[Disclaimer: This article is aimed at women who have healthy relationships with the men in their lives. If you are woman suffering domestic abuse, or have been abused by men in the past, these may not be appropriate suggestions for you.]
Men get a bad wrap today. And some of that is well-deserved. But where would be without them? Yes, women are amazing … if I do say so myself … but a world without men would be a dreary world indeed.
The rise of of movements, events, and programs that speak primarily to men suggest that our brothers and fathers, husbands and friends are hungry for a greater sense of purpose, meaning and identity. Building them up can begin right at home … or where ever men and women live and work and spend time together.
All of us respond positively to kindness and appreciation, men included. If you acknowledge the good in a man, he will often try to live up to it. So here are some ways to honor the men in your life and let them know they really matter.
1. Choose saints for the men in your life and ask for their intercession
You can pray for the men in your life any time — and you should — but it’s a great idea to ask for a specific saint’s intercession. Think about what saint might be a good fit for each man you care about. The prayer can be simple. And if no one comes to mind, ask the Blessed Mother to pray; she loves all of her sons.
2. Make a point to regularly say thank you
Saying thank you is very simple, but we don’t do it enough. So think of the things, big and small, you can thank the men in your life for … their love, faithfulness, talent, hard work, care, humor, the list goes on.
3. Point out something you appreciate
This is a little different than saying thank you; it’s more about calling attention to something you really appreciate about the men in your life. Maybe it’s something they have done or said, or a quality they have. Whatever it is, be intentional about remarking on it.
4. Don’t criticize or gossip about your husband or partner behind his back
It it a common practice to criticize husbands, and men in general, but resist the urge. Yes, there are times and places for discussing real problems, concerns, or frustrations, but just as you would not appreciate the same, protect your spouse’s reputation by refusing to speak ill of them with others.
On the flip side …
5. Speak well publicly of the men you know and love
If you are out and about with a man you care about, say complementary things in front of others. Tell your children positive things about their father in front of him. Be committed to sharing the positive qualities and accomplishments of the men you love with others.
6. Encourage time for friendship, exercise and prayer
It honors men when we encourage them to do good things for themselves — building friendships, taking care of themselves, developing their spiritual lives. It shows them that we care about what they need and about their happiness and holiness.
7. Spend some quality time … on his terms
You probably do a lot for the men in your life, but one thing worth considering is spending some time on something they really want to do.
Maybe your husband loves to hike, but it’s not your favorite thing — offer to go with him one weekend. Maybe your father loves to play golf and you never join him — offer to play or drive the cart for him. Your son may love LEGO, soccer, football, video games, or any number of pastimes — find a way to share his interests with him.
8. Show appreciation for the men who work hard to keep things going
While I know women do a lot of physically tough work today, many of our communities’ most physically demanding jobs still mainly fall to men — fire fighters, garbage collectors, construction workers, ditch diggers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, mechanics, and more. There are many hard working men who are out there getting the job done — a smile, a thank you, an acknowledgement, goes a long way on a busy day.