In particular, husbands and wives who do poorly at nonverbal communication tend to be dissatisfied with their marriages. Moreover, when such problems occur, it's usually the husband's fault. In the first ingenious study of this sort, Patricia Noller (1980) found that husbands in unhappy marriages sent more confusing messages and made more decoding errors than happy husbands did. There were no such differences among the wives, so the poorer communication Noller observed in the distressed marriages appeared to be the husbands' fault. Men in troubled marriages were misinterpreting communications from their wives that were clearly legible to total strangers. Even worse, such husbands were completely clueless about their mistakes; they assumed that they were doing a fine job communicating with their wives, and were confident that they understood their wives and that their wives understood them. The men were doing a poor job communicating and didn't know it, and that's why they seemed to be at fault.
The good husbands understand and offer to help. "All you have to do is ask" they say. But even helpful husbands have to be thanked, their contributions acknowledged, credit given. All those pleases and thank yous. Being grateful takes time and energy. It's often easier to do it yourself.
Today in Saudi, women are either at the mercy of their husbands or at the mercy of judges who tend to side with the husbands. The only circumstance that a woman can ask for a divorce or a 'khali' is when her husband is in total agreement with her or if she comes from a very powerful family who decide to back her up.
Basmah bint Saud
Men often joke about this assignment (I Peter 3:7): 'Who can understand a woman?' God has answered the question loud and clear. You can. You can understand a woman. Husbands can understand wives if they will take the time and energy to focus on them as feminine persons who need their husbands' honor.
With soldiers, their wives are so fundamental in their relationships, and yet there's this kind of other war happening back in the States, where wives of soldiers don't quite understand what their husbands have been through, because their husbands won't really talk about it, and that's really the hidden war.
Traditionally, marriage involved a kind of bartering, rather than mutual inter-dependence or role sharing. Husbands financially and economically supported wives, while wives emotionally, psychologically and socially supported husbands. He brought home the bacon, she cooked it. He fixed the plumbing, she the psyche.
Sybil's female forebears had valiantly backed up their husbands as distant embassies were besieged, had given birth on a camel or in the shade of a stricken elephant, had handed around the little gold chocolates while trolls were trying to break into the compound, or had merely stayed at home and nursed such bits of husbands and sons as made it back from endless little wars. The result was a species of woman who, when duty called, turned into solid steel.
I mean the women who, without any of the prerogatives of youth and beauty, demand continual slavery from their men... They sit back complacently and watch their husbands slave for them; and, without furnishing any of the pleasantries of life for their husbands, they demand the sort of continual attention that a charming fiancee might get... They are harridans and shrews who continually nag and scold until the men are driven idiotic.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Henry glared at Anastasia. 'You quit planning on a rich husband, Anastasia. You're gonna get rich on your own. You and me, if we want husbands, fine. But we won't need them. Like our mothers. My mom could do just fine being a waitress, and your mom could do just fine being an artist. They got husbands 'cos they want them. That Bambie, now maybe she'll need a husband. But not you and me. Got it?
There are no whores in Scaithe's Ebb, or none that consider themselves as such, although there have always been many women who, if pressed, would describe themselves as much-married, with one husband on this ship here every six months, and another husband on that ship, back in port for a month or so every nine months. The mathematics of the thing have always kept most folk satisfied; and if ever it disappoints and a man returns to his wife while one of her other husbands is still in occupancy, why, then there is a fight - and the grog shops to comfort the loser. The sailors do not mind the arrangement, for they know that this way there will, at the least, be one person who, at the last, will notice when they do not come back from the sea, and will mourn their loss; and their wives content themselves with the certain knowledge that their husbands are also unfaithful, for there is no competing with the sea in a man's affections, since she is both mother and mistress, and she will wash his corpse also, in time to come, wash it to coral and ivory and pearls.
Rules or no rules, it was certainly better to see these things than not to see them. Marya felt that she had a secret, a very good secret, and that if she took care of it, the secret would take care of her. She had seen the world naked, caught out. Her sisters had been rescued from the city as beautiful girls are often rescued from unpleasant things, but they did not know what their husbands really were. They were missing viral information. Marya saw right away that this made a tilted kind of marriage, and she wanted no part of that. 'I will never be without information, ' she determined. 'I will do better than my sisters. If a bird or any other beast comes out of that uncanny republic where husbands are grown, I will see him with his skin off before I fall in love.' For this was how Marya Morevna surmised that love was shaped: an agreement, a treaty between two nations that one could either sign or not as they pleased.
Catherynne M. Valente