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“Ships passing in the night”…”We’re from different planets”…”It’s like we don’t even speak the same language”.

All these phrases I’ve either said or heard my girlfriends say.

So as we approach the middle of “Valentine’s Month” (if you’re new, start here), I wanted to tackle just a few of the ways our guys may be thinking, and share some simple ways I’m learning to love my guy well, despite our differences.

How Your Man Thinks

1 ~ Respect vs. Love

When I say I want love, it means tenderness, kindness, affection.  But for him to respect him is one of the highest forms of love.  When he gets down or frustrated, often disrespect is the underlying factor.  Showing him respect communicates a deeper love than hand-holding, saying “I love you” or buying him gifts.

What to do: I am working to find out what communicates respect, and what doesn’t.   (this requires listening and observing)  Then I’m aiming to honor him with those boundaries.  For example, talking about his faults or joking about his failures in front of others always communicates disrespect.  But so do more subtle things, like complaining about the way he loads the dishwasher.  Respect can be simply telling him, “I admire and respect you so much.”  Or telling others in front of him how awesome of a husband he is.  (Regularly giving him these three compliments is always a great place to start.)

2 ~ Sex and his emotions are inseparable

I often think of emotional connection as the climax of intimacy.   Walking hand in hand on the beach, romantic dinners, cuddling and sharing our feelings create emotional connection and offer a satisfying sense of being “known” for me.   But the height of emotional connection and vulnerability for a guy happens when he is physically intimate with his wife.  I love that it is a gift no one else can give him, and its something that we were designed to do!  Sex is the gift that God gave with marriage and actually gives us the emotional connection we crave!

What to do: When I feel emotional distance, instead of asking my guy to sit on the couch and talk, I take hims straight upstairs.  Becoming “one” in flesh, leads to “oneness” in heart and spirit.  Then, we can talk and there is a much deeper emotional connection is there.

3 ~ Your appearance matters.  

I’m not going to lie.  Victoria Swimsuit Catalogue still makes me stupidly insecure.  Airbrushes and all.  And when I see those images, I begin to feel inadequate in just about every area of physicality.  Surely my man must be thinking the same thing…?

But what I’m learning may surprise you.  It’s not that he wants a Victoria Secret model for a wife.  It’s that he wants a woman who is energetic and full of life, caring enough to steward her health well.   No matter what size dress she wears.

I like how this one site said it:   It’s not how you “carry” yourself (as in your dress size) but in how you care for yourself.”  

What to do: I try to move everyday (simple exercises like squats and heel-raises at the kitchen sink count!).  I try to eat fruit and nuts for a snack instead of junk.  I try to get ample rest.  These things make me feel better physically, and my guy is blessed that I care.  I don’t stress about getting “ripped” or rush out to join a boot camp class (although those too, would be great).  It’s more about honor: stewarding our health honors God, honors ourselves and honors our husbands.  (which leads right back to the respect issue!)

For more resources, this article has a detailed summary on how men think and what makes them tick.  Or just check out the book by Shaunti Feldhahn called For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men

When we learn to “crack the code” of our differences, we don’t have to stay “ships passing in the night” but can enjoy a rockin’ marriage with unity and joy at it’s core.  

Let’s do this.