Being the Rock

by Brett & Kate McKay on September 27, 2009 · 53 comments

in Dating, Fatherhood, Friendship, Marriage, Relationships & Family

rock1Image from Discordiacorner

While much in the way of traditional gender roles has shifted in modern times, most women I know still want a man who can be the rock in the relationship. But just what does being the rock entail? I asked this question in the Community, and this is what a few of the men had to say:

Jamie said: “To me, that means being mature, guided by reason and my family’s best interest, rather than being given to emotional upsets. My wife wants to know that if she gives me her cares and concerns, she can rest assured that I’ll take care of them responsibly.”

Jeffre said: “To me, being the rock means I need to be the calm when life starts getting stormy. Not that I can control the events that happen in life, but I can control how our family responds to the events. . . Does it mean I’m always “the rock?” No, there are times when I have had to lean on my wife for support, but as a general rule my job is to be there for her and the kids. If there is a crisis and I’m not doing well, I have to put aside my fear and anxieties to step up for them. You feel like you want to crawl into a hole and disappear, but you can’t because others depend on you. Those are the times of real testing. When those times arrive I think of a quote I read somewhere (I don’t know who originally said it) but here it is: “Ask not for a lighter burden, but ask for broader shoulders.”

Robert said: “My dad was always the “rock” in the family. He’s the go to guy. The person you can always rely on. The person that you know will be strong when everyone else isn’t…Being the “rock” means always doing what you say you will do. Being calm when the situation seems to be chaotic and panic the order of the day. My dad is the rock because he is reason when emotion prevails, compassion when hearts are hardened, and humorous when you least expect it.”

What else does it mean to be the rock? Let’s take a look.

Be a haven of safety. Sometimes a woman wants to cry on your shoulder. When she does, you don’t look at her strangely and say, “Geez, what’s the matter with you?” You don’t tell her you’ll cuddle after you’re done with that level on the video game. You’re immediately available to hold her and comfort her. You should be a bastion of calmness, strength, and understanding. When she’s in your arms, she should feel totally safe, like nothing in the world can harm or hurt her. Let your woman know that letting out her feelings is okay and give her your undivided attention. The same goes for your kids; when they’re hurt and they need you, you’re immediately available.

Unravel the problem. Oftentimes a woman feels overwhelmed because of a problem she’s having. Her feelings are knotted up in a great ball. Your job is to slowly take the problem apart. Don’t give an off the cuff solution at first. Instead, ask her questions about exactly why she’s feeling down or overwhelmed. Be interested and attentive to what she has to say. She really wants someone to talk through the problem with and vent to. Ask follow-up questions and have her explain her concerns.

Formulate a plan….or not.It’s become a popular cliché to say that when a woman vents her problems to you, you shouldn’t offer a solution. And sometimes that assumption is correct, but certainly not always.

It’s true that you shouldn’t offer a solution right off the bat; as I mentioned, you want to unravel the problem first and allow your wife or girlfriend to talk through everything that is bothering her. At that point you should ask her directly, “Is this is a problem that you want help solving? Or do you just want to vent?”

If it’s the former, then here is where you as a man can really shine. Come up with a specific action plan to help your wife tackle the problem. When appropriate, put her mind at ease and take on some of the responsibility for making things right. For example, let’s say your girlfriend comes to you in tears because she has a big research paper due but a hundred other things she needs to take care of as well. You would say, “Okay, here’s what we’ll do. I’ll take your dog to the vet, take those packages to the post office, and change your oil. All you need to worry about it working on that paper. You focus on that; I’ll take care of the rest.”

When your wife is suffering some kind of ailment, research all about it online and come up with some remedies she can try. If she’s having trouble making a decision, sit with her and come up with a pro and con chart.

Never say: “Don’t worry about it.” She’s already worried about it, and so to her it is something worth worrying about. Telling her not to worry only dismisses her feelings as invalid and thus is prone to make her angry. Instead, always say, “I’ll take care of it.”

Delay your grief. When something tragic happens that affects your family, be a pillar of strength during the crisis. Take care of the business that needs taking care of. If your wife or girlfriend doesn’t feel like getting out of bed and cooking or cleaning or talking to people and returning phone calls, you do it for her.

Now, I know that some are going to say that keeping your feelings in is unhealthy. But the idea is not to suppress them indefinitely. Instead, you follow the ancient code of manhood: women and children first. You let them do their grieving during the initial shock of things. Then, when they’re feeling better, it is your turn to grieve.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t grieve initially too. You should take time to be by yourself and vent to other family members and friends. And it’s good to grieve and cry with your partner sometimes as well. She wants to know that the loss has affected you too. But in situations where she needs you to be strong, then you man up and face the world while she heals.

Express your emotions in a mature and healthy way. Being the rock doesn’t mean being stoic and suppressing your emotions. Keeping your feelings bottled up might seem to make you more of ”the rock,” but instead of adding stability to a relationship, it will create subtle cracks that will eventually open into real rifts.

A woman has many fears about having a relationship with a man. Will he be abusive? Will he be faithful? Will he provide for the family? Will he regress into a boy-man who spurns responsibility? Instead of placating these fears, keeping your feelings from your wife or girlfriend will only exacerbate them. So being the rock really means expressing your emotions and concerns in a healthy and mature way. Doing so will actually solidfy and strengthen your relationship.

This is especially important to remember when you and your partner are dealing with problems in the relationship. At such times it’s tempting to shut down and engage in  stonewalling (not the right kind of rock to be). But an argument is the most vulnerable time in a relationship, and therefore it’s the best time to show her that she has nothing to fear from you. You can take whatever she throws out you without losing control or threatening to leave her. You can let her know your feelings like a man, not a boy.

Take care of business. Being the rock is not just something we should do when a woman is venting to us; you should be working to solidfy your partner’s confidence in you each and every day. I often find it much easier to rise to the occasion when a big crisis hits then when following through on the mundane, everyday tasks that my wife expects of me. But a woman wants to know she can count on you in the big things and the small things. It’s by doing the small things that she knows she can trust you when the big things come around.

Taking care of business means doing all the things that help inspire confidence in your partner. Being ambitious at work, keeping a budget, staying on top of appointments and “honey-do’s,” staying physically healthy, and so on. It means being absolutely reliable; if you say you will do it, you do it. You can always be counted on to follow-through.

I’d like to end with another comment from Robert, who summed things up perfectly:

“In ancient societies men were the watchmen to protect their families from being eaten, taken by competing tribes, and other dangers. They provided a realm of safety where their family could let down their guard knowing that the man would not let his down and they would be safe. Being the rock means being the protector, the watchman, the provider. Today our loved ones rely on us to provide a safe realm where they can allow themselves to let their guard down emotionally and physically. They know they can break down emotionally and we’ll still be there standing strong. They know we will get up in the middle of the night with a baseball bat and check that noise they heard downstairs. They know that you will not belittle them like their peers at school, work, church, etc. Being the rock means providing a place where they can find love, understanding, emotional safety, physical safety, and acceptance. Be the man. Be the rock.”

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dan September 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Right on! Fantastic post.

2 Justin September 28, 2009 at 12:15 am

I shared this with my girlfriend… show her that I am working on my self.

3 Owen September 28, 2009 at 12:24 am

Delaying grief. This is f’ing hard to work through.

Two years ago, my infant son (our first child) was born 3 1/2 months premature. If we hadn’t induced his birth, my wife would have died from pre-eclampsia. I held my son in my hands (1 lb 2 oz doesn’t need the whole arms to hold) during the short 1/2 hour that he was alive. He expired in the arms of his mother, who was very sick.
I had to be a rock. If I hadn’t been, my wife’s grief would have drowned her. She was beyond overwhelmed. She was concerned that we expressed our grief differently. Mine was less overt, more internal – no less intense and damn, it hurt. Three months later, when she was starting to function quasi-normally again, it was my turn. Subconsciously my mind knew that it was time for me. I was absolutely useless. Sure, I made a pretense of functioning at work. That’s part of being a man – being able to man-up and do what you have to.
In summary, the loss of my son was the single most crappy thing to ever happen to me. Instead of having my son about to enter the terrible twos, I have a mini-urn on my wall to remind me that I am the father of a dead boy. If I hadn’t been able to stand firm for my wife, I don’t know that she would have pulled through the worst, most intense period of grief. But damn, it goes beyond the suck.

4 Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot September 28, 2009 at 12:46 am

It would be hard for the man to do it all by himself – they need support too. is there a saying a bit like this…. behind every successful man there’s a woman. I think it works the other way round too.

My hubby is a rock – he fixes my computer when it dies, never cries, remains calm in times of crisis and is generally dependable and laid back. I’m sure he’d tell you that I am also his rock – remembering names of people he’s forgotten, planning how to feed the family fast and cheaply, organising our social life and much more. I think we all need a rock at times.

5 Eddie September 28, 2009 at 1:07 am

Great article. Being the rock is something I’ve been working on. I haven’t done a good job of it in the past and my relationships have suffered because of it. A woman really does want a man to step up and be that pillar of strength.

Annabel is right in that men and women should both support each other. I definitely lean on my wife for some things. But I wouldn’t call what she does for me “being the rock.” I think that phrase only applies to the kind of behaviors outlined here-that calm in emotional crisis kind of thing.

6 Pete September 28, 2009 at 1:56 am

That is the best post I have read since I started following AoM. Fantastic job.

7 Chris September 28, 2009 at 3:34 am

A very timely article for me as I have been revisiting my role to my wife and two young kids recently. And I am guilty of several of the faults mentioned, especially the “off-the-cuff solution” one.

Great job AoM

8 Bob Iger September 28, 2009 at 3:48 am

Great post, more men should definitely read this article.

However, I’m not really agreeing on the delaying of grief. As Owen pointed out it’s darn hard. I think that in times of grief, a man should be the rock of his family, but at the same time other men (his friends) should be _his_ rock. In other words: in times of distress you should rely on your male friends to vent.

9 Vladimir Cupal September 28, 2009 at 8:28 am

Nice post, just..
“Don’t worry about it.” is actually relevant answer sometimes – she is already worried, but it does not unnecessarily make the cause worth worrying, so I’m in that case just offering second opinion on that issue. “I’ll take care of it.” would be in that case lying, because I’m not going to (if the case isn’t actually worth taking care of). I think lying would be much worse than making her little angry.

10 Ben September 28, 2009 at 8:47 am

Generally speaking, I agree with your thoughts in this article. There are many nuggets of truth in here but overall I think you aptly express a dilemma that men simply aren’t made to handle. That dilemma is that they’re “supposed” to the be the rock in hard times, dangerous situations, etc. but then somehow be able to flip modes to be an emotional pussy cat when trouble crops up in the relationship.

The fact of the matter is if a man is that if a man is truly “guided by reason” then he’ll find his wife’s frankly unreasonable emotional swings to be ridiculous.

11 Jamie September 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

@Ben: “The fact of the matter is if a man is that if a man is truly ‘guided by reason’ then he’ll find his wife’s frankly unreasonable emotional swings to be ridiculous.”

No, a rational man will understand that men and women are different, and that his role as “the rock” is to comfort his wife when she’s troubled. Real men are called to be versatile; we’re not to be a “one trick pony.”

The key is in understanding how to CONTROL our emotions. Some situations call for us to set our own emotions aside and provide for others (“women and children first;” I liked that…). Other situations call for us to bring our emotions out and share them. There’s no contradiction here; both are about having control over our own emotions.

12 dannyb September 28, 2009 at 10:52 am

i agree with Ben. I’ve been married for a short two years, with a new baby on the way, and i am only now begining to grasp why my wife “is always crying for no reason.” I know it’s how she handles even the smallest amount of stress, but i still cant wrap my head around it.

13 Loris September 28, 2009 at 10:56 am

@Ben, yes most women have mood swings at times, but I’d suggest that in those situations, you look for the underlying cause of the anger or tears. It is usually not nothing, but her pain and hormones have amplified her reaction. Obviously, a strong woman will control herself better than a weak one, but we all have our last straws. (If it really is nothing, she needs to get a hold of herself.) To be her rock, her man ask could her to tell him what’s bothering her, suggest that she might sit down for a few minutes, fix the issue if possible, and bring her a cup of tea. Problem solved, emotional reaction banished, and points earned.

14 Loris September 28, 2009 at 11:04 am

*ask her to tell. Sheesh, I can’t type before noon. Physically present, definitely not awake.

15 Michael September 28, 2009 at 11:11 am

Whether or not you fully subscribe to the relationship pattern laid down here, the description of how to do good discussions for your partner is fantastic. Listen first, help unravel, then ask what’s needed.

In general, men tend to face problems where a burst of focused effort can resolve issues. Women tend to face sets of problems which rely on a balancing act and weighing priorities. The former tends to require a quick conversation to establish order and then work. The latter tends to require some talking-around to make one comfortable with an approach — and much more tweaking over time.

16 Joan of Argghh! September 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

Excellent stuff, but it’s always important to remember to keep your feet on the ground.


17 The Other Guy September 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Did anyone else read the title and start thinking that it was going to be an article about the Rock AKA Dwayne Johnson?

This was a great piece and something I really needed to read. Definitely something I need to work on in my life.

18 Matt September 28, 2009 at 12:22 pm

Great article guys – and solid wisdom for anyone in a relationship. Listening is the number one skill for us men to master. The power of silence – and letting her talk, is half the battle. Cheers!

19 Michael September 28, 2009 at 5:28 pm

@The Other Guy: That title would be “So You Want My Job: The Rock.”

Good piece. As other commenters have mentioned, some things are easier to use in practice than others: it’s a great lesson learned if we can simply avoid the self-imposed role of “Mr. Fixit” that guys instinctively try to play. Hold her, listen to her, ask questions, listen some more, and if there needs to be an answer, see if she can come around to it herself.

Great advice, as usual.

20 Omar September 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm

The man is always on the front lines. There were times I should have stepped up and I didn’t. That’s the worst feeling. I know as a man you have to rise to the occasion even though its easier to hide.

21 Kent September 28, 2009 at 6:33 pm

In my experience, if you are not her “rock” or her perception is that you are not her “rock” (a distinction without difference), the result can be devastating. After you lose this purpose in her life and yours, you will find out how essential it is. Not just to the relationship, but to you as an individual. As a good friend of mine puts it, “until it happens to you – you think you know, but you don’t know.” I emplore you to read “Being the Rock” with her and discuss what being “the rock” means to her and to you. You may be surprised to find that your priorities and her’s are not as similar as you would like. There are also many good books along similar subject lines that I wish I had read with her a couple of years ago. Too late for me, but I hope not for you.

22 Carl C September 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Great article. In todays “It wasn’t my fault” society, it’s nice to know that there is a small band of brothers who, no matter what the fashion of the day is, stand up and man up. Is it tough being a man today? Yes. A real man knows that he is tougher. This reminds me of the throw back men of old. Men like my Grandfather who, despite bitter racism, always was the rock and a gentleman. I aspire to this level of manhood. Thank you for your work.
Carl C

23 John Doolittle September 28, 2009 at 7:59 pm

My friend Hans Moleman has an interesting essay posted about “Fathers Of Daughters” (

“A friend of mine used to theorize that all conservatism, and therefore all defense of society, rests on the fathers of daughters – FODs, as he called them. He explained that it is only when one has children that one begins to recognize how fragile is the future, how dangerous the present, and how great our responsibility to protect the vulnerable, such as children.

“The problem is that women, for the most part, tend to believe that the world is dangerous only by accident, rather than as a basic, natural condition. My friend claimed that he had never met a woman who would not agree with the statement that “People are basically good.” And increasingly many men agree with them.”

He concludes the essay with some thoughts on our presnt FOD-President. It’s worth a look.

24 Keith C. September 28, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Thought I would share the eulogy that I wrote for my rock.

Grandpop was always there for me.
But now my rock is gone.
I remember as a child, not connecting with grandpop. I didn’t realize the man he was.
I eventually figured it out, but I don’t remember when it occurred to me how extraordinary he truly was.
But I was still young and I listened to what he had to say.
It’s an unfortunate circumstance in life that most people usually don’t realize what they have lost until it’s gone.
Not me, though.
I knew.
I knew for instance, that in Grandpop, I had a true example of what it is to be a Man.
Grandpop taught me that:
A man always puts his family first.
A man has faith in God.
A man loves his country, and is willing to serve her.
A man works hard for what he has, but is thankful for what he is blessed with.
A man gets up early.
A man gets the job done.
A man will walk three miles in the snow to open the store for two customers.
A man does what it takes.
A man is kind, but never a pushover.
A man knows the value of a penny found in the street.
A man saves that penny for the future.
A man gives a firm handshake and looks you in the eye.
A man is not afraid to be the best-dressed person in the room, second only to his wife.
A man tells his wife that he loves her everyday.
A man never forgets his humble beginnings.
A man strives for better.
A man is strong.
A man has class.
A man will buy his grandsons a lobster dinner, if that is what they want.
A man tells you like it is.
A man admits when he could have done it better.
A man will tell you when you could have done it better.
A man expects you to try.
A man repays his debts.
A man has a sense of humor.
A man loves his dog.
A man doesn’t raise his voice unless he means it.
A man doesn’t make excuses.
A man knows that perfection isn’t important.
A man knows that good enough, is.
A man is not afraid to ask for sympathy.

Grandpop’s words, his deeds and actions spoke volumes to me about what it takes to be a man. Whenever I feel that I may be missing the mark, I rely on his standard.

25 Ben September 28, 2009 at 9:39 pm

The larger thought I had is that when it comes to relationships there’s no “right” or “wrong” way for men and women to behave. Each relationship is unique. To be sure there are “healthy” and “unhealthy” relationships, but not all healthy relationships look alike.

In some relationships the man is the one who is emotional and the woman is the rock. Is this wrong? No, absolutely not. I would say that for a man to really be a rock, he has to know himself and be honest with himself and his spouse. Not all men are emotionally stolid, nor should all men be. Yet still, a man can be a rock because he’s transparent with his spouse and secure in himself.

Being self-secure, self-honest and honest with others is, in my opinion, the true way for any man to be a real rock in a relationship, regardless of his emotional temperament.

26 mitra September 28, 2009 at 10:58 pm

Really enjoyed this post. This is one of my most favourite blogs. Keep up the fantastic work!

27 John Doolittle September 29, 2009 at 12:41 am

Here is the corrected link for Hans Moleman and “Fathers of Daughters” (Comment 23):

A wayward parenthesis caused the error.

28 Joel McDaniel September 29, 2009 at 1:22 am

This is a great post! Keep it up!

29 dave September 29, 2009 at 7:50 am

Why is it, when the actual, visible leaders of ‘conservatism’ are such a bunch of wife-betraying, drug-snorting, bribe-pocketing, know-nothing, drivel-spouting liars and hypocrites, is it necessary to assert that either FOD-Obama is a conservative at heart, or we’re all doomed? I hope he isn’t a ‘conservative’, if that means acting like the sundry Govs, Sens, Reps and others who’ve shamed the GOP over the last years and months. And if it means acting different than them, why do they get to make waves with the ‘conservative’ label? If any single one of them had been anyone’s ‘rock’, they’d have been better men by far.

30 Robert Real-Man R. September 29, 2009 at 10:21 am

This always has been a golden rule for me: “when a woman vents her problems to you, you shouldn’t offer a solution”. I absolutely agree with it. When a woman had a bad day or has experienced something that is disturbing her, you should always let her talk about it at least 30 minutes (1 hour is recommended).
Only offer her a solution if she ask you for it. But most of the time she doesn’t need a solution. She just needs someone to talk to. This is how women operate :)

31 Loris September 29, 2009 at 10:28 am

@ dave, I wish both political parties would stop claiming moral superiority since people are flawed and are going to fail. People in the spotlight are going to fail in the spotlight. Both liberals and conservatives have failing marriages, affairs, betrayed religious beliefs, drug problems and ignorance problems. But they’re not doing anything Rich at the corner store or Lisa the dental assistant hasn’t done; they just get scrutiny in proportion to their celebrity. To me, the hallmarks of political conservatism are supporting fiscal responsibility and small(er) government, not all of the above pitfalls, which are spread pretty evenly across the political parties.

In a time when people rarely know what they believe and why, much less put their lifestyle where their mouth is, the voter can ill-afford to believe campaign promises and statements of religious solidarity. The concerned voter is best served by looking at voting records only and remembering that politicians and personalities on either side will often say anything to get eyes on them.

32 Dustin | Engaged Marriage October 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm

We certainly need more quality examples of “rocks” in our society. Our country seems to have lost some of its appreciation for masculinity, although your site is aiming to bring that back!

My wife appreciates my masculinity, and I appreciate her femininity. Once you recognize that distinction, you learn to appreciate the other’s point of view.

It’s one of the key factors to creating an awesome marriage!

33 GetYourExBack November 15, 2009 at 10:21 pm

I know that I absolutely depend on my husband to be “the rock”. At the same time I need to be supportive and strong for him when he needs it. Thanks for sharing all your good advice.

34 Jdub December 4, 2009 at 5:56 am

To all we all know women are irrational and run on emotion. “unreasonable emotional swings to be ridiculous” “crying for reasons that don’t deserve tears.” But where men, where the strong ones reasonable smarter. Our female is basically our little child to take care of. So while you may think the reason she’s mad or emotional is freaken ridiculous even after hearing her side of the story…Its our job to be the rock support the woman (like a parent) and make her feel good.

35 Mike December 18, 2009 at 11:25 am

I didn’t think of Dwayne Johnson…when I hear someone say to be like a rock, I think of Marcus Aurelius. One of my favorite quotes of his is:

“To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over. It stand unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it”

That is a large piece to being a man.

36 klr December 29, 2009 at 8:18 am

I’m kinda resenting the shaming of the stereotype of women as always reacting to stress with tears thats going on in the comments here. The post itself, I rather enjoyed, albeit with my normal reservations about this blog. (Look, I’m bisexual, I’m looking for a rock regardless of gender, for one thing.)
Anyway, back to the comments: one thing I do like that’s popping up in the comments is the idea of a husband and wife as each other’s respective rocks. In my personal experience, that’s been the case. It’s a full partnership, not a remora and a shark.
But this stereotype of women always reacting to stress with tears: yes, there’s some truth to it. However, it’s not any more blame worthy then reacting to stress with anger, which is generally held to be a male trait. The whole idea of being a rock is about acting on concerns, yours and those of your interests, not reacting simply with an emotional response.

37 Leah January 7, 2010 at 4:36 pm

Frankly, I’d much rather be the rock than the moss that clings to it. Seriously, we’re not infants. Wow. Can I opt out of your relationship paradigm? It may sound like paradise to you, but it sounds a drag to me.

38 Dennard January 7, 2010 at 6:50 pm

Fantastic article!

39 DannyB January 9, 2010 at 1:00 am

Right on brother! this is an excellent post and really helped me in a time of crisis, thank you.

40 Anotherview January 14, 2010 at 10:25 am

Who needs to be anything? This is the problem. Everyone thinks they need to ‘be’ something. ‘Man’ is just a label. if a guy runs away from problems in a flap, or loses his cool, does it make him a ‘MAN’ or not a ‘MAN’.
He is what he is in each given moment. Weak, strong, whatever. If you have to ask ‘ what is a man ‘ you might never find out.
Who is anyone to judge? So should we define ourselves by what is best for women? Or even children? Be what you want to be and call it what you will. The Buddha left his wife and kids to seek out his path. Was he a rock? Case by case.
The only standard is the one you choose to adopt. If it is good for you then that is your standard. What good is it to compare things now to ancient societies?
People once thought killing was ‘noble’ and good. Is killing another person in a duel ‘being a rock?’ it was once seen in that light. Be yourself, follow your own truth. Not some recipe.

41 Inkster January 14, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Sounds like a rationalization to me.

42 Katie January 19, 2010 at 3:05 am

I am a female construction mechanic in the Navy SeaBees gearing up to deploy to Afghanistan soon. My boyfriend works out of his home writing code all day while I fix trucks. I come home, clean the house, cook dinner, and cry about deployment and he does exactly what you’ve described. I do a lot of “man” things but I know that as a man, his place in the relationship is at the head. He wears the pants, calls the shots, and leads this thing. It’s better that way. I wish more women allowed their husbands/boyfriends/sons to be men. I believe it would solve a lot of problems in our society if men stood up to their roles, regardless of what culture now expects. Sure, men and women are equal. We are also different. My strengths are there to support him, but his allow him to lead me. We’re wired a certain way, whether you believe that God created us that way or we evolved. Men are physiologically better equipped to be the leaders of the family.

43 inlovewitharock February 19, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I just need a place to share my experience and while looking for help to deal with my “rock”, I found this site. My “Rock” is my husband, he’s always there-for everyone-in times of need,good, bad or indifferent. He is a wonderful husband, father, son and friend. My “Rock” has just lost his “Rock”, his Dad, although we expected that our time with him was somewhat limited, we were shocked at the abrupt loss we incurred. Pop was diagnosed in November, the week before Thanksgiving, with a brain tumor, located on the motorstrip and inoperative, we were told that with radiation he would be with us for atleast a couple of years. The biopsy was done the week after Thanksgiving, he came home! He was home for a short 5 days when he developed a staph infection of the incision, was readmitted and we were given a good report, when the infection was contained they would begin the radiation treatment while he was there at the hospital, well 3 surgerys later and he was declining, the tumor was growing and finally radiation was done, he received a full week of treatment, we were told that signs of improvement would show towards the end of the 2 weeks period, well on January 21, 2010, we all rushed to the hospital with great expectations to celebrate his birthday, upon arrival we were met by his team who explained that his status had severly declined over the last 12 hours and his lungs were collasping, there was no hope, it would be only hours! The day before he showed signs of improvement, coheirency and physical strentgh was beginning to return! This was a huge, knock the wind out of you, blow to us all! Within hours of that conversation he passed, it was horrible, death is a lot of work, I am still haunted by so many things from this experience, due to his dnr orders, we basically sat and watched him struggle for 10 hours, while there were orders for comfort, there was little to no feeling of comfort for those of us who sat there with him, waiting and hoping for a miricle, one we all knew was not coming. Well, now that I have covered this, I need to say, my “Rock”, has been a “Rock”, he hasnt really grieved, he keeps himself so busy doing the most insane things, and refuses to spend any time alone with me at all, its almost like he has decided if he is not alone with me, he wont have to deal with the loss of his best friend, his Dad. It has been a little over a month and he is still just busy busy, I know he is hurting and needs to crash, I just dont know how to help him? It hurts so bad to have lost his Dad, who was so much in our lives, but now watching his son struggle to grieve for him is heart wrenching, I want to shake him and tell him its okay to cry okay to not be the “Rock” all the time! He needs to allow himself some alone time, some time to take care of his feelings instead of everyone elses, How do I help him? How do we get through this? What can I do? Its as though, he has decided to ignore? his fathers passing, hes just different, hes cheerful and there for everyone in his family, our family, his friends, and friends of friends, anything to avoid this devastating loss? Does anyone have any advice for me? My heart hurts, not only for the loss of our Poppy, but for my husbands pain within, I dont know how to act, respond or what to do? Its scary, like waiting for an explosion or something? How do I let him know, its okay without feeling intrusive? He did choke a couple of times that night, quickly and left the room and a couple of times throughout the services I noticed him tearing up for a quick minute, then he would busy himself by helping his brothers, our children, his mom and so on, I am still unable to think of my father inlaw without crying, and feeling like my heart is broken, and angry that this happend at all, the feeling of shock will be with me forever! and watching my husband act as though nothing has happend, and trying to act the same for him, is killing me! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

44 Alison March 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hi all. I’d like to send this to my BF but afraid he’ll be offended. I think we’ve fought to often lately and things have gotten out of hand and even physical. I push and he pushes back. What is a good way to share this with him without instigating a fight about his role in the relationship?

45 Mike March 26, 2010 at 12:20 pm

43 inlovewitharock

Get his best friend over, give them a case of beer or a bottle of scotch, and get away from the house. It sounds like he’s holding it, and he needs to let it out. Getting wasted is not going to fix it, but it will help him start down the road. Being drunk lowers your inhibitions and will let him lower those walls enough to start the grieving process.

It may take some time. I lost my father 18 months ago to cancer, and I am just now starting to feel normal again.

He may also need some professional help, but you may need his buddy or his brother to suggest it to him.

46 Andrew May 28, 2010 at 11:18 pm

A few years back my side of the family went through Hell. My father collapsed in the operating room while he was prepping a patient for surgery. While he was in the hospital preparing for a second bypass procedure, his brother and sister-in-law died in a car accident, my maternal grandmother passed away, and my youngest brother’s lung collapsed… All within 3 weeks time. My mother (who is a remarkable woman during tough times) was near the brink of shutting down. For all of that summer, my wife and I helped out where ever we could. I wanted my mother to be with my father as much as she could, so I took care of the house, the yard, and offered to help her with any errands I could. I cut back on hours at work to keep my family running. However, each night I swear I cried in the arms of my wife. Although I tried as hard as I could to keep composure around my mother and father, I could not have done it if I did not have my wife to just hold me.

47 jeramey n. June 5, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Well I’m not sure where this song would fit into this site or if it would fit into any particular subject, but I feel that it covers a wide area of the topics. It is a song written by a local band from my home town area of Boston, Mass, they are called Have Heart and the song is called “The Unbreakable”. I decided to post the lyrics to it here after reading this article, also because to me this is what my father represents to me as a role model and a man. I hope that you enjoy it because its a special song:

“he was a kind hearted man in a hateful world
and he caught every thing that life ever hurled
like the oldest fucking mountain he always stood so tall
forever showing what it means to be unbreakable
paycheck to paycheck, 3 jobs a day, he’s the ransom for his family’s pain
in the coldest world with the warmest heart, he puts to shame what you consider hard
he’s the man you dont see in the mirror
while the world was screaming death, he chose a different song to hear
he’s the band thats playing while the ship sinks
the song of hope, he forever sings
he taught the sun to shine
(now teach me)
now can you please teach this “son” to shine
how can this world never break your warm heart in this frigid fucking place??
you’re like the river: always flowing and growing, never changing; rearranging
how can this world always never take your solid stance in these turbulent time??
you’re like the tree in the burning forest that never was burned down
and what he said to me was this….
“Just love the world that won’t love you back”
old man look at my life – im nothing like you are
take a look at my life….im so very fucking far…
from the person i aspire to be: unbreakable”
-Have Heart

48 Goran Bockman August 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Great article!! If we as men can indeed be that rock we are truly irreplaceable and no amount of anti male Feminist propaganda will be able to convince women that they no longer need us. Let’s all work on being the best men we can be; then perhaps we will be able to revive the love between the sexes that has been all but slain in recent years.

49 Gloria November 29, 2013 at 11:31 am

This is a really great poem. I think every man should read it!

If, by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

50 Amelia March 19, 2014 at 6:29 am

I love your blog, and I’m a woman! Is there a female version of this blog that you know of?

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