We’ve all heard it, the wife agonizing, “He won’t tell me how he feels.” What’s going on here? Are guys really hiding their emotions? Do they just not have any feelings at all? Or, is there something else that is making it difficult for guys to get naked and show their feelings to their wife? I know this doesn’t apply to all guys but it is a common enough complaint that I wanted to try to give wives a husband’s perspective on our missing emotions, and offer a few ideas on how they can get us warmed up and in the mood!
Men are usually less adept at identifying their own feelings. Some people say it is because of how they were raised; others think it might be because of brain or biochemical differences. Whatever the cause, the reality is men are usually less in touch with their emotions. Before you scream, “That’s obvious” and move on let me clarify. Being less in touch doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Men do have feelings. The truth is that men are not quite so good at classifying their feelings.
Ask a woman to take 1 minute and write down all of the feeling words that she has experienced. She will quickly get busy writing and will run out of time before her list reaches the 150 mark. (Yes, guys there are that many check out this list if you don’t believe me)
If you asked a man to do the same test, he would look at you perplexed for the first thirty seconds then jot down three or four words. Usually:
- Sad, and maybe
This is actually the difference between men and women’s emotions. We all feel the same things; it is just men typically have quite a few less words to identify those feelings.
Fact: Men have emotions
Fact: Most men don’t know the words for them, so they don’t share them
Fact: Emotional Intimacy depends on sharing emotions
The Normal Approach
Asking a guy what they are feeling is like asking someone living on the equator to describe snow. They know it exists, they have vague sense of what it might be like, but they really don’t have a clue what to say.
The trick here is to get guy’s warmed up. Most men have trouble with the quickie emotional disclosure. We need time ladies, give us a little emotional foreplay and you’ll see what we got!
Ask About Our Day
So much of men’s emotional intimacy is wrapped up in their intellectual and daily pursuits. Making an effort to really listen to his day, the good, the bad, the boring will help him warm up to the idea of sharing. This is so critically important. When life gets in the way of my sharing my day with Kate for even a few nights; I can feel disconnected. It doesn’t make sense, but it is true. Sharing their day for guys is foreplay for emotions!
As you hear about our day ask questions, just avoid the F word. No not that one, “Feel”. Don’t ask him how he felt, ask:
“That sounds stressful, how did you handle it?” or
“Getting that compliment must have been uplifting.” or even
“Ouch, that sounds like a lot of responsibility; how are you doing?” (Replacing feeling with doing is an acceptable substitution that your guy probably won’t notice)
Before you know it he will be sharing feelings without even knowing it! It is all about warm up time! Give your husband a little emotional foreplay and see what happens!