One Man’s Marriage Advice to Women

One Man’s Marriage Advice to Women

man's marriage advice to women

Ladies, I write to you as a man with the hope of helping you to understand how many men function in relationships, on behalf of men everywhere.  We need your patience.  We weren’t taught these relationship skills, and most likely, we have not witnessed them in action. This is new to us, but we are willing to learn.  So please, if you can, give us a chance to catch up.

My Identity as a Man

First and foremost, our identity as a man comes from how we were raised in our culture, and from our childhood. My identity as a man is core to my existence. Click To Tweet

To us, a man is competent, competitive and independent.

Our role models are self-sufficient, performance based, providers and fixers. And of course, we all know that “real men don’t cry.”

How men typically manage relationships

There’s a strong possibility that we learned to manage relationships with anger, threats to leave, or by being logical and therefore (always) “right.” Our ability to function in the realm of emotions is very stunted. (Think John Wayne or Brad Pitt.)

We are not making excuses–these are facts.  As men, we must work on personal insight and personal responsibility to move towards relational maturity, and you need to know where our limitations lie.

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Why men respond the way they do

If you come to us with intense emotions, if you attack our identity and self-respect as a man, we will not respond well. We will flee into our defense mechanisms: anger, logic, withdrawal or retaliation. This will obviously only push us further apart.  And while we need to take responsibility for our own defense mechanisms, we ask that you also take responsibility when you make it difficult to communicate with you and show up for you.

If you come to us with intense emotions, if you attack our identity and self-respect as a man, we will not respond well.  We will flee into our defense mechanisms: anger, logic, withdrawal or retaliation. This will obviously only push us further apart.

How women can communicate their needs with men

We need you to come to us with an explanation of your needs without accusation.  We need you to come to us assertively, and help us understand the fact that we are failing to listen and to “get it” in terms of what you need.

We need you to tell us what you need in a very firm manner, but without telling us we’re failures. We need you to come to us with your feelings of frustration, rather that stuffing them into an accumulating resentment that you hide from us, and then stun us with your statements of “I don’t love you anymore.”  We need you to move beyond the myths like “if he loved me; he would know what I need,” or “it has no value if I had to tell you to do this for me.”  We have no mind reading skills, and we are not skilled in successfully interpreting your moods or body language.

Tell us what you need in a very firm manner, without telling us we're failures. Click To Tweet We need you to come to us with your feelings of frustration, rather that stuffing them into an accumulating resentment that you hide from us, and then stun us with your statements of “I don’t love you anymore.”

We need you to move beyond the myths like “if he loved me; he would know what I need,” or “it has no value if I had to tell you to do this for me.”

We have no mind reading skills, and we are not skilled in successfully interpreting your moods or body language.

If we come to understand our relational failures late in our relationship, we ask your grace to allow us to grow to be the men we can be and the husbands you need us to be.  Just give us a chance.  If we don’t listen to you, put the relationship at risk BEFORE you walk out.

Let us know exactly what will happen before both of us are so beaten down and exhausted that we feel hopeless and the relationship is truly doomed.  Move out of the bedroom, go see a therapist, throw down the gauntlet.  But do these things respectfully and with compassion so your message gets past our defenses.  Truly, we want to be better husbands. We want to love you and be loved by you.  We just have a lot more relational maturing to do.

**A note from Kim Bowen to women: Ladies, are you going all emotional on your man?  Stop and think if you are really approaching him in a way that undermines his manhood.  If you are, you will most likely never get from him what you need and want most.  What you are doing isn’t working for you.  It never will.  We can help EMPOWER you by teaching you how to be heard.  Really heard.  Not tolerated. Not minimized.  Not brushed aside as a “nut job” because your emotions got the best of you.  You do not have to go BIG to be heard.

About Dan Umphress:

Dan understands the feelings of helplessness and fear that come when your spouse wants out of the marriage, and he can relate to your struggle on a deeply personal level. He knows the pain of going through an unwanted divorce, but he also knows how to recover from the experience and has now been happily married for 14 years.

Dan believes in the importance of saving a marriage whenever possible, and building a happy life upon the renewed marriage, or the life that can be found on the other side of a marriage that could not be saved.  He has many years of experience working as a marriage and family counselor in the Dallas area.

One man’s marriage advice to women.

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5 thoughts on “One Man’s Marriage Advice to Women

  1. Why is it always the woman’s responsibility? Men are so often “explained away” as that’s just the way they are so women you gotta do the heavy lifting in your relationship. Why can’t we be the way we are and have men understand for once?

    1. Hi Kim…Thanks for taking the time to read and respond. When I first read this article, I was concerned some women might feel this was the message. But it really isn’t…it is about learning what communication style works. I do not believe women should do the heavy lifting, but it often FEELS that way when we keep asking for what we need but nothing happens on the other end. One of the things you have to consider is whether you are asking in a way that your spouse can more easily respond. And that is true of every relationship we have. I am learning this same lesson as I parent teenagers. How can I say what I need in a way that is most effective in getting me what I want? Preferably without killing them. 🙂

      1. Thank you for that perspective! I had the same feeling after reading this, why do we have to do all the heavy lifting, after reading your reply, it gave me a different outlook.

  2. My wife filed for divorce quite recently. I really wish she had read this a few years back when we were struggling to communicate…
    From my perspective as a man, this really summarizes the communication issues that my wife and I experienced in our marriage. I failed to be responsive and I struggled to understand why it was so hard to relate/listen/empathize. I know that I would be better now if I could try it all again but unfortunately that’s now how things work.
    I’m sad to say that I feel that the female therapist we worked for several months was not nearly this articulate or understanding of the male psyche. Maybe if we’d worked with a male therapist or this guy, my wife could have gained a perspective on how we both played a role – rather than just feeling there was something wrong with me…
    thanks!

  3. Wow. This is so good. Thank you, Dan, for giving us women a clearer understanding of what it is to be a man in a relationship.

    I work with couples and have found that men really do want to please their wives and care deeply, but a lot of the message gets lost in poor communication and defense systems.

    Will pass this along.

    Grateful!