Mike: This is Mike Hennessy. And I’d like to welcome you to today’s interview with Julie Ferman. Julie is a Dating Coach and Matchmaker providing free private registration to be able to work for personal matchmaking referrals throughout the US, Canada and beyond. You can visit her website at www.JulieFerman.com.
Julie, thank you so much for joining us today.
Julie Ferman: Well, thanks very much Mike.
Mike: Julie, one of the strategies that you recommend women in their relationships is to take a step back and allow the man to take the lead and take charge. Now this raises a two-pronged question in my mind and perhaps you care to address both of them.
First, can you talk about why this strategy works?
And then second, can you share some practical ways in which women can implement this strategy without having to feel like they’re dumbing themselves down or losing their identity?
Julie Ferman: Yes, absolutely. It’s such a great question.
Well, for one thing, men really rely on being able to provide and protect.
It’s really their number one role. They want to make us happy and they want to solve our problems and basically if a guy doesn’t think he can win, he just won’t play.
So part of what we get to do as women is let the men know in our lives that they actually can win with us and so there are two ways of doing it.
Number one, when a guy really offers help, when he wants to step up, he steps up to the plate.
He wants to provide the solution or he has got an offer or an invitation. It’s a really good idea for us to accept his offer.
It could be something as simple as you’re on an airplane and you want your – you’re a woman and you want to heave-ho your own suitcase into the overhead bin and yet there’s a guy who just jumps right in and says, “Hey, can I help with that?” Let him help. Let him do it. Thanks so much! I would love that. Save my back, you know.
Let the guy do it and the second thing that we can do is let the guy know how to win with us.
What is it that will make us happy?
Sometimes as women, we actually set our guys up to fail without really knowing it. Like if we just expect them to know what we want for our birthday or what we want for Valentine’s Day or what we would love for the ideal first date or third date.
If we actually let him know what would make us happy, then he can jump in and take the lead and provide what it is that we’re hoping that he can provide without making him jump through hoops or sending him on a wild goose chase to try to read our mind, to guess what it might be that will make us happy.
So, sometimes women think that he should just know.
We just think, well, a real man would know. The right man would know what I want for my birthday. The right man would know what kind of date I want to be on or the right man would know to call me instead of to text me.
So if we’re smart and we want to get the best out of our men, if he does text instead of calling, then we actually say something to him like, “Hey, texting is great. But a phone call is really great,” then in a playful little way, we’re allowing him to do things that are going to make us happy. Does that make sense?
Mike: It does to me Julie. Could you expand on why this whole thing works? Is there just something very different in the way that men and women are wired to receive these kinds of signals or to play these kinds of roles in a relationship?
Julie Ferman: Yes. I think there are some basic differences in terms of how we’re wired.
Men are naturally wired to want to solve our problems and to want to provide and protect and really be the person who takes charge and sometimes it’s hard for them in today’s world because women are so strong and capable and confident now and women have been trained in the post-women’s lib era to be able to solve our own problems and yet we still want to be with the guy who takes charge and in control and can handle just about anything in life.
We’re not letting them. It’s like the guy says, “Can I help with that?” and she says, “Oh no, I’ve got it.” Then when we say that, the guy is robbed of the opportunity to do what he has been trained to do, which is provide, protect, lead, take charge.
So if we want the best out of our men, it really requires us to step back and think about what it is we really do want to provide for ourselves and what we would really like for the guy in our life to provide for us.
It requires letting him when he offers and it also requires getting good at asking for what it is that will really make us happy.
For example in my relationship with my husband right now, he’s retired and I’m very much working and what I realized would help me so much in life is if he would take over food. If he would just take over the management of getting the food, stocking the house, providing dinner, whether it means cooking it or going out to get it or bringing it home or taking it out and so it required having an important conversation where I actually said to him,
“You know what, honey? You’re retired and I love that and you’ve got a little more time than I do. What do you think about the possibility that we could change roles in the food department where actually you would provide the food instead of me providing the food? What do you think about that?”
I had to ask it in a way that wasn’t putting him in the doghouse for spending so much time on the couch doing crosswords while I was slaving away. But it worked and he said he would be happy to provide food. So for the last seven or eight years of our relationship, I don’t handle the kitchen anymore.
He does and I provide more of the financial resources since I’m working and he’s retired and it was a deal that we created with each other and that I think was just a classic example of how we can let a guy know what it is that we need and give him an opportunity to really step up to the plate and provide what we need in a larger context.
That really takes it in consideration the different needs that we have at this new time in our relationship.
Mike: It really is clear as I have various discussions with various experts that really what a good relationship is based on is open and honest communication and respectful communication. So I can see that your conversation with your husband had a happy outcome but I can see where if that wasn’t handled properly, it could have been a disaster.
Julie Ferman: Yes, exactly and sometimes what we do is rather than asking for what we want in an open-hearted calm way, we kind of – we get resentful and we allow things to build up and then we kind of in a passive-aggressive way say something like, “Well, don’t you think you can handle some cooking in the kitchen from time to time?”
We do something kind of snarky like that when really in a calm environment where we can really talk, what is it that you need from me, that you’re not getting from me? What do I need from you that I’m not getting? How can we shift things in our relationship just a little bit so that we can get more of what we need from each other?
It’s what we call the “needs conversation” and it saves a lot of arguments but it requires courage to actually step up to the plate on both sides, the masculine and the feminine and say what it is that’s really our heart’s desire and be willing to make some compromise. Like yeah, he was willing to step up to the plate and provide more of the food. But guess what he was asking for in return, which is some bigger share of the household budget that would be coming from me since I was working. So we can’t really have our cake and eat it too.
So sometimes we have to just sit down and have a very open-hearted, upfront conversation about what we need and what we hope the other person will be providing and what we’re willing to provide on the other side to make it all work out.
Mike: It becomes so apparent as time goes on that men and women are wired differently and that can be an obstacle to a good relationship. But obviously it doesn’t have to be.
Julie Ferman: That’s exactly right. I think that just about anything is possible in the spirit of partnership which requires us to be very transparent about what we need and what we hope the other person can provide for us. So the answers are all there in the spirit of partnership and being willing to compromise and communicate openly and it helps to have a sense of humor, Mike.
You know, if we can laugh about the things that we need and we can laugh about what goes well and what doesn’t go well in our relationship and know that every relationship is going to have its challenges very unique to that particular relationship, I think we can just survive this thing called relationship and partnership.
Mike: Julie Ferman, it has been a lot of fun speaking to you today. Thank you for joining us.
Julie Ferman: Absolutely. Thanks for the opportunity.
Mike: And this is Mike Hennessy. And on behalf of the team at LoveEvolveandThrive.com, I would like to thank you for listening to our interview and wish you the very best in your relationships.
Our guest expert today was Matchmaker and Dating Coach, Julie Ferman. And you can find her at her website, www.JulieFerman.com.
For free tips and thoughts on relationship advice for women from hundreds of experts and authors, please visit our website at www.LoveEvolveandThrive.com.