The most influential F word in a relationship is Fulfillment. We all want it, crave it, need it, chase after it, fight for it, clutch it, grab it, grip it, get a strangle hold on it, and inevitably watch it slip through our fingers.
In a world where divorce is prevalent, infidelity rampant and heartache seemingly inevitable, how do we have a successful relationship?
It starts by fulfilling each other’s basic needs. Ladies, it starts with fulfilling your man.
There are countless books on the topic of fulfilling your man. A quick internet search renders thousands of titles, all packed full of innovative ways to build your relationship and keep him coming back for more. I’ve read many of these books and though they do offer some creative and fun ideas, it is my belief that we make marriage harder than it has to be. In today’s world, marriage is already difficult enough. The divorce rate continues to climb, families are ripped apart, hearts are tragically broken and lives are destroyed. Hectic schedules and demanding careers leave a husband and wife with little time to talk and even less time for listening and understanding.
Marriages don’t end because people stop loving. It ends because they stop connecting.
It has been my experience, and consequently become my belief, that if a woman wants to fulfill her man, she needs to stop trying to do fifty things and focus only on four.
Men need very little. This concept is hard for women to understand because we typically “need” much more to feel satisfied. Take shoes, for example. We need a minimum of fifty pairs, and as most of you will agree, I’m low-balling there. He needs three pairs. Dress Shoes or Work shoes. Tennis shoes. Flip flops. We require accessories to match every outfit we own. He needs a watch. We need panties in all different colors, shapes and styles. He needs one type of underwear and he most likely doesn’t care what color they are. Let’s face it; a lot of guys don’t even require clean underwear!
Ironically, our relationships often break down because we, women, fail to meet their simplest needs. We run around trying to fulfill them in all sorts of creative, wonderful, exhausting ways… when all we really have to do is embrace the four F’s.
You’ve probably heard the old adage, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” It’s true. Men need to be fed and when a woman cooks the food he likes, it strokes the strings of his heart. So, simply put, don’t order in or eat out at every meal. Cook for him and he will feel loved.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, some of you are exhausted from trying to make fancy-schmancy meals when your husband’s favorite food is a giant plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Something new and fancy is great every once in a while, but men are creatures of habit, so make a habit of cooking what he likes.
Men need time for male-bonding…period. Whether he plays basketball with the guys, golfs, tinkers in the garage on some project you know he’ll never finish, goes on fishing or hiking trips or heads to Vegas for a boys wild get-away… whatever it is, he needs time with his friends to rejuvenate his manhood. He needs to burp and fart, scratch his balls and boast; and do all the things considered taboo in the presence of women.
AND, he doesn’t need a guilt trip about it. The male-bonding time feeds his ego, solidifies his rank in the pack, gives him a testosterone boost and validation to know he thinks and acts in similar fashion to the others. He needs this guy time to free his mind of all the female clutter we constantly yackity-yack into his brain.
He will return relaxed and ready to embrace the woman he loves.
Most women are not as fanatical about sports as most men. It’s hard for a woman to grasp the fulfillment a simple football game can bring; but there is relational magic in it. Regardless of what sport your man is into, he needs nag-free time to enjoy the game. He needs to be able to go to a pub and watch it without being harped on or made to feel guilty. Better yet, he needs to be able to watch the game at home, stretched out in his favorite chair with some game snacks and beer.
For men, football represents more than just the game itself. It’s a time of freedom, where they can forget about jobs, bills, wife and kids and lose themselves in the excitement and entertainment of the game. Football is an emotional outlet for a man, as most men don’t outwardly scream and cheer at much else in their lives, the way they do when their team is winning or losing.
If you’ve been living under the misnomer that sex is not important to men, think again. It’s one of the most important aspects of the relationship and key in their personal fulfillment. They think about it. They want it. They crave it. They need it. And I’m not talking about lethargic, half-asleep, lay there and let him have his way with you sort-of sex. I’m talking about the real deal. They need energetic, all-consuming, numb your ears, toe-tingling sex!
Food. Friends. Football. F#@k. = Fulfillment.
Men really are that simple, so don’t complicate it. What you’ll discover is when his needs are met, he suddenly becomes more aware and willing to meet your needs. When he feels loved by you, he’ll lasso the moon if it’s what you desire and go out of his way to set your heart on fire.
Today wasn’t any different than most days. He was gone. She was busy running kids to practices, ballgames, rehearsals and to the pool; squeezing in a jaunt to the grocery store every now and again when milk or toilet paper ran low. The kid’s friends came in and out of the house all afternoon and she’d smile a polite hello, and then return to the laundry or some other household chore. Occasionally she’d stop to get them all a snack and a juice box, steal a hug from one of her own as they ran by; then check email and take another gander at the ever-growing to-do list hanging over her head. All the while wondering if there was more to this existence than the day-in-day-out hum-drum of chores that kept her family functioning in life, and kept her from living it.
She used to be a master at forcing back tears, but now they flowed daily. She tried to conceal them until she was alone, in the shower, where she could sob and no one would hear; and for the most part, it worked. From a distance, others perceived her as someone who had it all, an outgoing, happy, well-adjusted woman; all of which couldn’t have been further from the truth. She was good at hiding from outsiders. Inwardly though, she was burdened with sadness and guilt. She felt inept, incomplete and unable to overcome the smallest of obstacles. She was a woman who could be surrounded by a crowd and still feel undeniably alone.
As she matched socks and folded pool towels, tears poured down her cheeks and dripped from her chin. She scolded herself as a reminder to be thankful for all the blessings in her life. After all, she had a beautiful home, healthy children, family and friends who loved her and a husband who, even in economically difficult times, had a wonderful job to support and provide for all of them. She was blessed in ways she knew she didn’t deserve. She prayed a prayer of thankfulness in the quiet of her mind, and asked God for the strength to get through another day…another hour….another minute. She sobbed out apologies to Heaven, feeling sorry for appearing ungrateful, sorry for ever complaining, sorry for wanting more. She mentally berated herself for being selfish and her heart ached.
No matter how many times she found her smile, loneliness stole it again; and she feared one day it would leave and never return.
“Lots of people travel for work,” he had said.
“And lots of marriages fall apart because of it,” she had answered.
“Lots don’t,” he rebutted, and she knew her message wasn’t getting through. He couldn’t see the pain she was in. He was blind to the withering effect of loneliness inside her.
“Do you think I like being away from you and the kids?” He said.
She shook her head no, and flushed with a realization that talking had become futile. Her words only put more pressure on him and that wasn’t what she wanted. Sharing her heart only made things worse and regret rushed over her. She knew he was working hard…he always worked hard. She knew he was doing it for her, for their kids, and for their family; but she feared if they stayed on this course there would be no family left. She worried about his health and the health of their marriage. But she didn’t know what to do…
Already they were disconnected to the point that obligation and guilt became more effective tools than communication and trust. Already her heart began to shut down, pull back and run away. Already she felt the strength of their union slipping, and she hated it.
Work consumed him night and day and the kid’s schedules took up every spare moment of time. When he was on the road, there was no time for lengthy phone calls, and texting became their main source of marital communication. An “I love you” in the morning and evening, and sometimes an “I miss you” posted on Facebook became the extent of their intimate conversing. When he was in town, by the time the kids were asleep, so was he. Exhaustion overrode desire. Their disconnect grew and depression gripped her.
She rolled over in bed every morning, dreading the reality of another day…another lonesome day of have-to’s and shoulds. Another day of functioning in life, but not really living.
She used to see divorced couples and wonder what went wrong, how did they get there? Now, she understood. They didn’t stop loving… they just stopped living together… and when you have to do life by yourself, it feels empty.
Everyone knows a lonely heart is more susceptible because it’s starving to feel loved…the trouble is… how do you share life with someone who’s constantly leaving? How do you find time together when he’s always packing and unpacking?
When the craving stops… will it ever start again? Or has the dagger of distance unleashed its final blow? Now, on her knees, armor failing, sword knocked from her grip… she hopes he will grab a weapon and fight for her, for their marriage, for their life together. ~
Whether or not you have read Dr. Gary Chapman’s book entitled, The Five Love Languages, you are probably familiar with them. To refresh your memory, here is a brief description of each one:
Kind words – when your partner speaks kindly to you, encourages you, gives you an unexpected and genuine compliment, or tells you that he or she cares about you.
Quality time – when you and your partner spend quality time together, enjoying a meaningful conversation or just having a fun date.
Gifts – when your partner surprises you with a gift. The cost of the gift is irrelevant. You feel cared about because he or she spent time thinking about you and what you might like.
Acts of service – when your significant other does things that makes your life less stressful or more enjoyable. Like the feeling you get when you’re tired and hungry after a long day, only to be pleasantly surprised to find that the dishes are already washed, the lawn is mowed, or there is a nice meal waiting for you.
Physical affection – when you and your partner hold hands, hug, and share physical contact that reflects deeply caring about each other.
In his book, Dr. Gary Chapman discusses how each of us have a primary love language, and that this language is the channel of communication that makes us feel most loved. If our partner knows how to speak our love language, it intensifies the connection you share. If, however, they do not, it can cause a great deal of turmoil, sadness and even feelings of despair.
Being able to communicate with your spouse is vital to the survival of your marriage and ultimately to your physical and emotional well-being. When the main artery of communication is clogged, it causes partners to fail to connect with one another. This disconnection quickly leads to feelings of animosity, frustration and intolerance; not to mention it leaves both partners feeling unwanted, uncared for, and unnoticed.
All of these negative ramifications eventually lead to chronic unhappiness, which studies are now showing causes hormonal imbalances, depression, fatigue, and weight gain.
A successful marriage is not a sprint, but a marathon. You must be willing to grow and change with your spouse, adjusting your footsteps to the ebb and flow of the path you’re walking. Learning to speak your spouse’s love language is step one, creating the foundation you will traverse upon for the rest of your life together. ~
I read an article where the writer made this statement: “Sex is like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” I couldn’t agree more!
Sometimes we get into our heads that sex has to be magical or mind-blowing every time, but that’s not reality. Lighting candles all over the room or sprinkling rose petals in a warm tub for two are great tactics for heightening romance, but it’s impossible to do them every time; and if you did, they would quickly lose their luster.
Romance and sex do not always go hand-in-hand, despite what most soap operas will lead you to believe. Sex is possible and even fun without the extra mood-setting and the mental pressure of striving for perfection. Sometimes a simple wham-bam-thank-you-mam is exactly what’s needed.
It’s nice once in a while to order your favorite specialty pizza, loaded with toppings and extra cheese, but most the time that plain ‘ol slice of pepperoni tastes pretty darn good.
Have you had a piece today?
Marriage is like a helix model, wherein love, friendship, communication and sex wrap around each other in necessity to exist. Each marriage has its own unique code for success and it is the responsibility of both partners to decipher that code.
We’ve all heard about love languages, but there are also friendship languages, sex languages and different methods of communicating. Knowing your partner’s language in each of these areas helps you decipher your unique code for a successful marriage.
Here is a link to help you determine your love language. It offers free assessments and fun exercises you and your spouse can do together:
Finding out your love language is step one in deciphering your marital helix. It may seem silly or even unnecessary at first, but if you put in the research you’ll benefit from the results.
Let me give you a real life example. Jessica and John have been married for twenty years. Through the years John has spent a ton of money on gifts for Jessica. He’s given her diamond earrings, designer handbags, and lavished her with bouquets of roses for every occasion. Jessica was grateful for the gifts, but they haven’t touched her heart the way John had hoped and he can’t understand why. The reason was because Jessica’s love language was attention and words of affirmation. Even though she was grateful for the gifts, the way to her heart was through words. In her mind, it was easy to buy a gift, but much more meaningful to speak from the heart. Now, John still buys gifts but he doesn’t agonize over finding that perfect item or overspending. He uses his energy and time on putting his feelings for Jessica into words, verbally and on paper. He takes her to dinner and talks with her instead of leaving her alone with a gift. She feels more loved and connected and he feels satisfied.
Loving your partner in their language will take your relationship to new heights emotionally, mentally and sexually.