If you’ve smelled the coffee recently, you’ve realized that men and women want and need different things in a relationship.
The assumption that your husband’s needs are the same as yours, for example, in how to be loved or treated, is what gets wives in trouble. We’re really two different species.
It’s pretty simple: met needs produce feelings of being loved, valued, and appreciated. Flip the coin, and unmet needs get you in the dog house.
What Men Don’t Want in a Marriage
1. They Don’t Want To Be Your Girlfriend
Many women will describe the ideal man as someone who is conversational, can open up and share their feelings. They long with deep sighs for the man who loves to talk about how their day went, and remembers all the important events and memories of life. I know this to be true. After my wife and I married, I was placed in the very uncomfortable spot of having to fill her girlfriend gap.
Well, over time we both learned that there was a big difference between “husband/wife sharing time” and “girlfriend sharing time.” The two are clearly not the same thing. The latter will allow two close women friends to deeply express their feelings in the most intimate and vividly detailed manner in a way that two men, if the prospect of such an encounter ever crossed their minds, would run away screaming “Mommy!!!” the other direction.
While I’ll admit with some pride that I’ve advanced light years toward bridging the two to offer my wife the space she needs to just listen as she processes, shares and–if stressed or overwhelmed, cries without me trying to fix her, I would never expect any masculine man to do the same with regularity…unless the marriage is on life support and divorce papers are being mailed in. Men just don’t make very good girlfriends, ladies.
To even think of the possibility that we may have to share our feelings when we get home after getting pummeled at work for that missed deadline or meeting-gone-bad, brings up chalkboard scratching noise in our heads. We’d rather stare in zombie-like state to ESPN Sports Center highlights every night than expound on the greater details of how our day went. The cave is where men decompress.
Even for those who have been trained by a life coach or counselor to access the “sharing” area of their brain for their wives’ sake, it doesn’t come naturally. Men generally don’t share.
If he does, smother your man now with kisses! He has developed a great skill contrary to his nature, and he loves you at such a deep level, he knows how much emotional intimacy means to you. That’s a man you can thank God for bringing into your life.
If he doesn’t, smother your man with kisses anyway to affirm that he is a man. Celebrate your love for him exactly the way God made him.
2. They Don’t Want to Have to “Work” on their Marriages
Have you ever asked your husband if he is satisfied with the marriage? Because most often, what you’ll find is that your dude is quite comfortable about the state of your relationship. To them, if there are no alarms going off and sirens blaring, the marriage is fine and lets keep it that way.
Women, on the flip side, may still look forward to the day when their deepest romantic yearnings and expectations are fulfilled. And the finger is pointing at the husband. There is a disparity here.
This doesn’t make men broken. Or out-of-touch. Or neanderthals. It just makes them…..men.
If you pay close attention, for the most part it is women who are unhappy in marriage. Look at the statistics: the majority of divorces are filed by the ladies. When was the last time you saw the husband go “Honey, I want to see a marriage counselor.” Usually it’s the woman who initiates counseling. It is often the wife who is perpetually disappointed, completely frustrated, and ultimately heart-broken. So the pressure is always on the man to have to change. Pressure than men don’t want.
But how many of these women will also look in the mirror and admit, “I have unrealistic, unreasonable longings and expectations about my husband?” The kind of unrealistic expectations that are now tearing their marriages apart. Got a mirror?
What happens instead if you, as wife, took all those unrealistic expectations about how he should treat you, or communicate with you, or romanticize with you, and symbolically shredded or torched them? You are still left with the man you married, who loves you despite all your flaws, cares and provides for you and your children, and would die on a hill for you. Would your perspective of your relationship change then?
It may have been a blind spot for you until now to consider that instead of expecting your man to fulfill ALL your romanticized, emotional needs, he may not be hard-wired by God to do so. Maybe he’ll fulfill some of them, but not all of them. The only Person I know who could fill those sandals was nailed to a cross.
The best advice I can give wives is to make some really solid friendships outside of marriage. Don’t let yourself end up in a marriage where you feel lonely and perpetually frustrated because your man won’t or CAN’T be your girlfriend. Fill the hole left by your female best friend, mother, daughter, sister, cousin by making new friends. Or if that’s hard for you to do, make an extra effort to maintain the friendships you had growing up, or left behind.
And men, this goes both ways. Get a small circle of weekend warriors to shoot hoops, go paint-balling, or camp out and connect on a deep, masculine level. Encourage your wife to have her special time hanging out with her girlfriends every now and then.
To your relationship success,
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