The first two articles in this series boil down to this. The actions associated with preventive relationship maintenance (PRiM) invest a person into whatever is being maintained; their actions program their heart to be more emotionally connected. Her investment in PRiM enables her to harmonize his heart with hers and vice versa.
But men don’t do relationship management or maintenance. They don’t or can’t think that way. She has to do it all, but that’s good; it puts her in control just as she wants to be. This natural blessing belongs to each woman. The better she does PRiM, the more she follows her feminine nature and vice versa. IOW, PRiM is very natural but it works only under the condition described next.
It’s a female blessing if she does it all primarily and unselfishly on their behalf, ‘us’ before her. If she does it for herself primarily and selfishly, it causes her to drift away from him. He detects that he’s much less important in her heart, so the same happens to him. Two drifters sooner or later make one separation.
Mutual and reciprocal responsibility to each other also play a vital role. But their responsibilities are very different, are they not? If he can’t be effective at relationship maintenance, he can’t be held responsible at least for that. So, what is he responsible for? Traditionally, it’s been producing/providing/protecting/problem solving.
What else does wife expect to add? Can she get away with it? She expects him to nurture children? Keep house? Accept her earning more income than he? Sacrifice his interest for her career? Expecting him to act contrary to his nature may sometimes work, but the awkwardness generates pressures that she may or may not be able to handle and thus keep him around.
It’s tough enough with provide and protect. If she takes away his authority, belittles his ability, or interferes with his discretion for fulfilling his responsibility as he sees it, she poisons his interest for pleasing her and reverses his motivation to do his duty. Moreover, he can’t be held accountable because she disturbs or takes away his control, which prevents him from performing to his satisfaction, which makes him wonder why he does it anyway. (He’s born to earn satisfaction; she’s born to earn happiness.)
No doubt exists but that PRiM requires multiple strategies and tactics and a myriad of actions and choices that have to be matched with confirming words. All of it tailored to fit the individuals within each couple. Since men can’t put all those things together and produce an effective relationship, all those things must then be the responsibility of women.
Blame and successful relationship maintenance are mutually exclusive. Upon that foundation, let me define maintenance terms.
- Poor maintenance is whatever she does that disappoints him about her, that registers within him as her being less likeable. Examples: irritants, criticism, belittling him, weakening his authority, role reversal, etc. (OTOH, he’s aware and learns to live with her shortcomings that he recognized during courtship, so they don’t contribute much to poor maintenance. Unless she’s a flake who doesn’t even try to improve.)
- Good maintenance is whatever it takes for her to recover from whatever negative pressures have built in their relationship. IOW, she identifies a problem and manages to find a way to alleviate it without getting bitter or passing blame to him. (If he frequently or continually blames her for little or no reason, she screened and chose poorly. It’s another problem for another time.)
- Preventive maintenance is the combination of strategies, tactics, and techniques that she uses habitually that generate very few negative but plenty of positive effects that sustain her likeability and encourage him to like living with her better and better.
Within preventive maintenance are hundreds of little techniques of care and caring that women know too little about. They know full well how to nurture, but it doesn’t work with their man; it’s insulting. OTOH, preventive maintenance has pretty much the nurturing result but it’s delivered with eagerly accepted and highly approved respect rather than insult.
The female nature urges women to do the best they can with what they have where they are at. If they don’t know what to do, they do too little and it has a negative effect on their man and relationship.
The character Debbie Reynolds played in the movie Divorce American Style used economic terms to confirm and promise husband (played by Dick Van Dyke) that reversing their divorce would be successful. They would just work it out this way: She would supply what he demanded.
The movie scene implies but doesn’t continue with this thought, but it applies here. PRiM reduces his need to demand of her, which reduces her need to supply to him, which increases their ability to get along without applying undue pressure on each other.
Now, if you interpret all the above the same way I do, keeping her man depends on how she preventively maintains their relationship. Since men know nothing about relationship management, what are they expected to do? Be ideal husbands regardless of what their wives do? No, they just fall in line with however she orchestrates their togetherness, and she does it best with PRiM.
Therefore, I propose to compile and post a large list of strategies, tactics, and techniques that women can use to do preventive maintenance. We could ask men for input but the responses would be, “Don’t do this, don’t do that, she changed into another woman, I can’t stand for her to ….”
I think the PRiM list should include input from blog followers who pride themselves on what they’ve found to be successful. Either do’s or don’ts but what you have found that registers successfully with your man, that makes him like you better to live with. Be thinking about it and send comments as you desire.
Where I can, I’ll explain why the particulars work or might work better. The PRiM list begins next.