Sixth step: Women do not separate devotion and love as I do (see 2552). They call it manly love, but it’s a man’s devotion that first wins a woman’s heart. His confirming love develops over time. She is so likeable that he devotes himself in dating and courtship, and it enables his love to develop.
When marriage comes up, she faces this dilemma. She thinks in terms of the future brightening up for them as a couple. He thinks in terms of living as a couple in the present. What she envisions concerns and may threaten him. Can he do it? Does he want to? What does he have to give up? How is his present life affected? Can he ever escape? At what price? Can’t we test it by shacking up?
She wants marriage, but he has to buy into it. She’s the seller of marriage but the buyer of Mr. Good Enough. The process requires concurrent screening of him to ensure good enough and shaping his thinking to match hers about marriage. It’s called successful courtship and engagement, and she is in charge without seeming to be.
He is chasing conquest, but her chastity makes him think deeper into what role marriage plays in his conquering endeavors and his way of life. Men have not the foggiest conception of what a woman has in mind for her marriage. The steeper his learning curve, the more faults, excuses, and ‘unacceptables’ he finds.
She does best by proceeding with a flatter learning curve by dragging out a lengthy courtship. She lets him work his thinking up to marriage. Two things prompt it best: She refuses conquest, and she doesn’t admit to “I love you” for as long as possible.
Three little words are neither appealing nor good advertising but admission that he has already won her. Hints are okay and more productive than the words. Much more than they are told, men believe what they figure out from evidence they gather. He may want to hear her speak the words, even ask, but her loving actions and wordy silence says he’s not yet worthy enough. Hearing those words is something else for him to earn; more effective for her, because men don’t appreciate unearned gifts.
Devotion is more magnetic than a man’s love and simpler to earn. It is her primary objective. His love is so different from a woman’s that it is never enough for her, he is reluctant to speak of it, and she learns to live with insufficiency until he is ready to admit it. (Her pressures to gain his equal commitment of love just leads to her frustration when he cannot commit that way, which tempts her to blame him, which turns him off about her.)
The emotional connection that his devotion creates can sustain a famine of three little words, if she is calm and confident enough. Modern women act on the conviction that he needs to hear of her love to keep from losing him, rather than the wiser option that he should have to work for it to earn her.
Chastity adds to the ease of earning a man’s devotion. He keeps pleasing her out of frustration trying to bed her, and his actions program his heart with devotion. In much the same way, her inclination to NOT use three little words to help her agenda programs his heart in her favor.
Three little words have very little if anything to do with earning a man’s devotion. In fact, the longer she is silent about them, the better for her. Several reasons:
- Love grows best and chastity is sustained easier when the focus is the couple’s actions and presumed emotional connections rather than directly sharing their feelings for each other. When women are quiet, they notice that men don’t bring up the subject. Less frequent sharing leads to longer courtships and develops benefits for women. More frequent sharing invites early conquest (but it works well to hold a couple together, as their love matures after conquest).
- He pursues her before his emotional connection has developed into love; devotion substitutes. Her three little words are a mark of his success. If early in the relationship, hearing them means he has already done enough to win her, he doesn’t have to work as hard to please her, he can take his mind off her to spend on job and life, he can do less to please her, it slows or stops development of his devotion, and it weakens courtship intensity. Of course, that is worst-case scenario.
- Why say I love you? If she doesn’t offer it in order to please herself, he tries harder to earn her attention, affection, and induce her to say it. Men don’t appreciate unearned gifts; he expects to work to get her to say it. Offered too early in his determined effort to get her in bed, means that he didn’t have to work hard. I love you is unearned, and she loses respect for loving him but refusing to bed him.
- It is not something he needs to hear; he judges her actions. She volunteers three little words in the mistaken belief he wants to hear them; actually she does it more to please herself by pleasing him. It’s her form of devotion and she is proud, but it does little good in the long run.
- Moreover, her words carry an implicit obligation. How should he respond? He wonders, is he expected to confess the same? If so, what obligation? Same as hers? It’s unstated so he has to guess! The relationship changed, so how does he act now? His anxiety starts to build, what does she expect of him? How does he hide his anxiety without offending? Why can’t we just enjoy ourselves together as friends? Moreover, she wants to hear the same from him, and he’s not ready. His love not having developed, he is not inclined to utter it—sincerely and meaningfully, that is.
Devoted, a man’s habits please himself by pleasing her, to make her happy or at least pleased with him. He’s willing to shack up, as it relieves anxieties that come between devotion and marriage.
Devotion makes him more sensitive to her needs. Of course, being denied conquest, his curiosity and imagination are active to figure out the price he has to pay to bed her. After awhile, marriage becomes more appealing than before.
She may prompt but he initiates most of his actions that program his heart with devotion. The following examples accumulate over time. Just to please her, these things become natural to him until his giving becomes habitual. Gifts of whatever kind given randomly rather than expectedly (random as to item, habitual as to giving); paying attention to what she says; listening well when she talks; gifts picked up out of convenience; thoughtful attempts to make her feel good about herself; love letters; surprises; finishing tasks so that she has no complaints; seeking her advice on matters mostly of interest to him; defending her against criticism by anyone else; suggesting rather than criticizing; lifting her spirits, empathizing and sympathizing as appropriate, doing chores that help her, and planting seeds that something is wrong or needs improvement. In a manly way he copies many techniques of the female nature—e.g., indirectness—without acting femmy or even close.
As long as she enables him to think that he is eligible for her love, he has no incentive for new habits and gifting. The more she hides her eagerness for him, the less he knows about where he stands with her, and the more likely he learns to take actions that program his heart with devotion.
The smart woman never casts doubt on his devotion; e.g., all gifts enthuse her and exalt his presence in her life; if she does not like his taste then she still wears it, eats, drinks, or displays it at least once—and as if she loves it. No gift is ever wrong, task unnecessary, or efforts unrecognized even if he cannot be rewarded. (Incidentally, it carries an implicit message for wives. Devotion has to be sustained after marriage. A husband’s devotion can easily be killed by taking the opposite attitude of that just cited.)
Women are in charge of earning a man’s devotion. There is no motivation except self-motivation. Consequently, women have to motivate themselves to be the kind of woman that encourages a man to motivate himself to become devoted to her. Indirectness wins again. Becoming that kind of woman will be addressed in Step 10.
Next: Allow your man to walk himself to the altar.