If you’re focusing on her, you’re looking in the wrong direction.
I get to collect a lot of data from frustrated married men.
These are the guys who “never communicate their thoughts and feelings”. Actually, they do. The floodgates open when they are in a place of safety and trust. Unfortunately, their marriage is missing both.
They share their deepest secrets with me and I’ve memorized their painful comments.
Have you ever said any of these things?
I feel her anger on a daily basis. She has no respect for me and always finds fault in what I’m doing. I feel unimportant and I’m her lowest priority. A kiss goodbye in the morning is a major effort for her. She has no interest in my affection and our sex life is non-existent. Every time I try to do something to make her happy or connect with her I’m met with sarcasm or disapproval. I’m almost done with this. I want a marriage that is happier, more respectful and more intimate. My fear is that I may never have that.
It’s Not About What You’re Doing – It’s About Who You are BEING
Have you grown up believing that respect, connection and intimacy are automatic benefits of doing things to make women happy? While this mode of operation can make your BOSS happy, it is useless in your romantic relationship.
It’s worse than useless. It’s destructive – and it only gets worse the harder you try.
By continuing to operate in the “Make Her Happy” mode you are creating an environment of bargaining and entitlement. It’s an implied contract you’ve created all by yourself. To her it feels like you’re thinking “If I keep doing this, she will OWE me that.” This mode can very well earn you a raise at work. But it will make the woman in your life run for the hills.
To you it may feel like disrespect, distancing and rejection. That is not intentional on her part. She is simply reacting to a bad deal just like you would to a sleazy salesman at a used car lot. You will likely take her reaction personally and this will make matters worse as you spiral down into the incredibly un-sexy territory of resentment, blame and contempt.
I used to be the ambassador for that territory. It’s not something I’m proud of. They were dark days and I couldn’t leave until I learned a whole new lesson about how I was BEING.
We Teach Men More About What to DO Things Than How to BE
My pre-marriage education on how to be a man was full of “What to Do’s”. These came from my male role models who were my only teachers.
- Get a job and pay the bills
- Fix stuff around house
- Be nice and apologize when she’s mad
- Help with chores
- Compliment her
- Allow her to make all the plans
- Remember anniversaries
- Say “Yes, Dear” when needed and don’t rock the boat
- Compromise. Negotiate. Sacrifice.
It was never actually stated, but my teachers implied that doing those things was the key to a man’s happiness. I trusted that if I did these things then I could expect a respectful, connected and intimate marriage – just like theirs.
There was one problem I didn’t see until much later. None of my teachers actually had a marriage like that.
They were just blindly passing down the same “wisdom” they were handed decades earlier. I didn’t pay much attention to the unhealthy lack of respect, connection and intimacy in their relationships. It was my “normal” and it became my fate.
I became a husband who settled for the same mediocre results my teachers settled for. And I attracted a partner whose teachers taught her to do the same thing. With each passing year we kept doing the same things as we gradually lowered our expectations for ever having the relationship we really wanted.
At the inevitable end of my 28 year marriage, I started my journey in learning how to stop DOING things to get things. It was time to learn how to BE a man who gets what he wants.
How to Become a Man Who Gets What He Wants
This change requires you to retool yourself and your mindset. What you are doing now is probably not getting you what you want.
You must acquire new knowledge, new skills and a new perspective to become a man who gets what he wants by BEING different than you have been.
You must be more focused on the process of becoming a man who gets what he wants than you are on getting the outcomes you desire.
Respect, trust and connection are created by holding the values of BEING respectful, trusting and connected rather than chalking up brownie points in order to “win” those things. When you live in accordance with these values you become a man with no expectation that others must change to please you. You learn your value is not defined by the approval or happiness of your partner.
You are operating in a mode in which you are already pleased with yourself.
This is the key difference between men who have what they want and those who don’t.
They are willing to change who they are BEING in order to be pleased with themselves – not to please others or gain their approval.
They become clearly aligned with the expectations they have of themselves and FOR themselves. By seeing their own value, they confidently invite others to join them in the life they plan to have. They WANT their partners to share respect, trust and connection with them. But, they don’t NEED them to.
They are so clear and confident about their own value that pouting, arguing and complaining are no longer options for them. Those options disgust them.
Their sense of well-being is not found in women agreeing with them, liking them or having sex with them. They are secure in themselves.
They are certain they will have the life they want. And they know they can’t control their partner’s to choice to join them. A feeling of liberation replaces self-doubt.
Patience, Process and Faith
It’s helpful to know why some men fail and never become a man who gets what he wants.
There are 3 reasons that show up in most men I know:
1. He is impatient and overly invested in outcomes.
2. He fails to understand and accept that the process is totally within his control.
3. He doesn’t believe that he is deserving and capable of creating what he wants.
It’s amazing how quickly you will start to see changes when you consistently apply patience, process and faith to the changes you are making. But your FOCUS must be on yourself, not expected outcomes.
Men who focus on outcomes are impatient for results and they start DOING things all over again to force what they want. This blows up in their face every time and sets back the whole process.
A recent client said it perfectly in an email:
“I am so happy that throughout this entire process I was able to get to a place where the outcome of my relationship status became secondary to simply putting in the tough work to become a better man. Period. And yes, you can use that quote.” ~ John K.
PATIENTLY create change with a process of inward focus without forcing expectations on others. Anger and blame will start to fade away for you.
Accept your OWNERSHIP of the process and your power to hold yourself accountable to a new set of values. Confidence and optimism begin to wash over you.
BELIEVE that this is the man you’re supposed to be and are capable of creating whatever you want. A door will open and a light will come on.
I call this your epiphany.
Start Creating the Relationship and Life You Want
There is a brutal truth all men must face.
Nothing will change in your relationship or life unless SOMETHING changes within you. Of course, there is the possibility that someone else may make changes for you.
It’s better to be proactive here.
You will make a difference IMMEDIATELY in your relationship if you stop DOING things out of expectation. Decide to be in charge of your own mindset, attitude, and responses. Take ownership of those things because it’s who you ARE – not for what it will get you.
Set new expectations for yourself and how you will operate no matter what. Consistently BE more respectful, trusting and connected with everyone around you…especially your partner.
Don’t make the same mistakes that others make. Make patience, accountability and faith your new best friends.
You can have the relationship and life you want if you simply decide you want it, own it and deserve it.
If all this sounds challenging…it is. Getting what you want requires a little elbow grease. It can feel a little messy and a little scary. Fear can make a man stay stuck.
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Photo David Amsler/Flickr