Steve Horsmon exposes the (not so) shocking truth about what men and women really want for Christmas.
It happened to me AGAIN last weekend.
The look on my girlfriend’s face showed more sadness than anger. But she said nothing. She didn’t have to.
She was right. I’ve been doing it more and more lately. Maybe it’s because we’ve logged 4 years together now and I’m getting lazy.
I’d like to think it’s because I’m so busy and I’m good at multitasking. I’m not. Nobody is.
When it happened I was thinking about possible titles for this article, my upcoming client call, how to insert a column in Excel and why was there was a dog driving a car in the commercial on TV?
She, on the other hand, was telling me about the strategy for Christmas travel to her mom’s, what time we would have to leave, who was taking care of the animals and what time we needed to return for a party.
All I heard was a muffled “Wah Wah Wah” like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice.
Trying to recover I looked up and said, “What was that about your mom?”
She said, “Nothing. You’re busy.”
I couldn’t admit that my ability to pay attention to her lost out to a dog driving a car. Being a dog nut, I thought she would understand. But I’d done it once too many times that weekend.
By the look on her face, this was no time to explain or make apologies.
Actions speak louder than words. It was time for action.
Hello, Anybody in There?
Everybody talks about it and nobody is quite sure what it means.
When I set out to write this article, I planned to compile and share two lists of examples of what being present feels like to men and women.
I thought it would be helpful for them to clearly see and understand how wives and husbands experience presence differently in marriage.
I reached out to GMP editor, Heather Gray, for her perspective and counseling experience on how wives secretly talked about feeling their husband’s presence.
She did. I read it. My premise sucked.
It appears we pretty much want the same things. Big surprise there, huh?
Take a look at what Heather said.
Wives Want Their Husbands to Move Through the World With an Awareness of Them
You don’t have to be mind readers but it means everything if you notice your wife’s habits and preferences and move through the world accordingly. Change the channel to her favorite show without her having to ask. Know how she likes her coffee. Notice that she packs the kids lunches every night at 8:00 and do it for her a time or two. Grab her favorite magazine when you see it at the store, buy it for her and tell her it’s mom’s night off and that you’ve got the kids and encourage her to take a bath or some time for herself.
Unplug. Both of you.
Have an agreed upon time where you’re both without your electronics and pay attention to each other.
Remember something about her day ahead and check in mid-day to see how it went.
Send her an email that isn’t about household logistics or planning, just a chat because you were thinking of her.
Notice something on her to do list that she hasn’t gotten around to doing and take care of it.
Notice the things she does every day and say thank you.
At the holiday parties, make eye contact and smile at her from across the room.
Kiss her. Really kiss her. As if it’s the first time.
Say I love you and look at her when you say it. The whole phrase. Not just an habitual “love you” as you’re grabbing the keys and heading out the door.
Make time with her a priority.
Show interest in the things she cares about.
Tackle problems or tension head on. Don’t wait for her to bring it up. Start the conversation and express that you want to work things out.
Show family time the same attention. She loves it when you’re into family activities, partnering with her on parenting, and are clearly enjoying family time. Unplug for that, too.
Think of the one holiday obligation you know she doesn’t want to go to and don’t tell her until you get in the car that you aren’t going but instead have planned a date for the two of you.
Obviously, when it comes to feeling presence, men and women are more the same than they are different.
Every man I know will read Heather’s list and say, “yup…yup…yup. Same here. Just replace the “her” with “him” and you got it.”
Hold Your Horses, I’m Not Done Yet
We’re not exactly the same.
I noticed a few of those examples were things that don’t even require a man to be within earshot. How can a woman feel your presence by sending an email, checking in mid-day or doing something on her to-do list without being asked?
Don’t you actually have to be present for her to feel your presence?
Apparently not. For (some) women, “moving through the world with an awareness of them” includes the times when you’re not actually together. They want to feel a man’s presence, engagement and connection when he isn’t even next to her.
Weird, huh? But, it sounds like inside information worth listening to.
Most men I talk with don’t use this language when we talk about desiring her presence. They don’t talk about what she is doing right or wrong when she is away from them. They tend to focus on what their wives are doing when they are in the same room – just like many of Heather’s examples.
Guys tell me they feel her presence, engagement and connection when she consciously and intentionally uses touch (aka. Pinky Power). This is probably the most powerful form of presence for men.
Men also describe her presence as a reflection of their value to her as a man and mate. Heather’s “Make time with him a priority” is huge. When a woman makes it clear to her man and to the world that he is important to her, that he matters and he is loved…he feels her presence.
When it comes to looking at his wife’s to-do list, a man doesn’t want to continually see his name at the bottom. No presence there. They say to me, “It’s like I don’t exist to her.”
But when she can elevate his status on the to-do list to husband, partner and lover the list magically shrinks. He feels connected and engaged.
And a connected man is a very, very productive man!
How Would YOU Like Your Presence This Year?
Share your perspective.
When you feel a strong bond of presence with your mate, exactly what is she/he DOING?
Who are they BEING when you feel they are most connected and aware of you?
Have your lover read this article.
Ask them to make their list.
Then make yours.
Swap ’em and see what happens.
Men, tired of walking on eggshells in your marriage? I wrote a special report for you. Download your free copy of “The Hard to Swallow Truth About Saving Your Marriage” by clicking HERE.
Photo Ben Clark/Flickr