Monday, January 19, 2015

Do All Husbands Need Mistresses?

Hi Lori ~ I have kind of a strange question. Do you think all men have a mistress? And by mistress I don't even necessarily mean a woman. I mean, a major distraction. It seems to me all men have a major distraction from their wives and they like it this way. So for some men, they may struggle with the temptation of other women, but for men who aren't like this, they develop a love-affair with hobbies or a passion for their work. And the wife is there, but his focus isn't on her particularly. And the wife is often seeking some of the attention that he gives those distractions. Would you say this is generally true? 

I asked Ken to respond, since he knows men much better than I do!

I am going to try to tackle your question, but I certainly do not have all the answers on what you ask. I see some men who seem to be so focused, or perhaps distracted from their wife, by their work or hobbies, just as you do. I think it is in the nature of a healthy man to want to try to accomplish things, build things, and build a nest egg of security. It seems that 90%+ of all things built and created in this world, outside of God’s creations are male made. That is not to say that women lack creativity, but the way the male brain vs. the female brain is laid out by God in the womb is for the male to be singularly focused on 1-2 things at a time, and the female brain can run a range of 8-10 things she can focus upon, and often get done. Hence never leave your children with a husband who is engrossed in his work, a project, or a game, as men struggle to do two things at once like most women can do easily. Study the male vs. female brains and you may come to understand part of your answer, and maybe not be offended when you see your husband in such a focused mode.

All that said, men also like to drop whatever they are focused upon and just rest and relax at times. This too can be frustrating for some wives as when their husband finishes a hard day at work he wants to go to his man cave and veg in front of the TV.

Yet, some men, like me, value a relationship with our wife and we make her a primary focus within our many other focuses. I see that in my sons and sons-in-law, all relatively newly married, yet they love to have their romance continue and place a big emphasis on a relationship with their wives. Unfortunately, as the children show up, I see far too many wives who take their focus off of their husbands and give their children priority all day and night long. Many husbands begin to feel shut out of their wive’s lives. In my case, it came with four children and a sick wife. There was little time or energy left for me. So I am sure I started placing an even greater focus on the things that could give me satisfaction as I discovered that my wife would not, or could not give me the fulfillment I wanted.

As the years went by, I became overly busy and the job fulfilled me. Lori focused on the kids and her health. I longed for a deeper and more intimate relationship with her, but no matter how hard I tried, she had two mistresses: the kids and a focus on health. I understood this, and created a life of my own within my own home, but what I could not understand is why she kept asking me for a greater sense of relationship, oneness and intimacy, when in reality she was just as focused on what she wanted as was I. I tried doing all I could to please her and show her I loved her, but the timing was not right, or her focus was not on “us” at the time. It becomes just as impossible for a husband to break through a wife’s many mistresses as it is for a wife to gain the focus of her hard working or seemingly distracted husband.

I can only offer this advice to both parties when it comes to trying to gain the focus of your spouse.  First, become lovable. Don’t expect that your husband, or wife, is going to want to focus on a selfish person who is whining or demanding; worse yet complaining about the marriage relationship without making themselves into a gracious, loving, kind, and understanding spouse. What makes Lori’s ministry so powerful is the promise that a wife “may win her husband without a word” by the way she behaves. I often counsel men who are trying to deal with a difficult wife to “first be Jesus to your wife and act like a Christian in everything towards her. It is Jesus who wins hearts and minds, not arguments or more self-seeking." 

Until we, as believers, start acting like Christians towards our spouse in a marriage, how can we expect God to bless it? So yelling, snide remarks, unkind words, arguing, and being in bad moods need to be confessed to the other spouse, then ask them to hold us accountable for anything that looks like sin in our relationship. Hopefully, given enough time and grace, our spouse will want to play the same tune of being a Christian in our marriage. Once you both are on that page, the rest of the Spirit's miraculous healing can happen.

Second, don’t think for an instant that most men do not think a lot about their marriage and what they would love it to become. They too want to get it back to the days of romance and fun and enjoyment. But playing a great duet can only happen if both instruments and players are in sync with each other. My experience tells me that far too many women want that “in sync” to be their way, and they are unwilling to try to get into the head and desires of their husband for fear that his way will not give them what they feel they need in the relationship. Ask your spouse what an intimate marriage looks like and then go about trying to do your part. Many a husband stopped being distracted from his wife when she stopped putting him as last on her list multitasking for the day.

Sorry for the long note, but I now have two mistresses in my work and my children, and one wife in Lori who I enjoy spending time with and having her know who I am, and accept me just the way I am built. We are still both a work in progress, but I am growing more and more in love with my wife every day, and less in love with work and other things. In part, because Lori makes herself lovable and is understanding. She acts like a Christian towards me, and more precisely a Christian wife who makes me want to respond in kind, and kindness. If your husband has mistresses, real or just the job, fight for him by becoming the wife of his dreams. To find out what that means, ask him and tell him you want him to tell you any time you fall short so that you can grow to become someone who pleases him. Most Christian men will follow and do the same with you in time.

We are taught by Christian psychologists that as men we are to try to get into the head and emotions of our wives so we can live with them in an understanding way. I think a man should try to understand his wife, but if most women cannot understand other women, this is an impossible challenge at times to understand a wife. Instead, I suggest that a wife try to understand her husband. Men in most cases are far less complex, but still more complex than what many women perceive. We want more than the basics of food, sex, respect and appreciation. We do want more in our relationships but few wives will try to really get to the heart thinking of their man.  

See if your husband will carve out a few times a week to cuddle and share his inner most being with you. Give this process time, but if he can share his stresses, his fears, his dreams and his desires with his wife, then I think you may find the key to unlocking his focuses and in turn he will pay more attention to you. Become a help meet to him not just by cooking and cleaning, but get to the heart of his being where a wife can be the greatest help meet in meeting his need to have one other person in this world fully understand who he is and accept and fully love him.

If you want to know why most men are so focused on one or two things study the way men's brains are set. Then add to this their fears, their desires, and ultimately their fear of failure and you will find focus provides the avenue of achievement or seemingly necessary escape into TV or a book. Yes, most successful men are driven because they never feel they will ever measure up; measure up to the expectations of Dad and/or Mom, their boss, their children, and now a wife who may keep changing the expectations on him.

Men hate to fail or feel like failures, so if they have one person, the person who says they love him most in the whole world actually understand them and accept them for who they are, warts, sins and all, then this becomes a great foundation for healthy, balanced lives. If a husband feels his wife does not understand or appreciate him, he will find one or two other "mistresses" who will appreciate him, or where he feels safe, successful and appreciated, or simply distracted from his anxiety and fears. 

I found him whom my soul loves.
Song of Solomon 3:4