Well over forty years ago, my wife engineered our first date while a teenager. Coming from several generations of college-educated women, she let me know that she was not the stay-at-home type.
Nor was she content with a mere undergraduate degree. Both bright and ambitious, she charted her own course. She wanted a man able to share her vision.
Yet, underneath it all, she needed someone to quite literally take her in hand. As a result, she turned down young men willing to worship the ground on which she walked and, instead, chose the man finally willing to put her over his lap!
I have written the above to make a few salient points.
First, women choose men—not the other way around. Part of that expectation is that a man be able to handle her.
It is not so much a conscious choice as a biological drive linked to survival of the species. For if a man cannot tame the beast that is within her, odds are that he will not have the courage to protect her or their children.
Second, women test. It is in their nature. They have to make sure that they have made the right choice of mate. Again, this is a self-protective mechanism.
The more unsure a woman is of male prowess, the more likely she is to test. If the man continues to fall short of her expectations, she will come to loathe him. This creates marriages made in hell. Because if the woman is not happy, no one around her is going to be happy!
Third, the wise husband does nothing to undermine his wife. Talk to women in successful taken in hand relationships and they tend to say something like ninety or ninety-five percent of the time their husbands are incredibly supportive, considerate, affectionate, and kind. On the other hand, when he says, “No,” he means it!
I still open doors for my wife and seat her in restaurants. Sometimes, she will hang onto me like a teenager. I know there are times when people think that we are dating.
The truth is that women want men to win. Strong men—not tyrants—give a woman security. A woman must know that the man she has chosen is able to protect her, handle her, and cherish her. Knowing when to fulfill each of those roles comes in knowing the woman.
The supposed mystique of women is not that difficult to fathom. Women tend to be more alike than they will ever admit. Nevertheless, it takes patience to understand women. This is often not the province of impatient novices. The old truism is that men expect too much too soon and give too little too late. It is not a recipe for a successful relationship. Such husbands become relegated to that often-despised category of first boyfriends—unable to see beyond what they want rather than what a woman needs.
Given time, a woman will all but tell a man how to handle her. It is up to the man not only to listen with his ears, but also with his mind, heart, and instincts. To add to the lines of an old Kenny Rogers song, a man needs to know when to hold his cards, when to fold his hand, and when to lay his cards on the table.