FASCINATING WOMANHOOD--By Helen B. Andelin
(Editor's intro: This is a very helpful & interesting book on marriage & relationships in general. The author is a Christian & she acknowledges the Lord, but sometimes has a tendency to elevate marriage even above the Lord in her writings. So please keep this in mind as you read the following book review, which we pray will be a blessing & help to you in your relationships!)
Introduction: Never before in history has there been a generation of women so disillusioned, disappointed & unhappy in marriage as in our times. They feel a need for a richer, fuller life.
What is happiness in marriage for a woman? Is it to have a nice home? Happy & healthy children? These things are important or helpful, but there is one need which is fundamental, & it is for her to be loved & cherished by her mate. Without this one ingredient she will be unfulfilled.
Fascinating Womanhood is designed to teach women how to be happy in marriage. It teaches 3 essentials in creating the happy marriage:
1. Love: Since the cornerstone of a woman's happiness with her husband is to be loved, the essential aim of this book is to teach those principles which she must apply in arousing this love. Love is reserved for those who arouse it in a man. If a man does not love his mate with his heart & his soul, it is the wife's fault. A man ceases to adore & cherish a woman after marriage because she ceases to do the things which arouse those feelings. This is not to say that men do not make mistakes or need to improve their behaviour, but when women correct their own mistakes, they can bring about a wonderful loving response in a man.
2. Human Dignity: Also essential to her happiness in marriage is her human dignity. She cannot suffer hurt, humiliation or unfair treatment from her mate without damage to her spirit. This book will teach her how to handle these difficult situations.
3. Her Desires: If a woman is to be truly happy in marriage, she must also be able to have the things that are dear to her own heart. In Fascinating Womanhood she will learn how to obtain these things without causing a marital stir. She will learn how to cause a man to want to do things for her.
Celestial love is a term I use to represent the highest kind of tender love a man can feel for a woman, & that a woman feels for a man. It takes love out of the mediocre & places it in the Heavens.
Do not think it is selfish to want to be loved with great tenderness. A man's feeling of tender love for his wife is a source of great joy to him & he is more of a man because of it. It provides him with greater incentive to do more in life, giving him something to work for, to live for & die for. The woman who awakens her husband's love helps him find greater happiness & fulfillment. The woman who does not, robs him of one of his finer joys.
Love in marriage is the most important element in its success, & a happy marriage is the foundation of a successful home. There is simply no way a man & woman can create a truly successful home without creating a happy marriage based upon a true love for each other. Love, then, becomes not the fulfillment of a desire but a responsibility. When the marriage is happy we also have happy children who can develop normally & be prepared for the life ahead.
THE IDEAL WOMAN FROM A MAN'S
POINT OF VIEW
To understand the masculine viewpoint, we must learn to view the ideal woman through a man's eyes & realise that his ideas of feminine perfection are different from our own. The things we women admire in each other are rarely attractive to men. On the other hand, the characteristics which the average woman ignores or condemns in another woman are sometimes just the characteristics which make her fascinating to men.
Women are inclined to appreciate poise, talent, intellectual gifts & cleverness of personality, whereas men admire girlishness, tenderness, sweetness of character, vivacity & the woman's ability to understand men. A marked difference is in regards to appearance. Women are inclined to be attracted to artistic beauty such as the shape of the face, the nose & artistic clothes. Men, however, have a different interpretation of what makes a woman beautiful. They place more stress on the sparkle in the eyes, smiles, freshness, radiance & the feminine manner.
The Angelic & the Human: The ideal woman from a man's point of view is divided into two parts, the angelic & the human. The angelic side of a woman has to do with her good character, her ability to understand men, their feelings, needs & sensitive nature. It also includes her domestic skills & the ability to succeed in her feminine role in the home. It includes a quality of inner happiness or tranquility of spirit which is part of a woman's beauty.
The human side refers to a woman's appearance, manner & actions, & includes the charms of femininity, radiance, & a quality of dependence upon men for their care, protection & guidance. It also includes good health & dignity of spirit or spunk. The angelic & the human combine to make a perfect woman from the man's point of view. They are both essential in winning his genuine love.
These two distinct qualities in women awaken different feelings in a man. The angelic awakens a feeling almost like worship & brings him a feeling of peace & happiness. The human side fascinates & enchants him & awakens a tender feeling, a desire to protect & shelter her from harm & danger.
You may wonder how you can come to know if these teachings are true, if they are indeed the qualities that men find fascinating, & if they will for certain awaken his tender feelings of genuine love. Experience with thousands of women has proven that these teachings bring the results claimed, but an even more convincing way to truth is to apply these teachings in your own life. Acquire some of the qualities given here & see for yourself the loving response in your husband.
THE ANGELIC QUALITIES
We begin our study of the angelic side by learning to understand men. The first thing to learn is that men are different from women, so different in nature & temperament that it is almost as though they came from another planet. Men do not think like women do, approach a problem in the same light, nor do they have the same needs or the same sense of values as we do.
Even those needs which may be similar in a man & a woman differ widely. For example, love & admiration are essential to both, but to be loved is more important to a woman & to be admired is more important to a man. Because we fail to understand these differences, we often supply men with the things we need, rather than the things they need, & are baffled when they fail to respond as we anticipated.
Without a good understanding of the masculine nature, how can we hope to build a good relationship with husbands & sons? The following are six characteristics we will study in learning to understand men:
1. His need to be accepted at face value.
2. His need to be admired.
3. His sensitive pride.
4. His need for sympathetic understanding.
5. His need to be number one in importance to his wife.
6. His need to be the guide, protector & provider for his wife & children.
ACCEPT A MAN AT FACE VALUE
A man's most fundamental need in marriage is for his wife to accept him at face value & not try to change him.
Acceptance means that we accept him for the man he is. We accept his ways, his hopes & dreams or his lack of dreams. We accept the little quirks in his personality & any traits he may have, for better or for worse. We are doing more than accepting him--we are accepting his right to be himself. We may not agree with his ideas, but we respect his right to his own viewpoint.
Acceptance means that we recognise him as a human being who, like ourselves, is part virtue & part fault. With this honest viewpoint we realise that his faults exist, but we also see his virtues.
Acceptance does not mean that we must convince ourselves that he is perfect when he is not. Nor does it mean resignation. Acceptance is a happy state of mind when we realise that our responsibility is not in making him over, but in appreciating him for what he is & looking to his better side rather than worrying about his faults.
What Faults Do Men Have that Women Try to Change?: The most common masculine faults fall into the following categories:
1. Personal Habits--These include poor eating habits, poor table manners, neglect of appearance, bad temper, depressed moods, untidy habits, especially in leaving things around the house, lack of courtesy & many others.
2. How They Spend Their Time--Spend too much time watching television, away from home, or napping.
3. Duties--Neglect home duties such as repairs, yard work etc. Fail to follow through on responsibility. Lazy, shiftless & irresponsible about their duties.
4. Social Behaviour--Brag or talk too much, or talk too little, lack courtesy & social graces.
5. Desires & Dreams--Have no ambition or desire to better themselves, underestimate themselves, move from one dream to another.
6. Manly Qualities--Are not masculine enough, are indecisive, fail to lead the family firmly, too soft on the children, too fearful of launching out on something new.
7. Money--Do not manage money well, spend money foolishly or are stingy.
8. Neglect of children--Ignore children when they come home, do not take part in the care & training of children.
Why Does a Woman Try to Change a Man?:
1. For her own good--In most cases a woman will try to change a man because his faults bring problems & deprivation into her life, robbing her of some of the things she really wants. She may feel if the man would change, her life would be better & happier.
2. For his own good--Many well meaning women will say, "If you really love & care about someone, it is important to see that they get the best out of life. Therefore I must change my mate for his own good." Women such as this feel it is their responsibility to change their husband.
Is it our duty? If a man is blind to his own faults & this blindness causes him to get into difficulty, it is important for a wife to wake him up; but once he realises his mistakes, if he chooses to continue, she should not persist in the matter of trying to change him. There are four main reasons why women should not try to change men:
1. It creates marriage problems. Even though a wife may set out to remake her husband with the best of intentions, it can have serious consequences. First of all, it creates terrible tension in the household. Children suffer too when they become aware of the tension existing between their parents.
When a woman tries to change a man she is indicating that she is not satisfied with him as he is. When a man feels his wife's lack of approval, he is apt to form resentments toward her, which can cause him to withdraw. He may avoid the situation by spending a great deal of time away from home with his friends or in other pursuits.
Another problem is in regard to his ego. He knows his weaknesses, but would like his wife to evaluate him from his better side.
2. It can destroy love. Not only can love be cooled, in some cases it can be destroyed. When a wife constantly pushes & needles her husband, it can cause the destruction of a happy marriage. One of the most tragic cases in history is that of Count Leo Tolstoy & his wife.
In the beginning of their marriage, Tolstoy & his wife were blissfully happy. Tolstoy was one of the most famous novelists in history. He was so admired by his people that they followed him around day & night & wrote down in shorthand every word he uttered.
Although he was a man of wealth & fame, after studying the teachings of Jesus, he gave away his property, worked in the fields chopping wood & pitching hay, ate out of a wooden bowl & tried to love his enemies.
But his wife never accepted his new philosophy. She loved luxury & he despised it. She craved fame & esteem, but he despised it. She longed for riches, but he thought it a sin. For years she made every effort to change him & his views. When he resisted her & went his own way, she screamed at him & threw fits of hysteria, threatening to kill herself or jump down the well.
After 48 years, this man who had adored his wife when they had married could hardly bear the sight of her. His dying request was that she should not be permitted to come into his presence. There have been many marriages that began by being romantic & tender, but were destroyed because of the wife's inability to accept her husband or allow him to be himself. Such are the real tragedies of history.
3. It can cause a man to rebel. Pressing a man to change can bring out a streak of rebellion in him. This is caused by his struggle to preserve his freedom to be himself.
4. It doesn't work. The final reason women should never try to change men is that it doesn't work. Women's suggestions & pressures do not change men. Now in some instances a woman claims credit for her husband's improvement, saying his change was a result of her own efforts. Don't let this mislead you. If you knew the details, you'd probably find that the man changed not from the wife's persuasion, but because he found another reason for changing, a reason that she doesn't realise. Or he was intelligent & wise enough to see the folly of his ways.
How You Can Help a Man to Change. If you accept a man at face value, is there any hope that he will change? You must accept the fact that he may not. But in a miraculous way men are apt to improve when they are fully accepted. The only hope that a man will change is for you not to try to change him. Others may try to change him, teach him & offer suggestions, but the woman he loves must accept him for the man he is. But there are three things a woman can do which will encourage his growth to his better self:
1. Give him his freedom: His mind will then be receptive to ideas, even your own. He will be encouraged to be his better self. If God could risk Man's future happiness in the Garden of Eden in order to extend to him his freedom of choice, then why cannot women allow men this same privilege? Why not let a man do the things he wants to do & be the kind of man he wants to be without interference?
Men are so touchy about religious freedom that they may even resist a gentle hint. For example, a young wife told me that each Sunday morning she merely asked her husband, "Are you planning to attend church this morning?" This gentle hint so irritated him that he stayed home just to hold to his freedom. Later, when she stopped hinting, he began to go of his own accord.
2. Look to his better side: Express appreciation for his better side & he will be encouraged to grow to be a better man & strive more to overcome his weaknesses. Only by looking to a person's better side can we help a child, a man or any individual to grow to a higher potential.
3. Live all of Fascinating Womanhood: One of the miracles of this is that when you live these principles, a man's faults tend to disappear & he becomes a better person.
How Women Try to Change Men. Sometimes women try to change men by an element of force in the form of demands, ultimatums or threats, but more frequently by criticism, nagging or pushing. Frequently women use the more subtle methods of moral pressure, disapproval, a carefully worded suggestion or a gentle hint. Another subtle way is by using other men as shining examples. If she does so with the intent of impressing on her husband's mind the other man's superior virtues, hoping he will be more like the other man, she can cause her husband to feel she is dissatisfied with him as he is.
A Serious Fault in Women. When women try to change men, it indicates a serious fault within themselves--self-righteousness. The woman who condemns a man for his faults is putting herself in the position of being a judge. She should ask herself if she is really qualified to judge a man's worth. Is she really a better person than he is? If we have any duty to God, it is not to improve our husbands but to look to ourselves for failings.
The virtue behind his faults. In discovering a man's better side, understand that there are virtues behind many of men's faults. For example, an obnoxious man may be a sign of a high-calibre man who is not appreciated, not accepted, not given his freedom or in some way mistreated by his wife. A man who is moody & discouraged is often a man with very high aspirations that are not being met.
IS THERE EVER A TIME WHEN I
SHOULD TRY TO CHANGE HIM?
In answer, no, there is never a time when you should try to change the man you love, but there are times when you should try to respond to his faults or deal with them in a certain way:
1. When a Man is Blind to His Own Mistakes. Sometimes a man is blind to his own mistakes, & this causes him to get into difficulty. Take for example the salesman who uses a poor approach, the supervisor who is too dictatorial, or the doctor who is losing his patients because he appears unfriendly. On these occasions the wife should wake him up.
In waking the man up, keep in mind that you do accept him. It is the World that does not. Tell him that you have a few ideas that might prove helpful. Let him know that you are not close to the situation like he is & you may be wrong, but "Could this be the cause of your trouble?" Assure him that you admire him, & once you have opened his eyes, don't persist in the task. Drop it completely. If he chooses to make the same mistakes, fully aware of them, you will have to allow him this freedom.
2. When a Man Does Something Wrong. Another time to respond to a man's faults is when he is dishonest, unkind, weak or shows a lack of character. If you overlook his weakness, you show a lack of character yourself. The way to respond is this: At first show reluctance to believe it. Say that you thought it was impossible for a man such as he to do such a thing. Indicate that you know it is contrary to his true nature & was only the result of thoughtlessness. You must be immensely disappointed at his temporary lapse, but your faith in his better side must be unshaken.
Acceptance is Not Easy. I realise that when I teach women to accept their husbands at face value, I am not asking them to do something easy. But I can promise you tremendous rewards if you will accept your husband at face value. The response in your husband will likely be moving. For years he may have suffered the plaguing thought that you are dissatisfied with him as he is. Your assurance that you accept him as he is will remove a terrible doubt from his mind & come as a relief. His appreciation for you & his tender response can be almost earthshaking.
Deep in his heart every man longs for admiration, of his abilities, his ideas & his dreams. This admiration is a source of deep happiness, & the lack of it one of his most distressing miseries. Although it is important to him, it isn't something he can get for himself. It must be given him by those who respect & love him. He likes receiving it from any & every source, but it is most essential from the woman he loves.
The Young Man. The need for admiration is especially apparent in the young man or teen. He expects to be an all-conquering success; no project is too wild, no dream too fantastic. He can find a hundred flaws in the way older heads are managing things now--but wait until he gets his chance to revolutionise matters. Meantime, life isn't worth living if he can't find someone to whom he can tell all this, how things ought to be. Most of his youthful associates are too busy with their own aspirations to listen to him. Often older people only laugh at him. Where can he find an uncritical listener? The cry of his soul is for admiration, & the woman who gives it to him is no less than an angel.
The Older Man. As a man grows older, if he has not been admired, he often learns to do without it. He becomes, or so it seems, hardened & less sensitive to the lack of admiration, but the craving is just as strong & persistent as it is in the young man.
What he Wants You to Admire. More than anything else, a man wants you to admire his manly qualities, whether physically, mentally or spiritually. Mentally his manliness lies in achievements, skills & abilities. Masculine traits are displayed in his dependability in his job, his decisiveness in making decisions, his sound judgement, & his determination & steadfastness in the things he sets out to do.
Spiritually his manliness is demonstrated in his sense of honour & duty, his courage & devotion to a cause, his noble deeds & ideals. Few men have all the masculine traits listed, but all men have some of them. These & many more are the masculine traits that men want noticed & admired.
Discovering Things to Admire. First of all, think about him. Spend less time thinking about your affairs & more about him. Next, observe him. Keep your eyes open & watch what he does & you will find things to admire. You will have a great opportunity to admire him when he talks, so encourage him to talk about himself.
How to Listen to a Man. Follow this rule & you will learn to be a good listener: Don't only listen to what he is saying, but to the man who is saying it. Notice how absorbed he is in the subject, how he has mastered the intricate details, what skill & knowledge he has gained etc. If you can't comprehend all of what he is saying, don't let this lull you to sleep. Look for traits of his character which you can admire.
Rewards. When the wife sincerely admires her husband's masculinity, it can bring rewards to both of them. When she gives him admiration, he returns love, as is evident in the following true experience:
"Trying to tell my husband that I accepted him & admired him for standing up & sticking up for his convictions was a very hard thing for me to come out with. First of all, I am not the kind of person to say something like this, & secondly, I thought I would start to giggle. Finally I was going to do it no matter what kind of mess it turned into. So I walked into the room & started, & once I began I realised that what I was saying was really how I felt. This was one of the main reasons I fell in love with my husband--he stood up for what he believed in & didn't let me get away with walking all over him.
" Well, the look in his eyes was just unbelievable. Never can I remember such a look. About a week later he took me out to dinner & made two comments. One hurt, & the other felt great. He said that for the first time he felt I really cared; he had never thought I cared what happened to him. Secondly, that he never loved me any more than he did then. What more can a woman ask for?"
HIS SENSITIVE PRIDE
The most important thing to learn in this section is that masculine pride is very sensitive. A man cannot stand to have his masculinity belittled, ridiculed or treated with indifference. Being subjected to this treatment is one of the most painful experiences a man can suffer. Lacking insight into this subject causes untold misunderstandings between men & women.
Don't think that women would be so cruel as to deliberately hurt a man's pride. Most wounding goes on in innocence, which is why the woman fails to see she has done anything wrong & continues her mistakes time & time again. Some ways in which women do this are:
1. Belittling: Laughing at someone's actions, even in jest. Or there is the "cold water" method that some women use in dealing with men. In this case the wife does not openly disagree with her mate, she just quietly pours cold water on his ideas & especially on his enthusiasm for these ideas.
2. Ridicule. Opposition to his ideas can be presented without injuring masculine pride.
In addition to the pains of humiliation, there are three other problems a man suffers in connection with his pride. They are reserve, a numbing effect & dishonesty.
Reserve: By reserve we do not mean bashfulness or timidity. Reserve is a wall a man tends to build around himself, caused by the fear of humiliation. Although he longs to confide, to reveal his secret hopes & dreams, he is reluctant to do so. He hesitates to expose his ideas to the possibility of indifference & antagonism. Nothing is so frightening to a man as the horror of making a fool of himself. So he subdues the impulse to seek admiration. Nothing but the absolute certainty that his ideas will be met with appreciation rather than contempt or indifference will induce him to throw off his armour of reserve & reveal to others the things that mean the most to him. And even if he does, the slightest hint of misunderstanding will drive him behind his wall of reserve again.
To understand the nature of this reserve, take an example of a young girl who has won a young man's confidence so that he is unfolding his secret hopes & dreams to her. But let her but indicate by a yawn or a glance out the window that she is not the least bit interested, & the poor man will wince as if struck by a lash. It may be the first time in his life he has ventured to express such feelings. If the girl acts indifferently & fails to recognise its significance to him, then no matter where or when he meets her in the future, he will not again risk a similar rebuff. He will be behind his protective wall of reserve.
When a man's pride has been wounded frequently, he tends to build a tight wall of reserve around himself which is a real problem in marriage. When this occurs, he appears distant. He may talk, but he does so cautiously. You cannot tell his innermost feelings, for he does not expose them, although you may sense his longing to do so. He tells little of his problems or his dreams, & through all of this you can detect an unhappy feeling.
There should be no wall of reserve in the ideal marriage. A man should always be able to express himself freely & completely without fear of humiliation. He should feel absolute confidence that his conversation will be met with the sincerest respect.
How to Break Down the Wall of Reserve. When a man is withdrawn behind his wall of reserve, you cannot pull him out by insisting he talk. Nor can you compel him by making him feel ashamed of his peculiar behaviour, saying such things as, "Why are you so quiet?" Nor can you invite him out by saying, "Did I do anything wrong?" Maybe you did, but whether it was you or someone else who let him down, he will probably have too much pride to say, "Look, I needed a little appreciation, but instead I got a rebuff." The only thing you can do when a man is reserved is to be loving & reassuring & try to break down the wall by:
1. Accepting him at face value. If you look at his better side, he will be more confident & trusting & can more easily confide his innermost feelings to you.
2. Don't belittle him. Make sure you don't make mistakes that only strengthen the reserve he already has. Try to eliminate any belittling remarks or forms of indifference, or his reserve will be a permanent problem.
3. Admire him. Your generous & sincere admiration will do more than any other measure to win his confidence & break down his wall of reserve.
4. Don't be critical of others. If you are critical, with an eye open to every fault you can find in those around you, he will be afraid to expose his intimate feelings to your possible criticism & contempt.
5. Appreciate the good in others. If you see the good in others, he will be assured that you will see the finer side in him.
6. Hold confidences sacred. Never gossip about things which have been told to you in confidence.
If a woman has seriously tramped on her husband's pride, she will have to be extremely patient in eliminating his reserve. Until she has consistently demonstrated her full respect for her husband for a sufficient time to assure him of her dependability, he will be cautious about revealing his innermost feelings. He will be fearful of a repeat of those painful experiences of the past.
The Numbing Effect: When a man's pride has been injured over a long period of time, he learns to protect himself from the hurt by hardening himself against it. His senses become dulled or numb. The great danger is this: When we become numb to pain, we become numb to pleasure as well. Unresponsiveness mows down the flowers along with the weeds.
Dishonesty: A man with a sensitive pride may, in certain circumstances, resort to dishonesty to protect his pride. For example, when a man faces failure or defeat, his fear of humiliation can cause him to try to hide his mistakes. This is a time when he may keep important facts from his wife & may be tempted to make dishonest statements.
Sometimes a man will even belittle himself, which may be puzzling to his wife. In this case he urgently needs the support of her admiration but is too proud to ask. The only means he knows to bolster his ego is to belittle himself with the hope that she will quickly disagree with him & offer praise instead. If this is a problem, the woman can reduce this tendency by seeking her own opportunity to admire him when he does not expect it.
A woman needs to understand with an all-encompassing sympathy what a man faces in providing a living. When most men come of age, they take on an enormous burden which they may not lay down this side of the grave. They quietly put aside, in the name of love, most of their vaunted freedom & take upon their shoulders full economic responsibility for their wives & children.
As a woman, consider for a moment how you would feel if your child would be deprived of food, clothing or housing. Maybe you have momentarily considered such matters, but a woman does not often think of such things. But such thoughts, conscious or unconscious, are her husband's daily fare.
The struggle to provide a living helps to explain why men so often let down at home--why they become cross, impatient & negligent of wives & children. This can explain why a man may fail to fix the roof or mow the lawn. The duties seem unimportant to him in comparison to the demands of his work. Or it explains why a man will ignore his children to some extent. When a man comes home, he is often tired of being his best for total strangers & would like to relax & be his worst for his family, hoping that they will overlook this lesser side of him.
Women must understand that men who lose themselves in their work have to neglect wives & children to some extent. But they are the men who make the greatest contributions to society. Those men who have been fortunate enough to have wives who have understood & given them loyal support have been blessed & have been able to reach their goals much easier. It would be well for all women to realise that it is better to have 10% of a 100%-man than 100% of a 10%-man.
A man has a special need for sympathy when he is discouraged. This tendency to be depressed is common among men & few escape it. In fact, the more learned, talented & aggressive men tend to suffer the most. Abraham Lincoln had periods of depression in which he merely sat & brooded or read the papers. Most men of great responsibility have periods of real discouragement. But all men have times when they are depressed, times that need to be understood.
How to Give True Sympathy: Many women do not know the art of giving true sympathy. It's not that they do not try, but they do not know how. They make all kinds of mistakes, saying just the wrong things & often none of the right things. To understand this, let us start with the negative:
1. Don't try to offer too many suggestions or too much help. What he needs is sympathy for his feelings & a reassurance of your confidence in him.
2. Don't minimise his problems by saying "You worry too much" or "It's just in your imagination."
3. Feel with him. Try to understand what he is going through.
4. Don't let his gloom rub off on you. Maintain a cheerful attitude, & especially optimism.
5. Display confidence in him. Let him know that you still believe in him no matter what the situation.
6. Restore confidence in him. Do this by pointing out his better side & manly qualities.
7. Allow time for his spirits to lift. Often it takes time for a man to "snap out of it."
One particular time a man needs sympathy is when he faces failure. Defeat is really a woman's most golden opportunity to show her true worth.
MAKE HIM NUMBER 1
A man wants a woman who will place him at the top of her priority list. A man doesn't expect his wife to neglect important duties in his behalf. Nor does he want his children to suffer neglect. He knows that she is entitled to other interests & diversions, but he does not want to be less important. He doesn't want to be looked upon as a convenience, a paycheck, an escort, a ticket to security or even just a sex partner. He would like to feel that she married him for him & not as a means of filling her needs or reaching her objectives.
There is a tendency for women to fail in this respect, to place other things ahead of their husband. This tendency began in early childhood & was clearly evident in our dreams. When we were little girls, if we were typical, we dreamed of a little vine-covered cottage with roses around the door. Children were playing on the floor & everything was typical of the perfect home scene except there was no husband present. (This was some time before we dreamed of a handsome prince sweeping us off our feet.) Now let's take a close look at the things women tend to place ahead of their husbands:
1. The Children--Most women feel a great responsibility for their role as mother. This noble feeling of motherly devotion, when moved by a strong feeling of mother love, can cause a woman to so focus on the care & training of her children that she automatically places them as prime importance in her life.
This inferior position can cause a man to resist the birth of more children. He may only subconsciously realise it, but more children mean more motherly demands & will only intensify his problem of feeling neglected.
Sometimes a wife is just more interested in her children than her husband. The children are always uppermost in her mind, so that she focuses all thought on them. She seldom thinks of her husband & his problems, how she may be a comfort to him or serve him in this way or that. She fails to remember the small requests he makes, what he likes for dinner or how he would like to spend the evening or what is important to him. Yet she is overly attentive to her children's requests because she is always thinking of them.
2. Homemaking: Most men really appreciate a clean, orderly home, made comfortable & homey by the touch of a woman's hand. But a man does not want the homemaking to become more important than he is. A house is made to serve the family, not the family the house. There is a tendency for women who are good homemakers to go overboard in their aim for perfection. Their motive, though, is not so much to please their husband & family as it is to please themselves or impress others.
Should a Man Make His Wife No. 1? If you examine the lives of our leaders, you will usually find a wife who was willing to put the man & his work number 1 & be content to take second place. Mrs. Dwight Eisenhower recalls that during the first two weeks of their 53-year-long marriage, her husband drew her aside one evening & said, "Mamie, I have to tell you something...My country comes first & you second." She accepted this, & this is the way they lived. So when you make a man number 1, you also make his work & other responsibilities number 1. But when the wife takes a second place to the man & his world, she loses nothing. The tender love he returns for her cooperation is more than a compensating reward.
MAN'S ROLE IN LIFE!
What is the role of Man? It is to be the guide, protector & provider for his wife & children. This role is not merely a result of tradition, but it was God who placed the man at the head of the family. Women were given a different assignment--that of wife, mother & homemaker. The masculine & feminine roles complement each other, & although they are equal in importance, they are not equal in responsibility.
The father is the head of the family. The first commandment which God gave specifically to the woman was, "Thy desire shall be unto thy husband & he shall rule over thee." The Bible instructed women to "reverence" their husbands & said, "Submit yourselves unto your own husbands"..."for the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church."
There is a great effort in modern times to do away with the "patriarchy" & replace it with equality. This idea is the most impractical, unworkable arrangement for family leadership that can exist. Although some decisions can be reached by mutual agreement, others can't. Someone must take the lead or a decision will never be reached.
A family is not a democracy where everyone casts his vote. The family is a theocracy. A wise father will consult his family, & especially his wife, to try to win her cooperation. But whether he seeks her advice or not, the decision is still his. Husband & wife are like a bow & a cord, as Longfellow described in his poem "Hiawatha":
As unto the bow the cord is,
So unto man is woman;
Tho' she bends him, she obeys him;
Tho' she draws him, yet she follows;
Useless each without the other.
When the Wife Refuses to Obey. Serious consequences occur when the wife refuses to obey her husband. In the first place, she sets a pattern of rebellion in the family. Children tend to follow this pattern of rebellion. They begin to learn that they really do not have to obey rules if they don't want to, that there is some way they can get by without doing it. When such children are turned out into the World, they have difficulty obeying the law or higher authorities.
How to be a good follower. 1. Let go of the reins in the family. Step out of the leadership position. Let him lead & you follow, & stop telling him what to do & how to do it.
2. Being a good follower is largely a matter of trust. Men make mistakes, but you will have to allow for them & trust in his motives & that his overall judgement is sound.
3. A good follower is adjustable to life's circumstances, following her husband where he wants to go & adapting to the conditions he provides for her.
4. Obedience is probably the most important rule in being a good follower. If you agree with a man, obedience is easy, but if you disagree, it can be very difficult.
5. It's harder to support him when you don't agree, but it can be done, & it can be done honestly. You can openly disagree with him if it will make you feel better. What is important is to support his authority or his right to decide. You might say, "I don't agree with your decision, but if you feel it's right, then follow your own convictions & I'll support you in it."--As long as it's not something which is obviously wrong, of course!
6. Present a united front to the children. A woman can create serious problems when she openly opposes her husband when he is dealing with the children. If she has any opposition to express, she should talk with him privately.
7. Assert yourself. The points I have listed so far are all submissive qualities. But there are times when the wife should speak out. When she has a strong feeling about an important issue, she should express herself. This can be done clearly, but it must be done in a feminine manner.
The Feminine Counselor. Women have special gifts to offer a man as a counselor, gifts of insight & intuition which are unique to their sex. They can be very wise & also provide a perspective of the man's life that no one else has. A woman is close to her husband, yet somewhat removed.
But there are general requirements for being a good counselor: First, drop any habit of giving daily advice or suggestions. Save your opinions for special occasions when they are extremely important. If he hears your ideas more rarely, or when he asks, he will be more apt to listen & appreciate them.
Next, a good counselor must have something worthy to give. She must have intelligence, wisdom & be guided in her advice by the Lord. She must also have somewhat of a knowledge about the World. This is not to surpass the man in knowledge but to supplement him. When giving advice, here are some helpful rules:
1. Ask leading questions. "Have you ever thought of doing it this way?" or "Have you considered the possibility of...?" The key word is you. In this way you bring him into the picture so the ideas will seem like his own.
2. Insight. When expressing your viewpoint, use words that indicate insight, such as "I feel." Avoid the words "I know."
3. Don't be the all-wise, all-knowing wife who has all the answers. If he has stumbled blindly along life's path & then finally turns to you for advice, don't give him the impression that "you knew all along what he should do" & wondered why he didn't know better.
4. Don't be motherly. Don't take the attitude, "Here is this poor little boy who isn't getting along so well, & I must come to his rescue & help him."
5. Don't have unyielding opinions. Try not to speak in such a way that he will feel obligated to take your advice. To do so would threaten his right to decide for himself.
6. Don't insist that he do it your way. Let him take as much or as little of your advice as he would like. Don't use pressure or forcefulness. Always remember, it is better to let a man have his way & make a mistake than to stand in his way & have him feel thwarted.
As we come to the end of the section on understanding men, it appears that we women must do a lot of giving. We are expected to yield to his authority, to allow for human weakness & errors in judgement, & to give admiration, sympathy & make him number 1. If it seems to you that you are asked to do a lot of giving without much thought of reward, remember, when you cast your bread upon the waters, it comes back buttered.
As you apply these principles, it will awaken your husband's love & tenderness. As one wife put it, "Our marriage blossomed like a plant that had been placed in the sun after a long, dark winter."
DEEP INNER HAPPINESS
Deep inner happiness is a happiness of spirit, a serenity, tranquility & peace of mind. A woman who has inner happiness is not necessarily free of problems, but she has power to face these problems or disappointments with spiritual calm. This quality of spirit seems to be pretty important to a man.
When a man detects that his wife is unhappy, he will probably be greatly concerned & sympathetic, & he should certainly try to help her & cheer her up. But this is not something he admires in a woman. Men expect women to give happiness. They know women will face many problems, but expect them to do so with a stability of spirit.
You may wonder, "Is it necessary for me to have the love of my husband to be happy?" If you are a woman who feels unloved, you may be inclined to think, "If my husband really loved me, then I would be happy." Although the husband's love is essential, it isn't essential in acquiring the inner happiness I have described. In fact, you must first find inner happiness before your husband can really love you, as this is one of the qualities men admire in women.
THE HUMAN QUALITIES
The human side of the ideal woman refers to her appearance, manner & actions. It is her femininity, girlishness, joyfulness, vivacity & dependency upon men for their protection & care. Add to all this a glow of vibrant health & a dash of spunk & an underlying attitude of trust & tenderness & you begin to build a delightful creature--one that will win a man's heart.
Femininity is a gentle, tender quality found in a woman's appearance, manner & actions. It is a sort of softness, delicateness, & dependency upon men. More than anything else, it is a lack of male aggressiveness, fearlessness, strength & "the ability to kill your own snakes".
Femininity has great appeal to men, for it is such a contrast to their own strong & firm masculinity. This contrast causes him to feel manly.
The Feminine Appearance is acquired by accentuating the difference between yourself & men, not the similarities. If you would like to be attractive in a feminine way, wear only those materials & styles which are the least suggestive of those used by men & which therefore make the greatest contrast to men's apparel. Men never wear anything fluffy, lacy, gauzy or elaborate. Use such materials, therefore, whenever you can, & avoid bluejeans & sweatshirts when possible.
The Feminine Manner is the motions of a woman's body, the way she uses her hands, the way she walks, talks, the sound of her voice etc. Since men are strong, tough, firm & heavy in manner, women should be delicate, tender, gentle & light.
If you have a feminine appearance without a feminine manner, the effect can be disappointing or even amusing. For example, if you put a frilly feminine dress on a woman who has a stiff, brusque manner, she just doesn't fit the dress. We've all seen women who wear the most feminine dresses, but who wear them as if they were on the wrong person.
To be feminine a woman should be gentle & tender with her children. Don't wait for some emergency to show tenderness to your children. When your little boy passes by, pat him on the head, or take your little girl in your arms & say, "You are just the kind of little girl I always wanted."
You need not be beautiful to be feminine. There are thousands of rather plain women with irregular features & builds who succeed in being attractive to men. On the other hand, there are thousands of other women who are beautiful in their faces & features, but because of woodenness or masculinity in their manner never impress men as being especially attractive. When a girl is tender, soft, fun-loving & lovable, who stops to inquire if she has beauty in the classical sense? Regardless of her features, to most men she will seem beautiful. Even when the woman is so homely that the fact cannot be overlooked, the men are often attracted nevertheless.
Feminine Dependency is a woman's need for masculine care & protection. Women were designed to be wives, mothers & homemakers & therefore in need of masculine help to make their way through life. Men were assigned to fill this need for women by serving as their guide, protector & provider. Feminine dependency is very attractive to men.
Do not think that protecting a woman is an imposition on a man. One of the most pleasant sensations a real man can experience is his consciousness of the power to give his manly care & protection. Rob him of this, & you rob him of part of his manliness.
One way to acquire femininity is to stop doing the masculine work. Stop lifting heavy boxes, moving furniture, mowing the lawn or anything which is a male responsibility. Try to eliminate heavy work which is beyond your physical strength & also work which is inappropriate for women. Also stop handling the money problems & worries, bossing your husband around, telling him what to do & when to do it etc.
Submissiveness is another quality of femininity. The opposite of submissiveness is to be defiant, rebellious, unruly, obstinate or stubborn. To be feminine, a woman should yield to her husband's role in the home.
Women should especially guard against having unyielding opinions. Men find it very disagreeable to be in the company of such women. They want them to express their viewpoints & to defend them, but are offended when a woman takes such a firm stand on an issue that the man cannot convince her of anything, irregardless of his sound logic. It is better to be submissive to a man than to try to win an argument with him. Of course I do not wish to imply that you be yielding in your moral convictions or ideals.
Feminine dependency awakens in a man love & tenderness. As a man begins to do things for a woman, to shelter her & take care of her, this feeling grows.
What is radiant happiness? It is a voluntary quality which can be "put on", like a smile. It is such things as cheerfulness, laughter, singing, joyfulness, smiles, bright eyes, pleasant outlooks, hope, optimism, the ability to radiate happiness to others, & a sense of humour.
There are many women who are happy at heart, but it may have never occurred to them that it is important to show it. Don't make the mistake of putting your happiness under a bushel where no one can see it. Instead, put it on a candlestick where everyone in the room may benefit.
Radiant happiness is one of the real charms that men find fascinating in women, counting far more than physical beauty of face & form. Beautiful women should not make the mistake of "resting on their laurels," hoping that their pretty faces alone will make them attractive. Without a smile & sparkling eyes, they will have little appeal. Men admire pretty girls as they do beautiful pictures & scenes from nature, but they search for radiant smiling women to be their life's companion. Men simply do not want or enjoy women who are glum, depressed, or even overly serious. They seek out women who are vibrant, alive & happy!
To acquire radiant happiness:
1. It's difficult to radiate happiness to others if you yourself aren't happy at heart or within your spirit.
2. Make a conscious effort to be radiant. If you try to be smiling & cheerful, you may well succeed!
3. The best way to form the habit of being happy is to radiate happiness to all, not merely to your circle of family & friends. The World delights in sunny people; there are more than enough serious ones.
4. Smile through adversity. The following lines by Ella Wheeler Wilcox express this trait beautifully:
'Tis easy enough to be pleasant
When life flows by like a song.
But the one worthwhile is the one who can
When everything goes dead wrong.
For the test of the heart is trouble
And it always comes with the years.
And the smile that is worth the praises
Is the smile that shines through tears.
The foundation of fresh beauty is genuine good health, not only for the health itself, but for the fresh & joyous spirit which health sustains in a woman's appearance, actions & attitude. How alluring are sparkling & dancing eyes, lustrous hair, clear voice, buoyancy of manner & the animation which health brings to the face & body.
We all know the importance of good health, but our trouble lies in thinking of good health in terms of not being ill. But healthy womanhood is more than merely being well. The following are some fundamentals of good health:
1. Get enough sleep.
3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Get fresh air.
5. Eat properly.
6. Relax--at work or play.
7. Have a healthy mental attitude.
8. Control your weight.
What is meant by the Biblical statement, "except ye become as little children"? Doesn't this imply that children have qualities which we would do well to copy? We would do well to copy the manner in which children express emotions, especially the emotions of anger, hurt, disappointment, sympathy, tenderness & joy. I believe that by so doing women can solve some of their most difficult marital problems.
One way in which a woman can be childlike is in dealing with anger, especially if she is angry with her own husband. She can relieve some of her most distressing problems by treating them with childlikeness.
Childlike anger is the charming, expressive anger of a little girl. Little girls are too innocent to feel hate, jealousy, resentment & the uglier emotions. When such a child is teased, she does not respond with some hideous sarcasm. Instead, she stamps her foot & shakes her curls. She gets adorably angry at herself because she is powerless to respond. Finally, she walks off & threatens never to speak to you again, then glances back at you over her shoulder to see if you thought she really meant it, & gets frustrated when she sees you're not the least bit fooled!
A scene like this invariably makes us smile. We feel an irresistible longing to pick up such a child & hug it. This is much the same emotion that a woman inspires in a man when she expresses anger in a childlike way. Her ridiculous exaggeration of manner makes him suddenly want to laugh. This anger, however, must be the sauciness of a child & not the intractable stubbornness of an obstinate woman.
If you find it unnatural to express anger in this way, remember, as a child this response was natural to you. It was only in growing up that you lost it. Many women who have felt silly expressing their anger as I have instructed, have accepted the challenge, worked on this quality & been surprised to find the talent return.
Some women think the very idea of childlike anger is ridiculous. How can they, as grown-up women, take the part of a little girl who stomps her foot? Can they look adorable in such a scene? I challenge you to try it--even once. Remember, it may seem ridiculous to you, but not to a man. Of course, if you don't play your part well, if you laugh & make a joke of it, you'll make a fool of yourself & the man will think it ridiculous. Or if you fail to appear as a child, you will not get the message across & the man will be unimpressed. But if you apply this principle with sincerity, acting the part of the little girl, the man will be charmed. Here are some true examples:
"My husband had been home all day & was in a bad mood, criticising me at every turn or making some kind of complaint. I was really ready to cut loose with my anger. A brief moment of thought about his meanness made me decide a little childlike anger might be a better answer. The next time a nasty comment came from him, I said, `You big bully, you've been picking on me all day. Just because you're bigger & stronger than I am, you think you can push me around.' With that I turned on my heel & stomped my foot. He suddenly said, `Get over here & kiss me then.' Our day was suddenly better."
+ + +
"In early marriage I had an explosive temper. I would blow my top & he would bolt for the door, slam it shut & go off in the car for hours. When he came back I could count on him not speaking to me for a week or so. I soon learned to keep my mouth shut when I was angry, but I would smoulder inside. He gave me the same silent treatment, but at least he didn't leave the house. This silent treatment lasted until Fascinating Womanhood. With childlikeness I learned to release my feelings while building up his ego. I say, `You big mean brute, you hurt my feelings!' He laughs good-naturedly & is no longer silent towards me."
(Editor: Of course, there are other ways to handle anger which are far more Scriptural & effective than childlike outbursts or foot-stomping! As mature Christians who believe in honesty & prayer, we should put away such childish things!--1Cor.13:11. Nevertheless, it is often wise to be simple, as God's Word tells us, "In malice be ye children, but in understanding, be men."--1Cor.14:20. "To everything there is a season, & a time to every purpose under Heaven.--Ecc.3:1.--Pray & ask the Lord for the wisdom to know when to be which way!)
When the Husband is Angry. When the wife is angry with the husband, the suggested response is childlike anger. But when the husband is angry with the wife, this is another situation. Here are some suggestions to consider:
1. Do some thinking: "I become angry, why shouldn't he? If his anger seems more intense than mine, it is because he is a man." Remember, to expect him not to be angry is to expect him not to be human.
2. Let him express himself. Let him pour out his feelings, & even encourage him to do so. In so doing he will rid himself of resentments.
3. If you are guilty, apologise & ask for forgiveness.
4. If you are not guilty, still let him express himself. Remember, even if you are innocent, he thinks you are guilty. After he has finished, you can offer an explanation & clear yourself. But try not to get even.
5. Return a gentle word for an angry one. A feminine response to a man's anger is to speak kindly. If he is harsh, speak gently & thus soften his anger.
6. If a man is only mildly angry, cross or irritable, a woman can respond with teasing playfulness.
Childlikeness is difficult for some women to apply, but I must stress that it is one of the most important parts of Fascinating Womanhood, for it helps us handle human frailties--our own & our husband's. Sometimes little irritations which are really insignificant can grow to be mountainous in size. Childlikeness will reduce these problems & turn what could have been pain into pleasure. It will make a woman happier; the man can relax & be himself; they will have an improved relationship; the woman acquires a fascinating charm which arouses the man's tenderness.
HOW TO ASK FOR THINGS!
When you ask a man for things, again copy the art of little children. How do they get what they want? They just ask for things in a trusting manner. They don't justify, explain or argue a point, for they are too dependent & incapable in the presence of adults. A little girl, when she wants something, will approach her father trustingly, realising that he has the power to say "yes" or "no". She will say, "May I please?" or "Will you please?" or, "It would mean so much to me," displaying a dependent attitude & causing her father to feel big & masculine & in the position of leader. All kind-hearted parents are inclined to say "yes" to such a childlike request if it's something for the child's good.
When you approach a man with a request, & ask for it in a trusting, childlike way, it makes him feel more masculine. He will enjoy doing things for you because of the way it makes him feel. If you ask in the right way, simply expecting things, he will jump at the chance to do things for you & will love you the more because of it. One illustration of this is of Abraham Lincoln's stepmother, Sarah.
Abraham Lincoln's real mother, Nancy, lived for years with her husband & children in a little log cabin with a dirt floor. She was a meek little lady, & her husband, Tom Lincoln, was negligent & somewhat lazy. He never got around to building a wooden floor for her.
After she died, Tom Lincoln married Sarah. She was a very fine person, but very different from Nancy. When Tom brought her home to the log cabin, she brought with her several wagonloads of furniture & furnishings. She took one look at the dirt floor & said, "Oh my goodness, Tom, I couldn't think of bringing all of my nice things in here on this dirt floor. I will just leave them in the wagons & you can build me a wooden floor tomorrow." And Tom Lincoln built her a wooden floor the very next day.
Wasn't it sad to think that poor Nancy lived all of those years on a dirt floor just because she did not know how to motivate a man to action? Notice that Sarah was pleasant, she was definite & placed a time limit on the task. With the furniture sitting outside, there was emphasis to her request. We do not always, however, have such a convenient situation to make such a request.
Still another way of being expressive & doing so in a childlike manner is by being outspoken. I don't want to imply that we have unbridled tongues, or that we speak too frankly, with little concern for the feelings of others, a fault noticeable in some adults. The childlike manner I refer to is one of being direct in conversation & not evasive, beating around the bush, making excuses & failing to come to the point.
A little child who has been reared by kind & loving parents of whom he is not afraid tends to be honest & outspoken. He is not afraid to be honest. For example, if you ask a little girl if she would like to go with you to visit a lady down the street & the child really does not want to go, she will say, "I don't want to go." She does not hunt for excuses or ask to put it off until another time etc. She is honest & direct. This is the response a man appreciates in a woman.
If you are shopping with your husband for such things as furniture or clothes, & he suggests you buy something you dislike, it isn't necessary to explain your objections. Be honest & outspoken & say, "Honey, I just don't think I want this one." This comment will not only relieve the situation, but will be less likely to insult his tastes than would an elaboration of your ideas. Most men want to please their wives, want them to have things they like, & will appreciate outspoken expressions of their desires.
There are a few women who resist the idea of acting childlike, who consider it an insult to their good sense to act the part of a little girl. They insist upon believing that really sensible men, the kind of men they admire, would be repulsed instead of attracted to such a childlike creature. The only way to prove to yourself whether or not it works is to try it in your own life & test your husband's reaction.
As a woman matures, she often feels she must "grow up", without realising that men never want women to grow up completely. Truly fascinating women never take on the unattractive traits of matronliness, nor do they become sceptical, stubborn, cynical & overbearing as some older women do who have lost their youthfulness.
As a woman it may seem that much is expected of you & that you must do a lot of giving. This does not always seem fair. But remember, marriage is not a 50-50 proposition. Each partner is expected to give 100%. But in giving so wholeheartedly, we receive a rich compensation. As Jesus said, "He who loses his life for My sake shall surely find it." So the woman who lives these teachings devotedly gains a tender, romantic marriage relationship. And this happy marriage is the heart of a happy home. If you have any doubts about it, I challenge you to apply these teachings in your own life & see from your own experience if these things are true.
A woman is in a precarious position as the wife. When we understand the man's deep needs & his sensitive pride, we can see that a woman is in a position to either build or destroy a man. She destroys him by needling him to change, by stealing his leadership position, wounding his pride & ignoring his important needs. She builds him by looking to his better side, admiring his masculinity, giving him sympathy, understanding, & helping him to excel in his role as the guide, protector & provider.