09 Feb Ten Things Wives Want Their Husbands to Know
Husbands, do you know how very important you are to your wives? Not just for practical reasons like killing spiders and changing the oil, but for heart reasons? For helping her believe she matters? For pushing her to reach her dreams?
In a time when many voices are shouting to your wife, your voice matters most. Your words can make or break her. The way you treat her can help her become the best version of herself or a shadow of who she should be.
Women in 2017 are fiercely independent and strongly opinionated, but we are also deeply in need of the love of our men, and these two facts are not mutually exclusive. We are strong and we are needy, and our needs are not a weakness. They are a sign we were created to live in community with others, particularly with the men who were created to be ours.
There are many things we want you to know, but we don’t know how to tell you. We want to help you understand us, but we’re afraid of being a burden. Even to you.
We want you to know these things:
- We want you to pursue us and plan for us. When we were dating, you put thought into where we would go and what we would do. You told us when you’d pick us up, and you took the lead for our dates. We wish you hadn’t stopped. Yes, marriage changes things, and we don’t expect it to be like it was when we were dating. But we feel special when you plan a date or surprise us with something unexpected. It doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. A note on our steering wheel; jumping in the car to go get ice cream; grocery store flowers on the way home from work. It isn’t the action or object that makes us feel special – it’s the knowledge that you thought of us.
- We need you not to touch our bodies until you’ve touched our hearts. We understand that physical touch is a very real need for you, and we want to fulfill it. But for us, sex is only a possibility if we’re feeling connected, and we can’t feel connected if we haven’t communicated. We can’t compartmentalize our lives, so we can’t put our emotions outside the bedroom while you’re pursuing intimacy. If you haven’t taken the time to hear our hurts, listen to our worries, and understand our days, then we cannot give you our whole selves. And sex without the whole self – mind and body – will never satisfy either of us. Before we can open ourselves to the physical intimacy you desire, we need you to open yourselves to the emotional intimacy we need. We realize this is uncomfortable, and we’re not asking you to be perfect. We just want you to make an effort. We need to know you want more than our bodies. We need to know you need our hearts.
- We are very insecure about how we look. This is probably not a surprise to you, but we need you to understand how real our body shame goes and how deeply it affects our souls. The last woman to be naked and unashamed was Eve, and we have heard our entire lives that we’re not thin enough, pretty enough, curvy enough, or sexy enough. We know that we’re not enough for the world, and we’re afraid that we won’t be enough for you, either. You can’t cure this insecurity, but you can help by reminding us that you love us just as we are and in spite of what we hate. We’ll protest when you say we’re pretty and we’ll dismiss you when you give us compliments, but if you ever stop doing these things, we’ll believe the worst. (Yes, we know this makes no sense. Just trust us.)
- We need a break. Oh, how we need a break. But we don’t want to ask for it. What do we need a break from? Laundry. Scrubbing toilets. Mothering. Worrying. Grocery shopping. Bed making. Carpool. If you want to show your love in a practical sort of way, take over one of our to-do’s. Ask what you can take off our plate. We’ll have plenty of ideas.
- We want you to take care of yourself. One of our greatest fears is being without you, so when we nag you to eat right or ask you to exercise with us, it’s because we’re afraid. We’re afraid of losing you. When you ignore and dismiss this, you’re rejecting our fears, which makes us more afraid. We see the act of you caring for yourself as you caring for our marriage and family. We need to know you want to be around for us.
- We need you to believe in us. No matter what we’re working for or what we’re pursuing, there’s a part of us that wonders if we can do it. There’s a part of us that doubts we’ve got what it takes. We want you to cheer us on, ask us how we’re doing, validate our fears, tell us you know we’ll succeed, and remind us of why we started. We are our own worst critics, so even if nobody else tells us we’re failing, we’ll still believe we are. Press us when you know we’re keeping these feelings inside. Pry out of us the doubts we don’t want to share.
- We need you to stop trying to fix what’s wrong. When we are sad, we don’t want your solution. We just need your sympathy. While we are so grateful you want to take away our pain, we want you to realize that’s not always possible. Sometimes we just want you to listen while we cry and hug us when we’re done. It’s that complicated, and it’s that simple. Just be there when we feel like no one else is. Recognize when we’re not quite ourselves and try to figure out why we aren’t.
- We want your undivided attention. A conversation with eye contact and no devices in hand does wonders for a woman. If you’re flipping channels or scrolling through social media when we try to talk to you, we interpret that to mean you have no desire to listen. Maybe you do, but we don’t want to compete with anything. We need to feel that we are the priority, and your full attention gives us that.
- We want you to ask us questions and listen to our answers. Sometimes women get the idea that people are tired of hearing us talk. Our culture makes fun of talkative women, and many of us have learned to silence ourselves accordingly. We have very deep thoughts on very many topics, but sometimes we’re afraid to volunteer them because opinionated women have a bad reputation. If you ask us our thoughts, we’ll believe we have something worth saying. Your interest in our thoughts affects our perception of ourselves.
- We look to you for strength, but we don’t ask you never to be weak. We want to be your safe place, the person with whom you will be most vulnerable. We want to hear your fears and worries, and we want to know when you are struggling. We certainly don’t expect you to always have it together, and when you act as if you do, we wonder why you don’t trust us. When you confide in us and share yourself with us, we know we matter. We know we have your trust.
Husbands, don’t underestimate your importance. You are your wife’s most important person, and you can make a difference for her like no one else can. Believe in her. Pursue her. Be truthful with her. And never stop seeking her heart. She locks parts of it away, and you have the key.