I remember a time when the word “relationship” referred to a variety of connections a person might have with people, animals, objects and even institutions. It was a generic term. In the seventies, however, the word took on a very limited cast. It was used increasing to mean lover. Having a relationship with someone meant having sex with them. It still seems to be the dominant and very limiting understanding of the word.
So what do you mean by the word “relationship”? Can you name the various kinds and depths of relationships you have? What value do they hold in your life? What are you doing to foster and nurture relationship? What is the connection between relationship and intimacy for you?
Many men have friends they can count on, best buds who watch their backs and are genuinely interested in them as whole persons. I am fortunate enough to count among my closest relationships men and women I have known for decades. Our conversations pick up where they left off. We share and understand the intricacies and intimacies of our lives. We trust each other to say the truth in love.
In my decades-long work with men of all ages, I am finding that a lot of them are starved for intimate relationships, often based in a distant connection with fathers and older brothers. A lot of guys get married so that they can have a ready-made set of intimate relationships in their spouse and children.
Yet today, too many people are depending on random text messages as substitutes for real relationships. Others are mistaking socializing and partying as a means to developing healthy relationships. Millions are getting the impression that making friends requires only a post on Facebook and not actual verbal communication.
Consciously fostering a variety of relationships, particularly the kind where we can be honest and open in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality is an essential human activity. It requires time and intention, as well as actual face to face conversation, to develop. Coaching is a perfect venue to test out one’s progress in establishing, fostering, and maintaining a variety of intimate and life-giving relationships. Starting today, who needs to hear from you, or better yet, who do you need to hear from and what will you do to make it happen?
Contact the Man’s Coach at firstname.lastname@example.org . The Man’s Coach offers a free coaching session to whoever contacts him.