Needs being met is a vital responsibility of marriage — and if you want a healthy one, you are probably aware that paying attention to your spouse’s is pretty important. Most of the time, men and women alike are very aware of what they personally need, but to know your husband or wife’s, is sometimes a guessing game.
What your wife needs from you
A few years back when my husband and I were going through a rough time, we had a conversation about our needs, brought on my the infamous book His Needs Her Needs.
After a bit of back and forth banter, we began to realize that the problem wasn’t the fact that we had needs — it was how we were communicating them to one another; in an accusatory way.
My husband claimed that he knew all of my needs because of how often I was criticizing him for falling short. I communicated that I had to because it felt like he wasn’t listening or had any desire to meet my needs.
Goes to say, needs are a SENSITIVE topic in a marriage. And in my opinion, most times they aren’t communicated correctly. Couple’s get lost in bad communication before they can understand what the other person actually needs from them.
So before you delve in to figuring out your spouse’s needs, you might need to first figure out how to communicate in in a healthy way.
If you truly desire to know the needs of your wife, you need to not only listen, but do.
Words can sometimes become meaningless if action doesn’t take place. Saying you want to hear her heart and know what her needs are is only the first part. Following through is being intentional about meeting those needs. The same way she should meet your needs.
Why she needs you to know her needs.
When you and your wife said “I do,” there was a promise made to always look out for one another — forever. A man of his word keeps his promises, even when it gets difficult.
So many couples are not experiencing the full potential of their marriage.
They get caught up in wanting the other person to meet their needs, while making no effort in returning the favor.
Because you are the man, God has instilled an amazing responsibility within you, that nowadays is being forgotten about. Check out what healthy leadership looks like.
Leadership has taken on a bad light, and men are becoming more and more passive.
But if you ask most woman, they need and want a guy who can step up, listen to their needs, and follow through. If you can take the first step in this, your wife will begin to BLOOM. If that’s not called leadership, I don’t know what it is. But I do know, your wife will be drawn to it, when done in a healthy way.
She needs to feel safe to share her heart (aka needs.)
Most women love to share their heart. They love to talk about what’s on their mind, how their day went, what child pissed them off that day, how it made them feel. They love to talk — it’s a part of who they are.
Acknowledging that beautiful characteristic of your wife, will help her feel heard — that you care and are willing to let her share her heart.
When a woman feels safe to share her heart, it also means that she feels free to share her feelings about your marriage. This can sometimes come across as criticism, depending on how she expressed it.
Because most women like to take action when something seems amiss, they are quick to figure out what needs to happen in order for things to change; for things to get better. If you can understand that her heart is in the right place, her corrections might be better understood.
I’m not justifying her actions when bad communication happens. But what YOU can do, is remember her heart. Her desire is to nurture, take care, and make sure the family is functioning healthily — just like yours is to provide. Her definition of provision is different; more emotional.
Maybe the next time she addresses something that causes you to become defensive, try and look at her through this lens — that she’s trying to help.
She needs you to want to want to.
I remember when my husband and I were first married and I was attempting to get used to his love for something I didn’t love so much.
I had this idea in my head—since almost our entire engagement was long distance—that we would spend every waking hour doing things TOGETHER after we got married. He also wanted such things, but within reason. His reason.
Now that we’ve been married almost ten years, it could be that the tables have turned, but that’s neither here nor there. My point being, I wanted my new husband to spend time with me because he wanted to, not because I wanted him to.
We want you to want to. Haha! As I’m writing this, I realize that my husband STILL doesn’t get this.
It’s not rocket science. Just meet her needs. Not because she wants you to, but because you want to.
Let me put it this way. If what your wife wants is not what you want, that’s fine. But make sure you are meeting her half way. Marriage has never promised to always go the way you want it to. There is give and take that needs to take place.
It’s absolutely fine for you to express your needs as well, but make sure you’re doing it a way that is still saying—I DO want what you want, just not right now. How you communicate here will say everything.
A woman doesn’t want you to fake that you want to do something. We want an authentic response, but also the willingness for you to look beyond your own needs as well.
She needs you to not shut down
I know that men have a hard time opening up and discussing their feelings. Because it stems from your insecurities and passivity since the dawn of time, sharing your heart is not something you delight in.
But what do you think your wife hears when you decide to shut down after a big fight, or worse yet, you just decide to shut down for no reason? She hears nothing. She doesn’t know what you’re thinking, and her trying to analyze and read between the lines will only fuel her fire.
Try this – before you shut down, (because what you might need is time alone) communicate to her first.
Saying something like,
“I love you, but I need some time alone to think. Let’s revisit this in — she will need a timeframe — and talk it through.”
If you can do this before you shut down and give her the stiff upper lip, it will mean a lot to her, and she won’t feel the need to scream at you to get your attention.
She needs you to walk alongside her and not overrule her.
Since the dawn of sin, men have distorted what God intended to be a mutual and equal bond between a man and a woman, an overruling and domineering power trip—read more on that here.
There, I said it. I am no modern day feminist, (I agree with some aspects and see nothing wrong with the origin of its intentions) but I do feel strongly about when men treat women unfairly and this is nothing new, even though it glares at us more now with social media spreading it far and wide.
No, this has been happening since the very beginning.
If you see your wife as less than you, or that her opinion isn’t as valid as yours, you could be operating this way. Some men do this unintentionally, which is why it’s important to self-reflect on this to make sure you’re treating your wife as your equal.
If a woman doesn’t feel as though she is respected as your equal, she can respond one of a few ways: She can become passive and shut down; she could leave; she could become depressed. Ultimately, it can destroy her.
How you see your wife—as your equal or beneath you—can determine whether you she will bloom or wither in your presence.
Sometimes, it’s the other way around. The women are more controlling, and as a result the man becomes passive. Both are equally harmful, which is why it’s important to understand your equal, yet different roles within the marriage.
To have mutual respect, love, and understanding for one another will create a healthy relational environment, where you will both feel heard, and have to ability to be transparent.
When we feel heard, we know that we matter to the other person. And that is a powerful feeling.
She needs you to be a good man.
Men feel loved when they feel respected. If you want to be respected, then she needs to know you’re a good man by your actions. Good men love their wives without hindrance.
Good men are defined by their ability to make good choices: they are humble, sensitive, gentle, kind, courageous—just to name a few.
But in my opinion, the one thing that makes a man a good man, is when he can admit when he’s wrong, and do the work to change when things need to be changed.
When a man can admit his wrong and do what it takes to improve, all of the other things will flow from this. You will never be perfect, but that’s okay.
A wife doesn’t want a perfect husband. She wants a husband who can be transparent, authentic, honest, and real with her. Someone she can call a best friend in the good times and bad. She needs to know she can trust you.
Admission of wrong is one part of it, but to take another step and figure out what choices you need to make to change—that’s what will make or break your ability to meet your wife’s needs.
In essence, it will make or break your part in the marriage.