Hello readers, it’s amazing how quickly time flies. On 19 June 2022, at least half of the world’s population will celebrate Father’s Day. Our team at A Kind Place would want to extend our care and appreciation to not only the fathers out there, but to all the men across the globe. Thank you for staying strong, and we know, you are just like everyone else, who needs tender loving care too.
Men – whom John Gray, the American author and relationship counsellor, described in one of his popular selling books – ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’; are distinctively different from women. Both genders are fundamentally different due to physiology and psychological reasons (Stout, 2021). However, should treatment towards men be different too?
It’s common to hear men comment, ‘one ear in and out from the other’, when it comes to matters that their mothers, girlfriends, wives or generally people on the whole, share. When that happens, it can be seen as ignoring what was being said. The insincerity and lack of tender loving care can then portray how insensitive some men are. What about the times when a woman practices this, how does it really make men feel?
There’s always a need to shower women with tender loving care, simply for reasons that women are more sensitive; women take on multiple roles; women have their time of the month and so on… Different methods of showering love and concern to mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and wives, can be demonstrated through the five different love languages of (1) words of affirmation, (2) quality time, (3) acts of services, (4) gifts and (5) physical touch (Nguyen, 2020). The reality is… men need some of these too.
Let’s now imagine a scenario. Your boyfriend had a bad day at work and was ticked off by his boss. Naturally, he didn’t feel good about it. You knew that he was affected emotionally by his parents’ argument the night before. The lack of sleep and worries he had on his mind led to some mistakes in his work report. He didn’t expect that he would have lost focus at work, and neither did you. The reality is, our home environment plays a role in shaping us, how we think, feel and perceive matters. In this very situation, words from you, words of affirmation may be what he needs to hear instead of neglection or reprimanding. Perhaps the short quality time spent in hearing him talk about what he is going through and by being with him reflects authentic, sincere concern from you, can mean a lot.
Perhaps, you know how unconducive your boyfriend’s home environment is for his psychological state. You suggested bringing him on a picnic, away from home, for him to destress by being outdoors, as this is something he loves to do, but has not done so in a long while. This personal time of an act of service that you have given him, along with the preparation of a meal for him and a small gift of a book that he always wanted could be a gift of warmth and care that could benefit his mental well-being. Even if your boyfriend’s love language isn’t any of the above-mentioned types, but physical touch; a heartfelt hug or by simply holding his hands tightly could be a form of love and attention.
Ritchie et al. (2015) stated that the suicide rate for men is usually twice as high as compared to women, and in some other countries, the rate can be even higher. We often know what to do, ought to do, but oftentimes, choose not to. The overlooking and taking for granted might end up in regret, and sometimes, it may be too late.
It is not about just preventing depression, or reducing the suicide rate of men. Tender loving care towards men could enable eudaimonic well-being in life. Quoting a profound speech by a dying patient in the finale episode of Grey’s Anatomy (Season 18), that he had never imagined the great love and meaning of his life. He changed after he met his wife, simply because of the love and care she showered him with. The attention to detail of everything in his life that included his flaws, his shame, his insecurities got her to be even more supportive throughout. Her undying tender loving care got him to love himself, which was to him, a life well-lived (Vernoff, 2022).
If you or someone you know is in a situation where you feel lost or stuck in, and want to explore possibilities of learning to encourage your loved one or yourself, our counsellors and psychologists at A Kind Place are here to listen and provide support. Email us at: email@example.com or WhatsApp us here to find out more.
Nguyen, J. (2020). What are The 5 Love Languages? Everything You Need To Know. Mind Body Green. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/the-5-love-languages-explained
Ritchie, H., Roser, M. & Ortiz-Ospina (2015). Suicide. OneWorldInData. https://ourworldindata.org/suicide
Stout, K. (2021). I Took the Advice in ‘Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus’ 30 Years Later. Esquire. https://www.esquire.com/lifestyle/sex/a36136661/revisiting-men-are-from-mars-women-are-from-venus-quarantine/
Vernoff, K. (Writer). (2022, May 26). You are My Blood (Season 18, Episode 20) [TV series episode]. In S. Rhimes, B. Beers, M. Gordon, K. Vernoff, R. Corn, M. Wilding, A. Heinberg (Executive Producers), Grey’s Anatomy. Shondaland; Entertainment One Television.