Except for those lucky few who seem to float through life blissfully unaware and unaffected by the trials and tribulations of ‘normal’ folks, relationships are hard. One would think they shouldn’t be, one normally hopes they won’t be, but one is almost always disappointed by the hardships one encounters.
On the surface, they seem simple. A man. A woman. (In ‘normal’ circumstances).
They decide they Love/Like/Need/Lust for Each Other and a relationship ensues.
Sometimes they last a lifetime. Sometimes they last something less than that. They each see their ups and downs.
But sometimes the downs are more defining than the ups – and problems ensue.
It’s really hard to strip everything down to what happens between two people. Hard to get to ‘one man/one woman’ and how things go right or wrong between them. There is so much baggage that comes with each party to the relationship – much of it brought in by chance, and not choice. And that ‘chance’ is represented by the needs and expectations of Society – of the culture we, as social human beings, have constructed for ourselves.
If you go back to the beginning, and strip away society, we get to the basic things that define us and our roles in life – the unavoidable stuff.
Men have man bits. Women have woman bits. Women’s bits give them an ability – a power – that men can never achieve or understand – they can grow new people inside their bodies. They can nourish those new people when they are newly made and helpless against the world. It would seem, at some level, that this is woman’s role in life. It would seem that this has always been Woman’s Responsibility.
Men’s Responsibility, then, in this basic and simple world, is clear:
Woman cannot hunt and provide for herself and her baby – not while she is providing food, warmth and nurturing care.
Man must hunt. Man must find or provide shelter.
He must build the fire and fend off the wild animals that might threaten to eat his family.
This does not make Man heroic. It makes him Responsible. It defines him as a Human Being.
It’s funny how these simple, basic roles have become confused and obscured by Society and its changing Mores and Values.
It’s a basic fact of life and science that people closely related to one another cannot – should not – make babies with each other. Those children stand a strong chance of being flawed – of becoming a burden on the tribe. They likely won’t be able to hunt, or build new shelters or gather stuff to burn for warmth. So the ‘marriage’ of closely related people is to be avoided. It is important to know and understand paternity – so the tribe stays strong.
So we construct rules and regulations that, if followed, ensure the continued strength of the tribe – of the Race. The Human Race.
The thing is that those rules have become Cultures and Societies – and they have evolved over many generations to more and more complex systems – to the point that the simple facts of man and woman are lost somewhere in all the noise.
People have changed, as well. Oh, the bodies are the same (mostly). The body’s functions are the same. Men have man bits. Women have woman bits. And man bits still fit inside woman bits. And that still makes babies. But the Women and the Men who make up the Cultures and Societies of today are able to make, and capable of, new and different decisions about themselves, as individuals, and as members of relationships.
Successful relationships? Almost always involve people who are ready, willing and able to know each other as man and woman. People who are willing to discuss with each other their individual desires and strengths – learn how they each can contribute to the whole – THEIR whole.
Love may or may not have a lot to do with it. Respect, care and concern certainly do. A willingness to accept, adjust and compromise does, as well.
Get back to basics. Get back to Man and Woman.
Make your own rules. Together.