By Alice Badler

Remember the beginning of your relationship? It probably went something like this:

You would talk for hours about your lives and your dreams. He would take you to fun places where you would laugh and gently touch each other feeling such joy. You pained over your outfits to show yourself at your best. He would text you for no other reason than because he was thinking about you. You delighted in cooking together. You both found the others little eccentricities adorable. You put down the toilet seat without a thought. He put the cap back on the toothpaste tube without scolding. He thought you were stunning. You thought he was brilliant. You could not wait to see each other.

As time passed and you got comfortable with each other, he was too busy to have long conversations. The two of you spent more time on the couch in silence then out in the world. You were doing all the cooking while he was watching sports. He got upset when he found your hair in the bathroom sink. You got upset when he left his socks on the floor. Soon little arguments flared up over nothing at all and everything. He stopped telling you how beautiful you looked, you stopped flirting with him. What happened?

It is common to take each other for granted once we know the other is ours. We forget all the wonderful things we love about that person and tend to concentrate more on the things that annoy us.  The thrill of new love seems to fade away. The courtship is officially over.

If we use “Courting Behaviors” throughout our relationship there in no reason those joyful feelings cannot continue. Courting Behaviors are just what they imply. We treat each other in the same way as we did while we were first dating. We behave as we did that had each other fall in the first place.

We, the women, can take the necessary steps to treat our men in such a way so they will court us in return.

First and foremost, we must have a life outside of the relationship. The man cannot and should not be all things to us. Many women give up most of their hobbies and friends during that courtship phase. Men find us valuable and exciting when we are busy in the world. They find our confidence ever so appealing. Men also start to feel suffocated when we need too much from them.

Equally important; we cannot get lazy about our looks. Men are very visual beings. Part of why they became so smitten with us in the first place was because we always looked so good for them. It is even more important to take care of ourselves after we have that lovely man in our lives than before we got him. Beyond the obvious (he loves the way you look) it shows we care enough about him to want to please him and continue to capture his attention. It also shows we are still sexually attracted to him; this is so important for men. And when you take care of yourself and look your best, he will too.

Another vital Courting Behavior is to listen to what your man is telling you. Be excited about his accomplishments. Let him talk through that problem at work. Cheer for his favorite sports team. Be his strongest advocate.  You listened intently to every word he said during the courtship stage – keep that up. HEAR HIM!

And we all tend to get neglectful with our actions, which leads to nagging.

NO NAGGING! Everyone stops listening when voices get raised. We have to find creative ways to let men know what our needs are. For example: after you have cooked a nice meal for the two of you, you might mention if he would clean up you can relax and then will be ready for a mad make-out session when he is done. You could also suggest if he is wiling to share the chores, you would give him a nice back rub once a week. If you love flowers, go buy some. While you are putting them in the vase, tell him how desirable and loved you would feel if he brought them home once in awhile for no reason at all. I told my boyfriend how much I would appreciate a beautiful kiss from him when he first walked in the door. Easy enough, yes? It sets the stage immediately for a loving tone for the evening.  You get the idea.

Praise him when he pleases you and let it go when he does something you find bothersome. We must remember that men have a different thought process than we do and are often distracted. He may feel overwhelmed and tired – it is not personal. This is very important, so I am going to repeat it: It is not personal! I love the following quote, “A wise woman puts a grain of sugar into everything she says to her man, and takes a grain of salt with everything he says to her.”

We all have some habits, which are not so endearing to our mates. These must be discussed in a relaxed fashion. Listen to what bothers him with an open mind, tell him what bothers you (without making him wrong) and make some trade-offs. Let him know, sweetly, you both need to show each other how special you find the other. You each need to care enough about the other to make concessions. Keep this conversation short. Men do not love these conversations. Your actions will speak for themselves. Soon he will be picking up his socks and you will remember to clean the sink before you leave the bathroom.

If you continue to fill his needs and desires, he will react in kind. Maybe text him during the day with something a little saucy that will have him think of you with a smile on his face. Pick up his favorite dessert every now and then. Put a note in his shirt pocket when he goes to work. When he sees or mentions something he likes, write it down. Imagine his delight when he gets his next gift. People tend to emulate the behavior of the person they are with. If we take care to pay attention to our partners needs, they will feel good about us and reciprocate.

Our relationship should be the soft spot in our life. If it is our job, as the women to make that happen, it is worth the small effort.

Courting Behaviors really comes down to this simple fact. When we treat our relationship as if we are still in that courtship phase, when we look at our man and see how wonderful he is and how lucky we are to have found him we will do all the right things to keep him chasing us.

I am reminded of a story someone once told me.

A man wants to leave his wife; he has grown tired and bored with the relationship. He doesn’t want to hurt her feelings so he asked his therapist how he might best go about telling her. His therapist suggested for one month he should treat her as if she was the most amazing and special woman who ever lived. Then when he leaves, at least she will feel good about herself. After the month passed, the mans therapist asked him when he planned to tell his wife he was leaving. The man responded with, “Why on earth would I want to leave her. She is so amazing and special.”

And there you have it.

So let the Courtship begin again and again and again!

Alice Badler was born and bred in New York. She has had a
few careers but one thing that has remained consistent throughout is her love
of learning about the “human condition” and writing about it.

Alice is an author and columnist. Her latest project is her weekly
online dating/relationship column, Much Ado About Dating. You can read it at
alicebadler.net.

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