I stand before you with a confession to make. I’ve been caught red handed and I am GUILTY. Myself along with some other men aren’t guilty of cheating or infidelity, but we stand before you guilty of being men that actually have FEELINGS. We stand before you guilty of desiring a little appreciation from our women without it turning into a competition of who did what and why. Okay let me back up a step….last week I posted a blog entitled MEN ARE SENSITIVE!!!! 4 Ways You May Be Hurting His Feelings! Although the overwhelming response was one of appreciation for the insight, I couldn’t help but notice how for many instead of trying to understand, the piece automatically turned into a competitive sport and a tit for tat BLAME GAME. Here is my reasoning for writing this follow up.
Somewhere along the way, relationships became more about criticism and competition than about care and compassion. Somehow, accusing and convicting became more important than appreciating and communicating.
We went from “wanting to do for one another” to “why should we have to do for one another?” Saying “thank you” became an undeserving task because the effort that he or she puts into pleasing you and the family is “what he or she is SUPPOSSED to do.” SO WHAT! We teach our children to always say please and thank you because it’s the right and nice thing to do…does that just disappear when people turn into adults?
Oh, and forget serving one another because it makes you a “weak woman” if you fix him his plate and bring it to him because he has two hands just like you do right? Then it makes you a soft and sprung man if you decide spending time with and serving your wife and kids is more important than the game on Saturday or the video games on Thursday because of course “ain’t no woman telling you what to do,” right? Accountability…what’s that? Because of course it’s never your fault because if only women would do this and men would do that then things would be different. Because of course you are perfect and your mate is imperfect, but you made the CHOICE to marry them in spite of their imperfections, but their imperfections are why you are so frustrated right now. Oh I see…..I get it now.
There are a million relationship books in the world all with the goal of helping men and women further understand each other. The irony is that we can read them all day long but if the insight we find doesn’t match with what we want to believe to be true, then we discredit the information and say things like “well why should he think that way?” or “ Well I wouldn’t do it that way” or “he or she should just know!”
Your husband or wife expresses how something makes them feel and instead of listening and meeting them where they are, we question their feelings and attempt to bring the conversation back to ourselves. Sometimes we have to understand that it’s not about understanding the why and understanding what is. Sometimes he isn’t right and she isn’t wrong they’re just different.
Communicating is more about listening than talking but at times we forget this because we are more concerned with being right than with being happy. Sometimes we must step outside of ourselves and TRULY seek to understand how our mates need to be loved instead of trying to convert each other to our way of thinking. Sometimes a part of us must take a side step so that our relationships and marriages can thrive.
I believe the single biggest culprit in the breakdown of our marriages is selfishness over selflessness. As husbands and wives we have to be willing to admit that we need each other and we have to be willing to serve one another. We have to stop competing for leverage of who needs who less and embrace who can serve each other the most. It doesn’t make you weak to appreciate your mate and it doesn’t make you strong by emphasizing that you don’t need him or her either. The truth is that no one wants to feel like an accessory in their mate’s life and everyone wants to feel a little appreciation. It’s not the “what about me?” mentality that will help our marriages thrive it’s the “what about WE?” mentality that will do so.
Moral of the story is simple: Change your mentality to one that seeks to serve and understand because it’s bigger than you.