|Photo courtesy of Guillaume de Germain|
Let me stop for a moment to address showing weakness as a man. I get it. I am right there – I want to be the strong protector, the steady provider, the calm in the chaos. Here’s the reality: at times I’m tired of the Kevlar exterior I put on and I don’t really want to take care of others and why can’t I just run away from the chaos? Like most human beings, I have worries and experience insecurities. I get overwhelmed sometimes, and it scares me. Sharing all of this with Mel is hard to do. You might say it takes great strength to share your weaknesses.
MEL: My turn to talk to the ladies: Your man is likely scared to share his feelings, insecurities, and vulnerabilities with you because he’s afraid you might see him as weak or that you’ll criticize him. Heck, what if you were to say that you agree with his fear that he’s weak? That would likely be the last time he shared deeply with you. So, Ladies, I want you to chew on this – encourage him to share what’s going on in his heart and mind, and then just listen to and support him. Don’t try to solve his problems, or tell him it’s going to be OK. Don’t tell him to put on his big boy pants. And for goodness sake, don’t take the opportunity to put him in his place.
When I learned to treat Mark’s vulnerability with gentleness, a new world was opened to us. As Mark shares, I hold his hand and look into his eyes. No interrupting or pacifying him. I listen to him with all of me, and I love all of him. I want Mark to know that I’m on his team. I thank him for trusting me. I ask him what he needs right now – just to be held? For me to make him a nice hot drink? To cancel our plans and just cuddle on the couch? In return, I give him the gift of my heart, my love, and my own vulnerability.
MARK: When I am vulnerable with Mel, she is vulnerable in return. Some of the most intimate interactions we have ever experienced together have started with my vulnerable sharing. Each time I share in this way and we get through it, I am stronger – we are stronger. I am a provider of newfound intimacy and the chaos melts away as we are connected in a way unlike any other. I urge you men to share vulnerably with your wives. I implore you to be a REAL MAN: fully committing to your wife, strengthening your relationship, providing intimacy in a new way. I can tell you it has changed our marriage for the better in a life-giving way.
Photo courtesy of Priscilla du Preez