Men are from Mars

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus is the name of a best selling book authored by John Gray back in 2012. It is a great communication guide for couples, with the focus on understanding how the other thinks and feels. Far from rocket science, but important in the evolution and success of relationships.

I learned long ago, early on in my 34+ year marriage, how to get my husband to do the things I need him to do to keep our household running smoothly. The solution was/is simple. Ask for help and tell your partner how you feel. Communicate what works for you as a couple.

Men are learning a clean kitchen is the way to a woman's heart
The way to a woman’s heart is through a clean house

Many of us women were raised to believe we have to do everything (household chores) ourselves if we want things done properly. This may have worked early in the last century, but modern women are busier than ever and smarter than that. So are men.

In defence of the men in that generation, they were raised to believe similar rubbish. Chauvinism was rampant. My husband was one of them, so were my three brothers. My mother and mother-in-law were clones of June Cleaver, looking after their children and their homes while their husbands worked outside of the home. Things got more complicated, not to mention stressful, when both mothers went back to work as soon as their youngest child was in school. All of a sudden they each had two full time jobs. My sisters and I were recruited to help out, but the males of the family were exempt.

If I learned nothing else from that experience, it was that I would not accept that archaic mentality in a partner. Making that decision a reality was tricky, but we managed to figure it out. I used to slam cupboard doors and stomp around when I was angry and frustrated with his (perceived) inability to recognize necessary household chores.

I would like to say I straightened him out, but must admit he figured it out faster than I did. He did notice the slamming doors and stomping feet after all, so made the first step by admitting his need for me to communicate (verbally) exactly what I wanted him to do. This must be why “honey do lists” became so popular. He was quite happy to “help” although learned fast that he was pulling his weight rather than helping. This was especially important when our three sons were young and our household was very busy.

Men have (thankfully) evolved over the years, into caring and nurturing fathers, husbands and partners. And women have evolved by encouraging their men in these roles without losing any of their superhero powers. The moral of this story? Men may be from Mars and women from Venus, but we can successfully co-exist on Earth if we communicate!

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1958 was a great year for producing men

Last weekend my husband celebrated his 60th birthday with 5 of his BFFs, 4 of whom were also born within the last half of 1958.  The sixth is one year younger. Although these guys get together for weekends a few times a year, their better halves were included in this celebration. Three couples live in Ottawa (including us), two live in Toronto and the fifth birthday boy resides in Belleville.

These guys have known each other since primary school, growing up in Kingston, Ontario.  Most of them attended post secondary school in Kingston as well. Only two of these six men have biological brothers so they are very much like brothers to each other. That makes them real, actual BFFs although they affectionately call each other “Bud.”  One could say BFFs are the new Buds, or more aptly Buds are the old BFFs.

1958
their hats say “bud 60”

These BFFs have been together through good times and bad, including six weddings, the birth of fourteen babies, one divorce, the deaths of many of their parents, and very tragically, one death of a beloved spouse. Our fourteen collective children range in age from 21 to 35 but we are the only couple with grandchildren to boast about.  So far.  I’m sure they all left here looking forward to welcoming their own grandchildren after meeting one of ours and seeing lots of pictures of the other two.

Although we celebrated my husband’s 60th birthday with our immediate family in August, he did not want a big splash.  This weekend party (it did last pretty much all weekend) here in Ottawa was the perfect way to celebrate their friendship and their milestone birthdays. Together, like brothers, buds or BFFs.  Now that most of them are retired, we hope to get together more often.

I wasn’t around yet in 1958, but can vouch for the fact that it produced some pretty awesome men.  One of them I am married to, the other four are his buds.