Saturday, February 18, 2006

hitting a nerve...

My dear hubby, who co-leads a men's group at church, sent out the following question in preparation for a presentation he was making. Since a lot of the respondents wanted to know what the overall results were, we decided to post them on this blog. And since I can't help myself, I've interspersed my comments in his. Justin's original text is indented.

What Women Want

Thanks to all of you who responded to my survey question:
"What is one thing you would like men to understand better about women?"

The results were enlightening. I distilled all the responses into five categories and then assigned each category a percentage of the total responses.
Since it was an e-mail, we were surprised how many responded and how quickly some responded.
1. Listen (33%)
Most of the comments weren't "we want men to read our minds," but "simply listen to what we say and don't be so quick to offer solutions." Empathy seems to be highly regarded among women in general.

A great book to read about the different way men & women communicate is "You Just Don't Understand" by Deborah Tannen. Its a facinating look into how men & women use language differently. I would make it a must read for any person thinking of getting married. Heck, its a must read for anyone who hasn't read it yet.

2. Recognize we are different (22%)
Aside from obvious physical differences, women commented that they want men to understand they are fundamentally different. The way they speak, think, feel, what excites them, what they need, etc.

Another book to read if you want to understand your man better is "Wild At Heart" by John Eldrige. For those of you with boys, you will read this book and go "Ohhhh, so that's why..." about every 15 minutes. He has another book he wrote with his wife about women for men but I haven't read it yet.
Another comment I would add to this, ladies, is until your man embraces this truth, try to communicate what you need, think, feel, etc. in a way that doesn't make him feel like an idiot
i.e. avoid statements like "Why do I always have to tell you!?"
"Well, duh!"
"Do you think you could....." or the variation "Would it kill you to...."
"That is so like you to not...."

3. Validate us (22%)
I thought it was interesting that this had equal weight with #2. While distinctly different from men, women want to be treated, not the same, but equal. They want to feel they have just as much value as men and that what they say and feel is important too.
This could be a whole other discussion on the impact of the feminist movement has had on personal relationships between men & women, which is a blog for another day. There's also discussion in here for how society views women in general (supermodels, pornography, men with breasts, etc.), how we view ourselves and how we should be viewed.

4. Treat us like a friend (11%)
I don't think this one needs any explanation.
AMEN!! Women are relational beings. I think for a husband to tell his wife "I appreciate your friendship. Your thoughs and opinions mean a lot to me" would send her over the moon. I don't think the same is always true for a man. He would appreciate the comment but I think he finds his value in other facets of the relationship. Find out what sentence would send him over the moon (Yes, "Hey baby, ya wanna..." is a valid sentence. Like the comments show-we are different beings and we value different things.)

5. Respond to requests in a timely manner (11%)
I think this one speaks to the communication gap between men and women. Probably could have been folded into #1.

I think this has more to do with respect. We don't want to be treated at the "little misses" or the "ol' ball and chain" If we ask you to do something and you do it in a timely manner it means "I heard your request and you matter enough to me that I made it a priority"

I apologize for the preachy tone of this blog. I am by no means the authority on relationships between men and women but am merely sharing what has worked well for me and what I've read. I feel I must insert this last comment though. For the love of all that's good ladies, treat you hubby like he's the best thing that happened to you, because on most days, he is!! If you think about it honestly, who else would put up with you? Orlando Bloom is busy, Mel Gibson is taken (with 9 kids, mind you) and George Clooney, Heath Ledger and Russell Crowe are unreliable. On the days when hubby doesn't act like the best thing in you life, he's more likely to rise to the occassion if you treat him well than if you treat him like a pebble in your shoe.

Ok now that I got that off my chest, I'm going to go have some chocolate.