8 Tools That Will Change Your Life: The Hold On to Your N.U.T.s Book Giveaway

by Brett on March 23, 2009 · 232 comments

in Dating, Fatherhood, Friendship, Marriage, Relationships & Family


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.

©2009 BetterMen®

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.

{ 232 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Brendan March 24, 2009 at 9:31 am

Do your best to be the breadwinner. This is vital to fully playing the part of being the rock. A majority of women need to depend on someone. It’s part of showing how reliable and steady you will be. If you care enough to work your life away for her, then you’ll care enough to stay around “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.”

102 Michael H March 24, 2009 at 9:34 am

I’ve been married for almost 2 years now (on the 31st of March) and my wife and I hardly ever fight. We have talked about why and I have to say what we came up with has been a life altering rule even for those in my extended family.

ALWAYS assume the other person meant the best in what they said.

Never ever assume that your spouse was trying to say something snippy or was angry with you. That can only lead to arguments. I know that my wife loves me so why should I think that she’s trying to talk down to me? Why should I feel on the defensive? This is something we both do and has kept us out of arguments and lets us have our conflict within the confines of a civil discussion out of love. Also, instead of dragging on for hours our “conflicts” only last 5 minutes at most. If you can learn to assume that they meant the best by what they said, then you can almost get rid of conflict itself.

103 Jsthegr8 March 24, 2009 at 10:07 am

AM personally workig on these myself to improve my relationships

Always do what you say you will do ( if not, at least notify the individual asap)

Dont be too unsure of yourself and actions, make a decision promptly and stick to it


104 Brent March 24, 2009 at 10:14 am

How to develop stronger more mature relationships…
A humble, yet firm desire to engage in a face-to-face life of another through intentional efforts of considering them more important than yourself, having a keen ear of listening to and drawing out what is hidden inside of them and a genuine love not based upon conditions or expectations…but simply a pure love for them as a fellow human.

105 psuedo March 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

The only advice I can give:

Never say you are sorry for doing something, sorry is correctly used when in reference to an uncontrollable event or situation. If you were really sorry you wouldn’t have done it in the first place. In such a situation you should apoligize for any problem that you caused. And yes the difference in the words are important, give it a try next time something goes down and pay attention to everyone’s reaction.

106 Rick B March 24, 2009 at 10:28 am

I like the first tool. SILENCE THE LITTLE BOY

We are often complaining about what we didn’t have and who hurt us and caused us to be a certain way in life. But when we treat that kid inside like we SHOULD also treat our sons and tell him that no matter what we may encounter, there’s a lesson learned and we can grow from any situation into a better man. No complaining, no crying, and no quitting.

107 Jacob March 24, 2009 at 10:33 am

My father taught me to never make a promise (or give your word) if you have no intention or can not do it. I prefer to say to others ‘I will do what I can” or ‘I will do my best” when I feel I can’t or may have trouble keeping the promise. I have found that people respect you more when you make a promise and follow through, but they will also respect you when you can’t make the promise but still do what you can to make it happen.

108 Anders March 24, 2009 at 10:39 am

If it is possible, wake up, and go to bed, at the same time as your partner allways!
And ask for the same in return.
It helps you to have the same routines, you share more time and you will be tired and clear headed a the same times.
Do this even in the weekends and on days where she has no work and you got to get up at 6 am.
Its easier to share your life with someone you also share your time with.

109 Tyler Hayes March 24, 2009 at 10:50 am


When you exercise, your body will balance out to its natural chemical balance. Many men in today’s society abuse substances, people, experiences, etc. to try and balance out this equation; it’s pretty obvious when looking at the increasing obesity and Alzheimer’s rates in this country. Not only will exercising balance your own body, it will balance your relationships when you return your neurotransmitters back to normal levels.

110 Phil March 24, 2009 at 11:03 am

Establishing mutual respect is often the most difficult aspect of a long-lasting relationship. In my experience, at 23, my generation (that’s right men & women), seem inordinately preoccupied with materialism. Find a woman that likes the sound of your voice, walks in the park, and the homemade valentine you made her. Real relationships are based in respect, love, and commitment. “The most important things in life, aren’t things.”

111 Michael Miller March 24, 2009 at 11:03 am

never forget the power of the word “thanks”.
It’s always appropriate when someone helps you (“thanks, I appreciate the help carrying this sofa into my house”).

But, it’s also very effective when you’re just trying to get someone to stop forcing his ideas on you:
Friend/coworker: You really need to do it this way. It’s the best way to do it.
You: “thanks, I appreciate the advice”.

ignore the temptation to say, “I think this way is better”. You’re both right. Park your ego, and know when to walk away.

112 Brandon Wilhite March 24, 2009 at 11:04 am

Marital advise from my father just before my wedding, “Just remember that her money is her money, and that the your money is her money.”

113 Jacob Fehr March 24, 2009 at 11:25 am

Two pieces of advice for holding onto your N.U.T.S. in relationships.

1. Integrity – be a man that walks the walk, your life should match what you say. If you “preach” honesty and fidelity with your words live it with your life.

2. Be intentional about your relationships – you choose who influences you, your grandma was right when she told you “bad company corrupts good morals.” Choose to be influenced by the right right people.

114 DieMonkeys March 24, 2009 at 12:21 pm

My advice: Never speak poorly of your gf/wife’s mother or grandmother, they are both saints, atleast while your significant other is around.

115 Marcus March 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm

I read the Art of Manliness nearly everyday and I try to involve what it tells me in my everyday life. I try to take what others have written and make myself a better man. Things that comes to mind when I think of relationships and being manly are some manly qualities and precepts. For example I do believe that men do need man friends to be honest and help them through certain issues because we as men shouldn’t put our problems on the ones we love. We shouldn’t go around complaining about our problems to them. That’s what we are here for; to hear the issues if the people we love. And when we hear their problems we should set their and listen not through in our own stories and problems; just sit,listen, and comfort.
Another manly quality, that although maybe hard, is honesty. In my relationship I often find it easier to tell the “partial truth” or keep the truth to myself to not arise a conflict. In the long run though it will make everything worse because not only does your partner find out about what you were hiding form her, but she also is angrier because you lied.
The most important thing to remember in your relationships is that women are beautiful creations and they deserve the utmost respect and attention from us. Although at times it may be tough we always need to be their for them in good times and bad providing a sense of tranquility and security.

116 markito March 24, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Whenever I am feeling insecure I ask myself, “What would my confident friends do?”

117 Harry March 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm

One word – humility. Remember that everyone is special and has something unique to contribute that you might need to tap into some day, but YOU are not so special that you can’t be replaced.

It took me getting the axe at work to really learn this one.

118 Colin March 24, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Ask your wife when she feels most loved by you. Is it when you serve her without asking? Is it when you wake up 15 minutes early just to talk? Is it the back rubs that you give?

Many times we give love the way we want to be loved, and can’t understand when our wives don’t feel loved. We are all different and need to give love the way they want to receive love.

119 Dave March 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Advice… People are either for vision or opposed to it. Anyone else is asking to get run over.

120 Brett March 24, 2009 at 1:41 pm

My advice is to be as straightforward as possible. Use as few words as necessary to convey your message. In doing so, people will notice the leader inside of you. Your ability to communicate without hiding behind excuses and unnecessary dialogue, makes you a stronger and more confident man.

121 Louis Consolazio March 24, 2009 at 1:51 pm

Always think with your B.A.L.L.S.
Trust what they’re telling you to do. Frankly, they’re what make us men. Men have kind of been castrated almost by society or whatever you want to call it. But if you think with your balls it will work and you’ll be a better man.

122 Gregg March 24, 2009 at 2:20 pm

The bigest thing that I’ve found in my relationships have been Trust and Communication. It’s almost as if they have a direct corralation. If you have a solid basis for trust then Communication can lighten up, not go away, but be spread out. Trust dies if there is a vaccum of communication.

123 Luis A.Q. March 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Relationships with women can become extremely difficult if a man says the wrong thing. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind,but make sure that you give it to her lightly, women can take things very personally. Especially if it regards their appearance. SO speak your mind, mean what you say, but be careful with your language, both spoken and body language.

124 S. Allen March 24, 2009 at 3:41 pm

You were born male for a reason. Embrace it and everything that comes with it one-hundred percent. In every relationship, and in every situation, BE A MAN…. and remember: you represent us all.

125 Jacob M. March 24, 2009 at 3:48 pm

The most valuable thing a guy can learn, in my opinion, is to say what you mean. Don’t say what you think you “should” say just because you think it’ll help you out, in the long run you’re just better off saying what you really mean the first time or not saying anything.

Also true in many business relationships, by the way!

126 Chris March 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Make sure your N.U.T.s are worth holding. Some N.U.T.s look good, but are empty, some N.U.T.s sound full, but had grubs inside them or they are rotten or rancid. If someone takes a swipe at your N.U.T.s and your N.U.T.s are unsound, you are in for a whole world of pain that isn’t worth having. Make sure your N.U.T.s are sound; only hold on to the N.U.T.s that are worth suffering for.

127 Justice Marshall March 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm

I’m blown away by the quality and the quantity of these comments! Wayne Levine is a smart, solid guy with a great reputation for helping men be their best. His book is excellent and I highly recommend it to any man who wants to improve his relationship.

Here’s my piece of advice to share with you:
Take Full Responsibility for the Quality of your Marriage or Relationship

128 Tom Pehrson March 24, 2009 at 4:18 pm

After 14 years of marriage I’ve come to the conclusion that you have to keep growing as a person – this means academically, physically, etc. If it’s something that provides you with renewed drive and vigor, it will be interesting to the other person in your relationship. If it’s not…time to move on!

129 Bif March 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

The best advice my father gave me is “Bad news does not get better with age. Man up, be honest and face your failures head on”. Thanks Dad.

130 Brian March 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Being true to your principles and finding a woman who does the same will do wonders with building a bond that can’t be broken. We need more principled people in these troubled times. And we need a lot more principled men to help foster them.

131 Robert March 24, 2009 at 5:19 pm

This past year, I got out of a 4 year relationship that was foolishly centered around trying to make her happy. I was miserable. What I learned out of the situation is that some compromise is good, but you should never bend or compromise on what exactly it is that you want from life. If you do, then things are doomed. As a man, you do need to be the rock, and the reliable one, but a man does not bend on his principles and goals, and if the relationship wants that of you, then it aint for you.

132 ephraim March 24, 2009 at 5:29 pm

it’s ok to take time to figure out what your thoughts or feelings are for any given situation. nothing will explode if you tell your partner, ‘i need xyz amount of time to think about this before we continue talking about it’

133 Bob March 24, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Something that I have tried to live by in my marriage relationship is four simple words … a mantra, if you may …

Shut up and Serve.

I try to remind myself of that every day … Shut Up (in the context of arguing and needing to be right) and Serve (look for opportunities to serve, and do it with a smile). It’s amazing – the result – when I do that.

My 2 cents.

134 Scott H. March 24, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Big piece of advise I’ve seen alot of need for latley around my workplace, and even with some of the more casual ‘buddies’, man up and take responsibility if you are really responsible for a mistake. When I’ve seen this applied, in almost every case, whoever was confronting accepts that you are aware of your mistake or problem, and hence, can work to avoid it in the future. I have seen so many minor confrontations over a work issue explode because it becomes a shifting the blame game.

135 Rick March 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Be honest. Be straight-forward. Be true to yourself and others. Believe in yourself, you family, and your friends.

136 Josh March 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Here’s what I can think of right now off the top of my head:

1: Listen more than you speak. When responding, think about it first. It’s OK to take some time. People will wait.
2: Take responsibility for what you’ve done and learn from your actions.
3: Always work on yourself and do what you love. That will help you develop priorities and rules for yourself. It can also help to build your confidence.

137 Bill Drissel March 24, 2009 at 8:09 pm

My sons are in their 40s now. When the older of the two was seven, he and I were headed for Indian Guides camp. The younger, 5 years-old, wanted to go. I promised him that I’d be in Indian Guides with him and we’d go to camp when the time came.

When the time came, I was in a crisis at work with shedules that would send me out of town that weekend.

At an all-hands meeting I told everyone what I had promised my son. I told them I would keep that promise “tho the heavens fall.” No one spoke for a while.

In the event, the schedule slipped so no crisis arose. My son and I went to camp. He won the fishing contest. Over the years, a dozen men and couple of women who were in the meeting or heard of it have admired my stance.

Bill Drissel

138 RagPicker March 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm

“Own” your own problems, even any relationship problems.

139 Will March 24, 2009 at 8:15 pm

be honest.

140 Philip March 24, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Love is not a feeling, it’s an action… So, LOVE unconditionally!


1. Keep a good perspective on life and your relationship.

2. Take ownership of your responsibilties.

3. Stay disciplined.

141 noice06 March 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Best advice I have:

Learn to balance the ability to lead with the ability to be led. Be prepared for both in all situations.

142 Andrew March 24, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Never leave anything unsaid or assume things are understood. It’s better to be explicit than implicit when it comes to communication.

143 Chris March 24, 2009 at 10:33 pm

William Borden said it best in his Bible…

No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.

Don’t hold back, don’t back down, don’t wish to go back.

If you’re feeling something, feel it. If you want to tell her something, tell her. The most powerful sentence in this language very truly may be, “I love you.”

If you believe in something, believe it. Don’t back down on your beliefs because someone doesn’t believe them. Listen to their side, but use it to strengthen yours.

When all is said and done, be proud of what you’ve done. Always do things that you are proud to say you’ve done. Don’t wish you could go back and redo them.

144 scottbr March 25, 2009 at 1:20 am

Of the eight listed, #5 is imperative for the long haul.

After 25 years, this one I’ve got figured out. She wants someone she can depend on, lean on. Show confidence in yourself, and confidence in your ability to take care of her. It’s worth every ounce of energy you invest in it.

145 Robin Winslow March 25, 2009 at 2:23 am

What a fantastic list of advice! Why do I even need to buy the book? This is surely everything I need ;).

(I’ll probably buy the book anyway)

I don’t quite agree with no. 1. Sure, being the ‘little boy’ is not going to get you anywhere, but you can’t just push it to the side and ignore it. You need to face and understand your insecurities and needs that developed from your childhood before you can genuinely change. Otherwise you can pretend to be as confident and self-sufficient as you like, but you’ll probably keep harboring some resentment deep inside – not healthy.

146 Ryan L. March 25, 2009 at 5:25 am

Just respect and listen to each other. When it comes to relationship decisions, always compromise or sacrifice, never play to win.

Also it is ok to do things separately once and a while (guy/girls night out)

147 John Chance March 25, 2009 at 5:54 am

It’s been said many times that communication is vital; I just want to add that part of communication is understanding the language that the other person is using. I cannot recall how many time I thought I had told my wife how I felt/what I wanted etc. only to find out she had no real idea about what I actually meant.

148 Allen Frans March 25, 2009 at 6:15 am

the best advice i can give is one my parents told me a lot growing up. when you get upset with someone, kill them….with kindness. it is not my job to get even, it is my job to be kind, and that usually ends up making all the difference. they also told me it is very hard to stay mad at someone you are praying for.

149 Russ Isrow March 25, 2009 at 6:55 am

The best thing I can think of that I have personally done to improve my relationships is…

I stay peaceful & open to everyone’s idea’s & feeling’s. I listen to everything someone has to say before I offer my advice. I always offer it & never make people feel like they have to hear here it if that is not what they want. I have found by doing this I keep myself in check & everyone finds me very strong & supportive. It is also reminds me that I shouldn’t get emotional over things I can avoid. Once emotion gets involved then rationality tends to fly out the window.

150 Wooglin March 25, 2009 at 8:15 am

Have integrity in your words, knowing I don’t always to be right; overlook trivial matters.

151 Heath Mason March 25, 2009 at 8:34 am

Be honest. Above all, if honesty isn’t present, nothing else matters.

152 Richard March 25, 2009 at 9:25 am

I wise man once told me if you’re called on the carpet by your superiors, don’t protest, don’t try to justify yourself, just take it, live with it and go on.

As for relationships: The best relationship advice I can give is that as good as sex is, it doesn’t last, and you can’t base a relationship on it. A good relationship is based on mutual respect, honesty, appreciation, kindness, humor, and good old-fashioned commitment–that’s what love is.

153 Warren March 25, 2009 at 9:26 am

I would say to not let the small balls build up into avalanches – if there’s some sort of conflict or disagreement, don’t just let it slide. Talk about it earlier so that both parties know and can work it out. Too many times I’ve let the small things slide and let it just build up and that’s not so great for relationships.

154 Greg T March 25, 2009 at 10:13 am

Great article!

I agree with #6 to a point. However if you never argue, that can be a problem too. My wife has told me more than once that she wishes I would fight back and disagree with her when we fight.

I guess I would qualify #6 to say Dont’ Argue From A Point Of Pride. Don’t fight to win, but don’t avoid standing up for your beliefs. Even if they disagree, that kind of strength can be a huge turn on to your woman.

155 Michael March 25, 2009 at 10:27 am

Every now and then I look at my wife until she notices I’m looking at her. When she asks what I’m doing, I lean toward her slightly while maintaining eye contact, but I don’t say anything. When she gets ready to speak (usually to ask if I’m ok), I interrupt her by saying “I love you” and then give her a kiss.

Also, any time we disagree on something I always remember what my platoon sergeant at my first duty station told me to think about whenever I face any kind of conflict: “is this hill worth dying on?” Meaning, is the subject something you are willing to fight tooth-and-nail over, give no quarter, take no prisoners and, if necessary, die for? If not, then state your case for or against and then get on with your life. You will be a lot happier.

156 Micah March 25, 2009 at 11:05 am

I doubt I’m the only one with a wife who is extremely hard on herself. It’s something that took some time to really understand about her, but I eventually learned just how sensitive she is to criticism. When she does something she thinks is wrong or others tell her is wrong, she is not the type to find someone else to blame. She always blames herself and it seems to really affect her confidence. Because of this, I feel compelled to refrain from impulsive arguments or angry accusations pointed at her. I usually want my opinion to be heard and I admit that sometimes I want her to feel a degree of guilt when I’ve felt wronged. However, when I realize that she will feel more than just a degree of guilt and that she will be even more critical than I intended to be, it makes me realize how trivial many of my impulsive arguments really are. If the issue persists into the future, and I feel I absolutely must talk about it, I put considerable time into how I will express my concerns with her. I also make an extra effort to express my love for her. Our “arguments” have become loving discussions about needs and expectations instead of criticism and blame.

157 Chris March 25, 2009 at 12:18 pm

Very simple: if you say you’re going to do something, DO IT!

There are different types of things you can back out on:

1. Easy things that don’t have a big effect: If you say you’re going to do them and you don’t, it doesn’t hurt much. But if you do this often enough, your credibility will be shot.

2. Easy things that have a big effect: If you say you’ll do them and you don’t, you will immediately lose all credibility and no one will rely on you for anything. You are a fool for skipping on this low-hanging fruit.

3. Hard things to do that have a big effect: Not only will your word be credible by doing them, you will reap huge rewards for the effects of the work, both at work and at home.

4. Hard things to do that have little real effect: While these would be the easiest to walk away from, by doing these things, you gain TONS of character. Do not walk away from these, as doing them demonstrates real honesty, diligence, and character.

#4 is exactly what “Art of Maniliness” is about. It’s hard to mind your manners, dress decently, keep in good shape, save money, and so forth, particularly when so much tempts you to do otherwise. If you don’t do them, well, you will still live, but if you do them, your life will improve immensely.

158 Bjorn March 25, 2009 at 12:20 pm

I would love this book.
For me I work hard to try to treat everyone the same – give them the same respect, same time, same appreciation regardless of their perceived ‘level.’ You never truly know who you may be speaking to. But beyond that, we have all been created in the image of God and that alone demands you respect the person.
The “Golden Rule” – do unto others what you would have done unto you.
It isn’t always easy. I am trying to teach my kids this when they are fighting (which seems constantly!).

159 Ted March 25, 2009 at 12:42 pm


160 Josh March 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

I believe complete honesty is one of the most important things to have in any relationship, whether it be with a girlfriend, wife, father, mother, sister or brother. It’s a day-by-day battle and requires keeping yourself in check constantly, but the results are well worth the effort.

161 Craig March 25, 2009 at 1:05 pm

In my experience, nobody ever changes based on someone else’s opinion. You only change yourself when you truly decide within yourself that you want to. Sometimes this comes from the opinions of others, but ultimately, it has to be something that you agree with.

That said, the best way to improve yourself and your relationship is to (1) identify exactly who you are, (2) identify who you want to be, and (3) become the person in (2), one step at a time. 99% of the time, this is who she wants you to be anyway, and you’ll both be happier as a result.

162 Hill March 25, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Reminds me of the axiom I live by:

“In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.” – Winston Churchill

163 Joel March 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm

My experience is that the only person that you can ultimately control is yourself. However, a common trap that we all fall into is trying to control the thoughts and behaviors of others. When we stop trying to control the people around us and instead begin focusing on your own actions, reactions, and behaviors we can change relationships for the better. Whatever it might be, we have the power to change the worlds around us. If someone is not respecting us, we cannot keep hoping they will change, but we can change the way that we behave towards them. By giving the very people that disrespect us respect and treating them like we would like to be treated, we have already made a world of difference.

164 ed March 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Act, don’t react. Own your outcomes. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.

165 Kevin March 25, 2009 at 5:48 pm

You might be right, but you won’t find out until you stop trying to prove it.

166 George R March 25, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Talk less, listen more.

167 Tim March 25, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Learn from your father. Whether he was a good father, bad father, was there or absent. He was someone who you have an intrinsic connection to (whether you like it or not). If you don’t confront any issues you will be doomed to repeat them.

168 Adam Wittnam March 26, 2009 at 1:36 am

Easier said than done. But try to see the other point of view during an argument or discussion. It makes you that much more aware of the perspective from which they think they are right. ALSO, the “nod and bob.” it’s a slight head bob up and down while making little sounds of agreement. You don’t have to be listening in order to appear as though you are! Greatest relationship advice passed from one generation to another! :)

169 ACohen March 26, 2009 at 3:30 am

Theres not much to add, I just want a free book

170 Jon March 26, 2009 at 7:05 am

Clean more than you think you need to. Dishes, laundry, vacum, etc. Most guys, including myself, tend to clean when it becomes necessary to them and see it as illogical to do it otherwise. For some reason women need things clean. In the long run keeping things at reasonable level of cleanliness doesn’t take me anymore time, gives me a better living environment, and avoids huge amounts of conflict. Win win.

171 Erik March 26, 2009 at 8:07 am

Communication. It’s better to get in trouble for over communicating, then to little. I have learned this the hard way…

172 Bran Scott March 26, 2009 at 8:31 am

Don’t freak out when she’s emotional. Listen, wait, and just be there.

My wife is very emotional. I used to feel like if she was crying or venting anger, I needed to jump in immediately with advice, tissues, redirections, etc., etc. I finally figured out that my behavior was serving my need (my need to stop an expression of emotion I wasn’t comfortable with). What she needed was to know she could be safe with me to express her emotions without judgment. Now I just try to sit with her, let her express, and THEN ask her what she needs. Much better.

173 Charlie March 26, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Wow. This is some seriously compelling content and I want to learn more.

What can I add? It infuriates my wife sometimes when I ask her to back off from something I’m doing or accuse her of attempting to micromanage. But I do it – I think it makes her feel more secure in my abilities and command of a situation and earns her respect.

174 R Baxter March 26, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Developing stronger, more mature relationships requires a few ingredients but if I had to pick one, I’d pick…loyalty. Not blind loyalty that makes you overlook your friends’ faults, or vice versa. It’s a loyalty that lets the other person make mistakes, take chances, and yet cries ‘Danger!’ when it’s necessary. Relationship-building loyalty says, “I’ll be your friend through thick ‘n thin. I care more about you than the look, the results, the whatever.” Relationships can’t grow if we don’t let each other grow. This kind of loyalty rocks!

175 Cameron A March 27, 2009 at 12:18 am

I’d imagine that everyone wants to do this, they just don’t try. But my piece of advice would be to make her feel special at least once every day, and don’t ever let her forget how much you appreciate her.

176 Suri March 27, 2009 at 2:43 am

Well i”ve not had so many b’days as most people here, but this is what i’ve understood about relations and marriages.
Relations fail when,
either of the partners don’t have a life without each other: fights will happen.the person with u is not a copy of you,and so there will be friction every now and then. But if both need to have zero friction to be together, i’m afraid things will go bad.people can be together only if they accept the differences. If they keep adjusting to keep the roughness out, they’re suppressing a part of themselves in solving every fight.so , both of them should have a life of their own;friends, passions,job,whatever.this allows them to be so dependent on each other for their happiness that every fight destroys their life so much that they have to ‘adjust’(i hate that word in a relationship).
So a simple understanding- have fight,accept difference(I love the don’t argue point above), if still feel the same for the person, then you can have a strong mature relationship.

177 Claude March 27, 2009 at 3:14 am

A great article. A couple of guys picked up on Tool No. 1 – Silence the Little Boy. Fundamentally I agree with the point, but the tone of “Silence” and “Quit stomping” connote a judgement that the little boy has done something wrong and should be brought into line. When you are a little boy your only reality is what is actually happening to you at that time, and it is largely external i.e. how your father, grandfather, teacher, friends and others treat you. Your personality and character is still being formed by these inputs. It is only later in life that the realisation comes of what wasn’t done, or what was done that was harmful. At that point you can either act like a “needy little boy going around stomping his feet”, or you can accept responsibility and try to see the true motives behind what happened, and as understanding and hopefully compassion arise, choose to forgive those that harmed you by ommission or commision. This frees you to move on and enables you to “silence” the little boy by “Making peace with the Little Boy” or “Befriending the Little Boy” or “Understanding the Little Boy”. These I believe would be more positive expressions of this tool. A movie that really illustrates this point is “The Kid” starring Bruce Willis. In the movie he meets his younger self and is able to journey with him through those very things that happened to him that helped form his character. He was able to now understand that it was his father’s fear of losing his wife to cancer that cause him to lash out at the boy, not anything intrinsically wrong about the boy or his actions. I highly recommend this movie to help men with this process.

178 Eugene March 27, 2009 at 4:43 am

Blown away by the article and the comments and glad I stumbled onto this website.

I really like tool #2, espress but don’t defend your feelings. Being defensive is such an easy thing to do that this tool like the others really is a change in mindset and involves work.

179 Kevin L March 27, 2009 at 6:16 am

My best advice for stranger more mature relationships would be to be honest. So many men are afraid to really tell others how they feel. Or they try to be one person with their wife and another person work and still another person with their guy friends.

It’s just really important to be genuine and authentic in all our relationships and not be afraid to actually talk about our feelings.

My 2 cents.

180 Adam Richardson March 27, 2009 at 8:21 am

Romance (not sex) goes from an instinct (single, early marriage) to a discipline (later marriage). Most men don’t make the jump from the instinct of romance to the discipline of romance. This is where the rubber meets the road and real men show themselves true to the vows they made – and consistency in this discipline will in the end provide the context for mutual romance and a wonderful, growing, vibrant sex life to the end.

181 David March 27, 2009 at 9:25 am

Three words:
Communication, Communication, Communication!

182 Scott B. March 27, 2009 at 10:03 am

I think the best way to solidify relationships is by listening. Really listening. No distractions. Eye contact. Focusing on the message being sent – not just thinking about getting your 2 cents in – like Kyle mentioned earlier.

I’ve noticed my kids are very tuned in to how well I’m listening. If I’m distracted or just want to advise them based on what I think they’re saying, they sense it and back off.

On the other hand, if I concentrate on what they’re trying to tell me – their words, tone, context, and body language – they are more likely to be open and honest. They sense my presence and warm up to it and we connect way better than if I’m only half listening.

183 Aaron March 28, 2009 at 10:29 am

These 8 rules/tools sound really good. Here is something that I like to think is a good way of thinking. “It’s never the wrong time to say the right thing”

184 Kevin March 30, 2009 at 5:56 am

Everyone woman deserves the right to be their own person. Do your best to let her grow and experience life in the direction she chooses; sure it could make you worry or judge, make sure they don’t interfere with her being able to make decisions for herself, if she loves you she’s always thinking about how you fit into her life decisions.

185 Tim March 30, 2009 at 8:29 am

I’m going to go ahead and buy this book. if i get a free one out of this, I know someone who needs a copy.

186 Justin March 30, 2009 at 10:34 am

Concerning the friendships you make with other men – Pick those friends carefully. It took me over twenty years to accept the truth of my father’s advice, “You are who you associate with.”

If you associate with those that are driven, disciplined, and possess good character, you will be more likely to conduct yourself the same way.

187 John Maddocks March 31, 2009 at 3:04 am

Always, always, always be honest!

188 Tyler Yost April 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm

One of the best things I have ever learned from one of the great men in my life is that a solid and mature relationship is built on trust and mutual respect. Regardless of whom the relationship with(male,female, father,mother, friend, relative, girlfriend) or what kind of relationship it is(business, pleasure, beer-drinking), those two tenets are what build truly strong relationships.

189 JenC April 11, 2009 at 12:29 pm

One thing that’s made a huge difference in my marriage is realizing that whatever it is that I’m looking for my spouse to do for me, he’s probably looking for the same thing from me. My best example is “free time”. Both of us work, and we have a 2 year old son (which is why I started reading this site!). I was constantly feeling overwhelmed and wanted some time to get away from all of the responsibilities. It dawned on me that my husband probably felt the same way. Now we each take one evening a week for ourselves, and there’s no resentment or guilt over it.

190 Ulises April 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Hello, I’m fifteen years old and I think the information on this website is really cool, but also necessary.

My piece of advice would be to express honesty in everything you do. Express affection when you feel affection not because you think you need to. Be honest with yourself about your feeling towards your woman: no obsessing. Be honest when something bothers you. Over all be honest with the reasons for why you do what you do when you do it.

191 Thomas April 19, 2009 at 1:20 pm

A man showing up every day knows that one say will be his day; and a man can only have his day by showing up everyday. Show up.

Be the man you ought to be.

192 brendan April 20, 2009 at 7:16 am

this site is grosss!!!! GIANT PENIS!

193 Chilly chunky April 20, 2009 at 7:20 am

PPPOOOPY vigina is a fun thing to touch… hahahhahahah cum in my mouth until i shit blood out my earlobe hahahhahah death… .ahhaha h

194 Амалия April 25, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Kur keni bërë një gabim, të marrë fajin! Dhe nuk përfshijnë një “por” në apologjinë deklaratë. Kjo është vetëm një mënyrë tjetër për të zhvendosur fajin apo duke u përpjekur për të zvogëluar fajësi.

195 Jose L. Pena April 27, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Hug your kids, show them they truly matter. Be affectionate with them, praise them, give them wings…..

196 Joseph Rogers April 28, 2009 at 8:50 am

That whole thing about “Being the Rock” is dead on. I’d say somewhere around 90-95 of relationships require a dominant male personality. Best I can tell, it has something to do with genetics, and forget a bunch of women’s lib. That’s not to say that women do not have their place and time where they call the shots, either. It’s just stating that the man tends (and needs) to be, for many reasons, Head of the Household.

When you develop your goals, and what how you want to accomplish them, you’ll be surprised how your wife/girlfriend will accomodate what you are trying to achieve, as long as it’s reasonable and workable, and at the same time, you’re fulfilling the role as leader of the family.

Be the Rock.

197 George Frost April 28, 2009 at 8:55 am

There is a saying about walking a mile in his/her shoes. To understand where someone else is coming from is important. Some things are hard to understand, especially when others don’t want to explain. So as a rule: have respect. Respect will help you walk that mile, gain understanding, and be a person that others respect.

198 Pick Up Lines August 25, 2009 at 9:14 am

There are two more points I would add to Tool #6 about not arguing. I think it is always important to Agree to Disagree. Differences of opinion keep the spice in a relationship! While you don’t have to argue, you don’t have to agree, either, right?
Also there is a three-word phrase to nip arguments in the bud that is helpful to remember: “Don’t Say It!”

199 Mark Cannon August 26, 2009 at 1:04 pm

One aspect I see in each of these points to some extent, is the idea of commitment. Nothing holds a relationship together; whether it be romantic, parental, plutonic, sibling or just man to man friendship, other than being committed. I wince at the term committed relationship. I don’t think there is really any other kind.

200 Mityasha October 1, 2009 at 8:45 am

Hug your kids, show them they truly matter

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