Have you ever looked at you wife with frustration and thought (or said), “What do you want from me?”
It’s not at all uncommon.
I counsel men everyday who find themselves in this exact place. They feel like somewhere along the way, their wife or partner has started speaking a new language or has flat out gone crazy. It’s actually far more likely that over the course of your relationship, you have forgotten what it means to be a spouse and what your wife needs.
Of course, this can go both ways and women can be just as guilty. However, it’s particularly easy for men to forget that their wives are not just some random people with whom they share the same home and responsibilities with, but special and unique individuals that they chose to share their lives with. As such, there are several things that every wife needs from her husband in order to feel fulfilled and happy.
Although every relationship is different, many of the desires and needs from partners are rather universal. It comes down to being human and wanting to feel loved and appreciated.
So if your wife seems to be distant or dissatisfied, consider the list below. See if you may be missing the mark on fulfilling some of her needs or if you don’t have any idea on what a wife needs.
This doesn’t just mean sexual intimacy. In fact, for most women, what they crave the most, and what is often lacking, is emotional intimacy.
As her husband, you are (or should be) the person who knows her best and is her closest confidant. Allowing her to feel safe by being vulnerable and seeing you do the same with her is vital to most women.
Unfortunately, many couples lose this element as their relationships progress. When the importance of emotional intimacy becomes forgotten, couples grow apart. Women will pull away and begin to shut down as this intimacy in the relationship disappears.
Yes, you’re married. She’s your wife, not your buddy, right?
The strongest relationships have a solid friendship as their foundation. This means you spend time together having fun and relaxing, just like you would with your buddies. No, you don’t have to get your nails done and she doesn’t have to watch every game with you (unless you each enjoy those things).
However, hanging out, talking, and being present in the moment as you enjoy each other’s company is something many wives are looking for from their husbands.
She does a lot. No matter what the configuration of your relationship is, she’s likely doing many things to keep your lives going. And she wants to know that you know that.
This is a common one for both women and men. We all want to be recognized, thanked, and valued. Without it, resentment can build. Feeling unnoticed and taken for granted is one of the biggest complaints women have about their husbands.
Any chance you feel like your sex life is suffering or that your wife isn’t as affectionate as she used to be?
It’s likely that she feels the same way about you. She may not be 20 anymore or look like a super model, but she’s a woman. She’s your wife, and she wants to feel like you are still attracted to her.
Forgive the gross generalization, but women want to feel pretty. The more attraction you display, the more likely she is to be affectionate and inclined toward sexual intimacy. Word to the wise, however, there is a fine line between showing your attraction to her and flat out manipulation. Make sure that you are authentic and sincere or your efforts are likely to backfire.
We all want this, don’t we? Yet respect can sometimes feel not only hard to get but hard to give. Your wife is an autonomous person and capable of surviving without you – remember that.
Showing her that you respect her abilities, efforts, and letting her know that your life is better with her in it, will help ensure she stays there.
Studies have shown that being able to make your spouse laugh and sharing laughter together can be more effective at reducing barriers and maintaining closeness than nearly anything else. This doesn’t mean you need to start doing evening stand-ups. Just know her well enough to make her giggle and make a regular effort to do so.
As a marriage counselor and someone who specializes in talking to men in terms they can relate to, I can tell you that the points above are some of the most common I hear about when a wife is feeling dissatisfied. Guys, remember – she’s not THAT different from you. If you’re feeling like you need more from her, she probably also needs more from you, too.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their relationships better.