Well, I am here to tell you that there is a book that gives some GREAT insight to your guy's mind. Shaunti Feldhahn wrote the book For Women Only in 2004. Now she didn't write it just after observation. She did a LOT of research. There were surveys sent to men in all walks of life. The data she received from these surveys is what she used to write this book. To read more about Shaunti you can visit her page here.
Something I wasn't accustomed to was a negative attitude toward men. I didn't notice this attitude until I moved away from the small town I grew up in and went to work in a larger company in a big city. The attitude toward men was so very sad.
I grew up with my mom setting a wonderful example of loving my father, respecting his decisions and just in general how she treated him as her husband. I also saw how the other women in my family treated their husbands. The examples in my family were great and I aspired to be like them.
So when I saw a different side of that, I made a promise to myself to work hard to avoid those pitfalls. I won't say that I am perfect and don't slip up because Lord knows that I do. It's just a promise that I made to myself and to my husband in our marriage that I want to work really hard to keep.
Cindy let us know the May/June Review product was going to be Shaunti's books For Women Only and For Men Only. Now I had seen these books early on in my marriage but never read them. I honestly didn't think I needed something like that at the time. I had many other books on marriage, relationship and such.
That said, after 12 years of marriage, I want to keep the promise I made to myself and Darren in our marriage to not fall into certain pitfalls. I read the description of the book from Shaunti's website and even downloaded the free chapter. The word excited doesn't describe how I felt as I waited for my books to arrive.
I started reading them in the evenings after the kids were in bed. A much needed break from the day. I honestly thought I knew what was going on in my husband's mind but boy was I in for an awakening.
Shaunti speaks from her heart and uses the data from surveys and research to help women understand the inner workings of men. Their feelings, why they react the way they do to certain circumstances, the whole visually wired thing and things that men want us know but don't know how to say it.
In the first chapter of the book, Shaunti recommends that if you have both books and that you and your husband are reading them together to switch books. Girls, that means you read For Men Only and guys you read For Women Only. You highlight the things that are important to you and then switch when you are done.
Now my husband really wanted to read FMO before I did. So I have yet to read that book. But he is going to write a post with his thoughts on the book. I am thrilled that he was willing to do this as it is not something that he has done before. I know he will do great and I am really looking forward to what he has to say. :)
As I was reading FWO it struck me to the core the research data that Shaunti was revealing to her readers. Something that struck me between the eyes as I read that first chapter. Shaunti was on a retreat that was themed on relationships. There was a question asked and the results of the question were quite shocking. The room was divided into men and women sides. And the speaker said that you had to choose between two bad things. "If you had to choose, would you rather feel alone and unloved in the world or would you rather feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone?"
Now for me personally, I would rather feel inadequate and disrespected than alone or unloved. But the men in that room would rather feel alone and unloved in the world than inadequate and disrespected! I put my book down and asked my husband the question. He answered the same way as the men. I was pretty stunned by that. But in reading further into the chapter it made sense. Men equate feeling respected with feeling loved. **Insert lightbulb over head**
Now this is just one of the things that Shaunti talks about in her book. And I know from seeing first hand how men react when disrespected by their wives (or girlfriends or fiancé's). There was one time Darren and I were out with a group of people and their spouses and I one of the ladies made fun of something her husband had attempted to do and his lack of skill in doing it.
Now I realize that what I thought was the typically guy laughing it off was really his attempt to cover how hurt he was at her jab at him. I also realize that the times when I made fun of a shortfall of my own husband that I was really hurting his feelings. Even the simple oh he can't change a diaper right or get the baby dressed right make him feel inadequate. Especially when I have said those things in jest in front of people we know (and don't know).
Oh how my heart ached to realize that I had hurt him. So I apologized and I could tell that Darren appreciated it.
Shaunti also talks about how men often appear calm and collected when in reality they are freaking out. Her example of this was a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. (little did she know we are major Trekkies!)
But my example is this. When we had been married 6 years, we had our 2nd son. Well on my 5th week of maternity leave (and after applying for my 12wks of FMLA leave) Darren was let go from his job at the company we were both employed. They were consolidating positions and he was no longer needed. So they said. (there is more than that, but another blog post needed)
Darren was working the midnight shift and would get home around 8am. When he wasn't home by 8:30 I started to get a little nervous. I called the cell phone and he said he was on his way home and that we had to talk. Never a good sign. He came into the bedroom where the baby was as I was nursing at the time and told me what happened.
He also told me that God had a reason for it and that there was something better out there for him that would allow me to stay home with our children. He put on such a brave and strong front for me. Deep down though, I knew he was crushed. The look on his face said it all. So I told him to go to bed (after all he had just come home from working midnight) and we would talk more when he woke up.
When he left, I cried. I knew he was hurting and I could do nothing to make it feel better. I knew he would be freaking out because he couldn't be the provider for our family. That sort of thing is really hard on a man. But they rarely let you know it. They will mask their feelings to make you feel safe.
We need to be sure we support them and show them we are behind them. That we trust them, appreciate them, love them. They are human beings and have feelings. They often don't share them for fear of being judged weak. So love your husband. Trust him. Speak words of kindness and affirmation to him!
Now there is a whole lot more to the book For Women Only. And it is definitely worth reading. Topics such as why men are so visual and how hard it is to forget what they see, what men really wish they could say about themselves to us, taking care of ourselves and why it matters to them, and more on their desire to be the provider.
Something else that is clearly stated in the beginning of this book. This is not a book to bash, put down or belittle men at all And the knowledge of how a man thinks or why he is the way he his should ever be exploited at all. We should use the knowledge we gain to uplift, encourage and support the men in our lives. This book won't tell you how each situation applies to you, but gives you information on how women relate to men. The way men relate to women is in the book For Men Only. Shaunti gives very clear ground rules for reading this book and they are not to be taken lightly.
I would recommend this book to couples who are engaged and married. I don't care if you have been married for 5, 10 or 20 years. It is something that should be read. I think it would go a long way in helping communication, understanding how men think and why they react the way they do in situations. The benefit of understanding how a man thinks and works is a blessing and something that we are now entrusted with to protect. A man's heart is a gift to be protected, encouraged, loved.
** I was given this product in exchange for my honest review of the product and was not compensated in any other way.
Giveaway #1 - Lorrie has a giveaway going on at her blog Randy's Rib for a DVD Bundle! This includes a men’s study, women’s study and couples study along with the leader guide and a copy of For Women Only, and For Men Only books. This set was officially released June 18th! WOOHOO!! I plan on getting the DVD and study guides to hopefully lead small groups through these books. I think they are that great of a resource!
But hurry, this contest ends midnight the 21st! To enter go here!
For other great resources by Lorrie you can visit Eternal Encouragement and subscribe to her magazine and see the great resources she has available!
Giveaway #2 - As a Gabby Mom, I was given an extra set of these GREAT and MUST HAVE books! So I am doing a giveaway as well! I feel that these would be a GREAT asset to any marriage or pre-married couple! Winner will be chosen on the 29th of June and Prize will be mailed the following week. However, if you live near me, I may drive it over.
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