If you ask the average person why he or she decided to get married, most will tell you that apart from being in love, they craved the companionship. That's a good thing, because humans have been described as "social animals". This means that in order to thrive emotionally we need to be in regular contact with other humans. For most women, this comes naturally and easily. Women love to accompany each other to virtually everywhere from public restrooms to beauty salons. So it comes as no surprise that a lot of wives feel hurt when their husbands seems to want to be apart if only for a brief moment.
Just the thought of him wanting some alone time sends a lot of women immediately looking for an explanation: Is it me? Is he having an affair? Doesn't he love me anymore? Is it because I've gained a few pounds? And on and on they go torturing themselves, trying to come up with a reason why he needs to withdraw.
You see, for most women, when there's a problem the "normal" thing to do is to call up a friend and talk it out. Even if a woman says she's taking some time out to think, she might still end up chatting with friends or talking on the phone. On the other hand, for a lot of men a problem means that he needs to pull away and figure it out-- alone. A woman's alone time may consist of soaking in a tub of scented salts, curling up in bed with a good book, or getting her hair done. A man's alone time is frequently spent in front of the TV with snacks and drinks or in a shed with tools.
When a woman feels secure in her relationship she wants to spend more time together, when a man feels secure, he wants to spend some time apart. It's like a puzzle with pieces that don't quite fit. But if you learn to strike a balance, your relationship will deepen in ways you didn't think were possible.
At a recent marriage seminar, the presenters spoke about a man's occasional need for solitude. One young wife angrily stated that she disagreed with the whole concept. "If he needs some alone time he can go lock himself in the bathroom", she declared angrily. Although it sounds like a joke, her response is typical of a lot of women because for them pulling away means that there's something wrong with the relationship and he's running away.
What very few women understand is that their husband's withdrawal is not because of them and it's not about "wanting to be alone" per se; it's about a man's need to relax, to think, to work stuff out on his own and in his own way. This is his sanctuary or "mantuary" as some may call it: the place where he's restored.
Understanding your man's need for this space can enrich your relationship because he feels safe, understood, appreciated, and respected. When a man feels all of that coming from his woman, he is empowered to love her like she needs to be loved. Let's explore the five reasons why a man cave can actually improve your relationship:
A man cave makes your husband feel safe. Everybody knows that most men shy away from talking about feelings. The reason for this is because these types of conversations make him feel vulnerable and men aren't good at opening up and sharing their emotions. Your man wants to be your hero, so he'll hesitate to tell you anything that could make you feel disappointed in him. But when you allow a man the freedom of temporary separation, he starts to trust you on a deeper level and will eventually feel safe enough to share with you his innermost secrets and fears.
Time in his cave makes your man feel appreciated. When you have small children, a lot of family activities revolve around them and the husband is sometimes relegated to the position of provider and handyman. Being able to set aside some time to order his thoughts without interruptions, allows your man to feel that he is a valued family member because in his cave he's free to be anything he wants to be.
Accepting that he needs a cave tells your husband that you understand him. Few people doubt that talking comes easily to most women. It's a known fact that her circle of friends is a very important part of her life. But when it comes to men, there are hundreds of misconceptions and myths out there. Just because throughout history some men have been notoriously irresponsible and immature doesn't give anybody the right to make generalizations regarding what men need and want. By allowing the man in your life to retreat to his cave, you make him feel understood. A man that's honored in this way will be willing to do almost anything for his lady.
A man cave shows your husband that he's respected. If given the choice between feeling unloved or feeling disrespected, most men would rather feel unloved. In fact, a lot of men think that in a relationship love and respect is the same thing. Women, on the other hand, see a clear distinction between the two. By allowing your husband to have some alone time, you are showing respect for him, his needs, and his manhood. When a man feels respected by his woman, the sky is the limit to what he can accomplish.
Alone time in his cave keeps your husband grounded and focused. A lot of wives get anxious by the idea of separation and think that the solution is to spend even more time together. So they dig in their heels and fight what they perceive as a disconnection. What they haven't realized is that this alone time is what keeps their mate sane in a stressful world. One woman was deeply offended the first time her husband, who has a very demanding job, suggested that he needed to be away from her and the kids sometimes. But then she realized that when he came out of his seclusion he was much more loving and thoughtful and overall easier to deal with. Now anytime he starts getting a little crabby she gently hints that it might be time for a break. He loves her for it.
A man cave doesn't have to represent total separation between husband and wife. Some women wonder if it's acceptable to knock on the cave door or to call their men out for emergencies, phone calls, or simply when communication is necessary. Installing a wireless intercom system will solve this problem for you because it eliminates shouting or banging on a door, which can sometimes come off as mean or aggressive.
Allowing your husband to have his cave has many advantages. Always remember that men are wired differently than women and these differences need to be honored in order for your relationship to thrive.