Men Are Not Emotional Like Women…
“Men are not emotional like women.” “I can’t associate with my wife, she is too emotional…”
I find it funny that both men and women ask me these things as if I were a marriage counselor, as if I was a great husband ( I can hear Teresa laughing…). I have not even read that Men are From Mars book! However, what I do have is lots of experience messing up and neglecting a fragile marriage, and even more experience cultivating a strong marriage built on trust, communication and centered on Jesus – yes both with the same woman. Oh my marriage is not perfect, we still bicker and argue, we still get upset with each other but at the end of the day my wife knows me, and I know her – we can associate with each other.
So I have a question for the men with regard to the quotes I lead off with…Do you ever say things like that? I admit I used to. I was wrong to think this way. All I accomplished in holding to this view was shutting off from my wife, and inciting her anger, or making her sad and depressed. Men, we are emotional beings. Sorry to break it to you. When the money gets tight my wife wants to talk about it, devise plans, and connect with me. She wants to know that we are on the same page. I just want to withdraw be alone. This is an example of how it used to be…
Her: I have a great idea about saving us some money ,(and I fade out until I hear her say something like)…no more beer…
Me:”uh-huh…” while I read a book, or play a video game, or watch tv, or retreat to the garage to work on something.
Oh? Same thing for you? Really…. That is how we are wired. Men and women are both emotional, we just deal with things differently. We all have the same emotions; We feel anger, we feel love, we fear, we get stressed, we just deal with them in different ways. But that is not a good excuse for withdrawing and neglecting your wife. I don’t know about you but my wife thrives on intimacy. She wants me to know her. She wants to know me. She wants me to open up. She wants me to be warm and caring. She wants me to listen to her and be straightforward and honest when we talk (and yes she wants to talk). How about your wife? Or have you tuned me out as well? Ok then… ladies, is this what you want from your husband? 🙂 My wife wants to know me and she wants to be known by me.
Do you think of marriage as simply a job? You know, man does his job, he goes to work and works hard to bring in the money and the wife does her job keeping a house, cooking and cleaning, raising the kids… and there’s no emotional connection between you?
I know some guys (if they are still reading) are thinking something like, “But that is ok, that is what God ordained for us isn’t it? I don’t abuse her, I don’t hit her, I don’t raise my voice to her, I don’t…”
True. But you also didn’t encourage her, or listen to her, or give the time of day.
My wife needs me to validate her emotions. She also needs me to be strong for her. So I have a very thin line to walk. And sometimes I still fail her on occasion, but it is not like it used to be! And when I do fail, I have to repent, not just to God… to her as well. If you have failed your wife in this area, you need to repent. I see so many women who are depressed, or on antidepressants, and sometimes I wonder if the problem is just the husband’s lack of interest in her, or lack of enthusiasm for their relationship, or the husbands laziness in providing in some way. Yes that is an overgeneralization, and I am not trying to be insensitive to those who are genuinely struggling with depression. My point is that when we as men love, connect, and accept that we are emotional as well; our marriage will be strengthened as our wives feelings are validated.
It was not easy to change, I had to pray, and devote myself to God and my wife completely. I had to rely on the strength of Christ. It took a lot of discipline and discipleship, and it will take a lot more to get where I need to be in my relationship with her.
I am not a doctor or a counsellor, like I said, but I do know what it is like to be at both ends of the marriage spectrum. And I know what caused the rift between my wife and me. When I turned off the video games, TV, put down the newspaper and opened up, and learned to connect, my marriage became refreshing, it became invigorating!
I am not fond of psychobabble, but I think this particular topic is important, since I have lived it!
1 Peter 3:7
In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat her with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. If you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not be heard.