This may be my ultimate “Love Doctor” column. For in it I am divulging my central understanding about what it means to be happy as a man. This work was prodded by the chiding of friends, men for whom I have the utmost love and respect.
The chiding came from old friends who confessed that their mates would sometimes use my writings and the way I have learned to deal with my Boo as a standard. I do not apologize. I am fully aware that I have set a high standard as a lover, as the alpha male primate of a family clan, or, in human terms, as a father and husband... but therein lies the center of of my reasoning as “the love doctor”.
We human beings sometimes “trip”, as young people might say. Sometimes, because we can build pyramids and cover our nakedness with fashions we forget that, unlike our thoughts, our feelings are still defined by our biology and the impetus for our particular DNA to survive in the cosmos. Struggles for wealth and power are all just manifestations of a desire for social domination and control over environment, the later being uniquely human and the result of the dance between our problem solving minds and our opposed thumbs. Hands that can throw spears, wield an ax, and beat rocks into tools and weapons are one of the uniquely human factors that have allowed us to assert perhaps fatal dominion over the planet, another potentially terminal result due to our arrogance about our biological needs.
As male humans, our confusion is furthered by being the (often ungrateful) beneficiaries of the human construct of marriage. Right, I wrote that men are the primary beneficiaries of marriage, and the research bears me out. Married men live ten years longer and are more “happy” than their single counterparts. Without marriage, men's lives would revolve around an ongoing competition for mating rights, a competition that would always be based on the perspective and perception of females.
In modern life, often the unhappiness in families is a result of women being tied to a mate that may not respond to her needs and her resulting feedback to that situation, and since humans have marriage, a social construct to restrain other males from competing, married men sometimes begin to behave like they own their women and sometimes treat their women and children like they are a complication or distraction to whatever they have adopted as their “higher purpose” or ascension in a male pecking order that has also lost its biological focus and has often become a distorted end game.
In other words men sometimes treat home like a means to an end, rather than the central purpose of everything else they do. We call them our “ball & chain” when “rudder” would be more appropriate. Every silverback gorilla knows that the day he doesn't “service” his females, or protect and provide good feeding for their children, they will go with a male who will. Unprotected from competition by any social or legal construct, he is never confused by a “higher purpose” and is never confused about the purpose of his ascension / position in the male pecking order. He is always focused on home. Without that focus he cannot mate or reproduce. A happy silverback gorilla is one who knows he is doing a good job of taking care of home.
I submit that the men and their families are happiest under the same conditions, when a man's wife and children know that they are the reason he does what he does, and that their needs are his priority. My Boo is a fairly aggressive and assertive woman, but is fairly docile to and supportive of me and I believe its because she knows that I know that I cannot be happy unless she and my children (and now grandchildren) are. I even get groomed once in a while, the babies love to climb all over me, and yes well married children and well raised grandchildren provide a warm fuzzy sense that my DNA is well on its way. (I've actually been criticized for telling my children that the most important choice they would make in life would be their mate and that they needed to get that done before the best ones were gone.)
So, yes, while marriage may be the social construct that allowed the development of civilization by allowing men to cooperate with one another as great apes competing for mating and reproduction rights never can, human males sometimes “trip” seeking social significance over their biological best interests, as though chest pounding has superseded its primal purpose, keeping or protecting one's family.
We have overlaid our biology with personal gratification (marketing), and a sense of achievement that is based on chest pounding that in reality is no longer in play since, within the construct of marriage, if a man can find a personally compatible way to provide sustenance and reasonable security for a responsive woman and her offspring... and service her how she needs it, then he, she and the children will be happy. A man's happiness is a warm fuzzy interwoven biological relationship thing, the endorphin / dopamine reward for doing what it takes to maximize the odds that his DNA will survive in the cosmos for generations... and you can't fool mother nature.
Or in shorthand... If a man believes he can be happy without his woman feeling loved and appreciated, he's “tripping”. For a man to be happy in family living he must flip the ME upside down and get the picture.