Marriage: for broader and for narrower

Columnist Rita Corbett talks about marriage and the fact genders are some times opposites.

Rita Corbett

Special to the Tribune Weekend Advisor

‘He’ was a man on a mission.   He was trying to fix something in the garage, but he needed some parts from the house.  So indoors he went, accidentally bumping his wife on the way.  “Oops, sorry!” he said, and continued on his quest.

Returning to the garage through the kitchen, he bumped into his wife again. Another “Oops, sorry!” Later, the man round-tripped through supper’s aroma again, and you guessed it … ! Did I tell you that in all this time she hadn’t moved?

‘She’ sat next to him in a conference — a meeting the two of them had painstakingly organized over the past three months. All was well. The buffet was arranged, the speaker was excellent, and sufficient numbers were attending to cover expenses.

During the seminar, she turned to her husband and said, “You know, honey, next time we should create a logo, get some corporate sponsorship, and we could also …” The hackles went up on his neck, the gentleman gritted his teeth, and he solemnly vowed, “Never again!”

Of course, every marriage is “for better or for worse.” And though we each spend moments in the extremes, the relationship isn’t simple, is it? While men try to understand the foreign language of “woman-speak”, and women grapple with “man-speak” or “no speak”, we often discover an epidemic of conflicts.

Neither ‘he’ nor ‘she’ are rude and inconsiderate. Both were simply attempting to make life better in their own way.  So at the risk of over-simplifying, and without telling you of a clash or two in my own front yard, perhaps I can venture a stereotypical thought on this numbing matter.

It’s hardly news that men are often single-focused. Exasperating! Unless of course I want ‘him’ to be productive and provide for my family, or be successful at a job. It’s also no revelation that some women can tackle a million things at once, and be quite happy never finishing any of them.

The genders are often opposites — either ranging widely, or focusing exclusively.  With the number of combustion points that exist, perhaps we could avoid a few ‘worses’ by moving slightly away from the extremes; we become more balanced by absorbing a little of each other’s traits. Those who endlessly add details might ‘narrow’ things down now and then. And if the other half widened their vision just a little, couples just might rediscover happiness in the middle of the road.

The more differences the better, I say! That way we have more options, more viewpoints, more “warm” discussions to tune-up our thinking, and more opportunities to learn. What if, after all, as Gary Thomas says, one of the purposes of marriage was to make us better, not just make us happy?

I could go on, but I have a million things to do, and my husband just came through the kitchen … one more time!


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