MINDS & MEN

"His speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.” - Of Mice & Men

Awesome Boyfriends and Husbands Rely on these Crucial Relationship Hacks

The real "Golden Rule" might not be what you think.

The FB post was, "Being an awesome bf or husband requires ..." and the responses were profound. Here's a word cloud of the top comments followed by a discussion of the real "Golden Rule."

"Being an awesome bf or husband requires ..."

Relationship Wordcloud.jpg

 

Being a better boyfriend or husband requires the ability to understand and respond to someone’s perspective and needs that can be super different from both: 1.) my own perspective/needs and 2.) what I think the other person’s perspective/needs should be.

In theory, the first one is easy. Unless the world’s biggest narcissist has an identical personality twin they can have an effed up incestual relationship with (likely in the history of monarchies?), the respective people in relationships are different people. Different beliefs, different wants/needs, different definitions for the phrase “I don’t care where we go out tonight...”

Point two is tougher. It’s tough for the brain to wrap around the fact that somebody I could be so close to and know so well would be so different from my expectation about what they should be if they’re in a relationship with me. But this is the most crucial test of all.

Good relationships aren’t free from conflict. But they require each person in the relationship to work towards outcomes that are good for both people. People get too caught up in trying to convince the other they’re wrong. Relationships aren’t about winning battles, they’re about being on the same team against opponents like these relationship memes. In a relationship, the point is not who should win.

There will be moments where that initial reaction is like, “you be straight up crazy right now.” But that’s an emotional response to a problem that is actually cognitive: the brain being smart enough to recognize when there is disagreement (or dissonance) the ultimate goal is to work towards how everybody concerned can get their needs met. The goal is not to see how one person can dominate the other into submission or convince them to be something they’re not or believe something they don’t.

This is why emotional intelligence is so crucial for guys to practice in relationships. Being a good boyfriend or husband is about giving the other person what they perceive they want or need, not my (possibly wrong) expectation for that. Going with the latter is a path to inequality where guys just try to fight their way to being “right” rather than actually respond to the real needs being expressed by their partner.  

Treating other people the way you want to be treated falls slightly short because it assumes people who are very different want or need all the same things (spoiler: they don’t). In relationships, the highest good is about love that gives rather than takes. It’s about getting on the same team towards a higher purpose even when everybody is a role player with their respective differences. It’s time to treat our partners the way they want to be treated. And if I don’t know or understand how that could be what it is, that’s on me to explore with the person I love who, thank God for all our sakes, is different from me.

Checkout the Minds & Men FB page for more.

 

*Why Minds & Men: Men are taught a lot about what it means to be a man. Psychological research provides a bunch of evidence for what aspects of “masculinity” can be harmful and helpful. Here we aim to shed light on some of these findings and provide ways for men to become better men (without being intellectual pricks about it).

©2017: Zachary Gerdes