speech by Mark Snider
After Mark’s three daughters got married, he wondered if his son-in-laws knew how to treat a woman. Now he must, as in his other speeches, attempt to live up to his own standards.
Fellow husbands and “significant others,” we have been confused and misinformed by our culture and media and thus fallen short in regards how to treat the women we love. Most of us unintentionally educate ourselves on the subject of relationships by watching TV and movies. This is not reality. A good relationship takes some action on your part. Believe it or not, we are not all James Bond. It takes patience, understanding, listening, forgiving and support. It is a form of work that has great rewards. So when you go to work on your relationship, put your heart into it. Do it as if you care about it and mean to succeed.
Also the following advice cannot correct choosing the wrong mate, so make sure you connect with the one who is best suitable to your own psychological and personal needs. Do not rush into it. Get to know what you want and know yourself first. It takes over a year to really know someone well enough to determine if the two of you are compatible. So please pay attention and remember how to treat and behave toward the woman you say you love:
First of all, we all know women are as different from one another as men and their needs and likes are as diverse. So some of these recommendations will not apply to all women. As many books and research show us, men and women are wired differently and see things from different perspectives. Some women like sports cars, others motorcycles. Some women are attracted to conservatives and others liberals. We cannot assume all women like the same kind of men or treatment, so that means you have some research to do. If you want to succeed in any endeavor, you need to educate yourself about whatever you are trying to accomplish. Same is true with people, the more you know about them, the better your chances of a successful relationship.
Secondly, it is important that you be a leader in your relationship. By this I mean assuming the responsible for the quality of your relationship and being proactive in making it a better day by day. Woman appreciate and respect a man who does not pass the buck, but does his part to create an atmosphere that promotes a healthy partnership. Take responsibility willingly and gracefully.
Let us start with the general rule that most women would like her mate to adhere firmly and closely to her, to cleave to her with unwavering loyalty. And that you are a one woman kind of guy in every way. Few women find it attractive to have their mate obviously attracted to or having sex with other women.
Celebrate life with her and make sure she is happy. Give her reasons to have a positive outlook with her relationship with you. Is she happy to see you when you come home? Remember the saying, “When mama isn’t happy, no one is happy”? I remember coming home one day and hearing my first daughter yelling as she ran towards the door, “Daddy’s home, Daddy’s home!” and getting a big hug. I also remember my dog “Jericho” coming to greet me with his tail wagging and jumping on me with delight. Men, we want to act in such a way so our mate acts in a similar fashion. Is she thinking, “Oh good!, he’s home” or “Oh God!, he’s home”?
Learn to laugh. Find humor in daily living. Make light of difficult problems. Don’t bring outside problems from work into the relationship. If you are having an issue at work, why should it create distress at home? Many things are important, but those thing need not be ” serious”. So become fun, safe and exciting to be with.
Don’t be afraid to make small sacrifices for her or provide for her, help her satisfy her needs and desires, develop a servant’s heart and a cheerful attitude. It impresses no one if you do anything begrudgingly or if you whine or complain about it.
Intentionally become familiar with her and gain knowledge about her through experience and association, be understanding of her personality, values, be aware of her thoughts and preferences, ask questions and listen well. Knowledge is power so use it to enhance your relationship.
As far as you are concerned, she is privileged, show respect, recognition, courtesy, deference and deal with integrity, put her first, be mature enough to be a “gentleman.” A gentleman is a person who is kind and honorable and makes others feel comfortable and accepted.
Keep her “clean” feeling, do not dishonor her, do not make her feel ashamed, incompetent or dirty. No name calling, threats, violence or condescending comments. When you speak unkind and hurtful words, you become an unkind and hurtful person. Is this how you want others to think of you, especially someone who you say you love?
Find happiness in what she wants to give and build on it. Share with her what you want to give and give her a choice whether to enjoy it with you or not. Do not force her to convert to your way of doing or thinking, she is not your servant, but your equal. Learn to appreciate those differences rather than be dismissive towards them. That does not mean you have to take up flower arranging or basket weaving, it means to show respect for her interests and let her enjoy them with or without you. She deserves a “life” too.
Be honest with your partner. Tell the truth. Keep your word. If you say you will home for diner, be there, if you say you agree with the words,”for richer or poorer, in sickness and heath, til death do we part”, keep your word. Don’t be a liar, be someone who stands by his word. Don’t make promises unless you will keep keep them. Be trustworthy.
Learn to listen. When you are talking to her, turn off the television, radio or cell phone. Drop the newspaper or magazine. Giver her your full attention. Respect her by listening well and communicating back so she knows you heard and understand the message. And learn to “read between the lines” so that you not only hear her words but you understand their meaning.
Be open and honest. If you can’t tell her the truth, why are you together? If you fear her criticism or rejection because of some hidden aspect of your life, then be man enough to either face the consequences or break off the relationship. Why live a life built on lies, deceit and mistrust? Perhaps you should respect her feelings and thoughts and take them into account, especially her thoughts about of you. Admit you have room to improve and do it for your own benefit.
Avoid too many sports, hobbies, friendships and TV that would separate you. Help plan games, sports, special events and family time. Make her number one by spending quality time with her.
She is not someone you have to compete with. When playing games or sports, play to win but play fairly and be a good sport. The score is not the important thing, it is just a context or medium to enjoy each others company and fellowship. If you are a great chess player and she is a student, play to teach.
Respect and serve her family and friends. Treat them like yours or better. Make her friends and family happy to see you, do not cause strife or ill will among those that she loves. If you are a father, be a very good one. Be fair, wise and kind.
Most women do not admire cowards. Men, this means defending others when applicable and stepping up to the plate when circumstances dictate. If you are afraid of sticking up for yourself and your family, get a grip and face those fears head on. Do not let fear dictate the quality of life you and your family deserve.
Remember, love is an action, do things for her around the house, do the dishes and vacuuming. Make sure you are behind her in every way. Call the service people, wash the car, make repairs around the house and do it with a smile. Make sure your actions speak louder than your words. Don’t say “I love you” without actions to make it real and true.
Think of little things to do or say that will brighten her day, lift her spirits and heart. Few women reject flowers, a small token of affection, a kind word and help with the dishes. Holding her hand is sometimes the high spot of her day, make sure it is your hand that is constantly reaching for hers.
Ask yourself daily, “What have I done for my relationship today? And “If I want her to be my best friend and soul mate, have I been that for her?”
Let her know you adore and cherish her, and even when there are differences make sure you let her know she is far more important than whatever the problem is. If she doesn’t know what she wants, give her your best ideas or some directions. Work together for decisions that are workable for both of you.
Let her know you are on her team and together the problem will be handled equitably with her in mind. Show more love than you verbalize so your words ring true. Be man enough to take some criticism, it usually comes with the package. Learn to handle conflicts and differences. Don’t avoid, ignore or fear conflict, work through them. Consider their solution as a project and step by step work through them together.
Be an example for her to emulate, don’t, through default, make her the moral compass of the house. Be a man of principle and honorable moral fiber. Always love her more than she loves you, never make her feel used, neglected or forgotten.
Make deposits in her “love bank” daily. Find her sweet spot, what she likes and seek out and help provide those things. Speak her love language. If she likes a certain candy, flower or words of affirmation etc., make sure she has enough to make her smile.
Develop a sense of empathy. Put yourself in her shoes. Women are different than men and most of them really like what is referred as “romance”. Romance is not foreplay or sex. It is an attitude that allows women to feel “cherished”. When women feel cherished it touches their emotions in a positive way and they feel loved. Men, be a romantic. Say loving things, compliment your woman, light candles, bring home some flowers or a small gift that is “impractical”, it is a token or symbol of your affection. Give her a reason to be attracted to you and happy to see you and you will build a lasting relationship.
Help her financially, materially, psychologically, sexually and spiritually to be satisfied. Encourage her to participate in relationship building activities such as classes and books. And don’t just read them, commit to live them. Be teachable, don’t ignore your relationship. If you are interested in hot rods or the outdoors you usually can find a book or magazine in your house about the subject. The same is true about your relationship. If you are interested in it, you will find the evidence on your bookshelf.
Help her say to others with pride, “That’s my man!” by taking pride in yourself; clean it up gentlemen. That means having an attractive physic, groomed hair, short toenails, clean body and not too much hair on your back side. Let her chose some of your clothes and wear them when you go out to diner or to a show.
And by the way, make sure to schedule a “date night” on a regular basis. Play together. Take vacations and don’t always go to drag races or a golf tournament. Take turns, make sure you include her in where to go and what you do. She might want to go a beach or horse back riding. Whatever it is, be fair.
Be honest. Tell the truth even about yourself. Be transparent. Admit you are insecure about things. Let her know fears that go through your head like, “Am I good enough for her?” or “I wonder if she is attracted to guys at the office who are better looking or have more money?” or ”What if I lost my job, will she stay with me?” Even if she hides the truth about such matters, what is important is that you are open to discussing it and willing to help solve any issue that might arise.
Become each others “project”. Compete with each other to see who can be nicer, more generous and giving. Do not compete with each other to see who can get more from the other person or who can come out ahead in the game.
Be a man of your word. If you say you will be home at 6:00, be there. If you say you agree with the words, ” In sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, til death do we part” then keep your promise. Don’t be a liar. Don’t say something and not do it, stand behind your words even to your own hurt. Once I told my ex- wife I would wash her car that day. However, I had to work late and came home after dark. I turned on the porch lights and washed her car anyway. She was impressed.
Both of you will change over the years. Be open enough to talk about it. One of you might find a different religion or philosophy on life. Or one of you may want to move out of state or find another job or start a business. Discuss these things and work on a way to incorporate these things into your relationship rather than tear it apart.
Do not try to control or manipulate her with your superior strength or fear. Do not control her or force her to act in a certain ways using psychology or Scripture, instead use these tools to support her.
Remember too that some women are anxious, fearful or worry about things. This is so because men have not always been responsible or kind. When the person you love asks if the back door is locked or the windows are rolled up, check them and make sure they are. Part of your job as a protector is to alleviate these feelings. Do not ignore them or be the cause of them. Be responsible so she can feel secure.
Although you cannot build a pedestal high enough for her, when she falls from it, make sure to help her back up without criticism. Words of judgment, condemnation or disdain should not cross your lips. Suggestions and recommendations are acceptable, condemnation and insults are not.
Free her from unnecessary restrictions and rules, help her satisfy her curiosity and encourage her to live a full and satisfying life. If she wants to study the history of Europe, get her a book. If she wants to fly a plane, let her take lessons. Do not restrict or hinder her dreams and goals but instead enable and encourage them.
Do not hold a record of wrongs or hurt, instead practice forgiveness even if it is undeserved. And if there is problem you want to address that concerns her, talk to her straightforward with kindness and compassion rather than frustration and anger. Express your feelings without shouting, name calling or violence. Address the problem and the feelings it creates in you and then address possible solutions rather than blaming, being disappointed or being critical.
And when a man and woman become “one flesh,” make sure to avoid things that divide you and seek out and cling to the things that unite you. It is up to you whether your relationship will stand the test of time or fail.
Do not make your actions and feelings dependent upon how you feel you are being treated, act as if it does not matter, be a man that can take life as it comes, don’t be petty or whine about the small stuff.
Be someone who stands on doing the kind and right thing even when your ego tells you that you deserve better treatment or more recognition or “what will I get out of it.” What makes you think you are more deserving or better than your wife or girl friend?
Do the best you can and adhere to these general guidelines voluntarily, set high standards for yourself, not others. When you fail to live up to treating her like you want to be treated, ask for forgiveness, mean it and get back on the right path.
When you become selfish or fall short of treating her like she deserves, like we all deserve, now is the time to lift yourself up to a higher consciousness level built and aimed to serve and please the other person. Chose to practice selfless and loving actions rather than negative and selfish ones.
Stay involved with three things. Stay involved with each other. When you notice you have ignored her for a few days, get back on track and start now communicating again. Stay involved with your friends and family. Keep and make other relationship close so you both have community support and contacts. Stay involved with your own hobbies and interests. If you played ping pong prior to your relationship, try to keep up with it. You do not have to quit or stop everything you liked before.
Women like a man who is self confident, but not arrogant. Learn to be self motivated and pro-active, don’t be lazy and don’t be nagged in order that things get done, be ahead of the game.
Don’t take yourself too seriously, after all, we are just men. Being a man is not something to be proud of, just look at history. It is men who burned witches, raped alter boys and their own daughters. It is men who started wars, tortured prisoners and beat protesters. It is men who caused the financial collapse and the twin towers to fall. It is men who drop bombs rather than teach the handicapped or help the elderly. It is men who cling to their guns and money rather than their kids and neighbors. It is men who enjoy fighting, drunkenness and perverse video’s. So, the next time you think you are right in a dispute, you are probably wrong just because you are thinking like a typical man. Stop it! Think carefully about your position and make sure it is one that represents a win/win outcome.
Be particular and regular when it comes to doing good things for her and your relationship, even a small gesture goes a long ways. Slip a “I love you” card where she will find it once in a while or take her out for diner especially if she is tired.
Try something new together such as building a new patio, golfing or learning a new dance or language, don’t be boring or a” stuck in the mud” kind of guy. That reminds me. Most women like dancing. Why? Because it is fun, it is exciting, it is good exercise and it is romantic. So get with it guys, get off the couch and get moving.
If you tease her, be gentle and kind, no put downs. Dress stylish, be as attractive as possible, don’t be an embarrassment to her, instead make her proud. If you make a mistake, admit it easily and apologise, better yet, change your ways. Be accountable. Listen well with understanding and empathy. Show that you care.
In most women, under their pretense and superficial defenses, there is a little girl who wants to play, wants to laugh and giggle and wants to be with someone they trust. They see themselves laughing while running down a beach with a kite behind them. They want to play on a swing with a ribbon in their hair. They see a candle burning, a glass of wine and soft music playing. They imagine walking while holding hands and watching the sun go down with someone. Be that someone.
Woman like affection, a hug, a kiss for no reason, spontaneity, romance and to be noticed, even if its only new toe polish. When you introduce her to your friends and family, but your arms around her shoulders, show that you are proud of her. Public displays of affection are usually welcomed.
Light a candle during diner or when getting ready for bed. Set a small flower in a vase at her side. Attempt to make each day special in some little way. You never know when the end comes, so live without regrets for not being kinder towards others.
In regards to sex, look at it as driving a large truck with 18 gears. Start out in the slowest gear, that is, first gear. Create a good and comfortable atmosphere at home by following the above advice. Second gear, bring her a flower or card or in some way let her know you are thoughtful of her. When in third gear make her laugh. Forth gear make sure your “chores” or “honey do’s” are done. In fifth gear cook diner for or with her (with wine if she likes it) or at least do the dishes. In sixth gear you have showered and are well shaven. In seventh gear you give her time to read or make phone calls so there is nothing pressing on her mind. In eighth gear ask her about her day and communicate with her. In ninth gear you make sure the doors are locked and the kids are asleep. In tenth gear tell her she is beautiful or find something to be thankful for in her personality and do so while holding her hand and looking into her eyes. In eleventh gear offer to rub her feet, scalp or shoulders without obvious sexual intent. In twelfth gear kiss her neck. And somewhere between the twelfth gear and the eighteenth use your imagination, if you don’t know what she likes by now, ask her and remember it. Let her take the lead or participate in the arousal stages. Remember, women are not built like or think like men, they need more time so emotional stimulation can pave the way for physical pleasure.
And don’t take “Not tonight” personal. It is difficult to understand and deal with desire when it is snubbed. Usually it is not something you did or didn’t do. (especially if you are following most of the advice so far) It has to do with her chemical and hormonal changes. Sex is not a duty to be performed just to please a man. It is a mutual experience and special event. Treat it as such. Remember, woman are made differently than men both emotionally and physically. Be patient, showing your frustration does not make the issue any better. This is a difficult test to pass, but do your best despite the difficulty, it is time to “man up” and be at your best behavior.
Avoid thoughts that would make you think acting in these ways is a sacrifice or a burden. That is your selfish interests, testosterone or ego telling you to be discontent or unhappy. Instead, make it a free and conscious choice, thus acting out of an abundance of love for others, a love for your relationship and a love for life. You do not have the moral justification to have everything you want all the time. Don’t act like a spoiled child when he does not get his way. Chose to be a caring giver, not a selfish taker. Are you that needy or selfish that you cannot be kind to the one that you love?
We all recognize with ease immature thought and irresponsible behavior in others, yet it remains unseen in ourselves even when we look closely in the mirror. So be self conscious about yourself, yet not rigid or uncomfortable, these ” rules” and principles are goals, not laws. Do your best to attain these goals because of the type of man you are, not what type of woman she is.
When I was complaining to a friend of mine that I haven’t been going to the gym lately he gave me some advice. He told me to get another prescription of “Triactin”. I asked, What Triactin?. He told me slowly, “Try acting… like a man”. That got me thinking, how does a man act and think? Most men consider welding, woodworking, fly fishing, karate and the like as manly arts. Consider your relationship not as an act or duty that you have to perform, but as an art that can be learned and that is useful and manly. Real men take on challenges such as climbing a mountain or painting a house, but are sissy’s when it comes to the reality of relationships. Men, do not wimp out and do not be a sissy when it comes to your marriage or relationship. Step up to the plate and take responsibility, you will find it much more rewarding.
Like some men, some women are unkind or “evil”. They may use you to have a child and treat you miserably afterwards. Or you may lose your job and she may dump you when you are not satisfying her desire for financial security. She may criticize you for minor infractions and snub your advances. She may cheat on you or leave you despite your best efforts. These things are unfortunate and it is natural that you feel hurt and angry and want to stop treating her well. However, do not return evil for evil, instead say nothing against her, especially to family or friends. During the course of these negative events be civil and equitable without revenge, be above reproach, be on good terms as much as possible. Do not participate in a downward spiral of negative events that create even more damage, disgrace and harm to yourself or others. Continue to be a good father and friend towards those who know the both of you. You may experience a broken heart and cry and feel great sorrow, this is natural, but even so, you will find this advice much to your credit and benefit in the future. Don’t let your emotions and “poor me” attitude rule or possibly ruin your life, be in control. Don’t burn bridges, build them.
After I went through a divorce in Seattle, I developed a deep and hateful attitude towards my ex-wife. So much so that I didn’t care if my children knew about this hatred. Well you can imagine how they felt about me for hating a person whom they still lived with and loved. I was spreading my poisonous hatred to those around me and thus I lost my close relationship with my daughters. I was only hurting myself. Please learn from my mistakes and continue to be a gentleman at all times. It will be one of the hardest things a man can do.
You nor I can “make” a woman feel one way or the other, it is her choice. She is responsible for her attitude and her response to your lead. But it up to you to start the ball rolling and set the tone and make a foundation that will help her be at her best when she is with you. Be the leader she can easily respect, follow and love.
Brothers, you and I will at times fail to live up to these standards or advice, but there are very few excuses for not attempting to do the right thing. Don’t give up on yourself by not attempting these goals and thus disrespect the greatest gift in life we will ever receive, a person to love and care for and hopefully love and care for us.
The next time you are feeling like you are not getting much out of your relationship, start thinking about your partner as an investment.The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Have you really invested these suggestions into your relationship?
Remember this, sometimes we forget how special she is until she is gone. Be aware, be wise, be thankful for what you have, become responsible and “mature” , be a kind and loving part of humanity, set an example even when it is difficult. What credit or recognition does one deserve if it were easy?
If you attempt to love a woman in the above ways, she would love it and she would, no doubt, love the person who shows her this kind of respect. Why? Because she also knows that only a person who loves her deeply would attempt to treat her in these ways.
And that, in my opinion, is how a man should treat the woman he loves.