Welcome brother! If this is your first time reading Woodshop Wisdom, this is a place where, every Monday, we answer a specific question from the men’s community. We give straight-forward answers to a variety of relationship problems and the challenges men face everyday as a provider, father and husband. And often we will challenge you to go much deeper in your understanding of the problem and how to think about it more effectively.
Let’s get started.
I want to talk to her about the relationship. I want to tell her all the things I need and expect from each other. I want to move past this “limbo land” we are living in and move forward. When do I bring this up? How do I bring this up to her?
My kids and I have a running joke in my house. We tease each other a bit with good natured humor and with loving playfulness. What follows is a classic example.
It is a fact in my house that nobody talks to Dad in the morning before I zombie walk to the kitchen, eat four bites of whatever sugary cereal I have on the shelf, trudge back into the bathroom, turn on the shower and rinse off the exhaustion.
This is my version of coffee. NOBODY talks to me before that. They know not too.
AFTER the hot shower I am the Dad they know and love. I am in a great mood, ready to seize the day, and ready to give all the love I have to them.
Before the shower, I’ll be honest, I can be a bit of an a$#hole. I would be much more inclined to bite your head off, spit it onto the floor, and piss on the scraps. I am in a bad mood for that first fifteen minutes. A real bad mood.
This example has me thinking about a book I was listening to recently. I want to summarize a brief thought about it.
It’s called “The Relationship Handbook” by George S. Pransky, PHD
In the book he talks about relating to people when you are in a state of “high mood” versus being in a state of “low mood”.
This hit home for me because 98% of my so-called problems come from my own reactions to external circumstances while I am in a low mood.
An example: When I was married, I would be tired from a long day at work, most likely dehydrated from not drinking enough water, hungry, and carrying around a feeling of not doing enough during the day. I would come home and “need” some loving.
She would probably be feeling the same and we would stubbornly, albeit passive aggressively, demand the other to perform up to the expectations of husband and wife.
A battle between low mood versus low mood.
We were both looking for the other person to bring us out of our low moods.
My mood could have been repaired by first recognizing what mood I am in and secondly doing something about it BEFORE I related to my spouse in any capacity.
In the example above, my spirits could have been lifted by very simple things.
I could have gone for a walk around the parking lot at work to decompress before leaving for home.
I could have had a large glass of water at the end of the day.
I could have formed a habit of being grateful for all that I had time to accomplish during the day, like I do now. (I give myself a little “atta boy” pat on the back, occasionally. It’s much better than the butt-kicking I did internally prior to doing my own men’s work.)
What I am getting at is this:
You are responsible for your own mood. Never speak to her again while in a low mood.
(Other than to say, “I’m kind of in a low spot right now, give me 10 minutes and I will be able to listen better.”)
“But wait!?! I can never speak to her about the relationship or how our marriage is lacking mutual love, respect, and sexual desire?”
No, I am NOT saying that. I am saying wait until you are in an uplifted and loving state of mind BEFORE addressing these issues you have.
“Well, I would never need to bring this up to her if I waited until I was happy all the time!”
I want very much for you to have a deeper, more intimate connection with your wife. You will get there by showing her high regard throughyour high mood.
You’ll have high regard for her when you take the time to have high regard for yourself first.
High regard for yourself comes from personally taking care of your desires and knowing that the responsibility for your mood starts and ends with you.
So, open the door to communication and intimacy by entering these conversations open-hearted, self-sourced, and deeply affectionate and loving. These are the moments of connection that will bring about what you desire.
When you find yourself wanting to have a deep conversation with her about your relationship, wait until you are feeling happy and experiencing those natural feelings of love and respect.
You might find that you suddenly don’t need to have the conversation.
You also might find that if you do, it will be an entirely connecting and enriching conversation based on mutual love and respect.
It will be a conversation you will be bringing something into, not needing something from.
It took me over six months of one-on-one coaching and a deeply personal dive into my own insecurities to be able to see this from the outside. I still struggle with this and rely on brothers to keep my straight.
I am not saying this is easy. I am saying that it is worth it. You are worth it.
Thoughts From The Woodshop
Low mood fail alert!
I was sitting at my desk, grinding out drawings, quotes, phones calls, and pounding through a list I knew I couldn’t get done by closing time.
I was stressed and couldn’t see past it. I was buried in it.
The showroom door opens and there stands the angry, frowning guy who needs his project wrapped up…NOW. I somewhat avoided and somewhat couldn’t get to the three messages he left on my answering machine the days prior. I had other fires to put out!
He came at me hot and very upset. I proceeded to get put in my place and dumped on until I couldn’t take it anymore. I fired back at him. It was spiraling downhill quickly.
Low mood versus low mood – nobody is coming out the winner.
He is not getting his project completed and I’m not getting a happy customer.
But in a quick glimpse, I saw it. I saw exactly where each of us was coming from and was able to take a deep breathe.
I slowed way down.
Which slowed him down and he was able to breath.
I took a slight pause and readjusted my mood and gave him an opportunity to do the same.
We both wanted the same thing. We both wanted this done in a satisfactory way.
I restarted the conversation. “I know you want this done as fast as possible. I do too. This is the best I can do right now. (proceeded to lay out a reasonable timeline) If we stick to this plan, will this be acceptable?”
“Yes, that will work great.” He stated.
We both entered the conversation from a place of stress, upset, and concern only for ourselves. When we communicated to each other where we were at and saw each other, we were able to formulate a plan to move forward.
The energy, or mood, we bring into the conversation determines the outcome.
If we don’t recognize the direction we’re heading, we can’t steer it back on track. But I recommend getting on the correct road before you begin driving.
Where to go from here?
I see you man. I see that you are ready to engage, you are ready to create something new. I see that you are ready to pick up the tools we have available and get back to building something in your life that is beautiful, impactful, and meaningful. I look forward to seeing it.
It all starts with a question – what do you want to build?
Most of us men spend a lot of time in our heads. We have conversations with ourselves but never show that thinking and feeling side to anyone else. The question and answer example above is exactly like the wise conversations we have every day ALL day in the Mentoring Men Community. This is the smartest, strongest, most caring and courageous group of men I’ve ever known.
We meet weekly for group coaching calls and have deep conversations with men around the world 24/7. This online men’s group is like none other out there. This is what we hear.
“Thank you, Thank You, Thank You for reminding me of who I really am and helping me kill that annoying hummingbird. My wife has seen an immediate change in my attitude and outlook while she has struggled to make progress of her own. She has even made the statement that “I want to be where you are and want to find something that I can connect with and that will make me a better person.”
Join us and start changing your life faster than you ever thought possible.