What follows is an idea I've shared with few but I think MRP needs to hear. It goes full circle back to the very first lesson we learned when we got here. And I wouldn't be surprised if it ruffled some feathers. But I am confident and prepared to stand behind this message. For those that are new, this is a big summary of the entire journey, and will arm you with many sticks of dynamite. Use at your own risk. For those more experienced, I would advise start at Part 2.
Part 1: Your wife the black box
So let's start somewhere at the beginning of your journey. Where you went and watched Keanu Reeves in the matrix. And learned that the ideas and things you had been taught and created yourself in your head up to this point may not be exactly the way life really goes.
And you look back at your life and see that the ideas that you had that led you to the point you were before you found MRP came from mental models you developed from your parents, from your babysitters, from your school, and all the leaders you seemed to look to naturally as you grew up. And you seem to have just carried that expectation of someone else being in charge (up on that pedestal) to the woman you married.
All these false expectations, like a Disney fairytale marriage, unlimited possibilities, morality, and friendly faces all around you you now realize were just ideas put into your head to control your behavior, guide your decisions, and then make you act in the best interests of society when you got older. And as a parent (if you have kids) I'm sure you have seen and rationalized the necessity of these tools in order to keep a growing mind on track. Hoping that one day your child will also be able to see the light like you have and breakout of those mental models.
Now you tell me the difference between the sexes where women, too, do not undergo this same type of behavioral and societal control while they're growing up. Show me where they would not likely come to the same place as you were where the mental models of how they should act and run their lives are all delusions based on what they were told and promised growing up. IE:
Women are stuck in their own matrix
But you've been at this awhile. You've been grinding. Making yourself better. Getting new perspectives from new books on life, how to act, how to deal with situations, your emotions, and others. You've "unplugged" from that matrix. I bet if you were to compare what you are and know now to what you were and knew before MRP you would be astonished at the change.
And you would also have to be pretty thankful for having been exposed to these thoughts and books and ideas. Because no matter how sure you thought you had your life before...you kept running into a wall between what you were, and how you wanted your life to be. And that's what drove you to find MRP, and unplug from the matrix.
The matrix is the draft working model you have in your head about what life is, what happens in it, and what you do and feel about that. And this working model changes over time. Some time in your life you went from being a baby to being a kid. And another time you went from being a kid to being a teen. And then again you went from being a teen to being an adult. But if I ask you when the day was you thought you switched from one category to the other...I bet your couldn't identify it. It just kind of...happened over time. But these areas of your life are clearly defined due to you having to adopt wider and broader mindsets in order to get through them successfully.
Now I argue that you have reached a point where you have expanded yourself from what you used to be before MRP, to what you are now after MRP. And I ask you with all the growth that you've made with the resources you had, all the books on the sidebar, all the notes we share around here, all the feedback you get...how is it you expect your wife to make growth in the same leaps and bounds without those resources? IE:
Your wife has not received the same help and guidance you have to build herself a working mental model in adulthood and marriage
We talk about leadership and leading our wives and the 1000ft rope often here in MRP. We try to address problems in our marriage using things we learned like agree and amplify, negative inquiry, and dread. We employ these things in response to things our wives do and in response to their following (due to our leading) or their not following (due to the 1000ft rope).
But when I look at these behaviors and MRP, and notes from many of the more popular books and mantras, we seem to build our actions and reactions as if our wives are just a black box of unknowable emotions and ideas that have concrete, non-flexible structure. I've mentioned this a few times in my posts but if you're not familiar with what a black box is in technology terms...a black box is a piece of software, system, or something where you get to put inputs in, and observe reactions that come out, but you are not privy to anything that goes on within that box.
A lot of MRP describes the wife as run purely by feels and evolutionary drives. Almost as if there is no pilot at the wheel in her head. (Sound familiar captain?) As if she is a black box that you merely put actions into and look at results.
And I dont know about your wife...but mine...mine has gone through life and proven that she has someone at the wheel. She went to college, got a nursing degree, has a stable job, attempts to parent our kids, juggle schedules, and occasionally has fun. We talk about serious topics. I see her try to follow my lead. And that's a really important part.
We see women out on the street or pursuing their career or sport or attending a business meeting and it shocks us to learn that they actually have a full fledged life, baggage, emotion, and drive to their lives. They absolutely have the ability to follow a lead, but they also have the ability to make decisions too.
Do you think your wife has someone behind the wheel making decisions in her head? Have you seen your wife try to follow your lead? When little things pop up like she's talking angrily at you and the kids and you tell her you dont approve of her talking to the kids like that and want her to talk a different way. Does she? So then I ask you how and why we seem to treat them from MRP as black boxes, if we know they are actually someone with a life, passions, and reasons (albeit possibly misguided) for their actions. IE:
Your wife is not a black box, you can see and inquire about the inner workings
Part 2: Feelings and Actions
But a lot of what MRP teaches when they say that you cannot change her, so just worry about you, is to almost to take a hands off approach to addressing her issues. It's kind of like "she is what she is and does what she does...so I'll handle me and my guidance will simply be my actions." And so we believe that the change we cause is based on action.
And I believe that in our action, we are speaking volumes, but we're really not saying much. I believe in our actions we're still secretly hoping to affect change in all the layers of her emotional paradigm. This emotional paradigm I believe consists of four levels and draws from base emotions all the way in the hind brain to social and societal ways to deal with those emotions. And I believe both men and women deal with very similar levels of this paradigm:
Level 1) THAT we feel: This is a base, natural driven thing. I've been in more scenarios than I can count where something makes me feel (angry, upset, happy, bitter, whatever) and I cannot change that feeling within me. Or I've seen my wife wake up angry, or upset, or happy and when I ask why she's feeling that way she replies "I dont know, I just do". Sometimes I'm having a bad day and have no idea why, but I know I'm feeling it, and I cannot change it. It's almost like that set of initial conditions that you cannot affect, that life (or your brain) gives you. "This is your problem/emotion. Deal with it."
Level 2) What we THINK about those feelings: We build mental models in order to deal with those feelings. We shield ourselves from them. We spin them into beliefs of what they mean or what we think we can believe in concerning how or why we think this way. We explain them away. Or we "ignore" them...ignore meaning don't allow ourselves to feel them, but bottle them up instead. Or, contrarily, we let the problems affect us internally. We swim in those problems in our head.
Level 3) What we DO about those feelings: This, as opposed to 2, is more action oriented. When we are angry we strike out in action. When we are afraid we recoil in fear. When we are attracted we open ourselves and get close. This is actually taking the step to do an action oriented response to deal with the problem/emotion. It's communicating that we're moved...but not exactly why, or what to do about it. It's basically screaming to the world "I AM FEELING SOMETHING", but not what or why.
Level 4) How we COMMUNICATE those feelings: This is more along the lines of communication. Not acting the feelings out, but expressing them openly and honestly, or openly but dishonestly. IE, "I have a problem and I want you to know it" vs. "I have a problem and you should do something about it." It's hoping that by letting the problem be known and offering it up in it's entirety, that the world will help take care of it, rather than having you bare the burden yourself.
These 4 are listed in order of increasingly being open about the problem. In 1 we keep it totally to ourselves. It just is. In 2 we decide to tackle it within ourselves using our thoughts. In 3 we outwardly express the RESULT (action) of the problem. In 4 we outwardly communicate the feelings themselves. 1 is least vulnerable. 4 is most vulnerable.
MRP seems to handle the first three. They get you to explore yourself and realize that yes you do feel emotions. They give you framework to think about what those emotions mean within yourself. And they give you ways to show the world via your actions that you are feeling. And after you get deep on the dread ladder, MRP even suggests some of 4, the "I have a problem and if you know what's good for you, you'll fix it". But MRP almost shuns open and honest communication of a problem. And I think that's because deep down, MRP is afraid of the potential for rejection of that problem when it's laid bare. The point being:
We are speaking volumes through our actions, but not really saying anything.
So I want you to consider for a second...and this is going to go against every fiber of what you've learned so far, but if what I've said is true, that women have their own matrix, that they have not received the guidance to improve like we have, that they aren't a black box and thus can learn about this guidance (and we can learn about them), but also that if we simply rely on our actions to speak for our intent...that the message becomes clouded...i think you have to conclude that a measure of what I call Open and Honest communication is necessary for a relationship.
And i know what you're thinking....that this goes against everything that we've said here at MRP so far. And I'm with you in experience that I've had conversations with my wife about what I need and they've gone unanswered. I think it's very nuanced with what you need to say, how you need to say it, and when you need to say it.
For instance I've had several conversations to my wife about how I need physical affection. Not just sex, but holding hands, hugging, cuddling, kissing, touching, that kind of thing. I've said that very openly to her and gotten no change in behavior. And this is what draws us to the conclusion that talking doesnt work.
But I also have to say that in any instance that you try to change someone's mind about a behavior, and they're not ready or dont have the mental structures in place to receive that change, that that change is going to be met with inaction or resistance. Think about red-knighting for example. If you do this with GUYS who arent ready to hear what you have to say, then they too will not change and may even resist you, and change. Why would your wife be any different?
How then does someone become ready to hear that change? There's two ways. The first is the way we're born with and operate on for most of our life. I believe that our internal mental models are so ingrained in us, that we don't really make an effort to change them until we run into the harsh reality that they don't work. It's the reality you felt when you had to look for MRP. It's why when you constantly enable your wife and her life is fine and dandy while you desire change, why she doesn't change. And yes it's why if your wife doesn't think there's a possibility that you'll leave her, that she wont change either. Being ready to receive change happens only when we choose to search for change. And that's why I'm sharing all this with many of you, because I believe your gut feeling is searching for this change.
The second way is a learned experience. And I've said this several times in my posts as well. The second way is one can receive change through open and honest communication when they come to learn that the mental models that they have in life can be WRONG. Before this, back before MRP, back to your rebellious teens, even back to your childhood where you believed you knew how to act. In all those times the thought wouldn't even cross your mind that you could be wrong. That there could be other ways. But once you come to the conclusion that you have the ability to be wrong about your ways...only then will you be ready to hear and accept change through the suggestion alone that change may be needed.
The things we do say to inflict change, our audience needs to be ready to hear.
So I want to take a second to discuss what I think the key aspects of open and honest communication are. Because this gets to some piece of the feeling I had, and the feeling it seems you may have, with leaving something on the table.
I think what I felt I left on the table was the ability to just talk to someone in a way where, just like I learned in MRP when flirting with women to be open to rejection, to not let it affect you, to feel like you are a prize...open and honest communication is taking those feelings you have within you that make you you, that your ego is constantly trying to protect, and handing them to whoever youre talking to and going "Here's who I am. Here's what I want. Do what you will."
It's literally like taking your heart and handing it to your wife and allowing her to either smash it, or acknowledge it. Her choice. And then being okay with her choice. Not okay as in you accept whatever she chooses to do with your true self you handed her, but okay that she GETS to choose what to do with it. It's being confident enough that you put yourself out there as a self contained unit and you allow the world to affect you. It's being okay that they have that choice.
I've read a lot of posts around where people are talking about how they've read about the stoics. How they no longer let life impact them. They are a rock. And I feel like that's an easy trap to fall into when trying to be stoic. Being stoic doesnt mean walling yourself up so much that you dont let life affect you. It's being vulnerable enough to let life to impact you full force, feel the resulting emotions you're programmed to feel biologically, and then having a mental model in place so that you are still in control and can deal with life despite those emotions. I don't want to not feel. I want to feel everything, and then be able to handle it. So I'm sure you've seen a few times in my posts:
Open and honest communication is being able to give and receive what you think and feel, and what others think and feel, freely.
Part 3: Communication Doesn't work...or...we just weren't ready for the answer.
So then the big question is why does MRP explain that open and honest communication is not the way to what you want? That's it's negotiating desire. That we crave a natural born desire for value from our wives. I think this craving for natural born desire drives at the heart of the problem.
Recall back to the start of your relationship, where you met someone and formed an opinion of them based solely on looks, and maybe a few words. And she did the same to you. Back when this happened each of you had in your heads this ideal person whom you were seeking. This person embodies many interesting and unique characteristics. And since you knew so little about this person (or they you), what they did to fill in the rest was idealize the best possible scenario for all those unknown attributes.
After the first date, and the second, and the third, where you were excited to learn all these new and interesting things about this person, there was still a lot of draw and mystery to them. I mean you have their entire lives that they've lived so far to figure out.
But as the weeks turn into months turn into years, you start filling in all those mysterious parts you didn't know with the facts of who they truly are. And some of those facts fit who you wanted them to be, and some did not (and the same happened to her of the mystery that was you). And at some point we marry and settle into a workable pattern of roles given our jobs, hobbies, kids, sleep needs, sexual needs, etc.
And then we look back and remember the rush we had when we first met and that potential. Or we look at other couples either in person or showing their best sides online, or we watch a Disney movie where a couple meet and are living in that moment where the mystery is still there. And we, again now as a third person observer, fill in everything we don't know about the dynamics of that couple's relationship with the best possible scenario of how their relationship could be.
It's called observer bias...and we do it on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all the time. You only get to see the best of times and thoughts people have posted to their Facebook. So we (in our own heads) extrapolate that that must be their lives all the time. Fun, sun, excitement, and family. But that's not the case.
I ask you then why it's so easy to accept when we come to MRP that the Disney fairytale BS we've been fed our whole lives isn't true...which, if you think about it was never FED to us...but WE made it up because WE filled in the blanks with our ideal thoughts of the relationship they would have in the future (all the story said was "happily ever after"...we invented what that meant)...why can we accept that as truth, but not the idea that:
Natural desire is merely an idealized version we project onto the mystery that is someone else.
So what about all the talk of evolutionary born desire? What about the feeling that emotional inner workings of women can be exploited to produce natural desire if we don't tell them about the sauce? Because "Don't talk about fight club" has always been a saying here. And I argue two things:
1) That the natural born desire that can be brought back out within our spouses is based on you changing enough of yourself that that mystery she saw in you in the beginning begins to show again. That she asks herself "who am I married to? I thought I had them figured out. But now I don't know." And that mystery comes in part because we act in accordance with #3 on the emotional paradigm I mentioned earlier: Actions without clear messages. She sees this and knows we're saying something...but not what. And that uncertainty breeds mystery.
2) That I would wager most of the more experienced guys on this forum's wives at some point have found MRP and seen the sauce. That through time and effort, action and communication, enough has been revealed that their wives understand that there is a drive out there for us guys to find our true selves and make the best of our lives...and that actually is a good model to follow (hence, also, the existence of the MRP wives subreddits).
So I believe that there can still be scenarios where if we really wanted to, we men could live lives where the women in them still run on this natural born desire that derives from the mystery of the unknown you create and maintain. You could do this either from continuously keeping one women in the dark about who you are, or you could, over time, keep multiple women in the dark by switching whenever things started to get too familiar (playing the field).
And you know what? Depending on who you are and what you want...those methods may just fit into exactly what you need, what you're capable of, what you want out of a relationship, etc. And I definitely see the allure of breeding such a feeling in a relationship. Everyone is different and has different needs. But I feel like that feeling specifically negates the ability to actually bond truly with someone...BECAUSE of the fact that you always have to distance yourself from them.
For me, honestly, I really think in my head there's an idea that there exists some form of magical raw love/desire. But I sat down and talked the idea out with someone not too long ago. And they asked me what specifically I defined as love, and how my wife could go about bringing that feeling out. And it felt almost ridiculous and childish explaining it...my idea of love was that my wife intuitively knew what to do and what made me feel loved, and acted to bring out those feelings in me, WITHOUT me having to explicitly tell her what she needs to do. In other words:
We feel genuine desire is the drive and ability to read our minds and respond to our needs, without us having to communicate them.
And I think, again, that the above clearly accents that our resistance to having to communicate our needs is a buffer because we are AFRAID to communicate our needs, in the belief that it reduces that "magical" natural desire of getting them fulfilled without communication, AND because we are afraid they could be rejected. And much of the time they will be rejected because those who we tell them to are not ready or able to change themselves. That is a slow, methodical process that we work with them on. That's what marriage is. That's her following your lead. But getting her to a point where open and honest communication is possible, while it does necessitate a killing in some form of the magical mysterious natural desire, puts in it's place a CHOSEN desire...the decision for your wife to understand what you want and CHOOSE to fulfill it. Which, in my mind, I'm quite alright with. Negotiation is settling and unwanted compliance. But chosen desire is a different beast.
This has been a lot of information. I'm sure you don't necessarily agree with it. Especially because I came out of left field when you've been marching along to the MRP beat for some time now. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with what we've been taught. What I am saying though is if we put a small twist on it, we may find that we feel just as content when our wives DO understand our needs and CHOOSE to fulfill them, rather than us playing games trying to get them to "naturally" fulfill them.
I'm gonna drop the hammer here. See the thing about my marriage now is: I use communication on a daily basis and it is one of the most important aspects of my marriage. Which on the surface seems extremely blue pill. But with all that I've said before, the piece that makes the communication blue pill is that communication is covert, it's guarded, it comes with expectation that is not given in the over communication.
Communication as we understood and used it before was simply one big covert contract because "I want" meant "I expect", and was always covertly followed by "and if you don't." We would assume that we communicated our idea and it would be acted on as if simply stating something meant others had to consider and act on it. As if our communication set an expectation that through some unseen force had to be met...just because we are who we are...we are special. But then we would contradict our own uniqueness in our head. We would almost instantly devise the scenario of what we would do if that need or want that was communicated was not met, how we would react down the road as punishment or reward for following our communication.
What communication in my marriage is however is a direct line to and from my vision. And that direction is given freely, with the option to be followed or ignored freely
Is this a mode you want to operate in? As I said, it's your choice. And I'm communicating my thoughts to you openly and honestly and allowing you to make that choice yourself. I could have mysteriously pointed you in that direction through coded messages and suggestions in your OYS. Or I can just come out and say it because I think you're in a place to accept it.
Thinking of other people as potentially working from a place where they value different things than I do gives a whole new perspective to the intersocial and intergender dynamics I learned through my MRP experience. And that doesn't negate much of what I've learned so far either. It's just looking at it a different way.
At the end of the day, you wife still may choose to either not listen, or not follow. And at the end of the day you may have to take the path of divorce or an affair to find what it is you need in your life. But I think we're all trying to make sure that we've done everything we can do before we give up. And I think for me, that feeling of leaving something on the table, again, included the ability to just communicate what I'm feeling with no strings attached, and have those feelings heard and acknowledged.