Men’s self-confidence and feelings have been a topic that has been avoided or overlooked for years because men who shared their feeling were weak. That is what I’ve heard from many men over the years. If you shared your feelings or got emotional both women and men would say you were weak.
The only safe environment where I saw men vulnerable was at a men’s church retreat, in all other settings it was taboo for show emotions or even cry. Why is that? I can remember being told as a boy growing up by several male figures in my life that men had to be tough and It was better to just stuff my emotions especially if they were negative and were accompanied by tears. There are many negative side effects of teaching boys that philosophy like almost 50 percent of married couples in the US will get divorced. Many marriages have domestic violence happening to men women and children.
I believe we can lower the percentages of divorce and domestic violence if we will begin to train men as young adults to process their feelings and give both men and women tools to be better communicators. Imagine a couple who may be having a disagreement being able to so effectively communicate that they resolve issues in the first conversation.
Now is the time for community centers, high schools, and colleges to start offering these classes and courses.
I learned some skills and tools of talking about my feelings good and bad five years ago at a weekend workshop and it has made a huge difference in my marriage. Tools like prefacing a difficult conversation with your spouse with ” what I’m going to say may upset you” or even asking simple questions of your spouse “if you could have our marriage be any way what does that look like for you?
By simply asking permission, focusing on keeping harmony in the marriage, and becoming a good listener we can eliminate most disagreements before they ever escalate to finger-pointing and blaming. Communication and confirmation is the key.
Another powerful tool is to visualize your wedding day every morning and remembering how you felt to be starting this new adventure with the love of your life.
A famous author said once that couple should communicate like they were confirming an order at your favorite fast-food restaurant. It goes something like this, Jill who is a housewife says to her husband “honey when you come home and ask me what I did all-day it makes me feel as if you don’t value the role I play in raising our kids and taking care of the home”. Ben replies “so what I hear you say is that when I come home from work and I say to you what did you do all day you feel devalued as a wife and mother”, is that correct? Respectful compassionate communication is the key.
By talking about it the first time it happens you prevent what I call the volcano from erupting. You know how gasses and pressure build up in a volcano and eventually erupts by spewing ash and lava everywhere. Some of you may remember when Mount St Helens.erupted it caused a lot of damage all around the mountain and just like Mount St Helens the eruption of a husband who has stuffed his emotion for years will do a lot of damage to a marriage.
I hope some of these tools have been helpful to you. Please leave a comment with the experiences and communication tools you have used in your marriage.
Have a great week!