How to Handle Different Priorities in a Relationship

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Way Of The Superior Man" by David Deida. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What do you do when you and your significant other have different priorities and goals in life? How do masculine and feminine priorities tend to differ in a relationship?

It’s perfectly normal to have different life goals and relationship priorities, in fact, it would be stranger if two partners had the exact same priorities. In the book The Way of the Superior Man, David Deida provides advice for how to handle these differences and support one another.

Below, we’ll explore the differences in priority between masculine and feminine, and what your responsibilities are in your relationship.

Encourage the Difference in Your Priorities

A masculine man’s primary goal will always be his mission, and a feminine woman’s primary goal will always be to maximize the flow of love in her life—sometimes these differing relationship priorities can be a major cause of strife.

The Superior Man understands the difference in his and his woman’s core needs and adjusts their relationship to encourage those differences and promote mutual growth.

Though you’re equal, you’re not the same; for your relationship to best serve you and your woman, you must support each other in the pursuit of your distinct priorities.

The intimacy between you will give you what you want only if you’re both fulfilled in the way you most need to be. And when you are, your intimacy will carry you even beyond the hope of joy your relationship represents, into the utter ecstasy of being, existing, and living—genuinely, fully, and openly.

What to Do:

Your relationship with your woman will always be a primary determinant of her mood, unless she rejects her feminine core—in which case she will attempt to deprioritize it. This will hurt her core, because it will block the flow of love in your relationship. She needs deep, loving intimacy as much as you need to be engaged and involved in your masculine pursuits. Don’t deny her feminine essence by telling her to be more independent. Though it will certainly benefit her to have other things to engage with, your relationship is what will fulfill her most; enable her to prioritize it.

Likewise, don’t feel guilty if your woman is more “into” the relationship than you are. This is a natural consequence of the asymmetrical needs at your cores. Don’t fake a greater interest than you have, and don’t take her love for granted. Pursue your mission and your satisfaction, knowing that when you’re most fulfilled, you’ll be most present in your relationship. Your success in pursuing your core priority is what enables you to be loving, humorous, and engaged.

Fulfill Your Responsibilities Yourself

A healthy relationship requires that you live up to your responsibilities. In this section, you’ll learn what you’re responsible for as a partner and how to ensure you and your woman are growing into the best versions of yourselves.

Take Responsibility for Your Growth and Direction

As you get lost in the daily tasks of your business and your duties, your woman will get lost in the cycles of her moods and emotions. It’s your responsibility to cut through both mentalities: to stay awake to your purpose in living and to remove obstructions to your woman’s connection to the love at her core. If you don’t, she will, and her need to embody the masculine pole will depolarize your relationship.

A superior man demands authenticity, humor, and the fullest love of which he and his woman are capable—he demands they move in whatever direction most serves the growth and happiness of his woman and himself.

Your consistency and the depth with which you apply yourself are what determine the value of the gifts you give, as well as your capacity to guide your woman to greater happiness and love.

What to Do:

Take control of your life and align it around your purpose. Your laziness, your addictions, and your lack of clarity are your own responsibility—try whatever techniques are appropriate to eliminate them. You must be committed at all times to aligning your life around your deepest truth, even if you have to discover it first.

Before you can give your woman the gift of direction, you must find your own. Ensure that in every moment you’re entirely certain that you’re living exactly the life you need to. When you do, your woman will feel it, and she’ll accept and respect your guidance.

Your intent is critical. You will not succeed if you’d rather masturbate or watch TV than pursue your deepest truth.

Take Responsibility for Giving Your Gift

As an adult, you’re responsible for your own happiness, health, and success. You no longer need someone to take care of you. Beyond this, you have a responsibility to give your gift. Growing past your dependence on your partner is only one step to true adulthood—the larger step is to grow beyond your need for autonomy and independence. Simply put, the stage in intimacy that comes after independence is mutual, loving service.

When you can give your gift fully in the present moment—alive and awake in your consciousness—you can feel through your connection with your woman into the world. You can see where your gift is needed and how to give it, and you can allow your inward focus to fade away as you attend to your giving.

What to Do:

Remember what your masculine gifts are:

  1. Your ability to lovingly intervene. Your woman can get lost in her moods and find it very difficult to escape them alone. Don’t be her therapist; be her wake-up call. Open her eyes and heart, remind her of how deeply she’s loved, and lift her out of the dark, shrunken perspective her moods drag her into.
  2. Your ability to set a goal. You know where you are, where you want to be, and how to get there. If your woman is stressed, unhappy, and unfulfilled, examine that. Find out where she needs to go and how she can get there. Share that vision with her and help her accomplish it.

Though your woman and the world may resist receiving your gift, give it anyway. Share your love, understanding, knowledge, and vision. Take responsibility for giving whatever your deepest realization has shown you about the meaning and nature of love to the world, and to your woman. Feel through your love of woman and world, let go of your inward-focused selfishness and petty self-concern, and let those dissolve in the giving of your gift.

How to Handle Different Priorities in a Relationship

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Here's what you'll find in our full The Way Of The Superior Man summary :

  • How to reclaim the passion in your relationship and enjoy true intimacy
  • Why authenticity is the first key in becoming a superior man
  • Why you should embrace your sexual polarity

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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