When a guy is at his best, there is little that can hold him back. When he’s not, there is little that can get him to move.
A man who has some needs met can handle ridicule, setbacks, failures, and major obstacles without taking his eyes off his goals and responsibilities.
I’ve had periods of time when I felt ready to take on the world. I’ve also experienced periods of time when I felt nothing. When I felt flat and blah.
Without experiencing the lows, I don’t think I’d appreciate the highs as much. I might not have realized what I really needed without finding myself in a state of need.
I’m not going to speak on behalf of every man, anymore than my wife could write on behalf of every woman.
However, I do think that there is enough commonality between what drives me, and what drives many other men, for this article to have meaning.
When the needs below are met, I’ll go through hell without losing determination.
When they’re not being met, I feel as though I could collapse in to a ball of worthlessness.
If you want to motivate your man, consider how you could do more to meet these needs with him. You may find, he’ll even get better at meeting your needs.
A Man Needs a Purpose
Synonyms: Ambition • Principle • Goal • Determination
“What can I do today that will have a long-lasting impact?” This is one of the first thoughts that come to mind each morning when I wake.
I believe God has placed in every man’s heart a need to pursue something of long-lasting value.
Some days, the answer is in doing something for my wife.
Other days, it’s in doing something that will have a further-reaching impact.
Right now, my hope is that this finished article will resonate with other men, and will open the eyes of their significant others.
Knowing another guy could reach his full potential from something in this article would make for a very good day.
A growing body of research shows retirement can be one of the most detrimental decisions to a man’s health. Without work, many men lose a sense of purpose.
It’s not just men at retirement that are at risk, though.
Today, more men stay home, or if they work, they might not be the main breadwinner.
For the first 11 years of our marriage, we lived off my income. Vanessa made some money, but for the most part, it was “fun” money for her.
When I resigned from Life Time, her Young Living business became our main source of income. The income was (and is today) far more than what I earned as a Senior Director.
Of course, we share the money. Technically, it is “our money.”
But Vanessa no longer needs me to make money. Without her financial need, I cannot fulfill a purpose in earning the income to support our family.
I had to reflect on where else I could focus my skills, talents and passions to pursue a different purpose.
Vanessa and I are not unique. It is more common than ever for the wife’s income to be the main income in the family.
Some men find purpose in raising their kids. Others find purpose in service organizations. Still other find meaning in hobbies or other interests.
Initially, I put a lot of effort into improving my part in our marriage. I poured into relationship books and sought counseling.
I also focused on how I could best support Vanessa. And found some stuff interests of my own to pursue, such as consulting with some fitness companies and working on this blog.
In addition to actually pursuing a purpose, a man needs to know he’s making progress. If he can’t see that he’s moving forward, he may lose interest.
If he’s working on his marriage, tell him (regularly) what he’s doing right, even if he’s still making mistakes more than he’s producing miracles.
If he’s working on a business, show him how much he’s grown since the day he started.
If he’s pouring his efforts into his kids, describe the ways he’s positively impacting them, even when they’re too young to notice a difference.
This leads into the next thing a man needs. He needs a purpose, and he needs to know he’s making progress toward that purpose, but he also needs some praise.
A Man Needs Your Respect
Synonyms: Appreciation • Consideration • Honor • Admiration • Praise
Women have a strong need to feel loved. Men have a strong need to feel respected.
Respect doesn’t mean that a man must be seen as the ruler of the family, although some guys do twist things up that way.
Respect comes through appreciation for what he does right. Every guy does something right, at least some of the time.
If you want him to do more right than wrong, show him appreciation for what he does right, and let go of the stuff he does wrong (I’m not talking about cases of major abuse here).
Respect also comes through consideration.
When a guy feels like his opinions don’t matter, he stops sharing them. He may even begin to doubt whether they have any value.
Or, he’ll turn his attention toward other relationships where he does find consideration for his opinions.
If you believe your guy knows you respect him, and that you don’t need to tell him so, you are mistaken. He needs to hear it. He needs to feel it regularly.
On my birthday, Vanessa posted a really nice message on my wall. It was a sincere message of respect and appreciation. She didn’t just say “I respect you.” She described how she did. It was very personal and meaningful.
She’s made a point to express her appreciation and admiration on more occasions than my birthday. That’s just a good example.
Of course, just as a woman needs to be shown love more than on her birthday, anniversary and Valentine’s Day, guys need to know they’re respected and appreciated on a regular basis.
In fact, Dr. Emerson Eggerichs wrote the book Love & Respect on this very topic. It’s one of the many books I’ve read, and re-read over the past couple years.
When a man doesn’t feel respected by his wife, he looks for respect elsewhere, just as she looks to feel loved elsewhere if she doesn’t feel loved by her husband.
Showing respect is important, especially if you have a tendency to use words of “correction” (which are often delivered to the man’s ears as “criticism”).
Women often make suggestions just to help guys out. Other women appreciate that. Us guys often take it as a message that we don’t have our stuff together. It can cut into a guy’s self-confidence.
A man can roll with the punches of other people as long as he knows his wife respects him.
But, no matter how much respect he gets from other people, if he doesn’t feel respected from her, he will not feel fulfilled.
To reiterate, a man yearns from respect from his wife above all others. No matter how much respect he gets from others, it doesn’t have much meaning without respect from his wife.
If you reserve your words of admiration and appreciation for special occasions, or only when he does something remarkable, he’ll lose the drive inside. Respect helps to fuel him to pursue his purpose.
When there is some tension, both partners must remember to honor one another. Honoring a man is showing him respect. Honoring a woman shows her love.
Honor is the Biblical principal designed to protect each mate from being unnecessarily injured.
– Gary Smalley
A Man Needs Your Companionship
Synonyms: Friendship • Union • Togetherness • Camaraderie • Partnership
A man can survive alone, but he needs companionship to thrive. When his wife walks side-by-side with him, he feels truly alive.
Just as togetherness supercharges his soul, strife in the relationship quickly leaves him feeling empty. Though he cannot control how his wife feels, when she isn’t happy, he feels a sense of responsibility.
When there is strife, he takes ownership of it, though you may not see it.
As Stormie put it in The Power of a Praying Husband,
It’s horrible to have strife in a marriage. It makes us miserable. It affects every area of our lives. And it’s probably the closest thing to hell we’ll ever know on earth.
– Stormie Omartian
Companionship doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. But when you are together on life’s adventures, he wants to know you’re with him shoulder-to-shoulder – not walking in front, lagging behind, or choosing your own path.
A husband and wife might not take part in every one of life’s adventures together. It’s probably better that they have some of their own separate adventures – she with her girlfriends, he with his guy friends.
He needs to know that when he returns, you’ll be there for him, and that you miss him when he’s gone.
Friendship and togetherness come from really enjoying one another’s company. If you don’t like being in the same room together, it will be difficult to create a feeling of companionship.
Guys, take the lead. Have some serious conversations. Be willing to take some blows to understand your part in the divide. Take the lead with some relationship counseling so you can improve upon your skills, and invite her to join you. Read some books.
It’s during life’s most challenging and tragic times that the companionship part of a marriage gets the two of you through.
A Man Needs Your Desire
Synonyms: Attraction • Passion • Lust • Yearning
There isn’t a marriage book I’ve read, where it suggest that a good marriage is only about becoming best friends.
There also isn’t a book I’ve read, where it’s said that the key to marriage is to keep the fire of intimacy burning 24 hours a day.
A great marriage is one where two people become close friends, and who also share an intimate desire for one another; something they could have with no one else.
A man needs to know his significant other desires him. That she’s physically attracted to him, and wants to be physically intimate.
Guys have a reputation for desiring sex just for the sake of sex. However, in a relationship, physical intimacy for a man is just as important as emotional intimacy for a woman.
Sex is how guys feel the most close and connected. The desire of a women toward her man suggests she desires the closeness with him.
It isn’t necessarily the act of sex that puts fire in a man’s soul, it’s the fact that his significant other desires him enough to take part in it.
As Tim Keller says in The Meaning of Marriage,
When you get married, you make a solemn covenant with your spouse — the Bible calls your spouse your “covenant partner.” That day is a great day, and your hearts are full. But as time goes on, there is a need to rekindle the heart and renew the commitment. There must be an opportunity to recall all the other person means to you and give yourself anew. Sex between a husband and a wife is the unique way to do that.
– Tim Kellar
Schedules may not allow you two to come together as often as one or the other might prefer, but for a guy, just knowing that his wife desires him can fill is heart with enough to allow him to be patient.
Historically, the hours before bed were a time when couples re-connected intimately. I’m talking emotional intimacy and physical intimacy.
It was a time to talk eye-to-eye, soul-to-soul. To look each other in the eyes, and have deep and meaningful conversations. Today’s technology has take the place of much of this one-on-one time.
Television, computers and tablets make for more exciting, but far less meaningful entertainment.
Vanessa and I took a very long walk recently. We were preparing for a 45-minute talk we presented at a large Young Living event.
As we walked and talked, Vanessa shared stuff from her past that I never knew, even after being together for 14 years.
While I valued the time together, it was also an epiphany to me: That was the most intimate conversation we’d had in quite some time.
We’re not immune to the effects of work and technology. We bring iPads to bed and watch our own shows on many nights rather than doing something together, or just having a conversation. We let work creep into our private time.
Feeling intimate only comes through acting intimately.
For me, one of the most powerful things I do is to take a moment when Vanessa doesn’t know I’m there. I’ll just quietly observe her, and think about how grateful I am to be married to her, and how much more I’m attracted to her today than I was when we first got together.
I took this photo during one of those moments.
If you don’t feel passionate toward your significant other, just observe him and express gratitude.
Act with passion, and the feelings of passion will come. Remind yourself why you’re attracted to him, and you’ll feel attracted.
Try it today with your man. It might be just the spark you need to start feeling more of an attraction.
A Final Word
Everything mentioned above is simple, but it isn’t always easy. Everyone has highs and everyone has lows in relationships. Often, you can get out of the lows faster if one of the two people in the relationship takes the lead.
You might not agree with everything above. That’s okay. If you read something that sounded like it was worth a try, give it a good effort. You might be surprised.
As a guy, knowing there are a lot of women reading this, I want to leave you with one final thought about the man in your life, from the book How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.
Most women do not understand how much it pleases a man to please a woman, specifically how important it is to the man in her life to please her. Furthermore, a man does not simply want to please her — he lives to please her.
– Patricia Love & Steven Stonsy
If you’re not feeling like he’s putting in the effort, try refilling his confidence tank with some of the points from above. You might be surprised by how he responds.