This is a story of a boy and girl called Mike and Anne. They someday will be adults of interest to each other. Will they be compatible enough to marry and stay together? The odds favor that outcome, if their self-development is guided by parents who provide the leadership to produce the following results.
About the time puberty begins its development process, Anne dreams of what her life will be like years ahead of her current age. Hopes and dreams merge into deep desire and immature conviction that it will be happen much as she imagines—shining knight and all. Boys dream of accomplishments, but it’s her dreams that govern marital life.
The sexes are born this way. She has plenty self-love but lacks self-respect. He has plenty self-respect but lacks self-love. They both have to learn how to give what they lack for two reasons: 1) Marital success depends on the glue of mutual likeability and loyalty, which depends upon mutual sharing of sincere and believable love and respect. 2) Since one cannot give what one does not possess, it has to be learned. Otherwise, her showing sufficient respect and his showing sufficient love just isn’t going to happen (although some feel pressured to fake it).
However tough for parents to impose the immature practices described below, it is essential for the marital success of their children. It works as action and reaction between under-developed personalities. Parents teach the practice but kids have to perform the actions, which are critical to shaping personalities for marital success.
In her book The Nurture Assumption, Judith Rich Harris shows that the personalities of children arise more from peer contact than parental influence. I offer the following also as bold justification for large families. Numerous brothers and sisters are so easy to guide this way, and generally turn into mates more easy to get along with.
The Learning Process Works This Way
I write as if they are raised together, but Anne and Mike are associating with others in two different families.
Anne is taught and subjected to the process of showing love for boys just for being boys until it becomes habitual. Mike is taught and subjected to the process of showing respect for girls just for being girls also until habitual. They are taught to exploit their respective strengths on behalf of the other. She specializes in spreading love, he in spreading respect. (Affirmative, you’re right. It is the reverse of what each expects as spouses.)
Not depending on words either, but showing it with actions. Not always, but Anne’s smiles can be sufficient action, because males accept female smiles as encouragement. Mike, however, must actually be more deliberate. Before puberty, the actions of both program their respective hearts for life—Mike with self-love, and Anne with self-respect. It happens this way.
Anne’s actions show love for all boys, and it registers with boys as girly love, which they reject as unwanted. Mike does not need love from girls. Nevertheless, he can’t ignore it, and so he learns to accept it as something akin to respect. He instinctively knows that he at least deserves near-respect from girls. Anne confirms it routinely.
Frequently shown a lot of Anne’s love over the course of a decade before puberty, he learns to think there is more than meets the eye. Her love showers him with her gratefulness for who he is and what he does, which makes her important to him and deserving of his recognition and attention. He concludes, probably not consciously however, that perhaps girls deserve more than respect. So affection begins to develop, and he begins to show it, and his further actions develop affection in his heart, the seed of self-love.
His inborn hard-hearted nature begins to mellow in one particular slice, that of his opinion of girls, which makes his heart receptive to the idea that he is important to girls, which fertilizes the seed of self-love. The seed grows roots until puberty as he receives more girlish attention and affection.
The longer and stronger Mike receives such loving attention from girls and learns to be grateful for them and spread his affection in return, the greater becomes his potential to someday love Anne longer and stronger.
Mike’s actions—necessarily enforced by mother until habitual—shows respect for all girls, which registers with girls as boyish affection. Anne does not need love from boys, she has plenty within herself. So, Anne looks for understanding and perceives that showing her love is respectable. Frequently transposing between her love and a boy’s respect, Anne learns that respectability can be used to get her way, even to represent and defend herself. Her use of self-respect fertilizes more of it, and thereby grows and strengthens as she receives frequent signs that signify greater respect from boys. It encourages her to depend more on self-respect to more easily get her way. Realizing that displaying self-respect pays off, she grows to depend upon it as useful. Wallah! She has self-respect, which can help her keep Mike after they marry.
The longer and stronger Anne receives such respect from boys, the greater her self-respect grows and underwrites her potential to respect Mike longer and stronger later in life. Thus, lessons learned before puberty determine life after it.
One cannot share what they do not have. Raised with the blessings described above, the more self-love Mike earns before puberty, the more love he can share with his wife, Anne. The more self-respect Anne earns before puberty, the more respect she can show husband, Mike. Whether sharing is proportional or not, adult women should think of it that way. Just the thought of proportionality reinforces the idea that nothing is ever equal, and fairness is good enough to prevent disuse and dispute.
Taught and reinforced from toddlerhood to puberty, Mike’s lesson lights one side with love, and with respect she lights the other side of her boulevard of hopes and dreams. Their marriage sparkles with mutual likeability and loyalty as it passes under the rainbow of her girlhood hopes and dreams.
P.S. I expect ALL mothers to proclaim they can’t do it because making girls love boys will carry into the teens. I say, not so. A girl’s self-respect plus the hormonal hurricane that arrives with puberty will have the opposite effect. Think of it this way. What do girls who get into teen trouble have in common? Lack of self-respect I consider the most critical, but I await the challenge to dispute it with you.