Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Lee and Mordy and Ellen and " We Compromise: She's Always RIght"
Lee and Mordy's Swiffer commercial and their comic but relate- able exchange. Lee is talking; Mordy is sleeping. Lee is cleaning; Mordy is watching tenderly, hoping she does not fall. He does not do any cleaning, he tells Ellen DeGeneres. And when she asks him to what he attributes the success of a long marriage he says:
"You compromise. Then I give in." Everyone chuckles.
And it's sweet. And maybe we are laughing because we recognize some of ourselves, some truisms about how relationships work, about the ways to make a marriage work over the years.
But - not that I want to put a but into Lee and Mordy - But a few things:
First: It is often a good marital tool to give in. To grace, to concede, to not have to have our way. It's okay and outside of abuse, it is often useful. Except when resentment creeps in and starts to color how we feel. Except when we dumb ourselves - or our spouse down.
Dumbing men down and witching women up does not help us to come into our relationships with the emotional strength and maturity we need to make things good.
While there are many general truisms about gender differences (and even some bio genetically based evidence now scientifically supporting how differently men and women process emotion) and while these truisms can help us to laugh at ourselves, grace ourselves and our partner, the feeling that many men have is that their only way out of discord is to give in. Often men simmer over long periods of time. feeling either defeated, frustrated or resentful. And they often then, retreat emotionally.
And women then wonder why their man does share more of himself, more of his thoughts, more of his ideas. And they wonder why he withdraws, and so goes the cycle.
If every - or almost every - word or action we do is aimed at creating a culture of support, of building up, not breaking down - if we are conscious of this and careful - women get so much more of the emotional connection they crave and men get so much more of the feeling of respect and effectiveness they need.
Morty did say, too, and first, that you have to love each other. What he did not say is that it's hard to do in a culture of defeat. We can - and we should - laugh at ourselves and the dynamics in our relationships and at the gender differences that play out, but only when we are in sync and connected and are laughing on a foundation of clarity and mutual acceptance.