Posted by on 7th July 2017

What Women Really Want in a Marriage Partner—and a Romance Novel

Two things you should know before reading on…

1) This article has nothing to do with that awful Mel Gibson movie from the early 2000’s.

2) I’m talking primarily about heteronormative relationships here. Not because I have anything against any other forms of relationship (you be you), but because I have only been in heteronormative relationships. And all my friends with long-lasting relationships happen to be, too. I’d love to hear from folks in other types of relationships. Please comment and let me know if what I’m suggesting here holds true for you.

Okay, now on with the rest of the article!

Many things have been said about what women want in a relationship: diamond rings, a friend, a passionate lover, a millionaire, a man who helps with the chores, etc. While these are nice, I think they miss the heart of the issue.

When I look at long-and-happily married friends, they all have one thing in common. In every instance, the guy has told me, “I knew she was the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and I was willing to do anything to convince her to marry me.”

It’s probably the single biggest thing that convinced me—a died-in-the-wool, certified marriage hater—to say yes when my hubby proposed. The second time, anyway (but that’s another story).

Because what I believe women really want is someone who loves and respects and values and WANTS them, exactly as they are right now. Hell, really anyone, regardless of how they gender identify, probably wants this. Because nobody wants to be with a partner who only sees the value in who they could be. Or who loves a version of them that doesn’t exist—whether that’s the version they present to the world, or not.

Or worse, someone who never wants to spend time with them, or really listen to their ideas, hopes, and dreams.

I’ve been in good relationships where we both liked, respected, and valued each other, but one or both of us wasn’t ready to take an emotional risk. I’ve also been in awful relationships with men who treated me like I was stupid or worthless. Typically, those men only considered their own happiness, never mine. Neither scenario is destined to create a lasting, happy marriage.

Because the right partner is willing to put everything on the line to be with you and make you happy. They hand you their heart on a platter because they are willing to risk anything for your love. And because they trust you to care for it. A man who does this is special and oh so valuable (Assuming, of course, you want said guy’s affections. Otherwise it’s just creepy.).

This type of emotional vulnerability and trust works just as well in romance novels as it does in real life. I almost always cry when I get to the part in a story where the guy says he adores the woman exactly as she is, flaws and all, and would do anything—give up anything—to be with her. Because isn’t that what all women really want?

What do you think? Is this kind of emotional trust and vulnerability what women (or men, or anyone else) really want in a marriage partner?

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