“At a minimum, we can let this be our motto,
‘If this marriage fails, it won’t be because
I gave up on it or did not give it my all.’”
What is the Ideal Man?
Comedian and former priest Mark Gungor asked women what they want in a man. When they listed all the qualities they would like, he says, “That’s another woman!”1
To many men, that may seem sadly true. The qualities we have been trained to exhibit can seem suddenly archaic and out of place. Not what the women are looking for. That doesn’t mean we are out of the relationship game, but it likely means there will be more and more of us trying to sort out roles and needs in a complex relationship, made more so with the crushing demands of career and raising children.
If a woman feels that her emotional needs are not being met, she is not getting adequate help with household duties and child rearing, or her husband is absorbed in work or personal interests, she might reasonably ask, “What’s the point? I can manage just as well alone.”
This is a clarion call to men: Hear, truly hear, your partner’s frustrations. Open up and share yours in a healthy way. Put aside ego and defensiveness and join your partner in this daunting task we call marriage. Surely marriage has its challenges, but it also has tremendous rewards for those willing to work at it. And working at it might mean some (or a lot of) counseling, flexibility of roles, willingness to share feelings, giving up stereotypical ideas about “what marriage should be” and a willingness to deal with what your marriage is. At a minimum, we can let this be our motto, “If this marriage fails, it won’t be because I gave up on it or did not give it my all.”