Once a month I participate in an unusual event. My husband and the other men who belong to his men’s group invite their partners along to their meeting.
I don’t know who thought up the idea of us womenfolk coming along to join in, but I think it’s brilliant. We women are made to feel special as we are being invited into a close-knit group where we are on an equal footing, sharing in an intimate gathering.
Once or twice, it’s been awkward because a couple might not be getting along, and, at the same time, it’s a place where they can talk freely. The men’s group is never meant to be an arena for advice-giving or fixing up relationships, but as someone said this evening, it makes a huge difference just to have listeners who are “holding” the speaker’s intimate sharing in a space of caring and respect.
I thought a few times during this evening’s meeting that I don’t fully understand men, the way they think and the way they express feelings (or don’t express them). But, as someone once said, ‘Understanding is the booby prize’. The real prize comes from listening with the heart, rather than with the ears or head. This is how men-women differences, misunderstandings, and prejudices get aired and made inconsequential.
Putting ears to your heart is a great way of hearing things you’ve never heard before; some of them might be difficult to hear, some surprising, and some inspiring and touching.