By Lanesha Townsend
Yes, both men and women can be guilty of things that not only make a harmonious union more of a challenge, but sometimes even sabotage the whole relationship.
That said, there are some very male-specific habits and behaviors that many women agree need to be worked on…not only for women’s happiness, not only to strengthen the beautiful union you’re trying to build together, but even to help both of you be healthier.
“Over time, negative feelings in a relationship that aren’t addressed can lead to physical and psychological problems,” says Silver Spring, Md.-based psychologist Gloria Vanderhorst, PhD. These problems can include stress, anxiety and depression.
Here are some of the top behaviors that wives tend to be concerned with the most:
1. Being too self-focused when it comes to sex.
In the bedroom, many men overlook, ignore, or assume what their wives need to feel comfortable and get turned on. While going from zero to sixty in just a few minutes isn’t as much of a challenge for men, women’s bodies tend to work a little differently, and therefore need more pre-sex attention and time to truly get in the mood.
In addition, men often assume that sex all by itself is a demonstration of closeness; however, in order to enjoy sex more, women generally need to feel more emotionally connected to a man…prior to sex.
Next time: Prior to turning the lights down low, ask your wife what puts her in the mood, how she’s feeling, and what makes her feel special and sexy. Then, make an effort to do more of those things more often.
2. Not understanding her feelings and listening enough.
Instead of listening to their wives, men often go into “fix-it” mode, analyzing the situation, but overlooking what she’s really trying to say. Women want to feel that their spouse is actively engaged in the conversation…not just trying to solve problems.
“Empathy is the most important part of any relationship,” says psychologist Albert Maslow, PhD. “It’s the ability to recognize and share someone else’s feelings. Women want their feelings to be understood and validated. Men have to discover this.”
Next time: Listen to your wife, talk about how she’s feeling, and demonstrate an interest in what she’s saying, not just the facts of the problem at hand.
3. Assuming the “king of the castle” role
Consciously or unconsciously, men assign themselves the leadership role in the relationship, when actually, a couple’s relationship really needs to be one of shared leadership. Some men don’t get that being a man doesn’t always mean taking charge.
“They try to get what they want by being dominant,” Maslow says. “But it’s not about making demands or trying to overpower her. Women will pull away from that.”
For example, one common mistake that men often make is making decisions that affect the household without consulting with their spouse first, such as making a large purchase.
“Making big purchases such as buying a car without first consulting your wife is a huge no-no,” Vanderhorst says. In fact, she ranks it second only to infidelity when it comes to marriage-busting mistakes.
Next time: Acknowledge that marriage is a democracy, not a monarchy. Show your spouse the respect she deserves by being willing to compromise, and discuss matters that affect the household with your wife…before making decisions.
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