“Give him direct communication, respect, appreciation, food, and good lovin’, and he’ll do just about anything you wish.” ~ Dr. Laura Schlessinger
With COVID-19, I have been thinking about the importance of relationships and how we can strengthen them. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how to strengthen your relationship with the woman in your life, and today I want to address strengthening relationships with your important man! My friend recently finished The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, and found it enlightening. Although some of the ideas in the book are outdated, there were some solid ideas that I think are worth expanding on!
The premise of Dr. Schlessinger‘s book is that men are simple creatures and have some basic needs. When these needs are addressed, a man will feel valued in his relationship. The needs most important to men are:
- Direct communication: Men and women often differ here. While some women may have difficulty expressing what they want or need, men generally tend to communicate directly, and they want the same in return. Tell your man exactly what you are thinking, what you need, what you are upset by, what you like about him, etc. Just…SAY it!
- Respect: Being respected is a basic human right and need. Men thrive off of it even more than women. A man wants to know his opinions are valued and considered. He wants to work hard and earn your respect and admiration.
- Appreciation: Often I hear women commenting that their male partner does not appreciate the cooking, cleaning, and children rearing that they do. Dr. Laura has a good response to this. She says, “…how often do you thank him for working and for what he does to contribute to your household?” Something to consider. In the same way that you want to feel appreciated and important, your man does, too. Thank him for what he does. Let him know how important his actions are to your family.
- Food: “The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” While this line is recently attributed to the Disney movie, The Princess and the Frog, the truth remains. Feed your man. Feed him well! Make his favorite meals and/or treats as a way to express your love and appreciation. This simple act will go a long way!
- Good Lovin’: Receiving and giving physical affection is important to men. This may or may not include sex. My male clients have taught me that this is commonly how men feel loved and express their love. Ask your man today what kinds of physical affection he likes. Have a conversation about how to safely give and receive in this area.
I hope that this list of needs has inspired you to make some small changes to better meet the needs of the man in your life! While it is not reasonable to expect, or be expected, to be the perfect partner, we can do more of what our male partners enjoy in order to connect with them. Dr. Laura says, “In order for a wife to do [this], she’s got to tune out of herself and tune in to him.” This “tuning in” to your man will allow you to connect on a meaningful level to him, which will then motivate him to fulfill your needs. At a time when we are all craving connection and closeness with those we love, I invite you to do so. Make it happen. Connect with the men you love most by communicating directly, showing respect and appreciation, and feeding him–both literally and figuratively. Should you need any additional guidance, please do not hesitate to contact me today or schedule a session here!
Melissa Cluff is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in North Texas, providing face-to-face and telehealth therapy options to clients in Texas.
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