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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Men won’t understand until they’re interested

It happens in the simple movement of prayer, even as I am perusing, of all things, Twitter. And I stumble across something that confounds most men. It’s just as confounding for women, and frustrating for both genders.
As a husband myself I have been guilty many times of asking my wife to please explain—“just tell me what to do and I will do it”—never quite comprehending that it was my motivation that sucked.
Why on earth would women want to lead a grown man by the hand and spoon feed him?
For him, it’s a case of “I’ll do what you want…” but what he’s really communicating is, “Come on, just make it easy for me. I do want to give you what you want.”
It’s kind of self-defeating. What is really desired is that we would want to understand and not need to be told, because quite frankly there are too many nuances in life to be told every single one. Our wives are asking us to ‘man up’, which is a funny kind of term given that a lot of the time they are living this by example.
It’s like an incredulity that seems spellbindingly obvious.
As one person put it in a message to all partners (men mostly), “In reality, we’ve told you. 4538 times. You don’t see that ‘the thing we’re mad about’ applies in different circumstances. Then you stereotype us about it, because we won’t explain it to you AGAIN.”
The point is unless a person understands why you want them to do something, they can’t agree to the ‘what’, because the why so often dictates the what.
The what changes depending on the why. It’s only when we understand the why that we begin to grasp how to contextualise our attitude and behaviour to all those different circumstances the quote above talks about.
Standing in a wife’s shoes as she looks at a husband who has very minimal commitment, we can see how infuriating it is. So much for the ‘leader’ of the family (taking a complementarian approach).
We can appreciate how tired she is having to go on and on and on about it; and then she is lambasted for nagging! She shouldn’t have to nag. If there was a modicum of genuine interest, understanding might not be a bridge too far! But there is only self-interest and any interest invested in understanding is extrinsic at best. It should not be like this.
Message to self when I’m being a numbskull: she married you because she thought you’d be up for partnership. Partnership is a phenomenon where both parties give more or less equally. It isn’t good enough to throw our hands in the air. If we’re missing something, it’s up to us to dig deeper and be open to learning and stop being lazy.
The moment a pathetic stereotype is created in our minds is the moment it should be quashed before we create it in speech from whence it cannot return—or returns with appropriate disdain.
Our wives should not make it easy for us just because we think that would be best. For who? Ourselves as husbands? No. It’s best for nobody when adults are spoon fed in such a way they cannot sustain their next autonomous decision.
Whenever we’re faced with confounding situations, we’re all tempted to take the easy, lazy route. But it’s not good enough. It never is.
When we genuinely seek to understand, understanding grows.

Photo by Marius Muresan on Unsplash

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