Theresa Byrne says, use your man’s annoying ‘fix it’ instinct to rewire your relationship for lasting happiness.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that men love to engage the parts of their brain that help them “fix” things. It’s hard-wired to give them a sense of accomplishment and pleasure. They feel good when they’ve fixed something or solved a problem. Or even when they’ve seen how something is assembled or created.
Why? They get to problem-solve, use creative ideas, put things together in their heads and create new solutions. Anyone who’s ever had a young boy take apart the toaster, telephone, stereo, or any other piece of electronic equipment understands this. While they may not be great at the putting things back together, they love solving the problem by taking it apart.
My goal is to help women support and understand this part of men, in hopes that they can embrace the Inner Fixer. Men need our support, something I wrote about here.
How have you attempted to fix?
“I have tons of stories of how I needed to stop fixing and start listening. Many from just-in-time to save the day to overstepping boundaries with women. I’ve had to learn to listen! Sometimes the cure is just to let them deflate their troubles and nod… Often. Because I love to fix things. It’s as natural to me as breathing.
How are you a fixer? I built my first radio before I was 6-years-old. All from random stuff found around the house, and by scouring Scientific American. It’s the inherent desire to be like our Creator. I used to scavenge my sisters tampon tubes from the garbage because…If you make home made gunpowder, they make incredible rockets. If I disassemble the toaster, will that bring me a step closer to the magic behind the stars?
How am I a fixer? I built my first radio before I was 6-years-old. All from random stuff found around the house, and by scouring Scientific American. It’s the inherent desire to be like our Creator. If I disassemble the toaster, will that bring me a step closer to the magic behind the stars?
Wow. And what’s the goal or feeling you get?
The rush you get is twofold:
1) Ohhh, so THATS how they keep that spring holding this lever to make that gear only click over once a minute! (So the elation of discovery).
2) I am going to remember this, because it will come in handy someday. Or…
3) Aha! That’s how I can make that thing I want to build work!
Reverse engineering how cool things are built gives us insights into OPG: Other People’s Genius.
You get a masters engineering course in an hour of taking something apart. And you decipher their thinking, making it part of your own. By seeing OPG.
You know how a board game is competitive problem solving? Whether Parcheezee or Chess? It’s like that.
And by seeing Other People’s Genius, what do you find?
If I can deconstruct a clock, certainly I can deconstruct what my wife is struggling with. And therin lies the rub. Because a clock is a binary instrument. It has an on and off mode. Whereas a woman has 50 Shades of Gray. And 16.5 million shades of color. So a guy goes into it with logic. And he needs to add feel to the equation. If you put a guy on a problem solving mission (activate), his mind goes into this cool mode. It says …”I’ve successfully rebuilt the carb on my 69 Camaro 327. So solving this woman’s troubles will be easy.”
Problem solving is looking for an emotional payoff. It’s the money shot. It’s the orgasm. Just hand him a cigarette the moment the solution seems within reach. And maybe his favorite blankie. And a beer. Definitely a beer. And the clicker. Cuz somewhere there’s a game going on that needs his support.
So the feeling is complete and utter satisfaction. “I did this.”
It makes his gonads swell with pride. He just won the lottery. Angels sing his name. He has bragging rights. All because, at six, he took apart a toaster. And maybe, just maybe, for it to work when he was done. My Dad was very blue collar. As one of six kids, we had very little extra. So he would go to the TV repair shop (remember those?!?) And get me three broken, irreparable TVs. Because with three different TVs, I could make one working one. For free!
In the military, USAF, we had a base full of airplanes. I was on a SWAT team of guys who, when the Inspector General announced his arrival, me and my team had to make the Can Bird (the B-52 Bomber we stole parts from to keep the other places flying). We had to make those Can Birds (Cannibalized Birds) fly. Often with duct tape and baling wire. In 6-12 hours. Against all rules of logic. Talk about a feeling of elation.
That’s the gig: solving problems involves every latent neuron in the mind. It activated places and neuropathways long forgotten.
It makes a man a kid again (joy. Fun. Simplicity). And yet applies it to an adult issue (her problem).
Just like your first orgasm. You never forget it. Or your first bicycle kick. Your first perfect kata. Your first love.
Here’s the funny thing …
A woman wants an emotional connection. She needs and desires emotional fulfillment. Guess what? A man gets emotional fulfillment when he solves a technical problem. And ALL problems, to men, can be solved technically. But that technical problem solving activated his emotional sense if fulfillment. It closes the gap between a woman’s need to feel and a man’s need to think.
They make love, and dance across the beach as the sun sets …
Does that help to answer your question? Uh yeah. That helps. On so many levels. I think you just helped create a solution to a wide gap. It starts with toasters. Ends with “lemme play with that F5…”
More women understanding this could be HUGE breakthrough in embracing the fixer in men.
Then there’s Jordan Gray. A fellow writer at The Good Men Project (read one of his great articles here and a relationship coach).
I am a fixer in what many people in modern Western society consider a more archetypically feminine way. I am an emotional healer (for example, I help people cry when they find it difficult to cry). I help people have better sex lives and marriages.
Instead of measuring tape and power tools, my craft requires compassionate listening and psychological reframes. I help people see themselves, their partners, and their lives with more clarity.
When I help someone see themselves, their significant other, or their situation in a more clear and compassionate light, I get goosebumps. I feel truly fortunate and elated to do the work that I do.
And while I don’t always seek to “fix” anything for my clients (sometimes I just listen with an open heart), I always feel like my work has a massive ripple effect across the world.
So yes, I am a fixer. A fixer of hearts, emotions, and faulty thought patterns or habits.
This appeared originally on Jordan Gray’s website.
Ladies, learning to understand and love the part of men that want, need and desire to fix things can offer a great solution to our desire for emotional connection and their need for accomplishment.
Give them something intentionally to engage their Inner Fixer, and you will find one of the world’s best natural problem solvers in action.