Spend Time With Your Boddies

The following excerpt will probably be controversial, yet it is interesting food for thought. It is taken from the book “Don’t Sweat the Small stuff – for Men” by Richard Carlson Ph.D:

 A number of married women have told me that, once their relationship became committed, their husband or boyfriend rarely, if ever, spends time with his good friends. Many men have shared that same observation. Other than meeting for an occasional beer or to watch a ball game, or bowling or fishing, it seems that most men simply give up their friendship once they become involved with a significant other.

What a shame. I can’t even begin to describe what a blessing my close friendships have meant to my life. I’m not talking about meeting for a beer (although that can be a part of it too), but rather that my male friendships are a source of inspiration, growth, comfort and fun.

At least once every couple of months I’ll meet a close friend for a few days – just the two of us. We’ll get away from our day-to-day activities and spend some treasured time together around skiing or fishing and mostly the time is spent just hanging out. It gives us the chance to share, to laugh, tell stories, offer advice, and do a lot of listening.

Some men have told me, “My wife (or girlfriend) would never let me do that,” seeming to suggest that there would be something wrong with doing so. My observation, however, has been that this fear comes from the most part from women whose partners have never given it a try or from man who are simply imagining that their partner would freak out or disapprove. I’m sure there are exceptions, but if you talk to women (including my own wife, Kris) whose husbands actually do spend time with their buddies, many of them actually encourage it. They understand how important this time is, not only for their guy, but for their relationship as well. I can’t remember a single time that I’ve spent time with my close friends that I didn’t return home with a heightened sense of appreciation for Kris, for my kids, and for my entire life. I’m certain, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that I’m a better person, writer, husband and father because I allow myself this privilege. What’s more, I’m happier, too.

All of us – men and women – are multidimensional. We have a variety of needs, including time for ourselves and time with our friends. And for most of us, one single person (a girlfriend or wife), regardless of how wonderful they are, cannot fulfill all of our friendship needs.

One word of caution, however: If you see the value in spending time with your good friends, keep in mind that it works both ways. Women just like men, need special time with their friends, as well. I’ve met men who jump at the chance to get away with their friends, but who complain when their partner wants to do the very same thing. They forget: Wives and their girlfriends are not possessions. We are privileged to share our lives with them, but they, like us, need and deserves other friendship.

So try to spend more time with your good friends. Even if you can’t go away for days at a time, consider meeting your friends at least for a meal or a nature hike – not once a year, but on a somewhat regular basis. By valuing, prioritizing and nourishing your deepest friendships, you’ll rediscover one of the greatest gifts life has to offer.

 (“Don’t sweat the small stuff for men”, by Richard Carlson, Ph.D. Copyright c 2001)

 I can understand that it is not easy to do this along all our other commitments such as work, parents, spouse and children, as well as financial constraints. Yet, I agree with the concept with all my heart. I believe that just as our heart has enough space to love our partner and our children (as many as we have) there is enough room in our heart for parents, friends and many more. I have not read anywhere that our heart is limited in the love it can contain….

Shuka, Thursday, October 1, 2009

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