Does your husband have a “man cave”? A place where he escapes to that is just for him, where he might get together with friends, but in general, no wife or kids are wanted?
Today is Wifey Wednesday, when we always talk marriage, so it’s the perfect day to think through some of the implications of a “man cave”.
Many of our guys do have man caves. Maybe that’s where they build something, or fix something, or play cards, or pursue some hobby. My husband has a “man room” in our basement where he paints little miniature soldiers, building these huge armies. And then other guys come over with their armies and they play out battles. Sounds geeky, but he really enjoys it (and from a historical perspective it is kind of cool). Two of my brothers-in-law are rebuilding old cars. While my husband is in his “man cave”, he also plays music that I just hate.
I have another friend who is leaves home every weekend in November every year. His family knows he just won’t be there, because hunting season is open. And he goes with friends to hunt. Now that his kids are getting older he’s starting to take his son, but for years it was just him, and he left his wife alone with the kids that whole month on the weekends. But he was there the rest of the year!
When we’re first married, it’s easy to resent the man cave, because why on earth would he want to get away from you?
Doesn’t he love you? Doesn’t he want to be with you? And how could he take the garage/extra bedroom/shed and use it for himself, instead of letting the kids play there?
We women want to be building relationship all the time, though we may long for time to ourselves, especially when the kids are little. But men often want to hibernate by themselves, too, and even with other guys, far more than we want to go out with the girls. So this can seem quite threatening. Am I not enough?
I’d suggest that you start seeing it in a different way. There’s nothing wrong with a man cave, and in fact there can be quite a bit right about it.
When a guy goes into his ‘man cave’–an area that’s just his–he rejuvenates, so that he’s able to give more to the family.
It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love the family; it’s just that he has other legitimate needs, too, that do need to be met. And men are very good at urging each other to be better men, just by being around each other. They may not talk about it as a topic of conversation, but when guys get together, they rub off on each other.
Hanging out with other men often inspires a guy to be responsible, to be a good provider, to be a good dad, because they’re exploring what masculinity is. It’s that whole “wild at heart” thing, where men urge to have some adventure in their lives, and often figure out their identity not just with other women, but also with other guys. We’re better at figuring out our identity ourselves, with our family. They don’t work that way.
Of course, you don’t want your husband in a man cave all the time, and if he’s retreating there and never spending any time with the family, that’s a problem. And if he’s retreating to his man cave to look at pictures of naked women, that’s a problem. So boundaries do need to be set, in the same way they need to be set for other things in our lives.
Yes, you’ll want to preserve family time. And yes, you’ll want some date time, just the two of you.
But don’t deprive him of man cave time, because you may just find that the more he’s able to be in a man cave, the more comfortable he is with other roles.
He doesn’t get antsy. He wants to provide. Guys often process things better alone, and when he’s alone, he’ll be able to figure things out better so that he can talk to you later. I wrote a while ago on how we should find things to do with our husbands, even if that means participating in some of our husbands’ hobbies, and I thoroughly agree with that. But if your husband has one area of his life where he’d rather just be a guy, and not have you around, that honestly is okay.
Talk to him about what you need from him with the kids, and what you’d like from him for your relationship. But let’s face it, girls: we may WANT him around all the time, but we don’t NEED him around all the time. And man time is a legitimate need for many men. So if he wants to retreat for an hour or two a night, is that really so different from you being on Facebook for an hour or two? Or you watching TV for an hour or two?
This Christmas, if you’re at a loss as to what to get your husband, maybe you should have a talk with him about whether or not he wants a physical man cave. And if your house or apartment has room for one, why not give him one?
Have you ever struggled with your husband taking time for himself? Let us know in the comments how you resolved it (or tell us your issue, and maybe we can help!).
Now, what advice do you have for us today? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. And then please link back here, so other people can read Wifey Wednesday! Thanks!