Monthly Archives: June 2018

Q&A with J: Do Women Try to Manipulate Men?

“Just tell me what you want!” he says, exasperated by all her hinting and expectations and … well, manipulation. Because that must be what it is, right? Why else would she play games?

This question, more or less, came up in a series of posts written by Paul Byerly of The Generous Husband and The XY Code. You can go read those posts here:

First You Have to Know – The Generous Husband
Why He Thinks It’s a Game – The XY Code
He’s Not As Careful with His Words – The XY Code

I took issue with the word “game” as a description of what’s happening for most women. In addition to commenting, I had a great online conversation with Paul, at the end of which I volunteered to write a post about why women often aren’t as direct in their communication.

Generally speaking, she’s not trying to manipulate him or make it difficult. Most women who haven’t learned a lot about men’s brains and communication style don’t understand they’re being unclear to him. We honestly believe you should be able to see what we’re saying!

Especially because … sometimes he does.

Case in point: My husband, whom I fondly call Spock because he is super-logical and not instinctively romantic, does not pick up on hints. When he tries, he often guesses wrong. However, we stepped into a local furniture/knick-knack store one time, and I commented on how much I loved a particular painting. I thought nothing of it, because I was simply admiring a product at the store.

Lo and behold, at my next birthday my husband presented me with the painting! It now hangs next to my desk:

Creative, fun, and quirky…like me!

I don’t know why that one time he paid attention to my interest and followed through with the gift. But had I not already known the way his mind generally works, I might have concluded that his willingness to meet my understated desires was selective. Some women might figure: Because he did it this one time, why can’t he do it all the time? 

But it’s not fair to take a one-off and try to force that into a pattern. That would be like thinking that one time I made a perfect meal means I could deliver chef-worthy food every single night. (Not.)

It’s easy to misread one another if we don’t make an effort to understand the inherent differences in our communication styles, which come from our backgrounds, our personalities, and our gender. Not all of the stereotypes will apply to your spouse, but it’s worth asking whether such things are true.

And give one another the benefit of the doubt when your spouse says you misunderstood their intentions. Yes, if you said X, it would mean Y. But for your spouse, saying X might mean Z. Because we think and communicate differently.

Again, I believe God made it this way because, to have a good marriage, we’re then forced to let go of our selfishness, aim to understand our spouse, and stretch ourselves in loving them. The way Christ modeled.

But let me back to the original question: Do women try to manipulate men? Sure, some do. But most of the time, if a wife’s dropping hints and thinks her husband should pick up on them, she’s not trying to manipulate him. She’s lived her life learning how to pick up on subtlety, and her brain is even hardwired better for this task, so it’s difficult to understand why he can’t. Especially when, as I pointed out, now and then something does stick for him.

Meanwhile, ladies, take those moments as a treat, but try to be more direct with the men in your life. I hear from a lot of husbands who feel frustrated because they want to give their wives what they want, but their wives won’t tell them and the guys cannot figure out the hints. Because men are hardwired that way and learned that communication style.

Look, a lot comes down to verses like these: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). What would it look like to devote yourselves to one another in communication? Would it be one of you getting his or her own way? And what about honoring? Can we honor one another’s way of looking at things and work together to reach understanding?

Let’s not accuse each other of intentions that aren’t there, but rather work through our differences to reach unity.

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Now please go read my guest post at The Generous Husband: Why She Communicates the Way She Does (and It May Not Be What You Think)

Also check out a great podcast episode I just listened to: The Art of Manliness – The Male Brain

And a great one for wives to read: You’re Not Allowed to Complain About Not Getting What You Didn’t Ask For (It’s more balanced than the title conveys.)

Sex Chat for Christian Wives: Go Fund Me button

Would love for you to support our podcast team attending a ministry conference!

5 Marriage Bed Tips from the GDPR (New European Union Data Regulations)

If you work on a website, you’ve probably heard of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) the European Union recently put into effect. It’s a series of measures designed to ensure the privacy and control of one’s personal data when they interact with a website, including a blog like mine.

To be compliant (some of y’all live in the EU), I’m adding some stuff to my site. But I just cannot bear the thought of tossing out all that legalese language at you. Instead, I’m going to explain a bit about how I handle your data while making it informative and empowering for your sex life.

You ask: What on earth does the GDPR have to do with my sex life? Well, keep reading!

1. Have you fully opted in?

One major focus of the GDPR is making sure everyone who’s contacted by a company or organization opted in. In the United States, you have opt out, which is why when you buy something on a website, you receive emails from them until you unsubscribe.

Since it obviously stinks for someone to use your personal information to stalk you until you buy something more from them or enter the Witness Protection Program, opt-in systems are much better. Which is why I have one. You have to ask to subscribe to my blog, and then you should receive a follow-up email confirming you really said you wanted to hear from me. And you have choices to receive my blog posts, my newsletter, or both.

How about your marriage bed? Have you opted out? Or opted in? Are you stalking your spouse into “putting out” or inviting them to subscribe to some great content? Hey, no one wants duty sex, and one of the best things you can do for your sexual intimacy is to opt in — all the way in.

2. What’s your privacy policy?

You can read mine right here, and it basically says I won’t sell or share your information; I send you only what you ask for; and any marketing I do is simply telling you about resources I recommend, including affiliate linked products and my own books.

But how about a privacy policy regarding your marriage bed? You see, husband and wife should agree on what is and isn’t okay to share with others. I certainly have some suggestions in that regard (see How Much Should You Share about Your Sex Life? and What Should You Share about Your Sex Life with Friends?), but the important aspect is that you two agree.

Also, if you ever sext one another or have revealing or suggestive photos, you should take care to keep them confidential. If you’re not on the same page with your spouse on privacy, may I suggest the more private spouse’s view wins out. You can keep talking the issue, if you think you have a good point, but don’t intentionally cross your spouse’s line.

3. How is your data used?

If you comment on my blog, all others see is whatever name (or initial) you use, your website, and your comment. I see that stuff, plus your email and an IP address that means nothing to me. I don’t do anything with that information other than moderate and respond. If you subscribe, your data is stored by MailChimp in a list according to your preferences so I can then send you what you asked for. Your data does get compiled and analyzed in the aggregate, to produce website statistics I can then use to know how it’s going and to target ads on Facebook (I’ve only done this twice in 7+ years) to people who might want to know about my books. But you’re not tracked individually.

Meanwhile, how do you use the “data” you provide one another in your marriage? When your spouse shares how they think or feel about sexuality, do you treat that information with care and respect? Do you use that data to harass them (like some unscrupulous websites have done), or to build a better relationship?

If you want your spouse to open up to you more about their challenges with sexual interest, their likes and dislikes, their desires and fantasies, then you need to demonstrate that you care about the information they give you by treating their beliefs and feelings with openness and respect.

4. Can you correct or erase your data?

Two GDPR rights are covered here with the right of rectification (correcting erroneous information) and the right of erasure (making your data go away). Multiple times I’ve had someone ask me to change their name or some small bit of content within a comment, or to simply to delete a comment altogether. That’s fine by me, so I just make the change and move on. Likewise, you can always unsubscribe from one of my lists, using the handy-dandy button provided at the bottom of each post or newsletter, and voila! your information is gone.

But let’s be honest. Isn’t this one of the hardest commands about love in the Bible? “[Love] keeps no record of wrongs” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Our spouse is going to blow it sometimes, and we need to let them correct the mistake and/or erase the record.

That’s true regarding sexuality as well. It could be baggage from before you got married that you’re still holding onto. It could be their poor phrasing of sexual initiation or doing that boob-grab thing most wives hate so much. It could be any number of misstatements, actions, or histories that make it hard for you both to move on. If you’re in the thick of a problem, of course you don’t just hit the delete button — you address the issue. But many times, we really could correct the situation or give more grace.

5. What security measures are in place?

My website is hosted by a tech company that specializes in website security. Indeed, one of its owners has worked as a “white hat hacker,” identifying and fixing potential security breaches for companies. Also, every company that ever accesses my information (MailChimp, social media sites, etc.) has its own security measures. I won’t deal with someone who cannot prove to me that they are committed to keeping my and your information safe.

As for marriage, if you ask me what women really want, my answer these days is always security. It could be physical security (a strong, protective partner), economic security (the breadwinner and provider), emotional security (affection and commitment), spiritual security (spiritual leadership or encouragement), or any number of other aspects of men that attract different women. But I think security is key, because women need to feel safe to become vulnerable.

But this is true for both husbands and wives regarding sex, where we open up ourselves to one another so completely. We need to know our marriage bed is a secure place to be — that it’s exclusive between husband and wife, that it’s free from porn and erotica pulling our minds away, and that we set one another as the standard for beauty and lovemaking. When we feel that deep security, then intimacy has a place to blossom.

Long story short: My data and privacy policies are all about Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” And if we really lived that out, moment by moment, regarding our marriage beds, we’d probably all feel more secure, more loved, more intimate in our marriages.

Maybe you should discuss your own policies for the sexual relationship with your spouse this weekend. It’s not mandatory (like the GDPR), but it’s a good idea.

Intimacy Revealed Ad

See, look! I’m advertising my book to you. You don’t have to buy, but it’s an awesome book. So much free content here on my blog, but a few bucks could get you this great devotional. 🙂