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Couple's Net

By Chandrama Anderson

E-mail Chandrama Anderson

About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Uploaded: Oct 10, 2014
I've been reading "VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About heir Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Houseowrk, and Commitment" by Neil Chethik. Chethik is an author who initially interviewed 70 husbands, and then went on to work with Dr. Ronalld Langley at the University of Kentucky's Survey Research Center to include nearly 300 husbands.

I am going to share some tidbits that I found in the book that I think are especially interesting. I am not saying I agree with everything; I am the messenger here! This book is focused on heterosexual marriages, so I will write about it in that way.

I'm going to start with the conclusions he's reached, and then go back to certain points made earlier in the book.

1. Chethik points out that in early in the book that husbands are often judged based on the female style of loving -- sharing of feelings -- and that men's style of loving is sharing space.

Sharing of space, for example, can be a husband wanting his wife to be there while he's doing a home improvement project. (p.231)

2. The female style is to talk through improving the relationship, while the male style is to do something to improve the relationship. Certain husbands said that staying late at work is viewed by them as showing his wife how much he loves her. Then he is surprised by her reaction when he gets home of 'What have you done for me today?' (p.232-233) [This is a huge issue in Silicon Valley.

3. There is a lot of research to support that women are raised for face-to-face interactions and that's what many women experience as intimacy; and that men's intimacy is side-by-side, playing or watching sports together, working on a project or hiking together. Chethik goes on to say that for many men, eye-to-eye contact is considered aggressive and perhaps even a challenge. Husbands reported that they like to go for a walk with their spouse, so they are side-by-side. (p.233-234)

Chetnik said many husbands feel to blame for what is wrong in their marriages, and that may be based on the bar being set at the female style of loving.

I will note, that I tell clients they are both responsible, and both must work to heal the relationship. I'm not interested in blame . . .

Anyway, back to the tidbits that caught my attention (all a verbatim from the book):

- A husband's relationship with his wife remains the most important aspect of his life. (p.2)

- . . . most husbands are keenly aware of, if at times utterly perplexed by and chagrined about, the state of their unions. (p.2)

- They recognize that marriage takes work, and work pays off. (p.3)

- A man that knows with a month of meeting a woman that he wants to marry her is likely to be happier in the marriage than a man that takes longer to decide. (p.22)

- . . . Men and women in today's marriage market would be more successful if they focused 'less on finding the right mate than on being the right mate.' (p.25)

- The goal of having a soulmate is a good one, but it's a 'lifetime goal.' It's not a realistic goal in pursuit of a spouse. (p.25

- Michael Meade says marriage is the . . . promise to sacrifice their personal needs and desires to something greater than themselves. The struggle to follow through on that promise is the challenge of virtually every married man. (p.53)

- For many husbands, success at work remains the greatest, and clearest, measure of their worth . . . willing to work harder and longer . . . and fulfilling their 'duty' as a husband. (p.63)

- . . . the fact of being married, not the amount of time spent with their wives, that gives them a sense of security and satisfaction. (p.63)

- Regarding arguing: Many men said the best strategy for them was to give in to their wife's wishes. (p.68) [Therapist here: ?????!!!! Not usually a good long-term strategy for either spouse.

- One reason many women cite for not wanting sex with their husbands is that men are not adept at arousing and satisfying them. And on this point, men tend to agree. (p.136)

- Terrance Real, a marriage counselor told Chethik . . . Men can be most effective in expressing anger with their wives by using words . . . e.g., "I'm angry because" and that yelling is a boundary violation. (p.180)

- On repairing after an argument: One husband says 'I apologize, ask her how she's doing, and tell her I love her. It doesn't matter who is right or wrong. You have to reach.' (p. 182)

I think this is a book worth, the read, Couple's Net says, Check it out!

What is it worth to you?


Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Oct 13, 2014 at 10:29 am

This looks like a really interesting read (and I just saw online that it's available at my library!). My husband is unlike the "average man", in that he loves to talk and share feelings and he couldn't care less about sports. But, he is like the "average man" in many ways such as sharing space and having his work be very important to his husband role. The work thing I'll never understand-I'd love to never work again! But, I'll be interested to read more about it in this book.
Thanks for the recommendation.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

RW, after you read "VoiceMale" come back and post your thoughts. The author does refer to men who are talkative and want to share feelings. My husband is both a sports fanatic, and shares feelings. There sure is no "right" way to be a couple; it's what works for the two people in the relationship.

Posted by Ponder this, a resident of Gemello,
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:13 am

I left spots on the dishes and my wife told me she's gonna punch me in the throat of I don't take better care of the cookware.how come this dude doesn't go out in the real world and interview outside his comfortable realm? If you 70. Husbands who are the same type guy (never been to jail, doesn't curse, makes over the median income,.........) of course you are going get same type of results. He should really mix up his batch and get some real results instead of a read that interests bored housewives. Chance are these dudes he surveyed got beat up in school, never smoked pot, and like I said before make above median income. There are all kinda men out there, and just cause I been to jail a couple times, watch sports, listen to music that these guys never heard of doesn't mean crap. My family is just as beautiful as his. Just different.

Posted by 1 more thing., a resident of Gemello,
on Oct 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

Oh .....one more thing, I bet 69 out of those 70 guys interviewed make love missionary style 100% of the time. Not a bad thing just predictable like the book I'm sure of it.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi Ponder This, I am so sorry to hear that your wife threatened you with violence. Men are victims of domestic violence as well as women. There is help out there (see my post on Ray Rice and Domestic Violence at http://paloaltoonline.com/blogs/p/2014/09/09/ray-rice-and-domestic-violence).

It seems my post angered you. Every family is different, and yours is beautiful, as you say, even if not like the 300 in Chethik's survey.

Posted by RW, a resident of another community,
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm

I picked up the book at the library last night. When my husband saw it he said "You don't need to read that, you can just ask me." and I told him "But I'm not sure what I want to ask."

I haven't started the book yet but did skim the chapters. It seems that the book may be oriented towards marriages with children involved, as two of the four phases of marriage are "Family Times" and "Empty Nest". My husband and I don't plan on having children so I may not quite be the target audience. I'll still start and see how I like it. After I finish Stephen King's new book "Doctor Sleep", that is. =)

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Hi RW,
How wonderful that your husband said to just ask him! I hope a lot of husbands encourage their wives to ask questions.

For a list of questions to ask your husband, see one of my previous posts (although it is titled Pre-marital Counseling). The questions cover the topics of VoiceMale, and more, and there is only one question on children.


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