What Men Need - Understanding Men in Relationships
What men truly want and need has always been a mystery to me, until recently. I remember when we were first married, thinking to myself.
How come no one ever told me how hard this is — and how on earth can I make this relationship healthy when all we do is fight?
What is it my husband really wants and needs from me? He seems so unhappy.
The tips and answers supposedly within all those marriage books never prepared me for what it took to make my marriage work. I needed a lifeline. Something to inspire and revive a part of me that was confused with the relationship I found myself in.
Many of you are wondering the same thing, and you think that with knowing what your husband or boyfriend really wants, you can finally fix your relationship.
Well first of all, it’s NOT on you to fix things. But it is on you to know his needs, just like it’s on him to know yours.
Because women are so nurturing, it’s in our nature to want to create positive environments with the people we love. So journey with me to learn from my mistakes, and how I got to know my husband’s heart, what makes him tick, and how you can avoid making him feel like a failure.
Their deepest fear and biggest hope.
Did you know that one of your husbands deepest desires is to be your hero?
Did you also know that most men, when they walk out the door to go to work, in their deepest of fears, hope that no one will ever find out what a failure they are?
Go ahead, ask your husband.
What is their most significant desire, and what is their greatest fear? You will gain a lot of awareness with those two questions, even if it's not exactly that.
I have learned in my almost ten years of marriage, that I have a lot of influence on how my husband feels about himself.
disclaimer - this article is intended for women who want to learn more about men. Here is an article about how men can learn more about what women need. I believe that a relationship between a man and woman is that of equality. That it’s a mutual bond of love and respect for one another, not a one-sided effort.
You can have knowledge of something all you want, but the application is where it gets difficult.
Whether you are struggling in your marriage, or it's as right as rain, I hope these guidances can beckon a new experience for you both.
It’s always good to invest in your marriage, and investing means getting to know your partner better, and realizing that perfection will never be accomplished. If we are expecting perfection from anything in our lives, we will most likely be setting ourselves up for a huge disappointment.
Check out my book recommendations for marriage.
What a man wants from the woman he loves
1. He needs to be told that you're proud of him.
Without recognizing it, we have a tendency to let our spouses know when they are doing something wrong, but neglect to acknowledge when they do something right.
If this is a habit of yours, over time they might just give up trying to please you, thinking that you can never be satisfied — in their minds, they have done everything possible.
I know for some of you, you can't think of a single thing your husband does right. If that's the case, the first thing you should do is dig deep and figure out if those unmet expectations are a result of you having too high of standards, or if it is in fact that they are really never succeeding.
Many times, we get so caught up in what isn't going right, instead of what IS going right.
Not only will recognizing the good in your life turn your thoughts from negative to positive, it will cause you to see our husband in a different light — your contentment will galvanize your happiness.
It’s a popular notion that relationships should be about your personal happiness and expectations being met. But what if our expectations can never be met?
What if we are causing our own unhappiness by setting unrealistic expectations and standards for others, and when they aren't met, we are devastated?
Whether your husband wants to admit it or not, he wants your approval; he needs your approval.
Young boys seek approval and admiration from their parents, especially their father. Now that the little boy your husband once was is an adult, he still needs approval for his efforts from someone close to him. Someone he cares about — you.
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When your husband knows he is succeeding in providing and caring for his family financially and emotionally, his sense of accomplishment will drive his happiness. You have a lot of power in enabling him to see himself as successful; you have a lot of power in how your husband sees himself in general.
I find it a shame when marriages are provoked by continual criticism instead of admiration. If you can be the first one in your relationship to make an environmental shift from criticism to approval, you will change your marriage for the better.
Begin to look for the little things your husband does that you appreciate.
Thank him and tell him you’re proud of him. It is one of the most important things you can do for your husband — just as important as your need to be told you’re beautiful and worthy of his love.
Once your husband knows he is meeting your approval, he will be motivated, not discouraged by continual failure. He will feel as though you’re proud of him. In return, he will want to make you proud.
It’s very important to remember here that your husband is not perfect — neither are you. When you begin to invite grace into your relationship, you can from stop treating one another as the enemy. Check out the one phrase that can turn a fight into a resolution.
2. He needs you to think the best of him.
Do you think can expect the best of your husband, even if his past actions have proved otherwise?
Some of you are reading this, thinking:
‘yeah right, there’s no way I can do that.’
But what if you gave him another chance?
You see, whatever your specific struggle is in your marriage, (for everyone that's different) it is the hardest in those circumstances to be expecting the best. If you've been let down time and time again, it's only human to keep expecting the worst. But there is hope. How?
First of all, thinking it doesn't mean it's true, and also doesn't mean we need to voice it.
I tend to think that my husband needs to know exactly what it is I'm thinking so that he can do it better next time — as there might be a time and a place for this, he doesn’t need me to continually tell him how disappointed I am.
Goes to say, if he screws up, it doesn’t always need to be voiced.
Maybe, just maybe — if you show him grace when he fails, then he will want all the more to repay that grace with following through the next time.
3. He needs you to use your words.
One of the hardest things to do in the middle of an argument is to pause, take a deep breath, possibly walk away to go pray or think, and give it up.
If you're anything like me, there is nothing I hate worse than not being heard or understood.
But over time I have learned that the more I fight back trying to get my point across the more he fights back. It goes nowhere, leads to a ruined day, possibly a resolve after we've completely damaged one another, and ends up doing more harm than good.
Remember that phrase I talked about when stopping a fight? Yeah, I started using that and something amazing happened.
In essence, I can't change him and the more I try, the more I fail. Men HATE it when you try and change them. We also hate it when they try and change us!
In moments where you want to smack some sense into him, don't. Say something like,
"I'm going to take a break and go think, so maybe we can work this out after we've taken a step back."
Check out some of my tips on better communication here.
Your emotions and feelings in the midsts of an argument can very easily end up ruling your mind and actions if you don't give them time to settle down. And believe it or not, emotions and feelings are sometimes FALSE!
You will only realize this when you calm down and take a step back to access the situation. Believe me, I have been there and done that TOO MANY TIMES. As much as I hate to admit it, when I take steps to control my feelings, figure out the root cause of why I am feeling the way I am feeling, I can, in love and RESPECT, better express myself.
Sometimes, that means letting it go and apologizing for the percentage of the issue that I need to take responsibility for. In most cases, letting it go and apologizing makes him see my point of view. Funny how that works.
By the way, if you don’t already know this about me, I struggle with EXTREME PMS problems. I recently tried something that helped A LOT. Check it out here.
4. He needs respect - read before you judge, ladies!
Unfortunately, some men have abused and misused respect to gain some sort of rule over women, but respect in and of itself isn't negative, it's honorable. It doesn't mean an unhealthy submission to do anything and everything he wants, but is rather figuring out how he likes to be loved. In fact, respect for a man translates to love.
This also goes hand in hand with telling and showing him you're proud of him. Every guy is different, so every guy feels respect in a different way. It could be helpful to ask how your spouse how he feels respected.
The modern-day woman doesn't really want to acknowledge respect, because in our minds it has taken on a bad light. But all it is, is learning to speak your husbands love language.
In the same way that we desire respect from our husbands, so do they.
5. He needs affirmation in his fatherhood.
Nowadays, men are SO involved in their children’s lives. It’s only recently evolved in a way that the dads are just as involved as the moms. As the times change, we also need to be aware of their involvement and give them credit for it.
Sometimes we think they don't need to hear things like this, but again, our words can make or break a man. He needs to hear he is a good father just like you need reassurance you are a good mother.
This is an area in his life he might be a bit vulnerable, especially if his relationship with his father was difficult. Pay attention to where he is successful with fatherhood and make sure he knows it with a word of encouragement.
6. He needs an outlet or hobby — to have alone time with himself or guy friends.
When we were first married, I had expectations of spending every waking hour side-by-side — my husband viewed things a bit differently. This caused tension, and over time, we had to work through a lot to come to a mutual understanding of what “time together” looked like.
It's perfectly normal and healthy for couples to have alone time. If you're a stay at home mom, this may be hard to always accept. I know for me when I go through seasons where I am home all day dealing with kids or being alone, it's the highlight of my day to see my husband walk through the door.
Finally, an adult to talk to.
Little did I know, I was putting an immense amount of pressure on my husband to fill a void he wasn't always able to fill, by expecting him to ALWAYS spend time with me when he got home from work.
What could help you in this is to find hobbies or things you enjoy by yourself and not wait for your spouse to meet every entertainment need in your life.
If your spouse has a high-stress job, or if he is constantly around people, he may be feeling the exact opposite as how you feel when he gets home from work or has time off.
He may need moments now and then to be alone and just do something for himself. But a forewarning - communication is absolutely key here.
Coming to an understanding about time/boundaries for when those moments are, or how often they occur, is VERY important. What helped us was making a schedule for the nights we have together and the nights we are alone. Knowing ahead of time what to expect for how your evenings play out will avoid a lot of issues while making sure you each get time for yourself.
Check out these awesome date night ideas, so you’re also having fun together.
7. He needs affirmation and admiration on how he looks.
My husband is so handsome that I don't think he needs to always hear it from me. Surely he knows full well he is attractive.
He still needs to know his wife thinks he's a hunk! Men are way more insecure than they will ever let you know. Tell him he looks nice before he goes to work.
Compliment specific features that you love about him.
Believe me, you will make his day is you make an effort to tell him he’s attractive and the man of your dreams.
8. He needs you to need him.
Men need to be needed — physically and emotionally.
I don't buy into the notion that men are simple. They might say they are uncomplicated, logical, sensible or unemotional, but deep down lies many needs and emotions that, in my opinion, are sometimes explained in illogical ways.
The difference between them and us is that we tend to overemphasize our needs, while men don't open up much at all. That makes it hard for us to really know what it is they need. They tend to have this underlying code, and if we don't decipher what they are saying, best of luck.
Men thinking they are simple could be that they don't always voice the details of their mind — women, on the other hand, make sure they don't miss any nook or cranny of their thoughts left unsaid.
You can help him feel needed in many ways. Initiate love making, hold his hand or show affection to him in public, or tell him flat out…I NEED you, babe!
Sometimes, I have caught myself in the middle of an argument, overemphasizing all the things I need and get nowhere! Then I realized I just needed him — so I voiced that. I said, "I just need you." His persona turned from being on the defense to that of understanding. All blame was taken off him, so he was then able to understand what exactly it was I needed from him — just him.
Being needed is never a negative thing in anyone's eyes. Remember, one of mans sole purposes is to provide, and being needed just goes hand in hand with that. So don't let it go unsaid!
Women have the tendency to think their spouses don't need things they need; being told we are pretty, loved, or needed. In my experience, it couldn't be more false. Thankfully, my husband’s transparency has enabled me to get a glimpse of what he needs from me as his wife.
I desire to meet those needs because I love him and I want our marriage to be fruitful, loving, and mutually giving.
Although our methods of communication haven’t always proven successful, it is with time and grace that we can better learn how to meet one another’s needs — the most vital aspect of a healthy relationship.
You can always work on yourself to be a better wife, mother, friend. But remember that first and foremost, you need to be healthy for you. Personal growth is another topic I write about here on Word From The Bird. I believe that succeeding in our relationships will only perspire, if we are self-reflective, nurturing the changes that might need to take place in our own lives.
Check out the book I wrote Beautiful Me — where healing from your past, replacing the lies you’re believing about yourself with truth, and having confidence in something that matters will give you the tools you need to be strong in your relationship.
It is NOT our responsibility to make one another happy; it is our responsibility to love, respect, and work on our own problems.