When a Man Does Something a Woman Doesn’t Understand

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Men don’t make sense to women. You often don’t know what he’s thinking, how he feels about you or anything else, or why he does the things he does instead of what you think he should be doing.

I’ve observed this too many times to count.

Ask a man what he’s thinking about, and he’ll typically say, Nothing. Ask him what he’s feeling, and he’s speechless. Ask him why he did something, and if you press the point, you’ll hear three little words, I don’t know.

A woman’s conclusion, based on what she can see, is that men don’t think deeply about anything, they don’t have feelings, and they do dumb stuff, both frequently and randomly.

Therefore, when a man does something a woman doesn’t understand, she thinks he’s wrong.

In her mind, that’s her signal that he needs to be fixed, and it’s her job to do it. If that doesn’t work, she’ll drag him to marriage counseling and ask the therapist to fix him for her.

But what if there’s nothing wrong with him?

What if men are just different than women? Physically, emotionally, and socially? If you want to partner with your husband, to inspire him to become the man God created him to be, you need to understand that he is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God — as a man, not a woman.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these three things about your husband: what he thinks, how he feels, and why he does what he does instead of what you think he should be doing. Instead of recording one long video, I’ll make three separate videos to give you a minute to digest what you hear.

In this video, let’s talk about what he thinks — or if he thinks. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned about his feelings and his behavior in subsequent videos.

Does your husband think? If so, what does he think about? Well, mostly he thinks deeply about what it means to be a man. Does he have what it takes to protect the ones he loves? Is he able to provide for his family? Does his wife respect what he says? Take his advice? Follow his lead? Will his kids be well — and turn out well? Relationships matter to a man. He cares deeply, but rarely expresses his love in words.

He doesn’t sit around talking about it.

Instead, he processes his concern for those he loves — as well as his hopes and dreams — internally. He is constantly evaluating his fears and his failures. He doesn’t tell you any of that because he wants you to see him as a man, not as the failure he sometimes tells himself he is.

So he works on fixing himself.

Unless he’s got a great supportive male friend or two to provide a safe place to grow, he’s at a loss for how upgrade his masculine sense of self. The only alternative he has is to seek an escape relentless shame. When the struggle overwhelms him, he’ll try to avoid or deaden the pain with too much work, too much television, or too much beer. Asking for help feels weak and shameful. He already feels inadequate. Why would he add fuel to that fire?

So, if I’m right about this, he does think deeply and often about serious stuff. You want to know his thoughts. That’s why you asked. So, why does he say he’s thinking about nothing?

You may not believe me when I tell you the reason because I didn’t believe it myself for a long time.

When it was quiet, I’d ask my husband what he was thinking about. He would always say, Nothing. I didn’t believe him. No one — least of all me — could not be thinking about something. I thought he was hiding something from me. Which added to my paranoid belief that he didn’t really like me. Did I mention I got married the first time when I was 18? We were both 18 and ill-equipped for marriage. But I’ll save that story for another day.

A couple of decades later, I started grad school to become a psychologist. Client after client — over those early years of my training and all the years since — I’ve heard men say the same thing. Not when their wives were in the counseling room with them. I mean when they were in individual therapy. Turns out my husband hadn’t been trying to hide something. He really was capable of thinking about — nothing!

So, what’s that about?

Well, men tend to focus intently, intensely on one thing at a time. Hear both of the facts in that statement. Intently, intensely. One thing at a time. That means they have to find relief from the intensity and make a definitive shift between the object of their thoughts. Imagine a man hunting. He watches one animal at a time with intense focus. It’s so intense, in fact, that he needs a few minutes to shift that focus.

The most notable example is the way a man becomes glued to the TV after a long day at work. He’s in the zone. He’s not defensively tuning you out. He actually doesn’t hear you. Likewise, with or without the television, he can go into the zone, turn off his thoughts, and disconnect from the pressures of the world. It’s an amazing mechanism that comes preinstalled. That is, I think God made man that way to protect him from total overwhelm. So, be thankful he uses that skill. No, he’s not hiding anything from you. Unless he is, and that’s a whole different subject.

Bottom line: Next time you ask him what he’s thinking, and he says, Nothing, you can believe him. There’s a 99% chance he’s telling you the truth.

Next time we’ll talk about how he feels. Until then, take care. And remember, I’m here to help.

A Quick Start Guide to Understanding Men

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