Wayne Levine | Man-to-Man
What can I do about my wife? I work 10-hour days, busting my hump for her. When I get home I have to deal with my kids and put out more fires. The last thing I want to do is to have to listen to her complaining. How can I get her to give me a break?
I can sure understand why your wife would be tired of you! You “have to deal” with your kids?” The last thing you want to do is to listen to your wife? Take a deep breath, my friend. You got some learnin’ to do.
First, it’s time to figure out how to turn this “have to” into a “get to” when it comes to your kids. There’s something going on in your head that’s keeping you from being the father—I’m sure you’d like to be—for your kids. They’re a blessing. Sounds like you haven’t taken time—for a long time—to be grateful for what you have. Maybe you can drive around the block a few times before coming home, and give yourself the chance to transition from work to home. Maybe you can take a moment and do a gratitude prayer, or a short meditation. Remind yourself why you work so hard. Your kids need their dad to be the best dad he can be.
As for your wife, one of the key BetterMen Tools is to listen. If you want an intimate relationship, if you want to have a loving home with a wife who adores you, you’ve got to protect and cherish her. That begins with being a good listener. She doesn’t need you to fix anything, just be there for her. Start paying attention to what goes on in your head when she starts to talk. Do you hear your mommy’s voice? Do you feel reprimanded? Maybe you have so much resentment built up, there’s no more patience.
It’s time to make a commitment to be a better husband. If you take responsibility—stop blaming her— and discover why listening has been so hard, you just may find yourself in a more loving relationship. And you may just get some “action” again. I suspect it’s been a while! Good luck.
In terms of being a man, I feel most inadequate around my finances. I did not have much direction, any direction really, as I was growing up. As a result, I am approaching 50 and I feel so ill-equipped to handle my personal finances and retirement needs. Is this something the men in your groups deal with?
Behind the Eight Ball
Dear Eight Ball,
Becoming “financially mature” is an important and often-discussed topic among the men in our BetterMen groups.
Not receiving the fathering we wished we had shows up in many ways for men. Sometimes it’s about self-confidence, being disconnected from other men, or experiencing doubt when it comes to relationships. For many of us, it’s about not having had the positive role model to show us how to be responsible with our dough.
The topic recently came up in one of our groups and it led to weeks of discussion regarding personal budgets and the sharing of experiences and solutions among the men. In fact, once a couple of men revealed their personal financial challenges, it gave permission to some of the other men to open up and “get real” about their “secrets” concerning money.
Budgets were passed around and the men began to meet outside of group to teach each other and learn from each other. Soon, the men gained greater confidence as they figured out solutions to their financial challenges, instead of remaining stuck in the problems.
Men need the support of other men who are willing to be honest and willing to hold them accountable to their commitments. In this case, several men made new commitments to live within their means, to set goals for savings and investments, and to be the CFO’s of their families. One man committed to visit a financial planner.
If we don’t ask for help, we won’t get it. These “financially maturing” men learned once again that our needs are varied and shared with most other men, and that the best place to get help is from those men.