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The institution of marriage is perfect. God created it. What is not perfect are the husband and the wife. The husband and wife are not perfect because they were once boyfriend and girlfriend. Dating is ruining marriages. Shoot boyfriend/girlfriend relationships are lasting longer than marriages these days. Bad girlfriends are allowing boyfriends to extend relationships beyond the time it takes to get a college education. (Notice that I did not say bad boyfriends. He can’t be too bad if she is staying.) Remember ladies, DATE MORE & LEAVE EARLIER! Man and woman are developing bad habits during dating that they are taking into marriage. What I am finding is that men are going into marriages lacking operational principles. The three most prominent principles they are missing are leadership, financial management and communication principles. For women it is not so much the principles that are missing as it is the self respect. I am meeting too many women that would rather be married than respected by their man. (If he don’t respect you, he is not your man, he is your male and male can be delivered to any address.)

MEN

The single man is doing whatever he wants to do. He maybe dating a woman that he really likes but then a disagreement occurs and instead of working through that disagreement and coming up with a compromise, he just leaves. He leaves under the assumption that the woman is the one that’s crazy. Men, if your woman is crazy then you drove her to craziness! I believe a good man will resolve all of the issues of a woman. Love your woman right and I assure you that you won’t have a problem with her.

Single men are not developing the skills necessary while dating to be successful at marriage. The average single man is not preparing for marriage. They are not seeking out other successfully married men for guidance and advice. They are not fully aware of the amount of love necessary to keep the wife happy. Here is a barometer fellas:

1.) God 2.) Wife 3.) Wife 4.) Open 5.) Everyone Else.

Marriages would survive if men adopted a good leadership principle.

PRINCIPLES

My principle is, “All relationships and marriages are either successful or they fail based solely on the leadership of the man.” Men set the tone of the relationship. Men set the direction of the marriage. It starts with the man. Men are competitive in everything in life except the longevity of their marriage. I challenge all of my friends right here and right now: NO ONE WILL BE MARRIED LONGER THAN ME! And that includes death because studies show that you live longer when you are happily married. My wife and I are going to be married at least 100 years! We will be married those 105 or so years because I have adopted a leadership principle.

That leadership principle is that if anything goes wrong in our marriage it is my fault. When our marriage was bad, we spent a lot of time pointing fingers at eat other. I spent too much energy trying to explain to her why I was right and she was wrong. (I was probably wrong.) I spent so much time thinking about our disagreement that it just became easier to raise my hand and say, “It is my fault honey.” Then I could apologize, make my 2-3 points, hear her piece and SQUASH IT!!!! A leader is not afraid of taking on responsibility. A man with good leadership principles is not as concerned with the problem as they are concerned with the solution.

Once men tackle and beat their leadership issues next up is financial management. Financial principles are the foundational methods that a man uses to spend, save and invest money. I developed my financial principles because I have way too many conversations with men complaining about money. Here is a scenario that I had recently with a man:

RelationshipBeast: If you knew that house was too much for you to be able to afford comfortably then why did you let her talk you into buying it?

Dude: She really loved that house. I wanted to make her happy.

RelationshipBeast: If you have financial principles it is easier to stick to a budget. Don’t come crying now about the expenses when you approved them. Since you did not have a financial principle, now you have a financial problem.  Stop blaming her and blame the leadership in charge – YOU! Go figure it out!

I too lacked the financial principles necessary to sustain financial stability and growth. I had financial goals, but I did not have financial principles. The #1 financial principle is, “If it don’t feel right, if you are remotely overextending yourself, don’t do it!” When I bought that convertible BMW I was cool, when I bought that brand new convertible Benz I was crazy. The financial principle that I had to develop was that I could no longer allow my desires to determine my spending. Now I let my savings determine my spending on big purchases (we haven’t bought anything in a minute y’all.)

The final principle for men is communication. Couples of today just talk to each other any old kinda way. Men, if your woman is always arguing with you, it’s because she thinks that you are a woman. If you two are always cussing each other out, it’s because you are allowing yourself to become so emotionally unstable that you can’t say to your woman, “We are not going to talk to each other like that.” Men, we are responsible for instituting boundaries for discussions and disagreements. A real man does not have to cuss. A real man does not have to yell. When I talk, my wife listens, not because I am the Boss Hog around this piece but because I bypassed all of the stupid statements that I was going to say when she was trying to bait me into going back and forth with her. Women are going to try you, that’s what they do. If the woman is the one cussing and yelled then the man has to be able to stand firm on his communication principle. Then the next thing the man has to do is figure out where he lost his woman’s respect to have her talking to him crazy like that.

WOMEN

Let me say it again incase you skipped down to this section: I am meeting way, way too many women that would rather be married than respected by their man. We are talking about principles and respect today because people have to understand that you teach people how to treat you. Men, if you have principles, a woman will respect those principles. Women if you have self respect, a man will respect you.

There is a misconception in dating that a man respects a woman when they meet. PSA: “NO WE DON’T.” A woman has to earn the respect of a man. Men don’t just walk around all willy nilly handing out respect to women. We are too focused on figuring out what we have to say to get in them jeans TONIGHT! Every week I am getting these questions from women:

1.     Why doesn’t he show me respect?

2. Why is he treating me like this?

3. When is he going to start respecting me?

Those questions are centered on what the man is doing instead of worrying about what the woman is doing. If women have self respect first, you don’t have to worry about a man showing you respect. You shouldn’t have to ask for respect, your body language should demand it. It starts day one. If you give a man your number out at the club at 9PM and then he calls you at 3AM that night he doesn’t respect you. You have to say to that young man, not with a stank attitude, but with a I-am-going-to-straighten-this-out-right- now attitude! You calmly say, “It is very disrespectful for you to call my house this time of night.” You don’t have to stop dating him because now you have set a level of expectation. He’s going to know that you are a self respecting woman and that he need not play the regular games that played with the women of his past or he will privately admit to himself that a self respecting woman is just too much woman for him to handle. In most cases him deciding to move on is a good thing.

A couple months later when you start dating a little bit more often, you notice that when you call him, it may sometimes take him two or three days to call you back. You say to him, not with a stank attitude, “Hey Eric, when I call you I am expecting a call back.” Not too much conversation, not an argument, a statement on how you expect to be treated. A lot of women might say, “This is too much, if he can’t respect me on his own then we don’t have to date.” To those women I say, “Is what you are doing working for you thus far?” Women, you have to understand that the last woman that he dated, he didn’t have to respect her so the disrespect today that men are showing women is a learned response to the lower standards set by your sistahs.

It is a misnomer that men or women are ready for marriage when they get marriage. All of us are learning on the fly. Women say to me all the time “I don’t want to teach a man.” To that I say, “Sometimes a willing and able student is way better than the man that is presumed to perfect.” Ladies make sure that you are teaching a man, not a male. A male has to learn how to be a man first. You definitely can’t teach a male how to be a man. Beat your feet.

Men and women have to teach each other how to treat each other.

Steven James Dixon

Twitter.com/StevenJDixon

Facebook.com/StevenJamesDixon

“Men Don’t Heal, We Ho – A Book About the Emotional Instability of Men” is now available on http://www.RelationshipBeast.com.

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