Do men experience emotions? From outward appearances, it doesn’t appear that they do. That’s the primary reason women pressure men to talk. When a man doesn’t respond to his wife’s emotional request to do something or change something, she thinks he doesn’t understand the impact it’s having on her.
So she gets even more emotional, providing both tears and multiple examples – or anger and multiple examples – to help him understand how important this or that really is to her. Her reasoning is, if he only understood, he would lovingly respond. But he doesn’t. She concludes that his behavior confirms her theory that men don’t have feelings.
Many men – probably most men – describe themselves as “rational” as opposed to “emotional.” They way they say it makes them somehow sound superior to their female counterparts. Not exactly the best way to build a bridge between the two.
In his best attempt to calm the storm of her emotions, he gets even more “rational,” which comes across as condescending. He doesn’t mean it that way. He just doesn’t know what else to do when his wife attempts to engage him with a lengthy emotional monologue. He doesn’t realize that his non-responsiveness makes his wife even more expressive as she tries to get through to him. But at that point, he doesn’t even know what she’s saying. He cannot hear her words. He only knows she’s angry. And that totally confuses him. Why?
Men self-identify as rational beings.
However, it’s actually a learned response to his own emotions. As a young boy, he was well aware of the flood of emotions that consumed him. I raised three boys myself, and I’ve watch my three grandsons go through that stage. My oldest grandson wailed uncontrollably when Georgie the Fish died. He was 4 years old. My grandson, not the fish. Likewise, his little brother wailed uncontrollably because he opened his granola bar, and it was broken. He was also 4 years old.
By the time a boy makes it to kindergarten, he has been shamed frequently and relentlessly for expressing his emotions. So, he’s learned to hide what he feels. If he doesn’t, he’s in for a rough go on the playground. Shaming boys for being vulnerable is a primary method for shaping boys into men. Being shamed for expressing his feelings was a regular practice in his socialization process. So he can’t understand why you never learned that.
He doesn’t realize that his emotional experience has never changed.
Only his emotional expression. When you understand that, you realize how sensitive he is to your words and especially to your emotions. He doesn’t mean to be condescending when he talks slowly and deliberately. He’s just trying to help you calm down. He has no clue his response is like pouring gasoline on a roaring fire.
Working with couples in counseling for more than two decades, I’ve watched this process play out in living color. If you want to learn how to change the pattern, check out my video, A Wise Woman’s Quick Start Guide to Emotions. I’ll put the link in the description below.
On the other hand, some men are more emotionally expressive than their wives.
More than one husband has been the first to cry during marriage counseling. When that happens, he always apologizes to me and says, I’m not like other men. I’ve resisted the urge to tell him that is not true, that every man is just as emotional as he is. They just have stronger defenses against it than he does. Unfortunately, emotionally expressive men tend to marry women who shame them for their vulnerability. The guy can’t win.
But yours can. And when he wins, you both win.
There’s a lot more to men than we realize. Learning the truth about what he thinks, how he feels, and why he does what he does will change your mind about who he is. You’ll have to take this study seriously if you want an upgrade in your marriage. And you’ll have to resist the lies you hear everywhere you go.
You can begin with my free course, The Quick Start Guide to Understanding Men. I’ll put that link below as well. In my next video, I’ll tell you why a man does what he does instead of what you think he should do. You just might be pleasantly surprised by his reasoning.
And if you ever have any questions, be sure to let me know. Remember, I’m here to help.
A Quick Start Guide to Understanding Men
You want him to be your Knight in Shining Armor. But there’s a lot more to him than you realize. Free course (with workbook) teaches the 7 Essentials every woman needs to know about the man she loves. FREE ENROLLMENT