Husbands 101 – Part 1

   Okay, so now you have a husband. The courting is over, the spectacle of the wedding is a collection of pictures in an album – maybe a box – that struggles for a place to be and the honeymoon is a fading memory. So, now what?
There is something that comes next, the Marriage! Wife’s you now have a husband and he is nothing like a boyfriend and barely resembles a groom. Older couples or friends that have been married for a while or even those unlucky folks that have gone through divorces are sniggering behind your back waiting for that moment when you realize that “the honeymoon is over” – wow that is a really cliche phrase but man is it appropriate.
I am writing this mostly for wives that are trying to figure out their husbands and for those insightful husbands that are trying to figure out why they do so many things that annoy their wives. First off, I do not have an alphabet soup after my name, I would not call myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination and my marriage is not perfect.
What are you going to find in these words? Maybe some insight to your other half, perhaps some advice you needed to hear or even some homework that will improve your marriage.

Part one of this random blog series is going to focus on a basic understanding of men.

     Now first and foremost. MEN AND WOMEN ARE DIFFERENT! While we have some similarities (like being human) we have more differences. Men and women are emotionally wired differently, see the world through different lenses and – watch out this one will piss folks off – are better suited to do and process different things.
I also need to get this out of the way too… Stop thinking that the images and portrayals of husbands on TV, in movies and in books is even remotely close to the mad you are married to. We – speaking as a married man – are not by default idiots, helpless lumps, incapable of simplest tasks or unwilling to help around the house. Warning — if you treat us like a character on TV we WILL start acting like one and that is unhealthy for both of us.

     What are men – other than adult human beings with penises ? What is the nature of men? What makes us tick? Honestly, I don’t think a single blog post will be able to answer those questions, but I think I can chip away at some answers.

      First – and this is all over the place, you may have heard this from a friend or even a therapist – husbands by nature are FIXERS. Does that mean that every man you come across can fix the alternator in your car, fix the kitchen sink or build that new addition you have been asking for? Nope, it means that when we hear you in distress – our interpretation of you being in distress not yours – we are going to stop everything to find a solution for the problem. Specifically your problem. Why? Because this is how we SHOW you that we love you.  Fixing your problems make us feel like we are doing our best for you, that we are making your life easier, better and by extension happier.

     One of the best and worst comparisons is that husbands are like dogs. The moment you acknowledge us our entire existence is now focused on doing something to make you happy. For husbands that is listening for the problem, when we hear the problem we are going to try to solve the problem.

     That doesn’t sound to bad, does it? Having someone that loves you so much that all they want to do is solve your problems and “make” you happy.

     Yet, this primary trait of husbands is usually the first thing that will drive their wives nuts. How many times have you heard a wife say, “Why doesn’t he just listen to me?” or “Why doesn’t he let me finish speaking before jumping in to the middle of my thought?” Well, the answer is that we are looking for the problem and when we hear the problem we start trying to solve it.

     Am I saying that you are just going to have to understand that this is who we are and deal with it? Not exactly. If wives want a different engagement or experience in communicating with their husbands they need to approach things a little differently. You need to give us verbal clues to what you need from us and unfortunately they need to be pretty explicit.

     For example if you have had a bad day and you just need to vent about it – and you are not looking for us to make it better – you need to tell us to not solve the problem. Say something like, “I had a really tough day, could you just listen while I tell you about it.”

     Now husbands – guys – you need to understand that why your wife asks you to listen that the problem is “I need someone safe to listen to me” and that to fix it, just listen, be supportive with simple responses and DON’T offer any advice.

     I should have said that before you (wives and husbands) try something new like using these key phrases then you MUST have an honest conversation so that both parties understand what is meant when those phrases are used. Think of them as code words that need to be agreed upon before use. If things on the communication front have not reached a shooting war these “code words” can almost become a game, add some silly to the serious and before long it will be second nature and the pit fall will be avoided and it you will have laid the foundation of an open and honest dialog tools that prevent many misunderstandings.

             Good luck and happy marriages.

Part 2 will be forth coming…

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