For some reason, it’s commonly accepted that men are meant to be romantic while women are meant to be the recipients of romantic gestures.
This is an outdated heteronormative standard that just won’t die.
We see it in movies and in the shows we stream. It’s everywhere — but it’s not the gold standard in healthy relationships, no matter what the media would like you to believe.
How Can You Make Your Man Feel Appreciated?
If you want to make your man feel appreciated and loved, the first thing you should do is remember that men have needs too. In particular, men need to feel respected, needed, and opened up to.
And they tend to feel disconnected from their partner if they feel overly controlled or criticized, according to Tony Robbins. If you start keeping these things in mind, you’re definitely on the right path.
Also, men deserve a little romance, too. We all need affection, attention, and to feel like someone we care about cares about us in return. It’s important.
What follows are seven unique tips that can help you make your man feel appreciated.
1. Speak his love language
Before you dive right in and become the romance you wish to see in the world, you might want to take a step back.
Romantic gestures are great, but for them to be meaningful, they also have to include an element of thoughtfulness.
If you want the man in your life to feel appreciated, learn his love language. Does he want words of affirmation? Is it physical touch that really makes his day? Would he rather have actions over words, little gifts, or just some companionable silence?
What you want may not be what he wants.
Before you launch into a serenade that will simply embarrass him in front of his colleagues and make him feel like you just don’t get him, show up with his favorite coffee or send a saucy text.
Whatever his love language is, speak that.
2. Bring the romance
When you want to show appreciation to your man, it’s a good idea to figure out how to romance him.
It’s not a one-way street. If showing up with flowers just doesn’t seem like the romantic gesture that fits your relationship or his personality, think outside the box.
I once sent the man in my life bacon roses because I thought they might mean a little more than flowers (and they were delicious).
That would be a terrible gift for a vegan, would it not? It would be an epic romantic fail. That’s why it’s so important to customize romance to the recipient.
Don’t forget that gestures don’t have to be grand to be meaningful.
While a flight across the country could make the love of your life swoon, you don’t have to spend the big bucks to show appreciation. In fact, sometimes, the simple gestures are the most powerful.
3. Give him your undivided attention
If you really want to show him some appreciation, put down your phone.
Better still, silence it. Turn off the latest streaming show you’re binging. Stop over-thinking the workday or the latest family drama. Instead, tune into him.
I don’t just mean that you should ask him about his day. That’s a basic courtesy.
Really listen to what he’s saying. Tune into him. And if he would prefer to just tune out rather than talk about it right now?
Tune out with him if he’d like that or ask if he needs a little time to himself. Being sensitive to what he needs is the ultimate romantic gesture and the best way to show appreciation.
Recommended read: Good Listeners: 7 Things They Do Differently
4. Remember the little things
The little things in life are rarely little. Remembering his interests, preferences, and important dates can show him that you care.
Being in tune with his desires communicates attention and appreciation.
You don’t have to buy a card for every occasion, although the greeting card companies would prefer it.
You can just send him a sweet message on the anniversary of a difficult day for him, or show up with his favorite beverage on what’s likely to be a challenging day.
Remembering the details shows that you’ve been paying attention and could make him feel appreciated.
5. Be a safe space
Can we please stop the misogyny that includes criticizing men for having feelings other than anger?
Men are allowed to be sad. To be disappointed. To have bad days and broken hearts.
Let’s normalize this.
If you aren’t a safe space for the men in your life, you’re likely a toxic one.
Be the person they can cry around if they need to or the person that they can let their guard down around.
Don’t expect them to be strong all the time because you’ve been socialized to believe it makes them more of a man. There’s no such thing.
There’s not a spectrum of more or less masculine. That’s just a social construct that keeps men from connecting and women from advancing.
6. Say thank you, often
One simple way to show your man he’s appreciated is to thank him often. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a long-term relationship and he buys you coffee for the millionth time. Say thank you.
Thank him for the effort he makes. Show gratitude for the qualities you appreciate about him. Too often, our relationships break down in criticism.
It can be easier to tell the men in our lives all that they do wrong and forget to tell them all the ways they make our lives better. A simple “thank you” can go a long way.
7. Shower him with genuine compliments
Most people enjoy getting compliments — even if some of us don’t quite know how to handle them. It makes us feel good, and it’s flattering — especially when it comes from someone we care about.
Tell him he looks good. Tell him he smells good.
And tell him that you love the sound of his voice or his smile or the way he laughs. Do you love his swagger, his terrible dad jokes, or how awesome he is at being the big spoon?
He needs to hear those things, too.
Appreciation doesn’t need to be something we put on a to-do list and check off when we get around to it. It’s a natural part of any healthy relationship — not just the romantic variety.
Tell your dad you think he’s great. Tell your brother you love his stupid jokes and that they always make you laugh.
And tell the man you’re into that he’s got the best eyes or is a great kisser or whatever other thing you appreciate the most about him. Don’t assume that he knows it — no matter how confident he may seem.
Say it. It might mean the world to him even if all it does is make him smile.