Over the years in my psychology office, many men--both single and married, both LDS and not LDS--have asked versions of the same basic question: what do women want? My own question I've often asked myself in return is, why is this such a mystery? I think the answer to both questions involves a key gender difference. We men tend to want the answers laid out for us in a straight forward, clear, simple, linear manner. But rarely if ever are we given such clear answers to "what women want". We're either just expected to automatically know, or we're given unclear, sometimes contradictory answers because others are also confused.
I will try to my best to answer this tough question, based upon my education, my years as a psychotherapist, and my own years in my own marriage. It's my theory, but I think it's a useful one, based on the feedback from many women. In approximate order of priority, here is my understanding of the top 5 things women want in their relationships with men. For her man to:
- Treat her as the #1 priority: When a man puts a woman as the main priority over other people, interests, and obligations, she feels loved, cherished, and taken care of. All of the other needs afterwards fall under the umbrella of this general principle.
- Engage with her in regular respectful, stimulating, non task conversation about topics both above and beneath the surface--mostly through quality active, validating listening (vs. trying to interrupt, argue, or fix). Women generally bond through words and talking, usually about people, relationships, and feelings. Neglect this need at your own risk. Occasional (i.e., rare) differences of opinion here are fine too, as long as the respect and civility remains. IMPORTANT: If a woman feels verbally abused, neglected, or bored/understimulated, the relationship will be in trouble. Trust me on this one. Rule of thumb: remember that women are verbal creatures, so they value the verbal.
- Initiate regular verbal and physical affection without pushing for excessive physical gratification, demonstrating caring, love, concern, and connection (versus the affection acting as a simple means to an end). This include "I'm thinking of you" gestures when apart. After marriage, she'll also be wanting you to regularly initiate sex (or as we say in church, "intimacy") when the time is right: the emotional connection is high, the unresolved issues are low, hormones are cooperating, and her stress and fatigue are minimal. This includes patiently accepting a periodic "no", instead of reacting by pouting or getting angry.
- Help her with practical duties and life demands to notably reduce her stress and fatigue. After marriage, this generally includes such regular real life duties as dishes, childcare, and laundry. (NOTE: feedback has told me needs # 3 and 4 are often interchangable in order of priority, depending on the particular woman).
- Consistently and adequately provide for her and protect her as needed (practically and emotionally). After marriage, this includes working hard to bring in adequate, consistent income, protecting her verbally or physically as needed, and providing for other practical and emotional needs. NOTE: this need will rise in importance during an emergency or when notably neglected. Otherwise, women tend to just like knowing this need is being taken care of without having to worry about it.
These 5 needs are the main needs I've heard women bring up in couples therapy: as either gratitude when being consistently met, or pain, resentment, and disconnection when not being regularly met. Some men feel these needs are too hard and excessive and can feel overwhelmed trying to fulfill them. Just remember that when you do your best to fulfill most of these needs, most of the time, she will love and appreciate the effort, and will reciprocate in return (when you have a good woman). You'll know you're doing your part to make for the best, most loving and committed relationship possible, In short, it's worth it.
Instead of looking for the right woman, be the right, giving man in these ways, be on the lookout, and eventually, the right woman will come along sooner or later as a healthy, complimentary match. Remember this admonition: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25). Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11). Best wishes,
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|2015-12-10||Randy Gilchrist||Understanding women|
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to email@example.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to firstname.lastname@example.org).