"It's very hard being a man!", says TD Jakes in his teaching series HeMotions. Yesterday was International men's day and incidentally it just passed like that. No much brouhaha....no mention, no gifts, no nothing, in short, we got the silent treatment! Okay, wait, let's try and play back to March 8th and feel the energy that surrounds this day. The campaign for this day starts on the 3rd week of February just after the Valentine's day and the world has to take note of the larger gender within the human race.
How about the men?
Let me speak for us and I might step on your toes just a little bit which is okay for today, because we are stepped on by everyone every single day and we are not expected to complain or voice it out...including yesterday.
Well, for starters, we are men. We get to pee while standing, we can walk bare chested and it won't be considered as nudity, we don't have menses, we will never be pregnant and because we are physically endowed with more strength than the ladies, then it should only be natural that men develop a thick skin and absorb everything. I heard one lady frown at the thought that men should be allowed to express their emotions. She described them as, 'cup cake men with no spine'.
Now when we remain logical, because that is our default wiring, we are accused of being insensitive to the needs of our women. When you as a man try to adapt and adjust and show some vulnerability by expressing how you feel, your inner battles and struggles, you are labeled and branded a sissy. No wonder right from an early age, our own mothers would reprimand us for crying. "Nyamaza, wavulana hawalii!" (Shut up! Boys, don't cry!) Then we are surprised as to why we have a generation of closed up men who don't open up to their girlfriends and wives or the other extreme are men who are predisposed to violence because that is the only outlet of emotion that they know.
Let's take a peek into the scary world of a man.
MEN ARE AFRAID - All men are afraid! Any man who tells you that he is NOT afraid of something or someone is a liar and should have an immediate psychiatric evaluation because he is a danger to himself and to the people around them. Growing up as a boy, you fear being taunted by your peers and so you get into a few fights hear and there to mark your territory and earn a name. When you begin to notice girls, you want to make a move but then again you fear being rejected, that's why that guy could be taking long and making his stand known in that relationship. A gentle nudge, perhaps could help if you have such a guy. We fear failing in business and that explains why your husband is dreading taking that loan or is making very meticulous plans and contingencies just to ensure that he doesn't fail in his business because he can't stand the thought of losing.
All men dread 'that day!' if it will ever come when they will be unable to 'rise up to the occasion'. Sexual virility is such an important part of any honest man's psyche. It would kill him to imagine that he won't be able to:
Get an erection,
Sustain it for nth minutes...
We want to die and be with our erection intact and fully functional! That is why we have all sorts of drugs that attempt to boost our testosterone levels. We want to be there and stay there.
Don't look down on your man if you sense that he is afraid. Affirm him and massage his ego because all men thrive on encouragement.We fight many battles almost everyday and so the home is our place where we can recharge to go and conquer again in the battle field. Too bad, many men are tortured by their wives just because they are performing below par and hence, this pushes them to drugs and other women where they can find some solace and hide from the reality that confronts them. Well, that is debatable, one might argue and bring in the element of choice. Yes, a man has the power to decide what to do or not to that will be detrimental to himself and his family, but how about you try being a good catalyst, remember you are his suitable helper.
ALL MEN LIE - Ooops! Did i just let the cat out of the bag? We lie all the time that everything is okay and yet we know that our world is plummeting at an astronomical rate. We lie because we don't trust you our women. Our fears make us lie to you our women because we believe that you might not be able to handle the truth. I know, it's not supposed to be like that, but hey we can't just walk up to you and tell you the whole blatant truth about everything, you might get a cardiac arrest. At times the lie is a self prophetic determination of an anticipated future. I will manufacture this lie that is a far cry from my current reality in the hope that by the time you are about to catch me in my antics, the lie and I will have conspired to evolve into that reality that I told you yesterday. We lie because we are afraid of a bad name and a bad reception due to your perception of us. We lie to pacify, we lie to get ahead in anything, I mean just take a look at these elections of course dominated by men and tell me how much truth has been displayed. We lie to protect and unfortunately we are not good at it. Few men have perfected the art of telling a lie and actually living a lie based on falsetto facts that actually go a long way.
It is interesting to note that we know that a lie is like a house of cards but we still lie because our nagging ego can't stand the truth...Most of us want to escape from the truth.
Part of what you could do is stop the pressure if you are giving him and then create a safe space for him to be able to be himself. It may take time, but it works. Wives, turn your pressure into motivation by learning what works for him. You may nail this through trial and error, but eventually you will get his script and when you run with it, you yield stellar results. Move from the valley of doubt and skepticism and build a mountain of hope.
AMBITION - We are all laced with ambition. The insane drive to succeed cannot be measured in emotional units. Good or evil, we want to succeed. A pick pocket has intentions of building his portfolio into a con artist just as a small kiosk owner wants to own a gigantic hypermarket. That would explain why some of your men are workaholics and absentee fathers to your children. So, you begin to sense the void in your marriage and in the home and you mention it hoping that he will listen to you, wrong! At that time, the dude has no clue as to what you are saying. His linear mind is thinking, provision, security and future for my family. Your emotional heart is feeling lonely and hence your mind is thinking, "My man doesn't care about me, I'm lonely and I feel rejected". If you are extremely paranoid, you will suspect him of cheating on you even without a scintilla of evidence. You will soon degenerate into a nagging wife and keep ranting at his clueless pursuit. Is it working....? No...so be smart, it's time to change tact.
Wife, don't fight him, learn to fight with him in his battles. Get to learn his world, read about it, show interest and concern about his career, business or ministry and it is in that space that you can now engage him because you have his attention. He can listen to the things that matter to you, because you first showed a genuine desire to know what goes on in his world. Now the two of you can build an empire without crashing.
Remember, this, we don't like emotional clutter and verbal emissions that come from a place that we cannot relate with.
To the men....
Learn to celebrate yourself and treat yourself right. Don't wait expect to be appreciated by anyone because it may never come. The world is harsh on us and hey we must just accept and move on. I'm told in America, it is Women first, then children, animals and plants and men come a distant fourth or fifth depending on how you want to look at it.
Something to be proud of...the top 10 CEOs in the world are men and the top 10 richest people in the world are men...I think there is something that we are doing right. Granted, a few men have soiled our name, but a good number of us are responsible hard workers and we have an idea of what we are doing or what we want out of this life. If you have a good woman who loves you and supports you, go ahead and be the best you can be for her and treat her as an ally and build this life together.
If you have an emotional specimen that tears you apart at every instance, it's time to practice the love of Christ that is sacrificial. Cherish her and woo her back. Pray for her and ask God to give you grace and wisdom on how to handle your woman because she is still your wife at the end of the day.