I wrote a recent post about three of my girlfriends who had felt they "molded" their man into the success that he presently is but then their men cheated on them in return. These girlfriends also had domineering aggressive personalities. They frequently fought with their husbands because they felt they weren't getting what they wanted in return.
I remember I had visited one of those girlfriends a few years ago, when I was with my ex-boyfriend. My ex-boyfriend would always be helpful to me - taking my suitcase, opening doors, paying for me, offering his sweater when I was cold. My girlfriend would always be astonished and ask me how she could "get one of those." It made me think...
Basically there are two ways to get something out of your man: by demanding he does it for you or by inspiring him to do it for you. Inspiring him is soft power.
Have no expectations. Be capable, but if he offers to help you, graciously accept. The common problem is women expect their men to do things for them all the time, so when he doesn't contribute, the women becomes a shrew and nags. For example: My friend is grocery shopping with her boyfriend. After checkout, she looks at him expectantly for him to take the bags. He grumbles and feels resentful. However, if you take the bags yourself, he may or may not offer to help you. I find that most boyfriends do, if they see you doing it yourself. But the key is to have them offer to help you, not to expect (or direct) them to help you.
Make your boundaries clear and then STFU. It's high character for a woman to have boundaries. Men also prefer you to have boundaries because they don't actually want to walk all over you - that's reserved for plates. But there's a huge difference in how you set them. For example, let's say you're anti-smoking and your boyfriend smokes, but he knows he should quit. Instead of nagging at him every time he takes out a cigarette and telling him how disgusting it is, tell him you don't like smokers and then STFU. Next time he smokes, don't say anything but make subtle reactions such as waving smoke away from you, or not kissing him if he has cigarette breath. This is soft power. Nagging is not.
Don't give him a reason to not offer something to you. This mostly coincides with nagging and resentment. If you're a peaceful serene woman who doesn't give any trouble, it's actually very easy for men to want to help you. If you've emasculated him or controlled him in some way, he doesn't feel tender toward you. This is the easiest soft power, you don't have to do anything!!! I often just sit on the couch watching TV while my boyfriend is working, then he'll offer to take me out. I never ask him. But my girlfriend whines that her boyfriend is boring by staying home then her boyfriend is angry and feels like he has to owe her by taking her out. See the difference?
Be maternal in your chores but not your actions. OK, so men want someone who's nurturing, we all know that. But how can we be nurturing without being too motherly? Here's the trick: be maternal in your chores (cooking, laundry,) but don't ACT maternal. This means don't ask him how he feels, don't run to solve his problems, don't hug him like a child, don't organize his daily agenda for him. Most of the time when a man wants a nurturer he really means acceptance, because his mother accepted him. When you start reminding him or controlling him, you've moved from girlfriend to domineering mother. Just take care some basic chores to contribute to the household and let him figure out his life on his own. Making him feel sexy and admired is number one, not wiping his shirt when he has a stain on it.
Vet, vet, vet. This may be the most important thing to remember: A truly masculine man is giving and generous. If he was not actively taking the lead when you met and also throughout your courtship, he is not a true masculine man, or at least not to you. You must hold out for a good match/chemistry if you wish to have a successful relationship. Don't just look at his job, his salary, his physique, his hobbies - look at if he likes making decisions. If he doesn't like making decisions and waffles frequently, guess what, he won't change. And he most likely won't lead. For soft power to work, you need a truly masculine man who likes making decisions. And you should love him for the man he is. He doesn't like going out, but you do? Don't expect him to offer to take you out even if you're being soft and feminine. It's not who he is. Accept him or move on.