What Do Women Want?

Hello Wednesday and hello He Said/She Said day. As I was starting to write today’s post, I scribbled down in my journal “What do Women Want?” and next to it, in the margin, I also wrote, “Who knows…”

The question of what do women want is an age-old one that poets, philosophers, psychiatrists, and the like have attempted to answer for centuries. Truth be told, I don’t think many women actually know what they want.

Well, let me re-phrase. They think they know what they want, but very often, it is not until they get what they think they want, that they realize it is not what they need at all.

There is a reason for this though. One phenomenon in particular has done an excellent job of confusing and cajoling women. You might know what I’m going to say…


I have mentioned this before. It is therefor no surprise that I find feminism to be a critical piece in understanding why women themselves are confused about what they want.

For starters, they are told they are just like men. Next, they are told that they don’t even need a man. Yet despite these lies constantly being fed, woman innately want and need something from men vastly different from what feminism and popular culture has told them.

So if women aren’t like men and actually need men (by “need” I mean desire and even long for…yes, I said it. Let the feminists have a tizzy fit), what is it they truly want?

Firstly, we have to revisit what it is that men want because the desires of both sexes are interrelated. I wrote previously that what a man want most is to be admired by the woman he loves. If I believe this, then it follows that what a woman wants is to be loved by the man she admires.

The answer isn’t sexy, sophisticated, or even surprising, but it is truth. Dennis Prager, radio-talk show host and all-around sage, is the person responsible for this theory. I give him all the credit.

My instincts are to say that women want security and while I believe this to be true, security is a by-product of being loved by your man. For instance, my husband knows that I need security, be it financial, emotional, physical. He then sets out to actively provide that type of security and stability within our marriage precisely because he loves me.

Today, talk of a woman admitting that she wants to be loved by the man she admires sounds downright medieval to many. Liberals, feminists, and even mainstream media would have us believe that a woman must only love a man who is her “partner” and her “equal.”

Prager puts it this way: “It is problematic enough to say that a woman most wants a man. But that pales compared to the claim that she most wants a man whom she admires. That seems to affirm gender inequality. The image it conjures up is of a woman looking up to her man as if he were some sort of lord and she his serf.”

But, as Prager also goes on to explain, any woman who is blessed enough to be married to a man she admires understands that she is not living a life of servitude unto a man, but rather a life full of love and joy. Any woman who is truly loved by the man she admires recognizes that she is in fact, lifted up, and this love provides more comfort and feelings of success than even the best job, accolade, or wordly recognition.

Do you agree or disagree? What do you think woman want?

Pssst…I’m also over at The Church of No People blog today, writing about my one-word solution for the church. Be sure to stop by and say hello.

31 thoughts on “What Do Women Want?”

  1. Wow, great post! I found you from The Church of No People blog, and really enjoyed this post. This is something that I’ve come to realize over time myself, just how different men and women are, and how what we truly need and desire are totally different. It may go against the idea that we are “equal” to some, but to me, it seems that we are, in fact, equal, but different. We each have a role to play that is VITAL in the Kingdom of God, that will be innately satisfying. Equality doesn’t mean being like a man – it means having the same value in our own role as a man has in his.

    1. Mina,
      Thanks so much for stopping by! You said it so well: “Equality doesn’t mean being like a man – it means having the same value in our own role as a man has in his.”

      I love this. I might steal it! Hope to see more of you around here as well.

  2. Nicole,

    As always, thank you for your thoughts. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the Admire/Love dichotomy the same as the Love & Respect formula?

    I guess my problem with that is it DOES seem to me like a false dichotomy. I do love my wife, but I also respect and admire her. She is better than me in so many ways, and I learn a lot from her. In some areas of our relationship (like our finances), she LEADS me.

    Of course, the converse is true as well. I know she loves and respects/admires me. And I certainly lead her in other areas.

    I know a lot of people really connect with this love/respect-admiration dichotomy. I am fully willing to believe that we are just a couple of odd ducks. But I also can’t help but wonder if that dichotomy IS in fact left over from a time when men provided social stability for the woman (women) they married and the woman(en) provided respect and honor to the man (not to mention domestic stability).

    I think the love/respect-admiration dichotomy COULD be a vestige of a culture we aren’t in anymore. And IF that’s true (I recognize it’s a big if), then retrenching isn’t probably the best way to move forward, or to be a prophetic, consistent witness for Christ in the (post)modern world.

    **SIDE NOTE** I’m reading a book right now called “Marriage Confidential” by Pamela Haag. She’s a secular historian writing about how the institution of Marriage is (and ought to) change. Really making me think and have some hard conversations right now. Once I’m done with it, I’d really appreciate some thick conversation. From the few chapters I’ve read so far, her voice is one the Church ought to hear and take seriously.

    Thanks again, as always :)

    1. Jr.,

      You are correct in stating that the love/admire relationship (I hesitate to use “dichotomy” because I don’t believe it is) is similar to the love/respect relationship.

      I wrote this, and the post regarding men, however, as a generalization for culture without viewing it through the lens of Christianity per se.

      You note that you love your wife and respect and admire her, as well. I do not think those two ideas are mutually exclusive. I show my husband respect because I love him. No one is suggesting that either love OR respect must exist without the other. I don’t think Ephesians implies that in any way.

      You wrote: “But I also can’t help but wonder if that dichotomy IS in fact left over from a time when men provided social stability for the woman (women) they married and the woman(en) provided respect and honor to the man (not to mention domestic stability).”

      I have to say I’m a bit thrown off by this sentence. I do not happen to think that the instruction given to husbands and wives in the book of Ephesians is “left over.” Have you ever read the accounts and testimonies of marriages transformed by a new understanding and practice of the love/respect relationship?


      It is staggering as to how powerful, effective, and trans-formative the love/respect relationship proves to be in the context of marriage.

      Furthermore, in Pauls’ writing’s in Ephesians he makes no allusions to respect for the sake of “domestic stability.”

      He compares marriage (and husbands and wives roles within it) to Christ’s love for the church, not some archaic marriage-class system designed to oppress (or protect) women and elevate men. Marriage is to reflect Christ’s love for the Church, not create a oppressive institution (that if anything is man’s doing, not the Lord’s intention).

      While I respect your desire to seek knowledge elsewhere, such as in the book by Pamela Haag, I have to admit that I am not in anyway interested in a secular historians desire or advice in restructuring marriage.

      If I recognize that God designed marriage, unless He says to re-design it, I have no desire to do so. You want to talk about teaching men and women what marriage really is, how it should be regarded, and how to live married life out in a way that is honoring to the lord, I’m game. But redesigning is dangerous ground in my opinion.

      Thank you too Jr. for your thoughtful comments, as always.

      1. Nicole,

        I’m certainly not discounting effective marriage counseling. I know tons of couples who have benefited from Love/Respect.

        As for Ephesians 5 (which is all about domestic stability – wives, slaves and children!), we have to be careful to read first century marriages (not anachronistically impose 21st century marriages onto them). Ancient marriage wasn’t a romantic institution. Romantic love wasn’t something husbands owed to their wives (or vice versa). In the ancient world, ‘love’ was a covenantal term. I have some problems with attributing romantic language to covenantal.

        I certainly agree that the hierarchical/patriarchal marriage is a result not of God’s intention but of Fall (Gen 3 is clear about that, and something I love about Ephesians 5 is how Paul subverts the typical Roman marriage to undercut the Gen 3 patriarchy). But marriage is a cultural institution, and as such, changes all the time. Case in point are the words ‘love’ and ‘respect’. They mean a lot of different stuff to a lot of different persons and cultures. Even different Biblical writers don’t use the words coterminously.

        This leads me to a deeper issue in your comment – marriage has changed as an institution throughout history and across cultures. There’s no such thing as a ‘Biblical marriage’ (unless you count incest and polygamy as viable marriage options). Haag’s book, for instance, is surveying how the institution of marriage has and is changing. Hers is an important book (IMO) for Christians to hear.

        Our culture is changing. And – as it always has – the institution of marriage will change with it. Christians out to be on the Bleeding Edge, figuring out what a biblically faithful, God-honoring marriage looks like in the Brave New World. Instead, most of us either are pining for the 1950s, or abandoning the institution altogether.

        No one else (I’ve encountered) is having this conversation. I certainly don’t advocate for wholesale adoption of Haag’s paradigms. But she is (again, as far as I am in the book) outlining a conversation, defining some terms and offering a great starting place for the conversation. If you know of a Christian who is doing this, I’d love to listen to him/her, too.

        On a more personal note, I confess I’m a bit surprised that you’re so opposed to hearing an outside voice. As a Reject, I suspected you would have more sympathy for outsiders.

        I hope and trust you read these thoughts in love and respect for you as a sister and colaborer for the Gospel. I don’t intend anything but fruitful discussion. Grace and peace.

        1. Jr.,
          I apologize for the late reply. I was in a car accident and then out of town in one week’s time. Your comment slipped by me.

          Firstly, I understand your arguments. I just happen to disagree. I do think marriage is a Biblical concept, set forth by God as a holy union between man and woman. It is both physical and spiritual.

          I do not discount that marriage has over the centuries acted as a social construct, but that does not mean those were the Lord’s original intentions. I do not see the Lord giving Eve to Adam in order to enact a cultural institution. He said “It is not good for man to be alone…” not “Here, a woman for you to Lord over and rule in a patriarchal contract.” We both seem to agree that the Fall was responsible for the shift in marriage from one of helpmate and lover, to one centered upon a hierarchical/patriarchal structure.

          Which begs the question: What are we trying to preserve (and what are we attempting to change)? God’s example and definition of marriage or society’s?

          The institution of marriage has changed because man has done so, not God. I do not think at any point God has sent down a decree telling us all to just go ahead and thrown out Genesis because well, society changes and so should marriage.

          I agree with you that Christians should indeed be seeking out what “biblically faithful, God-honoring marriage looks like .” Amen. However, not to sound overly-simplistic or simple-minded, but I don’t need to read the book from a secular author to know what that kind of marriage looks like. We have the Spirit and Jesus Christ as our Head. In reality, that is all we need.

          Forward thinking is not always thinking that moves us forward. Haag’s book, while I have not read it, is praised for it’s provacative, contorversial, modern thinking. To some these adjectives signify positive change, but I don’t happen to believe that all change is good.

          Her book also examines American marriages, which makes sense of course. However, I am also not interested in American marriages. I am interested in the people of God’s marriages–His Holy people, all of us, everywhere. If we are not of this world, then why would we attempt to define or re-define our marriages based upon this world’s definitions?

          Calling myself a “reject” does not automatically mean I’ll side with any outsider. Christ was rejected. Paul was rejected. I don’t see examples of either of them consulting secularists for counsel or guidance, especially on issues as holy and sacred as marriage. They were in tune with the Father. He supplied all their needs. He will continue to do so in our marriages if we let Him, book or no book….

          As always, I receive your comments with the love and grace with which you write them. I am thankful that we can continue to have fruitful, albeit opposing viewpoints, in certain areas. I count you as a brother in the Gospel, as well. Blessings.

  3. i always thought women wanted chocolate.

    but your argument is a pretty good one. and i’m not stubborn and unwilling to admit when i’ve been wrong.

    so i now believe that what women want is chocolate men.

      1. a spectrum, huh. and chocolate jewelry would be way easier to come by than chocolate men. just saying.

        by the way, nicole, i just found my way to your blog today. i can’t even remember who linked me over here. but i’ve enjoyed browsing. i’ve even subscribed. [so you’ve got at least one reader in tanzania, east africa. two thumbs up for globalization.]

  4. I love the ideas presented in the book Love & Respect. Touches a lot on the idea of man needing respect and women needing love (Eph. 5:33). It also touches that when one doesn’t exist, it’s a lot harder for the other to be there. The book is a great read if you’ve never read it before.

    1. Kelly,
      I know the book and have recommended it to a few couples. I know of a few marriages that have been transformed, dare I even say resurrected, from reading this book. Great stuff…

  5. I, too, enjoyed Love & Logic. And I also think that the 5 Love Languages addresses this area in that once you figure out what your love language is, it helps you know what you want. We all want to be loved – men and women. We just want to be shown love in different ways. Great post! Yes, I agree that feminism has been very detrimental to our world in many ways. When Gertrude Stein said, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” she made women who do want/need a man, feel like they weren’t real women. God made us to have a helpmate. We do need each other.

    1. Jennifer,
      I love that you pulled out that Gertrude Stein quote. Even in reading it you can understand its complete ridiculousness and idiocy.

      Agreed! We DO need each other!

  6. Hi Nicole,

    For me the question is simple. It’s not a case of what do women want, It’s a case of what does Ginny want.

    Women in general, who knows? The particular woman who loves me, well the best way to find out is to ask her specifically.

    Then listen.

    Or, on rare occasions, I try to be perceptive enough to guess without having to ask.

    Sometimes that works. But not always.

    She has no interest in owning the latest Stephen King novel; I do. Therefore I need to avoid the trap of doing unto her as I would be done unto. So I ask what she wants. And in our 43 years of marriage we have both become comfortable with honest answers.

    Sometimes that answer is to be left alone.

    We learned to honestly say, “I love you forever, but I can’t stand you right this minute. Check with me again tomorrow”.

    Other times my asking what Ginny wants can lead to happy surprises. But I’ve got to listen and take her seriously…

    Like for an anniversary a few years ago, she asked me for a–you guessed it–a paper shredder.

    And, for our anniversary I gave her a paper shredder.

    She was so happy, not because of that bit of equipment for her office, but because I had listened to her.

    We’ve been married 43 years and the waitress the other day asked if we were on our Honeymoon.

    We both laughed and answered, “Yes”.

    John Cowart

    1. John,
      What an awesome answer. Truly. Ginny sounds like a very blessed woman, and you sound blessed a well.

      Many married couples, young and old, could take their cues from you both. I hope she reads this comment of yours along with “Your Husband Isn’t a Pervert.”

      1. John swiped my answer. No, not that I was going to write about his Ginny! No, no, no.

        But I was going to point out that I could care less about women in general, and the woman who said Yes to me and now walks with me in covenant is the only one that matters.

        Besides, the majority of women who are bold enough to write blogs are usually liberal christian feminists who have an axe to grind for one reason or another, and after reading about 2 sentences of theirs, my eyes cloud over and I have the distinct impression of a dripping faucet at midnight. (This of course does not apply to you, Miss Nicole. You have earned not only my respect, but I really kinda dig your husband, too. In a perfect world we would be neighbors and sign each others’ yearbooks and be lifelong friends.)

        Oh, by the way, I read a study on women and chocolate which essentially pointed out that chocolate has a chemical compound in it that mimics an orgasm for women. So usually when a woman says, “I am craving chocolate!”, I have to fight the urge to call their husband and tell them to do their job better. This is not a blanket statement, but next time one of your female friends makes the comment they are craving chocolate…


    2. Oh, gosh. I’m SO glad I’m not the only one who realizes it’s okay to say “I love you forever but right this minute I can’t stand you.” My husband has the annoying ability to be able to confidently say “I love you” after a huge disagreement. I usually respond with a glare and an “I know.” He’s logical and has everything in neat little boxes in his head, and he can close the “fight with wife” box and open the “tell wife I love her” box with nary a blip. I’m too emotionally wired; I can’t change gears that fast. It took some counseling and some good strategies for arguing before I was able to effectively articulate to him that I couldn’t SAY “I love you” so easily when love was not the primary emotion coursing through my system. Once I recognized that about myself–and he understood–arguments ended a lot easier, because he didn’t think I didn’t love him anymore, and I didn’t have to say things I didn’t feel at the moment. (Yes, I’m fully aware that love is a choice, not a feeling. But it’s the feelings that rule sometimes, even though I choose to continue to love him. So the feelings are what’s at the forefront. The reality of love is still behind it, like a strong foundation.)

      We’ve been married almost fifteen years now. I’d marry him again in a minute. (In fact, our kids want to know when we’re going to get married. We said we already are. They said we had to do it again. Why? Because they weren’t there to see it. Our girls are almost six and four and a half year old twins.)

  7. It’s funny that you posted this today because I was driving earlier and I had the beginnings of an idea for a post on my opinions about feminism. (Which are very close to yours from what I can see here.) Great post.

    As for what women want, I’m a woman and most of the time I can’t even answer that question. :)

    1. Jenn,
      Write that post about women and feminism. The world needs to read it!

      I agree too. I don’t usually know what I want from minute to minute and forget about the fact that I’m pregnant. I’m like an 8 Ball..shake me up and you may get a different answer every time.

  8. Thank you.
    Thank you.
    Thank you.


    As a man I am not “allowed” to say/write stuff like this, but it is so true. Reminds me of the book Love & Respect which focuses on what women and men fundamentally need most.

    I think Feminism has done a great disservice to women. Chivalry is NOT dead.

  9. Nicole, You have a unique perspective on this issue, and in a broader sense on the influence of feminism on Christianity. Thank you for having the courage to articulate it on a consistent basis.

  10. Great post. This hit home, as someone going through the heartache of divorce. This quote sums it up for me: …. women want security and while I believe this to be true, security is a by-product of being loved by your man.
    I think women want a MAN. A stand up guy, who listens, who is strong, who has qualities to be admired, who doesn’t steam roll you and doesnt roll over either. Who has made himself a safe and loving place for you to be you. Submission comes in here, and I think submitting to a real MAN who loves you can be beautiful and make a good partnership. We want to be loved by the MAN we admire – profound indeed.

  11. Thank you so much. And yes, all I need is to be loved by my man. With that I am happy. I am here on this planet to experience life. And I choose a life with love. Because I have love, and a man I admire, I feel such joy, health, comfort and content in the simple things of life. I do admire my man, because he has principles that he lives by and he is a man of integrity.

    This was such a wonderful post to read. Wonderful

  12. Great article, but please fix typos. Therefore (paragraph 5) has an e in it.

    This common misusage drives me nuts(!):

    ===There is a reason for this though. One phenomena in particular has done an excellent job of confusing and cajoling women. You might know what I’m going to say…===

    There’s no such thing as one phenomena. The singular form is phenomenon!

    (Two or more phenomena would be correct.)

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