Monthly Archives: July 2011

Jul 25

(Wo)Man Up! Feminine and Masculine Roles in a Relationship

By Dustin | Communication

Editor’s Note – This is a guest post from Shaheera at The Vantage Journey.  As someone who has studied sexuality, I see a lot of truth in these discussions about masculinity and femininity.  However, I’m guessing there are some diverging opinions, so be sure to share in the comments!

Since the beginning of time, relationships have been seen to consist of two properties, Feminine and Masculine.

It’s hard to pinpoint just exactly what each role entails but generally, when we look at history and the effects of hormones (Estrogen linked to Feminine and Testosterone linked to Masculine), it’s quite easy to detect.

Masculine roles are usually strong, aggressive and more logical or analytical. Feminine roles, on the other hand, are generally more sensitive, nurturing and intuitive.

For a healthy relationship to flourish, both gender roles need to be present to balance things out. Now, note the terms ‘healthy relationship’ and ‘gender roles’.

Sure, there are relationships that can survive with only one gender role present. However, they might not last long and could be interspersed with a lot of emotionally charged events. Though some might think of this as a good thing, in the long run, it might prove to be too mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Healthy relationships do not suck the life out of you. They help you grow and be better, not burn you out every time you’re with your partner.

Why can’t we both carry the same gender role? Why can’t we both be aggressive or sensitive?

Just think about it. If an argument broke out between a couple and both of them were to be aggressive, would you think things would settle down fast? It takes one person to be calm and passive (at least until things calm down) in order for the situation to unfurl itself and become less tense. Only then can they take the time to solve their problems maturely.

Sometimes Men are from Venus and Women are from Mars

‘Gender roles’ are also not restricted to the gender itself.

We don’t strictly define women as being feminine or men as being masculine. We have seen many wonderful men playing feminine roles in a relationship, whether they’re straight or gay. Which leads us to another point, two people in a same-sex relationship could still be fulfilling both gender roles without necessarily realizing it. After all, you don’t need to be a man to be dominant or aggressive, right?

Therefore, we’re not going to emphasize the genders themselves. What we want to focus on are the roles and how much we need both sides of the coin in order to make a relationship work.

It doesn’t matter which gender plays which role, because people and relationships are diverse, as long as both roles are present in a relationship at the same time.

Opposite Gender Roles Complete Each Other

1. Arguments

When there are two people living in close quarters and sharing everything with each other, there’s bound to be some misunderstandings and quips along the way. There are absolutely NO couples out there who have never once fought or argued with each other. Therefore, it’s safe to say that arguments are a part of relationships, whether we like them or not.

  • Resolving

Like the example we mentioned above, having both gender roles present allows arguments to resolve easily. Another example is that when the feminine trait of being sensitive drives an argument, the other person can’t be sensitive, too. Imagine if both parties can’t stop crying and feeling hurt about what the other person has to say. The argument would be endless! The other person has to be more stable so that he/she can calm the sensitive person down.

  • Solving

Once the situation has been resolved, the couple would have to reevaluate what caused the dispute in the first place. When both gender roles are present, problems can be tackled from many different directions due to the variety of traits present in the couple. There’s logic and intuition, sensitivity and tact. This way, there will more than one option to solve the problem.

  •  Preventing

Understanding your partner and how each gender role works will help you prevent arguments from happening in the future. You already know which traits you possess that can balance out your partner’s, so use it to your advantage.

2. Spice it Up

Besides dealing with arguments, a relationship strives on the passion and love between both individuals. Having two different gender roles present will allow things to be unpredictable occasionally.

If both people behave the same way, sparks will slowly start to fizzle out because they know what the other person has to say or will do before it even happens. It’s kind of like dating yourself, which of course will bore you eventually, or else we’d all still be single now. Opposite traits will definitely spice things up and ignite that passion.

3. Teamwork

Opposite gender roles will also make the couple a great team. Each person will bring a different perspective to the table and the combination of these outlooks will make them formidable. Couple this with their ability to resolve, solve and prevent arguments, and they will definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

Besides that, in times of need, opposite gender roles will be there to balance each other out. If one of them has their logic stump them in dire conditions, the other might rely on their intuition to help find a solution.

Gender Roles and Fluidity

As explained above, these roles are not restricted to the gender itself, as not all men fulfill masculine roles and not all women fulfill feminine roles. Besides that, these roles are also not restricted by time or responsibilities. Just because you’re deemed as the ‘masculine’ one, it doesn’t mean you have to be masculine or that you have to do masculine tasks all the time.

Gender roles are meant to be fluid in a relationship. They should be able to evolve throughout the relationship and they may switch between both parties at any given time. The key here is tolerance and a mutual desire to sustain and work for the relationship.

Making Fluidity Work

1. Being Observant

In order to make full use of the fluidity of gender roles, we have to be very observant with the changes in our partner. It’s important to note when they might change their behavior, what behavior they are exhibiting and how long this phase usually lasts.

2. Knowledge and Research

Besides that, we also have to do our own research on the kind of traits that complement our partner’s change in behavior. Now, we shouldn’t find the exact negative opposite of our partner’s characteristic, such as using insensitivity to counter sensitivity. What we need to do is figure out positive traits to help balance out our partner’s change.

So perhaps instead of being insensitive, we could use our logic and lai- back attitude. It takes a little digging around and experimenting to find out what really works with our partner so it’s best to put in more effort for it.

3. Quick to Act

Once we’ve deciphered what traits need to be present to balance things out, we have to be quick to act, especially if we know that this change in behavior is going to cause rifts in the relationship. We have to instantly switch our roles if we want to make the relationship work, at least for the time being.

If switching gender roles is going to be a long term thing and one party is not comfortable with it, then the couple has to discuss what they can do and where they can take turns to hold different roles. It will be very tiring to hold a gender role you’re not used to having for long periods of time. Therefore, it’s best to work out what makes both of you comfortable and perhaps decide when you’re able to switch roles.

For Lovers Only

The tips and opinions provided above are solely meant for romantic relationships. Gender roles are not as important in platonic friendships because we can have many different friends that provide both gender roles that we seek at different times. Lovers, however, can’t be changed (unless you’re in an open relationship), thus the fluidity is important. Gender roles are also not as apparent in parent-child relationships.

Let’s try a little experiment and make a list of what qualities we and our partners possess. From there, segregate them into masculine and feminine roles.

Chances are both people might have both gender roles present, although one might be more prevalent than the other. Then, try to figure out how we can complement each other with traits from opposite gender roles when a situation arises. Practice it when you can and have fun!

 

Shaheera is one half of the team behind The Vantage Journey. She’s the blog’s co-writer and Tariq’s personal cheerleader.

They’re striving to create a better version of themselves and wish to share their journey with their readers through their blog, The Vantage Journey. They’re not experts but they have enough challenges thrown at them to allow for psychological experiments and self help exercises. They hope that their experience can help other people cope and improve their lives, too.

They plan on taking their passion to the next level in the future, with books and a coaching program in the pipeline, which will include various disciplines from relationships to health. Find out more about them here:

Blog: www.thevantagejourney.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/tariqshaheera

Facebook: www.facebook.com/thevantagejourney

(photo source)
Jul 16

3 Powerful Reasons to Reflect

By Dustin | Time Management

When’s the last time you sat down, without distractions, and really took some time to reflect on your life?

We are all so busy, and it’s easy to move along day after day doing what needs to be done without pausing to get a little perspective.  I’m a big proponent of living in the present while planning for the future.

However, there is real value in looking back over our shoulders to see where we’ve come from.

My Reflections

I actually took advantage of this earlier today when I my wife was sweet enough to take care of the kids and let me sleep in for a bit.  Today happens to be my 32nd birthday…and our daughter’s first birthday was just two days ago. 🙂

Well, I couldn’t sleep and my mind got to wandering.  Naturally, I thought back to a year ago when we brought Avery home from the hospital.

I also found myself going to back 10 years when Bethany and I were newly married with NO idea what really was to happen in our lives.  And, for some reason, I had a lot of thoughts from 25 years ago when I was just seven years old and having a rough time as the son of an abusive, alcoholic father.

Why You Should Reflect

I won’t go into the details of my own reflections since they aren’t important to you.  However, I do want to share three powerful lessons that I took away from my quiet time to hopefully encourage you to find some time to reflect on your own life.

1. Count Your Blessings

Whether it’s your family, your career, your health or any other area of your life, there’s a good chance that you’ve been blessed by God with a lot of goodness.  It’s incredibly easy to become complacent and take these things for granted.

Take some time to reflect, be thankful and pray for all of the typically unspoken blessings in your life.  It will make you a better, more gracious person moving forward.

2. Learn From Your Mistakes

When you think back 10 years, it’s amazing to see what you have achieved for yourself and others.  However, it’s also really valuable to see the mistakes that have been made along the way that sometimes can’t be recognized until you’ve gained new levels of experience.

Think over the major and seemingly minor, daily choices that you’ve made along the way and examine how you could have done better.  You have the opportunity to learn from your past to make the future brighter.

3. Slow Things Down

In the busy lives that we all lead, this may be the most valuable benefit of all.  Simply taking a little time to reflect on the pace of life and all that transpires in what seems like the blink of an eye can help us be mindful of the experiences we live.

Think about your marriage, your children and your own life, and you’ll realize how quickly it all goes by.  Keep this in mind as you make choices about how to spend your time, and then savor every moment that you possibly can as you move forward.

Do you take regular time to reflect?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(photo credit)
Jul 11

Improve Your Relationship with Better Sleep

By Dustin | Communication

Note: This is a guest post from Philip J Reed of the Sereno Center for Snoring Solutions on a topic that I know MANY couples struggle with.

We all know that a good night’s rest is important for helping get a new day off to the right start. But did you know it also helps keep your relationship on track?

Studies have shown that a leading cause of resentment in marriage stems from dealing with a snoring issue at night. If you or your partner is struggling with sleep issues, don’t set up a bed in another room just yet.

Researchers are beginning to consider that when dealing with issues like sleep apnea and snoring problems, professionals should also consider how those problems affect an individual’s interactions with others and their relationships. One sleep study has indicated that women in particular tend to express more negative emotion when they struggle to sleep. It’s possible that men experience some of these same feelings, but oftentimes, they don’t share how they feel.

When sleep problems lead to a person feeling testy, it can be difficult to know how to even broach the subject of helping a partner stop snoring or taking care of other issues. Remember, this is a matter that ultimately affects you both.

Try broaching the subject gently, and explain how sleep issues are affecting you. Be as non-confrontational as you can, and try to avoid embarrassing your mate. Point out, too, that there are medical treatments and other simple solutions available, and that you can work on these problems together.

Do your best, also, to make your bedroom an inviting space. A “Bedroom Poll” by the National Sleep Foundation found that most people say the comfort of their bedroom is a major factor in how well they sleep. Make sure your sheets and linens are fresh. And even though it’s a chore not everyone enjoys, respondents said they were more likely to sleep well in their room if they had made the bed that day. Keeping your room tidy can be a good thing.

Addressing sleep problems does not have to be a complicated endeavor, but it can be a serious one if left untreated. Marriage issues aside, sleep troubles can negatively affect your health. Snorers are prone to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and other difficulties.

If you are struggling with sleep, consult a medical professional so you and your partner start feeling better as soon as possible.

Has snoring or other sleep issues impacted your marriage?  Share in the comments!