Why you need a new map
of the female universe
Greetings, my fellow semiconfused male. I imagine you’ve picked up
this book in search of some help navigating the wild, seemingly
unpredictable inner world of women. Or....let’s be frank....because the
woman in your life “strongly suggested” that you needed such help.
When it comes to relationship stuff, I’ve felt about as lost as a guy can
get. Then my wife became a surprise best-selling author on relationships.
Ironic, huh? Eventually I got enlisted to help research and explain these
mysterious beings called women in a way that ordinary mortals like me
could grasp. To my surprise, I discovered that women are a lot easier to
understand than I thought, and I shared what I learned in the book For
Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women coauthored
with my wife, Shaunti.
The overwhelmingly positive responses from guys across the country
confirmed my suspicions: Despite all the jokes about “clueless” men, most
of us genuinely want to be better husbands and partners; we simply need
a little help in figuring out how. And that’s the basic idea behind this discussion
guide: using the insights from For Men Only to identify simple
changes that can make a huge difference in our relationships.
Where Are We Headed?
The chart below outlines the six most important findings from the For
Men Only research into how women are wired. The column on the left,
“Our Surface Understanding,” notes what we guys generally know or tend
to assume about women. The column on the right, “What That Means in
Practice,” highlights an often surprising truth behind those assumptions....
and how that truth plays out in everyday life. These are the key
ideas we’ll work through in the following chapters.
These findings, based on the results of a groundbreaking survey of
women, provide us with a map of sorts. I used to think of women as a
mapless swamp, but now I’m seeing that they’re not nearly as foggy as I
thought and that a few simple things can transform our relationships for
the better and help us meet the deepest needs of the women in our lives.
I hope you’ll find this guide helpful whether you’re married, dating,
or single. You’ll notice pretty quickly that I use the words “woman,”
“wife,” and “girlfriend” somewhat interchangeably....except when we talk
about sex, because I agree with the Bible’s plan for reserving sex for marriage.
My main goal is to help you apply these ideas in your romantic relationship,
but I think you’ll find they also will help you relate better to
other women in your life, like your daughter, as well as female relatives,
fellow workers, and friends.
Personally, while I haven’t mastered the ability to always apply what I’ve
learned (actually, far from “always”), by putting these findings to work in my
marriage I have experienced far greater peace in my relationship with
Shaunti. So I’m pretty confident that with the woman you love, you can too.
How to Use This Guide
You’ll be glad to know that we designed this as a guy-friendly resource that
has been test-driven by real-world groups of men and that you can explore
on your own or use as a helpful guide in a discussion group.
Each chapter corresponds to a chapter subject in the main book:
- Chapter 2: Reassurance
- Chapter 3: Emotions
- Chapter 4: Security
- Chapter 5: Listening
- Chapter 6: Sex (You can try bribing your leader to start
with this chapter.)
- Chapter 7: Beauty
- Chapter 8: “You are my hero”
Each chapter has basically the same layout. Among other features you’ll
- a Recap of the chapter
- a Key Questions section for discussion and/or personal reflection
- a Real World case study with follow-up questions to help you
learn the skill of understanding what a woman is thinking
- A Woman’s Perspective and A Man’s Response....a comment that
reflects a woman’s thinking about the subject at hand, and a
chance for you to respond (in the relative safety of your own
home or surrounded by guys who understand)
- the Weekly Challenge....practical suggestions for how to actually
apply what you’re learning about the woman you love
- On the Home Front: Living It with Her....a standalone section
that equips you to talk with your wife about what you’re learning
and seek her input (she’s gonna love this....and I promise it won’t
be too painful for you)
Just to be clear: this guide is not like the instructions for installing a
dishwasher. There’re no Step 1, Step 2, and so on. You should mix and
match the different elements, using those that best suit your needs or the
format of your group. Your discussion will probably go deeper and be most
effective if you don’t try to accomplish everything in each chapter.
For example, in a small-group setting of, say, six to ten men, some
guys might be intent on learning the skill of “reading her mind” and therefore
want to work through the Real World case studies, while others may
feel they’ll get the most benefit from the Weekly Challenges. Or if your
time is limited, your group might decide to cover only three Key Questions
from each chapter. I’d encourage you to start with an Introductory
Week and work out a plan that will sufficiently challenge each guy without
intimidating those of us who don’t usually talk about such things.
Even in a larger group you may not want to tackle all the elements
unless you can devote more than one session to each subject. The activities
and questions in this discussion guide might be simply a starting point
as you add creative elements of your own, such as movie clips or icebreaker
activities. You can find more ideas for organizing various types of
groups around this discussion guide at our Web site: www.formenonly
No matter how your group is organized, you’ll want to keep one
essential in mind: From the first meeting to the last, confidentiality must
be carefully guarded. What’s shared in the group stays in the group.
Yes, This Guide Is Biased
Sometimes, as you work and talk through the book and guide, you may
feel that you’re being treated unfairly. “It seems like all the responsibility is
on me,” I can hear you groan. “Where’s equal time for her to learn about
my needs?” Well, all that’s covered in another book called For Women Only
and its companion discussion guide.
I’ve purposefully kept this discussion guide focused on what you need
to know in order to understand the inner workings of that enigma called
“woman.” It’s not supposed to help you change her; rather, it is supposed
to help you change and improve yourself. And just so you know, I’ve
been pleasantly surprised....shocked, even....to find out just how simple
most of this stuff is. It’s not rocket science, and I’ve seen firsthand that
applying these simple truths will result in incalculable benefits for both
As you work through the book, the most powerful discoveries you’re
likely to make are that you’re not alone in your struggles and that it’s not
only your wife who’s “weird” in these ways. (Did I say “weird”? I meant
“extraordinary.”) Not only that, your relational challenges are normal.
Really. And realizing that you’re not alone is half the battle.
So let’s remember we’re all in this together as we accept our first
Weekly Challenge: This week, identify which,
if any, of the six revelations on the chart you’re
already responding to effectively. Which is the
most likely to require changes in your life?