Last Tuesday morning, Gabby (our photographer and marketing guru) and I went to Cooper's Clippers, a long-time barber shop in Springfield, to gain more insight for this series on Relationship Tools for Men. There we met Tom Cooper, barber, former Army Ranger, Cardinal enthusiast and avid sportsman.
Tom is also married and the father of two. He loves to hunt and fish--something he says he always did with his dad.
Just one look at Tom's work station makes it clear what he loves. And, if you sit long enough and listen intently to what he talks about with his customers, you're even more convinced that he's passionate about hunting and fishing. While Tom doesn't consider himself an expert on relationships at all, he does know a lot more than he might imagine about what many men want in life.
Over and over again, Tom mentioned the word "adventure" and talked about how he needs this in his life. He gets this, in part, from the thrill of the hunt and the excitement of the catch. When a contest is involved, as was evident by a poster we saw at Cooper's Clippers, it's even more rewarding.
Monogamy without Monotony
Researchers tell us the longer two people are together, the more likely they are to fall into predictable ruts that provide a comfortable routine, but fail to generate the excitement and romance many couples crave—at least every now and then. Studies suggest couples who keep themselves open to new experiences and learning opportunities are more likely to preserve or reignite the “in love” feeling they enjoyed in the early days of their relationship.
Talking Can Sometimes Kill the Fun
Although most women I know figure talking to be an important part of recreation, men tend to focus more on activity. According to How to Improve Your Marriage without Talking About It, by Dr. Pat Love (yes, that’s her real name) and Steven Stosney, you can kill off a lot of the good times in your marriage by talking too much. The authors point out that while talking can be soothing to women, it may have the opposite impact on men. Stosney notes that talking about feelings can create physical discomfort for men. “There’s literally more blood flow to their muscles.” reports Stosney, “They get fidgety, and women think they’re not listening.” So while it’s necessary to be able to communicate well to solve the inevitable challenges that arise in marriage, it is something many people can get too much of, causing those loving feelings to go right out the window.
Love Style: Yours, Mine and Ours
There are many ways to show and experience love. The important thing here is to try new things together--things that may even feel a bit risky to one or both. Heading off to the woods might feel daring to some, but comfortable to others. Stepping onto a dance floor to take lessons could feel like the easiest thing in the world to one, and intimidating to the other. What's important is staying out of the rut, challenging yourself to try new things together. This is the kind of thing most likely to keep a relationship fresh and new.
If one or both enjoy they activity, they've both gained a new way to have fun. If either objects, the couple can continue to pursue other options until they discover activities both enjoy. Being willing to risk new experiences keeps fun alive and romance simmering.
On to another adventure,
Dr. Jennifer Baker