The ‘Sweeper’

Steve Arterburn

Guys, have you ever noticed that when a woman is feeling stressed or angry, she’ll often call a friend? Have you also noticed when guys feel those same things, we usually do just the opposite?

When it comes to dealing with emotions, most men run for the hills’alone. We tend not to be as good as our female counterparts at facing our feelings, let alone talking about them. Most of us have been trained to treat our emotions like dirty laundry ‘ we don’t want anything to do with them.

When our emotions surface, our internal ‘Sweeper’ moves to action. The sweeper is that part of our subconscious who methodically and logically eliminates the threat that rogue emotions present. The ‘Sweeper’s’ job is to prohibit any situation from heating up too much and to sweep stray emotions back under the surface, where we think they belong. The Sweeper’s job description looks something like this:

  • Hide and mask anger
  • Internalize pressure
  • Bury losses
  • Deny wounds
  • Withdraw in the face of hard truth
  • Deflect mistakes
  • Blame others
  • Hide struggles
  • Push others away
  • Excuse me from feeling the hurts of others

Men, does this sound familiar? If so, I think it’s time you put your Sweeper up for review, and seriously consider cleaning out his office. The ‘Sweeper’s’ so-called services are, in fact, doing you a great disservice.

Relating to Competent Women

Steve Arterburn

There’s something built in to us men that wants to say, ‘I know the way!’ And I’m not just talking about driving directions. I’m talking about the way through life. So, when a man encounters a woman who seems to know the way all by herself’if she’s successful and ultra-competent’it literally can scare him. It can tempt him to pull back and say, ‘Whoa’who, or what, is this?’ When in the presence of a woman who is already successful in life, a man can be tempted to feel like he has no place, like he’s simply not needed. Have you ever felt like that?

If you meet, live, or work with a woman who doesn’t seem to need your strength, protection, or provision, you can be tempted to feel useless. Where do these feelings come from? Man was created to live in a perfect world, to know the way through life and to provide strength for the woman that was his co-partner in life. In addition, there would be things the woman was created to contribute to the relationship. Together, they would complement one another. They would both be successful without a trace of intimidation.

But we don’t live in a perfect world. Yet we men still ‘feel’ those hardwired preferences and inclinations. The challenge then, men, is to learn to manage yourself appropriately in an imperfect world. Guard feelings of intimidation. Join forces with the successful women in your life. You’ll be better together!

The Importance of Asking

Steve Arterburn

Every married man is joined to a person more complex than a NASA space shuttle. Besides the fact that the human brain is infinitely more complex than anything else known to man, it’s also had several decades of outside influences by the time a woman marries.

Think of all the things that could’ve influenced your wife in her developmental years: praise and criticism, wealth and poverty, health and sickness, a large or a small family, school experiences, sexual experiences, intelligence, abuse, self-image, male and female role models, models of marriage. The list goes on and on.

Every woman’s life map is different. As a result, no two women are alike. Wouldn’t it be nice if husbands and wives, on their wedding day, in addition to exchanging rings and vows, could hand each other a book titled My Life So Far? And in it would be a closing chapter entitled ‘How to Meet My Needs.’

But this doesn’t happen. So what can you do? How can you begin by better learning your wife’s needs? The best place to start is simply by asking.

If you have a track record of insensitivity, you’ll need to start this process with an apology and a sincere request for connection. Tell your wife you want to know her and begin asking questions’about herself, her hopes, desires, dreams, and fears. Her world may just open up to you, if you’d only ask for entrance.