Friday, 17 April 2009

Providing security - closeness not money

About men

“Our surface understanding is that ‘men are providers’. What this means in practice is that even if you personally made enough money to support the family’s lifestyle, it would make no difference to the mental burden he feels to provide.”

Shaunti’s research revealed that a man’s need to provide weighs him down. It is not just a case of ‘wanting’ to provide, but rather a burden that presses heavily on him and which never goes away. “Being a provider appears to be at the core of a man’s identity as a male and as a person of worth.” It is also a way of saying ‘I love you’. It is important that we understand this need - it is easy for us to inadvertently put pressure on our husbands when we express dissatisfaction with our financial situation.

“A man will internalize your disappointment as a personal failure to provide.”

When going through financial difficulties, the best support we can offer is to help relieve the pressure they feel rather than adding to it.

About women

“Our surface understanding is that women want security - in other words, financial security. What this means in practice is that women need emotional security and closeness with you so much that she will endure financial insecurity to get it.”

7 out of 10 married women would prefer to be financially insecure than endure a lack of closeness with their husbands. If we men misread the perceived requirement of financial security and spend more hours at work, then we may be fulfilling our needs of identity through work rather than meeting our wife’s need of emotional security. Some of us think we show our love for our wives by equating longer hours at work with more love shown for our wives. However what wives really want is our time and attention. The chapter finishes with a summary of the 5 things that mean ‘security’ to her:

1. She feels that the two of you are close
2. She sees that you make time together a priority
3. She sees your commitment to her
4. She sees that you are active in the life of the home
5. She sees you making an effort to provide (as long as that doesn’t crowd out 1-4)