Five Things

Learning to live in harmony.

Men and women share a common humanity, but that is where the similarities seem to diverge. I am not a psychologist or a therapist, but I view women as very dear to my heart. I have stumbled through life, facing many complicated interactions with women of varied backgrounds and personalities, and I have learned through trial and error (mostly error!) that we are inestimably different in so many ways. Science has identified both a male and a female brain. Without going into detail, it is essential to recognize that the male brain works more linearly and strategically, while the female brain tends to be more passionate and creative. Our brains are wired differently, and it is frequently challenging for men and women to understand the different thought processes and emotions needed for compatibility.

Nevertheless, men and women must learn to live in harmony because the species’ survival depends on it. I acknowledge that I have been relatively ineffective in changing how women act and think, so I am hopeful that I can more successfully influence the male brain in a way that may enhance our long-term compatibility. With this background in mind, I offer five things every man should consider to improve harmony and joy in their relationships with women.

Before I begin, I would preface that my list must be viewed as incomplete because everyone has their perspective of what constitutes a “real man.” These things may include being protective, supportive, and helpful. These are very pragmatic and are also very important in any relationship. They are also somewhat intuitive because every man knows he should be protective, supportive, and helpful in any long-term relationship. My five qualities tend to be more enduring and, perhaps, in some ways, more experiential. I understand that every man (and every woman) has different attributes and desires. Still, I believe the five qualities I identify will make most relationships more compatible and loving.

So here I go:

  1. Kindness-there is no substitute for kindness, and I sense that most women are most appreciative and most attracted to this attribute in men. You can fake kindness briefly, but anger, frustration, and arrogance will eventually destroy this quality. Kindness needs to be expressed daily. Kindness must be shared repeatedly, even when we face obstacles. Furthermore, kindness should not be limited to isolated instances or occasional displays. It is a quality that necessitates continuous practice and nurturing. Consistently sharing acts of kindness reinforces its significance and strengthens our spiritual and emotional relationships. It becomes a unique language, fostering trust, understanding, and mutual appreciation.

      When faced with pride and anger, expressing kindness becomes even more vital. It provides a beacon of hope,   offering solace and support to those around us. Kindness uplifts spirits, ensures comfort, and fosters resilience in challenging times. It reminds us of our shared humanity and interconnectedness, emphasizing the importance of standing by one another during challenging moments.

Ultimately, the lasting quality of kindness truly resonates with women and, indeed, with people of all genders. It demonstrates a depth of character and emotional maturity that attracts and fosters meaningful connections. By cultivating and practicing kindness consistently, we enrich our relationships and create a ripple effect of compassion that can inspire others to follow suit. We need to endure in our endearment of women!

  1. Attentiveness-we are a society that has an insatiable desire for social media. Consequently, every relationship seems to compete with the ever-present cell phone. Dopamine is a pleasure neurotransmitter released into the brain when we receive text messages, emails, and other notifications. The distraction that results can be downright frustrating. I notice that most young men and women are constantly placing their eyeballs onto a small screen. I think showing attentiveness to your partner or lover is virtually impossible if you frequently move your eyes to other locations or attractions. Try this: place your phone in another room and turn on the silent mode. Sit down with your spouse or partner and maintain eye contact as often as possible. A gentle affirmative movement of your head or a spontaneous smile will nonverbally convey the degree of attention you provide. We all like to hear ourselves speak. Attentiveness requires the qualities of silence and patience. These things are not easily achieved and require constant practice and affirmation. We would do well to focus on attentiveness in our social interactions. Valued friends and confidants tend to be those who listen quietly and alertly. Friendships are invaluable when we are facing difficulty or loneliness. It is a typical human attribute to seek out those who will listen to us patiently and without interruption before they offer insights and advice. Attentiveness is essential to this process and can be an immense source of comfort for those in need.
  2. Humility-I would typically place this quality as the pinnacle of importance in any relationship. It is the only true quality we all need to develop.

As human beings, we are very prideful. Pride is an aspect of our fallen nature and generally leads to the most significant degree of personal failure. Humility is the antidote to pride and can either be true humility or false in its manifestation. Most of us can identify, over time, the individual who has false humility. This person generally hides arrogance and self-importance behind the false veil of humility.

On the other hand, someone who is genuinely humble lives this quality every day. Learning to lose an argument is one of the most remarkable ways to practice humility. This quality does not necessarily require us to make foolish or unnecessary statements. It simply means that you are willing to allow your partner or lover to understand you better by your willingness to value the relationship to a much higher degree when compared to winning the argument. This concept may be better understood when we identify those rare individuals who present themselves not only as gracious winners but as humble and gracious losers. This type of quality, in my experience, requires much effort and even greater prayer. Yet, in my estimation, it is one of the most challenging attributes to acquire in our relationship with others. This need is especially true for men. There is far too much pride in this world, and a relatively large dose of it seems to come from the male side of the species.

  1. Virtue-this is a rather generic term. I intend to offer this quality as a broad stroke that paints the canvas of our life. Virtue, in my mind, should be all-encompassing. Simply put, it is doing the right thing to avoid the harmful consequences. We all know the importance of impulse control. The desire for sexual gratification, material possessions, positions of authority, and consumption of delicious foods are all processes that can potentially lead to poor outcomes. Virtue is the innate filter to our humanity and arises from the divine nature that dwells within all of us. Our amygdala is the physical pleasure center of the human brain. It is unfettered by any negative feedback loops. An unbridled amygdala is like a child in a candy store. Our spirituality, loosely defined, provides some of the restraint that is necessary to overcome uninhibited impulses. Virtue is the subconscious presence of holiness and godliness that allows us to live together in harmony and to love one another. Virtue has many forms, including patience, kindness, temperance, charity, faith, purity, and diligence in work. No man will suffer in the daily practice of these virtuous qualities. Self-control is one of the most outstanding qualities to be nurtured by human beings and enhances the capacity to become an honorable man.
  1. Prayer- one of the most formidable tasks I encounter is convincing men of the critical importance of prayer in our lives. We deceive ourselves with the illusion that greatness and success occur without God. We selfishly proclaim that our triumphs are achieved solely through hard work and talent. We refuse to acknowledge any intervention by the hand of a loving God. In my estimation, it is one of the greatest deceptions that men can possess. It raises the specter of pride to its highest level when a man thinks that all he has accomplished in the world has been achieved innately by him alone. As a secular society, we place God in a small place we rarely visit. He is the first to receive blame and the last to obtain gratitude. A man without prayer is a man unfulfilled and incomplete. No matter where you are on the spectrum of spirituality, there can be no doubt that man is both a physical and a spiritual being. We spend endless hours improving our physical attributes, but we cannot spend even a brief minute enhancing our spirituality with prayer. One of the most valuable tools to strengthen your relationships with others is to fortify your relationship with God. The tool of choice is prayer. Acts of service are always an important quality, but there will remain a void without the presence of God in a man’s life. As I have grown older, I have come to value my prayer life as an irreplaceable component of my masculinity. This recognition was not easy at first. Still, diligence in prayer has served as an exponential method to enhance my relationships with others and my understanding of life’s true purpose. Becoming a prayerful man does not necessarily guarantee that a man will also be virtuous, kind, humble, or attentive to others. But a prayerful man is taking the proper steps towards achieving these other qualities.

As men, we frequently stumble through life and never fully realize that we are not here to be served. Our created purpose is to serve others, especially the women we love. First and foremost, we must shed our cloak of arrogance and our crown of superiority. We know that the best athletes and the most accomplished musicians spend endless hours of practice before a game or a performance. Meaningful and loving relationships should hold the same value for each of us. Our true goal is to nurture the interactions with the women we love. These five recommendations should serve to guide you in the first steps of any relationship that may develop. Most importantly, you will serve God’s purpose by treating women in a manner that honors mankind and our loving God.

May Our Lord bless you as you strive to accomplish life’s best.