Athol: Most fights in marriage aren’t really about anything other than establishing / maintaining who is in charge.
Pegala: Hey Athol, this feels like a very significant observation – could you expand on it in a blog post some time please?
Athol: It all comes back to the thing of social dominance and submission. Bearing in mind that dominance and submission are woven into the fabric of everyday life in a very subtle way. Things as simple as who goes through a doorway first rely on subtle social cues of who the dominant person is. Dominance and submission isn’t all whips and chains and people wearing ball gags.
There is always in any social group, even a group of just two people, a leader of the group. Thus in any marriage, there is always someone more in charge than the other – typically it’s going to be the one that has a higher Sex Rank than the other. A major reason I advise running the MAP to increase your Sex Rank is to become the more dominant person in the marriage, and thus take more control over it and get more of your needs and/or demands meet by your partner.
However in most marriages, who is the dominant partner and who is the submissive partner isn’t set in stone. One may be more dominant than the other in a certain area and vice versa in other areas. Where the balance of power is finely balanced however, it’s very natural to expend greater effort in debate for no other reason than to establish and/or maintain your dominance over your partner. So senseless little fights “about nothing”, aren’t actually about nothing… they are about keeping your dominant frame in place.
If you yield the ground repeatedly over “fights about nothing”, you establish that your partner is in fact the dominant partner. After all, they get their way all the time. So when something more important comes long to debate, you’re at a disadvantage because you’re the submissive partner by default. Sometimes the dominant partner even drums up fights about nothing for the submissive partner to defer to, just to keep their dominance acknowledged. This is in no small part related to Fitness Testing… please jump through this hoop for me… which only frames you are the guy who jumps through her hoops.
So fights about nothing, are always fights about something.
A major plus to the Captain and First Officer model is that it side steps needing all these fights about nothing to maintain the dominant partners dominance. Once one partner is acknowledged as the Captain by the words and actions of the First Officer… the Captain doesn’t have to bully the First Officer into staying in the submissive role. The Captain can actually allow a lot more leeway with ensuring the First Officer is well taken care of, because it won’t undercut his dominant frame for the bigger decisions.
The Captain can also more easily listen to the First Officer bringing up concerns, because they aren’t going to be viewed as potential attempts to Fitness Test him or otherwise vie for dominance. The Captain can more easily let his guard down with his First Officer. Likewise the First Officer doesn’t have to drum up drama to gain attention and to be heard. It’s just less effort and stress all around. Having a clear Captain can also resolve all the longstanding fights about nothing too. He can establish basic behavior minimums and direct the First Officer to take an action that ends a stalemate.
The irony of the Captain and First Officer model is that it actually gives women the Blue Pill stated desires of a “nice guy who really listens, pays attention to you and helps out”, but does so by way of acknowledging his dominance over her. Welcome to Red Pill paradox. Mostly though, Jennifer and I can’t stand the idea of going through married life together feeling like we’re both “lawyering up” over endless little bits of nothing. Just give me the gavel and let me bang this stuff out.
Jennifer: You know, we argue so infrequently that I hadn’t actually ever thought about what effect those “fights about nothing” can have. It’s so true.