“God’s purpose for man is to acquire a seeing eye and an understanding heart.” – Rumi
If we want to have amazing relationships with men, we need to understand men a little better. (And yes, if men want to have thriving relationships with women. It would help them immensely if they understood more about women as well.)
Many of the problems inside our most intimate relationships stem from the lack of understanding about one another: what drives each of us, what wounds we each carry, how we think, feel and react, to name a few.
Here’s an example:
As women, we crave connection. And when we feel disconnected from our partners, we begin to lose that lovin’ feeling.
Men, in general, don’t crave connection as we do. Think about it:
- They have been socialized to not have – and certainly not share – their feelings.
- They often don’t have the community / close friendships around them that women do.
- Men don’t talk to connect; they talk when there’s a problem to be solved or to share something they’re interested in (music, sports, work, etc).
- As women, we hug our friends and family when we see them and we might have little ones hanging onto us constantly. Men, on the other hand, might go weeks with no physical touch if their wife isn’t touching them and they don’t have young children at home. (They used to shake hands, but now I guess we’ve got to fist bump instead.)
- When women are struggling, we reach out for help. Men don’t readily do that. They usually stuff it down and pretend to ignore it or they power right through it.
They’ve essentially been taught that being a “strong man” means you don’t need anyone for anything. You don’t show struggle. You certainly don’t acknowledge fears or feelings.
The More I Understand Men…
I used to jokingly say that I wanted to come back in my next life as a guy – because from my (previous) vantage point, it looked like men had it so much easier than women. But I’m not so sure about that now…
Being a man who has to pretend to not need connection, people and community would feel pretty isolating to me.
A man who has to not feel in order for him to not be judged (by either himself or others) as weak, would feel inauthentic and like a heavyweight I had to carry.
Being a man who has to pretend that he has it all together, has all the answers and can never need help from others must be exhausting.
I’m taking the time to learn all that I can about men – because I think when I understand men, it makes it easier to be in a relationship with them.
For sure this helps my clients understand their husbands better…but it’s also helping me understand my own husband more and our marriage is closer as a result.
Sure, we could take the approach that: “He should understand me and want to engage with me in the way I want him to,” but where’s that gotten us, ladies?
When you’re ready to stop beating your head against that wall, let me know.