“As iron sharpens iron so does the face of a man’s friend,” is a saying from the book of Proverbs. It really sums up the mysterious masculine healing power that is released when men gather together for a noble purpose. I have experienced this mysterious force in men’s gatherings at so many different levels and in so many different ways, for the last 40 years.
I just love it when men get together for the greater good, because the greater good gets magnified in the process. I have seen it happen in a small gathering with Indigenous elders for three days in a dry creek bed in the Kimberleys, at the top end of Western Australia. I have seen it in the Fatherhood Forums we used to run at Parliament House. I have also seen it in prisons.
I have seen this same force for good exhibited in men’s breakfasts, men’s seminars, men’s conferences and men’s weekend camps. If you had told me that this same mysterious masculine healing power could be experienced in a one-day online event on Zoom I would have said, as Darryl Kerrigan said in The Castle, “Tell him he is dreaming.”
Thankfully, I was wrong. The team at Dads4Kids did it for the first time last year. The good news is that the mysterious masculine healing force was present again this year. Providence had a hand in it, but it also had lot to do with the men who came and their purpose in coming.
The speakers were fantastic.
Dr Allen Meyer, creator of Man to Man, was brilliant. Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures was superb and Cindy McGarvie, author of Lost Boys, was magnificent. But the whole in this case was greater than the sum of the parts.
Here are some pertinent quotes about the Men’s Leadership Summit from three attendees.
“The Men’s Leadership Summit changed my life. I wish I could have done it 15 years ago.”
“Congratulations on a very successful ZOOM Men’s Leadership Summit… Great speakers with complementary topics in the right order. The timelines and balance were excellent.”
“Cindy McGarvie gave me the meat to take home to work on. I am using Cindy McGarvie’s ideas to challenge how I listen to my wife. My takeaway from Allan Meyer is ‘The opposite of masculinity is passivity, therefore reject passivity.’”
Speaking about Cindy McGarvie, one of the speakers, that was another miracle. Normally we would not invite a woman to come and speak at a men’s gathering, but it worked, and it worked spectacularly well.
It sure helped that Cindy was in the Australian Army for seven years and is a crack shot to boot. Cindy really understands and is sympathetic towards men. It also helped that Cindy is one of Australia’s greatest manhood advocates, up there with the likes of Bettina Arndt.
Cindy spoke to us about “Manliness — What Women Want in a Man”. In doing so, she gave us six keys to a woman’s heart, as well as some secrets to a great marriage. She did so by describing first what women don’t want, and tips to better understand what they do want.
Many men told me this was one of the highlights of the day. For some men, it was totally new.
Here we go with the six do and don’ts for men who want a better marriage.
1. Anger & Moodiness
When men get angry, women don’t feel protected, and it is harder for a woman to be sexually vulnerable.
- Tip: Learn to control your anger (inner strength)
- Tip: Moodiness kills respect. It shows a weakness in character.
It makes a wife feel insecure and unloved.
- Tip: Women biologically test men; she wants you to pass the test!
- Tip: Break free from the lie of radical feminism: Radical feminism says you’re supposed to be soft and sensitive. Men and women are different, not the same.
A woman does not feel secure when her man fails to follow up on what he says he is going to do.
- Tip: Become a man that can be leaned into.
- Tip: When a wife is not secure, she will nag. She will struggle with intimacy.
- Tip: Women have been taught by the culture not to trust men — many come into marriage with a lack of trust, so it needs to be purposely built.
A wife takes security in her husband’s self-discipline.
- Tip: The more disciplined a man is, the more secure his wife.
- Tip: Disciplined includes living to his principles and values.
- Tip: When a woman isn’t scared, she can release control and do what she does best, which is love.
4. Lack of Purpose
A man’s purpose is not to be happy and to pursue happiness; a man’s purpose is about what he can give and contribute.
(The words of Albert Einstein come to mind: “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.”)
- Tip: Go for that, it’s highly attractive to your wife. Even if your purpose is simply to lead, provide and protect for your family.
- Tip: A wife needs her husband to lead, otherwise she will step in and ‘wear the trousers.’ Don’t shirk your responsibility. A woman who has to lead loses respect for her husband; it kills intimacy.
Women typically don’t ask for what they want, they complain.
- Tip: Whenever you hear anything from your wife that sounds like a complaint about you, DON’T respond until you can translate the complaint into a request.
- Tip: Women don’t respect defensive men — it’s ‘disgusting’ to them.
6. No longer romantically pursuing
Answer the longings of a woman’s heart every day.
- Tip: Women are always asking their husbands in their hearts — Do you notice me? Am I beautiful? Do you see me as attractive? This does not stop throughout marriage, no matter what age.
I hope you have found some encouragement from Cindy’s advice.
You might not agree with her, but why not ask your wife what her six keys to a woman’s heart are?
While you are on a roll, ask your wife: what are her secrets to a great marriage?
If you don’t ask, you will never know!
Yours for more Manly Men,
PS: Some good news.
We are starting a group online Courageous Fathering Course on the night of Monday, 6 September. More information to come.
[Photo by Becca Tapert