What Men Need to Know About Women: Interview with pastor Crystal Guderian

What do women want? That is the question that many men who are in a relationship with a woman ask themselves. While there are many attempts to answer this question by physiological, psychological, and anthropological explanations, there is a lack of simple guidance for men in this matter. To fill the void I have met with pastor Crytal Guderian, who is currently working on a relationship guide for men, to discuss the subject. I hope men will find her advice here to be helpful.

Crystal Guderian is a pastor who is ordained in the Foursquare domination, a multi-cultural church.  Currently she is serving at Assembly of God Church in Lynwood, WA. Her book “The JC Goodair Relationship Guide a manual for men about women is in its final stages of writing. She holds degrees in sociology and theology. She serves on the board of Trustees at Life Pacific College in San Dimas California. You can follow her on Twitter at @jcgoodair

You wrote a book that explains women to men. What led you to think about the idea of your book?

It was probably 25 years ago, my brother and I were going somewhere and he said, “Women, women everywhere, but not a woman for Michael.” I said, “You don’t get them at all, do you?” He said, “No. I wish there was a manual.”  The idea arose then.

Why do you think you can explain women to men?

In ministry we believe that a large part of our calling is participating with humanity at their times of greatest need. Whether for weddings, funerals, celebrations, tragedies, or other types of human need in general, this is where we live and work.

As a woman in ministry, I’m usually the only woman on the team. So I had adapted to the point that if I really wanted to get something through to my male colleagues I could speak in a way that they understood. I’ve learned to speak less “female”, because we women have a tendency to use too many words. Women are far more likely to use lots of adjectives and adverbs and sometimes over explain things. I have learned over time to shorten things up. I joke on my LinkedIn profile, under foreign languages I wrote, “I speak male,” It’s my other language.

Tell me about the unique structure of your book and why you chose it.

The book is written in the form of a car manual, with topics like ”Body and Trim,“ ”Drivability and Emission Controls,“ and ”Electrical” – explaining the way men think versus the way women think. The entire book is in bullet points. I’ve always been a fan of cars. I hang around with the men in my life and have been to a lot of car shows. When I bought a car repair manual for my own car and was looking at it, I said to myself, “This is what men need for women”.

What do you think is the most challenging communication problem between men and women?

I think the number one problem is that women think that men think the same way they do. Men know that they don’t understand women, but women don’t know that they don’t really understand men.

Could you give an example of a gender communication problem?

A male friend said, “I was dishing up ice cream and I asked my wife if she wanted some and she said ‘that would be nice.’ As he was telling the story he threw up his hands and said, “What does that mean?” To a concrete man women speak quite vaguely. To a concrete man, it’s a giant mystery at all times; what women really want from them. Men are really happy to give what they can, if they could just figure out what a woman really wants.

Instead of a “yes” or “no” answer there is a big story.

Right. A grunt or some small answer would be easier for the average guy. In the book I created a chart for this particular example such as - you ask her if she wants ice cream and she says - “That would be nice”– that means “Yes.” If she says, “I don’t know, I’m on a diet.” – that could mean “Please talk me into it,” or “Please talk me out of it.” You might need to ask her to verify her answer. You ask her and she says, “Oh, I don’t know.” Then you should ask, “Well, if you did know, what would you want here?”

What is the safest way for a man to communicate with the woman in his life?

Start conversations by letting her know that you are there for her. By this I mean starting a conversation with words that remind her that you want to be there with her. Anything that alerts her to the fact that she is safe with you. For example: Giving compliments. I wrote a whole section on that. A man could say, “You look very nice today,” to his partner anytime and be in a pretty good shape. There are some words that you could never over say, such as “I love you” and “You look lovely.” Even better, would be to start a conversation using questions. Ask her how her day went, or how she feels about a topic. You will get a lot more information without accidentally starting an argument. Listening to find out about her thoughts on a matter is a great way to make her feel you are there for her.

What are the most common questions men ask you about women?

A lot of them are “why does she do that?”  For example, nesting. Why does a woman in the middle of a conversation get up and start cleaning the house? The answer is because women like to feel safe. When a woman doesn’t feel safe, she needs to do something that she can control that is not going to upset everybody – like cleaning and arranging her personal space. If you could walk away with one piece of advice for a relationship with a woman – women like to be safe and a man who can make her feel safe is going to keep her. That is why some women like tough men. That’s why some women like kind-of-pushy guys.

What should a man do when a woman starts nesting?

Find out why she feels unsafe. Is there something that you could do to make her feel safe? The more you ask questions like that, the more you are going to get answers that you can catalogue as reasons why she becomes uncomfortable and concerned for her safety. Sometimes, she just can’t relax until things are clean. In this case having things clean makes her feel safe.

Many men who sense that a woman is upset and starts inquiring in the matter get “fine” as an answer. What does “fine” mean?

When a woman says “fine” it never means fine. When she says “fine,” this means “I’m done arguing with you,” or “I give up,” or “I’m going to let you have your way, but you will pay later.” When she says “fine,” you need to find out why things are not fine.

What else should men keep in mind about women?

Since a woman’s brain have more connections between the two hemispheres, her emotions actually cause her to remember things more clearly and vividly than a man. That is why she remembers birthdays better, she remembers that you didn’t take out the garbage better, and she remembers what got promised and what didn’t’ get fulfilled.

Many men ask, “Why does she keep on bringing that up?” It’s because that was etched in her mind permanently since it was an emotional moment.  She can’t let it go. The only thing a man can do is to say “OK. Why was that emotional for you?” A man needs to become a detective to find out what kind of a woman he is with. What would make her the happiest? What would make her feel safe? When you have those kinds of conversations, you do get to a point where you get to know her well enough. Then you will be able to realize what makes her upset, whether it was because you came in late, or you didn’t say hello. Make it your goal to find out what are the things that really matter to her.

What is the most important ingredient a man needs to use to maintain a long-term relationship with a woman?

Empathy. It’s like ding repair. When a woman has been damaged, the thing that is the most efficient is empathy. Most men are not trained in empathy; so there is a whole section in my book on how do you empathize. Empathy is not the same thing as saying “Sorry.” You have to be able to identify the source of her distress in some way.  Empathy has got healing quality to it. When you are willing to crawl into the hole with her and imagine what it was like for her, it gives her the sense that she is no longer alone. The most useful thing for curing and ending an argument, when she is hurting – is empathy. If her feelings got hurt, whether you did something wrong or somebody else treated her badly, what she needs is somebody to say, “I was thinking about what that would feel like and I’m sorry. That must have felt terrible.” and you don’t even need to be right, you just need to be trying. It works like magic. When a man says, “I have been thinking how that must have felt for you,” it is so healing and comforting for the woman. It is ding repair. And it does pop the dent back out.

How can a man help the woman he loves if she is uncomfortable with her body and sexuality?

When a man shows tenderness and concern towards the woman in his life and expresses appreciation of her, he really does help her to define her beauty based on his appraisal of her.  If the man believes she is valuable to him and communicates that to her - it will help her ability to believe that she is valuable. If you appraise her as a high value vehicle, she might be a ‘64 Ford Fairlane, but if that is what you have always wanted, and you think that she is the most beautiful Ford Fairlane that you have ever seen, and you tell her that – she starts getting shiny. Her chrome starts to gleam, her headlights start to sparkle, and her transmission starts working better, because you are working on her by saying those nice things, and by giving her value.

There are very simple ways to show a woman that you appreciate and enjoy her body. For example, when you get ready to go to bed and she starts to get undressed, ask her to wait so you can put your glasses on, because you don’t want to miss the moment. That says, “I’m not averting my eyes from your body.” That says, “I want to see clearly what you look like right now,”  “I’m not interested in anybody but you,” and “I love watching you disrobe.” It’s so much better if the appreciation and value comes every night, even when there is no sex involved. Your shot of sex is so much better if she feels that her body is appreciated every day.

One marriage counselor said, “Sex begins in the kitchen.” Like pushing up against her while she does the dishes, sliding your hand down her waistline when she cooks, sticking your head close to her neck so she could feel your breath on the back of her neck, and when you are hosting - stealing a kiss when no one is looking, or bumping into her and pushing her in to a corner for a squeeze, just for the thrill of teasing, engaging, and playing with her. Those intimate actions ready her systems for other actions.

It’s a lot of work and effort to have sex in an established relationship. Some men might find it discouraging.

A man will search high and low for the right transmission for his car, because it’s got to be right. He might search the web for a year to find the headlight that is the right headlight. It’s not beyond men to care about doing what is necessary in order to have what they want – once they realize that it’s necessary.

When it comes to sexuality, a woman is a Crockpot and a man is a microwave. If you don’t turn on the Crockpot 4 hours before you want to eat – you are not going to get what you want. A man needs to understand that sex is just not going to happen instantly unless he does something, like constantly appreciating her and valuing her, treating her well, and giving her the fuel that she needs. That fuel piece is really big. You can’t get into the car and drive if you don’t have fuel in the tank.

If you have been putting fuel in the tank over and over again - frequently, spontaneity, and instantly in your sex life become possible because the tank is full, the heart is full, the sense of being loved and adored is full. When a woman feels loved, having sex is not that hard - even if she is not in the mood.

Fuel is a really important topic. There is a book that I quote by Gary Chapman called “The Five Love Languages.” It ties well with the motif of keeping fuel in the tank. In his book Chapman talks about - gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, act of service, and physical touch, as the five languages of love.  In my book I simplify it. It is more like – do nice stuff and say nice things. If you care about what matters to her – that fills her tank. If you give her gifts that matter to her – that fills her tank. If you say things that matter to her – that fills her tank. Time together is huge. If you have spent the last four nights out, because you are in the bowling league and you didn’t come home until she was asleep, then don’t expect sex the one night you come home early and try to push her for it. It’s not going to work if what matters most to her is time spent together.

Find out what matters to her the most. You can ask her –“What makes you feel loved?” She might answer, “When I got into the car and thought that I needed to go get gas, and there was gas in the tank,” or “When I get up on Christmas morning, and before I’m even out of bed there was a present next to the bed.” The things that she recalls are going to be really big clues as to what really makes her feel loved.

Your book is guidance for men who are already in an established relationship. What would you advise single men who want to make their dating experience more successful?  

I would operate from the idea that women like to be safe, known, and adored.

If she tells you her favorite drink in the world is Starbucks’ mocha - remember that and next time when you go out for coffee say, “Can I get you your mocha.” This will show her that you have made the effort to know her. That’s a win. If you absolutely believe that she is a great woman, smart, clever, and attractive to you - tell her that; make her feel adored.

How do you know when the relationship is totaled?

When the amount of the investment needed is greater than the value of the car/relationship.