Some Masculine Insights about Fixing Things and Asking for Directions

Couple in convertible

From a Christian man.  I appreciate his willingness to share and articulate a masculine perspective on some issues that can frustrate wives sometimes.

Men and women solve problems differently

Once, when I was fixing something for my sister, and having to innovate with tools and equipment because the right things were not on hand, she remarked in an admiring tone, “men and tools, sometimes it is just an amazing thing to watch”.

My sister is a highly skilled business woman and office manager, a gifted artist and a musician. So she’s no shy violet.
But she recognized something in the skills I have.

Let’s go back in time and imagine a family living in on a farm in the wild west. Suppose dad takes junior out with the rifles to do some target practice. Would the pioneer wife say “now, stop that senseless target practice. you should only shoot when you’re hunting”.

Of course not, because the men of the household needed to be skilled in order to hunt food. This requires practice.

When dad and his son are ripping apart some piece of equipment out in the garage, the same thing is happening. Skills are being learned. A young man is learning how to interact with mechanical things. You can’t wait until the skill is needed.

This also applies to driving and asking directions.

Too often, women become irritated when a man insists on figuring out his route, even if he gets a bit lost. “Honestly, why can’t men just stop and ask directions. Too proud to ask for help!!”

When a wife says something like this, it is first important to realize that this is a method of framing the situation so the man loses either way. If he stops and asks directions, he is admitting his wife’s superior decision, as well as admitting his own navigational incompetence. If he refuses, he is now still sitting under her judgment – “too proud and insecure” to admit he needs help.”

But lets look at some reasons why a man might not stop and ask directions. First, “other people” are often notorious for giving bad, incomplete, or wrong directions. Second, men are expected to have certain skills. And figuring out navigational challenges is more practice toward that end. Some female friends of my acquaintance wonder how I am able to suddenly reroute myself through town when a road is closed. How did I learn that? By mental-mapping and getting un-lost ON MY OWN.

It is crucial here to understand that there are two forces at work here: Yes, you may be a bit lost, but the wife-as-passenger is often impatient and is wanting to push a resolution rather than letting the other person so their work. Neither men nor women do their best work with another person hovering over them, distracting them with “helpful suggestions”.

Now, if a guy is truly being stubborn, your best bet if you actually want him to stop and ask directions is to say – NOTHING.
You COULD say, “I’m worried we’re going to be late. I would like to stop and ask for directions”.

This is a respectful way to do this. The usual marital-happiness destroying technique is to say “Could we just stop and ask, now, please? I don’t know why you insist on doing this.”