What can you do when your needs are not being met?

In Lost in Translation, I wrote about a typical husband’s desire for his wife to be more passionate. I encouraged you to understand what your husband means and try to fulfill that. I suggested that you help your husband better see what you already are doing toward that end.

The other side to this is equally important—getting our needs met. Although I often write about a husband’s desires and perspective, in no way does that diminish you, your perspective, or your needs. Both spouses matter in marriage.

What can you do when you’re the one with a need that isn’t being met?

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For me, the need that caused the biggest issue was emotion. While my husband always wanted me to be more passionate about sex, I always wanted him to be more passionate about emotion.

Your need may be a little different from mine. Maybe it is something sexual that your husband isn’t doing. Maybe it is about another aspect of your relationship.

Whatever your unmet need is, these four suggestions may be able to help.

1. Know what your desires are.

Specifically, how it would it look if your husband fulfilled these desires? For me, emotional attention would look like this: He asks me how I’m feeling. When I respond, he acknowledges my feelings and does not suggest solutions. He pays attention to signs of my mood and anticipates what would help, such as offering a shoulder rub. He wraps me in his arms on a frequent basis, even if I don’t seem to need it at the time. He works on his own emotional awareness and seeks comfort from me. If he wanted me to be a tigress more often, I wanted him to be a strong teddy bear.

2. Understand your needs.

Needs are not the same as desires. My desire was for my husband to be more emotionally attentive. The deeper heart need that fed this desire was a need to be fully seen and to be accepted and valued for such a core part of myself (my emotions). Some of my emotional desires were based on needs that I should have been taking to God instead of putting on my husband. When I understand what my deeper need is, I can better look for a variety of ways this need can be met. The desires I have may not be the only way to have this need met. (See A Place Deep Inside for more about this.)

3. Communicate with your husband about both your needs and your desires.

Be concrete and specific about how he can fulfill your desires and meet your needs. Let go of the thought, If he truly loved me, he would just know what to do. This is not true, and it is an unfair expectation. Most husbands want to do what it takes to make their wives fulfilled and happy, they just don’t know how. So tell him. Also, ask him for ideas on how he can help you get your needs met, even if the specifics of your desire (how you want the needs met) aren’t things he think he can do.

4. Work hard to see the ways your husband already tries to meet your needs.

When my husband tries to solve a problem for me, I often feel frustrated because I shared the problem because I want to be seen and I want to share my inner life with him, not because I want it fixed. However, his attempt to problem solve is his way of showing me that he sees me and cares about what I’m feeling. Should he try to meet my needs in a way that matters to me? Absolutely—but I should also try to see the heart of what he is trying to do for me. When Big Guys gives me a hug that includes a sexual caress, he is showing me in his own way that he wants to be connected with me. I spent so many years focusing on what he wasn’t doing the way I wanted. As a result, I completely missed seeing his genuine good-willed efforts.


When I better understand my desires and needs, clearly communicate about them, and pay attention to my good-willed husband’s efforts, I am happier and more fulfilled in my marriage.

Rather than letting your needs and desires be lost in translation, help your husband decipher them and recognize his efforts to speak love in your language.

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3 Thoughts on “Help Your Husband Speak Love in Your Language

  1. Anonymous2 on September 29, 2016 at 12:48 pm said:


    Thank you. I appreciate the suggestions.

    As I expressed in your “translation” post, I have been working hard at exploring my own sexuality and pushing my comfort zones and mindsets. But, at present, I’m tired.

    My deepest desire right now, is for my husband to re-evalutate his sexual expectations of me. Selfish? Perhaps, but I’ve been working on developing my sexuality for 30 years. I’m menopausal and plain exhausted from always having to push the sexual envelope.
    I’m tired of feeling like the more I give and try to please, the more and different things he wants. I guess, my deepest desire from my husband right now, is to realize I’m not ever going to turn into some hot horny sultry sex maiden that can always make him sexually happy.

    I want him to look me in the eye, hold my hand, and tell me I matter with his heart.
    I want him to “know” that I love him even if and when sex is difficult for me.
    I want him to “know” that menopause has made sex hard and sometimes impossible.
    I want to “know” that he can find a way to feel loved by me when I can’t be his sexual comfort pillow at times.

    I want him to be OK with the fact that sex will never mean as much to me as it does to him.

    The problem with my desires are that they make me selfish and probably unworthy of marriage.

    • It is on our shoulders to teach our husbands about us and about our needs.

      We are all selfish to an extent. When we are married, we need to step beyond our selfishness to meet the other person’s needs as best as we can. That means that your husband needs to be doing that, too.

      I do know what you mean about sex never meaning as much to you as it does to your husband. I would like to suggest that you prayerfully consider if there is a different way to word that. For most men, sex is the way of expressing love and acceptance. No matter how much we tell them that for us it isn’t like that, the majority of guys are going to hear “you don’t matter to me,” not “sex doesn’t matter.” Knowing how your husband will hear it (no matter how much he should be listening to what you say and not interpreting it), it might be worth finding a way to say something like, “Sex is never going to be the way that makes me feel most loved by you, and it is not the first thought that comes to mind when I want to show my love to you. I will always love sex because it is something I do only with you.”

  2. Thank you for this, Chris… These suggestions are helpful. Lately in my marriage, I have been feeling like he has not been speaking my love language much, and perhaps I have not to him. I think the main issue is business. He just started a school program (and hasn’t done school for a while so it’s pretty new to him and he is doing well and i’m very proud of his discipline, but he is kinda overwhelmed) and it’s taking more time than we anticipated and many nights he has to do studying. I want to support him, but the last few weeks, I’ve felt a distance. I am a touch person and a words of affirmation, and I haven’t gotten all that much at this time, so I’ve been a bit resentful (and he supported me so well through school without complaining and i had little time for him at points so I don’t want to complain)… but when I feel like sex mostly happens during baby making time (because we make it a priority then) and other that one week where it’s as much as we can… that it’s like maybe once a week (partially my fault too, but lately, i just want it to happen more and i want it to come from him more than me pushing for it and i want to take time and be passionate)… and when i don’t hear words that often (i’d say that is my top language), i feel sad. I tried to talk to him tonight… and I know he wants to do speak my language… i need to speak his too. I think it’s quality time and in business i have to make it a priority perhaps to intentionally initiate blocking out time. Maybe ask him what he needs from me. i think at this time it’s me telling him i’m proud of him and happy about school and will help him to finish; and not acting negatively, which shamefully i’ve done…

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