Tough and Tender: What Every Woman Wants In a Man (1975, 1981)
by Joyce Landorf
by Joyce Landorf
What does a woman want in a man? Joyce Landorf Heatherley, musician, speaker, and author, wrote, "I think I speak for Christian women all over the world when I say we do not expect a man to be something he is not – some spiritual giant of the faith, a romantic knight in shining armour, or a man of unlimited wealth, power, and influence. No, these are not the qualities we long for. We want a man to be himself. God has designed each of us to be highly original with many varied skills and talents. We want our man to be uncompromisingly tough of character and gently tender of heart." I was shocked by the year of this book first published (1975) and the relevancy of the contents of it with today's situations and needs. Though I think this book should be retitled as ‘What Every Woman Wants In a Husband,' it is so helpful (and biblical) that every man – singles or married – will be encouraged by this book and should want to be tough and tender (This remind me of Stu Weber's book on manhood, Tender Warrior).
For example, when Joyce shared about the ‘Principle of Loving Starting in the Kitchen,' a young minister told her, "My wife and I get along very well, but we have one serious area of conflict in our lives. It seems every time we sit down to eat our evening meal, the phone rings, and it's always for me. My wife wants me to ignore it and let it ring, but I'm a minister and I feel guilty if I don't answer it… I'm torn between my responsibility to my church… and my love for the family… should I let it ring?" this is what Joyce writes: "The phone has now become a real necessity of life, but the longer I live with phones, the more I wonder if we aren't paying an unreasonable amount of attention to their ringing. Housewife drops everything from the laundry to (sometimes) the baby in order to answer a phone's urgency… The minister was right in his concern about his phone calls. Many people are just now beginning to evaluate and measure the extent to which a ringing phone will dictate their lifestyles."
So, Joyce helped this man to see the importance of focusing on the time together with his family and by not answering the phone during meal times give the important message to the family, "My wife is more important to me" and "My children are going to have my undistracted attention." This book was first published in 1975 when the first mobile phone was made in 1973 by Motorola weight about 1.1kg, only 30 minutes talk-time, and took around 10 hours to charge! How much more men today need to give an undivided attention to their family and away from the smartphone! This is only one example of how relevant and timely Joyce's insights for men's today.
This book is divided into eight (8) chapters:
Chapter 1: Thanks, Wife, I Needed That! In this chapter, Joyce wants to encourage men to "fall madly and passionately in love with your wife. See your children as the priceless gifts of God they really are. [And] celebrate life, no more existence. With tremendous joy and confidence celebrate daily as the man God wants you to be."
Chapter 2: The Man or the Myth? Here Joyce lists four top myths about what "the world" think what it took to be a man today (in 1970's and even today): 1) Physical attractive; 2) Have credentials; 3) Super-Jock sexually; and 4) Make it financially. "If you try these myths and compare yourself with them, it will be easy to lose the real man you are… Under fire and pressure, these myths do not hold up. You must be wise in seeking out God's direction and you must be constantly separating fact from fiction if you are to be the man and not the myth."
Chapter 3: The Decision Maker. Joyce was asked by other women, "Do you believe in being a submissive wife?" Her answer is: "Based on my husband's brand of leadership, is a resounding – yes! But keep in mind my yes is because of Dick's [her husband] faithfulness to being the husband God wants him to be." She continues, "The man who is a decision maker and a leader no longer presents the image of a stubborn, overbearing man; he is a tough man, dedicated to being God's man."
Chapter 4: The Spiritual Leader. About men and prayer lives, Joyce gives few workable and practical bits of advice to the husbands: 1) Make the time, in the ideal place, for conversational prayer with your wife; 2) Keep your requests simple, honest, and liberally sprinkled with genuine thankfulness; 3) Listen to your wife's requests with all your hearing ability; 4) Ask God to give you a keep sensitivity to know when to drop everything and right-then-and-there pray aloud; 5) Be real in praying; and 6) Before you pray, check your attitude and treatment of your wife. "Being the spiritual leader means being a spirit-filled man who commands in life, who teaches in love, and who respects others in love." He is the man like Joshua, a spiritual leader for the nation and his own family, "As for me, and my family, we will serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15).
Chapter 5: The Exceptional Listener. Joyce said that listening is as tough as making the decisions and being the spiritual leader of your house, but it can be done. Here are some of her probing questions for men to reflect on 1) Have you already stopped listening? 2) Do you listen without presuming or judging? 3) Do you ever listen by touching? 4) Are you communicating in honesty? 5) Do you communicate in written words? 6) Are you a gut-level listener? And 7) Do you take time to listen? "It is up to you – in your house – to set the wheels of listening in motion."
Chapter 6: The Wise Gentleman. "I read once, and I can't remember where," recalled Joyce, "that the very best portion of a good man's life was found in his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. I agree, and I must add that courtesy is the oil and lubricant for all relationships – but especially as used by the wise gentleman." To be a wise gentleman, Joyce suggestions husbands to: 1) Let her [wife] know you love her; 2) Let her know you respect her; 3) Invest in your wife's stock in front of your children; 4) Cultivate and maintain a sense of humour; and 5) Take a good look at the social manners in your life and home.
Chapter 7: The Gentle Lover. Basically here Joyce wrote about the husband-wife sexual relationship – and the communication and understanding before the sex, and why it's important. "The issue of being a gentle lover and the functions of sex in our lives is not nearly as important as the world around us makes it be. On the other hand, the ‘marriage bed' is definitely to be a part of our lives, our existence, and our enjoyment… I would pray for God's wisdom and direction. Since He created your human sexuality you can trust Him, even with your love life, to make your marriage bed a bed of joy and gentle loving."
Chapter 8: A Most Unlikely Man. I find that this chapter is the most inspiring and life-changing for me. "Above all," Joyce inspired the man in me to "be God's man, no matter how unlikely you may feel. As the man of today, you will not have an easy task in becoming the tough and tender man I have described. However, if you have truly laid your life and loves in God's hands, you have won half the battle. Press on, Dear Man. All our days here are so brief, but the time spent in learning to be God's man is worth every second of it!"
I closed this book with a renewed desire to be the man of God.
Praise God, and thanks, Joyce.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.