3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Relationships with Men


If you do these three (easy) things that men need from you, they'll work very hard to make you happy

Men are everywhere in our lives. Whether you’re currently in a romantic relationship with a man, or you want to be, the fact of the matter is that we’re in relationships with men everywhere in our lives anyway: at work, at play, in our families, in our communities.

Relating to them effectively improves the quality of our lives immeasurably (and of course, relating to them poorly has a negative impact on the quality of our lives). Having said that, our focus will be on romantic relationships. That’s why you’re reading this, I’ll bet!

Finding and keeping a great man - and developing a fulfilling committed relationship - can be extremely challenging for many women. I find I’m often reminding my coaching clients to have compassion and understanding for wherever they may get stuck on that journey. After all, think about what most of us are dealing with:

• No great role models growing up (in fact, oftentimes quite the opposite);
• Women have been more career-driven and less relationship-focused (and afraid to get off that track, in case they can’t count on anyone else);
• We’re much more nomadic in our lifestyles, which prohibits the development or enjoyment of a nurturing community;
• We have become such an “instant results”-oriented society, we often can’t handle the inevitable rough patches that can actually signal a relationship is growing, and we leave for “greener pastures”;
• As the media continues to be the barometer we often use to measure how we’re doing in the world – whether in our looks, our fitness, our financial status, etc. – our self-esteem takes a hit – and causes us to become less convinced we’re a “great catch”. That, unfortunately, creates a self-fulfilling prophecy;
• Speaking of the media, the way men are being portrayed these days (lazy, clumsy, idiotic buffoons!) isn’t helping women feel respect and appreciation for men!

Now, I’m not saying this to support a state of “victimhood” – far from it! In fact, this is a “victim-free zone”...I firmly believe we are always creating our lives and the circumstances in them. However, you can’t successfully map out a route to your destination if you aren’t really clear where you are right now. As the saying goes: “the truth shall set you free”.

Again, no matter what your current relationship status, you can begin to improve your relationships with men right now, if you want to. It’s really pretty simple.

Note: If you really don’t want to, obviously this isn’t going to work. (You may want to get help with an attitude adjustment before taking on the plan we’re talking about here.)

So, what can you do to insure you are improving your relationships, rather than keeping things status-quo, or letting things gradually worsen? (And nothing ever “stays the same”, really – what’s happening is either things are growing, or they’re dying...an important thing to keep in mind!)

If you’re reading this and you aren’t currently in a romantic relationship, you’ve got quite an advantage: you don’t have bad habits to try to reverse - you can start off on the right foot!

When it comes to having a great relationship with a man (and I trust you want GREAT…not “okay”), there are several things that matter a lot to them - which means they should matter a lot to you. I’ve chosen to focus on three big ones (any others are subsets of these, basically).

And to make this information extra worthwhile to read, please keep in mind that just about the most important source of these qualities for a man is the woman/women in their lives.

Acceptance – Simply put, this means you know and accept all of who he is. Notice I didn’t say “like” everything. I said accept. This is *key* to having a successful connection with a man you care about.

Here are some definitions of “accept”:

• “tolerate or accommodate oneself to” (you’ll learn to live with those things that annoy you);
• “consider or hold as true” (you see who your man is – you see what is, not what you wish he was/wasn’t);
• “to receive something, especially with favor” (you actually welcome and enjoy who he is).

I like the third one the best. So will your man.

If you’re not with a man at this time, you want to be absolutely sure that when you do start to date a man, you know the qualities, values and lifestyle you require from him – so you *can* accept him (or know you need to move on, as the case may be).

Action plan: find one thing you currently nag or criticize your/a man for, and practice saying to yourself “I accept this about (that man)”.

Appreciation – Like all of us, your man wants to know that his efforts are noticed. It lets him know you’re paying attention, and you’re grateful for what he does for you, your family, the community, etc.

Here are some definitions of “appreciation”:
• “Recognition of the quality, value, significance, or magnitude of people and things”
• “A judgment or opinion, especially a favorable one”
• “An expression of gratitude”
Men really do want to make us happy, but they need the reward of appreciation.

Unfortunately, many women are not very good (or consistent) with this. This can stem from a poor teacher (oftentimes our mother), or lack of feelings of appreciation for yourself (you can’t give what you don’t have), or negative feelings about men.

When these obstacles aren’t in your way, showing appreciation is much easier. It’s such a simple thing, really, to acknowledge and express appreciation...and it pays off hugely in the quality of the relationship with a man.

Action plan: starting today, make a commitment to notice and appreciate at least one thing that your man (or a man in your life) is doing - every day. I’ll bet you’re going to notice he’ll start doing more of it...or something else that may earn more appreciation from you! (And while you’re at it, practice appreciating yourself.)

Trust – This is where the rubber meets the road. For many men, being trusted equals being loved. If you don’t trust your man (or men in general), you will *not* be able to create and/or maintain a satisfying relationship.

Because of the universal law of attraction, which states that you will attract what you focus on, you won’t be able to be with a man whom you can see as trustworthy, which means you’re going to create a situation where you *can’t* trust. I promise you, this will end badly, and everyone will lose.

Here are some definitions of “trust”:

• “Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing”
• “One in which confidence is placed”
• “To have or place confidence in; depend on”

If you feel it is impossible for you to trust men, please do the work to change that (coaching, therapy, personal growth seminars, etc.). You’ll be amazed at how differently men will “show up” in your life when you have the ability to trust them. Of course, if you lack the ability to trust them, most likely you lack the ability to trust yourself, and so the work to be done is fundamentally about that – and you’re worth the effort!

Action plan(s): 1) Intend to notice trustworthy men – whether your man, or other men. This will grow your ability to trust them. What you seek you will find.

When you find your self-talk going toward the negative, distrustful place, ask yourself if what you’re perceiving is true, or is it possible that it’s distorted through your lens of “can’t trust”?

Sometimes, all you need to do is question the validity of your perception, to be able to see a different ‘story”.

2) In your intimate relationship, risk revealing yourself and being vulnerable with your man. It’s a profound way of telling him you trust him. If there’s a place where you’ve been withholding trust from him (i.e. regarding your children, or how he spends his time outside your home, or some other issue), practice trusting him. After all, trust is a decision.

If you’re with him, you should know that you can trust him. (Note: If you know you cannot trust him, then you’ve got work to do, and that is beyond the scope of what we’re talking about here.)

Men are everywhere in our lives. When they are accepted, appreciated and trusted, they respond in predictable ways: they feel happier, and they work harder to please us and make us happy. We get so much in return for giving them what they really need. Try it – you’ll love it!

This article was originally published at The Heart Matters . Reprinted with permission from the author.