What do women REALLY want?

women

~Yesterday I received a phone call from a single friend of mine who began complaining about the dating scene, “What do women really want in a man?” he said, “It seems as though they only care about two things; a guy who has a magnetic personality and who earns a ton of money, doesn’t my intelligence count for anything?” he asked?

I tried to explain to him that younger women (and men) definitely might display a tendency toward looking for qualities in a mate that might be on the more ‘superficial’ side….but as we mature we learn that there are more important qualities that matter when it comes to choosing a significant other.

Yet even as I write that last paragraph….I find myself wondering how many of us actually do grow ‘more mature’ in the area of choosing a mate as we get older. After all, we know that 50% of marriages end in divorce, and of the marriages that end up lasting over the long haul; psychologists have actually found that most marriages don’t bring a very high percentage of increased happiness to an individual’s life.  So are we really looking for the right qualities in another person when we date?

What qualities should we be looking for?

If I’m going to be honest with you, I have to admit that ‘money’ pops into my mind when it comes to long term relational happiness. After all, study after study has found that the number one area of conflict in marriages is always connected to money. But if we look at wealthy couples…..they demonstrate the same level of proclivity toward divorce, infidelity and other marital problems….so I guess a spouse who earns a ton of money really doesn’t change things very much….does it?

Often times when I discuss the topic of marriage people will say its a ‘dying institution” and even though my Christian upbringing wants to object to that kind of mindset…..I can’t deny the statistics; divorce, infidelity, low levels of happiness among married people.

But, maybe the problem isn’t that marriage is a dying institution; perhaps the problem is that too many people looked for the wrong qualities in a mate, and maybe there are a lot of people out there that never should have gotten married in the first place.

Perhaps its time we begin telling our children that ‘marriage isn’t for everyone’ and for those people that it is for; maybe we need to realign our philosophy when it comes to qualities we should look for in a mate.

One of the problems with living in the Western World is that we are a very individualistic people. Compared to other cultures we are much more isolated and much more disconnected from each other. While I’m not advocating some type of radical communism, there is much we could learn from countries which are more communal in their social structures. Thus, I often wonder if it isn’t our individualistic attitudes in the West that is contributing to the massive breakdown we see in marriage and intimate relationships; perhaps we are looking to get more out of a relationship than one person could ever give to us.

Since we are social creatures at our core, perhaps the lack of deeper social community has contributed to out-of-whack expectations when it comes to relationships.

Psychologists have determined that a higher level of a specific protein in the female brain has ‘wired’ women to using on average as many as 13,000 more words-per-day than men. Doesn’t this then tell us that women need more than merely ‘one man’ (or one woman) in their life to entirely satisfy their need for communication and intelligent stimulation?

Yet what do we so often see in the dating scene; people who date tend to spend an exorbitant amount of time with each other. Especially amongst younger daters…there is often a tendency to spend a lot of time with each other, often at the expense of their other friendships. However, its having a larger quality social group that could benefit our relationships.

Perhaps the key to successful relationships and marriages; is a successful social community. Maybe when we say, “it takes a village to raise a child”, we should also add, “It takes a village to create a good marriage”.

Then again….perhaps all the coffee I drink has numbed my neural receptors and I’m typing a bunch of nonsense…….which reminds me; I think I’ll have another coffee now,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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33 replies

  1. Women wants to be understood and loved instead of being locked in the house after marriage

  2. Good points! I think part of the trouble is that society puts so much meaning into marriage, when people can just as well have a wonderful long-term relationship without any need for such a ceremony.

    When extra unnecessary meaning is filled into something with a limited capacity of meaning, the bottom can much more easily fall out of it.

  3. I hear that a lot too and I think perhaps it’s the wrong question for men to be asking, “what do women really want?” What do you want, would be much better. A man who has no idea what he wants and no idea what you want either, is not very appealing.

    We’ve gotten very politically correct and yet most women I know really appreciate men who take some responsibility and initiative, not in a bossy way, but at least having some idea of what direction they wish to go. It actually puts a burden on women to focus too much on what we want because then she has to think about what she wants, what’s best for him, for her family, for the community, for herself, and on and on the list goes, all these different possibilities and how they could play out, and each one requires an emotional investment… and before you know it she’s like half crazy and annoyed with you ; )

  4. What do women want? They want it all.

  5. I think that’s the wrong question from that single friend of yours. I think a better question might be along the lines of how does find a good mate, and for that we have the wisdom of our elders to tap into from sources like this.

  6. Women want’s to be Happy and happiness is acceptance. 🙂

  7. First of all we have to fight the sexual attraction and false imaginations thing . . . which we usually don’t do until. as they say, “the honeymoon is over” . . . then it’s too late.

    I believe in friendship far more than I believe in marriage . . . I believe in loyalty far more than emotional excitement . . . I believe that “what can you do for me?” is a killer and “what can we do for each other?” the preserver and promoter of a long and lasting relationship.

    All the other stuff that starts with “I need” is bullshit other than one . . . “I need to be more kind and understanding and less selfish”

    Even then that must come from both parties in equal amounts. . . so bottom line . . . marriage is a tough proposition for even a saint to take on . . . and yet we do. . . over and over again we do. . . . HA!

  8. Reblogged this on quixoticfaith and commented:
    This is really good. Every time I hear about “the dating scene” I am so glad I’m not in it! So much pressure; so many expectations. It’s a relief just to be myself and know another person accepts me, flaws and all.

    But then I realize I was never actually IN the dating scene. I never really DATED. All of my relationships were friends-turned-long-term relationships. The thought of meeting someone specifically for the purpose of developing a relationship seems…I don’t know, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Aren’t we skipping a step, I don’t know? How could a person really be themselves with that kind of pressure?

    And then the world’s way of doing things…”hooking up” for a casual encounter…that’s even more pressure as one must be physically in top-shape and are expected to be great in bed. But how can you see a person’s soul with that attitude? Isn’t this the ultimate form of objectification? Where is the dignity? Where is the LOVE?

    I don’t claim to have the answers to what makes a marriage work. I’ve only been married for 10 years, so I’ll wait until I make it to 50 years before I give such advice. But I suspect that Kenneth is right here: we are expecting way too much from our spouses.

    Now, I don’t think pairing off alone is the problem here. Because when you really like someone, when you are falling in love, your brain sends a flood of dopamine which makes you feel high. If that person reciprocates your love then it’s even stronger. Your brain responds very much like its on cocaine. It makes sense you would want to spend all your time with that person.

    But we can’t believe the lie perpetuated by Hollywood that the other person will be THE ONE to make us complete. And unfortunately this state of “being in love” blinds us to the other person’s flaws. Some of these flaws may marriage-breakers.

    I don’t get the attracted-to-guys-with-money thing. I’ve always been attracted to starving artists. I guess I’m one of those people that doesn’t mind being poor if I can be with a person that thinks “out of the box” and makes me laugh. That’s the good stuff.

    But having gotten older and lived through poverty with children I would say that confidence in oneself and the ability to be resourceful are incredibly important qualities to look for in a mate as well.

    I don’t have any answers here, only thoughts. But I think Kenneth may be on to something when he suggests we need a village to make a marriage work. We need community.

  9. It took me twelve years to find the man I was equally yoked with in faith. I believe twelve is known for “completeness”. I’m so glad I did not give up and settle.

  10. It is a challenging subject which needs to reflect background and values. Each individual woman has her own personal goals, hopes and dreams. Great and thought-provoking post!

  11. First off the stats are a bit misleading yes 50% of marriages end in divorce. This is because near 60% of second marriages end in divorce and 80% of third marriages end in divorces and it only keeps growing. All the while only 30% of first marriages end in divorce though even 30% is bad it is not as bad as 50%. So many of the divorces are by serial marriagist. That being said marriage was once much more about society and Economics then about love and emotion. Emotions come and go and love is a choice though we treat it as an emotion that comes and goes. I see the whole thing as sad. I also see a solution but you are correct in our culture it would be hard to implement. We are so individualistic. We have a hard time listening to others we figure we know enough about life we need no help. This is symptomatic of the loss of community.

    • Well said. I think we actually idolize marriage in our society. Or we did, maybe that’s waning now that people are seeing the divorce #s (and you are right, first time marriages are closer to 30% failure). There is too much pressure on the other person to complete us and “make us happy.” We truly do need community more.

  12. Women want you to stop taking pictures of them without permission 🙂

  13. It’s a “dying institution,” say the people who leave it up to the institution to do all the work for them. Laziness, I say. A healthy relationship is 100 / 100, not 50 / 50 or 80 / 20 treating either like a chore machine. If work in a relationship is not for you then don’t marry.

    The half of marriages ending in divorce is part not knowing their spouse, and part not knowing the world (e.g., marrying young).

  14. I think what both genders are really looking for (whether or not they know it) is a sense of security and partnership. But it takes both parties to GIVE security and partnership for it to work. You mention divorce rates in wealthy households are the same as in lower income households – it isn’t the AMOUNT of money, it’s the equal sharing of financial responsibility that’s needed. My grandparents are a great example. She stayed home while he worked, but when the paycheck came in they sat down together and parsed out what was going to pay bills, what was going to be saved, what could be used for family entertainment, and if there was anything left they’d each take an equal amount of “pocket money”. They understood that, even with different roles, they were equal partners in making the family work. They listened to each other, respected each others opinions and desires, and compromised together. Their marriage lasted from their late teens until their deaths (89 and 99 – his last 10 years alone he still considered himself married). What we really need to teach our children is that marriage (or just a joined lifestyle/relationship) is about SHARING, not what one can get from the other.

  15. Lots of truths. I think we are also a spoilt society who give up quickly when a marriage isn’t “perfect”. In any relationship there has to be give and take and some of us only want to take. Thanks for a great read.

  16. i think one of the reasons also is the “over commercialization of love.” 🙂

  17. I prefer a failed marriage in your society than having a lifetime married relationship with a man in my society where having an individualistic nature is considered rebellious(read outrageous). And in our societies where divorce rates are really low, try asking out the women if they are really happy with their marriage lives and i assure you that more that half of them would say no if they choose to answer sincerely.

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