Note to all women about to read this article:
There's nothing here that would interest you. We men will just talk amongst ourselves as you make your way to another page. Maybe we'll share a nice cup of cappuccino while we wait. You know, get in touch with our feelings and all.
Are they gone? Good. This meeting of the Loyal Order of Confused Guys, Lodge No. 6723, will now come to order.
Guys, we have a problem. Everywhere we turn, society is telling us we need to become more "womanlike" in order to relate better to women. You can't watch a TV show or read a story to your kids without seeing some doofus husband totally mess up his marriage and family before his wife swoops in and saves the day with her superior relational skills. Even in the workplace, guys are considered cavemen when we don't relate to women the way other women do. Basically, guys are considered inferior just for being, well, guys.
Sure, we'd all agree that men and women approach life and relationships differently: Men just want to get the job done—focusing on tasks and goals. Meanwhile, women are intensely interested in the process of getting there. But who decided that the female approach is the correct one and that men are just a bunch of sex-crazed, relationally impaired bozos?
To find some answers, I rounded up four of the most regular married guys I know—Doug, Jim, John and Keith—each married at least ten years. We spent the better part of a Saturday morning hammering away at this problem. Not only did we reject the "men need to become women" idea, we also came up with a Guy Manifesto that made sense even when I read it to my wife.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let's agree that popular culture, and even some Christian authors and speakers, are sending men a one-sided message: namely, that we need women to give us a clue.
"We're being sold a bill of goods," says Keith, a graphic designer. "For years, I just went along with it. Then all of a sudden I said, 'How come nobody's up there telling women that it's not so important to talk about the process?' Why does that sound absurd, but telling men they need to change sounds reasonable? I'm not saying I don't want to understand my wife better. But why are we being told that we've all got to move over to the women's side and communicate like them?"
Counselor H. Norman Wright, the highly regarded author of scads of books on Christian marriage, agrees that men don't have to turn into women. But he does feel we need to step outside of our male nature from time to time.
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