Playing a Role, Part of Successful Marriage

March 6, 2012

 
married.jpgWe all have reasonable expectations of how a teacher, policeman, judge, politician, parent, dog owner etc. should behave.  The same applies to spouses.











by Henry Makow Ph.D
.
(Revised from March, 2011) 

I received this question from Jim:
 
"In your essay "Dumping my Dream Girl" you state that women should be helpmates, not soul mates.
 
As a divorced guy, this directly concerns my inner dilemma, namely that by choosing any one woman to be with, I am automatically excluding all the millions of others.  I am haunted by the idea that if I commit to any one woman, then what will I do some time in the future if I meet someone who is more "right" for me? I guess I would then just live with the knowledge that I'm not with the best person possible.  Having been divorced twice already does not give me much confidence in my ability to choose an appropriate partner....
 
I would be interested to hear any feedback you can give on this.  I have dated a lady for several years who would like relationship to be much closer.  She has many of the qualities described in the 13 virtues of a Christian woman, but I don't know if we will be able to be happy together.
 
My Reply:
 
Dear Jim,

You have to consider some other factors:

How attractive are you? i.e. whom are you likely to attract?

Does she love you? That's more important than do you love her.

The idea of the "only one" is a romantic delusion. There are thousands of women who might be suitable mates. I may be jaded but a woman is a vehicle, like a car. She performs a function in your life (companionship, sex, mother of your children etc.) Find a good one and get on with your life.
 

No one is perfect, including ourselves.
Look for someone compatible,  whom you can live with. 

Most people have a range of good and bad qualities.
Love is mostly working with the bad qualities and being rewarded by the good.

Real love is not based on sex appeal or sparkling repartee. It is based on caring, consideration and loyalty tested over time.  



Henry

I didn't hear back from Jim!


Born in 1949, I can still remember the traditional 1950's view of marriage.
You found the best person possible, made a commitment and stuck with it through thick and thin,  "until death do you part."

When you weren't feeling love, you faked it. You played the role. So did your partner. Most of us prefer the real thing but we'll settle temporarily for a good facsimile!

When H.L. Mencken was tending to his young wife who was dying of tuberculosis after only five years of marriage, a friend asked him if he had got a raw deal.

"I keep my bargains," the writer replied.  

There is something to be said for playing the role. Women are moody. Feelings are fickle. If you're not feeling love, just act the part.

That applies to your partner too. My wife was in a bad mood and felt this allowed her to be sullen, cold and distant.

She is a teacher. I said: "When you're in a bad mood and must teach, you rise to the occasion. Do you take it out on your students? Why should I be any different?"

"You don't care how I feel," she complained.

"Of course I do, but it doesn't entitle you to forfeit your responsibilities."

This made sense to her and now I don't have to suffer along with her. The same applies when I am feeling down.

Society depends on people playing roles. We all have reasonable expectations of how a teacher, policeman, judge, politician, parent, dog owner etc. should behave.  The same applies to spouses. 



PLAY THE PART


If your wife is driving you crazy, don't say anything that will make it worse. Don't ever mention you're planning to divorce her (because that feeling will pass.)

It's like a plane going through turbulence. Eventually, you reach smooth air  and are reminded of why you married in the first place. 

Jonathan Swift said:  "I believe it is often with religion as it is with love, which by much dissembling at last grows real."

"Dissembling"  i.e. faking it.  We have a choice. We can be hypnotized by  the media delusion of romantic love. Or we can hypnotize ourselves: Play the part.


ROMANTIC LOVE


It's so all-pervasive, we don't notice the biggest brainwashing we receive:  romantic love is the purpose of life and sex is the panacea. This message is drilled into our head by almost every song ever written. The other lie is that there's someone out there who is perfect for you!

These illusions turn us into emotional cripples searching for our "other-half," instead of building a realistic relationship with another flawed and flatulent person like our selves.

The popular conception of "soul mate" is someone who will satisfy our every need and give us our divinity. The concept never includes the sacrifices we will have to make for them. I can't think of a more selfish concept.  

Marriage shouldn't be based on something as ephemeral as "love," which usually means sex appeal.  It should be based on mutual dependence, respect and trust. Marriage is a bargain we make and keep.

Assuming you've married a reasonably decent person, instead of focusing on how she misses your ideal, concentrate on how, in fact, she is ideal for you, i.e. how her "bad qualities" are actually good ones.

For example, my wife doesn't share my politics. But that means our time together is a break from work!

You may have the perfect marriage and not know it.








Comments for "Playing a Role, Part of Successful Marriage"

Cathy said (March 9, 2012):

Really liked your reply to "Dear Jim".

Touche. Recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I didn't marry the one I could live with, I married the one I couldn't live without. My folks were married for 65 years, my dad nursing my stoke-stricken mom for 3 years - both in their late 80's. My Dad will be 90 in June & misses her terribly. Totally "amen" your exposure of distorted "love" disinformation in movies & music.


Lady Shapeshifter said (March 8, 2012):

Describing your partner as a car?

This person you marry is real, of flesh and bone with feelings and needs. Next time you doubt that, just look into their eyes. I know when I look at my husband that way, a feeling so warm and deep wells up in my chest. If it isn't love, then love would be jealous of what I feel. Its not the giggly school girl feeling(maybe sometimes). But one of admiration, respect and loyalty(these are earned and reciprocated titles), combined with someone I just want to melt into because he is the warmest safest place I know on this planet.

Faking it and "playing" roles?

Would you want your child hiding their true feelings from you as a parent? Then why would you want your spouse to? If you think a child will "fit" into a role you're in for a wake up call. The reason kids don't communicate, is because they aren't given examples on how to do so by the parents.That's why kids grow up into adults that repeat the pattern. Remember in the good old 50's there weren't Ipods, Direct TV, Cell Phones etc. People actually spoke and were cordial face to face and could articulate their feelings. I am not saying either person gets to rant and rave over something trivial. That is usually a by product of not addressing the original problem,due to the lack of initial communication. Communication is a must. Think of this as a business, how far would you get if your business partner, was "Faking it".

"Dumping My Dream Girl"
Wake up, this is your life NOT a dream. Put yourself on a pedestal and you will not settle for trash.

I miss the ladies from the 50's, 60's, 70's and maybe 80's. The ones that would get all dressed up, put on a nice gown, use make up and look like a wonderful million dollars lady. Or a sexy mini-skirt with a nice blouse.

Focus on the candy and not the wrapper, and don't forget to pay attention to the ingredients.


Rick said (March 7, 2012):

The best plan for a successful marriage is to stay single or to live in two different Countries. Modern females are the biggest headache of the 21 century, in particular, those who open their HUUUUUGE mouth whenever they speak. I find them obnoxious.

I miss the ladies from the 50's, 60's, 70's and maybe 80's. The ones that would get all dressed up, put on a nice gown, use make up and look like a wonderful million dollars lady. Or a sexy mini-skirt with a nice blouse. They don't exist anymore. Women today, are nothing more than a man with breasts.


Jim said (March 7, 2012):

Once again, thank you for giving your insight into marriage and relationships. I believe you are right on with everything you say. You have caused me to look back on my previous relationships and reevaluate some of my perceptions and beliefs.

I have already sent your article to two of my friends...one who is married but having struggles with his wife and one who is eight years divorced but seeking a new wife. I think your advice will help them both.

--

Thanks Jim

Haven't had much response to this unromantic view of marriage so I appreciate yours all the more!

-h


Kylie said (March 6, 2012):

For my part, I both agree and disagree with your advice on marriage. I agree that roles are an important part of marriage and that whims and moods should not be the methods used to decide whether or not someone is right for you, or whether or not you are (still) in love with them.

But I also think there are more and less suitable marriage partners for a given man or women. Things change after the commitment is made - health can fail, people can get cranky, fat, make mistakes, go broke or swerve off course.

We adapt because we promised to adapt - but the love, intimacy and visibility we feel with our spouse is also part of the glue that makes the hardest times bearable.

Knowing and being known in the marriage relationship - in every sense of the word - is at the heart of the intimacy necessary to committed love.

---

Thanks Kylie, for this reminder!



Mark said (March 31, 2011):

Boy, were you bang on the money in your responce to that letter from Mr. Choosey
(I guess with all his preening. pride-filled arrogance, he wouldn't need to be
too hunky to get the women?). In traditional societies all but the most
ill-matched arranged marriages would last until death do them part, but in the
West, some how even marriages between supposed ideal soulmates are doomed to
bite the dust. I don't think that in most cases it would take too radical an
alteration in attitude to get the partners concerned to start acting half-way
sensibly and settle in for the long-haul.


Joe said (March 30, 2011):

Ninety nine percent of a good marriage is marrying a decent woman.
When I met my wife she had just left a druggie she was shacked with for two years. Prior to that she was in coke gang bangs for a solid two years. She had two kids she just left home and did nothing with.
How do you think it turned out? She left and for eight months she frigged a few guys and snorted up her whole paycheck. She came back and was in a bad mood every night, because the ones she used to party with were still banging and snorting. All it took was seeing a magazine of Russian women and the next night she stayed out all night
long and came home with her vagina used and abused. I told her get out. The one thing I did wrong I didn't divorce her right then. The
trash you can't even stay friends with them. She came back and stole money from me.


Anuttama said (March 30, 2011):

Great article! I've spent some time in India where marriages are primarily arranged by family members who use wisdom (and astrology) to select a compatible marriage partner for their young people. Because responsibility and commitment are socially important, there is very little divorce there. They commonly say, "we don't marry who we love, we love who we marry."

I also agree that women respect men who exhibit masculine characteristics. We might be friends with wimps, but we don't want to marry them.


Tim said (March 30, 2011):

I am 51 years old, divorced with no kids. Until the time of my divorce I was the typical sniveling, weak, female-worshipping male pouring myself out to women who wanted to be “friends.” I hoped that putting these women on a pedestal would win them over. That notion all changed when I bought a book titled, “The System”. It taught me the principles of respect, and how to gage a women’s interest level. If she doesn’t respect you, she can’t love you. That doesn’t mean treating the women like your slave. If she see’s you in your role as a man, she will respect that. Too often I see men out with their dates trying desperately to please, entertain. God has blessed me with wonderful women who loves and respects me and who will be loyal. Needless to say she is not an American women. And we can thank the false notion of Feminism for that.


Greg said (March 30, 2011):

Hi Henry. Just read 'The Key to Successful Marriage and noticed that some people think, "That has to be the most insulting article you have ever written to both to Women and Men" LOL. You are spot on with this article.


"When you weren't feeling love, you faked it. You played the role. So did your partner. Most of us prefer the real thing but we'll settle temporarily for a good facsimile!" I have found this to be so, and sometimes the facsimile lasts a long time. Women want two things-1)undying attention 2) money. They do not care about sex and family and pretend that romance is important. They really don't care about it.

"There is something to be said for playing the role. Women are moody. Feelings are fickle. If you're not feeling love, just act the part." I learned long ago, in an office management course, of all things, that people do not mind an act, as long as it is a good act. Women do not like a bad act and consider it a lie. They love a good act though.

"If she's driving you crazy, don't say anything that will make it worse. Don't ever mention you're thinking of ending it (because that feeling will pass.) " For one thing, I do not allow anybody to drive me crazy. That is giving them power over my life. If I don't like what is going on, I don't waste my precious time in what is going on. Saying nothing is gold. Several times the woman I live with has wanted to 'end it'. I told her to not be stupid, we have a great partnership that we both benefit from. She just doesn't like the relationship which she creates 50% of. I told her if she does not like her 50%, she has an opportunity to change it.


"Dissembling" i.e. faking it. We have a choice. We can be hypnotized by the media delusion of romantic love. Or we can hypnotize ourselves: Play the part." I am not a romantic. I quit that long ago and am very happy now. The woman I live with misses it sometimes and I told her she actively took steps to destroy that myth (and I thank her). I do not play a part with her anymore. I have authentic love for her and I am no longer 'in' love with her. She made it so. I have agreed. It is better.


To the people who want things to be a certain way in a relationship. I have told more than one person, you have to look at what you got; not at what you don't got. Besides, it is one thing to get what you want and quite another to want what you get. Living with another person is primarily a business. The business of doing together what you cannot do alone. It is for survival. Children are a secondary consideration.


"I may be jaded but a woman is a vehicle, like a car. She performs a function in your life. (Companionship, sex, mother of your children etc.)...indicates that you are a psychopath." Hey, John, every person on the face of the earth uses everybody else for their own ends. Use is not the same as abuse. Get used to it. Woman and men use each other and in the 10,000 years of social history on the face of the earth, women have gotten quite a bit better at it than men. It fits their nature. Henry is not a psychopath.


I will go even one step farther on this discussion, Henry. I seriously doubt there is this thing called "love". I don't know what it is. Do you? I would enjoy reading an article from you on the myth of love. What a fun article this was to read. Thanks, Henry.


Paul said (March 30, 2011):

Jim wrote: “I am haunted by the idea that if I commit to any one woman, then what will I do some time in the future if I meet someone who is more "right" for me ?”

Jim, don’t over-indulge yourself and look for perfection that may never arrive (and you can’t just dump a person because you think someone ‘better’ came along – and if she was at all decent, she wouldn’t accept you, nor trust you if you were already attached). So long as you have a woman you respect (the major part of love), trust, and find physically attractive, and know that she feels the same way about you (you might have to test that ever so subtly before committing), that is it.

Accept that as full and final, and consider yourself most fortunate among men, since many men are landed with “femina modernus” (‘modern woman’) – the type who seek out “homo modificus” (‘modified man’) – essentially a milchkuh-slave to a ‘woman-of-leisure’ (read work-shy, grasping schemer). Those types of women are exploitative, spoilt-brat, domineering bitches who’d steal the shirt of your back if you were dying, and are suffering from terminal expectations (which no man could ever fulfill), believing that men are inferior and women are entitled to “much more” (if you doubt that, read some female divorce blogs).


Bard said (March 30, 2011):

I would like to say that I love your articles and tell all my friends to read them, especially the single ones. When I met my wife, I knew what I was looking for, a woman who wanted to be a wife and mother. I didn't want some career woman or someone with other priorities. I wasn't a sexist pig, I was just an infantry joe who wanted the comfort of knowing that if we got married our kids would be taken care of and my wife would be at home taking care of them. I wanted to know that when I got home that she would be waiting for me and wasn't out running around. (sorry but a lot of Army wife's are whores) What did I do? First I worked damn hard at letting her know that I could take care of her and that I was a loyal spouce.

We only dated three months before we got married but I knew she was a good person. I knew she was devoted to me and that I could be loyal to her. I flat out ask her what she wanted. Did she want to be a stay at home mom? YES!! Would she be loyal if I was. YES!! etc. etc. She ask me if I would always do my best to make a living and if I was going to be faithfull. I KNEW I had a good woman when she asked that question.

We have been married 23 years and I am only 42 and my wife is 41. Yep we have a bundle of kids. Some women look at my wife like she is some kind of rare pond scum. Her life has been centered around me and her children. She has never had to take a job or look for another man, I take care of that as well. I pay the bills and don't run around on her. Am I in charge? YES of most things, but she lets me know if I'm about to make a mistake.

Yes, I bring home the bacon and take care of the bills and my wife is in charge of the house. However, that doesn't mean that I don't pay attention to my kids. I DO. In fact one of the reasons I left the Army was so that I could spend more time with my boys. How are they supposed to know what it means to be a man if they only see their dad once in a while??

I simply say, if you want a real woman act like a real man!!! Faithful, loyal, hardworking, loving and dedicated.


Galen said (March 30, 2011):

Somebody has to save your readership from Makow's advice to the lovelorn. Women are not "vehicles" and to "fake it" in a relationship is to render it weak, superficial, false. He is a champion when reporting on the Illuminati, but when it comes to human relationships, "jaded" (his word for himself) is too soft a word. How about deluded? Confused? Effed-up? Nuts? Just because he hasn't yet experienced an authentic and deep love (he may claim otherwise but one can only assume he practices what he preaches, ie faking it) doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I'm 31 years with my husband. Yes, we have our storms and we work on our challenges, but all efforts at this prove tremendously worthwhile. I hope Henry never stops reachin' for something real. To "fake it" is to lie! Henry says that he's a Christian. Is deception part of that reality? And doesn't he owe his wife more than that? I feel sorry for her.

ps: These times, these times especially require a sharpened authenticity from all of us. We need to pull together to face the dark forces that would kill or enslave us. That will take high trust, cultivated respect, deep honesty, and on-going nurturing. I hope we have it in us.

--
Galen,

By "fake it" I mean play the role. Fulfilling a commitment is not exactly the same as deception.

h


Anne said (March 30, 2011):

Henry, That has to be the most insulting article you have ever written to both to Women and Men, You have just shown how much you hate women in general, That Women are to be used as a commodity for sex and children, That you don't have to even love them. You really have outdone yourself on this one and I believe you will lose many readers over it. I have always read your postings and although I don't agree with a lot of things you say regarding women as most of the time you seem to blame women for everything but never the man. Men have behaved so badly over the years towards women and they have a huge part to play in why the world is as it is today but they seem to be innocent victims in your eyes..Shame on you for this Post. No wonder Jim never replied I think he was disgusted with what you had to say.


William said (March 30, 2011):

Your advice to "Jim" was so very spot on, in my humble opinion. I was fortunate, after two failed marriages, to literally stumble upon a woman who fit all my needs as a man. Her loyalty was unquestionable, her capacity for love amazing. Was she perfect? Is perfection necessary a relationship? In my case she was as "perfect' as I could have asked for. Her wonderful qualities inspired me to be a better man. She believed in me, and I did my best to be worthy of that trust!

We were partners in a relationship, helping one another through thick and thin, sickness and health. To me she was the most beautiful of women, she was what I "needed". While I can't speak for others, I know how fortunate I was to find her. To have someone who is a helpmate, friend, lover and confidante' is so rare as to be a true treasure. I think of Proverbs 31:10 regarding such a woman. "Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies". Even though I lost her to cancer, her virtues continue to inspire me!

Thank you again Dr. Makow, for another excellent article. I always look forward to them.


John said (March 29, 2011):

The quote:

I may be jaded but a woman is a vehicle, like a car. She performs a function in your life. (Companionship, sex, mother of your children etc.)

indicates that you are a psychopath.

-----

John,

Contrary to your feminist indoctrination, women want to be used for a higher purpose, wife and motherhood.

h


Phil said (March 29, 2011):

“There are hundreds of women who might be suitable mates. I may be jaded but a woman is a vehicle, like a car. She performs a function in your life. (Companionship, sex, mother of your children etc.) Get a good one and get on with your life.”

Possibly the best concise articulation of an idea I’ve seen on your site over the years. Thx for this article!

-Phil

P.S. Zoom Zoom!!! ;)


Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at