Do you want your man to be more like you? Do you get frustrated because he's not? It may seem as if he's doing it on purpose to make your life difficult. Yet in all likelihood, your man is not trying to drive you crazy. He's just being himself-and he is different from you. He craves your curiosity and wants to be understood. It's worth taking some time to get to know him. He'll act more lovingly when he feels heard, acknowledged, and accepted-and your relationship will improve by leaps and bounds. Heres 7 facts about men to keep in mind:
1. He knows how powerful you are: Your man is well aware of the power you have in his life, even if you don't always realize it yourself. You affect him strongly, and he is responding to you all the time. Naturally, he wants something loving to respond to. When he can't please you, he is crushed. He will probably cover it up really well because he doesn't want you to know how vulnerable he is to you. When he's crushed over and over, he gives up. When you are aware of your power you can afford to be compassionate, and he will respond well to your open heart.
2. He knows he is vulnerable to you and he can't stand it: Your man is very attached to you. In fact, he may be more attached to you than you are to him and this scares him. He's terrified that he can't make you happy and it makes him feel vulnerable. Being vulnerable is very humiliating for your man. Instead of rushing out to save you from enemies, he's trying really hard to please you and failing. What's a man to do? Act macho, of course. The more vulnerable he feels, he more macho he acts. When he says, "I don't care," "It doesn't bother me"...don't believe it. He does care, terribly. He just can't always afford to show it.
3. He is more sensitive than you are: You know how humiliated you feel when you get criticized, especially in public? Multiply that by a hundred and that's how humiliated your man feels. He may not allow you to see his sensitivity because it doesn't fit in with his belief that he needs to be strong. But he is acutely sensitive to your treatment of him. When you criticize him, it means he's failed to be your hero, and this damages his sense of his own manhood. Criticize him in public and you can be sure you will experience the repercussions later. He may laugh along with you, but he will hold it against you for a long time.
4. When he says something twice, it's important: Women have a capacity for dogged persistence when it comes to stating our needs and getting what we want. But men aren't like us when it comes to asking for what they want. If something is really important, he will say it twice. He may not say it again because it's humiliating for him to keep asking. When the subject comes up in six months, he might be upset. You'll say, "If it's that important, why didn't you tell me?" and he'll say, "I did tell you."Oops! 5. When you have something important to say, keep it brief: Since your man is accustomed to relatively brief, succinct communication, it baffles him when you take hours to get your point across. In fact, he probably stops listening after a while because it's overwhelming for him. It's to your benefit to keep important communication as straightforward as possible. He'll be relieved, and will be far more likely to hear you.
6. Your man forgets: Your man doesn't forget things all the time, but he probably forgets quite a bit-especially the things you really wish he'd remember. In reality, he probably remembers more things than you realize. It's just that you tend to notice when he forgets, and you might not notice when he remembers. Because you're only noticing the times he doesn't remember, you might start to think maybe he's forgetting on purpose. 7. He wants you to be happy: Your man wants you to feel good in his presence because he knows his life is easier when you are happy. When you feel good, he feels like a hero. Your happiness is a gift you can give him. All you have to do is allow yourself to be pleased and your man is thrilled. Then he wants to do more to please you because he loves it when you're happy. Being "pleasable" is not necessarily an inherited skill. You might have to work at it a little. That means letting him do what he wants to do to make you happy and accepting his efforts graciously. When you allow him to make you happy, he will do anything for you. See that he is giving it to you with love, no matter what it is. Thank him. It becomes a delightful circle of give and take that benefits you, him and the relationship.
Marilyn Graham and Maureen Walsh are authors of How to Be Cherished (2003) for which this article was based. They are also authors of There is No Prince and the The Female Power Within. For more information on their workshops, support groups, retreats, or other books, please visit www.Lifeworksgroup.com or contact: Life Works, Inc., 55 Fifth Avenue, Penthouse, New York, NY 10003; 212-741-8787, 877-741-8787