Our last post for No Chicks Week isn’t about women, but men. We’ve touched before on the notion that men need to spend time in the exclusive company of other men every once in a while, but we didn’t really touch on why, and why that’s so important to a marriage.
Many men feel far more comfortable in the company of women. That’s to be expected in our feminized culture. Most men of the last couple of generations were raised by their mothers, or other women, while their fathers were barely present. These boys didn’t receive their fair share of masculine modeling, guidance, and nurturing. It stands to reason that these men would feel more comfortable sharing their feelings, time, and trust with women.
So what’s the problem with that? If you’re still young, you may not have bumped up against the issues that will undoubtedly arise as you find yourself facing the challenges of long-term relationships, career choices, child rearing, mid-life, addictions, fidelity, and mortality, to name just a few!
Those of us who are longer in the tooth have had to confront our doubts, fears, and limitations as men who have been taught to rely primarily on women for advice. Women can teach us many things, but they cannot initiate us into manhood. For that, we require other men, fathers, and mentors.
Men who have continued to rely on their female significant others as their sole source of guidance, their only sounding board, or for their psychotherapeutic interventions, have seen their long-term relationships deteriorate. These men are asking too much of the women they love.
I’ve seen this in many men I know personally. They have no male friends. They had little to no relationship with their father. They have their mothers. Then their girlfriends. Then their wives (and often all their ex-girlfriends at the same time). And that’s their circle.
When they need advice they’re cuddled and coddled and their told how important and valid their feelings are.
And their actions suffer.
Now, my own experiences are entirely anecdotal, but I suspect they’re not uncommon.
This is especially tough on wives, because wives don’t have the luxury of being relatively unaffected by the poor choices of their husband, like a husband’s friends are, or even his mother. Wives must live, intimately, with every bad choice her husband makes. They must make up the difference for poor choices. And that wares thin.
By revealing themselves to other men, these courageous men have invited others in. They’ve learned to ask for help to become better fathers and husbands. They’ve owned up to their own fears and doubt, making it safe for others to do the same. And as they’ve come to know each other and help each other, the distance between them has diminished.
Now, rather than feeling all alone when a relationship has hit a speed bump, a business transaction has turned bad, or a child has become impossibly defiant, these men now have somewhere to turn, a man to call, and an opportunity to get the help they need to turn things around, sometimes very quickly. Though it may sound a bit dramatic, this kind of support is literally life changing.
A group of men offer a perspective that many men don’t get from their usual circle, and on top of that, Freemasons often offer something even more valuable: experience.
Whether a brother is in his 30s, 40s, 50s, or even 80s, what they have to offer is experience. They’ve been places. They’ve seen things. They’ve run those same races we find ourselves in, and that experience can be leveraged. At Braden I can get advice on pretty much everything from how to negotiate a raise to better blacksmithing techniques (seriously, we’ve got, like, three blacksmiths in lodge. How manly is that?!)
The entire article can be read HERE, and I highly recommend it.