What Women Want in Men - is a man who knows how to bring his heart to her

By Genie Joseph, P D.

Purple Flowers

What women want in men they are in a relationship with is the feeling of really being understood. They want more than just to be listened to with your ears. They want your heart involved. If you have ever been in a relationship with a woman, you have probably heard something like this: “Are you really listening to me?” That's because she may feel that your ears are hearing but your heart is guarded.

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We have all experienced this sensation of not feeling truly heard when speaking to family, friends, co-workers, customer service people. We know their ears are working, but we don’t feel truly understood, truly heard. For women, this is a classic and frustrating feeling of not feeling heard. And when they don’t feel heard, they don’t feel respected or honored. When your wife or girlfriend feels that she hasn’t been truly heard, her frustration level rises. Then either angry or withdrawing behaviors emerge. It is such a common problem, and it has such a simple remedy. You can learn the secret of what women want in men by just following a few easy steps.

Frustration and hurt are often the result when the speaker doesn’t feel that the listener is responding to their underlying needs and concerns. This can create an endless verbal cycle that makes communication feel more like a vicious game of ping-pong, instead of a dialogue that creates connection. The truth is that listening is an art. Listening with the heart, where the intention is to truly understand the other, is not a passive process. It requires a certain presence of mind on the part of the listener. It is an act of compassion to deeply listen to another person. This is truly what women want in men, but don’t always get.

The Chinese character for the verb to listen tells us something significant about this skill. The Chinese character is composed of the following elements: “ears,” “eyes,” “undivided attention,” and “heart.” This is the one thing that women want from their  man. And they are less satisfied in their relationship if they don't experience this.

The Chinese character for the verb to listen tells us something significant about this skill. The Chinese character is composed of the following elements: “ears,” “eyes,” “undivided attention,” and “heart.” There is much more to listening than just a hole in the side of our head where sound tumbles in one side and rolls out the other. 

Can we listen with our eyes? Absolutely! Women are often attuned to non-verbal communication. They “see” what you are feeling in your eyes. Many important pieces of communication are non-verbal; that is they are not delivered through the actual words. The body language, whether the positions are open or closed, the tone of voice, the speed of the voice, the intensity and pitch of the voice, all give her clues to the underlying emotion and mood of the speaker. She will often use her eyes to gather information as you are talking, so that she won’t miss these important clues.

If your mind is wandering as you listen, you are wasting your time as well as hers. But on the other hand, if your intention is to really hear, and you are taking the time to listen, then the only way to make your effort worthwhile is to give her your undivided attention.

This is what women want in men. Consciously or unconsciously she senses if you are really present for her. But if your mind is busy thinking about what you are going to say next, or forming objections or rebuttals in your mind, the interaction really suffers. This divided attention takes away energy and focus from what she is actually saying. What women want in men are partners who care about how she feels and what she needs.

If you are running a silent inner verbal track as your wife or girlfriend is speaking, you can almost guarantee that no listening is occurring. This is like trying to listen to two different radio stations at the same time. Then, since there are gaps in what you actually received or heard, your brain will try to fill in with your own interpretations of the parts you did hear. The result is you may misperceive or even misjudge the true meaning of what she is actually saying.

There is a good reason why the last part of the Chinese character for the verb to listen is “heart.” You don’t have to agree with her, but you do need to care enough to be fully present for her. It just means that you are willing to be open to hear what she has to say. While you are listening your face and body language will show genuine interest.

So give her appropriate eye contact. (I say appropriate because different cultures have different expectations about the amount or duration of direct eye contact.) And most importantly, whether or not you care about her subject, do you care about really hearing her? Really hearing someone is an act of compassion, and creates connection between you and the woman you care about, even if you disagree about the subject.

This heart-full listening can have such a dramatic impact on her that it goes a long way to resolve conflict. Conflict is a natural part of life. As long as there is more than one human being on this planet, there will be a time when one person wants one thing and the other one wants something else. When person “A” feels really heard and understood by person “B,” guaranteed, fifty percent of the problem is handled! You may not believe me at first, but test this out in your own interactions. I think you will be amazed at how powerful this can be.

This is what women want in men, and if you give this to her, she will think you are the prince of her dreams. When you really listen to not only the words, but for the underlying concerns or interests of the woman in your life, and let her know that you have heard her, her emotional intensity immediately shifts.

When she feels really listened to, she will calm down.

Here is an example: A wife complains to her husband: “You never pick up your clothes! What do you expect me to do, just be your maid?” I’m sure you could imagine any number of responses from the husband that would accelerate the wife’s feelings and lead to an instant argument. But how about this as a possible response from you: “Sounds like you feel like I take you for granted...” Can you see how these words might make the wife feel really heard? The power of phrases that make the speaker feel really heard and understood is sometimes amazing. We all need to feel understood. The first step is to really listen, with the wisdom of the Chinese character, with your ears, your eyes, your undivided mind, and most importantly your heart! This is what women want in men. You can become her perfect man – just by remembering this!

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Photo Credit Bryan Lowe

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