It would be the understatement of the 21st (well, any) century to say that men don’t always understand women. However, the more we can bridge the gap, the far better our relationships can be. So, after working with men extensively, here are just 5 points (which is so far from exhaustive) to take home and practice or keep doing in your relationships, guys.
- Listen, Don’t Fix: When your girlfriend or wife is telling you about her bad day or about something that happened that bothered her, don’t try to give her a solution to the problem! She will see this as trying to fix her and let you know that “you’re not listening!” It’s not long before men tell me, “I never know what the right thing to say to her is.” Sometimes all she needs is for you to hear her and understand her and guess what…a lot of times that actually “solves the problem”. So give that left half of your brain a break and just listen.
- Learn to Use Feeling Words: Openness is key for connection and using accurate descriptors to show how you feel is a rich experience. I’ve found many men have lots of words to describe their anger (frustrated, annoyed, irritated, furious, mad) but very little vocabulary to describe any other feelings. Understanding and naming your emotions will be beneficial to you and your relationship.
- Learn to Apologize: Making peace with a sincere apology lets her know that you care and prioritize your relationship together. Many women say it’s one of the most attractive things about a man when he can apologize. Making peace and bringing reconciliation to your relationship is crucial for health and longevity.
- Always Pursue Her: Too often we as men pursue with attentiveness, chivalry and care and then when the deal is sealed, we get lazy. Keeping the relationship alive and well means avoiding the pitfall of apathy and pursuing her with constant intentionality, showing her she is always #1 in your life.
- Learn the Real Point System: Men and women seem to count differently and the sooner we figure this out, the better off we’ll be. Every man knows that if he brings his significant other flowers, he gets a point. However, if he surprises her with a cruise to the Bahamas for her birthday, we’re looking at a minimum of 75 points, right? Wrong. Flowers = 1 point. Surprise cruise = 1 point. Makes no sense, right? Well at least now you know. To a woman, each gesture is just a single point. So where’s the silver lining? You can work this point system for you by doing small acts of kindness daily and weekly and you will have racked up points as if you just bought her a surprise cruise everyday AND you haven’t broken the bank for it! Find the right balance and you will see how you’ve injected consistent love into your relationship and every man knows that a happy wife is a happy home.
And let’s face it, these 5 things don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what we need to know in our relationship, but it’s certainly a good start. Try these out and watch your relationship be revolutionized.
Learn more about Phil Zaffos, MA, LAPC & Heidi Zaffos, MA, LMFT, LAPC and Foundation Counseling .