By: Jessica and The First 10 Minutes Team
Safety: The Gateway to My Heart
If men truly understood the importance of women’s emotional, psychological and physical safety, there would be very little need for a program like ours. Providing this is essential to our willingness to open up and offer you the Golden Ticket to our bodies, our femininity and our hearts. Make no mistake, this cannot be feigned. You can change your haircut or roll around in new digs, but a wolf in sheep’s clothing will be found out. Unlike some of the easier fixes, safety is something that you must consistently cultivate if you want to demonstrate that you are a man of character and honor.
When I start talking about safety, most men get this image of fending off the bad guy to protect the damsel in distress. In case you haven’t noticed, we women are growing more and more capable of keeping ourselves safe these days. We have developed some sophisticated ways of balancing the scales of the physical differences between the sexes. Between tazer guns to self-defense courses, we have armed ourselves with skills, techniques and technology to maintain our safety. This doesn’t mean, however, that the underlying fear about our physical wellbeing is altogether gone. Sadly, if those fears didn’t still exist (and were not used by the companies that cater to these fears), there would be no market for such programs or apparatus. It means that we now have some more tools in our arsenal to protect ourselves physically. We have moved up Maslow’s theoretical Hierarchy of Needs. This is the notion that once our most basic needs for things like food, shelter and safety are met, we are psychologically and physically free to seek a higher order of needs such as intellectual advancement, interpersonal relationships and spirituality. Now that we aren’t being chased by tigers and fending for our safety on a daily basis, we can turn to the next rung of the ladder…emotional safety.
Hopefully by now, you’ve read some of our information about the Primitive Brain. You understand that men and women’s brains are hard wired differently for the purpose of ensuring the survival of the species. No matter how much we spin it or try to distance ourselves from it in our modern sophistication, this is still and always will be a large contributor about what drives our behavior when it comes to the opposite sex. Women of childbearing age are not only sizing up men for their mating compatibility, but we’re also aware that bearing children means physical vulnerability and need for protection and the provision of resources. Translation: when we have kids, we are temporarily out of commission, leaving us dependent upon others for our safety, shelter and food. In today’s world, we have friends, hospitals and social resources that can offer us the support we need. With that being said, women are aware that becoming pregnant (either by choice or by force) means depending upon others in part for our wellbeing and leaves us in a potentially dangerous situation if these needs aren’t met. This whole notion is the motivating force behind ensuring our physical safety, access to birth control and our drive to assess the reliability of our potential mates.
What this means to you is that if your wife has the sense that all that you want from her is sex, then there’s the possibility (if she hasn’t taken precautions) that she could become pregnant and thereby vulnerable. This means you get nowhere, fast. I can hear you saying, “But sometimes (most times) all I really do want is sex…” This is where your honesty wins you points and can improve your chances of scoring. If you are clear about your desires, then she has the choice to respond to your honest intentions without the need to put you through the wringer to determine your motives.
It is ok and downright encouraged to have direct conversations about the importance of sex to you and your relationship. I am always surprised to hear about how little couples talk about sex; their desires, preferences and their fantasies. Depending on the conditioning you each received prior to your union about sex, sexual expression and sensuality, this may not be an easy conversation to enter. However, I invite you to begin to ask gentle questions and express curiosity about her sexuality to open the door to more consistent and direct lines of communication.
Emotional safety also comes in the form of how you handle yourself in the face of her emotional and psychological vulnerability. Men are typically very uneasy when women become more emotional and less rational. Some scientists say that when women are in the height of their emotions, they have eight times the amount of blood flow to the emotional center of their brains than men do. This means that men experience women’s expression of emotion as much more of a red alert than women do. Understanding this can help you not to catastrophize her moodiness; no need to call in the troops, just allow it to happen and ask her what she needs from you.
How you handle yourself when she is in the midst of these moments is another crucial element. Try your best to be gentle and understanding. Though you’re likely to have your own set of reactions, try to hold it back for the moment and be receptive to her need to express herself. Avoid problem solving, interrupting or becoming defensive. Providing reflective listening (see more in the Communication Track), undivided attention, calm body language, volume and tone go far when she’s in the height of expressing herself. Do not be tempted by using the material she shares as ammunition in a future conflict. If you want her to feel safe, she must have the sense that you’re not going to use her vulnerability as a weapon against her.
Finally, your openness to expressing yourself will facilitate emotional safety in your relationship. Enhancing your own capability to thoughtfully and appropriately express yourself will give her the sense that she is safe to do the same. Though men don’t typically use verbal communication as their preferred modality to resolve matters, it is a muscle that you’re going to have to learn how to flex if you want to have a harmonious relationship. Taking steps to identify how your feeling and what you’re thinking and to express them will endear her to you. I’m not suggesting that you have to pour yourself out and become a sobbing mess, but I am suggesting that learning how to engage and remain in conversations about how you really feel will enhance your understanding and connection with one another.
More than anything, be patient with yourself and with her. Just like anything we’re talking about, this too is a process and one that will require practice. I know this is a lot to take in and not to worry, there’s much more on this in the Conflict Management and Communication Tracks…