Do you have to guess what your husband needs?

I don’t take responsibility for meeting all of Big Guy’s needs, because some things are for him to seek from God, not from me or from our marriage. Some of his needs might indicate areas where he needs to grow, and others are things I’m just not capable of at the moment.

Nonetheless, understanding my husband’s needs has been an important part of my own growth in marriage. It shows me where my efforts might be most appreciated or have the biggest impact.

I do try to meet many of his needs, but figuring out what those are hasn’t always been easy.

Men are not all the same, and they don’t all have the same needs. If you’re going to try to become more loving and generous in your marriage, it helps to know what your guy needs.

How can you do this?

The easiest thing to do is to ask. “Honey, what do you need from me as your wife?” If your husband has spent a lot of time thinking about his needs, he can give you some great insight.

If your guy is like mine, however, you might not get much of an answer. When sex was a problem in our marriage, Big Guy would have said that his only need was sex. Once sex was improving, he added respect into the mix. Beyond that, though he drew a blank.

Being self-reflective isn’t my husband’s favorite thing to do, so when I ask him what he needs, he doesn’t have an answer for me.

When it comes to meeting his needs, then, I’ve had to work to figure out what those needs are.

The truth is that I’ve guessed my way through a lot of it.

However, I’m not just taking a stab in the dark. I look at several things to try to figure out what my man needs.

  • The bible tells us some things a wife should do (such as respect her husband and not deprive him), and it says what love is (1 Corinthians 13)—so I tried to do those things when I was beginning this journey. Even though I didn’t know exactly what my husband needed, I thought that if I tried to do the things the bible said I should do as a wife, it would point me in the right direction to meet whatever his individual needs were.
  • I learn from what other husbands say. I read blog comments, blogs posts by male bloggers, and marriage forum postings to learn about what other men think. Although my husband isn’t exactly like them, it is a good way to pick up some clues about what to pay attention to with Big Guy. Occasionally, I will read something to my husband and say, “Here’s what this guy says about what it means to him when is wife is respectful. Does this match what you think?” Although my husband may not identify his own needs from scratch, he will say whether or not someone else’s words apply to him. I’ve learned a lot about him in this way.
  • I make my questions into multiple-choice format for my husband. Instead of saying, “What do you need from me in bed?” I say, “What is the most important thing from me in bed? A) Paying attention to a particular body part, b) letting you do things to me even if I don’t think I’m in the mood, or c) doing something outside my comfort zone?” I give him a limited number of choices and he just has to pick one. Or sometimes I ask him which of three or four things is least important to him. His answers work together to build a picture of what my husband needs and desires from me
  • I pay attention to his moods. Whereas my emotional discontent comes out through tears, my husband’s comes out through a raised voice or anger. So I try to notice what kinds of things trigger that in him. I can ask him about the situation later: “When you got upset during our conversation earlier, what had I said that was upsetting to you?”

I am guessing about his needs, but it is strategic guessing.

If your husband is able to express to you what he needs from you, then that’s a great place to start. But if he doesn’t express what he needs, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck.

Do you know what your husband’s needs are?

9 Thoughts on “Guess What Your Guy Needs

  1. It’s funny that you mention respect as something a wife should give her husband. Earlier this week it was suggested to me to read Love and Respect by Dr Emerson Eggerichs. I got it and cracked it open last night. Quite honestly respect wasn’t on my radar as something I needed to work on – I thought I was doing OK with it. Not a chance! And here you are mentioning it today. I just wanted to say that “Yes, God, I’m listening”. I have been trying to meet my husbands needs better and this seems to be one of the areas I am needing to work on. Thanks so much for the insight and suggestions, Chris.

    • I found this list on The Peaceful Wife to be very eye-opening. It is like reading a list of my husband’s complaints about me. 🙁 Respect is an area where I continue to struggle, but it is something that makes a huge difference in our marriage. I used to think that respect was something that needed to be earned. Now I try to think about it as similar to love. I shouldn’t have to earn my husband’s love; he should just love me through his actions whether I deserve it or not. Likewise, he shouldn’t have to earn my respect; I should demonstrate respect for him through my actions.

      It’s funny how God gets our attention sometimes, isn’t it?

  2. A book I’m currently reading might also be helpful. It’s by Laura Doyle, entitled, “First, Kill all the Marriage Counselors”. While not strictly Christian, it does contain what I would consider some good tips.

  3. Hi. My husband and I have been separated for some time and he has now decided he wants to re-engage. The problems before centered around an imbalance in the relationship. He didn’t really want a “relationship”. He treats me like I’m a dude, using the same crude language, zero romance of any kind, zero sensitivity to emotional and sexual needs that differ from his. Counseling helped nothing. One of the things my pastor had told me was to be careful if/when he decided he wanted to reconcile, because he probably just wants sex and won’t work on the relational aspect. Not surprisingly, this is exactly what’s happening. He will not have deep discussions, there is nothing in our interaction that goes beyond joking around with an acquaintance. No serious discussions. No willingness to consider emotional needs. I am 42 years old and if I ask him to come up with ideas of things to do, all he wants is to play paintball or watch action movies. I would be okay if this was a give-and-take, but it’s not. Besides, I don’t ask him to do things that are clearly only my interests or that I know he would find uninteresting. It feels like I’m in a relationship with a 14-yr-old. Right back to where it was. I was also told that whatever emotional “level” the relationship is in when sex is introduced, the relationship essentially stays at that level. So while I understand that I have to do things that are highly unpleasant for me (sex is not enjoyable for me and this doesn’t bother him), what are appropriate ways for me to establish that maturity in the relationship – that emotional and romantic standard so that I don’t feel (once again) that I am nothing more than his toy?

    • Andrea, I applaud your willingness to work on your relationship after separation. This can be so painful, and it’s great to see that you’re willing to be patient and try again. It looks like you’ve tried counseling and that failed. If he’s not willing, as it seems, to look beyond his physical needs, then he isn’t ready to reconcile, even if you are. Relationships are more than sex, and if this message isn’t getting through, you need to respect yourself as God’s creation and not allow yourself to be his sexual slave. This is abuse. I would suggest that you establish clear boundaries for moving forward. For example, work with a counselor to establish reasonable expectations in your marriage. Ideally, if you could go to a male/female counseling team, that might be productive to validate gender needs. If he is willing to try counseling again. Or perhaps a couple from your church could mentor you as a couple. Please don’t buy into this view that as a woman your needs matter less. They don’t. They also don’t matter more than his. But subjecting yourself to being used, violated, and feeling alone is not godly. We are not called to suffer in the name of a partner’s immaturity. Neither are men called to suffer for a wife’s refusal. We are only called to suffer for the name of God. If the violation and second-class view of women is “in the name of God”, that is horrible.

  4. Hi, Andrea. I understand and validate your need to connect with your husband on a deep emotional level. Most all women need connection to feel loved and wanted but most men are wired just the opposite: they need sex to feel loved and wanted. I’ve been married 32 years and have been right where you are. I respectfully disagree with the advice/warning you received about his sexual desire for you.
    Please read through Chris’s posts on this site. She has much wisdom to offer. I also suggest reading Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only.” Her book helped me understand my husband’s male point of view. Much love to you on your journey to understand your guy! You are welcome here with us. 🙂

  5. elfurymcs on February 11, 2016 at 9:03 am said:

    Great idea! Someone needs to put together a list of multiple choice questions.

    Linked to your post as one of our Best Christian Sex Links of the Week.

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