Wake up Guys!!

Many guys are losing their marriages and they don’t know it.

Gone is the day when a guy can work and “bring home the bacon” and think that he is fulfilling his role as a husband and father. That may have been what Dad did but it’s not enough anymore (and probably wasn’t then either). I’ve seen the pattern many times. A couple is busy with work and children and do not have much time for each other. The relationship goes flat. One partner, often the wife, realizes there is a problem and yet will not speak up for fear of causing trouble or hurting feelings. The other partner (often the husband) is not that unhappy. Often his expectations of a relationship are rather basic. The wife may hint at times that she is down or upset and yet the husband does not get the message. Eventually the wife may believe that her love has died and that there is no hope; she will begin to think of separation. She soon gets to a point where she tells her husband. When a guy hears that his wife does not love him anymore it is usually a great shock.

There may have been talk in the past of getting some counselling; but he was not interested.

He is now. However, it may be too late for his wife.

So, Guys, there are a few ground rules for marriage you might want to keep in mind. The first is to start talking. Many men do not feel the need to chat about their lives and we’ve heard it is fashionable for guys to retreat to their “caves.” Quiet men, however, may have frustrated and lonely wives and over time this can lead to trouble.

Speak out loud about your day and how it affected you. It is not what you did that will interest your mate, rather what your day did to you. You are what is important to her and anything that touched you emotionally will be welcome information to her.

Talking more with a spouse is not “rocket science.” Just think out loud and try to focus on the feelings of the day. You may not feel the need to do this, but it will make her happy. You, also, will like how it feels after you get over the sense that it may be artificial or phoney.

A second suggestion is to change your attitude about feelings. You have your fair share, and that advice you heard as a kid about ignoring them was bad psychology. It is healthy to let them out through talking or writing or both.

Thirdly, how affectionate are you? If you do not say affectionate words regularly to your wife, or show love by touching or hugging, you may not be meeting her needs. It doesn’t matter whether you need or don’t need hugs yourself. She probably does and will feel unloved without them.

Fourthly, ask her how she is doing from time to time. In other words, how is the marriage for her? Is she happy or down or bugged or whatever.

The fifth suggestion is to listen to her when she talks to you. To listen means to accept her mood and to acknowledge it. Accept and Acknowledge her feelings as a first step and save the advice until later. Your feelings about what she is going through do not matter (at least at first). Accept and Acknowledge her feelings. It is really very simple.

Finally, work with her as a team on as many issues as possible, particularly around parenting and money matters. You will have noticed a long time ago that the two of you have different approaches to many things. Collaborate and create a joint plan. It will help enrich your relationship to do so.

And so, Guys, wake up and smell the coffee. Better yet, wake up and make the coffee for your wife!


Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash
Wake up Guys!!
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Denis works with couples and individuals. His areas of interest include marriage, grief and stress. He also counsels people who suffer from depression and anxiety symptoms, as well as those struggling with personal growth issues.

Denis is eclectic in his use of psychological approaches, which include Adlerian, cognitive/behavioural, systems, psychodynamic, brief solution focused, existential and emotionally focused therapies.

Denis is a popular speaker who presents talks and workshops on a variety of topics including marriage, grief, retirement, emotional maturity and family relationships. He has published a book titled, “Marriage Can Be Great!…no really.”

Denis was a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He helped to start the first hospice program in B.C. in 1975.

Denis received his Master of Arts degree from the University of British Columbia in 1977 and works as a Registered Psychologist. He is a member of the B.C. College of Psychologists and the B.C. Psychological Association.

Most importantly Denis has been married to Maureen for over thirty years and they have four children.

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