Exercise #7: Understanding MenI loved this chapter. Watts described how difficult it is for the male leaders to plan something special for Mother's Day in a ward (LDS congregation), how they are constantly afraid of offending someone, leaving someone out, or making someone feel less than special on such an important day. I had to laugh, I have sat in ward councils and heard the planning for Mother's Day, and there is just no way to avoid offending every sister in the ward! And then she went on to point out the difference in how Father's Day is celebrated in a ward, and how that just shows you how men and women are just different:
The next time you're frustrated because you don't seem to be getting a response from the man in your life, remind yourself that he's not being deliberately obtuse. It's just the way he's wired. Communicate your needs clearly and directly, and don't forget to express gratitude when they are met.
Contrast this with Father's Day. For many years, we didn't even observe Father's Day in our ward, and no one ever complained. (That should be a clue right there as to the difference between men and women.) Now we have a tradition that during the last ten minutes of priesthood meeting, they gather all the classes from deacons to high priests together in the multi-purpose room and present them with FatBoy ice cream sandwiches. Everyone is happy. No one tries to probe for subliminal meaning in the choice of FatBoys. They eat their ice cream and yuk it up and go home happy.Isn't this the case? As a woman, I am constantly over-analyzing, thinking about a million things a minute, worried about every little thing, especially others' feelings and perceptions. While Adam, as a man, sees a problem or an obstacle, works out a solution, and moves on.
What would happen in your ward if they tried to give FatBoys to the women on Mother's Day? Almost too horrible to contemplate, isn't it?
Case in point: This last Monday, I have taken Lily back to the doctor and received frustrating news that she needs to go back to the suction clinic. We get home and put little ones down for naps, and because it's an early-out day the kids are playing with neighborhood friends. I am exhausted, but it's Valentine's Day and Katie wants to do something special, I have plans to do an art project and we have sugar cookie dough chilling in the fridge to roll out, bake and decorate. I have less than an hour before I need to start dinner, and somehow I need to fit another trip into the clinic into this day. I start to cry to Adam about how tired I am, and he proposes a couple of solutions. Instead of taking him up on his offers to help, I immediately start to complain that I don't want him to "fix it," I just want him to give me a hug and offer sympathy.
The crazy thing is, minutes before I had sent an email to Anne about this week's exercise and typed: "I loved this chapter, it's the one where she talks about the difference between how wards celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day--do you remember? I'm hoping with today being Valentine's and all there will be opportunities to thank Adam for all the things he does for me." Yeah, it took me less than a half an hour to do completely the opposite.
When I realized this, I tried to compose myself, thank Adam for coming up with some great solutions, and ask for his help in accomplishing all that needed to be done. And it turned out to be a pretty good evening, despite how exhausted I was. I had an amazing hubby to help!
This is something that I need to continue to to work on because it is easy for me to forget that my man is just that--a man. And when I remember that, I am so grateful he is the way he is because we complement each other so well.
Preview for next week: Rethinking Assumptions