He Said/She Said: Love & Marriage

We were listening to our favorite radio personality on Tuesday, and heard the ladies from DoubleX.com talk about all sorts of fascinating things. Once we calmed the Anti-Couric down, and reminded her that Colin is not her actual boyfriend and therefore could not possibly be cheating on her with these women, she had a few interesting things to add to the conversation. Colin and the ladies were talking about a study that found women today to be less happy than they have ever been. Pretty much every reason they gave for modern American women being unhappy had to do with their marital roles. This reminded our dear, sweet, confirmed bachelorette of a study she once read about how married men tend to be happier than single men, but married women tend to be unhappier than single women.

Clearly this needs to be hashed out.

He Said

It should be worth noting that the term “single” means “not married,” so think of it in terms of your tax returns, which doesn’t ask if you’re in a “serious relationship.” You’re either single or married. Now look around your office, restaurant, classroom, or whatever. You can tell who the married guys are: their heads droop, and they jump every time the phone rings hoping it’s not a phone call from their wives to make sure they remembered some dance recital. It’s depressing. You almost feel bad for them until you realize they chose to get hitched (unless it was a shotgun deal, in which case it’s just funny).

Have you ever been around a married guy talking about how his wife is going away for the weekend? The anticipation and look of pure joy on his face is akin to that of a kid’s on Christmas Eve expecting his first Nintendo. There will be no one to nag him about leaving a dish in the sink or, God forbid, not going to bed together (because we all know, there’s no bigger domestic crime than that).

When two people are going out and seeing each other on a regular basis, it’s fun! You’re getting to know someone, doing fun things together and doing lame couples things that you’d normally be embarrassed about. (Bike for two? Yes please!) That’s a good time, so what goes wrong?

The one thing you always hear about marriage is that it takes a lot of work. Know what blows about life? Work! Most people don’t like their jobs so what the heck, why not get another one for when you get home? After you finish your work day, you get to come home to your work night. Sign me up! A guy I work with once said “I love my family and all, but jeez, I really look forward to Mondays.” Is this bizzaro world? No, it’s the world of being married with kids. Sheesh.

What would a typical weekend for a single guy look like? Maybe meet up with some friends; watch a ball game; eat lots of red meat; try to chat up women who are way out of his league; sleep in; have one too many brews. Normal stuff. What’s the weekend like for a married guy? He doesn’t know because he has to ask his wife first!

Are all married men miserable? No. There are probably 4 or 5 that are very happy. If half of marriage ends in divorce, how many of the remaining people are happily married? The picture can’t be pretty. If anyone can convince me that married men, as a whole, are more happy than their single counterparts, you should get a job on the Obama administration because you can convince anyone of anything at that point.

Bottom line: If you took kids (and community property) out of the equation, most married men would want to be single again. I’d bet my bank account on it.

She Said

This is my theory: Men go into marriage kicking and screaming, only to realize that life gets easier once they have someone to make dinner, clean the house, and bang them a few times a week. He can get fat, go bald, and never has to shop for himself again. (Here’s a slightly different take on it.)  Women, on the other hand, go into marriage thinking life will be exponentially easier. Then they realize they have to continue working, cook dinner, clean the house, do twice the laundry, and deal with their husband’s flatulence. And for all of this, what does she get? A guy who can’t remember her birthday and refuses to leave the house during football season. Then the kids come along and it’s all over. You can kiss your friends goodbye, and expect to spend the rest of your life stressed out and wondering who the fat ass is in the bed next to you.

So when I heard Colin and the ladies talking about their theories as to why women are unhappy these days, I felt vindicated. Apparently, men have been hit hard by the recession and many of them have been laid off from the jobs they hated and can now “follow their bliss,” becoming yoga instructors and film makers. Meanwhile, their wives have no choice but to cling to the jobs they hate because someone has to pay the bills, and the ungrateful kids who ruined her stomach for all eternity need to be fed (and the cable bill needs to be paid because God forbid a man miss a single night of “Sports Center”).

Like most (straight) men, though, our own Ring Nation doesn’t pay much attention. So he can probably be forgiven for only seeing the results of nagging on a man, and not what inspires that nagging. Sure, some women are awful, just like some men are abusive. In other cases, people remain blissfully in love their entire lives. In the average marriage, though, the husband is happier than his wife. Statistically, men are less likely to leave their marriages, live longer when they’re married, and generally benefit from the arrangement. While women, no doubt, also experience some benefits, the findings aren’t nearly as cut and dry.

The fact is, women are still getting the shit end of the stick. Men may get nagged, but they’re usually sitting on the couch with their hands in their pants, watching “the game.” Meanwhile their wives are nagging from the kitchen where they’re cleaning up the dishes from the dinners they cooked, after getting home from eight hours at the office, begging him to take out the garbage that’s been stinking up the house for days, or fix the toilet that’s been running for months. And that’s in a relatively good marriage. Don’t believe me? Look around at your co-workers, your neighbors, your friends, and ask yourself where the guys would be without their wives. Ask yourself the same about the women and their husbands. Chances are, the men would be lost, and the women would be happily charting a new course.

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4 comments

  1. Not true. Not true.

    If a woman will take the time to decide what she wants in a man and not settle til she finds it, she will not get married than be let down.

    I write a blog about how men can better love their wives. It would be a great resource for single women to see what a great man really is.

    I hope you will all check it out.

    http://whatsheneedsfromyou.wordpress.com

    Thanks,

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  2. Actually, I think your blog backs up what I say in many ways. For instance:

    “Knowing that my actions, my efforts, my commitment to my wife can have the effect of building a great marriage and that encouraging my wife to be great, can change the woman that she is, is enough for me to want to do the work.”

    My basic premise is that if all men did their share of the work, were supportive, and active, that womens’ feelings about their marriages would change. They would be happier if they had more support, but unfortunately many of them don’t.

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  3. Very well written article indeed…and I agree with parts from both He and She. But I think there is one fundamental point that both sides seem to be dancing around: this goes both ways! Both sides go into marriage thinking their lives will be better (men do too, believe it or not) but something happens along the way that turns into a breakdown of communication and overall “fun.” Yes, marriage is “work” but it is up to each individual to determine just how much “work” it’s going to take. Why do half of marriages today end in divorce? Because it is so much easier to throw in the towel rather than face the fact that maybe – JUST MAYBE – you could be the one to blame for some of these “issues.” Why a couple enters marriage thinking that they can finally let everything go and slack off is beyond me…just because you got married doesn’t mean that your life should get easier or harder, it just becomes different. This isn’t the 1950’s where the good little wife stays at home to clean and tend to the children or the man brings home the bacon. Both parties should do a bit of each – picking up some slack in their respective areas of expertise.

    She said that men have it great in a marriage: she nailed it. MOST women tend to get into the Little Suzie Homemaker role fairly automatically, and of course some are better than others. On top of that role also comes the necessity of a job that brings home a paycheck because, let’s face it, living expenses are pretty high these days. With that said, most women have no problems what-so-ever sharing their time and their money with the family unit (from what I’ve learned, men don’t always feel the same.) Now what He said summed up a lot too: of course men would rather be single for a weekend than married! Being single means having little to no responsibilities: who doesn’t want that from time to time?! But we all know that a scenario like that just isn’t realistic. I think men love the idea of being single, but are actually much happier within the right marriage. Women just need to keep up the loving things they do for their man and the same will be reciprocated (at least I would hope so.)

    The fact of the matter is: you’re not going to be happy unless you TRY. You entered into this matrimony because you love your partner, right? So shouldn’t you try to make them – and keep them – happy? If both parties viewed their lives together like that, bliss would be inevitable. Make your partner happy and in turn you will be happy. Seems simple, right??

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