I consider myself a fairly secure guy; however, my dear wife occasionally attacks my masculinity.
A couple of things: “Hold my purse for a minute,” or the phone call ending with, “Please pick up some sanitary pads on the way home.”
We all have limits; mine are purses and pads. In my testosterone-laden opinion, they constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
I know it’s not reasonable to experience a male hot-flash at the mere mention of holding a leather bag or purchasing ultra-thins. However, it is my present reality and, quite frankly, I have no desire to “get in touch with my feminine side”.
I shave my face, not my legs. I scratch. And yes, I occasionally leave the toilet seat up. Romantic comedies are endured. Underwear, though threadbare, is never voluntarily thrown out.
Yes, when it comes to discerning personal likes and dislikes, we men can hit the ball out of the park every time. Now if only we could duplicate this feat in understanding the desires of the female soul – instead of so frequently striking out. What do they want from a guy?
Our failure is exacerbated by a society that perpetually spins yarns regarding the type of man that heightens a woman’s heartbeat.
There’s the Marlboro man, who sits confidently aloft a spirited steed, black Stetson shading steel-blue eyes, smoking the brand that announces to all, “I’m a real man.”
There’s the Old Spice man who, in recent ads, morphs from motorcycle bad-boy to swan-diving super-stud, all in an attempt to convince viewers that this is “the man your man could smell like.”
And we can’t forget the political hero, carefully crafted for public perception, announcing to all that true men kiss babies on the cheek and lobbyists on the … no, we won’t go there.
In my experience, women are actually quite clear about what they truly desire in a man. Expectations are high, but completely achievable.
They yearn for faithfulness; to know that the pledge, “for better, for worse,” is understood and fully embraced. Women can put up with physical imperfections like expanding beltlines and back hair, when their mate is committed to traversing the trail of life exclusively with them, hand-in-hand, “till death do us part.”
Women crave communication. Men suffer notoriously from decreased-vocabulary shortly after their wedding day. Lingering, love-filled conversations are whittled down to a few blunt syllables like, “Where’s the remote” or “Pass the chips.” In such an atmosphere, the female heart that used to flutter slips quietly into retreat.
Most of all, the women I know long for a man of God; one who seeks Divine input and orders his life accordingly. Such living is marked by integrity, gentleness, honesty, justice and the pursuit of truth. I suspect women innately realize that when their guy has tapped into the ultimate source of love, there will always be an abundant supply watering their own feminine soul. It results in a sense of being cherished – a desire that may flicker but never quite goes out.
Understanding what women want in a relationship can be a perplexing journey for the male gender, but dare to persevere. Don’t give up. The prize before us is a healthy marriage and family – and it’s worth the cost.
Perhaps it was King Solomon’s vast amount of relational experience that prompted him to say, “Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
I think of that as I stand, abandoned in the women’s wear department, clutching a purse.
Rod Barks is a Saskatchewan pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org