Women are unique and so are their needs. What you need most from your wife is not necessarily what she needs most from you. Consequently, if you express love to your wife in the way you want to receive love, her deepest needs will go unmet and you will experience frustration because it will feel like she’s not appreciative of what you’re giving. Her needs are different from yours, so your expressions of love need to be tailored to her desires, not your preferences. If someone asks you for an umbrella to shield them from the rain and you give them sunglasses because you like sunglasses, regardless of how beautiful the sunglasses are, they will go unappreciated because you have not met the stated need. So it is with your wife’s needs. One of the best investments you can make in your marriage is to study your wife and understand what makes her thrive. 1 Peter 3:7 puts it this way, ‘Husbands, in the same way live with your wives knowledgeably’. Understanding your wife’s needs and making it a priority to meet them will pay tremendous dividends in your relationship.
Below are the top five needs that every wife has:
1. She needs your sacrificial love
One of the biggest needs a wife has is security which comes from being loved by a sacrificial husband. This is a God-given need that draws your wife to you constantly. Your wife needs to know that, after God, she comes first in your heart and life. Anything that competes with her as a priority in your life – work, friends, hobbies – will be perceived as a threat and will lead to her feeling insecure in your love. This is why the Bible likens loving your wife to laying down your life for her. No woman can resist a man who loves her sacrificially and puts her wellbeing before his, like Christ did. There should be no doubt in your wife’s mind that you love her completely, absolutely and permanently. Tell your wife very often how much you love her and then demonstrate your love by the way you treat her. If your wife has to ask you whether you love her, there is probably something threatening her sense of security and the way to overcome that is by expressing love to her in a way she understands. What has your wife asked of you over the years? Your time, undivided attention every now and then, a listening ear, words of love, help when she’s feeling overwhelmed – whatever spells love to her should be a top priority for you. Sacrificial love is just that – sacrificial. It means you go above and beyond – like Jesus did – to be a blessing to your wife. It will sometimes cost you your comfort, energy, creativity and initiative but you will be rewarded with a content and secure wife.
2. She longs for open and honest communication
Women connect by talking and sharing their hearts. Your wife wants to be able to connect with you on a deep intimate level, to understand your thoughts and feelings, and to share life with you on every level. Communication is what connects your wife to your world. When you talk to your wife, she feels close to your heart and intimacy grows in your marriage. When you shut your wife out by withholding open and honest communication, intimacy is lost and she begins to feel more like a stranger than your best friend. It is an open secret that women are frequently more verbal than their husbands and men can sometimes feel overwhelmed by their wives’ insatiable need for discussion. However, it is a wise husband that recognizes that talking and sharing meets a very deep need in his wife’s life for emotional connection and commits to meeting that need. The more you talk to your wife, the more valuable she feels. She sees herself as your ally and is secure in the knowledge that you value her opinion.
3. Be caring and affectionate
Ephesians 5:29 encourages husbands to ‘nourish and cherish’ their wives. The word ‘nourish’ means ‘to feed to maturity’. Your wife comes alive when you care about her spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing and you create an atmosphere where she can be her best. It is your calling as a husband to help your wife become all that God made her to be by believing in her and supporting her God-given dreams. Find out what matters to your wife; care about what she cares about. Help her bring out her God-given potentials. Don’t be her dream-breaker; be her dream-maker. Cherishing your wife means you place a high value on her as a person. This is evident in the way you talk to her and talk about her. Women thrive in an atmosphere of caring and expressed affection. What can you do daily to show your wife that you care for her? Sometimes, it might be something as simple as holding her hand or giving her a hug for no particular reason. Some men never touch their wives unless there is sex involved and they wonder why she is unresponsive. Women crave for physical affection but for most women that does not immediately translate into sex. Frequent, non-sexual touch tells your wife that you care for her as a person, without any agenda, and it makes her feel closer to you and therefore more interested in sexual intimacy.
4. Show her your appreciation
Women tend to be very sacrificial. They work very hard to keep the household running smoothly and everyone fed and clothed; they bear much of the responsibility of caring for children and often hold a job outside the home in addition. They are experts at juggling many balls at the same time and making it look easy. This means that an unobservant husband can easily take for granted all that his wife does daily. Tell your wife frequently how much you appreciate everything she does for you and your children. Notice the changes she makes from time to time to make things better at home. When she makes a nice meal, don’t just wolf it down in silence. Compliment her frequently. Model appreciation for your children and teach them to be thankful for Mum. Also, keep an eye open for when your wife is feeling overwhelmed and needs your help. Women often need help but they would much rather it was offered willingly than having to ask for it. Don’t allow your wife to get overloaded with the responsibilities of life. Lighten her load with your appreciation and by being an active contributor in the running of the home.
5. Be a loving leader
Women don’t want to be dominated but they do want their husbands to take the initiative in establishing a vision for the home. Women are wired to help and even before God made Eve, He described her as a helper. Women are enablers; they make things happen. Your wife wants to come alongside you and fulfill a family vision but it must be clear what that vision is. She wants you to take the lead in the home spiritually, she needs you to lead in ensuring the wellbeing of your relationship, she wants to see that you have a financial plan, and she wants you to be proactive in raising your children. Don’t be a leader at work and passive at home. Leadership begins at home. Lead like Jesus did; He was firm in His convictions but empathetic to the needs of those He was leading.