This is a unique and powerful book. It is a record of a series of conversations with Christopher Howard on masculinity, sex, addiction and relationships. In them both Chris and myself opened ourselves up in a very personal and revealing way. We held nothing back and explored what it is to be men.
In it I said, "How often do you hear men say, "My wife doesn't understand me." What they really mean is, "I don’t understand my wife."
There was lively discussion on that point, in particular, and a female commenter turned the tables saying,
"I'm sure plenty of women don't understand men, and they could do well to try and listen more rather than think it's all about them. Big assumption goes on in many places that men don't have to be understood, they just want one thing etc.".
While agreeing with her I felt that this is for a woman to talk about, not for man. I see my aim here is to help men understand themselves and women.
She went on to say,
"Who is better qualified to talk about what a man needs than a man? How can women learn if men don't speak up? I don't see much about that. Not that any one man can speak for all men, but I would love to see more men speak up. Maybe in the future we'll see a post from you about what women need to know about men, about how to love a man?"
Being a man I couldn't fail to rise to the challenge, so here's the lowdown for women on how to love a man:
As I said to the men, this is not being selfish. If you are unable to love yourself you are unable to love someone else.
Women often have trouble with this because they spend too much time loving others. They can airbrush themselves out of the picture and use up all their love on their man, their children and others.
Loving yourself is the basis of life and the basis of a balanced personality. How can you take another's love for you seriously if you don't belief you are worth loving?
Men have many qualities we love, perhaps they're strong, or sexy, or inspirational, or funny, or even rich. Understand that this is not why you love him, you love him just because of him, nothing else.
Your love is not conditional, it is not based on any special qualities. You love him.
Men, however, often think that it's their special blend of qualities that attracts you. Encourage your man to understand that it's not those qualities but their being themselves that you love. This is so crucial in knowing how to love a man.
Whilst you may want to impress the man you love you must not stop being the woman you are. Your love should come from inside yourself, from your very soul. The love must be part of your femininity --- however you express it --- and be part of how you live.
Remain just who you are, be the woman he met and fell in love with, that's how to love a man.
He finds excitement in your femininity, particularly when it laced with love. Don't ever let him down.
Men often retain a bond with their mother and like to be looked after by them. Don't drift into being his mother or try to supercede her. He needs you as a lover.
Women can end up just taking care of their man and men accept this. This is potentially disastrous. He doesn't really want this from you.
This is especially true after you have children. Take care you still treat him as your lover, this will be what he is missing.
How often do you feel a man drift away from you saying, "my wife doesn't understand me". Don't let him go there, understand him.
Love can only grow and deepen through understanding. You can never get to the point where you think you know everything about him.
You may think a man is simple, in fact he is a complex person that even he doesn't understand.
You need to love him and get to know him with patience and determination, this is a key to how to love a man.
That means the blessings you have together, the things you have achieved together, all that you are as a couple.
This should be a regular part of your life together. It's ok to recount the great things in the past but this should be tempered with looking at the amazing things you are going to do in the future.
As a rule of thumb it is advisable to expect a future way beyond one that you can imagine. Expectations can lead to frustration if they limit you, expecting them to go way beyond is a good step into the future.
Whilst a woman often needs attention, a man needs space and time. Men thrive on being focused and directed and sometimes need to clear their minds to focus on what is important to them at that moment. Accept it may not be you.
It can be important to give him time to respond to a situation. Women often respond immediately, instinctively, but a man can take more time, to reflect and formulate a response. Understand this and give him the time, don't jump in.
There are times, also, when men need space just to be... well, nothing. Men thrive on periods of emptiness, allow them that. Get this right and you will really know how to love a man.
Love is about giving more than receiving but if you give too much you close off the channel for love.
It is crucial that you are able to receive the love that is offerred to you by him otherwise it quickly dies. It may not come in the form you expect, look out for it, however subtle, and accept it in the spirit it was given.
Don't shower him with more love than he can receive.
Give him time to respond.
Men need to feel good about themselves and often don't. They may live in their power but not be convinced by it.
Make him feel he deserves it, make him realise he is the man he would like to be.
It's important to do this from a genuine appreciation of him and his qualities.
He should believe what you say otherwise everything disappears.
Inspire him to be more of himself. You have to understand this to know how to love a man.
I talked about this in, "How do You Keep it Fresh? - 10 Steps to Heaven". I said,
"Start again as if it was the first day of the relationship. Welcome her into your world and look forward to your day together. Give her your love and tell her you love her. Do it again in a different way and repeat. I'm sure I don't have to tell you where to go from here."
This applies equally to you and your man. The refreshing of your love will keep it alive and bring you closer to each other. Through this your love will deepen and become an essential part of everyday you spend together.
As a woman you will succeed if make your man feel amazing. Inspire him to feel more of himself, then he will feel like a man.