by Marion Schneider:
In our dominant
world culture, the male world is one of success. Man should be
a winner. Man should provide for his family and should not be
powerless. If men are friendly with one another they will support
and help each other in this task, if they do not know one another
they will compete.
Women or the
woman is the essential status symbol in this world, more than
anything else. The choice of the right woman to represent man
and his power is essential. Once a man has made his choice, he
is expected to stay with her - after all he is expected to demonstrate
reliability. So when a relationship splits up or a marriage is
divorced, this is regarded as a failure, in some cultures more
so, in others less.
Men should bring
health and happiness to their family. If, however, they are responsible
for family property, especially out of tradition, this property
can sometimes be even more important than the family itself. They
feel responsible for keeping up a tradition. This can also be
the case with property they do not own but are paid to keep care
of and feel responsible for. Even in such business relations,
personal interests can be more important than the business matters.
If men are highly
competitive and success-oriented, women cannot expect them to
change once they have passed into the matrimonial home. They will
still act in the way they have been brought up to act in a world
they have been conditioned for. So, they will usually - unless
they have trained themselves exceptionally well - react very defensive
and negatively towards any form of critique. In the world of survival
friends and staff are expected to support one another.
The same sort
of negative reaction often occurs if their wife or loved one is
not happy. Most men interpret this as personal criticism as they
feel responsible for their wife's happiness. And they react accordingly:
they defend themselves, often even getting angry. Their spouse
feels more unhappy, as in revealing her unhappiness she had hoped
for help rather than admonishment.
Men should be
criticised only in the appropriate situation, which is very often
not right away. Likewise a woman's unhappiness should not appear
unless it is the right moment. What is the right moment? It has
to be a moment in which a man feels secure of the support and
love of his wife. There has to be enough time to talk. The problem
is that if women choose this moment regularly for criticism, men
will instinctively begin to avoid such moments.
Women are often
the initiator of talks about problems and unhappiness. Almost
as often they find that men are unwilling to talk about them.
Most men do not like problems, conflict, pain or arguments. They
prefer not to talk about difficult topics and expect and hope
that their spouse will be able to resolve them herself. For many
women, however, it is most essential to be able to talk about
everything with the man they love. When the desires do not match,
and the man reacts as described, the woman must attempt to solve
these problems without his help.
It becomes more
difficult if the problems can only be resolved with his help,
i.e. the woman is unhappy as a result of his behaviour, habits
or what he says. A woman can, of course, make a man listen to
what she wants to say. She may even be able to make a man do what
she wants, but it is not certain that he will do this beyond the
one time she asked it of him. Most men are set in their ways.
If a woman wants a man to change his habits, her chances of success
are not certain. She then has to decide how to live with those
habits or if she cannot, if she has to live separately.
Not many men
are prepared to change. Their defence-system and survival techniques
condition a certain way of behaving. The danger that such systems
dysfunction if changed is high, so they tend to be very conservative
in that respect. Fortunately we live in a society in which personal
freedom and liberty is possible and so we, men and women, may
be able to find new ways of living together with greater respect,
even where maintaining this respect may necessitate more distance
between one another.