Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Love and Neglect

Sometimes, as a younger friend of mine said, you realise there are 1001 things about the opposite sex that you will never understand. As you grow older, you realise two more things: 1) it's closer to a million and one; 2) you don't need to understand it all.

I think that men tend to neglect many of these things. She might say, "Haha, the last time you bought me flowers was on my 21st birthday!" You think, "Haha, yeah, we were all young and silly once." You ought to think, "Errm. Time to visit the florist."

It takes a huge emotional investment to cater to all the little things. Men tend not to have these reserves. The reason is simple: the 'emotional' side, things like flowers and gifts and hugs and quiet moments — they are as much a product of physical and intellectual action as anything else, and just as consuming of the body's attention, energy and physical reserves. But men tend to invest instead in singular tasks, limited foci, specialist areas.

This leads to treating people by formula. Women read books about how diverse and complex things are; how nuanced, how different of meaning things can be. Men read books about x laws of this, y rules of that.

Men cannot keep up. But there are a few things that help. Be random — do random nice things once in a random while. Believe in the other person as the same person but with different daily seasons. Try not to understand in terms of linear logic, but in terms of accepting the many contradictions that a real person can have. Don't hunt the logical contradictions to destruction, but enjoy the different perspectives in each facet.

Above all things, love. Imperfect human love is much more acceptable than neglect, no matter how benign and well-meant. Leaving someone alone to cool down is not as good as leaving someone alone so you can cook a meal for her.

In the Good Book, men are enjoined to love their wives. But wives are not told to reciprocate in quite the same way. A look at the whole Book tells you why: men can only do a few things, but they can do them exceedingly well if they remember to do them at all — this is a key reminder. Women, on the other hand, are made to be 'helpmeets', are able to help with and understand many things, and tend to be critical of male efforts and behaviour (see, for example, Sarah laughing at the idea of Abraham becoming a father, and then later manipulating his efforts).

Women, in other words, need to be tolerant while hoping for the best. Men need to remember to love, with or without understanding it all. It seems to work.

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OpenID mingblue said...

"...if it's violins she loves, let them play. . .
. . . if it's one more star she wants, go all the way. . . "
the essence of your post is in this song. What a voice, huh?! :P

Thursday, June 24, 2010 3:40:00 am  

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