Will Men Ever Get It Right?

According to one group quoted in the article, “What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With” by Darcy Lockman it will be 75 years before men catch up to women in doing their fair share. SEVENTY-FIVE YEARS!!!!

While women are getting this message;

I didn’t mean to interrupt your scrolling,
I just wanted to say you are beautiful!

Men are getting messages like this (these specifics taken from the link noted above);

…you are sexist, ignorant, self-serving, part of “a largely successful male resistance,” unfair, getting away with all of your bad behavior, in denial, entitled, privileged, someone who won’t “step up,” using a lame excuse of not stepping up because their wife takes over and pushes them out, when in reality, the wife is taking over because the husband is so incompetent, can’t be trusted, irresponsible…

Men, I mean to interrupt you.
If no one has told you today,
grow up, stop being a loser,
we are fed up and not going to
stand for it any more!
{Seriously, how often do you hear anything positive and affirming of men and masculinity?}

Backtracking briefly, if you are a woman and your husband is truly acting in these ways, I’m sorry. You are in a very difficult situation and I know that this is the reality in some marriages. Some men are toxic. Some women are toxic. I have tried to make progress in therapy with them and some just can’t see and they can’t learn, even if they don’t reach the level of “toxic.” I encourage you to seek a qualified couples therapist who is committed to helping you both have the best marriage possible. This therapist, of course, also needs to have an expertise in identifying signs that the relationship is not just troubled or unbalanced, but abusive and can help you navigate to emotional and sometimes physical safety. Beware though, of therapists whose world view is that of the author noted above, those who will “hold your hand” all the way to divorce court.

Men, if you are this man, wake up! Step up! Grow up! Imagine how much awesomeness you would contribute to your wife, your children, the community, fellow men, if you change. Seek support and JUST DO IT!

Another Side To Consider

  1. Of the couples I work with, the man initiates the counseling in approximately 55% of the cases (not counting the times when the wife gave him an ultimatum to call or split up).
  2. A majority of these men are engaged fathers who drive their children places, coach their teams, help with homework, read stories, cook meals, clean and work full-time jobs.
  3. The wife manages the finances in a majority of these cases and has full access to whatever amount of money she wants or needs for things that she, on her own, decides are important, without so much as a mention of it to her husband.
  4. Many men have spontaneously shared this one interesting fact, “I have tried keeping track of her cycle so that I might have a better chance of being additionally understanding and avoiding a conflict, but even that doesn’t work.”
  5. Some men have expressed a desire to make love more than once or twice a month (some couples two or three times a year) and when they are turned down and made to feel like they are some sex crazed “man,” have then asked if they can at least hug before work and bed or just snuggle sometimes, without any sex, or do some other things that husband and wife do, like go to dinner without the children, they get turned down there too. The women don’t dispute this and cite the reasons as all having to do with the man, or others who simply say, “It doesn’t do anything for me. I don’t want to.”
  6. Many men confess that they would rather the children not sleep in the marital bed, except for occasionally or when the child is not feeling well. They say that they have expressed this and quickly realized, per their wife, that all of the “good” parents know that “family bed” is best, so the man steps right down on the issue.

I’m a couples therapist. I see a lot of couples!

I could cite many other examples. Suffice to say that when I ask the couple, “Who controls the money? Sex? Parenting decisions? Family Vacations?” couples tend to look at each other, sometimes laugh, and both say she does.

This is far from a picture of female oppression or antiquated family structure. It is far from a picture of “a largely successful male resistance” as stated in the article cited above.

Unfortunately, what Darcy Lockman presents in her article is an “us against them” scenario. She tries to help her point by citing other authors who share her low view of men. Does she think that her name-calling of men will help? She fails to provide any support or suggestions for a married couple.

While I am not saying that there isn’t a problem with men not stepping up, I am saying that this is not collectively how men are, any more than I am not saying that all women are bossy, controlling and withholding.

I am definitely not agreeing that men and women need to be genderless and equal in all regards. God made us male and female and bestowed us with our own special abilities and gifts.

Check back in for the next post on this topic, which will be packed with solutions!

Tracy Lamperti, LMHC, BCETS

Part II here