Friday, May 24, 2013

Disrespect (Part 1 of 10, Book Critique: For Women Only)

For women only

Book Critique Part 1For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men, Shaunti Feldhahn 

Part 1: Men would rather feel unloved than inadequate and disrespected

Feldhahn’s Take

Husbands need to know that their wives respect them both privately and publicly. Men thrive when they know that their wives trust them, admire them and believe in them. Shaunti Feldhahn’s research indicates that men would rather sense the loss of loving feelings from their wives than to be disrespected by them.

The Sigma Male Says

Men would rather feel unloved? Really? For most men, feeling disrespected or feeling unloved is the same thing. But to avoid splitting hairs, let’s agree with Feldhahn’s point.

The real problem is most men don’t know why their wives don’t respect them, and most of the time women themselves cannot identify the specific reason they feel that way. Under these circumstances, women justify their feelings by cataloging every one of their husband’s shortcomings. But even if their assessment is accurate, this laundry list of complaints misses the mark.

In reality, women usually disrespect their husbands when they aren’t filling one or more of the three essential Sigma Roles: Protector, Provider, and Presider.

Even when a man is a great guy (respectful, helpful, kind, considerate, etc.) if he is not filling this positive, dominant skillset, a little voice deep inside a woman tells her he isn’t a real man; therefore, true respect for him is automatically undermined.

A Sigma Male earns his wife’s respect and admiration because he is an effective Protector, Provider and Presider.

Next up: Part 2: Anger

Note: Feldhahn's book, For Couple's Only, is actually a compilation of two books: For Women Only and For Men Only. In this series, I analyze the first. The summaries of each point were pulled from this post, by Jim Burns.


Dr. John Alexander is an expert on marriage relationships and the author of The Sigma Male: What Women Really Want. To learn more about the Sigma Roles in marriage, visit his website, subscribe to his blog, “like” his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: His Needs, Her Needs

His needs her needs

I regularly read and dissect popular relationships books, sharing the most relevant information and correcting misguided fallacies. In this post, I review His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

Harley’s Take

Recognizing your partner’s essential needs and meeting them will continually strengthen your relationship and nip in the bud any possibility of your spouse having her needs met elsewhere.

Harley begins with the premise that everyone has a "love bank," an emotional version of a bank account. You receive “credits” in your “account" when your spouse meets one of your emotional needs.

Neglecting a spouse’s needs causes "debits," which can eventually leave him or her feeling empty and dissatisfied. Spouses who don’t have their needs met might look elsewhere, in effect opening an account at a competing bank. 

Couples who want happy, stable marriages must learn how to effectively meet each other’s needs, thereby insuring their spouse never has reason to shop the competition. But men and women tend to have different needs, so understanding those differences will help you learn how to better relate to your spouse.

Harley identifies each partner’s five most common needs, then shows each partner how to satisfy those needs. He provides a guide for becoming irresistible to your spouse and how to love more creatively and sensitively, thereby eliminating the problems that often lead to extramarital affairs.

The Sigma Male Says

Harley has written an excellent book and is definitely onto something. No question, when spouses get their needs met they are happy. I agree with the premise of husbands and wives doing what they can to satisfy each other’s needs. However, Harley misses a vital component in the happiness equation when it comes to sex.

There is a difference between a woman trying to meet her husband’s sexual needs by making herself available to him (“If I meet his needs he will be happy) and a woman who looks forward to sex because her husband displays Sigma behavior.

A woman who attempts to please her husband because she thinks it’s her duty will be less satisfied than a woman who meets her husband’s needs because of how his daily behavior makes her feel. The first woman fills her husband’s need for sex to make him happy. The latter fills his sexual needs because she is happy (and because she desires him). When this happens both partners experience a much higher level of sexual satisfaction and they both get their sexual needs met.

When a modern man makes regular deposits in his wife’s account because he thinks he can meet her needs by working harder — he shares the work around the house, tends the kids, does chores, fixes dinner, etc. — the resulting deposit is relatively small and does not increase his wife’s happiness by much. Instead, she seems to become more demanding and increasingly domineering. And modern men are shocked to discover that their wife’s “withdrawal window” has extremely limited hours.

Deposits made by fulfilling the Sigma Roles are much larger. And when a man becomes a Sigma Male, his wife’s resulting happiness will allow him to access her account 24/7.

Updated 10/06/2014


Dr. John Alexander is relationship expert and the author of The Sigma Male: What Women Really Want. To learn more about Sigma Coaching, visit his website, subscribe to his blog, “like” his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Critique: The 5 Love Languages

5 love languages

The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman


Learn to communicate your love in a language your spouse can understand. Chapman’s main message is that each person has one or two methods, or “languages,” for expressing love:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

Often couples fail to convey their love effectively simply because they do not know each other's love language. For example, a husband might be doing “Acts of Service” for his wife to show that he loves her, because this is how he believes a person expresses love. But if her language is “Words of Affirmation,” then she is waiting for him to tell her he loves her, so she doesn’t notice the acts of service.

Chapman asserts that these love languages are as different as English and Chinese. When a couple is newly in love, their “love tank” is kept full with the emotional, adrenaline rush of it all. But later, their lack of awareness about their unique love languages emerges. That’s when the arguing begins and their feelings of love for each other decline, which eventually empties their “love tank.”
Married couples do not need to possess matching languages to be happy, but they do need to know how to speak their partner’s language is in order to successfully convey their love. Certain languages may feel unnatural, even foreign to a spouse, but the author believes that if a husband conveys love in the “correct” language, his wife will readily recognize when he is expressing his love.

The Sigma Male's Take

I don’t disagree with this concept, because learning effective ways to convey love certainly has merit. However, correcting this form of communication will not fix most relationships. At the end of the day, even when a person believes that their spouse truly loves them they still find themselves arguing and fighting. Again, the author misses the true root of the problem.

It doesn't matter which love language a man speaks. If he is failing to fill the most critical role of all, his wife will misunderstand what he says.

I believe there is only one love language: Protection.

If a man is not fluent in Protection, each of the 5 languages can be misinterpreted.

Think of Protection as the Rosetta stone of relationships. When a man learns how to protect his wife completely, she will interpret all 5 love languages correctly.

I wish all foreign languages could be learned that easily.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Critique: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Men are from mars

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray, Ph.D.


Men and women are different species. Awareness of these major differences can improve understanding, communication, and empathy for one’s spouse. Gray's primary message is that men and women have such different needs and expectations that it’s as if they are from different planets. He believes that today's marriage difficulties stem from a failure to understand how your partner loves and expects to be loved. He suggests that we mistakenly give our partner what we would want, not what they want.

Gray's observation of men is that they value themselves through achievement. Men want to solve problems and build great things. Men see problems as opportunities ripe for the solving, but if the problems are too big to solve, men will skulk off and distract themselves in an attempt to forget about the problem. But, deep down, men fear that they are not good enough or not competent enough and consequently carry a desire to be needed and trusted.

Women, on the other hand, value themselves through their relationships. They sense others’ needs and automatically try to help by giving of themselves. A woman’s deep fear is they she is not worthy of love. She gives freely, sometimes too much. She is afraid to receive, because to need someone but be rejected would validate that she is not worthy of love. Consequently, women want to be cherished and have their feelings understood.

The Sigma Male’s Take

The late comedian, George Carlin, said, “Men are from Earth; women are from Earth. Get over it!” I understand that men and women are different, think differently, and act differently. I think everybody gets this. But while this knowledge may increase insight and communication, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.

Like so many other authors, Gray touches on simple truths but then misapplies the practical application of that knowledge. In reality, modern men have worked hard to cherish and understand their wives--to the extreme. The resulting frustration in both men and women leads to even more relationship problems.

As much as women appreciate being listened to and validated, the absence of a husband's protective follow-through leaves them feeling abandoned and angry. If all women wanted was to have their feelings understood, a simple conversation with a friend or with their mother would suffice.
Perhaps men are wired for problem-solving action, but they are failing to leverage this natural ability into stronger relationship in two ways:

1. They jump to problem solving before validating their wife's feelings--which is demeaning (Why didn't you…? or Here's what I would have done…)

2. They validate their wife's feelings and then fail to do anything about it--which is weak (I am so sorry that happened. What's for dinner?)

A woman want to be understood, but she also wants to know that her husband has her back and is willing to jump in and "save" her, if necessary. Women are strong enough to solve their own problems, so she will rarely need her husband to take action on his offer to help, but just knowing that he is willing and able to act is a needed comfort.

Monday, May 20, 2013

An Affair Waiting to Happen: When a Man Isn't a MAN

In an article entitled Are You Headed for an Affair?, Dr. Patrice Wolters makes the following claim:

Although most people believe that the person who strays is solely responsible for the affair, both partners typically share in creating and maintaining the very common behavior patterns that can lead to infidelity.

I beg to differ. Whether a man or woman cheats, the man is always the responsible party.

When a Woman Cheats

Although statistics show that the number of women who cheat is on the rise, so too are the number of men who believe the Myth of the Modern Man: If I'm nice to my wife—do more around the house, help with the kids, am respectful—that will be enough to guarantee a strong marriage.


While modern women want men to treat them with respect and help around the house, they do not want to be a man! If a woman has to be stronger than her husband—has to make all the decisions, has provide for her family's needs, has to protect herself—what does she need a man for?

When a woman steps out on her husband, she is looking for a man who makes her feel like a woman!

When a Man Cheats

Name the excuse: my wife has let herself go, my wife is not interested in sex, my wife is mean, my wife doesn't appreciate all that I have to offer, etc., etc., etc. It does not matter. A man who is an ultimate Protector cannot and will not cheat, for any reason!

My question for a cheating man: Was your wife out of shape, sexually cold, angry, ungrateful, etc. while you were dating her? Why did she change after marriage? Because her husband did not continue to fulfill his role as a man: he did not adequately protect, provide, and preside in the home. When a man fulfills the three critical dominant roles—Protector, Provider, Presider—his wife will respond in all the right ways and she will never cheat!

When a man steps out on his wife, he is looking for a woman who will give him everything he wants—without the responsibilities attached to manhood.

Here's my rewrite of Dr. Wolters' statement:

Men create and maintain the very common behavior patterns that can lead to infidelity. Period!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Modern "No" Men

I'm sure you're familiar with Oscar Meyer's It's Yes Food commercial campaign. If not, take a look at the following thirty-second spots:


"I'm gonna become Facebook friends with our babysitter…"


“Family vacation — Vegas…“


“Were you just…?”

This ad campaign is good for a laugh, but only at the expense of Modern Men. Displaying today’s men as inept and powerless is an advertising trend that’s becoming more and more prevalent — at least when it comes to middle-aged men (also consider sitcom characters like Modern Family’s Phil Dunphy).

These characters are portrayed as being on the same level of their young sons — as evidenced by this follow-up ad:

"Is there a dressing room around here?"

In each of these spots the husband is portrayed as a juvenile idiot whose only excitement in life comes from a package of lunch meat — or a hot dog for dinner. His bemused and emotionless wife — obviously burdened with mothering her immature husband — definitely has no interest in having sex with him. He gets lucky once in the family mini-van, but unfortunately that moment comes with an “Ewwww” and is accompanied by embarrassed denial by his wife.

Even when this modern man tries to teach his son “manly” lessons — like building a tree house or how to use a chain saw — the answer is still the same: NO!

This simpleton's wife has trained her daughter to follow her dominant lead. The teen has no problem aligning with her mother in vetoing her father’s vacation idea (he even has to raise his son's arm for him) and she assumes her mother's role when she brow-beats her father about whether or not "Mom said we could eat all that."

Ironically, the daughter is attracted to her father’s polar opposite. Although her father is obviously not happy with her choice of a bad-boy, her mother turns out to be the one laying down the law when the daughter tries to sneak out.

These commercials will continue to be a sad commentary on the state of modern manhood, but only until men stop handing over the reins of responsibility in their relationships.

For an example of how men ought to be portrayed, watch this commercial instead.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

I Like My Job But My Wife Doesn't

Money bags
"My wife doesn't appreciate how much I provide for her."

This is a common complaint I hear from many men. This morning I stumbled across this letter written to advice columnist Carolyn Hax:

Dear Carolyn: 
I’ve been thinking of asking my girlfriend to marry me, after several years of happy and fulfilled dating.
The other day, for the first time, my girlfriend expressed that she really didn’t like that I work at home. I freelance and really love it. I have a lot saved and I’m in a much better financial place than she is, which gives me a lot of latitude. 
She said she couldn’t understand the perspective of someone who didn’t go into an office every day and who didn’t have to bear the burden of working under a boss. She made it clear that she wouldn’t care if I made less money, only that I had somewhere to go in the morning and that I wasn’t my own boss. She then compared me to her former boyfriends, who apparently had more “grit” and who had to work for a paycheck. 
As someone who works at least 50 hours a week, I am really bothered by the idea that I’m somehow deficient, especially since I’m doing the work I want to be doing and fulfilling a unique career niche. 
Her lack of respect for what I do has made me reconsider whether I want to marry her. I definitely feel insulted and misunderstood; is it the sort of thing that can be talked out, or is career disrespect a deal-breaker?

After recommending various methods of communication, Ms. Hax gives the following advice:

[D]epending on her response, you might have nothing left to say to her but this: “I can’t date someone who would ask me to change my fulfilling life just to meet her arbitrary standards of manhood.” And you’ll want to declare that with confidence that it was never about her saying just one loopy, inexplicable thing.

Good advice about communication is always helpful, but it usually lacks the biggest piece of the good relationship puzzle. I'm going out on a limb here, but chances are that this man's girlfriend doesn't even know why she wants her boyfriend to take a "real" job.

Without fail, whenever a woman does not seem to appreciate her husband's ability to earn, it is because he is failing in one of the other critical dominant roles. In this case, "Demanding Girlfriend" may be confusing this man's failure to protect her as the inability to provide for her, or his inability to provide strong leadership in the relationship with his current "soft" career choice.

If you can Protect and Preside, Providing will generate much more appreciation from your significant other.

Unless, of course, you aren't actually making as good of a living as you think you are…

But that's a topic for a different day.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Neatness and a Happy Wife

The power of habit cover
Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with a friend of mine from high school. She has been married a couple of times and was complaining about the shortage of available good men. I told her about my book, Dragonslayer, and described a Sigma man to her.

“There aren’t any men like that,” she lamented, then ruefully added a shocker: “Most men want to be married to a mother. They want someone that will clean up after them and take care of all their needs. Men are slobs!”

Creating the habit of neatness and organization is not as difficult as you might think. In his recent book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explains that developing a habit requires three steps:

“First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.”

Basically, all you have to do is develop a new "cue" that triggers a neatness "routine." If you add a "reward" that goes hand-in-hand with your neatness routine, before long you will become neat and orderly.

And Duhigg states that creating small “keystone habits” can start a chain reaction in more important areas of your life; for example, “Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.”

My brother, Matt shared with me an example from his life:

Making my bed every morning has become a visual cue for keeping the rest of my bedroom neat and tidy, which has overlapped into my office. What used to be a hassle--keeping things neat and orderly--is now automatic, and I'm the same person I was before I developed this habit. 
How did I become a champion bed-maker? I added a "cue" to my morning routine: I began to make my bed each morning before getting into the shower--a task that I already did automatically. I stuck a note to the shower door that said, "Make the bed--RIGHT NOW!" 
My reward? The smile and hug my wife gave me each day when I got home. Now that I've become accustomed to seeing my bed made, I don't have to do it before I take a shower anymore. My new cue is seeing an unmade bed. And I really don't need the reward anymore--although I still enjoy getting a squeeze from my happy wife!

In summary:

1. Cue - Note on my shower door
2. Routine - Making my bed
3. Reward - Happy wife


Picking up after yourself and learning to be organized will signal to your wife that you know how to be a responsible man. Taking care of the small things in your life will allow you to better command the greater aspects of your life.  A man who can take care of the small things can be trusted with life’s greatest responsibilities.

Show your wife you are in control mentally by being organized.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Women: You Can Help Your Man Master His Dance Steps

Dancing stars zendaya 400 1

When my brother, Matt was on Jimmy Chunga's radio show this morning (101.9 The End, Salt Lake City), a nice woman asked how she could get her passive husband to step up into a more active, leadership role. In the short segment allotted, it was difficult to answer in any detail, but here's amore complete response:

All men can learn how to become a Sigma Male — the perfect combination of the Alpha and Modern—regardless of their personality. Remember: learning how to protect is a SKILLSET.  Having said that, a woman can't rail on her husband and hope for something to happen. At the same time, she also can't hope he'll stumble across the answer on his own. But a woman can lead her husband where he needs to go — until he understands exactly what it is she's asking for — and then he'll take over the leadership reins.

The dance analogy is one that men have no problem understanding. On Dancing With the Stars, what do the female professionals do for their celebrity partners? They teach them how to lead. Sometimes the pro has to keep leading her partner because he is not yet confident enough to take charge. The couple improves, but their dancing never looks as good as it could if the man would learn how to lead. But the pro never tells her partner that he sucks—she's always encouraging and complimentary. When the male celebrity finally learns how to lead, the couple looks pretty awesome. This is why the female celebrity contestants learn to dance faster: the male professionals already knows how to lead. So don't be discouraged! With practice, all men can learn how to lead the dance.

Now, imagine you like to dance and your husband doesn't know how. If you were to say, "You are a crappy dancer. Get your act together!" he wouldn't take a dancing lesson in a million years. In fact, he may think that he only looks bad because you don't know how to dance, never once considering that he has a problem himself.

What would happen if you were to say, "Honey, I love to dance—it makes me feel close to you and is actually a turn-on—but we always seem to be stepping on each other's feet. How about we take some lessons? " A man is open to learn something new if he doesn't feel criticized or stupid, and if he knows you will derive pleasure from the outcome. A man doesn't like to feel dumb or powerless—nobody does—but he'll put himself in front of a speeding truck if he thinks it will help you.

Most men avoid traditional marriage counseling because it's a long, drawn-out experience that focuses on addressing past hurts. Men get on board with Dragonslaying because it is quick, makes sense, and gives them specifics to focus on. And when they learn that having a happy marriage is a skillset—no need for endless therapy sessions — they are ready to go. During coaching sessions, when I ask a woman certain questions and her husband hears what she needs, his response is always the same: "Really? That's what you want? I can do that!"

Women, try this approach: "Honey, I figured out why 
sometimes I feel frustrated and sad. I've been trying to run this marriage and it hasn't been very fun for either of us. This morning I heard this guy talking on the radio. He compared marriage to a dance — he said that each of us has specific roles to play. I want to follow your lead in this marriage—like I would with dancing—and this would be a perfect opportunity for us to learn the steps of a happy marriage. He said it's easy to learn and that it really changed the dynamic of his marriage. Could we do this together?"

Then give me a call. Once I talk to a guy, he'll buy in. The real issue? Wives don't believe their husband can make the change! But I know your husband can do it—I've seen the results. 

I was on-and-off unhappy in my marriage for eighteen years, but after learning to slay dragons, the past three years have been like night and day. My brother, Matt always had a good marriage (going on twenty-five years), but a few tweaks he made has made the last eight months (the period he was working with me on Dragonslayer) better than anything he experienced in the past. My brother, David's marriage has always been the envy of his friends — he has a pleasant and happy wife and they've been together nearly twenty years. Now he can finally explain why.

Want your husband to learn how to lead? Take dancing lessons together—teach your husband how to slay your dragons.

PS: If you're not married, just substitute the word 'relationship' for 'marriage,' 'boyfriend' for 'husband,' and 'girlfriend' for 'wife.' It's all the same.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sex If You're a Slob? Not Unless It's With "Lassie."


"What's that delicious smell?"

I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit to having seen the movie Porky's, a raunchy 1982 comedy about over-sexed teenage boys—even if I was one at the time. 

In one "memorable" scene, a young gym coach is told that he will discover the secret of the nubile gym coach's nickname "Lassie" if he can get her into the boys' locker room. As it turns out, Lassie, played by a very young and very brunette Kim Cattrall, is extremely turned on by the smell of gym sweat, so much so that it makes her howl!

After spending some time online, it is apparent that some men have taken this movie scene to heart. Before you roll your eyes, consider this plea found on an online marriage advice forum:

Hi all, I am new here and looking for some advice. My husband showers Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, never on weekends. He brushes his teeth 4-5 times a week, also never on weekends. We don't kiss anymore because I am disgusted with his oral hygiene. He shaves about once or twice a month. We haven't had sex in 6 months because his showering habits gross me out… I have discussed the issue with him… He said that he's always been like this, even before we were married. But honestly I don't remember it ever being so bad like this.

This poor wife’s dilemma is only one of countless others I have encountered online and in consultations — some worse but all of a similar nature. In spite of what Hollywood taught you as a teenager, women do not want to make love to a musty sweat sock. I've come across more than one survey that lists cleanliness as one of the top ten things a woman finds attractive in a man, reminding us that body odor is not a sexual pheromone.

Just as fitness and organization are indicators of your physical and mental status, cleanliness is an outward show of your emotional well-being; in fact, studies show that personal hygiene actively promotes positive mental health. If you respect yourself and your wife, you must take care of your hygiene. Show your wife you are in control emotionally by keeping yourself clean.

She will thank you for it in more ways than one.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Out of Work? Better "Dig Deep!"

Ever wonder how losing your job affects your marriage?

USA Today's Regina Lewis summarizes research conducted at the University of Ohio and published by the American Journal of Sociology in this video:

Key point:

An employed woman is only more likely to initiate divorce than an unemployed woman if she reports being highly unsatisfied with the marriage. It's different for guys. They are more likely to leave a marriage, and they are more likely to be left if they are unemployed. Researchers involved with the study suspect this speaks to the fact that women working has become acceptable, but men not working does not sit as well.


If you find your marriage is strained by job loss, be mindful of the gender disparity. Women should not try to overcompensate, and men may need to dig deep for humility and resist the urge to flee.

Resisting the urge to flee is obvious, but what does it mean to be mindful of the gender disparity and dig deep for humility? More and more mainstream society is suggesting that men should “ swallow their pride, stay home, and become a “househusband.”

I disagree.

Men, if you lose your job you must work to become gainfully employed as soon as possible, even if it means taking a temporary job as a stop-gap measure. Your relationship happiness depends on you getting back in the game as soon as possible.

In their best-seller, Well Being: The Five Essential Elements, Tom Rath and Jim Harter address the connection between employment and a man’s sense of happiness. According to the authors, studies show that men can recover their well-being more rapidly after the death of a spouse than after a period of prolonged unemployment!

A key takeaway from USA Today’s report supports Rath and Harter’s assertion:

Your employment status may be the most telling harbinger of divorce.

Cashing an unemployment check week after week is the quickest way to start down that path, so avoid long-term unemployment at all costs.

Updated 7/17/2014 from a previous post


Dr. John Alexander is an expert on marriage relationships and the author of The Sigma Male: What Women Really Want. To learn more about the Sigma Roles in marriage, visit his website, subscribe to his blog, “like” his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Whose Fault Is It?

Unhappy couple
A friend forwarded me an email from an advice columnist, Beth Young, titled Whose Fault When Marriages Fail?

Ms. Young makes a great point:

It's easy to point the finger when it seems as if our marriage is struggling.  Point to stresses at work, our spouse, our children and a plethora of others excuses for why our marriage feels like it's failing.

However, one key factor we need to realize when we feel like our marriage is going down the tubes is that we are ultimately responsible for the health and happiness of our relationship.

If both spouses take responsibility for success, then it will be a success.  But even if only one spouse takes this ugly bull by the horns, the marriage can be saved.  Are you willing to be the one?

While it's true that it's easier to forge a strong marriage when both partners take responsibility for a marriage, Young's second point--that a marriage can be saved by only one spouse--is much more important!

Why? Because in my experience, 99% of unhappy relationships are caused by husbands who fail to fill the inherent responsibilities that come with being a man, and women are only reacting to the frustration of having to play dual roles in their marriage: wife and husband!

Whether we're talking about infidelity, hostility, or disinterest in sex, all of these maladies can be traced back to the same root cause. Men, if you're unhappy with the state of your marriage, it's time to take a long look in the mirror.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hate Your Partner? Try this...

I hate my partner

In a post called I Hate My Partner, Dr. Deb Hirschhorn has some interesting things to say about marriages that are on their last gasp:

Forget about love being gone. You’re way past that. You hate your partner and you want out. You hate your partner because he/she:

• Stifles your identity; you feel crushed; you no longer know who you are
• Is cheating
• Says things that really cut, often insisting he/she didn’t mean to hurt you
• Neglects you; you feel invisible
• Controls everything until you have no energy left to stand up for yourself

According to Dr. Hirschhorn, when a marriage is in its final stage, having these feelings is normal. Even so, she correctly states that underneath it all you still love your partner and recommends the following path forward:


1. Recognize you are being mistreated.

2. Understand that the hate you feel comes from the justified disappointment you have over expecting love and not getting it.

There is another truth here: Your partner doesn’t treat you right because he or she was not treated right; it’s not because he wants to be mean, even if he says so.

Why do I say this? When people don’t feel their needs are being met, they react. If they have good coping skills and know how to be assertive, they react constructively. If they don’t, they react destructively. Your partner hurts you because he doesn’t know how to get his needs met.

3. Recognize that what you really hate is the way you’ve been treated — not your spouse.
As soon as you start to feel angry at him or her, remind yourself that your partner doesn’t know better.

4. Speak up

You’ve got to be assertive which means firm, clear, brief, and civil. Assertive does not mean slinging it back no matter how tempting that is. In doing this, it’s important not to throw the kitchen sink at your partner. Select the most pressing requirement first.

In step four, Dr. Hischhorn seems to be speaking to both men and women but in my opinion, speaking up should be exclusively reserved for women. Why?

As I explain in The Sigma Male, almost all marital strife can be traced back to Gender Role Reversal — a man’s failure to fill one or more of the three Sigma Roles: Protector, Provider and Presider. This means that a man must accept that he is to blame for his wife’s behavior, which the first step in eliminating Gender Role Reversal.

So instead of telling his wife what he needs, a man must tell her how he will fulfill his responsibilities, and then get to work!

Only then will Dr. Hirschhorn’s final step be possible:

5 Look for improvements

This step transforms both of you together. Don’t be afraid that positive feedback for small changes will cause your partner to rest on his laurels. Having behaved toxically for so long, your partner probably hates himself. He needs to form a better view of himself as much as you need to form a better view of him.
Three things result when you start looking for the good: You’ll get more of it; you’ll see it more, and you’ll feel a whole lot better. As your needs get met, the hate evaporates. There’s room for love.

Note that in the final paragraph of her post Dr. Hirschhorn stops using gender-neutral words and applies 'his,' 'himself,' and 'him.'

Apparently, she recognizes what I have been saying all along: Since men have the power to transform a relationship, they must bear the responsibility for a relationship’s success or failure.


Dr. John Alexander is an expert on marriage relationships and the author of The Sigma Male: What Women Really Want. To learn more about the Sigma Roles in marriage, visit his website, subscribe to his blog, “like” his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.

Monday, May 6, 2013

5 Practical Things We Should Learn to Avoid "The End of Men"

End of men

Hanna Rosin’s book, The End of Men, certainly raised a lot of eyebrows and garnered much attention when it was released.

I was familiar with Rosin because I reference her in my book, The Sigma Male, and her views on changing social norms.

Here is her interview on NBC’s Today Show, which I watched live when it originally aired. 

I was especially intrigued by her husband, David Plotz, who is an intelligent, well-educated editor. During the interview, he seems to be standing on shifting ground, as he bounces between lobbing his wife softball set-ups, seeks her approval, and mildly “disagrees” with her in an indirect manner.

In making any comments about the marriage of Rosin and Plotz, I realize that there is no way to know what goes on behind closed doors—but we can learn several lessons from their interview.

5 Sigma Male Takeaways

1. Always make your wife look good.
If Plotz does anything right, he does a good job of this. He gives his wife easy set-ups so her comments always make her look good. He gives her the time and space to shine. Remember, even though the interview is on a topic that runs contrary to my book, The Sigma Male, this interview and book are hers and Plotz lets his wife get the attention, even when questions are directed at him.

A man doesn’t always need to be the center of attention if he knows he is a Sigma. By allowing his wife to look good, Plotz demonstrates that a man shouldn’t be intimidated by a strong woman.

on the other hand…

2. Don’t be a “milk toast”
There are several places where Plotz sends mixed messages about his role as a man. First, he never addresses his wife’s comment that she “hopes he is not obsolete” or that she hopes her sons “are not going to be obsolete.” A quick and simple response like, “You know I’m not,” delivered with a sly grin would have turned that moment around without disagreeing with his wife. It would have also given Samantha Guthrie, the interviewer, a chance for a follow-up question about how men can maintain their own strength. I suspect neither Rosin nor Plotz have the answer to that question; it certainly isn’t answered in her book.

Plotz could have also added, “and I’m modeling that behavior for my sons,” to deliver a one-two punch regarding his role as husband, father, and Sigma Male. Neither of these statements would have taken anything away from his wife and would have demonstrated how a confident man can enjoy the company of a strong woman.

3. Have a strong opinion — don’t seek your wife’s approval
There is one awkward moment where Plotz is clearly hoping for his wife’s approval — or forgiveness — for having his own strong opinion. After Rosin brings up the effect that these changes  will have on “marriages, work, sex, and how to navigate this new world,” Guthrie immediately asks Plotz for his opinion. It is clear that he is uncomfortable when he states, “I try not to take it personal,” and then addresses a “difficult transition for me,” while looking directly at his wife with a meek expression.

I couldn’t help but think that there is a subtext in this exchange that directly points out the effects of his seeming meekness when it comes to the triumvirate of “marriage, work, and sex.” With one look, he seems to be pleading, “Don’t forget how nice I will be during this interview so that I can get a reward later.” In answering this question, Plotz would be better off to look Guthrie straight in the eye and say, “Today’s men are having a hard time with this transition because they are indecisive and weak. A strong woman needs a strong man.”

4. Don’t apologize for being a strong man
After each exchange with Rosin, Guthrie always asks Plotz a follow-up question. While obviously looking for controversy, Guthrie continues to allow Plotz a chance to stand up for men. He tries to have a strong opinion, stating that shifts in sexual dynamics are “troubling” for him, but it’s not too long before he begins to backpedal. “I shouldn’t say that it is troubling,” he stammers, while again looking to his wife for approval — then quickly passes the hot potato back to her. He starts with a strong position but then quickly undercuts himself. 
Once again he loses the opportunity to have an opinion without worrying whether his wife agrees with him or will be angry with him for having an opinion. 

5. Women are tired of weak men
As the interview wraps up Rosin mentions how young women are more successful and accomplished than their male counterparts. Plotz’s response is ironic, given that it is the one place in the interview where he almost begins to talk over his wife. He interjects that it’s hard for men because they don’t know what their role is supposed to be in this new world. Plotz himself seems to be unsure of his role in his own relationship. One simple addition to his statement could have set things straight. Plotz offers, “What our role is, is harder, because we’re accustomed to a certain sense of what manhood is.”

MY ADDITION: As men we need to understand that we can maintain the same sense of manhood we’ve always had while our wives become stronger, which will put them at ease and create stronger marriages.

Men have a role to play: They need to step up and be men. And that’s why I wrote The Sigma Male.

UPDATE: 7/9/2014

Although Rosin’s book received a lot of attention when it was released, overall reception has been luke-warm at best, with Amazon reviews at slightly more than 3 stars. Many reviewers have pointed out that no attention is being paid to why boys (and men) are struggling, a fact that the general public seems to recognize but intellectuals refuse to acknowledge.

Looking back, I believe my original assessment is still accurate, although the publishing trend of books touting the rise of women and the downfall of men continues to flourish unabated (see Sandberg’s Lean In for an example).


Dr. John Alexander is an expert on marriage relationships and the author of The Sigma Male: What Women Really Want. To learn more about the Sigma Roles in marriage, visit his website, subscribe to his blog, “like” his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter.