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What Men Want in a Relationship

The 5 Relationship Hacks All Women Should Know But Don't

What do men want most from the women they love?

If you’re asking yourself that, it’s probably because your guy seems grumpy, distant or depressed. Maybe he’s all three.

Early on in my marriage, when everything was a struggle, I thought I was a pretty good wife.

And since my marriage was miserable, that meant that he was the problem.

But now I realize I was looking at everything through my female eyes, which meant I didn’t understand his perspective. At all.

Figuring out what my husband wanted and what made him feel loved blew open the whole mystery for me.

It was like traveling to another country and wondering why everyone was so hostile, and then learning that waving “hello” is their gesture for “drop dead.”

Now that I know what makes men feel loved, my marriage is sweet and fun.

It was easier than I thought. I was making it too hard, until I discovered these simple habits.

Here are 5 relationship hacks that I wish every woman knew, but most don’t.

These are the things your man really wants, and will inspire him to desire, cherish and adore you 10X over.

1. Respect Him (Which is Not What You Think)

Women have a different view of respect than men do.

Women tend to think they’re being respectful when they’re considerate.

We think it’s respectful to clean up so we don’t leave a mess for him, or to reheat his dinner when he comes home late, or to pick up his dry cleaning when we’re out.

Even as I write that with my female brain, I’m thinking, “Those things seem pretty respectful!”

But here’s the rub: all of that completely misses the respect mark for men.

Sure, it’s nice to do those things. But it’s not respect, which is like oxygen to men.

And unless you know what respect looks like to a man, you can easily suffocate your husband or boyfriend without even realizing it.

He’d rather you treat him with what he sees as respect, even if it meant you skipped all those things.

This is where the trouble starts, because if, while you’re reheating his dinner, you contradict what he just said, criticize him, roll your eyes at him, interrupt him, try to teach him how to do something or point out his mistake, he’s likely to get defensive.

That’s because you were just disrespectful.

And you didn’t even realize it.

You have no idea because you didn’t raise your voice or call him names. You’re not trying to upset him.

You were just being logical, or helpful, or practical. But in the process, you questioned his competence. And he reacted badly, and you can’t understand why.

And that’s likely to cause a big breakdown because here you are serving him dinner, and he’s barking at you or grunting or ignoring you.

Seems very inconsiderate of him. Seems like he’s not respecting you.

So unless you know that even though he’s a big, strong man, you just hurt him—just as much as it would hurt you if he said, “I don’t think I love you”––his irritation seems unwarranted.

To give him the respect he wants, demonstrate that you have faith in his capabilities. Appreciate his thinking. Let him know—in actions as well as words—that you think he’s smart.

He really is. You picked him to be with, and you wouldn’t have picked an idiot.

2. Receive Graciously

Your man wants to know that he can make your life better–that he can contribute to your happiness.

He doesn’t really care if you ever do anything for him (except respect his thinking and competency).

But he wants to be able to lighten your load, make you smile, make you laugh, protect you and give you the things you want.

He wants to be able to compliment you and know that you received it. Even if it’s that you look beautiful when you just cleaned the toilet.

If you receive his extravagant gift that you could have lived without, his offers to take you out to dinner even though you already defrosted the salmon, his compliments even though they make you uncomfortable—he’ll be getting so much of what he wants from you, he’ll be ridiculously happy.

And with all his help, gifts and compliments, so will you.

Such a deal, right?

3. Be Pleasable

Okay, so I made that word up, but I can’t think of a better way to describe the quality that men want in a relationship.

Since men are so driven to please their women, if he feels he can’t succeed, he’s going to start to feel useless and bad about himself.

He needs someone to please.

If he buys you a watch and you say that it’s not the kind of watch you would wear, or if, when he trims the trees and bushes, you say he trampled the begonias, or if you argue with him when he praises your lasagna, you’re not pleasable.

In other words, he can’t make you happy. And he considers that his job.

The quickest solution is to seriously focus on making yourself happy.

Do things that make it so you can’t stop smiling.

Consider the possibility that you would stop cleaning up the mess, reheating his dinner and picking up his dry cleaning if that helps you free up time for frivolous fun.

None of that stuff is as important to him as knowing he pleased you—especially if it leaves you frazzled.

When you get happy, he feels proud and happy, too.

That’s why that phrase, “Happy wife, happy life,” is so universal.

4. Show Appreciation

Even if your husband or boyfriend seems like a gigantic disappointment right now, using this hack will be like getting a new husband.

Let him know you appreciate the way he gets the kids to behave at dinner, even if it’s old news.

Appreciate what a great job he does with the trash. Be grateful it’s all taken care of and you don’t have to worry about it.

Let him know how happy you are that he made dinner, moved the laundry to the dryer, changed a diaper, fixed the WiFi, or changed the batteries in the remote.

Even if he’s done it for years and you’ve never expressed your gratitude, and it’s his job and you do it way more than he does, your man wants to feel appreciated.

And why not?

If he didn’t do all that stuff, you’d have to do it.

5. Seduce Him

Of course, your man wants sex, too. Unless he hasn’t been feeling respected.

Respect is the best aphrodisiac for men. So if it’s gone missing completely, start with that one. You can’t have passion without oxygen.

Once he has oxygen, he’ll be more life-like in the bedroom.

But even then, he doesn’t want to feel pressured to perform at a particular time.

He’d rather be teased, or get some visual stimulation that might lead to feeling excited.

You are visually stimulating, and your voice and your scent and your touch are stimulating too.

And when you use those things to suggest that you’re willing, that you’re receptive, that’s awfully attractive and exhilarating.

It can also be scarier for you than just initiating things more directly with words or action. It’s riskier for you to put on your skimpy outfit, because he could just walk on by.

You could feel rejected.

But the upside is that you’re issuing your invitation in the most feminine possible way—with no pressure and lots of excitement.

You’re creating emotional safety by being open but not demanding. That’s what he really wants.

Another benefit of this approach is that you will never feel more desirable as when your man responds to your implied suggestion with enthusiasm and vigor.

Just as with all the other relationship hacks, the beauty of the system is that when your man is getting what he wants in the relationship, he shows up like the man you fell in love with.

The one you thought was smart, who couldn’t do enough to make you happy, who loves to see you smile, the one you appreciated, and who turned you on.

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

66 replies on “What Men Want in a Relationship”

That is a very powerful article. I totally agree but something’s are easier said than done. I have been struggling with my marriage and the man I knew turned out to be completely different after marriage.

I have noticed I do most of the things you mentioned which might seem being disrespectful but I do it coz it’s logical. And you have opened my eyes to see things differently.
Thank you.

You’re welcome, Mahlet. It’s so painful to see your man do a 180 after getting married. I give you all the credit for opening your eyes and being willing to do things differently. I get why it’s easier said than done though! I’ve felt the same way and couldn’t do it alone. Sounds like you too could use some support. To get you started, here’s a free Roadmap of 6 simple steps that have helped thousands of women turn things around:

Laura, your post seems pretty logical for marriages where the work and home are separated. But I do not have that situation.
I Found your site googling why to husbands say mean things. Wondering why he must contour to be mean to me when at this point I am the one who is the business and he is a worker. He tells me all the things I do wrong; nothing I do right. And because we are in business I do correct him after. I also don’t like to cover his arrogance and faults with lies. How does your advise work for a marriage that is a business partnership? All intimacy is dead

This is so sad. I’d be shocked if you’re still happily married.
So we basically have to tiptoe around our men so we don’t hurt their feelings?

What if your husband never compliments you? Never gives a hand? Does not buy gifts? How do you show appreciation? He works hard and supports us but seems so distantly vacant in the home as though he is just existing lifelessly. How do i show appreciation?

Hi Laura, thank you for your advise. Much appreciated. I do mostly of the housework and he works for our food and household bills. Fair enough! We’re both on our senior age. What I don’t like about it is he’s so bad-tempered especially dealing with me when we’re on our own, but looks so nice in front of other people. I thought he’s being hypocrite. I have mentioned this to him and it’s making me unhappy but did not make any difference to his attitude. What do you think I have to do? I am a Christian and just being patient with him. I told him I still love him in spite of his attitude but not taking his being disrespectful towards me. I always think it’s really his habit, as like a saying, “ You can’t really teach an old dog.” Btw, am his 3rd wife. He’s been divorced twice. Your article and my strong Faith in God help me to carry on. God bless you.

Am I the only one who gets tired of carrying the relationship responsibilities? I have to be responsible for the success of our marriage, househo8chores, Bill’s, social calendar, work, etc already….I’m tired. I get what you’re saying and I know it works, but again, I’m tired. Why haven’t evolved to be the one responsible, they act like everything else in the world revolves around them so it seems like they could grow up and take charge here…ugh! Thanks for all you are doing…can you help me not be resentful?

I think these are things everyone wants in a relationship, not a male-specific list. When my husband criticizes my choices (disrespect) or doesn’t graciously receive or appreciate my efforts to please him, it kills my feelings of intimacy and affection towards him.

I love this. I just wish you would touch upon how to handle when your spouse really does hurt your feelings when it’s unwarranted and how to handle it. Mine gets very defensive immediately and that ends up being the focus instead of my initial feelings. Thanks for all your insight.

I really love this list. It is so bad for ladies to believe that all what men want in a relationship is sex.

Men wants peace of mind and a feeling of love, security and nurturing. Thanks for sharing. I really found value in it.

” This is where the trouble starts, because if, while you’re reheating his dinner, you contradict what he just said, criticize him, roll your eyes at him, interrupt him, try to teach him how to do something or point out his mistake, he’s likely to get defensive.”

What the actual hell is this? What century is this from? If a man’s ego is so fragile that he can’t handle being taught something by a woman or a woman disagreeing him, then it’s the woman’s fault for having an opinion and something to teach? HELL NO. Furthermore, how are you validating completely toxic and unhealthy lack of communication about feelings? Are you seriously saying “Hey ladies, if your man is treating you like shit and you don’t know why, it’s probably your fault! It’s also on you to read his mind!”

Just no. This is disgusting.

Dear Laura, I am reading your blogposts and emails continuously with my 16yo son in mind. The respect that comes quite naturally in my relationship with my husband, is quite a challenge between me and our son. But it’s so important for this growing man as well! I know I am too controlling as a mother, and I also know why (he has had severe health issues over last 12 years), but I am determined to improve, and I find your articles helpful. Thank you!

Anna, Your accountability and determination to find your faith in your son are endearing and inspiring! This makes my day. Thanks for sharing.

Finally. Someone almost gets it. Point 2 receive graciously.
It’s all about honour for men. Don’t undermine our competency, respect it. We just want our contribution (whatever it is) to be valued.

It’s about honour for women too, that’s why it’s included in wedding vows for both men and women. My husband is good at romantic gestures (flowers, gifts, thoughtful actions) but often criticizes me for seemingly insignificant things (how I chop an onion, what I choose to wear, etc.). It undermines my self-confidence and damages our connection. Mature men AND women want to be respected and valued in their relationships.

Am gonna try this, I just don’t know whether he will be back now that he has someone else with him.

Doris, I’m sorry to hear you’re going through the pain of your man being with someone else. I love your hope and your openness to trying something new.

You are not alone. Many clients didn’t believe the 6 Intimacy Skills could work for them because their man had left them for another woman. But they tried anyway because nothing else had worked, and they had nothing to lose. They found that a woman with the Intimacy Skills trumps a mistress every day of the week and twice on Sundays! With the Skills, I see the man come back time and time again.

I would love to give you the support to get your man back too. I invite you to apply for a complimentary discovery call to see how working with a coach would fit for you. The call alone will bring you clarity.

Am pleased with all your efforts to amend relationships. I broke up with my boyfriend, I just see how I contributed towards the break up. So sad about it now. I just don’t know how to make things right now that he has a different girlfriend. Pliz help

Doris, I’m sorry to hear about the breakup and that your boyfriend is seeing someone else. I would be very sad too. I admire your vulnerability and your awareness.

I had a lot of sadness about my relationship, especially once I saw how I had contributed to the rift. The 6 Intimacy Skills gave me the tools to attract him back, so now I have the playful, passionate marriage I’d always wanted.

You too can create the relationship of your dreams. I’ll show you how in my upcoming free Introductory Course on the 6 Intimacy Skills at

Hi, I wasn’t very respectful of my husband it seems I didn’t have the ability to be. He was learning disabled and a highly functioning autistic human being. I didn’t see it till after we were married. He was abusive and simply mean. I tried to make it work for ten years. He filed for divorce and is simply even worse. I just want peace in the relationship. We have many children and I’d just like to survive. How can I create a positive relationship with him and find a new man who is whole?

Aliza, That sounds incredibly hard and painful and scary! I’m sorry to hear about the mean treatment and the breakup of your big family. I’d love to see you get your hands on the 6 Intimacy Skills which will help you create peace with your husband and create the kind of relationship you dream of. It must have taken courage for you to reach out to me, and I’m standing for you to not just survive but to feel loved again! I invite you to my free webinar on How to Get Respect, Reconnect and Rev Up Your Love Life, which you can register for here:

thanks for your post. I understand how I should treat my husband. He sometimes told me that when I talk to him he has the feeling that he is the houseboy! I did not understand why before….now I know….so many remarks I got from him….everything is clear to me now.
I have red your books, I’ve known them for seven years….however when everything was back on track with my h, I got back to my usual behaviors. Now I know that the book (surrounding wife) is for me a bedside reading and it’s a daily journey.
ouch and financial handover really work ! and of course, respect, respect and respect….Thank you so much Laura !

Nathalie, You’re welcome! I’m happy to hear you’re having clarity about your relationship! I’m the same as you in that I start to get off track again if I don’t talk about it with other women and have their support. That’s why I created programs where we can support each other. I need them as much as anybody. Thanks for being on the journey with me.

Thankyou for your post I have read The Empowered Wife and implementing the 6 skills. After 15 years married I starved my husband of oxygen. Till he was done and has no feelings for me anymore although says he soesnt hate me. I am struggling with fear of him leaving. The councillor whom his mother told him to go to told him that he should leave our home and cut all ties with me. I now live in fear he will be gone. I know i cant control that and I need to focus on me and stay off his paper..I am anxious everyday as he had an emotional affair with another women (he seperated from me and lives in the spare room). Now when I express my desires to spend time with him he rejects it and says he would rather spend time alone as he never gets to do anything himself. Even though he is never home he has thrown himself into his sports rather than spend time with me. I really want a happy loving long marriage. I feel I am doing things to fast and too much it’s been only 4 months since he told me how he felt. I think i need to back off but it’s so hard when I crave his affection (even though we are intimate he says its just sex abd nothing else) i am heartbroken daily. Please give me some advice thanks

Sarah, You must feel very low–I’m sorry that you’re going through that. I invite you to apply for a complimentary discovery call to get support and save your marriage. It’s possible to get what you want in this marriage, but it’s tricky to practice the Intimacy Skills all alone. You’ll find the discovery call very valuable. You can apply here:

This is great, I now understand how I should be treating my husband. But a year ago when my first baby was 6 weeks old I found out he’d been having an affair, because he said he felt abandoned and not respected. He was working away in a different country at the time. He promised me he would stop the affair immediately – I believed him, we’ve spent the last year working through it. A month ago I found out I was pregnant (a massive surprise as it had taken 4 years and fertility treatment with the first one) and then I worried and checked his emails. I found out he has stopped the affair, but very reluctantly telling the girl he loved her but had to be with me because of the baby. It had also kept going for another 3 months before he called it off. I found out it was a lot more serious than he had first let on, with him flying to visit her where she lived and emails to each other that were so erotic and besotted by each other. I’m beyond hurt, disappointed, confused and angry. He promises me now the truth is all out and he really wants to make things work and be a family. He says he loves me but can’t go back to the way we were before as he didn’t feel respected. I’m at my wits end, what do I do? I do love him, but does he really love me and how do I know really if he does. And how do I do all of the above you suggest when respect has gone flying out the window??

Sarah, So sorry to hear about the betrayal and the ongoing trust issues in your marriage. Sounds devastating. I can see where that would be taking a lot of your energy to try to sort out. I hear you saying that you want your family back and you love your husband, and the issue is feeling like you might be a fool for trusting him again. I think there’s every reason to be hopeful and that your faith will be rewarded, but I think it will be very tricky to go through all this alone. I would love to see you get some support if possible. Consider applying for a complimentary discovery call to uncover the best move for your marriage. You’ll find it valuable. You can do that here:

What a man wants in a relationship has blown my mind. I walked away from my second marriage of two years because of misunderstanding the traits of respect and listening to the opinions of others. My first marriage lacked respect as my husband then fathered two outside children while we were married (those children are closely aged to my two children). So, I saw mixed messages and had a false picture of love and respect. Staying in the marriage to raise the children resulted in devastation for me and our daughters. My daughters are 30 and 25, not married, no children, and has experienced short relationships with no future plans. Now I realize my second husband and I are soul mates and we exhibited every one if the five hacks listed in the article. The sad part to this painful dilemma is we both remarried our previous spouse for sake of hurt and not wanting to be alone. I am hurt, loveless, angered, and wearing a veil. My second husband was short changed by the deceptive evenvironment I lived.

Hi Laura, My marriage is like never before. I’m reading your books, doing the Surrendered Wife Empowerered Women program and I’m married nearly 17 years and you can’t compare the relationship I have today with my husband to a year ago. I was always so critical and controlling without realizing. I always considered my marriage to be fine with loads of ups and downs, but now it’s special!!!!!! Thanks to you Laura!!! I have a little question though: How can I take away the frustration of things like habits. My husband sniffs alot when he has a cold and blows his nose very noisily. It sounds silly but it can be so extremely annoying and I used to critisize him like telling him to go to the bathroom and sniff it out…and now I say nothing but I want it to stop!!! Any advice on making his habits go away?

Pearl, Congratulations on making your marriage special! I give you all the credit for that. As far as sniffling noises, for me that’s a self-care issue. When something he’s doing is making me bananas, it’s a string to pull that leads to making myself super happy so that I’m focused on what I want and not what I don’t want. What you focus on increases, so the less you focus on his sniffling, the more it will “go away.”

Laura, help I know my post is going to sound awful but I read this and I think… really? All men can’t be this way! Why do some men feel so insecure, why are they so much work? Sometimes I get so tired of having to stroke my husband’s ego that I wonder to myself, maybe I need to be with a more secure man that doesn’t rely on me for his self worth. Why is it my job to make him feel worthy whether he’s acting like a jerk or not? Sometimes I think we as women are disrespecting our men because “respect” is a two way street? How can we show respect when we may not feel respected in return. As a strong woman, sometime I feel like I need to be less than “myself” in order to make my marriage work and I really hate that.

Sher, Yep, I can totally relate to feeling like my strength was off-putting to my husband, and he was a big baby. I really wanted him to be more confident and not so sensitive. And he definitely wasn’t respecting me–he wouldn’t even do simple chores around the house when I asked him. That was before I knew about The 6 Intimacy Skills. Fast-forward to today and I feel respected, desired, cherished, adored and everything I wanted when I said, “I do.” So it wasn’t my strength that was the problem. And I don’t have to baby him. I just wasn’t trained and didn’t have good modeling in creating an intimate, passionate, peaceful relationship. Getting the right info made all the difference. Like making an omelette, driving a car or becoming a lawyer and everything else that’s worthwhile in life.

If you haven’t read The Empowered Wife yet you would find it very valuable. It lays out the Six Intimacy Skills step-by-step. You can read a free chapter here:

I read your blogs, your information Is right on the money. I felt so disrespected by my soon to be ex-wife that my self worth was down to nothing (even more after losing my job) I took a part time job so she could further her private practice (therapist) and I would be home our son after her got out of school. I have my own issues of PDAs I did not realize how much it meant to her.
We had problems of conceiving and ended up doing IVF with the luck of having a son. I don’t know what more to say but be honest with each other laugh with other and have fun. Be thankful for what you have and work together.

My parnter owns his own buiness and works long hours…he doesnt do much at home, but i understand and grateful for him bringing home the bacon. He chops fire wood and takes the bins out when he can. We hired a cleaner 2 years ago to help with the house work. I dont expect the world from my husband, he needs his rest too. I feel if you look after your own personal wellbeing first the rest will come. Keep up the good work laura x

There has been some infidelity in my marriage- it did not consummate in actual sex but would have if the woman had been willing to go there with a married man (my husband)- I guess I owe her? I have been doing some reflection on myself, and although he tells me the affair was not my fault, I cannot help but think of the times I drove him away by being too controlling. I wanted to make him into the kind of husband I wanted. I nagged him for years. He does not say that this led him to looking outside our marriage. He says he was just being curious like a lot of men. It has been 8 months since I discovered this and the good days are now more than the bad days. I have chosen to be a surrendered wife-even before I learned that there was a book to that name. I have forgiven him, but there are days that small things trigger memories of the hurt and I have to reach back to him for reassurance to feel better. I am living a surrendered life now- not so that he will not be attracted to other women ever- but because it has made for a more peaceful home now.

Keptbygrace, I admire your courage, accountability and wisdom. It’s true–your husband’s affair was not your fault. But I get that you feel he may have been more vulnerable because he didn’t feel respected, and you sound empowered in that you recognize your own ability to make your home peaceful and you’re choosing that path. Kudos to you!

I enjoy your posts, they make sense to me when my relationship doesn’t. I’ve been trying all your suggestions, without success. I’m still feeling unappreciated and undesired. I feel punished for the years of struggling, like he can’t get past it, or maybe I’m not really trying since I’m not seeing results. Frustrated tired sad

Jen, Wow, that sounds rough! I know it can be tricky to apply the skills all by yourself. And it can take some time for him to get the memo. Hang in there though–you will get a better response in time. I’d love to see you get some support. Consider applying for a complimentary discovery call to connect with a coach figure out the best move for your relationship. You can do that here:

Laura I am struggling! Ive read your ‘surrendered wife’, and ‘The Empowered Wife’ (twice) along with all your blogs. I sincerely try to employ all your recommendations and I see their value but my husband still thinks I don’t try hard enough to be respectful. I know my downfall is not caring for myself enough, I find it hard with a boisterous toddler and my husband working away, only home for a long weekend every month and no useful family support (we are relocating in 2 months so he can be home very night but opposite side of the country to our family). As soon as things get heated between us he resorts to threats of separating/divorce even though we are quiet good together a majority of the time. I’m not sure if these comments are a deep seated insecurity (his parents had a very messy divorce) or a glimpse of his true desire. Either way they are like a stab to my heart and he knows it. Only after I expressed how devestated I am does he soften. I know showing vulnerability is a good thing but these threats are making me feel very insecure in our marriage and I need them to stop! I try hard to be the Lady of Fun and Laughter I want to be, but it feels incredibly insincere with how I feel inside. please help!

Kate, I would also have a hard time living with ongoing threats like that. Sounds scary and painful! I’m sorry you’re going through that. It can take a little while to overcome the old patterns when you’re practicing the Intimacy Skills. Getting self-care in with a toddler is challenging. You’re lucky to get a shower some days, I’m sure. For me, what I hear most in this post is that you need support, and I know that’s been key to my success too. I’ve always had a group of women supporting me, since the very beginning. I don’t think I could have done it by myself. Here’s something that may help:

Kate – I know how that is. Those threats are about him and his insecurity. He’s testing you. Try to detach from that and even apply the “whatever you think” idea. Don’t be snarky or sarcastic, but truly don’t play into the wounded puppy game. He’ll see a difference that his hurt didn’t elicit an emotional neediness that he can manipulate (he may not know any better). Once he sees that those ploys don’t work any more he will have to come up with a better way of communicating. Be sincere, but don’t react emotionally. Hope that helps…

My boyfriend of six years and I had a really great relationship before. Although I was so controlling and disrespectful, he was very loving and sweet with me. He had his faults as well (uncommunicative, doesn’t spend a lot of time with me, passive, etc.) but his great qualities far overweigh those weak points. We were a loving and happy couple. However, October of last year, I lashed out on him big time. I poured out the things I don’t like about him, not thinking about the consequences of my words. I really regret what I’ve done and went through great lengths to show my remorse. I read your book, “The Surrendered Wife” and other Christian relationship books and blog posts as well. I now know all my mistakes, and I’m working hard on being the best woman I could be.

My boyfriend has changed a lot since our fight. The spark in his eyes whenever he sees me is now gone. He no longer touches me. He doesn’t send me messages and he doesn’t call me anymore. We still see each other weekly (for about three hours); he comes to my house every Sunday. But he’s so cold and he doesn’t even smile when we’re together. I try my best to be happy, and to enjoy our moments together… But it’s so difficult.

I just want to ask if there’s still a possibility for him to be the same man he was before our fight? And how can I show that I respect him when we see each other so seldom?

Brokenhearted, Sorry to hear about the challenge in your relationship, and the distance you’re feeling. Sounds very lonely. I can relate to raging at my husband and killing the intimacy for a long time afterward. Practicing the Six Intimacy Skills helped me heal from that urge, which restored the emotional safety, which all eventually came back. The same thing can happen with your boyfriend, but I’d love to see you get some support with it. It can be tricky to do by yourself. Consider applying for a complimentary discovery call to uncover the best way to bring back the spark in your boyfriend’s eyes. You can do that here:

Great post Laura and I love reading all your posts. It’s all creating fantastic results in this home and life is peaceful and lots of fun again!
Thank you so much!

Yay, Gemma! Sounds like you’re being pretty courageous over there. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks Laura. I spent a year in counseling and she told me to dump him that he was a narcissist and she really wanted me to get him to come to counseling. She said to me “you know I’m going to try and break the two of you up.” When I first went to see her I had wanted help with my communication style because I thought I was doing something wrong. It was not a good experience in that she tried to tell me what I thought and felt. I found your book The Empowered Wife and have been trying to implement some of the strategies. It’s down to seeing him once a week for dinner and of course he wants to be intimate but that’s it. I’m completely frustrated with his flaky ways. I don’t know what to do at this point.

Donna, I’m pretty furious with your counselor right now. Holy Cow that makes me mad!

You can get this relationship back to what you always wanted it to be. Once a week for dinner is not enough! I’d love to see you get some support from a coach. We’re always teaching people how to treat us and you have all the power to inspire him to want to cherish you every day. Consider applying for a complimentary discovery call to figure out the best move for your relationship. You can do that here:

Hey Laura – I’ve really been working on respect, and it’s had a big impact on my marriage! Thank you! I have a question, though. Sometimes when I try to show respect by saying “whatever you think” (when he asks, for example, which route we should take to get somewhere), he gets annoyed and says, “But I’m asking you what *you* think.” When he does this, should I give him my opinion or continue to hold back even if it irritates him? Also, what if he specifically asks for my feedback on a draft of a project he’s doing for work (we’re in the same field)? Do I refrain from giving him my professional opinion? Or is it possible to do that in a respectful way? Thank you!!

Vicki, Happy to hear that respect is making things better at your house! Recently someone shared that after she started saying “Whatever you think” to her husband he said, “you keep saying that and now I’ve had to start thinking!” So sometimes that irritation is just him reacting to you changing things. When he is asking for your opinion on a draft, one question to ask yourself is whether he’s just looking to be seen and validated or if he really wants a critique. The former is respectful. The latter is not going to contribute to intimacy, in my experience.

Thanks for these tips! I enjoy reading your blog and am currently reading The Surrendered Wife. I have a question, though, referring to an earlier comment. I understand the need not to give unsolicited advice, but I don’t see how giving an opinion when asked for one would be disrespectful or an intimacy killer, especially when no criticism is involved (such as which route to take). I feel like my husband values me when he asks for my opinion, and, often it can lead to a discussion that leads to a conclusion neither of us could have come up with on our own. I feel like a marriage is richer when both the husband and wife can discuss options and not just do whatever the husband says all the time. A marriage like that seems so one sided and I think I would start feeling suppressed. Am I missing something?

Branna, I totally get what you’re saying about two people contributing and how that makes things richer. For me, I was overboard with giving opinions and it helped to dial it way back. Once you fold a piece of paper, to get it to lay flat again you have to fold it the other way. You always get to decide whether to share your opinion on something. And more than my opinion, my husband wants to know what I want, so I’m always sharing that. I wouldn’t characterize my marriage as one-sided or that we do whatever my husband says all the time. What I want colors what he thinks, and what he thinks colors what I want. That’s been a great way for us to come together without even having to compromise.

Thank you for your lovely articles – oxygen to me! Thanks for appreciating how hard it can be to appreciate “the lawn getting cut, and the begonias trampled”. Men just DON’T see things the way we women do! with me, it’s him really kindly cleaning up the kitchen, but seriously, putting half the pans and bowls away still dirty!!! I used to go CRAZY, but now I realized that if I appreciate that he’s made the outside of the room look nice, and tolerate finding dirty stuff in the drawers, we’ll all be much happier! How could he seriously not see that the bowl is still unwashed from cake remains? It still beats me! But then I realized, that what women see, may seem like *everything*, but it’s not. Maybe ignoring dirt is part of bigger picture thinking, and that is valuable in my life? For now, I’m just glad that I’m not getting mad. And yes, he’s helping more!!!!

Rachel, I can relate to that so much. Not seeing the cake batter stuck on the bowl as the headline has made a big difference around here too. The headline is he cleaned the kitchen and I didn’t have to do it. Way down in paragraph 9 is he didn’t do it perfectly. Also, these days I throw the dirty bowl back in the sink since he does the dishes, which I love. My husband is not perfect, but he’s perfect for me. It’s a great metaphor for life.

These points accurately reflect the source of conflict in my marriage over the years. Communication and intimacy improves when we recognize the signs and make necessary adjustments.

I really like your articles. They’ve given me a new perspective on relationships for sure. I’ve been dating someone for two and a half years and things have progressively gotten worse. I’m going back and rereading the surrendered single I obviously missed something early on and tips on how things should progress with a healthy man.

Donna, I’m happy to hear you have a new perspective. Since you’re in a relationship already, I’d recommend The Empowered Wife for you. You can read a free chapter here:

What if your man does nothing in the house to help you because he works all the time and doesn’t believe in men doing any housework? How do I show appreciation to that? I tell him all the time I am so grateful he works hard to provide for us but it’s hard when I get zero help inside the house:(. Been married 12 years

Kristen, I feel tired just thinking about being the only person who does housework! I wouldn’t like that either. Does he ever do anything at all? If you “catch him” doing something small and then make a big deal about how happy it makes you, that’s a great way to approach it. Have you read The Empowered Wife? I explain how my husband started doing dishes like 15 years ago and he still does. You’d find it really valuable. You can read a free chapter here:

I am a marriage counselor And I own The Empowered Wife… Lol it’s a great book that I use in my own marriage and with clients:)
Thank you Laura for being on a mission to end divorce. Your insights are right on

Hooray, Amber! Thanks. You’re brave. I admire that. And I love people who laugh at my jokes.

Thank you Laura. I love reading your blogs. They help to keep me on track. ………The road I want to be on!!

I love this viewpoint Laura!!
I am going to apply this understanding of respect for my husband.
Fantastic laura.thanks a lot. Mercedes…working for my marriage

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