Some relationships seem to be matches made in heaven. Boy meets girl and one thing leads to another, and before they know it, they are walking towards the sunset together.
Others like the Lee-Ann Liebenberg and Danny K soapie are a hopeless case. Without having to consult any relationship guru, most people know that relationships need three paramount but largely ignored necessities: a great sense of humour, a deep grave (to bury the hatchets) as well as a dictionary.
In addition, in any relationship, men and women have to have large dollops of understanding of each others’ gender differences.
“How would having a sense of humour help a relationship?” asks relationship writer Randy Mills. “I believe that humour in a relationship is essential because a relationship needs more than just seriousness. Everyone wants to feel good, and laughing is one thing that can help the heart and consequently, how we relate.”
Author of the Belly Laughter, Enda Jenkins says: “Laughter is in many ways one of life’s greatest mysteries. It’s common enough that we see it as an everyday fact of life, but we don’t really understand it. It is not something that we even feel a need to understand. We just accept that laughter happens, and we like it. We generally take it for granted until it’s not around. Then we really miss it.”
Andile Madida, 28, a divorced call centre manager, attests to the mystery and powers of laughter. “Sometimes, when I remember the good times in my dissolved marriage, I know that I miss the laughter we shared, and I am sad that I missed its vital significance in prolonging my relationship.”
Madida can use the deep grave. He needs to lay his previous marriage to rest and look at how he can move forward, says relationship therapist Barbara Isaacson.
“But what we truly lack in the art of communication and laughing together is the dictionary. Language proficiency is impossible without the book that explains the meaning of words.” she says.
Men and women think differently.
Says Lee Blackspur, a relationship writer: “First, it is important to understand that men and women do not think exactly alike. Just because you think you understand a comment or behaviour, it does not mean that you have the correct outlook on the situation.
”It takes time as well as experience to understand men, and the first step is patience. A good way to have a better understanding of the male species is to dispel the old tales that you have heard all of your life. Men have emotions, fragile egos and a fear of failing in your eyes. What a woman sees as ‘machoness’ or arrogance from a man may be a defence mechanism. Sometimes, this is a mask that men wear to be a hero in your eyes, they want to be the only one that can satisfy you or take care of you. That is the leading goal of most men and they work very hard for it. If they feel that they have failed, you will see anger, frustration and them building a wall around themselves.”
How is it possible to laugh at your paranoia when you are involved with a man fitting this profile? It is also hard to ignore the fact that you might have to bury your ill feelings and let him live.
“Women, who are hurt, will cry and seek friends and family for advice or comfort. Men will engage in destructive behaviour, such as drinking or something that they are not supposed to be doing. They seek out things that will not provide disappointment or rejection,” writes Blackspur.
Perhaps we may never understand each other and that is the essence of Woody Allen’s take on the matter. He compares it to the “deception” of other schools of faith such as religion and playing lottery.
Irvin Welsh says: “Some people are easier to love when you don’t have to be around them.”
Men and women clearly don’t have the same wiring. Dr Ruben Gur and his wife, Dr Raquel Gur, neuroscientists who have been researching gender differences for more than 30 years, confirm that our brain imaging methods may not have the same hardwiring, after all.
“A lot of the differences between men and women are related to how they are built, rather than how they are taught,” says Dr Ruben Gur. And what this means is that some relationships, whether armed with humour, a grave and even a dictionary, are wrong for us.
“You could be right because some seemingly impossible relationships work like a charm for other individuals, while other people would die first, even with all the necessary tools,” says Issacson. “We should just be able to recognise this and try to find people we are naturally suited with.”
Looking at Lee Ann and Nicky van der Walt’s wedding photos, and trying to picture Danny K’s face looking at his ex, now blossoming with happiness, is not easy. He must be throwing fits of jealousy. Whether with a dictionary or not, she has found her perfect match. - Sunday Independent