I was sitting next to a guy at the bar mitzvah party for a friend’s son and we struck up a conversation. He had recently gotten remarried and was ruminating about his observations on women.
“I understand that women like to be wooed and won,” he said. “But, I thought after you won them, the wooing part was over.”
I don’t consider myself an expert on relations between men and women. I dated only a little in high school, not even enough to go to either my junior or senior prom.
In college, I figured out in the first week I could date every night if I wanted to and decided, in order to keep my grades up, I would limit dating to weekends. I met my future husband when I was 19, the middle of my Sophomore year in college, and was married almost exactly a year later, at 20, too young to legally drink the champagne he bought for us when we eloped.
So, dating was way in my past by the time I had this conversation at the bar mitzvah. But, I knew enough to know that you never stop wooing the woman you want to spend your life with.
And, I knew, from conversations with my much more emotionally aware husband, that men and women view success in a relationship differently.
Women want to be adored. Men want to be successful.
That is, women want some evidence that the man in their life is paying attention to them. Men want to be able to do the things their partner wants.
In practical terms, women need to ask for things that will make them happy that their husbands are in a position to give them. Men need to listen to what the women in their lives are asking for and provide them.
I explained it to my party companion.
“Your wife, by asking you to do things for her, is giving you a chance, on a regular basis, to be her knight in shining armor. She’s telling you what you need to do to keep her happy. There isn’t a better way she could keep your relationship fresh.”
And, then I explained it in a different way.
“I figured out, after some years of marriage, that every time something went wrong around the house, I blamed my husband. Of course, it wasn’t all his fault. Things happen. But, I was giving him so much control over my life, that it all seemed to trace back to him. And, I gave him this much control because I loved and trusted him completely. With this insight, I eventually adopted the tongue-in-cheek shortcut, how is this Dave’s fault?”
This past six months, Dave has been given opportunities on a regular basis to be my knight in shining armor.
Cancer isn’t Dave’s fault, nor curing it within his power, but he has been the one I’ve trusted to create an oasis of calm around me while I fight it.
Happy birthday and thank you for 46 years of being my fiercely protective knight.
Carol Covin, Granny-Guru
Author, “Who Gets to Name Grandma? The Wisdom of Mothers and Grandmothers”