There is an adorable scene from one of my favorite movies, PS I Love You, where Harry Connick Jr. asks Hilary Swank to explain to him what women want from men. I won’t spoil the punch line, but here is the You Tube link for you to watch for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw1jBq_f9Dw. Hilary Swank answers this question from the perspective of a twenty-something. Today’s blog seeks to address this question about what women want, but specifically from the perspective of women in midlife. This blog is inspired by 20 years of listening to the yearnings of women in midlife- both those that are married and those divorced and in search of partnership; and is written in the form of a fictional dating site profile (Match.com for example). This is what women in midlife want from a man:
Dear Husband or potential partner:
I don’t care about your fish, the dead things you killed last year, your pickup truck, motorcycle, sports car, the size of your house or bank account, or your 4-wheeler. If you have these things, that is fine, but it tells me nothing about who you are.
I want to know that you are a grown up, that you have acknowledged your fears, your insecurities and vulnerabilities and that you have learned to grow through them. I want to know that you are as comfortable with your vulnerabilities as you are with your strengths and that you are willing to take responsibility for the circumstances of your life and for your actions – both good and bad.
I want to know that you have a brain, a heart and a spine.
I want to know that you can think for yourself – intelligent thoughts, and that you value a woman who can do the same. I want to know that you wonder about the big questions in life – why you are here, what is your purpose, how do you find meaning and fruitful connection.
I want to know that you heart leaps in the presence of love and weeps at the injustices in our world – and that your heart urges you to do something about it.
I want to know that you can stand up for yourself, name and claim your needs without being violent, set healthy boundaries and fend for yourself – and that you thrive in healthy partnership and value the company of a woman as equal, yet different. I want to know that you want to build healthy partnership and I want to know what that means to you.
I want to know what gives you joy and breaks your heart. I want to know your passions, hopes and dreams and how you wish to live those out with another. I want to know how you are contributing to the betterment of our world; what you do to find peace and what gives you a sense of fulfillment. I want to know you have compassion for children, the elderly, the powerless, imprisoned and disenfranchised. I want to know that you care about the planet and all the species that walk, creep, swim and fly across it.
I want to know who you are and what makes you tick and that you are interested in knowing the same about me.
Ultimately I want to know who you are beyond the possessions, trophies, certificates of achievement or balance sheet. If you can tell me who you are beyond these things, then maybe we can talk.