Sunday, February 24, 2008

Boyfriend Trouble

No, I don't have a boyfriend.

My daughter's friend calls me now and then for advice when she's frustrated with her boyfriend, and I'm good at giving it. After an 18-year marriage, during which time all us wives at work would discuss the way men are, and after listening to pastors and Dennis Prager describing the differences between men and women, I have a better idea about men than my daughter's friend does. Plus, it helps that I'm not in the middle of the situation.

Today she called because her boyfriend won't just sit with her and "hang out." He told her he has to be doing something. His father raised him to be productive all the time. Slacking off was punished. She wanted me to agree that he was being unreasonable.

I told her to get used to it, because she won't win. Then I told her a story I heard on Dennis Prager's show.

A woman called in to say that she used to be frustrated by her husband. He was always out in the garage reloading ammunition, and she got resentful that he didn't spend more time with her. She thought she should be more important to him than making a bunch of bullets. Then one day she realized that she could go out there and spend time where he was. So she took a book and sat with him in the garage while he did his reloading.

As she spent more time with him, they talked about things, and he told her things about himself that had never come up before. He taught her about reloading, and she learned that he was saving them a lot of money by doing that, though she never really enjoyed doing it herself. But their marriage was better because she adapted to him instead of demanding that he adapt to her.

I also told my daughter's friend about the time our Singles group's pastor discussed the difference in needs between men and women. One of the things men need is companionship. He described it this way: When he was in the living room watching sports on TV, he liked for his wife to be in the living room with him, even if she wasn't watching the game and they weren't talking to each other but she was reading a book. Just having her in the room with him was enough to meet that need of his. (I wish I had known that when I was married, because I got that one wrong.)

So then I advised our friend to find a way to be with her boyfriend while he's "doing," and quit demanding that he had to stop and sit with her. She thanked me sincerely and let out a disgusted sigh as she hung up the phone.

Disaster averted once again.

I love being able to help her figure out how to cope properly with a man. It makes me feel very wise. But I'm afraid that feeling of wisdom is only an illusion...


janice said...

I used to read in our bedroom while Nick watched sports or something I wasn't interested in. I'd try to read in the family room, because he wanted me in there with him, but the TV was a distraction.

After listening to Dennis, I got ear plugs to muffle the TV.

Great advice Skye....

Bekah said...

This has some really good info in it. I love advice! I will remember this (hopefully better in the future than I did in the past!).