WOMEN, THE experts assert that you have it within you to significantly influence the kind of relationship you have.
You can train men to treat you right.
According to therapist and family counsellor Kevin Bailey, some men (very few) are untrainable. Most will respond to loving direction from women they admire. Here are the best strategies for training suggested by this therapist:
1Decide on the standards and boundaries you want before you enter a relationship. What are your views on a healthy relationship? Do they include commitment and trust?
2Communicate your needs lovingly. Speak the truth in love and do not marry a person you cannot communicate with.
3Solicit feedback to ensure that your partner understands what you have said. It is important for the partner to say in his own words what it is that he has heard you say.
4Ask your partner to share all his needs. Consider meeting his needs within reason. Giving normally attracts receiving.
5Encourage him to share his feelings, not what he is thinking. When you ask a man what he is feeling he will tell you what he is thinking. His emotional intelligence is relatively low. In order for him to treat you right, he must begin to share his feelings, especially because of women's deep need for affection.
6Let him know that you appreciate him. Respect and affirm him.
7The male ego is fragile, so stroke it. Sarah called Abraham her lord. Appreciate his job, the money that he brings in even if it is little and the fact that he is involved with the family.
8Loving confrontation. It is recommended that you use "I" messages instead of "you" (accusations). Instead of saying "you are always coming in late", says "I feel neglected when you come home at this time." When you use "I" language, it becomes less defensive.
9Empathise. Empathy means putting your foot in his shoe. Let him know you appreciate material things but you want him more than anything else. Many men would rather give their wives the chequebook rather than a warm embrace or a loving kiss. It is simply easier to give money rather than oneself.
10Forgive. Nobody is perfect and certainly not you.
11Avoid nagging. It really does not work.
12Be attractive and appealing. He will take note and you will have raised the stakes.
13Ask him his greatest ambition, what is really important to him. Men normally want to talk about themselves. Use this opening for deeper communi-cation. Remember conversation is not his real strength.
14Avoid mind reading or being judgmental. Simply ask questions. If you are talkative, practice being quiet sometimes.
15Offer to meet his friends or to participate in recreational activities.
16Give him space at times; be sensitive.
17Let him feel he is in charge even if he isn't.
18Evaluate whether you are in a pursuer relationship. The more you pursue him, the more he distances himself. Stop chasing him.
19Start attending to your self image. You may want to look at educating yourself, losing weight, getting a manicure/pedicure, getting involved in clubs. Learn to value yourself.
20Women should try to do something different. If you keep doing the same things you will get the same results. Remember you cannot change him, but you can change your responses. Be aware of resentment, passive or overt resistance on your part.
21Let him know you are praying for him and do it.
22Never embarrass him, especially in front of his friends. Be careful in your criticism of him. Seek to speak words of empowerment. Do not compare him with other men, especially when he falls short. Just identify the particular issue and concentrate on it.
23Finally, learn what works for him and keep doing it.
There are some men who are not trainable. They have decided how they want to live their lives. Women will be totally frustrated. Choose and identify those you wish to work with. Most men are trainable. Many will do what they need to do to meet you half way.
Kevin Bailey is a therapist and family counsellor and an Associate of Family Life Ministries in Kingston. Next week: Meeting and marrying the warrior king.