Relationships are hard. Monogamy is questionable. Life is frustratingly unpredictable. I would argue that while sex hormones do affect aspects of our personalities, they should not be used as excuses for not fulfilling the needs of a relationship. It’s important for all of us be the best lover we can be, because committed love is no joke. Unfortunately, many men are not raised with an understanding of how to nurture and serve. It’s a different form of protection, and maybe the most important kind. Here are 8 suggestions s for men in relationships who are serious about themselves and their partnerships.
There’s a reason that support sits at the top of this list. What point is it to share your life with someone if they’re not supporting your journey in life? This isn’t just about financial support as many men have been taught to believe and invest their time in. It’s important for men to support their partners, whether that means reading the rough draft of a term paper at 3am, driving to the airport at midnight, attending the conference, or encouraging a dream that seems way to big to succeed. Relationships should grow, so should the individuals in them.
Life is sacred and love is a gift. There are millions of people in the world, living very different experiences in very different places. The fact that you and your partner even shared a glance is pure magick. It’s important for you to remember this and bring it into the relationship. You should honor your time together, honor the chance to be in one another’s light, and honor the individual that your partner is.
Recognizing the little things alongside the big deeds is so important. This doubles in importance if you live with your partner. Most of us who have spent time in long term relationships know what it’s like to feel unrecognized or have our efforts go unappreciated. Oh, did you just come home to a shinier floor? Recognize the work. Oh, did your partner just ace a test? Recognize their hard work. Oh, does your partner seem like they had a terrible day? Recognize that terrible day. This really requires an ability to be conscious. Look for the little things and don’t forget to talk about them.
4. Listening skills
I get it. There are days when you just can’t. You’re a human being, we get it. However, as a general rule, you should listen to your partner. This is a skill, especially for men. It’s going to take time to sharpen your ability to just sit there in silence as your partner spews and spews whatever they need to spew. You’re not going to get lost in your mind. You’re going to sit there and take in everything. You don’t need to pressure yourself to have incredible advice or a response that is going to make everything better. Just your ability to disconnect from whatever distraction is available to you (I’m looking at you, iPhones) and really focus in on what your partner is saying is going to do wonders for your relationship. I promise.
This one. I feel for you. Sure, maybe more women are better at communicating than men. Or maybe we just communicate differently. Or maybe we only communicate through text. I don’t know what it is, but we need to communicate clearly in relationships. If you’re feeling something, bring it up. If you’re missing them, say it. If they said something that hurt you, call it out. If you wish they would’ve joined you for dinner instead of drinks with friends again, say it- but say it from the heart. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and respond with honesty.
I want to make it very clear that when I say reciprocate, I am not talking about keeping score. There is nothing worse than a relationship that constantly brings up who did what and when. The balance in a relationship, especially when it comes to chores, acts of service or sex is so important. It shouldn’t have to be argued about. The reality is that of course, sometimes it will. But we shouldn’t wait around for someone to ask us to do something or expect a deed in return because of what we’ve already done.
Life is long, the world is big and your partner is influenced by the way you choose to exist. It will do both of you a service to engage in activities and explore new things that excite you! I find that many of my female friends in hetero-relationships are left with the grunt of work when it comes to planning, scheduling and executing fun things to do. SO, get online, find fun things to do and make your partner go out and do them with you.
Women can be deep. Their thoughts run wild. They don’t always know if they should express them. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself just wishing they would throw a screaming tantrum because their silence feels like a slow, steady burn. You’d rather see the flames, right? Listen, I’m not saying it’s right, but sometimes, you’ll have to ask how they’re doing. Also, you might want to ask about their day, or how their mom is doing, or what the book they’re reading is about. Asking questions and engaging in conversation is so important. Get on it.
9. Love yourself
RuPaul says, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else?” AMEN, brother. Men often aren’t taught how to truly love themselves, so when they go to love someone else, they fall short. The time you spend alone, hopefully before you enter a relationship should be spent really learning how to love yourself. It means loving yourself enough to understand what your needs are, what really fulfills you, what makes you feel loved and happy, what kind of people you want to have in your life, and what you deserve. Spend some time pulling back the layers of what you’ve been taught about who you are and explore what remains. When you know the value of yourself, you’ll see it in your partner, and you’ll be better prepared to love them like you both deserve.
This list is not a one size fits all, but it’s a good general guide. Every relationship is different. Cultures have specific needs embedded in them. Some people need special attention. The best thing to do is discuss one another’s needs together so that you can really work on understanding your partner. I can almost guarantee better sex, but there is no money back guarantee.