Get through to men.  Create emotional safety in your relationship with men that allows you to talk about challenging or hot-button topics effectively.  Give each other plenty of kind words and affection.  Remember that you always have more to learn about any man, no matter how long you've been in a relationship with him.  Be humble and willing to explore new angles to issues and new potential solutions to problems.

Instead of trying to read a man's mind, ask him to explain what he means. Validate a man's thoughts and feelings even when you don't agree with him; so he'll feel respected enough to continue to explore new possibilities in his relationship with you. When having a difficult conversation, structure it like this: First, share something you value or appreciate about the man, or express empathy with him.  Second, make a specific request or deliver some news.  Third, try to return to something more positive to wrap up your conversation.

Build intimacy with a man.  Rather than focusing on what should be or could be in your relationship with a man, focus on what actually is right now and aim to enjoy it as fully as possible. Savor the simple moments you share, like a laugh over something amusing or a delicious meal together.  Accept and figure out how to accommodate the differences between you and your man, so that you can complement each other well.  Just as Jesus has accepted and welcomed you despite your flaws, aim to do the same with your man.  When you do, God's glory can shine through your relationship. 

Rather than expecting your man to somehow make you happy - which he can't do - realize that you can be as happy as you choose to be.  Pray for the right attitudes and the ability to make the right choices that will lead to your own happiness. Keep in mind that the relationship between you and your man isn't just about your comfort or ease; God is using it to accomplish greater purposes. Ask God to help you see the big picture of what He's doing with your relationship so you can fully treasure the moments you have together.

Posted June 23, 2009

Adapted from What's He Really Thinking?: How to Be a Relational Genius with the Man in Your Life, copyright 2009 by Paula Rinehart. Published by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tn.,

Paula Rinehart has touched women's lives through writing, speaking, and ministry for more than 20 years. Her private counseling practice includes clients who are men and couples with a focus on personal growth and intimacy with Christ. Paula and her husband Stacy have two grown children.