By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
Hard to believe I’ll be married 17 years in June. Harder still to believe no one’s been killed in a splattery homicide. Oh, I kid, I kid. But it takes a special man to hang in there with his lady love over so much time. And from what I hear, men are interested in taking on this particular mission. It’s not for lack of wanting to understand the female of the species and create a cozy, intimate partnership with that one special girl.
No, it seems many married men simply express some profound lack of insight into how to make their lady happy, or, indeed, understand what motivates her. I’m told women are mysteries to men. We do bleed for five days in a row without dying, which does make us seems a little magical, but really? There’s no big secret to be cyphered. Allow me to be your personal Nancy Drew (outdated references aside. If you’re under 40, Google it).
I’m delighted to say: heterosexual married men, today is your day. A little late for Valentine’s Day but good for all year ’round, here’s my top four pieces of advice designed to score points with your woman and strengthen your bond:
1. First and always, be her friend. Remember before you fell in love, and you were friends? Don’t quit playing together, and most importantly, always have her best interest in heart. Do everything you can think of to be worthy of her love. She’s worth it. She’s the main stakeholder in you and deserves your focused time and energy.
2. Use your words. Start talking. Talk about what you think. Talk about what you feel. It’s damaging to your relationship to withhold. Don’t brood. You might find conversation not as painful as you remember. How and when you express yourself can be, believe it or not, learned! Even if you feel you were born with the gift of anti-gab, just like with juggling or headstands, communication may be difficult. But it ain’t impossible. Take some notes about how Howard Stern, David Letterman, or any good talk show host makes conversation work.
3. Take a visit into Lady World. Come in! Take your shoes off. Look around. It’s pink and pretty in here. It smells good. And most men don’t take the time. When women gather, some men stare like we’re from some other civilization on the cover of National Geographic. And yes, we use the word “cute” to describe everything from babies to belts.
Nevertheless: buy a Cosmo, Elle, or Glamor and read it cover to cover. You might be surprised how sexy you become when you know this season’s top five cutest ways to cover up at the beach. Sit and watch Say Yes to the Dress, not to watch it, but to watch it with her. It’s a portal to common ground.There is a reason we own all those shoes and ponytail holders and know color blocking your clothes is so last season. And it is worth it to you to get to the bottom of it.
4. Be present in the moment when you’re with your lady. Participate. When dining out with your wife, it’s possible it’s not the best time to be reformulating what you would have said to your boss if you had that conversation over. Pay attention! It sounds so simple, and yet, both men and women can have a tendency to tune out a long-term partner. Order and control is not as important as enjoying your wife … or your kids, for that matter.
Marriage and long-term love: it’s not for the feint of heart, people. But it can be navigated with a lot of fun. A successful one doesn’t just happen. But men, if you know a little bit more about the best practices of it, you too can enjoy a long and mostly emotional scar-free love affair.
Women. We’re not that complicated. We may or may not have an obsession with toliet seat position, true. We all may be a little be crazy to the male of the species. But I think everyone can agree: man, are we definitely worth it.