Ladies…let’s be honest…on Valentine’s Day, our gender comes out on top. Most of pop-culture’s energy is geared at the women being the main recipients of the planning, attention, gifts and thoughtfulness of February 14. While that’s all fine and good, and I hope you are appreciated on this day and the 365 other days this year, I’d like to take a minute to discuss how we, as women, can love our men well on this special occasion. Here is a list of ways you can give your man the kind of adoration he really needs from you on Valentine/s Day.
- Be extra gracious in appreciating his efforts to love on you. Even if it’s the restaurant you go to all the time. Even if it’s not your favorite type of flower. Even if you’re on a diet and he brought chocolates. Be as thrilled with his efforts as you were when you started dating. Even if you question how much he’s trying! In this way, you are reminding him that he can make you happy AND increasing the odds that he’ll try again soon. Dig deep and judge not!
- Go out of your way to make his day smooth and convenient for him. Men tend to interpret this as a sign of respect and care. Brew his coffee. Pack his lunch. Have his favorite shirt ready. Find his keys before he asks. This type of “help” is often what men anticipate from a “help mate.” And, as in a lot of things, getting back to basics never hurts.
- Show him preference. Whether it’s preference above yourself, above your kids, above housework, above your employer…however you can do it…make it clear that you value him first. There are a million tiny ways to do this and I’m sure a few come to mind even now. It’s a small shift that I guarantee he’ll notice. This tends to be a need that men have that they find difficult to articulate, but that comes up in counseling quite often as something they deeply desire.
- Mind your tone and curb the criticism. While having a sharp tone and being critical are entirely different behaviors, they seem to erode men’s motivation in a similar way. Both are habits that require awareness and self-control to break, and if you struggle with these, you won’t see transformation in just one day. But if you make an effort to increase your awareness (consider inviting him in on your new goal!) and softening things up a bit, your energy will most certainly be noticed. I feel myself stepping up to a soapbox, but I’ll save the rest for a different post! The bottom line is: men just want their women to be happy. A very heavy (un-motivating) weight falls on them if they sense your disapproval. A great Valentines Day gift to your husband is the knowledge that he still has the ability to make you happy, even in his imperfections. Having a gracious tone and saving your complaints for another day will go a long way to pass the message along. (If you struggle with tone and criticism, I’d love to talk to you about it! Set up a time to come in so we can figure out how to get your needs met without resorting to these unnecessary communication tactics.)
- Consider his love language when picking out a “gift” for him. What do you see him doing the most for those he cares about? Acts of service? Quality time? Physical affection? Gifts? Words of affirmation? A combination? Whatever you see him doing often for those he loves, do something thoughtful for him that fits his preferred category. This will ensure that your efforts are not wasted on something that would be a big deal to you but doesn’t register much for him at all (and thus avoid the Great Valentine’s Day Fight of 2016).
Well there you have it. A great list on how to turn the tables and make this Valentine’s Day one where deep respect and appreciation are communicated. Those gifts go far beyond a 24 hour period and anything you could buy at the store! Best of luck in all your Valentine’s Day endeavors!