Yes, Dear

History is the autobiography of a madman – Alexander Herzen


There’s the old adage that “hell hath no fury like a woman’s scorn” I suppose there is a bit of truth to this since many older men have tried to impress on me different phrases to use to appease my future wife, such as constantly differing to them in superficial matters, dispensing flattering, yet untrue compliments, and always saying “yes, dear.” However, I don’t think anything can be more hazardous to a man’s (or woman’s) love life (or happy love life) than constant appeasement. It hurts men, women, and the relationships they share.

First off, let me start by saying that I do not endorse men not catering to a woman’s needs, and not giving them compliments. Actions and deeds are nice and only when they are genuine and are intended to please their partner rather than appease them, more on that later though.

Now then, with every post I usually add an image to capture my message in a way words can’t. This one seems the most apt for two reasons. 1st is that this is a picture for a real show. It presents a “stereotypical marriage” of a “typical guy” who gets “hen pecked” (not my word) by his high strung wife and he does his best to try and avoid his wife’s hassling. This show ran for 6 years, clearing touching on some aspect of unhappy married life. And secondly, the man’s face is clearly one where he just wants to be left alone. He is beaten down, and worn out, to his wife’s apparent delight. He clearly tries to appease her, but it never seems to work for long. In the end though, the show, and many relationships like them, didn’t work out.

If history has taught us anything is that appeasement is not a good policy in war, but also not in love. People will treat you as you let them, and this includes people who you love and love you. So if you act as a lap dog to your significant other, then they will learn to treat you as one, sometimes unconsciously and sometimes consciously. I believe this policy is held by many older men because they don’t want to be “hassled” by their wives. So they do and say what they can do “get their wives off their backs.” A relationship shouldn’t be built on appeasing the other person because they’ll be mad if you don’t do something. It should be based on generosity in acts, gestures, and words that come from someone willing to be received by someone accepting.

Many men believe that this some form of feminism. After all leaving many decisions up to wives and girlfriends may seem empowering. Compliments may seem a nice touch. But not when the motives are so someone can “not be hassled.” That was my main motive to do chores around my house when I was younger, I didn’t want my parents to hassle me and surely romantic relationships should be more equal than parent/child ones. It’s also not empowering when the decisions that are left to women are only superficial ones and when the compliments are stale and overused.

In the end relationships are partnerships. Men should appease woman no more than women appease men because neither result in anyone being happy with the person being appeased never satisfied and the appeaser never happy. In the end they satisfy no one.  Both members should instead focusing on pleasing each other.  Both should want to say and do things so that the other will be happy. If we aim to please rather than appease to ward off anger or some other unpleasantness, then the relationship will not last, and it is time to change or end the relationship entirely.