The Whip

In a marriage, do men really need to be ‘trained’?

I was having a conversation with two people - a man and a woman, both of whom are married - and the answer from both of them was a resounding yes. 

I wasn’t surprised at the woman’s answer, but had to do a double take when the man agreed.   The conversation felt like it was taking place in decades past, like when someone asked me if I thought they looked fat.  Since that’s not the narrative in my house, I didn’t realize that women (and apparently, men) still thought that way.  
The entire ‘training’ setup sounds objectionable on so many levels:

It assumes from the start that something is wrong with your man.   Circus animals and dogs are trained.  Your man should be your partner.  He’s already been raised and that cannot be undone.  I’m not saying he can’t evolve and grow, I’m just wondering who died and made you the final authority on how to behave. If he’s that terrible, that childish and inept - why would you fucking marry (or stay) with him?

Instead of a partnership, you create a parent-child dynamic.  If you feel your role in the relationship is to regularly monitor, critique and correct (read: control) the other person, that isn’t an adult relationship.  That’s a mother and child.  Just a word of caution here, shit could get lonely if you insist on taking this route.  No one wants to fuck their mother. 

Under the auspices of ‘training’, there seems to be a focus on all of the things the poor bastard is doing wrong.  With the ongoing correction regimen, most of the talk centers around all the things your man is not doing (or not doing right).  It negates anything good he does, because instead of feeling appreciative, your main focus is on what he needs to fix.  

There’s an assumption that somehow your shit is all together.  You need no changes, right?  If you’re going Emily Post, Queer Eye and Fashion Police on a dude, it must be because you're perfect, right?  There’s nothing about you that he’s turning a blind eye to?  Personally, I think the crusade to ‘fix’ a man (or anyone else) is a big honking distraction from the real work - yourself.  Besides, the basic rule is, you cannot fix other people, you can only fix yourself. 

Taking out the trash is a life or death situation.  The dishes were still in the sink.  Laundry wasn’t folded.  Bed wasn’t made.   Annoying? Perhaps, but not a capital offense.  Under this protocol, the trainer absolves herself of any responsibility for her behavior.  If she goes absolutely apeshit over a perceived infraction, well that just the way she is.  She can’t help it.  Bullshit.  Every single action we take everyday is a choice.  While we don’t choose what happens to us, we definitely choose our responses.  Assigning high emotional values (e.g you don’t love/respect/value me because you didn’t do this chore) to inconsequential activities is not going to make him wake up and see the error of his ways.  It just makes you look nuts. 

I’ve been married for nearly 14 years. There is no doubt in my mind that I’m a much different woman than the day I was on my wedding day.  My husband would say the same about himself.  We’ve grown together, but I went into the relationship not wanting to change anything about him.  Iyanla Vanzant said that in one of her books - and I'm paraphrasing here - but she said that when you meet the man you don't want to change, you know you've met the one.  It made complete sense to me, because I'd spent my first marriage hoping he'd change into someone I could actually be with. 

That's not love.  Not really.  It’s love with strings - if you become the person I want, then I can really love you.  It’s not the love promised in your wedding vows.  It's a facsimile of a relationship that only exists in your mind - because that's where the fictional version of your man lives too. 

Love him or leave him alone.