For Women Only Discussion Guide: A Companion to the Bestseller about the Inner Lives of Men
How I Woke Up to What
I Didn’t Know About Men
Since For Women Only came out, I have been so grateful to hear
from women all over the country who tell me, “My eyes have
been opened....and I can’t believe I didn’t know some of these
things before!” That excitement is inevitably followed by: “So,
um, how do I apply this to my life?”
This discussion guide will help you do just that. It is designed
to be used in two different ways: as a catalyst for conversations
among women in small or large groups, in book clubs or coffee
klatches, or as a helpful roadmap for a good one-on-one dialogue
with the man in your life.
As I have spoken around the country, I have run across many
women doing For Women Only discussion groups. I’m very grateful
for those who have been willing to share their ideas, many of
which have been incorporated in these pages. Near the end of
this guide we also share the suggestions of two study groups who
have used this discussion guide itself since it first came out.
Because of the wonderful variety and diversity I’ve encountered
among different groups, this guide is intended to be very flexible. But
for consistency and ease of use, each chapter in the guide follows the
same format and each corresponds to a chapter subject in the book:
Each chapter has the same layout. The first few pages are for
group discussion. The last two pages contain space for notes and
a section called “Bringing It Home” that’s just for one-on-one
discussion with your man.
- Chapter 2: Respect
- Chapter 3: Insecurity
- Chapter 4: The Provider Burden
- Chapter 5: Sex
- Chapter 6: Visual
- Chapter 7: Romance
- Chapter 8: Appearance
- Chapter 9: “How much I love her”
The order is consistent in every chapter, with such features as:
The guide is designed to be completely flexible as far as
number of weeks that you meet, and mixing and matching the
elements to suit your group. For example, some groups may opt
to cover one subject per session, going through each of the elements
in detail, while others may want to combine chapters and
only tackle the Key Questions of each. Some groups may want
to pick only one Key Question each week and instead focus on
the mini-case studies and Weekly Challenges. Pick and choose
whichever works for you.
- Recap of the chapter
- Key Questions for discussion
- A true Life Story case study with follow-up questions
- A Guy Perspective and Gal Response
- A For Women Only (FWO) Feedback section, which
includes e-mails and personal stories from women
(and sometimes from their husbands!) who have read
For Women Only and benefited from that particular
subject, along with a question to consider.
- A Weekly Challenge....A question that requires
self-examination and a challenge to actually apply
what you are learning about your man.
- Bringing It Home: Discussing It with Your Man....
sample questions that might help.
- A Quote to Remember
- Suggested further reading
I hope this guide will be interesting and helpful for all female
audiences, whether married, dating, or single. As you leaf through
this, you’ll find that I use the words “guy,” “man,” and “husband”
somewhat interchangeably. (The only exception is when discussing
sex, since I agree with the biblical principle of reserving
physical intimacy for marriage.) I’m primarily focusing on helping
you apply these truths to your romantic relationship, but many of
the issues affect how you relate to other important men in your
life as well, such as perhaps your son or your boss. Feel free to
branch out into those subjects where warranted.
As you read and discuss, please remember that For Women
Only is not an equal treatment of male-female differences, nor
does this guide delve much into what guys need to understand
about us. Although we women obviously have needs too, for
right now, this is solely about helping us understand the inner
lives of men and how we relate to them. Ultimately, it is not supposed
to help us “change our guy”....these revelations are supposed
to change and improve us!
Many of us....including me....have found that the data in For
Women Only sometimes goes against decades of assumptions about
men, and you will likely feel the gamut of emotions as various
facts and truths hit you. Please be careful about unloading these
emotions on your man. When you do discuss these things with
him, remember that it is all too easy for a man to feel insecure
and “attacked,” and he will respond much better if he feels
that you are respecting him....which, as we learn in Chapter 2,
is his highest need anyway.
The following chart outlines the seven major findings from
the For Women Only research. The column on the left, “our surface
understanding” is what we women generally know from a
distance about men, whereas the column on the right, “What
That Means in Practice,” is a focused....and often surprising....
finding about how that plays out in everyday life.
The Seven Revelations
- Men need respect. Men would rather feel alone and unloved
than inadequate and disrespected.
- Men are insecure. Despite their “in control” exteriors,
men often feel like impostors and are
insecure that their inadequacies will
- Men are providers. Even if you personally made enough
income to support the family’s lifestyle,
it would make no difference to the
mental burden he feels to provide.
- Men want more sex. Your sexual desire for your husband
profoundly affects his sense of wellbeing
and confidence in all areas of life.
- Men are visual. Even happily married men struggle with
being pulled toward live and recollected
images of other women.
- Men are unromantic clods. Actually, most men enjoy romance
(sometimes in different ways) and want
to be romantic....but hesitate because
they doubt they can succeed.
- Men care about appearance. You don’t need to be a size 3, but your
man does need to see you making the
effort to take care of yourself....and he
will take on significant cost or inconvenience
in order to support you.
My best to you in your journey!
P.S. If your group has an introductory week, here’s your first
Weekly Challenge question:
Weekly Challenge: This week, identify which of the
seven revelations on the chart you are already implementing
best, and which one is the most likely to
require changes in your life.