partners in the marriage dance

Some Men’s Stories: Partners in the Marriage Dance

In our March newsletter we discussed some women’s points of
view about their long-term relationships. Now we offer you
some male perspectives – at least those of the men who
responded to the questions we posed in the last newsletter.

What follows are the men’s thoughts about why their
relationships work. We think you will be interested in
their input.


“We are best friends as well as lovers. We enjoy the same
things and doing them together.”

“We really like each other and have a good foundation.
We enjoy sharing, intimacy, a sexual relationship, closeness,
warmth, each other’s successes and accomplishments.”

“We have similar values, we share concepts about money,
and we respect each other’s intellect.”

“We share a rich history and many common interests.
We are mature enough to be malleable, adjust and accept
each other’s differences.”

“Our relationship feels comfortable, it’s easy. We use
humor – we laugh at each other, at ourselves and at the world.”

“I’m a lucky guy. We are close and understand each other.
Empathy is important, and I’m working on it.”

“She understands me better than I understand myself.”


“I don’t think you can have a long-term relationship without
good communication. I am able to say what I’m thinking and
what I want. I feel comfortable communicating without
being demeaned or laughed at or criticized. If there are
disputes we resolve them by respect, compromise and
communication. But when we have major disagreements I
withdraw first and then we talk later. Sometimes I don’t
share my feelings.”

“We can sense each other’s moods and feelings and
verbally we communicate well most often. We respect each
other, even if we disagree. On occasion we both are
stubborn and see things only our way. We usually don’t
change our opinions.”

“We need to give each other space because when our
arguments get escalated we have little resolution.”

“When I don’t think my wife’s criticisms are justified,
I get defensive, embarrassed, unhappy, upset. I don’t
want to let her down so I try to fix it. Finally it
gets resolved and then we get over it.”

“While we fight the battles, we think about the war.
What is this really about? Is it that important?”

“I am committed to making requests and expressing my
needs instead of complaining, being fully present for
her requests and needs. This is the core dynamic of
our successful life together.”

“We try to make compromises. We make appointments to
sit down and talk without distractions, then make
agreements based on what is best for the “us” entity.
We could revisit these agreements a month later but often
do not. Sometimes resentment will set in without that.”


“We never lost our focus – we knew we had to make an
effort to stick together. It was the two of us in the
beginning and it would be the two of us when the children
grew up. We took at least one trip a year by ourselves.
And we tried to go on a date every week to reconnect.
I guess it worked – we’re still together after 25 years.”

“We just started taking dance lessons to enhance our
mutual musical and fitness interests. Collaborating on
creative projects in and out of work is important for me.”

“Early in our marriage, we decided to make Wednesday
nights “divorce night.” We knew that we had that night
to talk about whatever was going on between us. That
way we never felt trapped – we each knew that we had an
out if we wanted one.”

“We share major goals and support each other in our
individual pursuits.”


“We began as husband and wife more traditionally.
Now I’m involved around the house, help with laundry,
do the dishes.”

“We have shared many household chores over the years.
A few years ago I agreed to be involved in our financial
life in spite of my distaste about money matters.
Overall, I’m the noisemaker and she’s the nest-maker.”

“We’re a team and our roles interchange, depending on
who is interested or available.”

“I try to be less temperamental, more compromising,
more giving. Now I’m paying more attention to me, her
and us – still learning new things about all three.”

“I have learned a lot and changed a little. I’m no
longer driven, Type A. I have accomplished most of
my life goals and love my present life.”

“I used to believe that my woman would be like my mother
– with the added component of sex. That she would be
there to take care of me, no matter how I treated her.
I grew up after my first marriage failed, and my
second partner made it clear about what she needed
and wanted to make the relationship work. Deeper needs
came out of a few couples’ workshops we participated
in over the past 10 years.”


“Sexual intimacy is important – the relationship
would have never started unless we were both on the
same frequency. Aging and illness bring problems and
now we are experimenting with different ways of being
sexual with each other.”

“Intimacy means different things to different people.
Now we feel as intimate even though we are not as sexual.”

“Just as juicy. Less frequent. More affection, fewer
moments of passion over the years. My current libido
feels like I’m 35 but my mature mind overcomes dangerous
ideas every time.”

“We are very close, affectionate and physical. We like to
touch, hold each other. Our intimacy is as good as ever.”


“I have accepted who she is and I’m not trying to change
her anymore.”

“Our lives have had a series of changes and we both try
to be flexible and accept what is. We both seem to be
able to move on without much resentment.”

“It is a matter of accepting what is rather than what
you would like things to be – from major things to minor
things. It’s hard and I feel I am always working toward
this goal.”

“Years of learning to understand each other have made both
of us more tolerant.”

“I feel her love and respect for who I am and what I say,
even though we do not always agree. This makes me feel safe.”

“I look forward to our life together even though we have
no idea where it will be or what it will bring. but I want
to enjoy it in small and big ways, daily for however long
it will be.”


Stepping Stones: Creating a Dialogue

So there you have it. For some of you, information and
insight may be sufficient; others may want action and change.
If so, you can use this Newsletter as an opening to an
on-going dialogue with your partner.

On a quiet evening with your husband, initiate a conversation
about your future together. Perhaps you each have different
ideas about how to structure the next third of your life.
Stay positive and respectful of each other’s opinions.
Be allies in a search for what could be. You may be
surprised by what you learn about each other and about the
future you begin to create.


Our Invitation to You

Do you have your own transition story? We invite you to
share it with our readers for the benefit of women who
themselves may be dealing with similar changes. The skills you
used may be Stepping Stones for others. If you are interested,
please e-mail us at

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