“Marriage can be the most
meaningful relationship you ever have” so said Ronald Reagan in a letter he
wrote on the eve of his son’s wedding in 1971. And he’s right. Despite all the
cynicism that surrounds this delicate institution there’s a ring of truth in
Most people enter into marriage
with a purpose. Firstly, they love each other and, because of that love,
they’ll want to tend and care for each other. In a few sad cases, it’s vice
versa – they enter into matrimony to be looked after and hope that a little
love will develop thereafter. These people are the deluded and misinformed minority
who learn the truth much later in their lives….post divorce or on their
Mr Reagan was advising his son
that the search for a mate to share the highs and lows is worth it and since Mr
Reagan was on his second marriage he should know. The former President alluded
to the bitter truth that men were in a weaker position in marriage. Men are
ugly, hairy mutations who require care and attention to thrive. This is particularly
true of their egos which can get really ugly as they mature.
Mr Reagan says:
“it does take quite a man to remain attractive and to be loved by a woman who
has heard him snore, seen him unshaven, tended him when he was sick and washed
his dirty underwear.” He's not wrong about that!
The deceased President also states that "some men feel their masculinity can only be
proven if they play out in their own life all the locker-room stories, smugly
confident that what a wife doesn't know won't hurt her". Truth is that if it doesn't hurt a wife it will surely damage their relationship....but if that's what a man wants...then let him go!
The job of caring for the family
usually falls on a wife’s shoulders. Men may do the heavy, physical work but
they rarely have the stamina or intelligence for the emotional work load. A
woman’s work is never done has never been truer in the 21st century
as women find themselves increasingly parenting alone (even when they are a
A man’s work, by the same standard, has now
been halved as they find themselves cold shouldered when their ego extinguishes
the warm glow that their wives first felt for them during courtship and the
early days of wedlock. A resourceful woman has no need for a body draped across
her sofa in the twilight years.
Holding onto the warm glow for
wives and husbands is the real challenge of marriage. That glow is not as a
result of being shaven, wearing the most up to date fashion, fixing the house
up, investing for the future, buying a good car, climbing the career ladder,
cleaning, cooking or gardening (though some or all of those things will earn
you a good many brownie points). The warmth in a relationship is that of
heart-felt daily kindnesses, consideration and gratitude.
Kindness incorporates tender words
and loving gestures, such as the simple act of preparing a cup of tea, just the
way she likes it. This doesn’t mean you both can’t express disapproval and
disappointment for life’s little dramas but it must be done with the mind-set
that you are willing to re-build any fences that get damaged. If it’s broke,
then fix it!
Consideration happens when you
talk through a difficulty and try to find a solution that fits both parties. It
also means saying nothing and walking away in the event of dispute. Throwing
angry words (and hard objects) around damages your spirit and the spirit of the
person you’re attempting to convince or reach out to.
Gratitude for the simple things is the golden
rule – be thankful for every meal that is made by loving hands, be mindful of
the immense generosity of the sacrifice of time and emotional energy that a
woman makes for her family. Gratitude is an anti-dote to selfishness so ensure
that large doses of it are administered daily to your significant other.
There is no greater happiness for
a man, according to Reagan, (and I agree wholeheartedly) “than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone
on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps”. This
is the true joy of sharing your life with someone…the fact that they look
forward to you coming home.
Any bereaved spouse knows that as a distant memory
and one that they will never experience on the earthly plain ever again.
The one thing I
believe Mr Reagan omits is that the true fulfilment in marriage is when it
happens to be with your soul mate. In a soulful marriage, much is unspoken and
much is hidden from the naked eye. A soulmate knows, intuitively, what is pleasing
and displeasing to the other. If you want to know what heaven on earth is like
then this is it!
Mr Reagan was obviously a man of humility. He knew what
an unhappy home was. Too many couples have no idea. He also knew he was a less
than adorable creature that someone had found some attraction in. Another
factor he was acutely aware of was that infidelity was a turn off. Mr Reagan
also believed that: You'll never get in
trouble if you say "I love you" at least once a day” and hopefully
you say it because you mean it.
It takes a real man to love a woman. If you want your
masculinity tested then marriage and relationships will make or break your
Real men understand that the love of good woman is more valuable than
Mr Reagan may not have
been the greatest President but he certainly had an ounce of wisdom and
uncommon sense to pass on and I’ll certainly remember him in a better light for