Do you struggle with understanding the man in your life at times? As women, we often want to know what makes our men tick, what he is thinking, does he still love me like he use to and the list goes on. Almost 12 years into my marriage and just when I think I have my husband totally figured out, he does something that doesn’t make sense to me at all.
When I met Jeff, I was drawn to his natural ability to have fun in any situation and be “all in” regardless of what we were doing. He also had a knack for being so practical and a steady ability to handle any circumstance that came his way. Someone once told me that the things that attract you to your spouse in the beginning may ultimately be the things that drive you crazy.
I would marry my husband over in a heartbeat, but I won’t lie to you — our differences have been challenging at times. There have been moments when I’ve expected him to fix everything that doesn’t make sense in our marriage: our finances, his job, our families… nd while he’s at it, my unhappiness at the time. There were also moments when I get frustrated with him for not checking in and being forgetful when that was the same fun, “all-in” guy I married just being totally engaged in whatever he was doing at that moment.
It took me some time to realize that it isn’t because my husband doesn’t share my goals and dreams, nor is it because he’s not motivated toward positive growth…. we are simply different. After all of my efforts to fix him, no matter how valid or well intended those endeavors might have been, I’ve learned that they accomplish nothing. No, that would be incorrect; they actually do accomplish something. They succeed in making him feel like less of a man, minimizing his efforts to provide for his family. They make him wonder if he’ll ever be enough or if I’ll ever be proud of him. The more I try to make myself feel secure and safe by pushing him, the less motivated he becomes, the more insecure he feels.
Studies have shown that there are specific differences in man that we as women will always struggle to understand. For starters, a women’s #1 need is to feel loved while a man’s #1 need is RESPECT! Experts have also discovered that there are actually differences in the way women’s and men’s brains are structured and in the way they react to events and stimuli. Men are not able to multi-task as well as women because they compartmentalize their thoughts. We all know that men and women are wired differently, but did you know that the different ways we are wired can actually compliment each other?
In Shaunti Feldhahn’s Book, For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men, she shares the seven revelations of men that helps break this down:
Much of the happiness a woman will achieve in this life will be in direct proportion to how well she understands and engages the man in her life. As women we desire to be pursued, romanced and secure in our relationships, just as men desire to provide for us, be a leader in our home and love us. So what can we do as women to make these differences complement each other? Here are some ideas:
- Encourage & affirm your man DAILY.
- Respect his judgment, abilities & decisions both publicly and privately.
- Create “safe” and “open” environments and don’t rehearse forgiven failures.
- Always allow him to lead.
- Make sex a priority.
- Don’t neglect yourself and make an effort to look good.
What things are you doing to celebrate the differences with your man?
Tracie Nolde lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband, Jeff, and their three children, Camden, Chase and Kennedy.