Men grow close by doing activities together. Over time, these common experiences and mutual interests result in a sense of bonding. There is little negativity and few complaints. Conversation is light hearted.
I have had to learn how to enter into this aspect of a man’s world.
I tend to be a mediator and a problem solver. Such characteristics can be a strength or a weakness, depending upon my timing and application.
The time for deep discussion and problem solving is best done when Tom is well rested and emotionally ready for such a discussion, not when we’re enjoying a recreational or relaxing activity together.
Our trips to Lake Arrowhead are one example. We both view it as a way to get away from the daily routine, telephones, television, internet, and the general distractions of life. But we learned that our expectations of those times away were a little different. In Tom’s mind, they were times of total emotional rest, doing things like boating, reading, fishing, gardening or little projects around the house. While I also enjoy doing those things with him (some more than others), and I enjoy the emotional break from the daily routine, I also thought of it as a time away from distractions where we could have in-depth, uninterrupted conversations.
Our expectations clashed one morning as we were having breakfast by the lake our first day up there. The scenery was lovely and peaceful. Tom was in vacation mode. Then I brought up a subject that was not pleasant for him. I dropped it when I saw that he wasn’t in the mood to discuss it, but it broke the spell of his vacation mind set.
The following day, we discussed our differing expectations and came up with a solution to reconcile the two. We decided we would begin by just enjoying activities together. If I had something serious I wanted to discuss, I’d let Tom know and we’d plan a time to discuss it prior to returning to Costa Mesa.
As with so many things, timing is everything. I’m still learning to be more sensitive in this area. I believe its a life-long learning process, but the Lord and I are working on it!