I watched White Men Can’t Jump last week. I thought it was pretty funny.
But what I wanted to comment on was this scene where Rosie Perez says to Woody Harrelson, “my mouth is dry… I’m thirsty.” And so naturally Woody gets up and gets her a glass of water. And then she gets mad at him. Because she didn’t want him to get her a glass of water. Men always do that, think they can solve women’s problems – it makes them feel omnipotent, she says. What she wanted was for him to empathize with her. He should have said, “I understand – I too have experienced mouth dryness.” So she gets all mad at him. But, to him, if he said he was thirsty, what he means is, if there’s water anywhere around, he wants to drink it.
So, it’s a funny scene because it’s absurd, but to me it was fascinating because I think it’s true. So, I don’t understand women, and a lot of people have told me I never will, but I’m starting to learn just a little bit more. And one thing I’ve learned, like from Jieun, or seeing my parents, or from hearing about my sister’s new marriage, etc. is that women, all they want is undivided attention.
Especially when like their discussing their problems. I don’t know, when I hear about problems, I immediately figure out what to do to solve them. I think a lot of men do that (from what I’ve heard and observed). The thing is, women don’t want that. They don’t want you to solve their problems. They just want you to empathize. And just listen. That’s all. But, I don’t know, for me, that’s the hardest thing to do.
So, what my mom demands from my dad is just 5 minutes of uninterrupted, undivided attention. And, just from listening to Jieun and my sister, all women want is just for men to listen and pay attention.
I don’t know if this makes any sense unless you’re in a relationship, and even then I don’t know if it makes sense, but, that’s what I’ve seen in the women I know. And, it’s just weird to me, and fascinating. Just, to me, I communicate for function. I want to get something across. That’s why I’m terrible on the phone, and just about never call anyone. I know about 3 phone numbers. Henry’s cell, George’s cell, and Jieun’s home. Seriously, that’s it. I never call anyone. And when I do, it’s always functional. That’s just the way I am.
So, if someone communicates a problem to me, just what I hear is, “here’s the problem; let’s figure out a solution.” But, it’s not like that to the women I know. And grasping that has been a revelation for me.
My mom made me watch a video of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, and basically this was his entire point as well. Just how women want empathy and understanding, and men are more functional and want to solve problems.
SN. My mom is really really into these types of things. Like I said, she made me watch that video with her and the whole time we watched she had this smile on her face. I was a little more cynical because quite honestly, the guy Gray is kind of fem. I think he’s gay. And I don’t want to take relationship advice from a gay guy when I’m not.
She’s also into Love Languages, based on this book I think wrote by a guy named Gary Chapman. You may have read it. The idea is that, different people express their love in different ways. Some do it by acts of service. Some do it through words. Stuff like that. The point is, the way people give love is how they want to receive love. And the problem is, people don’t realize that and give in a love language that others don’t have. Like, someone’s love langauge may be words, so he constantly compliments his significant other, since that’s his love langauge. But that’s meaningless to her, because her love language is acts of love, so words mean nothing. So she doesn’t get the love she wants, he doesn’t feel appreciated for his love; chaos ensues.
Anyway, understanding that people have different love languages is key. So, my mom’s really into all these relationship things that explain how different people see things differently and seek to foster understanding because I think it’s been highly influential in her own life, and it’s made my parents’ marriage a lot better. So, she likes it a lot.
Anyway, no one here is asking for relationship advice, and I’m not really giving it, but I wanted to write about one thing someone wise once told me. At least, I think it was a wise person – I have no idea who told it to me. I can’t remember. But, I’ve found it to be a good principle, and I do better to say what other people have told me than to spout my own worthless nonsense. It’s just what I think. Maybe some other people in relationships, perhaps more advanced than I am, can say what they think. But this is just my opinion.
Anyway, what this person said to me is that, when considering if someone’s the “one”, you shouldn’t be asking whether you could live with this person the rest of your life. What you should be asking is whether you could live without them.
I don’t know, I thought it was lame at the time, but in retrospect, I think it’s profound. Maybe you’ve heard it before. But, there’s just a lot of truth in it, and a lot of implications for it to me.
First of all, in my experience, how you’re thinking about a person who might be the one says a lot. But if you’re thinking more about the problems, about whether you could possibly live with them, then my claim is you probably can’t. In other words, I think whether you’re thinking about whether you can live with them or can’t live without them in part serves as an indicator for th relationship.
Side note. I once wrote on this page how I believed that I could be happily married to anyone, as long as they were a committed Christian. I think I’ve taken that back but if I haven’t, I’m doing it now. I think I was just terribly naive. I still don’t believe in there being a “one” that you somehow need to find or miss out on forever. The “one” is whoever you marry. But I do think there are better matches and worse matches. In any case, forget what I said about being able to happily marry any Christian. I was naive.
Anyway, yeah, to me, if you’re thinking more about whether you could live with a person, then that person is not the one. I don’t have tons of experience with this. But, I have some. And, I’ve observed friends. And when the emphasis is like this, it’s focused on the problems in the relationship that need to be overcome, without really thinking about whether the relationship is such that it’s worth being overcome.
For some, the problems are such that they can’t be overcome, and they couldn’t be able to live together. For others, if they worked hard, they would be able to work together. But in either case, in my opinion, I feel like it’s missing something crucial. Because if you’re only thinking about whether you could live with another person for the rest of your life, that’s not really putting into consideration whether it’s worth doing it.
But when you’ve found the one, it’s not a matter of whether you can live with them. There’s just a realization that you can’t live without them. (A qualified can’t. I mean, you could always live without someone, if you have Christ. But, can’t in the sense that you would really really really not want to.) I’m not saying there are no problems, or that you don’t think about whether you could live with them. I’m just saying there’s a difference in perspective.
Once you realize that you can’t live without someone, just you view problems in a whole different light. Yeah, you have conflicts, and yeah, you’re different, but I mean, the only option you have is to work through it, because you can’t live without them. So the focus isn’t on the problems, it’s on the relationship, on commitment, and it just totally changes things, I think. Most importantly, it adds a level of commitment, and not just blind commitment, but justified commitment, if that makes sense. You need to be committed because you’ve assessed how important the relationship really is to you.
Anyway, yeah, I like what I heard a lot. Just, you should consider not whether you could live with someone for the rest of your life, but more whether you could live without them. I think this serves as like a indicator of how the relationship is, and it also identifies whether a relationship is worth working for, and if so, adds a level of commitment that supercedes the problems and conflicts that inevitably arise.
Uh, this is all my opinion. I’d like to hear what other more experienced people think. Peace.