Do you want to know how to build more intimacy in your marriage? This was the continually repeating question in my head during my 28 year marriage..
I recently read about a study on the LiveScience website titled, “Women Prize Men Who Try to Understand Their Emotions”. My first reaction was, “Well, no kidding!”. But as I read a little further and understood the nature of the study, one conclusion stood out for me. It is a counter-intuitive reality that men need to understand. Women value a man who expresses either positive or negative emotion in response to conflict.
The Harvard Medical School study researcher, Shiri Cohen, reported that, “The fact their partner is experiencing any emotion, even a negative one, is still good news to women. This is consistent with what is known about the dissatisfaction women often experience when their male partner becomes emotionally withdrawn and disengaged in response to conflict.”
As I mention in my introduction video, my discussions with men always seem to lead toward improving intimacy. Men want BOTH emotionally and physically intimate connections to feel positively about their spouse and their relationship. The TWO BIGGEST REASONS men are unable to establish these connections are:
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- Failure to establish themselves as an attractive and authentic man of value and principles
- Failure to develop the confidence and personal leadership skills necessary to guide his relationship toward intimacy
A critical part of establishing yourself as an attractive, authentic man is how you handle conflict with your partner. A woman simply can not feel attracted to a man who handles conflict poorly or immaturely.
I talk about this frequently with my guys during our Masculinity Tune-Up discussions. Translated simply: When a man properly responds to conflict with his lady he can become significantly more attractive to her. Many men believe that withdrawing or disengaging will simply leave her in “neutral” with regard to his attractiveness. Not true. This is a tremendous insult and is extremely unattractive. A repeated pattern of this behavior can spell disaster for the relationship.
Always remember that you have a choice to RESPOND to conflict instead of REACTING to it. A man who chooses to immaturely react to conflict will do the following things:
- Avoid all discussion or walk away from the conflict and isolate himself
- Act indifferent towards her emotions as if he is above whole matter
- Dismiss her feelings as totally “irrational” or “illogical”
- Refuse to voice his opinions or show any emotions for fear of her reaction
- Lash out with an unbridled anger and an accusatory tone
So what are we supposed to do? How do we act? How do we build or maintain attractiveness in the face of conflict?
The answer is to realize that properly responding within your masculine frame is a GIFT WE GIVE TO OURSELVES first. We can validate our own value when we directly face conflict with confidence. We affirm our values when we choose to treat others fairly and respectfully. And we confirm our own principles when we stand up for ourselves and express our opinions without apology.
A NATURAL RESULT of a man who chooses to behave differently is increased ATTRACTIVENESS. This is what makes you the PRIZE for your lady.
The man you were meant to be chooses to proactively address conflict because it is WHO HE IS. When the pressure is on this man will:
- Calmly face conflict head-on. He responds like a man and doesn’t react like a teenager. He looks at her eyes. He listens actively to her words. He is comfortably and confidently 100% present with her in the moment.
- Tell her that he wants to understand her feelings. He treats the conflict as important and valid. He says this out loud – and he means it. He does not minimize her feelings or point of view.
- NOT pull the “logic card” and call her irrational. He knows that conflict and stress produces emotions. He does not need to react to them or defend himself while he listens. Her emotions can not be and should not be reasoned away.
- Be clear on where he stands. He doesn’t have to pretend to agree with her if he doesn’t. Without defensiveness or judgment he states his case clearly and without apology. He is authentic and speaks from a place of love and respect. He wants her to feel this energy and to know that it is true.
- Discusses options to address the issue and accepts responsibility for his part in the solution. He doesn’t accept undeserved blame or personal attacks. He is able to show anger and emotion without throwing a tantrum or making personal attacks. He does not initiate disrespectful behavior or language and does not accept it from anyone.
When you choose to develop these skills and this frame of mind in your relationships it is not to manipulate or control anyone. You will discover that it is the only way to lead your life with clarity and confidence. These skills apply beautifully in your parenting AND your career relationships as well. It is simply the man you are meant to be.
These skills are just part of a masculine foundation that will allow emotional and physical intimacy to flourish in your life.
Join our group coaching and get to talk to other men who have been through the pain you’re experiencing right now and come out the other side, more confident, more deliberate and with new skills that enable them to create a totally different future.
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