In couples counseling Nan will often say:
“Guys have feelings, too. Let’s give him a turn” (to bring up something for discussion.)
And to tell the truth, a lot of guys have trouble connecting with their feelings. Or more accurately, they may have a harder time interpreting and expressing their feelings. I think one of the reasons is that we, as men, have been given mixed messages about our feelings. On the one hand we might have been told to suppress our feelings as in:
“Big boys don’t cry.” “Suck it up.” “Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.”
And to be honest, sometimes that is wisdom. But we also hear about being “sensitive” and “getting in touch” with our feelings. This, of course, comes mostly from our women. And this is necessary for true intimacy with a mate.
The problem is if we are too expressive with our feelings we risk losing respect from our mate. If we are too restrained we risk losing connection and intimacy. It’s a fine balance we guys are supposed to maintain.
So do guys actually have feelings?
Have you ever seen a guy shredding on an air guitar? Have you ever seen a guy dominating on air drums? That’s some real feelings being expressed!
For those guys feeling challenged in this area, I suggest one way could be by adding a big dose of music to your diet – all kinds of music. Music has the ability to pull various emotions out of us: joy, anger, sadness, longing, loneliness, hopefulness, love, despair, silliness, nostalgia, adoration. It takes sampling a lot of different styles of music to expand our feelings repertoire – not just songs from the pop culture.
What we tend to do is listen to music that reflects our mood, rather than changes our mood. This also is helpful in getting in touch with our feelings. If I don’t know what I’m feeling, the music I listen to might give me a clue. Do I tend to listen to sweet classical music or joyful rock music, angry rap or cynical country? Do I use music to boost my mood, or to cope with life and/or escape from reality for a while? All of this is helpful to connect us with our inner world.
So, do guys have feelings too? Yes, but usually not as in your face as women do. Ladies, try this: put on some music and observe its effect on your guy. Does it change him in any way? Do you like what you see?
I love what worship music in particular does for me. I know that is why music was created in the first place – to connect us to God, to express our gratitude. But it also connects me to myself, to my feelings.
I would like to make a shameless plug for a couple of my friends’ musical projects. Shameless because they are so excellent. Check out their web pages. Let their music enrich your life.
These are just a couple of recent projects I’ve selected from a multitude of talented artist friends.