I was two weeks shy of 22 when my daughter was born. I was naïve and blissfully immature. My wife was five years older than me and an outspoken feminist. Not surprisingly, she often became exasperated with me because I just “didn’t get it.” And though I didn’t much like the way she expressed her frustration at times, I disciplined myself to pay attention to what she said rather than how she said it. And so I learned.
I also received quite an education simply by keeping the lines of communication open with my daughter as she grew older. She shared virtually every detail of her life with us, which afforded me the opportunity to get an eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at how teenage girls viewed boys and life in general. I paid attention when she said things like, “Dad, I don’t want you to solve my problems, I just want you to listen.” And so I learned.
What I learned is the answer to the question, What do women want? If you’re one of the three billion men on this planet who claim to have no clue, the answer is very simple: Women want to be cherished.
But you already knew that, didn’t you? You’ve just been pleading ignorance because you think becoming a true life partner with a woman requires too much work. After all, looking out for number one is a full-time job and then some for most men.
It’s all about perspective. Women liken a relationship to a plant that needs daily watering. Men liken a relationship to a cactus that only needs watering every few months.
Guys, it really is simple. A woman wants to know she’s your number one priority. When you hold her in your arms and tell her that you love her, she wants to feel your words coming from your heart, not from your head. Yes, she wants to know what you’re thinking, but more importantly, she wants to know what you’re feeling. Women crave intimacy. And when you grow up, you will, too.
When women don’t feel cherished, they feel an aching in their soul that manifests itself in all sorts of ways, from acting “irrational” during arguments (much to men’s amusement) to losing themselves in romance novels. As novelist Susan Sussman wrote, “You show me a woman who hasn’t fantasized getting in a car and leaving home and I’ll show you a woman who doesn’t drive.”
So what do men want? Well, the easy answer is beer, football and sex, although not necessarily in that order. Actually, philosopher Immanuel Kant nailed it when he said, “The desire of a man for a woman is not directed at her because she is a human being, but because she is a woman. That she is a human being is of no concern to him.”
Men routinely protest that their motives are far more noble than Kant would suggest. And while it’s true that there are many good-hearted men who genuinely love their mothers, wives and daughters and certainly think of them as whole human beings in every sense of the word, there is undeniably a part of them (guess which part?) that views other women as nothing more than a collection of body parts they would like to have their way with. Be honest now. Have you ever paged through a Playboy or Penthouse? Ever? I rest my case.
Fortunately, guys, there’s hope, even if you don’t have a clue that you don’t have a clue. But you have to understand and accept that there are no shortcuts. Enlightenment requires a heightened awareness, a fierce dedication to honesty at all costs and a willingness to admit that you still have a lot to learn. It may take years, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, the chances are good that someday you’ll “get it.”
You can start by recognizing the difference between being self-centered and centered in your self. (Tape these five words to your bathroom mirror: “It’s not always about me.”) This may sound odd at first, but get to know yourself. Pick up a few books on spirituality. Try meditating. Look within instead of focusing all your attention on the external world. It’s one of life’s greatest truths that love is for people who know who they are. Until then, it’s just practice.
As you become more enlightened, you will become more capable of genuinely loving and cherishing a woman. And you will see that the purpose of a relationship is not to find someone who completes you, but to find someone you can share your completeness with.
By the way, when you cherish a woman, really cherish a woman, guess what? The complaining about all the time you spend away from her stops. You may even stop hearing the four little words that strike fear into every man’s heart: “We need to talk.” Why? When a woman knows she is truly cherished, she won’t act out of insecurity and fear. She’ll know she’s deep within your heart and that she can trust you with her life.
Are you ready to begin? Good. You can start by turning off the TV and asking what the two of you can do together today.
Buy my new book, “Sixty Seconds: One Moment Changes Everything” at
Watch the three-minute “Sixty Seconds” video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bic0j4QqFbI
Check out my blog, “Triumph of the Spirit: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Chaotic World” at http://bolstablog.com
Follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/philbolsta
Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/philbolsta