Have you seen the exchange written in the picture to the left, or anything like it? Or experienced something like it?
When I got engaged, someone gave me a graph depicting a man's chances winning and argument. It starts at 50%, then goes to 25% when he gets engaged, then to 0% when he married.
How many times have you heard men told that the key to a happy marriage is to learn to say "Yes, Dear."?
Consider this recent letter from a listener to Dr. Laura:
Winning Isn't Everything
I have been married for 27 years, and I have a few thoughts to share about working through arguments with your loved one.
1.You should listen enough to at least let the other person articulate their issue or point of view.
2.Do not force the other person to listen if they don't want to!
3.Listen to YOURSELF so that you are not ever speaking too loudly, with harshness or even a hints of sarcasm.
4.It doesn't matter who wins - it's how both parties feel afterwards.
Sometimes being a good loser makes you both winners.
The letter is really good right up to the underlined part.
I realize that letter is to be considered by both husbands and wives, but the bulk of these things are directed at husbands. We're told in many ways that we're supposed to simply accept and/or announce that we're wrong even when there hasn't been a logical explanation that even demonstrates the possibility that we are. We're supposed to cater to unjustified or even irrational hostility, demands for apologies, and her claim of control, except where she has inconsistently and temporarily (and often silently) ceded some power back to us.
Yes, in order for any partnership or team to work, there are going to be times when someone has to defer to someone else's feelings, and figure out which disputes matter enough to drag out, letting the "small stuff" go. However, in marriage, men are often told to sit down and shut up while their entire life is turned into something they do not want, and kneel down and beg forgiveness and make pledges of change even when unsure of what the alleged offense was.
"Well that's why you need to marry a reasonable woman and discuss things ahead of the marriage to make sure you're in agreement."
OK, assuming a man does find a reasonable woman, a woman can become unreasonable due to hormonal changes, diseases, injuries, and other traumas.
Agreements are often considered null and void for any or no reason given.
Yes, men can decide to walk away. They can get a divorce. However, more often than not, their money and earnings, which represent their time and effort, is held hostage if they do so. This doesn't even get into what happens with the children.
It's a Catch-22, because women are given all of the power by law and culture, but a lot of women, admittedly or not, really want a man who'll take charge, which is one reason they tend to prefer men who are bigger, stronger, and more assertive or dominant. Even many women who sincerely think they want to be in control aren't all that happy with a man who quietly submits. They want their man to make them happy but they often can't tell him how to do that.
In the past, a man deferring to his wife and catering to her irrationality was a act of gentle kindness on his part, because he could easily have divorced her and left her destitute and shamed, or given her a beating until she stopped nagging or complaining or making demands (which, as I always say, is NOT something I think was OK). Things are very different now.
Unmarried men don't have to waste their time trying to find out what they did wrong, or trying to make it up to a woman, or arguing about much at all. I recognize that some men are willing to make that trade-off. They are willing to "be wrong", to apologize for imaginary transgressions, to spend time trying to appease a woman. Maybe they want to be married because they really want to be fathers and they think it is important to raise children within a marriage, or they don't want to take care of themselves and they think they've found a woman who will, or they want sex to be inside of marriage, or think they owe it to a woman if they have sex with her, or they are too lazy to think about it through and it's what she wants, or they want to get someone (religious associates, family, etc.) off their backs about getting married, or... whatever.
But some men aren't willing to make this trade-off, along with all of the others, and it's not necessarily wrong or somehow a deficiency on their part to decide they won't make this purchase. And you know what? Most of such men will still get through life just fine, getting things done without a woman who was supposedly attracted to him nagging him to change, without a woman telling him how and when to do things. The trash will still get taken out.