When we try to fit ourselves into prescribed “boxes,” no one wins. The hope is that today’s relationships focus more on integration, so the question to ask maybe what works for you as a couple? What joint goals do you have, and how, given your individual strength and weaknesses, do you get there?
Is there a way, for example, a wife can fix a broken drawer and a husband wash the night’s dishes, and yet maintain their sense of femininity and masculinity and come together to respect each other’s contributions, however non-traditional they maybe? These are just some ideas to marinate on and hopefully adjust with time.
4) Are you threatened by your partner’s success?
How do you manage your own internal responses, i.e., emotions, when your wife has just told you that she has been promoted and is now at a higher position and pay grade than you?
Are you looking to grow from within? Or are you comparing yourself to her or others and making yourself feel worse in the process? Are you able to be supportive and encouraging regardless of her success? Or, are you taking out your frustrations and anger on her by denigrating her accomplishments just to make yourself feel better, shooting the relationship in the foot?
We need to rise above our own insecurities if we want a relationship where we are appreciated for our manhood, not our bravado.
5) Are you able to have conversations about intimacy?
This one is often difficult for men, for many reasons. We are rarely taught how to communicate (period, but especially) about our intimacy and sexual needs. If you look back at your life, how many times, and with whom, did you ever have an actual conversation about sex (except for bragging to your buddy about a one-night stand—that doesn’t count)? Probably never.
A sense of pride gets in the way.
Above and beyond just having sex, are you talking about each other’s needs when it comes to the bedroom? How do you broach this topic? Can you even envision asking for something that you’d like? Alternatively, are you open to hearing something from your partner that may question your “skill” or how you perceive yourself as a man in the bedroom?
On the surface, these are all simple questions, but asking them of your girlfriend or wife opens up the possibility of discovering that you are not “all that.” Then the question becomes—what do you do with that new information? I guess my point is, lean into these conversations—have them even though they may be uncomfortable—you will be a much stronger man and a better lover for it.
We, as men, need to grow and adapt to the current environment. Nothing about the change in the dynamics of relationships over the past 50 years gives me the impression of doom and gloom. If anything, I feel empowered to have a partner by my side, rather than a dependent.
The old adage “happy wife, happy life” is as true as ever. If we find ways to be content with our own manhood whilst promoting woman’s search for their own definition of what it means to be a modern woman (I have some news for you – they are also struggling with their own re-definition of motherhood and job satisfaction, which is well illustrated in Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean in), we will all be individually happier and co-create happier relationships.
I am optimistic about the state of marriage and relationships as a whole. Hopefully, if you consider the aforementioned, you will be on the right track for a more fulfilling partnership as well!
Written By Konstantin Lukin
Originally Appeared In Psychology Today
The nature of romantic relationships is rapidly changing in this era, and what seemed acceptable 50 years back, are kind of unacceptable now. Growth is imperative when it comes to self-development, and having fulfilling romantic relationships. Gender roles are not rigid anymore like before. These questions which men should ask themselves can give them strong answers when it comes to understanding themselves, and their relationships better.