Sisters Anne Mason and Thea Mason impart the secret men seem to have trouble grasping these days: A fulfilling sex life can be maintained throughout all stages of marriage if husbands empower their wives to fully inhabit their sacred role as mothers––and have faith in their wives’ mother wisdom above their own fears. Sex is like love––you have to give in order to get.
Anne: 00:01 Hey, Thea.
Thea: 00:02 Hey, Anne.
Anne: 00:03 All right, so we want to make this one a true quickie. We were a bit too meandering. We just recorded, and we’re going to just kind of recap what we were talking about and get to the heart of it and make it short. We talked, we were following on the conversations we’ve been having about men and women, relationships, the dynamic between men and women in microcosm as well as macrocosm in the larger, broader culture. And we identified the fact that one of the issues is expectations and, and managing expectations.
Thea: 00:47 And misunderstood expectations and, sort of, uneducated expectations.
Anne: 00:56 And, you know, I had opened it up by observing, sharing my observation about a couple we both know who got married young but who were both brought up in the Catholic faith––and were counseled. You know, I think the prerequisite to being married in the church must be, I don’t know to go through counseling sessions with their priest to talk some things out and establish some expectations and foundation before they enter into it. And what I observed, what I’ve observed over the years is that they have weathered some remarkable storms together and are still healthy and happy. And it makes me lament the fact that we were not given that kind of guidance before entering into relationships many failed relationships in our past. And and, and it wasn’t just because we weren’t brought up in a traditionally religious household, but I think it was a combination of that as well as this, this culture of this feminist culture that we’ve been brought up in where the differences between men and women are not emphasized. They’re not brought to our awareness and consciousness so that we approach relationships with that basic understanding. And I would say my, my younger earlier relationships certainly went––I would attribute some of their failure to the fact that really, I had no understanding of that. And my expectations were just unrealistic.
Thea: 03:01 Yeah.
Anne: 03:02 So it brought us to the discussion about sex. And go ahead.
Thea: 03:10 And what’s and what’s required or needed to flow between in a, within a relationship, in order for sex to be able to be a constant through the many different stages of a family’s life. Right? So go ahead and step in. I feel like I’m still forming what I, what I have.
Anne: 03:35 Well you had said something in that last conversation. It was, it was just basically, you know, we, we both quite honestly want to have sex!
Thea: 03:45 Right. It may makes everyone feel better and do everything better.
Anne: 03:50 Yes! There is so much to gain from a healthy sex sexual relationship with, which requires real true openness to be existing between two people. Right. Because it’s so when there’s, when there was the free flowing channel that is not riddled with resentment because my man is not functioning like my girlfriend would or whatever. Then if it’s free and flowing then it can be great and more satisfying and more frequent. Exactly. And just to not get too deeply into this, but we talked a little bit about priorities, right? Prioritizing, putting priorities in place in approaching the relationship. And we discussed what we’re really talking about mainly is unions with children involved. Families. And once you have entered into the contract of having children together, it becomes a different beast, a different thing. Right? And really it seems to me that the relationship itself has to be the top priority. That does not discount the needs of the individuals in the relationship, but if the relationship is made the priority, that gives one I think an ability to be a bit more objective, not personalize things so much. Also very helpful to understand that we have very different needs, very different ways of understanding each other, different forms of communication. And more. And so if we can prioritize the relationship and say, Hey, something’s not working here. Why is it not working? It’s not working because I feel I’m not getting this or I need this or such and such and such. Well, we can then establish whether or not the other person can help that person get that or not. And obviously honesty in that is helpful.
Thea: 06:13 Which is, you know, self knowing is a prerequisite for that too. And, you know, having compassion for the different stages of life, we know as much as we know at different times. I mean, so––struggle. That’s part of the learning. All of it.
Anne: 06:28 Absolutely. Obviously. And, and even the, again, compassion for someone who’s very different than you. Right. Right. And without even having to understand it, but just compassion for it and respect for it. Right? And it brought us to the conversation that we started having about couples that, that we know, I mean, relationships we’ve been in, couples that we know, and more. But there seems to be a tendency, a pattern I’ve noticed. So, I know many couples where the husband ahead of time before they even have kids or maybe early on is very intent on…
Thea: 07:26 Securing couple time.
Anne: 07:31 Securing couple time. Making sure that they don’t lose what it was they had before the kids came. And that sometimes takes the form of getting an au pair when the baby is an infant or other forms of, of child care, pushing the kids into preschool very early. I live in a county, as I think you do where attachment parenting is a big thing and attachment parenting often, what goes along with that, is co-sleeping. I know so many couples where the husband has really insisted that the kids go sleep in their own bed before the kids, as you point out even, or the mother is really ready for that, where they don’t feel that’s time. And what that ends up creating––or, like date nights, right? Date nights. One couple I knew, the man, the husband would, insist on childcare for the woman who was not working to have three days a week where she went and had her “me time” away from the kids so that she was fresh and ready for him. Right? That obviously achieves the opposite. At least it’s obvious to us. I don’t know why it’s not obvious to the men. Because what that ends up doing is, it’s contriving a situation where the man is getting involved in affairs he knows not of. Which is mothering. And he is not also acknowledging the fact that the woman is in that mother, mothering phase. That is a stage, a phase of their lives that IS.
Thea: 09:22 And just to like spell it plainly, if a man can recognize that and honor it with true respect and reverence of the stages that the woman goes through in becoming a mother, then that is going to be the thread that makes that woman want that man all the more.
Anne: 09:45 Blossom. It’s going to also make that woman, help that woman blossom. Right? If he, if he can embrace all that she is in those, in that phase as well.
Thea: 09:55 Rather than sort of what I’m seeing is––that idea of creating a forced structure is a contracting force which makes the channel of communication and love shrink and get smaller.
Anne: 10:13 And trust. Right?
Thea: 10:16 And trust. And yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s, it also, I mean, can really be synthesized, I think into, is it a true meeting? Because when that true capacity for meeting what is happening in the moment, when that capacity is shut off by more structure than is needed––I mean, we have work, we have all these other things that give us a rhythm or structure in life, but when you have your love lovingness become structured, there’s a plane going by. When that becomes so structured, it, it limits and cuts off that the meeting that, that spark that happens in the real addressing and fulfilling what’s coming up in the moments, what’s needed. That woman will love you all the more if you as a man can say, “Oh, I see you just, you know, you need me to do this laundry, maybe so that, you know, you can go put the baby down for a nap.” Or whatever. Instead of it being, “I want, I want, I want.”
Anne: 11:33 Yes, exactly. Exactly. it’s, it’s still important for the man to express, to very clearly express what his needs are, his physical needs or whatever. But it’s very important for him to have some realistic expectation of the space she’s going to be in for several years, really. And you know, if, if, if I could only like share, impart the secret to men, for them to realize that if they would just really honor and respect and support the woman in the way that you were talking about, which is––look, traditional gender roles are here for a reason. Men as provider, especially in the early years when the children need their mother there most of the time if not all the time. Right? So that she doesn’t have to go off to work and you know, that that is critical. And she’s going to devote her time and help this child, you know, establish this strong foundation, right? From which to launch. The more she’s allowed to do that, the more independent the child becomes as they grow, as they should, and the more freedom that couple has to start exploring another phase of their marriage and relationship. At the same time, we discussed that the importance of the woman being willing and open and communicative about the fact that, “Hey babe, I’m nursing. I’ve got, I’ve got a kid on my boob all the time. I’m sleeping with them. I don’t have a whole lot of inner drive to share more of myself physically, but I will because that’s part of our contract actually here too. And if you’re good with quickies, we can do a whole lot of ’em. You know, let’s, let’s, let’s take a few minutes here. Let’s take a few minutes there.”
Anne: 13:40 But I’m seeing a tendency, with women who have tried that with their men in those early years, for the men to be so disappointed that the woman is not fully present or something. Right?
Thea: 13:56 Which then creates the opposite habit or pattern between that channel of connection. It creates resentment, it creates, well, what’s the point then? I’m not even going to try to open up that much, because that’s not enough.
Anne: 14:11 Exactly! If she’s going to disappoint him every time, why should she even try? Right? And so then it just, it’s this snowballing effect, right? And then he pushes more and she resists more, and…
Thea: 14:24 Then it’s 20 years later and they get divorced.
Anne: 14:27 Yep. Yep. Right.
Thea: 14:29 So quickies are good. Everyone’s happier if you’re having those connections. If, if people can set down an idea, a rigid idea of an expectation and meet what is so that what can be born of that can be nourishing and satisfying to both people.
Anne: 14:51 Exactly! Yes. So let’s manage expectations. Let’s go back to the meeting table. And, and lay it out. Right? And then see how best, given the capacity of both people involved, how best we can keep this union going through each phase, healthily and happily.
Thea: 15:19 And change with it. Happy and healthy. Totally.
Anne: 15:22 And flow, flow with it, right? Flow with it and have faith that it will move through one phase into the next. Right? And it’s all part of the process of relationship. Right? Growing together.
Thea: 15:41 There it is. Thanks Anne. Take care. Bye.
Anne: 15:45 Good. You too. See you soon. Bye.