THE BLOG
01/06/2015 11:16 am ET Updated Mar 08, 2015

Four and a Half Things That Men Really Want

Yuri Arcurs via Getty Images

Welcome back, devoted readers. Last time I told you what women really want in their heart of hearts. This time I will tell you what men really want. For free! Isn't the Internet wonderful? Oh, before I start, you may notice that there are way fewer things on this list than the 10-point list I wrote about what women want. Do you know why? Well, without being too un-PC, it's because men complain less than women. There, I said it. There are all sorts of reasons for this, but the evolutionary one is this: Women need a man to stick around and be emotionally invested in them, because for nine months of gestation and many years afterwards, she is vulnerable, pregnant and likely feels awful. Then, she gives birth and has a small human who depends on her. So, women need a man to prove he loves her and keep proving it so that she feels secure enough to mate with him and thus make herself physically vulnerable, which she would only do if she knows he will be protecting her and bringing her food and stuff.

Men need women who have sex with them so they can procreate. They want the woman to be loving and kind, so she can nurture the offspring of this union into maturity. See how many fewer sentences that was than my explanation about what women need? Point made.

Since I have explained why I believe that men are less nit-picky than women in terms of what they need from relationships, let's move on to the few things that they do care about. Let's say #1 together, everyone....

1. Sex.

This is really important to men. I have discussed it ad nauseum, but here is the best analogy: You like your husband to come in with a smile and ask about your day. You want your husband to act nice to you in private and in public. You want your husband to contribute to the home via working for an income and performing chores and childcare. He wants sex equally as much as you want all of those things. Use your empathy here. It is not "just sex." A man 100% considers sex as important as you consider coming home and saying hi and eating dinner with you. The way that you would feel like crap if he came in and went directly upstairs and yelled "F off!" if you said hello to him, that is how he feels when you sexually reject him. For him, sex within marriage is the most basic form of loving interaction, the baseline.

2. Appreciation.

Men will do a truly startling amount of stuff for you if they feel appreciated, or even just not unappreciated.* Here are ways to show your husband you appreciate him: (1) Say, "I appreciate that." (2) Be physically affectionate. (3) Say, "thank you." (4) Tell him how your life is made easier because he did XYZ.

3. Chillness.

Every time you decide not to harp on an admittedly small detail of life and build it into a Big Thing, your husband loves you 1% more. So, if you change your usual behavior, you may be at 3,400% by the end of today. Here are some examples of things your husband wants you to chill out about: what tone your child just used, what happened to the throw pillow, why do we have two opened boxes of the same kind of cereal, whether you could have saved $10 if you remembered the coupon, what tone the school secretary used, how many days it has been since your sister texted you, whether you can or cannot eat the yogurt on its expiration date.

4. Affection.

Yes, sex matters, but so do physical and verbal intimacy in general. Hand holding, nicknames, hair ruffling, joking comments, touching on the arm, etc. This is what generally makes people feel connected and romantically involved rather than just co-CEO's of a company that produces small children and messes.

4 1/2. For you to be interested in what interests them.

If they are into "the game," which from what I can tell, indicates some sort of televised sporting event, then men like when you are interested in it too. But you know what? As you can tell from how little I know about "the game" and the fact that I am still married, this one is just gravy for most guys. It's like for you, if your husband not only planned date night, but also ordered your favorite flowers to be sitting at the restaurant when you arrived. I mean, it's awesome, but it's not essential. My point is, you can get pretty far just being affectionate, sexual, appreciative and relaxed without also learning about fantasy football or model airplanes or World or Warcraft or whatever. But if you are interested in what interests them, all the better.

And, that's all! Just four, and maybe that half for extra credit. Now, some of you are saying, "My husband really appreciates my cooking, or how well I organize and run the household, or that I always buy him new underwear. What's that stuff, wasted effort?" And here is the nauseating answer: "Yes, yes it is, if you don't do the stuff I listed above." All that other stuff is great, but I have never seen a guy in couples counseling who says, "She won't have sex more than once a month, but it's okay, because I love her pierogis." Unless "pierogis" is a code word for "oral sex." So, if your marriage is under stress, or your husband acts distant, try the first four things I suggested, and then throw in the fifth for good measure, and during all that time, let the housework go, order in dinner every night and don't buy him any underwear.  If your marriage doesn't improve, I would be shocked.

Share with your husbands, because you know you want to know what they think. And until we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who is Like a Magical Oracle of Truth in the Guise of a Harassed Blogging Mother of Three.

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*Note: This is because a lot of stuff just doesn't bother many guys, and they don't pre-plan or overthink simple things. Like, if I have to take the garbage to the curb, I'm like, "Okay, so I have to get on my shoes, and then get out the next garbage bag and, wait, is it raining out? Am I done eating for the night or will there be more garbage in the bag later? Why did I buy these odor shield bags? How much were they? Is it cold out?" Meanwhile, a guy will just take it to the curb and be back in the house watching TV before you know it. I think some things are easier the less you care about them, and men have this firmly in the bag. So, basically, household chores for women are physical plus mental effort plus anxiety, whereas for men, they may just be physical effort because they just don't care. My point in all of this is to say, if men feel like you appreciate them, they will do a lot of crap because honestly, a great deal of it is just not that important or difficult for them, since they don't obsess about it while they are doing it.

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