Creating meaningful relationships takes effort…

If there were just a few proven ways to increase the chances of a relationship succeeding, the 9 tips provided in this post would probably be among them. Taken from research and evidence based practice we understand that men and women often have the same needs but are expressed differently.

…Women reach out in ways that sometimes are perplexing to the average man and this post is an attempt to show men what that reaching out might look like and, how to respond appropriately and what traps to avoid.

…While ignoring just one of these points will not determine the success or failure of your relationship put together they present an overwhelming case for separation. While this post is directly mainly towards men, women will gain a lot from reading it also. So applying these suggestions to your relationship will improve the communication and in all likelihood create a better partnership:

1. Listen to what she is saying 

The rule here is to pay attention to her attempts to connect with you. This is in effect what she is doing. Your partner is attempting to make contact and a connection with you. She may be talking about her workday and describing ‘who said what and where and how’, how her boss is overlooking her contributions and so on. It critical that you empathise with her here. Turn from whatever else is distracting you and give her your full attention. Leave the phone down, turn off the box and focus. When she sees that you are listening she feels connected. And one last thing’ try not to offer any solutions at this time. Just be there and listen.

2. Acknowledge what she is saying

When you acknowledge that her opinions are valued, or at the very least she is adding constructively to the conversation then this really shows that you care. Often when men don’t want to listen or acknowledge her contribution they clam up and attempt to remain silent until she has lost interest in talking to you. This is called stonewalling and research shows that stonewalling can contribute to a failed marriage.

3. Respect her opinion and influence

Following on from point 2 you must allow yourself to be influenced by her opinions and suggestions. Getting into the habit of bouncing ideas off each other and validating what she is saying will be the beginning of mutual understanding and gratitude.

4. Compliment her on what she is wearing

Its no secret that woman dress for other women but really appreciate your opinion and being validated. So before she even has the chance to say “How do I look”? Tell her. “Honey you look beautiful in that dress”. Don’t make stuff up but equally don’t hold back. A genuine comment that is kind and sensitive will get you in the good books.

5. Approach intimacy with her needs in mind

Your partner has a need for intimacy just as you have a need for sex. Learn to give her that intimacy by being kind, thoughtful and caring. Your desire for sex will morph into intimacy and both partners’ need’s will be met. There are countless books, DVD’s websites out there that can help you create that intimacy but why start by asking her what she wants.

6. Stop putting her down or belittling her

With just a few kind words you can lift her up and make her feel special. A number of potentially bad habits such as comparing her to other women should be stopped immediately. Research shows that to create a meaningful relationship there needs to be 5 positive comments made to your partner for every one bad comment made. One very powerful way to do this is find things you are grateful for in the relationship and tell her. Telling her she is a great mum and caring neighour is good for the soul.

7. Showing displays of empathy

The order of the day here is to display kind tender affections to your wife and allowing her to offload junk from the day. Empathy is about identifying and understanding where she is coming from and how she feels at that moment. Doing this will demonstrate to her that you are on the same side and you ‘have her back’.

8. Make Apologising a habit, and mean it

Saying sorry for messing up equates to admitting you are only human after all. It does not by any stretch mean you are inadequate.” If you make an apology then you are admitting that you value the relationship because you care for her. Keep in mind that avoiding having to make an apology means justifying your own behaviour, and it shows. An apology means something quite different to a woman than a man. Making an apology shows that you are taking responsibility for your part of the relationship.

9. Always make a genuine attempt to discuss issues.

When she says “We can’t go on like this” she is saying something totally different to what you are hearing. What she is saying is that the way you argue has to change, not “This is the end of the relationship”. So don’t panic and refer to point 1. Listen! Women will often engage in an argument, not to win, but to connect. It’s their way of saying ‘lets talk about this awkward situation’. They want to thrash it out with you not against you.

Following these simple rules can increase the love between you and go along way to ensuring that you have a long and fruitful relationship. But if you want to avoid feelings of remorse, guilt, blame and shame then it would be advisable to consider these points.

As a male counsellor I am committed to helping men create better relationships with the women they love. Making deeply held connections with your partner not only strengthens the relationship but creates an atmosphere of love and companionship.