Helping You Build A Relationship You Can All Be Proud Of

Friday, 1 November 2013


There are a lot of couples fighting bitter protracted trench wars of never-changing boundaries. Men are insisting they are the bosses, whether they know how the baby got fed or not…whether they have built mighty mansions for their women or not. However, unlike the wars of yesteryear where the men threw the cannons and the woman squealed in howling agony, the 21st Century woman now has her own biological warfare programme, gas masks and flame throwers.

Someway somehow, someone must give in. Most often we say the woman must give in... but what if the man has his own problem which fuels every action or reaction the woman is exhibiting? I may not get it entirely correct but I think men can do more to be reasonable and responsible heads, bringing their wives and families along in a mutual, all inclusive manner rather than a slave driver style of leadership where the man is the Law maker, the enforcer, the judge and the jailer.

I have put a few things down that can help families bring their blistering battles to an end. The focus is more on the man. I picked the points from an earlier article I wrote in 2010.

1.    If you are dealing with the 21st Century woman [and God bless you if she has exposure and she is socially active and well educated] the last thing you want to do is to pit yourself against her in anything. Do not be her enemy and adversary. She is naturally opinionated and defensive, willing and able to fight to the end to defend her mental, emotional and intellectual turf. Reason with her and allow her the space to say NO to you… say all you can say and do all you can do, but don’t draw your sabre. 

2.     your strength does not lie in your ability to insist on your way using every means necessary or frightening people into submission. They seldom work. The strength of a man is found in the gentleness with which he approaches and handles issues. Rage and temper tantrum is the preserve of weak men. [a portion of a song by Men of Integrity]  

3.     There are three major types of family Authorities – whether from Parents to the children or from the man to the rest of the family: Authoritative headship, Authoritarian headship and Indulging headship. The best for you is to be an Authoritative head [you can read on the rest] An authoritative father figure, commands respect; his arguments regarding general issues and critical issues of life are informed. He is experienced in his area of expertise and his directions, when given and heeded, lead to the intended result in most cases. They lead their families along their thought lines and actions; they don’t drag them along. They allow everyone to share their opinion and divergent views are always welcomed. No one is the jar and no one is the tea cup. There is a healthy horizontal and vertical flow of thought, views and impression. Everything is a two way affair, not a one way affair, from man to wife. 

4.     Do not under estimate your own socialization [upbringing and background] and hers. They have a huge impact in your world outlook and hers. She has a way of doing things, something she might have picked up from home or her various endeavours of life. Unless it is bad by all standards, you do not force her to abandon them because they do not suit you. If she is not coming along with you, do not drag her, work with her. She will change one day… [though I cannot promise you that change] Your thought processes are not the same. Your impression and interpretation of the world will continually differ. For you to understand her, you need to enter her mind and think like the way she thinks and see things the way she does. And the opposite is true for her. 

5.     In this day and age with such a modern woman as a wife, you cannot replicate your past and your family of orientation. You cannot demand obedience, you cannot demand submission; you cannot demand affection and support to mention just a few. Everything has to be earned. You need to give her reasons; by actions, by the quality of your reasoning or by result-evidence why certain things must be done or go the way you think they should go and why you are due certain things.How many times do you reason and argue your points across with an open mind. Most likely you will ask, but would she even listen? Yes she won’t because you have lost your authority to be relevant and make a lot of sound arguments. Because of this, her default thought about you is that of ‘Mr. I-want-you-to-come-along.’ And in order to prove the futility of your stance, her default response to you is, ‘make me come along’. Such a person is always defensive, and always looking for ways of putting you out. Every argument or conversation becomes, ‘who scored the most points’ and not ‘what are we doing to chart a better course for our common future.’ You live like competitors always striving to outdo each other rather than help each other.

6.     Where the two of you have reached, you don’t need to get her attention before you have a conversation with her; you will never get it. She will never sit to listen, and her mind would be switched to her default position towards you even if she sits to listen. With time, if she can predict when you are likely to come with your issues, she will find reasons to swerve them. She will always be busy with one thing or the other when you are around. If you have something to tell her, if you have a point to get across, or an issue to discuss, you don’t have to call her to sit down in front of you like your dad did to your mum or to you and your brothers. Anytime someone sits in front of you at your summons, the person feels they are the weaker party and their position in the case prejudiced against. Such a person unconsciously builds resistance even before they hear you out. Never sit with her face to face, sit with her facing the same direction; it shows equality, it shows the two of you are looking at one thing in the same direction. If you have been trying the early morning wake-up-and-lets-talk approach, maybe the time has come for you to revise it.

7.     You don’t have to mention her name or look into her eyes before you start talking. She does not want to be summoned. That simple. She doesn’t want to feel you are ruling over her. Do not demand responses when you are telling her something. Avoid feedback probes like, ‘are you listening to me?’ or ‘did you hear me?’ They only make the pill bitter to swallow. [But of course it is different if the conversation is on the phone and she is quiet, you may want to know she is there…in that case, a simple, ‘are you there’ will suffice]

8.   The time has come for you to start talking, first after a deep contemplation of what you are going to say; your tone, your choice of words, the likely implications of what you are going to say, her potential response and your counter arguments. This means you need a lot of self-control when she becomes aggressively defensive. You need a lot of patience to allow her to talk. Did you know that you are less likely to win an argument when you do not allow the other party to talk? They keep hitting at you, keep changing their story lines and appear frustrated by you. Ultimately you are seen in the bad light. Allow someone to talk, let them pour out their hearts, their points and their thoughts. Then you pick them one by one and address them. Most likely they will not have anything to say again and it won’t be easy for them to change the story nor accuse you of frustration. In fact when you allow someone to talk, you get to know their thought processes and impressions about events; that is the only way you can understand them and address their needs.


9.     When you start to say something, anything at all and she starts talking or arguing you out without hearing you out first, pause and let her talk; I did not say stop, I said pause. The difference is if you stop, you’ll have to start all over again; if you pause you continue from where you left off. After she finishes talking, treat it like you paused to do something else and resume without reference to what she said, unless it is relevant to the conversation and in a way that is beneficial and progressive to both of you and the topic of discussion. If it is to discourage or infuriate or rubbish what you started, disregard it. If you pick on everything she says you will never go on to say anything that is in your heart; you will be frustrated.

10.   You may have a prejudiced position against her. You also become defensive even if she is making sense. With a 21st Century Educated woman you cannot belittle her whether in the thoughts or arguments she espouses. Maybe if you also develop an open mind you would be more receptive to the things she says. Let her know you respect her by the way you handle things coming from her. Let her see herself as an important participant of the family relationship. Be more interested in her views and opinions.

11.  Learn to let things go. There are lot of things she knows you will respond to, so she comes up with her defense. Don’t strike when and where you are expected to strike, the other party will always have an upper hand. Learn to take the wind out of her sail. Silence is golden. A man who has a rein on his spirit and his tongue is stronger than a man who takes a city

12.   Learn to watch things pass by. Learn to let your suggestion go unheeded and temporarily learn to accept that your authority is compromised. Talk about important things when and only when you have to talk and she is around and in the mood to listen. One day you will catch her attention, then she will start listening more and more to you…it will be natural and it will be appetizing to want to listen to you. She will feel less inclined to resist and question you when you leave her without arguments or with weak arguments. She will start thinking with you when you start to build on her ideas, or reason her out of them and in their stead give something even better. It’s even better when you are someone who comes up with brilliant, workable and achievable ideas. When your reasoning and their results are the intended/expected/desirable results you start planting a seed of respect for you in her. Women want men they can look up to not the ones they can look down on.

13.    Do you think she doesn’t think with anyone else? She does; her family members, friends and colleagues. So you are the only person she probably doesn't think with. What it means is there is a problem with mutual-thinking equilibrium; you hardly have ‘the meeting of the minds.’ And it is frustrating when you are dealing with someone who is not thinking along.

14.   Try and relate with her in 3D and not in single dimension. It is not a touch-response or one-sided argument. You are dealing with a scholar so see her as such and act accordingly. Every single issue is multifaceted.

15.   She will never be like your mum, she will always be Miss independent, sure in herself, self-sufficient, self-conceited, self-opinionated and very voluble. You will need a lot more of tact to tame her. So far you have groomed her into a lioness.  But as I have always admonished, the Bible says the heart of the king is in the hands of God, and as a water course He turns it the way He pleases. God can turn your heart towards your wife and her heart towards you. Regardless of your failures as a husband, God still approves of your headship, so just have a serious introspection and commit the difficult designs you are dealing with into His hands. If you persist in your current path you will wear yourself out and live an unfulfilled marital life. One day you will wake up and find that she has abandoned herself to you. You will realize that she trusts you so much as to commit herself entirely to you without the fear of falling under. Until you get to that place as a man, trust me she will never give you her best. We all hope you will not have this epiphany at a time that will be too late for both of you and all of us.

I believe we can all make it work. The home is all we have.Let's fight to keep it. 

PG Sebastian
Copyrights 2013