Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Who's That Woman You're Living With? Filling the Right Role Is Crucial to Having a Great Relationship and Marriage!

Are you living with a lover or a mother? Women are often very naturally nurturing, but there are different mechanisms that make them do it. Attraction is a great one, because it creates the honeymoon atmosphere. Maternal drive, however, is a bad one; can trigger maternal drive in any woman, even those younger than you, and in case you haven’t already seen it, you won’t like the results, especially in your bedroom.

While on the subject of how motherly behavior and relationships can impact your relationship with your partner, we’re going to look at a man and woman who are married, but fell into a functional “mother-and-son” relationship, which can lead to affairs and divorce for reasons that will become obvious as you read.

I was recently on a road trip and visited some extended family where I grew up, and as is usually the case when visiting people you haven’t seen in a long time but have known most of your life, it was really fun and interesting. As luck would have it, I caught one of my old high school buddies at home, and it was a study in “what not to let happen in your house.”

I went in and sat down, and we were talking, and his wife, whom I’d never met, kept bustling about, straightening things around where he was sitting, interrupting him to offer him things, etc., and arguing with him when he would refuse something. As we got into dinner, when he wanted something, she would portion it out and put It on his plate, was constantly getting up to get things for him, and all the while making little remarks about how he needed this or should have that or was making a mess. She even whacked him with a rolled up newspaper for tracking mud on the floor when he came in and scolded him like a child, right there in front of me! (He was just short of his forty-seventh birthday at the time of this visit!)

Everything in her demeanor was as if she was talking to a young “grab-asstic” boy who had to be told to use soap when he washed his hands. She wasn’t just smothering him; she was MOTHERING him.

The difference is subtle, but significant. When a woman engages in mothering, she is defining and asserting authority, and it’s one of the few roles in which she is completely comfortable making unilateral decisions and universal rules on every conceivable level. This is great if the object of mothering is a child, but a man to whom she is married and shares four children and a mortgage with? Hardly! If she’s defining and exercising that kind of authority and seeing him as a child figure, there is no respect, and no adult – especially sexual – interaction, and attraction cannot form because the man is in an inferior position – that of a child no less!

After dinner we went outside with a couple of beers and I asked him how things were going. He said, “Well, in case you haven’t noticed, I’ve got her wrapped around my little finger. She does everything for me. I don’t have to do anything but go to work and come home and she takes care of everything else.” As you can imagine, I’m hearing alarms going off everywhere and seeing a red flag about the size of Texas waving, and asked, “What about at night, after the kids are in bed?” I knew all too well what was coming.

“Well, that’s not going real well. She’s always been so busy with the kids and taking care of everything around here that she’s just got no interest in it any more. I guess she’s just tired.”

He and I have always been brotherly in our friendship and had the kind of relationship where we could say anything to each other without starting a fight, no matter how personal it was. I said to him, “Really? Last time I saw you, you were pinching your girlfriend on the butt and winking at her, and the absolute cock-of-the-walk, and saying you were having sex more than once a day. I just saw your wife whack you with a rolled up newspaper and scold you in the same tone she scolded your nine-year old for putting his elbows on the table at dinner and acting like she’s wearing the pants in the family. Do you think there might be a connection?”

He asked me if I thought there was a connection and what made me think there was, so I told him about all the research that went into “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage” and we talked for a couple of hours about how their relationship had developed, the point at which he could remember changed behavior (which was, not surprisingly, when their first child got to be a handful at the age of two and he really didn’t know what to do about it, having been the youngest child in his own family, and she took charge of the child-rearing), and a lot of other things about their individual personalities, likes, dislikes, etc., and then we decided we were going to conduct an experiment.

We went in acting like a couple of college kids, and started picking at his wife, just giving her nine kinds of hell but in a very playful and cocky way, he much more than I. He took the lead role and I was just acting like I was going along with the gag because we were guys and it was his house.

She was annoyed with this sudden testosterone storm for all of about five minutes because we were being a little too loud and the kids were getting ready for bed and kept coming downstairs to see what the commotion was, but you could watch her expression change, then her attitude, then her posture and bearing, as she felt attraction starting to flood back in because he was acting as he had when they were dating and had continued to act until the “transition of power” that occurred after their first child was born. It was an incredible thing to watch, and I just kept egging him on and he kept busting on her, until finally he spotted the same rolled up newspaper she had whacked him with earlier and grabbed it and whacked her on the behind and said, “You’d better get up those stairs and quick, because after that great dinner you put on the table, I’m fancying dessert!”

Her jaw dropped, and she looked like a deer caught in the headlights as she finally realized what was going on. Then she smiled a little smirk of a smile and said, “Dessert’s here in the kitchen,” to which he replied, “Yes it is, and if it doesn’t get its ass up those stairs and into that bedroom it’s gonna get whacked with the newspaper again,” and lunged toward her. She started giggling and took off for the stairs, stopped half-way up to taunt him again, and he winked at me and took off after her.

The next morning they were two different people. He was the guy I had grown up with and known for a long time, and she was very obviously once again his wife, and just as obviously, mother only to his kids. I spoke with him a couple weeks later and he said it was like it had been in the early days; she was still occasionally doing things out of habit that she did before, but instead of looking at him as a slacking teenager that couldn’t dress himself, she was looking at him with a twinkle in her eye and a smile, especially when he’d give her a playful hard time about it.

Not everyone will overcome this problem this quickly. I’m still amazed at watching several years of bad habits and attitude reverse over the course of a few hours, and as I said, there were a few relapses from time to time, but when they happened, this couple could laugh about them instead of being irritated by them or falling back into old habits because they liked having fun again. She likes being teased, and he’s very, VERY good at it; when she’d habitually relapse into mother mode, he’d even tease her about that.

What’s more, my buddy had learned what he needed to know about child-rearing over the years after the birth of their first, and was perfectly capable of being a strong father figure, but his wife had taken on that role too, at the time that she began mothering him. He simply had no idea that being a strong father-figure is required to keep his husband image attractive.

If this is happening in your relationship, it might take you hours to fix it, but it’s more likely to take a few days to a week or two to firmly re-establish old patterns of attractive behavior. It will take longer than that if there are any new patterns of behavior that need to be established because the attitude that creates that behavior must also be created so that the behavior is natural and comfortable, not forced. BUT, it’s fun, rewarding in more ways than one (wink!) and anyone can do it if they have only average intelligence and sufficient desire to improve to read a book and do as it suggests.

That book is called “THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage,” and it’s at http://www.makingherhappy.com/, waiting for you, to help you make your relationship the best that it can be. Jump on over there and download your copy now, because life is just too short to spend it unhappy, bored, frustrated, or living with your mother. While you’re at it, swing by our forum at http://forum.makingherhappy.com/, where help, hobbies, and friendship await you.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

No comments: