Guys, the spot light is on you today. Often times, we hear of the different things and skills single babes acquire, just so they can be a great wife to their potential husband. Scratch that guys, we know the truth in our own clime is that, right from when girls are born, they are often trained to be someone else’s wife, before anything else.
Not nice, at least, I wouldn’t want my daughters to think that their entire worth in life is about their marriage or being a good wife. I had to say that, before I put myself in a tight spot with Nelly. In fact, she was the one who brought this matter to my attention.
Her cousin, who had gotten married two years ago, was having some challenges with his marriage, to the extent that his wife left their matrimonial home and guess what the guy did? Every day for the next two weeks, Nelly said her cousin came to their house to have a pity party, which her mom encouraged, by merely listening and giving him dinner every day for the next two weeks.
He would wail and lament about how he loved his wife, how much he had given up for her and the plans he had for her, their future and how his wife had not understood any of these things or plans. All she had been concerned about was the fact that he did not love her.
Nelly said, every day, he professed his love for his wife, how he had not looked any woman suggestively since the day they got married and was not even interested in any other woman. He spoke of her virtues and the great blessings, his wife had brought to his life.
That was when my potential no-nonsense father-in-law had walked in earlier than usual and brusquely asked him, “Have you told your wife, all these things you are telling my wife? I hear you have been coming here every evening these days to disturb my wife, when you should be talking to your own wife.”
Before he found his tongue, Nelly’s father was telling him to get out and go find his wife, whether she wanted to see him or not, and tell her about the things he had been telling Nelly’s mom and actually listen to her response.
After that evening, they did not hear from him again, until two days later, when he called to say that his wife had finally agreed to see him. When told, Nelly’s Dad said, if he had gone after her sooner, she would have been back home by then. Talk about a man’s instincts.
Now, the one skill, he learnt during those two weeks of chatting with Nelly’s mom every evening was Empathy. She never blamed him or his wife, she was just there to listen and soothe him. He did not know it at the time, but he soon got it and that was when his wife was able to tell him about her innermost desires, be truly vulnerable with him, knowing that, he would always consider her and her emotions before anything else.
For the first time, since their marriage, Nelly’s cousin said he truly listened to his wife, the nuances in her voice, the expressions of her face, her body language and he got it. He got the message, she had been trying to send – she wanted reassurances that he truly loved and cared for her, his plans for their future notwithstanding.
In all sincerity, he had wanted to start listing the different ways, he had shown that he truly loved and cared for her, and I can relate with that reaction, but it would have been a wrong move. The best response was to have offered what she needed. And he seized the opportunity to tell her about the different ways he loved her. All the things he had been rehearsing with Nelly’s mom, he told her and a day later, his wife returned home.
Often times, we guys tend to strip off all the clothes and trimmings on an issue, and let it stand there naked, exposed and broken down to its most basic form. It is either black or white, no middle grounds, no shades of grey and oyster. And that is the reason, most guys, good, upright nice, guys make very bad husbands. This Nelly’s cousin, I’m writing about is one of the very good guys I know, very caring, nice, a man’s man, always ready to offer help, but he failed as a husband. Thank God, he’s got another chance and I get a chance to see how things could be done properly.
It’s important to note that destructive male behaviour in relationships stems from the following:
- Men don’t know what empathy is.
Empathy isn’t a feeling or emotion, though the ability to empathize is rooted in emotional intelligence. Empathy is simply the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Literally put yourself in their shoes, that’s empathy and men don’t have it.
- We don’t know it is a critical skill to acquire in order to have good relationships and avoid break ups or worse, divorce.
- We don’t want to learn about empathy because we ignorantly mistaken it for a trait, only the female folks have need for. They are the ones that should do the mushy mushy stuffs, right? Wrong my bro.
- Avoiding the appearance of weakness -even though most of us secretly feel weak- is often easier to do than exhibiting love-affirming behaviours like empathy, because we don’t realize or believe our wives or girlfriends will actually leave us, or that, what we will feel will be much worse than our fear of looking weak.
- And the worst is, guys, we are mostly unaware of the vibes, we send out and what we get. Again, it feels like, we are living in our own world and not seeing the reality of things.
Empathy is not an easy virtue to acquire, especially for a guy, but it is a good one, if we want lasting relationships, where, we actually listen and are able to relate with whatever it is that our partner is saying without feeling less macho.
I struggle with it too, especially, when my fellow guys are around and I’m expected to behave in a certain way, but guess what, I pay for it. I can form outside and say, I’m the lord and master of Nelly (God knows, I have not married her), but I can tell you, that I pay for my actions. We are at a stage where, she does not need to say any or do anything, I know, when I have walked all over her, I know when, I’m not listening to her, I know, when I have not reassured her of my love, even though, I tell her, “I love you babe” every single day.
That is not her love language, when I speak her language, I bask in the euphoria. And everything is right and well with my world.
Empathizing is the best gift, you can give any woman, they know how to give it back. That is why, you come home, with great news and she is jumping and dancing with no beat, but the rhythm in her heart and when it’s not so good, she is sad with you, and wants to go to war with whoever had hurt her man. That is empathy. In these situations, guys are more likely to want to cheer her up or talk about the next thing after the good news.
For once, let’s dwell in the moment and connect with our partners on that simple level, heart to heart.