Gender education helps women gain greater awareness of men's needs and leads to happier relationship
Many women ask me why they have to be the one in the relationship to be flexible, be the one to have to stroke the guy’s ego to cultivate change. Women were designed to adapt, it’s the maternal instinct we were born with. It is not easy, but I can almost guarantee you that to experience a shift between a man and woman, the woman almost always has to make the first move in the relational chess game in order to transform the relationship for the better and empower herself. She’s the nurturer, the caretaker, the catalyst for change.
Understanding our male counterparts is the first part of building and sustaining a happy partnership and negotiating our differences. A large part of our disappointment comes from expecting your guy to think and act like a woman.
* Get Into His World: Educate yourself in one of your man’s main interests…..sports, politics, current events, travel, music, etc. Converse with him often on this subject. He will be most impressed that you took an interest in something he is passionate about and may very likely reciprocate. I learned very quickly, early into my relationship, how the NFL draft works every April and believe me it is a great day my husband and I share.
* Compliment/ Compliment/ Compliment: Your guy needs to feel amazing when he’s with you. A man gauges you on how he feels about himself when he’s with you. Research shows his brain is infused with a splash of dopamine (happy chemical) when his experience with you has been positive, thereby creating a need to be with you when he starts associating you with the chemical high.
* Men Fall in Love With Reality; Women Fall In Love With Potential: During my research the past two years, I had the opportunity to ask 1,000 men what the biggest disappointment in their relationship was. Most responded with “My wife or girlfriend changed, I liked her better when we first met.” The women I interviewed responded with, “I thought he would make more money or get a better job or would pay more attention to me.” Apparently one of a man’s greatest resistances to commitment is that a woman will change him or that she will make unreasonable demands of him. Try turning complaints into gentle requests using “What would make me happy” statements instead of “You don’t” statements.
* Men Hate Domestic Duties: Men are wired with survival skills, a drive to compete, a hunger for challenge, and an innate need to provide and protect. Unfortunately laundering dirty boxers and doing dishes falls short of those categories. To improve domestic participation I highly recommend you research Dr Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. For example, if your Love Language is Acts of Service and your partner’s is Physical Touch, then I suggest you use these to negotiate a fair trade.
* A Man’s Worst Fear: One of the reasons a man has a hard time committing is fear of being controlled, fear of losing control of his own life, and fear of not getting his needs met. When a woman’s needs are not met by her partner, most often she becomes sad, depressed and unfulfilled. When a guy’s needs are not met, he responds with anger and feels out of control. To avoid this, try sitting down with your partner and crafting three short lists for each of you: one for emotional needs, one for physical needs, and one for functional needs. Now with great detail, discuss how and when each of you benefits. Decide what is negotiable and what is a deal breaker.
* Men Know Who They Can’t Live Without: Women, For The Most Part, Know Who They Want To Be With: Most men gauge their choice of relationship by who they can’t live without. Most males don’t understand how they feel about a woman until she’s gone, according to my recent research. The longer a woman talks with a man and spends time with him, the less chance he has to miss her. Don’t rob yourself of this opportunity. By their own admission, guys were drawn to women who ended their phone calls or dates before the guy did. This included not being available for emails and text messages at his convenience.
* Don’t Be Afraid To Be Wrong: It’s okay to be the first to apologize and admit when you’re wrong. This demonstrates two character traits that men find appealing: confidence and humility. It also models for him that it’s safe to be wrong, which is difficult for the male ego.
* Men Have A Shorter Memory: A guy’s brain is wired for the future. This unique, albeit frustrating, characteristic equipped his ancestor brothers with challenging survival skills during The Dark Ages, through the development of the western frontier, and in times of war. Your man still operates off this same DNA, which would explain why he may have low tolerance for a woman’s recall of past events. She is equipped with a larger storage bank, a maternal skill set needed for childrearing. Also, you may wish to gently teach him that your recall of his past indiscretions is a woman’s natural grieving process, mandatory to complete the forgiveness cycle.
Gradually try exercising these suggestions and notice which ones make a positive impact. Remember there are always exceptions to the gender dynamics. Education and awareness is a good start to building a great relationship and understanding your male partner.
Copyright © 2011 by Denise Wade, Ph.D. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Denise Wade, Ph.D. is devoted to helping committed couples reignite passion and intimacy through awareness of each other’s unique sexual and emotional needs. Denise provides gender education coaching, a comfortable alternative to marriage counseling. http://denisewade.relationshipcoach.org/ 1.610.639.6627.