Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Wayne M Levine, M.A., Director of BetterMen.org and The West Coast Men’s Center
If you’re tired of coming up short as a man, father, husband or leader, these eight BetterMen Tools will help you to change your relationships and your life.
The fixes may not happen overnight. Embrace these tools and get the support you need to bring them to your relationships. With commitment, hard work and the courage to change, you’ll be amazed at the man you’ve become.
So here are the eight BetterMen Tools in a nutshell. Can you see the art to your better manliness in these descriptions?
Tool #1: Silence The Little Boy
Most of us have a little boy in us. He’s the one who didn’t get the love, attention, guidance, mothering, fathering or discipline he should have gotten – or thinks he should have gotten – when he was a boy. He’s also the real, wounded little boy who was abused and who never received the help he needed to heal and to grow up to be a healthy man. As a result, males in our society grow up without having a clear understanding of themselves as men, and they continue to act like needy little boys. Quit stomping your feet through life and in your relationships. To have a successful long-term relationship and to feel like a successful man, you’ve got to silence the little boy.
Tool #2: Express But Don’t Defend Your Feelings
Rather than discussing your feelings, you simply need to communicate them. When you learn to express your feelings without defending them, you’ll be giving your woman what she needs, strengthening your relationship, and feeling much more like the best man you can be. And when you express without defending with everyone else in your life, you’ll become a man others can count on and respect. Expressing your feelings also helps you avoid the anger, stress, resentment, depression, and a host of other unhealthy emotional and physical outcomes that come with stuffing them.
Tool #3: Cooperate Without Compromising Your N.U.T.s
Men get angry and resentful when they agree to something that compromises who they are, what they stand for. Men who have developed their N.U.T.s-non-negotiable, unalterable terms, have no problem cooperating as long as they’re not asked to compromise what’s important, their non-negotiable, unalterable terms. Men who have not developed their N.U.T.s are likely to not cooperate at all because they live in constant fear of being compromised-they feel they must defend themselves. But when a man use this Tool, he can show up as the man he wants to be in his relationships at home, at work and in his community.
Tool #4: Run The Sex And Romance Departments
You had lots of sex at the beginning of your relationship because you romanced her and made her feel special. Now you want to have a vital sex life but you’re too lazy for the romance? As most married men know, that won’t work. It’s your job to run the sex and romance departments. And when you do a good job, you’ll both get what you want. Fear of rejection is probably the most popular reason why men shy aware from this duty. But once you learn the Tools and have a clear vision of the relationship you want to have, you’ll be surprised how much power you have to re-ignite the passion in your woman and in your relationship.
Tool #5: Be The Rock
One of the most important things your woman needs from you is to know that, no matter how she feels, no matter how angry, scared, sad, uncomfortable or frustrated she is, no matter how she acts or what words come out of her mouth, you will still be there when she’s done. She wants to be able to be who she is and know she doesn’t have to be responsible-in those challenging times-for the way her behavior may affect you. If she has that freedom, and you don’t run away, get defensive, try to fix her or her problem, or make it about you and argue, you will be much more the man she needs. You’ll be the rock!
Tool #6: Don’t Argue
Abandon your need to be right. Don’t argue with her. Have you realized that when it comes to arguing with your woman, when you lose, you lose, and when you win, you really lose? There is nothing to be gained from arguing that will, in any way, benefit you individually or as a couple. But you continue to do it. It may even feel, sometimes, as if it’s out of your control. It’s not. When you stop arguing, you’ll see a remarkable change in ALL of you relationships. When a man owns his N.U.T.s, there’s simply no reason to argue about anything with anyone.
Tool #7: Listen
Your woman needs to have someone who will listen to her, care about her, offer her a shoulder to cry on, be there to complain to and laugh with, and to support her. You’re it! Developing this skill-and learning why it’s a challenge for you-will transform your relationships! And when you improve your ability to listen to her, you’ll find listening to be an asset in ALL of you relationships.
Tool #8: Develop Trusting Relationships With Men
Women are terrific. But they can’t-and aren’t supposed to-satisfy our every need. That’s why we need men in our lives. And not just buddies to drink, watch sports or B.S. with. You need trusting relationships with men who will go the distance with you, challenge you when you’re in pain but denying it, who will hold you accountable to your commitments to be a better husband and father, men who will risk their relationships with you in order to be honest, so you’ll do the same for them. These relationships, this support, will help you make amazing changes in your life and in your relationships.
Got your attention? Good. The art of manliness includes a man’s ability to be strong and confident in his relationships and his life. Now, get your copy of “Hold On to Your N.U.T.s” and start developing the skills and support you need to be the man you’ve always want to be!
Wayne M. Levine, M.A., mentors men to be better men, husbands and fathers. Email your questions to MantoMan@BetterMen.org. See how you can become a better man at www.BetterMen.org.
Hold On to Your N.U.T.s Giveaway
We’re giving away three copies of Wayne’s book, Hold On to Your N.U.T.s to three Art of Manliness readers. Want a chance to win? All you need to do is leave a comment sharing your best piece of advice on developing stronger, more mature relationships.
Contest ends Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 11PM CST.
As usual, I’ll randomly pick three people from the entries.