A while ago, around Valentines Day, I got a call from a desperate man. His mother had heard about me and recommended he call. He was calling me from a camping trailer in his own driveway where he had been living since his wife had asked him to leave just a few days prior. He was very emotional. I spoke with him for about an hour as he told me how desperate he was to save his marriage. Cried as he claimed he would do anything to get her back. Literally sobbed while asking what he should do. It was sad and I felt for him. The entire call, all I wanted to say to him was, “Why didn’t you call earlier?”
Dr. John Grey once explained the severity of this issue between men and women in marriage. Typically, women are more like professional gardeners. They like to till the ground, plant new seeds and generally take care of the garden on a regular basis, wanting to make sure they clean out any trouble areas as soon as they see them arise. Thus not allowing any weeds take over their beautiful garden. Where men are more like firemen. They wait until they hear the bells ringing from a blaze that is already burning and then jump into action in order to try and put the fire out. Usually waiting or not waking up to the situation until it’s too late.
In my mentoring program I have found that when a woman comes to me with a challenge in her marriage, it can almost always be solved and the couple can learn to get back what they once had in their relationship. However, when men comes to me in a panic because their wife if fed up with them, it is almost always to late. They did not react when there was “smoke” telling them there might be a problem arising. They waited until the fire was out of control and then they come to me panicked for a way to put the fire out. That was the case with my Valentines caller.
Panicked, confused and desperate he was NOW willing to do whatever it took to stop this fire from burning down his home, yet the smoke had been rising for a very long time. If he had paid attention of the hotspot before, no fire would have broken out. Once there is fire to deal with, the damage, like in this case, is extensive and the likelihood of saving his home went way down.
Too many guys are like this. They are given warning signs with words like, “We don’t talk any more”, “Let’s go do something”. “Would you stop spending all your time at work”, “I miss you”. Yet he brushes it off as just nagging, just her “time of the month”, or just not that important. What he doesn’t understand is even the fights and arguments are a huge smoke signal that he is not paying attention to. Sure he might do one or two things to get her off his back or make her feel better in the short term, but no real change has happened.
The real danger, the 5 alarm blaze, happens when his wife is not fighting. When she is indifferent about what he will do next. It’s the place where she has given up. In most of theses cases, not all, but most, where no matter what he does out of desperation or even a real desire to save the marriage, it’s too late. There is going to be a total loss.
Men need to be better firemen. Good, firemen will see the smoke and focus on it first, knowing it has a good chance of getting out of control. They will take the opportunities to see what is going on, an fix it as soon as possible. When she tells you what is wrong, believe her. When she tells you her feelings, try to understand to understand them. Be willing to take the boots and glove off and get in the dirt of her garden with her.