Today’s Marriage Monday is brought to us by SHAUNTI FELDHAHN, a wife and mom first, as well as a popular speaker and best-selling author. After receiving a graduate degree from Harvard, Shaunti started out on Wall Street, but now applies her analytical experience in a totally different way. Today, Shaunti is a social researcher investigating the most important things we all need to know about the most important people in our lives – the little changes that have big impacts in our lives, marriages, families and workplace relationships.
Her eye-opening books, including For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, and For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women (co-authored with husband Jeff), have sold more than two million copies in 22 languages.
Shaunti is a popular Hearts at Home workshop speaker at the 2013 Hearts at Home conferences.
Let’s just close the door and have a girls’-only conversation about men, okay?
Girls, I have realized over the years that we are so good at relationships in so many ways – and so clueless in others! In particular, we can sometimes be completely unaware of some really key ways to think. I was shocked when I started doing this research 10 years ago and discovered just how much I didn’t know that I didn’t know, about what was most important to my husband, and why.
Whether or not you’re married, or dating (or want to be dating!), or the mother of a son, here’s some simple surprises I’ve found over the years that will make a big difference once you know them.
1) Did you know men are secretly insecure and need your affirmation?
Although most men exude an aura of control and confidence, they are often hiding a deep inner uncertainty and insecurity: “am I any good at what I do? Am I a good husband? father? businessman?” And they worry that their inadequacies will be found out. In fact, my surveys found that no matter how secure they look on the outside, nearly three-fourths of men admitted to being insecure about others’ opinion of them. To compensate for this insecurity in the workplace, a man may feel the need to work long hours to help him appear as if he is ‘on the ball’. The idea of someone thinking he can’t cut it is humiliating to a man and is a feeling every man wants to avoid at all costs. This internal struggle coupled with the long hours can wear them down emotionally which then explains why at home they might be tired or short-fused. Moreover, the feeling of performance anxiety doesn’t just end when they get home. Many men feel just as inadequate in their own homes as they do at work. And while they want to be good spouses, just as they feel insecure at work, they also secretly worry that they don’t know how to succeed at being a good husband, father, and provider. The moral of the story is, ladies…Affirm, affirm, affirm. Affirmation of his efforts is everything. Your man, above all else, needs to feel that you believe in him.
2) As a result, did you know that your respect is more important to him than your love?
-The male need for respect and affirmation – especially from his woman – is so hardwired and so critical that most men would rather feel unloved than disrespected or inadequate. In fact, roughly 75% of the men interviewed would choose respect over love. Read that again – woah! What this means is: If a man feels disrespected, he is going to feel unloved. If you want to love your man in the way he needs to be loved, then you need to ensure that he feels your respect most of all. It’s not enough to think it, you must show it. We hold incredible power and responsibility in our hands. We have the ability to either build up or tear down our men. We can choose to demonstrate respect and choose not to demonstrate disrespect…especially in public.
3) Did you know that sex is more of an emotional need for him than a physical one?
Sex. Believe it or not, it’s not just physical – its emotional. As we mentioned earlier, men have a secret feeling of inadequacy. Making love reassures them that you find him desirable. This reassurance gives him the strength and well-being needed to face the world with confidence.
The real driving force behind the ever constant pressure for sex isn’t necessarily the physical act as we often think. Instead, the more important male need is to feel sexually wanted and desired. In fact, 97% of all men interviewed felt that ‘getting enough sex’ wasn’t, by itself, enough – they also need to feel sexually desired by their wives. In fact, your lack of desire actually affects his sense of well-being and confidence. It’s important to realize that sex is essential to his feeling of being loved and desired by you and is critical to counteract their stress, their fears, and their loneliness.
In all these things – realize it is so important to choose to love him in the way HE needs to feel loved, and know that you’re responding to a tender heart that is just hiding behind all that testosterone!
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