Have you ever looked at your significant other and thought, “I just don’t understand you?” The differences between men and women can create complexities in relationships. Two books that I recommend to couples contain eye-opening truths that can radically improve the depth of a relationship. In the books, For Men Only and For Women Only, Shaunti and Jeff Feldhan describe (with remarkable accuracy) what men and women think, want, and feel. The authors conducted surveys, personal interviews, and other research with thousands of men and women. Just consider how understanding each other’s deepest insecurities can improve how a couple supports each other.
A basic insecurity that most men feel is that they must be a provider and need to feel respected (even more than loved). They have a driving need to do a good job and take care of the family. It’s a constant reminder that he’s either achieving or that he’s not good enough. It’s the fear that everyone will realize he is not as good as they think he is.
Tips for women…
- Affirmation is everything (tell him he did a great job)
- Let him figure things out on his own
- Don’t tear him down (especially in front of others)
For many women a basic insecurity is the need to be wanted (loved). It’s more than a specific feeling after a fight or an event. It’s the need to be reminded because that voice in the back of her head keeps asking “does he even want to be with me anymore?” It’s noticing everything that is perfect about someone else and feeling personally unlovable.
Tips for men…
- Reassure her of your love (especially during conflict)
- She needs you to be present (yes, even during conflict)
- If she needs to talk about the relationship, listen without getting defensive
Why does this matter? Loving someone includes understanding what they need. Whether you simply observe, ask, or do a little research, (s)he’s worth the effort.
Licensed Professional Counselor Intern
Under Supervision of Tiffany Smith LPC-S, LMFT-S, NCC