Written by relationships columnist Corey Allan of Simple Marriage.
If you’ve been married beyond the honeymoon phase, then you’re familiar with the ups and downs of married life.
Morning breath, bad hair, and the no make-up, feeling completely unsexy mornings.
What’s interesting is that even when you’ve felt the furthest thing from sexy, your husband likely was still interested in sex. I know, shocker.
I know I am, although I do prefer brushed teeth, to get rid of morning breath.
This is not a stop-the-presses type of comment – but guys are just wired differently.
And even though this may mean there are times when you have to fend off his advances with weapons and “headaches,” the fact that men and women are wired differently is actually a great thing.
You see, it’s not what we don’t have in common that creates the problems – our differences actually create the energy and tension necessary for growth into something better and more meaningful.
It’s all in how you look at it.
Men and women are just different.
They’re designed that way.
But somewhere along the way it seemed like society wanted to blend us into one androgynous creature, where we would have more in common and would be interchangeable in our roles and functions.
A word of clarification- I’m not discussing whether men can stay home while women work, or if one gender has more strengths than the other. I’m simply pointing out that for marriage to work best, men need to be men and women need to be women.
The Nice Guy is best described by a belief that if he is “good” and always does the right thing – even at the sacrifice of his own needs and masculinity – he will be loved, have his needs met, and have an overall smooth and happy life.
But in the long run, both men and women wind up frustrated and isolated when they refuse to grow up and become better men or women.
So rather than spend time with this post trying to get men to be more like women or women to be more like men, let’s focus on each being who we were created to be, only better.
What follows are a few ideas that may help when it comes to relating to your husband. As a side note, I think of myself as a “guy’s guy” so this is from that perspective. And again, every person is wired different, so this won’t apply to every guy.
1. Honor his pragmatic side.
At the core, men are problem solvers. We tend to take great pleasure in solving some issue or problem. Because of this we will often be thinkers, not feelers.
So when it comes to conversing with your husband, you’ll usually get further when you approach him asking what he thinks, not “how do you feel about … ?”
Appeal to his values and his sense of what’s right, rather than his feelings. (Incidentally, this same advice holds true when raising boys. I get farther when I explain to my son about right and wrong than I do when I try to get him to understand how his behaviors affect other’s feelings.)
2. Be cool with guys-only evenings or weekends.
I believe that one of the best things a husband can do for his marriage is have a couple of close male friends he spends time with.
Obviously, if his time with them is spent at the strip club or picking up other women, then he is doing absolutely nothing to help the marriage or you. But when he occasionally gets with the boys to play poker or golf or hunt, do what you can to encourage it.
And again, doing something like this every weekend isn’t going to improve the marriage, but within reason, it will.
He’ll get an outlet for his life, and provided his buddies are good men as well, they will all be better for it. Iron sharpens iron.
3. Don’t think all conversations must be face to face.
Women are usually more comfortable with face to face conversation than men. But even this isn’t always the case.
When you’re in the midst of tough discussions with your spouse, sit beside each other without having to look at each other. This can relieve a bit of the tension and allow the conversation to progress further.
Better still, practice the walk and talk. Take your tense discussions outside and have them while walking together. The combination of the physical movement and the side by side conversation can dramatically decrease the emotion tied to the issue you’re discussing.
Okay ladies, what’d I miss? What helps you when it comes to interacting with your husband?