Monday, April 21, 2008

Male Cluelessness

“Women generally want men ‘to just know’ without having to be told.” The quote is from radio talk-show host Dennis Prager, and it resonates with me as true. Prager goes on (as quoted on p. 58 of my book): “But the vast majority of men do not ‘just know.’ We rarely have a clue. That is why women often think of their man as ‘clueless.’ But cluelessness in this area is not a male fault; it is a male trait.”

This works as a generalization, I think, applicable to almost every aspect of male-female relations. But, for the sake of blog-post brevity, let’s narrow the focus a bit. Guys rarely detect the next emotional land mine in the terrain ahead until they step on it and are blown sky-high.

How many times, especially in the bad old days before I launched my wife-worship campaign, did I find myself blindsided by such a domestic detonation? Here was my darling, out of the blue angry or tearful or deeply troubled over something that completely eluded me” And I, by omission or commission, was somehow the cause.

And I was, of course, completely clueless.

Okay, it still happens, I confess. Despite my efforts at vigilance, keeping a lookout ahead posted for the slightest squall in her emotional weather, I still find myself occasionally unprepared. But the frequency of serious blowups is much less, and my wife is much more apt to give me credit for daily diligent attention to her needs and moods and consistent attempts to keep the courtship going.

That’s why I prescribe perpetual courtship. A husband dare not define the status of his marriage as safely “quo” and his bride permanently wooed and won. Far better to treat marriage like one of those emergency preparedness drills, in which the husband must go through a daily checklist of essential tasks, with his wife’s happiness ever before him as the objective to be secured.

What can he do today to further that objective? What ought he not to do?

Is that overdoing things? No, it isn’t. Male cluelessness is endemic and insidious. And marriage is a daily crisis. Define it otherwise and a husband is asking for the next crisis to fall on his clueless head.

A final word, from the Introduction of my book: “Courtship and reconciliation are clearly defined crises in a man’s life. He will do anything to win the woman of his dreams; should he lose her, he will do anything to win her back. Why, then, is he not willing to do anything, on a daily basis, to keep her contented? Because husbands don't perceive that a wife can be lost if never again wooed or won, that marriage is also a crisis, deserving of extreme efforts. This is not punishment, but reward: His wife is more than worthy of the very best he can give.”

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