By Gary Keesee
Recently, Drenda asked me to be on her show and talk about what men really want. She assured me that women really want to know this kind of thing so I agreed to help if I could. I’m no expert, but I have learned a few things over the years, so I offered my assistance freely. Drenda also thought it would be a great idea for me to write the blog this week about the show and I agreed again. Obviously, this topic can’t be covered in just a few pages, but I’ll attempt to start:
What do men really want? Wise women want to know!
Your husband just returned from an event with your two sons who are of high school age. You were happy for your husband to take your two sons away on a father and son outing. You thought it would be healthy for your sons to bond and fellowship with their father. As they come into the house, you ask your husband, “What did you guys talk about today?” He stares at you for a moment with that deer in the headlights look that you’ve seen before and then says the infamous answer, “Nothing.”
Now, you realize that your husband may have just forgotten the conversations that you envisioned your men sharing, so you ask the question again. This time you get a little clearer answer. “Well we talked about the game and how it was going and that’s about it.” You question, “That’s it?” Your husband thinks for a minute and says, “Yeah, that’s about it.” You don’t believe it. How could it be possible that your men didn’t talk about EVERY important topic that you knew needed to be talked about when they were together for FIVE HOURS? After all, isn’t that why they all went to the game together in the first place, to foster their relationship? Well surprise ladies! Your men had a great time together, and in their world, the time they spend together, while NOT TALKING, is actually how they build relationships.
Ladies, men and women are different. Ladies get together to talk; men get together to do. Women get together to do something in order to talk. Men get together to play football, fish or hunt. They relate by doing something together. In the man’s world, this is how we build relationships. One reason men do this is because men are very private. You see, men gain their self-esteem from their kingdom and their woman. When men get together, the first question they ask each another is usually, “Where do you work?” or “What do you do for a living?” See, men are trying to sort out this other guy…to determine if he’s a threat, or a rival. We are trying to size up this other guy, to place him on the grid of respect in our minds.
Who is he? Men answer that question in terms of their kingdom—what does the guy do, own, and deserve based on who he is in society? His wife is also a part of his kingdom equation. Ladies, your husband looks at you as his greatest trophy (conquest) and his most valuable asset.
Now, I know that doesn’t settle well with some women, but the Bible says the woman is the glory of her man. I’m not saying he looks at you as a thing. I’m just trying to help you understand the man’s world. When a man meets another man and sees that he has a beautiful and sweet wife, he esteems that man with more respect. A woman makes herself beautiful by her attitude, by the way she shows respect for him, and the way she takes care of her appearance. Yes, the way you care for yourself speaks of how you respect your husband. Paul tells women that God commands them to respect their husbands in Ephesians 5 just as he commands men to love their wives. Feeling loved and secure, and getting affection are typically women’s most important needs, but a man’s most important need is respect. Without it, he can do nothing. Because of this respect issue with men, men are very slow to open up to other men because of the risk of disrespect.
A woman approaches life from a completely different angle—relationship. A woman can meet a stranger and in five minutes come away knowing about the sexual issues in the stranger’s marriage. To a woman, talking on this intimate level breeds deep communication and fellowship. A man however, would never risk talking about something so intimate because of the risk of disrespect. He wouldn’t want to disrespect the stranger or himself by talking about such things. A man will never approach people or talk to people in a way that he would view as disrespectful. The stereotype that men don’t ask for directions is a clue to how men are made. Men don’t ask for directions because it opens them up to being disrespected for not knowing where he needs to go. Not knowing something that he should know is viewed as a weakness and, if admitted to, opens the man up to be disrespected. Wives tend to respect their husbands more if they ask directions because that’s logical to them—it’s talking! But in the man’s world, anything that shows weakness is looked down upon and avoided.
In many marriages, the wife will say that she can’t get her husband to talk to her. What she doesn’t realize is that when she talks down to him, treats him like a child, or scolds him about something like not taking out the trash, it reinforces his hidden fears of being a failure, and he feels disrespected. He may resort to anger and even lash out at her. Other men respond by pulling away all together or burying themselves in hobbies or television.
A man’s number one defense in a situation of disrespect is to either pull away or engage in defending his respect. In the case of his wife, he doesn’t want to hurt her, again out of respect, so he withdraws. If the wife continues with disrespectful remarks like, “You always fail at this. You never do this”, etc. the man will come to view his wife’s attempt to have conversation as always disrespectful and, as I said before, he will try to avoid that.
So what is a wife to do? By all means, you are your husband’s wisdom and you NEED TO TALK TO HIM! He desperately needs your fellowship and conversation but, above everything else, he needs your respect. In our world, respect is earned, and I agree that men need to be respectable, but your husband is facing a scary world and he will make some mistakes while he’s learning to lead. Most men weren’t mentored by their own fathers with a proper understanding of marriage and how women function. So, in the case of marriage, respect is a command, not an option based on performance. A wife is commanded to respect her husband, period. If you engage your husband with respect you will more than likely find him opening up to you and seeking your companionship. Remember how you won your husband? It probably wasn’t through expressing your feelings and writing him love notes. It was by your declaration of respect for his ability or strength, “You are so great. You have such big muscles, etc. etc.” After all, little boys show off for girls because they want the attention. They want their respect. And, as you know, men are just little boys in big bodies.
So the next time you wonder what your husband wants or needs, don’t just think of sex. Sex is a high priority for men, but respect is at the top of the list. If you truly want your man to hear your concerns, salt all of your comments with respect and you will have his ear. Your comments to him are life. If your man doesn’t feel like he is the king of his own home, you can be sure that he will never be king over any greater territory.
Finally, know that your husband does need your counsel. He truly doesn’t see everything you see. He lacks discernment in many areas that you can help him with; so don’t be afraid to speak out. Just do what the Bible says, with respect.
From Drenda:Why do men do foolish things like cheat, gamble away savings, refuse to work, talk abusive to women or children, drink or use perverse language or refuse to go to church? To you and I, these aren’t respectable actions, but among a man’s peers, or in his worldview, these may be respected actions. (Or they may be escapes or cover-ups for the pressure or the fear of failing.) The tough guy image may be the role model he has adopted. He will actually do tough guy things to gain respect from other men. You don’t see too many women in drinking contests, after all! (Unless of course, she thinks that’s what her man is attracted to.) He is seeking respect, just in the wrong way from the wrong peers. That’s why it is so important for godly men to model what a real respectable man looks like to the next generation of young men. Our prayer needs to be that God will help turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and show them what a real man looks like and what is truly a respectable male leader. That is why a wise woman knows she must win her man’s heart without words, and without nagging. We must encourage them so they will rise to the occasion as the family heroes. Your husband wants to be a hero and you can help him feel like one—so he will act like one! As a man thinks, so is he. Regardless, we must choose to obey God and respect His instruction to receive His help.
Thanks so much Gary, for helping unveil a man’s heart to us. You said you could write a book to men, and I think you should!