Divorce and broken homes and dysfunctional relationships are a global epidemic.
Men have the most power to help solve the problem.
Because women are better at relationships than men. They are. A broad generalization? Sure. A stereotype that isn’t true 100-percent of the time? Yep. But mostly correct? Totally.
I think about it all the time because I’m still trying to figure things out 13 months after my wife left and I became a single guy with a son I only see half the time.
There are a bunch of really shitty things that happen in this world. I focus on divorce because I lived a mostly charmed life prior to turning 30 when I lost a job, and later, my family. So divorce represents the worst thing that ever happened to me. I didn’t take it very well. I freaked out, actually. I was so scared. And then I was shocked by the realization that I could feel that afraid. And then I got EVEN MORE afraid because now I had fear to fear as well.
Sometimes I feel like a wimp because divorce was so hard for me while other people suffer through more-brutal, less-common traumatic life events.
But then I remind myself that I’m not insane. (I don’t think.) Divorce WAS (is) hard. Very. I didn’t just make it up in my head. It’s a brutal thing. It was shitty as a four-year-old boy when my parents got divorced and I didn’t get to see my dad very much. It was shitty when I was in my 20s and my mom and stepdad (who I love dearly) divorced. And the worst thing that ever happened to me happened 13 months ago when my wife moved out because she found life with me intolerable.
And now I only see my son half the time and spend most of my life feeling regret and shame and uncertainty.
Men can lead the way on fixing this. Men can take our 50-percent divorce rate, make it our bitch, and change the world.
Changing the world is not an exaggeration.
Imagine a world where only 5-10 percent of couples divorced. How much ugliness would go away if that were true?
Men have the power to reduce instances of marital infidelity. Men have the power to save billions of dollars in therapy bills for couples, divorced individuals and affected children. Men have the power to stop feeling ashamed. We have the power to be the heroes all of us secretly or not-so-secretly want to be.
We can save the day.
By being awesome at marriage.
You Know, It’s Funny
It’s a big fucking mystery to me why guys don’t want to do this. I sucked at it, too.
Men are the most-competitive species on planet earth. Men will race a stranger in the car next to them from stoplight to stoplight. Men will argue for hours about the most-pointless things imaginable. Men make games out of EVERYTHING, and then work their asses off to win them.
You’ve all seen it (or done it) before.
So, someone answer me this. I’m DYING for the answer. Because I’m not smart enough to figure it out despite my best efforts.
Why aren’t men competitive about being good at marriage?
I’ll argue with you all night about something inconsequential, like whether that shitty movie we watched involved Timothy Olyphant or lookalike Josh Duhamel. Or worse—I’ll try to “win” an opinion-based argument that can’t be won because there is no right answer.
I’m very competitive.
Yet, I didn’t compete to be the best husband and father I could be. Not for the vast majority of my marriage, anyway.
Could there be a higher calling? How could I be so lazy? So negligent?
Men seem more interested in winning a fight against their own spouse than they are at showing other husbands and fathers how much better they can be at marriage than the next guy. (Essentially leading by example and pushing others to greatness along the way.)
Why wouldn’t you want your wife to think she has the perfect guy? To be proud of you? To brag to her friends and family about how great you are, or how hard you try?
Why wouldn’t you want to be the best father imaginable?
What matters if not that?
Just be good at marriage, assholes! If you’re not good at it, try to be! Learn how. Figure stuff out.
It’s not like it’s some big secret. We know how to fly satellites into asteroids flying by our planet at 20,000-plus miles per hour. We know how to split atoms. We know how to build aircraft. Weapons. Buildings. Vehicles. Separate conjoined twins. Transplant hearts. Clone things.
What humans have accomplished just in the past century boggles the mind. Men have played such an enormous role in all that progress.
Yet, we STILL haven’t figured out that the women in our lives don’t think and feel as we do. We STILL haven’t figured out that treating women like men will break a bunch of things. We STILL haven’t figured out why our behavior consistently makes the women in our lives respond the way they do.
In other words, we’re smart! But we’re really stupid, too.
We’re strong! But we’re really weak, too.
We’re courageous! But we’re really afraid, too.
The information is out there. There’s not some great mystery to unlocking the secrets of failed relationships. We have tried-and-true formulas for breaking up marriages and they’re happening every day. And if everyone is okay with this, then just keep doing what you’re doing.
I’m exhausted. It’s the worst shit I’ve ever gone through by far, and I just can’t believe more people aren’t committed to the cause given just how many of us are affected by it. We’re raising broken, angry kids destined to grow up and repeat our mistakes.
Plus, doesn’t it just suck? If you’re honest with yourself? Are you really happier now than you were back in the good days of your relationship?
Life’s a Game
Everything is. And I’m not trying to suggest there aren’t things we should be taking seriously. I am taking this seriously. I’m not suggesting women are a prize to be won by cheap psychological ploys. By a game, per se.
The alpha-beta thing—the “red pill” bullshit—that so many people are thinking and talking about? It’s ridiculous. Common sense and life experience tell us all we need to know about the alpha-beta dynamics in a relationship.
Women need you to have alpha traits in order to find you sexually desirable and to feel safe. That’s caveman shit.
Women need you to have beta traits so she can trust you not to treat her like shit or abandon her after procreation. That’s evolution.
It’s not an either-or situation. You must have both to win at marriage in the 21st century. If you’re an alpha, you’re not reading this, and even if you do, you don’t listen to other people because you think you’re right all the time and you’ll just learn the hard way. Probably with herpes on your penis. (Learning how to make women feel emotionally safe might make you more awesome. Life tip. Do with it what you will.)
And if you’re a beta, learn about all of the reasons the alphas get all the chicks. There are things they do which are not morally reprehensible (Physical fitness. Expertise. Confidence.) which can help you become a more-balanced, more-attractive, more successful human being.
Why Aren’t You Competitive About Marriage?
I’m talking to you, Average Guy Like Me. Guy who is a little bit lazy around the house because you feel like you work so hard at your job, providing for your family.
You watch television. Ball games. You play video games. You have your escapes—weekend hobbies you do to “take a break” from your wife or family.
In moderation, none of that is a problem.
But if you’re a shitty husband like me, you might not even know how much damage you’re causing. There are all of these things happening behind the scenes in your life and you don’t even realize it.
You might love her. You might want to stay married. But you’re procrastinating on the most-important thing you can ever do for yourself: Teach yourself how to be good at marriage.
I don’t have any answers. I tried to save my marriage. Too little, too late. She was having none of it.
But the answers are out there. And you owe it to your wife. Your children. Your parents. Your friends. Yourself. You owe it to every guy that doesn’t want to lose his family. To figure this out.
It’s a game.
A game we can win. With coaching and good advice. With how-to manuals. With patience and love and support from our partners who appreciate the effort we’re putting in.
You can get good at the game, just as you can get good at your job, or get good at your video games, or get good at some other challenge.
Heroes rise up.
The brave swallow pride.
A true competitor finds a way to win at all costs.
So, do it. Win at marriage.
The alternative is to live like me. Where your kindergarten son at school draws pictures of his family you helped destroy, and proudly hands it to you: “Look dad! It’s you and mommy and me and my leopard gecko and the dog mommy’s going to get me.”
A fake life that my sweet kid concocted for his teacher yesterday and handed me this morning. (He inherited my artistic talents.)
Be the picture, man.
Win the game.
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