Men and women are very different. I think we’ve known this from the beginning of time. I can just imagine a tired cavewoman looking admiringly at the stone floor of her cave dwelling after sweeping away the dirt clumps with her handmade broom of dried sticks, when suddenly along comes her hairy man dragging in a dead mammoth behind him. Look at all the blood you just tracked in!
Indeed how we see romance and relationships are varied, and our focus on physical versus emotional displays of affection may differ too. We each have strengths and weaknesses we bring to the marriage that somehow mesh together in a colorful yet workable way, and our individual needs are unique. But I think there’s one thing that all women need.
We need you to see.
For example, this past week my husband told me he was having a friend over. Any woman will know that company is the ultimate motivator to clean house. Like a lady can get more done in the twenty minutes before a visitor arrives than a full day assigned to housework. True story.
So naturally when my husband told me he was having a friend over I decided to do a major clean. When you have young children that’s a huge deal. Basically as you clean they mess up. It’s inevitable. You either have to lock them outside or duct tape them in the closet. So a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into transforming our chaotic environment into a visually pleasing one for a first-time house guest.
When my husband arrived that evening with his friend in tow he immediately proclaimed, “let me give you a tour,” and I of course thought, thank God I cleaned the upstairs!
Men are different than women. I know my husband didn’t expect me to clean the house, and probably wouldn’t have batted an eye if I didn’t. But women are also different. At that moment all I could think was, does he notice how nice everything looks?!
Men are very different. At one point of the tour we entered the children’s bathroom and my husband said loudly, “you must of cleaned up a lot today, huh?!” I cringed a bit. Women did clean before company. Everyone knew it, but no one said it out loud. Between women there was an unspoken code where we pretended with one another that our house always looked good with little effort taken, but my husband was apparently not privy to this secret. I guess I got what I wanted in a way.
But today he sent me a message after he left for work, and I swear it made me cry. It said, “I want you to know I see what you do. I notice that dinner is cooked every night, and I know that’s a labor in love. I appreciate you, and I love you.”
That’s all I wanted, and it’s all I really want most days.
Being a woman is difficult. We have inside us this desire to take care of things, to serve those we love, to extend and even overextend ourselves in this longing to show love for our family through action. And it’s not that we require an atta girl, but when it happens it’s really, really nice.
So what do most women want? Do they want diamonds and nice trips? Well, those things are really great, but honestly most women just want one thing.
They want you to see.
They want you to notice if they did their hair a different way. They want you to see that they vacuumed. In fact I think that’s why vacuum manufacturers designed them to make tracks. So people would notice. They want you to see that their day was crazy and they didn’t have time to vacuum, but they did anyway.
They don’t require a man’s compliments. They don’t need a verbal recognition of every single sacrifice they make. It wouldn’t be a selfless sacrifice if accolades were required. But the fact remains it’s nice too. It feels good to be noticed. It’s wonderful to be appreciated, and most women thrive under the simple fact that you see. That you see them.
But it doesn’t end there. In my marriage I’ve discovered many things, but one is that men and women, while different, also have a whole lot in common. And it’s with that knowledge that I make certain my husband knows I see.
I tell him that I see how hard he works each day, the long hours and time away from home. I notice his efforts, I tell him I’m proud of him, and I serve him with my labors of love. So perhaps what women and men want isn’t that different at all. Maybe we both just want to be loved and seen.