Over at the blog What Men Are Saying About Women, the proprietor posted one of a series of fascinating videos, this one called Sex Differences: Why Won’t Men Commit?. It points out the shockingly obvious in retrospect point that for a woman Marriage is normally the fulfillment of her lifelong dreams, whereas for a man it normally spells not only the end of sexual freedom but the literal DEATH of his lifelong dreams. The man’s lifelong dreams almost never entail marriage and kids, but great feats of individual courage and skill in front of admiring crowds. For men, coming to terms with the fact that he is NOT going to be a race car driver, astronaut or the star quarterback is called “growing up”, for women growing up is defined by her ACHIEVING her lifelong fantasy of marriage and kids.
Obviously, this in itself makes “commitment” much less desirable to men than women, but there is another aspect as well. A great deal is made of women’s much vaunted ability to commit to another person, but little is said about the nature of this commitment. The ability to commit to something isn’t laudable in itself–it is the ability to FOLLOW THROUGH on one’s commitments that defines the quality of the person, not the ease with which one make a promise. Women fall into “commitment” easily but also SHALLOWLY and OFTEN. They are quick to “fall in love” and just as quick to break up when things don’t suit them or when the going gets rough:
At around the 2:16 mark a young wife confronted with a bad situation in her marriage seeks immediately to bail and has to be put in her place by her unhappily divorced mother. In the storyline of this couple in the movie, the wife is trying to force her young husband to give up his dream of being a drag racer to become a house painter because “that’s his future”. Res ipsa loquitur.
So women commit shallowly and often, what about men? The little discussed truth is that men, while they ARE loathe to commit at the outset, commit more truly and fully to their marriages once they finally do and are apt to be completely devastated when their wives inexplicably rip their homes, children and themselves and everything that NOW DEFINES THEM AS A MAN away from them. Because that’s the key. The way men give themselves permission to choose marriage over liberty is to create it as a new definition of “being a man” they can hang their hats on as they give up their adolescent dreams. Once they commit to that course it becomes WHO THEY ARE, not just an episode in their lives. More often than not he then devotes himself* to his new “dream” of being a classic Husband with the same single-minded focus with which he pursued his career and his hobbies. So when the wife suddenly announces she is bored and leaves, she is leaving him now not only in the shattered wreckage of his early dreams but now ALSO in the molecularly vaporized particles of his ENTIRE self-image.