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Opinion: For Valentine's, 5 Lessons on Women and Love

Feb 13, 2011 – 5:07 AM
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Another Valentine's Day, another reminder that love for many people today is a foreign concept that exists in movies and romance novels but not in their personal lives.

Women especially are becoming disenchanted with love, placing their energies instead into careers. The principal reason: They're convinced that they will not find a man who understands them.

Fair enough. Even Sigmund Freud, that most insightful of men, famously said, "The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my 30 years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?' "

So I have seen fit to write a short guide for men to understanding women and what they crave in matters of love. (I will skip my qualifications for doing so, other than to mention that I am a man who, having been raised by a single mother and as the father of six daughters, is, of necessity, deeply in touch with his feminine side.)

Lesson one. What every woman wants is not to be loved but chosen. If a woman wanted to be loved she would never leave her parents' home. Mom and Dad give her infinite love. But they didn't choose her. Choice must come from a stranger, a man who selects a woman not because of some inner compulsion but because of her superlative beauty and virtue. What every woman most desires is to be special and unique.

What women really hate is being relegated to secondary status. Being made subordinate to your career, buddies and parents will slowly whittle away at her happiness and self-esteem. And today's women are justifiably tough. They no longer tolerate neglectful spouses. Neglect reinforces a feeling of ordinariness, and they simply up and leave the relationship. That's why three-quarters of all divorces today are initiated by wives. Why?

Lesson two. A woman is profoundly emotional. I know that to some this an insult, but I mean it as a profound compliment. Women feel deeply. They are too warm to be detached and robotic. And they harbor an intense dislike for men who are withdrawn, aloof and cold. They gravitate to men who are bold enough to share their emotions, something that most men find challenging and some find impossible.

The No. 1 complaint of women in marriage is that their husbands don't talk about their emotions. To the extent they communicate beyond monosyllables, men choose practical conversations, like 'Where's the Bud Light?' The man who understands a woman turns his heart inside out, pushing himself against his male nature, which shuns vulnerability, and makes himself emotionally accessible.

Lesson three. Women are more sexual than men because they're more sensual. Men fire on one sexual cylinder, being turned on primarily by the visual. But women fire on five, being drawn to the sounds, scents, tastes and touch of love. They therefore connect more deeply and enjoy a slow burn rather a rushed frontal assault. If men are microwaves, women are ovens. We all know what microwaved food tastes like. So don't nuke the experience. Be a sensual lover.

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Lesson four. Details matter to a woman. When you tell a woman she's beautiful, she wants to hear in what particulars this is so. Is it her hair, her body, how she is dressed? Be specific. It shows that every particle of her is special, every atom, every molecule. It also shows that you've made the effort to really focus and deeply care.

Lesson five. Women are much more audio than visual. Being verbally expressive and having a command of language is something that endears a man to a woman. And this is especially true of men who are humorous. In nearly every survey, women have said that the most desirable trait in a man is the ability to make them laugh. And best of all is a man courageous enough to laugh at himself.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is the author of many best-selling books on relationships, including the international blockbusters "Kosher Sex" and "The Kosher Sutra." Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.
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