Sunday, April 26, 2009

the difference between boys and girls

without sharing too much detail about our personal lives, i'm going to share with you something that i learned yesterday. the difference between boys and girls. now, i know that we learned gender identity when we were preschoolers. but once you are married, you learn a little bit more than you thought possible.

i'm sure you know that my husband and i have been separated for 3 months now. we have 4 months of separation to go. during this time, we've learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and each other. once you're forced into a "pen pal" relationship (Thanks, Skype!), you really discover one another again. in a new light. a new, refreshing light. kind of.

i can't really speak on behalf of my husband, so i'll just focus on myself. and then trail a little bit onto him. since being separated, i'm a little... emotional. scared. crazy. insane... and the list goes on. you know, because my soul mate is 870 miles away! & that's fine. but i find myself craving romance like never before.

what a fine time to crave romance, right? when we're on opposite sides of the country! way to go, shannon! i know :) i want to go on dates. i want to watch tv and cuddle. i want to lay on his chest and talk to him all night. then i want to go out to eat and to the park. all fun, romantic things! those are things found on every girl's list.

but those things are not-so-much found on my husband's list. sure, he is dying to go on dates with me. he is dying to cuddle with me. he would give his left arm to watch Law & Order SVU with me for just one night. we both genuinely love those things. but my husband has other things on his mind.

the 5 girls that replied to my previous blogpost said they would most miss: cuddling, having a support system, hugging (i'm counting that as physical), intimacy, his smell, and him being there at night.

what do I miss? the list could go on forever, but i think i miss having my best friend HERE with me. i miss being able to do the things we used to do together. i miss going to rent movies, going out to eat, going to the mall... he really is my best friend. alongside that, i miss cuddling. we are super cuddlers - to the extreme! oh, how i miss it.

if you asked him what he missed most...? the answer would be intimacy. for the past 3 months, i have been dreaming of love letters, romantic walks, hugs, and simply being together. a little light bulb went off in my head when i realized that PM has been dreaming about other stuff.

of course, i already knew this. but i didn't care. at all. because i was focused on my needs. i'm more interested in getting surprise flowers from my husband and being showered with romance from my prince charming. i've forgotten that he has other needs that have to be met, even though he's off in texas.

it's really easy to feel sorry for yourself and dwell on what you need rather than what your partner needs at a time like this. we talk all the time, so i am well aware of his needs. trust me. but i didn't really care about them until last night. it's easy to become frustrated with one another when you're yearning for two different things. i'm shouting, "write me love letters! romance me!!" he is shouting "I need my wife in other ways!"


and i love that about him.

as wives, it's important to respect that men are different from this. and thank God they are!

when i was in high school, i bought this book from Barnes and Noble called, For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men. It's a Christian book that talks about what men really want. their real needs. their real emotions. the author polled thousands of men to get the data for her book. She covers everything from why men NEED respect (especially in public!!!!!!!! do NOT belittle your husband in front of others!), his need to provide for the family, sex, his visual stimuatlion, romance, the way his spouse looks, and what men wish we knew most but are afraid to tell us.

Here are a couple of polls:

Imagine that your wife offers all the sex that you want, but does it reluctantly or simply to accommodate your sexual needs. Will you be sexually satisfied?
Yes - 26%
No - 74%

Regardless of whether you are able to plan romantic events, or whether your wife appreciates it, do you, yourself, desire romance?
Yes, very much - 84%
I can take it or leave it - 14%
I don't care for it - 2%

Imagine your wife is overweight, wears baggy sweats when you are home, and only does her hair and make up to go out. She hates being overweight, but nothing much changes and lately you've seen her eating more sweets. What goes through your mind?
It doesn't bother me at all - 12%
It emotionally bothers me - 70%
I want her to make an effort to take care of herself - not just for herself, but for me - 47%
This question doesn't apply to me because my wife looks great all the time - 20%
(Multiple answers were accepted, so it is over 100%)

Regardless of how successful you are in your current job, which statement most closely describes your feelings about your work life?
I try to perform well and look as competent as possible, when inside I sometimes feel insecure and am concerned about others' opinion of me and my abillities - 67%
I always feel secure in my abilities and rarely consider what others think of me - 33%

Think about what these two negative experiences would be like: to feel alone and unloved in the world OR to feel inadequate and disrespected by everyone. If you were forced to choose one, which would you prefer? Would you rather feel....
Alone and unloved - 74%
Inadequate and disrespected - 26%

these are a few of my favorite polls. these polls really shed light into the secret minds of men. you know, because some of these things are hard to verbalize. men need to be wanted by their wives. most of them do desire romance, even if they try to hide it. or even if they aren't "good" at it. our appearance does matter, even when he says it doesn't. they are constantly being watched and sized-up by fellow men. and, most importantly, they would rather be un-loved than feel disrespected.

what i want to leave you with today is the importance of respecting your husband. respecting ALL of your husband. since being separated, it is easy for me to focus solely on my own needs in order to "get by" for the next 4 months. but we are a two-person team. each of us must have our needs met - one way or another! being a wife means respecting my husband as the leader of our marriage, by taking personal pride in my appearance, providing him with the kind of romance he desires, and supporting him in his career! throughout this book, the author shouts at us that if our husbands are disrespected at home, then they have no shot at feeling like an adequate man. nagging your husband, refusing intimacy, and slouching around are not ways in which to build romance in a relationship.

men are different than women.
and, while i can't speak for all men, this certainly represents the vast majority of the population.

God designed us differently - and i am so glad that He did. together, we form a perfect union. keep in mind that what you desire might not be what he wants. his idea of romance might be to go to a sporting event together, go camping, or go hiking. you have to figure out what your husband needs. he probably won't come out and say it.

i'm sorry to say that i've been irritated at my husband for constantly bringing up certain subjects. ahem. but i need to stop that attitude immediately. we are different, and i need to accept that graceiously.

to end this ridiculously long blog post, i'm going to share some of my favorite "Things I wish my wife knew..."

"I wish she knew how much I look up to her for ALL she is - intelligent, beautiful, capable, sexy, creative, generous, and kind. It seems that not a day passes when she doesn't feel insecure in one of these categories (or sometimes more than one). I wish that she had the confidence in herself that I have in her." -- wow!!!

"I love her with all my heart and would do anything it took to keep that love alive."

"That I am a sensitive man who loves deeply and wants to be loved deeply. And that I want to serve her if she would just let me."

"I love you. Please understand me. Make hte leap to try."

"After so many years, I hope my wife knows that she is the best hope in my life. We don't have everything that we desire material-wise, but there is so much more to life than that. I hope my wife knows that I love her and cherish our friendship forever."

So in the interest of understanding... the top 5:

10% -- "I need her to understand my burden to provide/how draining my job is."

10% -- "I need more sex."

15% -- "I need more respect, in private and in public."

18% -- I wish she'd make more of an effort to take care of herself.

And number one...

32% -- "I want her to know how much I love her/there's nothing I can't tell her"

... men aren't so bad after all, are they?!



  1. I REALLY like this post. Have you ever read the book "The Five Love Languages?" It's really awesome. It describes a LOT of what you are talking about in your blog. It explains each category, and ways that a partner can meet the needs of the love language that their partner speaks in a Christian way. It talks about when you don't speak the same "love language" you can learn to speak the other. REALLY cool. It even has a question/answer thing in the back to figure out exactly the priority order your languages are, as well as your spouse. Jason and I read it right after we were engaged, and even though it seems like common sense stuff, it brought us much closer and able to understand each other much better. It gave us more insight on what the other person needs and will need the most once we are finally married and living together.

  2. This post is awesome, Shan! Thanks for your wonderful insights and the information from that book! This is definitely something I'll be keeping in mind.:]

  3. Paigeroo - Yes!! We have that book :) We never finished it. We don't do well with sitting and reading together. I'm a little book worm. and he.. is not :) Hehe. But we pretty much figured out what we were from what we read! I am a SUCKER for any kind of Christian relationship book. the #1 book I've read is Every Woman's Marriage. that is an AWESOME BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!! You need to go and buy that now!!!!! it's so good :) way better than anything else I've read. same author as the Every Young Woman/Woman/Man's Battle :) Which I also own. hehehehe.

  4. I'm definitely going to have to find that book Shannon! I'll be making a Barnes and Noble trip SOON!

    Jason isn't much of a book worm either. I finished whole the book, and we took the quiz thing in the back, and he managed to read my top two "love languages" sections. I'm really bad about reading out loud what I find interesting, so he ended up hearing the rest of the book. :)

  5. Shannon! I agree 100% that Every Woman's Marriage. It is incredible! Along with Every Man's Marriage & also Every Woman's Battle. I haven't read Every Young Woman's or Every Man's Battle, though, but I'm sure they are just fabulous!

  6. So, apparently I am incapable of finishing a thought in a sentence. That should say, "I agree 100% that Every Woman's Marriage is the #1 book I've ever read."


  7. okay, I've said it a gazillion times..... You need to write a book!!! You are so good! But, until then I will just continue to enjoy your blog :) which ny the way, is awesome and it sounds like you have figured out (very early on I might add!) how to have a happy, long, and very succesful marriage! You go girl!! 5 Love Languages is awesome too- and when you have kids and they are old enough- read the kids one too... it's great!! I thought I knew what Nick and Em were untill I read the book, I was wrong! Very insightful... anyway, love the blog!! Keep em coming! :)

  8. awww. this is such a neat post. How cool to be able to see the inside of their minds. Thank you for this :)