I’ve come to notice something interesting. When I bring up the subject of marriage to most guys, I get a look like I’m their sophomore history teacher from Hell. It’s as if they would rather discuss dental procedures than the most important relationship in their life. Why has the topic of marriage been lumped into the same categories as chick flicks and scrapbooking for most guys?
It’s funny. Guys like to talk about sex. There should be no better place to have great sex than in a thriving marriage. They like to talk about business. Marriage is like an (un)limited partnership that has to manage budgets, personnel (kids), competition (for time) and value. Guys like to talk about sports. A marriage can work toward becoming a high-performance team where as a couple, each spouses strengths and weaknesses are either bolstered or shielded by their partner. When working properly, a couple should be able to out-achieve any of their single friends.
Most guys seem to see the topic as an obligatory scolding session. If it’s discussed, it’s for the purpose of showing them where they fall short and what they are doing wrong. They’re waiting to hear that they are bad communicators, insufficiently affectionate or too distracted with work. It’s as if the mere mention of marriage forces them to consider their shortcomings rather than their strengths.
I wonder if it’s because marriage is an outcome of dating, a period of time where guys have to step out of their comfort zone to woo a potential mate. A time when they buy her presents, go to movies of her choice and totally mind their manners. In their minds, they have paid their dues and earned their trophy. It’s sort of like the guy that trains for a half-marathon, completes it then decides he never wants to run again. He’s very proud to add that to his achievements, but he quickly falls out of shape, begins to gain weight and revert to old lifestyles.
Women on the other hand, don’t seem to mind talking about marriage. I think most women are wired to think about relationships and feelings more than men are, and that is their primary focus in conversations about marriage.
I think we’re missing the point. Marriage is neither a masculine or a feminine concept. It is absolutely both at the same time. Our spouse is supposed to be our most important human relationship. If we truly view them as such, why wouldn’t we want to learn everything we could about making our relationships better? Men and women may never talk about it the same way, and that’s okay. but it certainly should not be a topic to be avoided.
Let me put it this way to the guys. You invested time, money and effort in dating with the goal of gaining a wife. Now you have her, it’s not time to stop investing, but rather to take it up a notch. The more you put into a marriage, the more you will receive in return. Why not talk with your buddies about how you’re doing and how they’re doing? You might have some best practices (another great business term) to share and vice versa. Don’t shut down when the topic comes up. Embrace it. As the Apostle Paul said, “run the race to win it”.