Learning how to be a better man in a relationship is partially about your own personal growth as a man in general.
The rest is about learning how to be there for your girl in the right way.
Anything you do that helps you become a better man in general is going to help you in your relationship.
But there are several key behaviors that you should be doing specific to the relationship that will make things better and bring the two of your closer.
Take Time Off For Your Own Needs
There are never enough hours in a day but in addition to time at work, time with your girl and any other commitments you have you need to have some down time just for you.
Only when your own needs are met and you are running with a full tank can you really meet the needs of another person.
Even if it is just a short amount of time each week, make sure you give yourself the space to clear your head and sharpen up. Give her the same luxury of space for her own needs.
I like to spend this time running or at the gym, but you can do what ever activity you like best.
Get Your Financial House In Order
You may or may not have joint finances. And even if you do you may only share a portion of them and not the whole.
Either way it doesn't matter. You need to have your house in order when it comes to money. As a man you have to be there to provide for your girlfriend and down the line your wife and children.
Make a plan to pay down debt, save a percentage of your paycheck and learn how to invest.
Have A Plan For The Future
If you are early on in a relationship you may keep this one close to your chest and only talk about it when the time is right.
But make sure you have a plan, both your own future and the future of the relationship. Don't drift through life with no direction and don't pursue a relationship with no direction. Dream big but don't stop there - be a man of action and have a realistic plan.
Be A Giver In Every Way
The beauty of a relationship is that the more you give the more you receive, as your girlfriend returns the giving right back to you.
Consciously give yourself in a relationship, as this is the way that you strengthen your bond and grow the space between you that the relationship inhabits.
Whether it is physically, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, financially or with your time and energy, be there for your girlfriend in every way and be generous.
Fulfill Her Intellectually, Emotionally And Sexually
Sex is important but alone it is not enough, especially as the relationship matures.
Find an intellectual interest you share and discuss it regularly, whether it is literature, history, politics or current events. Both of you need to stimulate each other's mind.
Be there for her emotionally when she needs it. Be there even when she doesn't need it. Open up and share yourself with her, break down the barriers that stand in the way.
Learn how to pleasure her sexually. Every woman is different and so is every relationship. Learn what she loves and be a generous giver in the bedroom. It is easy to get lazy when the fire dies down but effort in this field will keep the relationship thriving.
This includes non sexual touch as well. Some women need this more than others, but holding hands, cuddling, stroking her face and hair are all important components of intimacy.
Don't Be Afraid To Stand Up For Yourself
There is a tendency in relationships to just say "yes" to avoid rocking the boat.
There is a time and place for that, as you need to pick your battles. But don't be a pushover. Speak your mind when you need to, even if it leads to an argument.
I learnt a good lesson from a friend of mine's parents. They dispensed the advice at their son's wedding. In that relationship the woman makes most of the decisions and the man is quite passive. Normally he is happy to go with her decisions. But when he wants something or disagrees with her he will speak up forcefully. And because he does it so infrequently, when he does so she knows he is dead serious. And she will listen to him every time. That is the trade of she knows she has to make for the luxury of making most of the other decisions.
That works for them and it may not work for you, but the message is still the same. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
Say Sorry And Don't Hold Grudges
Sometimes the time is right for you to apologize. Not all the time to the point where you become a groveler, but when you have caused some hurt.
When you do need to apologize be sincere, take responsibility and say the magic words "I'm sorry."
Once the argument is over put it behind you. Holding a grudge only harms you as it causes resentment to build up. Say what you need to say in the argument, make the apology and then bury it.
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