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Do men really open up in relationships

A couple engages in an argument. (AGENCIES PHOTO)

KAMPALA – Failure for couples to open up in their relationships leads to the decline of a relationship which is an awful thing to experience.

And more often than not, the process starts slowly, and we hardly notice the little ways we may be pulling back or growing apart.

Eventually, negative dynamics start to evolve, then persist for so long that we have trouble knowing where to start when it comes to repairing the relationship.

Recently while wedding a couple, one Pastor said; “Keep the fire burning by opening up to each other”

He added opening up to each other is the only way couples can know the deep, abiding love and fulfilment.

And take it to leave it, openness breeds commitment of being true and faithful to each other for the rest of your lives.

But can men ever open up? Whereas this is a question that clouds most relationships, many a couple ever find the answer for it.

Many of the ladies I have interacted with says it is difficult for the men to open up to their spouses and that if they did, it is about things that never build up a relationship, “They usually tell lies to sustain relationships”

True Men are so indifferent, Cool, calm, composed and quiet… so unlike women.

But what women don’t realize is that men also want to speak, talk their hearts out about a problem, office affairs or maybe just routine issues.

Most men desperately need to unburden themselves but the trick lies in letting them open up, giving them their space and at the same time making them say what they want to say to you.

And if you really don’t know how to do that, then get a few of the lessons that will give you some excellent ideas to help your man come out of this cocoon:

One thing you must keep in mind is that a man takes time to open up. If there’s something that’s bothering him, he won’t straight away come to you and tell you everything. Remember that unless he’s comfortable, he won’t say a word. What do you do, therefore,? Try to treat him like a kid…

Mr Martin Nangoli, a born again pastor and marriage counsellor says when you find him a little disturbed, it’s best to avoid the ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ for some time.

“Allow your man to unwind and reach his comfort zone, treat him like a kid, do what he loves, cook what he likes to eat… in short, give him all the things, which would melt his heart. And then, when you see that he won’t mind, straight away come in,” said Pastor Nangoli of Wake Up ministries.

He says that what is also very important for you to know is that a man would never show his weakness or display his vulnerability to anyone, not even to you because he fears that if he opens up, someone’s going to laugh at him, leaving him humiliated and rejected.

“And this explains why many a man are suffering domestic violence from their spouses but have own fears which bar them from opening up! So, even if the sky were falling down on him, he’d say, ‘I’m fine,” Added Pastor Nangoli.

Edwin Louis in his book ‘Maximised manhood’ says when your spouse [husband] starts discussing a serious matter, give him enough time and patience to explain even the minutest detail.

He adds that as a woman be a solid and secure listener and that if you respond to his thoughts by immediately offering your point of view with something like “Well, that’s wrong. I don’t agree” or, “Why did you do that?” he is going to stop right up. This means that you ought to be an avid listener.

Be open about yourself

A well-known marriage counsellor, Dr David Mace describes a good marriage/ relationship prospect as one who is kind, sympathetic, open and co-operative in attitude towards his spouse and other people.

Dr Mace adds that a relationship works mutually; if it’s two-way traffic and that this means that if you want your man to be truthful and open to you, be open about yourself as well; after all a relationship is all about give and take.

Dr Mace adds that when he starts to open up, listen to what he is saying, then take a step beyond and offer something positive in return.

“After he tells you something personal, say something like, “Well, that’s not so bad. I’ve done worse.” This would make him feel more comfortable and at ease,” said Dr Mace.

Many a woman just look at the negative points of the issue and completely forget that it’s not a time to give opinions or pour questions, ask what’s bothering him.

And you’d be surprised the way he’ll let you know each and every little thing that’s been on his mind.

It is very important to take time to “make friends” with your beloved spouse, your honest and positive feedback is important and is the only thing required to keep the love candle.

For example, if an old girl at school, an office colleague or another village girl has been bothering him, it’s important for you to understand his point of view and agree with him sometimes.

According to Dr Mace when a couple is getting to know each other, they share common experiences, therefore, experience closeness and comfort and that this helps couples realise that there is someone who understands and will then open up even more.

Ms Caroline Chealy says in her book, Before thee and I wed, says have you ever had a “discussion” with your partner that ended up turning into a litany of past grievances? It happens at some point in nearly every relationship, but the fact remains; men cringe when they feel this coming on.

She adds that when a man fears that his words will later be distorted, misunderstood, told to others or thrown back at him, it is impossible for him to open up, “ What do I mean here, let the past go?” she says.

Ms Chealy explains that if you want a man to speak to you openly, try this… Take responsibility for your part in the situation and see the ways in which you might have contributed to what happened.

And that this does not mean blaming yourself, either, just look at the situation with a larger perspective and focus on all the things he did right, not wrong.

Ms Betty Sumba, a Don in the department of languages at Islamic University In Uganda [Mbale campus] says you cannot build a healthy or secure relationship in the absence of Trust, acceptance of mistakes and learning to forgive.

And adds that the ability to forgive may be just as simple as realizing that what was true a year ago about him (and about yourself as well) may not be true now. Stay focused on the present.

She adds that true communication requires the ability to remain in the present and to let the past be over and done with.

Ms Sumba who doubles as a deacon in Living water ministries says that when thinking about where things went wrong, it’s important to recognize that a lot of what we do to ruin our relationships has to do with us.

She says that much of how we act is based on programming from our past and defences we have built that cause us to overreact, distort or even provoke the people we feel closest to.

“And because the only person we can control or change in a relationship is ourselves, it’s almost always worth it to do what we can to develop ourselves before we throw in the towel with our partner,” says Ms Sumba.

By the way, do not ask me whether I am married or whether my wife does this or not because this will not save your marriage but just try these tricks out and you won’t regret

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