We all know marriage is an equal partnership. But the man can actually make or break that relationship.
Dr. Liz Hale shares how to help your husband gain a stronger emotional intelligence.
Key to a Lasting Marriage: Emotionally Intelligent Husbands
What men do in a relationship is, by a wide margin, the crucial factor that separates a great relationship from a failed one.
This does not mean that a woman doesn’t need to do her part, BUT, the data proves that a man’s actions are the key variable that determines whether a relationship succeeds or fails which is ironic since most relationships books are written by women, for women.
This is really good news for men! Because while they lament that women are complicated (and we are) and that they don’t know why women act the way they do or think the way they do or talk the way they do, the truth is that it’s what men do and how they think and talk and act that matters most!
Talk about empowering!
Men. Matter. Immensely.
Across the board, men matter to their wife and children. Men are the crucial variable in the success or failure of relationships. They are also a crucial variable in the success of a family.
What’s the biggest complaint women have about men that would be good for men to understand?
In the research, women have two major complaints:
- He is never there for me
- There isn’t enough intimacy & connection
And to be fair, what do men complain about women most?
- There’s too much fighting
- Not enough sex
The key? When men go first, they get what they want: less fighting and more sex.
The best piece of advice for men?
Baby, When You Hurt, I Listen. Even if you’re hurting because of me
Men, memorize the mindset of “Baby, when you’re hurting the whole world stops and I listen!” The acronym, ATTUNE, developed by Dr. John Gottman (“The Man’s Guide to Women,” by John & Julie Gottman) will help you remember:
What’s the #1 cause of conflicts?
Men dismissing their wife’s negative emotions. Men dismiss a woman’s emotions every time they try and fix them, distract her from them, minimize them, mock them or ignore them altogether.
If a man wants to win with a woman’s heart, there’s only one response to her negative emotions: “Oh goody; here we go!” The perfect replacement to “oh no; here we go again.”
Emotions are opportunities for intimacy.
Men who learn how to provide that emotional container of safety for a woman while she’s expressing negative emotions ultimately get what they want: less fighting and more sex!
When their wife has emotions, i.e., sadness, anger, disappointment, jealousy, loneliness, insecurity or shame, actually imagine clapping and rubbing their hands together, saying to themselves, “Oh goody…I’m about to be her hero!”
Men who are great at being in relationships try and find out what’s going on underneath the complaint or criticism:
- What do you need?
- What are you concerned about?
- What are you feeling?
When men can be there in the middle of a women’s emotions, it builds trustworthiness. Why is that so important?
You Can Count on Me
#1 thing women look for in a man: Trustworthiness.
When I need you will you be there? Are you accessible? And reliable? Be who you say you are; do what you say you’re going to do. Be reliable, accountable and show up as you are.
A woman wants to feel safe with her man.
Men are often bigger than women and their voices are deeper and louder. If you use your voice or size to intimidate, a woman will never feel safe with you.
When children are in the mix, sometimes men feel like they’re on the outside looking in.
We’re in This Together
When men become fathers, they lose sleep, they lose freedom, and they feel they lose their wives to someone else. And that someone else cries all the time, needs to be constantly held and has worse bathroom habits than they do! But a woman loves this human being is a way that is deep, sacred – and most importantly – not to be messed with. It gives her superhuman strength. Superhuman instincts. And a superhuman drive to connect and protect. She is going to move heaven and earth to make sure her children thrive and survive, and have everything they need.
Some men go through feelings of being left out or feeling that they’re competing with a baby or children for their partner’s time and attention. Remember that attachment and love hormone, oxytocin? It’s powerful. And each time your wife holds, cuddles, nurses, smells and looks at your baby, her oxytocin levels increase. She’s bonding with your infant; it’s how our species survives and thrives.
If your feelings are hurt because your wife is not cuddling, touching or obsessively sniffing the top of your head – it’s understandable, and even common.
And the only solution is to roll up your sleeves and develop your own bond with each baby and child. What your wife needs most is your true partnership in raising your baby. Her need for you (no matter how obsessed she is with this new bundle of joy) is greater than ever.
Fathers can be absent even when they’re present.
Fathers turn out to be the most critical factor in the health and success of children across a wide range of influences.
One of the key ways a man can love a woman is by loving her and supporting her role as a mother, and loving and nurturing her children.
There’s only one way for a man to respond to the questions: “Do I look fat in this?”
You Look Beautiful in Everything You Wear
A woman’s desire (for her man) is dependent on her feeling desirable. Lovemaking starts long before you get into bed – through a man’s words, smile and loving gaze. The greatest sex organ a woman has is her mind.
Men, make your wife feel your attraction to her, your passion for her, your devotion to her and you will be a great lover before you even begin.
Love her whole body with your mind, your eyes, your words, your heart and your touch.
Women are a man’s connection to the world and to life itself. You may struggle at times to understand women, but understanding them and loving them is one of the greatest adventures life has to offer.
Men. Matter. Immensely.