How to Train Your Man

This Father’s Day do him and yourself a favor: Train your man. I admit it sounds demeaning, maybe even demoralizing.

“A man is not a puppy that can be trained,” one woman wrote to me, swearing by her excellent relationship. But she admits her husband never notices her new outfit or drastic haircut. “I could dye my hair pink and he wouldn’t know it!” she complains.

But have you ever said, “When I get my hair done and you don’t notice, it makes me feel like you don’t care about me?” She says no, she’d rather not make waves. “He works hard and I choose to ignore the small things— that’s what marriage is about.” But is it, really?

Training a man may sound harsh, but it’s actually about women training themselves to speak up at the right time, and being fair about it. It changes the status quo. It’s asking for what you want during “peace time,” not during the heat of an argument, and rewarding him every time he does the right thing.

In the process, you rekindle the interest and passion you shared when you were first dating. Training is easy and it starts and ends with you. Let’s face it; the relationship is in your hands. Guys look to us to set the tone. If we’re happy they’re happy.

Here’s how to do it:

Before the training even starts, this is when you become the “Yes Girl.” For me, I hated having to do the dishes, especially after I cooked the meal. I spoke up and asked for my husband’s help. But I wanted to give him kudos for stepping up and stepping in. So I came up with a way of showing him I loved him and rewarding him.

You know the things he loves—a night out with the boys, picking the movie or restaurant, going to a baseball game. Simply say “yes.” But you don’t just give it to him; you give it guilt-free.

“Go enjoy yourself, you don’t need to check in.”

You are his Yes Girl. You’ll immediately start noticing a change.

The reason this works is because men are all about doing. I speak his language. When he doesn’t listen to me, the Yes Girl evaporates. Then I have his attention. When he asks what’s wrong, I tell him to at least offer to help with the dishes. When he does, the Yes Girl returns. He quickly learns what I need. I give him what he wants and he, in return, gives me what I need.

This is the end of sending mixed signals and the beginning of a more equal relationship. Training a man means educating him with your honesty in a way that does not attack or belittle him. It takes away the guesswork.

In the end, you’re both taking real interest in each other—just like during courtship. You get the man of your dreams and his reward is the woman of his dreams. So skip the tie. Become the person you were when you were dating—the Yes Girl. What a great Father’s Day gift.

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