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Monday, February 24, 2014

Relationship Maintenance: The Man Cave

Once upon a time, a loooong time ago... back when I was still a single lady and looking for my Mister... I encountered the Man Cave of all Man Caves. It belonged to the best friend of my at-the-time boyfriend. The thing so special about his Man Cave was that it encompassed most of his house. He had recently gotten engaged to his girlfriend, and I was amused at the -tiny- space he had told her she could do "whatever she wanted with". In the rest of the house, if you didn't know any better, you'd think a woman had never set foot in the place.

One afternoon I cornered her in the kitchen (the one room that was fast-becoming her domain) and asked her how she could stand to let him refuse her any space in the home.

what do men want"Well," she told me, "I guess I'm looking at it like this: Men are hard to change overnight. And I won't change him overnight if I start trying, I'll just make him push me away. I know he's being a little ridiculous because he's scared of commitment and ours just got serious. That's why I've been moving one of his things to the rec room each week, and replacing it with something small of mine. This time next year, he'll have a pretty sweet man-cave, and we won't have to argue over everything of mine I want to put in the house."

True to her word (I could never have just let things ride like that - she had great amounts of willpower), once a week she would put something she'd purchased into one of the rooms that his Man-Cave was spilling out onto, and move one of his bachelor-things into the ping-pong room. She did it with an admirable amount of suavity too. She'd come home with a lamp that was modern and that both of them could enjoy, then drop hints that allowed him to come to the decision of moving his beer sign into the rec room all on his own. By the end of the year (as they were getting ready to be married), the entire house had a couples' feel to it that was all them. The last remaining object that got moved was his TV, and that got moved by them together after they bought a brand new one for the living room.

Sometime after they had gotten married, I jokingly asked him, "Did you know that she was condensing your man-cave?"

"Yeah, I knew," he told me in all seriousness, "It didn't hit me until she was about half-finished, but I realized it the same time I realized I liked seeing her stuff around, so I let her keep thinking she was pulling a fast one."

Moral of the story? Well, obviously ladies, the story here is that there is a way to get men to do something we would like them to do without any kind of an argument. That's definitely something that needs to be tested out and investigated! The other story though, is that our men need their personal spaces. Sometimes it's nice to have everything be 'we' space, but they need a little something to hold onto that makes them feel manly among our throw pillows and candles.

don't nag your husbandMy husband currently has an old beer sign hanging in a prominent place in our bedroom, but it's kind of an unspoken thing between the two of us that the beer sign stays. Eventually we'll move into a new home, and the beer sign won't be making it's way back into our bedroom. He knows it and I know it, but we don't talk about it and I don't push for him to get rid of it sooner.

Letting your spouse see that you respect his space (and the things that he owned before you) is a great way to build trust and mutual understanding - not to mention avoid arguments that can ruin a nice time! Let your man decide when it's time to move his things to a new area, or wait until opportunities arise that will allow the items to be 'retired' while keeping your husband's dignity in place.

Don't foresee a good opportunity in the near future? You can create one!

Contributing to your spouse's pile of 'manly things' (especially when the items are gaudy or coarse) may not seem like the best idea at the time, but it can be a great way to give your guy a 'just because' gift and prompt him to move his things to a specific area. Cleaning out a little-used shed (or purchasing a shed) and giving it a manly renovation can be a spectacular surprise-gift to a guy; giving him the garage (if it's doable) is even better!

The point is ladies, don't strip your man of his right-to-own any of his bachelor accoutrements just because you don't care for them. Just like you are probably hanging onto a few memorable clothing items that you can't quite squeeze into anymore, he's holding onto the items from his 'glory days'.

man cave ideasGive him an area that is man-only (without redecorating input from you!) and he'll not only be appreciative of your thoughtfulness, but seeing all the things from his bachelor days might just have him coming after you like the young, frisky guy he was when you first met him!

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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post and, as always, my opinions are purely my own.


  1. The Man Cave Giveaway > then all the yelling for their teams could be done downstairs in the lower level instead of the upstairs living room and all the mess during the sports games can stay out of sight too. This would be sooo nice to win all 4 grown boys would enjoy it for years to come and I woul be sooo much happier because it would not be happening in my living room and I would not jump from getting startled by all their excitement

    1. That happens to me too! I'll be sitting around quietly minding my own business when howls will erupt from the living room and I have to run over and make sure someone isn't hurt. Of course no one ever is - they're just upset because somebody fumbled or the "wrong" team scored a touchdown :)

  2. My husband's man cave is in a huge barn out side of the house. Perfect both everyone!!

    1. That is awesome! We are hoping to move to Indiana sometime in the future, maybe we'll snag a property with an old barn and refurbish it that way - such a cool idea, I love it!