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Recognizing the essential role women have always played in supporting men

When a man lacks the skills to navigate stress, trauma, blocks, and overwhelm, women are often the first responders on the scene. Individually and collectively, women have long carried an enormous responsibility, creating safety, holding space, and helping men to fight their battles. At the same time, we recognize there is only so much you can do.

This page is dedicated to all the women—partners, friends, therapists, and family members—who have felt the struggles that men face, and who share our desire to guide them toward genuine growth and healing.

women and men as friends

Our Vision

Men experience unique stresses and traumas, which affects our emotional and physical health, and compromises our ability to relate and connect. Men are not bad and we are not broken, many of us simply lack the skills. Our society offers an extremely limiting model for men to express our vulnerability, and on top of that, seeking out support is often seen as socially unacceptable.

At MELD, we provide the skills, spaces, and understanding for men to get what they need in order to thrive. With practical, science-based training, we help men tap back into their innate senses, our evolutionary strength. We have been shut away from our body’s inherent tools, but that changes today.

Understanding Men

Men often process and express emotions differently due to the cultural expectations to act as “protectors” and “providers”. Because it feels as though our value is determined by how well we perform, men adopt a “fix-it” mode, while openly addressing feelings and emotional needs can feel like another hurdle to overcome on the way to “accomplishing the task”. Recognizing this, women can play a transformative role by supporting men in ways that honor their unique experiences and stories.

How Women Support Men

Provide Space for Growth

Men might need space to engage with their emotions and may benefit from support beyond what a woman can provide. Many of us were raised to rely primarily on women for emotional support and guidance, because you were the only place we could find it. But men have always needed to learn from, and be supported by, other men.

Encourage Open Communication

Help men feel safe to express their emotions without judgment. Understanding and compassion go a long way. Men want to succeed in relationships, we just haven’t had the models or training on how to do it in a way that works for us and our partners.

Appreciate Efforts

Acknowledge the small successes and the efforts men make, even if they don’t always lead to the desired outcome. We are performance-oriented, to our detriment. We’ve been trained to see our value tied to how well we perform. When we aren’t performing well, it is stressful, further sabotaging our ability to connect.

In Women's Words

I could write a book about how the men’s work practices you have brought to Wayne’s life have impacted my life (and our children’s lives). If I were going to keep it short and simple, however, I would say that Wayne and I would probably not be married today and indeed, Wayne might not even be alive today, if it weren’t for you – your love, your teachings, and your support. I could add to that your commitment to this path and this work and to helping make life more wonderful for the men you encounter.

We have known you for almost 20 years and you don’t show any signs of backing off or slowing down! Cheering you on and wishing you all the best on this new business.

Jody Pignotet


As a female relationship coach for men for 16 years, I’ve been allowed in to some pretty unusual-to-women spaces. I’ve rarely encountered a more sacred environment than in a men’s group… feeling men’s inherent goodness, witnessing men simultaneously supporting each other, and demanding greatness from one another. And there’s no man I would trust more to guide a thriving community of men like MELD than Owen Marcus. 
Being a Rolfer (deep tissue bodyworker) for 40 years taught Owen that when men learn where and with whom it is safe to let down their daily battle armor, to physiologically de-stress, they can then do what they were naturally, neurologically wired to do… connect. 
So he created the Sandpoint Men’s Group in Idaho, where more than 400 men over 19 years committed 4 hours, every single week, forged a space safe enough to challenge each other. 
The wisdom and experience Owen gained from leading those decades of men’s groups then enabled him to both provide the content for AND train the leaders of the EVRYMAN men’s group network for over 7 years.
NOW, Owen and a few core, loyal partners have started MELD, Men’s Emotional Leadership Development. 
MELD programs provide research based tools for men to navigate their physiological and emotional responses. Partly by offering men a safe community to do their inner work, MELD teaches men how to create a safer world. Here, men give and receive powerful support for bringing their inner world skills into the outer world. I love that they know “Leadership begins within.”
I now refer my male clients to MELD.
If Owen is behind it, I know I can trust it. 
Erin Michaela Brandt, MS
therapy for men

Insights from Therapists

Top therapists and researchers like Sue Johnson, Esther Perel, Ellen Choi, and Brene’ Brown support MELD’s approach to helping men. They highlight the importance of authentic connections and the role of emotional courage in fostering true healing and connection.

When therapists encourage their clients to join MELD trainings, courses, and men’s groups, they’re shown how our programs complement their efforts and achieve more powerful results for their clients and their families.

I don’t think I’ve ever been asked more thoughtful questions. And it was so lovely to be surrounded by a group of men thinking thoughtfully about love and connection and invested in changing norms.

Marisa Franco, Ph.D. 

New York Times Bestselling Author of Platonic

One Approach to Supporting Men

At MELD, we recognize a universal truth informed by the latest research in trauma and stress healing: feeling safe is the foundation for relaxation, openness, and, consequently, connection. This understanding shapes the core of our initial training with men, addressing a widespread gap in emotional security often missing from early life experiences.

Emotional safety is deeply personal and varies significantly among individuals. For example, while one person may feel secure in a particular environment, another might perceive it as threatening due to past trauma, a lack of supportive connections, or cultural influences. This variability can lead to misunderstandings, particularly between men and women. For instance, a street that feels safe to men at night may not be perceived as safe by women. It is also important to recognize that environments requiring vulnerability might not feel emotionally safe for many men, conditioned by societal norms that often equate male vulnerability with weakness.

In these situations, vulnerability becomes a significant challenge. Many men, shaped by societal expectations and personal histories, may resort to logical reasoning to navigate emotional situations, inadvertently creating a barrier to emotional connection.

So, how can you, as a woman, support and engage constructively in this context?

We encourage you to foster connection by understanding the complex dynamics men navigate. Our experience with couples highlights that acknowledging and nurturing even small attempts at connection can lead to substantial progress. Men are likelier to open up and engage when they feel safe and unjudged.

As noted by our colleague, Esther Perel, while we all like to think we can handle another’s emotions, if only by avoiding them, misunderstandings often arise. It’s common for men to feel nagged and for women to feel ignored. Recognizing and moving beyond these perceptions is crucial for building connections.

Engaging in vulnerable conversations is like learning any new skill—it requires practice in a supportive and enjoyable setting before tackling more challenging scenarios. We encourage you to support your partners in developing these skills with other men, creating a positive and enriching learning environment. This method not only promotes personal growth but also strengthens relational dynamics.

By creating spaces where men can safely express their vulnerability and learn skills they never saw, we lay the groundwork for deeper connections and enhanced mutual understanding across all relationships.

We share your desire for men to connect authentically and meaningfully—this is a goal we are deeply committed to at MELD.

Join Our Conversation

Women’s voices are essential in the conversation surrounding men’s well-being. Our interdependence is undeniable. Together we can shape a community where men feel seen and supported, and take on the responsibility of their own healing – where both men and women thrive together. Share your stories, ask your questions, and help us bridge the gap between men and women with understanding and collaboration.

For Men and Women

At MELD, we believe that relationships are about more than just the bonds between partners; they are about all of the connections that enrich our entire community. By supporting men in becoming more aware and expressive, we not only enhance their lives but also the lives of everyone around them.

Together, let's build a world where every man has the support he needs to be his best self, and every woman feels honored.