Does she want you to be strong everywhere except dealing with her? Let’s find out how men can be strong, as women prefer it … on this edition of Frank Relationships.
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LaTonia Taylor (Co-host): www.RebirthInternational.net
FRANK RELATIONSHIPS: ELLIOT KATZ, BEING THE STRONG MAN A WOMAN WANTS
Guests: Elliot Katz
Date: April 07, 2014
Frank: Does she want you to be strong everywhere except dealing with her? Or is there another strength she’s look for? Let’s find out how men can be strong as women prefer it on this edition of Frank Relationships.
Welcome to Frank Relationships where we provide a candid, fresh and frank look into relationships with goals of acceptance, respect and flexibility. I’m Frank Love and you can find me, my blog and my various social media incarnations at: franklove.com. You can also download the podcast of this and other archive shows on iTunes or with your favorite podcast app.
To my right in the studio, I have my wonderful co-host and the host of her own thing called, Juicy Spirit.
La Tonia: Yes.
Frank: She is the Rev Coach, La Tonia. What’s up?
La Tonia: What’s up?
Frank: How are you?
La Tonia: I’m doing great, grand and wonderful.
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Today’s guest is a professional speech writer and the author of seven non-fiction books, including his newest, Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants. This book was inspired by older men and fathers who were teaching young men about relationships. But it isn’t just for the guys, it’s for the ladies too and Elliott Katz is here to tell us all about it. Welcome to the show.
Elliott: Good to be here, Frank.
Frank: Are you saying in your book that machismo is a good thing?
Elliott: Not at all. Machismo, that’s the common mistake that people think machismo as being manly. They’re really opposites. Machismo guys are usually self-centered, insecure, really wants to control everything, wants to be the center of attention. That’s not being strong, that’s being insecure.
A strong man is thinking about the greater good of his family and doing what is best for his family and his relationship. It’s not always what’s best for himself. In fact, usually it’s not. It usually involves making sacrifices.
Frank: Now how can doing what’s best for your family not be best for yourself?
Elliott: Oh, easily. If you’re a parent, if you’re a father, doing what’s best for your family often means working hard. When a guy is single, never married, doesn’t have any kids, he has an easy life.
When you’re a father, it means working hard, working extra hours, working, taking on harder jobs that if you were just taking care of yourself you wouldn’t do it and it also means–all the other sacrifices that one makes, when one has children, you might think, “Oh, wouldn’t I rather be out side having a good time?” No you’ve got to go pick up your kid, you got to drive them to where they want to go, because you want them to be safe. You don’t want them to just go out on their own.
Say they’re out at night, you’ve got to go pick them up, you want them to be safe. It’s most common doing what’s not best for yourself, but what’s best for your family.
Frank: I have five children and I care for them and take care of them and all that good stuff–take them where they have to go. Of course, I have co parents, but when I do that, I feel like I’m doing it for me.
Yes, it’s for them also, but I want to see them successful in the things that they’re doing, so I’m doing it for myself. It sounds as though you disagree. Like you think that the inherent thing that I would want to be doing is going to a party or hanging out by myself or doing something else. That’s what it sounds like. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Elliott: No, that’s not correct. What I mean is, yes, when I do things for my kids, children I feel good about it and I’m doing it, because it gives me pleasure, but I’m also doing it for them. But you know, when you look back, being a parent it does involve sacrifices. It’s a lot of work. I look at people I know who never got married, boy they got a lot more money than I do, but you know what? You did the right thing, because it’s rewarding and you did what’s best for your children and it’s best for yourself. But that’s what I’m talking about. It’s really doing what’s best for your family and it’s often what’s good for yourself. It makes you a better person, but it’s not being self-centered and selfish. That’s what I’m talking about.
La Tonia: Good morning, this is La Tonia Taylor. I wonder if this is a generational reference point, because you automatically saw it a little different, Frank.
Frank: And I’m 41 and Elliott you are–if you care to share?
Elliott: I’m older than you.
Frank: Okay. Let’s just give it 10 years. How about that?
Frank: Ten years older than me?
Frank: Alright, so we’ll call it–
La Tonia: Could he be your son?
Elliott: No, no.
Frank: Yeah, stop. Are we looking at it as though–is having children and a family, the right thing? What if a person doesn’t have children and a family, does that make less right than someone who does?
Elliott: No, that’s not what I’m saying. Everybody has to make their own choices in life and if people who don’t want to have children, shouldn’t have children, because they won’t, as you know it’s a lot of sacrifice, it takes a lot of thinking about your kids and not thinking about yourself and that’s really my point. But it’s up to the person.
Getting back to your original point, is being strong being machismo, it’s not. It’s really the opposite. Being a machismo is–the guy you think of machismo is self-centered, wants to show off to everybody, that’s not being a strong man. That was really my point.
Frank: I’ve got a machismo thing going on. My wife calls me on it every once in a while and I tell her and have told her, part of the reason that I do what I do as a father, as a husband, has to do with machismo. I put together the bookshelves and I take out the trash and whatever the other things that I might do, I do that, because I feel as I-I take the cars to get worked on, I fill up the tanks with gas when I have a couple dollars and I do it, because there’s a machismo factor.
It’s what I as a man believe I should do. I’m not saying it’s what men should do, but, it’s how I see myself conducting myself as, I guess, the best way to say it is, optimal–is who I feel I should conduct myself and I don’t have a problem.
I tell her, I don’t have a problem with you seeing me as macho, because that’s how you get a lot of the things out of me that you get out of me that you want. But what comes with that also is, yeah you might get something that you don’t want. I mean, just like when you’re being passive, it’s a double-sided coin either way you slice it, either way you look at it. Talk to me, Elliott.
Elliott: Frank, I think what you’re talking about is very interesting, because actually there’s a chapter in my book about this. The difference between be manly and being machismo and the things you described to me are not machismo. Taking responsibility for taking the cars in to be repaired, taking out the garbage, doing these things, that’s what a man should do. That’s a man who’s taking responsibility for his family, who-the word manly and machismo are really opposite.
Manliness is like the qualities of a man who’s mature, self-confident, takes responsibility, has integrity, good morals. The activities that you described are really what manliness is.
Machismo, if you look it up in the dictionary, it’s really the showy, self-centered guy who wants to be the center of attention. What you’re describing to me are what a manly man does. He takes responsibility, sees there are things that needs to be done. In the home you say you take the cars to be fixed, I’m sure your wife will tell you, that she likes a guy who sees there are things that need to be done and just goes and does them, doesn’t wait for his wife to tell him everything that needs to be done.
In fact, that’s one of the biggest complaints that I hear women say that, “You know, my husband just sits around oblivious to what’s going on in our home and I have to tell him everything to do. And he’s waiting for me to tell him what to do.” And the guys, they think this is a good thing. They think, “The woman runs the home. The home is the woman’s domain, whatever she tells me to do, I do it as though I’m a great guy. How come she’s so fed up and frustrated and angry at me?” You’re doing the right thing. You’re being a manly man who’s strong, shows leadership, that things need to be done–
La Tonia: Elliott–
Elliott: I’m doing it.
La Tonia: I feel like a fly on the wall a little bit here to kind of eavesdrop on two men discussing manhood, so I might be a little quiet, because I kind of want you all to spill the beans.
Frank: You want us to go at it?
La Tonia: I really do but I do see the relevance, because I have a program where I specialize in teaching women about the goddess energy.
Frank: The chicks side?
La Tonia: Yeah, but the the deeper side of womanhood and so, it’s really interesting, because it’s great to hear men talk about teaching men how to be men and it’s an assumption that all men know this. I think that, that also could be a difference here or maybe a commonality that you all have.
Frank: Alright, well we’re going to find out. We’re going–
Elliott: La Tonia, let me just tell you this, the assumption that men know what we’re talking about, that they–
La Tonia: There’s an assumption from women oftentimes that men know how to be men and I can tell you as a woman, that we do get into relationships with men who don’t know, because they haven’t had a model. They don’t know what it looks like to take a leadership role. I think that would be a better word than machismo.
Elliott: Absolutely, absolutely, but that’s the word I use in my book, that it’s men’s job to show leadership at home and the woman is very frustrated when he shows no leadership. One thing I emphasize is I’m not talking about men making all the decisions, I’m talking about men can make no decisions.
La Tonia: Guess what? And when we have a man that is a leader, I often have to learn myself and share with my tribe, how to fall back.
Frank: Your tribe, meaning your children?
La Tonia: My tribe of sisters.
Frank: Oh my gracious, the–
La Tonia: You have a tribe.
La Tonia: Frank, Frank–
Frank: I got a tribe. I got five kids, so I–
La Tonia: Frank Relationships is a tribe, sir.
Frank: Alright, okay. Alright, alright. But the sister girls and the girlfriends, the “Sex in the City” buddies.
La Tonia: Yeah, that’s a tribe.
Frank: That’s a tribe?
La Tonia: It’s just a sub-tribe.
La Tonia: Of the tribe.
Frank: Alright. I want to play with machismo a little more. I think machismo is just thumping your chest about something. That’s what I really think it is. Some people thump their chest about the amount of money they have in the bank, some people thump their chest about taking care of the kids, some people thump their chest about being a good mechanic, these are all chest thumping opportunities that I believe go hand-in-hand with machismo and possibly, it could also be leadership. But that’s where the conversation as far as I’m concerned, gets interesting, because who gets to say and why would you say? And I’m punting that to you, Elliott.
Elliott: I think what you’re describing is when a man does something, men like to be recognized. Men like to when they do something good, they do something positive, they like to be recognized. Men really need it. I think women need it too. I’m not sure, but I know men definitely want to be recognized. Whatever you did, you succeeded in business you made a whole bunch of money and he wants people to acknowledge it. It makes him feel good. I don’t know if that’s really machismo, but yeah, that’s part of being a man.
But when you’re in a relationship as a spouse or as a father, yes, it’s nice when you have a wife who’s always saying, “Oh yeah, that was great, you did great.” Every man wants that, but there’s more than that and showing leadership and making decisions and taking responsibility for what’s going on in your home. If you want to be recognized for that, if you have a need for that, okay, that’s fine, but just make sure you’re doing it.
Frank: Who determines whether an action is-well, actually before we get to that, why make the determination, whether an act is macho or its leadership? What is the point in making the distinction?
Elliott: I think there’s a big difference and when you’re showing leadership, it’s like I said, you’re thinking about the greater good of your family, you’re aware of what’s going. Some of the macho is generally, insecure, maybe he’s controlling. A controlling person, they’re really insecure, they’re just doing what’s best for themselves. And macho, , if you’re doing something good, but you’re doing it because you want to be acknowledged by people, that “Oh yeah, you did that good thing, okay well, at least you did the good thing.” You need to be recognized, okay, but get over it. It won’t go on forever. The first couple of times your wife can acknowledge you, you did great, but get over it.
Frank: Jeff, my engineer. Hello, Jeff. Good morning.
Jeff: Good morning.
Frank: He’s got something to say. Let’s hear it.
Jeff: Just a quick observation and this comes with many years of experience. I’m a lot older than Frank as well. When I think machismo, I think macho, I think of guys who try to overcompensate with either attitude or physical attributes, the gym rats. Is that in fact, a defense mechanism perhaps for people being insecure or having low self-esteem and a way for them to compensate for that, because it does give them a better feeling or better self-worth? Have you come across that in your years?
Elliott: I think what you’re saying is true, but that feeling of-it’s ego right. You feel this great muscular body and people are saying oh wow, that’s great, but you get that good feeling, but your ego is insatiable. You constantly need to be reassured, “Oh, you did good, you did good. You look great.” If you need it, fine, but it’s not healthy.
If you’re a husband and a father, your job is to show leadership and to guide your family and to encourage your children to go in the right direction.. You don’t do it so that people say, “Oh yeah, you’re great. Look what he did.” You’ve got to move beyond wanting to be the center of attention and having people telling you that you’re great.
It’s realizing there are right things to do, even if people don’t see what you’re doing, you’re doing the right thing for your kids and that’s the most important thing.
La Tonia: I would imagine to all of the men in the room and on the phone, that to be machismo is a lot of pressure, because when you come from an ego point of view, then when you fall short, you’re equating your manhood with what you do, instead of who you are.
Elliott: Exactly, exactly. If you always need your ego to be stroked–
La Tonia: See, you say exactly, Elliott and I’m looking at Frank and I’m looking at Jeff and trying to see if they’re in the “amen” corner.
Frank: Okay, we’ve got four people here. Who out of this crew watches “House of Cards” or has watched it? We got Jeff.
La Tonia: No, sir.
Jeff: Great show.
Frank: How about you Elliott?
Elliott: No, I don’t.
Frank: Okay, “Frank Underwood.” Have you seen the whole second season, Jeff?
Jeff: I have not. I’m halfway through it.
Frank: Halfway through it. Well, you know he’s done some rough stuff. You don’t know exactly where it goes, but, it would be easy to say, he’s a macho guy. I mean, the things he does, they are about him and getting to the top. Now, but we look at him–if you’re halfway through the season, have never seen it, we’ll just call him a congressman. He’s a congressman, a powerful congressman–actually at the end of the first season, he’s more than that, but maybe some of you all don’t even know that. So, instead of being a spoiler, we’ll call him a powerful congressman but he’s very, very macho. I mean, this guy–but it’s not macho, it’s not a gym rat.
Jeff: He’s gangster.
Frank: He’s a gangster, absolutely. Gangsters are macho.
La Tonia: I don’t think so. There’s–
Frank: How could they not be? It’s all about–
La Tonia: Because a real gangster, they’re not trying necessarily advertise that.
Frank: That doesn’t make it less macho. Just because you’re playing chess doesn’t me you’re not egotistical and macho. Jeff, you got something on that?
Jeff: I mean, you can use a word like “narcissistic.”
La Tonia: Yeah, how about that?
Jeff: Which is another element of this whole thing, because it evolves as you become older. I was personally accused of being conceited and arrogant and narcissistic.
La Tonia: Because you’re cute.
Jeff: No, well, that may have had something to do with it. Thank you very much. No, but it had nothing to do with the way I treated other people. It had to do with perception. I was one of those gym rats at one point. I decided to turn the fat into muscle. It had nothing to do with low self-esteem. It was just a health thing. It was smart for me, but because of that, I was accused of, “Oh, look at that guy who think he’s macho,” and I never did. It had nothing to do with attitude. However, it evolves. I became an adult. I became a parent.
La Tonia: Right.
Jeff: I became a neighbor. I became a coach for kids, all of that stuff.
La Tonia: You were getting your acknowledgement.
Jeff: Which may have satisfied part of the ego and continues to, but for our guest, is there a system of evolving where part of this machismo or attitude or mindset can be healthy for family life?
Elliott: That’s an interesting question. I think if a person is doing things and is driven by their ego, but as long as they’re doing the right thing, then hopefully it will lead to that person doing the right thing and not having to need his ego stroked every time he does the right thing. But I think we’re moving away from really the most important point and that’s really the reason I wrote the book, is because there’s a lot of divorces and Frank wrote a book about-as said in the intro, a lot of relationships end and what I found is this is really an underlying cause of a lot of break-ups in relationships.
A lot of men think, “I’m being this nice guy. I’m non-controlling, I try every thing I can do to please this woman and yet, she’s so fed up and frustrated with me and I don’t understand why. And she’s breaking off with me and I thought I’m being the greatest boyfriend or husband,” because so many men don’t realize that women are looking to them as leaders.
I’ve spoken to a lot of people in researching this book and so many single women will say the same story that a guy asked them to go out, just for a cup of coffee, he can’t even propose a plan to go. I’ll ask her out, “Where would you like to go, what time should I pick you up?” He asked her out and he’s expecting her to plan everything and to the woman, he thinks, “Oh, I’m showing I’m such a nice guy, I’m non-controlling,” and to the woman, she says, “This guy can’t make a simple decision. We get married, have children, there’s lots of problems, lots of challenges, a lot of things that have to be dealt with and this guy can’t even choose a place to go for a cup of coffee.”
La Tonia: I confess as a woman that is a huge turn-off and I actually was in a relationship like that and I had to make a decision, because I kept telling myself, “Oh he’s such a good guy, he’s so nice,” but I knew that I did not want to spend the rest of my life planning the vacations, I didn’t want to be the one introducing him to new food and culture, to be the one reading books and having conversations with people that really turn my light grid on as a woman. That was a turn-on for me. It was intellectual intercourse.
Frank: And it wasn’t him.
La Tonia: It was foreplay and it wasn’t him. And honestly, as a woman that would make me look at every other man that had that trait when mine didn’t. Being a nice guy wasn’t enough. Just being nice, just being a provider wasn’t enough. For me, just because of my personality. Now, there are some people who don’t need to be engaged in that way. There’s somebody for everybody. You know the though people say that.
Frank: Give us a snippet of your personality.
La Tonia: Well, mine, I just kind of described it. I’m a foodie, I like different foods. If there’s something I want, I find out how I’m going to get it. I’m not passive about finding out information on anything. He was. Even though he came–check this out. He came from a family where his father was a leader. His father was the community man. He grew up in poverty, so he really didn’t know how to take care of a house. I did. I had been married before and been with a man who knew how to take care of a home. So that meant, I had to look as a woman and say, “I can’t teach this man this.”
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You’re listening to Frank Relationships. We’re talking with Elliott Katz, author of seven non-fiction books including his newest, Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants, which challenges men to take the lead in their relationships. Elliott, how can I get in touch with you and find your book?
Elliot: The book’s available on Amazon.com as a paperback and an e-book and it’s also an e-book.com on Kobo.com and you can get it in bookstores and if you go into the store and they’re sold out, just as them to order it and they’ll get it to you pretty quickly. Now, people want to go to my website, it’s awardpress.com and you can email me through that website or from my direct email. It’s email@example.com
Frank: That’s your email address?
Frank: Okay. Why do you think men shy away from leadership in relationships?
Elliott: It’s a challenge. First of all, a lot of men today did not grow up with strong male role models. So many boys, they grew up in families such as divorce or their fathers worked long hours and they’re really raised by their mothers. Then, they go to school and most of the teachers are women, then they watch television and men are portrayed as imcompetent buffoons that need to be rescued by women. So, where does the young man today learn what it means to be a strong man? There are no strong male role models out there to teach these young men, because that was traditionally. Traditionally a young man learned it from his father or a other older male role model.
He comes up today and I talk to so many men and they’ll say, oh they never heard this before, they’ve never been told this before. They just thought, “We’ll just do what the woman wants, she should be happy.” [They kind of learn somewhat, it’s] 28:28 not working and the reason is because a woman really wants a man to show leadership to make decisions, to take responsibility.
She doesn’t want somebody who’s a controlling tyrant, but she doesn’t want someone who is so passive and oblivious and whenever there’s a problem just waits for his wife to tell him what to do. I’ve talked to a lot of divorced people, men and women and women will say, “If my husband had read this book and implemented these insights, we wouldn’t be divorced.” I’ve had divorced men say the same thing. “If I had read this book, and I knew this, I wouldn’t be divorced today.”
La Tonia: So, what are the three things a man needs to be successful in a relationship?
Elliott: Most important thing is show leadership. It’s not about being controlling, but when you see a problem that needs to be dealt with, step forward, find a solution, implement it, make decisions. There are a lot of decisions that need to be made in a marriage and a lot of them aren’t important decisions, but they need to be made.
The most frustrating thing is, you’re going out to dinner, “Where would you like to go? Would you like to go to restaurant A or restaurant B?” The woman really wants to you have taken the time to think about what would you both enjoy doing.
La Tonia: And number two?
Elliott: Making decisions. That’s it. Make decisions. Don’t just keep asking your wife to make all the decisions. That’s number two. Take responsibility. Don’t blame your wife. If your wife pushes you to do something and you give in and you know it’s wrong and it turns out wrong, just like you thought it would, don’t blame her. You are responsible for what goes on in your home and if you see something wrong, you have to put an end to it. And people today as much as we believe in gender equality, people today expect the man to be responsible for what goes on in his home and when you meet so many guys like today, like I do, blaming their wives, blaming their ex-wives for what went on and nobody has any sympathy for them, because they look at them and they say, “You’re the man why did you let it go on?”
La Tonia: What about sex, because do you talk about that in any chapter in your book?
Elliott: Not really, no I don’t talk about sex. I think sex, as far as I see, people are working things out about sex pretty well. I don’t know. You think it’s a problem, La Tonia?
La Tonia: No, really. Let me tell you. See, you had a prefect segue when you–
Frank: Opened the door.
La Tonia: This is my favorite topic, Elliott. There are a lot of men who say that they step out, because of the woman wasn’t giving it up enough or they say that she got lazy, so when you talk about blame, you hear that kind of blame even when you talk about sex in marriage, a long term partner. You mean you haven’t heard that, Elliott?
Elliott: You know what? I’ve met a lot of divorced people, a lot and I’ve never heard one divorce person say, “The problem in our marriage is sex,” really.
La Tonia: Wow.
Elliott: I’ve never heard that. It’s usually about money. It’s usually about–
La Tonia: Sex?
Elliott: One person wouldn’t get a job. One person was working hard. I have to work at two jobs, because the other person wouldn’t get a job. That’s a very common one, believe me.
Frank: I think La Tonia’s saying that, that job conversation is about sex. Am I correct?
La Tonia: No.
La Tonia: I literally have read statistics that say money and sex. Usually communication-now of course all three, money, sex, communication usually have other issues underneath it. I am not trivializing the reasons that people do break-up and that type of thing. But usually even–because sex is a communication–
La Tonia: As well. So, I’m really shocked that that didn’t come up, because me think about sex all the time, Elliott.
Elliott: That’s right. No, I know that, but you know La Tonia, I think really principle leadership applies in sex as well. If your wife–
La Tonia: Tell me how. Tell me how.
Elliott: I’ll tell you how, because really, it’s the same situation, if your spouse isn’t doing what you want, whether it’s in the home or in the bedroom, then what do you, as a man have to do to inspire and motivate her to want to.
La Tonia: Yes. That’s turn-on language. Keep talking.
Elliott: That’s right. No, exactly. I’m not a sex therapist, but it’s like anything else. If you want your wife to be more supportive to you in anything, what do you have to do to make her feel valued, to make her feel appreciated, to make her feel cherished.
La Tonia: Talk, Yes, Elliott. Talk that talk. That’s exactly–
Elliott: That’s it. That’s part of being a leader. It’s like, what does a woman want? A woman wants to be cherished and loved and she wants you to say it. Marrying her was the best thing you ever did in your life.
La Tonia: Yes. Alright. You are alright with me.
Frank: Oh, boy.
Elliott: If she is showing her displeasure with him by not wanting to have sex with him or whatever, then he’s got to say, “Well, what do I have to change about myself?”
Frank: What if he doesn’t want to have sex with her?
La Tonia: Oh, pregnant pause.
Elliott: I guess it’s the same thing, if she has to look at herself and say, ‘Well-” if you’re trying to change the other person’s behavior, you have to say, “What do I have to change about myself,” so the other person responds to me in the way I want them to respond. People like I said, I’ve talked to a lot of divorced people, they say, “We went to this marriage counselor, the marriage counselor agreed with me, that I was right and the other person was wrong.” But I said, “So what?”
Elliott: “You’re still divorced. So what?”
La Tonia: Right.
Frank: You’re still miserable.
Elliott: That’s what they think, it’s a debate. Like the counselors the judge and is going to say who’s right and who’s wrong. It means nothing. You have to look at yourself, “How do I have to change?” I’m not here to tell women how they have to change, because it doesn’t matter, they’re not going to listen to me.
La Tonia: Oh, I think I’m in love. I think I’m in love, because there’s far too many men writing books to women about what they need to do. Oh my God, it’s my pet peeve, so I love your spirit and your attitude about it. I want more men like you. Write books to men. Men talk to men.
La Tonia: Men teach men how to be men, not us. Come on with it. I see you coming.
Jeff: Don’t women want to know what men think?
La Tonia: Sometimes we want to know what men think, but we don’t necessarily want a man to tell us how to be women.
Jeff: I don’t think that’s what those books are.
La Tonia: No, I’m telling you there are.
La Tonia: I don’t want to call certain names.
Frank: I mean is that what you’re saying about Steve Harvey?
La Tonia: Yeah, basically.
La Tonia: I’m not just talking about Steve Harvey. I’m talking about there’s a guy out now named, Trent who has–the women love him. They suck it up.
Frank: Well, they love him, so why you mad?
La Tonia: Because, well that’s where I come in. That’s where I come in, because women don’t understand that they can learn from other women how to tap into a certain part of themselves. In my program we’re not trying to tell them about how to keep a man. We tell them how to keep themselves, how to nourish themselves so that they are good for a relationship or a man.
La Tonia: Yeah.
Frank: Elliott, my wife asks me almost everyday, what I want for dinner and almost everyday I say, “I could care less. I eat what’s on my plate.” Now, that answer does not ever satisfy her. She is never pleased with that answer and that could fall under the category of what you’re saying in terms of not making a decision.
La Tonia: Nope.
Elliott: Right, right, right. Frank, I’m glad you brought up that example, because that’s an example I always bring up. Your wife calls you at work, “What would you like for supper tonight,” and you say, “Why is she bothering me at work, I’m so busy.” “Anything you make will be great. You’re a great cook. I love everything you make,” and you think, “Why isn’t she happy,” because she wants you to make a decision and just going back to what I said earlier, the decisions that have to be made, a lot of them aren’t that important, they’re not earth shattering, but the decision has to be made.
So, she’s called you and asked you to make the decision, because she wants you to decide. It will make her feel better if you decide. So make the decision. It’s not hard.
La Tonia: Well, I also–I said “nope” and I love your answer, but also as a woman, she probably wants to please you and it gives her some satisfaction knowing I’m about to cook something that he wants.
Frank: I’m pleased. You put–
La Tonia: Do you express that?
Frank: Yes. I mean, you put a meal in front of me and we are friends.
La Tonia: So, you’re very pleasible man?
Frank: On some levels, yes. In some ways.
La Tonia: Okay.
Frank: But what it is, is not that important to me.
La Tonia: Well, okay. I agree with, Elliott. She just wants you to make a decision.
Elliott: Just make the decision, Frank. Just make it. It’s not a difficult decision. Just make it.
Frank: Okay, alright. Give me some chicken and vegetables. Should I say that everyday?
La Tonia: No, Frank.
Frank: Chicken and vegetables.
Elliott: Does give you a choice? Does she give you a choice? You say do you want chicken or fish or lasagna?
Frank: No, maybe if I don’t give a direct answer to begin with, she may give a couple options, but I’ll do that. I’ll say give me some chicken and vegetables everyday. That might be my answer. Would that satisfy everybody? Would that satisfy what you’re saying Elliott. I don’t know if it’s going to satisfy her, I’ll say it and see how she feels about it.
Elliott: At some point aren’t you going to get tired of it?
La Tonia: Right.
Frank: Well, she’s not going to make chicken and vegetables everyday. I know that.
La Tonia: She knows your favorite things?
Frank: Yeah, absolutely.
La Tonia: Okay, well.
Frank: My very favorite thing is her lamb chops. Goodnight. You hear that, babe? Your lamb chops. Yes. Whenever, you’re ready.
La Tonia: It’s on and poppin’.
Frank: It’s on and poppin’.
La Tonia: Alright.
Frank: Alright, you mentioned a little while ago Elliott, tradition. I’m going to put another TV show out there. Anybody watched the show, “True Detective” on HBO?
La Tonia: No, these are guy shows.
Frank: It’s a very interesting, in some ways dark detective show. But these guys, they’re so different and opposite, but they have some powerful conversations. It’s almost like an episode of Frank Relationships in many ways when guys are talking. I really feel that way.
Jeff: Woody Harrelson plays La Tonia.
Frank: Yes, yes, yes.
La Tonia: Really?
Frank: Seriously, yes.
La Tonia: Woody Harrelson plays me? A man plays me. Now, I’m interested.
Frank: The other guy, Matthew McConaughey, he plays more so me. Seriously. Really just questioning things, questioning the basic rules that people have adopted. It’s a very interesting show.
Anyway, one of the things that was said on the show at one point about tradition was, “If things were so great in the past, they wouldn’t have changed.” You mentioned tradition and as it pertains to men and how they were traditionally raised, apparently back in the day, years ago. I don’t know if that’s really true. It may not have been measured as well back then, but there were probably as many whatever different categories of men then as there are now. Can you weigh-in and talk to us about that, Elliott?
Elliott: I’m not one who’s says, “Oh, things are perfect in the past and we have to go back to the way things were in the past,” but I think one of the big changes is in the past 50 years especially is that young men don’t get exposed to male role models to learn about how to be a man. I’m not saying things were perfect, but I think that knowledge, that learning, that role model has been lost and I don’t think it was an intended change. I don’t think people realized what was happening until we look back and say “Hey, yeah, so many boys today really are unsure what their role is in being a man is.”
Like I say, I’m someone saying, “Yes, everything was perfect in the past,” but definitely that’s something that has changed. And I don’t it’s a positive change. And you see how people have responded to it, you see people making an effort. Schools are making an effort to hire more male teachers, so that there will be more male role models for kids.
La Tonia: As far as tradition is concerned, does your book address any of your conversations with men address when a man can’t play that traditional role? For instance, a health crisis or an injury that can interrupt how money comes in and how he may even be able to do certain things physically.
Elliott: That’s true, but I think today we’re so focused that we think the most important job a father does at home is being a provider. Yes, it’s important to have money. You’ve got to live, you’ve got to eat, you’ve got a roof over your head, but when a man isn’t able to work, let’s say he’s in an accident, unable to work, does that mean he has no purpose? I think that’s what’ happened, but still, a father in a home still has a job to teach his children to guide them, to encourage them.
When you think about it, father’s day, you often hear people talking about their fathers. They don’t talk about how much money he made, they don’t talk about what kind of car he drove. They talk about, “What I learned from my father. This is what he taught me.” Even if a father can work and bring in money, his job is to teach his children about life.
La Tonia: I think women need to also hear that.
Elliott: Oh, absolutely, absolutely.
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You’re listening to Frank Relationships. We’re talking with Elliott Katz, author of seven non-fiction books including his newest, Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants, which challenges men to take the lead in their relationships. Elliott, how can I get in touch with you and find your book?
Elliott: The book’s available on Amazon.com as a paperback and an e-book and it’s also an e-book on kobo.com. It’s also available in bookstores and if the bookstore that you go to is sold out, just as them and they’ll order it and they’ll get it to you pretty quickly. And you can contact me through my website awardpress.com or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frank: What’s your advice to women on relinquishing responsibility?
Elliott: It’s an interesting question the way you put it. I don’t think relinquishing responsibility, but it’s about nurturing and encouraging your husband or your man to start showing leadership. Because a lot of men, they think they’re playing it safe. They let the woman decide then they can’t get blamed for making a bad decision and they don’t get it.
The first important thing, when a man ask you to make a decision, don’t make that decision. If he says, you want to go to restaurant A or restaurant B–
La Tonia: Say that again, please, because oh, that’s such an ancient art. Please, please say it again. If a man asks you to make a decision–
Elliott: If a man asks you to make a decision, don’t say anything. If he says to you, “Do you want to go to restaurant A or restaurant B,” just say, you decide and then don’t say another word. And let him decide and unless he wants to take you to a fish restaurant and you have an anaphylactic reaction to the smell of fish, just go along and say, “Yeah, this is a great choice. Thank you for choosing the restaurant. You made a great decision,” because you want to encourage him, right?
La Tonia: I learned that a long time ago in a womanhood training class from elders. I learned that from elders, even to the point of when a woman has been nagging, making sure the bills get paid and things like that, because what happens is, it sends her into a very masculine place and over time men say that they resent it. But there is a way for us to tap into our own femininity by doing just that.
That’s for the ladies that’s listening to Frank Love and then you all got to tweet this when you listen to this show, you got to tweet this. This is a secret that sometimes you only get in workshops. Thank you so much, Elliott.
Elliott: Okay, another thing is, let’s say there is a problem that needs to be dealt with, with your kids or something. Just say, “Could you handle that situation,” and then when he says, “What should I do?” Just say, “You’ll just do research and find it out. That’s what I do.”
When you think nowadays with the internet, you can ask it any question and it’ll give you the answer, do the research–that’s what I do–and find the solution. Unless he’s doing something dangerous or damaging, just let him do it his way and then again, praise him. “Thank you for taking care of that. It was really good,” because you’re just trying to encourage that behavior. Because men will say, “Oh, I tried to show leadership and she criticized what I did and she complained, so I just gave up. I just withdrew, we’ll just do it her way, it’s easier,” and then women resent that as well.
Just let him do it. He’ll do it his way, unless it’s really dangerous. Just let him do it his way and say, “Hey, you did a great job. I appreciate what you did.” Everybody wants to feel appreciated and valued, so give him that feedback as well.
Frank: So, a big part in that process is her either shutting up or her saying, “Thank you. You did a good job.”
Elliott: Frank, that’s a good question. I appreciate that question, because I tell men, I say that’s what women should do, but then I tell men, “Don’t tell your wife, oh this is what you have to do. I’ll be a leader.” No way, that’s copping out.
La Tonia: And it shuts down her voice.
Frank: Got it.
Elliott: It’s copping out. No, don’t wait for her to do anything. People ask, “Well, I’ve been married five years, 10 years and she makes all the decisions, how can I be a leader?”
First thing, is when she makes a decision, don’t undermine her. “Don’t say, oh no, we’re not doing that. We’re going to do the complete opposite. I’ll show you I’m the leader.” That’s stupid. That’s causing conflict. It’s undermining her. No, you look for situations that need to be dealt with, that are not being dealt with.
Step forward, find a solution, implement it. At first she might get shocked, like she’s not used to this, but just keep doing that and you’ll be her hero, because that is what she wants.
La Tonia: That’s true.
Frank: My children ask me regularly for something. “Daddy, can I have some juice,” and this is if my wife is home. “Can I have some juice, can I have a snack,” and my answer is often, “Ask your mother,” and the reason I say that is, because she might have told them something different and she’s also got her own rules about things. We got a rule in the house that goes, “water before juice.” You can have as much juice as you drink water. You drink one cup of water, you can have a cup of juice.
La Tonia: I have rules like that when I have my bonus kids.
Frank: Okay, I’m not quite up on the rules and so I, “Ask your mother,” and I’m good with that. Is that a problem?
Elliott: It just depends. I would suggest talk to her in advance and say, “Let’s be consistent on this situation, because too often, if you send the kid to your mother, it’s like you’re avoiding making the decision.” You’ve got to decide on those situations, but I would talk to her. How do we want to handle these situations, because really, again, you’re saying, “Your mother will make all the decisions.” It just depends. It really depends. If a father always saying, “Oh, let your mother decide, go ask your mother,” to everything and then that’s not good. But if you’re saying, “Well, for this situation, your mother will decide, but these other situations, I make the decisions,” well, then that’s healthier.
La Tonia: I know I pass on to my significant other all the time when I don’t want to be the heavy, I’ll confess. When I want someone to come in and be the heavy arm and weight, I’m like, “Well, let’s ask your daddy,” particularly when they won’t eat.
Frank: I don’t have any problem being the heavy. My son walks around talking about, “my dad’s mean” sometimes. Other times he walks around, “my dad’s the greatest.” I don’t have a problem being the heavy. That’s not the reason I pass.
La Tonia: He’s good too.
Frank: What if a woman wants to make all the decisions and her man’s comfortable with her making them. I’m one of those people that believes a relationship’s successful if it works for both people. If she wants to make them, he’s fine with her making them, what’s the problem? And there are relationships like that.
La Tonia: There are.
Elliott: That’s a good question and I think that a lot of people start off that way. I remember, I met a guy who was getting married and I said to him–I didn’t know him. I said, “Well, I’ll give you one piece of advice, just remember you’re the man.” And he said, “Oh no, I let her decide. It works better that way,” and I think that you might start off that way and the woman might think, “Oh, what a great guy. He does whatever I want,” but ultimately, I think she will get very frustrated with him and very fed up. At first, she might think it’s great. There may be situations where she wants him to be a man and he’s just, “Oh, you decide, you decide, you decide. Whatever you want.” She may get very frustrated. I would expect that will happen.
Frank: Do you have a take-away message for me? Frank, if there’s one thing I want you to know, it’s this.
Elliott: I think the most important thing for men to realize is that a woman really wants them to be the leader at home, not a controlling tyrant. She really wants him to be the man of the house.
La Tonia: Yes.
Elliott: She wants him to act like a man and be a leader.
La Tonia: Yes.
Elliott: And not leave everything to her. She wants it. Don’t feel you’re encroaching on her, like you’re trying to control her. Don’t try to control her, but she wants a man who can step forward when there’s a situation and say, “Here, this is what I think you got to do in this situation.” She loves it. Just think if your car broke down on the highway and you turn to your wife, “Well, what should we do?” She’d be pretty frustrated. But if you step forward like, “This is what we got to do. We’ve got to call the auto club,” this and that. “I’ve got everything under control.” She’ll say, “Wow. What a great guy. What a strong man who can take charge.”
Frank: Very nice. You’re listening to Frank Relationships and we’ve been talking with Elliott Katz, author of seven books including his newest, Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants, which challenges men to take the lead in their relationships. Elliott, last time how can I get in touch with you and find your book?
Elliott: Okay, the book’s available on Amazon.com as a paperback and an e-book and it’s also an e-book on kobo.com and you can get it in bookstores and if they are sold out, just ask them and they’ll order it for you and you can go to my website awardpress.com and you can email me to the website or my direct email is email@example.com. And the full title of the book, Being a Strong Man that a Woman Wants: Timeless Wisdom on Being a Man.
Frank: Very nice. Along today’s journey, we’ve discussed three things for men to do to be successful in a relationship, sacrifice–we didn’t really get into the sacrifice conversation like I really liked to, but you know, that’s cool–and tradition. I hope you’ve had as much fun as learning about what a man needs to do and be to be successful in a relationship.
As always, it’s my wish for you to walk away from this conversation with a heaping helping of useful information that’ll help you create a relationship that’s as loving and accepting as possible. Let us know what you thought of today’s show at facebook.com/relationshipflove, on Twitter @mrfranklove or franklove.com.
On behalf of my producer, Phileta Legette, my engineer, Jeff Newman and my co host, La Tonia Taylor, keep rising. This is Frank Love.
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