Last week I posted a list of “Ten Things that Your Wife Desperately Wants” http://wp.me/p1soGL-KD
In our era of Oprah and The View, there are plenty of sources that explain in detail what women need from their husbands. These needs are real and it is important that husbands attempt to meet these needs, even if they don’t seem to make sense.
Often, the needs of men in a marriage relationship are either minimized or discounted as unnecessary. Just as men often have no concept of why women have certain needs, women are often just as clueless about men’s needs in marriage. These needs of men are not wrong, they are just so different from women!
Wives: If you agreed with the list last week on what you need from your husband, please consider this list as just as important. I was not even aware of many of these needs myself until my wife began to meet them. As a result, our marriage reached new levels of intimacy.
So here it goes . . . .
He needs to know that you believe he has what it takes.
He needs to be admired. He needs to know that no matter what happens at work, no matter what challenges he has faced successfully or unsuccessfully, you still believe in him. You believe that he has what it takes.
This is most important when he is discouraged. He does not need you to “second guess” him. He is already doing that himself. What he needs most is to be reminded of his past successes and of your confidence that he will rise from the ashes. He is the man you admire because of his intentions and dreams. And your admiration should not be conditional on what is happening in the present. This is similar to your need for your husband to love you unconditionally.
He needs you to need him.
This can be a tough one. In today’s society, women hear it from everywhere: “You don’t need a man. You can do it on your own. Be independent.” And most wives are not only competent, but their abilities exceed that of their husbands in a number of areas.
Here’s the catch: He wants the responsibility to lead you, to protect you, to take care of you. Even as many wives read these words, some will bristle.
Notice that I said the responsibility to lead — not the “right.” It is a responsibility that he longs for. He sees it as a way to care for you.
So learn to depend on him. He is only human, and he will fail and disappoint you. But if you take the leadership away from him, he will become what you fear the most – a passive husband who no longer is engaged in his relationship with you, the kids, or the home.
If you want a gladiator – you need to be willing to be vulnerable and to need him to be your gladiator.
Create a pattern that lets him know that you follow his leadership.
Practice following him on the little things: His preferences on where to go, how to get there, what to do. If he thinks that you are reserving “veto rights” on his decisions – no matter how important or small – he will begin to acquiesce. And soon you will discover that you are making all of the decisions.
He needs your verbal gratitude and appreciation
It sometimes seems counterintuitive. If you praise him or thank him for something he has done for you, then you might expect him to quit “trying so hard.” In fact, just the opposite takes place. Even verbally thanking him for the “every day” tasks – going to work, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn – shows him that he is not being taken for granted.
He needs you to be his wife and helpmate – not his mother.
Chances are that you love being in control – we all do. And as our children move from infancy into childhood into adolescence, we all tend to correct them, tell them what they need to do or what they should have done. . . to “nag” them. Our motive? To protect them from the consequences of their mistakes.
This can easily overflow into the relationship with your husband. You are only making “suggestions” – but it often comes across as nagging. He feels like you are treating him like a child.
He will make mistakes. Your “counsel” and ideas on what he should do will probably prevent some of these consequences. But you need to ask yourself the question: Do I want another child, or a partner in this marriage?
Serving him makes him feel honored.
It will not make him selfish. He will often begin to look for ways to serve you. If not, then be willing to trust God in this area. Serving him (as well as others) is what Christ calls us to do.
When you are angry, take it to God before you speak or act.
You will be surprised by what God shows you, if you wait on Him. (James 1:5)
He needs you to create a home where he longs to be.
Many husbands spend hours — too many hours — at work. Or perhaps golf, sports, hunting. The reaction from wives often becomes anger and nagging (see above).
What he needs is a home that he would rather be than anywhere else. My wife would often prepare the kids to be excited when I walked through the door from work. It made a big difference!
When possible, try and hold the “chaos” to a minimum. Delay unloading any problems of the day until later. Make that first ten minutes when he arrives home become the best ten minutes of his day.
Take the time to be attractive.
I know, I know. This seems very sexist, superficial, and unimportant. After all, he should love the real you, not just the outer shell.
He does love the real you. But your appearance is far more important than you can ever know. Remember that men are much more visual than women. It’s the way we are wired.
Sex makes him feel closer to you.
Emerson Eggerichs explains that when a man is able to touch a woman emotionally, she is more likely to open up to him physically. This you understand.
The other principle is that when a woman is able to touch a man physically, he will be more likely to open up to her emotionally.
Try out this principle. It may not make sense to you, but what have you got to lose?
Pray for him and your relationship.
Pursue your relationship with God. When your husband sees “the purity and reverence of your life” your attractiveness will become “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”
After working as a Chemical Engineer for 36 years, Steve Fox took early retirement so that he could focus his full-time attention on helping others to discover how to improve or repair their marriages as well as other family relationships. Steve also helps others begin to “dream” about what will help them become fulfilled in their career and life.
Steve earned an MA in Counseling from LSU and is now a National Certified Counselor and Counselor Intern with Crossroads. He has worked with couples on a ministry basis for over 20 years and has a counseling focus with couples, families, career coaching, and addiction counseling with families.
Steve’s complete bio can be found here.