Owner's Manual (A Girl's Guide For The Man In Her Life)
Whenever something new is brought home, the first thing you see when opening the package is the owner’s manual. The manufacturer has carefully provided instructions on how to take care of, maintain and get the most use and enjoyment out of your new find. Unfortunately, sometimes the instructions we need the most pertain to the upkeep and support of our partner. Wouldn’t it be great if they were supplied on the first date?
I will say up front that I am certainly not an expert. However, I do believe I have learned a few things over the years (some the hard way). I also do not intend to suggest that these apply to all men. And let me be clear, this is not intended to degrade men or reduce them to ‘property’ to be handled. This is just meant to be a light read, hopefully providing some insight and direction. If you have been blessed with a partner who has chosen to go through life with only you, the very least you can do is try to understand how he operates. If you are still waiting, you will be a step ahead of the game when he arrives!
So let’s go.
“For your safety, it is recommended that you do not walk/stand/delay in front of the TV during the game/race/favorite show or while he is trying to kill the enemy.” Some men really enjoy their sporting events and gaming time. And within reason, this is perfectly ok. Just like we want to spend time chatting with our friends, reading a book or working on a hobby, they like to relax in front of the TV and unwind. And even though it is tempting because they may be quiet and still, this is NOT the time to try and have a serious conversation. Forcing a talk in the middle of his downtime will not result in the type of communication you are looking for. Respect this time-out for him and let him enjoy it. He will then be open and available both mentally and physically for you later.
“Accept his idea of dressing up may be clean underwear.” Now there are some men who love to dress up. But the average guy does not put the same time and effort into his appearance as we do. Their ‘assembly’ time is often a shower, jeans and a T-shirt. But you know what? You are with him because you are attracted to him; even in jeans and a T-shirt. So if they are spending time with you, taking you out and showing you off, cut them some slack in the ensemble department. You absolutely want them to look appropriate for a special function or family dinner, but stop short of laying out his clothes or criticizing his choices. Your man is not a full-size Ken doll that needs your help dressing.
“Install belief in his abilities as a provider and protector.” The biggest need for a man is to believe his woman is proud of him and can depend on him. It may seem archaic, but it is still true. Men thrive on being the hunter and the gatherer. They spend their lives for the moment to prove they can defend you. Today’s world and society make these simplistic statements more challenging to actuate, but you must do your part. You do not have to be weak to praise his strength. You do not have to be destitute to applaud his contribution. Plant encouragement and invest words of affirmation in your man. You will be amazed at the results.
As an added note; do not criticize or belittle your man when he is trying to help. If he is cooking dinner or cleaning the bathroom and it is not quite up to your standards…. zip it! Be THANKFUL he is helping. It is ok to discuss preferences and expectations, but do not talk down to or make fun of your man’s efforts. Any bruise to his ego/pride will trickle down to damage his view of your acceptance of him and the relationship.
“A steady regiment of love and support is suggested for smooth operation.” You want to be told ‘I love you’. Or get texts for no reasons. Or surprised with a little thoughtful gift. Your man does too. Guys love romantic gestures even if they don’t want to admit it or know how to ask for it. Take his turn for a chore. Let him sleep late occasionally. Slip a love note into his lunch or backpack or car visor. Brag on him in front of your friends or family. Let him know he is the best thing in the world that ever happened to you. Little doses of love every day will keep the relationship running in top shape. And remember to take little getaways for that extra dose of regular ‘affection maintenance’. Whether it is a day date or a weekend trip, create intimacy and make memories to store in your love log.
And speaking of intimacy, it is not a bargaining tool. Physical touch is very high on a guy’s ‘must have’ list. Understand this. Appreciate that he wants it only from you. Meet this need. Trust him. He will never feel the urge to look elsewhere if you rock his world.
I thought about not including this topic. Because I’m against it in theory. But that was all the more reason to talk about it. Programming, by definition, is taking something and making it do what you want; when you want. That’s great for TVs, iPhones and DVRs. But it isn’t so great for people. Sure, you might succeed in programming your guy. Bribes. Threats. Manipulation. They can learn to produce an expected result based on passed punishments. But this is counter-productive to long term happiness. Ladies, a good man will want to make you happy. If you communicate about what makes you happy, he will try. When he gets it right…. you reward. This creates a cycle of positive re-occurrences. Treat him like you want to be treated. It’s usually just quite that simple.
There are many things that can go wrong over time. No one is perfect. Both people get caught up in life and problems and start to neglect each other and the relationship. Little things (and big) are forgotten and disagreements escalate. The worse mistake you can make is to turn away from the relationship for help. Even well-intentioned friends and family are not the right resource. You need to re-connect with each other. Slow down. Start to really see each other again. Talk again. Meet needs again. When feelings get hurt, this is not easy. But walking away from the relationship defeats all the time and energy put into it.
“No Refund for Factory Defects“ Unfortunately, we cannot return a bad relationship for a refund. And exchanges are sometimes even worse! There are simply no guarantees. Some people, men and women, are just damaged and unable to give or receive love. I do believe however, they are few in number. I am convinced that most people desire and will work towards a healthy relationship with a loving partner. With love and respect on both sides, there is no reason why a successful partnership cannot grow and run for many years; even a lifetime.
I hope this was helpful to someone. It is true that men and women are quite different. I’ve questioned the reason for this from time to time myself; but I have decided to trust the Designer. In the meantime, the better we understand and accept our partner’s unique needs and traits, the more valuable we become to them. And most people hold onto things (and people) of value.
Next week I will turn the table and explore a User Manual For Women! Until then…