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Mars, Venus, and Pillow Talk

Several years ago I was asked to speak at a large men’s conference. Besides speaking from the main stage I was scheduled to give two breakout sessions. One of the breakout sessions was on the topic of my book, Becoming Your Spouse’s Better Half. Upon arriving at the venue I discovered from the participant guide that the event producers had advertised this workshop as “How to get more sex in your marriage.” Needless to say, about 580 out of the 600 men in attendance showed up at the workshop. The twenty who didn’t come were the teenage boys who were forced (somewhat reluctantly) to attend the workshop on sexual purity.
Rather than discussing just the act of sex, though, I talked mostly about a woman’s needs and how best to fulfill them. I told them that understanding a woman’s need for romance would be a key factor in having an enjoyable sex life – that women are physically stimulated through romance because it meets their need to feel cherished and loved. To be romanced is to feel special and valuable. To be romanced is to be pursued. Nearly all women derive some self-esteem or sense of worth from knowing a man wants and desires her. It makes her feel loved and attractive. When her need for non-sexual affection is met she is more able to respond with physical affection.
I explained that many women are unable to separate sex from the context of their daily lives and relationships. It seemed strange to some of them that if they’d recently been arguing with their spouse or the kids were sick, they weren’t likely find their wives in the mood for sex. While men use sex to heal the problems of life, women are just the opposite. In fact many women report that if the house is messy or the dishes dirty, they are unable to relax and concentrate on having sexual relations.
I let the men know their wives need to hear them speak words such as “I love you” and “You’re beautiful” daily. When a woman hears confirmation that her man loves her and finds her beautiful, she is more likely to be sexually responsive. She needs to hear these things frequently. Most women are insecure about their appearance. They mentally magnify any imperfections or flaws they perceive in their physical appearance. I use the word perceive because what a woman perceives and what others see can be two different things. It’s a great mystery that even the world’s most beautiful women can think they are ugly or can have features they are insecure about. These negative whispers in her ear are strategies by the evil one to strike her where it hurts most and she is most vulnerable.
As I discussed the need to actually “talk” to their wives, I could see an almost pained expression come over the faces of the men. I reassured them by letting them know that sometimes it was equally important to just listen to a woman without trying to solve her problems.
Frankly, the men were pretty stoic during the presentation. I hadn’t presented this workshop before so I didn’t know what to expect. But surprisingly, many came to me afterwards, some with tears in their eyes, and expressed genuine thanks for the epiphanies they had received regarding their wives’ needs. I have since received a half-dozen emails from men at the conference commenting on how much, according to their wives, the information I shared has already improved their marriages.
I believe the average guy is sincerely confused about his wife’s needs and how to fulfill them. Women are pretty complex creatures to most men. Every man I know wants to make his wife happy, and most guys would be willing to do whatever it takes – provided they knew what to do. Rather than advice from a Lothario’s perspective (which is what most secular books in our culture promote), we need to teach men (young and old) practical, common sense advice on how to fulfill their wives’ deepest needs – to create harmony, joy, and contentment in the lives of their spouses.

And if they happen to get a more fulfilling sex life because of it – well, so be it!

To find out more about Rick’s books or speaking schedule go to:  www.betterdads.net 

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The War on Men

Guys, we need to stop being ashamed of being men. Virtually every behavior that is natural to a man is now being criticized and we are made to feel ashamed about being our gender. Perhaps if we spent more time uplifting men instead of trying to annilate masculinity, we’d have better men.

 I recently posted this comment on a social network site. Not a huge fan of Men’s Health Magazine, but this ain’t bad advice: “You can’t be a topnotch man unless you’re deeply grateful. For what? Glad you asked. For the gift of your gender. For those muscles in your back. For those neurons in your brain. For your mirth. Your lust. Your courage. For your possibilities. A man in full appreciates the twist of fate that made him so strong, so cunning, so stalwart, so alert, so sexually skilled, so fully equipped, so good to go. Live the appreciation, by using it all.”

 The point was that men should have an attitude of gratefulness. Is there anything wrong with a man being grateful? Hardly—I’d say it’s one of the foundations of authentic masculinity. Men were almost embarrassingly silent regarding the post, but a number of women responded with snarky comments like, “so humble” or “vain,” or “very prideful.”

 Really? Are we so threatened by passionate, proud masculinity that we (as a culture) are programmed to immediately take steps to keep it squashed down. After all, if we can keep men ashamed of themselves, we can keep them docile. And docile men are easy to control. We’ve raised a generation of docile sons and we now call them slackers. If I had posted a note encouraging women to be proud of how they were created I’d have been lauded as an enlightened and highly intelligent human being.

In the past, men’s conferences such as Promise Keepers were met with criticism and distain by the media and women (even Christian women). They were portrayed as men getting together to plot and scheme with some ulterior motive to dominate or control women, putting them back under the thumb of oppression. Recently a Christian men’s conference focusing on inspiring men to act more manly has been heavily lambasted by Christian men and women in the media as being chauvinistic and rather stupid. Comments such as “Why do men need a conference to teach them how to be men anyway?” were cavalierly tossed about intending to humiliate the men who attended (yet interestingly national and local conferences that teach women how to live fulfilling and satisfying lives as wives, mothers, and women are thriving).

As a culture we seem to be highly threatened when groups of men get together so we do all we possibly can to demolish (or at least integrate with females) men’s clubs, boys groups, or any other male-only domains. After all, we wouldn’t want men getting together without the supervision of a female—who knows what might happen? When men have gotten together in the past they’ve only done things like, oh, put a man on the moon, or write the Constitution and Bill of Rights for the greatest country ever created in the history of the world.

 Men are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they make no efforts to improve themselves they are criticized as being lazy and self-centered. If they do try and improve themselves by learning from other men they are accused of trying to usurp a woman’s rights and it’s assumed that there must be some nefarious motive behind what they are attempting. And when they do good and right things (like the young Catholic men in the photo above who were praying together to protect a Catholic cathedral from vandalism) they are mocked and chastised.

 Guys don’t buy into it. You need other men in your life. Learn from them what healthy (and unhealthy) masculinity looks like. And when you make mistakes (which you will) learn from them and don’t be ashamed. If you are not making mistakes (and getting criticized by someone), you’re not accomplishing anything.

 Now go out and figure out how to accomplish something great!

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Angry Young Men

Ever notice we have a lot of angry young men running around today? One of the reasons is that our boys today have a certain amount of repressed anger. It results in more bullying in school, but also in a more escalated level of violence. This is caused by not allowing young males to solve their social issues as they have for thousands of years—on their own. In the past when two young males disagreed about something, they went on the playground and tussled around until one or the other acceded—generally they both just got too tired to continue and quit. They then shook hands and forgot about it. In fact many boys I fought with we went on to be good friends. Today however, with adult (feminine) interference, boys are not allowed to solve their own problems. They are taught that any kind of aggression or (gasp) violence is bad. So they are forced to repress those feelings which eventually cause them to fester into frustration, anger, resentment, and bitterness–far more powerful feelings than they were originally faced with. Eventually those powerful repressed emotions spill over and explode into greater levels of violence evidenced by the shootings and stabbings we see of young men across the country.

I’m not promoting that we should teach young males that violence is the way to solve problems. But in the “old days” when a gym teacher had two boys who had problems with each other he put boxing gloves on them both and told them to settle their differences. Afterwards they were made to shake hands and forget about it. Even in the most adversarial unsupervised playground scuffle seldom was anyone injured beyond a bloody nose. Males always respect their opponent after doing battle with one another and frequently become good friends because of the respect they earn for one another. We did not see the problems then that we face today with high levels of violence and killing of our young men.

Our more feminized world of total tolerance does not allow a young man to seek justice which causes him to be resentful and angry. Males are taught it is bad to fight or even be aggressive over any insult no matter how egregious the offense.
Again, I’m not promoting violence, bullying, or unchecked aggression, but this kind of feminization of young males not only results in a more intensified level of aggression, but also produces passive men who often internalize this anger and frustration which then manifests itself in destructive passive-aggressive behavior.

Why do you think young men are angry today?