When a man gets married (or begins a serious relationship with a woman), he should first and foremost recognize that he has his work cut out for him. And as sweet and pleasant as that initial encounter may be, if he is to succeed going forward, he must approach the relationship as one approaches learning a foreign language. Not only does he have to learn how to speak his lady's language, but he must also learn what is of essence in her particular "culture". Indeed, he must become like a student, taking notes so that the integration process might not prove to be too painful. This is not to say that a woman shouldn't do the same, but only that a man can only change what he is capable of changing, namely himself. Thus, I offer ten keys to understanding the unusual citizens of Womania:
10. Women Don't Want Your Honest Opinion:
If a woman asks what you think about anything relating to her person, tread very carefully. She may sound reasonable when she says, "What do you think about this dress... honestly?" or "How do I look?" but she may already have in the back of her mind exactly what she wants you to say, and if you fail to provide the proper response, then be prepared to suffer the (dire) consequences.
9. Sometimes There Is Just No Right Answer:
Somewhat similar to the previous example, there are occasions where no answer will satisfy. If you say "yes", then the answer is "no", if you say "no" then the answer is "yes"; and if you say nothing in the hopes of avoiding a potential conflict, then you will be accused of being disinterested, burying your head in the sand, or some other such cowardly act. If you accept from the beginning that there is no getting out of this bind, then when the accusations fly, you will be a lot more prepared to deal with them. Look, sometimes you just have to take one for the team, as Christ once did for his bride, the Church.
8. Winning Means Losing:
No sooner have you finished congratulating yourself for making the perfect logical argument, then you realize how little reason suffices in a debate with a woman. If, for example, your wife has a flat tire, is stranded in the middle of nowhere and calls you in tears, do not remind her, as I once did, that you told her to take the other car and that you knew this was going to happen. OK, you might be right, and everything that you are saying may in fact be the truth, but you are only storing up wrath for yourself later by pointing this out. You may be enamored with your flawless logic, but just remember that the victory may feel more like a defeat.
7. Women Want You To Be Psychic:
When it comes to problems, particularly those related to your relationship, women do not want to have to tell you what is wrong... they want you to have telepathy. They reason that if you really love them, then you will know instantly what troubles them. And if you fail to divine her deepest feelings? Well then you must not love her as much as you claim to. In the end, she may tell you what is bothering her, but she won't be happy about it, and she may even include your lack of clairvoyance in her list of complaints.
6. Women Don't Want You To Fix the Problem:
... they want you to listen to them complain about it. As a woman expresses her frustration to a man, the first thing he thinks about is how to resolve the conflict. For he truly wants his wife to be free of anxiety (or at least the household to be free). Meanwhile, as you offer your five steps to rectifying the situation, she blithely passes over your suggestions in order to get back to the thing that is really irritating her. If you can recognize this from the outset, then you may be able to garner some praise from her. After all, few things are valued more by a woman than an attentive husband.
5. When You Screw Up, Sometimes "I'm sorry" Isn't Good Enough:
Depending on the circumstances, when you screw up, you may be able to get away with a simple apology. But if you really want to melt the ice, then you must bring a pleasing sacrifice to her altar. You may put flowers on that altar, you may write a poem and place it there, you may even travel to hell and back again (i.e. the mall), in order to purchase some item that she previously expressed interest in. But whatever the case, if you genuinely wish to receive absolution from the high priestess, then you must commit yourself to some real form of Penance.
4. Women Want To Be Surprised:
When it comes to gifts, men are satisfied with simply telling you what they want and then receiving it. Women? Not so much. You may be able to get away with it for one gift, but anything beyond that must involve the element of surprise. One easy thing that men can do in order to make this process considerably less painful is by "taking notes" whenever your wife says she likes something. It makes your shopping for that special gift a lot simpler, and even better, she will actually come to believe that you are in fact listening to her.
There is no greater threat to a marriage than the loss of this dynamic. Men must be active in their love, lest they retreat into a kind of slothful narcissism. And when I say slothful I mean more than his proclivity to worship the "remote control" (which is a perfect term for the emotional disconnect men frequently fall back into), but likewise his tendency to grow slack in his duty to romance his wife. If a man wishes to be happy in his marriage, he must never abandon this "element of surprise."
3. What A Woman Says Is Not Always What She Means:
When studying a foreign language one must learn the various words that serve as an equivalent in their own language. In a similar sense, men must also learn what women mean by the words that they say. For example, when a man says "Honey, if you want to go out with your friends tonight I'm fine with that," what he means is "Honey, if you want to go out with your friends tonight I'm fine with that." If a woman says that she is " just fine with you going out," beware, for she may actually be saying something like; "Yeah, you go ahead and go out, I dare you!" Men tend to mean what they actually mean (as boring and uninspiring as that may sound), while women tend to mean the opposite of what they say, especially as it relates to matters of the heart. If a woman says that something "doesn't matter to her," be assured that it is probably as essential to her as the very air she breathes. For this reason, a man may find himself in a whole heap of trouble without exactly knowing why. But don't think you can simply plead ignorance, because remember, you were supposed to know her well enough to intuit what she really meant!
2. Women Want You To Make The Decisions... Sort Of:
If your wife/love interest tells you that she wants you to decide on a restaurant, understand that she is only giving you this privilege to the extent that she agrees with your conclusion. She'll insist that she wants you to decide, but the moment you put forth a suggestion, she'll say "I don't want to go there." The same can be said when deciding on what movie to watch, or what afternoon outing to pursue. I cannot say for sure what women are thinking in this regard, but I can say that they want you to be decisive, just not necessarily the decider.
1. Women Don't Want To Be Treated Equally; They Want To Be Treated As Queens:
They may be egalitarians when it comes to how they treat others, but when it comes to how they want to be treated, well, that is a whole different story. One day I came home and complained to my wife that I seemed to be getting myself into trouble with the women at work. I told her that I always treated them as equals so I couldn't understand what was going wrong. She explained that that was my problem; "Women don't want to be talked to as men talk to men- they want to be treated like queens." Now this may seem impractical, but every woman is a queen (or at least must be led to believe it), and to the extent that you can make her feel that she is the only one that reigns in your heart, is the extent to which you will live in a happy household.
Some will complain that I am making generalizations with a list like this, but generalizations are just that- a description of what is generally true. And the above list is generally true.