WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?
Sometimes when I write, it’s a byproduct of being inspired, wanting to get clarity on a topic, or exploring my own theory in a specific area. With that said, I’m about to embark on a voyage that deals with an enigma similar to the Bermuda Triangle, the Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge, and figuring out what the hell happened to Richard Simmons.
This topic has been a mystery that man has tried to understand since the beginning of time:
What Do Women Want?
No man is as fortunate as Mel Gibson’s character in the 2000 film What Women Want– by being able to hear the inner most thoughts of women…and dogs, “Monsieur, Monsieur, I need to poop!” Without this mind reading ability, men are tasked to know their woman’s needs and deliver on their desires.
The only advice my dad gave me on the topic of women was, “Find a girl who can afford you. It’s a lot easier to fall in love on the beaches of Hawaii.” He obviously was joking…or was he? Then in his Ph.D. wisdom, J. Hen would follow that with his real offering, “Find a girl who is smart.”
My response to him now is, “Ok dad, I’ve done that; so now what?” The most attractive quality that drew me to Kendra was her brain (oh and she’s 5’9, gorgeous, has a funny wit, is an amazing cook, and loves football…winning!)
Aside from finding my soul mate, I’ve been blessed with amazing mentors in my life who have modeled the proper way to treat women and how to have a flourishing marriage. Young people do what you do, not what you say. I’m thinking about my son Baylor, and my goal is to model to him that the only way to have an effective relationship is to serve your partner.
Let me premise that I am not perfect in this area, but like most males, I’m a work in progress. I’ve been labeled by a few people as selfish, “the King,” and being all about me. My job requires me to travel quite a bit; I’m very active juggling multiple passions outside of work (can you say Rise?); I don’t have many man skills (thank God for our neighbor Jeff); so sue me, I married Wonder Woman. Kendra seems to have super powers in many areas – her weapon of choice is either the power drill or her trusty breast pump – depends on the day.
What’s awesome is that people are entitled to their opinion. They don’t have to agree 100% on my (or your) relationship dynamics. The most important factor is that you and your partner communicate frequently and have established clear expectations – and you both deliver on those. I feel that this is were Kendra and I have excelled – communicating on what our needs are and doing our best to make those happen.
Things are not always going to work out perfectly or as planned. Being able to say “I’m sorry,” owning your mistakes, and sincerely make the necessary adjustments to correct the behavior or issue is what effective teamwork is all about. I think I’m winning on the “sorry” scoreboard. Wow, grace is powerful in a team setting.
As with any team in sports, business, or life, it’s all about playing to your strengths. I feel we do a great job at this. For example, when we got married, Kendra assembled our new barbecue, while I wrote our thank you letters for all of our wedding gifts. 6+3=9. So does 7+2, 5+4, and so on. There’s not one way to have an effective marriage. Know and playoff each other’s strengths. Your production and happiness will be elevated.
A few years ago, we read the book The Five Love Languages (which I totally recommend) and we do our best to make sure those needs are met consistently. My top two are: 1) physical touch, and 2) acts of service. While Kendra’s are 1) quality time, and 2) Starbucks or Chipotle (really, the author added those in the latest addition).
Aside from mastering each other’s love languages, another tool to use is the framework I call A.L.A.: ask, listen, and acton what what makes your significant other happy. Why does it need to be more complicated then that?
Step 1: Communicate and ASK what makes her happy and how you can help. The first response might not tell the whole story. Be ready to dig deep and peel back the onion (women have layers…just like ogres, ogres have layers too…pardon my Shrekreference). The more details and specifics you can obtain the better.
Step 2: This might be a new concept for some of you guys out there (after 6 years of marriage I’m still working on it), but truly LISTEN to what she is saying. Seek to understand. Don’t just nod your head and envision what meat you’re going to BBQ next. Make a mental note, store it, then proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Based on her needs, take ACTION. This could be the most important step. Why? Because taking action takes effort. But not just mindless effort (how many times have you half-assed made the bed or picked up after yourself). Intentional action that follows a strategy is where magic happens. Effectiveness is all about execution. If you execute on her needs, I can give you 50 reasons how this will benefit her and YOU (trust me, there will be no shades of gray).
Do this ALA process:
0 times per year = F results.
1 time per year = D results.
1 time per quarter = C results.
1 time per month = B results
1 time per week = A results
1 time per day = A+++ results
The reason why a high number of relationships get stale and fail is because there is no energy and effort. Imagine if you put the same type of energy, passion, and attention to each other as you did in the beginning of the relationship! Love doesn’t sit on its ass and binge on Netflix all day (unless it’s New Girl – watched together of course). Love is a Verb…just ask John Mayer. Love Does…just ask Bob Goff.
Average in = average out. Awesome in = awesome out. What’s more important then you and your partner’s relationship? Besides putting The Man Upstairs at the center of our life and marriage, Kendra and my relationship is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN MY LIFE!
We feel the best gift we can give to our children is putting our marriage first, and them second. Many couples married with children have it backwards…and their marriage takes a back seat. Hmm, I wonder why divorce rates are so high for new empty nesters?
Below are what I call Kendra’s Keys. If I can deliver on these, I’m winning, she’s winning, our marriage, and family are winning.
1. C.S.S. – Certainty, Security, and Safety
Similar to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, I’ve learned that everything starts here.
Certainty: Being the man of the house, I feel a sense of responsibility to operate and function in a consistent manner, provide stability, and create vision for our family.
Security: It’s my duty to provide for us through generating short and long term financial security.
Safety: A must is to make Kendra feel that she and our children are safe. This dictates the car we drive, how we handle certain public situations, and the fact that I make sure the doors are locked each night before we go to bed (this took me a few years to embed in my psyche).
2. Be Present
Being a Zombie is not a good look. Zombies don’t make good husbands or fathers. Amber Alert: PUT THE CELL PHONE AWAY. I try to institute the 6 to 9 rule – my phone stays in my room plugged in from 6 to 9pm when I get home from work. Don’t be a Cell Phone Zombie, put the cell phone away (this is one area I need A LOT of work on). While your phone is charging locked up in a safe, play the Rose/Thorn game. Each of you share something that you loved about the day (rose) and something that could have been better (thorn). This is an easy, simple, and effective way to communicate and have a little bonding time.
3. Deliver On Her Love Languages
We are very intentional to carve out time and connect during that sweet spot when the kids go down to bed and before we go to bed. This is always much valued QT. Also, I make it a point to bring her Starbucks, flowers, or her favorite…Chewy Sprees candy when I can. About 75% of the time when I come home from the gym, I come packing heat – a toasted Chonga bagel with an iced coffee. This always is a crowd pleaser.
4. Connect Emotionally and Physically
Most women are crock pots, not microwaves…this includes Kendra. If I want a connection downstairs, I better connect upstairs first (Hint: this doesn’t start at 9pm, but 9am). Compliments are free. Acts of service are free, but the payoffs are priceless. Also, every physical touch doesn’t need to lead to something else. Put some money in the bank, rub her feet and expect nothing to happen. You will earn some bonus points, which you can cash in later – Yahtzee!
5. Love Our Children
Serving our children is serving Kendra. Being the best daddy is deeply appreciated and sexy as hell…ask any woman. When I get home, I love to give Kendra a break from Earth, Wind, and Fire (Baylor, Bella, and Winnie) with some dada time. They love it. I love it. And after being a physical and emotional punching bag for the previous 10 hours, Kendra loves it the most.
6. When I’m Fulfilled, She’s Fulfilled
I need to make sure that I’m doing the things that fill me up – exercising, doing my best at work, following my passions. Kendra is so amazing, that she understands the importance of allowing me to be who I am. When that process takes place I have more to give and everyone wins.
7. Date Consistently
Make the words “Date Night” a staple in your relationship’s vocabulary. Don’t let your love fern die…water it, nurture it, and give it light…by regularly scheduling a night out on the town WITHOUT YOUR KIDS! Do I even need to justify why this is important?
I am fully aware that this list is not the end all be all. If you have your own way of investing in your marriage that works, then great! The most important key to this whole What Women Want thing is to DECIDE and COMMIT 100% to your relationship. Love is a choice that needs ACTIONS to fan the flame…not with intentions or “should do’s.” When I take care of Kendra’s needs…she more then takes care of me! The Bible says you reap what you sow…this is so true in relationships. Take care of your woman where she needs it the most, and you will be the wealthiest man on the planet in the area that matters most – LOVE.
Since there are 7 Keys to my list above, take the Kendra’s Keys Challenge. Discuss and implement one of the 7 keys each day of the week with your spouse…start today!
For all my fellas out there, I hope Kendra’s Keys help you unlock your inner Prince Charming. Who knows, you just might awaken your Sleeping Beauty and discover not just what WOMEN want, but what YOUR WOMAN WANTS.
And if you execute on this quest, you’ll create a happy ending in more ways then one.