by Aaron Traister, REDBOOK
A pastor, a U.S. Marshal, a rabbi, a lawyer, and a guy who writes a column for a women's magazine all found themselves in the same Irish bar. Is this the beginning of the worst joke ever told? Perhaps, but it's also a totally true tale of masculine diversity uniting and bridging political, cultural, religious, and philosophical differences in an unprecedented attempt to answer the burning question on every woman's mind: What do men love so much about women? You guys may think we dig you because you have a great sense of humor, look hot, or can make a mean macaroni salad - and those are certainly lovable qualities. But they aren't really what we love most about you. Several hours of discussion, many beers, and more than a few plates of chicken wings later, I was able to compile my list. (Then we all hugged. It was kinda weird.)
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Anyway, without further ado - or further awkward stories about men hugging - I present a list of the things we men really love about our wives, created from the weepy declarations, tipsy ramblings, and uncomfortable announcements I culled from my "Focus Group of Manliness."
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WE LOVE IT WHEN YOU TAKE CONTROL.
It might seem like we hate it when you're bossy, but really, we only hate it when you boss us around. When you get badass with other people, it's totally hot. My wife was working from home the other day, and while she was on a conference call, I listened to her chew someone out for screwing up. She didn't yell or get nasty, but she made sure the person knew how displeased she was, and then completely shut down any excuses they tried to make; by the end of the call she had them apologizing. She was in total control, and everyone on the call knew it. It was at that moment that I realized my wife is a professional badass - and that I find it ridiculously sexy.
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WE LOVE WATCHING SPORTS WITH YOU - SORT OF.
While we consider watching sports mostly a guy thing (because of the cursing and the gluttony), every now and then we are happily surprised by your interest in and enthusiasm for our favorite athletic competition. "There is one sporting event every year that I love sharing with my wife: filling out our NCAA men's basketball tournament brackets," my lawyer friend explains. "We've been filling out our brackets together every March since we first started dating. She was a 'bracket virgin' before we met, but now her enthusiasm for picking teams is pretty amazing. She chooses with her heart using a complicated system of geography, underdog status, and familial connections. Her brackets are an example of who she is - they are all about loyalty, hope, and happy memories. Her sense of conviction is so strong, it can make you believe that Lehigh has a shot against Kansas. How can you not love that?"
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WE LOVE THAT YOU DON'T WANT US TO DIE - YET.
I recently went to the doctor for a checkup and learned that my overall physical assessment had changed from "in the danger zone in several key categories" to "facing imminent demise." Forgetting the childhood lesson learned from that hoagie-loving über-husband, Cliff Huxtable, and his hoagie-denying über-wife, Clair, from The Cosby Show, I made the mistake of telling my wife about the diagnosis. So now every morning and evening, my wife makes me a greenish-brown "smoothie" to drink. It's made from things like kale, flax seed, and spinach, and it has the consistency of motor oil. It's so bad it makes my taste buds feel ashamed. And yet my wife dutifully makes it for me, twice a day, because it's packed with my daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Karel is a smart, successful, and energetic woman who would do just fine without me. Every time I drink one of her sickly-Yoda-colored drinks, it's like a little reminder that she doesn't want to do just fine without me - she wants to do just fine with me. And I love that.
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Need help decoding odd male behavior? Redbook columnist Aaron Traister, who lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two kids, is our resident male who is happy to answer any questions you might have about the mind of a man. Either leave your questions in the comments or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org with Whys Guy in the subject. Letters, emails, and comments may be edited for clarity and length.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.