Women probably have a better idea of the male world and values than men do of womens. Women are more required to deal with structure and facts as they are external, than are men with womens relating and emotional truths. We all have to step outside; you can avoid stepping in. So I suspect its easier for men to be more ignorant of womens orientation.
This hardly means women understand men any better than men do women. I dont think they do. Neither gender makes much sense to the other, and every individual is as prone to ignoring others needs and context. Sometimes this is humorous (comedians make a good living with it), but often it results in tragedies like divorce. This has only become worse as society sees equality as sameness. Denying gender differences is Correct.
Speaking for myself, the girl world was recently brought home by reading Rachel Simmons book Odd Girl Out. We men find our meaning in structure and orient to the external world. If the facts are wrong, youre wrong. So it took a bit to realize the degree to which women live in an entirely different world of personal relating and connections, structure and facts having little meaning. Its a whole different value system and orientation. While both men and women can be ambitious or greedy, or kind and saintly, it can be for different reasons and using different tools. Both may seek the same truth, but the terms they use and routes taken can have little to do with each other. It makes truly hearing each other difficult.
Apply this to marriage.
Men take their satisfaction from the structure itself: there simply being a family of which he is a part. It is an unspoken but constantly present satisfaction, whatever may happen within it.
But male satisfaction is female taken-for-granted. The most common reason women give for ending a marriage is not abuse or infidelity, but their being little relationship to it.
You should hear how men howl at this finding: What a trivial excuse, how silly.
ITS NOT TRIVIAL TO THEM. Relating is what women live for. Relationships are air.
What gives your existence meaning? If your job or career is unrewarding and does not make you feel like you matter, you find another. Same for women and relationships. Relating is what makes them part of something and therefore, matter. They do not orient to structures (maps) but landmarks (people). Success is friends and closeness, evidenced by knowing their secrets.
If you want that structure to be the permanence you seek, make sure you exist as far as she is concerned. Put aside some time each day or week to just shut up and listen. Let her tell you things, then tell her some of your private thoughts and fears. Women Cant Hear What Men Dont Say, and they need to, or you dont exist irrespective of how comforting to you is the routine she manages and the context for that you provide.
After all, that emotion and relating stuff that warmth and human thing being what men lack is what we seek in women. Use it or loose it.
If it is uncomfortable to do this because some womens demands are endless and others worm inside for control, making personal contact painful, you need another wife. (And will probably get one at some point, so start looking, unless you two are co-dependent.)
If this is uncomfortable because you do, in fact, ignore your feelings and hardly know what they are, seek a mens group or therapeutic support before your marriage ends.
©2010 KC Wilson
To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons. - Marilyn French