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.
Last week I offered to get a babysitter for the kids and asked my wife to go to diner with me. I was playfully teasing and flirting with her about how fun it would be to have the house all to ourselves. She just rolls her eyes and walks away. THAT DAMN EYE ROLL! I get so frustrated when she does that. She is so shut down and doesn’t have any desire anymore. What am I supposed to do when she keeps shutting me down?
I remember feeling so rejected when my bids for affection were outright denied. It made me feel worthless and like I couldn’t do anything right. I would pursue, she would act annoyed. Then I would go away and wonder what the hell was wrong with her. Rinse and repeat.
While I kept myself busy sulking in the garage, I was consumed with thoughts like I was undesirable, I wasn’t attractive enough or I wasn’t a good enough lover.
I made up stories about how she was acting too. I finally said to her once, “You must not like sex.” (I know, dumb-ass statement). I made my uncomfortable feelings around rejection her problem by thinking there was something wrong with her.
I was so caught up in my own world of shame and guilt that I projected my insecurities onto her.
I created stories about why this was happening to fit the narrative that she was the one responsible for my experience of feeling rejected. Inside of these stories is exactly the place that I was getting myself trapped in this cycle.
All conflict exists after the therefore. All truth exists before the therefore. (that’s a quote from Michael Neill)
My wife rolled her eyes after I proposed a romantic evening, therefore,she is shut down, she doesn’t find me attractive, she thinks all I want is sex and I am not attractive.
Before the therefore is this truth – you desire a romantic evening and connection with your wife. That truth remains after she rolls her eyes doesn’t it? Do you still desire a date with your wife? Yes? Good, the next step is to plan it.
Get the babysitter, make reservations, lay out a dress on the bed for her to wear. Be unapologetic in your desire for her. Be consistent with it. Don’t let an eye roll or quick NO deny the truth that you desire a connected relationship with her. Invite her to that dance with you.
If an eye roll or an annoyed look can throw you off your planned course of action, how can she trust that?
Resist the urge to create reasons why you should deny yourself those feelings of desire. I spent far too much time in the garage sulking when I should have been planning my next attempt at connection.
She rolled her eyes. It does not mean anything about you or her. It is just a response she had in that moment. Maybe try something else? Maybe readjust your approach? Just don’t waver on your open-hearted love and desire for her.
Thoughts From The Woodshop
I wanted a new finishing system for the shop. It required a significant investment and would change our processes dramatically. We would have to switch to a new, unfamiliar coatings system and there would be a learning curve associated with the upgrade.
I knew this would not only benefit our customers by giving them a higher quality, more durable final product, but it would also lower overall cost by cutting labor and mixing times. I knew this was the correct move. I saw the forest AND the trees.
My lead finisher did not. He is slightly resistant to change and likes things to remain the same. Especially if it already works great and produces happy clients…which it did. It wasn’t about his skill level or the final product he was producing. Those were fantastic.
The resistance was still there though. I had to change my approach and become clear in my desire for the upgrade in order to lead us to this outcome.
By not making my desire wrong, nor his resistance to “fix what wasn’t broken” wrong, we were able to come to a solution where it made sense for both of us. I came to understand his position and, after getting clarity around my own decision, I could relate my position to him, and we came to an agreement.
The resistance didn’t prevent the upgrade. Also, my clear and concise desire for this change didn’t waiver either.
Who am I kidding…I’m the boss! I just bought it and forced the change. Hahaha. Just kidding. That kind of leadership would have lost me a damn good employee.
The “YES” was through the resistance, not by avoiding it. It was by understanding the first “no” that us led to the solution.
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.