A shift in Western culture has resulted in young brides being separated from their mothers, sisters, and friends as their new husbands drag them away to distant lands while seeking their own fame and fortune. The result is that these emotionally isolated women then try to get all of their needs met by their husbands, when no man was ever designed to meet all the emotional needs of a woman.

I believe this rarely acknowledged issue is one of the main contributors to so many women being unhappy in their marriages today. My best advice to young would-be grooms is this: Don’t take the girl away from her support structure of friends and family. If you want to live in L.A., then marry a girl from L.A. Any man who marries a woman and then moves her a thousand miles away from her friends and family may feel like she is sucking the emotional life out of him while she tries to get all of her emotional needs met by him alone. The Scriptures say, ”For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.” I find it interesting that it doesn’t say a woman should leave her father and mother. Is it possible that keeping a woman near her emotional support structure has always been an essential key to a happy marriage?

Practically speaking, however, staying close to family and friends is just not an option for many couples. This makes it absolutely critical for couples to develop safe relationships outside of marriage. If they don’t, their marriages will go bankrupt, and they will end up lonely, frustrated, and angry.  Men need to find a band of brothers they can connect with, and women need to find good girlfriends who can fill the void that was once filled by their mothers, sisters, and childhood friends. Unfortunately, many women do not make friends as easily as men do, which is why I strongly suggest making sure the wife remains near her original support structure if at all possible.

I Can’t Get No Respect

So what is it that men want? In a word, men want respect. That means a man wants to be held in esteem and to be shown consideration and appreciation—even when he makes mistakes. He wants to be seen as a hero, especially in the eyes of his bride. He needs someone to believe in him when the odds are stacked against him. If a man doesn’t feel respected, he’s destined to act in a way reminiscent of the obnoxious, “I-can’t-get-no-respect,” Rodney Dangerfield. He becomes insulting, bug-eyed, and generally gross.

What women don’t understand is that men don’t believe they need to earn respect; they feel it is owed to them because they are men.That may sound sexist, but it really isn’t. What I’m saying is, men need to be respected for who they are, not for what they do. If they don’t feel respected, they can’t survive. It gets harder and harder for them to breathe (emotionally). That is why it is so important for a woman to learn to give her man unconditional respect.

Most women are willing to show respect, but they want their men to be worthy of it. If he is not, a woman feels that showing respect is disingenuous and she moves into “I-had-better-correct-the-situation” mode. She believes she can respect her man only if she can get him to act respectable. But that is not how it works. Respect is too great a need for a man to have it come and go based on performance. If a woman will learn to risk respecting her man when he is not perfect, he will open his heart to her and will become pliable to change. A man needs respect to feel safe enough to open up. When he feels he is being looked up to as the ‘head” in a relationship, he will automatically allow his wife to become the “neck”—she will be able to point her man in the right direction. Women generally have no idea how much sway they have over a man. The book of Proverbs says, “The wise woman builds her house,” but “a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones”.  A wife is either building up or tearing down her husband.