As the Houston relationship counselor, I’ve noticed that many men have trouble with emotional intimacy. More specifically, they tend to have trouble allowing their partner to genuinely influence and connect with them. In fact, research shows that less than a third of men allow their partners to influence them in this way. Part of the problem may be caused by a phenomenon called a “stone shirt.”

Houston Relationship Counselor: What Is the Stone Shirt?

Someone who wears a “stone shirt” is trying to barricade their heart in an attempt to protect them from being taken over. Often, this stone shirt was developed in childhood to protect from feelings of disconnection typically experienced around 3 or 4 years of age. During this time, culture pushes young boys to disconnect from their mothers in order to “find their manhood,” particularly if the boy has a father who has trouble connecting to himself and others.

But in order to fully connect to their partners, men who wear stone shirts must learn to allow it to open and eventually fall away. In fact, many men have trouble truly connecting with themselves due to this stone shirt. It has walled off the part of themselves that longs for a deeper connection because it is considered “unmanly.” You can learn to get back in touch with this part of yourself by working with the Houston relationship counselor.

Many men fear letting go of the stone shirt, but if asked what they are afraid of, it will bring up only anger: “I’m not afraid of anything!” Moving past this anger and fear can be a painful and uncomfortable process, but in the end, giving up a stone shirt will allow you to experience your complete, true self – and a better relationship with your spouse.

Seeking marriage education is key for this process. I encourage you to contact a Houston relationship counselor for advice.