She Wants To Plan When He Wants To Relax

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About Steve Horsmon

Steve Horsmon is a certified, professional Life Coach and founder of www.Goodguys2Greatmen.com

As an expert on relationship issues affecting single, married, and divorced men, Steve emphasizes the importance of men achieving clarity of their personal values – or Masculine Operating Principles. In addition to making commitments for personal improvements, his clients are also expected to become serious students of women, the nature of emotional safety, and human sexuality.

Using his consistent message of “we are absolutely equal, but we’re not the same”, Steve helps men choose to make changes within themselves that can lead to mutually rewarding intimate relationships with women. These changes are for one reason only - it helps them become the man they want to be.

Find more information and an extensive blog archive at www.Goodguys2Greatmen.com

Comments

  1. I find your article very interesting, and a few things have “clarified” in my mind as a result.

    First, my caveat – I don’t know you, I don’t know your ex – obviously.

    Now my comment. As presented here, what you describe seems to miss a crucial point. Why are so many wives preoccupied with the details of a plan, or what some might simply think of as a list (or set of lists)?

    You approach it and then jut away without touching on the actual reason. You write:

    “The wives I’m familiar with like to know what is on the list, the social plans for the weekend, what food must be purchased, what the kids will eat, and whether or not there will be enough coffee creamer for tomorrow morning. They cannot understand why these things are not even on his radar and sometimes judge him harshly because of it. They show little respect for his need for relaxation and introspection (variety/growth).”

    Looking at that paragraph in parts:

    - socializing for the weekend, what must be purchased, what the kids will eat, coffee creamer – Isn’t it clear this is someone who is busy? Possibly busy morning until night, including the weekends?
    - not understanding why these things aren’t on the radar – Does that mean no knowledge of / involvement in doing laundry for kids, getting them ready for soccer & softball & ballet lessons and then taking them? Understanding there’s an orthodontist appointment and a school project that needs supplies purchased as well, and in the next 72 hours?
    - socializing –
    Don’t you usually bring a bottle of booze or a cake (she bakes) and have to arrange a sitter? Don’t you need time for those things, and cash for the sitter?
    ‘- she judges his desire for relaxation harshly –
    Does she GET any relaxation?

    Is all of the above (and everything else domestic & couple-oriented) her full-time 7-day/week job, or is she also working a “for pay” job in addition to the above?

    You refer to all of this as “a much higher need for feelings of certainty/safety in their lives.”

    I believe it’s a matter of logistical survival. Speaking for myself and the women I’ve known over the years, most of us professional women and mothers simultaneously, we’d love some relaxation and spontaneity, as we loved it before children (married or not). It’s just not an option.

    What I have observed: In couples where the husband/father shares in the parenting load, it isn’t about sharing the planning so much as it is about sharing the tedium and workload and thus freeing up time for the couple. More of a “being in it together” – all of it, while still understanding that Dad may be better at and prefer doing X while Mom is better at and prefers doing Y.

    Where I agree with you entirely and think women should pay attention – seriously pay attention – is the need to offer up some of that variety more often (we like it, too – sometimes we’re just too damn tired) – and that means in activities as well as the bedroom.

    I also think we’re more interested in growth and significance than you’re ranking seem to indicate – but again – both are trumped by fatigue and often resentment, in part because women don’t necessarily speak up in clear and non-accusatory terms and say what they (we) need – in all arenas of domestic life.

    It’s a very thoughtful article, and an interesting discussion.

  2. “Why are so many wives preoccupied with the details of a plan, or what some might simply think of as a list (or set of lists)?”

    The answer in my experience is because many of them place (consciously or subconsciously) a very high value on FEELING organized, in control, and certain of future outcomes. Achieving these feelings is sometimes a prerequisite to allowing themselves to fulfill their other important needs/desires. They sometimes have an inpatient, judgmental disdain for those around them who don’t share the same value. Sometimes they will withhold meeting anyone ELSE’s needs until this one need is satisfied for them. Husbands are an easy target. Understanding why many wives rank certainty/safety highly as a need is a much bigger discussion. My overriding point is that husbands (I address wives below) can usually do MUCH better when it comes to helping her meet her need. And waiting for directions/instructions is a very bad way to respond. She doesn’t need another 10 yr. old to manage.

    “Does she GET any relaxation?”

    Yes, she should get at least as much opportunity to relax (whatever it means for her) as he does. She should respect that HIS way of relaxing may be very different than hers. Your list of essential duties added things I agree are “logistical survival”.

    I think it’s hard for couples to agree what those items are and how they should be shared. That seems to be the battle front. Some of my male clients suck at seeing the obvious ones like laundry help, kid activity planning, financial responsibility, making dates, and home maintenance. I’m tough on them to step up, make time, and take ownership of some items without waiting for directions. It doesn’t matter if she works full-time outside the home or not. A good husband chooses to help out with important stuff without being nagged or directed – period. But, there is a limit. Not everything she thinks is mission critical needs to be mission critical to him.

    What’s a good wife do? First she finds out what HIS most highly ranked need is and chooses to care about it and talk about it. Her needs do not automatically come first. She realizes that SOME things are not mission critical and she has the choice of doing it herself or letting it go. She should remove the option of blaming him for her own stress. I think it’s easier for her to accept this when she KNOWS that he is pulling his weight with planning and owning the big stuff and really cares about her needs.
    I help guys understand that comments like, “You’re insane for needing the closets vacuumed before company arrives” don’t increase the feminine libido. And “You’re suck a friggin’ control freak- just relax” doesn’t increase her concern for his long hard week.

    I also help them understand that when they ARE pulling their own weight in a respectful, loving way, they can more confidently address the stressed out, “You can be SO worthless!” comment. No matter what, belittling and disrespectful behavior should never be tolerated by either partner.

    “Speaking for myself and the women I’ve known over the years, most of us professional women and mothers simultaneously, we’d love some relaxation and spontaneity, as we loved it before children (married or not). It’s just not an option.”

    The question becomes, at what point TODAY can we both relax? What is the goal for having earned the right to relax? What help do we both need to get there? Again, his list may be much shorter than hers. This is the tough negotiation. Do the windows REALLY need to be cleaned today? Who cares if your mother is coming? What can we agree is mission critical and what is not.

    I see women constantly denying themselves relaxation (and sex) just because they refuse to stop putting things on the list. And I see men constantly destroying feelings of connection and trust by refusing to even participate in the list discussion.

    “What I have observed: In couples where the husband/father shares in the parenting load, it isn’t about sharing the planning so much as it is about sharing the tedium and workload and thus freeing up time for the couple.”

    The women I know become generally pissed off at having to plan, manage, and direct all the time. They resent having to ask, imply, or suggest that some things are important and need to be done.

    “I also think we’re more interested in growth and significance than you’re ranking seem to indicate – but again – both are trumped by fatigue and often resentment, in part because women don’t necessarily speak up in clear and non-accusatory terms and say what they (we) need – in all arenas of domestic life.”

    Agreed! They all tell me this as well. The trend, however, is that when they become fatigued and resentful over not feeling organized, certain, and/or safe….they stay stuck in this emotion and can blame others for why they are not achieving their other needs.
    Thoughts?

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