A Conversation with David Clarke

communicate-137

Why do you call wives Cinderellas and husbands Cavemen?

Well, I work with couples and after twenty plus years you pick up on patterns and personality styles. What I’ve seen more and more is that wives want intimacy — but wives don’t take the right steps to get it. They mean well, but they make critical mistakes along the way. Frankly, sometimes they even allow their husbands to mistreat them.

I’ve read Cinderella with my girls dozens of times; we’ve read every possible version. Videos, television shows. Women are drawn to Cinderella; there’s something about it that intrigues them.

As a man, I’m thinking this chick is a disaster. She’s being mistreated and puts up with it, and she has this goal to have the prince — but she does nothing to achieve it.

My wife has to work really hard to make her needs known to me. Like Cinderella, she thinks I should just know. Well, you know what? I can’t just know. So make these mistakes over and over and women don’t get the intimacy they need and want so desperately. And men tend to be insensitive and selfish — we avoid intimacy in our own ways. Women want intimacy with us, but they go about it in the wrong way. Let’s look at that because it’s so critical. Cinderellas have a way of speaking in code regarding their needs; it’s a communication barrier. They will say nothing at all and expect the man to somehow know what she wants and needs — But the guy cannot get it.

Also, Cinderellas tend to talk too much. I hate to be blunt, but they use too many words talking to the Caveman. When a woman is emotional, she feels that she’s right; that kills a conversation. And she wants the man to share right away — when she’s having a dialog, she wants emotion, something personal, and wants it now. Well, guys aren’t made that way. They need to process. So, from their side, Cinderella kills the conversation. Now the Caveman is more into avoiding intimacy entirely. He was raised that way. No significant man in his life — dad, grandpa, best friend, brother — has ever pursued intimacy and modeled that for him. So, he has his escape from closeness tricks down even before he gets married.

The Caveman fools the woman into marrying him because he’s pretty open prior to marriage. That’s why we court a woman and that’s why she marries us. Once we’re married and she’s asking questions and trying to get intimacy — he’ll say, I don’t know. Or give no response at all. Or he’ll snap and get angry and leave. Or he’ll give her logic when she wants emotion. She’ll ask, how was your day? He’ll say, well it was fine. It was okay. Well that doesn’t tell her anything, and of course that’s the point. He really doesn’t want to get into it. He’ll say, I’m too busy or I don’t want to talk about it. Men really try to avoid closeness. They need it, but they don’t want anything to do with it.

And this impacts intimacy…

Absolutely. Most women are way too subtle about expressing theirs. And of course when the man doesn’t know, and doesn’t come through — she’s angry. Women kill intimacy that way all the time.

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You’ve got to be clear with a man; painfully clear. He’s not going to pick up on the clues or the subtleties. A woman needs to know that she will not get intimacy the first time she talks to a man — he’s a man. In fact, he’s worse than a man. He’s a Caveman. When she shares and talks, he won’t get deep during that first conversation. We may need to revisit that topic the next day and as he processes, he can then achieve some depth of intimacy. Many times women will press too hard, too soon in a conversation. Boom! Game over. When a man feels controlled and pressured, forget it. He’s not going to talk to you. These are things women need to pick up on and if they do, you can get very close to him. You can train a man to actually engage with you.

So words are important…

Yes. I’m still learning that we (men) need to be taught. I need to talk with Sandy, and share myself, and ask about her needs every day. That’s what the man needs to do. Sandy is clear with me, but I’m smarter than that. I ask her several times a day , honey, what do you need, what can I do for you. And when I jot down things, and I come through, and we have a conversation that evening and I share things that happened to me that day and I actually have something to say… the chances of her wanting to be with me sexually go up 125%. I’ve done the math; it’s true. [laughs] She then feels close to me she and wants to go to the next level. Otherwise, she cannot be responsive; she cannot be involved

Sheri and I mentor engaged couples and lately we’ve been hearing from newly-married couples that they’re falling out of love. What do you say to that?

I would say to those couples join the club. Your infatuation is running out. It happens to all of us. The world says there’s something desperately wrong here; you’ve lost the magic; you need to move on. Well no!

This (early marriage) is designed by God as only the first stage of a relationship — it’s a mile long and an inch deep. It’s not yet about deep ongoing passion and love. That takes years to develop. My folks have been married for fifty-one years and they are still in love and they still work at it every day. Now that’s real love.

When infatuation leaves, obviously that’s a cause for concern. But that’s when a marriage really begins. Now we’ll learn how to really love each other; now we have to do things right. And if you do it God’s way, he will give you back a passion in a much deeper, much more fulfilling way than that infatuation stuff you had in the beginning.

We’re increasingly living in a culture where people just quit and they don’t want to do hard work. Marriage should just happen. Well, you’re going to have that happening five or six times and getting divorced every time. Better to stay with someone and work it out. You can get it back. People need to hang on. This is sacred; this is a covenant. People don’t stand together before God in a church and say, we’re gonna give this our best shot.

Copyright © 2007 Growthtrac.

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About Jim Mueller

bio-jim-muellerJim is the founder, with wife, Sheri, of Growthtrac Ministries as well as Program Director of GrowthtracRadio and the architect behind growthtrac.com. Jim holds a B.S. in business management and is a facilitator for PREPARE/ENRICH, the most widely used customized couple assessment tool. He has authored numerous articles, interviewed leading relationship authors and Christian artists, and has contributed to Dr. Les Parrott’s book, The Complete Guide to Marriage Mentoring. Jim has worked for more than 15 years to help premarital couples and married couples build and maintain healthy relationships.

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