New Year’s Day has come and gone, and, let’s face it, most of us are still scratching our heads about what resolutions to make this year. But when it comes to the question of how I can be a better boyfriend (with the hopes that it’s in the cards for me this year), I know I could use the help of an outside perspective.
In the same boat? You are in luck! I polled a bunch of great guys—all imperfect yet reputable and marriageable (and very, very good-looking)—and asked them what they’d recommend for a New Year’s resolution for a woman in a relationship or a woman who hopes to be in one, based upon their relationship experience, past and present.
01. Take time for you.
First of all, don’t think this is going to be one big whinefest. These men aren't here to point out your every flaw. Quite the contrary. “My first reaction is, ‘I'm the one who needs to improve,’” Leo confessed.
One of the more popular answers I got had to do with wanting to encourage her to spend time and energy in service of her own wellbeing. Jay, for instance, would encourage his wife to embrace what he calls “better self-care.” For example, “Getting enough sleep, eating better, taking time for herself,” he says. “If those things don't happen...well...I don't think there is an emoji to exemplify her demeanor and subsequently mine.”
And Jay’s not the only guy wishing his S.O. would resolve to take time for herself. “That's a common problem out there,” Erik said. “I know of a lot of women neglect their own needs in the name of ‘self-sacrifice.’” Which, of course, is very admirable and laudable, but not always sustainable. “You can't give what you don't have,” he goes on to say. “She needs to take care of herself and grow in self discipline and she'll be more free to be herself and give herself.”
02. Communicate your needs.
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean your guy wants you to do all the work. It’s just that sometimes men don’t even know where to begin. In fact, sometimes it’s all too obvious that you’re upset or need help and we want to help, we just don’t know how! “Be more diligent in asserting and communicating their own needs,” Erik suggests. Kenny says that he wishes that his S.O. would communicate a little better with him as well. “Understanding why she is upset is always an uphill battle” Kenny explains.
I know for me, I don’t ever want to admit that I can’t do something. I want to be able to do it all—and not even break a sweat in the process! But we all know that’s impossible and, therefore, unrealistic. The fact is, we’re all imperfect people with very real limitations, and it doesn’t do anybody any good to pretend otherwise.
03. Commit to interior life and spiritual growth.
In my experience, and in particular my family, women tend to be more spiritual or reflective than men. So at first glance, I was a bit surprised to hear men want to encourage their partners to become more devoted to interior reflection or, if they are so inclined, spiritual growth. But upon further review, it makes perfect sense. We recognize a strength in women that we want to encourage them to cultivate.
Many of the men I spoke to simply recognize that greater mindfulness, self-reflection, or commitment to spiritual growth is already a goal of their partner’s, and they simply want to encourage her to pursue that goal more fervently. “I wish she would take some real steps in her interior life,” shares David. “She often laments that she doesn't pray enough, or have enough time to read, or time to go to presentations and retreats,” he explains. Kenny agrees with David and adds that more interior reflection might bear fruit in other areas of a relationship. He thinks that a greater commitment to self growth and interior development would help his girlfriend better understand herself and ultimately their interactions.
When it really comes down to it, we’re in this thing together, right? It’s no wonder the old adage goes, “Happy wife, happy life.” And we’re not talking about simply placating anybody, either. The men I know who are in committed relationships really care about their significant other and are truly invested in her well-being. After all, who else other than yourself knows you so well.
Photo Credit: Du Castel Photography