As a man, it always amazes me how much power wives have, while they feel totally powerless. It may be our physical strength, our ability to puff up and strut like a rooster, or our inability to hear anything we don't want to hear, but something has got many women convinced they hold no sway over the thoughts and actions of their husbands. With the exception of guys with addictions and mental health issues, we're easy to satisfy and even...control. Guys, if you're reading, I'm sorry, but I'm gonna' tell 'em. Women, if you're willing to let us think we're big, and important, and sexy, and in charge, there is no limit to your power.
Marriage Isn't Always Give And Take: For most women, it's give and give and give and... Now, I know that sounds like a complaint you hear from many women but it's actually a position of power and importance. The one with the ability to give is the one with the power. The one with the need to be always given to is the one who is powerless. If you doubt this, look at the difference between needy and generous in every other area of life. Look at how people clamor around leaders and decision-makers, trying to be given things. Now, don't let your husband read this or he will try to take power by being more giving and generous to you. Instead, begin to understand that the more he comes to you for this and that in his life, the more he's recognizing your position of power over him. Let's keep this secret between you and I, because I don't want Marsha (my wife) finding out...she doesn't know why I'm giving.
Women Can Make Men Do Anything: The power of giving praise is probably the most under-used weapon in the woman's marriage arsenal. Many of them fall into the habit of criticizing what they don't want their husbands to do. This focuses his attention on what you want him to give up, and worse, sets him up to defend his, now, favorite thing, to the death (figuratively). You want him to do what you want and love you for it? Catch him doing what you want, and praise him for it. His confidence and willingness to please will grow along with his affection for you. Ignore the things you don't like, unless they're illegal or immoral.
Here's the deal...You'll get less of what you ignore and more of what you praise. Not only that, if your husband is anything like me, he'll begin looking for things he can do to get your praise. When you think about it from my perspective, as a man, you can understand why this works. Marsha is the most important human I've ever met. If I happen to do something that catches her praise after more than 20 years of marriage, I feel like I can do anything...and I want to earn that praise again and again. On the other hand, if I catch one of her "looks," I feel terrible and unwilling to try again and risk "the look." So, find reasons to give him praise and watch the whole marriage atmosphere change.
The Art Of Asking Questions: Have you ever been accused of nagging? This is something I learned from Marsha. Now, it took me about 10 years of marriage before I realized what was happening. She never told me what she wanted me to do. Nor did she tell me I hadn't done it after she asked me for the umpteenth time. It honestly never seemed like she was assigning or directing me to do anything, yet, here I was again, doing not what I wanted to do, but what she wanted me to do...and liking it. How did she do this? ...by asking me if I wanted to. For example, "Do you want to take the garbage out now or wait until later?" "Did you want to go shopping with me this weekend?" "When do you think is a good time for you to take the car in?" If we were on a level playing field, my answer would have been no or never to all of them, but she asks with such deference that I feel compelled to give an affirmative reply.
I hate to admit my weakness, but this works even when I know it's being done. Why does it work? Because genuinely asking makes him feel like you care about his schedule. It makes him feel like he's in charge and has a choice. It makes him want to cooperate and do whatever you asked of him because it's important enough to you, to ask, and he's important enough to you, to be asked.
Men Don't Understand Intimacy: Face it, most men think intimacy is something that happens after foreplay and before sleep. Still, if you're patient and a little sneaky, you can communicate feelings as long as he doesn't know that's what's happening. For instance, tell him how the negative actions of others make you feel, not his negative actions. That way he won't feel cornered and accused. Ask what he thinks, not how he feels. You'll often get how he feels couched in man code, like "That was unfair, foul, cheating...meaning...I feel like I'm being taken advantage of." Or..."That doesn't make any sense, that's stupid, that's illogical...meaning...I feel stupid because I don't understand what you're trying to say." If you're patient with him, in a few years he may actually learn to express genuine feelings and be truly intimate. Of course, by then you'll know all his man codes and won't need him to use your terms to share genuine intimacy.
Women, you don't have to keep score in a constant attitude of give and take. Instead, by operating in give and give, you can have a powerful influence on your marriage relationship. By understanding a few things that make men tick, you can change the whole atmosphere at home, from one of bickering and sniping, to one of cooperation and generosity. Instead of thinking yourself a powerless adversary, use the power you have to become an influential advocate.
I want you to know there is someone who can help, who loves you and wants only the best for you. That someone is God. If you want help from God, just click on Help Me God.
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