The Things Men Love More Than Wives and Children

daddy wasn't there

Many guys are afraid of committing to relationships.

Maybe it’s because we know there will be work and sacrifice involved and it scares us. Or maybe it’s because we’re afraid of never having sex with a new person again. It could also be because the average diamond engagement ring costs $6,400; the average wedding costs $30,000, but the average 30-year-old guy’s (median age for first-time grooms in the United States is 29) salary is just $40,000.

Maybe we crave “freedom.” Or maybe so much of our self-identity is wrapped up in ourselves as individuals that we psychologically have trouble letting go of that even when we feel strong emotional bonds with another.

If you are a husband and a father, what is it that you rank higher on your My Life Priorities list than your wife and children?

Maybe we realize that divorce is mathematically a 50-50 proposition and since we watched our parents go through it when we were kids and suffered emotionally and logistically for it, we’re just super-cautious because we don’t want to make a mistake.

I was afraid to propose to my girlfriend.

I have trouble sometimes committing to what to eat for dinner, or what to read or watch after. I was 23 years old and terrified about getting married and then getting divorced like my parents did.

But girlfriends have fears, too. And sometimes young women dream of marriage and family, and then see many of their girlfriends getting engaged, and sometimes start to feel pressure to figure out that part of their lives. It’s a pretty big deal, so that makes sense to me.

Maybe that’s how my girlfriend felt. Like if I wasn’t going to commit, that she needed to know, so she could make an informed decision about what to do for the rest of her life.

Maybe a lot of young couples go through that.

And maybe a lot of other guys feel like I did: I’m running out of time, and if I’m unwilling to commit, I’m probably going to lose her.

We’re scared, sure. But at some point, it comes down to which is the greater pain. Letting go of all those commitment worries, or letting go of her?

The fear of losing my girlfriend was greater than my fear of losing whatever I was worried about losing by promising her forever.

Perhaps ironically, we were engaged on Independence Day in the U.S.—July 4, 2003. We were married a little more than a year later.

Men Take Vows Seriously, Too

Despite all of the fears and stresses and discomfort associated with marriage, a young man, with a million previous opportunities to walk away, psychologically approaches his wedding day with the mindset that he’s making the right choice: I love her. Who would I ever find that’s better? Why would I want to? This is the right thing.

I have a difficult time believing more than maybe one percent of people exchange wedding vows knowing secretly in the back of their minds that they don’t intend to fulfill them. Divorce is awful. And good marriage is very good. Almost nobody is rooting for dysfunction and heartache.

They want it to work. They want it to be good. Forever. And when we say “I do,” that’s what we all believe will happen.

Soooo, WTF!?

Yeah, I’ve been wondering that, too.

After all of that hand wringing and internal debate and deliberately choosing marriage and making the personal and financial sacrifices necessary to do so, why do so many of our marriages end up broken and shitty? And why do men so commonly engage in repeated and predictable behaviors that frequently doom their marriages?

These questions should keep us up at night, because it seems infinitely more difficult and complicated than it should be, and if any genius psychology experts are reading maybe one will try to explain it.

Because I think I know something. And it doesn’t jibe with the fact that 99% of marriage proposals come from the future grooms in the 6,200 weddings which take place daily in the U.S.

Most Men Who Go Through That Process Will Tell You His Marriage and Family are His Highest Priorities

There’s a chance I’m not getting this right. There’s a chance that maybe 20 percent of husbands and fathers would look you in the eye and say: “No. My wife and family are #4 on my list. My motorcycle, my social life, and golf are the top three.” or “My wife and kids? In terms of their importance in my life? Hmmm. Video games are more important. I missed my son’s surgery the other day for a work meeting. And there are a few other things I would always choose over them. But they’re definitely in the top 10!”

A deeply religious man would probably tell you that he puts God first, but I think you’d find that that humility serves him well in his marriage and his relationships with his children.

But, generally? I’m looking for an answer to the following question:

If you are a husband and a father, what is it that you rank higher on your My Life Priorities list than your wife and children?

My smart friend wisely observes that men often view their role as husband and father through the prism of being a provider, and then use that self-perception to justify putting so much energy into money-making endeavors, followed by taking recovery time for themselves to gear up for another hard day tomorrow.

And you know what? I’ll even buy that a little for those guys hammering out 60-plus hour weeks and providing high-end financial opportunities for their wives and children which grants them experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have, especially when both husband and wife mutually agree to the arrangement.

But let’s be real, please.

That’s not typical.

Most of the time, wives and mothers do MUCH more of the unpaid adult work required to maintain family life, and frequently make as much or more than their husbands. My wife and I were essentially 50-50 financial partners for the majority of our marriage, and the majority of my social circle is comprised of couples like that.

I get the same email several times per week: “Any time I say anything, he just gets defensive and accuses me of never being happy. I do everything at home with a 40-hour-per-week job. And I could almost live with it if he’d put more energy into the kids. But while they’re so happy to see him and want to play with him when he comes home and I’m making dinner, he always ends up playing on his phone, or the computer, playing a video game, watching something on TV, or whatever. It’s ALWAYS about him, and never about us.”

After she cleans the kitchen, bathes the kids, gets them to bed, starts a load of laundry, and mentally manages grocery lists, school needs for the kids, along with not losing sight of whatever needs done at the office tomorrow, she’s totally spent by the time 9 p.m. or whatever rolls around.

Maybe when she walks back through the kitchen an hour after cleaning it, she finds crumbs on the counter or a dirty glass by the sink.

Maybe when she collapses on the living room couch, announcing that she’s going to take a bath and go to bed, he absently says: “Okay. Goodnight,” without taking his eyes off of the football game, or looking away from his video game.

Or maybe he asks her whether she wants to fool around, and then acts frustrated when she doesn’t want to. Or maybe he keeps his frustration a secret and then jerks off to internet porn for her to discover later as one more thing to make her feel like she’s trapped in My Life is Shit World, with the only obvious means of escape being murdering him, killing herself, or divorce, the latter of which she’s beginning to fantasize about.

Thousands of people have told me almost this exact story.

To a certain degree, I lived almost this exact story.

It’s because it happens all the time.

And I’m trying to figure out why.

Someone answer the question. Maybe you, Married Guy Who Does These Things.

When you rank everything in your life in order of importance, where—if not the top—does your wife and family sit?

And if, as I suspect, you really believe your marriage and children to be the most important and precious things in your life, then I have just one other question:

What are you waiting for?

…..

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47 thoughts on “The Things Men Love More Than Wives and Children

  1. Chris says:

    I think a lot of guys will have the same answer, if listed differently. But I think what’s on the top of my list is “whatever I want at that moment in time”.

    Writing it out makes it seem petty, but I’m starting to think that’s what most men do on a regular basis. We’ll sometimes turn it off in the interests of being a functional member of society (work, sleep, etc), but otherwise it’s filled with what I want.

    And that is a damn hard thing to change. I’ve started to do it because I started to see the warning signs, but I’ve got a lot of work to do to undo the past.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I get it. I’m infinitely better about giving undivided attention to my young son than I used to be, but I still catch myself distracted by my “wants” sometimes. That little dude comes first in all things for me. But I still am sometimes choosing myself over him when he deserves my focus.

      Getting better all the time.

      And if there’s ever a new relationship, perhaps I’ll be a lot better at that too.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pretty sure many of them would deny that they weren’t putting wife/kids first and would argue that they do plenty around the house/with kids etc. even when that’s simply not the truth.

    You are so insightful. I wish the men who needed to hear this would read it, rather than we wives who have had about enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Denise says:

    Dude you need to be published! Put your blogs in a book!

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Thank you, Denise! Maybe someday.

      Like

    • kourei says:

      Haha, I thought that said “Punished”!
      I agree, we need a book! I would love to have a book to sort of casually leave lying around open to the “I JUST cleaned the kitchen dammit” page. Please put out a book!!

      Like

      • Matt says:

        I’m grateful for the encouragement. I do intend to publish some. I struggle with organization and time management, and it’s something of a problem for book writing, it turns out.

        But God-willing I don’t die soon, it should happen. Thank you very much.

        Like

  4. zombiedrew2 says:

    I’m a firm believer that for perhaps most people (men and women), if you asked them where they rank their children and spouse/partner in their list of priorities, they would say first and second. Some put children first, others put them second.

    However, if you then take a look at the behaviors of most people, they don’t line up with what those people are saying.

    Hmm, your kids/partner is the most important thing. But you are are more interested in the football game on tv, poker night with the buddies, night out with the girls, candy crush on your phone etc.

    People need “me” time, so to a degree this stuff is understandable. In struggling marriages though I think there is a big gap between how much time and energy is spent on me time vs. how much energy is spent on growing or even just maintaining the relationship.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Matt says:

      You make an important point and observation, Drew.

      No matter what your top priority is in life, it’s not as if you can realistically be expected to dedicate 100% of your energy to that thing.

      And it’s no fair to say: “OMG!!! Your stated top priority is X, but I see you doing Y, so you make horrible decisions and don’t care about X as much as you say!!!”

      Which is obviously nonsensical bullshit.

      I hope people are willing to see this for what it is. I’m confident you do.

      Thank you. Always good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ed says:

    I’ve been consistently “inconsistent” with my priorities in life. My children and family have always been a priority, unless it was hunting season, or the race was on, or whatever other activity jumped into first place- but only for a moment. But, it is on those hunting trips with the guys when something happened at home and I wasn’t there to “deal with it.” That’s what the children and the ex-wife remember. They don’t remember the other 360 days that year when I was there, mending skint knees, putting the bicycle chain back in place, checking for monsters under the bed, changing the oil, mowing the grass, building the tree-house, etc, etc. I was tried and convicted of being absent, selfish and unworthy… for being absent 1 percent of the time. I know in my heart where my priorities are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I understand, Ed. I hope this didn’t read like an indictment.

      Our intentions, to a great extent, matter VERY much. And I believe most men to be good men. Guys who genuinely love their wives and children.

      I believe in, and look for, the good in people, and I believe we find it most of the time.

      That applies equally to men who don’t get marriage right, and certainly the ones who tried to give all they could.

      Like

    • 'Becca says:

      Ed, I hope they’ll see it differently as time gives them more perspective–especially the kids. When I was growing up in the pre-cell-phone era, I had a knack for getting sick at school while my stay-at-home mom was out running errands or working in the garden where she couldn’t hear the phone, so then the school would call my dad and he’d leave work and drive across town to pick me up. The two times the school couldn’t reach either parent for hours were the two times I was most seriously ill. Just bad luck. Sounds like it was similar for you.

      At the time, languishing on the cot behind the secretary’s desk, I felt sooo sorry for myself and angry at my mother who wasn’t being a “stay-at-home mom” so much, was she, if she was never at home when I needed my mom! I remember too that at times my dad was visibly exasperated with my mom breezing in minutes after he got me home: “Where WERE you?! Now I’m late for the meeting and have vomit on my slacks!” But from an adult perspective, they really were there most of the time, and when they weren’t their reasons weren’t exactly selfish: my mom’s errands were mostly buying things for the family, her garden was growing our vegetables, etc.

      You know your priorities, and if you continue to express them to the children, showing them when you get to see them that they truly matter to you, in time they’ll probably come around. I hope so.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tina says:

    As someone trying to own their 50% responsibility for a marriage falling apart right now I gotta say – it is a good thing to sit down and look at where you spend your time – if something matters to you you have to make time for it. I have been the wife that does all that work – makes more money pays the bills takes care of the kids. BUT I always put those things first. I made no time for my husband. So while I wish he would read your posts – I also wish I had read them sooner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan says:

      Ditto me. <> I’m learning a lot here. Thanks Matt.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Matt says:

      Linda said it a few comments down. “We spend our time on what we value.”

      I DO NOT value goofing off on my phone or mindlessly watching SportsCenter or having drinks after work more than my son’s health and wellness and our relationship, or working on long-term writing projects, or developing marketing and small-business ideas.

      But if you evaluate my time spent, one might come to that conclusion on a case-by-case basis.

      We take things for granted. Like our marriages. But if we always believed there was a legit chance it might be the last day we ever had with our wives or kids, we’d act so much differently.

      For the better.

      The million-dollar question is: How do we train our brains to think that way every day?

      Liked by 1 person

    • ruralbethany says:

      where you spend your time – that’s a really really important thing to look at. I also liken this to the Facebook page. I think because in my case, it was drastic. I think people’s Facebook pages are generally a very clear reflection of their life and priorities and things that are important to them.

      I remember one friend who mentioned after I told her I was divorcing that she was really thrown off when she met me, because she saw my husband’s facebook page and literally could not even tell he had a family (he was a musician, so it was all band/shows/etc). It was interesting to me that she pointed it out because it was one of those things that I also had noticed but what was I going to say… “See, I’m NOT a priority to you because you rarely post anything related to me or the family on FACEBOOK!” which would have been totally petty.

      Like

  7. Shannon says:

    I have happily married friends with children. When he proposed, she told him no, she had no intention of being a football widow. So he did the unthinkable-recorded the games and did not look at spoilers until he watched them ,which took half the time when commercials are fast forwarded through. After a while, he stopped even doing that. Eventually, he proved what his priorities were by his actions, and they married.

    My husband has often wondered why I move so fast and how I get so much done in such a short period of time. My answer is that if I get all the work done in the shortest period of time possible, I get more me time, because I do take me time until the work is done.

    Like

  8. Good one, Matt. I think what men really fear most is being vulnerable, getting taken advantage of, exploited, “not winning,” whatever that means. We raise men to be strong, to be impervious, to win the battle, and marriage requires you to be soft, vulnerable, to risk it all. Marriage will consume you too, forever change you, nobody gets through it unscathed, even when it works out well.

    I don’t think women fear these things as much. For one, we’re already vulnerable, and just simple biology affirms this. We already know we’re going to be consumed, forever changed, lose it all, so to speak. Just the act of being pregnant and having a child leaves us vulnerable, forever changed. Women are often smaller, biologically weaker, possessing less earning power, and although we aren’t supposed to say such things, they hover in the background. We are already well acquainted with risk and vulnerability. Men are not. That is unfamiliar territory for them.

    It’s a harsh truth, but men go into marriage afraid of losing their pride, while women fear losing their very selves. When we find ourselves with men who render us invisible, who don’t hear us, who leave us feeling emotionally erased, that fear is confirmed and self preservation often kicks in.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m a counselor and a wife. One of the things that I ask my clients is how they spend your time outside of the work day. Where we direct our energy, how we spend our time, and how we expend our resources is a good indication of what we value and what is important. If a person spends most of their off time on their phone, gaming, hanging out, kicking back and the other spouse is attending to the children, the management of the household, etc, it is understandable that one spouse is going to see that the other spouse does not value the things they value. We spend our time on what we value.

    Like

  10. sd wright says:

    that comic made me laugh so hard I cried, then started actually crying because it is so sad and so my life right now. I was raised by the same type of dad in that picture and realize that I now have married the same type of man and now my boys are the little boy in the picture with a dad who is gone every week and when he gets home it’s all about them. And I’m not supposed to complain because he’s out “working”.

    Like

  11. kirstencronlund says:

    Thanks for this post, Matt. Reading your blog is giving me more insight into males than I’ve ever gotten before. With regard to your question, “why do men so commonly engage in repeated and predictable behaviors that frequently doom their marriages?” I would answer that it’s for the same reasons why all human beings make choices that don’t end up bringing them happiness. We just stink at predicting what is going to make us happy (that hedonic treadmill you’ve referred to, as well as other things much better written about by Dan Gilbert in Stumbling on Happiness than I could state here). There’s also an interesting outcome when you ask people to rate their happiness level in any given moment and then ask them their overall life satisfaction. Parents with very young children might rate their happiness level very low because of the sleepless nights, the runny noses, the sore backs from constantly carrying a small human being, etc., but their rating of life satisfaction will likely be very high. I think of that as the difference between hedonic pleasure and a more selfless, personal values driven sense of well being. The beginning of relationships generally start with lots of hedonic pleasure, which feels and is great, but then when the hard work comes – listening, putting another’s needs before one’s own, etc. – that’s when sometimes the only thing that gets you through is taking a step back and focusing on what brings well being. The question that I have is whether taking that step back is somehow easier for women than it is for men. It feels like it was true in my marriage – that when I had to get up at night with the babies for the 10th time and I was so tired I thought I was going to die – somehow I still had this warm feeling of doing something that was personally meaningful. I was struck by Chris’s comment above. I really appreciate his candor, and I wonder if his stance is somehow more intrinsically male than female. Not that men can’t do the work to get to a giving, outward-focused place, and not that their lives aren’t enriched when they can. What do you think?

    Like

  12. You couldn’t have ended it better. 👍🏼

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on Tatiana's Garden and commented:
    If you still haven’t read Matt’s blog and hit follow! Your totally missing out!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. ttravis says:

    One complicating factor that I think deserves mention here: since 2008 or so, one thing that many men and women may have prioritized over their marriages was trying to keep their job– or, if they had lost it, to get a new one.

    Ideally, dealing with economic insecurity is something that a family does together: you talk about the situation, strategize how to deal with it at work, reckon what the costs will be at home, and make contingency plans together. You balance the costs to the family unit (someone’s going to work late more in order to increase productivity, or travel more because layoffs elsewhere have changed their job description, etc.) against the potential benefits of staying employed, and everybody agrees to some sacrifices with an eye on that long-term gain.

    Even if everyone has open eyes going into the situation, it’s hard to manage. Fear of financial ruin puts a real strain on people’s capacity for give-and-take in all areas of their lives. Employers dig this, since it makes workers more docile; people who then feel like they have less autonomy than ever at work may demand more of it at home, and be less willing to compromise and collaborate. When people in a family are not all on board about the work issue, then the situation is monstrous.

    My ex and I work for the same large organization, he in a high status sector, and myself in a low-status area. Despite the fact that the low status of my unit was frequently in the news during the economic downturn, and that similar units in other organizations all over the country were being eliminated and consolidated, the ex simply would not believe that for I was at risk of losing my job unless I worked overtime to maintain my unit’s position and raise my own productivity.

    I am quite certain that the time and energy that I put into work in the early ’10s made me less able to put time and energy into my marriage. I am also sure that having a partner who framed the situation as “they can’t fire you– you’re in the union! and besides, I make plenty of money so if you do get fired, it’s no big deal!” did not motivate me to do so. (Having a small child at the same time didn’t make it any of this any easier.) The financial downturn didn’t cause my marriage to go south, but it definitely made it easier for it to happen.

    I guess all this is just to say that while it’s possible that plenty of men– of people– out there are prioritizing their X boxes over their marriages, we don’t want to lose sight of a large structuring force in the background. It’s called capitalism. Without using economic conditions as an excuse for bad gendered behavior (“I can’t deal with the crying baby in the middle of the night because i have to be 100% on my game at work tomorrow”; “I maxed out the credit card on bon-bons and movie magazines because you never listen to me”) we should recognize that they condition the way we understand what it is to be a successful “man” or “woman,” as well as how we interact in relationships.

    Like

  15. ashley31890 says:

    Well written! Love the honesty.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I tell my husband that when his ‘status’ is more time consuming and important than the status of us, there’s a big ol’ fat problem. I think, and correct me if I’m wrong by all means, that men don’t feel comfortable saying they want to be liked, loved, cuddled…so social media is very tempting…even addicting. You have to show no emotion or affection and you get all you need in one app, like, thumbs up. And no true emotional investment is required.

    Like

    • Matt says:

      You’re talking to the wrong guy RE: Facebook and social media, in general.

      In a way, this blog is part of social media, and it certainly gets a lot of my time and attention.

      But I don’t spend much time scrolling through social feeds. I don’t know whether that makes me weird or brilliant.

      In either case, it’s not difficult. I naturally don’t want to.

      Did he come from a very vibrant and active and connected social life, and now as a married guy feels removed from all of it, and acts like he misses it?

      I think that’s one of the most-difficult, and least-discussed things men deal with in adulthood.

      The loss of “tribe.”

      Even our ancestors never dealt with that, until our culture decided to choose single-family, private dwellings over village- or community-style living.

      If we took the time to do our homework (and someone smart probably has already), I suspect we’d find that the cultural elimination of “tribe” or “team” or “fraternity” or “brotherhood” for men in a big-picture sense is ALSO when a lot of “shitty husband” behaviors started to manifest with greater frequency.

      But I’m only guessing.

      Maybe I’ll see if anyone has bothered to research that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t do any Faceflop, Tweeder, nothing. I like my privacy. You know I think you hit it spot on…brotherhood. He was infantry…is infantry. Though in ‘real-life’ he doesn’t like people he longs for that sense of being a part of something. Thanks for the needed perspective.

        Like

        • Matt says:

          I think society may come to discover just how big of a deal this is and hopefully take steps to address it.

          People need involvement and connection. And that doesn’t always look exactly the same to a husband and wife.

          But I’m confident that with good communication on the front end, and mutual respect, there’s a way to satisfy everyone’s need for that connection without sacrificing their marriages.

          Maybe someday we’ll figure it out.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Reece Butler says:

        Check out The Art of Manliness site. One thing said is that when men are not part of a tribe (core group of like-minded males) they do not have a peer group in which they can prove their manliness, and which keeps them fulfilling the goals of that tribe.

        Without that tribal status, proving oneself to manly peers, a man does not have the sense of belonging, of being valued. He can’t get that from females because they are not men, and so needs an all-male group such as a service organization, sports group, etc.

        “Manhood is different from biological maleness, and it does not accrue to a man naturally through maturation. Rather it is a status of honor that must be earned through merit – by demonstrating excellence in the manly imperatives.”

        http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/03/31/the-3-ps-of-manhood-a-review/

        Liked by 1 person

  17. TJOH says:

    “Maybe when she walks back through the kitchen an hour after cleaning it, she finds crumbs on the counter or a dirty glass by the sink.”
    This line legitimately had me laughing out loud! I’m her! Then I say WTF! This motherfucker…under my breath. I LOVE reading your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Karen says:

    There’s a viral video right now that reminded me of your blog, in the guise of a laundry soap commercial. For the people who aren’t getting the dirty glass metaphor, the visuals are excellent. https://www.facebook.com/sheryl/videos/10156510941810177/

    Like

  19. Thank you for writing this. I’ve never understood it either and I didn’t even mind doing all those things if it could just have been acknowledged. Instead I was criticized and our children were ignored as well. Now we’re getting a divorce (something I totally never believed in) but after he cheated with a stripper after his first affair I had no choice. Why do men not value their families? Why don’t they understand their children need them to lead by example and love them without question. My children doubt their father even loves them. I hope you find answers because I’d love to know them. Thanks again for your post. It was a great read.

    Like

  20. WiserNow says:

    Knowing what anyone’s priorities are is simple – where do you spend your time and your money. The hard part is being honest about it without making excuses why it isn’t different. “I know my wife should be a top priority in my life, but I spend one hour per day with her and 2 hours per day biking, or playing video games, or surfing the web, etc.’

    Like

  21. I think a fatal mistake most couples make upon saying their ‘I do’s’ is never discussing the logistics of the partnership first. Ultimately, at the end of the day, marriage is a business contract and both parties are responsible for holding up their end of the deal.

    I know in my own experience, I was infuriated with my ex husband often for not being more helpful around the house. However, once I realized what I wanted from him, we were already in our established ruts and patterns of behavior which made a cyclical and destructive argument each time the unhappiness was expressed. He started to see me as a nag. I started to see him as a lazy, insensitive jerk and so quiet and not so quiet resentment grew.

    In my dream partnership, once we move in and then later perhaps discuss lifetime commitment, I strongly desire someone who understands the importance of clearly defined roles to keep the partnership highly functioning with each partner delivering their agreed upon role which will leave very little time for senseless arguments and resentment thus leaving more time for passion, fun and living a good life both as a unit and individually.

    Even if it means I wind up being the appointed little woman, taking care of the household cleanliness and my future partner plays the role of breadwinner or if we both work 8-5 and split our chores/bills equally… Whichever way, communicating clear goals, expectations and needs before anyone signs the dotted line for a shared house or an ever after, in my opinion are of the utmost importance in setting the foundation for a healthy relationship AND making the commitment to stick to those roles and being open to consciously evolving or rewriting them as life circumstances change. If I understand the role I agreed to play, the likelihood of me growing resentful practically diminishes.

    Also, in regards to the football watching husband, I’m not saying he isn’t accountable for helping with the house and kids, but I will say this: It has been proven that men can only think with one part of their brain at a time. It’s a fact. All compartments of a female brain are wired to be used simultaneously which is why we are so good at doing and thinking about much at the same time. I’m not saying it’s a gift. I wish I could think like a man for one day. However, while I can manage so much all at once, I understand men are more prone to focus their attention to one thing at a time. With this understanding, I think wives might back off a little and understand that he really is doing the best he can. Again, I think it’s so important to discuss roles before the marriage and again before the babies. I have noticed that men are doers. When they know what’s expected, they will deliver and make time to take responsibility and then find time for the game. Same for wives, when they know their role and what they expect and what can be expected, it’s takes all that weight of their shoulders and brains and frees up time for TRUST, relaxation and bonding in a plethora of ways.. Otherwise, the partnership is doomed to be on unconscious autopilot which will only kill the relationship, diminish trust, grow resentment and destroy genuine passion.

    I believe it takes to to kill a relationship. It is not just the guys fault nor is it the woman’s fault. It took two to start it and it takes TWO to fight for it or kill it.

    As always, I enjoy your posts and look forward to your book. :)

    Like

  22. Karen says:

    Fuck yeah. This is such a great post. You have quickly become my favorite blogger. Thank you for sharing your insight with the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Danielle Lizotte says:

    Your writing is very funny Matt. I recommend “Wifework” by Susan Maushart as a good explanation as to why this phenomenon happens. She kind of wraps it up as being the last vestiges of patriarchy. Men are conditioned to have a sense of entitlement that all the tedious chores in life will be taken care of by someone other than them. While they can accept women working and taking on some of the chores their father’s didn’t do, they still can’t appreciate the invisible work of mentally managing everything because of conditioning.

    I’ve often wondered if men know perfectly well that they have a good deal going and they put in the minimum amount of effort needed to keep the deal going. My own husband has very different behaviors, much more proactive and independent about chores when 1) he knows I’m angry with him, or 2) he is trying to get me to have sex with him. This leads me to believe he knows full well what he should be doing, but he doesn’t want to do it.

    Maybe you’ll be that man who figures out how to rewire this program in men’s brains?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I’ve seen that book recommended several times now. It’s probably already on my Amazon list, but if it’s not, I’m going to go add it right now.

      I’m glad you find the writing funny, and I appreciate the suggestion that I might be able to help in the big-picture cause somehow.

      Right is right. Fair is fair. Truth is truth.

      I’m always on the side of whatever the most “right,” fair, and true thing is.

      There is a “best practice” for our general approach to marriage and human relationships. And every day we don’t actively try to figure out what that is, and demonstrate it? We’re shortchanging everyone in our lives that matter, including ourselves.

      Hard to imagine why so many people want to intentionally do things a shitty way proven to fail more than half the time.

      We’re all a little broken sometimes, and people often seem to best learn the hard way.

      Like

  24. […] and the results are always the same. Your husband will likely have to look in the mirror and ask himself some really hard and uncomfortable questions for your marriage to last. If he’s honest with himself, some of the answers will make him squirm. […]

    Like

  25. […] This has the added benefit of improving the collective self-esteem of women, and reducing instances of children being born to crappy fathers. […]

    Like

  26. Lynda says:

    Hit the nail on the head, yet again! Much appreciated, Matt.

    Liked by 1 person

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