Once in a blue moon, I get an email from a female reader. You may think most of it is complaining or expressing their anger towards me… and you’d be right. I have, in fact, been called an “incel” and a misogynist (which is laughably off the mark), but I’ve also received emails from women that agree with most of what I say, they like the honest male perspective, and they want some real advice.
What I’ve seen from both men and women is a comically bad misunderstanding of exactly what it is our spouse wants out of a romantic partner. From what I can gather, many of the problems modern couples face can be traced back to the firm belief that gender egalitarianism trumps everything else in a male-female relationship. Men often try their damndest to be softer and more understanding (what their wife seems to push them to be), while the women try to be tougher and less agreeable (what society pushes them to be). Both are trying to portray a more progressive and wholesome image of what they feel is the best all-around modern-day spouse, and they both tend to swing their behavior pendulum too far over to the “wrong” end of the behavioral spectrum. The result? They each unknowingly become what the other finds unattractive. They leave their early-relationship sexy dating self behind and prop up their comfortable married parent provider traits… all in an effort to be a better spouse.
They become precisely what their partner does not want or need, romantically.
I’ve spent a great deal of time working with guys showing them how to be the best all-around man (which in turn makes them the best all-around spousal/boyfriend candidate), so I thought today I will take a stab at creating a more concise prescription for women. I know, I’m treading on thin ice by even considering such an endeavor. Ladies… my experience has shown that you REALLY don’t take kindly to a guy telling you how to be a better wife. Men, to their credit, tend to be much more open to the concept of trying out new things in order to try and FIX something. Men like to tinker around under the hood. Their relationships are no exception. Men love a good how-to guide. Women… not so much.
So, ladies… set aside your preconceptions for a moment. Take in this guide for what it is: a no-bullshit honest take on what I think makes an attractive wife. Yes, it’s MY opinion, but it’s also based input I’ve received after talking to hundreds of men over the years. I would say it’s a pretty good representation of what is “normal” for your average everyday hubby. Sure, there will be outliers. A few guys out there will read this and laugh at how off the mark it is. There is also a cat out there somewhere that barks. That doesn’t mean you can’t safely say, “cats say meow and dogs bark”. Generalizations are generalizations for a reason. You get my point.
It’s All About Validation
If there’s one word that encapsulates all “good wife” female behavior, it’s VALIDATION. I don’t think that most wives have a firm grasp on just how much of their husband’s sense of self-worth in placed at the feet of his wife. What you, the wife, feel and think about husband is SO VERY IMPORTANT to him. He wants nothing more than to gain your approval. He wants and NEEDS your respect. If he gets the impression that he is seen as a substandard husband, he is crushed. Beyond crushed. This is when he becomes the boring “Yes, dear” guy who lets you take care of everything as he sits back and watches TV or goes fishing. He is mentally escaping from the day-to-day life that he interprets as, “My wife doesn’t respect me.” That is a guy who has just given up. That is a guy who has resigned himself to the “reality” of marriage. This is the state of most married men today.
Is it safe to say that most men have “fragile egos”? To some degree, yes. I think, like most things, the “men have fragile egos” theory is a reflection of women’s misunderstanding of how men mentally function within a romantic relationship. We men may not care what a coworker thinks of a us, we don’t mind when our friend makes fun of us, our boss can yell at us for messing up on the job, but if the wife we cherish and love above all is disappointed in us or makes us feel less than respected, we take that very hard. The degree to which we are affected always surprises women. As far as she can tell, she just said something slightly snotty and her husband is pouting and moping around like a giant baby. This is, of course, highly unattractive to her. If he can’t take her little verbal stabs, what kind of man is he?
This pitiful scene could’ve been avoided with some simple things she can do every day that will get him in a much better mindset… and more like the man she WANTS to have.
Validation comes in various forms. Of course, we all know the most obvious one (sex), but there are subtle little things throughout the day that show a man that he is important and worthy of respect and admiration.
Men will subconsciously seek out validation on a regular basis. Little things here and there. You may be driving around and he blurts out, “Whoa! Did you see that awesome old Corvette back there?! Wow, that is a sweet car. One day I’ll get me one of those!” The wife who is just tired of her husband’s bullshit will often continue to stare down at her phone, grunt, and show her obvious disinterest in the stupid old car. She won’t even acknowledge his excitement. She may sense that her husband is a little miffed at her lack of interest, so she will kick things up a notch or two. “You know I don’t care about cars. I don’t know why you keep pointing them out to me.” Or, even worse, “You’re not getting a Corvette. Not sure why you keep ogling at them. It’s stupid.”
That’s not good.
Okay, I can hear some of you ladies now. “Oh, COME ON!? Seriously?! I gotta pretend to like every little thing he likes? Is he that much of a baby!?”
Let’s take a trip back in time. Remember when you first two started dating? You probably don’t know it, but you validated the hell out of him back then. If he liked football, you went to games and cheered with him. Did he like a certain beer? You went to the store and bought him some. He had a hobby he enjoyed? You tagged along with him as he did his thing and you cheered him along the way. You were IN LOVE then, and naturally, you did all the little things that say to a man, “Keep me around! I’m an amazing wife candidate! Isn’t it obvious how attracted and loyal I am to you?!” As the timeline of the relationship progresses, both partners start veering off the “attractive romantic partner” path and default to a more apathetic and blah type of partner path. Men let the beer gut go, get boring, and lose ambition. Women put on the baby pounds, nag more, and are no longer willing to validate their husband.
Many guys on my site have discovered their wives had an affair. Thanks to mobile phone technology, many of us have discovered plenty of the details of the affair that we later wish we didn’t know. There’s the sexual stuff, the luvvy talk, the sneaking around, the lying to us… all of it points to a general theme that is such a soul-destroyer for men: She validates the hell out of her new lover. She did things with and for the lover that she hasn’t done in years (if ever) with her husband.
Women in affairs tend to do all they can to keep the affair partner around, and naturally… they know that validation is super important. They will throw themselves 110% into their affair partner’s world. They will take on his interests. They will submit to all of his sexual wants and desires. They will cheer him on in whatever he does. They will morph themselves physically and mentally into the woman that is most likely to keep her new man.
When you don’t give your husband validation for even the dumbest little things in life (like affirming his interest in that cool Corvette) you’re displaying your lack of respect. You’re displaying your lack of true love and understanding. Yes, it’s one stupid little thing… but we see it happen dozens of times a day, every single day. It wears on us. Not because we have a fragile ego, but because we know what it signifies: The early relationship love is long gone. Now that the honeymoon phase is over, we’re left with the cold hard reality: In your eyes, we’re not that big of a deal. In fact, we’re annoying at best. You put up with us. You don’t respect us.
Every man wants to be his wife’s knight in shining armor. We want to be her Lover and your Provider. We want to be the one-stop-shop for all her romantic and life partner needs.
Don’t question every little thing your man does. Don’t laugh at his dreams. Don’t belittle his slight emotional reaction to your obvious disdain. Remember… he loves the hell out of you. What you think about him is of the utmost importance. He wants NOTHING more than to impress you. To hear his woman say things like, “I believe in you” or “You’re so smart and hard-working, you can do anything you set your mind to” is music to any man’s ears. To hear, “I like your new shirt a lot. You look so handsome in it”… man, there is nothing better.
Be the rare woman that gloats about her awesome husband on Facebook, rather than one of millions of women that go on and on about how negative everything is (except the kids… the kids are perfect, of course).
Speaking of kids… they come second. That’s right, your husband comes first. I know, some of you are recoiling in disgust right now. You are married to your romantic life partner. You have to do things that keep you together as romantic life partners. Validation is the main driver, and nothing validates a man more than to hear and FEEL that he is his wife’s solitary romantic love interest. Yes, men get jealous of the unconditional love that his wife shows the kids. He may not tell you that, but he does. Your little consistent jabs at his sense of self-worth show what he innately knows: Your love for him is conditional. Your love for the kids is unconditional. That’s natural and completely understandable, but it doesn’t make the reality sting any less. He sees the reality in front of his eyes every day, and it hurts.
Yes, sex is a supreme form of validation. In essence, you are saying that:
You feel turned on by him. His sexy and masculine ways make you want to get busy. He brings about a natural and animalistic reaction in you.
You feel safe with him. You don’t mind being in a vulnerable and free state when with him. He’s your man.
Do not, I repeat, do NOT give him pity sex. Don’t fake it. We can smell pity sex a mile away. We know the “Here, let me give you a handjob just to shut you up” kind of sex. It’s not a good thing. You’re not a masturbation device. You are our wife. We want to feel wanted by you. We want that animalistic passion. We want to be wanted.
If you DON’T want your husband sexually, then you need to figure out why and work towards a solution that will get you in the right sexual mindset to get the romantic relationship back on course. It may very well mean being VERY blunt and honest with your man. Yes, you may have to tell him what you want out of him. If he’s like most men, society and decades of shame have sucked all the attractive manliness right out of him. He thinks he’s doing the right thing by being the man you no longer feel attracted to. The manly stuff you so long for is hidden under a thick layer of fatherdom and comfort. You gotta help bring that out that side of him.
I know I just said men have “fragile egos” when it comes to their women, but if there’s a roadblock in the way of giving him the ultimate validation (sex), then you need to tell him about the roadblock and see if he does the work needed to tear it down. Frame it in a way that so that he sees this as an opportunity to prove his sexual value. Do it in a way that is fun and exciting. Validate him along the way. Lead him by the hand in a way that makes him feel like the sexy stallion he so badly wants to be for you, but feels too shamed and too scared to do. Push him in the right direction. Contrary to what you may believe, he cannot read your mind, and nor should he. Men are not nuanced creatures. We are blunt. Learn to speak his language.
I know that playing the part of the sexual leader is not sexy for many of you. I get it. You want a man who just GETS it. You want that hunk of a guy on the steamy romance novel you just read. Sweetheart, you’re married. You’re married to your husband. This isn’t fantasy land. Marriage is work. The work means doing those uncomfortable things in the short term so that you can get what you need in the long-term. That means validating him, letting him know what he means to you… and sometimes that means playing a part you don’t feel comfortable playing.
Men have affairs. This is not a secret. MANY affairs begin with a man interacting with some young bimbo that pushes his buttons just by giving him the smallest bit of validation that he so badly needs.
“Oh, your wife is so lucky to have a guy like you!”
“You made THAT?! Wow, that is so cool!”
“You look awful handsome in that shirt today!”
“Oh, I like those old cars, too! They look so cool! I always dreamed about having one!”
The bimbo takes him right back to that early relationship time that was so magical. The sexy young thing we saw from across the room takes a genuine interest in us. She starts morphing her behavior to validate us at every opportunity. She likes us. She WANTS us. She’s the validation drug we’ve been craving all these years.
YOU want to be his validation drug… or else he will get his fix somewhere else.
Before you say it, I know some of you are saying “I shouldn’t HAVE to do all these things! He’s a grown man! To have to stroke his ego constantly is not a turn-on.” Somewhere along the line, somebody told you that “Real Love” should be easy. Somebody said that if you’re in a good relationship, that things will just naturally fall into place and you no longer have to “play games”. Well, that’s bullshit. Just like the husband who tells me he shouldn’t HAVE to workout, be more of a leader, put up boundaries for his wife, etc… I will say the same to you. STOP with the “SHOULD” talk and live in reality. The relationship game is, in fact, a giant stupid game. It has rules. It has little things you need to do here and there to keep the game running. If you don’t, the game is over. For you, your rules are simple: Look for opportunities to validate.
If you truly don’t see any opportunity to validate (because nothing he does is worthy of your time and attention), then let him go. Let him get the drug he so desperately needs elsewhere. But, don’t come crawling back when you watch him flourish and improve physically, emotionally and financially in life. Good men who leave toxic relationships will often improve dramatically. Let him go.