Monday, September 30, 2013
A Dad's Point of View: How I Will Always Support My Wife by Drew Kobb
When I first started dating my wife, Catherine, I would sometimes seek out my mom for some relationship advice. Who better to help me with my woes regarding the female species than my own mother? After I would give her a brief idea of what was going on, she always had just one answer for me. “Relationships are hard.” That’s it. That was all that she had to say. I would love to say that it was helpful…but it wasn’t. I didn’t realize until I got married just how hard relationships really are. I’m still learning so much about my relationship with my wife and how we work together. One of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn is how to support her emotionally.
The “S” Word
Most of us guys don’t want to be labeled as “sensitive.” To us, that means that you cry all the time, you get put in the friend zone, and you are just too effeminate. It took marriage for me to discover that being sensitive isn’t defined in the way that society thinks it is. Only through my relationship with my wife have I realized that I actually do have a sensitive side. I wouldn’t say that I am an overly sensitive man, but I can’t deny that there are things that make me emotional. If you had asked me when I was in college if this was true, I would have denied it and joked around with my buddies some more. But now that I can be more sensitive to the hardships of life, I’m also more sensitive to the great events that happen too! They make me happier and I find more joy in appreciating them.
Why I Need to Be Sensitive
Since being married and investing myself in my wife’s emotional well-being, I don’t have to pretend to be sensitive. Now, I am sensitive just for me. Yes, I do enjoy my fair share of Thomas Kinkade puzzles and episodes of “Too Cute” on Animal Planet. But being sensitive to other people has really helped all of my relationships. My children trust me more, my friends recognize that they can rely on me, and my family knows that I want to be involved in their lives. Allowing myself to be vulnerable and notice other people’s vulnerabilities has opened me up to a new way of communicating with others and letting them communicate with me – and my wife is no exception.
When I Need to “Be a Man”
To me (and my wife), my sensitivity means that I try to be aware of what and how she is feeling. I need to be empathetic and sympathetic. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Sometimes that isn’t what she wants me to do. I’m still trying to figure out when it’s okay for me to be sensitive with her and when she wants me to be her knight in shining armor. What I do know is that I don’t have to prove my masculinity to her. She knows that I don’t love opening up about things and sometimes I don’t want to hear all of her troubles (it’s the hard truth). But she respects that I use a lot of my strength to control my emotions and avoid pushing them away. It’s tougher for me to be that nice guy than it is to walk away and she loves that I put a lot of effort toward making things work with our relationship.
Just because I try to be sensitive doesn’t mean that I’m always successful. Every now and then my wife will give me a way out of a situation – “You don’t have to sit here and listen to all of this” – and I hate to admit that I’ll take the out. I don’t want to be treated like one of her girlfriends and just chat away with her all of the time. I need opportunities to step away from her situations and give her the time she needs to just figure it out. It’s like the video where the woman has a nail in her forehead and all the man wants to do is take it out. Sometimes what she needs is for me to go in with my pliers and rip that nail out for her. She’ll even ask me to do it. Other times she knows that she can take the nail out on her own but first she wants me to know what it feels like to have it in her forehead. As long as we can both discuss what needs to be done, it happens and we both end up happy.
Men who focus too much on sensitivity can become overwhelmed by their emotions. But on the other hand, those men that try too hard to be masculine can miss out on all the emotions of life. But by trying to be balanced I can help my wife when she needs it and how. My personal balance has always proven to better our marriage.
Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, and Drew highlights that range on his blog, Dr. Ouch.