Find a Conversation
|Fri, 08-17-2012 - 11:17am|
I've been married to my wife for 27 years now, and we've struggled with an issue on and off throughout our marriage.
My wife struggles a bit with happiness. She always seems to find a cause (she doesn't like her job, etc), but it's gone on long enough that her fundamental struggle with happiness is clear.
And now I see the same, basic problem in my married daughter. She's married to a great guy, a very understanding, calm, and patient person (I am less so). She and I were talking the other day about this issue and she made some surprising assertions, ones I have heard before, but they were nonetheless surprising coming from her.
She asserts that women need a forum in which to vent their frustrations, struggles, feelings, etc. Fair enough. I take no issue with that. However, she also talked about blame and targeting that frustration. She's perfectly OK with talking with her husband in a manner that blames him for her struggles, her feelings. She's got a job she doesn't like and sometimes, the resulting frustration goes in his direction. "He has it easy; he likes what he does. He's just in school. I resent having to work while he just larks about, having fun, enjoying his life, while I'm over here suffering."
I have often heard the same thing from her mother and to be honest, that crosses a line for me. I have NO problem hearing you out, sharing your burden, and doing what I can to ease it. To be labeled the cause of it, the source of it, a convenient target of resentment you feel . . . that crosses a line for me.
Why? Two reasons come immediately to mind:
1. Permitting it really does not help either of them. If you're going to truly process your emotions, you need to accurately asssess them and placing blame where blame does not belong does not accomplish that task.
2. Basic human dignity. I'm here to be your partner in life, not your punching bag.
In talking with my daughter, I asked her if it was OK if a man had a bad day at work to come home and, say, kick the dog or let his wife sort of have it because dinner wasn't ready when he got home. Of course, she said no. "Well, then why is it OK for you to do the same thing to your husband?"
Her answer was basically this: "Women may not compartmentalize and process separately as well as men and consequently, need different outlets, a wider range of choices when dealing with their feelings."
I'm not down with, "Your reproductive organs are innies not outies so therefore, you have carte blanche to behave as you like when you feel badly." That logic simply does not compute.
What are your thoughts?