Has your man been going through a rough patch? Does he mope around, unable to enjoy things he usually loves? Or does he snap a little too easily at you, seemingly for no good reason? Because you care about him, it’s hard to see him unhappy. You probably want to do something to help him feel better but might not know where to start. I’m here to help you with a few important tips that come directly from my book, Fascinating Womanhood for the Timeless Woman (aka Timeless), only I will embellish them a little since we are focusing on one topic here. Here is a list of ideas that will help almost any man feel a bit (sometimes much more than a “bit”) better about things.
Validate What He Says
If your man has been venting about his situation in life and what’s causing stress for him, it’s important to practice active listening. This means you not only keep relatively quiet while he unloads his frustrations, but you also interject supportive statements like “I hear you”, “I understand why that would bug you”, “No way! Really? That’s outrageously unfair!”, and my favorite “Tell me more”. Remember that, for men, feeling competent is a BIG deal. They often become discouraged about areas relating to competency such as their job, ability to provide, skills they want to improve, and past performance at tasks. Once he has told you what’s bothering him, make sure to validate his feelings rather than tell him he should just “cheer up.”
Accept Him Where He Is
Express to your man how understandable it is to be frustrated in his situation and let him know he’s not a lesser man in your eyes just because he’s struggling. He needs to know that whether he succeeds or fails at a task or project, you still find him a wonderful human being. Part of his anxiety might be related to wanting to make YOUR life better, so when you assure him you’re happy with him the way things are right now, it takes away the urgency he feels to make things perfect immediately. When he knows there is not a moratorium on your love for him, he’s more able to relax and fix the problem as he can.
Stay Upstairs Yourself (for “upstairs” and “downstairs” concepts, see the Brain Matters chapter of Timeless)
It may be tempting to “go downstairs” and keep him company in his “basement” or “survival” brain while he’s suffering, but DON’T DO IT. A discouraged person doesn’t need another discouraged person by their side, adding to the worries. Think of the old saying about “two drowning people and one life preserver” and keep yourself from giving in to the temptation to go into survival mode yourself. Remember that he wants to protect and provide for you, and if you’re “drowning”, he may feel like he failed to do that in addition to everything else. Practice self care and find ways to keep yourself from slipping down those stairs so you can beckon him back up to where it’s happy and comfortable.
Actively Promote Positive Thinking
An optimistic person is a delight to be around, and their expressions of joy about life are contagious. When you’re able to stay upstairs, you become a beacon of light in a storm for your man. But you can go a step further and help him see how many things there are in your lives to be grateful for. When you’re outside together, take a deep breath and say something like “Mmmm! Isn’t this fresh air so great after it rains?” or “It is SO nice, being out here with you, surrounded by these amazing trees/mountains/flowers”. If you’re eating together, exclaim how delicious something you love to eat is. Don’t keep little delights to yourself; share them with him. Help your man to begin seeing the wonderful things that surround him. As he begins to feel more grateful, his mood will lift considerably.
Inject Humor and Fun
Laughter is one of the most powerful medicines in existence. Your man may not feel like laughing at the moment, but you can still lighten dark moods with a little humor. Try to think of the things that make him smile and look for the right moments to remind him. Be sensitive to his mood, of course, but make the effort to keep things a little more casual in your speech instead of dwelling in the depths of despair. Allow yourself to jump for joy at good news, or frolic (yes, frolic!) like the girl you are when you find yourself in a place that makes you happy. The art of Girlishness (see Timeless) includes girlish humor, and there are very few men who don’t find that delightful or disarming. As a feminine woman, you possess certain valuable gifts that can lift a man’s heart to a higher plane. Be the fun he desperately needs right now.
Be His Number One Fan
Every man wants to be a hero to his woman, and to be admired by her. When he’s feeling down, he feels like anyone but Superman. You wouldn’t be with him if you didn’t think he was pretty special, would you? That means he has already achieved a lot in your eyes. Remind him of all the great things he has already provided for you, successes that he has already piled up. Let him know that you believe in his ability to accomplish anything he sets his mind to, using real life examples from his past victories. He needs to know that his discouragement is just a phase, not something that will halt your feelings for him or affect your lives long term. Above all, express your belief that, whatever he’s going through, he will find a way to survive and conquer. And that you’ll be cheering for him the whole time.
Brainstorm With Him
Men usually want to find solutions to problems on their own, but there are still things you can do to help him along the way. One great way to help is to brainstorm with him. Help spark his creative side to deal with his predicament and ask questions that help him think outside the box. Ask things like “What if you did ______? What would happen?” or “Do you think _____ would help your situation?” Don’t be discouraged if he doesn’t like your suggestions, because this may inspire him to show you what would REALLY help. To do that, he has to come up with his own solutions. Sneaky, huh? Let the ideas flow, even the crazy ones, and as mentioned before, validate what he comes up with. Remember that you are his best outlet for sharing dreams for the future. Looking ahead and making plans really lifts a person’s spirits. Show him that you are a great person to do that with.
There may actually be things you can do in some situations to help your man. If he is having trouble at work, help him see that there are other job opportunities out there—even find a few online and show him. If someone is cutting him down or ridiculing him in public, come to his defense like a rabid Chihuahua. Brag about him to people who could aid him in his situation. Have his back at all times. If he feels like he’s not picking up a skill as quickly as he would like, find ways to encourage him and point out what you think he’s already doing well. Look for solutions in your spare time that you can casually show him, just to see if something catches his interest. Pack especially delicious lunches for him on days when he must go unarmed into the lions’ den. Pray for him. There are always things you can do, even for a very independent man.
A gentle hand on top of his when he’s feeling low can say a lot about how much you care. Putting your arms around his waist (or chest if he’s sitting) from behind is a very supportive and loving gesture. Even bumping his shoulder with yours playfully lets him know you find him desirable. Some men worry that when they don’t have all their “ducks in a row”, their woman will not be as attracted to them. Make sure your man knows that his sexiness to you doesn’t wane, no matter what happens. And when he’s going through a tough time, he may need even more physical affection than usual. This might be the perfect time for a massage. A lot of men work on their feet all day and would really benefit from a healing foot massage. If you have the ability, a traditional massage focusing on back and shoulders could ease a lot of tension for him. Or you might simply stroke his hair gently with your fingers during quiet moments when you’re relaxing together. Look for ways that you can comfort and validate him with physical touch.
Last but not least, be aware of your ability to create a refuge or haven for your man in times of trouble. It doesn’t matter how much money you have; you can always create a comfortable space for those you love because you are a woman born with the instinct to do so. What makes people feel like they can relax in a home? The answer might lie in having soft places to sit or sleep, clean floors under bare feet, or beautiful art to look at. You might be a woman whose house always has the aroma of delicious food cooking, or just the fresh smell of regular cleaning. Your home might always have lovely music or sounds drifting in the air, or the feeling of peace and calm permeating every corner. You can create a safe place for your man to unwind and forget the worries of the outside world. Keep his personality in mind. Is he someone who needs quiet? Find ways to make the atmosphere less noisy. Does he tend to get lonely? Invite people he enjoys spending time with over for dinner. Is he constantly irritable when he’s hungry? Make sure there are snacks around that he can munch on without having to search. Sometimes all a man needs is a place he can go where his troubles won’t follow him. He needs a place where he can recharge, refuel, and muster enough courage to go back into the battle he’s fighting.
Never underestimate your Feminine Power, your ability to nurture and support those you love. You can’t solve every dilemma your man has, but you can strengthen him with your words, touch, attitude and ability to create a comfortable environment. Inspire him to do what he needs to do, giving him a reason to charge ahead. You are capable of achieving great things and so is he, so when you work as a team, you can be unstoppable.