The Sublime Tension

Men and Women. Will we ever understand each other?

I say: No.

I believe this tension of difference is the attraction, and also the frustration. 

This male/female tension has been the stuff of literature, movies, sitcoms and countless cups of coffee and tear-stained napkins throughout the centuries.

But what’s the purpose?

Why couldn’t we just have a meeting of the minds, understand each other and be done with it? We could save so much time, just get on with living our lives conflict-free and easy.

Alas. The self/selfless tension is like the animal/spiritual tension. We’re drawn to one, yet grounded in the other. It takes work to move beyond the one and gain the rewards of the other.

But doing so does have its rewards. One is that we’re forced to hone our creativity in communications to minimize misunderstandings. Stimulating creativity is a good thing.

Another is the benefit of a well-rounded banquet of experiences, because without that yin/yang tension, we would fall into complacency. Complacency is a good treat now and then, but not as a steady diet.

Perhaps the most important is because when we commit to someone of the opposite sex, we’re really committing to better ourselves, to learn to rise above the pettiness, to sincerely endeavor to understand rather than to be understood. Relationships are rife with pettiness and misunderstandings. And yet, that tension of attraction endures.

It’s a mystery.

It is, perhaps, THE mystery.

I love a good mystery.

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1 Comment

Filed under connections, family, Marriage, relationships, Spirituality

One response to “The Sublime Tension

  1. capncrusty

    Men are easy to understand: just think “logical and straightforward”. We generally just lay our cards right out on the table, and if you don’t like the spread, tough. I say “generally” because none of the behavioral traits that are claimed to be characteristic of either gender are truly exclusive to one or the other; but to the extent they are, I’ll stick with my original statement.

    As for the mutual attraction, I think it’s all just pheremones, those little biochemical stenches that Old Lady Nature developed to overcome what would otherwise be a mutual gender-based animosity so severe that the species wouldn’t be able to replicate. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your level of misanthropy), certain elements of our individual effluvia apparently trigger regions of the brain into the what is, from the selfish gene’s perspective, “appropriate behavior”. This also provides a plausible physiological explanation for homosexuality, particularly if one keeps in mind that it’s the olfactory region–our sense of smell–which hold the most vivid and powerful, if not always obvious, elements of our memories. And we are what we remember, after all.

    Check this out NYT article out: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25desire-t.html?_r=2&pagewanted=2&em&exprod=myyahoo

    I hope that links up correctly; I see it has a “yahoo” suffix, and that’s where I get my news alerts from, so it might require some tinkering…or you could just go in the Time’s front door, I suppose.

    Note that it’s a lengthy article, which I haven’t had time to read all the way through yet (and incidentally, I know that Liz reads the Times on that little electronic device of hers, so that may have been what triggered this latest entry in her blog). But what I have read seems to support a growing consensus among the professionals that all the “moon/June/spoon”-ery, bad lyric poetry and sappy love stories aside, the whole shootin’ match is due largely to just one set of chemicals–complex, specific, idiosyncratic but not necessarily unique to any one individual–linking up with its complimentary.

    So does that sound too, I don’t know, too deterministic? Not to worry; the REFLECTION on those reactions–the visceral translated into the cognitive and/or emotive; in short, the MEANING–will still produce reams of romantic comedies, teary romance novels and Michael Boltonesque “hits” for centuries to come. Or at least until the CERN reactor folks (mostly male) create that “strange microsingularity” that will gobble up the Earth.

    But if that happens, it will do it logically and straightforwardly.

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