Thursday, 25 September 2008

Men and women and criticism

I'm reading lots of marriage books lately, got a marriage weekend coming up and have to think of worthwhile ways to use people's time on the weekend, given that the husbands and wives coming could just as easily have gone away for a weekend with each other.

Lots of random thoughts keep popping into my head as a direct result.

Women are very sensitive to implied criticism, aren't they?

I'm now imagining a possibly female reader of this blog thinking 'I wonder if he means me?'

The answer is, no.

Although actually, if you thought the thought, maybe I do...

(the dreaded ellipsis!)


The Pook said...

Are you implying that women take everything personally? If you are they will take that personally too.

Em T said...

I am not!!!!

/Karen/ said...

Hey Gordo,

I haven't read that many books on marriage, but one that I read which had a big impact on me was Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee's The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts. It's not really a “how to” of marriage; it's Wallerstein's reflections of a study she did of 50 couples in the San Francisco bay area who had been married for nine years or more, and who also had kids. She loosely groups them into four different “types” of marriage, and identifies nine “tasks” that couples must accomplish together in order to make their marriage last.

It was refreshing to me because somehow over the entire course of my Christian life, I'd imbibed the idea that there is only one way to be married. Well, in a sense, there is: Ephesians 5: husbands love your wives, wives submit to your husbands, etc. But within those prescriptions there is great room for variation, which is probably not unexpected, given that we are all individuals, and marriage looks a little different for each of us. I was particularly struck by Marty and Tina Delgado (not their real names, of course!) who both came from troubled backgrounds. They dealt with it by throwing things—not at each other, but at the walls, etc. Then they would pick up the pieces and make up. Their unspoken rule not to throw things at each other meant that they protected each other, to some extent, in the midst of all that yelling and screaming. And, as the years passed, they gradually calmed down, dealt with their respective problems and stopped throwing things. It was an eye-opener for me—that, in the midst of such violent behaviour, your marriage can still be good because you've created a space within which it has been agreed between you and your spouse that you can vent such things. Obviously it's not ideal, but it helped them for a time.

Anyway, I ramble. I wrote further thoughts on it on my blog. And I should probably mention that Wallerstein's primary research is into children of divorce—research which drove her to investigate why some couples stay together while others divorce.

I own the book but can't lend it to you at the moment; it's currently out on loan to someone else.