Ladies be warned: you are about to enter the inner workings of the male brain.
There is one thing that is more important to a man than your love. And unfortunately, most men feel they are not getting enough of it.
I know what you’re thinking, sex. It’s always sex, right? But no, I am not talking about sex here.
The ONE thing men want more than your love is your respect.
Why is respect so important to a man?
No matter how self-assured men may appear on the outside, on the inside they are all secretly harboring massive insecurities about not being worthy enough – not having what it takes to be a ‘real man’.
Underneath that confident exterior, your man may be feeling helpless, dumb, ugly, weak, or boring. And he’s looking to you to either confirm or deny his fears.
A lot of how he feels inside comes from how he sees himself in your eyes.
Did you know that a recent survey showed over 40% of men feel unappreciated by their significant others or families?
If he is not feeling respected by you, whose opinion matters to him most, how is he meant to gain the respect of anyone else?
For him to feel loved and worthy as a man, he needs to feel respected by you. And for him to feel respected, he needs for you to show him your respect. BOTH in times when you are happy with him, AND when you are feeling frustrated.
But don’t we all want respect?
Love and respect are important to all of us in a relationship, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that women usually do not realize just how important respect is to a man, and how it affects his feelings of love and commitment towards YOU.
Your man does want your love. It’s just that if he had to choose between the two, it would be less soul-destroying for him to lose your love than your respect.
Which can be hard for women to understand, when generally the number one thing we are looking out for in a relationship are signs of our man’s love.
But doesn’t he already know I respect him?
You may think that you already respect your man, but you could be really surprised to find out that he might not always see it that way. Because he needs for you to actually show him.
But the hard thing is, he won’t actually be able to tell you when he is feeling a lack of respect. Instead, what you will see is ‘unnecessary’ displays of anger in a minor disagreement, or being given the cold shoulder for seemingly no reason. Ring any bells?
No matter how much you love your man, be wary that there may be times where you are showing him disrespect without even being aware of it. Let’s look at how you can consciously avoid doing this now, and instead start showing him your respect (and your love) in a big way.
1. Trust his judgment
This is a biggie. Trusting his judgment is all about affirming his decisions without questioning them, within reason of course! This may mean taking things into perspective letting little things slide – will it really matter if his way is a bit more complicated than your way?
Unfortunately, all too often we tend to question his decisions even without realizing it. We may think we are being helpful in offering an alternative or asking him to explain his reasoning, but really what we are doing is deflating his ego through self-doubt.
Always assume he is doing things for the best reasons, rather than jumping straight to the critique. We all make mistakes, but if you allow him to handle his with grace he will be forever grateful.
Try adding these phrases to your everyday vocabulary:
“That does sound like the best way”
“I trust you”
Of course, if you do strongly disagree with a judgment-call of your partner’s, you have every right to voice your opinion and suggest an alternative. Just try and treat his ego as gently as you can while you do this.
2. Ask him for help and advice
A great way of showing your man that you respect and value his input is by asking for his help and advice.
Although us independent women often want to get things done by ourselves and are perfectly capable of making our own decisions (he knows this perfectly), it can actually be really nice to have the perspective of someone else every once in a while.
“Hey babe, I’ve been having a lot of trouble figuring something out lately, and I could really use your help. What do you think about…?”
Obviously, you don’t want to seem like a damsel in distress who is incompetent of making her own decisions. But try making it a conscious effort to ask your man for his input every once in a while, and be sure to thank him after.
Helping you will make him feel good, and will really boost feelings of closeness in your relationship.
3. Allow him to complete DIY tasks
“That would be so helpful if you could fix that broken tap, sweetie. You’re amazing”.
When something needs to be done at home, don’t call in the professional immediately. It may take your man longer, he may make mistakes along the way, but fixing things himself will give him a real sense of success and worthiness. DIY tasks are something that all men enjoy, so try to leave these challenges open for him.
Don’t worry, if it gets to the point where a professional does need to take a look, your man will arrange this themselves. It just might happen to be when you’re not home.
4. Show your appreciation
“Thank you so much for doing that, honey. I really appreciate it.”
A simple ‘thank you’ can do so much in making your man feel worthy and valued. Better yet, it will make him more likely to continue to do these things in future. Of course, there are multiple ways you can show your appreciation…
5. Acknowledge his success
This is about recognising his achievements, and focusing on acknowledging and rewarding what he has done well, rather than criticising what he hasn’t done.
Saying “I’m proud of you” goes a long way – hearing this will make him feel the same way as you do when you hear “I love you”. I’m not kidding!
6. 5 compliments to every criticism
Research has shown that too much praise can be detrimental to your relationship, just like too much criticism can be. But what is the right ratio?
Well a good rule of thumb according to psychologists is a 5 to 1 ratio. That means that for every time you criticize him, you should be praising him 5 times.
If you find yourself criticizing just as often as you are praising, then you’ll either need to let a lot more things slide (pick your battles), or you need to start noticing more of the positive things he does and actively show this appreciation whenever you can.
7. Show public respect
“Dave was so great with the kids last night”
“Dave got the washing machine going again in just a few minutes!”
“Did you hear about the promotion Dave just got at work? I’m so proud of him”.
There is nothing that will make your man feel more loved than publicly displaying your respect and appreciation for him. You can do this by letting others know how well he did at something, or by talking about a way in which he’s helped you recently. He may try to downplay this or show a little embarrassment, but on the inside he will be beaming.
Please note that the flipside of this, which is also highly important, is to choose to hold your tongue if you disagree with something he says or does in public. Instead, wait until you are in private before you bring it up.
There is nothing that will cut your man more deeply than being criticised or belittled by you in front of his mates. Even that light teasing you thought was funny may actually have felt humiliating for him – always look out for signs he might be feeling uncomfortable.
He will really appreciate it if you save any constructive criticism for later when you’re alone, and will also be a lot more prepared to take in your advice. It’s a win-win.
I hope you enjoyed and gained great value from this post. Please post your comments below.
All the best!
Brooke Ryan, Author