Posts tagged what women really want
HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what women really want #7

Dear sons,

There is a story in the Bible just for men.

Well, maybe it wasn’t originally meant just for men, but it’s so typical, so like what happens every day between men and women, that I think every man should know this story and learn, lest they follow the same path and wreck the same havoc with the same mistake.

Here’s what happened:

A man took over a struggling business. For three years this man threw himself wholeheartedly into his work. He put in long hours, stayed up late worrying about what might happen if he failed. The man worked every connection, every possibility, every person he knew to come alongside him. He exerted his considerable leadership abilities, convincing the brightest and the best to come on board.

And he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. His company’s holdings increased, making it the largest company in the world. He was lauded and applauded everywhere he went. Wealth poured in. People praised him.

He’d made it.

One day, the man decided to throw a party in celebration of his success. He invited everyone who’d contributed, from the most influential of investors to the lowliest suppliers. His entire board was there, each one looking smug and satisfied with the wealth of their holdings.

The press reported on his party with praise-filled reviews: “a tremendous display of the opulent wealth and glory of his empire.”[1]

Part way through his party, and more than part way inebriated, the man sent for his wife. He wanted her to strut her sexuality in front of these business associates. To let the men there know that his success in the bedroom reflected his success as a man.

When she refused to comply, he went ballistic. He said things he shouldn’t have. One thing led to another and he ended up wallowing in his own mess. One of those stupid things a man wakes up to regret.

“But after Xerxes’ anger cooled, he began thinking about Vashti…”[2]

Every time I read the story of Esther, I get stuck at the party scene. Something went terribly wrong and its what goes terribly wrong too often.

Somehow this whole group of smart, successful men managed to misinterpret the words of a woman who no doubt wanted to help. She knew he’d wake up the next morning embarrassed by his own lack of judgment.  In reality, this wife’s refusal to make a fool of both of them was for his own benefit as much as hers. And she wasn’t in a position to whisper politely in his ear.

And so, here are some things I think every man ought to know about what every woman wants… ways to help you avoid the mistakes made by Xerxes. Though I seriously doubt any of you would be quite so off-the-charts foolish as he was, still… he misread his wife and lived to regret it. Keep these questions tucked in for when you need them— it might just make all the difference.

Three questions to ponder:

(before you do/say/start something you’ll regret)

 1.    What does she want for you?

Too many men think that women just want something from them. The reality is that good-hearted women, even when they come off as bossy and difficult to please, always want the best for their men.

Is she hinting and poking and suggesting something over and over? Instead of batting her words away like a pesky fly, take a moment to listen. She just may be on to something. Something that will improve your own life and relationships and ability to succeed.

A wise man actually asks her what she’s getting at. Nicely. Then he takes her words and thinks about it. She just may be on to something.

2.    What worries her about you?

If you have a woman in your life who frets over some hidden flaw of yours, you are the luckiest of men.

I know it’s hard to see it that way, but here’s what most men don’t get: Women have a unique ability to see every one of your flaws and still admire who you are.

The reason she’s worried is because she knows and dreads the consequences you so blithely brush off. She’s not nagging simply because your flaw irritates her— she’s fussing because she knows your flaw may well sink you on your path to success.

And she wants you to succeed! A woman admires a man who is good at what he does and she knows she can help you.

When she corrects the way you relate to your kids or acts appalled at how you treated the barista behind the coffee bar, it’s because she cares about you. She knows that in this world a man’s success depends, at least in part, on how well he relates to people.

A wise man listens to all those worries and takes heed. Like a warrior consulting his scouts, he pays attention. Then he takes her worries to God and humbly listens.

3.    What is she trying to fix for you?

It is instinctive in a woman to fix. She can’t help it, she can’t stop it. A good-hearted woman cannot fathom twiddling her fingers while one she loves suffers or might suffer or once suffered.

That’s why she offers advice so much— not because she thinks you’re less than adequate, but because she wants to help. She wants to offer her own strength to make you shine.

To make life better.

The problem is, most men interpret all those hints and suggestions and ideas for improvement as nagging.

It’s not. At least that’s not the way she means it.

And neither does it have anything to do with disrespect. Women offer each other advice all the time. It’s the way we love, the way we tuck our people in and make their lives more bearable.

A wise man sees the big picture and interprets all her fixing as her way of loving. He listens, hearing her words and all the loyalty behind them. And every once in a while he thanks her for being so passionate and fierce and wise and caring.

My advice to every young (and not so young) man is to regularly sit down and invite the woman who loves you to answer these questions honestly. Make her a cup of her favorite coffee, sit out on the back porch, and lean forward to listen.

She loves you. She cares how you come across. She’s probably more aware of how people respond to you than you are. Give her half a chance and she’ll coach you well and wisely.

From my heart,


PS: Girls, can you give us advice on how to say it right? How to be both respectful and honest with these men we love?

[1] Esther 1:4

[2] Esther 2:1

HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what women really want #6



We’ve browsed through magazines, linked onto websites, and made our wish lists. Clothing sizes, shoe preferences, colors and particulars. Everything we think our men need to know in order to give us a Christmas to remember.

Now, armed with ideas, men are heading to the mall, determined to get that one thing they hope will make a woman happy.

And so, I have a list of my own to give the men who love the women I care about. It won’t break the bank or your back, but it will give her exactly what she really wants from you this Christmas.

Ten Things To Give The Woman You Love For Christmas:

1.  Your Attention- full and undivided.

Uninterrupted by cell phone rings and texting dings. She knows you can’t give it all the tim e, but for Christmas won’t you try? Do it on purpose.

2. Your Eyes- it’s the stuff of romance.

When a man looks into a woman’s eyes she knows he sees her. But it doesn’t have to be Hollywood mush. Just a moment of linking up, of homing in on the window to her soul. Dive deep. There's a person of unique value in there. Look for what she cannot say.

3.  Your Touch- purposeful and affectionate.

A way of showing her you connect with her. Women crave those brushes of love against their skin. To run your fingers across her heart, you'll need to step into her space and bring her into yours.

4.  Your Stories- give her a memory, a picture in your mind that you’ve tucked away somewhere of her being who she is and you loving that part of her. Tell it well and she’ll know for a moment that you really do know her.

5.  Your Hope- she sees everything not right with the world she’s trying to create for those she loves.  Tell her it’s okay, that perfection isn’t perfect, that love is messy and so is real life and you love her no matter what.

6.  Your Honor- What is the thing she does remarkably well? Have you told her? Have you told her in front of others? It’s not a woman’s way to brag about herself. Can you be her trumpeter?

7.  Your Depths- Give her those hidden hopes and dreams and thoughts and observations that will never be part of a quick phone call. She wants to know you way deep down inside.

8.  Your Help- Christmas can be overwhelming for a woman. So much to do and so many glossy pictures of others doing it better. Get up and help her. Lend a hand. Make life a little easier for her so she can be who she really is. And jump in before she gets crabby about all the work, she hates herself for being like that.

9.  Your Generosity- Can you choose in the midst of the pressures of real life to give a little more extravagantly than anyone would expect? Add a flourish. Make her coffee and cover it with whipped cream. Buy her something she doesn’t need. Bless her.

10.  Your Love- That’s what she really wants.

Every woman I know wants to be loved. To be considered better than average in a world that measures our success by means we’ll never attain.

To be  held in a place so uniquely special to you that you’re willing to give your attention, your eyes, your touch, your stories, your hope and honor and depths and help and generosity just to be sure she knows how much you love her.

We want to feel loved.

You have it in your power to give that kind of love this Christmas to your wife or your girlfriend, your good friend, your mom.

Will you?

From my heart,


P.S. How about telling us that one remarkable thing you love about her? We’d love to hear— I’d love to hear!

Dear friends,

Since God loved us that much,

We surely ought to love each other.

I John 4:11


HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what every woman really wants #4


Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman,

or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.

Rejoice in the wife of your youth.

She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.

Let her breasts satisfy you always.

May you always be captivated by her love.

Proverbs 5:20, 18-19

Dear sons,

Just a few weeks ago when I asked women to write and tell me what they really want from a man, I got so many responses I had trouble reading them all. Some funny, some sad, some silly, and many wise words of what women want and hope for and need in order to thrive.

Yet there was one thing I didn’t hear from even one woman, and it surprised me. Because I know that it is what every woman wants more than anything in a relationship with a man.

One thing without which every relationship is doomed…

One thing that is critical for the happily ever after…

Every woman, every single woman without exception, wants her man to be faithful.

Hers and hers alone from this day forward and forever.

So why didn’t anyone happen to mention faithfulness? Not even one?

I think I know. Because I am a woman too and it’s what we hardly dare talk about. As if merely mentioning the idea that my man might possibly choose someone else might jinx us.

It is the unmentionable, unimaginable, too-horrible-to-think-about worry of every woman.

Every single woman. 

My dear sons, I have scraped the wounded hearts of too many women off the floor. Soaked my own skin with their tears. Carried the weight of pain they were never meant to bear.

All because a man found it irresistible to slip between the sheets with a woman who had convinced him he was irresistible. Or because a man felt that somehow his own pulsing needs were more powerful than his promise of forever.

And no woman ever recovers that part of her soul that is lost when the man who chose her chooses another.

Good men fight every day for purity. Not for perfection, but for the strength and courage to “contain his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (I Thess. 4:4).

Yet I would like to suggest that faithfulness is more than simply staying out of another woman’s bed.

Faithfulness, the way a woman defines it, means staying wholly devoted to your wife through good times and bad, not matter how she is or how she looks or how you feel.

And so, my sons, may I offer you…

Three Ways To Stay Faithful To Your Wife:

1.    By focusing on her

Every woman knows she’s not The Most Beautiful Woman In The World. We are surrounded by the marketing magic of men (and women) who exploit the magnetic pull a woman’s body has over men.

Then we look in the mirror.

But when a man, a good man, looks at his wife and tells her she is beautiful, when he lets her see the sexual pull she elicits from him, when he uses his eyes to rebuild the beauty she thinks she has lost… something magical happens in her insides.

She feels beautiful.

The mirror doesn’t matter as much as what she sees mirrored in your eyes. She stands a little straighter, acts a little sexier, tries a little harder because you’ve given her what she really wants— you’ve given her your whole-soul faithfulness.

2.    By delighting in her

Every woman longs to be captivating. She wants to be so alluring, so lovely, so clever that she pulls you in to a cocoon of oneness with herself.


A good man gets that. He understands that to remain fully faithful he must choose to remain captivated by his wife for the rest of his life.

No matter who else vies for his attention, no matter how much she changes, no matter that three kids have wrecked havoc with your once orderly home— NO MATTER WHAT!

To remain faithful, a man must remind himself every day how delightful his wife really is. And if he’s really wise, he’ll say it out loud.

3.    By pursuing her

Every married man, at some point, figured out how to pursue a woman. Some better than others.

For some men, that act of pursuit is something of a game. A battle to be conquered. A woman to be won.

For others it is more like a chore that needs doing in order to get what he wants.

Either way, may I suggest that just because she wears your ring does not mean you’re finished?

Women are, by nature, responders. God made us that way. Part of what a man gets when he pursues is this magnified response a woman emanates when she is being pursued.

Stop pursuing her and she stops responding. Keep pursuing her and she’ll flirt and give and be the delightful woman you want.

Pursue her heart. Ask her questions. Give her gifts that mean something. Carry her burdens. Share your fears. Lighten her load. Open her door. Keep taking steps towards this woman you’ve pledged your life to.

If you will do this: If you will focus on her, if you will delight in her, if you will pursue her heart, her soul, and her body— all of her— and if you will keep on doing it every day for the rest of your life, then you will be a faithful man.

To you faithful men, THANK YOU. Keep at it. You are our heros.

From my heart,


P.S. Girls, can you tell us how your man is delighting in you and focusing on you and pursuing you?

And men, can you chime in here? Women are reading this who want to know— how can we help? Has your wife helped you to remain faithful? Can you tell us how?

More on this next week...

HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what every woman really wants #2

My dove is hiding behind some rocks,

Behind an outcrop on the cliff.

Let me see you;

Let me hear your voice

For your voice is pleasant and you are lovely.

Song of Songs 2:14

I promised, in this series, to write about what a woman really wants. Knowing, as all women know, that…

what we say we want and what we really want are rarely one and the same.

And that’s not because we’re duplicitous and deceptive at our core, but because we know well enough that…

what we really want we rarely get.

And yet, I have come to see, that good men…

men who have set their hearts to follow God courageously and honestly…

possess a soul-deep desire to give the women they love everything and anything she really wants.

So why is it that that rarely actually happens in real life? Why do men despair of ever really understanding the complexities and disparities of the women they love?

The answer, I have come to believe, is not because men are dense, nor because women are unknowable.  The real reason women often confuse and intimidate men is because…

he doesn’t hear her heart.

Instead, he hears her words, mixes those uniquely feminine phrases with a smattering of mysterious female metaphors, adds his own male-mentality basd assumptions…and comes to the wrong conclusions.


Misunderstanding, messy conflict, melt-downs, marriage counseling.

And so, dear sons, here is my fumbling attempt to help you hear.

How To Hear The Heart Of A Woman:

 1.    Hear her shame…

Every woman I know harbors hidden shame in her heart. No matter how successful or competent or got-it-all-together she may appear, deep down inside lurks an ugly, seething, never satisfied monster of accusation.

Psychologists use words like “the voice on your shoulder”. Some blame her mother for all those words of correction. Others think her father failed to affirm her enough.

Spiritual counselors tend to blame Satan. The Accuser who stands outside a woman’s heart, ready to fling fiery darts of guilt her way.

Men, it seems to me, are more able to shove those prickly, probing suggestions of shame aside. They shake their heads, straighten their backs, and turn away.

But women, in our deeply sensitive knowing, take those thoughts and see the truth inside.

We’re not good enough, and we know it.  Not thin enough. Not nice enough. Not giving enough. Not doing enough.

Not enough. Never enough

The man who dares look deeply into a woman’s heart will see all that not enough and spend the rest of his life slaying the dragon.

How? His greatest weapons are his words.

Words of assurance.

Words of encouragement… of courage.

Words of approval.

Words that bring value… and knowing… and seeing… and worth.

Not just I love you, but…

I love the real you.

Yet, dear men who dare to read this, I in no way wish to communicate that every woman is driven primarily by a confusing bundle of guilt-driven shame. Not at all.

Shame is there, hidden under layers and layers of self-protective coping mechanisms that enable women to thrive. But there is so much more to knowing a woman…

2.    Hear her hopes…

Undeniably the strangest compliment I have ever received from another woman, came from a former prostitute. I’d been teaching a bible study through the story of Ruth and this woman listened on the edge of her seat, voraciously feasting on the truths in God’s Word.

One day she grabbed me by the shoulders to be assured of my full attention and said, “Diane, you and I are sooo much alike!”

At first I was taken aback. What in the world did I have in common with this woman from a world so different than mine I could hardly fathom the distance? Yet, listening through all my too-long hours of teaching over the course of several weeks, this woman heard me. And as she recounted our similarities, I couldn’t help but agree— we were like two peas in a pod.


She shared my hopes.

Every woman comes to life with a hope chest filled with maybe’s and dreams and wishful thinking. For far too many, those hopes are dashed by the men in their lives with great big buckets of logic and realism.

My dad fed my dreams with healthy doses of you-can-do-it with great handfuls of if-you-work-hard-and-smart-enough reminders. I wish every woman had a dad like mine.

My husband took over where my dad left off, letting me know he believed in me, saw potential and talent and worth. He has generously allowed me to try, to explore, to learn and grow into who I really am. I wish every woman had a husband like mine.

Men, may I challenge you to….

Listen close to her heart and hear her hopes? Helping her  believe that dreams come true even when so many don’t?

And then to…

Mount your white steed, pull out your shining sword, and join with the women you love to help vanquish those relentless messengers of shame?

Because if you will do just those two things, if you will love her through her shame and listen to her hopes…

She will believe you see her and know her and hear her heart. And that,  my dear sons, is the way to love a woman.

From my heart,


P.S Your  comments are teaching us! Will you women add your thoughts here?

How can the man in your life hear you fully?

Be nice, be short, be clear. There are God-loving men reading your words.

Has your husband or boyfriend already figured this out? Can you tell us how and what he does to connect with you in a way that makes you feel heard and known?


HE'S NOT YOUR PRINCE CHARMING: what women really want #1

Last week I asked women to write and tell us what they really want from their men. I’d anticipated your answers, made a list of things I thought you’d say, outlined what I wanted to write about. But you surprised me by both what you did and didn’t say. Every one of you included somewhere on your list, this one thing… What every woman really wants…. Spiritual Leadership

Dear sons,

I have been writing to the women in your life for a long time now.

Words about their need to find all their hope and soul-satisfaction from Jesus.  About how to then turn around and pour the love they find in Him back into you, with skill and on purpose.

I hope you’ve noticed the effort your women are making to love you well, to love you the way you want to be loved— with respect and friendliness and with an awareness of who you are.

Now it’s your turn to listen.

Because the imperfect-but-trying women in your life have needs too. And because sometimes we women talk too long and too much about things even we don’t understand.

I think we’ve made something simple sound impossible.

And I’m hoping you catch a glimpse of a way to be who your are meant to be in a way that works for you.

Three Ways To Be A Spiritual Leader:

1.  Initiate

What your women are hoping for more than anything else, is so simple it’s almost laughable. They want you to understand their need to be led. Not dominated. Not preached at. Just gently and consistently led back to centering their hearts on Jesus. They’ve grown weary from feeling like they’re always the ones to lead the way back to God.

They want you to say:

“Let’s go to church tomorrow…”

“This morning I was reading in my Bible…”

“That message really spoke to me about…”

To a woman, that is spiritual leadership. When you take the initiative, when you make the suggestion, when you say it first… something inside of her falls more deeply in love with you. A woman admires a man who alerts her to focus on God. Respect grows, not because you’re perfect, but because you recognize who is and you love her enough to point her back to Jesus.

2.  Remind

Your women are smart. They know better than to think you can meet their every need and want and expectation. They know what you sense- that they’re needy, achingly so. It is the plague of every woman. And your women know that only Jesus can fill that emptiness.

Still, we forget... every day we forget.

And that’s when a woman becomes crabby or whiny or short-tempered or demanding.

What a woman really needs from you is simply a reminder. Bring the conversation back to Jesus. Remind her that He is taking care of her. Point out His faithfulness in her past. That He will not fail her now. That He loves her more than she can possibly know.

If you do this, and you’re nice about it, you will see immediate relief. She’ll sigh. Her shoulders will relax. She’ll nod her head and look up to you and be filled with gratitude. Because she knows… and agrees… and forgot. Again.

 3.  Pray

This is the big one. The hard one. Yet the one thing every woman will recognize as the ultimate spiritual leadership. You don’t have to pray long. You don’t have to pray first thing every morning or last thing every night. All you really need to do is grab her hand when she’s worried or frightened or feeling something she shouldn’t. Just hold her close and bring her to the Father. Out loud. By doing that you are showing your wife or girlfriend that you love her enough to bring her to the One who can fix everything. Yes, you are strong, yes you can solve most things… but by leading her into the presence of the One who is fully in charge, she sees you as the ultimate loving leader. Her relief and peace of heart will be palpable.

That, my dear sons, is what spiritual leadership looks like.

You don’t have to be eloquent or perfect. No theology degree required. All you need is an awareness of Jesus and the boldness to bring the woman you love to Him.

So simple. So very hard to actually do.

But I guarantee you this- if you will do these three things:

If you will initiate and remind and pray with her… she will respond.

She can’t help it. A woman’s feelings of love and attraction are so tied to her feelings of respect that she cannot separate the two. And nothing elicits the respect of a Jesus-following woman like a man who is bold enough to grab her hand and say, with Paul,

“Follow me, as I follow Christ.”

(1Cor 11:1)

May God give you the boldness to lead her closer to Himself.

From my heart,


P.S. Girls, your comments are fueling these posts. Can you tell me how your husband or boyfriend leads you spiritually?

And men, is there something we should know? Can you help us learn how to approach this often intimidating subject with grace? We're learning... all of us. To hear directly from you men would be an incredible help.