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you and your heart
lessons to learn in love
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)
10.22.10
pop culture

“This is how it works. You’re young until you’re not. You love until you don’t. You try until you can’t. You laugh until you cry. You cry until you laugh. And everyone must breathe until their dying breath.” --Regina Spektor


“Women love Jack Johnson’s music.” I didn’t say it, but a guy I know did, and when I took a moment to reflect that it shouldn’t hurt my feelings to be lumped in with other women (there are SOME cool women out there I don’t mind being lumped in with, but we all know that I love to be my own unique snowflake…) I realized that he’s more or less right. More right than not, at any rate.

Most women I know enjoy his music. The melodies are fun and charming, the songs are catchy and perfect for road tripping – he generates a certain amount of his following from having great tunes. However awesome his music is, there is another portion of the female listeners who love him because he married his college sweetheart, and after ten years and three children, he still writes love songs to her.

That shit is charming, people, I don’t care how bitter your heart is.

I can’t speak to the personal, intimate details of Jack and Kim Johnson’s life, but I can say from an outsider’s perspective: they seem to be doing something right. But even while they set a beautiful, if elusive, example of perfection in relationships for those of us who want that kind of “True Love”, it illustrates a strong disparity that most people don’t address once they’re in a relationship with someone they care about.

What women want and put into a relationship is different from what men want and offer. There’s never going to be any kind of peaceful coexistence in a relationship until couples acknowledge and work within the parameters of that statement. This is equally true of any same-sex relationship, as well – it’s still two people with two backgrounds and two mindsets trying to achieve a similar goal: domestic bliss.

Sometimes, people get lucky. Maybe you meet the right person at the right time and your agendas match up and your goals are similar and you just seem to be able to effortlessly work it out. Will that be enough to make a long term relationship last? Maybe you will, but the odds (and divorce statistics) say not. Just like anything else you want in life, if you put no work into it, you won’t get anything out.

I’m sure these cooing love songs he writes have a flip side: times where she’s home with the kids, wishing he wasn’t off having panties thrown at him by drunken college coeds and surfing at the crack of dawn. Maybe she feels unappreciated or that he’s ‘never around’. It would be unrealistic to think that any relationship is ‘perfect’.

There are many inconsistencies between what men and women both want, but a major difference was clearly and well documented in Madison magazine by Brian Alexander in an article about why men fear long-term relationships.

One party, often a woman, enters into a relationship eventually seeking the comfort, ease and stability of being with one person for a long period of time. The other party, often a man, worries about ‘the waning of passion the way astrophysicists worry about the future of the universe’.

And it does, eventually, wane. “One day,” he says, “we will look in the bathroom mirror to see toothpaste foam dribbling down our chins, while the woman we love stands behind us wearing flannel pyjamas and flossing her teeth. Suddenly, we’ll remember we haven’t had sex in a month.” We have work problems, money problems, children problems, problems that take up the minutes of our days in such a way it seems we have no minutes left for each other. The space between us grows wider every day, until most couples find that they’ve been so consumed by ‘life’, they have nothing left to offer their significant others.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a vast variety of ways that men and women can take time to make sure their partners know they are appreciated and loved, but I think it can be broken down in pretty simple terms:

Try to find a balance between seeing your other half as your caring, sensitive partner and seeing them as the sexy, real woman or man they are.

Try to kindle some kind of romance, even when the effort seems too great. It’s the small things that will eventually add up to be a great store of commonality and caring. It may not be love songs that make the Top 40 list, but it’s still a simple way to make sure your love is just as lasting.


ABOUT MAIGEN THOMAS

Maigen is simple. is smart. is wholesome. is skeevy. is spicy. is delicate. is better. is purer. is 100% more awesome than yesterday. She';s traveling the world and writing about her experiences with life, love, yoga, food, travel and people. Mostly people. Because they';re funny. hear more of her random thoughts @maigen on twitter.

more about maigen thomas

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