What do Women Want

Dear Readers:

The 14th February is Valentines Day, and many women will expect to receive something special from their partners. Valentines Day is therefore an opportunity for husbands to demonstratively remind their wives, in an extraordinary way, that they still love them.

After Valentines Day has passed, some women may find themselves unfulfilled and want something more from their husbands. Some women may actually feel guilty for wanting something more when they consider all that their husbands have already done for them. Women generally do not elucidate these desires to their husbands. They somehow expect that their mates should already know what they want. Some men recognise that their wives want something more from them but they cannot seem to grasp what it is.

What then do women really want from their husbands? A plethora of books continue to be written on this subject, yet the answer still seems to elude both sexes, and has probably perplexed men for millennia. After many years of marriage, many men continue to report that they still do not know what their wives really want. If a woman’s desires are hidden from her husband, then he can become frustrated and can eventually resign to the position that he will never know what his wife wants. A woman can also become frustrated at her husband’s disinterest in fulfilling this undefined need and can resign to the position that her husband will never understand what she really wants.

Both the frustrated and resigned partners can realize the answer by analysing a woman’s frequent criticisms and requests. This analysis reveals that women generally want their husbands to be more thoughtful towards them. While this knowledge is valuable, it can only be beneficial if there is implementation, and that is where the challenge occurs for many men.

It is relatively easy for women to be thoughtful towards their husbands. Women’s brains are designed to enable them to concentrate on more than one subject at a time. Therefore she can concentrate on her work or studies while also thinking about her husband.

A man’s brain is designed differently. Men generally cannot concentrate on more than one subject at any one time. Whatever occupies his mind tends to fully occupy his mind, and if he becomes distracted, then the distraction tends to fully occupy his mind. Men therefore have the ability to have a subject fully occupy their minds to the exclusion of all other subjects, including attending to their own welfare.

Women can learn to become more thoughtful by improving learned behaviours. However, men must address a fundamental physiological challenge. If this challenge is successfully addressed, then the benefits to the marriage are invaluable, and can result in both partners enjoying a relatively high level of contentment in a marriage. Men should not feel guilty or frustrated that they do not think about their wives all day while concentrating on their work. They should simply accept that they are men and try to identify the correct tool for the job.

There are various tools that a man can use in this regard. Diaries and calendars are some of the more popular. Men can assign at least one day each month where they plan something special for their wives. Some of the more popular plans include taking her out to lunch, dinner, dessert, or planning a weekend vacation. These plans should be assigned a high priority to increase the likelihood of them being implemented.

A man will tend to become more thoughtful as he demonstratively assigns a higher priority to his wife in relation to his other responsibilities. Men should therefore not try to change the way that they were created. Rather they should seek to employ the necessary tools to enable them to address any challenge without denying, rejecting, or trying to change their maleness.

On that note, I will shortly be taking on different responsibilities, which would necessitate me taking a leave of absence from writing this column for a few weeks. I wish to thank you for your interest in these articles.

Regards,

Grenville Phillips II

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16 responses to “What do Women Want

  1. Good words. One of the primary things that is often missed is that women want to be respected. They want to be known and esteemed for who they really are. They want to be listened to and their words considered and shown by actions.

  2. Hi TL:

    You are correct. The problem for many men is the “how”. If a man believes that he is respecting his wife, yet the wife feels that she is not being respected, what additional things can the fellow do?

    Men should listen to their wives and act accordingly. However, if a man listens, but disagrees with his wife, then his resultant actions are unlikely to please her. Hence she may feel disrespected, and they are back at ‘square one’.

    Perhaps one way forward is for both parties to periodically reaffirm a commitment to their marriage, and each party to demonstrate this commitment by doing things that satisfies their spouse. Of course this “satisfaction” must be sanctioned by the spouse.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  3. We are all different. If we are to effectively love and respect someone, we must use wisdom so that what we give is more easily received – wanted.

    Look at it this way. I’m a morning person but I wake up slow. If a husband were to respect my peculair nature and want to do something to show me he “saw” me, he could bring me a hot cup of chocolate now and then. And maybe sometime have some pancakes ready for me to eat when I twaddle out to the kitchen.

    But if a husband were to do such a thing to his wife who was NOT a morning person, she would consider it crude, rude, and bothersome. She would rightly think that he did not “see” who she really was.

    Husband and wife can apply that to all areas of differences. Ways of discussion should be tailored to the two individuals that are married. Each needs to both see and reach for the other. We must approach the other where they are instead of making them become like us.

    Make any sense?

  4. I think one area that often bugs me is when a husband does not listen attentively to the opinions of his wife. Some men are taught that men’s thinking is superior so there really is no benefit to actually pondering a woman’s opinion. This is regrettable and as a woman I have heard often of how it has deeply “irked” many women, even throughout history (even when women have hunkered down under such disrespect).

  5. Hi TL:

    The “see/saw” perspective is excellent. However, the wife can greatly assist the relationship by explicitly explaining to her husband that she expects him to “see” her and identify and respond to her specific desires. I understand that she would prefer if he figured it out, or “saw” it on his own; however, if he has not reasoned it out after a few months, then she should simply give him the right answer.

    Regarding the wife’s opinion: both the wife’s and the husband’s opinions carry equal weight. The problem in discussing contentious issues is that both parties make assumptions on how the discussed issue is to be resolved, and these assumptions are not validated by the other party.

    Therefore, before discussing a contentious issue, both husband and wife should agree that the criteria for resolving the discussed issue is, for example, what is best for the marriage/family. Not what is best for the individual.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  6. I had to laugh out loud at “she should just give him the right answer”. :O so true. And I think the same goes for husbands. At some point we all may have to tell our spouse that we really don’t like lobster, or camping without a lighter to start the fire, or sky diving, or whatever. OTOH if we have to tell them everything, someone is liable to whip that TV remote away and stomp it into a zillion crumbs if you know what I mean. ☺

    Thankfully there has to be some things we like about our spouses and our life with them or we wouldn’t be married in the first place. Although I admit that sometimes I look at some folks and just wonder. :0

    You said something that I found puzzling.

    “Rather they should seek to employ the necessary tools to enable them to address any challenge without denying, rejecting, or trying to change their maleness.”

    It escapes me how a man seeking to love and respect his wife more could possibly deny, reject or change his maleness in so doing. Rather any attempt would seem to affirm his husbandly calling to honor his partner in life.

  7. Hi TL:

    A man can resign in frustration if he continually fails to achieve some task. This frustration can affect his self esteem if he can never achieve the task irregardless of the quantum of resources he assigns to it.

    Most men cannot concurrently concentrate at work and think about their wives.

    Men should not feel guilty or ashamed because of this characteristic for it is a strength and not a deficiency. He should not frustrate himself by trying to change those things that cannot change; rather, he should contentedly accept himself. More importantly, the wife should accept their physiological differences and behave accordingly (i.e. desist from nagging about them).

    Once the husband has accepted the things about himself that cannot change, he can be liberated to improve those areas of his life that can naturally be improved upon with practise.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  8. It sounds like you are saying

    1. men do not understand women, because they are different
    2. men have important things to think about and because they have the strength to be singleminded and focused (a male attribute) they should not seek to spend too much time unfocusing in order to give attention to their wives
    3. men should not seek to change, they are fine the way they are
    4. women should recognize these things and not expect or “nag” their husbands to be any different

    Well it’s been an interesting discussion.

    Blessings IN Christ.

  9. Hi TL:

    Allow me to validate your conclusions of what I am writing.

    1. All men have the ability to understand their wives. Husbands should make the effort to understand their wives throughout their marriage. This effort must be continuous since both parties will change during their marriage.

    2. Men’s brains provide them with the ability to concentrate on their wives to the exclusion of everything else. Depending on the circumstances, this can be interpreted as a strength or a weakness. When a man is with his wife, then it can be a strength. When he is at work, and his wife calls him on the telephone and asks him if he was thinking about her, then it can be a weakness. He can either lie and say “yes”, or he can tell the truth and say “I was not but I am now” which does not sound as romantic.

    3. Men should not have to deny who they are, their maleness, and feel that they have to lie to please their wives. They should simply accept their God given attributes and try to please their wives by working on the areas that they can change. The are various tools that are available, for example, placing a picture of their wives on their desks, or scheduling events in a calendar, etc.

    4. A wife should therefore accept her husband’s God designed unchangeable physiological attributes and not seek to change them. Efforts to change what cannot be changed can be frustrating. Of course the wife should encourage growth in areas that can change and these are numerous. Those areas are normally behavioural and they can change with practise.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  10. This was an interesting article until you unveiled the concern about losing your manliness. I consider the concern strange at best. You are a man. Nothing is going to change that.

    “Men should not have to deny who they are, their maleness, and feel that they have to lie to please their wives.”

    I cannot think of anything that a husband could do to honor and respect his wife that would deny their manliness. What exactly do you believe are a man’s God given attributes that could be in jeopardy?

    “A wife should therefore accept her husband’s God designed unchangeable physiological attributes and not seek to change them.”

    “Unchangeable physiological attributes cannot be changed. Why would a wife want to change unchangeable things? What do you consider a man’s unchangeable physiological attributes to be? And why would a wife want to change them.

    This is all so mysterious. What is your hidden agenda? Please tell me that you have not bought into one of the latest cultic teachings about a husband being “lord of the earth” and a wife being “mistress of his domain”.

  11. Hi TL:

    I am concerned that we seem to be misunderstanding each other. Let me try to clarify.

    I believe that we agree that a man cannot lose the specific male attribute of being able to concentrate on one thing to the general exclusion of everything else. This has to do with the limited connecting fibres between the two halves of his brain. Hence it is a physiological attribute.

    I also believe that we agree that since this attribute cannot be changed naturally, then it is not in jeopardy of being lost.

    Now, do most wives wish that their husbands thought about them during the day? I believe that we can agree to the affirmative.

    Can a man think about his wife all day? Of course he can.

    Can a husband think about his wife and concentrate on some other task? I believe that most men cannot. Most men are normally completely engrossed in what they are concentrating on because of the way that their brains are “wired”.

    Let us say that a woman does not understand how her husband’s brain naturally functions. Would she then be a little upset if she were thinking about her husband all day while she was at work and being very productive, but he was not thinking about her? I think that she would be a little miffed.

    What can the husband do to think about his wife more often? Well, let us say that the man worked in an environment where he had to use the telephone often. Then perhaps he could put a photograph of his wife next to the phone. When he sees the photo, then maybe he will think about how grateful he his to have her, and how wonderful she organises everything, and will perhaps pause a moment to pray that she has a wonderful day and thank God for her wisdom and guidance.

    The picture is simply a tool that he can use to achieve one of the things that a woman generally wants – a thoughtful husband.

    I hope that the mystery is solved. There is no hidden agenda.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  12. OK gotcha. :) I was becoming concerned also.

    Most wives I know, including myself, don’t worry about whether a husband is thinking about them during the day while he is at work. Although, remembering things like what time dinner is on, or birthdays, anniversarys, evening engagements, etc. generally shouldn’t be too much trouble. But for those it is, I think your suggestions are great. I agree that sometimes, its the way a persons brain works, including what kind of concentration is required for the job.

    Perhaps, couching it in terms of a male attribute that cannot be changed is what threw the kink in. If you don’t mind a suggestion, I don’t recommend you take that approach when explaining it to women. Might work with men, but doubt many women will believe it.

    If indeed memory failures is the thing being discussed, memory problems are not uniquely male problems. I would question whether one can accurately blame gender brain mechanics for it. Some men are excellent in remembering dates, appointments, etc. Some women are terrible. It’s more a personal brain characteristic that is difficult to change. But there are ways around it. Personality unchangeability is just as valid as a gender trait that is hardwired.

    Hope that helps. And I do commend your patience in clarifying.

  13. Hi TL:

    Thank you for your suggestion which I accept.

    Just to further clarify. I am not discussing memory failures but different brain physiology.

    Let me recommend the co-education articles which describe this issue:

    https://researching.wordpress.com/2007/04/11/co-education-in-the-balance-part-1/

    https://researching.wordpress.com/2007/04/11/co-education-in-the-balance-part-2/

    Regards,
    Grenville

  14. Thank you for the references. Actually, I’ve done a bit of research on the subject of differing brain physiology. A very good book on the wider subject is “Myths of Gender -biological theories about women and men” by Anne Fausto-Sterling.

    You will find upon further study that it is not a matter of only men can do this and only women can do this but a sliding scale of general approaches and tendencies. It is also a matter of how men and women TEND to approach the same problems. All men are not the same, and all women are not the same.

    So while more men than not will fire off only certain areas (not one side versus the other side) of their brain when approaching a problem, this does not mean that they cannot teach themselves to invite other senses into the picture. You see it’s not really about only being able to think of one thing at a time, but rather a natural ability to focus out other things. There are certain types of jobs that require that both men and women develop the ability to focus on several things at once. Even then there will be some differences, but the gist is that they can both approach the problem and find answers sufficiently even with somewhat different brain patterns.

    It’s just a natural tendency, but does not mean that only men can focus narrowly or that men can only focus narrowly. Many men also can train themselves when they want to, to have ears tuned to several sounds at once or eyes take in more than what is straight ahead. Women tend to do this more naturally as young mothers since their brains need to take in information from several different areas. But that does not mean that women cannot concentrate and focus on one major area to the exclusion of all others when she finds it important to do so. When I wrote poetry many years ago (and often when I do other types of writing now) I was able to focus out all sound and focus my eyesight to only what I was writing on, and further focus my thinking to only the matter at hand. It is always amazing how people develop the skills they have.

    For a man such as yourself whose job requires long periods of focused concentration, it would not be all that difficult to use eye disruption tools such as you said, or even to do an internal program that at certain times of the day it’s time to do a mental check about the home and family. But I would not say that you cannot do anything other than focus on one thing at a time till the river runs dry. My guess is that it is more convenient to do that because of the type of job you have. It’s a strong tendency for you that you have fine tuned to your benefit and now perhaps don’t know how to adjust it differently. And maybe you don’t need to if you can work something around it.

  15. Anonymous

    Hi TL:

    I am currently taking my wife on a cruise and will respond fully when I return.

    I will try to obtain the book that you recommended. I am assuming that I can purchase a copy from Amazom.com.

    I will attempt a brief response now via Blackberry (Carnival Destiny’s internet acces rates are very high!).

    I have observed men and women performing the same activity, for example, counting money. The women would be counting away and planning various future events. However, the men (myself included) had to stop counting to respond to a query or make an input in the discussion.

    For two years I tried to count while participating in the discussion, and so did the other men; however, at the end of two years, we still had to stop counting in order to participate. I later learnt that men’s and women’s brains differed.

    I also realized that I could easily concentrate on multiple technical technical problems at once, but not a technical and emotional one.

    I find that I cannot compose a song and solve a complex equation at the same time, and I do not know of any man who can. However, I have seen women do complex creative and technical things concurrently.

    If this book provides peer reviewed evidence showing how a man, who previously could not concurrently perform highly creative and technical tasks like those previously described, learnt to to them, then it would appear that what I thought was unchangeable can actually be changed.

    Regards,
    Grenville

  16. Grenville,

    I’m still not precisely sure what you think men cannot do. But I do think you will find the research in the book superb and perhaps find that evidence does not support many common assumptions about what men and women can or cannot do because of their different brain mechanics.

    As for counting and talking about other things, well I cannot do that either. I’m amazed that someone can. “shrug”!

    You wrote:
    “I also realized that I could easily concentrate on multiple technical technical problems at once, but not a technical and emotional one.”

    What is an emotional problem. I do not get the distinction. I do know that both men and women are very emotional yet express their emotions differently.

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