There’s the saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” And as a husband you have a tremendous impact on your wife’s wellbeing. If your wife is not responding to what you’re doing now, perhaps it’s time for a change. Your wife needs very specific things from you, and when you provide them she will flourish.
Your wife is responsible for her own behavior; women can certainly behave badly too. But you are the husband. God has called you to lead. Your impact on your wife’s wellbeing is likely much greater than you realize.
For your own sake, pay attention to these 5 needs your wife has. These are needs that no one else can meet to the degree that you, as her husband, can. Meeting these needs may feel unnatural to you, but just do it. Your wife’s mental/emotional/physical/spiritual wellbeing, and the peace, intimacy, and love in your home, will dramatically improve as a result.
Non-sexual affectionate touch
Sad and lonely women write to me; “He can’t touch me without having an erection. I can’t get close to him.” “My husband has held me only twice in our twelve years of marriage.” “He never touches me, kisses me, or even holds my hand. I’m so hurt.”
Your wife needs to feel tenderness from you. It makes her feel special, wanted, cared for. Without that she feels undesirable and lonely. Make a conscious effort to touch her with no sexual content or follow-up. Put your arm around her. Hold her hand. Touch her arm, her leg, her back. Kiss her. If you have sexual urges right then, control them and walk away. Touch her in private and in public. Keep doing it until it becomes more natural, and you can honestly touch her without sexual overtones.
I guarantee that if you do this regularly, your wife will be more responsive than before when sex is on the menu.
Many women spell intimacy T-A-L-K. Resist the urge to immediately fix things when she has something she wants to talk about. She needs you to hear her, to listen attentively. If you’re eating, watching TV, or working on something she won’t feel you are hearing her. Shut off everything else for a few minutes and truly listen.
If you want her to truly feel heard, verbalize back to her that you understand and appreciate her perspective and validate her feelings. Rephrase what she expressed to you. Ask a follow-up question to help you better understand what she’s saying. When she’s finished, stretch yourself to respond by thoughtfully expressing how you feel as well.
You are helping your wife more than you know when you truly listen, even if you can’t fix it.
A measure of security
Security for a woman comes in two ways. No money in the bank, a highly irregular income, no plans for handling emergencies, ongoing worry about the necessities of life – that makes most women very anxious and insecure, especially if there are children involved. You don’t have to make a lot of money! But if you take responsibility for handling these necessities in a way she can see and understand, it will decrease her angst dramatically and help her open her heart to you.
The second way she feels security is even more important. She needs to know in the depth of her soul that she is number one to you. Flirting with other women, pornography, affairs, not knowing where you are – she understandably will close her heart to you if any of those things are going on. Her personality will dictate how she knows she is number one to you, but it’s absolutely essential that your words and behavior make that clear to her. Let her know it every day. Forever.
To be pursued
You pursued your wife once, and won her heart. Some men feel that means they’ve done their job, and can now pretty much take their wife for granted. Nothing could be farther from the truth. She needs to experience you desiring her, wanting her, seeking her over and over again. Don’t worry about whether or not it’s fair; just do it.
This includes seeking her sexually, but it’s much more than that. Don’t seek her for her body; seek her for HER. Seek her heart, her mind, her wellbeing, her happiness, her closeness to you. Seek to understand her. Treat her as the most valuable thing in your life. She needs you to want her because of who she is, not because of how she makes you feel.
Masculine leadership has gotten a bad rap in some circles. And too many men have fallen into the ditch on either side of the leadership path – either lording it over their wives and others with harsh aggression, or else abdicating their leadership out of lethargy, weakness, or apathy. The kind of leadership your wife needs is the kind of servant leadership that Christ displays with the church. (Ephesians 5:25)
That means you go first. It means you step up and be the person your wife needs you to be. It means you put her needs even above your own when necessary. It means you shoulder the load in making big decisions even while asking for and honoring her perspective, and dealing with the consequences of those decisions. It means stretching yourself to learn communication, intimacy, and love. It means taking the initiative in prayer, church involvement, and being the spiritual guide in your home.
You may not feel qualified in some ways to be that kind of leader. That’s why you need to stay connected with God as He grows you. But remember that if God asks something of you, He will provide the wisdom, courage, and grace for you to do it.
As you give these things to your wife, you may be surprised at how she will thrive. As you demonstrate how much you value her and cherish her, her heart will be drawn to you. She will open as a flower, and display her beauty to you – physically, mentally, and spiritually.
And wives, you’re not off the hook. Here’s what your husband needs from you.
Your Turn: How well are you doing as a husband in giving these 5 essentials to your wife? Which are you going to focus on next? Leave your comment below.
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