Don’t feel like reading? Listen instead...
Ladies, please avert your eyes. I need to talk to the guys. Men, we love the hunting analogy when it comes to dating. You know, the idea that you’re a lion prowling through the Sahara. On the hunt for that graceful gazelle. Sounds so primal… doesn’t it? Here’s why the hunting analogy isn’t totally accurate, when a predator gives chase, the gazelle scatter. They’re running for their lives, it’s every gazelle for itself. The others don’t stick around once one is caught. Neither are they jealous of that poor buck or fake a limp so they would be the one that gets caught.
No no, finding a partner is more like bowling. They’re in a group, you pick your target and take your best shot. God forbid, you hit the wrong skittle accidentally. The basic idea is that you hit your target but you also need to bowl over her friends and family as well. You have to knock over as many of them as you can but there’ll always be that one cynical skittle in the group. The one that’s had a few gutter balls that she thought was the one in her life. If you keep this analogy in mind and continually aim to bowl over as many of them with how well you treat your partner, you’ll do well.
So what on earth am I talking about? I’m talking about the relationship hierarchy. Yes, gentlemen, there’s another ladder. You’ve heard of the corporate ladder, even the social ladder but there’s also a relationship ladder. Whether we like it or not, we are compared with other men. How does your relationship stack up to all the other relationships in close proximity? Your job as a partner, be it a boyfriend or husband is to ensure that your woman is at the top of this ladder. You need to keep her on that top rung.
Don’t be scared, most men have never heard of this ladder so you’re already ahead of the game. See the problem with us is that we like relationships to hunting, mountaineering and other endeavors that have an end goal. In the case of climbing a mountain, once you reach the summit, you’ve conquered it. Then we look for the next mountain to conquer. The next challenge. In most cases, it’s our career. This leaves our partners somewhat disgruntled. Where’re the flowers? Where’s the romance?
The truth is, you never stop dating your partner. We use the term “dating” and then we try stuff like date night but what we want is that effort that the person put into the relationship at the outset. We wanted to impress our partner. We wanted to surprise them and make their dreams come true.
Just FYI, for the ladies that continued to read after I asked you to look away, you know who you are… The rebellious, free-spirited kind. This goes both ways. You never stop dating him either.
Gentlemen, sorry for that brief intermission. Let’s get back to business. I’m going to suggest practical steps that you can take to elevate her to the top rung. You know, in Ephesians 5:33, it says:
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”
The Bible is a very precise book, it stipulates exactly what women need and what men need. Men need to be respected and women need to be loved. I know you love her but we have difficulty in showing it as time goes on. Let’s work with a tangible game plan.
Listen to her
I know what you’re thinking, you’ve also got into trouble for “not listening” so you’re already apprehensive. Calm down, I’m not talking about that type of listening. That is where you’re listening but don’t “hear” her because you’re simply not designed in that way. What she’s trying to tell you goes over your head. You are not going to win in that game. Let’s call this, reconnaissance. You’re listening for clues. Something that’s meaningful to her.
Every now and then, if you pay attention, she’ll drop something into the conversation unintentionally that you can use to show her you care. It’s little, yet significant. We all do this. Here’s an example, suppose she mentions that her late Dad used to buy her a steak and kidney pie and orange juice on his way from work when she was little. The next time you’re at the corner store, get it. See anyone can buy flowers or chocolates. It’s cliché but someone that listens and cares will know what to get. Most times it’s these little acts that seem random but aren’t and they generally won’t cost an arm or leg.
Tell her how you feel
It’s easier when you’re dating. Everything is fresh, you see each other in intervals and not all the time like marriage. And you know the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” You’re thinking about her all the time so you’re more in tune with the “why” of the relationship. Why you feel a certain way and what it is about her. You know that feeling, irrespective of whether she’s all dressed up or she just woke up with messy hair and zero makeup when your heart melts because of the person she is. Married men feel this way too, the difference is that you’ve been exposed to this radiation longer so your body built up some resistance to cope. So here’s what we’re going to do.
We’re not going to be spontaneous, we’re going to work in advance. Ask yourself what it is about her that you love? Just let the question percolate in your mind. The answer may not come instantaneously but it will hit you eventually. When you get this revelation, keep it to yourself. Have you noticed in boxing that seasoned boxers never just run out swinging wildly? It’s timing. They wait for the right moment and when the opponent drops his guard, they go for it. Likewise, you hold that thought and you wait for the right moment and you give it your best shot. Sometimes it’s more about timing than delivery.
Help her to accomplish something
Everyone has something that they always wanted to do in their life. I’m not talking about visiting a place or skydiving. Those are like bucket list items. I’m talking about purpose-driven desires. Perhaps she always wanted to work with animals or maybe a business, something along those lines. You need to know what that something is and help her to achieve it. I’m not talking about doing it for her and saying, “Ta-da!” I mean supporting her with your time to make that desire materialize. At the end of the day, she must accomplish it, not you. We get so caught up in our own goals that we sometimes unintentionally forget about our partner’s dreams. Giving her that time will show her that you care.
Treat her family as your own. This might be a tough one, given the situation, it can differ widely but when you treat them as your own family, they’ll do the same. Most people won’t put in the effort and would rather complain about their in-laws to their spouse. I guarantee that they will become your family as well.
Remember, women talk more about their relationships than men do. We talk about sport, work, and other activities but rarely our relationships. When your partner is having these conversations, you need to stand out from the rest in her mind and the minds of her friends. This will elevate her in the relationship hierarchy among her peers and you’ll reap the benefits as well.
I don’t expect you to take my word for it on any of these points. Observe, test what I’ve suggested and seen for yourself. Let me know how it goes.
My goal is to emulate Jesus and follow his example but if all else fails, I’ll be like David. A writer, a man after God’s own heart and someone not to be trifled with.
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