Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do Men Compare Themselves to Each Other?

"Does this shirt make my muscles look too small?"
"Did you see his hair? I'd give anything to have hair like that!"
"I can't have him coming into my garage! He'll see how messy it is!"

Can you even remotely imagine any man in your life making these statements? I can't. It is very laughable to think of any of these things coming out of the mouth of any male in my life. It seems that comparing oneself with other people is a distinctly feminine trait. Or is it?

What if men just aren't as vocal as we are? (That should go without saying--except I'm a woman, so....) What if they just don't "share" as much as we do (how about at all)? What if they really are looking at the other men around them and thinking, "I just don't measure up." ?

While I highly doubt most men are as worried about their appearance as we are about ours, let's just suppose that men do compare:

We say, "Oh, I just got back from Sally's house. It is gorgeous! I wish I had the money she had to decorate like that!"

He hears, "I wish you made more money so I could have a beautifully decorated home like Sally's."

Or what about this?

We say, "I was talking to Tammy at my high school reunion last night. Her husband is a cardiologist. Can you imagine the money they must have?"

He hears, "I wish I had married someone with a higher-paying job like Tammy did."

Or possibly...

We say, "Carrie's husband got her a dozen roses and took her out to eat in a limousine for Valentine's Day? Isn't that romantic?"

He hears, "You never do anything that romantic for me. You don't really measure up as a husband."

You can imagine the implications this could have on your marriage, even if I'm only half right. I mean,  how many of us want to hear our husband bragging on his best friend's wife's looks, organizational skills or decorating expertise? Perhaps this is another spin on the Golden Rule?

Can I challenge us to use our great vocal talents (stop snickering, husbands!) to change things up a bit? How about this:
"Honey, I appreciate how well you provide for us. You work really hard and I'm proud of you!"
"Thank you so much for thinking of me on my birthday. Your gifts always make me feel special."
 Those are just examples, of course. Be creative! You might even comment on those muscles or the neat garage (if you are so lucky).Don't expect him to say much. Just rest content in the fact that maybe his ears are hearing:
"I value you as my husband and no one else could ever measure up to you!"


  1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by Beloved and So Are You. I am glad you were encouraged by the post, and I am likewise glad to have found your blog. God bless!

  2. Such a good post! I love what you've said here about encouraging our husband's. Excellent reminder!

  3. We women tend to get a little self-centered, don't we? I needed the reminder so I decided to pass it on to the rest of you as well. My "sharing", you know. :-)

  4. You are right - I think a lot of men do think the ridiculous thoughts like "I wish I had hair like that" and internalise them rather than verbalising them. We do need encouragement even though we wouldn't want to admit to it :-)

    By the way, I only just checked in to find one of your comments on my John Wesley Journal Blog. I am really sorry, you probably left it there years ago - I have been out of the loop for a long time. I hope that your non-profit newsletter is thriving and wanted to let you know that the entire Journals of John Wesley are in the public domain so can be freely used - you can get them from the Gutenberg Project online.

  5. Seyms,
    Thanks so much for stopping by and giving us a man's perspective on this issue!

    I appreciate your tracking me down about my previous question. I appreciate your work on the blog regarding John Wesley's work.

  6. A pleasure, of course :-) Keep up the good work ....

  7. Just dropped by looking for a related issue but couldn't help not saying a word on this to help CLEAR things up. First of all I have to say I'm amazed how little most women know about men in general.However this Lady Jen seems to know a few things and I respect the fact that she's teaching it to other women as well.
    As a man, I tottaly confirm what she says in the above article. WE DO COMPARE ARESELVES TO EACHOTHER very often; but WE DON'T VERBALISE IT. We internalise it. We don't want to share our miserable feelings with anyone (especially women) because it makes us look weak, pittyfull and finnaly undesirable. We compare with other men in alot of things like: height, size, strength, musculature, skills and even HAIR. Yes, as silly as it sounds, it's true also. I for example, being bold, I instantly hate a guy with nice thik hair because it makes him look good for the ladies and I'm inferiour to him in that aspect. This goes on for other comparable "items"...

  8. Thanks Anonymous for the confirmation that I am giving correct information! I appreciate your input.