One of my favorite musicals is My Fair Lady. I particularly love the character Henry Higgins. Here was an extremely well-educated, wealthy man who didn’t have a clue about women. He looked upon Eliza with derision for the better part of the movie, only to realize he couldn’t live without her.The truth is, we women don’t understand men much better than they understand us. Oh, like Professor Higgins, we think we do. Yet, if our husbands were painfully honest, we would realize we don’t understand them as much as we believe. Those misunderstandings can lead to spats, fights and even divorce if we aren’t careful.
I was curious when offered a chance to review For Women Only (revised and updated version) by Shaunti Feldhahn. Upon first glance, my inner Henry Higgins surfaced. What woman didn’t know about the eight subjects she was covering in her book? As I continued to read though, I realized most women don’t understand as much as we think we do about how the male mind works.
As Ms. Feldhahn writes about each area, she quotes professional surveys and offers antidotal evidence to support her theories. The most enlightening part of the book is when she discusses how a man’s thoughts impact our relationships with them. She gives women practical tips in every area to encourage us to support, rather than undermine, the men in our lives.
The book is a balanced effort and neither bashes men or demeans women. On the other hand, I have to be totally honest – you may not like what you read. You see there is a part in most of us (maybe all, but who am I to judge!) that thinks we have our acts together and the men in our lives are the ones who need help. As Feldhahn points out, God has wired men to think in these ways. It does not give them license to sin or be lazy in their relationships, but it does make them vulnerable in ways we aren’t usually taught.
On the other hand, my responsibility is not to try and change my husband’s hard-wiring, but to adapt my behaviors to support him. This may be the hardest part of the book to absorb. The immature part in me kept thinking, “That sounds like the guy’s problem. Why do I have to change? Shouldn’t he?” Yet, God commands us to support our husbands (submissive). It may take an extra dose of humility and even some growing up on our parts, but if we want to have the strong marriages we say we do, we need to put in the effort. (Hopefully, our husbands will do the same for us!)
A great example is her discussion of a man’s need for our respect. Most of us understand men need our respect, yet Feldhahn points out many common things women say and do that make our husbands feel disrespected. Many of them were things I have done and I have witnessed almost every woman I know do the same things. We would never consider these things as being remotely disrespectful, yet every time we do them, our men feel disrespected. Every area the author covers is similarly enlightening. Each contains not only the mistakes women make that undermine their husbands, but practical tips for changing our behavior to be more supportive.
I highly recommend that you read this book. More importantly, share its content with your teen daughters and sons. I wish I had read the section on modesty when I was younger. It has totally changed my understanding of what a man being “visual” really means.
On the plus side, she also has written a book for husbands, For Men Only. If it makes you feel better, buy that one for your husband while you read this one. You may even want to switch books and make sure your husband really thinks that way. My guess is he does. Even if he doesn’t, her insights will help your relationships with most of the men in your life. Dedicating our children to God, might just be a little easier if we provide them with better examples of how to treat the opposite sex. Their lives can only be more godly if we equip them properly to have strong marriages and families.
I would love to hear your thoughts after you read the first chapter. Then read the entire book and let me know in a comment below if you were as surprised as I was at the mistakes we innocently make every day. What was your biggest epiphany after reading the book?
I received a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I am very honest and would tell you if I had concerns. This is one of the best marriage books I have ever read. I am keeping a copy for myself and sharing it with my daughter and my friends.