We have a fun filled day planned on MW today, and Susan Jensen, a workshop leader for PAX Programs, is back to talk to us about one of our favorite topics to obsess about : Men! I think that you all are going to really fine today's article useful. I know it totally applies to my husband - 100%!
I am so excited to share this topic with you because it is one of my very favorite things to teach about men. It is something so incredibly simple, but gets in the way of a lot. I have had men thank me for saving their marriage. Before their wife knew this information, each night was a struggle.
Does these scenarios sound familiar? You think about him all day, you can’t wait for him to walk in the door, and then, he chooses TV over you. Do you ever sit down to dinner and your partner says, “How was your day?” You immediately become irritated because you already told him all about your day when he walked in the door. Was he completely ignoring you? Does he care?
There is something men need that will explain all of this. Men need Transition Time. Men are always single focused on producing a result. He moves from one result to the next. The time between producing results is called Transition Time. It is when he is getting ready for his next engagement. Very important to remember, he is still single focused. He is single focused on transitioning. Women at work often make the mistake of trying to catch a man between meetings or phone calls to discuss something. However, does this usually go well? No, we don’t get the answer or the depth of answer we were looking for. It is much better to schedule time to talk when you can be his single focus.
Anything a man does often will likely have a Transition Ritual. All men have a “get home from work” ritual, which consists of three things. First, he will do some sort of Unloading. For example, he may put his keys down, empty his pockets of change, put his computer bag in the same spot, etc. Second, there will be a Change of Clothes. He will take off his work clothes and change into something comfortable. Some men even wear the same thing every night. It makes them feel comfortable and at home. Lastly, he will take part in Chill Out Time. He may channel surf, look at a magazine, play video games, or spend time on the Internet. He will probably do something he is interested in but doesn’t require his intense focus. Until he has had time to complete his ritual, he can’t hear you. It is like he isn’t even home. Consider him home but not present. This part is incredibly challenging for us. We want to talk about our day the minute we see him. The problem is, he isn’t available yet. If we do talk about our day when he is transitioning, he usually cannot remember what we told him and will often become grumpy. I can’t tell you how many times I have said to my husband Mort, “Why are you in such a bad mood? I am the one who had a bad day!” Then it hits me. Oops! He did not get his transition time. If he has had time to transition, I get a totally different man. I get a man who is present, patient, and totally open to listening. How do you know if he has transitioned? He will make eye contact or engage in conversation.
I have found this increasingly challenging with young children around the house. I have to fight the urge to throw the parental duties at him right away. Sometimes, I will be bathing both of our daughters and he will walk right past us barely saying hello. I think all sorts of expletives as I hunch over, washing the screaming children, tired from my day. Then, I remember – Transition Time! It has nothing to do with us, it is not against us or instead of us, it is before us. He needs to do this in order to be with us and be my partner as a parent.
Regardless of what kind of day I have had, it never serves me well to interrupt his transition. When he has had time to transition, I get a partner for our children. He jumps right in and helps do everything right up until they lay their heads down for the night.
If you are not sure what his transition ritual is, watch for a couple of days. It will probably become clear very quickly. Once you know his transition ritual, let him have that time. You will get a man who is patient, kind, and ready to be with you!
Also, make sure to watch for Transition Rituals at work. Many men will do the same thing everyday when they get to the office. Respect his “getting to work ritual” and wait to approach him until he finishes.
Lastly, if you work in a very focused or masculine environment, think about creating a transition ritual for yourself. What would make you ready to be present with your loved ones? Call a friend who lifts your spirits, take deep breaths, meditate, or listen to music. Just a few minutes to yourself can recharge your batteries and have you ready to be with those you treasure the most.
Workshop Leader, PAX Programs
I know, it is almost scary how Susan can predict exactly what my husband will do without even meeting him! Back in a bit!