by Dr. Boyce Watkins
If he can release with you, he will love you that much more.
I was recently inspired after bumping into noted relationship expert Demetria Lucas this week at the Congressional Black Caucus Convention. Demetria and I had a chance to chat after doing panels in our respected fields. My panel featured the Janks Morton film, “Hoodwinked,” and focused on finding solutions for black male educational achievement. I was happy to see that the place was packed.
But shortly after I spoke with Demetria, a young woman asked me an interesting question: ”I didn’t have a man in the house growing up, so I’m trying to understand how men work. What’s the secret to keeping a man happy?”
My simple answer: Listen to him, support him, be nice to him and don’t ignore his sexual needs. Although situations vary, most decent men are loyal to a woman who takes this simple approach. Of course this applies to men who are emotionally available for meaningful love. But one of the things that we discussed during our panel on black males is that there is a perception that black men are not interested in finding meaningful love or getting married. All the while, it’s a bit difficult for a woman to figure out how to get a man to give her what she wants if she never grew up negotiating with a dad to convince him to give you what you wanted as a teenager.
Again, this is just my personal point of view, one that I share with my daughters. But I’ll elaborate on the points a bit more:
1) Listening to him: A good woman is an armchair psychologist and confidant who helps a man to vent and share things that he can’t tell his male friends. Most men don’t want to hear their homeboy cry or become especially moody. If he can release with you, he will love you that much more. The art of listening is sometimes overwhelmed by the desire to interrupt your partner and do all the talking. This is sure to make him either shut down or fight for airspace; neither of these outcomes work for you.
2) Support him: Whether a man is trying to start a business or ride a rocket to the moon, the great woman by his side is very important. If you are a constant dream killer or ignore your man’s passion, you’re making the relationship an impediment to achieving his goals, rather than something that helps him to get there. You don’t want him to have to choose between you and his dream, because for most ambitious men, you’re going to lose (I’ve made this choice myself on several occasions).
3) Be nice: We all have our ups and downs, but a nasty woman doesn’t get very far with a nice guy. Interpret this however you want, but a woman with a smile can go a lot further with men than one who always finds something wrong. It doesn’t mean that you can’t be critical, but being unnecessarily critical is a surefire path to relationship destruction.
4) Sexual needs: Ignoring a person’s needs is a great way to get betrayed. Human beings are more responsive to the things they need than to things they want or should have. So, a man might WANT a long-term relationship and SHOULD be happily faithful. But if a person’s needs aren’t being met, then you’re sure to have problems.
Of course we know that men can get what they want to paying attention to the needs of women, but that’s not what we’re talking about right now. The point is that if you want something from another party (sex, marriage, love, etc.), you’re always better off figuring out what they need and giving it to them. You must also give them something that THEY value, and not something that YOU BELIEVE they should value. So, you might be the prettiest and most accomplished woman on earth, but that may mean nothing to a man who wants a woman who supports him.
That’s my two cents for today, happy hunting.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. He also appears in the Janks Morton film “Hoodwinked.”
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija