Mary Loyer: Founder of Red Lipstick Inc.
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- Are You Showing Him the REAL You?
- Marriage is as Marriage does…
- Does He Know the Color of Your Eyes?
- Are you Over-looking Heroes in Your midst?
- Step 4: Offer Him Your Appreciation and Reveal the Hero!
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November 25, 2009
During this time of year I’m reminded of all the amazing things in my life I have to be thankful for. My family, my health, my wonderful friends, and my handsome-loving Man all come to mind when I’m having a moment of gratitude. I also think about how gracious everyone is during this time of year, and I wonder how much of it is really influenced by the “spirit of the season” of giving thanks and appreciation. It might seem obvious, but why is it that the rest of the year, some people may not seem as willing to give thanks?
I remember how good I feel whenever someone thanks me for the help I give them, or shows appreciation for my contribution to them in some way. It literally has me want to do more of that appreciated act of kindness even if they haven’t asked me. On the flip side, when I’m criticized for some way that I’m not helping like I use to, although I’ll pick up the torch and carry it once again, I’m suddenly less motivated to give it my all. Have you ever felt that way?
Of course, I find myself relating these thoughts back to the way men and women interact. We may be as different as cats and dogs, yet my search continues for ways that we can have harmony with each other. What can I say… it’s my happy obsession!
While feeling the sting of having been criticized in the past, I suddenly wondered how men relate to criticism. Have you ever asked your husband or boyfriend, “How come you don’t bring me flowers anymore?” Or asked him, “Why don’t you ever say you love me like you used to?” The men I’ve talked to about this say that such comments can cut like deep criticism, and have them think their woman “doubts his care and affection for her.” It may even seem almost impossible to please her when she is only noticing the things he’s NOT doing. The women I spoke to confirmed they might have a similar reaction from the criticism of men. Either way, it’s clear that it can be disheartening to receive criticism from someone you love.
However, these same men responded to appreciation dramatically different than the criticism. When their women appreciated them, and expressed “how much she loves it when he brings flowers, or how happy it makes her to hear him say he loves her,” It appeared in their minds that now “she is giving him hints on how to make her happy.”
I was both intrigued, and amazed by this! I remember growing up and noticing the times my Mom criticized my Dad when he didn’t hug my sisters and I enough, or for not taking us out to dinner more often. I know my Mom thought she was doing a good thing by pointing out where he could improve and be a better Father, but I see now that my Dad may have received it as criticism. Perhaps he would have responded differently to… “The girls love it when you hug them,” or “thanks for taking us to dinner– I love moments like that when we can go out as a family.” As an adult, I’m so thankful to enjoy a greater closeness with my Dad, as I show appreciation for both my parents and the support they give me.
Perhaps this season, you too will see the power of giving thanks and appreciation—so much so that it will spill over into the rest of your year. I know I certainly am more mindful of it now!
I’d love to hear about your experience of showing appreciation rather than criticism this season! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, questions, and stories. Happy Thanksgiving!
November 11, 2009
Last week, I suggested how to ask for what you really want from your man. I received a lot of feedback regarding that topic, and it appears that many of us share a similar frustration with how to get what we need with more ease. “Wouldn’t it be easier if they could just read our minds?”– one woman asked. Well perhaps they could if they were women—but thank God they’re not, right?
Last week, I suggested when asking him to take out the trash, or pick up his beer bottles after watching TV, to let him know what it really provides for you, and how it will make you feel—whether it relieves the stress of you cleaning up after a long day of watching the kids, or how happy it makes you feel knowing the house is clean.
Equally as important, is to let him know how it makes you feel when it doesn’t happen. Will you be overwhelmed, stressed, cranky—or anxious? These are valid points to discuss, as you’ll want your man to know what has you be in distress. This way he can help you slay those dragons. So, I know you might be thinking–what if he still doesn’t do it?
The men I’ve talked to about this, admit that they are often so focused on the current task right in front of them (as good hunters should be, right?). Sometimes, they need a quick reminder from their woman to do the things they promised to do. This of course does not mean they love their woman any less. Ever hear of the famous “honey-do list”? Since men respond to tasks, this is one way to communicate clearly what you need them to “hunt” for you. Other men may respond best to a simple conversation:
“ Honey, can I interrupt you for a minute? I need to ask you something. When you’re done watching TV, it would help me so much if you picked up your beer bottles and threw them away. I’ve noticed that when the living room is clean, I feel such a happy sigh of relief, and it’s easier for me to focus on fixing dinner or taking care of the kids.”
The second part of this conversation is key: Be sure to ask him if he needs anything from you in order to do that for you. This way it’s a two-way agreement. “Is there anything you need from me, in order to help me out in that way?” Be prepared—he may just say, “ Sometimes, I’m focused on the game or an important work project on my computer, so If you could remind me sometimes, that would be great!”
Keep in mind you may not always need to remind him, but doing it with love and appreciation in your voice will go a long way, rather than an irritated tone in your voice that says “I can’t believe he forgot again.” Have you ever forgotten to do something you promised to do? I know I have, and I when it happens, I feel terrible. Imagine your man feeling the same way before you decide to remind him of his moment of short-coming. Be sure to appreciate and acknowledge when he does gives you what you need, and soon you may find him wanting to give to you more often.
In addition to providing a list, having a two-way agreement, and appreciating him, men have told me that being very specific is also important when asking for what you want. Think about the literal thing you are asking for. If you want him to spend more time with you and the kids, rather than ask “When are you going to stop working so many long hours?”, and hope he reads your mind— ask for what you really want: “Honey, the kids and I have been missing you lately, and we’d love to enjoy some quality time with you soon—when do you think we can schedule a day together?”
Even at the end of the day you can say: “I would love to enjoy 20 or 30 minutes with you tonight and re-connect after our long day. When is a good time for you?”
Often, our busy days can get away from us, and I know I personally get distracted with my own to-do list. When I’m mindful to ask for what I want–rather than assume my man can read my mind or that it’s just common sense–I notice such a difference. When I sincerely express how important it is to me, I’m amazed at the response! Perhaps you’ll get a chance to ask for what you want this week, and feel some relief when you get it! Enjoy!
November 3, 2009
After finishing dinner at my parents house a few weeks ago, my Mom reminded us to put our dishes in the dishwasher when we were done. My older sister seemed annoyed that my Mom felt the need to remind us, as my sister routinely cleaned her dishes. What struck me as interesting was why my Mom did feel the need to remind us. So I asked her, “Mom, why is it so important to you that the dishes be in the dishwasher, that you wanted to remind us?” She answered, “When I wake up in the morning, and I see dishes left over from the night before, it’s hard for me to relax knowing that I have some work to do right away,” She continues, “ but when I wake up and the kitchen is clean, it gives me the best feeling of peace and happiness, because I can just relax while I have my breakfast.”
Wow, I thought. It’s not the cleaning of the dishes that she was really asking for… It was the peace of mind and relaxation in the morning that she really wanted. After hearing this, I said to her, “Mom, knowing that this is what a clean kitchen will provide you, I will certainly make sure I clean my dishes after dinner.” I admit that before I knew the importance to her, clean dishes didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me.
That experience got me to thinking… how often do we ask for something from our husbands or boyfriends, that might seem so simple and mundane to them, yet it may hold such importance to us? How often does it not get done, and then we are frustrated and disappointed ? I wonder, do they understand what taking the trash out, or picking up the Milk from the store, or picking up their socks will actually “provide” for you? If they knew that it would give you peace of mind so you could sleep that night, or relieve you from stress, might it change things? The Men I’ve talked to about this have confirmed that providing for their woman is very important, so if they know how to make her feel “relaxed, peaceful, at ease, or happy in that moment” they will do it, even if it’s something as simple as taking out the trash.
The next time you have a request, or need something from him, perhaps you’ll explain what this simple request will “actually” provide for you, and how it will make you feel. You might notice him wanting to provide for you in a whole new way! Email me and let me know how your man became your hero this week! I can’t wait to hear all about it!