I came across an article written by Gary Smalley on the issue of men not comforting their wives. I believe what Gary has to say could help a lot of women. What he basically says is: most men don’t know HOW to comfort you in the way you most need it. You have to teach them how to do this.
For years I’ve applied the principle Gary teaches to my own marriage. I just happened to stumble upon this principle, applied it and have found it works really well! I wish I would have come across his article years ago because it would have saved me a lot of heartache.
Men Don’t Like to be Taught
Before I send you to read what Gary wrote on this subject I want to interject something I’ve learned from my experiences that might help you. WARNING: Most men don’t like to be taught. This is particularly true if they think their wife is looking down on them.
Most men aren’t proud of the fact that they don’t just naturally understand how a woman needs to be treated. It makes them feel dumb and awkward. It has something to do with liking to come in and “save the day.” It’s the whole Superman thing, if you will. Most women don’t get this because we don’t think in this same way. But for some reason it’s important to men —at least most men.
There are some men (and women) that are just plain narcissistic. They don’t really care about anything other than what ultimately pleases them. But what I’ve found is that this applies to very few men. If this is true of your husband I’m so sorry that you’ve found yourself in a marriage with this type of man. This has GOT to be a heartbreaking situation. But please know that God can show you a way to gain comfort from God Himself and other “safe” friends. Just make sure it doesn’t include someone from the opposite sex (other than a female family member).
Exposing yourself to that kind of temptation could eventually threaten your marriage. It would be wrong on your part no matter how wrong your husband may be. You still need to honor God’s principles of right and wrong. That’s true even if your spouse is wrong or is mentally or emotionally ill in some way.
However, most men are very teachable. However, some men are slower in how fast they will “catch on” to what you’re teaching. So make sure you’re aware of this and adjust accordingly.
The important thing to note is that when you “teach” them, try to keep their dignity in tact. Find ways to teach them without making it look like they SHOULD have known these things before. Even if you think that’s true —they didn’t. Studies have shown that most men’s minds don’t naturally know these things. Their nurturing nature doesn’t seem to be as in tune as a woman’s. It can eventually become that way. But it often takes someone to have the patience and a teaching style that isn’t offensive to “waken” this part of their character.
Your Spouse Isn’t You
So be patient and remember: he isn’t you. Your husband can’t read your mind as well as you think he should. He may not be as intuitive on this level of being in a relationship. So cut him a little (and sometimes a lot) of slack. And help him where he needs it without letting your pride or sarcasm take over what needs to be done.
After all, you aren’t “sharp” or near perfect in every area of living that there is either, are you? And neither is your husband, so be a dispenser of grace in this area of your lives together.
To read the article that Gary Smalley wrote please click onto the imom.com web site link below:
This article was put together by Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International.
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: For Married Women
20 responses to “Why Most Men Don’t Comfort”
(MALAWI) This is very helpful.
(USA) This link is out of date, and no longer works. I know I would have loved to read this article as well, if there is a way of finding the correct information and updating it, that would be greatly appreciated!!!
(USA) Hi Lisa, There was a broken link to this article. Sometimes web sites change things around and break links to their articles and we don’t find out about it unless we stumble upon the problem ourselves or someone else lets us know. Thanks for pointing this out. I was able to find where they moved the article onto another web site and fixed the link, so it’s available to read again. Sorry about the disruption.
Thanks soo much.
Very helpful… Thank you and God bless!
I find it very difficult to get my husband to comfort me during real hard times. I have very effectively expressed my needs to him by using I statements. I am a counselor, so I am very careful to not injure his psyche. It is frustrating having to “teach” someone how to feel. Why do women know how to do this innately but men have to be taught??? I just don’t get it.
Wanda, I’m sure your husband is frustrated in a different way. He probably wonders why you feel he has “to be taught” –that if you would just do things his way (being non-communicative and not needing this “comfort” thing as much as you do) that your marriage would be just fine. It is often a gender thing, where he thinks you should just “shake it off” like his buddies do… but sometimes it’s a background thing, where he’s uncomfortable having to comfort you like you need it. But whatever it is, you need to realize that you are both different. And when we combine our differences in marriage, there is a learning curve for each of us. But if we go with it, it’s amazing how good it can get.
That’s what I discovered with my husband of 42+ years. It took a long time, but eventually we both stopped looking at what we needed to do to make it work –who contributes what, etc… and just went more with the flow of finding ways to work together (and learn together about what it takes to live with each other in good ways) and be together in ways that works for both of us. We have a fabulous marriage now. It has taken work (& still does), but it is so, so, so, so worth it! I hope you eventually find that to be true for your marriage too.
It is frustrating. Anybody can learn why can they not? I told my husband it is like a trick, you do not have to understand it just put your arms around me. You do not have to feel the same just listen and acknowledge that you heard me.
We women do that all the time.
A dog can learn tricks because he is willing to learn. And there is that word that seems to fleet their mind. WILLING.
Yep, and the article clearly says you have to teach him how to do it, that he needs to do it.
Probably frustrating for him too if you are not taking the time to teach him with patience.
Been there. Tried that. Got me nowhere. Tried being sweet, the opposite, etc. nothing works. Guess I should’ve been born better looking, then he probably would’ve listened.
*sigh* Why is it women who always have to work extra hard to appease the man? We’re the ones that always have to come up with a plan to protect his ego and ‘trick’ him into learning something. It shouldn’t be this difficult.
This is my question also?? But I guess it has to with their wiring and how they are groomed as kids- to be all tough and macho. Only by God’s grace.
Simply, thank you. Beautiful, heartfelt, helpful and above all, comforting.
Hi all…I just read this thread now after seeing Tsitsi’s latest addition – I am a husband married 37 years – we have 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren. I can well imagine it must be very frustrating for women who must feel like Charlie the mouse who was frightened with the arrival of a new cat in the house. “Simple solution!” said his mouse friend Ben who lived at the neighbor’s house (with no cat). “Just put a collar around his neck with a bell!” Said Charlie to Ben, “Thanks a lot, but how do I get it there?”
It is true that we men are wired differently. It is true that we men are brought up to “be the MAN” which we erroneously think means to “be macho.” We need to LEARN that comforting our wives, listening to our wives, “just being there” for our wives is part of “being the MAN.” (Have I got that right??) This does not come naturally to us…. true.
So how do you “get that bell around the cat’s neck?” My best answer would be to consistently do the following:
– Tell him, “You don’t have to understand it, I’m asking you to ‘just do it.’ ”
– When he DOES do things for you, which mean he is “being the MAN” for you, tell him immediately. IMMEDIATELY. Not the next day, or even an hour later, but as SOON as the event occurs. When he takes the trouble to help you with your coat, or opens the car door for you, or takes out the trash in the rain for you or refuses a physical confrontation on the street because he doesn’t want to get injured and be unable to work, tell him right then, “it means the WORLD for me that you hold the car door open. It makes me feel like a woman…..etc.” You’ll know what to say. Of course… don’t overdo it… but you will know the balance there as well :)
– Be patient and consistent.
– NEVER nag. (Nagging is horrible… please take my word for it.)
– Have a few female friends you can talk to. (But not for the purpose of bad mouthing your husband)
– Give him room to lead.
We men need our wives. Some of us don’t realize that yet. WP (Work in Progress)
Are women being completely honest about their own choices here, honest with themselves?
The kind of men women seem to find attractive, date, and then marry, don’t seem to be the considerate sweeties they claim to want. I happen to be considerate and come by the ability to comfort women naturally, I’ve also had to learn the hard way not to be too nice. Being nice or even too kind is an attraction killer for women. I’m inclined to think women don’t know themselves very well; don’t know what they want.
If you’re honest I’ll bet you can remember some guy, maybe a male friend who wanted to be with you who was good at comforting you. Of course you passed right over him to date and even marry someone inconsiderate. Sometimes we have to take responsibility for the choice we made. You got what you picked out.
Good read for me.
Thank you! This article just gave me life again for my marriage.
I wish my talk therapist would have talked about emotional flooding. It makes so much sense to what is happening to brain chemistry. I think I can now with God’s help begin to heal.
I just do not know your understanding about men that just will not comfort you. My husband will have nothing to do with me; he makes up excuses. It’s always one reason for THE NEXT REASON Do you know what I’m trying to say?
I believe that anybody can learn to be compassionate to his or her spouse. All it requires is caring and being concerned about their spouses feelings. I also believe that talking about a situation with your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend is the only way you can solve any issues that are in the relationship. If nobody communicates nothing will get solved!!! Everything will eventually escalate and the relationship will end!!! Communication in any relationship is very important.