August 16, 2005
August 16, 2005

Worn Out

Mother earth by its very name has been likened to the nurturing of women. The analogy is perfect for some long term marriages. There are some men who take privileges as their due because they work hard and bring home a paycheck. For the traditional housewife ( of which there are few) or for the women who is employed outside the home with the additional obligation of caring for children and maintaining a home: the female does not allow herself the freedom to take off whenever she can find the time. There is no time. It is a 24-7 job. However, the man can leave, travel, have a beer with his buddies, go hunting, racing, gulfing, or whatever without guilt because he knows his wife is there with the children.

When the man also does not contribute to child care and/or housekeeping duties the wife (which some women excuse as the man’s need to relax) becomes burdened with excessive responsibilities.

Adding to that obligation his loving mate shows her affection by accepting his pals, his hobby or type of relaxation. However, in these cases of which I am defining the husband creates a wet blanket approach to her activities and friends. He might watch TV when they visit, or sourly attend functions, or merely be disengaged from the event. A point well taken from his responsive spouse. Therefore, she withdraws from those happenings which she had formerly enjoyed.

After twenty or so years she is burnt out, just as a field which is planted yearly without fertilizing, finally no longer yields vegetation and the area turns into a dust bowl. Often, neither spouse is able to figure out why she has tuned him out. Also depression, from being ignored as a person, sets in. Her rights as a person were disregarded by both parties. She gave her prerogatives away and his passive resistance quietly accepted the status quo that he initiated. The husband feels that his wife is suddenly discontented, when she had merely disguised her reactions even to herself. The stages of development for adults continue as psychoanalyst, Eric Erickson discovered; no normal person is stagnant and the stagnancy of the past years finally catches up with the better half.

Women react with a number of emotions; guilt, disbelief, apathy, fear of the apathy, loss of identity, loss of self esteem, and confusion. Men feel betrayed, angry, sad, mournful, and confused.

Women have assimilated the subliminal messages of the culture which dictate standards from the Traditional role of being submissive, even though today one would hardly believe that that premise is correct. Yet, the willingness to neglect ones rights is discussed in books such as Dowling’s, The Cinderella Syndrome. I recently was dating and found that I began to acquiesce to the time limitations set by the man, ignoring my own schedule. I was amazed that I could that easily fall into the feminine role. I found a 1900 New York State pamphlet that stated that a lady never says “NO”. My sense of humor set in and I thought about a lady being raped and since she can’t say “NO” instead says “Wouldn’t you rather go to a movie?” With all that aside, many women refuse to express their discord. For those verbal aggressive women who do; they may as well not speak up because the words have different connotations for men then for women. Men do not understand and/or disregard an outburst as a lady’s “Bad day”. Truly men and women need to learn how to span the communication bridge which parts them.

There is another issue that must be addressed in the above situation and that is that males need to participate with enthusiasm on an equal basis with their mates and put the enrichments back into the soil of marriage.

It is not too late to act. Get guidance from an experienced counselor if you find that you are lost. We live in a complicated world and often we need direction to find our way.