Parenting is a huge task to take on, and a lot of us rely heavily on our male partners to take it on with us. As moms, our brains are chock-full of so much, and it can be difficult to understand why our male spouses are reacting negatively to us, or seem closed off. Today we’re here with men’s coach Nick Matiash from The Evolved Man, who’s here to shed some light on the male perspective and how we can better understand the men in our life!
As we all know, there are a lot of standards for women in society. Whether that’s beauty, parenting, or diet, we’re expected to act a very specific way. What we don’t always think about is that there’s another standard, one that affects men. We’ve all heard the phrase “boys don’t cry-” except here’s the thing, they do, and they should be allowed to. We all want what’s best for our partners, but they can often seem to shut down or not respond to what we say, largely because of this huge societal standard. That’s why Nick is here to chat with us, and why we brought you this episode!
This week we’re diving into helping our partners through mental health issues, working on self-improvement and growth, and even how we can be proactive parents to our boys so that they feel comfortable sharing their emotions. This was an episode unlike any we’ve ever done, and we’re sure you’re going to love the conversation!
Want more great content like this? Join the UM Club! We have new guests and things happening all the time, including our Communicating with Confidence Workshop that’s happening next week! Make sure to sign up for the UM Club and the workshop, and we can’t wait to see you there!
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Nick is a husband, father, author, and men’s coach committed to helping men understand, process, and deepen their connection to their inner world and emotional selves. Through The Evolved Man, he’s here to share a male perspective on emotion, relationships, and what many guys struggle with, to help the women listening to better understand their male partners.
In This Episode We Talk About
00:35 – Who is Nick?
06:06 – The male narrative and changing traditional male roles.
13:38 – How to communicate with your partner in the early years of parenting.
22:57 – Helping your partner through mental health issues.
33:16 – Dealing with pushback on self-improvement and personal growth.
41:25 – Being proactive in raising our sons.
52:15 – Final thoughts and resources.
54:25 – Where to find Nick!
Watch the Video
Listen to the Audio
Join the UM Club!
UM Club Facebook page
Communicating with Confidence Workshop
Nick’s Instagram: @NickMatiash
The Evolved Man
The Call to Courage with Brene Brown on Netflix
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Loving What Is by Byron Katie
Read the Full Conversation
Hello and welcome to another episode inside the Unapologetic Moms Club. Today I am very excited to be here with Nick Matiash from The Evolved Man. And we are going to dig into the male perspective so we can learn a little bit more about what’s going on on their side and tips for communicating and supporting our male partners. So welcome, Nick, thanks for being here.
Well, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity. I feel like I might be stepping into the lion’s den a little bit. But hopefully I can be helpful in some of the things that I can share here with you.
Oh, I’m sure you will be. So let’s kick it off. Who are you? What do you do? And why are you so passionate about it?
Okay, so, like you said, I’m Nick, and I am a husband, a father, and a men’s life coach. And the biggest part of my work as a men’s life coach is really helping men with their emotions and helping them see where they come up and where they are relevant in all phases of their life. I think that, you know, I’ve always had a decent sense of my emotional self, but growing into adulthood and then getting married and being a father, looking around me I could kind of sense that I was in a different realm of emotional self and awareness, compared to some of my best friends, compared to some of the men who are kind of in my circles. And I was like, “I don’t know if I’m the weird one, or they’re the weird one.” It was very confusing to me to kind of look around at other guys that had these things that in their lives that were were deeply emotional to them, like having a kid or having a wife, and, you know, love was something they would toss around, but I just didn’t feel like they were super connected to it.
So it was something that I’ve always kind of naturally had an inclination for. And then when I got married, you know, husband just kind of hit differently. For me, I felt like it was an important role, it was something I really wanted to honour. So that was when I went down this rabbit hole of personal development for myself and kind of learned a lot about myself, a lot about how my mind works, how my heart works, how all of the things kind of interplay and kind of create the life that I have.
And in doing that work, compared with my natural inclination to kind of feel pretty deeply, I kind of saw an avenue, if you will, to help a lot of guys out. Because there’s just so many husbands and fathers that want to be the absolute best husband and father they can be. And they don’t have the tools to because they’ve never been taught this type of stuff. Because you know, when you get home from work – and work is the natural thing, going hard at work, building a business, that’s the stuff that kind of comes naturally to most guys. When you come home from work, it’s a different skill set, it’s a different way of relating to the people that are around you. And if you don’t learn that stuff actively, you can one, not show up in the way that you want to and two, be very frustrated by your inability to do so.
So I try to help guys understand that, you know, growing emotionally and being emotionally mature is something that’s really powerful. It’s something that, you know, if your mission, if your intention with being a husband or a father is to really build this legacy and show up for your people in a big, big way. you have to grow this capacity to feel. Because that’s the language of your kids, that’s the language of your wives, emotion is a big thing that runs through the home. And if we don’t get it, we’re going to kind of feel like foreigners in our own home.
So I just kind of noticed – some by working with clients and realizing there were themes there. But also just looking around in my circle, my network of guys that were not openly struggling, nobody was coming to me and saying, “hey, I got to figure this out.” But just feeling like there was this disconnect that a lot of guys just couldn’t figure out how to navigate. And I was like, “alright, I guess this is my lane,” because it feels like something that I’m excited about. Because I do enjoy talking about feelings and how that’s important to a guy. But also just, you know, the impact of helping a guy understand his emotional self and how that ripples out to his family, how his kids learn from that, and how his wife can show up more powerfully because she feels supported in that way. It just, you know, it makes the most sense to me. And it’s something that I just love to kind of dig into with the guys that I get to work with.
Absolutely, I love all of that, especially with touching on the skills as well. That’s a big reason why we cover the different topics we do here within the club, because there’s so many aspects of our life that we’re not necessarily taught the skills for, and taught how to handle things or the different avenues we can take and communication and handling our emotions are just another skill set and when can be learned.
Yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, I honestly was not the best communicator when I got into this relationship that I’m in with my wife. I think she taught me more than most books taught me about communication and sitting in conversations that are difficult and all of those things. You know, it was just not something that came naturally, it was something I had to learn and continue to learn.
There’s times still in our marriage where I’m trying to communicate something, and it’s not coming off right. It’s something that I’m learning actively and then going to teach my guys because I’m still in the game, because everybody’s still in the game. And that’s the beauty of it, you always have space to grow. And it’s not just this ceiling you hit and then you’re done. Which kind of just continues to push you forward, rather than think that it’s all good when you, you know, when you get married. “I’ve done what I needed to do, let’s ride this thing out into the sunset.” That’s unfortunately really the wrong way to look at chicks.
Yeah, and that’s the great thing about relationships. When you are in those strong communicative relationships, you are able to continuously learn and work on things and call each other out on things. Be called out and be open to work through that and find different ways to approach different things or communicate.
Yeah, definitely, absolutely.
I think I came across your Instagram, probably a year-ish about, it’s been a while now. And it was really a breath of fresh air for me. It’s really nice to see a guy out there, openly talking about the male perspective and emotions and communicating, and really pushing against that narrative that’s pushed on many men and to be those earners to go out, work hard, provide, and then come back home. And there can kind of be a bit of a disconnect, like you mentioned, you saw in a lot of different men that kind of disconnect with the family. I’d love to hear you dig a little bit deeper into all of that, for what you’ve seen for kind of this message being put on men and how it’s affected them.
Sure. And one, I just want to thank you for acknowledging that I’m coming at it differently. Because in the beginning of my journey of being a men’s life coach, I very much was operating out of my own conditioning, out of the messaging that I had received when I was a kid, that it’s about the hustle, and it’s about effort. And it’s about waking up earlier than everybody else. And like that was the drum that I was beating. And honestly, my business wasn’t doing that great. But it wasn’t until I kind of stepped into like this piece of me that one, needed a voice but two, was more naturally me and stopped kind of fronting and trying to be somebody else, that things started to grow in this community that we call The Evolved Man.
But in terms of what I see and what seems to be the biggest obstacle for most guys, is that when we are boys, and then as we grow into manhood, emotions are something that are just actively, – it’s directly and indirectly just pushed down. An example that’s so simple, but I think really does speak to the point of what a lot of boys experience, is like when we’re playing sports as a kid. I played baseball and hockey. I remember getting hit in baseball, like getting hit by the pitcher, and my coach yelling out from the bench, “don’t rub it” or like, “don’t act like you’re hurt.” And it’s like this messaging throughout all of boyhood and into manhood is like, don’t show people that you’re hurting, that’s a weakness, they’re going to take advantage of that.
So we start to learn to close up that part of us, that valve of emotion that is natural to a human. But men are just like, “nope, not important here.” Because what we are taught is our job is to provide, to protect, and anything that gets in the way of that is an enemy to the plan, emotions are going to get in the way of that in some way. Because, you know, it doesn’t align with some of those other modalities. But it’s really unlearning that conditioning, that is the biggest part of it, realizing that you can work hard and make a lot of money and still come home and be a connected husband and father. There is no choosing here, it’s just that we’ve been taught that those are the options.
It’s, “you don’t make a lot of money, but you’re a really present and awesome husband and father.” That’s one option that seems to be out there. The other option is you go and work 60 hours a week. And when you come home, you’re exhausted, you pass out and you do it all over again. And your kids are just going to be appreciative in 20 years when they realize how hard you worked. So those are like the two options that seem to be available. But my job is really to help guys understand like that’s not the only stuff that’s out there, you can do both. It’s just a matter of allowing that to be a possibility rather than thinking it has to be one or the other and just running from that.
Something I kind of say to my guys all the time, physical maturity is natural. You’re gonna grow up, you’re gonna grow a beard possibly if you can – I struggled with my most of my life. You might grow a beard, you’re gonna grow taller, you’re gonna grow all this, you know, your voice is gonna deepen, that’s natural. You can’t fight it. It’s just gonna happen. Emotional maturity is not like that. You don’t just grow up and and naturally syncs up with your life path. It’s not going to all of a sudden get better as you become a father or as you become a husband, you have to be intentional about it, you have to be conscious to what you’re feeling and how to process that stuff.
Because if you don’t, it’s going to come back and bite you. And that’s really my mission is to be a proactive person in these guys’ lives and say, you know, let’s learn the emotional stuff now. So that we don’t have to break down in 20 years when it’s become too much, when it just kind of boils over within you. Because that’s essentially what a midlife crisis is. You haven’t thought about how you’re feeling or sank into that in decades, and all of a sudden, you need something different. It’s like this visceral, “I gotta get it out of me.” It’s because you’ve been choking it down for so long.
So I’m really here just to help guys understand that we can build a beautiful life, it doesn’t have to be just all or nothing, all work no play, or all family no work. It can be a pairing of both in a beautiful way, as long as you allow that to be a possibility.
Yes. And like you said, it really just takes being intentional about it. And it was interesting hearing kind of what you just went through with like the conditioning and stuffing down and that eventually comes out 20 years down the road with a midlife crisis. And I think it runs very parallel for women in terms of being the nurturer. Take care of everyone else. Put yourself to the backburner. And if you continue that narrative, again, you burn out and can end up with those different midlife crises. And so it’s being intentional, and that’s a big pillar of what I teach within my community, is you need to put yourself first, take care of yourself so much that you’re overflowing and able to do even more for those around you. But you can’t just keep stuffing it down and doing things for everyone else. Because you just burn out and it’s not good for anybody.
Right. Yeah, I mean, both men and women have their vehicles of giving to others, like all the guys that I work with are, essentially, all of them are family men, and they would die for their family, they would do anything they possibly could to keep a roof over their heads, get a bigger roof over their heads, get a nicer car, like give them the life that they want to give them. If you lined up 15 or 20 family men and ask them “what’s your why” all of them are going to say “my wife and my kids” or “my family,” right?
So they all have this thing that they’re giving so much to. And mothers on the same token, like, I know my wife would give – and does give – everything to us, to a certain extent where I’m like, “hey, go take a nap. That’s okay. You need to rest and recover and have some space for yourself.” So it’s definitely a parallel from both sides of the table that, you know, when you get into these things that you love and adore and you want to give everything to, you will, it’s just that on top of doing that, or before you do that if you will, you want to make sure you have the energy to do that and take care of yourself before you pour into those people.
Absolutely. And it’s nice to sit back and say to those listening to this and hearing that perspective and how much men in their life are wanting family first, it just might be shown in different ways. And kind of female counterparts might not necessarily recognize it in the same way. But that same want to give and be there for the family is there. It just looks a bit different from what might seem natural to us.
Yeah, for sure.
All right, well, I’d like to dive into a few of the main struggles that I’ve seen within my community to get your perspective on it. And any kind of tips we can give some people. So the first one I see a lot, especially in that new family time, the first early years which you’re in the middle of as well. It’s really fucking hard. Sleep deprivation is often a big thing as well, which just doesn’t make your brain work properly. And it’s all about everyone else’s needs.
And often, the women within my community can feel kind of overwhelmed by this imbalance of household family responsibilities, they see their partners out working, kind of seemingly having life go on a little bit as normal compared to them being more at home, and wanting to have conversations to kind of shift the responsibilities a little bit. And they can often be hit with a bit of a brick wall or defensiveness. I know something I talk about can just be the way they’re conveying that message could definitely make a very big impact. But I’m interested to hear kind of your perspective on what might be going on with the male side of this and different tips or ways we as female partners can communicate a little bit better to our male counterparts.
Yeah, I mean, I think in all communication, whether it’s about these specific things, you know, household responsibilities and what have you, coming to the table first, trying to understand what the other perspective might be before starting the conversation. Because I know that many days, and like you said, I’m in the thick of the young child stage, I have a four-year-old and a one-year-old. So we’re definitely swimming in that ocean right now.
So I have this coaching business and I also am a full-time teacher at a middle school. So I do that during the day, and my wife’s home with the kids. And then I come home, and my wife has a makeup business. So she has clients over in the afternoon, like she had one this evening. So I’ll come home from work. She’ll hand the kids to me, I’ll take care of the kids while she’s doing her makeup stuff. And then I’ll hand the kids to her and I’ll do my coaching stuff. So it’s kind of like this back and forth. And sometimes in there, we have some quality family time, but it’s a lot of, you know, passing off of the children, if you will.
So I can very easily come home from work and say like, “I’m exhausted from work, I can’t take care of these kids too, I’m taking care of other people’s kids being a teacher.” And then coming home and taking care of my kids from my own limited perspective of my own stuff, I could very easily just spew up my wife, “I’m exhausted, I can’t handle all of this.” But then I take a minute and say, “my wife has been taking care of these kids all day, she deserves an hour and a half, two hours, to work with a makeup client.” Not that I can’t bring that up. But when I go to say that if I am exhausted, if it is too much for me, I can lead with “I know that you’re taking care of the kids all day. But when I get home, I’m also tired. And maybe we can come to a compromise.”
But I think first and foremost, from the woman’s perspective to the man, it’s very similar to trying to get inside their head and think about what is their day like, what is their life like right now. Even though you’re sharing a bed, you’re sharing a home, their perspective and perception of how that’s all going is probably a little bit different than yours. So just trying to play that game in your head before you bring it up is going to be huge, because if it’s just “attack, attack, attack, I’ve been with them all day, take them,” it’s going to feel – especially for a guy who’s been at work all day. In his mind like we were talking about, “I’m doing this for my family, I’m being a good guy, I’m taking care of what I need to take care of,” and then immediately pushing them on your husband, or not even just the kids, but just household responsibilities. It might get lost in translation, because of the way that it comes out.
So really trying to be empathetic and think about “okay, what is their life like right now?” And how can I speak to that, and honor that in this conversation rather than just brush it under the rug and think about me in this conversation. So I think that’s number one.
Second thing. I don’t know how big you are on Brene Brown, in your own world or in your community. But something I learned from her in – she has this Netflix special The Call to Courage. She mentioned something in there. And it was probably just off the cuff for her. But it just has stuck with me ever since, she was talking about how she speaks when her and her husband have a disagreement of some kind. The way that they bring it up, the phrase is “the story that I’m telling myself is.” So that’s kind of their talking point. It doesn’t have to be verbatim, you don’t have to be a robot in this. But I think whenever there’s some kind of conflict, speaking to it in a neutral way, or even more so about how you’re feeling about a situation rather than you’re doing this, you’re doing that, you’re not doing enough, it’s going to come off in a way that allows everybody to have some space to actually hear each other.
So for instance, let’s say from the mother’s perspective, the wife’s perspective, they just feel like they’re doing all the laundry or doing all the dishes, and they just need a little breather from that. They could say, “the last week has been really really busy. You’ve been working a lot. I’ve been doing all of these chores. And it doesn’t seem like you, from my perspective, doesn’t seem like you are able to help or want to help. And the story that I’m telling myself is that I’m not worthy of sharing responsibilities here. What I’m taking from this or how I’m feeling in this is this.”
Because the more that we bring it back to this is the story that I’m telling myself, the more capacity we give to our partner to not try to prove us wrong, but at least have a talking point to sooth whatever your story is. Like if your story is one that, from their perspective, isn’t true, now they have something to say “well, that’s not what I meant by that. I’m really sorry that that’s what you saw when I didn’t do a dish or when I didn’t fold the laundry. I feel bad now and now that I understand where you’re coming from, I can do something differently.” So he has capacity to hear that.
Whereas if you come at him with “bro, you got to step up and do something around here. I’ve been taking care of the kids all day.” And obviously, sometimes you’re tired and it doesn’t come out as eloquently as you planned it to. But the more that you can take ownership of how you’re feeling in it rather than what they’re doing wrong, the more I think any reasonable person that’s in a relationship with someone they love – and again, these are all used in a perfect scenario where everybody’s going to hear everyone and be kind to each other. But it gives them more capacity to at least offer something from their own perspective, rather than just automatically getting defensive and start putting their own dukes up to fire back with something.
Because the worst thing you can do in a conversation is to create a situation where they might be defensive, and you can’t prevent it completely. But the more you speak to how you’re experiencing something, and what you’re feeling, and what you’re telling yourself about whatever you’re looking to change, the more they’ll be able to sit at the table with you and say, “Okay, I didn’t know that was how you were feeling about that. I’m sorry, let’s try this or try that.” But I think that has been pretty substantial for most of my clients. And like I said, I don’t necessarily use those words, but I’m always conscious of, you know, thinking about speaking in a way that I’m talking about my experience, rather than talking about what my wife is doing right or wrong, if that makes sense.
Absolutely. Yeah. It’s nice to hear you saying all that, because it’s something that we’ve been teaching our community that’s very similar. And I know personally helped me when I was kind of in the throes of the early newborn days, not sleeping at all, stuck at home, going through that whole adjustment period. I’m feeling really resentful. And one of the things that really helped me get out of that is just thinking, from his perspective, like what is he doing? Okay, I hate that I’m doing this right now. But what are the things he does, that might be just super shitty for him, but he goes out and does it for us. And it really helps kind of shift that balance mentally. And then again, with the conversations, we’ve called them soft starts, where it’s not coming out saying, “you need to do this, you’re not doing this enough.” That’s not a constructive way to start any conversation, no matter who you’re talking with.
Nobody’s gonna hear you if you start that way.
Exactly. And so with going like this is how I’m feeling, an example I bring up frequently is a dinner time. “I’m getting really stressed out. Do you think maybe you could help set the table for me so it takes that one thing off my plate? Do you think maybe you could go and take the kids outside?” So it also helps kind of give that roadmap for what you’d like to see. But isn’t necessarily like “why don’t you do this?”
Yeah, I like that, soft start. I might start using that!
Go for it! Yeah, I got from Sheina Schochet, a relationship expert from Love After Baby who we had on a previous communication connection relationship episode.
So another big kind of struggle that we’ve come across is our partners dealing with mental health issues. So perhaps they’re dealing with depression, or all different things. And often, the women are wanting to help them through this. But again, can kind of come up against that brick wall where they feel like they’re even making matters worse, which is something someone said just yesterday on Mom Truth Monday. So I’d love to hear kind of what you think might be going on there. And then other ways that we can perhaps get through to actually support them and help them better.
Sure. This is really tricky. And I wish I could come with a gift wrap with a bow and say, “do this and everything’s gonna be fine.” It’s just that the way that the male conditioning has been so pervasive in most cultures that I’m aware of, that I’ve, you know, coached men in these cultures. It’s so embedded in who we are to not open up that, even if it’s the person we care about most leaning on us and saying, “hey, is everything okay?” Or I’ll even say this, because we also carry this conditioned responsibility to not burden our family, we are going to one, close up, because we don’t want to feel things, and two, close up because the perception might be that if I share how hard work has been or how difficult it has been since I lost my father, or what have you. Now I’m placing a burden on my wife and I don’t want to do that to her.
So there’s a couple of things there in terms of obstacles – and there’s more, those are just the two that came to mind just now. It is going to be tricky. All I will offer in, you know, defense to that, or I guess in offense to that, is to – and somebody asked me this. It wasn’t a husband or wife situation. It was a guy who knew his friends could use some support but didn’t know how to start the conversation. And I said don’t go into the conversation trying to offer support, don’t go into the conversation trying to give any guidance. Be curious, ask questions, and wait for an opportunity where it seems like they are ready for some type of change. And don’t tell them what to do, offer some suggestions as to what might be a good idea, right?
So even within my relationship with my wife, sometimes, you know, she feels stressed out, I can’t get all these things done. She has her own business, she’s taking care of our kids all day, she’s trying to take care of the house. All of that stuff weighs heavily on her. And I always get up in the morning, like that’s my time to do things before the kids get up, before the family gets up. And for the longest time, she’s watched me do that. And she knows how valuable that time is for me.
And I never told her like, “get up in the morning, do it.” There was never a direct “you should get up in the morning.” But I think after a certain amount of time and just holding space for her while she was telling me about, you know, how things were piling up and just offering the idea every once in a while. Not aggressively just saying, “I mean, that’s why I get up in the morning, I prefer getting up so I can get some things done before you guys get up. Because it really does give my mental state a little bit of a boost before the day begins.” And the last few weeks, she’s been getting up before the kids and she, very begrudgingly, was like, “I get it now, I understand why that was important to you.” I’ve been doing this for five, six years, even before the kids.
So I think it really comes down to being curious, just asking and communicating and trying to pull out not so much the details, but just like “how’s your day? What’s going on? Why is that bothering you?” And when you find that wall, just address it, don’t try to power through the wall. I think some people feel the wall that’s there and say, “I know there’s something down there. Tell me more.” And that’s where it gets worse. So when you sense the wall, just like “alright, I sense that you don’t necessarily want to talk about this. And that’s fine. But just I’m here whenever you do want to have a conversation about it.” So have the conversations, whenever they feel appropriate, get curious, ask questions.
And again, when the opportunity seems to present itself, where there might be an opportunity to say, “have you tried this? Do you want to try this? Should we adjust our schedule and give this a shot?” Then offer that. But again, it’s not from a place of “you should do this, it worked for me. I read it in a book, I read it online.” All of those things are only going to feel like, to them, like “oh, you think I don’t know what I’m doing. You don’t think I know what’s best for me,” if you will. We’re very egoic stubborn creatures, men.
So we have to kind of not be – not tricked into advice. But we have to be in a safe space where we can trust that it’s not coming from a place of judgment, or you need to do this because obviously things are sliding. It’s, I love you, I care about you, and I want the best for you. So why don’t you maybe try this instead? I think that’s the only advice I can share. And another thing, and it might be parallel or even in the same realm, is whenever you sense that your guy is emotional in some way, be the most supportive human being it could possibly be.
And sometimes it’s challenging because you’re going through emotional stuff too. Let’s say there’s some grief or some trauma, somebody lost a parent, you know, there’s going to be moments in time where there’s going to be some emotional response from your guy. And whenever you see that, be the most supportive you can possibly be, because the tricky thing about all the masculine conditioning we have is females have the same conditioning about what men are supposed to be. It’s not just us, right? Like everybody lived in the same world. All the girls that grew up and became women also have this capacity to see that guys probably aren’t supposed to feel emotion.
So there’s that judgment of like, “you’re not supposed to do that. That’s for us. That’s for me and my girls. What are you doing?” Some women also might have this natural inclination to be like “what’s going on there” and almost be put off by their guys’ emotional response. And that almost is detrimental to his ability to open up and express himself because he’s seeing he’s not safe to do that.
So whenever there is some kind of emotional experience, something that he wants to share, like that’s game time, you sit and you listen and you let him do whatever he needs to do, because the safer he feels in his emotions around you, the more ability you’ll have to kind of be an influence when it comes to some of those mental health type conversations.
You know, one instance I’ll share from my own personal life of having emotions and my wife being very supportive, and I can reflect on that as something that makes me feel safe with her. We lost our dog Maggie in 2019 and she was Christina, my wife’s, dog before mine. So I met Christina. And I only know Maggie for five years, she passed in 2019. She’s actually tattooed right here on my arm. Maggie kind of became my – I was her caretaker. I was up and taking care of her, feeding or taking her for walks and stuff. I fell in love with Maggie and all that stuff. When we lost her, I was the person that was holding her. It was really a cluster of emotions. And we grieved together, we did that together, and we held space for each other, it was great.
And then next Father’s Day – every Father’s Day I sit down and write in a book of stories that I’m compiling my progression through being a father. And Father’s Day I sit down and write a chapter. So that particular Father’s Day that came up, I just kept reflecting on Maggie. Although she’s a dog, she was like my kid before we had kids. And my wife came down to my office, because I was taking a while – usually I just go down for like 45 minutes, type what I need to type and be done. And she walked in, she’s like, “is everything okay?” And I was staring at that blinking cursor on my screen, and nothing was coming out.
And I just kind of lost it. I just started crying in the middle of my office. And my wife just walked over and rubbed my back. And that was it. There weren’t any questions that she had, there wasn’t anything that she wanted to interrogate me about. She just knew that I needed someone to be my rock in that moment. And like instances like that, for women to their husband, whenever you sense that he needs someone to just be his rock, the safer he feels in those moments, the more capacity he’s going to be able to give to you when it’s like, okay, let’s talk about mental health. Let’s talk about going to a therapist, let’s talk about, you know, some of these things that might be helpful to you. If he feels safe, he’s going to be able to hear that a lot easier.
Yeah, it’s really about holding safe and making our partners know that it’s a safe space to be vulnerable, not necessarily pushing our things, but just being there for them.
I actually really liked that you touched on the fact that us as females have been very conditioned as to what males are supposed to be emotionally. And that’s something that I believe in the book Untamed by Glennon Doyle, she touched on as well. I believe that’s the book. But the situation was essentially the woman wanting to help her partner who’s having a tough time, similar kind of communication issues. And then it got pointed out to her that she wasn’t necessarily holding that safe space. And through reflecting on it, she’s like “you know what, you’re so right, when he starts opening up and being emotional, and maybe tearing up, I cringe and I don’t mean to, but it’s like it’s ingrained.” And so again, being really intentional to unpack that and move past that. And so that’s something we can all really think about in our different interactions with our partners, is that they’re there for us as well. And we need to kind of unpack and work through that together.
And then I would love to touch on another kind of issue that has come up, although I think it kind of plays a part with some of the things we’ve touched on already. This community is a lot about the woman, not just the mom and the wife, doing the different personal work, learning on different things, perhaps going to therapy, wanting to go to couples therapy, finding a bit of resistance there, or kind of leveling up in different ways personally, and finding a little bit of pushback on it from their partners. So I’d love to hear – I know, I saw your email coming today about how that might be a topic for your Facebook Live and your group tonight. So I’d love to hear a little bit of your thoughts on that.
Yeah, so it’s kind of a path that I’ve certainly walked in terms of feeling a little bit of tension with one person working on themselves and one is technically not. You know, my wife has never really been into personal development like I have, especially not like I have. In recent years, I think having children really woke her up to “I want to be my best for our kids.” And that obviously bleeds into her own personal self as well. My door opened when I became a husband and that was when I was like “alright, lights on, I’m ready to dive in and get a little bit better at who I am.”
But in that beginning stage, there was definitely a lot of fear there, you’re gonna outgrow me you’re gonna want somebody else, that type of stuff. But also I’m doing different things. I’m getting up earlier and all of that stuff. So there’s a lot of different things that can kind of play into this. I think the biggest thing for me, from a guy to girl perspective, is – and vice versa as well. You can’t be pushy, you can’t try to force your partner to do the things that you want to do. And honestly, most of the tension that’s going to come up is if somebody that doesn’t work on themselves sees their partner really diving in deep. Sure, there’s gonna be some unconscious judgment like, “oh, why do you have to do that? You were fine before.” All of that stuff comes up. But at the core of it, it’s fear that I’m going to be left behind.
It’s fear that they’re going to realize – this is one that my wife kind of talks about playfully now, but back then it was very real for her. Like, I’m going to wake up one day and realize that I made a mistake, I should have done better, because now I know all this other stuff. And I’ve always told her like, “I don’t care if you’re into this stuff, this is for me, I really don’t care.”
So being communicative about safety in a relationship when one person is working on themselves, and the other one isn’t, I think is huge. Because there’s all of these stories that can come up from the person that isn’t doing that work intentionally. And it can get really messy. So for the person that’s working on themselves. And I’ll say this, from my own perspective, in the beginning was like a slight annoyance, like, “can’t you see I’m doing this for us? Can’t you see I’m doing this for our future children, for the betterment of our lives? Can’t you see that?”
So there was that frustration, but at the same time, thinking back to what we were talking about with communicating hard things. If I’m empathetic, and step into my wife’s shoes, she’s looking at all of the things that I’m doing “for my family,” she doesn’t see that yet. Because we didn’t have the family at that point when I started to work on myself. She just sees someone that’s trying to escape the reality that he currently was in. And, you know, if your husband is watching you do that, there might be some of that there as well. Will they say that out loud? I don’t know. But just reminding them how much they’re loved, how much they’re safe, how much they’re cared for, how much, you know, all of it is really pouring back into it and meant to pour back into you as a woman, but also, your family and your relationship. It’s not just done in an isolated booth over here and left there. The more that you can communicate that safety, the better off everybody’s going to be.
And then just lead by demonstration. I know that, especially with like therapy and going to couples therapy or something like that. Something that I have actually chosen to do recently for myself, but also looking at it holistically for my family, is I’ve always had coaches and mentors over the last five years or so. But I’ve never sat with a therapist. So I was like, “you know what, I’m just gonna go and start seeing a therapist.” And there’s nothing wrong at all, I really just want to be proactive, I want to stay on top of some of this stuff. Because like you said, early childhood, it’s crazy, there’s a lot of stuff going on. Life is very full and beautiful and overwhelming all in the same breath.
But a very large part of my mentality as to why I made that move was I want to normalize this within my family unit. I want my wife to see – and my wife has been to a therapist before. So she’s done that type of work for herself before.
But I want my kids, if they asked me where I’ve been, “oh, I was at a therapist.” And I don’t want them to think that – because even in my own mind, if I hear someone like “oh, I started to see a therapist,” it’s like “oh, what’s wrong, something must be wrong.” Like even my evolved, grown, worked on myself for years mind, “oh, there’s something wrong there.” And I want my kids to wake up in a world where therapy is just normal. And working on yourself is just normal, there doesn’t have to be a fire, and there doesn’t have to be anything that is troubling or problematic. And it’s just a place where you can get skills and resources to feel good and operate in the best way possible.
So in terms of, you know, thinking about some of the women in your group and how they can help that conversation kind of flow more naturally and relieve some of that tension and get more of their guys to be open to couples therapy. Just that demonstration of like, “I’m gonna just lean into this, and I’m going to share some of the things that I’m learning, I’m going to let you know that it’s beneficial and no pressure, but I’m just going to keep showing you the benefit of that.” And at some point, it’s going to leak into their mind that there is a positive force being moved into that.
And if they want to make the move towards that, cool. If they don’t, that’s fine too. But it allows them to at least see rather than just, you know, go off of their stories of what therapy means and what personal work means. Because if I woke up 10 years ago, and I’m waking up at 23 and somebody said, “you know at 33 you’re going to be seeing a therapist, and you would have hired many coaches to help you with stuff,” I would have thought that I was messed up, that there must have been something wrong with me.
And I think a lot of men and people feel that way about doing this type of self-help and/or therapy type of work, that there must be something wrong. And if your guy has that perception, you can’t convince him otherwise, all you can do is show up and do the work and almost show him like, “there’s nothing wrong with me. But here I walk into a therapy session. And I came out feeling better than I did when I walked in.”
So it’s really just trying not to be so wrapped up in getting him on board and just doing it for you and letting it leak out into your relationship, into your family. At some point, it may click, hopefully it does. And if he needs that support, then maybe he’ll make a move, but he won’t if it’s more pushy, and “hey, you should do this. This is what works for me.” That’s just going to push him further and further away. So allowing it to be more of a demonstration than a declaration of this is the right thing to do.
Yeah, it seems like all of these topics really tie in together to that same foundation of not being pushy, giving space and time, and making them feel safe within that container, no matter what those different issues are. It all ties together.
Now, I know we are coming up to time, but we’ve touched on a bit with just the conditioning of males. And again, with you going to therapy, wanting to normalize it for our kids. What are different things that we can do as parents to be proactive for the boys that we’re raising, to help combat this narrative that’s been placed on people for so long, and to do things differently so they do know, it is safe to have these emotions, it is okay to go to therapy and be proactive.
Yeah, it’s challenging. I mean, I have a son. And I even find myself sometimes like, if he falls and cries I’m like “bro, you’re fine. Just, you’re fine.” And it’s a knee-jerk response. And in some ways, I want him to grow his pain tolerance. Same with my daughter, sometimes she trips and falls into things and I’m like “ it’s gonna be fine, trust me.” So there’s like this natural inclination to try to get them through that.
And something that my wife and I have been talking about a lot lately is giving our kids space to feel emotion – positive, negative, all that stuff. But mostly like negative experiences. For instance, if you’re sad about something, if you heard about something, not trying to correct and say you’re fine, or you’re going to be fine, but more so taking a step back, and just letting them be in that so that they can learn how to process and be okay in that.
Something that, you know, us as kids, I think generation to generation you look back, a lot of our parents were like, “I just want to make my kids happy, I want my kids to be happy. That’s my goal. If I can make them happy, then I’m good.” And in the process of doing that very well-intentioned, and very, very loving thing, a lot of us missed a lot of the skill set of sitting in the ugly stuff. And figuring some of that out.
I think for me, I think my mom especially did a lot of protecting, she was more of a mama bear. But I’m one of three. And sometimes – my parents didn’t have the capacity to take care of all of us all the time. Right? So sometimes we had to deal with our own stuff. And I benefited from that. Did I enjoy it in the moment? No. But I think I learned some coping mechanisms and ways to process some of the negative stuff. Because I had to sit with some of those things.
So, you know, in raising boys, I think being conscious of, hey, they’re feeling an emotion, let them feel that and be okay with that. And don’t say anything that might fit into a box of “that’s not how boys, boys don’t cry,” all that. I remember, I was in one of my buddies’ weddings in 2019. And his brother-in-law, they have a son. And he was the ring bearer in the wedding. And I don’t know if he tripped and fell or he was hungry or whatever. But the little boy started crying, and his dad was like “aw c’mon, boys don’t cry.” And then he looked up at me and he saw me and he’s like, “boys cry, boys actually cry.” I’m like, okay, I’m glad that even by osmosis, he understands that I’m not about that, I don’t play that. And I had kids at that point.
But I think for, you know, mothers and fathers of boys to give them space to feel things, to not try to erase their emotional experience or try to convince them that it’s weak, or it needs to be processed quickly. I think the more reps anybody gets in with feeling the big feelings, feeling the small feelings – and knowing that all of them are great and are meant to be felt – the better off we’re all going to be.
Something I kind of talk to my guys about a lot is, you know, we all want to feel joy and bliss and gratitude and happiness like that, of course we do, because we’re human. And we understand that that feels better than grief. But your emotions are like a muscle. And if you cut yourself off from feeling frustration, or anxiety, or overwhelm and act like that one’s not okay to feel, you choke it down, and you’re trying to power through it, you are missing an opportunity to work that muscle. So like when you don’t feel grief fully, when you don’t feel overwhelm fully. Your capacity for joy and bliss and gratitude has a ceiling on it now, because you’ve trained yourself to feel less in those “negative moments.”
But it’s all the same muscle, it’s just the emotion of letting things in when they come to you. So you know, when you have kids who don’t have as much of that conditioning, you’re just teaching them like, “hey, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel, I know that it’s sad, I know that you’re frustrated, I know that you’re overwhelmed. I’m here with you. And it’s okay.” I think it is huge for raising kids. And I don’t want to sound like I’m some expert at it, because I know that I have the knee-jerk conditioned responses to my children all the time. But I do take a step back whenever possible and try to be as conscious as I can when dealing with them so that they know that they’re safe.
And whatever emotion it is, it doesn’t matter if it’s good, bad or ugly, like we got you. And I think that is going to be the way that they allow themselves to grow that emotional maturity that doesn’t come naturally, like the physical maturity. They have to sit with it, they have to work through it. And it’s not to say throw your kids in the lion’s den and make them go through all this tragedy and triumph to grow themselves. It’s just that when an opportunity presents itself, when they fall and hurt themselves, when they get broken up with from their first girlfriend. Let them know that that sucks and it’s okay. Because it does suck. And it’s okay to sit with that. And then work your way through it rather than trying to avoid it by doing something else and distracting yourself.
Yeah, that can be the big tool that a lot of us have learned is that distraction, to make ourselves not feel it anymore, right?
Oh, yeah, for sure. It’s a knee jerk thing for everybody that we don’t want to go there. We feel like if we go there, we’re going to be there forever. You know, one thing that I always have found peace in, in good and bad times, is “this too shall pass.” And it’s like, you know, a quote that runs through centuries and centuries of time. But when you’re in bad moments, if you remind yourself that this too shall pass, cool, it’s going to pass and you’re going to be fine. In good moments, if you remind yourself that this too shall pass, you’ll be more present, you’ll sit there and enjoy your kids’ laughter and enjoy those little things that they’re doing. It’s going to go away sometime. So it allows you to be present in the good and also have some peace in the bad because it’s all going to keep fluctuating. If you just allow yourself to remind yourself of that, it’s going to be just fine.
Yeah, that’s so true. And I like how you touched on with our kids and getting those reps in. Because like you’d mentioned, we all do have those knee-jerk reactions, we’re not going to do things perfectly every time. But in getting those reps in, over their lifetime, keep trying to work and give space and help them move through those different emotions. Over time, it’s all going to add up to help them learn those different skills.
Right? Another thing too – this is why personal growth is so powerful as a parent – show them that you’re learning this stuff too. Because we’re not perfect, and we’re gonna mess up. And we’re gonna make mistakes. And we should apologize for those when we kind of erupt on our children because it’s natural, it happens. Or if we’re finding ourselves in a moment of vulnerability, where maybe we start crying or something. You know, my wife always writes me these very thoughtful cards for my birthday and for Father’s Day, and she makes me read them out loud, knowing that I’m gonna start crying. It’s mean. But she does it just cuz she wants to hear me read, whatever.
And so my daughter will kind of see me tighten up and have the emotional response. Like, “are you sad right now?” And I say “no, these are happy tears. And Daddy is feeling very appreciative of what Mommy said.” So letting them see it, explaining it to them, letting them know that even in sad and good moments, like it’s all good, because you’re gonna wake up the next day and everything’s gonna be fine. The modeling and the demonstration is huge in all phases, parenting, in your relationship. And when people see you doing things, it’s going to resonate a whole lot more than just saying what is best.
Absolutely. And like you touched on with kind of the generation or generations that it was more that protective mindset. Happy foot forward. And we missed the oppurtunities to learn how to deal with those negative things. So one thing that came to mind is parents fighting. Often they go behind closed doors, fight, you might hear the yelling, know what’s going on. But we’re left without learning any of those skills of fighting constructively, repairing afterwards, and all those sorts of things. So when we can try to be proactive as parents to show those negative sides as well, it helps us going through the motions, and it helps lay that foundation and teach those skills to our little ones.
Yeah, I’ve absolutely had that moment with my wife and I. And we don’t yell at each other. But we have disagreements every once in a while. And we were having one in front of our daughter, and my daughter goes, “Mommy, Daddy, are you fighting?” And my response was, “no, we’re fine.” And my wife was like, “yeah, Mommy and Daddy are having a disagreement, but we’re going to be fine.” And I was like, “that’s the right response. That’s what we should be saying to her. Like, you should be the life coach girl.”
But it’s really, really important to let them know. Because the thing about those challenging conversations or anything like that, that feels heavy. So many of us fear going there because we think that it’s going to consume us and take over and not going to be okay. So if our kids see us having a constructive conversation that, you know, has tensions rise and everything. And then the next morning, we’re completely fine because we worked through it. Our kids get to see that conflict does not need to be this blow up situation where everything goes to hell, it can be disagreement, you figure it out, the next day you guys are fine. Cool. That’s great. Because when they grow up and see that, or like have seen that, they’re not going to shy away from hard conversations, because they’ve seen their parents can do that and still be okay.
Whereas I have a lot of clients that have had traumatic experiences as kids watching their parents just go at each other yelling, yelling, yelling, to the point that now they’re men and they’re fathers and husbands and they don’t want to communicate anything that’s hard. Because what their mind says is hard conversations equal blow ups, yelling, divorce. So it’s really, really important for us to model what constructive conversations can look like so that everybody can benefit from it, ourselves included.
Yes, absolutely. All right. Well, we’re coming up to time, I don’t want to keep you too long. Like you said, you guys have all of your trading off schedules, I want you to enjoy some of your evening. Do you have any last thoughts or tips or resources or anything you would like to share before we sign off?
I mean, I think that we’ve touched on so much here, a couple of resources that I would definitely recommend, I don’t know if you guys have touched on it in your crew or not. But something I recommend to guys all the time is the book Loving What Is by Byron Katie. I love the framework of the conversations within the book, because it basically asks four questions to allow yourself to get in the perspective of your partner, of the person that you are having a disagreement with. Because the nature of being married to someone and sharing a life and sharing children with them is like things are going to have their highs and lows, people are human, you’re going to have your up seasons, your down seasons. And being able to communicate through that and see yourself in the other person’s shoes is an excellent way to live. So I always recommend Loving What Is by Byron Katie.
And then just more generally, give your guys – don’t give them a break, hold them accountable. But let them have empathy, empathize with their inability to open up because it’s not that they don’t want to, it’s they don’t know how to. It’s like asking them to speak French on the dot. Like, “just do it.” It doesn’t work like that, it has to be something that’s practiced, just like learning a language. So giving them the space and capacity to just feel safe around you as they’re trying to, and celebrating in their efforts to do that, I think is going to be really, really helpful in any marriage that might feel tense because the guy’s closed off and not being open. Just being able to communicate and let them know that they’re okay, and let them know that they’re safe. And having those conversations is going to be really, really important.
Yeah, that will go a long way and helps lay that foundation for that safe space.
Yeah, for sure.
Great, and where can everyone find you if they want to see more of what you’re doing or recommend you to their partners?
Oh, yes. Well, if your partners want to get involved, I have a men’s group on Facebook. It’s called The Evolved Man. We’re up around 400 members right now. We do live training there every single week. So I basically pull the guys in the group and say, “hey, what do you need this week?” I give them two options. And then every single week I go live for like 20 to 30 minutes and give them some details that might be helpful in that way. So if you guys are looking to find a safe space where there are other men that are trying to figure out some of the stuff that they’re trying to figure out, I would highly recommend sending them that way towards The Evolved Man on Facebook. Because it’s a fun group, we don’t take everything so seriously. It’s not like we have to be so nitty gritty about being a father or husband, obviously, life is a little bit less serious and that, but we do get into some good topics that allow guys to step into that world. So that’s for them.
And then for the ladies that are listening and watching, you can follow me on Instagram. It’s just @NickMatiash, all one thing. And as you know, I share pretty frequently, usually about two reels a day. I get up at like 5am, get down here, record a few and then go about my day, and then post them throughout the day. So yeah, I’m pretty active on there. And I try to give perspective on relationships stuff, but also, you know, whatever guys are going through and what they’re trying to figure out. So yeah, you can follow me in those two places, or find me in those two places. And take it from there. I think there’s enough ways to explore my world from those two entry points. I think that I should leave it at that.
Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. We’ll make sure we have those linked for everyone. Thank you again for being here, taking the time to share your perspective and wisdom with us.
Absolutely. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Thanks. And thank you for everyone listening, you can go on over to our Facebook group or group chat and we can chat about things even more. Until next time, take care!
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