Two of the books I am recommending to couples these days are for women only by Shaunti Feldhahn and for men only by Shaunti and her husband Jeff. fwo has helped numerous women understand the inner lives of their men. I feel it has also helped many men put words to thoughts and feelings that bounce around inside, but they didn't know just how to communicate them. I previewed for women only here and will now do the same with fmo.
fmo is written in Jeff's voice. It's written to help us guys seek to understand the inner lives of women. Shaunti gives a caveat to the female readers, "It's hard to do, but if we women will let men have the time to process, we've found that while men may or may not talk about what they learned, they usually start doing it. So in the days and weeks after your loved one reads any part of this book, keep your eyes open to recognize and affirm what happens."
In my marriage ceremony I have a line urging the groom to continually pursue his bride and 'to explore that greatest of mysteries, the feminine soul.' The first chapter in fmo deals with this theme and is titled, Rethinking Random; Why you need a new map of the female universe.
Jeff says many of us guys may be tempted to skip this and just jump straight to the sex chapter. :-) I hear comments fairly often that subtly put women down. For example, 'We should live our lives by fact then faith then feelings but women lead with their feelings.' In other words guys often subtly or not so subtly say women are defective. fmo is saying that women are different, not defective. Not a new concept but guys be sure and check your attitude for any condescension (that means looking down at another not there's water on it) towards the way your wife views life.
Jeff's condescension looked like this,
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. So every guy on the planet knows that the best thing to do is just shut down and hope somebody comes along to rescue you.
He still has a scar over his eye for that one. Maybe over both eyes.
There are six major areas fmo will guide you through. Listed first is the surface understanding then followed by what it means in practice,
- Women need to feel loved--Even if your relationship is great, your wife likely has a fundamental insecurity about your love--and when that insecurity is triggered, she may respond in ways that confuse or dismay you until she feels reassured.
- Woman are emotional--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.
- Women want security, in other words, financial security--Your woman needs emotional security and closeness with you so much that she will endure financial insecurity to get it.
- She doesn't want you to fix it; she just wants you to listen--When she is sharing an emotional problem, her feelings and her desire to be heard are much more important than the problem itself.
- She doesn't want much sex; she must not want me--Physically, women tend to crave sex less often than men do--and it is usually not related to your desirability.
- She wants to look attractive--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.
I'll hit the highlights from these areas in a few subsequent posts and/or you can buy fmo.