• Sarah Yoo

The One Thing All Men Want In Relationships

Last week, we reviewed what women want in relationships, but what about what men want and need?

Due to men’s evolutionary desire to provide and protect, combined with society’s expectation of a “macho man”, men tend to focus on how they can best provide and have often put their emotions and needs aside. This can leave many unaware and disconnected in their relationships.

So what do men want in relationships?

In general, men’s biggest need and desire is to be respected. This isn’t to say that women don’t need or want to be respected. The truth of the matter is that people should be respected.

But because men and women are wired differently, we respond to things differently.

Most modern women desire emotional safety from their men. While most modern men highly value and desire being respected as a person as well as for their efforts and actions.

There are many ways to respect a person but for a man, it shows itself in three distinct forms: appreciation, recognition, and acceptance.

While they are interconnected, they represent a unique aspect of communication and love.

Below, I break down these distinctions and how you can help your man feel emotionally supported and loved. Know they are equally important - there is no formula or order required, only what best fits your relationship.

Whether you are a man or a woman in a relationship, this article will give you a deeper insight into yourself/partner and what your/their biggest needs are in a romantic relationship.

1. Appreciation

Appreciation is acknowledging the worth of something - his efforts, willingness, and most importantly, him as a person. It let him know that no matter the results, even if he has made a mistake or have failed, that he is enough and he will always be appreciated for all that he already is.

Most women have a lot of positive emotions for their partners but don’t vocalise it because they don’t realise the power of their positive affirmations.

So, let your praises LOOSE ladies! Don’t hold back. If he’s made your day better, your work easier, or your family happier, let him know.

It can be deep and meaningful when the opportunity arises but it can also be simple and discreet.

Help your man feel like a superhuman whether his efforts were small or big:

For his efforts/willingness:

  • “You help me so much around the house - thank you.”

  • "Thank you for always putting the effort to organise fun things for us to do.”

  • "I appreciate that you always do your best to be there for me. I can always count on you.”

For him as a person:

  • “You are such a kind person. I always appreciate you thinking of me.”

  • “I love how you always know how to put a smile on my face! You are so funny.”

  • “I admire your work ethic and dedication!”

2. Recognition

Recognition is acknowledging the results of something, more specifically, how his efforts or performance contributed to a greater good. Vocalising how his work caused a positive effect helps him to appreciate the bigger picture.

Women’s biggest need is to be seen and heard as her authentic self. Men do as well, but more for what HE CAN DO. They desire to be recognised and appreciated for the results or outcomes that he can and has created.

Why? Men are driven to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones.

So, women need to recognise and appreciate this, from their smallest to biggest actions.

Recognition goes beyond a simple “thank you.” Express HOW he has contributed to a greater good:

  • “Thank you for getting dinner. I left work feeling stressed and now I am much more relaxed.”

  • “I appreciate that you accompanied my mom. It shows that you really care about my family too. My mom feels like she’s part of the family.”

  • “You helped me so much by giving me space. It gave me time to tune out the noise and reflect on what matters right now. I’m not as angst.”

  • “I’m glad you’re here, I needed you. I thought I would have to go through his alone. It gives me confidence knowing I have support here. I know I’ll do better now that you’re here.”

It’s not just when you are at your happiest…

It’s not about recognising and appreciating them when you are at your happiest or when he has done something that made you happy.

The strength of a relationship can be determined by the ability to remember the parts of your partner that you appreciate, even when you are upset with them.

3. Acceptance

One of the best ways to show love to a man is by showing him that she ACCEPTS him.

According to John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, “when a man is fully accepted as he is, it cultivates a man’s belief in his abilities.”

The need for acceptance is especially important for men because one of their strongest innate drives is to please his woman. This first shows up as a sexual attraction which later blends with the desire to love, understand and care for a woman.

So, when a man feels that he is accepted physically, mentally, emotionally, then his personal power is at a maximum.

When a woman doesn’t accept her man, she feels compelled to change him. This is when she makes the mistake of constantly questioning her man, his choices and offer suggestions in hopes to change him.

But for a man, he will typically feel unaccepted when his woman desires to change or ‘improve’ him. When he feels this, he will subconsciously resist the change and begin to retreat.

This isn’t to say that women should agree with everything he does. As human beings, it is likely that we are all making mistakes and could make certain improvements. The importance lies in HOW she does it.

A man is most motivated to adapt to a woman’s desires when she makes a request, not a demand.

It is when he feels accepted as he is today and that his efforts to support her will be recognised and appreciated, then he becomes INSPIRED to fulfil her wishes.

Her acceptance lets him know that even if he fails, he won’t be disapproved or rejected and will be received with appreciation for his efforts.

"Loving someone despite their faults, failings or other character defects is the most powerful loving thing you can do.”
Kristen Bell

We will delve further in what such requests look like in a separate blog but for now, here’s a quick overview:


“You never take out the trash. Can you do it next time without me having to ask you?”


“Could I ask you a household favor? Could you please help me by taking out the trash when it’s full? I’d appreciate your help on it!”


“You used to take me out on dates all the time. We don’t do anything fun anymore.”


“I LOVE when you take me out on dates, it makes me so happy. I miss you. Can we go over our calendars sometime soon to see when we are free?”

The Best of the Best Tips:

Directly ask your man when and how he feels most loved and supported.

One of the biggest mistakes we make in our relationships is to make assumptions. Steer away from assuming what you think your partner wants or needs, likes or doesn’t like.

Ask straightforward questions with the intent to adjust your efforts accordingly and without taking the answers personally.

Here are some examples to get the conversation started:

  • How do you like to be appreciated?

  • What have I said or done in the past that made you feel recognised and appreciated?

  • What have I not said or done in the past that made you feel unappreciated?

  • Do you feel like I fully trust you? If so, what have I said or done that made you feel that? If not, what have I not said or done?

  • How would you like to be given feedback? What can I say or not say to help you not feel like I am questioning or doubting you?

The Biel-Timberlake's secret to happiness?

“Communication, communication, communication. The ability to be really honest about how you’re feeling and what your needs are. Just be able to communicate really honest with your partner. That’s worked for us so far. I would never want to speak on anyone else’s relationship, but that’s what we do.” -Jessica Biel


As I reflect on what women and men really want in relationships, I am reminded of how important it is for us to focus on serving instead of taking.

I leave you with a tribute that Will Smith wrote for his wife as it is a beautiful definition of true love that I think we can all learn from.