Mule Skinning and A Whole Lotta’ Love

by Jan on November 14, 2009

And now, my husbands viewpoint on the mysteries of menopause…(brace yourself).

One beautiful Saturday morning about 10 years ago I am reading the paper and sipping on a Starbucks soaking in the stillness and solitude of our home, when I hear her footsteps descending the stairs. Jan rounds the corner and I notice that she looks like she just plowed 40 acres of land last night with a broken down mule. Being the observant male that I am with all the sensitivity that I could muster, I said, ” What’s wrong honey, you look horrible.” She looked at me with a hollowed out expression and said ” I don’t feel like me anymore. I don’t understand what is happening to my mind and body with this menopause stuff.” I woke up feeling depressed and dreading the day.”

So understanding that I should say something that will bring comfort and caring, I said. “Gee honey, there seems to be something wrong with you everyday.” As she cocked her head to the side and squinted with one eye half shut, looking like the Hunchback of Norte Dame, she coldly stated, “Oh gee, thanks for your overwhelming understanding, and further more you don’t have the slightest clue about what I’m going through! If only you could feel for one day what I feel!!”  So my solution was to get out and go play golf.

As the days wore on and the nights became colder we both sensed a profound disconnect in our relationship. As Jan’s mood and symptoms escalated from her hormone imbalance, I too was becoming moody and depressed and just didn’t want to be around her. I would fantasize about taking off for a long motorcycle trip.

We both knew that changes were going on but we didn’t know how to get back to where we were before all this menopause stuff hit. The primary thought that I felt during this time was, that it was all about me. I’m in adequate, unlovable, whatever…

What I have learned through this DVD menopause project, is that Jan didn’t have any more control over her menopause symptoms, than I have over the course of world affairs. When I finally recognized that this isn’t about me and I began to show her a little empathy and compassion, she was able to give me the same in return.

For me, the menopause experience has been a journey of self-discovery about who I am as man and husband. The realization that menopause is treatable and it is not all about me, has taken our relationship to a much deeper level, even before menopause.

Look men, we have a choice, we can shrivel up into our self centered little world and try and pretend that this problem is not real, have a beer or play golf, tune out etc., or we can take matters into our own hands and try and fix this situation, like you would a leaky faucet. Any of these remedies will most likely lead to disaster.

Listening, empathy and compassion will go a long way no matter what life challenges come your way. So ask yourself, “What if this was cancer or another dread disease, would she not deserve the same dignity, love and respect?”

So the solution? Show a ” Whole lotta Love”!

Rock on!!

Previous post:

Next post: