This May we stop to honor Mothers.   But rather than speak to women, this month’s article is written to men.   If you are a woman and you like this article, share it with every man you know.  Next month, to celebrate Father’s Day, and honor men, we’ll flip the tables and speak to my women readers. 

I’d like to invite you men to learn the best way to honor the women in your lives- your mother, your spouse or significant other, and your daughters.   In my coaching practice I have listened to women share frustrations about how the men in their lives are “showing up” every day, or not.  So here are three major themes to help you improve your relationships.  We could study each theme for months, or years, but for today let’s start with some basics.

#1.   Listen Without an Agenda
Men listen to fix, or to solve, while women share for the sake of sharing.    It’s not your fault. You are hard wired to do this and it takes some focus, practice, and intention to change it.   This tendency is often made worse by a difference in communication styles.   Have you ever been listening to a woman share and been thinking “What’s the point?” or “Can you skip the details and get to the point here?”   We women love the details and our stories are not often linear, taking us from point A to point B.  Some of us talk in circles and we go off on tangents.   This is where you need to practice a new “muscle” to change the goal of your listening.  Instead of trying to diagnose the problem and offer a solution, make it your goal to listen, to show understanding, and to improve your relationship.

#2.   Meet Her in Her World
Guys, you may not realize it, but women have been meeting you in “your” world for centuries.   All one needs to do is observe female attendance at sporting events and action movies to get an understanding of this.  It’s not to say that women don’t or can’t enjoy these activities.   However, if you look deeply at this phenomenon, you may notice that the motivation behind a woman’s participation in these things is not always driven by her own interest in that activity, but rather her desire to be accepted by her man.  Women have the tendency to subjugate their own interests in order to meet the needs of those around them.  If you disagree, then just try to imagine a world in which you guys went out of your way to embrace, participate and spend your free time doing the things many woman are organically drawn to…crafting, decorating, gardening and romantic comedies.

Making your relationships as much about the people you love as they are about you will come back to you more than you can imagine. So where can you enter HER world and spend time doing the things that SHE loves to do just for the sake of spending time with her?  And, maybe you’ll be the dad who instead of taking his daughter to the car show, ends up in her room dressed up and sitting down for a tea party!

#3.   Intimacy – How to Change your Definition of Foreplay and Score More in the Bedroom
This one applies only to your sweetie, but I think you’ll agree that it’s a topic worth covering.  Many times I hear my female clients talk about sex issues at home.    Issues in the bedroom usually start long before you crawl into bed.  They often stem from a lack of appreciation and a lack of equal responsibility at home.   Guys, you need to realize that “foreplay” doesn’t start ten minutes before you’d like to get busy.   Women need “emotional intimacy” that sparks physical intimacy.   We need to know how much we are appreciated.  And we need you to “show up” around the house and with the kids so we don’t feel like we’re carrying all the weight and responsibility, a sure recipe for resentment.   If you spend time contributing and making us feel as special as you did when you were “courting” us, it will pay handsome rewards for you.

Take Action

While there are great gifts out there – and do not skip getting a gift – the ones below will really matter.

#1.   Conversation – Ask each woman in your life what their needs are and how you could be a better son/partner/father to them.   Do not interrupt.   Do not invalidate.  Do not solve.  Just listen.

#2.   Time – Plan one thing with each key woman in your life that is “her thing” and be 100% present to just being there in her world.

#3.   Intimacy – Tell your sweetie how much she means to you.   Offer to do some extra things around the house and with the kids for a few weeks. Then end the month with a romantic evening or weekend getaway and see if the results are different.

These actions won’t change your relationships overnight.  But starting to adapt this mindset will most certainly change your relationships for good.

And guys, I’d love to hear back from you on how you’ve put this month’s article into practice!