I got married in 2010. We wrote our vows separately and surprised each other with them. I had been jotting things down over a period of months, and one thing kept coming up for me: my beloved has zero tolerance for being made wrong. It just doesn’t work for us. The first thing that I committed to in my vows was to try to not make him wrong, and that if I wanted to make him wrong, I committed to figuring out what was going on with me that caused me to do so. Because when you make somebody wrong it’s information about you, not about them. I know, you probably don’t like hearing that either. But I’m right on this. These unconventional vows really resonated with my beloved, as well as with the audience, the men especially. They’re still talking about it. I think I struck a chord. As far as our marriage goes, so far so good.
Archives for September 2010
Here’s a biggie: making a man wrong is a lose. Cumulatively, it whittles away at his sense of manhood and empowerment. It’ll make him angry and cause him to withdraw. You may have noticed. Don’t make him wrong. Period. Give it up.
When giving a man feedback, give him the ‘positive sandwich’: you start with a positive (“I love how you…”), give him the constructive criticism (“And it would make me even happier if…”), and end with a positive (“You’re such a wonderful…(lover, cook, father, planner)”).
When you want to talk to a man, pick an opportune time, a time that will set you both up for success. Men’s brains are single‐focused ‐ in other words, they’re best‐suited to only focusing on one thing at a time. Women tend to have multi‐tasking brains. Again, neither is better; it’s just different, and serves different purposes. So if you want to approach him to discuss something, don’t do it when he’s focused on something else. When he’s watching a football game on TV, fixing the car, doing e‐mail, helping little Johnny assemble his new toy…he’s not available. And he won’t be able to give you his undivided attention, which is what you want, right? He may grunt in response, and you assume that he has heard and understood you. Later you wonder why he doesn’t remember. He genuinely doesn’t. Pick a time when he can focus on you. Catch him in between tasks. You might even want to ask if it’s a good time to discuss what color to paint the den, plan his mother’s birthday party, RSVP to a dinner invitation…
When you thank him, that’s a win for him, and he will want to do what pleases you again, so that you are pleased again. Never underestimate the impact of praising and thanking a man, with a smile and direct eye contact, whether it’s your mate, a busboy in a restaurant, the guy helping you at
the hardware store. A smile reads as a win to a man, and facilitates you both getting what you want.
Here’s another important piece: when a man does something that pleases you…thank him! Several times. Thank him in the moment, and be specific about what pleased you (it made you feel cared for, it helped you somehow…). And thank him again later, in an unrelated moment: “Remember when you complimented me on my outfit? That made me feel pretty.” “I’ve noticed you haven’t been leaving your shoes in the middle of the hallway. I really appreciate that. I feel safer and not afraid to trip over them anymore.”