1. Disregard her womanhood as anything other than a choice of identity, not something that defines her any way she doesn’t decide it does. Realize that she does not have to conform to conventions of feminism if she doesn’t choose to, and learn to accept the gender continuum as being more than just polar.
2. Ask for consent before you do anything to her body. Someone recently told me that they ask a woman’s permission before they do anything and I found that overwhelmingly foreign and refreshing and I realized that society’s norms are skewed and generally rooted in the idea that if one wants to touch someone for their own pleasure or purposes, the recipient of that attention will want it.
3. Completely resign any preconceptions you had about the female form, and what it should or shouldn’t look like. Learn to love her for who she is and how she chooses to care for herself. There is nothing more disturbing to me than someone commenting on a woman’s body, especially someone who is romantically involved with her. Now, I realize that men’s bodies are scrutinized too, but nowhere at the level that women’s are.
4. Learn a few things about feminism, if nothing else, just so you can refrain from making horribly sexist statements. Some of the fiercest feminists I know aren’t even women. Not saying you have to conform to a certain belief system or party, but I do believe that some basic concepts in modern feminism are extremely applicable to modern relationships.
5. Never assume she’s into traditional gender roles, or even worse, that she should be. She can be, and you can be as well, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it, unless it’s not the lifestyle one wants to live. It’s not that it’s an invalid choice, it’s just that it shouldn’t be the only choice.
6. Do not berate, scold or harass her in public (or anywhere, for that matter). There is a way to talk through issues in a respectful manner. You are equals to work things through together, she is not your child to be reprimanded if she’s not doing what you expect.
7. Tell her she is loved, reaffirm it, and prove that those words aren’t empty. I think this has universal applicability, but honestly, from my own experience, I’ve seen that women (or those who take on a more feminine role in a relationship) are more apt to express their feelings than men (or those who take on the masculine role) are.
8. Do not blame her mood or a reaction she has on her menstrual cycle, or brush it off because “girls are crazy.” This is especially applicable if the reaction she is having is to something you did.
9. Make sure she respects you in the same ways you do her. I’ve wanted to say this throughout the entire article, but I decided to save the best for last. Give this love to someone who gives it back to you. I directed this as a way to love and respect women because I feel as though they are disrespected at a significantly more intense rate than anybody else. But really, the truth is, these are foundations that have to be mutual.