What do Men Want in a Wife, and Why Won’t Wives Oblige?

by W.F. Price on March 6, 2012

Uncle Elmer posted a nice photo essay demonstrating his wife’s skill in cooking, which was impressive by anyone’s standards. One could fairly call his wife a chef. However, as impressive as it is, most men don’t expect that much, and of course most would be disappointed if they did, because not many people, men or women, can cook like that. In fact, there is one thing above all that men want from their women: that they are pleasant.

A girlfriend or wife doesn’t have to have the looks of Giselle Bundchen, the homemaking skills of Martha Stewart or the bedroom skills of a professional call girl to make a man happy. All of these would be nice bonuses, but they are not nearly as important as the ability to make a man feel relaxed, content and appreciated. A woman who is mediocre in all of the former attributes can easily make up for it by being a sweet, pleasant person who takes the edge off at home. Men are surprisingly easygoing that way, but for some reason women can’t figure it out. Perhaps it isn’t in their nature. It may be that being pleasant goes against their instincts, and is impossible for them in our hyper-competitive society. Maybe seeing a man content and wanting for nothing is a disgusting sight to a woman, who prefers an ambitious, striving man. Or it could be that she feels as though his contentment suggests that he doesn’t appreciate her enough, and she has to agitate and badger him into making some display of devotion.

I can’t say I know exactly why American women are so disinclined to oblige men in the simple matter of happiness, but I can remember how remarkable it was to me when I saw families overseas in which mutual appreciation and the resulting contentment was the norm for the middle class. For example, when I was riding a train from Hong Kong to Peking back in late 1997, just as my spoken Mandarin was starting to come together, I ended up in a room with a middle-aged Chinese couple, and made some small conversation with them. The husband and wife were entirely ordinary, but so relaxed, content and appreciative of each other that I was quite taken in by them. It’s something I have rarely seen in the harried American couples one sees out in public. The husband sat there with a smile on his face while his wife curled up next to him and addressed him affectionately with the Chinese equivalent of “my old man.” The two were part of what you’d call the Chinese middle class, or “lao bai xing,” which is comprised of ordinary, literate urban Chinese. Neither rich nor poor by Chinese standards, they live a humble, yet comfortable lifestyle. By American standards, they would have been quite poor and severely short of material goods, but here they were, as happy as I’d ever seen a comparable American husband and wife.

What is most confounding about the refusal of American women to simply lighten up and stop going after their husbands is how they refuse to do so despite the fact that it would make their lives much easier. The chores issue is a perfect example. Rather than do battle with a man over how many hours are going into housework, why not just ease up on the housework themselves? Lots of women put in nearly twice as much work as necessary, and then expect husbands to do the same. Additionally, do women really need that brand new car? Do they need a mcmansion (with all the attendant extra housework) to be happy? The striving and consumerism in the US is driven mainly by women, who account for over 80% of discretionary spending, and it can turn them into very unpleasant people.

Want to see what an unpleasant wife looks like? Watch this old real-estate ad from the boom:

That ad is no exaggeration. Nor was Kate Gosselin’s treatment of her husband Jon. This is the norm in the US, and it’s driven in large part by our women’s status obsession (envy) and consumerism (greed). Perhaps the value placed on economic competition and consumerism is a major part of the problem with our women. Rather than domestic harmony and peace, that new car, new house or new shoes take priority. In days past, this kind of obsession with material wealth was frowned upon, so much so that those with money went out of their way not to make too much of a show of it (and in fact most wealthy people continue to do so), but today it’s about the only “virtue” we have left.

So, I’ll offer a theory as to why American women have become so downright unpleasant over the past few decades. Women’s liberation liberated them not only from restraints on fornication, hypergamy and other sexual impulses, but from the acquisitive and competitive impulses that were also kept in check by old-fashioned morality, and for women these may be stronger than lust. We have to recognize that Western capitalism and consumerism were largely driven by female spending, so perhaps this explains some of the support for feminism from above.

If women are constantly striving for more, bigger, better and shinier, they won’t have time to relax and enjoy life as it is. I suspect this plays a major role in the dissatisfaction wives feel, and explains why they cannot stop pushing their husbands harder and harder. It robs them of the ability to be pleasant, and suppresses their better nature, as they struggle and strive with the frenzied crowd for that next shiny bauble. Today, our women are truly possessed and ruled by the dark forces of greed and envy, which rob them and the men in their lives of peace and contentment.

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