How a Woman Should Treat a Man: Embrace Authentic Connection

“Love is a verb.” – Esther Perel

By: Milena J. Wisniewska

Your grandma probably told you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

But then again, she grew up when being a good wife meant having dinner ready, minimizing all noise, and always knowing your place.

Things have changed quite a lot since the 1950s, and, luckily, so did the definition of partnership. 

Let’s modernize some of those notions so you can start building healthy, fulfilling relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.

Key Takeaways:

  • Respect is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
  • Show appreciation for his efforts and accomplishments.
  • Communicate openly and honestly, both verbally and nonverbally.
  • Support his dreams and aspirations.
  • Prioritize quality time together and make an effort to keep the spark alive.

How to Treat a Man

The Golden Rule says to treat others just as you want to be treated.

Treat others just as you want to be treated.

It’s such a fundamental principle that you can find versions of it in pretty much every religion and belief system throughout history.[1] 

At the heart of any healthy relationship are shared values such as mutual respect, where both parties value each other’s opinions, personal boundaries, and individuality.

To nurture a relationship like that, be intentional with your words and actions. Treat your man and your relationship with the reverence they deserve.

A 2023 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science shows that people often underestimate their partners’ gratitude, which can lead to lower relationship satisfaction. Regularly taking time to express your gratitude can ease your partner’s doubts and help rebuild any neglected connections.[2]

For example, you may want to schedule a weekly heart-to-heart with your SO. Your dedicated time to have open, honest chats about love languages, communication styles, and emotional needs. Talk about your dreams, what got on your nerves this week, and how you can grow together as a couple.

It’s like a mini state-of-the-union meeting but with more love and maybe some wine and cheese — and decidedly less heckling.

How to Treat Your Man Like a King

If that heading made you cringe, welcome to the club. 

The idea of treating a man like a king triggers an instant “yuck” reaction, thanks to centuries of patriarchal conditioning that kept women in second place. 

The implication is that if he’s the king, you’re stuck playing the maid. And it was like that for ages. 

But like I said, times have changed. 

Still, you want your man to treat you like the queen you are, right? So, doesn’t that mean he should be your king too? 

For a partnership to truly shine, you both need to rule side by side.

Netflix recently gave us a masterclass in relationship goals with Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story. The love, support, and true partnership shown there is the real royal treatment. Remember when Charlotte grabbed George’s shaking hand at the coronation? She faced his demons with him. 

That’s the queen and king vibe I’m talking about.

So, set aside the chainsapron inherited from grandma and put your crown on.

Because to treat a man like a king, you need to embrace your queen energy. 

Appreciate his unique qualities and contributions

Compliments have a more positive impact than you think. 

A study published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin found that people underestimate how good their compliments will make others feel, leading them to hold back. This misjudgment prevents them from giving compliments that could have a significant positive impact.[3]

If he’s a good listener, tell him. If he’s a problem solver, tell him. If his grit and motivation for triathlon training impress you, tell him.

Show him that you appreciate his unique qualities and strengths.

Express gratitude for his contributions to your partnership. Thank him for changing the lightbulb, meal prepping for the week for both of you, and picking up the laundry.

These small, everyday thank-yous are micro workouts for your relationship; you may not feel the burn immediately, but over time, they build a stronger, more resilient bo(n)d.

Offer support and understanding

He may be ridden with self-doubt about the online business he’s just started or going through a rough patch with his best friend.

Whatever it might be, this is your chance to step in and be his supportive, understanding queen. 

In the book Support Processes in Intimate Relationships, an anthology of relationship analyses by various experts, editors Sullivan and Davila note that “partners with poor support skills as newlyweds were more likely to become distressed over the first few years of marriage.”[4

So, make an effort to understand his perspective and emotional needs. You do not have to solve his problems or fix him, but you can assure him that he’s not alone and that you’ve got his back. 

Be his shoulder to cry on during challenges as much as the one who pops the champagne in his moments of success.

Prioritize open and honest communication

When it comes to any relationship, honesty is the best policy. You would appreciate his honesty, so it’s only fair to extend the same courtesy to him.

However, honesty isn’t just about avoiding lies. It’s also about encouraging each other to let your true selves shine by creating a judgment-free zone where you can safely share your thoughts and feelings. 

How often have you rolled your eyes while watching a movie or reading a book, thinking, “Why don’t they just be honest with each other and say what they feel?” 

In When Harry Met Sally, what a relief it was when Harry finally confessed his love to Sally. 

So much time and love are lost between people due to a lack of honest, open communication. Don’t let this happen in your kingdom! No more guessing games, just pure, unfiltered truth. 

Build shared experiences

Make time for activities and hobbies you both enjoy. 

Very often, people in committed relationships find themselves stuck in a comfortable, predictable routine. Work. Netflix. Sleep. Repeat. 

Don’t get me wrong, routine is vital in life; it fosters a sense of stability, which most of us need in a relationship, but injecting some fun every now and then can do wonders for keeping the spark alive. 


So, plan a romantic spa weekend or organize a day out at an art gallery where you can both laugh at how you just don’t get postmodernism. 

Or head to the coast to try surfing or scuba diving. Anything to get out of your comfort zones.

You’ll see a whole new side to your other half (and yourself)!

Maintain a partnership of equals

The main point here is simple: Treat each other as equals. 

He shouldn’t treat you like his mommy, relying on you for every little thing as if he’s helpless. And you shouldn’t emasculate him or talk down to him like his ideas don’t count — even if he does think carpet in a bathroom is a good idea. 

Enough with treating men like they’re not fully grown, capable adults. It’s time to ditch the outdated dynamics and embrace mutual respect. 

You both stand on equal ground, so make sure to ask for and value his opinions and decisions.

The 1989 book Dyadic Decision Making emphasizes that decision-making within couples is essential for maintaining the relationship, even though it is not the primary focus of intimate relationships. Effective decision-making in couples involves both implicit and explicit styles, contributing to a balanced and cooperative partnership.[5]

For your connection to grow and strengthen, make decisions together so you both feel valued and empowered. 

That’s the secret to a fun, balanced, and equal partnership!

Show respect for his autonomy and personal space

Respect his autonomy and give him his personal space.

Belonging together doesn’t mean you are each other’s property. You’re both separate individuals who need room to chase your own passions.

So, when he says he’s off hiking solo on Saturday, smile and say, “Enjoy your hike, John! I’ll catch up on some reading, and we can have Sunday for each other.” And hopefully, he doesn’t go full Into the Wild on you.

It’s great to do things together, but as Esther Perel writes in Mating in Captivity, “Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.”[6]

“Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy. Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.”

So, like the queen that you are, respect his need for personal space and time to recharge. 

Engage in acts of service and thoughtfulness

Expecting someone to read your mind is not advised in a relationship, but showing thoughtfulness through acts of service definitely is. 

Gary Chapman, the author of The Five Love Languages, says, “If acts of service do not come naturally for you, it is still a love language worth acquiring. It is a way of expressing a sense of responsibility for the well-being of others.”[7]

You know him; you know what he likes and wants and what will make his life better. 

On the day he asks for a promotion at work, surprise him with homemade cinnamon rolls to get his mind off the stress and towards the sweet memories of your early courtship. 

Or take the dog out on a rainy afternoon when he’s not feeling well, even though you usually handle the morning shift.

Those gestures are supposed to say, “I love you, and I care for you, royally.” 

Prioritize physical intimacy and affection

Physical intimacy and affection are key factors of a good, healthy relationship.

A study published in The American Journal of Family Therapy has found that couples who touch each other more tend to be happier. From backrubs to gentle caresses, hand-holding to hugging, the more intimate contact couples have with each other, the more satisfied they generally are with their relationships.[8]

Watching TikToks of older couples holding hands or sharing a kiss after years together always melts my heart. Forget crowns or kingdoms; I’ll take someone who cherishes me like that any day.

But keeping the flame burning isn’t just his job. This isn’t the ‘50s. Initiating physical contact is key to making your partner feel valued and desired. Shocker: Men like to feel desired, too!

Explore and discuss each other’s desires and needs. Chat with him about what excites him and share what sets you aflame. Ask each other how you can feel closer and more intimate with each other.

And don’t be shy to drop an occasional “I burn for you.”

Practice forgiveness and letting go of grudges

Conflicts are tough, but holding grudges isn’t queen behavior. 

Tackle conflicts with forgiveness and a forward-thinking attitude. 

Keep in mind that despite Pat Benatar’s claims to the contrary, love is not a battlefield, and you’re not opponents. Winning at the expense of your partner means you both lose. 

Conflict resolution is a team effort. 
Chris Rock, in his stand-up special, hilariously compares dealing with disagreements in a relationship to carrying a couch:

“Two people can move a couch real easy. One person can’t move it at all . . . Stop competing . . . Her success is your success, and your success is her success.”[9]

So, aim for forgiveness and resolution, assuming positive intent. We’re all just a set of coping mechanisms navigating life, rarely hurting each other on purpose (if they do, run).

Assume your partner didn’t mean to hurt you. Focus on why you feel hurt and understand their actions instead of jumping to conclusions like you were Simone Biles jumping her way to greatness.

Cultivate a strong friendship and shared laughter

In our grandma’s times, marriages were more like business transactions. If love and/or friendship were part of the package, it was a cherry on top to sweeten the deal. A nice-to-have at best. 

Today, friendship is considered the basis of any healthy relationship.

A study conducted by Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, reveals that friendship between spouses is the primary factor that leads to more profound intimacy and trust.[10

When you can joke around and see your partner as a confidant and a playmate, your relationship is fortified against the daily grind.

So, nurture your friendship by enjoying lighthearted moments and an occasional prank. 

Take a cue from Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds — seriously, have you seen their birthday posts for each other? I’m dying! They’ve elevated teasing to an art form.

While we can’t know what happens behind closed doors, the playful banter we do see not only strengthens their bond but also keeps things light and fun. IMHO, they reign as the king and queen of prankster energy!

Express confidence in his abilities and decisions

Don’t undermine him. Don’t second-guess him. Instead, express confidence in his judgment and problem-solving abilities, providing encouragement and support whenever he encounters challenges or self-doubt.

When he decides to grow tomatoes on the terrace, just say, “OK.” Don’t act like a know-it-all. When the project inevitably flops (because the terrace faces north and lacks sunlight), skip the “I knew it” or “I told you so.” Give him a pat on the shoulder and encourage him to try again. (But maybe get him a gardening book.)

Why? First of all, we only ever learn by making our own mistakes, and second, that’s not queen-level behavior. A queen is a ruler herself and understands that sometimes we make wrong calls, but that doesn’t make us wrong.

Prioritize self-care and personal growth

Maintaining good physical, emotional, and mental well-being is saying, “I cherish what you cherish, so I take care of it.” 

A recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology proposes that to enhance passion, couples should first focus on personal growth and expansion as individuals. This means experiencing excitement, building new skills, and gaining fresh perspectives on their own. Then, they should bring these new aspects of themselves back to the relationship.[11]

A true king encourages you to pursue personal growth and uphold a strong sense of self within the relationship. He doesn’t aim to dim your light; he wants you to shine even brighter, like his crown jewel. 

So, invest in yourself and watch your relationship flourish. 

Maintain a united front and practice loyalty

Loyalty and a united front in a relationship are more important than an individual being right. Wanting to be right is just ego talk. 

Facing external challenges or criticism as a unit is the real power move that will keep your kingdom prosperous. 

Stand by your partner and keep private matters between you. When he says, “Trust me, I’m an engineer,” go ahead and trust him — he’s an engineer! 

Remember, loyalty is about being a team, not about keeping score. As Dr. Harriet Lerner, author of Why Won’t You Apologize? puts it, “Loyalty involves standing by your partner, even when it’s difficult.”[12

Things You Should Never Do to Your Man

Proper treatment will elevate you to the status of the queen of his heart.

Treating him poorly, on the other hand, may lead you to Anne Boleyn’s fate.

Here’s a list to help you avoid a figurative beheading.

Lie, deceive, or betray his trust

As the folk wisdom goes, trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

Trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

Dishonesty can irreparably damage the trust in your relationship, making it difficult for your partner to feel secure and valued.

Gone Girl serves as a cautionary tale about the risks of breaching trust in a relationship. After finding out about Nick’s infidelity, his wife Amy devises an elaborate scheme to frame him into her own murder to punish him for the lies (still don’t know if I love her or hate her for that). 

I mean, I hope no one will ever pull an Amy on you or vice-versa, but let’s just say that transparency and truthfulness, even — or maybe especially — in difficult situations, are vital to maintaining the integrity of the relationship. 

The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie.

Ignore his feelings or emotional needs

The quote, famously attributed to Robin Williams but actually spoken by a character he played in the 2009 film World’s Greatest Dad, goes, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

Nobody likes their feelings to be invalidated or dismissed. It makes us feel invisible and uncared for. 

And men’s feelings get invalidated often enough. Don’t add insult to injury. 

Create a safe space for open communication where both of you can feel heard and supported.

Emotional validation is key to a happy relationship. It’s not about always understanding or agreeing but about saying, “I see you.” 

So, next time he opens up, listen like it’s the latest episode of your favorite podcast. Because honestly, what’s more important? 

Criticize or belittle him in front of others

Think of that time your friend’s wife talked down to him right in front of you. Awkward, wasn’t it? 

Publicly criticizing or humiliating your partner doesn’t just make everyone uncomfortable, it’s a fast track to crushing his self-esteem and breeding resentment. 

To avoid such situations, address your concerns or disagreements privately and respectfully, maintain a united front, and protect your partner’s dignity.

After all, love is about lifting each other up, not tearing each other down in front of an audience!

Neglect quality time and intimacy

As Gary Chapman writes in The Five Love Languages: “Quality time does not mean that we have to spend our together moments gazing into each other’s eyes. It means that we are doing something together and that we are giving our full attention to the other person.”[13] 

Living together under one roof does not equate with spending time together. If it were, you’d be in a relationship with your college roommate. (Maybe you were). 

So, schedule regular date nights, shared activities, and moments of physical and emotional intimacy.

Failing to prioritize one-on-one time can lead to feelings of disconnection and unimportance in the relationship.

Compare him unfavorably to others

Nothing kills the vibe faster than comparing your man to others.

Comparisons, whether in terms of appearance, success, or abilities, feed insecurity and damage self-worth. It’s also very unfair. 

First of all, we never know who other people are unless we truly know them, so comparing your man to someone else is just comparing a lion to its AI-generated portrait. 

And second of all, if you don’t like what you have, you should be asking yourself some serious questions. 

The grass may always seem greener elsewhere, but at the end of the day, it’s usually just better lighting and clever angles. 

Focus on watering your lawn!

Conclusion

Throw away your metaphorical copy of the Housekeeping Monthly and embrace the modern way to treat a man in a relationship. 

Treating a man with love and respect means embracing authentic connection. 

It’s no longer about falling on your knees to take his shoes off while simultaneously opening his beer when he gets back from work.

It’s about creating a partnership based on mutual respect, open communication, and shared experiences. 

And maybe sometimes it will mean taking off his shoes for him because he has a bad back and opening his beer because he doesn’t know how to without an opener, but you learned to open it with your teeth during a student exchange in Germany. 

But that’s a different story.

In short, apply the Golden Rule and treat him with the reverence and appreciation that you want him to treat you with. 

When you act like a queen and treat him like a king, you can build an empire together. 

If you want to learn more topics about being in a relationship check out our page here.

FAQs: 

Why is it important to treat a man well?

Treating a man well is important because a relationship based on mutual care and understanding is more resilient and satisfying for both partners. Feeling appreciated and cared for boosts a man’s self-esteem, confidence, and emotional health, leading to a stronger and happier relationship.

What is the biggest need of a man?

The biggest need of a man is love, along with respect and emotional connection. Like all humans, men fundamentally crave these elements in their relationships to feel valued and secure. These needs foster a sense of belonging, enhance emotional well-being, and contribute to a fulfilling and balanced life.

What keeps a man in a relationship?

To keep a man in a relationship, a strong emotional bond, mutual respect, and a sense of partnership are crucial. Open communication, shared values, and a balance of independence and togetherness significantly contribute to relationship satisfaction and longevity.

References

1. Golden rule. (2024, June 28). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Golden_Rule&oldid=1230985271

2. Tissera, H., Visserman, M. L., Impett, E. A., Muise, A., Lydon, J. E. (2023) Understanding the links between perceiving gratitude and romantic relationship satisfaction using an accuracy and bias framework. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 14(8), 900–910. https://doi.org/10.1177/19485506221137958

3. Boothby, E. J., & Bohns, V. K. (2021). Why a simple act of kindness is not as simple as it seems: Underestimating the positive impact of our compliments on others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 47(5), 826–840. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167220949003

4. Sullivan K., Davila J. (2010). Support processes in intimate relationships. Oxford University Press.

5. Sillars, A. L., Kalbflesch, P. J. (1989). Implicit and explicit decision-making styles in couples. In Brinberg, D., & Jaccard, J. (Eds.), Dyadic Decision Making. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-3516-3_8

6. Perel, E. (2006). Mating in captivity: Unlocking erotic intelligence. HarperCollins.

7. Chapman G. (1992). The 5 love languages: The secret to love that lasts. Northfield Press.

8. Gulledge, A. K., Gulledge, M. H., & Stahmannn, R. F. (2003). Romantic physical affection types and relationship satisfaction. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31(4), 233–242. https://doi.org/10.1080/01926180390201936

9. Rock, C. (2018). Tamborine [Comedy special]. Netflix. https://www.netflix.com/title/80167498

10. Metz Howard, C. (2015, September 2). Laughter, then love: Study explores why humor is important in romantic attraction. University of Kansas News. https://news.ku.edu/news/article/2015/08/27/first-comes-laughter-then-love-study-finds-out-why-humor-important-romantic-attraction

11. Carswell, K. L., Muise, A., Harasymchuk, C., Horne, R. M., Visserman, M. L., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Growing desire or growing apart? Consequences of personal self-expansion for romantic passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 121(2), 354–377. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000357

12. Brown, B. (Host). (2020, May 8). Dr. Harriet Lerner on I’m sorry: How to apologize and why it matters, part 2 of 2 [Audio podcast episode]. In Unlocking Us. https://brenebrown.com/podcast/im-sorry-how-to-apologize-why-it-matters-part-2-of-2/

13. Chapman G. (1992) The 5 love languages: The secret to love that lasts. Northfield Press.

Author

  • Milena J. Wisniewska

    Milena might not be a relationship professor, but she's definitely been through it all, learned her lessons, and is here to spill the tea. She combines the wisdom of renowned relationship specialists with her own romantic adventures to offer relatable and practical advice.

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