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UPDATED: Jan. 4, 2021 —

The male ego is fragile. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology discovered that male self-esteem dropped when men were told their wives performed better on a test than they did. As crazy as that sounds, the fact is, men’s self-esteem can be bruised without us not fully understanding why.

But regardless of their self-esteem status, men need to know you care, that you are appreciative, and that you love them. Just as daily compliments and sweet kisses make us feel feminine and pretty, there are similar things we can do for our men to help validate their masculinity. The things we say and do mean much more than they lead us to believe. Seldom do men admit to their specific emotional needs but, in many ways, they want the same things. Your man wants to feel loved; he wants to feel attractive; he wants to feel capable and needed.

Meeting those needs doesn’t take a lot of money or require rocket science. As with all relationships, ultimately, it is the small (but far from minor) things that count. Has your man been down in the dumps? Or are you looking to keep his spirits high? Take an assessment and even if he is his normal silly self, he still needs to understand that you love him.

Here are a few tips for making a man feel needed and wanted:

Fast food

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1. Let him order for you.
Ask him to take you to one of his favorite restaurants and insist he orders for you. Since it’s his spot, he will enjoy selecting something he’s certain you will like. And, if you don’t like it, don’t stress. Just send it back and let him try again.

Also, if you are not into him paying for the bill, offer to get dessert or cocktails at another restaurant. Offering to pick up the tab is always a nice way to show that you are a confident woman who is not taking advantage of him. Just be mindful that not all men want you to pay for things. A study from EliteSingles revealed that it’s time to rethink the stereotype that women want men to pay for the first date. In fact, the study of 300,000 singles shows that it’s actually men who are more likely to think that men should foot the bill. 63% of men believe it is the man’s job to pay on a first date.

Opportunity comes to those who go to it

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2. Attend his company events.
If you and your guy work in different industries, this is the perfect chance to let him professionally flex his arm candy. Men are often proud of the women they love, so let him bask in showing you off.

Need help in being a likable person? First, resist the urge to label people. “We use words to label people and experiences as good or bad,” says Karen McGregor, leadership and influence expert and author of The Tao of Influence. “As soon as we label something, our mind creates the opposite. If we label someone as a rational person, we will judge others to be irrational. If we label someone as smart, we will find others to judge as stupid. Catch yourself labeling, which serves only to separate “us” from “them” and choose to stop. As we release the language of duality and refuse to describe people according to our preferences, we relax and surrender into acceptance without trying to change them or defend ourselves.”

Vegan Lunch time

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3. Make him a plate of healthy foods.

Waiting on your man lets him know he is special and you want to take care of him. Whether you are visiting in-laws, attending a cookout or eating Chinese takeout at home, make a plate for the booskie—at least every once in a while. He will feel like he’s doing his job and be inspired by your appreciation.

Also, don’t be afraid to make healthy food decisions together. A 2015 study by Sarah E. Jackson, Andrew Steptoe and Jane Wardle found that partners who made health changes together were more likely to stick to their new healthy habits.

Traveling by a car

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4. Put him in charge of the directions.
Men like to think they are good at following and remembering directions. When he insists on knowing how to get somewhere, say O.K. Better yet, put the ball in his court and suggest he take the responsibility. You know, because he’s so gifted.

And remember, if you are traveling anywhere be sure to be safe. According to the centers for disease control and prevention, travel increases your chances of spreading and getting COVID-19. Some travel activities, like the transportation you choose and where you stay, can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. be smart and know your travel risk.

You can't fake this kind of chemistry

Source: Dean Mitchell / Getty

5. Give him full reign in the bedroom.
Don’t speak just moan and give your man complete control. Let him flip you up, down, over, under—whatever he wants (within predetermined parameters, of course). Talk dirty, scream and groan so he can take credit for the bad girl moment. He will fall asleep feeling like a stallion.

According to research by Gilda Giebel, if a passive but nice partner is seen as boring, then people who are especially averse to boredom in their lives will be the most likely to seek out dominant partners.

This is the kind of escape I was looking for

Source: Dean Mitchell / Getty

6. Pleasure him while driving.
Men love oral sex, especially when it’s uninhibited and spontaneous. Unzip his pants (safely!) while he’s driving and make that trip to church a little more exciting. The good news is, men commonly take 7 to 14 minutes to climax, so ideally he’ll finish before you reach your destination.

Woman Takes Shower

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7. Give him a massage.
Ease him into the night after a long workday with a pre-or post-shower massage to help relieve tension. Tell him how hard you know he works and how much you admire his ambition.

Sure massages can lead to sex (and that’s a good thing!), but they also have medical benefits. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, massages have been studied for several types of pain, including low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain, pain from osteoarthritis of the knee, and headaches. So get to work, ladies! Doctor’s orders.

Happy couple enjoy a quiet moment at home together

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8. Thank him.
Saying “Thank you” doesn’t have to be for anything out of the ordinary. In fact, it will probably go further if it isn’t. Focus on the small things like how he always opens doors or takes the initiative to make minor repairs around your home. Let him know you are thankful to have a man who can care for you and your family and he’ll be more open to doing bigger tasks for you.

Need tips? Here are a few creative ways to say thank you:

  • Write a thank-you note and give it to him.
  • Keep a gratitude journal and let him read the parts that mention him.
  • Give a small thank you gift.
  • Create a youtube video for him.
  • Surprise him with an act of kindness.
  • Give hugs after a long day.
  • Learn to say “Thank you” in multiple languages and say them to him often.
  • Write a thanksgiving poem.
  • Send a thoughtful message to him on social media.

LaShaun Williams is a lifestyle and relationship columnist, blogger and social critic. Her work has been featured on popular urban sites, such as The Grio and AOL Black Voices. She has made appearances on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and Santita Jackson Show. Williams is also the founder of Politically Unapologetic, a blog where she unabashedly discusses culture, life and love. Follow @itsmelashaun on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook.

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