Editor's note: This article was originally published on nataliesnapp.com. It has been republished here with permission.
I've been married for over 14 years now. I'm not expecting an award or anything (unless you've got a spare one around the house), but in today's culture, another year of marriage is definitely worth celebrating. And, my wife, Consuela, and I have done more things wrong than right. I am learning new things every year about how to meet her needs and how to love her better.
If you'll allow me to generalize for a moment, we guys are not very good at sharing our feelings. We tend to keep things in and not share about what we need and want from you. We expect you to read our minds and to figure it out. And when you don't, we are disappointed.
So, in an effort to give you some insight into the male mind and to hopefully help your marriage grow and continue to get better over the years, here are 10 things that I believe every husband needs to hear from his wife:
"The work you do, matters."
At its core, I work because I want to care for my family. I want to earn a paycheck that provides for them, I want to set a good example for my children, and I want to leave a legacy for my family that lasts. It's important that my wife tells me regularly that the work I'm doing matters. Otherwise, I will lose motivation and lack the focus to do it well.
"You're an excellent provider."
I am the only one earning a paycheck in my house. But, there was a time when I wasn't. And in both instances, it was/is important that my wife affirms that I am a good provider for my family. Like I said in the last point, I work so that I can provide and I need to not only know that the work I'm doing matters, but that what I'm providing is enough in the eyes of my wife.
But don't use the word "attractive." Use sexy or hot or sexy and hot together! Guys don't tend to communicate this need often and can even give off the vibe that it's not important to them. He wants to know that he looks nice when he takes you out on a date or gets dressed up for church.
Don't just say "you're a great dad." Rather, be specific and say "when you were playing with Victoria last night, that was really good to see." Or, "when you were disciplining Samuel this morning, that was really effective."
"I notice when you try to serve me."
In his (sometimes feeble) attempts to do the right thing and serve you, notice it! Tell him that you notice it and encourage him. This will lead to repeated efforts in the future.
"I support you."
When he's dreaming about the future. When he's attempting something outside of his comfort zone. When he's going after that promotion. He needs to hear that you support him. You should be his biggest cheerleader when he is going after the riskiest parts of his life.
I don't think these two words can be over-used. Guys need to feel appreciated ... even for the things they SHOULD be doing. Taking out the trash, mowing the grass, etc. But, especially with the things he does that is above and beyond. Your gratitude speaks to him like no other voice in his life.
If you've messed up, say you're sorry. Don't wait on him to go first. If he's going through something tough at work, tell him you're sorry. If he is grieving the death of a family member, tell him you're sorry. If you've disappointed him, tell him you're sorry. These words will heal his heart and lead to him opening up to you more often.
"Go, hang out with your friends."
His friends are important. They're important to his emotional well-being, but they're also important to your marriage. If he can regularly hang out with friends, it will help him be more present when he is with you.
"I love you."
This one probably goes without saying, but he needs to hear that you love him. Even when he fails as a dad or husband. Even when he lets you down. Even when you don't "feel" like it. He needs to hear that you love him. Every day he needs to hear those three words from you.
I'm sure that your husband could probably add something even more specific to this list. In fact, why don't you ask him tonight?
At the end of the day, it's important that you're affirming your husband, building him up, and showing him respect. These are the ways that he feels most loved and it's the way that you can fill his love tank to overflowing.
Tim is a talented speaker, writer and coach who has worked in various industries including hospitality, retail, higher education and the non-profit sector. He is currently a pastor and has a heart to help people lead better: at work and at home. Tim is married to the love of his life, Consuela, and they have 4 children.