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Understanding Men: Advice For Women

Updated on December 26, 2011

I’ll start this out by stating my qualifications. I’ve been married for 20 years, and my husband consistently says he is happy. Sometimes he’s even thrilled. It's true he is a naturally cheerful person, but I like to take some credit anyway.

I like being a wife. Saying so may not be very politically correct, but I think a wife is a fine thing to be. Being a man's companion is an art, a vocation, a blending of the personal and practical. You get to be the Angel in the House, the Siren he would crash his boat to reach, and the Steel Magnolia he won’t likely admit he needs. Maybe all on the same day.


You have to understand men to put up with them

What makes men tick? A comedienne once said, “My husband doesn’t cook, but he barbeques. You can get a man to cook if there’s danger involved.” Think about the quintessential 1950s - early 1960s husband (a time when men had it their own way, if you don’t believe me just watch a few episodes of Mad Men). He is out all day, slaying dragons with his briefcase, facing down the giants of Wall Street or Madison Avenue. Then he comes home to the suburbs. And someone pushes a Lazy Boy recliner under him, the dog brings him the paper, the kids bring him his slippers, and his wife brings him a martini. Suddenly, he can’t do a thing for himself. This is 1961 man, a fine mix of Viking warrior and lazy bum. Somewhere in this paradox is the key to understanding men.

Back to barbequing. Why does a man not cook, but he will spend hours tending the grill at the 4th of July cookout? The simple answer: the grill has smoke and flames. He’s conquering something. Why is he too tired to take out the garbage, but has enough energy to build a deck on the back of the house? Because building something is nearly as good as slaying something. It gives him a charge, a lift that the sight of a neatly emptied garbage can never will.


Taking good care of your husband without him noticing

This, in my opinion, is just how men are. As a woman, you can work this to your advantage, or it can drive you crazy. And when I say work it to your advantage, I mean use this understanding to make the family run better, which includes taking care of everyone, including the husband. I’ll give you an example. Men are not good at eating their vegetables. And vegetables are essential for good health, for aging well, for maintaining a functioning immune system. Try as I might, I could not convince my husband to eat his veggies, no matter how attractively presented on the dinner table. The breakthrough in male veggie consumption in our household came when my husband and son watched a documentary on juicing. They were hot to try this juicing thing, and I saw my opportunity. I sent them to pull the juicer out of the garage, wiped it down, and hit the farmer’s market for leafy greens. In no time I was pouring them tall glasses of green sludge. They hunkered down at the kitchen table. From the looks on their faces, you would have thought medieval torture. But they drained the glasses, and were talking about tomorrow’s juice.

Why were they both willing to not only endure this unpleasant experience, but come back for more, when eating a summer salad was out of the question? Some key factors went into what I consider a personal victory. (Just don’t tell them I won the vegetable battle.)

1) Juicing was their idea. No matter how many times you've suggested, nagged, demanded, ect., once he brings it up, it is original and brilliant.

2) It involved a piece of heavy machinery. When my friend gave me this juicer, all I could think was that just eating fruits and vegetables was alot easier than chopping them up, stuffing them through the spout, and cleaning the darned thing afterwards. Isn't this what I have teeth and a digestive system for? But men love machines. Anything worth doing is worth owning a gadget for.

3) I did the boring part of the work. About to win the veggie battle, I wasn't going to do anything like gripe about how much work this would entail.

It was the trifecta. The suffering part was icing on the cake. The fact that the juice tasted horrible just spurred them on.

Men can be odd creatures.


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    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi Grace,

      Great Answer!! I shall have to remember the herding rule if I ever decide to take the plunge.


    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      JT Waters - Managing multiple males in the house doesn't have to be twice as much work - one just uses the herd mentality and gets them all stampeding in one direction :)

      Glad you like the hub.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      Hi graceomalley,

      You are a good wife. I don't think I would have the time to care for a husband as I am too busy trying to get my son to eat his vegetables. If I were to ever marry would need a man who was wise enough to know to eat his own vegetables. I only have one child and i like to keep it that way.

      Great hub though.


    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      no body - You sound like an absolute dream of a husband. I have a feeling your wife knows how lucky she is :)

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      Oh, no, writeronline, I knew you were nothing but complimentary. I like to poke a little fun at myself from time to time.

      Glad you liked the hub :)

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 6 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I think you had fun writing this expose'. I wonder if I am not masculine enough or if there is another slot of married man that doesn't do the things that the guys do in the article. I appreciate that you understand your man so much (and probably you understand the majority of all men) because there is none so valuable as a wife that understands you. If a guy was to the opposite of everything in your article, would that make him better or worse, in your oppinion? I eat veggies, I hate to build things, I see housework as my duty as well as hers (to the glory of God). I love a neat garage and anything else neat but I can live with a little mess. If it doesn't get cleaned by my sweetie, I will clean it. I cook and then do not rest easy until she says it tastes wonderful but I hate to barbecue. I feel my princess should not HAFTA take out the garbage and try to beat her to it everytime. I have to admit she is very quick sometimes. My idea of heaven this side of heaven is a day where the problems of life roll off of our backs as we laugh and play in the Lord's grace. As much as I can do to get that to happen is what I do. What play is there when she is slaving over a stove while I sit in my recliner? Get the work done with or without her and then keep her smiling and surprised, happy and joyful in the Lord. I loved your hub Grace.

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      Nothing lame about this piece, Grace. My comment was meant in jest, hope you didn't take it elsewise. :)

    • graceomalley profile image

      graceomalley 6 years ago

      I'll go for awesomely unuseful, writeronline. Better than useful yet lame any day.

    • profile image

      writeronline 6 years ago

      Jeez Grace, from this expose, you'd think us married guys are totally predictable, and just too easy for a wife to manipulate! Then again, thinking about barbies and back decks.... OK, you got me. Dammit!

      Have you ever noticed though, that the real meat of the whole barbie (OZ for barbecue) thing for us guys actually is, er, The Meat? It's someone else's job (not looking in any particular direction, much..) to prep the salads, set out the utensils, condiments, plates, and table, while we devote ourselves entirely to The Meat. Cooking, not serving.

      Beverages (read beer) can be a shared deal, kind-of, ie if they're in the chiller box right alongside the barbie we'll get our own, but if they're in the kitchen fridge, then it's up to that other person (the one not mentioned above) to either bring fresh ones, as we concentrate on turning The Meat from raw to cooked, (sometimes carcinogenic, but DO NOT COMPLAIN, it's the man's job, and the man's call as to when it's done), or to remind the kids, "Make sure Dad's beer doesn't run out".

      Other than that, we're cool - but expect a big sulk if 'someone' forgets to compliment us on the final taste and quality of The Meat. Never mind the veggies; juiced or not.

      I enjoyed this hub Grace, voted it up and awesome. But not useful. Couldn't see how.. lol :)

    • Twice2104 profile image

      Twice2104 6 years ago

      Great Hub thanks

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      Hahaha, I loved reading this hub.

      "From the looks on their faces, you would have thought medieval torture. But they drained the glasses, and were talking about tomorrow’s juice."

      Thumbs up. :)

    • JAugie profile image

      JAugie 6 years ago from Virginia

      Your key factors are hilariously true!

    • Cloverleaf profile image

      Cloverleaf 6 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      I have read the book "Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus" and it's a fascinating read I think you would enjoy it if you haven't read it already.