For a while now some of us have thought it might be useful to have a chat about blokes and some things that perhaps are not well understood or create confusion. As you can see I’ve added a “Part 1” to this post hoping that this may be the first in a series of occasional posts and not necessarily all written by me.
I hope this first post may perhaps create some conversation. I’d prefer to respond to specific questions that may be on a few of our minds rather than run off on a tangent that may not be very relevant. So this post will be a little general in nature to get us started.
Perhaps to start let me introduce myself for some of you who may be newish to SUM and don’t really know me so that you have a good picture in your mind of who is writing this post. I’m in my early fifties, lived all my life in Sydney, Australia. I’m married to Fiona and have twenty-something sons, the eldest of whom is married with a nine-month old son.
I spent 25 years in the Corporate world working for big companies and now work for myself as a strategy consultant and author. I’ve been an active member of SUM since 2012 and have been writing regular posts for over two years.
We all desire to be significant. For men how we go about satisfying our need for significance will differ. There are the usual suspects: job, power/status/fame, material trinkets, recognition amongst peers (could be at the golf club), standing within the home, knowledge, etc.
For many of us in our 20s, 30s, 40s we are driven to succeed. I was. So we feel significant. And/or to prove something to someone, for example, our parents, our spouses, our siblings, friends.
I haven’t found many men contemplating the questions of “who am I” or “Why do I exist” before they turn 40. It’s like we’re on auto-pilot and our drivenness keeps us motoring on. Unfortunately, it’s often the bumps in the road (eg, retrenchment, sickness) where we suddenly discover the yearning inside us that simply never gets satisfied by anything. Yes, nothing will satisfy this yearning. But God.
That’s how He made us. With a hole in our heart that only He can fill. (that is someone else’s statement I just can’t remember whose)
If you’re finding your husband has become especially irritable or grumpy and this lasts for a period of time, you may find it’s because he’s struggling with something to do with his significance. Perhaps something’s happened at work where he’s been looked over or his annual review didn’t go as well as he expected. Often these things all come back to this. And he may not realise it.
Be gentle and encourage him to share his feelings. Yes, I know we’re often not good at doing this at first. But teach him. And it’s likely to take time. That is why Date night is so important. Not just to have fun together but to talk. And not just about the kids. I know it’s hard because there’s always so much going on but isolating time for the two of you is really important to a healthy relationship.
Generally, men’s drivenness comes from their desire to fulfil their mission, their purpose. His marriage and its intimacy (and I’m not just talking about sex) is one aspect of life for a man. If, and I’m sure many of you have experienced this, your bloke is fully absorbed in his purpose, he may well be a little absent in your relationship. I was often in my corporate life.
Generally, for women relationships are more important because they fill their core. Love, intimacy, conversation, are very important.
Many of you will have heard me say a few times that for many men their wife is their best friend and sometimes only real friend of any substance. And that’s why spending lots of time elsewhere, eg, church activities, can be challenging for your man. Simply because it’s a part of your life that he has no part in (and often doesn’t have an interest in) Strangely, I’m going through the same thing with Fi. I’m doing some work at church and going back to study (part-time) and Fi has commented that a larger part of my life will be taken up with something that she doesn’t have an interest in.
I’m going to stop there. Much of what I’ve written may be old hat for many of you but I hope at the very least it may serve to prompt a discussion between all of us (I’m no expert here). If there are any other matters, eg, being dad, etc, let me know and I can feature them in a future post.
Grace and peace, dear friends.