Over millions of years of evolution and for the first time in modern history we’ve experienced an unprecedented change in the variables we need to negotiate in order to have a viable relationship. Couples can now negotiate whether or not they’re going to have children. Who is going to be the primary breadwinner and primary care-giver. How their careers will unfold and who will play the support role and during which time, or whether or not they will adhere to any particular religion, rules or regulations. There is so much to negotiate and naturally negotiations can more easily go wrong than right. So where do we start?
Acknowledgement of Truth
Unfortunately we have gotten to a point in many of our post-modern societies where we are unable to acknowledge fundamental things about the sexes. One such fundamental thing is that men and women differ in undeniably fundamental ways. If those ways in which they differ are ignored, there is very little to work with thereafter. Men have to acknowledge that evolutionary speaking they had to deal with facts. It didn’t matter how it felt when the lion entered the parameters, what mattered was that it was there and that it was dangerous. Men could not bury their heads in the sand out of fear, they had to face it. Ignoring truth was dangerous and it would result in loss of life. The environment demanded that men put emotions aside in order to survive the harsh tribulations of life. Men did that as part of their parental investment in their children that was being cared for by their women. Women often didn’t have to deal with objective truth because men formed a protective barrier between women and the harshness of the world. However, in the confines of a camp, a home or a cave, conflict was part of the routine. Conflict was overcome through peaceful means in order for the family to remain together. These peaceful means didn’t need to involve factual evidence. They often involved lies that were suitable for everyone to feel good because if everyone felt good there would be peace. In other words, male energy involved having to accept and face objective reality, whereas female energy had to do with smoothing things over to create harmony within the camp. Men are more disagreeable than women because evolutionary speaking, they had to be.
Acknowledgement of Instincts
Instincts count for a lot. If another superior species should study the human species they will be able to track the general patterns in which we behave and will never have to consider what we might think of our behaviour. That’s because we do not actually decide our fate to the extent that we often think we do. We actually behave in very predictable ways. Both men and women are instinctively protective and somewhat jealous over each other, but for very different reasons. Men are jealous and protective over their mates because they are predators who go out to secure a mate through preying on her. In his absence another man can, similarly, prey on his mate. In order to have children with a woman and invest in her and the children, a man must know that the children are his. The incentive given for looking after his mate is taken away if his mate is also someone else’s mate as well. These are not spelled out incentives but are innate. When a man behaves in a jealous manner and starts mate guarding, it’s not because he consciously decides to protect his offspring and his investment. Rather, he does it out of sheer instinct. Women are jealous over their mates because if the man has too many female mates the resources he collects will be too thinly stretched thereby robbing her and her offspring from what they may need. Also, there’s a possibility her mate may just abandon her for another mate and then she will no longer have a protector and provider. Again, these are innate instincts and often not part of our conscious reality. Many women who earn a small fortune in their businesses and careers still desire to marry men who earn more than they do. They desire that instinctively because it is a symbol of his ability to look after her even though she can look after herself financially. She can walk like a man, talk like a man, act like a man, but her instincts will always be that of a woman’s.
Acknowledgement of the biological realities
A seemingly little known fact is that women give birth. I say, little known, because in almost all of the gender debates I’ve heard this really obvious and game changing biological reality is overlooked! The fact is that natural sex- minus contraception- usually resulted in child birth. The period of gestation inside the woman’s womb is typically nine months after which the baby must be looked after for at least eight years before it can less than adequately perform the necessary tasks to survive. In other words, for nine years a human child will need a care giver and for at least two years will need its mother. These biological realities have handicapped women from being able to pursue their livelihood independent of men. Hence men have had to look after women’s material needs and afford them protection from other male predators- i.e rape, sexual assault and abuse. In addition, women are physically weaker than men and are not capable of ordinarily fighting off other men who are the primary perpetrators of crime in general and crime against women specifically. Since these have always been the biological realities for women, they have- as a survival strategy- attached themselves to a man or several men who collectively look after women’s interests and protection. In turn, the fact that these men had consistent places where they had their sexual needs met inside committed relationships- because humans have tended towards pair bonding- meant that they were less prone to violent behaviour and malice towards women in general.
Accepting the limitations of the species
After we acknowledge some fundamental qualities innate in our species we can accept that we have limitations we cannot really overcome by merely thinking differently. I might think that I should not guard my mates- as a man- but at a fundamental level not guarding my mates will detach my emotions from my sexuality. Mate guarding is after all about commitment and being able to have sex consistently with the same woman (because instincts assume she’ll bare you children and that those children dare not be anyone else’s). Men who do not guard their mates are more often than not uninterested in a long term relationship. If they are interested in a long term relationship, then it’s usually not one that includes having consistent sex with that specific woman. Similarly, it is not normally the case that women think in the same way men do regarding practical matters. Men are usually the more practical of the two sexes because they had to be. Demanding that woman fill up every science department and flood the I.T market isn’t going to result it that happening no matter what ideology one may pursue. Women tend to gravitate towards roles that involve people and intimacy and men tend to gravitate towards things. Women want emotionally rich lives, whereas men want physically rich lives. That’s because men had to hunt and women had to keep the fort running. In order to keep the fort running the inhabits had to feel good, connected and secure- whether they were really secure or not didn’t matter. Men needed things, food and shelter, as security for their families. In other words, when negotiating on who needs to do what to contribute to the survival of each other and the relationship, it would be good to consider some of the above.
Did we really get everything wrong?
Perhaps it’s not a bad idea for a woman to stay home with the kids while the man works. Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing for men to be head of their households and to hold some authority therein. Perhaps it’s not such a bad survival strategy to have a man as a protector so that a woman can focus on the very real and important emotional connections she needs without being exploited and compromised. Perhaps what evolution gifted us with was a harmony and a balance. Perhaps, just perhaps, the social conventions we inherited wasn’t really that bad. What do you think?