yesterdays blog in which I responded to the article, Your husband has 5 basic needs, are you meeting them?
So, I'm writing this from MY point of view. I know all women are different and I can't speak for them all, but I'm sure many women are like me as well, and these are the things I think are possible big Man Fails in my book of relationship wisdom. (note that I say possible. You may be the most perfect man in the world and if so, I'm not talking to you).
1. Listening to her when she has a legitimate issue with you. Right. I know, I know. Note that I say legitimate though. I'm not talking about the women who nag all the time. I'm talking about the ones who know you don't like to talk about feelings so for the most part, keep them to ourselves. So when we do come to you and tell you something that's bothering us, at least have the courtesy to listen and maybe have a thoughtful response. Even if you don't agree with us, can you try to see where we're coming from and why and maybe try to find some middle ground. K? Thanks.
2. Respecting her. Please. This. Always this. Don't treat her like a submissive in front of friends or guests. It's embarrassing and demeaning. Definitely treat her with respect in front of your children. If you don't, you are teaching them how to treat her as well and that's not right or okay. Don't call her names. Don't tell her she's stupid. Don't do emotional, mental or physical harm to her in any way. You have no idea what this does to a person unless it's been done to you. And if it has been done to you and it's the only way you know how to be in a relationship, get counseling. Yeah, seriously, why are men so opposed to seeking counsel to save their relationships?
3. Giving her praise or show her you love and appreciate her in little ways every once in a while. You don't have to do this every day. No. We don't expect this. We NEVER expect this because it rarely happens. But we get used to finding out how NOT to do things. Or how NOT to cook things or clean things. When we do something you appreciate, let us know. "Wow, dinner was great tonight, honey, where'd you learn to cook like that?" "House looks great today, babe." "What'd you do, slave all day?" Give her flowers. Yeah, again, you don't have to do it all the time, but do it when she'd least expect it. And they don't have to be expensive. One stem. A tiny arrangement every so often. Leave her notes. For me, I don't need expensive gifts, but to be TOLD I'm loved and do a good job feels awesome. Oh, and yeah, I like flowers.
4. Giving her some "me" time. I'm not talking a lot. I mean, family first, right? But listen, a night out with the girlfriends a couple times a month isn't a death sentence. A girls weekend a couple times a year won't kill you either. And hey, when a stay-at-home-mom says she's going to the grocery store at night, don't suggest the kids go, even if they want to. In fact, YOU be the one to tell them they can't. Sometimes that's all the time the wife needs away to unwind after a long day cooking, cleaning and watching the little ones. Maybe a bath, going to get a massage. You and the children are not the end all be all of her existence...which brings me to number 5.
5. Letting her be her own person. Many women lose their identities when they get married. Especially those who decide to become stay-at-home moms. They live and breathe the family, doing nothing else but familycentric activities, vacations, etc. While that may be okay for some, for others it can eventually be utterly devastating. They get tired of being known as "Bob's" wife or "Jake and Emma's" mom. They are dejected when friends stop calling asking them to go places because they're always busy with family. They need their own friends, own activities, own hobbies. They need to remain individuals apart from being a mom or a wife. Otherwise, they will get caught in an unhappy rut and will feel stuck, like the world is moving on without them like they are standing still.
A relationship is a partnership. Sure, there is give and take, but there is reciprocity, collaboration, support, understanding, affinity, and courtesy. Be kind always. Communicate. Always remember, that person you're with isn't just your significant other, but an individual who has interests outside of you. Those individual interests should be pursued with your support, otherwise they may be pursued, devoid of you.