Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychology, lamented,
“The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is “What does a woman want?”’*
Though men have sought the answer for millennia, for married men with divorced parents, finding these answers is crucial.
One of the challenges adult children of divorce bring to the marriage table is separating ACD issues (fears, anger, unforgiveness, father hunger, triggers, etc.) from male/female perspective differences that trigger misunderstandings (communication, sex, responsibilities, etc.) When these clash, relationships are strained and sparks can fly.
When ACD issues and spouse needs collide
Dwight and Sarah are arguing. Sarah says that she doesn’t feel loved by him. Dwight responds that he’s always loved her and she is never happy. Now the differences kick in. She is feeling emotionally insecure. His fear of inadequacy kicks in and anger results. His anger is interpreted as unloving which gets her more upset which triggers his fear of abandonment.
His fears are likely rooted in ACD issues. Hers need is common with wives. She desires confirmation that he loves her (or still loves her after their argument) with a text or note. He needs to be aware that his fear of abandonment is being triggered by his parents’ divorce and is being wrongly applied to the current argument. Misunderstandings like this weaken relationships, but can be easily fixed.
Identifying and embracing gender differences
To grasp these misunderstandings, I recommend “For Men Only” by Jeff Feldhahn. Jeff, and his wife Shaunti, address the major myths and misconceptions husbands have about their wife and how they can have a better idea of what she really wants. It even comes with a quick start guide for men who don’t read much or those who will just skip to the chapter on sex—which is VERY interesting!
There’s a whole movement today that dismisses the differences in genders, but Jesus said, ““…at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” (Mark 10:6-7). Male and female are different. A fascinating 60 Minutes story confirmed Jesus’ words (see link below).** The problem is we’re not aware of these differences in our relationships. For Men Only helps.
Take the plunge
I’ve used For Men Only personally and with many men (married, divorced, and single). The positive change it can produce is very encouraging. Grab the book or audiobook. You’ll be amazed how simple it is to please your wife—or at least stop aggravating her.
You win by having your ACD issues triggered less. Your wife wins because she has the loving husband she desires. And your kids win because their mother and father are living in the complementary way God intended.
*http://www.notable-quotes.com/f/freud_sigmund.html Ernest Jones' Sigmund Freud: Life and Work