Husband Improvement – Part 2

making sure your efforts don't backfire

Most women have developed a whole series of actions they believe will be motivating & encouraging for their men (husbands & sons, in particular). But most of the time, their guys stay the same … or actually get worse. So what exactly is it that women do that makes their men worse? less responsive? more defensive?

My free “Prelude to a Dance” seminars for women always started with a fill-in-the blank …

* The thing that bugs me most about men is ____________________________.

Then we discuss all the ways we’ve tried to change whatever it is we don’t like about them. None of it has ever worked, of course, but don’t we keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results? Wait! Isn’t that the textbook definition of “crazy?” Yes, I believe it is!

There are several strategies that women try repeatedly in their attempts to change a man. Here’s a very brief list of some of the things we’ve all tried … at one time or another … and the reasons why they don’t work.

Hints. In plain, simple language: “Guys don’t do hints.” Why not? Because they don’t even recognize them! Hints are clouded with Girl Code, which they can’t even being to comprehend. So why rely so heavily on hints when they never work?

We hint that we’d like to go out to eat … or to Hawaii. Our word choices can be so vague that men are often left in the dark about what it is we’re saying … or that we were even saying anything of significance at all!

We say, “Notice anything new?” Which is as dangerous as, “Does this outfit make me look fat?” It feels like a setup to him … like a trap … especially if past conversations have resulted in your anger. Of course, we know that your anger comes from having your feelings hurt. So why not avoid that probability altogether … by setting him up to win right from the start?

One poor husband was painfully unaware of what his wife needed and wanted or even what she liked! He wanted so badly to please her, but he kept tripping over himself in the process. We were talking about their sexual relationship in one very tearful session, and I asked his wife to share with him just one thing that she liked.

She refused and said with an angry tone, “No, I’m not going to tell him. I shouldn’t have to tell him. He should just know. If I tell him, then he’ll do it, but only because I told him to, not because he wants to.”

So her expectation was that he should read her mind? The last I knew, men and women dwell in very different bodies with very different designs. What’s pleasurable to one is not necessarily the most enjoyable for the other. How can he possibly know unless she tells him? … And just exactly what’s wrong with him doing something that he knows would bring her pleasure?

Having said that, I really do understand her struggle. Most women are at least a little ambivalent about their sexuality. However, life is so much easier when we’re direct. I know we weren’t brought up that way, but sometimes we need to acquire new skills … and new confidence … in ourselves and in our partner.

Criticism. Women respond to criticism. It changes us. But men resist it. Always.

For example, I was wearing my favorite periwinkle blue blouse one day, and another woman told me that I really don’t look good in that color. Now I happen to know for a fact that periwinkle blue is actually one of my very best colors. It makes my eyes appear more blue than they already are … and they are already pretty darn blue. No, I’ve not stopped wearing that blouse. But I do make note of what I’m planning to wear on the days I know I’ll be seeing her.

“How crazy is that?” you ask.

Pretty darn. But it’s what we women do.

Men don’t operate that way. Criticism only serves to rally their defensiveness, so it has the opposite effect on them. They’ll go ahead and do it anyway … or avoid the person … or hide what they’re doing.

One thing is sure: Criticizing a man will backfire every time.

Comparison. Many of us – but certainly not all – care way too much about what others are thinking of us … probably because we’re constantly judging one another.

Our standard: our concept of the Ideal Woman. Of course, none of us can measure up to that! And then we expect a man to measure up to the Ideal Woman?

“How crazy is that?” I ask.

Pretty darn. But it’s what we women do.

Comparing our man to the Ideal Woman … or to anyone … is crazy. He’s unique, and God loves him right now … right where he is … exactly the way he is. And if Our Holy God loves him, how can we dare to think we have a better idea? Honestly. We have neither the wisdom nor the power to change ourselves for the better, much less improve on a man … for whom we have no blueprint in the first place.

Nagging. It makes him feel like a little boy. Which makes you feel like his mom. Not helpful for either of you. Enough said.

There is a better way … [learn more]

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