For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men

by Shaunti Feldhahn

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594151125
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 06/15/2006
Series: Walker Large Print Series
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 197
Sales rank: 737,759
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Shaunti Feldhahn is a bestselling author, nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, and public speaker. She holds a master's degree in public policy from Harvard University and has worked on Wall Street and Capitol Hill. Shaunti is a weekly columnist on women's issues and current events for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Shaunti and her husband, Jeff, are active leaders in their church and live in the Atlanta area with their two young children.

Read an Excerpt

For women only

what you need to know about the inner loves of men
By Shaunti Feldhahn

Multnomah Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 Veritas Enterprises, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-59052-317-2

Chapter One


How I Woke Up to What I Didn't Know About Men

The other half of the people on the planet already know what you're going to read in this book.

As newlyweds, my husband and I lived in Manhattan, and like all New Yorkers we walked everywhere. But I quickly noticed something strange. Quite often we'd be strolling hand in hand and Jeff would abruptly jerk his head up and away. We'd be watching in-line skaters in Central Park or waiting to cross the street in a crowd, and he would suddenly stare at the sky. I started to wonder, Is something going on at the tops of these buildings?

Turns out, something was going on, but it wasn't up in the buildings. Have you ever been totally confused by something the man in your life has said or done? Have you ever wondered, looking at his rapidly departing back, Why did that make him so angry? Have you ever been perplexed by your husband's defensiveness when you ask him to stop working so much? Yeah? Me too.

But now, after conducting spoken and written interviews with more than one thousand men, I can tell you that the answers to those and dozens of other common perplexities are allrelated to what is going on in your man's inner life. Most are things he wishes you knew but doesn't know how to tell you. In some cases, they're things he has no idea you don't know. This book will share those interviews and those answers. But be careful, ladies. You might be slapping your forehead a lot!


Let me tell you how I got here. It all started with the research for my second novel, The Lights of Tenth Street. One of the main characters was a man, a devoted, godly husband and father. Because I wanted this character's thought life to closely resemble what real men deal with, I interviewed my husband, Jeff, and many other male friends to try to get inside their heads. It took me a while to figure out how to handle what I found.

You see, in the novel my character had a secret struggle: He loved his wife and kids and was a devoted follower of Christ, but he liked looking at women and had a constant battle with his thought life. A constant hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute battle with the temptations that beckoned from every corner of our culture, from the secret traps of the Internet to the overt appeal of the miniskirt walking down the street.

In short-and this is what was such a surprise to me-instead of being unusual, my character was like almost every man on the planet. Including the devoted Christian husbands I was interviewing.

That revelation led to others, on a half-dozen other subjects, and following those trails led to the hundreds of personal and written interviews with men-including a professional survey-that form the core of this book. I interviewed close friends over dinner and strangers in the grocery store, married fathers at church and the single student sitting next to me on the airplane. I talked to CEOs, attorneys, pastors, technology geeks, business managers, the security guard at Costco, and the guys behind the counter at Starbucks. I even interviewed a professional opera singer and a former NFL offensive tackle with a Super Bowl ring. No one was safe.

Lightbulb on!

It turned out that these men shared some surprisingly common inner wiring. At their secret inner core, many had similar fears and concerns, feelings and needs.

I discovered that there were many things I thought I understood about men-but really didn't. In several areas, my understanding was purely surface-level. Once I got below the surface and into specifics, everything changed. I felt like a cartoon character who suddenly had a lightbulb over my head.

Even better, it turned out that those revelations were mostly about things that my own husband always wished I knew but couldn't figure out how to explain. And that was a common refrain from most of the men I talked to. Although I still make many mistakes in my relationship with my husband-and will continue to!-finally grasping these things has hopefully helped me to better appreciate and support him in the way that he needs.

I want that lightbulb to go on for you as well.

Why was this surprising?

In a way, I was surprised to be so ... surprised. We women think we know many things about a man's inner life. We all know, for example, that "men are visual," but, well ... what exactly does that mean?

It turns out that what that means in practice is the key thing-the specific insight that will help you be a better wife, girlfriend, or mother. Using the "visual" example, the difference is vast between having the vague notion that men are visual and knowing that the sexy commercial he just watched has become a mental time bomb that will rise up and assault him the next day. The difference is vast between helplessly wondering what is going on in his head and having the insight of hundreds of men to help you understand not only what is going on, but also how to support him. Actually, there was a kind of double surprise in this research. When I interviewed men and drew some conclusions, they would often say, "But women already know that ... surely they know that." All too frequently, I found myself replying, "Well, I didn't know that." I began to realize that there's so much about men that we don't understand-and that men don't even know we don't know. And that sort of misunderstanding is the stuff that gives birth to a lot of conflict.


So here are the revelations this book is going to cover-seven translations from "surface level" to "in practice" that you, like me, may not have realized before.

As with all of us, the inner life of a man is a package, with these elements melded and wrapped up inside. Whether you are relating to a husband, boyfriend, or son, it is impossible to understand one part of his inner life in isolation. Every area affects every other area, and I'm only covering those few areas that I thought were the most important or helpful.

The survey-

Thankfully, these revelations are also backed up by evidence-a groundbreaking professional survey of hundreds of men.

Since I found no survey data like this on the market, two sets of experts, Chuck Cowan at Analytic Focus, the former chief of survey design at the U.S. Census Bureau, and Cindy Ford and the survey team at Decision Analyst, came together to help me conduct this survey. The survey was blind, done at random, and meticulously planned and executed. Four hundred anonymous men across the country, ranging in age from twenty-one to seventy-five, answered two dozen questions about their lives and about how they think, what they feel, and what they need. The survey stressed that we weren't dealing with outward behavior as much as with the inner thoughts and emotions that led to their behavior.

Later, because the survey itself inevitably led to additional revelations, I conducted a more informal follow-up survey of another four hundred anonymous men-this time, specifically churchgoers-to ask a few additional questions (and some of the same ones). Amazingly, there were very few differences.

After all the surveying, the results of my personal interviews were confirmed. Not only had I heard the same things over and over-quotes that I will include in the following pages-but those anecdotal results were now backed up by statistically valid evidence. I hadn't just happened to interview the hundred weirdest men on the planet! (Since I am an analyst and not a psychologist, and since my gradschool statistics professor might politely question the statistical skills of someone who needed a whole semester to learn regression analysis, I was quite relieved that professional statisticians confirmed my findings!)

In the end, the men I spoke with and surveyed appear to have been extremely transparent and honest about some very personal subjects. So, men-whoever you are-I thank you.


You're probably rarin' to turn the page, but before you get to look inside the inner lives of men, here are some ground rules:

First, if you are looking for male-bashing or proof that your husband is indeed a cad, you won't find it here. I honor the men who shared their hearts with me, and I hope that by sharing their insight, more women might come to understand and appreciate the wonderful differences between us.

Second, this is not an equal treatment of male-female differences, nor do I deal at all with how your man can or should relate to you. Yes, we women obviously also have needs, and many of the truths discussed in these pages apply to us too. But since the theme is the inner lives of men and my space is limited, I'm focusing entirely on how we relate to men, not the other way around. (That is also why the survey did not poll gay men.)

Third, recognize that there are always exceptions to every rule. When I say that "most men" appear to think a certain way, realize that "most" means exactly that-most, not all. I'm making generalizations out of necessity, and inevitably there will be exceptions. One reason I did the professional survey was to determine what was an exception and what was normal.

Fourth, I'm addressing what is normal inside men, not necessarily what is right in their outward behavior. And since these pages are not the place for a lengthy exploration of any one issue, you can always go to to explore more resources, including the entire survey.

Fifth, I need to warn you that some of the enclosed insight may be distressing because it affects our view of the men in our lives and our view of ourselves. It was tempting to exclude certain things, but I realized that I was hearing things men often weren't willing or able to say directly to their spouses or girlfriends. So it was critical to include these comments. But please realize that in most cases, these comments have little to do with us-they are just the way men are wired. And we should celebrate that fact. After all, it is because he is wired as a man that you love him.

Finally, and most important, I hope that this book is not just about learning fascinating new secrets. The more we understand the men in our lives, the better we can support and love them in the way they need to be loved. In other words, this revelation is supposed to change and improve us.

So read on, ladies, and join me as we look into the inner lives of men.


Excerpted from For women only by Shaunti Feldhahn Copyright © 2004 by Veritas Enterprises, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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For Women Only: What You Need to Know about the Inner Lives of Men 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 141 reviews.
mom2girlsnboy More than 1 year ago
Okay. I've already read the Mars & Venus Books and other books that are supposed to give women insight into men. I also have a husband who has been more frankly honest with me about men's struggles then most men are. But this book still opened my eyes in ways that are just oh-so-special. But I want to warn you... don't read this book unless you truly love your husband and want to be the wife that he needs. See... this isn't a "how to get what you want" book, or even a "this is what you're doing wrong" book. Instead, it is a "your husband DOES love you, he is simply different from you" book! It's not full of to-do's but rather full of explanations... it explains WHY some of the things we say make our husbands smile and grin like they've been given the world, and WHY other things result in an angry back rapidly moving away. This book goes over the familiar territory of explaining how men need respect... but it goes one step farther and showed me why my husband thinks I don't respect him... something that's confused me for years! It talks about what we all know about how men usually want more sex, but it goes so much farther and shows why in a way that touches your heart and makes you feel so loved and special. It shows how men really ARE romantics... and if you don't think so, I dare you to read the chapter and not change your mind! Their romance is just different then ours, that's all! And when your eyes are opened to how often your husband wants to do romantic (to him) things with you, you'll be so touched... and grieved at how often you've unknowingly shoved him away at those times. But you'll also begin to see what you can do to encourage him to work on the romance that YOU like! And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep in mind that this book is not a guide-book... it is an EXPLANATION book. It doesn't really get too much into right and wrong behaviors or what is sin and what isn't, etc... most of us already know that, and don't need to be told again. What it DOES do is explain where men are coming from. For example... we know and they know that lust is a sin... but fighting it as a man is COMPLETELY different then fighting it as a woman! When you undersand how it is for a man, you understand how even his desire to fight it shows strong character AND love for you! One reviewer said that the author was excusing pride, and things like that. But that's now how I saw this book. Okay women... we know that to be like Jesus is to be a servant... but does that mean that it doesn't hurt when we feel like we're nothing more than everyone's slave around the house? Of course it doesn't! We are still "wired" in such a way that it is easy for us to feel this way. This book explains these sorts of things about men... how THEY are "wired". And once you understand this and begin to recognize these explanations in your own husband, then you can help and support him sooooo much better! Because then you see how little innocent comments hurt him... comments that are so easily refrained from, or re-worded. You see how little things you did when you were dating (and have since forgotten about) meant so much to him. You'll learn how to get that "you make me feel like a million bucks" grin on his face! READ THIS BOOK!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an easy read and is very informative and helpful, I only wish I had been able to read this before my husband died. I'm giving this and its companion book, "For Men Only" as wedding gifts. I'm requesting the couple read both books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm 19 and my boyfriend is 22. He told me that he HAS A CHOICE on whether or not he is going to allow his eyes to look at a woman in the way this book says ALL MEN JUST CAN'T HELP and he also has a choice in what thoughts he is thinking about others. My boyfriend views looking at other women as being unfaithful to me and I agree with him. Men have a choice. This book just gives men an EXCUSE for not choosing to CONTROL something that is difficult to control, but not impossible. It is NOT normal for a man to lust at EVERY ATTRACTIVE WOMAN HE SEES! That is what is 'normal' to this WORLD but should not be 'normal' for a Christian man trying to be faithful to one woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book after my husband and I nearly divorced because of his use of Pornography. When he gave me this book to read to help 'understand' him better I was thrilled until I read the chapter about Visual Rolodex. The author seems to be enabling these men by 'normalizing' sexualizing every attractive woman they see. It made me sad that the author thinks all men are this weak and that God made them this way. I wouldn't blame deviant behavior on God. Very sad very disappointing book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I will not recommend this book to anyone!!!This books describes what men are like today...not what they are called to be. This books says, 'This is how men are wired' without taking into consideration the huge short-circuit..the fall in the garden of Eden. Let's look to what men (and women) are called to be...not where they have ended up!!! God has more for us. Let's not accept societies ills as 'normal'!!! The only part I found helpful was the reminder of being affirming.
helenahndbskt More than 1 year ago
This book gives horrible, blaming the victim type advice to women. If something is amiss in the relationship, the author instructs the reader (presumably female) to just "be more accepting" of his nature. With regard to sex, she expains that it deepens men's emotions so women should give it to their men as often as possible. The only problem with her advice is that she claims that sex doesn't deepen the emotional connection between the man and the woman -- it only serves to make men feel more confident in themselves. And, with regard to men being visual creatures, the author claims that men have a "visual rolodex" and unwanted pornographic images just pop into their heads at any time without warning. Yes, Ladies, your man is mentally undressing the woman next to him in the check out line at the grocery store. Her advice is that women should just accept this about men and love it about them. Frankly, this sickens me as a man would be crushed to know if his wife were also doing this. The author writes with a very boys will boys attitude; everything that men do that offends women and ruins their self-confidence is okay because men "can't help it". The tone of this book makes women feel very badly about themselves because the author asserts that a "good women" would want to change for their mates so women should change themselves to be more "ideal" for their men. Simply put, this book perpetuates the male as king of the house, woman as subservient possession stereotype and the double standard of acceptable behaviors for men. The author only makes the reader feel like an unjustified, frigid, spoiled brat if she doesn't give her man the things prescribed in this book. I walked away from this book feeling disgusted with my man for having these innate tendencies and feeling betrayed by the author. She, as a woman, should have realized that her words would be more hurtful than helpful to those of us in troubled relationships. If you're looking for some intelligent, enlighting advice to help you through a tough time in your relationshion -- then this book is NOT for you. This book lacks respect for women and the equality that they deserve in their marriages.
wild More than 1 year ago
i am a 32 yearold twice divorced man and had i read this book ten or tweleve years ago that may not be the case. after my second divorce my first wife gave me this book and told me i needed to read this. i'm not much of a reader but i did it anyway, and was i shocked. to read something that was this close to exactly what i think and how i feel blew me away. i have told every one i know about this book men and women. i havent read for men only,but i will soon. if u are in a relationship or u think u might be in one someday this book will help u to understand why we(men and women) react the way we do. this book has helped me to become a better man, i thank you Mrs.Feldhahn.
marti-k More than 1 year ago
This book gives amazing insight into why men behave as they do without conciously realizing it. It makes you want to change yourself instead of always trying to change them. The best part is that this info is taken from survey questions that men answered anonymously. The answers were the same whether or not the men were church attenders.
Tracy09 More than 1 year ago
For Women Only was suggested to me by a friend who knew that my husband and I have struggled in our marriage for years. The author starts by saying that what she shares is so simple that we will hit ourselves at some time while reading the book. I did hit myself after reading a section that described a habit I have put my husband through for years! Women's minds will be opened to a whole new perspective of their husbands, and this book also comes in other versions for men (For Men Only), single women, and single men. What is sad is that after reading this book I now hear women making the same mistakes that I have made that are mentioned in the book. I want to give this book to everyone that I know. This book has helped change my marriage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Practical,funny,eye-openning.It has the power to revolutionize women-men relationship especially in marriages! My husband read the book first to see if he would approve of it. His words were, ' I'm impressed; it's right on the money!' The book also brought up many great discussions. I not only understand and appreciate my husband better, but now I know how to show it in a way that is meaningful and constructive to him in our everyday lives.
macprof More than 1 year ago
This book is useful for any man in a relationship with a woman. It helps to explain why women do what they do, and what we can do to help make them happier.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read numerous books on relationships. This is the first that showed the research behind the points made plus comments from men that help explain their thought processes (which are very different from women). Being the eternal skeptic, I read the version of the book for men (revealing insights about women) and I felt it was extremely accurate. I also asked my male friends about the book's findings and they confirmed the information in the book. I have recommended this book to women who are struggeling in currently realtionships, have ended relationships and wonder what went wrong, and to women who are engaged or newly married. The book does relate the information to the Bible, however it is still very informative if you are not Christian.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What is important to men is not always the same as women. The author backs this up with surveys and statistics, not just opinion. After reading this book, I saw how extremely true and relevant this difference is. The author does a tremendous job explaining how most men and women tend to think, providing a firmer foundation for the furtherance of productive communication between the sexes. This book helped me change the way I see and communicate with all the men in my life, and has truly helped me to feel more effective in both communicating my needs to them, and understanding theirs. We are all equally people, but this book helps to show how society and genetics can influence our values and goals by sex.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book with my husband, and he confirms how accurate it is. I would recommend this book to every woman out there. The bad reviews are only because some women can't handle the truth. It has impacted every area of my life with the men around me in a positive way. I have bought it for several of my friends and family. BUY IT...Best thing you'll ever do is read it and apply it's truths to life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't possibly understand how knowing that my husband is attracted to every nice body he encounters would benefit our marriage?!? I will never look at my father, my brothers or my pastor the same again either. The chapter about the importance of physical appearance was sad too as this is something so fleeting. Now I can look forward to my old age when my husband is unhappy with my appearance and my body (or boobs as she refers to them)- yahoo. Thanks Shaunti for your edification. I am disappointed in the Christian leaders who are promoting this book of clearly twisted values.
reniegenie More than 1 year ago
This book made me want to cry, throw it across the room in frustration, and praise the Lord for revelation. Shaunti Feldhahn does an excellent job conveying men's most inner thoughts and sheds light on issues that have alluded their unintentionally clueless women. I was one of those clueless woman. As a married woman of 5 years, I found the content enlightening and the practical applications hope-giving and simple. I encourage all married women to read this book, pray about it, digest the information, pray about it some more, and reread it again. It could help make the difference between your husband being a mediocre man and the man of God he was designed to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm rather shocked at a previous review (flaming negative). I found the book thoughtful and right on target and perfectly in accordance with scripture. Excellent wisdom from a Godly woman to other Godly women. It touched my heart in many areas and I believe the Lord led me to finding it - it has already begun to change my marriage for the better. I will say it is not a book for deeply troubled marriages or for those heavily harmed by pornography because those would need much deeper council. But it is perfect for those unhappy marriages, those who know things are sliding downhill but can't figure out why, and I daresay for those Christian ladies newly married to help avoid some well-studied pitfalls and misunderstandings. This book is not about fixing your husband, it's about fixing yourself and understanding your husband better. I thought it was great. ~ Sheila
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great for any woman who wants a better understanding of how men think and how they work! The author gives you such a good insight on how to make the man in your life feel more loved and respected! This along with the partner book "For Men Only" are good choices for any couple whether or not they are having difficulties in their relationship! Relationships aren't about what you get out of it but what you give and she really gives good advice and recommendations for doing just that! I would highly recommend this book to anyone!!!
SavannahSammySutton More than 1 year ago
This is a great get-to-the-point book. The author does a wonderful job of informing women on what men really think. It's great that it's a Christian book but her book would be appealing and useful for any woman who is about to be married or has been married for years. I read this book and my husband asked, "what's wrong with you? You're doing so many great things!" So the book clearly helped me get a better understanding in our marriage! It's a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It may tell you what you already know, but the way this material is presented is straightforward and true. It opened my eyes to areas I need to work on. It helps you to realize that all men share much in common that us women need to be aware of. We can't change them, but we can change the way we interact with them - with positive results!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm coming from a different situation, but I agree with the last reviewer.....God didn't create men as hopelessly weak sex-addicts, who can't be happy with their wives unless they're working on their bodies 24/7/365. Didn't think much of this one. The beginning chapters were fairly good on respect and the burden of providing. An infinitely better book for married men and women to read is Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. A much better perspective. (Doesn't sound as flashy but it's a much better book)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was stunned when I read this. It is truth revealed. You will have wide-open eyes after you read what the author has found out from the guys. This book is exactly what was needed to go with 'How to Date Your Wife' by Stan Cronin. In 'For Women Only' the author interviewed 1,000 men to get their responses. In 'How to Date Your Wife' the author interviewed 1,000 women for their thoughts on husbands. These two books should be sold as a set. Both are excellent and reveal what the opposite sex is thinking with the advantage being that it comes straight for the horses mouth instead of from some doctor that is telling you what he thinks it all means. Get both of these books and read them with your spouse. You will not regret it. You can't buy one without the other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely horrible book! I read this book 5 years ago when my husband and I were having horrible marital problems because of pornography. I was looking for something to help and not the "boys will be boys" attitude of this book. That is not a biblical attitude at all. I'm thankful my husband didn't have this attitude or we'd be divorced today. My husband has completely changed his life, and we have a wonderful marriage today. He says he's a happier man knowing that he's now a godly man who only has eyes for me, his wife. My husband and I both say stay far away from these books if you're looking for a christian perspective. It's more of an evolutionary worldly perspective. I'm upset I wasted my money on it! I would never recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago