“PEOPLE don’t split because they don’t love each other, they split because of a lack of skills,” says Wanted Man Training founder Michael Clark.
Michael, a former primary school teacher, husband and father of one (with another on the way) has been married to Suzanne for more than five years, and says skills are the key to a successful long-term relationship.
The idea for ACT-based Wanted Man Training, a business that offers courses to men on how to maintain healthy, long-term relationships and marriages, came to him after three of his friends’ marriages split all within the same month
“I thought, this is crazy, this planet is crazy, I have to do something about this,” he says.
With the help of psychologists, counsellors and other professionals, Michael put together the Wanted Man Training “curriculum”.
In nine months since it started, Michael has seen about 200 men come through his course and he says it has saved marriages.
“Information on how to have a healthy, long-term relationship or marriage, that is out there, it’s there in books,” Michael says.
“But most men don’t read books; he’s not going to read the books to know what you need to know.
“So I thought, what if I make something really blokey, get heaps of bloke food, heaps of bloke things happening and then you can learn the information in a way that is fun?
“Because they don’t want to write, they don’t want to be lectured, they just want to play games and joke around.”
Michael said one of the activities includes looking at different relationship scenarios from the man and woman’s perspectives.
“Guys love to be analytical, so it’s fun to sort of go ‘oh that’s what’s happening there’ and then suddenly half the guys are like, ‘ah! that’s my marriage, that’s my relationship’,” he said.
“It’s not public servicey, it’s just blokey. And before you know it, blokes will start being real with each other because it is a space where you can be real, you don’t have to fear.”
Although he is happily married with Suzanne, he said even their relationship needs work.
“We did have our own issues; learning about how you fit in with each other’s family and friends,” he said.
“And how do you find enough time. Suzanne was my first long-term girlfriend.”
He said one concept that helped his own marriage, and the course, was based on Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages” – a book that explores five “love languages”, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch – and how you can use those languages to better your relationship.
He also said another key to a successful relationship is identifying “danger zones”, whether it be planning to have children or career changes.
“When people know where the danger zones are, they are ready for them, when you know that time will pass you hang in there,” he said.
“But when people don’t know, they bail, they think it’s not working.”
The courses have been so successful that now single men and teenage boys are coming along to the courses with their dads and have “got so much out of it”.
And women will soon have their own version of Wanted Man Training through the City Fernwood gym, where personal trainers will work with women on how to hear what the man in their life is actually saying and also “how to communicate with your guy so he’ll listen”.
But for the cynics, Michael has this advice: “I’d say a Holden Commodore is nice, but a Porsche is even better.
“Most guys think this is as good as it gets, but it can go so much further just with a few skills on your belt.
“It’s not about changing you, or doing more, it’s about understanding how she sees the world.
“As good as it is, doesn’t mean it’s as good as it gets.”
More information at wantedmantraining.com.au