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.


Gail said...

To your inserted comments - OUCH! guess the truth hurts sometimes. :) I want to share this w/my hubby, but alas will wait until the next men's dinner. This marriage thing is tough, but I am definitely working at making ours better- I know (me, myself &) I have a lot of work to do on myself & but by the grace of God & with my husband's patience we(I) are working towards that end.

JT said...

I can't disagree. Successful marriage boils down to honest communication and consideration. Most books (as you've said) push that same thing, but I think it's a real "Helen Keller moment" for each person. (For me, that's when she is at the well pump and realizes that water equates to w-a-t-e-r spelled out). Those moments are pretty individual and you never know what will cause the insight.

Anyway, thanks for sharing, both of you.

AT said...

a know this whole topic..or I should say the sub topic that drives this topic:SEX,,has me thinking...Women are are light switches men are visual,want sex just to have sex ..women want to connect thru sex (generalization but you get the idea)
How did we get to be so different,,with differences that hurt relationships between husbands and wives..We are supposed to compliment each other perfectly in God's plan.So what happened? I read Song of Solomon and can not find anything to support the chasm we have..where did the concept of what sexual needs/wants/likes get so twisted? Have we been subversively corrupted in to buying an evolutionary idea (Monkeys are visual,,ergo Male humans must be too?) that's been repeated and unchallenged enough..that's it's now "true"?\
Discuss! (Aaron and I have been chasing tail since the mens dinner on thi question,it's time to call in you smart people!)

domesticgoddess said...

Reply to Boone's Bunch
Whoa! Hold on there girlfriend!
I think the differences can enhance a relationship. If both men & women acted like dogs in heat, sex would be over with in 5 minutes and we'd be unsatisfied after a month of this. If we were both like "irons", its would take us 6 months to get around to having sex! I think this was God's plan. I think the differences have been miscommunicated/perverted by society/denied to the point where the differences do become a hinderance in a relationship (its been a while since I've read through Song of Solomon so I'll have to get back to you on that.) I think women approach sex from a relational point of view because this makes it a challenge for the men (doesn't Eldredge say every man likes a challenge?). I think to an extent we're suppose to present ourselves "visually" to our husbands (doesn't every girl deep down want to be seen as pretty / beautiful / lovely / attractive?). By this I mean don't lounge around in sweats all day and then wonder why your sex life is going no where. This notion of keeping yourself attractive has been perverted by culture to mean that you have to look like Pamela Anderson. I think this is wrong but I do think it helps a lot to greet your man with hair that's been brushed out within the last hour and a smile rather than a scowl (massive stains on the shirts are a no-no unless the kids are occupied and you want him to help you change shirts!!)
Two great books I've read about this are The Gift of Sex by Clifford and Joyce Penner and The Book of Romance by Tommy Nelson. Both are Christians but both speak plainly and bluntly about sex (right down to the details. baby!).
Let me know if any of this helps.