given a 'wrong' opinion.

But I honestly (short of eye-gouging color choices) do not really care what color the walls or carpet are. I'm more of a functional than decorational kind of guy. So I'm easier to please in that arena.

Posted by: MikeD at January 2, 2009 11:18 AM

Oh, we always care. Always.

And I always do want input, but as you say I have no idea whether I am going to use it.

A good example: recently we spent about 15K on renovations for our house. I had the entire interior painted (and colors, too, which was a BIG departure for us, since my husband is VERY conservative about color and I am not - I like *lots* of color. But I'm very good about making sure everything matches, and though I do like bright colors (red, for instance) I use them in small doses. A room should be restful to the eye when you enter it - you want it to look warm and inviting, not jangle your nerves when you walk though the door.

We also had a whole bunch of things done to the outside - hardscaping and stonework.

I showed him the paint colors and he basically liked what I chose but was uncomfortable about my using colors and really not so happy with the idea of painting one wall in our living room a sort of persimmon color. My take was: why not? You can always paint over it.

As it turned out, he loves it. But when he put a splotch of paint on the wall at first, he HATED it. The thing is, you have to be bold with paint, and a splotch on the wall with your furniture and paintings moved aside surrounded by white looks WAY different than it will once your rugs, furniture, etc are back in place and also the surrounding walls were going to be white but a pretty buttery tan color that tones down the persimmon. It really looks lovely, especially with our oriental rugs and art - the walls recede into the background and everything in the room blends together much better than it did before.

He said he would never have believed it until he saw the finished product. So I'm glad I didn't listen.

On the otter heiny, he had some good ideas on the outside portion of the project that I *did* listen to. I envisioned part of it differently, but he has a better ability to see things in 3D and where he wanted to put the retaining wall worked much better than where I would have put it. So there, I am glad I scrapped my plan and listened to his advice.

My plan for the front landing looks really great and I am thrilled with it. He had a great idea for the drainage at the end of the driveway (since it doesn't look pretty, I didn't care about that :p).

And so it goes.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 2, 2009 11:54 AM

...also the surrounding walls were NOT going to be white ...

*sigh*

Posted by: Cassandra at January 2, 2009 11:56 AM

Actually, my favorite is being asked a question ("How should I...")and then getting an argument about the answer...
That ones always good for a beer, and I don't drink.
:-)

Posted by: Pogue at January 2, 2009 03:48 PM

Well, it is like I always tell my spouse:

It is a good thing that I am so cute. Otherwise, you would have to kill me :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 2, 2009 11:02 PM

But I do understand that sometimes she doesn't know she's going to ignore my input until I've given a 'wrong' opinion.

*snort* :p

Posted by: Like There's Any Other Kind... at January 2, 2009 11:04 PM

...you have to be bold with paint...

I hand-mixed the paint for all the walls and trim in the house. The *other* advantage to using water-based paints is that you can add portions of fabric dye to get the exact color and shade the slavedriv -- uhhhh -- lady has in mind.

"I want you to match *this* rose petal on the couch."

The fun part comes when you match it exactly and it dries slightly lighter (or darker) than the Ideal.

Which it always will...

Posted by: BillT at January 3, 2009 04:38 AM

That's what happened with my persimmon wall, in reverse.

I trusted the swatch I picked out (I was trying to match the fabric on a chair I had reupholstered at the same time - I had my LR sofa and a chair done just before repainting, so all the colors in my LR changed completely and I really hadn't had time to get used to them yet). I can't tell you how many reds I looked at :p

And of course it was this big hairy deal.. do I go with the bold red on the figure in the pillows? Do I try to match the dark red on the border in the oriental rug? Or do I go with the persimmon on the chair because it's a happy medium between all the shades of red in my LR, DR and kitchen that show up in tiny doses (which was what I did, and turned out to be the perfect solution because it blends everything together).

But when we opened the paint can, wet paint looks 2-3 shades lighter in the can. It looked like Campbell's tomato soup. Really icky. I just had to trust it would be OK on the wall. It was worse b/c we'd already had a small disaster with one bathroom - the only color I let the paint contractor 'advise' me on - a green where I was trying to decide between two shades - came out just awful.

The guy who painted it put on one coat, closed the door, came to get me and took my hand and led me down the hall, tiptoeing the whole way. I was cracking up.

He goes, "Now close your eyes.... I don't think you're going to like this...." and opens the door to the bathroom.

It was ... lime green. And to make matters worse, I'd asked them to paint my bedroom the same color :p

We scrapped that and went with the color I'd originally picked out and I love it.

Oh well! You live and learn :) We got a lot of funny stories out of the painting thing - the paint crew were really great. I'd never paid to have work done before, but they were fantastic to work with.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 3, 2009 09:57 AM

We have icky paint colors to contend with. A nasty green in the bathroom that the former owner 'textured' on to the walls...being all spinarky with her status as a decorator.

Primer covers multitudes of sin.

I envision a soothing, restful, almost gray, blue in the bathroom.

The boudior, on the other hand, is horrid. It is red-orange, floor to ceiling all four walls hideous.

I envision a sage green with an ecru/eggshell trim, and blond hardwood floors in the boudior.
Quiet, restful and sort of beach house-y. Oh, and a few touches of lace and naturally finished Mission/Shaker pieces.

I can dream, can't I?

Posted by: cricket at January 3, 2009 03:10 PM

Oooog. Red-orange? Must've been like living inside a pumpkin.

Two coats of primer, unthinned, or two coats of an exterior-grade matte pure white, or that red-orange will still show through as an undercoat.

Posted by: BillT at January 3, 2009 03:28 PM

I envision a sage green with an ecru/eggshell trim, and blond hardwood floors in the boudior.

That's our bedroom - between a sage and a mint green. It's a really pretty color: restful and cool, but without that chalky quality sage green sometimes has to it. I looked at about a million greens before picking that one out, too.

If you can't tell, I'm a *bit* picky about colors :p

Posted by: Cassandra at January 3, 2009 03:58 PM

Green is tricky.

Like red. Those are both colors I love, but they are so hard to get right. If you don't match them carefully they can really be just awful. And there are some terrible greens out there.

Really bad.

I like bright colors in small doses, but the best trick my mother in law taught me was to keep the large upholstered pieces very neutral and use pillows, rugs and curtains to add color to the room. That way, you can change the room with the seasons if you want and you don't risk overwhelming it with a wild-a** color or print.

The first time I reupholstered our Chippendale camelback sofa, I was dying to use a pretty silk damask like the fabric it was already upholstered in. Instead I chose a natural linen-colored ottoman corded fabric was very plain, but wore like iron and was easy to clean since it was off-white. I could use any color pillows with it too.

It broke my heart not to put a pretty fabric on the sofa, but I never regretted it. Marines could sit on my sofa in their cammies, people spilled things on it, babies spit up on it, and it cleaned up like a dream. And over the years as my house and curtains changed, I had the freedom to use any color I wanted to.

This time I did put a color on the sofa, but it's still neutral and there's no pattern. I'll save the patterns for my pillows and valances.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 3, 2009 04:07 PM

When I owned my house in AR, I did color in the bedroom - it was a pink color that coordinated with the furniture my parents had bought for me in junior high that I still use and like. I went more neutral with the living room/dining room/kitchen, as it was pretty much all one big open space that would have been had to decide where to change the color, and not also have it clash or something. I didn't go crazy when I bought my living room furniture - while I didn't go for a cream/off-white, I went with a kind of washed denim color. Pet hair was - and still is - the issue I have to contend with.

My parents have slowly been repainting the house (it's been about 15 years since it was built. The kitchen is a green color - darker than sage, but more that than a hunter or olive. Their bathroom is blue. Right now, they are in the middle of repainting my sister's room (since she moved into her very first apartment in November) and the entry (which goes up to the second floor) in a neutral cream/off-white shade. I think the game room upstairs will be next. I painted my room back in Jan/Feb and I decided to play with color by using one of those faux finish techniques. My mom's not a big fan of it, but it gives the room a nice warm glow, and matches the furniture better than the pink shade I'd used the last time I painted a bedroom for myself...

Posted by: Miss Ladybug at January 3, 2009 07:02 PM

I know it's a couple days late and the conversation has moved from "relations" to paint. (Some would say that the combination can be fun, but to each their own.)

With the exception of point 5 (Prager never argues that the husband's feelings should be more important, just that they shouldn't be less important. Equality is not excluded.) I thought the argument worked fairly well both ways around.

From the comments, I gather the point was to show that Prager's argument is flawed by showing how the argument is absurd when the roles are reversed, but I just didn't see it. Just from the post itself, I thought the point was to show that men needed to step up to the plate as well. For any relationship to work, one has to meet the other's needs even when they don't feel like it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at January 5, 2009 12:52 PM

From the comments, I gather the point was to show that Prager's argument is flawed by showing how the argument is absurd when the roles are reversed, but I just didn't see it.

No, not really Yu-Ain.

The point was to try and force people to step outside the 'sex' frame of reference and if all of Prager's arguments still made sense (especially if it wasn't *your* needs being dissed, or alternatively, *your* ox being gored).

What I was seeing on the other post was a lot of people retreating into stances that seemed based on their past experiences, as opposed to a "how would you like it if someone treated you this way?", or "Is this still fair, turned on its face?" or does it only seem fair when you get what you want?

Posted by: Cassandra at January 5, 2009 01:22 PM

Some would say that the combination can be fun, but to each their own..

Only if it's edible paint. Preferably chocolate :p

But I digress. I happen to agree with you that both partners need to step up to the plate, as I said in my first post.

The point of most of this was just to make people think, and hopefully to make them laugh (I thought some of his points were kind of funny.. and you have to admit that in #7, guys absolutely DO deride their wives' natural need for emotional intimacy and claim they shouldn't have to accommodate it, yet these same men will go on and on about how their own need for sex is "natural" and "normal" and darnitall they aren't going to change and their wives should "just get used to it" (presumably in precisely the same way they refuse to "get used to" their wives' need for intimacy :p).

Sorry, but that is just funny! As is the way we women are sometimes pretty darned unreasonable ourselves.

I agree with you - with the exception of the "sex is like going to work" (i.e., it's the woman's job) I thought the arguments worked fairly well both ways... and if I could be said to have one, that was my point.

The sex=work thing, however, was the dumbest argument ever. Sex and talking/emotional intimacy both have a personal component that (as Prager noted) can only be given - never compelled, because in both cases you are opening up a very private side of yourself to your spouse that no one else sees. It's not a "job", like washing the dishes, going to the office or changing a diaper. You could, conceivably, hire other people to do these things for you in the marriage (even income can come from a trust fund or inheritance). You can't hire in help for sex or talking without violating the terms of your marriage vows, can you? They are uniquely personal.

They're both something you ought to do b/c you love the other person and want them to be happy.

BIG difference.

Posted by: Cassandra at January 5, 2009 01:42 PM

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