Yesterday I let the men of The Generous Husband in on a secret… their wife is not a man. The post is Psst… (A secret) if you are interested.
One gentleman emailed me and said, “I think this goes both ways. Good post.”
He has a valid point. My gut reaction is men do this to women more often than the other way around, but maybe that is because I spend more time with groups of men than groups of women. I certainly have seen women do it.
Not treating one’s husband as a man is a good way to generate hard feelings – resulting in open anger, passive aggressive behaviour, or withdrawal. I could give you a list of ways women do this, but instead I want to look at a common problem many men do not even know they have.
If your husband is looking to you to validate his masculinity, you are both in trouble. John Eldredge calls this “taking the question to the woman “, and tells us that it never works out well:
“Masculinity is bestowed. A boy learns who he is and what he’s got from a man, or the company of men… He cannot learn it from other boys, and he cannot learn it from the world of women… Femininity can never bestow masculinity... When a man takes his question to the woman what happens is either addiction or emasculation. Usually both…” [Wild at Heart Revised & Updated: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.]
I have mentioned before that our modern world makes it more difficult for men to feel like men. A man who does not feel like a man is going to act badly – especially to his wife. This is probably an underlying cause of many marriage issues.
Because of this, it is important for your husband to spend time with a group of men who do “manly things”. For the same reason it is critical for your son(s) to spend time with just dad doing things that make him feel manly; things that may make you feel a bit uncomfortable.
The trick here is balance. He has to find a way to get the manly time he needs while still giving his marriage the time it needs. Failing in either direction is bad for him, for you, and for your marriage.
Can you take a moment to do a survey? One of the comments on my reader survey was asking why a man would have a problem with sex when his wife does not “fully enjoy it “. Another of you said she wanted to know about this too. I have written to the men about this before, and should do so again. To help both genders better understand we have a survey on the issue. I will report on this a week from Friday. Thanks!