Men and women do NOT think alike neither do they have the same needs. Physiology and brain scans have documented the uniqueness of each gender and presented a good case for why we need each other. Husbands and wives are truly better when they work as a team.
For husbands to love their wives, they must understand the unique needs that wives have. Listed below are four of the most important needs wives have. Yes, these are generalizations and not tailored to the specific needs some wives may have. They are, however, generalizations drawn from thirty years of counseling couples.
Wives are the “relationship minders” in the family. They want to insure that everyone in the family is in a good relationship with everyone else. If that isn’t the case, wives will focus on resolving the disrupted relationship. Relationship threats can come from outsiders, work, hobbies, sports, etc. Anything that threatens the relationships within the family will be cause for concern.
The husband-wife relationship is of paramount importance to her. She must know that he is a “one-woman” man. That his job is not his “mistress.” That another woman, whether she be a co-worker, friend, or old flame, is not a threat to her. That is why it is NOT wise for a husband to have female friends, to dine alone with females, to text/email/Instagram females, give rides alone to females, to counsel/pray with females alone. All of these threaten the husband-wife relationship and can lead to infidelity.
Wives want to be secure. They want to know that there will be food on the table and a roof over their heads. They want financial security. They want relational security (see above). They want safety. The need for security drives wives to “put down roots” and establish their homes. Wives will sacrifice their own safety for the sake of the safety of their family, especially their children.
A wife wants to know that everyone in the family is safe and secure: her husband, the children, her parents, her siblings, everyone about whom she cares. Whatever threatens that security produces anxiety. That is why it is not wise for husbands to uproot their wives from their homes multiple times over a short period.
Wives want to know what their husbands are thinking, feeling, and doing. They seek “oneness” with their husbands and part of being one is honest, open, transparent communication, something most husbands are not comfortable doing. The most frequent marital complaint is poor communication. Poor marital communication is so frequent a complaint that helping programs have sprung up focused on that single issue alone!
Husbands can minister to their wives by being mindful of their need to know what’s going on inside them. They can meet the need by not keeping secrets. They can meet the need by talking BEFORE doing. They can include their wives in the decision-making process and ask for their input.
Wives want to know that their husbands love them, that they are cherished, and that there is no other person on earth more important to their husbands. Wives want to be valued as complementary partners in the marriage relationship. They want to know that their opinions matter and that they are respected and loved by their husbands.
For husbands to meet the need of their wives for love, they must communicate with them and take seriously their counsel. Husbands will esteem their wives by loving them in their love language, treating them as gifts from God to be treasured, and sacrificing for them even to the point of laying down their lives for them. They need to say “I love you,” and sincerely mean it, every day.
The four needs of a wife are synergistic meaning they overlap and feed off one another. For example, good communication builds love, improved security, and strengthens the relationship. If these four needs of wives are being met by their husbands it indicates a strong, healthy, enduring marriage that will be a blessing to each partner, to their children and grandchildren, to their parents, to their church, and to their God.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up for her " (Ephesians 5:25),