Yesterday quite a discussion ensued when I attempted to make light of us men. Apparently, this post struck a pretty deep cord with many of you.
The main premise of Simple Marriage is that relationships, specifically important relationships, are a tool designed by God to help refine us and grow us up.
Every relationship has the potential to push, pull, and prod our emotional maturity – and this includes our relationship between me as writer and you as reader.
Your willingness to speak up and share your reaction to what I write – and tell me when you think I’ve blown it – provides me with a tremendous opportunity for growth.
One of the markers for growth is the ability to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses.
Here’s what I know about me:
- I am open enough to hear feedback and react appropriately (most of the time).
- But when I hear reactions I don’t understand or agree with, my tendency is to push or pull away in order to lessen my discomfort.
Since my instinctive reaction is to acknowledge and pull away I want to approach the discussions yesterday head on.
A tremendous tool in creating and improving deeper relationships is the counter-intuitive move – leaning in to the relationship instead of pushing away.
Here’s how I’m leaning in to instead of pushing away . . .
You, the reader, are my most valuable resource.
I want to do more than say, “Sorry” and move on – I want to honor and celebrate what we men do know about women.
Every man alive has at least one intimate relationship with a woman because every man alive has a mother. Women are still the primary shapers of men because women are still the primary caregivers of boys. Add sisters, aunts, cousins, and female friends and it’s easy to see the vast wealth of knowledge and experience that informs men’s knowledge base about women. And this is before the intimate relationship of marriage has even entered the picture.
Whatever you focus on grows – so I want to invite you to focus on answering these questions:
What do I know about women?
How do I communicate with women on a deeper level?
Not just my wife – any women in my life, past or present?
It’s a Hollywood myth that men know how to satisfy a woman’s every desire in bed. So what do you know about being a wonderful lover to the woman you love?
How did you decide to be fully committed to the woman you love? Was it a good example or a bad example that motivated your choice? Is that choice based on something greater than you?
What is the most romantic moment you created for the two of you?
I’ll get things started – Here’s what I know:
I believe woman is the culmination of God’s beauty, tenderness, and love. She is the last thing created in the story of Creation. She is capable of anything she sets her mind to. She longs to be valued and cherished, as well as fought for and pursued.
To communicate with a woman on a deeper level you must listen to her story. Conversations with my mother (and sister) to this day consist of listening to the story, not just the details. The women in my life have sought connection more through stories than brief points. Applying this to my relationship with Pam (who’s not a story-teller) has taught me that she doesn’t want to be fixed, often doesn’t even want the issue being discussed fixed, she simply wants to be heard. To know she has a partner in her life. A knight in shining armor, maybe – but a partner, yes.
What do I know about being a wonderful lover? I’m not going to get too deep into this but over the course of my marriage, two valuable resources have taught me the most. The first is my wife and the second is grad school. Both of us were naive going into the area of our relationship. We learned from each other, but grad school opened us up to our sexuality as a whole, not just sex. Being a wonderful lover involves more than what goes on in bed – a great deal more. Knowing more about anatomy certainly helps while in bed, but don’t forget about being a wonderful lover to a woman’s greatest assets,- her heart and her mind.
Being fully committed to my wife is a life long choice, based largely on my spiritual relationship with God. We’ve both been fortunate to have this commitment modeled to us by our parents and grandparents. But to me, one of the best ways I can honor God and honor my wife is to work to stay with her.
I like to think of myself as a romantic – from weekends away together to pouring a bath surrounded by candles just for her after a rough day. The most romantic moment in my marriage thus far was our trip to the Caribbean last year. This trip sparked our relationship from the time it was planned until a month or so after. While I can still do more in the romance department, coming up with ideas is not an issue. All I have to do is listen.
Part of growing up involves knowing what you know as well as knowing what you don’t know. Every day I’m presented with opportunities to grow and discover more of what I don’t know. The women throughout my life have helped me become the man I am today. And by continuing to learn from the women currently in my life, I can become an even better man.
So fellas, care to join me? And ladies, care to help us by pointing out what we as men don’t know?