2607. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 16


After pouring their champagne and her blowing him a kiss, he discloses his agenda. Just two items. Size of family they expect to have and organizational dream he has in mind with the eight strategies.

“You’re not against having a big family such as I endorse,” Hank begins. But you have said enough about enjoyment of your work that I suspect we are not on the same page.” She slowly nods her head in agreement. Before she can respond, he moves on.

“We need a plan or at least close agreement where we are going in the children department. Know what I mean?”

She shifts and sits more upright. He saw it before; she becomes slow and deliberate in her actions much as she did just before her monologues about virtual virginity and lovers and lovees.

“Hank, honey, I have thought your intentions over carefully. I just can’t do the big family thing. I want both boy and girl and expect to go as far as three births to get them. If three are of the same sex, then I withdraw my application for at least one of each sex.

“Moreover, I previously mentioned to not work until one or all are in first grade, I also withdraw that application as of now. I want to stay home for six months with each and then return to work. Now, I can shorten the six months if necessary to avoid staying away from my job too long, whatever the situation may be at the time.

“If I have to return to work prematurely because of our personal finances, however, I will be disappointed. To me, that would be a sacrifice for our children that we as managers should do everything to prevent. IOW, it would signify us as not being good enough to have children, if our spending habits prevent giving them what we promise each other we will deliver based on our arrangements today. I am not talking about extravagant lifestyle for either us or any children we have. I’m talking about common sense spending that allows us to save enough to cover the new spending of raising them without going deeply in debt. If we can’t sacrifice enough before, if we are so selfish, we shouldn’t have them at all.”

He studies her carefully, slowly nodding agreeably to her words, and as if he agrees with her intentions. When he next speaks, he is also slow and deliberate.

“As I view your conclusions, financial strength is prioritized ahead of having a new child, your job needs can override length of stay-at-home wants, and two kids are enough if they are opposite sex. If I have it right, I can agree with you and plan accordingly.” She nods yes.

“On the other hand, I can apply pressure to do things differently as long as we stay constrained within those boundaries? Is that agreeable?”

She sits straighter. “What do you mean?”

Hank responds, “Well, if we have three girls, I can apply MILD pressure on you to try again for a boy. You did not reject that idea, just showed a preference for it. Okay?” She assents to his wish.

“I have another example. When I get us able to live on one income and the kids are not yet out of school, can I request that you become a stay-at-home until they all graduate high school?” She responds, “We’ll see when the time comes.

“I have a favor to ask. Please write up some minutes of this meeting and our agreements. Four reasons: First, so we can see years from now just what we did agree to and have evidence to cover any differences we may encounter. Second, if it’s worth deciding and planning, it’s worth recording. Third, so we have a better chance of living up to hard, factual evidence instead of the emotions that will change our lives along the way. And fourth, as with the eight strategies we will study next, I want to leave some evidence behind for our kids that we took marriage seriously enough to work and plan it out ahead of time.

“Will you write them up? Then, we can go over them for final approval by both of us and figure out where to store them until needed.

“Okay, let’s move on to those eight strategies, or principles, or policies I sent in the email. Any objections yet?”

Hank waits.

“Well, yes, pardon the extreme exception because I don’t mean it like I’m gonna sound. You’re setting yourself up to be a dictator. It’s your way or the highway. I know you too well, you have very justifiable reasons, but I need to hear them. So, I ask you to take the floor and justify each one of the eight. Frankly, I don’t see the need you think we need.”

“Roger, I understand. And we can save a few bucks by not needing champagne to loosen my tongue and stay on track. As I describe our needs to breathe common sense into our marriage and make management of the home much easier for you. I believe I can convince you that my design will help us prevent squeaky wheels on our marital bus with me in the driver’s seat and you in the relationship management role. My place? Tomorrow evening? I’ll supply the Mexican, you bring a wine.”

“Nope, I want something lighter for such a heavy conversation, so Chinese if you please.”

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2606. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 15


Hank, seated on his balcony, starts into a six-pack as he awaits the start of his favorite team’s football game. Recalling a female friend of old, he uses a tactic she taught him. Here I am, about to marry my best friend. She has all the positive talents, skills, and attitude I hope to see in a wife, but do I see any red flags? She doesn’t hate men or dogs. She’s not short tempered. She can plan something and finish the tasks in it. She wants to go to church regularly. She loves children and wants her own. She can cook very well. She’s modest but very strong about protecting sexual connections. She’s not extravagant about her living. She’s not against having a big family, but we have not discussed or agreed yet on a plan. Also, we have not discussed an organizational plan into which we fit the eight strategies I sent her on email.

He continues his thoughts. She wants to not work after children are born, especially until they enter first grade. If we have two kids six-years apart or six one-year apart, it means she would stay home at least for 12 and maybe more years. It also means one income for well over a decade; does she fear that and justify her conclusion about having a small family? Is she basing her preference for a smaller family on the expectation that I cannot provide? I have to talk to her. Why not tonight? Cancel the concert we were going to and just talk; her brother wants our tickets anyway. Things are beyond serious. We have a lot to cover, now that we are moving our wedding to sooner rather than later.

He leaves the balcony’s surround-sound traffic noise. He calls and starts with disappointment, she sees a red flag. “Honey, I want to cancel the concert tonight. Can you go along with it? I’ll give our tickets to your brother; it’s sold out and he wants to go. I want a talk-fest to cover at least two items we have only touched on. We think so much alike, we never go very deep into any subject. I would like to reinforce some things and perhaps drop others. Whatcha think?”

Sensing she overstepped with her ‘speech’ about men and making love, she inquires about his agenda. It sounds okay, but her antenna go up. Too much conviction in his voice. Just red flagging his voice over the phone, his ideas seem already sealed and his agenda doesn’t sound very negotiable, although he provides her nothing by way of ideas or negotiations. She feels underrated or cheated of his best kind of treatment. Is it lack of respect or mutual understanding?

She prepares for the worst, until they meet and he orders champagne with a smile that smacks of his intention to be considerate and loveable to her. Pointing to the bottle, he tells her “we gotta talk and that should help.” She sweetens up and….

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2605. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 14


Still enroute home after proposing to Jenny in the restaurant, Hank continues to reminisce. Three big quirks generated immense and unusual excitement in their courtship.

First, she disclosed her lifelong commitment to abstinence for no other reason than to satisfy herself with a significant achievement. Not the abstinence but the reason for it surprised him; it is more masculine than female motivation, but then her father in childhood inspired her to pursue a big goal.

Second, he decided to marry her and presented his intentions of how to make it work. Starting with methods for handling eight pressures that arise in most marriages, he finished with his plan to supervise and make their marriage work for sixty years. He made as the foundation his intention to cherish her all that time and elevate their marriage to a status above both of them.

Third and most shocking of all, he now faces Jenny’s promise to express her expectations on the subject of lover and lovee, presumably to teach him how to love her. Sounds exciting but does he want to hear it?

He can wait, in no hurry. His curiosity and imagination compete to advise him what to expect, but neither has a comforting thought. What does he know, and when did she know it? What does her agenda look like? Will she expect him to change in some way? Change to what? He knows all he needs to know. So, more about what? Of course, he’s a good lover. He’s had no complaints. He knows exactly what to do. Put it in and drive it home. He loves it so much she can’t not love it.

Jenny fantasized for three days. No dates, no calls. He’s waiting on her, and she wants him anxious to learn. He needs time to consider so that his ears will open to what she has to say.

Jenny never heard of doing such a thing, never contemplated it until she heard how committed Hank is about them marrying. She will gamble. After marriage, there’s no way she can get by trying so directly to coach him into becoming a better lover. He would be certain to take immense offense at even the hint that he could be less than great or perhaps perfect.

Both anecdotes and experience tell her that men are more sensitive about their sexual prowess than anything else, and accusers make themselves disposable. Men brag to each other about their scores from which prowess is presumed. Women, however, know the truth but are much too cautious to disclose what they think. In fact, they say virtually nothing; any comment comes out as criticism or condemnation to a man. Women usually want to keep their man.

Jenny plots her game plan. All new and totally foreign for her to be doing such  plotting in the first place and on a forbidden subject for wives in the second place. Confident that she and Hank have won each other, however, she continues to plan her message.

As he did before, she expects to write out her ‘position paper’ and make it more conversational as she reads it. They meet and she delivers.

“Hank, my dearest friend. We must talk, rather I must talk. You men don’t know jack about the women with whom you lay. Women—in the way you love them—are mere objects to unload your passion. It has probably always been so.

“Men are not to blame; they are just ignorant and women go unfulfilled too much and too often. I figure you and I can be different, if you know more about me and my expectations than you know at present.

“What I say is aimed at all men. You just happen to be the closest and gifted enough to hear a woman’s version of how sex should satisfy rather than frustrate a wife. A husband owes his wife more than poke, come, and go. Knowing you, I’m sure you understand it. But so many men don’t—or so friends, relatives, and associates admit.

“I explain the woman’s dilemma. We cannot convey our frustrations without offending our man. We are due more honor in the bed we make with them, and I shall hopefully make with you.

“Education, not information, overcomes ignorance. Women are in no position to educate men about making love. We try to inform, yes. When we try, they take offense and drop the gal who suggests their masculine talents are less than perfect in technique and terrific in achievement. An impenetrable wall surrounds the male ego about sexual aptitude, attitude, and competence. Few things are guarded with more religious fervor.

“I hope to give you a peek over that wall. Not because you need it, but because I want the wall lowered enough so I can converse more freely with my husband about making love.

“Here are some basics of how women view sexual relations.

  • “Warmup is critical to a woman’s sexual enjoyment; the root of any pleasure begins with it. Foreplay brings her whole body into the action that follows. Bare skin touching and caressing is vital, and extended stimulation of her erogenous zones can complete the warmup. The better she is warmed up, the better is her response to him in action. So, if he thinks he’s good and expects to confirm it with the final results, he owes her an extended warmup until she says she’s ready.
  • “Contrary to man-think, earning his orgasm does not satisfy her. Pleasure? Perhaps! Maybe sure! But it’s the weakest way to prove himself. Fornication does not make a good lover. She makes him a good lover, when she is properly prepared and rewarded with intimacy at the end.
  • “Emotional conflict exists when intercourse begins. He’s driven to drive home his weapon. She wants gentle handling. His nature inspires hard penetration, and so it’s a price women are accustomed to paying. His gentle caressing and holding elsewhere helps her adapt to the courser side of his style.
  • “She needs a multi-function cool-down after they finish intercourse. Oh, not from body heat but from her excited internals that need a calming effect that comes from the comfort of his holding her with snuggling and more bare skin touching and caressing. It provides and she needs a lengthy interlude of intimacy to fortify and confirm her importance. If sex doesn’t make her feel important afterward, he didn’t do it right. His holding and enabling her to snuggle close confirms that she did the right and important thing for him. So, he owes her satisfying intimacy as reward for being a good receptacle for his intensity.

“As you can see, Hank, women are people too. When we make love, we also go all the way. Provided, that is, our man knows how to lift and gently escort us all the way through the three arches of pleasure: warmup joy, intercourse kindness, and satisfying intimacy.

“Hank expects to be flabbergasted, but he isn’t. No big deal. He thinks; I didn’t know all that but, heck, I could have figured it out sometime. Just my receptacle? That hurt. That’s not me. She makes a good case for her sisters, but I don’t know how it will ever get to other men. It’s not that complicated, but the gal has to become the most important person in the process; if the guy hopes to claim, accurately, to be a good lover.

“Jenny smiles while Hank contemplates how to respond. His silence sparks her inquiry.

“Well, honey, is our marriage talk ended? Are we finished? Remember, none of it was aimed at you but presented to educate rather than just inform. Also, this was a traumatic undertaking for me. I did it once. Never again. The subject is not for discussion unless you question me for more details sometime in our wedded future.”

Hank rises, sits beside with his arm around her. “Heck, I know all that. It makes sense and fits what I’ve known for a long time. Probably a few details slightly different, but I always intended to do those things as best I could. I figured experience together would make everything come out at least good or maybe better. I’m mostly concerned with the when, where, and how of getting started.”

Jenny starts crying, hugs him, feels relieved she has done well. Then she stops. They kiss, promise eternal togetherness, and depart for beer and burgers.

Over food, Jenny smiles in his eyes. “I can hardly wait for our warmup, your shining presence in me, and my reward of intimacy.”

Hank’s eyes sparkle with moisture, “Let’s get married sooner.”

Hank rethinks his plan to present her ring. I can do it tomorrow night at our favorite restaurant. Will it be romantic enough? Well, I will make it so.

Recovering from the fantasy flavor of what she has just done, Jenny calls her mother. “Change of plans, mom, we’re doing it sooner and….”

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2604. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 13a: Hank Explained


Her Highness Femme says “there is NO WAY a man would make a speech like that to a woman (me).” I’m sure she rings many bells elsewhere.

The series is titled, Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Common sense says both parties and a dual responsibility. Common senses says that sharing, dividing, and fulfilling the dual responsibility is a competitive and possibly combative job. Common sense says negative motivation—criticism and blame—produces unwanted results and can prompt failure in any process. Works that way with kids doesn’t it? Husbands are just big kids in the view of their wives. Yet, many wives ignore common sense and produce their own misery.

Women want their husband to be more responsible, and so Hank assumes full and complete responsibility even ahead of his marriage to Jenny. He exemplifies his male nature; he is sufficiently motivated to upgrade a system in need, please his woman, and admire himself for having undertaken to produce such promising results. The greatest satisfaction comes from the toughest achievements, and Hank is hardwired to believe it.

Women sympathize, empathize, share their miseries, swap justifying thoughts, and support each other as they bad mouth men. Then, as a gender, they shape their complaints and blames into female-sharpened hatchets to be thrust into the masculine psyche. With Hank, I idealize five things to expect, if men did what women claim they want and expect.

  1. Our man Hank takes complete charge to produce a magnificent plan of what he thinks his woman will more than welcome. He has no hidden agenda and expects to negotiate details later. (He knows the marriage system doesn’t work well. Women rely on love, but it is never enough. He intends to prevent problems rather than have to overcome them and thereby relieve Jenny of so many wifely problems. His intentions are far more honorable than any woman should expect, but yet less acceptable. He lacks one thing: spur of the moment woman-think, and his lack converts the story to fantasy.)
  2. Our motivated hero demonstrates with actions his promise to be a good husband, to take charge and assume responsibility for mate, family, and home. (He is motivated to assume all risks and rely on his expectation that wife will provide full cooperation with his leadership. He dreams of their life together sixty years from now. He’s not a dawdler. He accomplishes, produces, and can be depended upon to make things work out satisfactorily.)
  3. Our potential husband already planned how he intends to prevent rather than have to heal or recover from interpersonal problems with wife and family. (The eight strategies described in post 2600.)
  4. Inspired not just by Jenny but his own need to please her, Hank knows what Jenny needs most. His plans are aimed directly to guarantee his promise to cherish her for life as her husband.
  5. Following his nature, Hank designs and plans to cure ailments in the ailing marital system, because he is sufficiently incentivized to make his life more sterling in his eyes and golden in Jenny’s.

There comes a time in the world of under performing marriages, wifely complaints, and assigning blame that men stand up to say, let’s do something else; e.g., upgrade marriage. It was Hank’s time, and he took it. Common sense says he could never get away with it. In fact, it would probably scare most women away. But not Jenny, she has her own lessons to teach, so the fantasy continues.

Admittedly, the story morphed to fantasy. It is pardonable. He knows the female nature and knows it well, but Hank lacks one thing. Woman-think, the common mental processes that will dominate Jenny’s development of events and relationships under his grand plan. It amounts to this in the real world. A man’s planning for their future too easily interferes with a woman’s relationship development and self-brightening of her own future at the present time.

Of course you won’t see or hear Hank’s speech from a man today. Hank morphed from real in chapter 1 to fantasy in 13.  Women don’t always need what they expect out of men and their man, and Hank represents it on steroids. It’s Jenny’s turn for fantasy, next.

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2603. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 13


Hank feels composed and somewhat on a roll as he unfolds his letter to Jenny. They sip at spritzers. He intends to do most of the talking. He doesn’t fear her not accepting him. He’s not proposing yet; it will come after he buys the ring.

He fears that if she feels compelled to respond before he gets through, she will divert the discussion to points that come later or not at all and take him off his game. He knows she favors marriage, but he is unsure she will accept it his way. He begins reading anyway.

“Jenny, my darling, I am hopeful” and he begins to ad lib to turn it more conversational. “Someday I hope to set you down on a honey-coated golden ship of marital bliss awash in a sea of tender affection, all of which will remind you of paradise. Corny, huh?” Then he stares into her eyes with the friendliest of smiles until she smiles back.

“I have to confess. Oh, not to anything either of us has done wrong. But to express the pleasure of trying to earn you for my wife. For so long, I didn’t know what you had to see in me in order to accept me as your husband. Now I see and offer the plea you are about to hear.

“I could take it no longer, so I worked up a good plan to get us in bed very soon. However, you beat me to the draw. Over champagne you anticipated my intent and neutralized my plan with your titty remark. Your dedication to yourself and virtual virginity both impressed and enlightened me. I thought you the most wonderful woman. Almost proposed right there and then. But, thankfully, my heart was not quite right at the time.

“I say thankfully, because what I say today can convert the makings of a temporary into a permanent marriage. I expect to deliver it too, if we marry. I don’t want you surprised by my leadership. You need to know what to expect before we wed, and I now reveal it.

“Ross Perot coined this motto. Up front, blunt, and candid when you deal with people. I remind myself to use it, because when I propose and you accept, we have to make a permanent deal, an arrangement based on more than love, romance, and mutual compatibility. I believe in love, a woman’s love, and mother love. Being a man, however, and planning to live sixty years together, I know that love is not enough to handle the strains.

“Here’s my plan of dedication to consider. You can have the wedding as yours and your mother’s to arrange. I’m out of the planning; just tell me where, when, and what to wear.

“After the wedding, however, I will be responsible for our marriage, honeymoon and all. You no doubt have many wishes, not all of which will fit into whatever plans we make and mutually accept for our lives beyond the altar. So how will all of that play out?

“First, I love you, I adore you, I cherish you and plan to continue for life. You are the pinnacle of my ideal as a wife, and I want and intend to keep it that way. Me, you, and our marital agreement have only to come alongside and merge our lives with my jobs and ambitions.

“What I talk about today is how to keep it that way by putting you on the road to wifely and motherly happiness and me on the road to satisfaction as man, husband, provider, protector, friend, problem solver, and lover in some order to be determined by reality.

“Marriage is generally called an institution. Actually, it’s a set of absolutely necessary functions. The promises, the obligations, and the vows that couples make and take. Those functions guide individuals subconsciously and usually in background mode. If adhered to properly, they can hold a couple together as ‘us’. If not, couples too easily separate in spirit and then emotionally and perhaps physically.

“However, over time, some promises come up empty. Some obligations fail from love that has weakened. Some vows are broken by outside inducements, pressures, and promises.

“Good intentions—made earlier in the throes of exciting and romance-loaded moments—don’t remain all that stable after months or years of living together. Two individuals with very different personalities, emotional makeup, and personal agendas have to labor hard to remain permanently attached and keep two self-interests bonded into one—the ‘us’ that women like to call togetherness.

“Antagonist pressures arise far too easily, and love can’t overcome all of it. Actually, love is never enough, and that is why I accept responsibility. If I’m responsible, I can match the determination that guided you through your life until now. I say determination, because I don’t accept responsibility with any expectation that I will fail.

“More of what I mean is this. Only you, me, or ‘us’ can work against our marital interests, can wreck our relationship. We need an informed leader who works on the outside—kind of works above us—to prevent it. I accept full responsibility to guard, hold together, and ensure that the mass of marriage values, standards, and expectations works to help us find and live in mutually bonded togetherness.

“Fulfilling my responsibility, however, may not be to your liking simply because of the impression it gives in the big picture. You and I function as subordinates of our marriage, I supervise both of us as a couple. What does that mean? Well, not that I intend to be a dictator but more of a benevolent supervisor of nothing but our marriage. If the marriage is threatened, I will be obligated to act. Otherwise, our relationship is one of a well-balanced couple.

“We won’t drive our marriage, it drives us. It’s the principle up to which we live rather than threaten or trash it in response to emotional upheavals. Yes, principle reigns whenever emotion, taste, or preference challenges the comfort of our marriage. Comfort being defined as what we both think is best to keep us compatible and well-bonded.

“Actually, either you or I can tear us apart. It only takes one to destroy the mutual likeability and loyalty that upholds a man’s love. My intention before we marry is to apply preventive pressures that tend to neutralize the desire for one to escape the other. Neutralize desire for the outside world and marital glue holds much better.

“Putting principle over emotions adds pressure for us to deal with our mate as respectable; to make our mate deserving of best attentions and considerations; to toe the line of fidelity; and otherwise hold each other up as the epitome of a person, a friend, a lover, and a spouse, and also interdependent as mates.

“Whether in disagreement, disarray, or dispute, I plan that we fall back on the purpose and blessing of marital obligations to calm our emotional conditions. More important than either of us, in god-like fashion, commitment to marriage commands us to do much better than we ever thought we could. We can learn to exceed ourselves and immediately do our best to recover from emotional disturbances such as disputes, ailments, financial shortages, or child raising issues. Recovery is everything, but prevention is better.

“As matter of habit, we expect to always yield to the principle of marriage first, us second, and you and me third. It’s a rung on the ladder, an interim step of living up to God. Moreover and more importantly, that is the ladder rung that releases mutual respect, empowers trust, and enables me to enjoy your likeability and you to enjoy mine.

“For example, you get angry at me and want to tell me off, that I’m guilty of something. Such as, I failed to get your car’s tail-light repaired and you got a traffic ticket. You start to upbraid me with: I told you three times and, oh yea, you were flirting last night at the party. I first respond with three questions: How does this affect our marriage? Big or little, serious or funny? How do we recover that before you correct me?

“After we know the impact on our marriage, you can finish your chastisement of me. It works both ways. When I try to describe some failing of yours, you respond with the same or similar questions. Once we know how the marriage will be impacted, expressing negative opinions becomes less offensive and more tolerable.

“We defend ourselves first by putting our marriage between us. We need to keep track of how our problems are about to impact our marriage and prevent damage before we get too deeply involved criticizing each other.

“I am responsible to see it happen that way, so I may from time to time have to remind you that your expectations may be contradictory to marital comfort. The same applies to you. I may be responsible, but I can cause marital discomfort even better than you.

“When I am responsible for anything, I refuse to fail. As of now, I dedicate that habit to our marriage. It presumes and I prioritize our lives this way. You and I are subordinate to marriage; personal expectations are subordinate to domestic tranquility; child raising is subordinate to our marriage.

“Wives often presume to carry the burden of sustaining marriage; they have most to lose. But in today’s marital marketplace they don’t seem to be doing well. It happens because the wrong spouse is in charge. So, from the get-go let me unburden you from being responsible to see that we stay together. No intent to do without your help and superb assistance. In fact it’s expected, but you don’t have to answer for marital failures, whatever is produced in the long run.

Hank signals with fingers, “You need only face up to four tasks to the best of your ability. Remain my already realized ideal of a good woman to whom I’m greatly attracted. Develop yourself into the ideal wife that we both deserve. Prepare and become the ideal mother for our children. Keep me informed when I add strain to our marriage. Also, I owe you my definition of the term ideal. It means the same woman I married and expect to cherish for sixty years. Small improvements no doubt, but no big changes to who and what she is when we marry.

“I will do my best to be the ideal husband for you and father for our kids. If and when I say nothing contrary, you remain my ideal and cherished one. Believe it. You start there and sixty years hence you will remain just that. The practice of cherishing someone makes it last.

“All of the above brings me to the most important part. We can’t avoid disputes or hold unbecoming opinions of each other. Minor in the overall passage of time, they still should not be verbalized. We can avoid fault finding, criticism, and blaming each other, and we should do it by converting complaint and blame into offenses to the marriage covenant first and then to each other.

“The softer the name calling, the harder the covenant shell that surrounds us.

“You work primarily through relationship management, and I will work primarily to hold our lives together as a one-unit family. Our life together is three processes, yours, mine, and ours. We don’t need perfection living together. We primarily need to flatten out the steeper parts of our emotional conditions without blame, guilt, and criticism. Even in that, perfection is not essential. A little bit might even help sometimes.

“My respect makes you likeable to me. Your love makes me likeable to you. My trust makes you loyal to me, and your trust makes me loyal to you. Mutual likeability and loyalty are the necessary ingredients for my love to endure. Consequently, my love of you arises out of respect and trust of you that is confirmed and endorsed by your love and trust of me.

“I will be fulfilling my responsibility when we both identify our differences as neither personal nor in immediate need of correction, but rather as undesired actions and attitudes contrary to marital harmony. Primarily, I foresee that you will be responsible for harmony in the home and I for harmony outside the home and overall.

“Now I only describe the mutual bonding to start out, how we are to perform under those conditions as guidance. How we operate under those conditions determines our future together, your happiness as a woman, and my satisfaction as a man.

“I expect to formally propose that we marry and hereby suggest that success comes more from what I describe than blind luck, mutual love, and even the greatest of intentions. So, I offer myself for you to consider whether my plan and role as just described fits your needs and desires. In other words, I offer me and my plan in addition to just me and my ability to love you forever.

“Does all that sound doable to you? Anything offend you? Can you subordinate yourself and emotional stability to the supreme role of our marriage? I pledge it as my intent for life, and God-willing, you accept me when I propose.

“You now have the floor. I look forward to showing how my love can overcome your objections.”

Pondering for a moment, Jenny smiles beyond her best ever. “It’s magnificent. I could not ask for more, darling. I accept your plan as more than I deserve. In return, I add my promise of endlessly dispensing your favorite wishes that I alone can provide.”

Still on the couch, they hug and kiss and she allows him to elevate their passion levels above that previously permitted. Then, abruptly, she terminates it.

“Honey, I have no doubt you’re a great lover. However, I’m a happy lovee only under certain conditions of which only I am aware. If we marry, I want you informed of what it takes for you to make me a happy lovee. We only have this one opportunity, because it can’t be done inside a marriage.

“We will shortly talk. Me as the revelator, you as listener, and we will never mention it again.” His curiosity soars, and she quickly departs. Left standing at the door, Hank’s uncertainties yell at him. What was that? What is she doing? Then he remembers, “We will shortly talk.” He wonders, when will she….

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2602. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 12


Hank ends his retreat, calls Jenny for a date next day. On rereading his note aimed at convincing her he knows what he is doing, he begins to have more than second thoughts. How to deliver his plan, verbal or written? Her to read or hear? At home or in public? Might a couple of drinks be appropriate to loosen his tongue and impress her ears to listen favorably?

What is he after? Her to marry him? Or her to consider if she wants to marry into his method of preserving a marriage? If she doesn’t grasp the full meaning of his plans for their future, disappointment is likely to set in later. Can he overcome that?

Tossing much of the night, anticipating something less than total success, he decides. His apartment, white wine spritzer, he will just let her read it. They will discuss the pros and cons and decide how to proceed. Anticipating victory for his side, he finally dozes off.

He awakens with a startle. He just dreamed her reading the letter in front of him. Misunderstandings prevail, her uh-ohs rock his spirit, she gives him sour or at least questionable looks. He re-reads his letter and can find nothing to cause what he dreamed. He changes his plan: He will read it to her, add comments frequently, and hope for the best with his being more proactive.

In his dream, she also reacted and spoke about romance, affection, and warmth being missing from the letter. Consequently, his heart must want marriage more than her. Or so she will think.

After they chat making the date, Jenny emulates his insomnia. He emailed his plan with the eight strategies for managing their conjugal life [2600]. She finds no objections but will later beg for more clarity. She worries more about his attitude and the seed planted in the email, which seems to hint that she will not be responsible for much if they marry. He seems dictatorial.

The eight strategies are also lacking in love, affection, and closeness. Seeing all of it as rather cold and barren, too logical and deep-reasoned for her, she wonders if it will work. Or, is he unclear in his thinking about what she needs and expects in a marriage?

Puzzling her way through his model for life together, her attitude turns toward negative thoughts. She loses some interest in even showing up at his apartment. She reminds herself that when he does get around to showing affection, she loves both his method and sincerity. She will show up.

In his apartment, she stands near him as he fixes them a spritzer. They settle on the couch talkative and in good spirits, as both try to fake off discomfort. TV off. After basic preliminaries, Jenny swings her palm toward him as if to say, you’re on.

Hank feels victimized, under fire before he can start. Confusion sets in, so he turns to his most reliable method and keeps his mind on track by using whatever comes in numbers.

“Darling,” he begins, “it’s a short story. There I was on retreat. I had three goals for the weekend. Should I marry you, and that was easy to decide. What tactics and objectives would we be living by? I sent the email with my results, and it’s proper that we discuss and perhaps argue them, but later. Finally, toughest to describe and most important for our discussion tonight, I worked out the logic, reason, and strategy by which I could promise you a good marriage with plans to make it last a lifetime.” Going by the numbers calmed his confusion, he talked easier.

“I know you’d like to hear it, but I am not proposing yet. I can’t promise you a life of endless romance. I’m too practical or something. Too much else intervenes. So, I have tried to describe what I can provide you, if you choose to accept me as your husband. None of it has been easy except your soliloquy about how you kept yourself faithful to yourself over those years. You inspired me to figure out how I could be a good husband to myself and hope it would satisfy you as much as your ‘confession’ about your accomplishment satisfied me.

“I know you want me to make you happy. I’m both unsure how and what makes—or rather will make—you happy living with me. I’ve always envisioned that you would be living with me in a home—perhaps this apartment or some other hut—and that you arrange, decorate, manage and thereby make yourself happy.

“That’s the model on which I used to base my dreams of marriage and it making you happy. That is, before you taught me how a person can be much better by pursuing a single but great goal; not what drives but what you can accomplish, how it builds character, and how it makes many things respectable. And so, to learn to exemplify it, I went on retreat to figure out how to use your method.

“Now, I recognize my prior innocence of what it takes to make a woman happy. I know it takes much more than I planned to provide. I am still unaware of what, when, why, which, who, and how makes you supremely happy. But I feel the burden to make our life better will produce it for you.”

Hank goes on to describe the thrills he felt and anxiety burden of his retreat. Cold food, but a hot keyboard when he is sure of his intentions. Meandering through the woods as he resolves tough questions about his own future. Shooting rocks over the hillside with his five-iron, when his mind goes blank. And the constant thinking of her and eventually having many kids as he continues to talk to the steering wheel on the way home.

Now immensely satisfied with his weekend as not a waste of either time or effort, he moves on. “I had fun.” Slightly embarrassed, his face flushes as he spouts his new motto about children: “If four is a ball, then six takes only gall.” Fearing he is serious, she just stares. Her mood seems to darken, and he gets on with the show, his tour de force, his masterpiece of achievement. If she can’t take what he offers, she may not be the one for him.

“I wrote you a letter explaining my logic and reasoning about marriage as responsibility rather than just the joining of two emotional personalities. The joining is a piece of cake; it even starts by feeding each other a bite of the cake. But sustaining a marriage is a constant struggle to merge two interests and match them into one. That, my dear, is my personal ambition that you shall hear about and as I composed it and settled my thoughts last weekend among so much natural beauty in West Virginia.

“You need to know who I really am to determine if I’m the right man for you. I know you’re right for me. Even more than right, essential. I want to marry you. And if I do and live out the persona of the man I can be, that I will shortly describe, then I know you will be forever supreme in my life and no other can or will ever replace you.”

He initiates a toast. They exchange smiles and sip spritzers. He brings out sheets of paper, unfolds them, and starts to read. She gets more comfortable to hear….

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2601. Who is Responsible for Marital Success? Chapter 11


EDITOR’S NOTE: Recalling what I am grateful for, I thought of each of you readers. You fill my life with endless intelligence, interest, and feminine liveliness that often turns to sassy I love to see in women. Thank you.

Hank loves to count and recount when his mind is in turmoil; it keeps thoughts in line. First, he decides he will marry Jenny [2599]. Second, he plans out his premarital negotiations with her [2600]. Third, he plans to tell her of his dedication to marriage, what marriage will be like under his tutelage. Not to match or outdo her ‘champagne eloquence’ [2597], but to reassure her that he is a good catch, that he knows how to be a good husband and possesses the talent, skill, and motivation to brighten their future together.

As last event of the weekend retreat, he prepares to tell her how he will seal their marital deal. He decides to write it out, recite it to her, and then give her a copy to show their grandkids how marriage ought to be approached. He is proud before he starts; his thoughts already aligned with his heart. He begins to write.

Jenny, my darling. About ready to set you down on a honey-coated, platinum ship of marital bliss that borders on paradise, I must confess. Oh, not to anything either of us has done wrong. But to express the pleasure of earning you for my mate. For so long, I didn’t know what you had to witness in my motivation and behavior.

After neutralizing my conqueror’s plan with your titty remark, over champagne you confessed dedication to yourself. I was enlightened. I almost proposed right there and then. Thankfully, my heart was not quite in it.

I say thankfully, because what follows here converts the makings of a temporary into a permanent marriage. An earlier proposal would perhaps have short circuited our relationship before too many years together. Why? If surprised, you would not like my leadership; you need to know what to expect before we wed.

Ross Perot coined this motto. Up front, blunt, and candid when you deal with customers and employees. I remind myself to use it.

You can have the wedding as yours and your mother’s to arrange. However, I will be responsible for our marriage. So, what does that mean?

Marriage is generally called an institution. Actually, it’s a set of necessary functions—the promises, obligations, and vows that couples make. Those functions guide individuals silently, subconsciously, and usually in background mode. If adhered to properly, they can hold a couple together as ‘us’. If not, couples too easily separate emotionally and perhaps physically.

But good intentions—made earlier in the throes of exciting and romance-loaded moments—don’t remain all that stable after months or years of living together. Two individuals with very different personalities, emotional makeup, and personal agendas have to labor hard to remain permanently attached with mutual self-interest.

Antagonist pressures arise far too easily, and love can’t overcome all of it. Actually, love is never enough, and that is why I accept responsibility. If I’m responsible, I can match your determination. I don’t ever accept responsibility with any expectation that I will fail.

More of what I mean is this. Only you, me, or we can work against our marital interests. We need a leader to prevent it. I accept full responsibility to guard, hold together, and ensure that the mass of marriage values, standards, and expectations works to help us find and live by mutual self-interest.

Fulfilling my responsibility, however, may not be to your liking simply because of the impression it gives in the big picture. You and I function as subordinates of our marriage. What does that mean?

We don’t drive our marriage, it drives us. It’s the principle up to which we live rather than trash it in response to emotional upheavals. It pressures us to deal with our mate as respectable; to make our mate deserving of best attentions and considerations; to toe the line of fidelity; and otherwise hold each other up as the epitome of a person, friend, lover, and spouse.

We fall back on the purpose and blessing of marital obligations to calm our emotional disturbances. More important than either of us, in god-like fashion, commitment to marriage first commands us to do much better than we ever thought we could, that we exceed ourselves to do our immediate best to recover from emotional disturbances or financial shortages. As matter of habit, we expect to always yield to the principle of marriage first and me, you, and us second. It’s a rung on the ladder, an interim step of living up to God.

I am responsible to see it happen that way, so I may from time to time have to remind you that your expectations may be contradictory to marital comfort. The same applies to you. I may be responsible, but I can cause marital discomfort perhaps better than you.

When I am responsible for anything, I refuse to fail. As of now, I dedicate that habit to our marriage. It presumes and I prioritize our lives this way. You and I are subordinate to marriage; personal expectations are subordinate to domestic tranquility; child raising is subordinate to our marriage.

Wives often presume to carry the burden of sustaining marriage; they have most to lose. But in today’s marital marketplace they don’t seem to be doing well. It happens because the wrong spouse is in charge. So, from the get-go let me unburden you from being responsible to see that we stay together.

You need only face up to four tasks. Remain my ideal of a great woman, develop yourself into the ideal wife for me, prepare and become the ideal mother for our children, keep me indirectly informed when I add strain to our marriage. I will do my best to be the ideal husband for you and father for kids. If and when I say nothing contrary, you are ideal. You work primarily through relationship management, and I will work primarily to hold our lives together as a one-unit family. (You and I both know that last clause exaggerates; your contributions are vital.)

All of the above brings me to the most important part. We can’t avoid disputes or hold unbecoming opinions of each other. Minor in the overall passage of time, they still should not be verbalized. We can avoid fault finding, criticism, and blaming each other, and we should do it by converting complaints and blame into offenses contrary to the marriage covenant and not us personally.

I will fulfill my responsibility when we both identify our differences as neither personal nor in immediate need of correction, but rather as undesired actions and attitudes contrary to marital harmony. Mostly, you will be responsible in the home and I outside the home and overall.

Does that sound like a doable to you? Offended? Can you subordinate yourself and emotional stability to the supreme role of our marriage? I pledge it as my intent for life, and God-willing, you will also.

And now, my dear Jenny, with true love flooding my heart, I repeat my proposal differently. Will you marry me—but this time for life?

With the sincerity that arises out of great respect,

Hank

——

[FOR BLOG READERS: Anticipating many inquiries, here are a few examples of focusing on the marriage instead of wife’s hurts or husband’s faults. These examples avoid DIRECT accusations and blame. Marital success comes from lack of blame and other and perhaps smaller irritants that offend a man or hurt a woman. The examples may not be the best, but they exemplify the offended party rephrasing conclusions and opinions so as not to emotionally disturb themselves or the offender.

Hank provides these examples. They shift responsibility for corrective action into the hands of he offender without adding offense. Questions, unless too pointed, seldom offend men but women are much more sensitive. Inquire and then move on to something else; leave the thought behind for later consideration.

Hank speaks as if teaching:

  • I am repeatedly late for dinner without calling ahead. After a few times, you ask me: Is your consideration of my time and responsibility producing any strains on our marriage? And then, if you please, move on to something else.
  • You see me flirting and inquire. She’s a pretty woman and probably deserves a good man; does she fit into your interests for our marriage? And then, if you please, move on to something else.
  • After I swill too much beer watching football, you ask: Honey, do you prefer beer over lovemaking? I know you can do both, but do you think lack of intimacy for me adds stress to our marriage? And then, if you please, move on to something else.
  • After you refuse me sex three days in a row, I inquire: Are you sick, honey? Should you see a doctor? I can’t afford to lose you, you know. And then, if you please, move on to something else.

Spouses can thus refer offensive behavior toward later resolution and for the sake of marriage. It works better than blaming and expecting the other to change to accommodate expectations or for the sake of changing one’s behavior to please the other.]

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