If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I have three grown sons. They’re amazing men, and I’m so proud of them all. As most moms do of their sons, I still think of them as my boys. Even typing that now brings a smile to my face … and a bazillion memories of their growing-up years.
I remember my oldest son at swim lessons the year he learned to jump off the diving board. No matter how many times he did it, he always checked to see if I was watching before he’d take the plunge. And as his head bobbed up out of the water, he again looked in my direction, waiting for my smile or, better yet, a cheer for his success.
Men don’t ever change in this regard. They still want their moms’ approval. But what becomes even more important to a man is his wife’s approval. He desperately needs to know he has the ability to make you smile.
However, another need must be fulfilled beforehand.
He needs your attention. That means that you look at him when he speaks. And you listen with an open heart and mind to what he’s saying, without adding your critique. He needs you to listen with the goal of understanding him. Nothing more. Certainly nothing less.
Women are multitaskers, but he craves and deserves our undivided attention. If we don’t give him that, someone somewhere someday will. Believe it or not, that’s actually how most affairs get started.
So need Number 2 is actually two needs: (a) his need for your attention and (b) his need for your approval.
One more important word on the subject …
Women are always asking me if they’re just supposed to approve of everything a man does, even when he’s “way off base.” Here’s the best and simplest answer: If you want him to be a better man, notice what he’s doing well and affirm him for it. Pray about the areas where you believe he needs improvement. And if you want to give him feedback, ask him if he’d like to know how you feel about such-and-such. When he says yes, say it once in as few words as possible, then let it go.
Nagging and complaining will shut him down. What works for him? Your approval of what he’s doing well will serve as his motivator to do better on other things, too.
Next time, I’ll tell you the third thing men need from women …
Would you like to know more about the Psychology of Men?
Join me live this Saturday for Frogs & Princes: Understanding the Psychology of Men. If you have specific questions, email me now.