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Best-Selling Author Talks Relationships at Chapel

By Amanda Morad | April 4, 2013

Shaunti Feldhahn speaks at chapel.

Shaunti Feldhahn never intended to figure out what truly makes men and women "tick" differently when she set out as a Wall Street analyst after grad school. But that's exactly where her research skills led her and what she shared at Regent University's weekly chapel service on Wednesday, April 3.

Feldhahn is the best-selling author of "For Women Only" and "For Men Only," as well as a national speaker and syndicated news columnist. Speaking before an audience of mainly students, she posited her discussion of relationships as an effort to "save marriages in advance."

"We hear men say all the time, 'we're not that complicated,' but it's just not true," Feldhahn said. "There is so much going on under the surface that we often don't even know is there."

Feldhahn's books and research help men and women communicate more effectively and understand one another more deeply, leading to less relational strife.

"So much of our relationship stress doesn't have to be there," she said. "The majority of our headaches don't come from big ticket items; they come from men and women who truly care about each other, but don't know just a couple important things about each other and don't know they're trying too hard in all the wrong places."

Feldhahn was writing a novel and researching a male character's psyche when she encountered responses from the men she interviewed that she never would have anticipated. That sparked her journey into the minds of men, and she has since interviewed or surveyed more than 12,000 men and woman about their innermost needs, thoughts and desires.

"Men and women ask very different questions of themselves," she explained. According to Feldhahn's research, women ask, "Am I loveable? Am I special? Am I worthy of being loved for who I am on the inside?" Men, on the other hand, ask, "Am I able? Am I adequate? Am I good at what I do on the outside?"

These fundamental differences affect every aspect of life. "Guys would give up feeling that their wife or girlfriend loved them to know that they respected them," she noted. "The problem is that women are better at showing love than showing respect. We may adore him, but if we criticize him too much, it won't matter."

While both men and women have significant and deep-seated insecurities, they differ in dimension.

Men's self-doubt is like a raw nerve, and often women don't realize how easy it is to hit it, Feldhahn said. "There is immense power in trying as far as it depends on us to stop ourselves from taking control and remembering that underlying self-doubt," she told the women in the room.

To the men, she encouraged them to remember a woman's question: "Even the most confident woman in the best relationship asks the question, 'Am I worthy of being loved?' Men, you will be the hero you want to be if you learn this now."

What men often miss is how easy it is for a woman to feel unloved. "So often, the behaviors men see as women pushing them away are actually a search for reassurance," Feldhahn explained. "Her hope is that he'll follow."

Feldhahn left the audience pondering a final tidbit of advice for understanding their "better half": The one thing men always tell her they wish their wives knew is that they love her. The one thing women wish their husbands knew is that he really is their hero.

"God has wired us totally different," she said in closing. "If you work with that wiring instead of against it, then you can have that truly amazing relationship we all want."

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