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Castles and Kings

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In this day, and in these times, roles of men and women have changed from the days of our parents and grandparents. I am going to take what is going to be an unpopular stand in this little piece, and say, for once and for all what I think about the subject.

No matter what the changing economic picture in the modern world where two incomes are often necessary to maintain either the bare necessities or a certain life style, roles of men and women are blurred or obscured. They really shouldn’t be, for they are the bedrock of the family and the farther we move away from them, the less cohesive the family becomes.

When girls were taught by mothers and grandmother’s that the man is the king of his castle, they weren’t wrong (excuse the cliche!). The differences in the psyche of the man and the woman demand that the man feel this way. That is not to say that the wife/woman is the slave submissive to some liege. But a man has to know that he is loved, nurtured, cared for, catered to and reigns supreme in his home….because in the world, for the most part he can’t, so it is important that in that little piece of reality, he does.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not suggest here that a woman be a doormat, or not have an equal say in all aspects of the union. (Did you think I ever WOULD suggest that?). But it is so easy to let a man know he is special. And too many women don’t do that. Empirical evidence, the divorce rate in the United States.

We all see ourselves in the reflection of the eyes of others, most importantly, the one with whom we have partnered. How important is it that the reflection a husband or partner see in his woman’s eyes is one of excitement, honor, respect, trust, and caring? We don’t take the time because we, too, have had a hard day. But it is a matter of priorities. To keep a relationship healthy and infused with life, men need certain things. (Don’t worry, so do women which I’m going to talk about in a minute).

Men like the extra mile. It makes them feel special. They ARE special and the extra mile isn’t hard to give. Giving something which costs nothing, and reaps huge rewards is a good thing.

Through the ages, men were hunters, protectors, fire-builders, and kingdom creators. Women were nurturers, playmates, tended the fires that men built, and decorated the kingdom. We have kept some of those but we have lost more.

I will fully admit that there are men for whom nothing is enough, who have some basic character flaw that requires something new and different. But there are many more who just do not see the reflection in the eyes of their partner which they once saw. So they look for that mirror somewhere else.

Now on the the obverse side of the coin, women, too have suffered in the changing roles of modern society. Most work so they have that responsibility, together with the responsibilities of a home. What women often forget, and sometimes push to the back burner, is that the home is created by the two people who started it. It isn’t the stone and brick, it isn’t the mastercard bill, it isn’t the children. Those are the offshoots of the home. The home is the two people who started it, and hopefully will with die with it.

People respond to actions. Men respond to those things that make them feel special that we sometimes forget in the hubub of life. They need to be welcomed, appreciated for their hard work, they want to “feel” that they are the most important thing around which this modern family revolves. It is completely necessary for their sense of well being. When they get that, they, in turn, are more appreciative, more helpful, and more committed to the union.

A special dinner just for him while the children are cozy at grandmother’s house, a night of sexy lingerie and his favorite wine, does not only benefit the King. It benefits the Queen as well. Going outside the box is always a good thing. Sameness becomes humdrum, but it is a woman’s job to keep things fresh. If she does, she will reap the the most glorious benefits.

Yes, women contribute to the home with money, time, effort and many other things. But her first priority is to keep the King of the Castle invigorated, happy, and feeling loved and special. Without that, all the other trappings are just extraneous. And reciprocity usually follows.

Women, no matter how much they protest, love to be protected and feel that they can be “rescued” from life’s annoyances. She finds that in her man if she has done her job.

Women can do anything. They can excel in business, in the arts, in the academic world. Why do so many fail at interpersonal relationships? Because they forget, in all that excelling, what their partner needs.

Now I will have to hide from the National Organization for Women, but fully expect to be protected by a knight on a white horse. :)

Claire

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  • boomcrashbaby

    Hi Claire. I won’t refute your perception of the roles between men/women, it’s all subjective, there is no right or wrong. I just figured I’d add my own thoughts on relationships.

    roles of men and women are blurred or obscured. They really shouldn’t be, for they are the bedrock of the family and the farther we move away from them, the less cohesive the family becomes.
    Through the ages, men were hunters, protectors, fire-builders, and kingdom creators. Women were nurturers, playmates, tended the fires that men built, and decorated the kingdom.

    I understand that in history, men and women had certain roles, necessary for survival. ‘Hunting’ no longer involves brute strength and overpowering the beast though. It just involves earning money and pushing a shopping cart. The rules of the world have changed and I think that’s part of the reason why the roles have changed/are changing. Men can provide protection for the family, but so can a good alarm system, a big dog, and a can of mace. The outward ‘need’ for these roles have changed, but not the inward (psychological) need, perhaps that is the reason for many failed relationships.

    I don’t understand this societal belief that men and women must fill specific roles in order for the family unit to prosper, because I’ve seen more cases than not, where that isn’t the case! The closest families I’ve known were headed by single women, or man/woman relationships that deviated from this perception of what the ideal roles a family is built on.

    When girls were taught by mothers and grandmother’s that the man is the king of his castle, they weren’t wrong (excuse the cliche!).

    By king of the castle, it’s meant that the man is the decision maker. The discipliner. The ruler. My own experiences with family though, (the family I grew up in, the families my parents grew up in, etc.) however, decisions were 50/50. Even back ‘in the day’ before I was born, those relationships gave the woman just as much say as the man. Perhaps except for finances. And these relationships (grandparents) lasted for 60+ years, so they were doing something right. (My own parents relationship lasted for 22 years).

    Of those relationships I have seen where the man MUST be the ruler (like my partner’s parents for one, but not an exclusive example), nobody except for the spouse (who was always submissive) cared for the man. Certainly the young straight men I’ve known in their teens did not appreciate living under a ruler.

    But a man has to know that he is loved, nurtured, cared for, catered to and reigns supreme in his home….because in the world, for the most part he can’t, so it is important that in that little piece of reality, he does.

    I can’t relate to that aspect of straight men. All I need is to be loved. Respect me, love me, be faithful to me, in body and in spirit, but don’t baby me, it’s degrading. I guess that makes me pretty unique among men.

    But it is so easy to let a man know he is special. And too many women don’t do that. Empirical evidence, the divorce rate in the United States.

    This statement implies that the divorce rate is tied to women not letting men know they are special. I won’t dispute that this can be the reason for some divorces, I should add my own thoughts though, that if a man isn’t made to feel special (i.e. pampered and babied), and then seeks something outside the relationship to fill that void, the man has a character flaw that led to the divorce, rather than the woman’s lack of mothering. I mean that with all the best intentions and with all due respect to those who might have been in such a situation. If you need to be made to feel special, then you need to self-analyze your esteem.

    Of course we all need to feel loved, to feel special in that one-human-soul-needs-another way, men and women alike, but I take it you are referring to the ‘king’ aspect.

    Men like the extra mile. It makes them feel special. They ARE special and the extra mile isn’t hard to give. Giving something which costs nothing, and reaps huge rewards is a good thing.

    I’m like a cat in a dog’s world. I hate the special attention. I don’t want a birthday party. I would much rather us give our daughter a Christmas SHE will always remember, but when it comes to us, I’d rather us pool our money and pay down some bills. If I get a gift, I can’t help but think of all the things that money would have been better used on. I DO understand the sentiment and am appreciative of that, but here’s one man who doesn’t want the extra mile. Love me, emotionally support me and stand beside me. That’s all I need. I can handle the rest.

    The home is the two people who started it, and hopefully will with die with it.

    Beautifully put.

    They need to be welcomed, appreciated for their hard work, they want to “feel” that they are the most important thing around which this modern family revolves. It is completely necessary for their sense of well being. When they get that, they, in turn, are more appreciative, more helpful, and more committed to the union.

    LOL! I DO want to feel that I am the most important thing around which this family revolves, but I always thought I got that trait from the women in my life, not the men! When I think of the memories which cheer me up, it’s always of a busy family setting, a dinner at grandma’s or us kids watching a movie on tv and pelting each other or the dog with popcorn, etc. and there is always a memory of a woman there, my mom or grandmother. The men were either ‘on-call’, in another room watching a game, working in the home office, tinkering with their radio shack toys, etc. It was always the women who were the central part of the home, I thought my desire to be so, was a misplaced perception of my own experiences. I think that’s why I’m fulfilling the mother role so naturally right now.

    A special dinner just for him while the children are cozy at grandmother’s house, a night of sexy lingerie and his favorite wine, does not only benefit the King. It benefits the Queen as well. Going outside the box is always a good thing. Sameness becomes humdrum, but it is a woman’s job to keep things fresh. If she does, she will reap the the most glorious benefits.

    Each relationship is unique. We’ve been together for 22 years. These romantic dinners are usually reserved for special occasions like anniversaries (which I ALWAYS forget). Comfortableness has set in, and we find our connection in a myriad of ways, after 22 years, there isn’t much time or need for romance. The love is understood but not taken for granted. But it works for us, can’t say it would work for the majority.

    But her first priority is to keep the King of the Castle invigorated, happy, and feeling loved and special. Without that, all the other trappings are just extraneous. And reciprocity usually follows.

    Can I go on record as saying it sounds like these men have self-esteem issues? Everybody needs to be a leader of a pack. Be your own man and a pack will follow on it’s own, you won’t need to dominate it, it will willingly give of itself. Either I am extremely dysfunctional or the rest of the world is. (and I do realize the door of responses that comment opened!)

    Women, no matter how much they protest, love to be protected and feel that they can be “rescued” from life’s annoyances. She finds that in her man if she has done her job.

    I KNEW it! The first woman in my life, when I was 18, was very independent. She didn’t like me to pay her way, even after we were engaged, she didn’t like me to open the car door for her, except during the beginnings of the dating, etc. I knew it was all a ruse. That kind of fakeness ticks me off, I can’t see how men go for it. Women, don’t start off a relationship by misleading your man, do like Claire is doing here and just tell them what you really want, not what you think they want to hear.

    Speaking of faking it, and getting personal here, but one of the things that most worried me, when I was younger, was if the woman was faking the orgasm. If she’s going to fake it, just to get it over with and get back to what she’s doing, then let’s just stop and let her go do what she’s gotta do. She’s not doing either of us any favors by spending our time pretending. If she fakes it to make me feel better (i.e. special), well then it’s not effective. It’s pandering. There is nothing special (chest thumping) about bringing a woman to orgasm, as long as your family wasn’t conservative enough so that you got your sex education and your knowledge of the female anatomy, then you knew the physical changes the woman’s body went though that cannot be faked.

    Now I will have to hide from the National Organization for Women, but fully expect to be protected by a knight on a white horse.

    I’m surprised that no men have commented on this, Claire. I would have thought for sure you would have gotten a few marriage proposals. Seriously. Perhaps all the knights are over in Iraq, offering protection that way. If you’d settle for a friendly escort from a bandit and his youngun, riding in the back of a turnip truck, you’re welcome to it though, our journey is never dull.

  • boomcrashbaby

    We’ve been together for 22 years.

    Geez, I meant 19. Where did 22 come from, I wonder?

    Sameness becomes humdrum

    That reminds me of an email joke I just received. A straight guy said “What is the big deal with same-sex marriage? I’ve been married for 15 years, and year after year it’s always been the same sex!”

  • Claire

    Boom, thank you for your very well written and thought out comment. It is difficult to express without writing a book on the subject, the many complexities which make up relationships between men and women (or partners of whatever gender).

    I am a strong, independent woman, but I try very hard to keep in mind that those qualities work for me in the world, they do not necessarily work well in intimate relationships. While I may often slide into them, my thoughts on roles for men and women EQUAL BUT DIFFERENT, have worked for me. They may not work for everyone.

    There may be men who don’t want to feel loved, pampered and wanted. There may be women who don’t want to feel special, figuratively protected, or cherished. I’m just not one of them.

    I’m actually floored that I didn’t get carpet bombed by both sexes on this one…but I completely enjoyed your comments and your offer…Bring that turnip truck on…we know all about turnip trucks and younguns in TEXAS :D

    Claire

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    about a year ago Isaw a one man play here in Norfolk called “Defending the Caveman”. It covered alot of what you say here Claire and I laughed so hard my stomach hurt for days.

    Personally, having daughters, I HAVE lost ALL control in my house. I’m just glad I still have a full head of hair!

  • Claire

    Andy, :) Having been raised with two sisters (a houseful of women), my father felt much the same way. He lost control early on, and never expected to get it back.

    The beauty was, he didn’t care because he always knew from my mother that the world revolved around him…and she passed that to us. Of course it was reciprocal, and that is the key….

    Nice to see both you and Boom!

    Claire

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    nice to see you too! I’m pretty much the same way. As long as I get to keep my seat at the dinner table and my recliner in front of the BIG tv I’m ok with the loss of power. As I heard Bill Cosby say one time. I’m not the boss, I don’t know when I lost it, I’m not sure if I ever had it!

  • Claire

    …and “I’ve seen the job, and I don’t want it!”….wasn’t that the best stand up routine EVER about his family…i love it to this day…

    Claire

  • http://theugliestamerican.blogspot.com/ andy marsh

    that was it! It most definately is one of the funniest! I’m the same way…I don’t want it either…standard answer to one of my daughters in my house? “go ask your mother!”

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Distorted Angel

    But it is so easy to let a man know he is special. And too many women don’t do that. Empirical evidence, the divorce rate in the United States.

    Yikes. This entry flew under my radar the first time around, Claire, or I would have been happy to do the carpet-bombing :-)

    Actually, Boom has already said much that I agree with. But Claire — blaming the divorce rate on the fact that women don’t let their men know how special they are??? Really? I would think that there would be enough blame to go around in most divorces. How about the successful executive who dumps his wife at the age of 50, after his career’s been made and his children raised, so he can hang a blonde trophy on his arm? Not getting enough recognition in the real world? Wife’s fault?

    Perhaps one of the reasons marriages fail is the abnormal amount of pressure put on working women to be all things to all people. The demands on working wives with children are incredible, especially if the woman is determined to place the needs of her family above those of her career. You’re quite right when you say that men need to be nurtured, cared for and catered to — we all need that from time to time. Why is it the woman’s job to “keep things fresh”? Does the man bear no responsibility for keeping the romance alive? When she comes home from a full day of work, bathes the kids, helps them with their homework, reads them a bedtime story, does he do anything nice for her at the end of all that, or does she change directly into that sexy lingerie and wonder what he needs?

    It seems to me that any healthy long-term relationship is based on a lot of reciprocal things, among them love, respect, play and nurturing. But they have to be reciprocal — any partner who is doing the lion’s (or in your case, lioness’s) share of relationship work is bound to end up feeling drained and resentful. The philandering husband looks for affirmation outside his marriage because his wife doesn’t make him feel special. Perhaps he should have taken better care of her to begin with?

    What women often forget, and sometimes push to the back burner, is that the home is created by the two people who started it.

    Well, you said at least one thing here that I agree with. A lot of women do consign their marriages to the back burner once they have children. It’s easy to do — raising kids is hard work, and it’s often a 24-hour-a-day job. But, I would say that it’s the responsibility of both the husband and the wife to keep the marriage front and center to the extent that it’s possible to do so. A healthy marriage is strengthened by the act of raising a family, not weakened by it, and putting the responsibility for all of this on the woman’s shoulders is unfair and unrealistic.

    For the record — married, happily, for twenty-nine years now.

  • Claire

    Angel…:) Thank you, I feel so much better now I can quit holding my breath. And you raise some points that I neglected to raise. I did not intend to imply that the divorce rate is due to WOMEN alone…the divorce rate is due to the fact that committment is a lost art and it’s too easy to give up in this society and move along.

    You raise valid points, which, as I said to Boom, absent a book, I could not begin to raise all the things I wished to.

    Thank you so much for reading, commenting, and for the carpet bomb…I can now relax. We don’t disagree, any of us who have commented here, well, maybe on a few small points…

    The key is reciprocal giving a partner what he or she needs. And congrats on the 29 years…that is quite a feat in any time, but especially in this one.

    Claire

  • http://wisdomandmurder.blogspot.com Distorted Angel

    Well, he kills the occasional spider and opens jars with the best of ‘em…

    :-)

  • Eric Olsen

    great discussion – my most immediate comment would be to Boom saying being a nurturing, caretaking parent isn’t necessarily the “mother’s role,” it’s simply a parent’s role.

  • boomcrashbaby

    We know all about turnip trucks and younguns in TEXAS

    Yeah, I’m in Ca. now, only been here about 13 years, but was born and raised in Oklahoma. As much as I rag on rednecks, I’m entitled to, being pretty familiar with them. I’m the cowboy who married* the Indian.

    And every so often that Okla. accent pops back out, no matter how hard I try.

    *domestic-partnerized, for those who have issues.

    Eric said: my most immediate comment would be to Boom saying being a nurturing, caretaking parent isn’t necessarily the “mother’s role,” it’s simply a parent’s role.

    Egads, you are right! And here I’ve had to spend the last few years pointing that out to people too! Old cultural reinforcements die hard, when it’s late at night.

  • Claire

    I understand accents :D I actually went to a man to pay him to get rid of ma’ Texas accent…and he talked me out of it…hows that for honor! lolol…turning down money because he thought it was a mistake….I’m glad he did.

    Claire

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