What makes women happy? Believe it or not, it tends to be the little things that make women the most satisfied in relationships. We spoke with Dr. M. Gary Neuman, family counselor and author of “Connect to Love,” who, based on his research, gave us some insights on what women want.
Time: Of all the things we talk about women wanting, time with their spouse is it. The vast majority of women in happy relationships get 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with their husbands each day. Twenty-four percent of women who claim to be in unhappy relationships spend fewer than five minutes a day with their spouses.
Ask yourself, “How much time do I spend with my spouse?” Uninterrupted time means time spent without iPhones and Blackberrys — a conversation with nothing else on.
Appreciation: Nowadays, women take care of the children and make salaries, and they tend to be very underappreciated. Women should be expressive of what makes them feel appreciated, saying, “These are the kinds of things I like … x, y and z.” Men should listen, and women should tune in when their husbands are appreciative.
Understanding: It’s important for women to have men who understand them. It’s also important for women to help men understand how to listen. Men often don’t have a clue they’re being bad listeners.
Women have to sense a time limit to conversation. More often than not, men are sitting there thinking, “When is this going to end?” I would say 15 to 20 minutes, max. Women should say to their husbands, “It’s 8:00 p.m.; I need you to listen until 8:20 p.m.” Women may deserve 10 hours, but most men are not the best at listening to serious, emotional conversations that go on.
Fun: This is one of those things that often goes out the window, especially after the first child is born. All the factors like jobs, rents or mortgages can add to relationship strain. Couples should set up a date night — once every week, even if they are tired — during which they spend a minimum of two hours alone. During this time, the couple should talk about everything BUT work, money and children.
Kind Gestures: Hugs, kisses, unexpected telephone calls to say “I love you.” Simple things. I suggest five touch points a day for one week — any kind gesture that takes 30 seconds or less. If a man can do this for his partner for one week, both will be amazed at how much better they feel in the relationship.