Priscilla Shirer, a Bible teacher and bestselling author who hosts "The Chat" Web show, recently led a no-holds-barred discussion with five Christian men to get an inside perspective on what women need to know about the opposite sex when it comes to their ego, intimacy, and taking on certain roles in the relationship.
"The Chat with Priscilla" is broadcast monthly at http://thechatwithpriscilla.com and features Shirer hosting discussions with a variety of guests on issues related to relationships, faith and well-being. The show is tailored for a female audience.
In a recent two-part episode of "The Chat," Shirer hosted comedian Michael Jr., her brother and recording artist Anthony Evans, worship leader Carlos Whittaker, her husband Jerry Shirer and recording artist Michael Boggs in a discussion about "What Men Wished Women Knew."
One question posed early on in the discussion by Shirer was directed to Evans, her unmarried brother: "What is most distasteful to you about a single woman?"
Evans, who showed off his ring-less hand at one point, stated that when a woman is "overtly forward" he finds it to be a major turnoff. "It's not endearing at all," he said, adding, "We were built for that, to pursue, and if it flips I'm like, 'Nah, I'm good.'"
So how does a woman show she might be interested in a man without "putting herself out there too far?" Shirer asked.
According to Whittaker, married for 13 years and occasionally on the road, there is the universal "look" a woman might give to signal her interest in a man.
"It just takes a look. If you cast that one look from somebody, you know they're interested. That even goes for married people and single people," he said. "As a married man, when I'm on the road, I even have to look for that look … It's like, 'run away.'"
He added, "It doesn't have to be overtly this really loud thing. It can be really subtle, I think."
Michael Jr., who has been married for nine years, chimed in, stating, "I think it's really unattractive when a woman is doing too much to be attractive. Like, if she's doing too much or she's showing too much — first of all, I'm a very creative person. I like to imagine some stuff, and you're showing me everything. That is so ridiculous."
Do Men Still Pursue Women?
Shirer noted the opinion held by some women that men in today's culture do not seem too interested in actually pursuing a woman.
"I think a lot of women think that guys aren't interested in pursuing anymore. I think they want someone to come knock on their door because all the women are like, 'OK, the Bible says he who finds a good wife, but it doesn't seem like anyone is interested or looking. Where are all the men?'"
Whittaker agreed with Shirer's assessment, saying, "I think this is actually an epidemic that's going on in evangelical America. I think you're right, and I think the women are right. There's a bunch of lazy, childish, 30-year-old men out there that need to step up and need to pursue, as opposed to think everything's going to come to them."
He added, "I think you're starting to see relationships beginning to fail because both men and women that grew up in this entitled generation are just kind of expecting it to happen because everything else was given to them. They don't realize they gotta actually put some work into it."
In another part of the discussion on "What Men Wished Women Knew," Shirer asked Evans to name the "top three things that would cause you to want to be in a committed, married relationship with a woman? What would a woman have to embody for you to be like, 'I am ready to put a ring on it?'"
Evans, calling himself a "30-something noncommittal guy," responded that a woman needs to have confidence and "want" him as opposed to "needing" him.
"Her knowing who she is in Christ, I need that," said Evans.
He added, "I love, for me, a woman who can have a career and do that thing but her heartbeat is home."
Importance of Physical Appearance
The men also were asked to share whether they thought a woman's physical appearance mattered more, or if her relationship with God was more important.
Jerry Shirer, Priscilla's husband of 15 years, expressed the consensus among the group, stating, "What am I gonna see first?"
He clarified that although physical appearance was not the most important factor, "That's the initial thing. ... That's what's going to attract me to you first, that's what's going to make me approach you."
Boggs, to the amusement of the other men and the studio audience, shared that he first noticed his wife while he was in the middle of leading a worship service at church.
"Man, I would like to meet her," Boggs said he thought at the time.
"Creep!" shouted Evans, prompting others to burst out in laughter at the scenario.
"She really caught my eye, and it wasn't until a few hours later her aunt introduced her to me and I got to talk to her a little bit, hear a little bit about who she was," Boggs said. "I was like, 'You're interesting to me.' And then she wouldn't give me her phone number, which made me even more interested."
Ego, Independence and Submission
In part two of their discussion, the men touched on issues of sex and intimacy and their thoughts on submission in marriage.
"Could you all help us to understand how critical the care of your ego is? How we step around it? How we encourage it?" asked Shirer.
"For me, I don't have to be coddled. I just can never be purposefully emasculated. If you do that, we'll have a problem," said Evans, adding that how a woman chooses to use her words can be damaging.
Jerry Shirer jumped in, stating, "I think the bottom line is this, the Bible is very clear: women honor your husbands; husbands love your wives. The reason He says 'honor' is because of our ego. I mean, He created it, so it is there."
Whittaker said that for him, it was a matter of being appreciated and acknowledged for who he is by his wife. He said, "I really want to be known, and I think my ego is more about Carlos wanting to be known by who I think I am or who Christ has created me to be."
He added, "I think there is something in that, and as human beings I think that's OK. We just want to be known."
The conversation soon turned to the topic of women being independent and submitting to their husbands.
"My wife does honor me, but she's very smart too," said Shirer's husband, Jerry. "I have seen her — and I know that this is a taboo word for women or whatever — I have seen her submit, but in her submitting [it] makes me want to give her more."
Shirer noted that women who sent in questions for her guests asked about issues related to leadership in the home.
"Because there are a whole lot of women having to take the reins in their own homes to do devotions with the family, or take care of the finances because their husband is just — not living recklessly, he's just not managing it, or leading the home in terms of vision and direction for the family," she said, finally asking: "What makes it difficult for a guy to lead his home?"
Shirer's husband brought up the punishment God put on Adam and Eve for their disobedience in Genesis 3.
"It says she's gonna desire her husband," he explained of the verses regarding Eve, suggesting that the Hebrew term used in the passage does not speak of desire in the traditional sense, but of dominance.
"It says 'desire,' she's gonna 'desire her husband.' As men we think, 'Yeah, she's gonna want me.' But that word 'desire' isn't that. It is 'I want to control you.' … That same word 'desire' is used with Cain and Abel. It is that control thing."
"I think the thing that we have to, or I know for a woman what she has to do is submit to that, and I think that's what's so hard a lot of times," he said.
Michael Jr. suggested that it was more pressure for a man when a woman chooses to submit, "because now I gotta be on point with this."
"When you submit to me, that means I need to be right, and that's a lot of pressure," he said, adding, "If it does not work out, it was still my choice, you still need to have my back."
Whittaker said he does not believe that "leading" necessarily means that the man is in charge of the finances.
"I know in my home, I can't add. My wife is really good at it. She remembers to pay bills, I don't. There's a gift-set that she's got that I don't have," he said.
The men agreed that "submission doesn't mean control," as Jerry Shirer put it, and that in reality both husbands and wives choose to submit in various areas of their marriage.
Sex and Intimacy
On the subject of sex, Shirer asked, "What do women need to know about the importance of sex in your life? Cause we don't get it, so we need to know why it's so important to you, and what we need to know about it."
The men's responses ranged from "it's fun" to "it feels great."
Shirer, however, pressed for a "good answer" since the issue was raised in many questions she received from viewers.
"Is it a bit of a challenge thing, and you feel this sense of accomplishment?" she asked.
Michael Jr. agreed that "it needs to be a challenge," while Whittaker commented on how sexuality is portrayed in popular culture.
"We live in such a sexualized society, right? It's so touchy," said Whittaker. "You can't drive down Highway 65 without seeing billboards … You can't get on Facebook without seeing things. So I know that women feel like, 'Wow, I can't live up to that.' So what I am feeling the pressure to do is make my wife feel more beautiful than the images she's seeing me see. So it starts getting really complicated really fast."
In regard to how they view intimacy in relation to sex, Boggs, married eight years, shared, "I think for me, there's a little bit of that chase through the day and intimacy is expressed in different ways. Sex is one of those, but it's not always necessarily for me [that] it takes that expression to communicate intimacy. Sex does that, and it's enjoyable and it's great. It's not the only way."
Evans shared his perspective on "the importance of sex to a single, Christian male."
"As a Christian male, the way we were raised, I consider it to be something sacred and something I want to experience with my wife. And if I'm with a girl who does not consider it to be that, it's a deal-breaker to me if she pushes that envelope. If she knows how sacred it is to me, knows how guys are wired, and tries to trick ... tries to spark the wire thinking that …"
Evans suggested that some women, including Christians, think they can use sex to a secure a man.
The men went on to share the importance of having a regular sex life and how neglecting that area in a marriage can make a husband vulnerable to temptations to be unfaithful.
Before closing out the show, Shirer asked her guests to share what they felt women needed to know about "satisfying, pleasing, fulfilling a man."
"How can a woman who's watching make sure her man is fulfilled? What makes you feel most fulfilled, emotionally, physically, otherwise, whatever? What makes you feel most fulfilled?"
Boggs stated that it is when his wife "believes in me more than I believe in myself."
Evans indicated that he shared Boggs's sentiment.
Michael Jr. shared that it is when he takes risks that might not appear to make any sense and his wife says, "OK, if this is what you want to do. I'm completely behind you."
For Whittaker, it is "knowing that I'm trusted and knowing that I'm known."
Jerry Shirer, who noted his wife's spontaneous personality, said that he felt most fulfilled when she is patient in allowing him to process things and make decisions at his own pace.