James T. Horning © 2014
Note: The following article is largely excerpted from the book WINNING AT THE GAME OF WIFE by James T. Horning.
The great question that has never been answered and which I have not been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is, “What does a woman want?”
My 5 year old daughter I think epitomizes the sentiment all women have when she’s crying and I ask “Sweet Pea, what do you want?” and she says “Daddy, I want what I want”. My internal response is “What the heck does that mean? I can’t believe she’s already dishing out this mind scrambling stuff!”. What blows my mind is that her response is not learned or cultivated. It is innate. It comes natural because it is her nature.
Just as my little girl said, a woman wants what she wants- meaning she doesn’t wants what she wants your preferences shoved down her throat. She wants to be able to choose her own course. Is this all that she wants? I don’t think so. It couldn’t possibly be that simple. So,let’s begin to slowly but not without effort move in the direction of grasping this unfolding mystery of What A Woman Wants. First, let’s divide the wants of a woman into two distinct categories. Tangible Wants and Intangible Wants.
Tangible wants are those things that we as men should know about but are too stupid or insensitive to recognize. Our wives expect us to know, but don’t think they should have to tell us. However, they frequently leave us clues that we often don’t pick up on because we’re too self absorbed in our own needs. We’re supposed to observe with sensitivity. We’re expected to perform investigative research to identify what these things are and provide them at just the right time and many all of the time. Some are quite obvious and some require a little sleuthing. But don’t you get it? That’s what they want! They want to be pursued. They like being a mystery to be solved. They want you to figure this stuff out on your own. It helps them know you care. Am I right ladies? So here’s a partial list of what she wants in no particular order. When you read the word “want”, I want you to also see the word “need” because most of what a woman wants is really an unfulfilled need. By “need”, I mean that she actually needs these things to feel loved by you, to feel secure in her relationship with you, to feel attracted to you and to feel like a whole human being. You might be thinking “damn, this is a lot of stuff” but guess what? You have your own version of the same wants (needs), so get over it. She wants: Financial security, significance, love, romance, affection, appreciation, focused attention, loving gestures, fun with you, help with the housework, respect, honor, flowers once in a while, surprises, great sex, a man, not a wuss, to feel beautiful, to feel worthy of being pursued, to be listened to and really heard.
The above list is pretty universal. But don’t assume that’s all there is. Your woman may have wants that can only be uncovered by doing something that would never occur to most men- by asking her. What you’ve got to be prepared for, though, when asking these questions is the backlash of “I’ve been trying to tell you these things for 7 years now and you’ve been too blockheaded (other words that might be used are selfish, self centered, dumb, blind, stupid, idiotic etc.) to hear me!” You see, right up to the time that we’re supposed to “magically” know what our woman wants or know what is on her mind, we’ve probably been given about 10,731 hints that we were too stupid to see.
You know, the funny thing is that a guy “wants what he wants” too. The difference is, he knows what he wants and then goes and gets it. A woman “wants what she wants” but doesn’t know what that is until she’s shopped all day for it [Hint to the guys: What she wants is to shop. It’s like fishing. It’s not so much about catching fish as it is about just “fishing”. Hint to the gals: For a guy, shopping all day in the same department of the same store is a mind-altering experience. Think scrambled eggs]. So, if she doesn’t know what she wants, how in hell is a guy supposed to know what she wants? The answer is, he’s not! You’re not supposed to know. This my friends is one of the things that drives men mad. But here’s the truth of the matter. If she was like you, you would have never been attracted to her. If what she wanted was predictable, you’d be bored out of your mind. She’s a girl. She’s your counterpart. Your equal but opposite. From a mechanical design perspective, what sense does does it make having to squat to pee? If you’re wearing pants, it requires you to expose your entire ass and, if in the outdoors, make yourself very vulnerable to snake bite. Would you prefer she had a penis? I don’t think so! They’re not called the opposite sex for nothing.
I hope you all can see that I’m half joking here but every good joke has a poignant truth at it’s core. Sometimes it seems that a woman’s wants are a moving target and at best vague and unclear. But that’s really only because they don’t always say what they really mean nor do they always really want direct answers to the questions they ask. Like me, you might be thinking “What the fuck!”. A quintessential example of this is when she notices her man is troubled, she asks if he would like to talk about it. She does this because that’s what she would want him to do for her. A man will usually say “No”. What he means by “No” is “No, I don’t want to talk about it”. If a man notices his wife is troubled, and he’s an insensitive jerk, he will avoid asking her anything because he doesn’t want to open up an emotional can-of-worms [Translation: He cares more about his needs than her needs]. If he is half a man, he will ask her if anything is bothering her and if she would like to talk about it. She will probably say “No” and may even resist any advance he may initially make to talk. At this point most guys are like “Thank God, I really didn’t want to get into anything emotional anyway. She’s the one who doesn’t want to talk, so I’m off the hook.” But a woman almost always wants to talk. So, what she really means by all this is that she wants to be pursued and coaxed. This shows her that you care, are genuinely interested and that she’s worth pursuing. Please note that there are infinite permutations of above dynamic and many exceptions that are covered in other sections of the book. For example, a guy doesn’t alway get what he wants because he isn’t comfortable expressing his feelings, needs or desires. He might want a blow job once in a while but not want to risk rejection or be made to feel selfish in asking. Well, what do you know. Guys have feelings too!
There’s a lot of things about a woman that seem incomprehensible to a man. Did it ever occur to you that she may feel the same way about you? The best thing you can do is “surrender” your need to understand and embrace the unfolding mystery that is your wife.
Do you want your lady to worship you? The manliest thing a man can do is take care of his woman and provide for her every need. The rewards for this are immeasurable and result in an extraordinary relationship experience. One of the best pieces of relationship advice I can give is to find out what your woman’s needs are and start meeting them on her terms, not yours.
Learning to know what your woman wants is just a part of the formula for having an extraordinary marriage. Learning to overcome her barriers, learning to bring your A-game to your relationship every day, knowing how to cultivate polarity and passion in your marriage are all part of the magic formula we teach in our couples retreats. Marriage counseling and marriage advice are not the answers in my opinion. Like everything else in life, mastery requires total emersion. It’s always been my philosophy that if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it with competence. Right? It makes your experience much more rewarding. And besides, your woman deserves your best. Don’t you think so? That’s why as a man, you’re going to do whatever you need to do to be the hero she needs. I don’t know about you, but that’s about all the motivation I need.