Tag Archives: support

Being a Supportive Partner

Allowing your partner to be:  No one will discover who they are if someone is always telling them who they should be. 

This has been one of the biggest lessons Marin and I have had the opportunity to learn. Thank goodness it’s over… It is over right? Oddly enough, when Marin rolled over last night and thanked me for my participation in it, I was surprised to realize that the integration of the simple aspects of this approach had all but taken the reigns in my perception. At least I think it has.

A few short years ago, my attitude towards Marin was slightly skeptical at best.  Arguably she had more dramatic “flaws” back then ;-)…. regardless though, I wouldn’t let her get away with anything.  That’s actually how I felt.  She would get in one of her “moods” and I felt obligated to inform her that she was acting like an absolute twit.  Arguments would ensue over why she was or wasn’t, who’s fault it was, and how I didn’t approach her correctly.

A long arduous road was set out on then by two weary travelers from a culture long since driven numb by judgement and levels.  The road was anything but smooth.

The first lesson she taught me was: listen.  This is soon to be proven by scientists as an ability altogether unnatural to a man’s natural instincts. Until that report comes out though, it might be smart for you fellas to be all ears (as much as possible) to your female counterpart’s seemingly circular, out loud thinking.  What I found is, the more she knows I’m listening, the more she talks on without end…. initially anyways, after which, the time decreases dramatically for her to feel like she has been heard.  Allowing people that space goes a long way towards them realizing for themselves the real source of their frustrations or upset.

Quite possibly the hardest idea to get over is that whatever they say, it’s not personal!  Even when they exclaim, “You are a complete slob!”  Sounds fairly pointed, I know, but what they are really trying to say is, “I don’t like living in a messy house, and I am tired of picking up after others.”  See? nothing to do with you, they’re just expressing their wants.  Oddly enough, they don’t often see the difference in this language either, or even realize that the second option is what they are really upset about.

So this can be a two way street: you realizing they don’t mean you, and them realizing they don’t mean you.  If you’re listening, and catch the finger pointing, you can relax and realize what they are really saying without becoming defensively enraged yourself.

When the kettle simmers down a bit you can proudly re-word their concerns in a less personal way.  Generally speaking, the simple idea that you understand their distress glazes over the fact that you left yourself out of the cause.  Peoples perceptions are their own, allowing someone to have their own point of view without diving in to defend yours, gives them the opportunity to see the reality behind their own emotions.

Lastly, leave the tool box in the shed.  You cannot give her your perception of her problem, unless of course she’s asking you calmly for it (which could be a trap mind you).
Kahlil Gilbran put it perfectly in his book “The Prophet”, when he said, “The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding. The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.  And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.  For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.
So unless you are rashly brave, or extremely foolish, give the person space to find their own conclusions.  I know how tempting it can be to want to address the issue on the spot, “Nothing a little duct tape can’t patch up“, but unless you are planning on using it to strap them to a chair and do your own cooking for the rest of your life, I suggest you weather the storm as graciously as possible.  Remember, without the rain, the fruit of your crop withers in the sun.  Lookie there, I can talk like a prophet too.

Bottom line gang: Giving a wife, child, or friend space to feel out their own story, empowers them to write their own way out of it, learning the lessons that are the reward of every problem in life that we face.

Thank you for your thoughts and stories, they teach me daily.

Brett

Advertisements

Childbirth: The Only Thing Harder for a Dad Than Menopause!

The title is just a joke really.  As a young father, the only experience I have with menopause is the memory of my father’s thinning skin coinciding with my moms hot flashes and the Battle Royale over the thermostat that ensued for the next few years.  Childbirth on the other hand is fresh in my mind and I wanted to share some thoughts on it to the aspiring dads out there… You woman can just laugh at our meager strife 😉

Childbirth for me was one of the most helpless times of my life.  Here I am, “Grand Protector and Provider”, watching clueless of what to do while “the parasite” (fairly accurate terminology given the circumstances) burrows its way out of what I would affectionately call my wife’s tenders.  She is in pain.  The one thing I’m supposed to prevent. “Stupid! Stupid!”  Well this is kind of how I felt our first time. There is hope though, and it starts before labor.

Firstly I think it’s important to realize right this instant that your wife is made for this.  Moving forward with this perception, this steadfast belief, as I think it should be, you are ready to prepare your wife, and yourself, for birth. Your support and encouragement through this miraculous process of pregnancy will set the framework for your wife’s belief in her own ability.  A healthy relationship is crucial, and I beg you not to underestimate the level of intimacy you can maintain or even create while your wife is pregnant.  Yes there will be times when she is an utter pain in the butt, and others when she has pains in her butt… but if you can foster a loving, understanding relationship with her, you will witness the blooming of a rare flower versus the impending doom of perpetually dark skies over your once peaceful abode.

Educate yourself on childbirth options.  If you are anything like myself, a westernized boy from a small family of four, the whole concept of childbirth is a foreign idea.  Our main source of education on the subject comes from tv and movies, which let me just say are far from reality. Don’t count on having your baby in the back of a cab on the way to the hospital because a tidal wave suddenly fell from between your wife’s legs, soiling her pretty flower covered maternity dress she was wearing.  Be informed that c- section is quickly becoming the norm in this country and understand why, and what a major operation like that means to you, your wife, and particularly that precious package she’s carrying.  Look into birthing centers, talk to midwives or your doc about what standard procedures are and what c- section rates he or she is delivering. All I’m saying is study your options… There are more than you think.

Most importantly though, learn to be positive!  Birth is a magically natural thing.  Get it in your head that it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. My wife’s first sounded like bloody murder from outside the house I’m sure.  Yes we had both ours at home, we are THOSE people.  But her second was so peaceful you could of heard a mouse fart through all of it.  Don’t believe me? Both videos are on YouTube (Birth #1 & Birth #2) for the very purpose of showing how a little focus and positivity can make all the difference in the world.  It takes changing our ideas, even our language about birth.  Empowering our women to do what is natural and instilling the belief that it can be both safe and peaceful is the real ticket to ensuring that menopause stays on top as the last mysteriously scary event for us husbands.

Believe me gentleman your wife wants and needs you during this time, and your role as protector and provider requires learning some helpful information that seems lost to our modern society and fostering positivity about this incredible process that encompasses the true essence of life.

-Brett
oie_transparent