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Why Does My Husband Not Hurt Like I Do?
Written by Jimmy Hinton   |  Mar 11, 2008
Do you ever wonder why your husband sits, almost robotically, absorbed in his newspaper or television while you cry? Do you ever talk to him—no—pour your heart out to him only to get a blank stare back from him when what you so desperately needed was for him to comfort you? Have you ever wanted to shake him and ask, “Would you just feel the pain I’m feeling for one second?”

Grief is like a chameleon and scorpion bred together. It blends into our lives so deviously that we almost don’t know how it rooted itself so deeply into our being. We hardly can see when it comes and goes. All we know is that it’s there, it’s complicated, and it’s real. Then when we put our guard down and things seem like they are going ok, it strikes us without warning. And it hurts.

This is partly why men seem like they’re “not with it” when grief strikes. From the beginning of time, men have been hardwired to be rough, gruff, hunting, farming, hands-on, work-things-out kind of people. Furthermore, men are hardwired to want to rescue their ladies. Women long to be rescued by a hero and that is why they need someone to listen, to care, and to comfort! Men, however, are completely thrown into confusion when grief strikes because there is no easy way to rescue a person from grief! I can listen to my wife for hours when she’s telling me about all the good things that happened to her throughout the day. But as soon as she starts sharing things that really hurt her, I clam up. I don’t know what to say or how to say it. So unfortunately, I usually say. . . nothing. Grief has no magical cure. A husband cannot come in and sweep his wife off her feet and lift her up to happiness. Grief completely confuses the man’s world.

Men, for the most part, are mechanical. By this I don’t mean mechanically inclined. A mechanical man, though he likes adventure and taking risks, needs life to run smoothly. He likes to know he can provide for his family, that he is secure in his job and relationships, and that his family respects him. When his wife is grieving a tremendous loss, his world is thrown so far out of balance that he literally doesn’t know how to function. This is when men slide into their default mode of working with their hands. They pick up the paper, they turn on the television or they go out to work in the garage.

Women, please understand that if a man is quiet or removes himself from the house, this does not mean that he isn’t hurting as bad as you are. In fact, chances are that he’s hurting worse. Men hate seeing their wives hurt. Men grieve in different ways—mostly they have to physically vent their frustration through different hobbies and they absolutely need some alone time.

Men, please understand that grief confuses the woman’s world as much as it confuses yours. The irony is that women need a shoulder to cry on, someone who listens, and for their husbands to be vulnerable and express their emotions—the very things most of us aren’t comfortable doing for them! Even if you don’t know what to say, I promise that if you take time to listen and cry with your wives, you will be their hero and new avenues for healing will be opened.
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