Monday, July 25, 2016

"For Women Only" by Shaunti Feldhahn: A Review

At the most basic level, your man wants to be wanted. (93)

Men and women are different. Such a sentence was the equivalent of saying, "water is wet" or "heat is hot," but not anymore. Gender is fluid in postmodern, secular times. So much so "sex" and "gender" are no longer synonymous and the logos on restroom doors are increasingly meaningless. But regardless of popular trends in these confusing times, men and women are different.

While preparing for a sermon on the topic of marriage, I read the book For Women Only: What You Need to Know About the Inner Lives of Men by Shaunti Feldhahn. It has been sitting quietly on my shelf ignored for years (it was given to me) and I finally decided to "pick up and read." I have read countless books on marriage and relationships, but I was particularly interested in seeing what this book, written by a woman, would say to other women about the needs of their husband. I must confess the book was better than I anticipated.

The content of the book is based off of a formal and informal survey done by the author of hundreds of married men in her pursuit to understand them. The author collected that information and in each chapter seeks to help women to better understand their husbands. A reoccurring theme is simply, "Ladies, your husband is different than you."

The author concludes that the husband needs certain things from his wife including: respect, affirmation, attractiveness, intimacy, and even romance.

On the surface, I will say that Feldhahn offers very little new here. As a pastor who has counseled countless engaged and married couples, I have recommended books with similar messages. If each spouse would better understand the needs and ways of the other and serve them (as modeled by Christ at the cross) their marriage would do well (see Ephesians 5). Feldhahn essentially does that here.

Yet what makes this book unique is its focus. As the title suggests, this book is for women about men. She seeks to turn on the proverbial light bulb for wives so that they may understand who their husbands are - weaknesses and all. As a husband I greatly appreciate this approach.

Though I could easily critic a number of things about the book, I ultimately want to praise in particular her chapter on respect, intimacy, and emphasis on our need to be affirmed by our wife. I also want to agree with her that men do not have an ego problem, we have a fear of inadequacy problem.

I conclude by reminding any wives who may be reading this to not underestimate your worth in your marriage. You are valuable and your husband needs you. If you are wanting to become an even better wife, this is a helpful book.
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