Saturday, December 15, 2018

Do women love the same way?

This is a tweet from a young woman hoping to guide other women toward more successful relationships:

The criteria she is suggesting for selecting a man to commit to is based on how he makes her feel. It is not based on a love for something intrinsic to him as a man.

Men don't approach relationships the same way. A man needs to think that there is something good or beautiful in the woman he loves. He might even have the sense that he is able to perceive in her feminine beauty or goodness something transcendent and meaningful that inspires love.

This is a powerfully masculine response to women that has inspired a great deal of art over the centuries. And it leads men to have a sense that their love for women is a finer quality in themselves. Little wonder then that a man will often focus on the better qualities of the woman he is with, suppressing and forgetting her flaws or the injuries he has received from her. In other words, men will often err toward idealising women in general and their wives in particular.

And so men experience love as being coloured with loyalty, particularly as it often triggers the masculine instinct to provide for and to protect a woman.

Men have a hope, or an assumption, that women experience love in the same way. That she will find something in him, and in his masculine virtues, that will inspire a stable love that mirrors his own. And so the more romantic minded men might well assume that liberating love as a force in life  - the "big love" - is likely to increase the good in life.

But, as the tweet above suggests, women process love and relationships differently. A woman's love is not grounded in the man himself, but in how the relationship makes her feel. And her thoughts and assessments are likely to follow on after her feelings, rather than guiding them.

As an example, when a woman is in the early infatuated stage of a relationship it is often the case that the man can do no wrong. Her feelings about being in the relationship are so positive that even if a man behaves very poorly she will find some mental excuse for it. But the opposite is true as well. If she is not feeling good in the relationship, then her mind will set her husband at fault, even for acts of God.

And the way a woman feels about the same kind of man can change at various stages of her life. At 20, she might ignore the family type man because of the way the "hot" boys make her feel. At 28, when she reaches her epiphany phase and her feelings change toward wanting marriage, children and home, the family man will be told that "he is not like all those other men" and that "all I ever wanted was to get married". At 40, when the alpha reinvestment phase hits, she will feel that the marriage, and her husband, are holding her back from pursuing someone hot, and the thoughts will change to "we were never happy together" and whatever loving bonds might once have existed quickly fall away.

The point of writing all this is to try to explain to men that whereas the "great love" might push us to hold steadily onto our love for a woman, because it holds us to a better part of ourselves, and because it focuses us on the feminine goodness and beauty to be found in women, the same does not hold true in the way that women love men.

What does this mean for relationships? It means that for men to have a stable loving relationship with a woman over the course of a lifetime, it makes sense to dial things down from a vision of a great romantic love. Men are more likely to experience this good of a lifelong relationship in a culture which does not encourage women to let loose with their emotions or their sexuality. The men who encouraged sexual liberation were not really doing themselves, or their sons, any favours. Traditional societies held up modesty as a prime virtue for women for a reason, as it was a self-constraint (a self-regulation of emotion and feeling) that made possible more stable relationships between men and women. Similarly, in more traditional cultures there was value placed on a "quiet, gentle" spirit in women, which may strike modern minds as overly subdued, but which ought to be seen as women ordering their own personalities toward the good.

It means too that the principle of stability cannot be found in the nature of a woman's love, but has to come from elsewhere. One possible source is a genuine and sincere religious outlook, in which a woman acts for the benefit of her family, in obedience to, and out of love for, God. If this reaches the point that feeling is not thought to be sanctified by God, but instead is disciplined toward a principle of love and service to others, then it might help to form a culture of marriage.

There do exist some statistics on the relationship between religious belief and marital stability. The statistics show that nominal membership of a church does not help marital stability much at all. However, active membership, whilst not preventing divorce, does significantly reduce its prevalence (by about 30%). One study found that active Catholics were 31% less likely to divorce than the non-religious and active conservative Protestants were 35% less likely to divorce (nominal Protestants were actually 20% more likely to divorce).

Women can be helped, too, by the culture they inhabit to think prudently about their actions. Our culture has spectacularly failed to help women do this. A generation of women grew up thinking they could defer marriage and family until the last dying gasps of their fertility; the same generation grew up thinking that they could divorce their husbands in their 40s as mothers of quite young children and still expect to find another man equally committed to her and equally willing to be her companion in older age.

Men have to lead in the sense of upholding a vision of the good that provides a stable framework of life for both men and women. Men need to clearly understand that a "liberated" female nature (i.e. one that recognises no good higher than itself and which therefore acts without restraint) is incompatible with a stable culture of family life. The female "mode of being" that is compatible with lifelong marriage will not be based on grand romantic feelings, as much as men might wish it to be so, because this is not how a woman comes to commit in a stable way to the good of her family.


  1. Mark,

    This is a long read (rant), but a rare example of a liberal expounding liberalism on its theoretical basis. In many ways its a defamation of a people that would be allowed towards no other group. But it reveals that liberalism is moving in the direction of "empirically" declaring (white) traditionalists as "abusive".

  2. Women should listen to advice from a man instead:

  3. A woman's love is not grounded in the man himself, but in how the relationship makes her feel. And her thoughts and assessments are likely to follow on after her feelings, rather than guiding them.

    I sense this is true, but why do men (including myself) have such an intense desire to see a woman loving in a way similar to the way a man does? I suspect it is probably chalked up, among many other things, to the feeble nature we have fostered in ourselves, perhaps a narcissism?

  4. In essence what you are saying is that men succumb to the delusion of romantic love, which women, who are generally more hard headed in such matters, resist and focus on subjective emotional states, which like all human emotions are fickle and often transient.

    That is precisely why traditional societies reject the concept of emotion as a basis for marriage or social order. It has throughout history been recognised that the building of social institutions on emotion is akin to building a home or a city on quicksand. It quickly falls, its fragile foundations unable to generate resilience against life's storms. The social experiment conducted in the west has proved this beyond any reasonable doubt.

    "A man needs to think that there is something good or beautiful in the woman he loves. He might even have the sense that he is able to perceive in her feminine beauty or goodness something transcendent and meaningful that inspires love."

    That is a description of idolatry, not love, and the idolatry of women debases and weakens men. It is very likely that the "romantic love" delusion which dominates western societies and is extensively propagandized by Hollywood among various other cultural outputs is the cause of the loss of virility in the West with its inevitable consequences of homosexuality, feminism and mass immigration.

    The normal male needs to have a relationship with a woman which is grounded in reality and not the result of idolatry or narcissistic fantasies which weaken him as a man and arouse the inevitable contempt for him which women display towards weak men.

    1. Anon, your realism fails you if you think that men do not perceive a distinctly feminine beauty and goodness in women which then triggers a feeling of love and desire. You have to take into account all aspects of human nature if you wish to successfully order the human person and the human community. You will never erase these instincts in men.

      The point of my post was to suggest that the male experience of relationships, the way men comprehend love, can lead to serious and stable commitments, but that it is a mistake for men to assume that women love in the same way and are therefore led naturally to the same kind of commitment to marriage and the family.

      That is why traditional societies, which were serious about stability of family commitments, developed "technologies" to hold marital commitments in place.

      If you don't explain this to men, it can be difficult for men to understand why these technologies existed. A man can think "well, I don't need anything to shore up my commitments, so why would these have existed - they are just arbitrary and oppressive".

      Why, for instance, was modesty such an important value for women? Why the emphasis on a culture which particularly urged self-restraint when it came to the expression of women's feelings?

      It is a difficult thing for men to accept, that requited love is not easily achieved within marriage, and that the best chance to achieve something like it requires the deliberate putting in place of social settings and the achievement of cultural standards.

      We won't move towards this unless people understand why.

  5. "Anon, your realism fails you if you think that men do not perceive a distinctly feminine beauty and goodness in women which then triggers a feeling of love and desire. You have to take into account all aspects of human nature if you wish to successfully order the human person and the human community. You will never erase these instincts in men."

    Human beings are a mixture of good and evil. There is no human being who is wholly good. Very few women are beautiful. Are the women who are plain and not beautiful (the majority in most populations) to be deemed unworthy of love? Does physical beauty always correspond with "good" personality? An absurd idea, otherwise all supermodels would be saints. Some supermodels and other beautiful celebrities are actually very poor role models for women. The coke snorting Kate Moss, considered a beauty by the fashion industry, is hardly "good" unless you consider drug abuse a virtue?

    The concepts of "beauty" and "good" are therefore abstract and subjective and the majority of men will have relationships with women who do not conform to these abstractions and who are plain, ordinary human beings with a mixture of good and bad qualities, virtues and vices. The concept of an ordinary man seeking "feminine beauty and goodness" is a delusion and unrealistic. That is not to say that some men do not fall victim to this delusion but it is generally those with narcissistic tendencies, low IQ and other psychological disturbance.

    The idolatry of women may arouse feelings of romance in a man but it has to be recognised that these feelings are not a sound basis for marriage and often (more likely, usually) entice men into relationships with women who are highly unsuitable as marriage material. Similarly they do not lead to lifelong stable commitment as the devotion to abstract qualities and fantasy ultimately leads to unrealistic expectations, relationship failure and the pursuit of alternative partners to relive the fantasy. The normal man cannot expect his wife to live up to his fantasies which will inevitable be destroyed as beauty fades with age and faults and vices become apparent during the course of normal life.

    Men and women are certainly different and their differences make it essential that external constraints are applied to ensure marital success and longevity. However I have never heard of any society which uses "technologies" to achieve this. What are the "technologies" to which you refer?

    1. Anon,

      You need to stop being anon and clarify who you are. Are you a man or a woman? Are you a Westerner?

      I'm guessing that at the very least you are not a Westerner, as many of your points of view are alien. I seem to argue with you from beyond a cultural divide.

      You have a view of marriage as existing not as a union of man and woman but for social purposes alone. This is certainly not a Christian view. I'm wondering if maybe you are Indian (Hindu?).

      I very much doubt if a young European man would describe young European women as mostly ugly. That was not my reality growing up. I moved amongst middle-class Anglo girls who were physically very beautiful.

      It seems odd, too, that a Western man might think it necessary to spell out that women are not all goodness. That has been blindingly obvious in the West for several decades at least. More evidence that you might be from somewhere else.

      Odd as well that you think marriage failure is down to men having unrealistic expectations of women. I don't think a Western man would think this way, as our experience is very different - marriage failure is mostly an issue of women not being able to pair bond successfully, i.e. of women abandoning marriage vows.

      Finally, the mind of Western man has been oriented to beauty, truth and goodness for several millennia. These are considered "transcendent" in the sense that they are visible in the world, despite the world being fallen. You cannot understand Western culture at all, without understanding this aspect of the Western mind. Seemingly, things are different in your culture - again, I'd ask you to reveal where you are from.

      Finally, technologies is just a trendy term to refer to the variety of ways a society is organised and oriented to achieve a particular goal. In the West, this would include Christian ideals of feminine virtue, aspects of family law, the culture of dating, standards in music and dance to name just a few.

    2. Mark,

      Well argued, again. You are at your best explaining the 5th fundamental force in our universe (women, to me). An older brother of a high school friend sort of mentored me back when. He said "you can't live with'm and you can't live without'm". That's about as much as I've learned to date. At 71, I still like hearing it the way that you explain it. It sounds just right.

      This "anon" ID has long bugged me. How is anyone supposed to know who he's talking to? What if multiple "anons" decide to comment? Will "anon" withhold his comments until "anon" and "anon" settle their differences? What? Obviously I'm talking about... "anon", you know, the regular "anon"; not the random, irregular "anons".

      Doesn't it matter? Is impersonal detachment the strategy?

      Random thoughts from the same "anon" add up to a person.
      Disconnected thoughts from random "anons" float about disembodied.

      Two "anons" is one too many. For all I know, Mark, is his own foil. Lessons in dialectics. :>)

      Commenters should have to pick a sex-appropriate name, and stick with it. (LOL! I first typed "gender" instead of sex!).

      How about attaching a number, say odd for male, even for female. That way when a random odd anon comments, the other random odd anons won't be confused with the regular odd anons or the evens with the other evens.

      How hard is it to make up a name?

      Curious to hear "which?, what which?" Anon thinks.

      I almost commented as anon, but I thought that might be confusing.

    3. Buck, thanks. I agree that it's better for people making comments to adopt a handle rather than using anon. Less confusing in terms of knowing where someone is coming from in their line of thought.

  6. Thinking more on the subject, and to refine the topic in my mind a little, it is disappointing to find that women generally don't seem to appreciate, recognize, or experience gratitude for what men bring to society. Or if they do, they keep it safely hidden from expression.

    Men in general have no qualms with expressing their appreciation of what is uniquely womanly or feminine. Whatever men have that is unique to our sex, however, does not seem to be appreciated by women. Either that, or they hide this appreciation for whatever purposes (modesty?). I guess it would be somewhat reassuring, and satisfying, to find that women generally do appreciate us males, even if they keep it hidden; but I have no such assurance.

    1. I once asked a group of women if they believed that their husbands made sacrifices for their families. Not one said yes. Most changed the conversation straight away to themselves "Well, I make this sacrifice and that one." The mentality seems to be that men are there to do what men are supposed to do. If a man succeeds, then that is just him doing what he is supposed to do, if he fails, then it is a negative act that she bears. It doesn't seem to occur to women that there are significant sacrifices involved that warrant gratitude or appreciation.

      So I don't think men should make sacrifices in the expectation that it will earn them gratitude or loyalty or appreciation from women. If there is a reward, it is simply that while a woman chooses to stay she will direct some of the more positive aspects of her feminine personality toward the man - some of the sweeter qualities that are part of the interplay of masculine and feminine.

      It is really for men to appreciate and to honour masculine character. If you read biographies written before the year 1900, it was common for this kind of character assessment to take place. Men were attuned to the character achievements and failings of other men.

      We have to do this ourselves, women won't do it for us, it's not in their nature.