What do men want? Why do men pull away, after you’ve been together for a while in a relationship or marriage? Why won’t men talk about it? And hey, while we’re at it, why don’t men ask for directions?
I could tell you the answers, but…
Shawn T. Smith already wrote a book that gives away all the secrets. It’s called The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think: Love, Commitment, and the Male Mind.
And yes, I’m secure enough to admit I read it.
You know how it is, you go into the bathroom, planning to settle in for a while, and find you forgot to bring any reading material. You’ve already read that two-months-old issue of Men’s Fitness and want to save the Cabela’s catalog for more serious business, but the only other thing within reach of the flush is this paperback with a pink cover: The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think.
What’s a guy to do?
Flip through the book.
Not just idle curiosity… you know it’s important to learn what these shrinks and counsellors are telling women about the male mind, just in case there’s some kind of trap getting set up. You never can tell when She Who Must Be Obeyed will pick up some notion from Dr Phil and spring it on you at the breakfast table. Best to be prepared. And if it’s on your Kindle, no one will ever need to know what you’re reading…
About the book:
So, as it turns out, this Shawn T. Smith fellow may be giving away the keys to the deepest darkest reaches of the masculine mind, but he’s not selling out his gender. He may be talking to women in this book, but he still makes it clear right off the bat that the man isn’t always the bad guy. In fact, the kind of men he’s talking about here are the majority – good guys who love their females partners and just want to do the right thing, but usually seem to get it wrong. Why?
Because men and women are like “beer and pretzels” – we go really well together, but we are very different.
Maybe that sounds like a re-run of the old “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” thing, but that’s not at all how it comes across. This book says things in a way that suddenly makes sense.
Most marriage counsellors and maybe a lot of writers of self-help relationship books seem to be female? That might just be my perception, I don’t spend a lot of time in this genre to be sure, but anything I’ve caught by accident on daytime TV, walking through the room, or spotted on the women’s magazine covers at the airport newstands seem to bear out that a lot of them don’t really have a grip on the male mind. It’s like they’re trying to force men to speak a foreign language, meeting women about two-thirds of the way instead of square in the middle. Frustrating!
Shawn Smith, here, on the other hand, comes at the whole subject of relationships from the male point of view. A psychologist, sure, you can tell he is still a regular guy who has spent his share of time with sweat on his brow and grease on his hands.
It’s almost like he’s acting as a translator between the sexes.
One thing I liked a lot about this book is that Smith is big into practical solutions, real-life examples, and a lot of word-for-word quotations from both men and women he surveyed in researching the book. He asked the things we all want to know, like what qualities each admired in the other gender and what confused them, what they wished their spouses would do differently and what they wished the other half would understand about them.
He writes in a way that makes real sense about the destructive patterns we fall into, without even knowing it, in a marriage or partnership. You know, how after a while together it starts to seem like she’s not the same woman you signed on with? Somehow she got all needy or bossy or demanding, or she started to take you for granted, so you don’t even feel like an equal partner inside your own home and you’re always ready to duck in case you accidentally say the wrong thing? And the easiest way to avoid an argument or screw-up is just not to say anything, while in your head you’re frantically trying to figure out the right answer?
Men’s brains are wired differently that women’s brains. Simple as that.
As it turns out, women have a similar frustration on the other side, mostly because they don’t get it that men are practical problem-solving creatures. (Why talk about a problem over and over, instead of going off and thinking about it and coming up with a fix? This is what men just don’t get, and women don’t get it that men don’t get it.) So when their husbands or partners go quiet, either in self-defence or thinking a thing through or maybe just wandering around in their brain – you know, the way you do – women seem to get a bit freaked and think it means there’s a big problem. So they want to talk about it. And around we go again…
Solutions that don’t make you feel like you’ve been dragged onto Oprah or into an ambush. Smith seems to have a real grip on what’s going on in the brains of both men and women, and like I said he acts as a kind of translator, to help the two communication styles find common language.
Sneaky guy, he wrote How Men Think for women – but about every chapter has a piece at the end that’s written for men. The idea is that the wife or girlfriend will leave the book lying around, and the man of the house will pick it up and start flipping through… hey! Looks like it worked.
Shawn T. Smith, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in Denver, Colorado. He writes a blog at IronShrink.com – can’t you can tell something about the guy’s sense of humor by the name of it? – and he published two other nonfiction books before The Woman’s Guide to How Men Think.
Smith’s first book, Surviving Aggressive People, was about violence prevention in the workplace – how to dial back a tense situation before it escalates out of control. I haven’t read that book yet, but reviewers say it is full of practical techniques that are illustrated with real-life examples – which is not surprising, as that’s Smith’s (effective) teaching style.
His second book, The User’s Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It, is now on my reading list. Just going by what he’s put into How Men Think, I’m prepared to bet it will be interesting, easy to read, a little on the quirky side, and very practical for understanding and solving problems in everyday life.