Secrets of Happily Married Men
By Lynn M. Griesemer
Last summer, a book by Brown University Psychiatrist Scott Haltzman caught my attention: The Secrets of Happily Married Men: 8 Ways to Win Your Wife’s Heart Forever (2006). I sat captivated on the beach as I read Haltzman’s wise words. I would like to summarize some of his points and share a few quotes. “Set your sights on nurturing your marriage, not yourself, as the surest way to attain happiness.” Ah yes. We get ourselves into a pickle time after time as we set out to please ourselves or to try to get our partners to meet our needs. Instead, we need to focus on the relationship and the other person. If we do that, we will end up getting our needs met, won’t we?
Haltzman says that we (men and women) must make marriage our job and he explains the things successful husbands do, including being affectionate, loving, honoring and respecting their wives. Being honest, sharing the household and childcare responsibilities, listening without being judgmental and many other duties and responsibilities were on his list.
While some economists who study marriage will tell you that money and finances account for a lot of marital arguments and breakups, research also shows that a big reason couples divorce is not because of affairs or infidelity, but feeling emotionally disconnected. Did you know that over 66% of women file for divorce? Many men are dumbfounded when they receive the divorce papers and some truly do not know that there is emotional distance in their relationship. People are not mind readers and if there is emotional distance, it is important to bring this issue up in conversation. Whenever I hear “irreconcilable differences” cited as a reason for divorce, I suspect that there is a lack of emotional intimacy hidden behind that pain.
Haltzman’s book shows men how they can strengthen the emotional intimacy in marriage. One way is to truly know your wife. Know what she’s thinking, feeling; what goes through her mind as her day unfolds. No, this is not to say you need to become a mind-reader, but you need to probe and ask questions and experience her perspective of life and understand matters that are important to her.
Haltzman shows readers how to handle conflict; He does not say we should avoid it, but we need to know how to handle it. He stresses the importance of being home now; being present, in person, day by day. This poses a big problem for those who are deployed in the military or who spend a lot of time traveling for work. He also discusses how male and female brains are different and how this affects our relationships.
I like how Haltzman shared suggestions on how to make improvements and what to do, for example, to keep arguments or issues from escalating. 1. Soften your tone. 2. Look for areas of agreement. 3. Stay positive. 4. Hold that emotion.
If you want to keep the peace in your marriage or learn a little more about male / female relationships in marriage, I would suggest taking a look at The Secrets of Happily Married Men.