You probably remember the 2000 film “What Women Want,” which featured Mel Gibson as an egotistical advertising big shot who has a fluke accident that allows him to hear women’s thoughts. Through a series of mishaps and misadventures, he discovers that his previous presumptions about the female gender were completely off base.
Whether you thought the movie was corny or compelling, it certainly highlighted a universal question between members of the opposite sex: What really goes on in his/her head? Is it possible to bridge the gender gap and gain genuine understanding?
Many men feel bewildered when it comes to understanding women. At the same time, women feel bewildered, too, wondering why men find them so complex. As one woman explained, “It’s not rocket science. Women are a lot easier to understand than men let on.”
Well, we’d probably get plenty of arguments about that statement. But what we do know is that even the most complex conundrums can often be helped by asking the right questions and listening to the answers. Here are a handful of things women say they wish men understood about women:
“I long to feel cherished, pursued, and known.” What makes a woman feel cherished? Or pursued? Or known? Unfortunately, as many men have discovered, what makes one woman feel cherished might not be important to another woman. Or what makes one woman feel pursued might make a different woman feel stalked. Therein lies the challenge — and the thrill. Discovering what these words mean to a particular woman — and figuring out how to act on them — is a rewarding adventure that can energize and solidify a budding relationship.
“When I feel cherished, pursued, and known, I want to be close to you… in every way.” You’ve heard this before because it’s so true: For women, physical intimacy is a natural outgrowth of emotional intimacy. This doesn’t mean women won’t agree to physical intimacy in the absence of emotional intimacy. But sometimes, physical intimacy that takes place out of the context of emotional intimacy wounds a woman’s spirit and, ultimately can damage the relationship.
“I want to be treated like a lady, not like one of the guys.” Women want to be reassured by their man that chivalry is not dead, that there are still gentlemen in the world who know how to treat a woman with honor and dignity. Some men feel awkward and old-fashioned when it comes to using proper etiquette. But good manners tangibly demonstrate respect for the female recipient. Behaving like a gentleman says to a woman, “You are special and worthy of my best efforts.”
“The power of life and death is in your words.” A biblical proverb offers this counsel: “Wise words satisfy like a good meal; the right words bring satisfaction. Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:20-21). How many relationships have been destroyed because of critical or deceitful words? Countless! If a wise man chooses wise words, he will enhance his relationship and enchant his woman.
“I can forgive, but I may have trouble forgetting.” While on the topic of using wise words, the unwise kind (sarcastic comments about a woman’s weight, put-downs about faults, comparisons to past girlfriends or even mother) are like a stab in the heart. You can’t take back words just by saying “I didn’t mean it” or “I was just kidding.” The person on the receiving end has to live with the pain and the damage of that wound for a long time.
“It matters to me that you love yourself.” Few things are as attractive to a woman as a man who is self-confident, secure, and assured. Conversely, insecurity has a way of spreading like a massive oil spill, oozing toxic gunk on anyone and anything in its path. If a man is dissatisfied, unsure, or critical, how can he be kind, uplifting, and supportive with the woman in his life? It’s impossible to engage in a healthy relationship with someone else if you don’t have a healthy relationship with yourself.
No doubt our women readers would have many other things to add. In fact, one woman we interviewed for this article heard the title and said, “I hope this is Part 1 of a 30-part series!” Keep the dialogue going by leaving a comment about this piece. After all, it’s likely that men will be listening in and pick up some helpful insights.