What’s in it for the GUY?

Recently I’ve heard from several readers expressing that their heart’s desire is to entertain, but their husbands just do not enjoy it. Some don’t like kids, and some just don’t enjoy people in general. One reader wrote:

I love having people over but my husband really does not. Or rather he is okay with having ‘adults only’ over but finds other people’s children very challenging to be around. We have three children of our own but we seem to raise our children differently than a lot of people. Anyway I wish my husband would be more accepting of the differences but he isn’t. He just does not enjoy having ‘families’ over.

A pang goes through my heart when I read comments like these. I feel for the woman with the desire to practice hospitality, and I also know that the husband is really missing out! Even C.S. Lewis did not have a love or desire to be around children. And he knew it. But he forced himself to be around them more, and thus came to understand and enjoy them.

We have friends who have never had children. We have witnessed them being so giving and loving to many children, including our own. They make a point to ask them questions, interact with them, and even play with them. Our friends have taken their eyes off of themselves, even if it isn’t easy for them, and have chosen to invest in the children. And our kids love the dialogue that takes place.

You can try doing something a little different. Head out to a restaurant and get to know a couple without the kids around. Once a husband gets to know the adults, maybe he’ll be more open to having the kids over to visit too.

It’s also true that people don’t always manage their kids well, so that makes it hard to have them over. But if you can forge a friendship with another couple with similar child-raising priorities, there might be a better chance that your husband will engage with the whole family.

Encourage your husband to play for brief periods with the kids that you have in to play with your own.

Playing is such an icebreaker, as you can have fun without a deep discussion. For example, my husband Paul will play badminton with the kids, or soccer in the street, or even swim with them. He’s been known to turn every light off in the house and play nerf guns, or even hide-and-go-seek. If your husband is quieter, perhaps he’d enjoy playing cards or a board game with your children and one or two of their friends.
There is always the “3 question” rule that helps with entertaining children. Have 3 questions ready to ask your guests. In this case, 3 questions that revolve around the child’s life, which could be questions like what positions they play in sports, or what kind of music they like to play, or what attracts them to a certain hobby. Even questions like what was your favorite vacation ever? What makes your happy? What makes you sad? Or, Paul will dig a little deeper and ask, “Have you ever been bullied?” (Relating to his latest release, No More Jellyfish, Chickens or Wimps).

My last thought: if the problem for the guy has nothing to do with kids, you might want to revisit your ways of entertaining. I used to be more of a perfectionist, thus causing undo stress at the last minute, wanting things to look a certain way. I’d bring the “perfectionism” problem onto my family and really squelch any fun or excitement that might be there for hospitality, because I’d be barking orders of what to do, or what wasn’t done. That alone is enough to ruin it for the guy!

What does the guy want? My view is that he wants things simple: good food, great conversation, and relaxation.

Taking it a step further, my husband now really enjoys the conversation with his guests. But it wasn’t always that way. He had to learn to be a conversationalist. You can read about it here in the post, Are you in sync with your man?

What’s in it for your guy?

9 comments on “What’s in it for the GUY?”

  1. Good post. My husband has come a long way with helping me host get togethers. He knows it’s something I enjoy and am good at doing. He’s great with the grill and if there’s a sporting event on that night it makes it a treat for him to have other men to watch the game with.

  2. Excellent thoughts!

    I think my husband actually wants to entertain more than I do, sometimes! But as you touched on, I think my undo perfectionism stresses ME out…I need to just relax a lot more.
    I think the more I read your posts, the more I’m starting to figure out my own aversion to entertaining! So, I guess we’re getting somewhere! ;)

  3. I can certainly relate to this post. I was the one who loved to entertain and with time my husband also enjoys it equally as much. I was so thrilled when this summer he encouraged me to invite a blogger friend who I had never met to join us in Canada for a week.
    The yummy food I made was enjoyed by the guest, but truly I was so so careful to make sure they were ALL my husbands favorites.
    He was a happy man. We had a great time.

  4. This hits home with me, as I am the one who does not entertain due to kids. It seems like the parents forget they are here with their kids, and I have to parent my own, prepare all the food, clean up, parent their kids, all by myself. Plus, almost all of the families we would have over have at least 4 kids. It is like a zoo!

    BTW, I bought Paul’s book from amazon, and hubby and I are both reading it. Worth every penny and many more!

    Thanks for your inspiration and sharing heart.

  5. Ha. You’ve described ME to a T — my husband loves everyone’s kids; it’s me who has trouble tolerating other people’s children. Especially if, like you said, the parenting styles are different.

    I also like to use my small house as an excuse not to have people with kids over. It’s virtually impossible to have a good, meaningful conversation when there are constant interruptions and little kids are playing in the same room as the adults. I find that a lot less enjoyable.

    I do love summer though — it solves so many entertaining ‘issues’ for me. We can send the kids outside!! (Haha, or just all be outdoors, which is instantly more relaxing anyway than being confined to a small space.)

  6. I have noticed that my husband enjoys having people over much more when I can keep my own “frantic” preparations more relaxed and stress free!! I try to be more conscious of this each time!!

  7. Very encouraging and helpful suggestions.

  8. Awesome, Sandy!!

    Jellyfish book: The book is fantastic…I am loving it, and learning. :) So glad for all that you and Paul share with others and am thankful for you.

  9. The energy level of kids can be exhausting (having been a mother to both sexes for 26 years now), and not everyone can handle it in the same way, or in the same amounts. My husband luvs kids but gets very frustrated with those who have no respect for authority. He also prefers small groups to large, whether children or adults. You have to know your limits and figure out how to deal with them without becoming a complete hermit (tho that can be tempting at times!) Great thoughts and great pix of some of the guys in your life!

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