|Photos | Hezron Njoroge|
In a world with different and unique tastes, preferences and personalities, are there things that can be termed as uniform needs for both men and women at the relationship level?
One woman may not accept a certain weakness in a man while another will not be bothered. The other side of the coin is also true—one man may not stomach a certain woman’s personality traits while another will embrace it and love her even more for it.
No wonder many women who are looking for love and who have habitually failed to nail their exact match wonder exactly what men want in a woman? Men, on the other hand, after failing to get the woman of their dreams will always wonder what they could be doing wrong.
These are some of the questions that find answers in ‘What Every Woman Wants in a Man and What Every Man Wants in a Woman’, a book by John Hagee and Diana, his wife of more than 30 years. Pastor Hagee is a senior pastor of the Cornerstone Church, a non-denominational evangelical Church in Texas, in the US.
The couple, which runs the John Hagee Ministry which telecasts in America on about 160 television channels and 50 radio stations, draw their “list of needs” from extensive interviews of ordinary couples seeking their counsel.
“I want this book to help you make things right,” Diana notes in her introductory remarks.
Although some of the views in this book were first published five years ago and revised three years later, the latest edition captures a more modern approach to love, before and after a relationship comes into being.
The more interesting bit is Diana’s account that narrows down to the top 10 qualities a man can adopt to nurture intimacy. John’s address espouses what women can do to grow deeper in love with the men in their lives.
The women’s perspective
One of the greatest mistakes people make in their lives is to get married with low preparation and high expectations.
Diana’s views start with an acknowledgement that women’s needs are affected by age. For example, she thinks a woman in her 20s may be obsessed with a financially-stable or romantic man while the one in her 40s may need emotional intimacy more and a keener ear.
Findings from her surveys rated faithfulness, communication, romance, honesty and a means to provide for the family highly as just some of women’s greatest needs.
“A faithful man is steadfast in affection, allegiance or loyalty,” she writes. However, one of Diana’s hypotheses is that not all men who commit adultery have suffered from wives who do not fulfill their sexual or emotional needs. “We are in a world where casual there’s a casual attitude towards marriage and ‘vows’ no longer count for much,” she explains.
Diana lays bare what she calls rules of communication. Among these are a thought on the consequences of a husband’s utterances today or in future and timing. Quality as opposed to quantity also matters here.
Have you heard of women always looking for a husband who is financially stable? Do not blame them. Diana confirms that one reason women find value in a man is his ability to care for the family, and of course, this does not include being fed or kept by the woman of the house.
Ability to provide and take interest in the welfare of the family is closely intertwined with the need for a man to be a family man.
Further, these two interlock with the aspect of leadership.
Diana explains that these qualities hugely originate from how mature a man is. “Marriage is for grown-ups. Developmental disturbances often bring grief and trouble for any marriage,” she asserts.
How often do we hear women who prefer men with a sense of humour? The author jokes that this has little to do with having a comedian for a husband. This is basically a person easy to work with, relate with and one who creates a happy environment around him and the home.
No one wants a relationship where there is no laughter, she argues. In her view, people come together to make each other happy, not to be a source of grief.
Romance is a central need for many women. In this book, Diana tips women with seven tailor-made ways one can use to romance her man without getting everything wrong.
This is not the physical kind of romance but is closely related to communication. Women must treat their men specially and refer to them with words that demonstrate they are valued and appreciated.
Here she does not leave out the need for a woman to cook special meals for her man. The adage, “The way to get to a man’s heart is through the stomach” cannot be more appropriate.
No woman wants a poor leader in her man. By being a leader, a man assures his family of a sense of security. Through this, a woman gives back through loyalty, another key component of a stable marriage.
The power of touch is also valued by men, the more reason they are easily ignited into passionate love once a tender hand touches their hairy bodies. Holding him, she writes, often makes his testosterone meter explode. Isn’t this one way for a session of affection?
Diana’s section of the book is twice as large as her husband’s, perhaps an indication there are more things men need to know about women.
This is a book written in simple language, and being staunch Christians, there is a tendency by the authors to over-quote from the Holy scriptures. Songs of Solomon is particularly used to illustrate the Godly aspect of the author’s opinion, maybe to prove that whatever she is saying has a divine backing.
In the eyes of men
In the second part of the book, Diana’s husband not only addresses women on what men expect, but he also lets men know how to treat their women for optimum benefits in a love relationship.
In 95 pages, a reader savours the insights of a mature, married man whose household seems to grow even stronger in love with age. The highlights of his views are the love secrets that each and every man who wants his marriage to succeed should know.
Men have been accused of being obsessed with sex, the physical bit of a relationship, so to speak, at the expense of other more subtle expressions of love.
Hagee does not shy away from this allegation. In fact, he is hard on men who believe that marriage is all about sexual activity and that they have a right to demand it from their wives.
He shows how non- sexual affection can save a marriage from collapse.
Marriage built on sexual excitement cannot last as sooner or later, one or both spouses gets exhausted, depressed and bored. “Physical sensations are not love. They are part of romance and the body can only sustain such excitement for so long,” he writes.
Men love freedom, especially the one created by their women. A sure way to blow out a man’s fire of love is to be obsessed with him as if the whole of your life depends on him.
According to Hagee, men are poor at handling pressure and if such pressure comes from the women in their lives, chances are high they will not last long.
A man does not want to be asked where he was, who he was talking to, especially if there is a suggestion that the woman does not trust the answers he gives and is instead asking the questions with other motives.
A woman who controls her husband is likely to be jealous and according to Hagee, this is the surest way to “drive your man off without trying”.
“Struggle for control between a couple is struggle to death with disastrous solutions,” he says. The solution is either the controller will set the person free or the fight will destroy both,” he opines.
He argues that the more a spouse demands love, the less she gets and invokes an old adage that if you love a bird, set it free and if it comes back to you, it was yours and if it doesn’t, then it was not yours.
Although he has nine secrets for men, the author goes further with more secrets on how to manage love.
In a characteristic attempt to deal more with how to overcome challenges related to men, the author poses different questions, the answers of which both husbands and wives will find invaluable.
For example; Can a marriage survive adultery, abuse and imprisonment?
Can it survive addictions, alcoholism or even same-sex liasions?
These are not the only queries. How can a couple overcome pitfalls linked to poor communication, lack of passion or poor financial management in the home?
To avoid a grim rendition, the author appropriately gives what he considers “a love portrait”, a kind of a perfect love relationship.
One of the most passionate instances in the book is where he reprimands men who take every chance to blame their wives for all the bad that happens to them. “It punctures her confidence and this has a direct impact on her self-esteem and self-worth,” he observes.
This book, available in major bookshops in Nairobi may be just what you need to flip through to make things that may not be working in your marriage move in the right direction.