What do men want? Women have been asking that question for centuries, and now one man is attempting to provide the answer.
In "VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework, and Commitment," author Neil Chethik explores the innermost thoughts and desires of the American guy. Chethik, a journalist, interviewed more than 350 American husbands of various ages, occupations, classes, religious faiths, ethnic heritages and backgrounds.
Chethik found that men did not mind if their wives made more money than they did, and that they didn't marry women for their physical beauty. More than 90 percent of the men interviewed said if they had it to do all over again, they'd marry the same woman.
"Men are way more in tune than we think," said Chethik, who previously wrote a book about men dealing with the deaths of their fathers, "FatherLoss."
"They are aware of what works and what doesn't work in their marriages," he added. "They know what they are doing to help and hurt relationships. They are very conscious of what is going on in their marriages. They may not talk about it all the time, and they may not share their thoughts as much, but they know what is going on."
Men often are stereotyped as uncommunicative and commitment-phobic, but he found that men proposed marriage because they wanted the physical, emotional and intellectual companionship of a woman. In other words, they like company.
Beauty attracts men to the woman, but what keeps men interested are two personality traits -- a positive outlook and self-confidence.
Most men, he said, do not have problems with their wife earning more money than they do.
"The men I surveyed really didn't care at all," said Chethik, who lives in Kentucky with his wife and son. "And I prodded them and asked the question in 50 different ways. They all said they really don't care if their wives are the main breadwinner."
Sex for Chores?
He has also found that the more satisfied a wife was with the division of household chores, the more satisfied a husband was with his sex life at home.
"You know, women still take on the responsibility of a clean house, even today with more equal division of labor in the home," Chethik said, "women still do more housework. So when men do the housework, women almost look at it as foreplay. Plus, there's a practical reason, too. Women have more energy when they're not killing themselves cleaning the house from top to bottom."
In addition, Chethik found that a man's relationship with his father shaped him into the kind of husband he'd become.
Chethik compiled tips from all the men he surveyed about how to make a marriage work:
Take your time. The No. 1 tip is take your time getting to know each other. Men want to take it slowly. They don't want to jump into anything.
Marry a friend. Guys are more interested in personality than looks. Looks are the initial attraction, but beyond that, men really want a mental attraction. They want their wives to be their best friends.
Nurture your partner's dreams. Figure out what your partner wants, what their dreams are, and what their hopes for the future are. And then help them achieve it. If a husband and wife are able to do that for each other -- support each other in their dreams and help them achieve it -- if you can get that, then your connection is really almost inseverable.
In the end, Chethik said men mostly wanted respect and understanding.
"They have a different perspective on the relationship and should be equally considered," he said. "They don't talk about everything or analyze everything. But more than anything else, they want women to be there with them, not on them or at them."