Ever ask a man about defensiveness?
A little while back, a class member asked me a question about her husband. He had made fun of a disabled person and was angry about how long it took to get through the grocery line. She has been at a loss at how to deal with these things. I blogged about it here. I asked a few men about this. My question for them was essentially, “How do you deal with a super-defensive guy?”
The below is some of what I heard back. The emphasis is mine.
Thank you for asking me about this issue that women have brought up about their men. Ever since you asked me this question, I have thought about how I interact with my wife. I found, over 38 years, you get into a pattern. You get into an expectation mindset. This is not a good place to be with your wife or anyone else. They never seem to do what you expect, especially when you do not let them know. You feel let down and unappreciated.
To answer the question for the women, not knowing their personalities, my first suggestion is that they start by sitting their husband down, if possible, and ask for forgiveness if they have been critical or contemptuous. I know when my wife comes to me for forgiveness, it opens up communication and we can discuss a lot of things. Feelings come out that you would not normally share out of the blue.
The uber-defensive men, have issues. There are very few reasons for any man to be this defensive. One, they are hiding stuff from their wife or two, they are hiding something from their wife. There is absolutely no reason to be that defensive unless something is going on that he does not want her to know. I am sorry but unless these guys are having their own internal crisis (their job, feeling of being trapped in the relationship because of children, feeling like they want more freedom, envious of guys who don’t have responsibility, etc) they are up to something that they are trying to keep from their wife. Deflect, defend and respond.
The guys who are being mean to their wives and kids in public, personally, need to have their “butts kicked”. Sorry but that is being a bully, not a father or husband. Kids are kids and they do unthinkable things (like fall into ape exhibits). Maybe this is a reaction based on how they were raised, but that is no excuse to repeat the “sins of the past”. If that was an viable excuse then I should be divorced and should have whipped my kids with a belt!
Repeating bad patterns is a lazy way to parent and a lazy way to be in a life-long relationship.
If, and I mean IF, these men are Christians, then they have NO excuse to be acting this way. If God, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, promises a changed life, then this kind of behavior does not reconcile with who Christ expects us to be. I would say their walk is at best, surface. It is one thing to be the leader of your home, but that does not mean you need to be Idi Amin. Discipline for kids is important but not without love and respect.
The guys who want “no boundaries” are guys who really do not want the relationship and the responsibility that comes with it. Marriage is a partnership…and I would say an equal partnership. The moment one party, or the other, thinks it is more about them and less about their spouse, there are issues. These situations are for counselors.
I am not sure I was a lot of help here. I can tell you, just you sending this, made me think about what I do. I love my wife deeply and like any guy I do stupid things, many times without thinking, but sometimes because I think I have earned the right to do this or that. Heck I work, put food on the table and a roof over her head, I should at least be able to…(you finish the sentence). Again, being married is give and take.
The moment one party feels like they are the minority partner, there are going to be issues. If not spoken, then they will come out physically. Whether it is a man staying out late with his buddies or some other sketchy behavior, or the wife withholding sex (which could be dangerous in many ways) the patterns will continue or get worse and there will be a lot of hurt and finger pointing when the relationship goes south.
The woman needs to get tough and stand her ground until she gets heard. I feel awful for her if she is trying this hard to make it work. Do these women have any couples, with healthy relationships, they can get together with? I know this kind of sneaky, however these men need to see how this works with other healthy couples. Sometimes it takes that kind of influence…man on man…to get them to see a better way to be a husband and a father.
I hope this has been some help. I am not perfect but any stretch. It is only because of God in my life that I was able to break the pattern in my own family. Plus I have an awesome wife. She is the best match for me…God is good!
Thanks again for asking me.
What to do now?
I suggest taking inventory in the respect department. How are the words coming out of our mouths today? Bravery isn’t spiteful, rude, cruel, or contemptuous. EVER.
AND…I appreciate this guy’s comments. What do you think? Check the comments in the other post from last week, and chime in!
Love to you,
Here’s a few more you might like: