Happy April Fool’s Day! Be on your toes today, and if anyone tells you they’re pregnant, won the lottery, or discovered a cure for halitosis, ask to see proof! In the spirit of the “holiday,” we at PreEngaged have decided to highlight some of the foolish things women, men, and couples do in relationships.
Today, we’ll discuss foolish things to which women are prone in relationships, foolish things men do in relationships on Wednesday, and on Friday we’ll tackle foolish things couples do in relationships.
Below are five foolish things women do in relationships. Buckle up! ~smile~
- Being Demanding. Being pushy is annoying. Being demanding can be infuriating. Regardless of how much of a right we think we have to make demands on our men, we are foolishly mistaken if we think acting on our “rights” is going to make our situation better. Some men give into demands because they don’t like conflict, but I can assure you that squawking, insistent behavior does not ignite love and passion in a man’s heart. He may not say anything to you, but if you begin barking orders at him, chances are he’ll become less and less available (or, increasingly a wimp – neither of which you want). Demanding action from our sweethearts is disrespectful. There are calm, loving ways to get our points across. If you know that opening your mouth at a particular moment will cause a barrage of demands to come spilling out, it’s better to wait until you are composed to talk to your boyfriend. Requests are respectful (e.g. “Would you mind taking out the trash tonight?”), but demands are destructive (e.g. “Take out the trash now. You don’t want to see me lose it!”).
- Losing Composure. Some women struggle with this one more than others. When the pressures of the world are closing in on us, we ladies can erupt. Sometimes it’s hormonal and sometimes we’re just tired, but we need to stay in better control of our emotions. Emotions are good and we need to express them, but we should not be a slave to them. We have to realize that men legitimately detest it when we go crazy on them (e.g., yelling, throwing objects, screaming out their shortcomings, or cry-screaming). When we act in such a manner, we should not be surprised when they leave our presence. Generally, when I’m an emotional wreck, Eric leaving the room is the last thing I want. I want hugs. I want comfort. I want hope. But when I go all Tasmanian devil on him, he’s probably not going to want to hug me. So, if you feel the need to have a temper tantrum (which I’m not opposed to having myself from time to time), you’ll want to strongly consider doing so in private. Then, when you’re ready, you can approach your man calmly and rationally. Believe me; he’ll appreciate it!
- Manipulating. Manipulation is as old as the Garden of Eden. I was going to be famous when I got married. My plan was to be the first woman to successfully traverse her marriage without ever using manipulative tactics. Well, I failed. In fact, I probably failed before I ever got to the altar! Unfortunately, manipulation comes naturally to women. Genesis 3:16 says, “To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.’” It may sound like this verse is suggesting that women will desire their husbands in a good way, but from what I understand, this verse is saying that women will desire to usurp their husbands’ role as leader. It is in women, even the meekest, sweetest women, to desire control. We want our men to do what we want our men to do. Plain and simple. ~smile~ Wanting our men to do our bidding isn’t sinful in and of itself (we all have preferences), but using manipulation tactics in an attempt to control them is sinful. “Well, I guess if I want some attention tonight I’ll have to go to the local bar. Maybe someone there will want to spend time with me.” Roughly translated she is saying, “I really want your attention, but instead of asking for it kindly, I’m going to try to force you to spend time with me by scaring you into believing I’ll cheat on you if you don’t.” Manipulation may work in the short term, but in the long term it can cost us our relationships. No one likes to be manipulated, and it births resentment in the hearts of its recipients (unless the parties are reconciled very quickly).
- Giving Ultimatums. Giving ultimatums is a form of manipulation. It’s a “If you, then I…” statement. “If you don’t decide to marry me by Sunday, I’m done with this relationship.” “If you go on that fishing trip with the guys this weekend, I’m going on a shopping spree with our vacation money.” “If you won’t quit smoking, I’m going to tell your friends your personal secrets.” It’s a manipulative way to get your man to decide in your favor. There is, however, a difference between ultimatums and boundaries. We can’t go through life allowing everyone to take advantage of us. Boundaries simply show where you end and I begin and vice versa. In a situation where a woman has been dating a man for seven years and he shows no signs of moving towards marriage, a woman needs to respectfully ask him if he sees a future in their relationship. If he cannot answer right away, he needs to know (again, kindly) that if he’s not able to take steps toward commitment, the relationship will need to end. This is a boundary. An ultimatum threatens (e.g. “Make a decision or else!”) where a boundary states what the person is (or is not) willing to do given a certain circumstance so that it gives him the opportunity to make a well thought out decision (e.g., “I’ll need a decision by this time next week so we don’t waste our time in a relationship that’s not going anywhere.” – not that engagement or marriage needs to be attained by the following week, but some indication of forward movement). There is a profoundly different spirit in communicating a boundary than there is in giving an ultimatum. Men (and women) don’t like to be controlled.
- Clinginess. Hang on, ladies. This is a big one. Most men do not want to be smothered by their lady’s “love.” Clinginess doesn’t express love to a man. Where love says, “I want to do what I can to make your life better” clinginess says, “I want to stay close and connected to you at all times so that I feel secure and loved.” Loving our men requires us to give (e.g., “Why don’t you go out tonight out with the guys. You need to blow off some steam.”) while clinginess desperately demands love and connection from our men (e.g. “Call me when you get there. Why didn’t you call me? You’re going out with the guys again without me? I texted you five times… where were you???”). Many a good relationship has bitten the dust as a result of smothering and clinginess. It’s not always from the woman’s side, but overall women tend to struggle with this more than men. Women have a need for security. It’s a part of our makeup. God created us to be loved, cherished, and sheltered. Our deep desire for that protection can drive us to beg, plead, and even demand it from our guys before they are prepared to offer it (i.e., before they are prepared to make a life-long marital commitment). When men marry, they want companionship. I had an assistant professor once say that men want a play mate when they get married. We can’t play tennis with our men if we insist on being attached to their hips. It’s hard to have a good natured debate with someone who’s sitting beside you, staring lovingly into your eyes, nodding and smiling. Play mates also take breaks from being together. Chances are your man needs space to rejuvenate and hang out with other guys. This doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you. It means he needs time away that isn’t emotionally charged. If you respect that need, you will both be a lot happier in the long run!
Have you caught yourself in some of these foolish behaviors? If so, you’re not alone. Many others (myself included) are right there with you! ~smile~ If you are taking steps to improve your communication styles, you are making a wise decision! Tune in next time to see some of the foolish things men do in relationships! I believe we’ll have Eric tackle that one! ~wink~
What steps are you taking to ensure that you don’t make foolish choices in your relationship?
(P.S. – Would you be interested in seeing this series expanded and sold for a few dollars as a download in our store? If so, please let us know!)