DAY TWELVE: "What? Ego-Stroking and Chivalry in the Same Sentence?"

By Mark Anthony McCray & Melissa Rich

"Maribel Morgan once said that a man doesn't want his wife's opinion; he wants her respect and admiration. After she wrote that, she had to hide in her house for a week. She got death threats. Woman, I don't know if your husband wants your opinion or not, but I know he wants your respect. I also know women will never understand how fragile the male ego is. Of the two egos, male and female, it is, by far, the most." ~ Dr. R.C. Sproul

"Saying "You were right." is more powerful to a man than saying "I'm sorry." or even "I love you." ~ Dennis Prager

"Saying "I respect you" is more meaningful to a man than saying "I love you." ~Dr. James Dobson

Women who understand these concepts will have more successful relationships with men. I promise you.

This is about where most of my readers hit the "delete" button...

Still here?

Okay. Learning how to "minister to his manhood" is another way of putting it! Men NEED to be praised. Men need to feel your respect. These are not wants. These are needs...NEEDS that go beyond anything a woman needs in these regards.

Yes..."Ego Stroking 101" should be a mandatory course for women!!!

There is not enough praise you can give a man. His cup never fills. Just like there isn't too much love to show a woman. Just ask yourself...could a man love you too much? ...and you wouldn't call yourself "needy" would you? ...well you won't find a man who doesn't thrive off of your praise. You'll only find men who won't admit it!

One thing I'd like to add. These thoughts are not fundamentally UNSPIRITUAL as, some women want to label them…I've seen your posts and emails and I can feel your eyes! LOL…These are stamps on the very maleness of men whether redeemed or not. These are hard-wired. Even when a man submits his life to the lordship of Christ, he is still going to want a woman who honors his own "lordship" -- Paul wrote about it, too.

I only make that note because I have heard so many women dismiss these qualities of men (needing praise, respect, admiration) as being symptomatic of their lower nature. I'm sure you've heard the same. I'll stand by my first statements, however. These are not new concepts. The happiest couples already know these things....

...And now some thoughts from a "woman"…Melissa Rich:

I am only adding to this because I think women need to hear also from a woman on the subject since coming from the man alone, it can be read from a skeptical viewpoint.

Well ladies, I had to really ponder this one for a while to understand it. I obviously respect Mark Anthony McCray considerably, as I am partnering with him on this 31 Days to Healthier Relationships so I had to really delve a bit deep to gain understanding.

I had recently asked a question regarding this “ego” thing that I was told bordered on insulting so I went on a little journey of my own to “understand”. After all, we keep hearing that “ego-stroking” is so vital.

Since “understanding” is the foundation of any strong relationship, I knew that I would need to gain understanding in order to really provide this for my own husband one day when he comes along. The very nature of the word “understanding” is evidence of extending oneself beyond the natural thought process to consider something outside of what is the norm for you. When someone tells you something and they are “trying” to help you understand the importance of it, it is integral to at least “consider” what they are saying and to search out truth so that you can be better equipped to provide where necessary. Being that I plan to be married one day and that more than just “one” man is trying to express this need to us women, I thought it important to really understand “his” needs.

I’m not sure I fully understand it but after doing some research with an “open” heart and mind, what my “gut” tells me, is that he NEEDS his woman’s approval on the deepest level. It isn’t just about surface words and actions as much as how he sees himself as a man through your eyes.

I recently read a statement that said, “every man does what he does for the admiration of one woman”.

I found that to be a very powerful statement. It is often true. A woman wants her man to desire her and a man wants his woman to, in some ways, see him as the knight in shining armor that she has searched for. He wants to feel useful, valued, recognized and most of all DISTINGUISHED from all the rest, in her eyes. A good man wants his woman to be proud of him and to know that he is meeting the needs of the one he loves. He wants to impress her. He wants her to think so well of him. This gives him the greatest sense of glory. In a way, it is his reward for all his effort on her behalf.

So I went and looked up the word “chivalry” just because it sounded more like that was at the root of this all and low and behold, I saw a connection. Now I know many women will not agree with me but those who know me also know that I am not one to just 'agree' for the sake of 'agreeing' when it relates to something of this matter. So, for what it's worth, this is how I have interpreted the whole thing.

(chivalry- the sum of the ideal qualifications of a knight, including courtesy, generosity, valor, and dexterity in arms, gallant warriors or gentlemen, noble, admirable.) Who says “chivalry is dead”? I began to see a connection between the need for ego stroking and how that connects to his desire to be chivalrous. Some men say it doesn’t matter if she is sincere or not but I dare say that over time, her sincerity would matter a LOT!

The same way “she” needs his “love” “he” needs her “approval”. He gains more of his sense of self from the woman he loves than from any other human being. This tells me that when he has an interest or has made a commitment; to a women, her input in his life matters significantly. He NEEDS her admiration and verbal affirmation that she sees all the good in him and that he is highly valued in her eyes.

Ironically, women make assumptions about men based on their own lack of understanding and when they act on those assumptions with “words”, it diminishes the man. His intent may have always been to impress you and cause you to be enamored with him but he isn’t going to necessarily “verbalize” that. Meanwhile, he is working hard all the while to gain “your” approval, though not necessarily communicating it verbally and you make one statement which clearly overlooks all his “intentions” and it undermines everything he has been doing “for you”.

I am not one who believes a woman should just say whatever to manipulate the man, but I do believe that if we, as women, open our own eyes to see all the good and potential in that man, we will have something very sincere to say to him. As well, if we could learn more how to give him the room to figure things out, to troubleshoot, to process it through without interrupting or intercepting his personal process, it might not cause him to feel as though we are trying to compete with his intelligence and thus his position. Most men will not fight for that position outwardly, but a funny thing happens when they feel as though it has been overtaken, they disappear silently into a world of their own. They no longer try so hard to please because they feel as though there is no point.

As with so many other male species, on a very primal level, his desire to attract your attention over all the other males and to gain your approval is what matters most to him. When all his efforts result in “your” admiration and approval it validates all that he desires to be as a man and for you. This causes an internal set of fireworks to go off in him and moves him to do everything within his power to please you with a potentially unconscious hope that it will perpetuate even more of your admiration and respect. Aka…”ego-stroking”.

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