For Women Only Summary – Part 3

22 07 2005

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Here’s my next installment 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.

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.

Have you ever felt like you knew it all when it comes to your husband? When he does certain things, are you completely puzzled as to his motivation? Then this book is for you. I have periodically been baffled by responses and behavior of my dh, trying to rationalize them in my own female brain. This book has begun to show me that I need to really discover who my husband is in the context of being a man. In other words, it’s one thing to say that you know that God made men and women differently. It’s another thing to deeply try to understand and see these differences, lay down your pride and try to change your day-to-day thinking.

This book has certainly challenged me to do that. These last three chapters have dug into my own heart to whisper to me how stubborn I have been. Ouch! No one likes to hear that they are wrong, but no woman likes to hear that she doesn’t know how to take care of her husband. God is humbling me in my household.

Chapters to be summarized this week are:

Chapter 4 – The Loneliest Burden – How His Need to Provide Weighs Your Man Down, and Why He Likes It That Way.

Chapter 5 – Sex Changes Everything -Why Sex Unlocks a Man’s Emotions (Guess Who Holds the Key?)

Chapter 6 – Keeper of the Visual Rolodex – Why It’s So Natural for Him to Look and So Hard to Forget What He’s Seen.

Now, I’m still encouraging you all to get a hold of this book for yourself if you ever felt confused by your husband’s behavior. My summaries are scant in comparison with the actual information presented. Feldhahn’s approach is simple and easy to understand, although sometimes this stuff is just hard to swallow. I am reading each chapter several times to make sure that I get the full learning to be found here.

Chapter 4 – The Loneliest Burden – How His Need to Provide Weighs Your Man Down, and Why He Likes It That Way.

Light bulbs please. Lot of them.

This chapter’s discussion of how men are defined by their need to provide not only surprised me, but intrigued me. I never once thought about it, although looking back I clearly saw signs that I ignored in this area. I recently discussed this topic with my husband and he confirmed to me most of what is covered in this chapter is true for him. One of the reminders in the beginning of the book is that there are exceptions to ever one of the “revelations” between its covers. It’s highly beneficial to run through it with your own dh, just to make sure that you are on the same page.

Feldhahn’s studies define the need to provide as being at the very core of men, and almost instinctually etched on their very soul, it would seem. In her questionnaire, 76% of all men reported that they still would want to “provide” for their families, even if their wife brought home more than enough to financially cover things.

Mind boggling. While women are complaining about how much their husbands work, they are really trashing a part of who their man is – something he cannot escape from. It stalks him in his being, at night, at work. He needs to do this. It’s who and what he is.

Feldhahn’s sticking points in this section:

  • Being a provider is a core to a man’s identity.
  • Men provide = “I love you.”
  • Providing goes along with the need to succeed.
  • Providing is a risk of failure
  • The trap of being a provider.
  • Providing for now and for the future.

I’ll quickly cover a few of the hot points from these points.

Men say “I love you” to their wives and family when they work long and hard hours. We don’t understand it, but it is an expression from who they are. We trap them in this area as well. They work the long hours to provide so we can have more, but then complain that they are not around. It can be very frustrating to a man.

Earlier we read about a man’s need to succeed. Providing for his family is interwoven in this part of his life as well. It’s a symbol of success for him.

Men don’t just think about the here and now when they look at what they need to do. They are looking at the future – college for the kids, retirement for the two of you. While it’s easy for women to get tangled in the day-to-day financial considerations when running the household, we need to recognize that our men are also thinking “big picture” as they put their shoulders to the grindstone.

What can we do to help????

Support and understanding of this particular burden can help your man feel less pressure in this area. “The trap” of time vs. money is a big one. Women need to really look at their household and make sure that this vicious circle is broken.

Chapter 5 – Sex Changes Everything – Why Sex Unlocks a Man’s Emotions (Guess Who Holds the Key?)
I’m not one to personally share my own experiences in this area, but I will say that this chapter spoke to my heart.

Feldhahn recognizes through her studies that men have not only a physical need for sex, but also an emotional one. Intimacy is achieved with them through sex. (I often think we women get intimacy through relationship, so we fail to understand how this component is so important for them.) Satisfaction for men includes not only being wanted, but the ability to satisfy his mate.

Women wonder why sex is so important, and Feldhahn notes two trends – benefits and wounds. While sex has the ability to build him up, it also can take him down.

Benefits:

  1. A man feels loved and desired through sexual fulfillment.
  2. A good sex life gives him confidence

Did you ever think or understand the connection in this area? When this area of his life is strong, everything else can be falling apart and he’ll still plunge through it all. But the wounds can also affect him.

Wounds:

  1. The incredible rejection of women saying “no”
  2. When he doesn’t think you want him, this can bring on depression

We have an incredible burden with our husbands with these two revelations. Feldhahn has great discussions of these items as well as a good perspective on how we can help the situation. This may involve a change in “thinking” for some.

Chapter 6 – Keeper of the Visual Rolodex – Why It’s So Natural for Him to Look and So Hard to Forget What He’s Seen.

Have you ever been upset because you thought your husband might have a “wandering eye?” Have you ever noticed that when an attractive woman enters the room, there seems to be something that comes over men? Well, Feldhahn’s study concludes that most men have a visual inkling towards women that is just a part of who they are.

My husband and I discussed the study question that she opens the chapter with –

Imagine you are sitting alone in a train station and a woman with a great body walks in and stands in a nearby line. What is your reaction?

What do you think your husband would say? Here are the results:

  • 4 % I openly stare at here, and drool forms on my lower lip.
  • 76% I’m drawn to look at her, and I sneak a peek or glance at her from the corner of my eye.
  • 18% It is impossible not to be aware that she is there, but I try to stop myself from looking.
  • 2 % Nothing happens; it doesn’t affect me.

That means that 98% of the men in the station are affected by her presence – regardless of their marital status, their religious background, or their happiness. Only 2% are unaffected (or as my husband said…lying.) It’s a pretty remarkable number.

So Feldhahn has stated two that men have two compulsions that are hardwired into their very being. Based on the question above, men can’t not want to look. It’s not a matter of choice, the want is still there. The difference really comes in how they deal with the situation. The second compulsion is that men have a rolodex of mental sensual images that can be triggered at any time.(87% of men in the survey responded that they did.)

I can relate to these visual triggers during my vacation, as I visit my hometown. How often a memory is triggered by the sight of a formerly familiar place or even a face. Things I haven’t thought about in years, almost forgotten just pop up. But men have it much more difficult, as their triggers run in their everyday lives as they encounter women and situations in their day-to-day living.

Now, Feldhahn is asserting that this is normal for men. But she also notes that what the men do with imagery is what makes the difference. How do they react to this daily temptation?

Temptations are not sins. What we do with temptations is the issue.

She also lists four reassurances for women and instructs them to pray. Prayer is one of the best ways to support your husband in this area. Other instructions include making a stand for modesty – to which I say AMEN! There’s too much flesh in my face, especially during the summertime. I think what a temptation water parks and beaches must pose for men who are only seeking to cool off and entertain their children. We must continue to not only make a stand in our own life for these things, but teach it to our children, particularly our girls.

That wraps up this week’s summary. I’m not sure when I’ll be putting up the last post on this material – I know it won’t be on Tuesday, but it may float in sometime before the end of the week.

Blessings to you!

P.S. If someone can help me get a smilies plug in loaded on my MT, I would be sooooooo grateful!

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