Decode the mystery of what your wife truly needs.
By The Good Men Project
Last updated on Nov 09, 2023
Photo: NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock
By Steve Horsmon
When a man asks for help about what a wife needs from her husband, it can be hard for him to decode the mystery.
When humans act hurt, frustrated, or angry we tend to complain about things in a way that masks our real needs. We may scream in anger at someone who cuts us off in traffic when the truth is we are scared. The real need is that we want to feel safe. But we don’t say that.
And so it is with many wives. They will say things like, “Why do I have to do everything around here? This place is a disaster!” or, “You never follow through and I can’t count on you.” And the translation husbands hear is, “You’re a bad husband.” But that’s not what she’s saying.
It’s important to know what feeling she’s craving and why it’s that feeling causing her reaction. It’s not about you — it’s about her craving to feel something she wants to feel. And she thinks that her “man” could help her feel that if he just knew the 3 things I’m about to tell you.
Here are 3 things wives need from their husbands but can’t say out loud.
1. ‘I just want to feel like I can relax.’
Wives tell me that feeling relaxed is one of the biggest keys to them also feeling connected, affectionate, and sexy.
Have you ever been around a woman who is being playful, silly, giggly, fun, and flirty? It’s about the hottest thing a guy can imagine. It’s also an incredibly fun place to be for her. And women tell me they feel like it’s biologically impossible to be that girl if she can’t relax.
Bottom line: She’s mad because she wants to relax so she can feel playful, silly, giggly, fun, and flirty. She’s not mad because you suck; she’s mad because she can’t relax.
How to give her what she needs: Don’t get defensive. Look her in the eye calmly and say, “Baby, I bet you would love to relax and I’m going to help with that.” Then look at the stuff you can help with. Are there plans that haven’t been made? She would love you to make a plan — any plan. Be her man with a plan.
What household “departments” need attention? There are many. Cleaning, laundry, kids, cars, vacations, meals, family, dishes, bills, and broken stuff — these all require the incredibly boring application of accountability, responsibility, predictability, and dependability.
Nobody can relax with all those “ilities”! That means she needs you to be her “ility” man. Romantic energy gets instantly sucked into the black hole of the “ilities”. Don’t allow that to happen.
Caution: There will be stuff you can’t help with. It’s her stuff. She will need to handle her stuff and don’t try to handle that stuff for her.
Photo: Mikhail Nilov / Pexels
2. ‘I just want to feel like I can count on him.’
Wives tell me that when their man is consistent and he follows through, they feel a sense of safety and predictability. Yeah, those are boring. But with safety and predictability comes relaxation. And we’ve covered the reasons relaxation is so important. (See above.)
One thing I’m consistent with is her morning coffee. I also like to plan dates and give her invitations to do stuff. I leave notes and I call her when I’m going to be late — every time. I like to vacuum — it’s like a power tool.
I pick the things I expect of myself and I own them. I don’t expect or accept her telling me what to own. She knows what I’ve chosen to expect of myself. She also knows it’s her job to pick and own her share. And that makes for a team effort which helps her feel good and relaxed, which is nice.
Bottom line: She’s mad because she wants to feel a sense of safety and predictability. She’s not mad because you’re a bad husband. She’s mad because she can’t relax.
How to give her what she needs: If you want to help her feel like she can count on you, just decide what you expect of yourself. Make it clear what you’re in charge of. Then do those things. Consistently. Less talk. More action.
Most nagging is the result of us not operating to our own expectations and demonstrating consistency. I’m not saying she’ll never nag. It just won’t bother you like it used to.
3. ‘I want to feel like he desires me, not just my body.’
A woman sent me an email once that said, “I feel like I could be any one of 10,000 women to him. I don’t feel his desire for me as a person. Sometimes I think I could leave my genitals in the bedroom and go make coffee and he wouldn’t even notice I left.” Yeah, I know. The imagery there is creepy.
But her point is pretty clear. She wants to feel like her mind, spirit, and emotions are worthy of your attention, too. She wants to feel desired not only for her physical attributes but for her entire self.
If she can feel your sincere desire for her entire self, she can feel your acceptance. And if she can consistently feel your acceptance, she can — say it with me — RELAX.
Bottom line: She’s mad because she wants to feel desired and accepted. She’s not mad because you’re a weirdo. She’s mad because she can’t relax.
How to give her what she needs: Every man I know understands the incredibly awful feeling of being rejected. The pain is the same whether it’s the rejection of our emotions, our opinions, or our body. Rejection is one of our biggest complaints and worst fears.
You can imagine how she feels if your desire and acceptance is limited to her sexuality.
Photo: Gustavo Fring / Pexels
Don’t get me wrong, she definitely wants to feel your unapologetic, masculine, wanton desire for her body. But at this moment you are the only man on the entire planet with the secret power to help her feel thoroughly desired and accepted — body, heart, and soul. One out of three doesn’t work.
The thing keeping her awake at night is if he has that secret power, why wouldn’t her man use it?
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Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life Coach and owner of Goodguys2Greatmen Relationship Coaching. He has appeared on local television, blog radio, telesummits, and podcasts all related to maintaining healthy relationships.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.