For Women Only: Part 2

13 07 2005

Previous Post on this Book

As promised, here’s the review continuation from yesterday of Shaunti Feldhahn’s For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men. Click the title to purchase a copy.

Chapter 3: The Performance of a Lifetime – Why You Mr. Smooth Looks So Impressive but Feels Like an Imposter.

Feldhahn also has a website with further information and the study used to write this book. (Note: To view the survey information, you must become a “member” – but, membership is free. It just requires registration with the website.) Check the sidebar under “Next to My Bed” for a link to my listing of all reviews on this title.

Chapter 3: The Performance of a Lifetime – Why You Mr. Smooth Looks So Impressive but Feels Like an Imposter.

Despite the confidence and boldness that your husband displays on the outside, inside he’s terrified that we’ll discover he’s not “all that.” Secretly he buries this inside and hopes no one will ever find out.

Feldhahn supports this premise with two career questions from the survey. Sixty-seven percent of respondents reported they try to look and feel confident, but realize they are not. This is opposed to the 33% who are always confident. Only 16% report that taking risks at work is no problem for them.

One thing is certain: The idea of someone thinking he can’t cut it is humiliating – a feeling every man wants to avoid at all costs. So he puts up a good front so others will think he’s highly competent.

Men feel their life is always under scrutiny – they are being judged on every particular detail. This also relates back to the last chapter on respect and trust. A joke at his expense may really be cutting to the core of his soul, exposing something he’s secretly been hoping no one would notice. Then we, his wife, just lay it on out there in jest.

While work presents these challenges and links them with another insecurity (the need to provide, talked about in the next chapter), at home he feels that his worth is without a true measure.

Not surprisingly, men said they judge themselves – and feel that others judge them – based on the happiness and respect of their wives.

So if we are happy, then that must mean they are doing a good job. Ouch. Again, we women carry a special burden for our husbands. We are the measure of his success at home. Our smiles radiate it. Our frowns confirm failures.

What Can We Do?
Feldhahn suggests – affirm, affirm, affirm. We should be building up our husbands. (I think I’ve heard this somewhere before.) Lack of affirmation could take him to other things – pornography, adultery to name the most serious. Make his home a castle with high walls and let it be safe there. Support him. Love on him. Help him to build the confidence he needs to have when he leaves the castle.

I’ve been here, too. In fact we’re building our castle right before our eyes as Gil works on the screen porch and I’m tending to some details inside. It’s an experience that we’re going through together. I’m grateful to be reading this book at this time.

Reviewer Note: I am trying to pare down the details in my reflections some in order to encourage readers to explore the material themselves, rather than just counting on this presentation of it. So read the book. It’s got a full rundown of the issues and is presented well.

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5 responses

13 07 2005
Carmen

Hey, I saw your info on another blog I frequent – Unretouched Photo, and saw that you live in my area. I just wanted to say HI!

13 07 2005
Kim in ON

I saw this today at the bookstore, and I was going to buy it, but I decided I’d read your reviews first.

13 07 2005
Sal

It is unusual that I watch TV, but tonight I happened to see an episode of Home Improvement and was instantly reminded of Chapters 2 and 3 of this book.

How often have we seen the character of Tim Taylor maligned by his wife and family in public? Tonight’s episode features Jill beating Tim at bowling using girlie techniques – reciting “Ashes, ashes we all fall down” as she throws the ball. They have a bet on the game that the loser will kiss the others feet in public.

Those who have watched the show regularily realize that the character Tim is no stranger to this type of behavior. The funny part is, it’s painted as “acceptable” behavior by the media, when the results of Feldhahn’s study’s show that typically this kind of treatment would be reprehensible to men. They not only would probably not act with as much grace as Tim’s character shows, but also would not likely have the stable marriage portrayed in the series.

Plus, this is a sit-com that’s been on our airwaves for probably around 15 years and is loved by all, highly acclaimed and family-oriented. Sad to see that even in something like this, wrong messages that tear down families are being touted and taught.

Am I being too harsh? How much does TV affect culture and define what is acceptable?

Just a thought to ponder.

26 07 2005
Paula

I just began reading your posts on this book so I’m late in responding. No, I don’t think you’re being too harsh. Many tv shows about family life have the wives and children putting dad down. (Remember that horrible “Married, With Children”?) Dad looks like a doofus in everyone’s eyes. The mother looks like the hero of the family. I don’t know how they pull it off that this couple has a successful marriage because in real life this would be such a point of dispute.

19 01 2006
Allison Trump

This is cool, you have to try it. I guessed 10851, and this game guessed it! See it here – http://www.funbrain.com/guess/

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