The Ability to Maintain a Healthy Marriage
“And then it occurred to me: What I was staring at was the dark heart of the divide between men and women” (Bartels192). Since the beginning, men and women have been proclaimed as two totally different people because of how they approach certain situations and because their thinking processes are hardly alike. As a result, conflict usually occurs between men and women, especially those who are married. In their articles, “The Myth of Co-Parenting” and “My Problem with Her Anger”, Hope Edelman and Eric Bartels discuss thoroughly on how a married couples are able to easily have conflict.
Edelman explains from a woman’s point of view the anger that she feels because to her, it seems like she doesn’t even have husband since he is never around to help out. Bartels, on the other hand, explains his side from a man’s point of view and talks about how his wife is always so angry and is not able to talk about their problems because she cannot be logical or do it without becoming angry. When it comes to the aspects of co-parenting, being motivated by desire and/or fear, and lacking communication, a couple can begin to experience issues within their marriage.
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Co-parenting can be defined as the act of a married couple working together to raise a family and keep a stable household. Within some marriages, however, co-parenting does not always exist. Author of “The Myth of Co-Parenting”, Hope Edelman struggles to raise her child without hardly any help of her husband. According to Edelman, having a husband who works ninety-two hours a week and who is never around, is not exactly what she had in mind when she dreamed up her ‘perfect’ marriage.
She constantly remains upset and angered at the fact that her husband is never around because she makes the accusation that it is his fault that they are not okay. She realizes that they are both equally at fault, and that the longer she is mad, the longer he wants to stay away. This is different from Bartels because she remains angry as does Bartels’ wife, but is angry that her husband is gone, while Bartels’ wife is angry because she has to have everything done a specific way.
At the same time Edelman feels guilty to complain about her husband being gone for work because she does not contribute nearly the same amount of money to the income as he does. On the other hand, she explains that she never pictured being the dominant parent of the household in exchange for her spouse to make the money (Edelman186). Edelman wants for her husband to be able to have his job, but also have time to be a part of the family, have a relationship with their daughter, and share all of the happiness and frustrations that come along with it.
But, in the end, she realizes that equal co-parenting is not always possible, and it is not uncommon if it is not displayed in every family (Edelman188-189). As for Eric Bartels, author of “My Problem with her Anger”, there is hardly a lack of co-parenting, but more a lack of appreciation for Bartels, who tries to help out. Although Bartels is not around his two children as much as his wife, he tries his best to equally contribute to caring for his children and helping around the house.
Bartels explains in his article that no matter what he does is not good enough for his wife because she always remains angry. For example, when Bartels is washing the dishes that dinner was eaten on, he gets yelled at because he is not helping his wife with putting the kids to bed (Bartels193). He describes that no matter what, his wife will remain angry unless everything he does is perfect and the way that she wants it done. When it comes to motivation for women, desire and fear are two main motivators.
For instance, Hope Edelman discusses how she believes she is motivated by desire, but how her husband believes she is motivated by fear. “…there are just two basic human motivators: desire and fear. Every decision we make, every action we take, springs from this divided well” (Edelman190). Although it was first determined by her husband, Edelman admits she was, at one point, fear driven because she was so scared that she would not be able to keep control and have a career and raise her children without combining the two.
She also fears that her and her husband will end up like her parents, where the children, who after her mother died, did not even really know anything about their father. However, she believes that she is motivated by desire because of everything she wants her and her family to achieve. For example, Edelman desires for a good relationship between her husband and her daughter so that they do not end up like her and her father, knowing nothing about each other. She also hopes that her husband will honor the promise he made at the altar when he told her that he would be her life partner and do everything as a team.
Edelman desires to love and be loved (Edelman191). Bartels, on the other hand, takes advice from one of his friends. “…everything in a woman’s world starts with fear… (Bartels195). He mentions how a friend once told him that women fear being deserted and losing control which is why they usually become easily angry. This differs from Edelman because she is more afraid of not being able to have control over a stable lifestyle with her family, while Bartels’ wife wants control over everything, and wants everything to be done in a specific manner.
Moreover, instead of solely explaining the fears or desires of his wife, (besides that she wishes he was perfect), Bartels talks about his own desires. A few of his desires are that he wants acknowledgement for trying the hardest that he can to help out his wife with everything he can. He believes that since he gave up time with the guys and even beer, that he should get some credit because most men would be more selfish and not do so (Bartels193). He also desires to accomplish most everything with his wife as a team.
He does not mind helping her out with cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children, but he wants to be able to do so without his wife nagging or becoming easily frustrated. Bartels desires to have a happier and more cheerful life at home. Lack of communication within the relationships is one thing that both Edelman and Bartels agree on in their articles. However, the lack of communication is not quite the same in both relationships. In Edelman’s marriage, there is no time to talk at all. The only communication between the two is the practical questions; for example, ‘what color paint to use on the walls’.
Since her husband is always away, the couple does not have any time to be able to sit down and make decisions about big things together. Edelman mentions that she had to discover and visit six preschools for her daughter all by herself because her husband was not there to help out. As for the relationship between Bartels and his wife, the lack of communication is not so much the fact that they do not have time to talk, but the fact that they are unable to discuss the problems that occur within the family because she constantly remains angry and frustrated.
For example, Bartels explains that he and his wife both need to discuss and fix her anger problem, but he also says that although she may be having a ‘tough day’, everyone has their tough days and just has to get over it and move on. He also touches on the fact that there never is a right time to talk to her because even though he may try and bring up an issue in a calm manner, she will just get even more upset and take it out on him which causes him to fire back in a sometimes violent approach (Bartels193-194).
Nevertheless, both authors explain that the lack of communication is immense in each of their relationships, and that they should approach the issue as a team in order to communicate easily and maintain a healthy marriage. Even though Edelman’s article was about a man from a woman’s point of view and Bartels’ was about a woman from a man’s point of view, they are able to touch on similar points.
Edelman describes that not having equal co-parenting is difficult, but not uncommon if it is not displayed, and that desire is a main motivator for a woman even though fear plays its role too. Bartels describes that co-parenting is not the issue when it comes to being scolded for trying to help out, and that he has many desires for him and his wife to be able to get along. Finally, both authors agree that the lack of communication plays a big role in each of their relationships and should be approached as a team in order to keep a stable marriage and family.