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.
I hate to look wrong in the eyes of my beautiful wife. I know she knows I am not perfect, but I want to look as good as possible to her. Most men are this way, and as far as I can tell it is a much bigger pride issue for husbands than it is for wives.
This desire/fear results in men doing some stupid things. The classic example is the guy who will not stop and ask for directions because that would be admitting he is lost. So, he drives until he finds a clue – or gets lucky.
This fear is also why asking your husband about something can result in him burying you with reasons why he did or did not do something, or why he should or should not do something. If he perceives the question as an accusation of being wrong, he reacts by trying to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is right. I have done this because of Lori saying, “Why did you do it that way?” Turns out she asks that kind of question to get involved, to open communication with me. But I use to perceive it wrong, and beat her down with a storm of defensive words.
You may be able to avoid some of this if you communicate differently. If he hears curiosity rather than doubt or accusation, he will be less defensive. Try, “Interesting, I’d have done such and such, but your way works too.” You could also toss in a bit of flattery – something like “How did you think of such a clever way to do that?” or “That’s very creative, what made you think to do it that way?”
Yes, I know your girlfriends do not need these extra words to understand you, but then they do not have that pesky Y chromosome.
~ Paul – XY and mildly hearing impaired.
By the Way: If you want to know more about us, check out our bio.
The goal of this blog is to explain to women what their husbands think and feel, and why they do what they do. However:
- This does not mean his way is right.
- It does not mean your way is wrong.
- Explaining in no way excuses or justifies any sin.
- Neither does it free him from the consequences of his choices.
What explaining can do:
- Equip you to reason with him.
- Make it easier for you to explain things in a way he will understand.
- Allow you to share your wants and needs more effectively.
- Give you opportunities to bless him.
- Make it more likely the two of you can work out problems.
In short, the better you understand him, the easier both of your lives should be.
It will seem at times that I expect you to do what it takes to change your marriage, letting him off the hook. When I talk to men, I focus on what they can do to better their marriage; when I talk to women, I focus on what they can do to better their marriage. I also tell men that the most mature spouse starts the changes…
I look forward to making the male mind a bit less confusing place for you!
~ Paul – XY and loving it!
Welcome to The XY Code!
We’re still putting on the finishing touches, and some of the links don’t work yet, but, you can use the buttons to the right to subscribe by RSS or email.
The XY code is an attempt to explain to women how the male mind works. If you know what he thinks, feels (yes, he has feelings) and desires (it’s not just sex) you will find it easier to share a life with him. The better you understand how God made him, the better you can bless him, and the better you can communicate your needs to him. This blog is not about “telling you what you should be doing for him” – it’s about having a better marriage for both of you. You cannot change him, but you can motivate him to change in ways that make your life easier. You can also learn small things that will make a big difference to him.
The XY code is a joint effort from Paul, aka The Generous Husband and Lori, aka The Generous Wife. Paul will do most of the posts, with Lori editing and saying “You can’t say that” as needed. Lori will be taking part in the comments.
Our intent is to post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We expect to start posting on November 1st.
Hope you will join us!