Fairy tales for men? These four words seem guaranteed to turn off most men from reading any further. But wait – if you’ve ever felt alone, hurt or confused by a romantic partner, tremendously angry without explanation, or confused about what it means to be a man in our changing times, then please read on…
In Part 1 of this interview, we discussed how the Japanese economy has downshifted, but that assumptions about family structure and job security appear to not yet have adapted. Here, we explore what specific challenges married couples face now, and what are the implications for manhood in Japan. Please read to the end of this brief article for reflection exercises you can try.
6 min read | “The greatest gift a couple can give their baby is a loving relationship, because that relationship nourishes Baby’s development. The stronger the connection between parents, the healthier the child can grow, both emotionally and intellectually.” (p.9)
Stress and tension can build in our long-term romantic relationships, even despite our best intentions. Perhaps you’re a few years into your relationship, and already feeling doubt, irritation, or even anger on a regular basis.
Ironically, one of the most joyous moments of our lives – having a child – can exacerbate negative feelings in a relationship (see our recent article for new Dads). The good news is you can learn coping and relationship-building skills, and they apply whether you have kids or not.
“Chin up!” “Move on!” “Let it go!” Often when guys express a sense of loss or sadness, the response from friends and loved ones is frighteningly simplistic. We’re frequently advised to do something we’ve been told our entire lives on the football field or rugby pitch: “Suck it up!” As men, we’re often expected to keep our emotions suppressed and carry the burdens of our daily lives in silence.
Even more troubling, the idea of suppressing our grieving process and discounting our need to examine is often suggested by people whose opinions and advice we respect. It’s not for lack of trying; our confidants and guides often want to see us restored to our former glory — so not dignifying the complexities of our feelings seems a natural solution…
For me, the path to happiness (or at least temporary sanity) comes from the concept of gratitude…
8 min read | One of the most influential recent books about exploring the problems and potential solutions for modern manhood is “Iron John: A Book About Men” by Robert Bly. The book was published in 1990, was a New York Times bestseller, and is still in the Top 25 bestsellers at Amazon under Gender Studies. What I found striking about the book, other than its provocative arguments drawn from a wide range of sources – poetry, mythology, literature, and modern cultural observations – is how little it seems to be on the minds of men now.
Why? Either the book’s ideas no longer resonate with modern men, or we lost awareness of a flowering in the 1980s and 1990s of male writers trying to rediscover and reinvent manhood.
Bly interprets a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Iron John, as carrying important insights for what boys specifically need to come to terms with as they mature into men. He writes,
“…the next step in initiation for men is finding the rat’s hole…
6 min read | Within 3 years of a first child being born, only one in three couples remain happy, according to research by psychologists John and Julie Gottman. Certainly many of those folks move on to file for divorce. The child is the catalyst.
So why – during what should be a joyous time for new parents – are so many people unhappy? And what, particularly from a man’s perspective, can new Dads do about it?