I speak of Rev AR Bernard’s book, “Four Things Women Want From a Man”. One would simply have to read the book to get a full understanding of what he is saying, but he narrows it down to four ideas, “maturity, decisiveness, consistency, and strength.”
Today I’d like to expound on those concepts in a more personal way, why they have resonated with me so well. First off, I’ve been married for 30 years now, I have a lovely hubby, but people seldom start out that way. I mean, one must step into those shoes. Marriage is a process, a learning experience. We grow. I hope we grow.
I am laughing here, but my hubby has endured a great deal, marriage being a bit like a trial by fire as you struggle to figure out what one another needs. We are both a bit intense and rather stubborn. We are both fortunate to have the Lord to lean into, our perceptions of faith being a bit different, but I am blessed to be married to this guy who takes Christian values seriously. They are innate, ingrained in him, so you honor your commitments, marriage is a sacred thing, and you must figure it out.
You can reverse those four things so we have, “immaturity, indecisiveness, inconsistency and weakness.” Those characteristics used to drive me absolutely insane, especially when the kids were small and I was already stressed out. You wind up picking up all the emotional weight and all of the responsibility, too. They are also total romance killers, as in they all make you feel like someone’s mother. Maternal love is not going to be romantic love.
When you think about having children what women are really seeking from men is safety, protection and provision. Not to be indelicate here, but that is actually, “animal husbandry 101.” Women need safety to nest and have babies and that resonates on a biological level, on an attraction level, too. It’s no joke, when you are confronted by the “immature, indecisive, inconsistent and weak,” it just feels as if you have another child, an over grown one. The next thought is, so what purpose does this man even serve in my life?
Those words probably sound a bit harsh and while one should probably not act on our feelings alone, feelings can be powerful. Contempt is a very common reason for divorce, and those feelings can really engender contempt. Women desiring safety, don’t respect inconsistency and weakness. Consistency creates trust. Decisiveness creates security. Maturity helps you to feel as if you have a partner, another grown up in the house to rely on.
It took my husband a while to figure it out and I wasn’t much help either, because I didn’t fully understand it myself. There were many arguments where I pointed out that I was not his mother and no, that actually had nothing to do with the socks on the floor! Communication can be hard, my husband is such a literalist and I am all about the metaphors. I would point to the socks on the floor and he would pick up the socks and just make me crazier. It’s not about the socks, it’s never about the socks.
Lots and lots of forgiveness and grace and then trying again is really what got us through those days, that and a committment to one another. We are stubborn which has its drawbacks, but we are stubborn too about, “No, we’re going to fix this thing if it kills us.”
A lot of men have trouble with that, they can be bold, blustery, have no problem asserting themselves in most relationships, but when they are around women they get all confused. I really like that short analogy, “maturity, decisiveness, consistency, and strength.” Those are the four qualities in men that create and build trust and trust is a significant foundation of relationships. We respect those we trust.