“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” is how Winston Churchill once described another culture.
Many husbands would describe their wives the same way. It's not that they don't want to understand. It's just that they don't. Of course, the problem runs both ways: Women don't understand men any better than men understand women. But this doesn't help the average male who can't understand why his wife doesn't want him watching the third football game on TV that weekend.
Much of the riddle can be explained by the importance of relationships to women.
Men often define themselves by what they do for a living. But in the book “Captivating,” Stasi Eldredge explains: “Most women define themselves in terms of their relationships … I am a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Or, I am alone.”
The “mystery inside an enigma,” however, is that while women crave relationship, as it relates to marriage they want to be chased after to form the very relationship they want. Author Mark Gungor explains: “For a woman, the whole of life is like a junior high school dance where she stands alone thinking, 'I want someone to choose me.'”
Eldredge calls this a woman's “longing to be pursued, desired wanted as a woman.” There's more to life than being romanced for women, but, “every woman wants to be seen, wanted and pursued.” Without that, there is a deep sense of loss and rejection.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach explains that a woman's family, especially her parents, and her friends can love her. But only her husband can choose her. “He can make her feel special and unique.”
The wedding day is centered on the bride for a reason: It's “her day.” Gungor calls it “the greatest party of her life,” where in front of family and friends, “she is celebrating, I have been chosen!”
Unfortunately, many husbands think that once they “choose” the woman (i.e., fall in love, become engaged, and get married), their job is done. Wrong! Women see the engagement and wedding as only the important first acts of choosing. They want to constantly be chosen all over again. Everyday. Repeatedly.
This isn't a matter of wives wanting their husband's attention 24/7. Instead, Gungor explains, wives want their husband to “regularly demonstrate that she is his top choice,” and that she's not lost her position. This means regularly and intentionally continuing to choose her.
Choosing involves actions; it's demonstrating through your behavior that she's more important than your buddies, your job or anything else. Instead of watching TV, suggest that you take a walk together. If it's your favorite TV show, that's better yet.
Instead of staying late at work to clear up that “one last thing,” go home and offer you wife some help around the house. At work, take a minute and call your wife just to let her know you're thinking of her. Instead of playing video games, turn the computer off and spend time with her. Instead of always accepting your buddy's offer to play golf, go bowling or go fishing, decline the offer and spend the day with your wife.
Gungor explains the “act of choosing her reaffirms to her your love and commitment.” Choosing your wife, instead of doing what you'd normally do if she were not around, puts her first. “The man who understands this holds the key to what a woman truly desires,” he says.
It's a foundational need for her sense of comfort, security, fulfillment and happiness. And, as Gungor concludes, “When you have a happy, loving wife — it's the closest thing to heaven on earth!”
©2012, All Rights Reserved. James Sheridan’s website is www.marriagedoneright.com. This column is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion of The News-Sentinel.