I surveyed a dozen men while researching the topic of Male Bonding. My questions to the male audience were: 1. what does male bonding mean to you and 2. what purpose does it serve in your life (single or married)?
We need to differentiate between 2 stages of male bonding experiences: before marriage and after marriage.
Many of the responses I received from my male audience coincided with my own analysis of this topic and the conclusion I was able to draw from this small research was that male bonding is a healthy and wonderful thing in a man’s life because it gives him a chance to spend quality time in the company of like minded male friends whom he can relate to (key word) on a variety of levels while discussing relevant, interesting or pressing things/experiences that are taking place in a men’s life. To my question about whether male bonding -pre or post marriage- is different many respondents noted that it is definitely different due to the nature of questions/topics men are discussing in their buddy circle. Whereas single or dating men would typically discuss women, dating, sexual innuendoes, outings and hobbies, in married life men usually discuss or vent about marital relationships, children and their upbringing, the toll responsibilities take on a married person, feeling exhausted, work challenges, family vacations and/or business ideas to supplement the income. This should not reflect the notion that male bonding is more significant in married men but one important point to be made here is that male bonding carries more of a therapeutic significance in married men. This happens because it allows men to vent their problems to the other like-minded guys, feel the importance of male acceptance, non-judgmental listening and feedback provided by friends in an environment of male comradery.
In psychotherapy, these factors are amongst some of the major healing agents in the process of coming to terms with what is and accepting the present reality. The factors of acceptance, lack of judgment, reflective listening, empathy, support and productive feedback can serve many men as a healthy substitute to therapy or marital counseling (considering that interpersonal relationships are not in a difficult/stuck mode). Male population, which has a tendency to shut down emotionally and avoid disclosing their true, dark feelings as well as find unhealthy outlets to pour their emotions into- would greatly benefit from having a ‘buddy ear’ that they can bend to get a mild or moderate emotional/psychological relief from their everyday challenges and relationship problems.
As you can see, I’m coming to the conclusion that male bonding serves a healthy purpose in a man’s life, his marital experiences, resolution of his personal challenges and acceptance of present reality.
Here is to women who support male bonding or to the ones who are on the path of accepting its significance!