Since we moved to the Eastern part of Washington, we have heated our home with wood. This is certainly a good idea economically (it saves us $1000 to $1500 a year), but there is another advantage: it makes me feel like a man. I drop a tree, haul it home, cut, chop, and stack it. Then there is the daily building and maintaining of a fire to keep the home warm. All of this feels very manly. Moving the control on the thermostat or paying a heating bill does not make me feel manly.
I think men are hard-wired to need to do manly things to care for their family. Things like building a home, cutting your own firewood, hunting, fishing, bringing in a crop, and so on. It is all hard work, and we ache for it, but it makes us feel right; it makes us feel like we are being good husbands and fathers.
Thing is, it is less and less common for a man to be able to do these things. That leaves a vacuum, and men do some odd things to fill that need. I think things like spending way too much time and money on fishing, or trying to make the lawn look like a golf course are examples of this. I think obsession with sports is also an example of this (sports is just war with fewer deaths).
Do women have a similar need that is difficult to fill in our modern world? I suspect they do. Perhaps “retail therapy” is an attempt to fill that need.
The point here is that your guy lives in a world that does not always appreciate his being male, and does not give him many good ways to express his masculinity. You can help by making a point of appreciating him when he does manly things, and by being understanding (within reason) when he wants to build, destroy, or shoot something.
~ Paul – an XY wood cutting machine.