A constant favorite on the wifely advice circuit is various versions of "what men want." We are told, for example, that what men "really want" is a companion. Or, maybe, what men really want is someone who will "let him have some space." We are also told that men want someone who "knows what he needs" or someone who is "sincere." A quick search on Google will find dozens of things that "men really want."

Here is my addition to the list. Men want wives. 

Men marry because they want to have a wife and they have found someone whom them believe to be a potentially great wife. They marry because someone fits their understanding of what a wife is to be. That is the whole point of marriage for men, isn't it, to be a husband and to have a wife? Men want wives.

The trouble with all of our books is that we want women to be satisfied to be less than real wives. If a woman reads a book saying that men "really want a companion," what good does that do? Does she decide to "become a companion," which would mean no longer being a real wife? The problem is that she is being told to focus on one thing instead of on the main thing. 

If you are told that your husband "really wants" to "have his space," how is this going to make you a better wife? Does it make your housekeeping more efficient? Does it make your sexual relationship better? Does it take care of your children? Space is one thing, being a wife is many things.

As with so many issues, women are encouraged to focus on bits and pieces of life. Each author has some idea of "what is really important" and they focus on their idea, rather than on the reality of being a wife. They urge women to fix the bits and pieces. Their idea is that a good wife is like a good car and that if you fix each part, then the whole thing should run. 

This is a fallacy. Women are not like cars. Women are people. Their husbands are people. They do not have parts that can be fixed. Your job is to be a wife, not to be a few things that are consistent with being a wife. Be a wife. 

Sometimes, this will mean being a companion and sometimes it will mean being a lover and sometimes it will mean being a housecleaner and sometimes it will mean being a nurse. It will always mean being a wife. 

One of the frequent comedy routines is the husband and wife sitting around, with the wife reading a magazine article about marriage. She is fascinated by the article and he is bored by it. This is supposed to show how much she cares and how little he cares, or how smart she is and how smart he isn't. What it really shows is a woman trying to find in a magazine an answer that can only be found in her relationship with her husband. 

The secret is this: your husband is the one who matters. You are his wife. It does not matter what any magazine says. You may be a great cook or a lousy cook, but that tells me nothing about how good a wife you are. I would need to know who your husband is and how you two relate. 

Stop trying to become some bit or piece of someone else's idea of what men in general "really want." What your husband really wants is for you to be his wife. That is what he chose when he married you. 

What he really wants is you loving him.

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