Now let’s get more specific. What are the marital hot spots that gender affects? Let’s start with the lists below,answering each of the questions.
Do you make jokes about the opposite sex? Are they a put-down of men and women?Do you allow demeaning gender statements to come out of your mouth or laugh at the jokes of others? Do you ignore sexual harrasment or worse,participate in it? What message does this send to your spouse?
Obviously,you are not promoting gender respect.This kind of behavior hurts the self-esteem of a partner.A woman who harbors anger against men and makes digs at her husband is being disrespectful. Men who treat women as sexual objects and less than equals do the same.
Abuse of Power-Domestic Violence
Do you physically abuse power? Do you intimidate through threats of violence?
I can’t think of any way that distorts power more grossly between men and women than domestic violence.
Domestic violence is an abuse of power,and it is sinful.There is no excuse for the behavior.
Anyone who hits,beats,and / or terrorizes another human being is inhumane and nothing justifies this response. No amount of marital tension gives either gender the right to hit or threaten. If there is domestic violence in your home,seek help immediately. Someone is out of line and needs immediate correction.
Sex And Intimacy
Do you use sex and intimacy as power issues? Typically,women want emotional closeness before sex. Men,on the other hand employ sex to become emotionally close.This difference can set up a host of power issues which get acted out in other arenas of the marriage.
Have a conversation about your sexual life.Is it meeting the needs of each of you? Is it what you expect? Does either partner feel coerced or pressured for sex? What role does society play in your expectations of each other? Is there romance,sexual interest? If not,what is blocking these two things? How do you express intimacy? How would you like it expressed?
Pornography affects sex and intimacy in a negative way.It is based on images of women subjugated to men in demeaning ways through coercion and control. Despite what you may have heard,pornography does not help marriages.It does not improve your sex life and should not be used as a tool to do so.Get rid of it now!
Is house chores meant for women only?
Rev up the vacuum cleaner.Pull out the dust cloth and get to work,men. You will have a happier,less lonely,and more involved marriage than your buddies who don’t help around the house.
Marital researcher,John Gottman studied men who did housework and found them not only happier in their marriages,but also have a lower rate of heart disease and a overall better health. In fact,these men were less stressed and less likely to be sick.
Even though doing house chores was tested as a seperate factor in the marital study,housework really wasn’t the issue.Actually,the husband who does house chores tends to be a mutual and supportive partner You see,spouses who act in mutual and supportive ways have good marriages.They also enjoy the physical benefits.
Men,the next time you see your wives struggle to keep up with all the housework,turn off the game,pull out that toilet bowl cleaner,pat yourself on the back and say, “I’ll be less lonely,less stressed,and less likely to be sick if I scrub this commode.” Your wife will give you a big smile( and maybe more) and say, “I’m glad I married this man.”
Show Me The Money
Does the one with the highest portfolio get to be the boss?
Couples fight most about money.Money is a source of power and influence Typically,men earn more of it than women.Personal power in marriage is often associated with how much money you bring to the relationship.In most cases,the more money a spouse brings in,the more they want in on what happens to it.Usually,this means women are in a one- down position.
Potential abuse occurs when men who earn more money decide that it entitles them to make unilateral decisions about expenditures.In these cases,money becomes a power club held threateningly over women’s heads.
Many bright and capable women choose to stay in the dark about family finances( particularly stocks and investment portfolios) and consequently they don’t contribute to money matters. Likewise,some men don’t want to be investment lone rangers; they want input.They may worry that if something tragic were to happen to them,their wives wouldn’t know what to do.
Decisions about how money is spent can become a power tussle.An impulse buyer,or conversely,a penny pincher can,create tension in a marriage.Do you save,spend,buy now,or pay with credit? What do you believe about men and women when it comes to working for pay? The question is,what do we believe about gender and money? Should women be at home,in the workforce,earn the same as men,supervise men,and so on? AYour beliefs will create tension if they don’t match your partner’s and aren’t worked out on a practical level.
How are we going to split up the responsibilities?
Even though many couples believe moms and dads should be involved in the raising of children,this doesn’t bear out in reality.Our society is still plagued with absentee and deadbeat dads,workaholics who rarely see their children,much less spend time with them,and moms trying to do the job of two parents.When there is an intact family,couples fight over mundane things like who will give the baby a bath,who will run to the store for groceries,and whose job description trash falls under.
Bottom line- what role are moms and dads supposed to occupy when it comes to raising kids? It all must be negotiated. Couples have to be flexible and adaptable or problems will continue.
I can also tell you that the power tussles won’t get resolved by trying to revert to some idea about the good old days when men were men and women couldn’t vote! Understand how your spouse thinks about gender issues,and be flexible when it comes to finding a workable agreement. What works for a couple may not work for the other.Therefore,the negotiation over who does what to who needs much dialogue.What you shouldn’t do is throw a few isolated scriptures at your partner and demand submission.
Now,I like to share some healthy marriage strategies:
- Submit first to God,then to each other.
- Define your gender expectations.
- Negotiate roles and tasks so that both spouses are in agreement.
- Build a strong friendship with your spouse based on respect and honor.
- Empower your spouse.
- Develop emphathy for your spouse.
- Address marital hotspot of power imbalances: Self-esteem,domestic violence,sex and intimacy,housechores,money,and raising children.