A few weeks ago I did a little research project by tossing out a question to all my friends on Facebook. I am fully aware that this method is far from perfect and the list is far from complete. The question posed was simple, “Wives, what do you most NEED from your husband?” I was immediately overwhelmed at the number of responses I received from individuals. I had responses from individuals I speak with often and those I haven’t spoken to in quite some time. I became aware that these women wanted to be heard. I also got the impression that many of their husbands were fulfilling their wives greatest need while many others were frustrated by their husband’s continual oversight. As the answers began to be shared, I was amazed at how basically the same needs were being repeated over and over from these ladies. Here are the top four answers I received in no specific order.
Unconditional Love and Support
Unconditional love is known as affection without any limitations. Most wives acknowledge they have faults and failures within their marriage. They expressed the need to know that their husbands will love them and support them no matter how many mistakes they may make.
“My husband and I have been married 20 years this coming March, so you think have a happy marriage would be easy. I think the thing I need most from my husband is to be” loved unconditionally”. If he does that, everything else is taken care of. You would think if your married that would automatically be the case, but not all women feel loved (cherished) I am a very blessed woman, because I do.“
Husbands must not only tell their wives that they love them but show them in their everyday actions. They need to do everything they can to allow their wives to know that they support them, cherish them, and love them in the good times and the bad. The challenge for husbands is to love their wives in the same manner and with the same depth that Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25-30). This was a sacrificial type of love as Christ gave himself on the cross for the church. The husband must not have the attitude what can my wife do for me, but what can I do for her? The husband must not be a tyrant. He must have a love for his wife, which is ready to make any sacrifice for her good.
“I guess i would have to say companionship…just knowing he wants to be with me no matter what the circumstances in our lives are. I know it is harder for some people to show or express their emotions or feelings, I think that is an inherited family trait.”
Quality and Quantity Time Together
The world moves at a tremendously fast pace. It’s virtually impossible to disconnect from work, social networks, media, news, even friends and family. Life is often an overload of emails, voice mails, instant messages, profiles, shows, kid’s activities, schedules, and the endless desire to know about what’s going on around you.
It’s far too easy to let the important things in your life slip through the cracks and get lost in the chaos. Days could go by without speaking to family members, or sharing deeper moments with your spouse.
It’s well documented that one of the keys to a successful relationship is to spend quality time together as a couple, but unfortunately the word quality is all too often confused with the word quantity. Quality time can best be defined as time dedicated to being together, but crucially it’s also time focused on being attentive to one another.
“TIME… I can say this because I know my husband knows this and makes it a point. A few years ago he read the book “Choosing to Cheat”. The idea that someone in a man’s life will be cheated out of time. Either God, Family, job, hobbies. The first two often seem to be the last. I know we are blessed that he has a job that can be flexible with time but that has also been a conscious decision for our family. Too many husbands spend extra time at work rather than coming home, or they take the job with the big paycheck requiring more time. God should obviously come first. It can be a challenge for ministers, in putting God first as part of their job too, to remember that wife and children are a God-given responsibility too.”
In Luke 10: 38-42 we read how Mary chose quality time with Jesus over tasks. In the same light, we must focus on finding balance within our lives. We must learn to distinguish between those relationships which truly matter and those time consumers which do not matter.
There is perhaps no greater need within the marriage covenant than for men to assume their proper place as the spiritual leader of the home (1 Corinthians 11:1-3; Ephesians 5:22-24). This role is God-given and he longs for men to take the lead in proper spiritual training and stand as an everyday life example of faith for his family and within the community (Ephesians 6:4).
“As a Christian wife and mother, I need a husband that leads myself and my family with Christ as the center. I need the influence of a Christian spouse to help me be the kind of person in this world that God would have me to be. I also need him to lead our children in the all too brief time that we have them to go out into the world and be win souls for Christ. My hope is that through his leadership and example, our children will find like faith spouses of their own and lead their own families in the manner that God would desire.”
“I have found when my husband provides spiritual leadership that it creates a encompassing sense of peace in my life and our family as a whole.”
“I need my husband to be a strong Christian example for me. I feel that if he is the Christian husband God calls him to be then all my primary needs will be fulfilled.”
When husbands fulfill their role as spiritual leader and model of faith there is harmony within the home and the Lord is pleased. May more men rise to the occasion.
It seems like most husbands have a hard time with this one. (I sure do!) Blame it on the wiring of our brains, or whatever, but it is hard to grab a guy’s full attention in a lot of cases. Turn off the radio or the TV when your wife starts talking to you. Look her in the eyes. And most of all…we must not jump in with our advice one minute into the conversation. Most men seem to have a solution for everything, whether their spouse is looking for a solution or not. A lot of the time, women just want to vent a little bit. They want to know that their feelings are being heard.
While you listen to your loved one, it is good to interject words that communicate that you understand how that person feels. Simple statements such as, “I can see how you would feel that way,” or “I would feel the same way myself” can do much to communicate that you are listening with you heart.
James writes in James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”
Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 4:29-32, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
After carefully considering the information I received. I have come to the conclusion to make sure that I know what MY wife needs. As men we must not make the mistake of thinking that our wives are just like every other wife. God has designed them to be special and unique. They are part of His masterpiece and not something he mass produces in a factory. I will be the first to admit; fully understanding your spouse’s ever changing needs can be quite a challenge. However; this is not time spent but time invested to achieve marital bliss and harmony. May God bless each of us richly and we strive to have the type of marriages which will bring glory and honor to Him.