I don’t claim to be an expert on women, but I have had a few years of observation under my belt. My credentials? First marriage: 26 years. Second marriage: 20 years. Okay, it would look better from an advice perspective if that had been one marriage with a 46-year stint, but I think I learned a lot by making a shift in mid-life. Here’s what I think I know.
Sex doesn’t register on most women’s hierarchy of needs, especially after about age thirty-eight or so. I know, I know. There are exceptions, but I’m talking about the general case here. When they are young, their children can totally wipe them out. At bedtime, it’s no wonder our women just want to sleep. This is probably an obvious statement to women with kids, but it wasn’t to me during my first marriage. Why? Because I was at work most of the time, or on travel, and didn’t see what was going on at home. When I came home after my usual 12-hour day, I was too beat to notice much of anything. I just wanted to eat and rest up while my wife dealt with the kids. You know, the traditional family thing. My ex-wife didn’t work outside the home, so I saw the children as her “job of choice.” I never once considered she had been fighting with those kids all day because, of course, they were on their best behavior when I was home. Come to think of it, she’s still dealing with them, even though they are adults, but that’s another story.
My first family was “traditional”, but the exhaustion problem is much worse for a single parent. I got to see a tiny bit of that when I met my second wife. She had children, was a part-time student, worked full-time and juggled baseball, football and other activities for her two boys. Not to mention all the outrageous “acting up” the boys dumped on her because she had divorced their father six years earlier. The poor girl was on the edge most of the time. If the children had been younger, when day care pickup and delivery is required and the children demand constant attention, it would have been worse. It that case, it never stops. Watching her was the dawning of awareness for me, and it was clear what I’d need to do to capture her heart: I needed to help out when she’d let me.
I’m a grandparent now. When the grandchildren are with us, which is quite often, I can see what a handful they are. My wife is much younger than me, but I consider her “the grandchild whisperer”—she’s very good with children. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, she’s completely spent. I guess my ex was probably spent too. I just didn’t know. As I look back from my current viewpoint, I can see why she wanted to sleep. She REALLY DID have a headache. I would have had one too if I had been required to deal with those demons.
As it was during our eleven year dating period, my current wife and I still share whatever work needs to be done. She cooks; I clean. She manages grandchildren; I facilitate. I am not all that good with children—she is—but I can make sure things are ready for whatever they will be doing next. That might mean filling the blow-up pool on the back porch, or barbequing the meat for dinner, or setting out art supplies, or cleaning up the first kid that finishes eating. We work the children as a team. She takes the lead, but I am in a solid support role. When we go to the spray park, I drive while she tends to the needs of the kids. Both of us take them to the store. Two can manage multiple children FAR better than one. And we talk at night about what can be improved the next day: how to handle discipline better; how to motivate the one who isn’t all that enthusiastic about whatever it is we’re doing. How to get them involved with outside activities. It’s always something.
And this brings me to the topic I promised—what turns a woman on. The answer is simple: support. Not just financial support, but support in every possible emotional and physical way. If she’s dealing with grandkids, I need to help. I jump in where I can, even though I am not the emotional supporter they need. If she needs to tuck one or two into our bed because they are having a tough night, then fine. I move over and make room. If she wants to work on a hobby, I give her the space and time to do it. That’s pretty easy for an author because we love our time alone as well, but it could be an issue in some families. I encourage her to do whatever it is she wants to do. If she wants to learn to dance, I take lessons. If she wants to travel, we travel. My wife is smart as a whip, and she has a talent for organization second to none. We were business partners before we retired, and she still likes to exercise her gift. She helps friends out with their businesses, and I fully support her doing that. If that’s what she wants to do, it’s okay with me.
In other words, I have come to believe, after all these years, that what turns a woman on more than anything else is SUPPORTING her. Be there for her no matter what. Help her achieve whatever she wants to accomplish at the moment. That doesn’t mean she’s going to “be there” whenever you want her, but it does mean she will be there when she has the strength. It seems to me that everyone’s life has become frantic with doing things. We are always moving. But even so, sometimes the pace settles and there is tranquility. If you want her ready for you during those times, be sure you’ve done your homework in advance.
I have a very high respect for women in general, and I write my books in that way. All my novels except The Judge (xoxopublishing.com) have one or two strong women heroines. Sometimes the heroine is evil (yet hilarious), as in The Substitute (Solstice Publishing) and Oh, Heavens, Miss Havana! (due from Solstice Publishing soon), and sometimes she is tender and supportive, as in Aftermath Horizon (xoxopublishing.com) and Kill Zone (due from Eternal Press in November). In all cases, my heroines are smart, sassy and likeable. If you want to check them out, I recommend starting with The Substitute or Aftermath Horizon, both available from Amazon.com.
Thank you for reading,
James L. Hatch