Marrying Under The Influence

Marrying Under The Influence

Ever wonder if you picked the right partner? Gender differences play a big role.


A recent survey indicated that two thirds of all divorces are initiated by the woman. This would suggest that women are prone to discontentedness more than their male counterparts. Right? Actually wrong. It’s a testament to the frustration of a much more common problem. We women tend to live in an unconscious world where we operate our fast paced, multitasking lives on autopilot, neglectful of our own needs. These necessary emotional and fundamental requirements also change when we transition from being single to being a couple, and then again with motherhood.

Journey back to the day when you met your beloved, or if you’re divorced or separated, the day you met your ex. Research suggests your basic need may have been hormonal and not companionship. Your DNA’s primal instinct was to find the right mate. You see, nature doesn’t care if you’re fulfilled with your soul mate; nature equipped you to procreate. At this point, unbeknownst to you, your sense of smell, which is about ten times greater than a man’s, scoured the room for the perfect pheromones secreted by your guy’s testosterone.

Ever wonder if you found the right partner? Try this little experiment: Stop using lotions, perfumes, and scented shampoos and have your guy temporarily discontinue use of deodorants and cologne for two days without showering. If you discover yourself turned on by your partner’s natural oils and pheromones, then you have chemistry. If the scent bothers you, it may be poor chemistry. Another test for finding compatible chemistry between two people: Do you like the taste of your partner’s mouth when you kiss sans the gum and mints? Chemical incompatibility will reveal itself through saliva. Get this: Our cave women ancestors collected data through a kiss and processed the man’s gene pool in several seconds to determine the right sperm donor for her offspring.

After you found the pheromone match nature needed to get you mating, guess what she did? She drugged you. Dopamine in the pleasure centers of your brain eliminated your temporary need for sleep and food, caused compulsive behaviors, depleted your serotonin levels, and landed you in an emotionally vulnerable state. The brain at this stage is incapable of processing any negativity. Whether you married or not, as time passed, you and your honey probably engaged in intercourse where the drugging unwittingly worsened. The same bonding hormone released during childbirth, oxytocin, intoxicated you, fooling you into thinking you’re in love. Your guy released vasopressin, which also fooled him, but only for about two days.

You literally became blind to your partner’s faults, poor habits, finances, family, your own insufficient knowledge, compatibility issues, overdependence on this person, and worst, the fundamentals needed for your own personal happiness. Remember our cave dwelling ancestors weren’t interested in personal fulfillment, and unfortunately we are still operating off that same gene pool.

Now this “love cocktail” biologically circulated through your system for about two years. At this stage in the relationship you were most likely still operating out of the unconscious state, driven by hormonal and physiological needs for housekeeping and childbearing, or what we like to call in modern times “the commitment or wedding.” Your primal need for provision and protection kicked in, outweighing the contemporary desires, including communication and emotional connection.

This is where we get into trouble. The danger is that both parties have expectations that the other will behave like this indefinitely, however when we wean off the chemicals there’s huge disappointment. In today’s world most women can provide for themselves, however what is lacking is emotional security. The male’s basic need is to provide and protect physically.

Now we wake up from romance and see our partner for who he or she truly is, and the power struggle stage of the relationship begins whereby we want and expect more. This can go on for years if it’s not dealt with. We usually convince ourselves that our partner has changed, our frustration grows at his shortcomings, and although we tend to direct this at our mate we are actually upset with ourselves. Being the first chemical-free period in the relationship, year three is the most common year for divorce for obvious reasons.

Let me encourage you, whether you are in year one or year twenty of your relationship, to take responsibility by creating a written list of your nonnegotiable requirements, both functional and emotional needs. Be very specific and detailed. Remember, men need details and when you think you’re finished add more particulars, believe me, he’ll love you for it. Ask your guy to do the same. Make an appointment to sit down and present your lists to each other, and negotiate and compromise until both parties are in agreement. The list should include areas of domestic responsibilities, religion, romance, sex, trust, children, respect, lifestyle, in-laws, etc, each area outlined in precise detail. Give specific times, dates, examples and definitions. Which are deal breakers?

Be clear and concise. Align yourselves with common goals. Vow to meet monthly to co-create a written plan of action, to make sure each is getting their needs met sufficiently. Keep in mind men respond better if it’s in writing and will cooperate in the process much better if you establish his needs first. Then you will have his undivided attention.

Copyright © 2011 by Denise Wade, Ph.D. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Denise Wade, Ph.D. is devoted to helping committed couples reignite passion and intimacy through awareness of each other’s unique sexual and emotional needs. Denise provides gender education coaching, a comfortable alternative to marriage counseling. 1.610.639.6627.