When you get married, hopefully you know a lot about your husband. How many kids he wants, his views on spending money, how he can open another Gatorade, forgetting that he's left four other half empty bottles in every room of the house. But you might not have thought about how you and your husband would differ socially and what that might mean to your marriage.
When you and your husband first start dating, he'll take you on double dates, and fun nights out with his friends. On nights when you're not together, he won't want you to think that he's sitting home doing nothing, so he may let you think he's far busier and more social than he is. Men don't want women to think they're homebodies for fear that women will see them as boring. By the time you get married, you may find your husband not making plans for the two of you, and just being happy to hang out alone with you. At first you might be flattered, thinking he just can't get enough of you. Soon you'll realize you're not as cute as you think, your husband just likes the couch as much as he likes you.
When I first dated my husband we would often go out in large groups of people, where he, a newly minted comedy writer, seemed to be the life of the party. His job was one where everyone was expected to entertain each other while they searched for the funniest joke for that week's script. His work personality was lively and jokey and fun. I would come to realize this was very different from who he really was. After we were married and had kids, he'd come home from work perfectly happy to hang out with me and the kids and no one else.
At first it didn't compute how so many of his work friends would tell me how funny he was and how much interaction he'd with them, but the person I saw at the end of a work day was sweet but certainly not entertaining. I figured out that like so many men, he had this work part of him that he accessed in order to be a success at his job. For him and so many other men, being outgoing and entertaining is reserved for work and their home is where they can truly be themselves.
Men and women have different social needs. Women are generally more social because we need a support network around us; connecting with other people helps fulfill us. Men, especially as they get older and reach a certain amount of success, don't need the same kind of support network. They're good at being social in a work environment, but perfectly happy to only sporadically get together outside of work with a friend.
Men are more about doing things together and women are more about talking. Having the time to do things requires more effort and more time, than having the time to talk on the phone. Hundreds of years ago, the man's job was to go off and hunt for food. The woman's job was to stay in the homestead and help each other cook and take care of the kids. If we were able to eavesdrop on those conversations, we would've heard the women connecting to each other by complaining about how they need a new mat to sleep on because their husband's snoring is keeping them up. On the other hand, the men's conversations might be mostly about which animal they should kill for food and once in a while someone yelling: "Run, the lions are after us."
The need for women to have social connections is probably why within a married couple, it's usually the woman who makes the plans to go out and connect with other couples. I can count on one hand the times my father made plans for my parents to do something with other people. Actually, I don't even need fingers, the answer is zero. When my parents got married over 55 years ago, that was the norm, but things really haven't changed that much. Recently my husband set up a dinner with a work associate and his wife. I was shocked and genuinely pleased that he made this effort because in 25 years he may have done this twice. The only thing I wished was that he hadn't forgotten until the night before to tell me about it, but I'll take what I can get.
The important thing in a marriage is to understand the differences between the two of you, and how each partner brings something different to the table. As women we can understand that our husbands may leave the more entertaining parts of themselves at work, but we can also make them understand that it's not okay to completely shut that part off when they're with us. My husband may forget at times to show me his entertaining side, but he's kind and generous and loves talking to me, which was the most important thing on my list when looking for a husband. He's also finally throwing those Gatorade bottles away, so I'm a happy girl.