Fiftiness hosted its first Brown Bag It & Learn, a series of lunchtime conversations, on January 25, 2019. William Bumiller, licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MFT, started the conversation on the topic of Understanding Men Better.
I wanted to bring this topic to the forefront of fit living after fifty. It is in the midst of midlife that we find the space to notice how we communicate with the men in our lives. When my kids were young, they took up that space. Communication between my husband and I could fudge a little. We had so much between us that words sometimes were left unsaid or not heard in the way we might have intended them. But who had time to correct that? We were building a life together, raising children, creating careers, figuring out bills. There were tangible things that felt more important at the moment than, say, my feelings or his.
It’s only in the quiet space of empty nesting that I realized how important those unsaid or misunderstood communications might have been. The difference is now I have the time to consider how to connect.
Bill brought to the conversation his insight from working with men and their families in his practice. Traditional societal messages regarding men are damaging to the way women communicate with men. These messages have also negatively informed men’s response to our communications. Society has told men to abandon feelings for achievement, brush it off and get back in the game, and be strong. Perhaps the most damaging lesson taught is one said both in anger and in humor: grow a pair.
Men wounded have the greatest difficulty saying hey, that hurt my feelings. Once wounded it is hard for men to be empathetic to their own feelings let alone the feelings of the women in their lives. Learn his language and staying connected to the men in our lives becomes easier. The connection so much deeper.
In the course of our lunchtime conversation, Bill offered many tools that empowered the women in the room with a new language.
We sat at a round table and everyone spoke from personal experiences and offered up thoughts, suggestions, and laughter. We created a true learning community. The beauty of our combined hundreds of years was that we each had something to teach, something to learn! Such is the fearlessness of a Fiftiness community.
Look for a post with details from the conversation and a podcast to follow.
Upcoming Brown Bag It & Learn, a series of lunchtime conversations are scheduled. See what’s upcoming and signup here!