When I wrote an article with the title ‘You Need A Good Wife’, I received quite a lot of mail castigating me for being sexist. Actually, the article was based on a 78 year long study by Harvard University on what 200 men consider to be their ‘happiness’ factor.
Now, researchers are saying that if a man wants to live a long life he should marry an intelligent woman because intellectual stimulation keeps the brain active and that can help to stave off the symptoms of dementia. Professor Lawrence Whalley of College of Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Aberdeen asked men to marry intelligent women to defeat dementia. This is Professor Whalley’s book.
I don’t think it’s anything new. Years ago, my friend Professor Mark Gluck of Rutgers University said the same thing. Marry a smart foreign wife, learn her language, do crosswords with her …. and have good sex, said my learned friend.
I certainly believe that having a spouse whom one can have feisty verbal sparring with makes for a rich internal life. I, for one, love the intellectual challenge of having a brainy, confrontational, thought-provoking soul-mate. It’s exciting! Though he and I tend to fight too much as we are equally opinionated and strong-minded. I think that is part of the attraction though sometimes the sparks do get too intense and we need cooling down periods to catch our breath. Saying that, I would certainly choose this fiery mental and emotional tango than being brain-dead and numbed on the inside. It might have been years since I left university but I love debating. That’s me, trying to look intelligent, though I recently had two teeth knocked out by a man in a boxing ring (yeah, that wasn’t very intelligent).
I don’t think my partner thinks I am stratospherically intelligent but he can always be guaranteed of a good verbal challenge. No way will I let him get away with statements that I don’t believe in, anymore than he lets me. Sometimes (nay, often) he provokes me. By having fierce debates with each other, we formulate our world-views though we don’t often agree with each other.
We often lament that these days, because of poor opposition, the UK’s legislations have been weakened. He made me see his point (though I don’t buy it) on UK’s exit from the EU whilst he understands mine on Scottish independence. Apart from politics, we fight, argue and debate fiercely on medical matters, science, esoterics, philosophy, religion. Everything.
“Oh woman, stop fighting me,” he would sometimes exclaim in exasperation.
Never. We grow, we make new neural connections, and face it, we set each other on fire because of who we are: animated, energetic, passionate, fiercely alive and excited by each other.
As an aside, I would also question why a man would want a submissive and obedient wife who agrees to everything he says. Just curious.