Do you want a hero?

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Does today’s woman want a hero? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s her choice. Once upon a time, a woman had no choice. In the 20th Century, women learned they could survive without a man. But is that what she really wants? Let’s talk about that.

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Read full transcript below.

Do you want a hero? Maybe. Maybe not. It’s your choice.

Once upon a time, a woman had no choice. She needed a man in her life to survive. A father. A husband. A son. A male family member with money and resources. In 18th century England, a woman could not inherit property, earn money, or run a business. The rules of society seemed arbitrary and in favor of men. This wasn’t just the story of England. This system was in place worldwide for thousands of years. Men had the power to protect and to provide. Some men exploited women. Most did not. They were our heroes.

That started to change when women convinced those same men to let them vote in the early 20th century. It wasn’t long that when our heroes went off to fight in two World Wars. In America and other places around the world, women were left to run the country. They worked in factories, cared for their families, and did whatever was needed to keep the economy running and support the country’s war efforts. That’s when women learned they could survive without men.

But do we want to? Let’s talk about that.

Being open with all I’ve learned about the Psychology of Men and Marriage, sharing that information with the world online, has elicited some pretty extreme reactions from men and women alike.

Some have accused me of being a feminist.

Degrading and dismissing a man’s needs in favor of what a woman wants. Promoting a female-centric society. Dismantling patriarchy as archaic and oppressive, not only for women, but also for men themselves. Yes, some people think that’s my mission. Nothing could be further from the truth.  

Others are thoroughly convinced I believe a woman should play a traditional role.

And let her husband run the show. That she should submit to him without question and forget about developing her own identity. Yes, some people think that’s my mission. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, I’m neither a feminist nor a sexist.

I am and always will be a pragmatist. Because men and women are different. Always have been. Always will be. We’re different by design. I never favor one sex over the other. That would be counterproductive. Like cutting off your nose to spite your face. I don’t know where that saying originated, but it’s one of those things my mother used to say. It was her equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot.

In this context, you’re only hurting yourself when you blame the opposite sex for all your woes. You’re right. Sometimes we get hurt by the people who are supposed to love and respect us. But if you want to blame them for everything, you’re not going to get very far in life. Or in love.

Speaking of love and respect.

I’ve created a quiz for those who are currently in a romantic relationship.

It’s free, and it can help you determine if together you have enough love and respect for one another to enjoy a healthy relationship.

Based on findings of marital research, it can help you get an idea of how well you are doing in some vital areas of your relationship.

Far too many people are or have been victims of violence.

We need to do all we can to eliminate abuses of all kinds. No matter who is doing what to whom. I know victims are powerless to change their situation. That’s why they are victims. Once they have been freed from their situation, they need time to heal. I worked as a clinical psychologist for more than two decades, so I know how hard it can be. Both to escape. And to recover, which can be a very long process.

However, there’s a huge difference between being a victim and choosing to live with a victim’s mindset when much better options are available. Healing, unlearning, and developing a better mindset are at the heart of psychotherapy. And I am eternally grateful for the time I spent with my own therapist after my family fell apart. If you listened to Episode 1, you know my backstory.

In case you missed it, here’s the short version.

My mom left my dad before I was 3 years old. I didn’t see him again for 37 years. I married at 18 and supported my husband through college. Then, 6 weeks after he graduated, the first of our three sons was born.

When the little one started preschool, it was my turn to go to college. Within weeks of making plans and registering at the local community college, my husband unexpectedly asked for a work transfer to the home office in the big city. It was a no-brainer for me. I postponed college. I had work to do.

I’m a pragmatist, remember?

I stayed behind to care for our boys and sell our home. It only took me two weeks to find a buyer, so we weren’t apart for very long.

However, a year and a half after we moved, my husband told me he didn’t think he wanted to be married anymore. He left me that same day. With no job, a high school diploma, and three boys to raise. I was a hot mess. I had very few close friends in the new city. We didn’t have cell phones back then, so I couldn’t keep in touch with my friends back home without creating an enormous phone bill. And since I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for everything, calling my friends just wasn’t an option.

I spent the first four months in unbelievable emotional pain and confusion. I was constantly nauseated, but I forced myself to eat half a sandwich a day. I busied myself with yard work and housework. I had to keep my body moving to dissipate all my anxiety. When I ran out of things to do, I sat in my rocking chair and cried. Somehow, bit by bit, step by step, I figured out how to live again. I was a victim, but I did not embrace that identity.

The point isn’t what a jerk my husband was.
We were both incredibly immature.

We married at 18, remember? My point is, by the time I was 35, I’d collected enough solid evidence to build a case against men. I could see myself as a victim, or I could learn how to make it on my own. In the process, I learned just how capable I was. I could find a job, raise kids, start and finish college. I could survive. Even thrive. Without a man in my life.

But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Unless you truly want to. Just make sure it’s what you want. You’re here on my channel for a reason. Figure out what your reason is. And never settle for less than your dream.

Twenty years after my husband left, I was asked to speak at an event in Los Angeles … as the relationship expert. Who saw that coming the day my husband left? Certainly not me. Or anyone who knew me back in the day.

I’ll never forget a young woman who approached me after my talk that Saturday morning in Beverly Hills. She told me she’d given up on men. She told me she wanted a family, but had not been successful in relationships.

She didn’t care anymore.

Her biological clock was ticking, so she decided to go ahead and have a baby on her own. With the medical technology available to her, she could become a single mom. She didn’t need a man. She had a great career, so money wasn’t a problem. She could provide for herself and a child.

In reality, she appeared to be working very hard to justify her decision, to convince me that she had indeed figured it out. But as I listened patiently to her story, she began to weep softly. Yes, she could get pregnant with sperm from an anonymous donor. Yes, she could provide for herself and her child financially. But she could not provide a father for her child, a husband for herself. She would have to do life alone. She didn’t really want to be a single mom. Yet she didn’t want to marry just anybody.

She wanted a hero.

A man who would come to know her better than anyone else. To partner with her. To be her companion and confidant. And she wanted to be that for him, too. They would be committed to one another for life. Safe and secure. Facing the world … and parenthood together.

Something in this woman knew a child could not and would not be the partner that she needed. The parent-child relationship is not based on adult equality. And eventual abandonment is embedded in this temporary and ever-changing dynamic. If it’s a healthy relationship, the child will move on to create a life of his or her own.

Then where would she be?

Back at square one. Sad. Alone. Longing for a partner. Wanting her own hero.

I never saw her after that. Sometimes I wonder how life is going for her a decade later. I hope she didn’t give up hope. I hope she found her hero. Or that her hero found her. And that they created a beautiful family together.

If you’re a single parent, you know it’s the toughest job in the world.

I’ve been there. It’s one of those things you cannot fully appreciate until you’ve done it. Yes, people do it. Many people. Some people do it really well. But it’s never ideal. Not that being married is easy or ideal. But it’s a start. Of course, there are different challenges in marriage. So much more to learn. But also, so much more to enjoy.

King Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, wrote this:

”Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.“ (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

So what do you think?

  • Have you asked yourself what you truly want?
  • Do you want to do life on your own?
  • Or do you want a hero?

You may have a vague idea what you want from him. You need to be specific about your desires as you contemplate the possibilities. He should have certain qualities, of course. Although every man was born to be a hero, some have not developed the strength to be a hero. Too many women choose men with unfulfilled potential, then try to fix them. Yes, I’ve made that mistake a few times, too. It can be a hard habit to break.

A hero protects you without smothering you.

He’s always looking out for your best interests. He wants to see you grow and flourish. He knows when to step in, when to step up, and when to applaud your efforts. How cool is that?

A hero provides something.

He brings something of himself to the relationship. He is always looking for ways to contribute to the quality of your life. This isn’t about money. His presence and his wisdom enrich your life. And you enrich his.

A hero wants to spend time with you.

He finds ways to make you smile. He truly enjoys your company. You enjoy several shared activities. As you get older and the kids leave, this becomes more and more important for you both.

Do you fear it’s too late to have such a hero?

More than likely, it’s not too late. You owe it to yourself to make whatever changes are necessary to see your dream fulfilled.

If you’re married, your husband can be your hero.

You once thought of him as having those qualities or you wouldn’t have married him, right? You could try to figure out why he’s not behaving like a hero. Spend years calculating what happened to him. Sometimes you don’t have to know what happened before you make a change. Either way, you can put yourself on a different path with the framework I’m about to share with you. Chances are, he’ll follow you there. Without manipulation, and without him being fully aware of why he’s so drawn to you.

If you’re single, I have good news for you.

You can use this same framework to help you attract the kind of man who wants to protect you, provide for you, and spend time with you. Without manipulation or drama. A man who’s attracted to manipulation and drama isn’t the hero you’re looking for. We could talk about all the things women do that attract the wrong kind of men. But we’ll have to save that discussion for another day.

As we dive into this 4–part framework, you need to know that changing a man for the better is impossible. If you try to change him, it will always backfire. Every. Single. Time.

A man changes when he wants to.

When he’s inspired to do so. Inspired is another way to say he’s naturally compelled to do something. That is, he cannot resist the change. He wants the change. He will pursue the change.

I’ve watched this happen. Over and over. With my clients. In my personal life. It’s great fun for you. You cannot lose, no matter what he does or doesn’t do. And it’s great fun for him. Because he loves being the pursuer. It’s a heavenly dance for both of you.

Before I go over this framework,

  1. You need to know that these changes are for you. About you. A win for you.
  2. And if he plays his cards right, a win for him.

Are you ready? Let's dive in!

Number 1. Build your confidence.

There’s nothing more attractive to a man than a woman who is truly confident in who she is. She’s comfortable with herself, and that puts everyone at ease. Even her husband. If you’re not who you want to be, you can be confident you’ll figure out how to get there. Without stepping on anyone. Without drama or manipulation. Without dismissing men or trying to be one. You are a woman. You are beautiful, brilliant, bold, blessed, and becoming even more so with every step you take. For more on the topic of confidence, listen to Episode 2. A Woman of Noble Character.

As you evaluate your own progress, be self-aware, not self-absorbed. Easy for me to say, right? The only reason I bring this up is because I get caught in that trap myself. Don’t read too much into his non-verbal behavior. Or anyone’s, for that matter. We worry to much about what other people think. And a woman often bases part of her self-worth on what she thinks her husband thinks of her. Not what he actually thinks of her. But what she thinks he thinks of her. That’s dangerous. Thin ice. Avoid it. To do that you’ll have to increase your self-awareness and figure out if you might be self-absorbed. That is, making too much of nothing.

Your confidence will draw him toward you. Despite popular lore, a hero isn’t always looking to save a damsel in distress. Yes, he feels good when he can help. But it’s way more than that. A hero wants to win the attention of a confident woman. And he’ll happily work hard to do so.

Number 2. Be yourself.

That means being open and honest about your own vulnerability. We all have weak spots. Admit when you don’t know something. Admit when you’re wrong. Ask for help. If he says or does something that disappoints you, just say you’re disappointed. Realize you’ll get over it. Move on. Believe it or not, a good man will respond more positively to a short statement than to a lengthy and emotional explanation.

For example, you want to go to the opera. You mention it. He’s not interested. You say, “Okay. I’m disappointed you don’t want to go. I thought it would be romantic.” Then move on. With confidence. If he’s your husband, he’s already committed to you. And you just gave him a way to win points with you. A man loves to win points with his wife. It’s no guarantee he’ll change his mind, of course. But he just might try to find something else romantic for you. If you don’t make a big deal about it. Don’t badger him or shame him or compare him. All he needs to know is that you’re disappointed. If he’s a good guy, he doesn’t want to disappoint you. Let him find a way to make you smile. Let him pursue the opportunity to do so. A hero love to pursue.

Number 3. Be passionate about life.

What lights you up? What do you enjoy doing? What is your life’s calling? What are your hobbies? Embrace the possibilities. Let him see you having a great time engaging in things that you love. I know one woman who loves horses. Her husband is not the least bit interested in riding. But he lights up watching her light up when she’s riding. He looks for ways to add to her experience. He recently bought her a horse. So he can watch her light up even more. Her passion ignites his passion and makes him want to be her hero.

Number 4. Accept him just as he is.

He is a person, not a project. When he does something that pleases you, let him know. Smile. Touch his hand. Kiss his cheek. When you show your appreciation for what he brings to your life, he will work even harder to please you. He doesn’t have to do everything perfectly. When he’s headed in the right direction, reward him. It won’t take much. The closer he gets to hero status, the longer you hold your gaze when you smile at him. You wouldn’t believe how much that melts a man. I’ve watched it happen in my office so many times. I remember one man in particular. His wife turned and looked at him, and he totally forgot what he was saying. It was so sweet. By the way, I’m also saying that from personal experience.

Okay, that’s how you can put yourself on a different path with your husband.

But what if you’re single?
How can you use this framework to help you date wisely?

Follow the same four principles. Build your confidence. Be yourself. Be passionate about life. Accept him for who he is. A hero will automatically do the following things.

First, he will protect you.

Do not confuse this with trying to control you. A silver-tongued devil can be disguised as someone who just wants to take leadership. If he ignores your ideas and feelings, he is not your hero.

Second, he will look for ways to bring something of value to your relationship.

Yes, he will pay for your dates. But this isn’t about money. I knew one single guy who was always giving women cash. Weird, eh? He will have so much more to offer, and your life will be so much richer with him in it.

Third, he will want to spend time with you doing things you both enjoy.

He will not ask for or expect sex in return. Instead, he will protect your person and your reputation because he values you. He will want to get to know you. What you think. How you feel. To learn about your hopes and fears, dreams and disappointments.

Whether you’re married or single, keep this framework in mind. Confidence. Vulnerability. Passion. Acceptance. Protection. Provision. Partnership.

Conduct your own experiment.

Observe what he does. What do you think? Is this worth it? Your personal development should bring you greater satisfaction in life and in love.

Have you decided yet?

Do you want a hero? Are you ready to experiment with this framework? It’s your choice. And remember, I’m here to help.