In our last post, we looked at six often unspoken elements that are critical to a man’s happiness in a marriage. Today, we’ll be looking at the second half of our list.
Remember, these factors are likely important to all people – and every individual has their own priorities and needs in relationship. The items on this list (and in Part 1), however, are things men typically look for, and when they’re missing from a marriage, it can spell serious dissatisfaction for the husband.
Let’s get right into it!
1. No Judgment
Because many men have a tough time expressing their weaknesses, concerns, and shortcomings, it’s important for them to be able to open up to their wives without fear of judgment or harsh criticism. It’s a matter of trust and safety. If he doesn’t feel like he can open up to you, the connection you share isn’t as deep as it could (and should) be.
2. He Feels Like A Priority
This is a big point for men and women alike, though men might be less likely to voice their concerns. In a marriage, making your spouse a priority is critical. This could be as small as listening when they speak (instead of paying attention to your phone or the TV), or as large as forming your plans around their schedule or making decisions with them in mind.
If your husband doesn’t feel like a priority, he might reciprocate by lowering you (consciously or not) on his priority list – and that’s a recipe for a vicious cycle that can rip apart a marriage.
3. You Express Your Attraction
We all want to feel desirable, and for a man, having a woman who knows and expresses her sexuality and attraction to him is a huge attraction. No matter how attracted he might be to you, no matter how much he might want to initiate sexual activity at any given time, it’s a huge turn on when you do the initiating.
If he’s always the one making moves, always the one spurring on the sexual component of the relationship, it can eventually become a point of annoyance – and worse, a turn off.
4. He Doesn’t Feel Belittled
When you get into disagreements, and you surely will at some point, it’s important to keep things on-topic. Perhaps even more importantly, it’s smart to stay away from insulting one another. Men can be prideful, and if they feel belittled, made fun of, or personally attacked, the natural response is to either retaliate, or clam up and stop listening to what you have to say. In such instances, the disagreement stalls out, nothing gets resolved, and you’re worse off than you were before.
5. You Aren’t Keeping Score
Just as men can fulfill some of the stereotypes we’re talking about here, women sometimes fall into the stereotypical habits of gossiping, being “catty,” etc. – and for most men, that’s a point of irritation. It may be with him or with others, but if he notices you keeping score of who did what to whom, holding grudges, talking the like the world is out to get you, and complaining about the little inconveniences you encounter, he’s going to feel like everything you do together is subject to complaint.
This makes the marriage (and daily life within it) feel inflexible, perpetually negative, and frankly – exhausting. Part of this comes from the male habit of wanting to “fix” problems, but if yours seem innumerable, he’ll feel powerless and overwhelmed.
If you aren’t doing these things, though, the marriage feels flexible, open to new experiences, and a lot more relaxed.
6. He Feels Respected
Last but not least: the issue of respect. This is a topic open to plenty of interpretation (and can certainly be blown out of proportion)… We’re not talking about automatic, authoritarian respect here, where his word is law and you owe him unquestioning allegiance… That’s a totally unhealthy way to share a relationship.
You should, however, be respecting each other as individuals – with your own opinions, thoughts, intelligence, and experiences. That means listening to what each other has to say, considering every opinion as valid, and not brushing off concerns or minimizing the way the other person feels.
Part of this is just basic human decency, and the other part definitely is a portion of typical male ego. If he feels disrespected, it can feel emasculating or just make him angry… neither of which are a good place for a husband to be in.
We’ve focused these past two articles on men specifically, but each of these points can be taken into account for both men and women. To truly maintain a strong marriage, you should be well aware of these potential pitfalls – especially when you are in the midst of disagreements or when things already feel tense. Awareness is the first step, action is the next!
Talk about this stuff with your spouse, be aware of what pushes each other’s buttons, and work together to make your life together happy and healthy!
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com