I had a hard time deciding what celebrity to interview for the February 2011 issue of Luxury Las Vegas magazine. Should it be a football player in honor of the Super Bowl; someone who is in love or an expert on love to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or an African-American to commemorate Black History month?
Then I turned on Good Morning America and saw comedian, actor, author, host of Family Feud and the morning radio program, The Steve Harvey Show, and relationship guru Steve Harvey. After listening to him speak for a few minutes I knew I’d found my guy.
It’s true that Steve has never played professional football, though he looks like he could be a running back for his hometown team the Atlanta Falcons; but he is most definitely a proud black man who has plenty to say about love and the differences between the sexes
I had a great conversation with Steve, who is a funny man with a very serious side. When I commented about that he said:
“I’m on the radio four hours a morning, but the comedic element of my show is only 20-30 minutes. When I’m on stage, I’m a comedian for 90 minutes. The rest of the time, I’m a father, a husband, a businessman, a citizen, which is the main focus of my life. Instead of sitting down and joking with myself all the time, I have real serious conversations with myself because I figure I’m going to need that a lot more than I’m going to need these jokes.”
My interview with Steve was back in February. Now with June, the biggest month for weddings, quickly approaching, I thought it might be helpful to re-post some of the wisdom that Steve shared with me about relationships and marriage.
By his own admission it took three trips down the aisle for Steve to figure out who he is and what he was looking for. He credits his wife Marjorie, who he married in 2007, with changing his life and making him a better man.
Fortunately Steve was able to distill his past mistakes and life experiences into sage advice that he dishes up in his two books, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment; and Straight Talk No Chaser: How to Find, Keep, and Understand a Man.
When I interviewed Steve I asked him to give us a taste of what’s in his books, and he was happy to oblige. Here’s an excerpt from “Up Close and Personal with Steve Harvey.” You may want to grab a pen and paper and take some notes because we can all use some help understanding the opposite sex.
Here’s what I call Relationships 101 According to Steve Harvey:
“Take ninety days to get to know a guy before you jump into a full-blown relationship. Before you sleep with him ask about his short-term goals which will give you an idea what he’s working on at the moment, and his long-term goals which will give you an idea where he’s headed. What is his relationship with his children, his friends, and most important, his mother? That’s the first relationship a boy forms with a woman. If that relationship is shot in any way, keep moving. And don’t ask about his relationship with other women because he’s going to lie.
“Next, ask what he thinks of you. Listen closely to what he says. You’ll get answers like, ‘I think you’re fun to be with; I think you’d make a great mother; you’re the kind of girl a guy could spend his life with you.’ Those are things a woman wants to hear.
“Right after he answers that question, turn right around and ask the last question. How does he feel about you? Mr. Slick, who’s just a player, hasn’t given any thought to how he feels about you, so his answer will sound the same as what he thinks about you.
“You’re looking for stuff like, ‘you’re the person I enjoy spending time with; I want this to go further; I can’t see myself living without you; you’ve become very important to me; I need you.’ If you don’t hear that, you may not be going where you think you going.”
LIFE LESSON: We’ve all heard the saying ‘Actions speak louder than words.’ Yet so many women only hear what they want to hear even when the guy’s behavior is screaming the exact opposite of what he’s saying.
I know a woman who really wanted to get married and have a child. She lived with a guy for more than ten years who strung her along with lame excuses that the timing wasn’t right or he was busy with his career. When she finally left, she was bitter and blamed him for squandering her reproductive years and ruining her life.
Dr. Phil would have yelled, ‘Why were you so gullible and naïve? Why didn’t you see the handwriting on the wall after the first couple of years?’ When we’re angry and feel wronged, it’s hard to look within and accept that the ultimate responsibility lies with us.
According to Steve Harvey, “Every man is going to commit to somebody sooner or later. But there’s a difference between the women men marry and the ones they treat like playthings. A woman who wants to get married has to have standards and requirements. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t compromise, but it means she shouldn’t settle.
“A woman has to make sure that she is worth committing to; that her price tag reflects her value. A woman has every right to know where her life is going. She shouldn’t date a man and let him string her along about when he’s going to marry her. She should say, ‘For this relationship to continue, this is what I need to be happy.’ If a man really loves her, he’ll do what’s necessary to keep her happy.
“On the other hand, if a woman is looking for a man to make her happy, she’s in for a surprise. She should be looking for a man who compliments her, who adds the finishing touches to who she already is. Maybe the guy’s better with money or he’s a better goal setter, but a man is incapable of making a woman happy. If you don’t have it together, don’t expect a man to put you together. If you’re not a happy person, I don’t have that many jokes.”
If a woman is looking for a man to make her happy, she’s in for a surprise. She should be looking for a man who compliments her, who adds the finishing touches to who she already is. Maybe the guy’s better with money or he’s a better goal setter, but a man is incapable of making a woman happy. If you don’t have it together, don’t expect a man to put you together. If you’re not a happy person, I don’t have that many jokes.”
LIFE LESSON: Not only do women sell themselves short, they expect a man to make everything right. Women need to value themselves and see themselves as the main course and the guy as the icing on the cake.
According to Steve Harvey, “Lasting relationships require more than love. People change over time and if you’re not a good communicator or you aren’t willing to compromise, it’s never going to last.
“A woman’s love is all encompassing. Women are communicators, nurturers, problem solvers, healers. A man shows he loves a woman in three ways. We profess, protect, and provide. A man who loves you will give you a title. This is my fiancé, my lady, my wife. We have plans; we’re getting married; she has my last name. He’ll protect you. If anyone tries to harm you, they’ll have to go through him. Third, a man who loves you will bring home the money and provide for his family. That’s how a man shows his love.
“A lot of women are disappointed when their love isn’t returned the same way they give it. I wish they’d learn this is how men love. It doesn’t make them bad. A man will never be as talkative as a woman or as good a nurturer. He cannot match her love in that way.
“If you want your man to hold you and have long conversations about every subject, that’s not going to happen on an ongoing basis. We’ll do it a little bit but we can’t keep it up. The way a woman thinks and treats a man has nothing to do with way a man thinks and treats a woman. So hurry up and learn how men think and formulate your game plan based on that.”
Steve had plenty more to share, not just about love and relationships, but about life in general. In my Up Close and Personal with Steve Harvey interview I asked what makes him angry, what life lessons he’s learned, what he’s passionate about, who he’d trade places with for 24 hours, and how he gives back. He talked about flunking out of college, being homeless and sleeping in his car.
Steve talked about being a Christian. Like actress Kristin Chenoweth, he is respectful and tolerant of everyone’s religion whether they be Christian, Jewish or Muslim. He also talked a little bit about politics calling out the Tea Party in defense of President Obama. He mentioned the mentoring program for young men that he started and much more.
A good comedian is someone who can not only make you laugh, but make you think. Steve definitely does that. When I asked what last words of wisdom he could share he said:
No matter how times change, love never goes out of style. It is wanted and needed by every living soul. It’s just that we have allowed technology and things like texting to get in the way. Nothing replaces love. It’s a necessary commodity. Everyone wants to feel it, sense it. Once you fall in love for real, you look for it over and over again. If you’re smart, when you find it, you’ll hold on to it like the Hope Diamond.”
Whether you’re searching for that special someone, you’re engaged, or you’ve been married for 28 years like I have, it’s good to be reminded of the ways men and women think differently according to Steve Harvey.
Books by Steve Harvey: