For Men Only
A straightforward guide to the inner lives of women
Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn
Multnomah Publishers, 2006, 190 pp., ISBN 1-59052-572-8
Shaunti is an author, columnist, and public policy analyst. She and her husband Jeff lead a home group in their church. This is a companion book to the earlier, For Women Only. This book shares the results of hundreds of personal interviews, huge amounts of anecdotal information from women's groups, and a national survey of 400 women. "Each chapter explains things about the woman you love that may have often left you feeling helpless, confused, or just plain angry. Each chapter points out simple, doable solutions." (12)
Chapter 1: Rethinking Random: Why you need a new map of the female universe
"Guys think of a woman as a swamp: you can't see where you're stepping, and sooner or later you just know you're going to get stuck in quicksand. And the more you struggle to get free, the deeper you get sucked in." (15)
Chapter 2: The Deal is Never Closed
Your mate likely has a fundamental insecurity about your love. (25) There are periodic times when her feelings need to be convinced and reassured." "…buried inside most women--even those in great relationships--is a latent insecurity about whether their man really loves them, and whether the relationship is okay. This sense of vulnerability may usually be under the surface of their minds, but when it is triggered, most women show signs of distress until the concern in resolved." (26)
"Seven out of every ten women said their relationship and how their man felt about them was anywhere from 'occasionally' to nearly always on their minds." (30) "…when this relational insecurity was triggered, it was very painful--sometimes almost debilitating--and it became difficult, if not impossible, for them to get it off their minds." (31)
"If she doesn't feel loved, it's the same for her as if she isn't loved." (33)
Triggers of such feelings include conflict, husband's withdrawal, silence, a depleted emotional bank account, husband is absent a lot, and unresolved relationship issues. (36)
Two key solutions: reassure her; continue to pursue her. (37) If she's upset, she doesn't need space--she needs a hug. (41) Listen without becoming defensive.
"Pursuit prevents a lot of her insecurity." (45) "…several women compared the need to feel pursued by their husbands with the need that a man has to feel sexually desired by his wife!" "Ask yourself, What did I do when I was dating that made me so pickin' irresistible?" (47)
Chapter 3: Windows…Open! What you should know about the fabulous female brain
"Women deal with multiple thoughts and emotions from their past and present all the time, at the same time--and these can't be easily dismissed." They are "like busy computers with multiple windows open and running all at once, unwanted pop-ups intruding all the time, and little ability to close out or ignore any of that mental or emotional activity until a more convenient time." (51-2)
● "First, most women juggle multiple thoughts and feeling at the same time.
● Second, about half of all women have stored thoughts or feelings from the past that regularly pop up into active mode whether they want them to or not.
● Third, women seem consistently unable to close these windows as easily as men can." (54-5)
One woman said, "There's never a time that there's nothing going on in my head. If I answer 'nothing,' it's because I'm mad at him!" (57)
"She may not be holding on to a grudge, but actually trying to process through it so she can let it go." (69)
Chapter 4: Your Real Job is Closer to Home.
"Your woman needs emotional security and closeness with you so much that she will endure financial insecurity to get it." (73)
"Money talks, but 'Emotional Security' sings" (76)
"When a woman thinks of 'security,' her primary thought is not about a house, a savings account, or tuition for the kids. For her, 'emotional security' matters most: feeling emotionally connected and close to you, and knowing that you are there for her no matter what." (76)
"Seven out of ten married women said that if they had to, they would rather endure financial struggles than distance in the relationship." (77)
"In fact, since what she wants is your time and attention…, if you appear to give more time and attention to work, it appears that you are making work your priority. To her, that means that she is not your priority. That choice leaves her feeling distanced and unloved by you." (79-80)
"Creating a sense of closeness between the two of you is more important than anything else--to a woman, it is almost a synonym for emotional security." (81)
"Even small little gestures convey love and build closeness in a way I never would have thought." The little things are the difference. (82) "She feels secure when you make time together a priority." (84)
One woman put it this way, "I need to know that he will be there for me, no matter what. We have a good relationship, but I still need to know that he's not going anywhere--physically or emotionally." (86)
Chapter 5. Listening is the solution.
"When she is sharing an emotional problem, her feelings and her desire to be heard are much more important than the problem itself." (97)
"Apparently, what I thought was listening and caring, wasn't." "Smart listening tells a woman louder than almost anything else that she is known, cared for, and loved." (100)
"She doesn't want you to fix it." (101) She wants you to focus on her feelings, not the problem. "We men have trained ourselves to cut through the clutter of emotion in order to focus on the 'real issue.'" "For our wife, her negative feelings about a problem are the real issue." (104)
"If it's an area of emotional concern, apply listening skills. If it's not, apply fixing skills." (105)
Give her your full attention. "It is an active practice of identifying her feelings, considering what's she's really saying, and listening for the story behind the story." (110) "Acknowledge and affirm her feelings about the problem." (113)
"The person who listens well holds enormous power." (118)
Chapter 6. With Sex, her 'no' doesn't mean you.
"Physically, women tend to crave sex less often than me do--and it is usually not related to your desirability." (119)
"She has a lower sex drive than you…." "This doesn't mean she doesn't want it, or won't enjoy it once it's happening, but just that seeking it out isn't usually on her mind." (126)
Chapter 7. The Girl in the Mirror
"Inside your smart, secure wife lives a little girl who deeply needs to know that you find her beautiful--and that you only have eyes for her." (149)
"Women need to be reassured often that they are beautiful and they are loved." (152)
"This isn't really about a woman's looks. It is about what a woman feels about herself…." (153)
"In our house, there's really only one mirror. And that mirror is me." (155) "A lot of women are so desperate for specific, honest compliments…." (159)
"When she asks how she looks, we think she's wondering if she looks presentable. But what she wants to know is if she's still rocking our world…." (162)
"…for all men, this is an area where there really has to be zero tolerance. Obviously that applies to pornography. But it also applies to lingering glances and lustful thoughts. We injure our wife when we look elsewhere for a thrill that we vowed to look for only in her. We shatter our ability to reflect her beauty back to her. And we break her trust." (173)
"In the mid-'90s, Sports Illustrated did a cover feature, entitled, 'St. David,' on David Robinson, the MVP center for the San Antonio Spurs. One segment described how Robinson handled himself, as a professing Christian, husband, and father, in the midst of the NBA's intense temptations. For example, during television breaks, he would sit on the bench and stare studiously at the floor in order to avoid looking at the gyrating cheerleaders out on the court."
"The article also mentioned that like all NBA players, Robinson was constantly approached by attractive women who wanted to talk to him…and were probably offering more than just witty conversation. Apparently, he would rather brusquely brush them off. When asked to comment on that seemingly 'rude' practice, he said something like this: 'If any woman is going to get her feelings hurt, it's not going to be my wife.'" (174)
Chapter 8. The Man She Had Hoped to Marry
The top thing that women wished their man knew was this: You are my hero."
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