During the millions of years that our forebears traveled in small hunter-gatherer bands, the sexes did different jobs. Women gathered, men hunted. Those jobs required different skills. Up until the ‘modern era’ we often lived separately in same sex houses. With good reason. Men and women on average organize their thoughts differently. Women have a different brain structure. We women tend to think contextually, holistically. We also display more mental flexibility, apply more intuitive imagination to problem solving. Turns out the limbic system, our emotional bonding center of the brain, tends to be larger in women.
As a general rule, men tend to focus on one thing at a time. Men compartmentalize their attention when problem solving, tuning out extraneous stimuli and when disrupted, surface as though hauled back from another planet. Understood as linear, they tend to be less tolerant of ambiguity, as they like to weed out what appears to be extraneous, unrelated data to focus on the task at hand.
With this gap as big as the Grand Canyon between the sexes,
where on Earth did we get the bright idea we could ever live together?
I talk about being diagnosed with cancer a lot, because for me it was the most dramatic turning point in my life. Like many cancer survivors it was a marker, a milestone, a way to make sense of my life. As I struggled to understand how I got sick and create a new me I worked to get well not just in my body but in all aspects of my life. Detoxing, deconstructing and reconstructing my diet not only applied to food, it opened a floodgate to lifestyle questions that needed cleaning up.
It evolved into asking myself if I was happy in my life, in my work, in my marriage. Because you can’t truly be well in body, mind and spirit unless you ask the big questions. This honesty work led me to understand that I had been in deep denial about my marriage. And what I may have found acceptable in an intimate relationship years ago was now no longer OK.
When I was young , I picked my partners for the challenge, not for the peace they could create with me. Too much challenge in love relationships over the years can develop into two people who have never gotten around to having the same common ground. Merriam Webster’s definition of the word ‘challenge’ uses words like “difficulty, disagree, dispute”…..all words that begin with ‘D’…..
I wanted us to live in a world of ‘A’ words,
“amazing, awesome, astounding……”
I went to my life partner and I said, “ Because my health is so closely connected to my emotional/spiritual well being, I feel we need to raise the bar on how we relate for me to stay in this marriage” I went on to say, “I want to be really, really happy, and I’m not”.
Over the years we had grown apart, and I felt like I needed more from this major area of my life. I actually surprised myself. At a time in my life, the third phase, when many people are starting to close down their lives…..I was opening a whole new can of worms about change. Yet when is the best time to stretch and grow?…..when the seed is ready.
You can imagine it didn’t go over well at first. But like my health crisis, Divine Intervention stepped in to help and guide us. My husband brought a book home from the library that would change our lives. As he explains it, his hand just reached up and grabbed this book from the shelf. It was called “Good Husband, Great Marriage”, by relationship therapist, Robert Alter.
Now what makes this find so profound is Robert Alter’s most radical concept in the book. It is, get ready!…. 85% of the problems in the marriage are men’s fault. He explains that they have been clueless on how to relate to us women since the beginning of time. And when men learn to meet our needs and deeply embrace feminine behavior IN EVERY WAY the whole world will be a happier place…and if they too want true happiness, then it is up to them to understand us better…”and the sooner the better” says Robert Alter. The second miracle was that the book made sooooo much sense that even my husband couldn’t argue with it. Robert Alter’s gift is his coherent way of talking to men about women in such a profound way, that men can ‘hear’ him.
Shock upon shock, my husband suggested we have weekly ‘High Hopes’ marriage meetings. Every week for three years we met on Friday morning. We lit a candle, held hands, said the Serenity Prayer, meditated, named three things we were grateful for in each other, read a chapter from ‘Good Husband, Great Marriage’ and talked and talked and talked. To be honest, some weeks went great, other weeks we struggled through old hurts and wounds. Some weeks one of us or both of us would weep. But no matter what, we kept showing up, week after week.
And then something shifted. I began to soften and open. I could see how hard my husband was trying to understand me, truly listen to me, reconnect us. I was so proud of him because there is nothing easy about this work, joining a man and a women.
Today with great passion we both run Diet For Living School together as partners. He too made dramatic changes in his diet. We are both unapologetic advocates of live foods. Foods that have saved both our lives. Our favorite time together is poking around farmers markets in our city or when we travel. We consider making meals together a spiritual union for both of us. We are having a late in life love affair and considering re-newing our vows.
When we finally do surrender to detox cleansing……be it our health or our heart, it is often long overdue. Dare to ask more of your life…..Open and trust the process. Embrace prayer and get ready for discoveries and surprises……welcome transformation and growth with open arms.
JOIN THE HEALTHY FOOD REVOLUTION!
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