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?