5 Things Men Need From Their Wives
In my practice, I see couples struggle to understand how to meet each other’s needs. I am speaking about the needs of men here, but I also want to think about how this applies to wives. Husbands and wives both have needs. It is true that both struggle to express their needs and understand their partner’s needs.
When you are struggling in a relationship, it may be because needs are not being met. Confusion and frustration are the norm in marriages, but that does not mean that you aren’t able to make changes. When you start feeling hopeless, there are options. Understanding the needs of your spouse is important to navigating these options. In our culture, we do not pay as much attention to others’ needs. We focus on ourselves. Some may disagree, but our country has become more self-centered. I encourage you to step out of your world and ask yourself if you are meeting your husband’s needs. Or, do you even know what they are?
Men have many needs. After exploring many different resources, asking my clients, and observing what husbands say to me in my office, I see 5 needs that stand out. Wives, please take note. Husbands need from their wives encouragement, appreciation, mutual fun, excitement, and a sense of purpose.
Here are 5 of the top needs that wives can provide for their husbands.
Although there are many needs that men in their marriage seek, the ones I have listed are generally the top 5. The ones I have left out, but no doubt are important are things like trust, peace, affection, commitment, grace, and freedom. I in no way think that those needs above are not important, but they may be better labeled as subcategories and are interchangeable at times. Remember, all men are created by God uniquely. Their needs may be different. However, the following seems to be the top needs that I have found that men seek and desire.
1. Husbands need encouragement.
Encouragement is so important. I have written an article before about a wife’s role in a marriage and what her purpose for this role is. The first mention of Eve in the Bible talks about a wife being a helper. Also, Ephesians refers to the idea of submission, but some versions of the Bible translate this word as encouragement and support.
Men are doers as we will talk about later. However, they don’t always know if they are enough. I have heard this sentiment many times in my office. Husbands need a mate that can support and build them up at times. Men want to be great. They were created with a heart to conquer, but without encouragement, they may believe a lie that they don’t think they have the ability.
We all need encouragement. Husbands need this in their marriages. How many men are struggling with confidence and self-esteem issues? You probably wouldn’t know because most men do not talk about it. Many well-known writers who write about marriage or men detail the needs of men in their relationships and encouragement is an important one. Wives, I challenge you to encourage your husband once a day for a week and see if you see a change in how he acts throughout the week.
2. Husbands need appreciation.
In the book Love and Respect written by Dr. Emmerson Eggerichs, he talks about how men need love, but not like a woman. Love to a man is spelled “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”. What did he mean by that? The word he uses over and over is appreciation. A husband wants to be appreciated. He wants to be admired. He wants to be seen as important to his wife. It goes back to the question: “Am I enough.”
I have heard men say they wonder if they are enough. Too many times we hear people say that this is just pride. I may be a man, but this is not pride. Pride comes from a place where you feel like you are better than others and deserve something. I don’t think this need for appreciation is pride-filled if it is genuine. I think it has more to do with being wanted and that you matter to someone. Everyone wants to matter.
When men feel disrespected, they sense that the person who does not appreciate them does not care about them or like them. People want to be liked, but men feel liked when someone appreciates their effort or wants them around. Disrespect is not necessarily telling him that he is a horrible person. It feels less loving when you don’t tell him how much he is worth.
3. Husbands need mutual fun and activity.
When a man gets into a relationship, he finds his partner is fun to be around. I have seen men who were not as attracted to a friend and had so much fun with their friend that they eventually fell in love with them. They were not talking about anything important, but the companionship matters to them.
Husbands want to have fun with their wives. They enjoy the reaction they see in their spouse. Again it tells them they are important. I think we keep answering this question: “Am I important.” A guy sees that he is loved and matters to his wife when he sees her enjoying his presence and having fun with him. If the fun stops, they tend to start a downhill trend in their relationship.
Spending time together in a fun activity is needed to help a husband feel like their wife wants to be around their husband. The next need tends to help us understand more about this.
4. Husbands need excitement and adventure.
Men love excitement and adventure. We see this in their zeal for their work, risky activities, sports, and focus. Wives, I know you have this too, but when a husband is enjoying himself, he doesn’t want to stop. It’s hard to tear his focus away. If you want to meet his needs, help him find excitement and adventure.
What is excitement and adventure? In the book, Wild at Heart, John Eldredge discusses a man’s purpose is to be a hero and to go on conquests. He was born to fix, create, solve problems, and more. Unfortunately, due to it not being directed in the right direction, men may turn to addiction, affairs, or other unhealthy and hurtful behaviors.
Excitement for men can be anything that makes them feel alive. It stimulates his need to matter and to be a bigger part of something. What is the husband to do if he is bored? Hopefully, he will find something of purpose to pour his energy into. Wives can help with this. You may need to be creative and work with each other to find creative ways to increase excitement and adventure in your relationship.
5. Husbands need a sense of purpose.
Finally, husbands need a sense of purpose. Their wives can meet this need too. They desire to provide, protect, fix, and bring joy to you. Let them! I have seen too many couples where the wife becomes closed off. Many times this is because the husband truly hurt them. Sometimes the hurt comes out of purpose being stifled. I am not foolish to think that there are some mutual unhealthy behaviors.
As you can see, in the needs we mentioned before, purpose is important. This purpose is more of how a husband can be there for his wife. Your husband needs you to encourage him in these purposes, not disparage or discourage him. Give him a purpose regularly, especially ones that he feels you delight in and make you happy.
If you are struggling with providing these things…
I know how hard it may be as a wife to provide these 5 needs. You may be hurt or have not had your needs met either. That’s understandable that you would struggle with offering these things when you are hurt. Maybe your husband has done something and you are struggling to develop trust. It’s scary to do the things above when you believe that you will just get hurt again.
I would encourage you to set some boundaries. Don’t feel like you have to do all of the needs. It is important for you to feel safe. However, sometimes just doing a little can go a long way. Choose one need you can implement in a small way to just test it out. How does your husband respond? Is there any change? If not, maybe you need to keep trying it for a little while.
What to do if you are a husband and aren’t getting these needs met?
Husbands, I know that you resonate with these needs. I understand your pain. As I told wives, your actions may have hurt your wife and they may be struggling with trusting you. They may fear you will repeatedly hurt them. It would be important for you to work on yourself. Try to rebuild trust. Work on meeting her needs too. You will have the same problem as your wife. I understand if you wonder why you should have to do something for her to get her to meet your needs.
It’s not about that. It’s about being the best spouse you can be, despite the actions of your wife. Marriage is not about getting or taking, it’s about serving. What are you going to do when your wife is sick and you have to take care of her? Are you going to accuse her of not doing her part? Work on your character. Learn to love her selflessly. You will see change as you consistently apply yourself.
One of the things I am seeing is all of these needs are intertwined. As above, giving a husband purpose-filled activities may also need an encouraging word or appreciation when he fulfills them. Wives have needs too. This article is only focusing on husbands’ needs from their wives. Wives, I will focus on your needs in another article.
If you are a wife, please know that you can be valuable in helping your husband be the man he needs to be. You can even help your relationship thrive through how you engage in helping him feel loved, respected, and encouraged. If you are a husband, hopefully, you have found clarity in why you struggle in your marriage and what you feel you have been missing.
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