This week's topic is for the ladies - but never fear, gents - we're back next week with the second part of the series - "What Women Really Want" - so if you've been confused about this topic (and who hasn't?) :-) please check back then to find out the answer to the mystery!
(Firstly, let me apologize up front for not listing the source of these 12 relationship needs - I really cannot remember where I heard this - it was many years ago, and I believe it was some sort of dating teleseminar or video series, but from or by whom, or on what exact topic, I have no idea.)
Each individual has different things that we need from a relationship, so keep in mind these are generalizations to some extent. We all - both men and women - need to have all of these things in our relationships. However, the primary needs (e.g. MUST have in order to be happy) are a bit different.
I will cover the woman's side next week, but below are the 6 crucial things that men generally need to have in a relationship. That is, these are all absolutely necessary for a man to be happy in a romantic relationship - if any one is lacking, the relationship will suffer.
Along with each item, I will also list an actionable tip for how to meet this need, so you can put it into practice right away with the special man in your life!
Obviously this is a big one. A man wants to know that you trust him, and count on him to be there for you. Note the subtle difference between "trust" and "need" - not all men like needy women (although some do!), but they all want to feel that you trust them. They need to feel that you see them as trustworthy and capable - that they are a man in your eyes.
Trust Tip: This one can be a bit subtle, and isn't necessarily as easy to demonstrate as some of the others, but one great way to show your man that you trust him is to not question his decisions. This isn't to say you can't share your opinion, have (and express) a different opinion than him, or let him take action on something that may be dangerous without speaking up. What it does mean is that, when he makes a small decision that might be different from the decision you would have made, that you let him make it, and don't try to nitpick and control every situation. This one small thing can make a big difference in your relationships with a man - particularly if (like me), you tend to want to take the lead in everything!
Relationship Need #2: Acceptance
Similar to trust, men need to feel that you accept them the way that they are - and that you accept the decisions they make in life. Acceptance can actually be a sign of trust. Again, keep in mind that acceptance does not have to mean you agree with him all the time - it just means that you accept the decisions he makes, and trust that he knows what he's doing.
Acceptance Tip: Learn to let go of the reins a bit, and know that your man is competent, and can take care of himself. He's a big boy. Let him be one! Not only will this make him happier, it will make you happier too - although it may not sound like it at first - as it can save you a lot of stress. The next time you feel like arguing with him about something, stop and ask yourself - "If I just accept that his point of view is right to him, what will it hurt?" The answer, the vast majority of the time, is probably "nothing." The result? He will feel that you accept him and his opinions, and he will feel valued and appreciated - and will love you all the more for it!
Relationship Need #3: Appreciation (or Gratitude)
This is a big one too, and if you've read any relationship books before at all, you've probably heard this one a time or two. And for good reason - appreciation is a primary love need for a man, and feeling appreciated is one of the major ways that he feels like a man. It's MEGA important! (Keep in mind this is not to say that women don't need to feel appreciated! We all need all of these things in some ways, but for men, this one is a real biggie.)
Appreciation Tip: This is one of the easier ones to demonstrate, but don't be lazy about it just because it's easy to say "thank you." For a man to feel appreciated, "thank you" is a bare minimum - and how successful do you think your relationship will be if you both only put in the bare minimum of effort? Go deeper in your expressions of appreciation - tell him why you appreciate him, and what you appreciate about him. And if it's something he did for you, what he wants is to know that you appreciate it - meaning, tell him how you feel! Don't just say "thanks honey, for cleaning up the living room." Say "Thank you so much for doing that - it makes me so happy to have a clean house! I feel so much more relaxed now, it's a weight off my shoulders." Etc. Your man will be smiling from ear to ear if he gets this kind of appreciation from you - and you'll have a really clean house! :-)
Relationship Need #4: Admiration
Admiration Tip: This one can also be pretty easy. But don't overdo it - or it can come off as phony, which could backfire on you. Just casually and very occasionally, mention something that you truly admire about him. You can get deep with this one, if you pick your moment right, and really bring new depths to your relationship. But even a light, seemingly offhanded comment like "you're such a good man," after he does something nice for someone, or "I'm so lucky to be with someone as kind as you," and he'll feel that "S" on his chest, and be ready to fly around the world for you!
Relationship Need #5: Approval
Are you sensing a theme here yet? Men need to feel that you approve of who they are, and that you love them because of it! If your man feels that you approve of who he is on a deep level, he will want to move mountains for you - because he will feel that you're worth it.
Approval Tip: You can use the same strategy here as with Admiration. Again, be sincere, and don't overdo it, but remembering to periodically express your approval of who he is as a man will make your bond virtually unbreakable.
Relationship Need #6: Encouragement
We all need a little encouragement from time to time, and men especially. Please note that encouragement does not mean nagging! What it does mean is that you support him in his endeavors, and you let him know it. It means that when he's going through a rough patch, you do what you can to help him see the brighter side of things. It means that if he's uncertain about something, you express how much you trust his ability to do the right thing.
Encouragement Tip: Encouraging your man can be as simple as expressing appreciation or trust (see tips above), or can involve you taking a more active role to help him through something when he is stuck or blocked. Just make sure if you do this, that you don't make it seem like he is incompetent - you always want him to feel like he can do what he needs to do - and that you are there to support him in it.
Keeping these crucial needs of your man in mind will work wonders at keeping your relationship strong and thriving and full of love.
Be sure to check back next week for the 6 crucial love needs of women, and how to keep your woman happy and devoted to you throughout your time together!