A Woman’s Guide to Loving a Man – Catholic Style

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(follow-up to the brilliant piece by J.Q. Tomanek)


1. Help him get to Heaven. This is the most important job for every Catholic woman. It’s your job to help him get to Heaven – not by being the thorn that sanctifies him,  but by being the companion who walks next to him and encourages him when the journey is hard.

© Julia - Fotolia.com
© Julia – Fotolia.comhim

2. Bake for him. We’ve all heard the adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It’s true. I’m not sure why food=love in the male brain, but it sure seems to. Cooking for a man makes him feel loved and cared for. It doesn’t have to be hard. Get a box of brownie mix and follow the directions; then watch his eyes light up. Men are simple. Women want romantic dinners out; men are thrilled with a warm pan of brownies and a fork.

3. Make the bed. I don’t care if the rest of the house looks like it’s been ransacked, a made bed somehow makes it feel 100% cleaner. I know he can make it. I know you’re not the maid and that you have other better things to do. I know he was the last one up this morning and it’s his turn. Do it anyway. It only takes a few minutes. Offer it up for all the flaws you have that he chooses not to notice.

4. Sex. Yes, please. Men need physical affection. Lots of it. It helps them bond with their spouses, relieves stress, is fun, and strengthens a marriage. Sex is a physical renewal of your wedding vows where you give yourselves completely to each other. What marriage doesn’t need that? Chase him around the bedroom a time or two. It’s good for you both.

5. Play with him. Most men are still little boys at heart. Don’t neglect his fun side. Play sports. Challenge him to a video game or Monopoly. Tease him. Tag him, yell “you’re it!”, and run. Bring out the playfulness in him. You’ll be glad you did.

6. Listen to the silent “I love you.” Men show their love in practical ways. They like to take care of the women they love. Let him open the door. Recognize that making sure the oil has been changed and that the timing belt isn’t slipping in your car is his way of saying “I love you and I want you to be safe.” Men don’t often show love in poetry and flowers. They show it by making sure that annoying drip in the kitchen sink stops dripping and that your tires aren’t flat. Hear the words he is acting out loud and clear.

7. Tell him what you want. He’s not a mind reader. Don’t set him up for failure by making him guess.

8. Don’t carry your baggage around. Get rid of that stuff. You’ll feel so much lighter. Go to Confession regularly.

9. Encourage him. Men spend a lot of time out in the world going it alone. They are expected to suck it up and soldier on. That’s exhausting mentally and spiritually. Speak kindly and let him know he’s not alone. Tell him you’re proud of him and to be his wife. He needs to know that you’re his biggest fan, so tell him. Often.

10. Stand beside him. You don’t always have to see eye to eye on everything, but you do need to be looking in the same direction. The things that are important to him may not make any sense to you at all. That’s because he’s not a woman. Thank goodness, right? Make sure that you both have your eyes on the same goal, Heaven, and then stay by his side through whatever life brings.

11. Pray. Pray with him. Pray for him. He needs the spiritual support. There is a war on men in our culture. It’s on TV, in books, in movies, everywhere we turn. Men are being degraded and reduced to the sitcom buffoon. It’s hard to be a good and moral man these days. He’s under attack. Counter it the best way you can, with prayer.

12. Give him the gift of silence. You know when you ask him “What are you thinking?” and he says “Nothing.” Well, guess what? He really means it. While women have brains that never stop, men don’t have that. They have the beautiful ability to sit in silence and not think. It’s a gift for them, a respite from the tumult of the day. Share that silence with him. No talking, just silent companionship. Let him enjoy that you’re there without requiring anything from him. Curl up next to him on the couch or in bed and just be with him. Which often times will take you right back to #4. Because when he’s not thinking about nothing, sex is probably on his mind!


Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech

Rebecca Frech is a Cradle Catholic who came back to the Church in 2000, and thanks God for it every day. She lives just outside Dallas with her husband, the brilliant Computer Guy, their 7 not-quite-perfect children, and an ever-multiplying family of dust bunnies. When she’s not teaching math, neglecting housework, or reluctantly training for a marathon, she’s blogging at Shoved to Them.

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29 thoughts on “A Woman’s Guide to Loving a Man – Catholic Style”

  1. Avatar

    Great list going on here. I like number 9 and 10, but it is hard to pick because they are each well done. Warm brownies and fork: on behalf of all Central Standard Time men, thanks for the image, now we still have to wait another hour or so before dinner.

    Of course, number 4 is a high priority as well. Sexual intimacy is sacred, but that doesn’t mean it has to be prudish. I think it is very important for spouses to communicate in this area. Opening up about sexual intimacy likes and dislikes is a very humbling and intimate action, proper care needs to practiced here.

  2. Avatar

    These are great. The only one I might dispute is the last. When you ask him “What are you thinking?” and he says “Nothing” it may be nothing but it may also be that doesn’t want to verbalize it or he doesn’t know how to verbalize it. Either way, leave him alone. In fact, don’t ask things like “What are you thinking?” If he wanted to tell you something he would so there is no need to ask.

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  4. Avatar

    Your point 5 – Play with him. It’s a big assumption all men are little boys at heart.
    Not because I’m boring, but because many boys brought up by ‘strict parents’, shall we call them, don’t know how to play, and it causes great anxiety.
    I’m married to a lovely woman, and she knows to avoid this one with me as it just kills any spontaneity or fun because it rips me out of my comfort zone.

    Too many of these ’10 ways to keep your man/woman’ are based on ludicrous stereotypes. Keep it for Cosmo, please, not a Catholic blog.

    1. Avatar

      Agreed. Especially the last one. My husband often complains of his inability to shut off his brain. They just think about different things. Lists like these never really work because there are so many exceptions that the “rules” are no longer good rules.

      1. Avatar

        As a man whose brain never shuts off, I can agree with that, but I also see the merit of the author’s point on #10 — we men tend to construct our thoughts like projects, piece by piece in an elaborate project, instead of staccato; it’s part of having more neurons in that spatial-logical part of the brain (not even that we’re necessary logical, but we’re naturally systematic). Often, when we get in trouble is when we either choose to or are coaxed into talking about an incomplete or unworked-out thought that breaks our system. This falls into the issue with #7 too, in terms of trying to gather outside information and systematize it, as well as part of #1 in terms of allowing a man time and space intellectually to work out the main point and all the side angles that come with it. It’s often only a matter of minutes or even moments, but that forcing-him-to-shoot-early (we’re still wired a bit like hunters, hence the systems) throws the balance off.

        Of course, this is coming from a single man, but I tend to use my singleness as a long-term participant-observation anthropology experiment…

    2. Avatar

      Too many of these ’10 ways to keep your man/woman’ are based on ludicrous stereotypes.

      Stereotypes, perhaps. Ludicrous, no. And Mrs. Frech’s list, which assumes a chaste married relationship between a husband and wife (this is a Catholic website), should not be mentioned in the same sentence as Cosmo, the lists of which have the end goal of self-gratification, nothing more, but I surmise can’t even succeed at that.

      1. Avatar

        You’re misreading me and actually watering down my criticism by saying chaste Catholics should take this 10 steps drivel seriously! No one should.

        My point was that all this ’10 steps’ nonsense is the product of Cosmo psychobabble and its wild, deterministic assumptions about human persons which actually distort the richness of a Catholic Anthropology, our view of the fully human person, and are therefore grossly reductionistic, so shouldn’t appear on a Catholic blog at all.

        In secularism, it’s the mentality that’s used to define persons as unfit for life because they lack certain capacities, or should be a certain way, particularly in the case of the disabled.

        Catholics simply shouldn’t have the ‘one-size-fits-all’ mentality this article promotes about the nature of men (the same goes for the previous one on women). Each person should be related to as a person, not a set of generalised characteristics if we’re going to consider ourselves Catholic.

        My problem is that the secular drivel of Cosmo has been brought into the Catholic arena here, but you’re saying how dare I put them in the same breath whilst you say chaste Catholics ought to play the 10 steps game because it isn’t ludicrous!

        You want to keep the Cosmo content, but chuck the word Cosmo. That’s called wanting to have your cake and eat it.

      2. Avatar

        There’s nothing Cosmo about the content, except that both happen to have lists. Well, that and point 4 is a little more frank (gruff, I’d say) about marital intimacy than I think is appropriate. Multiply how the marital act is treated in that point in magnitude by 100 and you’d have the typical Cosmo article.

        However, to have a problem, ipso facto, with lists seems to be of the same sort of mind that interprets the list as a rigid set of rules that must be followed, step by step. Unless I’m mistaken, the author did not mean it to be taken that way. It is not meant to be a Summa of how to relate to your husband, but rather the sharing of a little folksy common sense that has been obscured in these rabid feminist days where even the thought of a wife serving her husband in even the smallest manner is unthinkably offensive. It shouldn’t be taken as a list of do’s or die. If your husband is not a playful boy-at-heart, and doesn’t like to be treated that way (I, as a husband, wouldn’t actually like to be treated that way either), then don’t put too much weight on that thought of Mrs. Frech’s which thought does, however, happen to be true of a whole slew of husbands, enough to make it a stereotype.

      3. Avatar

        Are you bothered by the content, or the fact that it’s in list form? I haven’t a clue what a Cosmo article would contain, but I honestly cannot think of anything to add to this list. It is utterly complete, perfect in its simplicity. A wife who treated me this way and enjoyed doing it would get 10x what she gave in return and that’s all there is to it.

        Perhaps one would have to have been deprived of everything on this list to fully appreciate its significance. If you haven’t, then I would suggest you get on your knees in profound gratitude right now. You’ve been given a tremendous gift, and it’s not to be taken lightly.

        And, for the love of Pete, how could you not want to play with your wife? If you don’t know how, you should really open up and let her teach you. You might like it.

  5. Avatar

    My husband is a diabetic who likes reading detective novels.. Absolutely none of the specific instructions you give applies to him, and baking for him is actually harmful. Let me suggest “respect each other as competent adult humans” is good advice for both spouses and quit making gendered lists, as though all men and all women are alike.

      1. Avatar

        If no one’s man wants a roast, I’ll take the roast.

        Low-carb bachelors get tired of doing all the cooking for themselves… 😉

    1. Avatar

      Lord save us from those who wish to destroy what is generally true because of the exceptions.

      Well done, Rebecca Frech!

      1. Avatar

        I notice that much of this “Lookit me, I’m an exception!” style of calling attention to oneself is so typically a female performance it even has a label, the acronym NAWALT.

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  7. Avatar

    The only thing my ex-wife did on this list was number 3, and it is the only thing on the list that I couldn’t care less about.

  8. Avatar

    At a parent meeting I once attended (I was the only man there), the wise woman presenter said, “Men only really want two things from their wives: Sex and admiration.” I guess I’d only add good food.

  9. Avatar

    Im converting to Catholicism and my bf is also a convert but he is several years ahead of me in this I didnt quite understand him and how he felt this has really helped alot thank you so much

  10. Avatar
    Monica's Daughter

    Ha. Good list. There’s another side to the last one. Men can just “not think.” That explains a lot actually. We wives expect so much from our husbands and frankly, experience and science proves that they are not capable of thinking about “us” or thinking about issues in the marriage. They are either in their work box, their hobby box, their fix it box, their sex box or their in an empty box thinking nothing at all. They literally don’t have a “wife and what she needs and what she’s thinking” box. They are not able to think outside of their own perspective. But if it’s concrete, like the car’s brakes need to be fixed, they understand that. Cut your expectations down to zero, follow the other suggestions on the list, and take all your need for communication to Jesus.

  11. Avatar

    While number 1 is very much number 1, why not marry a fellow believer than marry yoked to an unbeliever? One of the first things that attracted me to my wife was her solid faith in Jesus Christ.

  12. Avatar

    2,3,6, and 12 sound like your asking a woman to step back in time. He can bake, make the bed and “be silent” for me…and why do we need to excuse someone’s inability to say I Love You, to their significant other? I call shenanigans on you.

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